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NHL Lockout: Will Valtteri Filppula's Injury Damage Red Wings' Playoff Chances?

CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 21:  Valtteri Filppula #51 of the Detroit Red Wings controls the puck against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center on February 21, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois.  The Blackhawks defeated the Red Wings 2-1.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Isaac SmithAnalyst INovember 15, 2012

For Detroit Red Wings forward Valtteri Filppula, the NHL season that hangs in doubt could likely not come any slower to Filppula after he injured his knee and will be out six to eight weeks (via Detroit Free Press).

John Keating from Fox Sports Detroit tweeted that Filppula's injury was an MCL sprain.

For the Red Wings organization, this is obviously a huge blow, as the injury could put him out of action for the season opener, but this injury is bigger than it seems.

Last season, Henrik Zetterberg had a minor upper body injury to start the season. That injury didn't seem to be anything serious, but Zetterberg had a slow start to the season, putting up just seven points in the first 18 games.

With a shortened season (assuming a CBA were to be reached and the season started) Filppula would take some time to get back on the ice and get back into game form.

As the second line center for the Red Wings, this would necessitate alterations of the Red Wings top six and starting line up, respectively.

The main reason that the Filppula injury is so significant is that Filppula reached a career high in points last season with 66.

Last season, Filppula won 51 percent of face-offs at home and 52.7 percent of his faceoffs on the road (via his NHL.com player page).

Filppula's presence in the face-off will not be easily replaced unless the Red Wings want to move Zetterberg into the second line center spot and separate him from Datsyuk on the top line.

While Filppula could bounce back and not see a drop in points, knee injuries in general are one of the more nagging injuries that a player can sustain over the course of a season, and tend to be a detriment to the player's career as well.

Hopefully this will not be the case for Filppula, but all that can be done at this point is speculate.

 

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