Johan Franzen Cleared to Play: Why We Want Him in The Olympics

Eric LaForgeCorrespondent IJanuary 29, 2010

DETROIT - JUNE 12:  Johan Franzen #93 of the Detroit Red Wings warms up before playing against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game Seven of the 2009 NHL Stanley Cup Finals at Joe Louis Arena on June 12, 2009 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

I just got done reading an article from the Detroit Free Press which declared today that Johan Franzen has been cleared to play. It said that Franzen has been practicing with the team for the past few weeks, but hasn't done anything excruciating until last week.

Franzen said in the article that he wanted to play a few games before the Olympics with the Red Wings. However, he also wanted to play with Team Sweden in the Olympics, which is where I'm having a dilemma.

Normally, I don't like to see the best players in the Olympics because of the fact they may be injured and miss time. This is especially true for Franzen. The fact that he just came off a serious knee injury makes him more likely to re-injure that knee.

At the same time, I don't think that the doctors would clear him to play if they felt he wasn't ready to play. They also gave Franzen the final say in when he takes the ice. They are allowing him to decide when he feels better, and will play him when he says he's ready. This isn't a decision he's rushing into.

Aside from that, I'd rather see Franzen "get his game back" with Team Sweden than with the Wings. If he plays in the Olympics, he'll have two weeks to get re-adjusted to the tempo of the game.

When he comes back to the Wings, he won't have to go through as big of a re-adjustment period and his performance won't suffer as much. At that point, a lot of the adjustment will be getting used to the NHL style of play rather than the Olympic style of play.

That's the plan at least. There are a lot of things that could go wrong, mainly another injury. But, I would rather have a Franzen that has been playing for a couple of weeks than a Franzen that has just been practicing for a couple of weeks.

With so much on the line, I would rather see Franzen get re-adjusted during the Olympics. He needs to be on top of his game when the Olympics are over. That's when Detroit needs him the most. The Wings don't want to give him a few games to re-adjust.

Injuries have been plaguing the team for the entire season, and if you ask me, the biggest problem the Wings have needed to overcome. The fact that Franzen has been cleared to play should provide a little bit of hope for the team. Who doesn't want Franzen playing again?

It comes down to the whole "risk vs. reward" dilemma that we're all familiar with. Should Franzen risk re-injuring his knee or should he sit and have to re-adjust later in games that Detroit needs to win. Personally, I'll take the first choice.

Although, I don't think that Franzen will make a complete difference (the Wings have a lot of other things to work on), I don't want to wait a few games for him to re-adjust. The Wings need Franzen to put the puck in the net and they can't wait a few games for him to do it.

Anyway, I'm interested to see what you have to think. Feel free to leave a comment and voice your opinion.

See more of my NHL opinions at Tips for Hockey.