Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland announced on Saturday that veteran forward Johan Franzen has been cleared to play, according to Helene St. James.
Franzen missed the majority of last season, playing just 33 games, and missed everything after January 6 following his fourth head injury.
Franzen, who will turn 36 this season, is expected to play this season despite the series of concussions, which is increasingly a concern in the NHL. The concussion problem in the league is highlighted regularly with a never-ending parade of players missing time, having their career ended or worse due to concussions or the euphemistic “concussion-like symptoms.”
Some of the most recent examples have been the announcement that Ryane Clowe’s career is over (though he hasn’t yet retired) and the pending retirements of Keith Ballard and Daniel Carcillo, not to mention the recent death of Steve Montador.
That’s not to say that Franzen’s situation is where those guys are, but any time you’re dealing with a series of head injuries, there’s a concern. That seems especially true in this situation with Franzen telling reporters that this most recent concussion was difficult to recover from.
Franzen is a veteran of 600 NHL games, with an additional 107 playoff games thrown in there, all of them played for the Red Wings.
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.