EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – Well, the Red Wings got some good news to go with the usual bad injury updates on Tuesday.
While Johan Franzen will be back in the lineup for the first time since Feb. 10, the Red Wings learned that they will play the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday without the services of forward Valtteri Filppula.
Filppula, who is one of just nine Wings’ players who have played in every game this season, suffered an injury to his left shoulder during Detroit’s 8-3 win over Vancouver on Sunday.
The veteran forward had an X-ray taken on Monday in Detroit. Filppula said that doctors could “see a little bit of something with the AC (joint). Nothing too major, which is good.”
Filppula has missed just one game in the last two seasons. However, the shoulder injury is particularly discouraging, especially since he had rebounded so well from a sprained MCL, which occurred while playing in Finland during the lockout.
“I finally felt healthy for a few games (after knee injury),” Filppula said. “Hopefully, this won't be a long one and I can get back playing. Finally, a few games without any problems, happy about that, but this one slows me down a little bit again.”
Asked if he’s be ready for Thursday’s game in San Jose, Filppula said that he wasn’t sure. While he’s hopeful of a quickly return to the ice, he also knows that teammates Carlo Colaiacovo and Brendan Smith have been out of the lineup longer with similar shoulder injuries.
“We've had a few of those now,” said Filppula, of shoulder sprains. “It's obviously a contact sport so you get hit on your shoulder all the time, so you want to make sure they're in shape before you get back because you don't want to keep re-injuring it and coming back and re-injuring it. You want to be cautious but at the same time you want to play.”
Meanwhile, Franzen was excited to learn that he’ll be in the lineup Wednesday at Staples Center. During Tuesday afternoon’s hour-long practice at Toyota Sports Center, Franzen worked on the top forward line with Henrik Zetterberg and Damien Brunner.
In 12 games prior to his hip flexor injury, Franzen had produced three goals and six assists, while collecting at least one point in six consecutive games.
“It's been a little bit too long. It's easier when the guys won the last two that makes it a little easier to watch,” Franzen said. “It was tough for the first five.
“Just wanted to make sure it's healed, because you don't want to get in and then back out. I think it was a good move. I didn't realize how short it had been when I said that (he'd be back sooner). I needed a little more time. It felt good but it really wasn't healed.”
Coach Mike Babcock may have Smith back in service soon, as soon as Wednesday, as well. A decision will be made about Smith’s availability following the morning skate at Staples Center on Wednesday.
“I feel good, we'll see what they say,” Smith said. “I got to get cleared, though, right? I can't (play) until the trainers clear me.”
Getting players back in the lineup is key for the Red Wings, who have lost more than 107 man-games to injury and illness this season. But Babcock would like to see the team’s current injury trend end.
“Obviously we don’t want to give away one and get one back that’s injured,” he said. “But that’s just the way it is right now. We’d like to have everyone on deck, but I mean, look around the league, that’s just not the case.”
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