Red Wings coach Mike Babcock on Johan Franzen injury: 'We just have to find a way'
Andrei Markov remains the most significant injury of the early season, as the Montreal Canadiens are in big trouble without their best player. But the Detroit Red Wings come in a close second with the stunning news Friday that star winger Johan Franzen would be out at least four months with a torn ACL in his left knee.
"The Mule" is Detroit's top power winger and his loss cannot be underestimated, even though the Wings are the Wings in terms of their talent.
"It's a huge impact because he's a huge player for us," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock told ESPN.com Friday. "But like I always say, when things don't look good, we just have to find a way. Somebody will get an opportunity now."
Forward Justin Abdelkader was called back up from the AHL just a day after being down. But in terms of replacing Franzen on the top line with Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Holmstrom, that responsibility will fall to Valtteri Filppula or Henrik Zetterberg.
Zetterberg was centering the second line between Todd Bertuzzi and Daniel Cleary, but the star forward is a versatile player and has played with Datsyuk many times in the past. Regardless of what happens, Filppula will get a promotion from his third-line center duties to a top-six job either on the top or second line.
"I'm tinkering with that right now," said Babcock.