The Malik Report
by George Malik on 02/23/11 at 05:55 PM ET
Even amongst a sea of Re Wings off-day news and updates regarding Patrick Eaves, who won’t play on Thursday against Dallas due to a “lower body injury” of unspecified severity (it’s bad enough that he won’t be attending a scheduled autograph signing at Meijer in Westland from 5-7 PM today, with Johny Ogrodnick pinch-hitting), the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan posted a story worth front-page status, duly noting that Red Wings coach Mike Babcock expects Johan Franzen—who’s in the midst of a 10-game goal-less slump—to stop lurking in the weeds like a sniper and return to playing a power forward’s game:
“He can always shoot the puck,” Babcock said. “The challenge for Mule is we want him on the inside and be big and physical and be at the net. He can always be a shooter. He’ll be able at (age) 40 to glide up and down the wing and get two kids to pass him the puck and score goals. (But) if you want to be a dominant power forward you have to be involved and be on the inside. When you’re scoring those things seem to come naturally, but when you’re not, you tend to get away from it. He’s in the process of working himself back.”
Franzen played a Ray Sheppard-style perimeter game while getting up to speed following what were really two knee surgeries (one to repair his left ACL and one to take a chunk out of his right ACL to reconstruct his left one) over the past year, but as the year-from-his-return-from-surgery mark came and went, he seemed to be rounding back into the “bully on the playground who can push his way right through smaller, weaker kids” form that is the Mule’s trademark, but as the Wings slumped in early February, Franzen went back to his perimeter-lurking ways.
Also of note from Kulfan, albeit repetitiously:
Babcock did rule out [Patrick]] Eaves for Thursday’s game against Dallas. The Wings are expected to promote a forward from Grand Rapids.
MLive’s Ansar Khan, the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness and and the Free Press’s George Sipple reported that the Wings are either not sharing the results of Eaves’ MRI on his left thigh/knee, or they haven’t received sufficient interpretation thereof…
Valtteri Filppula (sprained left ankle) and Mike Modano (lacerated right wrist) will return to the lineup Saturday in Buffalo.
Brad Stuart will also finally be able to eat normally after having braces, rubber bands and pegs attached to his surgical sites in his jaw removed today.
Also: in a “looking on the bright side of life” entry, WXYT’s Jeff Riger discussed the team’s relative return to health.
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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.