Red Wings centre Johan Franzen has 15 points in 11 games in this year's playoffs. ((Carlos Osorio/Associated Press))

Many veteran Detroit Red Wings players probably won't mind a five-day break to rest their bodies before the start of the Stanley Cup final against Pittsburgh.

You likely wouldn't get a complaint out of injured centre Johan Franzen, either.

The third-year centre is getting closer to returning and considered flying with his team to Dallas for Game 6 on Monday, won 4-2 by the Red Wings. That victory gave them a 4-2 series win in the NHL Western Conference final.

Franzen, the leading goal-scorer in these Stanley Cup playoffs with 12, has been out since Game 1 of the series with concussion-like symptoms.

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said he would be interested in talking to Franzen upon the team's return to Detroit.

"We believed that if we could win this round without the Mule, he'd be back for the next round," Babcock said. "He played 10 days [earlier in the playoffs] with this, you know, so you'd like him to be back.

"He'll be checked out. If he can go, he'll play. We'd sure love to have him, obviously. He's a huge part of our team."

Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said the Franzen situation has highlighted one of his key concerns — reporting injuries in the playoffs.

He told the Detroit Free Press he wants to talk to the other GMs this summer to see if they will consider a plan that allows teams to hide all injuries during the playoffs.

"All I know is, players in our sport are playing hurt," Holland said. "When you're talking about so much money, I don't know that either team wants every team to know about every little 'owie' that we've got on our team."

Franzen was cleared for light workouts on May 15, but Holland indicated he would need to practise with the team for a few days before returning to the lineup.

The 28-year-old Franzen has 15 points in 11 games in these playoffs and gave the Red Wings a scoring threat on the second line.

But without Franzen, Jiri Hudler is the only forward besides top-liners Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Tomas Holmstrom, with double-digit points (13).


  • It was earlier reported that Detroit won the best-of-seven Western Conference final 4-1 over the Dallas Stars. In fact, the Red Wings prevailed 4-2.
    May 20, 2008 4:12 PM ET