In a stunning development out of Detroit on Friday afternoon, the Red Wings announced that Johan Franzen tore his ACL in Thursday night’s victory over the Blackhawks. Ironically, Franzen was credited with the game-winning goal in the second period Thursday night before leaving the game injured.
The loss of “The Mule” subtracts another star from Detroit’s offense. Marian Hossa, now on the Blackhawks, led the Red Wings with 40 goals last year: Franzen was second with 34. Tomas Kopecky, also on the Blackhawks now, was second on the Wings in hits last year.
The Wings also lost Jiri Hudler to a Russian team and Ty Conklin to free agency this summer.
Darren Helm is already on the IR for Detroit with a bad shoulder, and is reportedly at least a week from returning.
To counter their shallow roster, the Red Wings added Brad May to their roster before the game Thursday, but his role figures to be more physical than on the score sheet. This injury will put additional pressure on Pavel Datysuk, Dan Cleary and Kirk Maltby to carry the load, and will make every save from Chris Osgood mean more.
The Blackhawks certainly don’t have a healthy roster, but the Red Wings had compromised their depth this summer when they lost Hossa, Kopecky and Jiri Hudler. Despite the loss on Thursday, the Hawks have a schedule loaded with divisional games to begin the season and can make a serious statement in the absence of some of Detroit’s better players.