For as much worrying as we did about players getting injured in the Olympics, the Olympic break has definitely helped the ranks of the Detroit Red Wings heal. (Let’s not fault Henrik Zetterberg because it’s pretty possible that he would have sustained this back injury later on this season, even if he had stayed home during the Olympics.)
Firstly, from the sounds of reports, Stephen Weiss is still on track to return once the Olympic break is over. Recovering from sports hernia surgery he had on December 23, Weiss hasn’t played since mid-December, and even before then, he wasn’t much of an offensive force for this team. In 26 games, he had two goals, two assists, and was a -4. Not very pretty for the player who was basically replacing Valtteri Filppula.
Secondly–and more importantly–Johan Franzen claims that he’s ready to come back to play against the Montreal Canadiens in the first game back next Wednesday. After his setback that saw him only play one game since being out with a concussion, he claims to not have had any
Everyone is always on Franzen’s case. They always will be. I have people at my work telling me that Franzen was bringing nothing to the table before he got injured, but just look at his numbers. He had 23 points in 31 games. He was meshing well on a line with Tomas Tatar and playing much better defense than we had seen from him in a while. Even in his one game back, he had two assists.
To get a player like Franzen back when this team has lost Zetterberg will make that loss a little easier to swallow. That’s not saying Mule will replace Zetterberg–trust me, he’s not that kind of player–but losing an offensive force and gaining one back will help bring the roster close to even once more.
The rest of the non-Olympians practiced for the first time on Wednesday. Even Jakub Kindl was on the ice! It sounds as though he will also be back in the game against Montreal. While the Red Wings have recalled four forwards from Grand Rapids, it’s only for practices and they’ll be back in Grand Rapids by the weekend.
Henrik Zetterberg is expected to fly back to Detroit today (Thursday) and be evaluated to see the extent of his herniated disc. The question is: is it better for him to need surgery so that it’s fixed or for him to not need surgery and just wait for it to heal? Which one is costlier and which one is timelier?
In Olympic-related news, CBC announcers told me that Mike Babcock was in attendance for the gold medal game in Women’s curling (Sweden versus Canada). Here’s a screenshot of my feed proving that. He looks very Babcock-y.