Modano's Return Huge for Red Wings

Mike Modano will make his return to the Detroit Red Wings line-up tonight after missing 41 games with severed wrist tendons. Valterri Filppula will also play for the first time in eight games from a sprained left MCL.

Modano's return means a lot to the Red Wings. While the NHL trade deadline is Monday, Detroit's was today. Adding Modano and Filppula back into the mix means the Wings once again have three strong scoring lines, and will have to rotate depth players like Justin Abdelkader and Kris Draper into the line-up. It's a good problem for a team to have.

Modano will wear a wrist guard that was made by the same guy who crafted Detroit Piston's Rip Hamilton's face mask (Jeremy Murray). Severed tendons do not allow the wrist to flex properly (and extend in some instances), so the guard will help protect the wrist from overflexion/overextension. Modano says his wrist still isn't 100 percent, but feels good enough to shoot and play physical. The only issue was face-offs, which he says he is comfortable doing now, and comfort. He tried 3-4 different versions of the wrist guard until settling on Murray's design, which is used like a basketball player taping his wrist, only with more support.

Modano and Filppula will skate tonight on a line with Tomas Holmstrom against the Sabres in Buffalo.

Not only is Modano's turn a potential boost for Detroit, it is also a test to see if he is truly ready for the post season. He has 21 games to prove to the Red Wings' brass that he can still play at a high level. Modano said that his goal is to be patient and work hard to get back into the lineup. Staying patient is key with injuries, and Modano plans to stay focused and keep frustration in the back of his mind.

Detroit also needs Filppula to step up his game. Flip has only 12 goals on the year and it would have been possible to net 20 this season if he stayed healthy. Look for him to click with Holmstrom standing in front of the net, along with more powerplay time.

NOTES:
-Ken Holland says that the Wings "shouldn't be too active" during the deadline. The only concern could be goaltending, but the Wings expect Chris Osgood back shortly.
-Drew Miller will look to score his first career goal against his brother Ryan tonight in Buffalo. Drew has a 2-1 all time lead in the brother-series

Kyle Busch
www.thecheckingline.com
www.twitter.com/KyleBusch11