Dec 15, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Red Wings left wing Johan Franzen (93) reacts to a goal being disqualified do to the whistle be blown in the first period against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Joe Louis Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Johan Franzen Struggling To Return

It feels like he’s the bane of most Red Wings fans’ existence, but Johan Franzen missing from the roster for any extended length of time hurts the team.

Franzen has been out since December 15 with a concussion and while he is headache-free, MLive reported yesterday that Franzen’s still having difficulty processing information:

 Johan Franzen has skated with his teammates the past two days but said he is having difficulty “processing the information that goes on” around him on the ice. “Just everything; being out with 20 guys and the coach explaining stuff and the sound of pucks hitting sticks, it was just a big blur,” Franzen said Thursday after the morning skate the SAP Center.

While some fans may read that and make a remark about how he constantly looks like that when he’s playing for the Red Wings, concussion symptoms are no joking matter. Franzen does say that he is making progress and he’s still working out every day, but unless you’re playing games, there’s only so much you can do to stay in the groove of things.

Before being knocked out of the lineup, Franzen had 22 points in 30 games. If he had stayed on that pace, or anywhere near it, he would have finished the season with 50-60 points, his usual average. And while fans have constantly belittled Franzen’s abilities during the regular season, losing a 50-point player is a deafening blow.

Remember the magic that was happening on the ice when Franzen and Tomas Tatar were on the same line? Have you seen Tatar’s latest goals for the Red Wings? It’s one of those scenarios you can play out in your head and amp yourself up for, wanting these two players reunited on a line. Franzen and Tatar work well together.

With the offensive struggles of this team, regaining Franzen, no matter how streaky, will certainly help matters, even if it’s just behind the scenes with teammates happy for his return.

In the meantime, fans cling to the hope that Pavel Datsyuk and Darren Helm are on the cusp of returning within the next game or two. Something has to help this team pick itself up. Getting a few injured players back in the lineup may just help change our fortunes.

It’s always unfortunate to watch anyone struggle with concussion issues/side effects (see: Patrick Eaves and Andreas Lilja for starters), especially a core player like Franzen.

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