Red Wings clear centre Franzen to practise, still expected to miss Game 1

DETROIT – Johan Franzen is nearly back for the Detroit Red Wings.

He is expected to miss Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night, but Detroit coach Mike Babcock says he will return at some point in the series.

Franzen skated with his teammates Thursday and was cleared to participate in Friday’s practice.

The centre known as “Mule” leads the NHL with 12 goals in the playoffs despite being scratched for the last five games of the Western Conference final against Dallas because of concussion-like symptoms.

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Babcock says Franzen looks ready to play after watching him tip pucks in the net toward the end of Thursday’s workout, but doctors will decide when he will return.