Red Wings Notebook: Franzen back; McCarty is scratched
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DETROIT -- As late as 11:30 a.m. yesterday, Johan Franzen remained on the outside looking in.
He was shielded from reporters after practicing with the Red Wings for the second day in a row at the morning skate, and coach Mike Babcock announced at a game-day news conference that his prolific center would not play last night in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final. A few minutes later, though, Babcock stuck his head through a curtain and into a large media work area to say that Franzen had been medically cleared and would be in the lineup against the Penguins. He asked reporters to pass the word among themselves.
Franzen had missed the previous six games -- the last five of six against Dallas in the Western Conference final and the opener of this series -- because of concussion-like symptoms, although his headaches subsided several days ago.
In Detroit's first 11 playoff games, Franzen had 12 goals, which still led all NHL players in the postseason going into last night. He had 27 goals in his previous 27 games, including 11 winners, dating to the regular season.
To make room in the lineup, winger Darren McCarty was scratched for the second time this postseason. He has a goal and an assist in 16 games.
Dismissing an issue
After fuming over a disallowed goal and goaltender-interference penalty against Tomas Holmstrom in the first period of Game 1, Babcock dismissed the play before Game 2.
"The rules didn't change. Everything's the same. That's over with," he said after a regular meeting with officiating supervisors. "We're fortunate, and they're fortunate it had no impact in the end on the game. ... We have to go to the net if we're going to score."
With no score, Holmstrom was just outside the crease when Nicklas Lidstrom's screamer beat the Penguins' Marc-Andre Fleury, but Holmstrom's stick blade was between Fleury's legs, apparently impeding the goaltender's ability to play the puck.
Kronwall on Malkin
Niklas Kronwall, who with defense partner Brad Stuart usually draws shifts against Evgeni Malkin's line, wasn't buying into the 21-year-old Penguins center's lament that he was nervous and tired.
"He's such a talented guy," Kronwall said of Malkin, who had one shot and mishandled a clearing attempt that led to a Detroit goal in Game 1.
"Everyone's nervous, some more than others. But as the series gets going, I think that should wear off.
"That's too bad for him [if he's tired], but we know he's going to come out and have better games."
Tip of the cap
Perhaps Babcock sent some good karma westward.
Sunday, he wore a baseball cap representing the Spokane Chiefs, the Western Hockey League team he coached for six seasons beginning in 1994-95. That night, the Chiefs beat the Kitchener Rangers, 4-1, to win the Memorial Cup and become the top junior team in North America.
Babcock's support couldn't prevent an embarrassing moment at the end of the game, when Spokane team captain Chris Bruton tried to hand the trophy off to teammate Trevor Glass, only to have it fall and break the cup portion off. It turns out it was a replica trophy, though.
There is little question Red Wings defenseman Lidstrom has the skill, vision and intelligence to make him a cut above.
But is he cut out to be a coach when his playing days are over?
"Might not be loud enough," Detroit goaltender Chris Osgood said.
First Published May 27, 2008 12:00 am