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October 23rd, Ottawa Senators at Joe Louis Arena
Ottawa Senators fans won't have to wait long to see one of the more anticipated games of the season.
The Senators will visit Joe Louis Arena Wednesday night to face a new divisional foe as well as a long-time friend.
Daniel Alfredsson's departure from the Ottawa Senators was shocking as it was sad for a fan base who had long-since adopted the Swedish winger as their own after 17 years with the franchise.
However, as Bruce Garrioch at the Ottawa Sun reported at the time, the pain of losing Alfie was buffered by the acquisition of star right-winger Bobby Ryan from the Anaheim Ducks.
Both players are off to great starts with their respective teams.
Alfredsson has nine points in as many games with the Wings and Ryan has four goals amidst seven points in his first eight games as a Senator.
Which man will perform better at the Joe Wednesday night will provide the most interesting subplot to what will be the first of four regular season meetings between the two clubs this season?
November 9th, Tampa Bay Lightning at Joe Louis Arena
In eight seasons with the Red Wings, Valtteri Filppula provided plenty of highlight plays—the only problem is, he should have provided a great deal more than he actually did.
Long hoped (or perhaps, hyped) to become the Red Wings ensconced second-line center, Filppula never quite stepped up to fill that role.
Aside from an outstanding playoff performance in 2008-09 that saw the Finnish forward post three goals and 13 assists in 23 games and a long overdue breakout year in 2011-12, in which Filppula finished with 66 points. His career in Detroit was marked largely by unmet expectations.
Filppula's struggles in Detroit were no more apparent than they were last season.
In 41 games, Filppula managed only 17 points, a minus-4 rating and despite his obvious talent and flashes of brilliance, general manager Ken Holland had all but waived goodbye to Filppula prior to the start of free agency on July 5.
As it turned out, Filppula didn't have to wait long for a new gig and the Wings wasted no time in filling the whole down the middle of their second line.
On July 5th, Filppula signed a five-year, $25 million contract with Tampa Bay and Detroit brought in Stephen Weiss from Florida via a nearly identical contract.
Weiss is off to a slow start in Detroit, posting two goals and no assists in nine games.
Filppula, on the other hand, has four goals among six points in eight games for the Bolts.
When he returns to Detroit on November 9th, fans will surely be comparing the two players shift by shift.
Weiss would do well to make sure he outpaces his predecessor lest the hometown crowd start to wonder why Holland let Filppula go in the first place.