Valtteri Filppula

Filppula expects to play in Red Wings’ opener


From the sound of things, Valtteri Filppula’s knee injury won’t keep him out of the Detroit Red Wings’ season opener against the St. Louis Blues on Jan. 19.

Filppula gave a positive update to the Detroit Free Press’ Ted Kulfan after skating with Red Wings teammates on Thursday.

“It’s pretty good,” Filppula said. “I feel it a little bit but that’s to be expected. I’m confident I’ll be good to go when the season starts.”

The 28-year-old suffered an MCL sprain in mid-November while playing for Jokerit in Finland, but both the team and the player have big reasons to hope for an encore to his career-year last season.

Filppula is in a contract year and Detroit lost some key forwards as Jiri Hudler signed with the Calgary Flames and Tomas Holmstrom retired. Even with Mikael Samuelsson’s return, it’s likely the Red Wings are crossing their fingers that Filppula can approach his 2011-12 level.

Being healthy is obviously a big part of that, and so far, it sounds like he’s close to 100 percent.

(R/T to Rotoworld)

Measure of revenge? Red Wings bottle Lightning

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In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.

For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.

Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.

Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.

They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.

Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.

Hands of gold: Connor McDavid scores his first NHL goal


Taking three games to score your first NHL goal isn’t a big deal, unless you’re someone like Connor McDavid.

The mega-hyped wunderkind must feel relieved to finally find the net, as he tied tonight’s Edmonton Oilers – Dallas Stars skirmish with a 2-2 deflection goal, which you can watch above this post’s headline.

To no surprise, there were plenty of reactions, including Pierre LeBrun’s tweet (which inspired part of this headline).

Of course, there were the inevitable Wayne Gretzky comparisons:

Interesting thing you might not consider: Stars fans will have to stomach this one even more frequently than that time Patrik Stefan biffed that empty-netter (also against the Oilers):

McDavid may have also delivered his first questionable check, too: