As school returns to session around the Detroit area, there are plenty of students getting adjusted to new classes, teachers, and even fellow students.
At Joe Louis Arena, two new players for the Detroit Red Wings are getting oriented to life in Hockeytown much like a new student at a school.
“I’m kind of like a deer walking in headlights, walking into Joe Louis Arena, seeing all the history and all the guys,” Weiss said. “It’s been fantastic. I feel very welcomed and at home. It’s been a great first day so far, looking forward to the rest of the week and moving on from here.”
Weiss, who spent his career with the Florida Panthers before signing a five-year contract with the Wings in July, is most familiar to a couple of Red Wings. Both Todd Bertuzzi and Mikael Samuelsson both played with Weiss at a point in their careers while with the Panthers.
"To be honest this is one of the teams every player in the league would want to come and play for at some point in their career,” Weiss said. “Playing juniors here for three years, getting to come to some Wings games as a 16-year-old was pretty awesome, and watching some of the guys that are on the team here; just the tradition of winning here. I’ve had a chance to play with some guys that have played here before and just getting the feedback from them made it a pretty easy decision for me.”
Alfredsson, on the other hand, was much more familiar with the Red Wings when he made his decision to come to Detroit. This was despite the fact that he had played over 1,100 games with the Ottawa Senators over 17 years.
“I’ve been in one spot for a long time,” Alfredsson said. “It’s exciting for me to come to a new organization, a new team, and try something else. I knew some of the guys from before, obviously, the Swedish guys, playing with them on national teams. I knew Patrick Eaves, [Todd] Bertuzzi I would run into quite a few times. It’s amazing, a hockey locker room is pretty much the same anywhere in the world and you feel welcome right away, so that’s a good feeling for me.”
Alfredsson has played with fellow Swedes Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen, and Niklas Kronwall at either the Winter Olympics or IIHF World Championships, and played with Eaves for two seasons when Eaves was with the Senators.
While both players are familiarizing themselves with their teammates, head coach Mike Babcock will be determining where they play.
The only given is that Weiss will likely take the second-line center spot vacated by Valtteri Filppula. Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg will be together on the top line, but as to who is with them remains to be seen.
“Weiss will play with Franzen. Zetterberg and Datsyuk together. That's all I can tell you,” Babcock said. “No idea where Abby (Justin Abdelkader) is playing. Might play with [Darren] Helm, might play with Datsyuk-Zetterberg or with Weiss.”
Babcock also hopes that Weiss can reach the 60-point mark that he surpassed in 2011-12.
Weiss went on to say that he isn't looking to be just a replacement.
“I don’t want to feel like I’m coming in here replacing anyone. I’m going to come in and do what I’ve done over my career and take care of my play on the ice,” he said. “Hopefully that’s good enough. I don’t want to be Valtteri Filppula’s replacement. I want to be Stephen Weiss and do what I do. If I do that I think we’ll be OK.”
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