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Red Wings practice news: short skate reveals little other than good news regarding Weiss, Franzen

The Red Wings' non-Olympians and some Grand Rapids Griffins call-ups (who appear to have been recalled to flesh out a very lean practice squad as the Wings' players slowly filter back into Metro Detroit after taking vacations during the NHL's 10-day mandated no-practicing-for-healthy-players break) skated at Joe Louis Arena today, and here's what went down:

We still don't know what's going on with Henrik Zetterberg's back, and we won't until Zetterberg sees a back specialist next week, nor do we know whether Pavel Datsyuk will be back right after the break, so any personnel guesses at this point are shots in the dark as opposed to educated guesses both in terms of the NHL's 23-man roster limit and the Wings' cap situation.

 

Also of brief Red Wings-related note:

The Detroit Red Wings Alumni Association and the Michigan State Hockey Alumni announced they will play a charity hockey game on Friday, Feb. 28 at Munn Ice Arena in East Lansing.

“I am thrilled to organize this event that benefits three incredible charities. The Steadfast Foundation, Wounded Warrior Project, and United Way 2-1-1 have been doing wonderful things in our community for years, and we look to keep that going,” said Kevin Miller, former Red Wings and Michigan State player.

The game will feature former greats from both organizations. Notable names announced so far
include, Brian Smolinski, Brad Fast, Kip Miller, Jimmy Carson and Joe Kocur.

“This is a tremendous way to support three wonderful foundations all while having a little fun in the process,” said Michael Kosloski, Marketing Director for Quality Dairy, one of the event’s sponsors.

Attendees will also be able to get their memorabilia autographed by the players during the game.

“Both of these hockey organizations have a rich history and we can’t wait to share that with those that attend. But more importantly, the money we raise will go to three deserving charities, and that’s what it’s all about,” said Miller.

According to Miller, tickets for the game can be purchased at all 31 Quality Dairy locations and
online at http://www.thesteadfastfoundation.com Game .information and sponsorship opportunities can be found at http://www.spartanwingsgame.com

.

The Swedes, who advanced to the semifinals against the winner of Wednesday’s quarterfinal matchup between Finland and Russia, felt they got a good test from Slovenia.

“I was really impressed. I didn’t know what to expect. Never played against them,” said Swedish winger Daniel Alfredsson of the Detroit Red Wings. “We scouted them pretty good and we knew that they were a feisty team. ... We knew they could play defense and solid through the neutral zone. I can see them getting better and better, especially if guys get experience on the big stage.”

Sweden will play Finland at 7 AM EST on Friday on TSN and NBCSN; team USA and Team Canada will battle at 12 PM on the CBC and NBCSN.

Update: Here's MLive's Ansar Khan's text report:

Johan Franzen was back on the ice Wednesday, practicing with many of his teammates, feeling good and confident that he’ll be ready to play in the Detroit Red Wings’ first game following the Olympic break.

“Definitely,” Franzen said. “If everything goes smoothly, yeah, I’m planning to be there.”

The Red Wings’ next game is Wednesday at Montreal. Franzen has missed 22 of the past 23 games due to a concussion. He returned for one game, on Jan. 26, only to experience a setback.

Franzen joined the Red Wings’ non-Olympians for their first practice at Joe Louis Arena during the break. He said it was his second time on the ice since Jan. 26, a 5-4 shootout loss to Florida, his only game in the past two months.

“It’s a first practice at full speed so you know I feel a little off no matter what,” Franzen said. “But I need to get a few practices in and see where I’m at.”

...

Center Stephen Weiss (sports hernia surgery on Dec. 23) said he expects to be cleared to play and be available for next Wednesday's game. He's not sure if he'll play a couple of games this weekend on a conditioning stint with the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Defenseman Jakub Kindl, who missed the two games before the Olympic break due to a lower-body injury, practiced Wednesday and is expected to be ready to play he next game.

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Comments

MoreShoot's avatar

Sadly, I have no faith in Franzen’s health anymore.  It’s not that I want to get rid of him, but something tells me it would be prudent.

Posted by MoreShoot on 02/19/14 at 04:41 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

His contract makes that nearly impossible.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 02/19/14 at 04:48 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

His contract makes that nearly impossible.
Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 02/19/14 at 03:48 PM ET

Red Wings practice news: short skate reveals little other than good news regarding Weiss, Franzen

Therefore, Weiss and Franzen healthy and coming off the LTIR is anything but good news.

