During the second period of the Red Wings/Oilers game, defacto second-line center and Production Line hero Valtteri Filppula was hit awkwardly into the end boards by Gilbert Brule. He labored a little bit, but eventually made his way to the locker room under his own power with athletic trainer Piet Van Zant. Mike Babcock revealed after the game that Filppula suffered a broken wrist and he’s expected out of the lineup for six to eight weeks.
It comes as a real blow to a team already struggling with injuries to Andreas Lilja and Johan Franzen. Pavel Datsyuk also missed a pair of games earlier this month with an undisclosed upper body injury. All of a sudden, a team famous for its depth will be struggling to fill some holes in the top six.
Ken Holland was quick to say that he doesn’t intend to call up any players from Grand Rapids, citing “we have more than enough forwards” as a reason. Forwards left on the active roster are as follows:
Filppula has been one of the strongest Red Wings forwards since the season began. Aside from the obvious chemistry he’s shown with Jason Williams and countryman Ville Leino, he’s been able to play in all situations, and play admirably. He’s been one of the strongest faceoff men, and one of the most reliable minute-eaters (currently third among Red Wings forwards). Through eleven games, he had two goals (including one on the power play) and four assists.
Here’s an(other) opportunity for the youngsters to step up and show they belong. Darren Helm, who scored the first regular season goal of his career Thursday night, will be expected to step up offensively and play bigger, more important minutes. Same goes for Justin Abdelkader and Patrick Eaves – each of whom will be healthy scratches less often than they have been the last few weeks.
And it seems like now is a really, REALLY! good time for Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk to light a fire…