Detroit Red Wings: Johan Franzen Says He Has a Concussion, Thank You, Dr. Mule

Matt HutterAnalyst IOctober 15, 2010

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 29:  Johan Franzen #93 of the Detroit Red Wings skates against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on September 29, 2010 in New York City. The Rangers defeated the Red Wings 5-1.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Various sources, including's Ansar Kahn, are reporting that Johan Franzen has diagnosed himself with a concussion following a hit by Dallas Stars forward Mark Fistric.

Wow, Johan Franzen: power-forward, clutch goal-scorer, doctor.

There's a few things that are problematic about Franzen's claim.

First of all, at the time of his claim, he had not yet been fully examined by a doctor, let alone received an official diagnosis of his injury.  Now, players know their bodies better than anyone, and Franzen has suffered a concussion before, so, he may honestly feel that he has a concussion. 

But, even if this is true, it doesn't dismiss the next problem with his proclamation.

Johan Franzen may not have a concussion.

He may indeed be suffering from "concussion like symptoms" including nausea, headaches and weakness, but that doesn't necessarily mean he has a concussion.

Franzen could also be suffering from a brain bruise.  Essentially, a bruise like any other but it's located in the brain and can cause fatigue, memory loss, numbness and, of course, headaches.

Allow me to fully open myself up to attacks on my mental fortitude and reveal that I myself have suffered the aforementioned brain bruise.  And, while I am no more qualified than Johan Franzen to diagnose anyone, it remains a possibility in his case.

Why bring up something as exotic as a brain bruise?  Well, that leads to the next issue.

The word "concussion" is the most emotionally charged word in the NHL right now.

With all the attention being paid to hits to the head this season, and the loss of players like Paul Kariya (who will sit out this entire season due to a concussion) and Marc Savard to the injury, one should not be throwing out that word unless advised to do so by a medical professional.

Hits to the head are a very serious issue in the NHL.  However, like any issue worthy of serious attention, the penchant to bring it up as an easy explanation for a problem is understandable, but dangerous.

Saying you've received a concussion, and that as the result of a hit, is a good way to draw attention to yourself, but doing so erroneously takes attention away from the problem of hits to the head.

If players are going to start diagnosing themselves with concussions, pretty soon, the whole issue of concussions and hits to the head may get diluted and thus, not treated as seriously as it should be.

Finally, while Fistric's hit may not have been an intentional hit to the head, replays show that he did have his elbow up and appeared to clip Franzen on the chin.

However, whether or not this hit was "dirty" is something the league needs to decide.

Anyone who has played hockey knows that there are times when good hits go bad in the blink of an eye. Not as the result of anything a player does, but simply the position of the players at the time of impact.

This may or may not be the case in this instance, however, using the "c-word" after such a hit instantly brings attention to the incident.

In the end, that may be what Johan Franzen is trying to do.

If it is, the sportsman in me trumps the Red Wings fan; calling it a concussion in public to make sure the league looks at the hit is bad sportsmanship and unprofessional.

The Red Wings have every right to query the NHL on their interpretation of the hit and request them to hand down their ruling accordingly.

Privately, and quietly.

If Franzen is indeed concussed, then he would have got this one right, if only by chance.

However, whether he is or isn't, he should have kept his mouth shut.


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