Filppula expects to play in Red Wings’ opener

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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)