Month: May 2015

Johan Franzen Should Retire

Johan Franzen

Photo by Julian H. Gonzalez

Well, not retire, but pull a Chris Pronger (or Marc Savard) and reside on the Detroit Red Wings’ long-term IR for the duration of his contract. Johan Franzen has had a great career with the Red Wings, but he should focus on what matters most—his family.

After reading his story of not being able to spend time with his kids and living most of his life in the darkness of his bedroom to recover, a return to hockey may not be in his best interest, and we should not frown upon a decision to step away. Of course, I wish Franzen could have retired on his terms rather than being forced into early retirement by injury. If he was healthy, I would be happy to have Franzen on the Red Wings for the remainder of his contract, despite his declining production.

It is fitting that this topic comes up four years and a day after the death of former NHL enforcer, Derek Boogaard. Stories like his and Wade Belak’s cautionary tale really make you re-evaluate what matters most.

“Hockey isn’t the end-all, be-all.”

Darren McCarty said this after overcoming drug and alcohol abuse (the first time). This also applies to Franzen’s situation. Hockey should not be his number one concern, especially at this stage of his life.

Even if Johan Franzen is given a clean bill of health before training camp, I hope he does what’s right. Another concussion could make life much worse. Don’t bet that it won’t happen again.

Enjoy the memories.More concussions could result in the loss of them.

Detroit Red Wings Offseason Outlook

Johan Franzen

Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images

Sigh. We all feel robbed that the Red Wings did not advance further in the playoffs. But, it also signifies that there is still work to do in Detroit. Scoring and team defense were issues this playoff season, much like last year. Those areas of concern should be addressed this offseason, which looks to be a big one for the Detroit Red Wings.

We are going to count down the top five offseason storylines, briefly touching on each of the five in this post. All five storylines will also get an in-depth look in their own post. Enjoy the fireworks this summer, both for America and the Red Wings.

5. The Future of Johan Franzen

While Franzen barely played 30 games this season, he is a big part of the Red Wings and their success. When healthy, Johan Franzen possesses a lethal shot and size to bully his way around the offensive zone. Unfortunately, he has suffered quite a few concussions over his career, with the last one leaving doubts about returning to hockey. Can Franzen fully recover and return to form?

4. Young Guns Taking Charge

Mike Babcock said it in his season-ending press conference: the young guys need to step up and make the older players better. The Red Wings have Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Riley Sheahan, Luke Glendening, and Tomas Jurco contributing, but not taking control. They need to in order to set the Wings apart form the competition. It wasn’t that long ago that Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg stepped up in place of aging Steve Yzerman and Brendan Shanahan. You can forget about Teemu Pulkkinen, Anthony Mantha, and Dylan Larkin coming soon as well.

3. The Tendys

It has already been said that Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek will compete for the starting goaltender position heading into training camp. Will one or both goalies come into camp hungry for playing time? Petr Mrazek is heading into a contract year that could pay huge dividends if he can seize the opportunity. Howard needs to prove that he can be the #1 goalie the Red Wings thought was worth over $30 million.

2. Improving the Defense

Dion Phaneuf stated that he wanted to be traded to Detroit at the trade deadline. Mike Green has long been linked to the Wings. Jeff Petry grew up in Michigan with his dad pitching for the Tigers. The Red Wings need to improve their defense beyond Niklas Kronwall, Danny DeKeyser, and Kyle Quincey (I know right? Quincey?). Marek Zidlicky was a nice addition this season, but is almost 40, and not a long-term solution. Will youngsters like Xavier Ouellet, Alexey Marchenko, or Ryan Sproul step up and earn a starting spot? Will the Wings make a splash in free agency or offseason trades?

1. Babs

Please stay. Jeff Blashill isn’t a bad #2 option, but Mike Babcock is the best coach in the NHL. Please stay. Please.