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Ex-Detroit Red Wing Valtteri Filppula Joins Former Teammates at Informal Skate

August 29th, 2013 at 7:18 PM
By Frank Vajcner

With training camp set to begin in less than two weeks, a few Detroit Red Wings players gathered at Joe Louis Arena for an informal skate.

The big story, however, was a former teammate joining them.

Valtteri Filppula, who signed a five-year deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning in July after spending the first part of his career with the Red Wings, joined nine of his former teammates today to say good-bye.

"I'm definitely excited about Tampa and new team, new place," Filppula said to The Detroit Free Press. "At the same time, I've had great years here and a lot of great friends. That way is tough."

The Wings wanted to bring Filppula back, but weren't willing to give him $5 million a year given that he had scored 40-50 points a year.

Stephen Weiss was signed to take Filppula's spot at second-line center. This will likely allow Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk to play on the top line with Justin Abdelkader, pending camp, which will begin September 12 in Traverse City, Michigan.

Until then, it will be player-ran skating sessions, and sayng good-bye.

"It's part of the game — it's got its ups and its got its downs," Niklas Kronwall said. "You lose some friends each and every year, but it's just how it goes. Fil, I'm going to miss him. We spent a lot of time together over these seven years. I'd say, 90% of the time we're on the road, we go to dinner together. We've just spent a lot of time together. So I'll miss having him around."

Filppula will see his old friends again on November 9 when the Red Wings and Lightning meet at the Joe.

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Tags: Detroit, Detroit Red Wings, Hockey, NHL

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