Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  By ART REGNER  |  Last updated 9/3/13
DETROIT -- Many more familiar faces began arriving in Detroit on Tuesday as the Red Wings continue to hold informal practice sessions at Joe Louis Arena. Seventeen Red Wings players from last seasons team were in attendance, but it was another new guy who grabbed all the attention. Former Florida Panthers forward and one-time Plymouth Whalers star Stephen Weiss seemed extremely amped to be Red Wing -- albeit in a low-key, soft-spoken way. Just walking in this morning and seeing the pictures and all the history here is something you dont have in Florida, so right away it hits you, Weiss said. Seeing this arena again is pretty special. "Ive played here only a few times during my career and thoroughly enjoyed it. Its one of the older arenas in the league. Its so awesome. "To think, in a month or so, to be suiting up in a regular-season game is going to be special. After spending the first 10 years of his career with the Panthers, Weiss signed a five-year, 24.5 million contract with the Wings in July, when he became an unrestricted free agent. Weiss is expected to center Detroits second line, taking the place of Valtteri Filppula, who signed with Tampa Bay after playing for the Wings since 2005. According to head coach Mike Babcock, Weiss will be paired with Johan Franzen and a player to be determined during training camp, which begins Sept. 12. We're looking for a guy to generate more in the middle," Babcock said. "So can Weiss generate 50 points playing in the middle, on the second line? I'm going to watch and see. We think he's going to be a way better player here. Over time, the demand is high. We explained the situation to him very clearly, told him if he wasn't ultracompetitive, he couldn't come here. If he didn't bring it every day, he couldn't come here because he was going to hate it if he didn't. It's real straightforward. If you don't do it right, you're not happy here.'' For his part, Weiss has embraced the Wings' strong work-ethic mantra, but he doesnt want to be viewed as Valtteri Filppulas replacement. I try to not look at it that way, that Im coming in replacing anyone, Weiss said. Im going to do what Ive done over my career and take care of my play out on the ice, and hopefully, thats good enough. I dont want to be Valtteri Filppulas replacement. I want to be Stephen Weiss and come in here and do what I do. And if I do that, well be Ok. Another player new to the Red Wings, Daniel Alfredsson, who has played against Weiss for a decade, believes that Weiss will be an exceptional two-way player in Detroit. He was always one of the guys that the coaches went over when we played Florida, Alfredsson said. The good thing about him is that he is very versatile. He can play in all situations, penalty killing and power play. Overall, hes a very smart player. Weiss has a lot of offensive upside. Injuries hampered him last, but a healthy Stephen Weiss would be a huge asset for any team.
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