The Malik Report
by George Malik on 12/05/11 at 04:17 AM ET
To employ a technical term, Valtteri Filppula appeared to suffer an innocuous injury to the back of his left leg when felled by an inadvertent slew-foot by Colorado Avalanche forward David Jones during the Wings’ 4-2 loss to the Avs on Sunday, but skate blade cuts have a way of turning nasty, which is why Wings coach Mike Babcock was worried about Filppula, as he told DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose:
Valtteri Filppula, who is off to the best start of his NHL career with 21 points and a plus-9 rating, was cut on the leg above the skate boot. The seriousness of the injury was not immediately known though coach Mike Babcock indicated that the Wings’ forward had been taken to a Denver hospital.
“Fil got a cut on his leg above his skate,” Babcock said. “We sent him to have it looked at. We don’t know if it’s serious or not serious.”
Filppula was injured late in the first period when he got tangled along the boards with Avalanche forward David Jones. Without Filppula in the game, the Wings lost the momentum that they turned into a 1-0 lead. Colorado went on to out-shoot the Wings, 28-18, in the final two periods.
The Wings could only sing Filppula’s praises while hoping for the best…
“Fil’s been playing real well for us, eating a lot of minutes, PK and power play,” said center Henrik Zetterberg, Filppula’s linemate.
“Fil’s played probably as well as anybody has played,” forward Danny Cleary said. “He’s been fantastic for us. He got cut there. I think it was more precaution than anything. It was a big loss, the whole line combinations were all jumbled.”
And as both Roose and MLive’s Ansar Khan suggest, Filppula’s absence screwed up the Wings’ continuity of personnel up front:
“Fil’s been playing real well for us, eating a lot of minutes, (penalty kill) and power play,” linemate Henrik Zetterberg said. “Especially here, it’s tough when you lose a guy. You really need to roll four lines and get everyone playing. But still, I think we had enough chances to win this game.”
Filppula was riding a five-game scoring streak (five goals, two assists). He is third on the team with 21 points (eight goals, 13 assists).
Here’s hoping that he only needed a few stitches to sew up a “nick” instead of a gouge serious muscle/ligament tear.
Also: the Free Press’s Helene St. James reports that the Wings stayed in Denver, so they didn’t leave Filppula behind. Red Bird III’s parked at Denver International Airport and will remain there until sometime on Monday morning.
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