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The Malik Report

To the net, Mule!

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.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Comments

SYF's avatar

Valtteri Filppula (sprained left ankle) and Mike Modano (lacerated right wrist) will return to the lineup Saturday in Buffalo.

Good good news.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 02/23/11 at 06:01 PM ET

SolidTG7's avatar

Any word on who is going to take Eaves spot against Dallas?

Posted by SolidTG7 on 02/23/11 at 06:03 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

I think Stuie has looked tremendous considering he’s been very limited in what he could eat.  His value to this team should be apparent since his return.  That said, I thought he looked tired last night, which is not surprising after he looked so strong in his first few games back.

Hoping Eaves injury is minor.  Geez, we’ve got to get this team all healthy all at the same time so we can really see what we’ve got!

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 02/23/11 at 06:06 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

Any word on who is going to take Eaves spot against Dallas?
Posted by SolidTG7 on 02/23/11 at 03:03 PM

Since Flip won’t be ready until Saturday, doesn’t that leave just Mursak?

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 02/23/11 at 06:06 PM ET

SolidTG7's avatar

Since Flip won’t be ready until Saturday, doesn’t that leave just Mursak?

Well that was my thought but isn’t he hurt?  I assume Tatar and Emmerton are also in the mix.  Whoever it ends up being will likely only be up for one game since Modano and Flip will be back against the Sabres.

Hopefully Eaves isn’t out long, his scoring has slowed down but the rest of his game is valuable.

Posted by SolidTG7 on 02/23/11 at 06:12 PM ET

moocat's avatar

Any word on who is going to take Eaves spot against Dallas?

Posted by SolidTG7 on 02/23/11 at 03:03 PM ET

Put Ericsson up at forward and play Kindle on Defense for a game.

We all know that he used to be a forward and it would be great to see what he could do with that size.

Posted by moocat on 02/23/11 at 06:14 PM ET

Crow's avatar

Put Ericsson up at forward and play Kindle on Defense for a game.

We all know that he used to be a forward and it would be great to see what he could do with that size.

I always liked that idea.  It would be nice to have that flexibility with a forward/defenseman.  Who knows, he may be able to reek havoc in the crease with his size.  Cmon Babs, give it a shot!

Posted by Crow on 02/23/11 at 06:47 PM ET

WingsFaninCO's avatar

We all know that he used to be a forward and it would be great to see what he could do with that size.

Posted by moocat on 02/23/11 at 03:14 PM ET

Unfortunately, he couldn’t do enough as a forward to be get drafted.

Posted by WingsFaninCO on 02/23/11 at 06:52 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.