Filppula Likes Fit In Detroit
Obviously, Valtteri Filppula knew what the Detroit Red Wings were all about. He was well familiar with Steve Yzerman, both as a player from his previous stint with the Wings and as a general manager from their time together with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Everything about the fit made a return to the Red Wings make sense for Filppula.
“It’s always important that you feel the team wants you,” Filppula said. “That’s definitely a big thing. I’ve known Stevie from before and I had a good relationship with him, so of course that’s a part.”
The fit includes a well-defined role. Filppula is penciled in to start the season as Detroit’s second-line center, where he’ll ideally skate between Andreas Athanasiou and what the Wings hope will be 2018 first-round draft pick Filip Zadina, if he shows in training camp that he’s NHL-ready after a season with Grand Rapids in the AHL.
“I’m gonna start at center and obviously I’ve played wing as well, so if that happens I don’t think it will be too big of a surprise,” Filppula said. “But the plan is to play center.”
Filppula, 35, was a Wing from 2005-06 to 2011-12. He won a Stanley Cup with Detroit in 2007-08 and posted a career-high 66 points in his final season of his first stint as a Wing.
“I had a great time there, the first time on the team,” Filppula said. “Everything was good. That way it was an easy decision to make the call.
“Obviously the team is a lot different that what it was but there’s still a few guys that I played with, so it’s going to be fun to see those guys again. It’s a lot younger roster now.
“Obviously you never know what’s going to happen but I’m really excited.”
First, there was induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Now, the Ontario Hockey League has named its goaltender of the year award after former Red Wings netminder Jim Rutherford.
Beginning with the 2019-20 OHL season, the league’s best netminder will be recognized with the Jim Rutherford Goaltender of the Year Award.
Currently the general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Rutherford is one of four to have served three different stints as a player with the Red Wings, and three of them were goaltenders.
Rutherford was a Red Wings netminder in 1970-71, again from 1973-74 to 1980-81 and finally in 1982-83. Terry Sawchuk stopped pucks from Detroit from 1949-50 through 1954-55, from 1956-57 through 1963-64 and again in 1968-69. Dominik Hasek was a Red Wings goalie in 2001-02, 2003-04 and from 2006-07 through 2007-08.
The final member of this threepeat quarter is current Wings assistant coach Doug Houda. He played on the Detroit defense in 1985-86, 1987-88 to 1990-91 and in 1998-99.
TSN’s BarDown website recently issued a list of what it considered to be the greatest players to wear every sweater number in NHL history and Wings players were well represented.
Nicklas Lidstrom was No. 5, Gordie Howe No. 9 and Brendan Shanahan No. 14. Steve Yzerman won a tough competition at No. 19 and Chris Chelios took No 24. Hasek was No. 39 and Henrik Zetteberg No. 40.
Other prominent Wings making the cut were Sergei Fedorov at No. 91 and Tomas Holmstrom at No. 96.
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