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 02/19/14 at 04:52 PM ET

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Well—that just plain doesn’t follow.

Detroit is a better team with a healthy Franzen and—although evidence on this is sparse—likely a better team with a healthy Weiss.

Posted by captaineclectic on 02/19/14 at 05:10 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

Weiss has been a bust. Perhaps it is no fault of his, he never got a fair chance, whatever. He’s been a square peg trying to fit into a round hole since he got here.

Mule frustrates many fans, myself included, with his inconsistent play. Now, he’s had another concussion. Not to mention his other injuries this season. He really ought to retire because of the concussions, but if he does, that really screws the Wings under the salary cap rules from what I understand. I don’t think he makes this team better.

Z, Pavs, Kronner, they make this team better. When they are out of the lineup, it is noticeable watching the game and looking at the box score. Mule, I was surprised at the number of games he’s missed this season because he’s just sort of invisible. As between a broken-down, injury-riddled, enigmatic, power forward that is capable of occasional flashes of brilliance and one of the hungry, young, (former) Griffs, I’ll take the latter.

Mule is doing about as well as one can expect this season, given his injuries. I just think the team is better off in the long run playing the kids as much as possible. The guy had three fantastic playoff runs and a career of respectable regular seasons. Problem is he was given a contract of a super star player, and except for those three Springs, he’s been little better than average. I can’t watch the guy without thinking of his contract and the Wings current salary cap issues. If he scored thirty or more goals five or six times instead of once, I might feel differently. But he hasn’t and I don’t. Do you realize in his entire career he’s never played a full season?

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 02/19/14 at 06:03 PM ET

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I’m sorry, none of that addresses the point that Detroit is better with a healthy Franzen than without a healthy Franzen.  You can go on and on about how he hasn’t been healthy much, but that has literally nothing to do with what I’ve said.

Posted by captaineclectic on 02/19/14 at 06:06 PM ET

RorSchach's avatar

Weiss isn’t a bust. The guy was never 100%.

Cut him some slack.

Posted by RorSchach from Datsberg on 02/19/14 at 06:26 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

I know I was a bit verbose, but I did say I don’t think he makes this team better. Reasonable minds may differ. He was on a hot streak in early December until he got hurt. Again. That’s Mule, Very short flashes of brilliance followed by long periods of meh and injury.

What you said about a healthy Franzen is just not supported by the facts because Franzen is never healthy. Even in the lockout year he missed games. 

Mule suffered concussions in 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012(World Championships) and now 2013. IIRC, Mule has now had more bad concussions than Lindros and the medical community knows more about concussions than they did 15 years ago when Lindros was on the ice.

He suffered from confusion after this last concussion even after the head aches had stopped. He was having difficulty “processing the information that goes on”  around him on the ice. He gave that quote over three weeks after he suffered the concussion. He rushed back for one game (likely because of his understandable desire to represent his country at Sochi) and then was out again for the Olympics because of the concussion symptoms returned. The man has had his bell rung way too many times (including one time that included bleeding on the brain). He has one practice under his belt. Big deal. I know the NHL’s concussion protocols are nowhere near as thorough as the NFL, but I’ll be very surprised if he plays in the first game back.

Best case, keep him on LTIR so his brain really has a chance to heal and bring him back for the playoffs, if the Wings qualify.

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 02/19/14 at 06:55 PM ET

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But at least the argument as to Weiss makes sense.  He’s played 30 games and he has 4 points.  You could argue that demoting someone—anyone—to make room for him makes the team worse if that’s all he’s got.  Of course there’s good reason to believe he’s got more than that, but the argument makes sense.  It is at least plausible that Weiss is not one of our best 12 forwards—whether Zetterberg is available or not.

It is bugnuts crazy to say that Franzen is not one of our 12 best forwards.  Franzen has 23 points in 31 games, making him 4th on the team in PPG behind Z, Datsyuk, and Alfredsson).  He’s missed half the season and he’s still our #7 scorer.  He’s scored at a higher pace than Nyquist or Tatar.  He’s tied for the lead in GWG.  Scoring isn’t everything, but we’ve struggled to score, and advanced metrics like Franzen too.  He also provides versatility—the Franzen-Alfredsson line, with either Helm or Nyquist—has been productive for us this year, and of course he’s also played well with Zetterberg.

