Filppula Out Two Months with Knee Injury

Locked out Detroit Red Wings forward Valtteri Filppula suffered a knee injury that will sideline him for two months in a game for Jokerit Helsinki, the Finnish club announced on Wednesday.

Filppula had played 16 games on a lockout contract with Jokerit, returning to the team he came up with and reuniting with his brother, one-time Red Wings’ prospect Ilari Filppula.  He currently sits third on the team in scoring with six goals and nine assists.

The injury – which MLive’s Ansar Khan reports is a sprained right MCL – occurred in a game on Monday.

Filppula is the third Red Wing to have been injured during the lockout.  Cory Emmerton broke a finger in his debut for Finland’s SaiPa Lappeenranta and Darren Helm fractured his cheekbone during an informal skate in the Detroit area.

New Red Wings Numbers

I’m getting to this a little late, but yesterday Bill Roose tweeted the sweater numbers for the newest Red Wings.

This marks the second year in a row that I didn’t get my number predictions out before the actual news was released. I feel a little bad as a jersey number geek but at least this way I don’t have to deal with the fact that I would have been wrong.

The biggest news is that Mike Commodore will wear #22, not the punny #64 that had been suggested. I’m not one of the people who thought him wearing #64 would have been the end of the world but I do think it brought extra distraction, so I like him going with his usual number.

What I think is the biggest surprise is that Ian White will wear #18. White had previously worn #7, #3 and #9 in his NHL career, and with #3 available in Detroit I thought he’d go with that. As fans, it’s another sign that we’ll have to come to terms with some important numbers being made available for future use.

As Malik points out, Brendan Shanahan‘s #14 and Chris Chelios‘ #24 have already been handed out so Maltby’s number being available is just a fact of life. It’s probably only a matter of time until #33 and #30 are worn again. Brian Lashoff has already worn #25 in camp.

Speaking of #24, I expect Logan Pyett to take it this year, with the #22 he wore at camp last year now belonging to Commodore.

With White not taking #3, it goes to Garnet Exelby, who is likely to spend the entire season in Grand Rapids anyway. Griffins-bound forward Chris Connor with take the #41 abandoned by Ilari Filppula. I’d expected him to go with #15.

Rounding out the new acquisitions, Ty Conklin will return to the #29 he wore in his first stint with the Wings.

No number changes for current Red Wings were mentioned. I don’t expect any this year but I always wonder about Justin Abdelkader switching to the #89 he wore at Mona Shores. I heard a rumor he was set to switch a couple years ago and don’t know what happened to change that.

Red Wings – Stars Postgame Thoughts

As previously mentioned, I was running around for this game so I followed it but not too well.

Great to see Jiri Hudler with another goal. Same for Kris Draper. Hell, same for Brad Stuart. Guys who usually don’t score putting it in the net is usually a good sign.

Patrick Eaves… I told you he was going to break out. I love the way he’s been skating. He’s getting the grindy goals but he’s also getting open and getting opportunities because of it. It’s easy to forget that the Wings turned him into a grinder, he was a scorer in Ottawa and Carolina (though a somewhat-failing one). This was supposed to be his game, he knows how to play it.

Since Pavel Datsyuk went down, Detroit is 3-1, with all three wins coming in a three games in four nights post-Christmas road trip. Not bad. The December that started with the Red Wings going 1-2-1 has become a 8-5-2 month with one game left to play.

One last note… I can see why Jan Mursak was called up from Grand Rapids rather than Ilari Filppula or Tomas Tatar. Mursak is skating very well and started getting some chances.

My Weekend Without Wings: Part One

The Red Wings face two Eastern Conference opponents this weekend but I’ve traded in those games for a couple others. Last night I skipped out on the Detroit – Montreal matchup to head to my first Griffins game of the year, a 4-3 Grand Rapids loss to the Texas Stars.

The loss reminded me of many Detroit losses this season. The Griffins were sloppy early. Their passes weren’t connecting, they weren’t taking shots, and when they did shoot they were firing right into Texas goalie Tyler Beskorowany’s chest protector.

The Stars were up 3-0 by the end of the first and made it 4-0 4:09 into the second.

Griffins coach Curt Fraser looked like he wanted to throw something. At various points he was laying into the players on the bench and the officials on the ice. I’m not sure how effective it was but it was entertaining.

The Griffins’ special teams helped them rally back. Brendan Smith had a shorthanded goal on a rush in the middle of the second and Jamie Johnson scored a power play goal late in the period.

Ilari Filppula scored with 48 seconds left and the Griffins skating six-on-four but Grand Rapids couldn’t get the tying goal.

As I said, this looked a lot like some Detroit losses earlier this season. Several Wings looked bad in those games and you’d never guess how good they really are, so I don’t want to pass judgement on the Griffins players based on one night.

That said, Smith looked really good out there. Head and shoulders above everyone except for Jakub Kindl, who’s not even supposed to be there anyway.

Joey MacDonald was strong in net considering the porous defense. He got a little lucky on a first-period penalty shot that beat him but went off the post.

Derek Meech is never coming back to Detroit but looked good. Ilari Filppula looks a lot like his younger brother, passing too much when he should shoot.

I’ve got some photos I’ll get posted to the site when I can.

Part Two of my weekend puts me at the Big House for U-M vs. MSU this afternoon. With the 3:00 start, traffic, and incoming snow, I’m not expecting to make it back to catch the Wings and Devils at 7:00.

Numbers Game 2010

Red Wings Central has published Detroit’s training camp roster, meaning I moved too slowly getting my annual sweater number predictions made. It turns out I was right on a couple of my unpublished guesses and wrong on some others.

Mike Modano, as widely-reported, will wear #90 rather than switching to #89 with his usual #9 unavailable.

Free agent signee Ruslan Salei will keep his usual #24, inheriting it from Brad May.

Jiri Hudler will be making no change upon his return from the KHL, picking up the #26 he left behind a year ago.

This will not be the year that Justin Abdelkader takes the #87 he reportedly asked for last year. He’s back with #8.

Like Derek Meech and Kyle Quincey before him, Jakub Kindl is changing his number for his full-time jump to the big club. The #5 he wore in Grand Rapids is – of course – in use with the Red Wings so he’s switching from #46 to #4. This was one of my predictions.

Griffin Tomas Tatar has a somewhat expected switch. With his star rising in the organization, his jersey number drops from #72 to #21. I had expected him to get the #27 he wore last season in Grand Rapids. That number went to Travis Ehrhardt, who previously wore #45.

Given his status as a high-risk, high-reward European free agent signing, I’d expected Ilari Filppula to get the cursed #21 of Igor Grigorenko and Ville Leino. He gets neither that nor the #81 he wore in Finland, instead taking his brother’s original #41.

Rookie Brendan Smith will make his first appearance at Detroit’s camp wearing the #2 formerly belonging to Jiri Fischer.

Making their second runs with the Red Wings, Joey MacDonald returns to his #31 while try-out Aaron Downey will wear #32 with his previous #20 and #44 now taken.

The following are the remaining number changes for Red Wings prospects:

Mitchell Callahan, from #73 to #65
Jan Mursak, from #39
Andrej Nestrasil, from #56 to #49
Brent Raedeke, from #62 to #47
Jamie Tardif, from #67 to #29
Gleason Fornier, from #54 to #67
Brian Lashoff, from #49 to #25
Sebastian Piche, from #58 to #54
Logan Pyett, from #60 to #22