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Filppula added as AHL All-Star

by Randy Cleves / Detroit Red Wings

– Grand Rapids Griffins forward Ilari Filppula (ih-LAR-ee FIHL-poo-luh) on Friday was added to the Western Conference roster for the 2011 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Capital BlueCross, which will be held Jan. 30-31 at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa.

Filppula and Peoria Rivermen forward T.J. Hensick will replace Hamilton Bulldogs forwards David Desharnais and Max Pacioretty, who will both miss the event while on recall to the Montreal Canadiens. Filppula will serve as the Griffins’ lone all-star representative in place of injured rookie defenseman Brendan Smith.

The older brother of former Griffin, current Detroit Red Wing and 2006 AHL All-Star Classic participant Valtteri Filppula, Ilari currently leads Grand Rapids with 31 points, five power play goals and 14 power play points through 41 games. The 29-year-old also ranks second on the club in both goals (13) and assists (18) during his first season in North America.

A native of Vantaa, Finland, Filppula led TPS Turku to the Finnish Elite League championship last season, earning the Jari Kurri Trophy as playoff MVP. He signed a one-year contract with the Red Wings last summer.

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