Nothing about Mule “looking lazy” or having a bad contract, or being banged up a lot, is relevant to this analysis, because the analysis is expressly limited to the question of whether a healthy Franzen is good news or bad news.  If a “lazy” “worn-out” but healthy Franzen scores at a faster pace down the stretch than most of our other forwards—as he has all season—then he’s an asset.

The only way a healthy Franzen can make us “worse” is if Babcock/Holland demotes the wrong guy to make room for him.  While that’s possible, there’s a host of “right” guys to demote to make room for him.

Posted by captaineclectic on 02/19/14 at 06:55 PM ET

Avatar

What you said about a healthy Franzen is just not supported by the facts

Except for all the facts about his productivity in the games he does play.

Reasonable minds may differ.

Not really.  If your mind tells you Detroit is better off giving minutes, in winter/spring 2014, to Todd Bertuzzi, Mikael Samuelsson, Daniel Cleary, Justin Abdelkader, Joachim Andersson, Luke Glendening, Patrick Eaves, Drew Miller, Tomas Jurco, or Cory Emmerton than to Johan Franzen, your mind is not “reasonable.”

Posted by captaineclectic on 02/19/14 at 07:00 PM ET

SK77's avatar

Weiss is an “incomplete” at this point. I don’t see how you could vote him as a “yay” or “nay” at this point. To me saying someone is a “bust” is a definitive, final statement.

And hopefully Franzen can recover and stay healthy for a playoff run this season. The Wings are better with him in the lineup and producing how he was earlier this season.

Posted by SK77 on 02/19/14 at 07:05 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

Weiss isn’t a bust. The guy was never 100%.
Cut him some slack.
Posted by RorSchach from Datsberg on 02/19/14 at 05:26 PM ET

He played all 13 games in October and the first 4 in November. 2 goals, 1 assist, -3.

Sounds like he was healthy before the hernia and just didn’t perform.

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 02/19/14 at 07:07 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

Except for all the facts about his productivity in the games he does play.

Posted by captaineclectic on 02/19/14 at 06:00 PM ET

Based on the fact of his $4 million salary (that continues for another 6 years BTW), he’s hardly productive. One thirty goal season. There is a good fact for you. 6 points and a -7 in 14 playoff games last spring. There’s another good fact for you. Streaky, yes, when he is on he scores like few others can (too bad those streaks are so few and far between). Productive over the long haul, not really.

Looking at the salary numbers on cap geek, the best case is Mule is healthy at the end of the season so they can use their last cap compliance buy out on him.

Weiss is getting $4.9 million per year for five years and has never scored 30 (ave 17.7 goals per season). For the Wings sake, you better be right Some Kid, because no team is going to take a $5mill player that cant come close to his 17.7 career goal average.

 

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 02/19/14 at 07:31 PM ET

SK77's avatar

Weiss is getting $4.9 million per year for five years and has never scored 30 (ave 17.7 goals per season). For the Wings sake, you better be right Some Kid, because no team is going to take a $5mill player that cant come close to his 17.7 career goal average.

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 02/19/14 at 06:31 PM ET

I hope I’m right for all of our sakes! If not, then, I agree, we’re all doomed.

Weiss is supposed to be a second line centerman so it’s not just goals you’re looking for, but setting up his winters, how he handles the faceoff circle, and defensive responsibilities.

http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=50230

He averages .59 points a game. A marginally minus player on some awful Panther teams, and was a plus the only year they made the playoffs and he put up 5 points in 7 games. If he performs as he has done in the past then he’s fine. If he’s broken for life, well, DOOM.

Posted by SK77 on 02/19/14 at 07:43 PM ET

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Based on the fact of his $4 million salary (that continues for another 6 years BTW), he’s hardly productive.

What world do you live in where 28-29 goals per season isn’t productive for a player with a $4 mil. cap hit? Christ. Compared to some of the ridiculous salaries handed out to goofs with one, MAYBE two, seasons like Franzen puts up he’s practically a steal.

 

Posted by godblender on 02/19/14 at 08:29 PM ET

Chet's avatar

He was a steal. Given his health the decline is inevitable.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 02/19/14 at 09:16 PM ET

Avatar

Based on the fact of his $4 million salary (that continues for another 6 years BTW), he’s hardly productive.

