The Struggle continues for a former Detroit Red Wings forward

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 15: Johan Franzen #93 of the Detroit Red Wings gets set for the face-off during a NHL game against the Boston Bruins on October 15, 2014 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. The Bruins won 3-2 in a shoot-out (Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 15: Johan Franzen #93 of the Detroit Red Wings gets set for the face-off during a NHL game against the Boston Bruins on October 15, 2014 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. The Bruins won 3-2 in a shoot-out (Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The former Detroit Red Wings forward Johan Franzen continues to struggle on a daily basis with numerous health issues.

The former stand out, 30 plus goal scorer Johan Franzen has been diagnosed with (PTSD) post-traumatic stress disorder.  He battles with depression, panic attacks, and anxiety on a daily basis.  In a sad story published recently in the Detroit News, they explain some of the post-hockey the former Detroit Red Wings forward is left with.

Franzen played 11 seasons with the Detroit Red Wings before he needed to call it a career with the severe brain injury.  A concussion is a terrible thing, and once multiple concussions occur it becomes devastating.  Concussion research has been at the forefront of many different professional sports of late and with good reason.

These players make big money to play these sports, but adjustments have been needed.  The NFL is trying to limit head shots by not allowing a ball carrier to lower the crown of his helmet while initiating contact.  Defenders are not allowed to blow up a “defenseless” receiver.  They are trying to eliminate those huge hits across the middle of the field.  Essentially the NFL is trying to eliminate any hits to the head or neck area.

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The NHL is eliminating those Scott Stevens headshot type hits, yet if the puck is there and said player doesn’t leave his feet, doesn’t raise an elbow towards the head it is a legal hit.  Basically, think of Niklas Kronwall hitting Andres Lee.  I use that because it was the most recent hit.  The puck was there, Lee was looking back towards a teammate, he took a pass in his feet, and Kronwall delivered the blow, shoulder to head.

If the NHL is serious about eliminating dangerous hits, they need to eliminate any hit that contacts another players head or neck area whether they have the puck or not.  The Kronwall hit and the Tom Wilson type hits are both blows to the head but in a much different circumstance.

Tom Wilson was suspended earlier in the season for a “blind-side” hit to a player without the puck. That is the type of hit the NHL is trying to eliminate.  Again, if they are serious about limiting dangerous hits take out any contact to the head or neck area. David Backes was just suspended 3 games by the league for a blind-side hit to the head.  He is a repeat offender and gets 3 games?  Make it 20 without pay if you want to get these players attention.  3 games is a slap on the wrist, a joke if I do say so myself.

Leave the old fashioned body check in the game but access a penalty to headshots.  I love Kronwall, and I have a large framed picture of Kronwall hitting Havlet in my office, but if the league is serious about player safety call that a penalty.  Kronwall hits the way he does because it is considered a legal hit.  If it weren’t deemed a legal hit, he would focus his contact to a players shoulder or chest rather than the head.

Although Franzen admits to having multiple concussions the final blow was a blind-side hit from at the time Edmonton Oilers forward Rob Klinkhammer.

In the story published by the Detroit News, Ted Kulfan writes the terrifying truth and the challenges the former Detroit Red Wings forward endures on a daily basis;

"Franzen said late in his career, he “started getting concussions from nothing. But I kept a lot secret. I could stop on the roadside on my way home after games and have a panic attack. I sat crying for an hour by the side of the road. No one knew about it.”“It’s embarrassing,” a tearful Franzen said. “I can be speaking with somebody one night and the next day forget that person. The brain didn’t….get it in. So, it’s…hard.“It’s hard being in Detroit. It’s very hard. Many bad memories,” Franzen said. “I still have many of my best memories here (in Detroit), but the last few years I have just wanted to leave. I don’t want to be inside these walls. There has been so much anxiety, panic and depression.“I go to the mountains in the west sometimes. It’s enough to see mountains to feel a little better. As soon as I see a mountain I feel better. Just to be outside in the nature.”"

It is hard to read, I mean you have to feel for anyone in the world that has to face these types of issues.  It’s really is tragic.  In this case, amongst many others, the NHL needs to focus on protecting these players while they are playing and AFTER their careers conclude.  Some players need specific support, and the resources need to be much more available for these cases.

The Detroit Red Wings selected Johan Franzen with the 97th pick in the 2004 NHL Entry Level Draft.  He was good in the regular season, but Franzen thrived in the playoffs.  He recorded 81 career playoff points, and 42 of those points were goals in 107 playoff games.  He notched 370 points in 602 regular season games.

Next. NHL and players reach Concussion Settlement. dark

I hope Johan Franzen receives the best treatment available.  I hope he starts to find many more brighter days than dark.  I hate reading these stories about people in general and former players we’ve cheered for and idolized. Keep grinding and get well, Johan!