Johan Franzen and Ottawa's Chris Neil didn't throw many punches Thursday when they played – but the zingers back and forth since then have been heavyweight title worthy. It was Franzen's turn Saturday, a day after Neil chided him for not wanting to fight late in Thursday's 6-1 Red Wings victory. Franzen questioned Neil's playing ability. "He thinks I'm not tough because I'm not fighting him?" asked Franzen. "What does he have, like 30 fights a year? And he's been doing it his whole career. I've never had a fight in my whole life. "It's like me asking him to get hockey sense and good hands. It's kind of the same thing." Thursday's game was only Franzen's second since returning from a concussion that forced him to miss 22 of 23 games since mid-December. Any sort of fight, especially one against an accomplished goon such as Neil, isn't a good way to stay healthy. "For me, it's not a part of the game," Franzen said. "I'm not going to fight. It's easy as that. I've had enough concussions. I'm definitely not going to risk one doing something stupid as that. "I've never been fighting, I didn't grow up fighting. I'm not going to start with him. "Like I said, it (Franzen fighting Neil) is like me asking him to be a good hockey player." Franzen's comments came a day after Neil had choice words for Franzen. “I'm there first shift and any shift he wants,” Neil said. “He wants to drop his purse, take the lipstick out, put it on his lips and ‘Let's go.’ Anytime. Any day. Anywhere." Both players received 10-minute misconduct penalties Thursday but only Neil earned minor penalties for roughing and unsportsmanlike conduct. There was no supplemental discipline from the NHL toward Neil for taking a swing at Franzen. The league's continued indifference toward those types of head shots frustrates Franzen. "I've been getting head shots pretty much every year and I don't think (there's) ever been punishment for any of the hits I've been getting to the head," Franzen said. "This was the third one, really targeting the head. He just sucker-punched me.
Johan Franzen dismisses Chris Neil's challenge
Detroit News | Mar 1