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Isles' Filppula, Trotz praise career, efforts of Ted Lindsay

The Red Wings legend, who died March 5, was instrumental in laying groundwork for players union

Detroit Red Wings great and Hall of Famer

Detroit Red Wings great and Hall of Famer Ted Lindsay died Monday, March 4, 2019, at his home in Michigan. Lindsay, shown in a 1956 file photo, was 93. Photo Credit: AP

Valtteri Filppula understands exactly how important Ted Lindsay was to the earning power of the modern-day NHL player.

But during his seven seasons in Detroit, Filppula also came to know the Red Wings Hall of Famer, who passed away Monday at 93, a bit more personally.

“He did a lot of good things for hockey and he did a lot of good things for the community in Detroit,” said Filppula,  who signed a one-year, $2.75-million deal with the Islanders and whose total contracts in his NHL career are close to $45 million.

“Before the season, he always had this big golf event where I got to spend a little bit of time with him,” Filppula, 34, added. “He’s such a nice man to everybody. He loved being around the guys.”

Lindsay’s dogged groundbreaking efforts in the 1950s ultimately led to the formation of a players’ union, to the detriment of his own career.

But that was more than six decades ago so it’s not surprising that not all players are well-versed on Lindsay’s battle to create a better working environment and to loosen the owners’ once-absolute control over contracts. Some approached in the Islanders’ room said while they knew who Lindsay was, they didn’t necessarily have all the facts on what he had done.

“I think there’s a big appreciation,” Filppula said. “I’m not sure if everybody knows. But, for sure, everybody who does know has a big appreciation.”

Islanders coach Barry Trotz said it’s not just players who should be indebted to Lindsay.

“To me, Ted Lindsay is a staple for every player playing this game and everybody getting paid at the rate we are,” said Trotz, who met Lindsay during an All-Star weekend “a few years back.” “We owe a lot to Ted Lindsay. He was one of the first guys who said, ‘You know what? I don’t think this is right,’ and he held his ground. He’s made some great changes.”

Lindsay was the first player to lift the Stanley Cup and skate it around the rink after a Red Wings’ championship, starting one of the NHL’s greatest traditions.

“I didn’t know this, but I read that even when you were inducted into the Hall of Fame, they didn’t allow families to come,” Trotz said. “Lindsay said, ‘Then I’m not coming either.’ He changed the whole process. He made a lot of changes in the game. Every player in the game today should recognize his contribution.”

Lee not worried

Captain Anders Lee has maintained all season that conversations have been “good” toward a contract extension with the Islanders and president and general manager Lou Lamoriello has indicated his desire to retain the impending unrestricted free agent, who is coming to the end of a four-year, $15-million deal.

Of course, there are no certainties until a new contract is announced. But Lee said he is not concerned that in a contract year, he won’t duplicate the 40 goals he reached for the first time in his career last season. More than likely, he won’t surpass the 34 goals he had in 2016-17.

“That part you notice but I think I’ve laid the groundwork pretty well,” Lee said. “I don’t think this one year is not going to matter too much. I hope.”

The Islanders missed the playoffs the previous two seasons and they are now battling for the Metropolitan Division lead under the new management team of Lamoriello and Trotz.

Lee entered Saturday night’s game against the Flyers at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum with a team-leading 23 goals and 20 assists in 67 games after compiling a career-high 62 points in 82 games last season.

“I think you always know where you stand,” Lee said. “But we’ve been a first-place team for a month and a half so you don’t really think about that stuff. I think anyone on this team would trade any numbers they had last year for the numbers they have this year to be where we are.

“Thankfully, it hasn’t been something I’ve had to worry about,” Lee added. “I know the numbers aren’t there necessarily. But it’s all relative, I think.”

Cizikas battles illness

Scrappy Casey Cizikas, like many in the NHL, plays through a myriad of aches, pains and minor injuries. But the stomach virus that ripped through the Islanders’ room this week hit the fourth-line center hard, forcing him to twice retreat to the team’s room during last Sunday’s 4-1 loss to the Flyers at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum.

He was asked how tough it was to leave the game.

“At the time, it wasn’t,” Cizikas said, with a laugh. “You want to try and do whatever you can to get back in. It just wasn’t happening at the time.”

First-round scorecard

The Islanders brought up their two first-round picks from 2014, forwards Michael Dal Colle and Josh Ho-Sang, on emergency recall from Bridgeport on Tuesday. Dal Colle remains with the team but Ho-Sang was sent back after being a healthy scratch for two games. Here’s how recent Islanders’ first-round picks have fared:

2018

F Oliver Wahlstrom (11th overall) — Boston College freshman, seven goals, nine assists, 31 games

D Noah Dobson (12th) — Acadie-Bathurst (Quebec Major Junior Hockey League), nine goals, seven assists, 28 games. Traded to Rouyn-Noranda (QMJHL), six goals, 27 assists, 23 games

2017

None

2016

F Kieffer Bellows (19th) — Bridgeport (AHL) first season, 11 goals, five assists, 58 games

2015

F Mathew Barzal (16th) — Islanders second season, 17 goals, 36 assists, 67 games

F Anthony Beauvillier (28th) — Islanders third season, 16 goals, seven assists, 66 games

LEE NOT WORRIED

Captain Anders Lee has maintained all season that conversations have been “good” toward a contract extension with the Islanders and president and general manager Lou Lamoriello has indicated his desire to retain the impending unrestricted free agent, who is coming to the end of a four-year, $15-million deal.

Of course, there are no certainties until a new contract is announced. But Lee said he is not concerned that in a contract year, he won’t duplicate the 40 goals he reached for the first time in his career last season. More than likely, he won’t surpass the 34 goals he had in 2016-17.

“That part you notice but I think I’ve laid the groundwork pretty well,” Lee said. “I don’t think this one year is not going to matter too much. I hope.”

The Islanders missed the playoffs the previous two seasons and they are now battling for the Metropolitan Division lead under the new management team of Lamoriello and Trotz.

Lee entered Saturday night’s game against the Flyers at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum with a team-leading 23 goals and 20 assists in 67 games after compiling a career-high 62 points in 82 games last season.

“I think you always know where you stand,” Lee said. “But we’ve been a first-place team for a month and a half so you don’t really think about that stuff. I think anyone on this team would trade any numbers they had last year for the numbers they have this year to be where we are.

“Thankfully, it hasn’t been something I’ve had to worry about,” Lee added. “I know the numbers aren’t there necessarily. But it’s all relative, I think.”

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