For the third time, we aren’t talking about the next six seasons.  We’re talking about what you said upthread:

Therefore, Weiss and Franzen healthy and coming off the LTIR is anything but good news.

That’s dumb.  Franzen coming off the LTIR is very good news.

Looking at the salary numbers on cap geek, the best case is Mule is healthy at the end of the season so they can use their last cap compliance buy out on him.

First of all, I suggest you look at those numbers on Capgeek in conjunction with HockeyReference for players statistically similar to Franzen and at similar points in their careers.  Put that salary in context.  How many guys with multiple seasons at Franzen’s scoring pace make under $4M against the cap in the first half of their 30s? 

And please do consider pace.  You mention that Franzen has only “one” thirty goal season—as though the posters on this site aren’t smart enough to see that that’s just the injury point rephrased.  Franzen scored at a 30-goal PACE for 5 years in a row, and played over 70 in 4 of those seasons, so it’s hardly a fluke.  He wasn’t far off that pace last year, either.

As for your repeated line about the “best case scenario,” I’m still shaking my head.  Transparently the best case scenario is that he comes off the LTIR and resumes scoring at 0.75 PPG and about a goal every three games (or better) for the remainder of the season, helping the Red Wings win hockey games and make the playoffs. 

If your issues with the Mule’s contract or “looking lazy’ have you rooting for him to stay injured or for the Red Wings to produce less overall offense, then you aren’t just irrational, but also kind of a jerk.

Posted by captaineclectic on 02/20/14 at 07:07 AM ET

Guilherme's avatar

Based on the fact of his $4 million salary (that continues for another 6 years BTW), he’s hardly productive.

Wrong. So absolutely wrong. I posted this before, and don’t think people are paying attention.

(it’s a little out-of-date, since I did this on May 2012, but he’s 23P/31GP this year, so yeah)

From CapGeek’s comparable cap hits to Franzen?

Brad Boyes (8G, 23 pts), Patrick Sharp (33 e 69), Nik Antropov (15 e 35), Brenden Morrow (11 e 26) e RJ Umberger (20 e 40).

And now comparable real salaries?

Martin Havlat (SJ), 7 G e 27 pts, Ryan Malone (TB), 20 e 48 , Mike Ribeiro (DAL), 18 e 63 , Tim Conolly (TOR), 13 e 35 , Brian Gionta (MTL), 8 e 15 pts

That’s what $4M on a forward on his early 30s will give you. Franzén was better than that in 2012 (29G, 56 pts), and he’s better than that in 2014.

“Oh, but he’s always injured” > but it does not make sense not to play him when he’s not injured. It would if you had Vrbata or something like that, but not when it’s Eaves, Glendening or freaking Clearuelsson.

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 02/20/14 at 09:58 AM ET

shanetx's avatar

People are just going to hate Franzén while unfairly blaming him for the Hossa thing based on no facts whatsoever.  We’ll never convince them otherwise with facts. The arguments against Franzén as a value contract for the next few years aren’t based in anything but emotional bias.  It’s pretty amazing how quickly he went from a fan favorite to a whipping boy when his biggest crimes have been signing an offered contract and then getting hurt a few times.  I don’t imagine this happens with most other fanbases, does it?

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 02/20/14 at 10:19 AM ET

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Let me predict the inevitable response—“and how will that $4M cap hit look when he’s 36, or 38?”  Not only is that irrelevant to the instant question, but the answer, as it turns out, is “probably not as bad as some people think.”

If the cap really is heading toward $80M then veterans with size and decent hands aren’t going to be $1 or $2M contracts anymore.  They’ll be $3M+ contracts.  It’s just going to be part of the inflation we see with a larger cap, the same number of jobs, and 8 year maximum contracts.  If the league expands during the lifetime of Franzen’s contract, which is actually fairly likely, then the price for veteran talent might go up even more.

Posted by captaineclectic on 02/20/14 at 11:11 AM ET

Avatar

It’s really too bad that we didn’t get the “best case scenario” of Franzen being unable to play, because he’s only had 5 points the last two games.  What a jerk, floating around, looking lazy, scoring hat tricks.

Posted by captaineclectic on 02/27/14 at 11:43 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.