Of Red Wings-related note on a Canada Day evening:
- Valtteri Filppula had some things to say about joining a rebuilding Red Wings team as a 35-year-old center, as noted by 97.1 the Ticket’s Will Burtchfield:
“I think pretty quickly it came between the Islanders or coming back to Detroit,” he said. “But I’m definitely happy about this decision.”
Though the rebuilding Wings have spent the last three seasons in the basement of the Eastern Conference, Filppula believes they’re close to getting back to the playoffs. He could sense it from playing against them in recent seasons.
That was another reason he opted for a reunion.
“The league is really even now,” he said. “Every team can play well, you’re going to have a good chance against anybody. Obviously I’ve played against these guys for a while now, and I feel like it’s been a tough team to play against. To have some familiar faces as well, that’s always a nice thing. I think it’s going to be a good opportunity for us to play well and fight for a playoff spot, like everybody else.”
2. And the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan took note of what GM Steve Yzerman believes that Filppula’s addition means for one Andreas Athanasiou:
“We had a hole in the middle, we felt, on our roster,” said Yzerman, naming Dylan Larkin, Frans Nielsen and Luke Glendening down the middle, and possibly Jacob de la Rose and Justin Abdelkader, if needed. “We have options but we were looking for someone that can (play center).
“We know he (Athanasiou) played at the end of the season at center, but his natural position is on the wing and it allows us to put him back on the wing. Fil is a good two-way centerman, he can win faceoffs, he can play in all situations.
“We thought we would plug a hole by bringing him in.”