Detroit Red Wings forward Johan Franzen had his head lopped off early in the team's Game 2 match-up against the Phoenix Coyotes. But after team physicians were not able to reattach the head in time for Franzen's next shift, the head alone was tossed out onto the ice.
Minutes later, a Henrik Zetterberg pass deflected off Franzen's still bleeding head and into the net for the game's deciding goal. Franzen's head also blocked a number of shots late in the game as the Coyotes furiously tried to even the score.
"That's just a hockey player giving everything he can for the team," said Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock. "The doctors said that they could probably put his head back on and save his life, but that procedure would have caused him to miss the rest of the game. We knew Johan wouldn't have wanted that. So we just rolled his head back out there."
The Red Wings briefly considered having Franzen's body return to the game instead of his head, but figured his body would take up too much space and be harder to move.
"Plus, we already have a torso of a minor leaguer that we called up last week getting some minutes," said Babcock. "We wanted to give the Coyotes a different look."
Franzen's head is expected to practice in preparation for Game 3.
"It could probably use some rest, but it's also supposed to stay on ice or it will really begin to smell," said Babcock.
His body is is being butchered and, per decades-old hockey tradition, every part of it will be used to make equipment for the team.
"We don't waste any part of a player in this sport," said Zetterberg. "I've got dibs on his femurs for a couple new stick blades."