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Weiss heads back to roots, aims to recover over break

Feb 9, 2014, 5:13 PM EDT

Stephen Weiss Getty Images

The Detroit Red Wings took a significant risk when they signed Stephen Weiss to a five-year, $24.5 million contract over the summer.

The original hope was that Weiss could serve as the team’s second-line center, which would allow Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg to play together on the first line. That’s a role Weiss has historically been qualified for, but that was back when he was playing in a comparatively low pressure situation in Florida.

On top of that, Weiss had just four points in 17 contests in an injury-filled 2013 campaign. So essentially they were signing him to a long-term deal based on the hope that his most recent showing was an anomaly. It wasn’t.

Weiss has again run into injury problems this season and hasn’t been able to produce even when he has played, which has thrown a wrench in the Red Wings’ plans. At least he can use the Olympic break to continue his recovery from a sports hernia.

To that end he’s going back to his Ontario Hockey League roots. Starting on Tuesday, he’ll be skating with the Plymouth Whalers.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” Weiss told the Detroit Free Press. “It should hopefully spark something.”

If all goes well, he’ll join the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins before the Olympic break is over on a conditioning stint. From there he could be back in Detroit’s lineup when the team resumes its schedule on Feb. 26.

Of course, he knows that getting healthy again is just the beginning of his professional recovery.

“I’ve gotta claw my way back into the lineup, and whatever role I’m given, just try to help the team in whatever way they want me to,” Weiss said.

Detroit could certainly still use him as they try to squeak into the postseason.

  1. rbbbaron - Feb 9, 2014 at 6:30 PM

    Inexplicably bad contract for a player the team didn’t need (granted there was some uncertainty about Helm returning, but still, the kids proved their worth down the stretch last season). Hopefully Weiss can turn things around and justify his spot in the line-up, let alone that contract, which Holland is wholly to blame for.

    • valoisvipers - Feb 10, 2014 at 1:18 PM

      The Weiss signing is proof that Holland is human after all and who knows maybe when healthy Weiss will prove Kenny right.

      • rbbbaron - Feb 10, 2014 at 8:54 PM

        Never doubted that Holland is human– even the best GMs have some bad examples that can be pointed to with regards to personnel decisions, but this contract is so Holmgren-caliber awful that my confidence in Holland is shaken. It completely drowns out anything else he did in the off-season (Alfie was a solid pick up, buying out Colaiacovo was probably the right decision– but who put him on the payroll less than a year before that?) and considering the questionable off-season before that (Sammy and Tootoo are eating up a lot of cap space for guys who are not in the NHL), this suggests that Holland is trending downwards. I’m afraid to see what’s in store for this Summer.

        “maybe when healthy Weiss will prove Kenny right” entirely possible, but increasingly unlikely. There’s a big question mark hanging over Weiss’ durability at this point, and this after Holland passed up on Lecavalier on the grounds that he’s injury-prone and was seeking a 5-yr deal (taken by itself, I was glad Holland didn’t bite on that, btw). Proving Kenny right would entail something like having Weiss outperform Filppula over the next 4 and a half seasons. Anyone want to bet on that?

  2. LampyB - Feb 9, 2014 at 9:58 PM

    If Weiss cant turn it around i suspect we could see a compliance buyout this summer…

    • rbbbaron - Feb 10, 2014 at 3:32 AM

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but those compliance buyouts can only be used on contracts signed before this past off-season. Weiss can’t be bought out (at least not in a way that gets him off the cap).

      • Jason Brough - Feb 10, 2014 at 5:12 AM

        Yep. See No. 29.
        http://www.cbc.ca/sports-content/hockey/opinion/2014/01/nhl-gms-deal-with-double-trade-deadline.html

  3. lionstigersandwingsohmy - Feb 10, 2014 at 1:11 PM

    Dang it, didn’t know that. Hopefully he does get it together. If he doesn’t, maybe the Pronger route.

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