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Bolts’ Filppula: ‘I couldn’t produce the points that I wanted’ last year


Valtteri Filppula admits he didn’t perform as well as he’d hoped last season.

“You always want to do better in every aspect of the game,” Filppula told the Tampa Bay Lightning website. “Last year I couldn’t produce the points that I wanted to and I hope I can do better next year.

“That’s going to be a big focus.”

Filppula, 29, had a disappointing 2013 campaign, scoring just 17 points in 41 games (and six in 14 playoff appearances) — but reasons for the drop off in production were many.

He suffered a knee sprain while playing for SM-liiga’s Jokerit during the lockout, an injury that shelved him for nearly two months and lingered into the start of the NHL season.

Filppula then missed seven games with a shoulder injury (prior to the ailment, he had 10 points in 19 games) and, to top things off, suffered a high ankle sprain in Detroit’s Game 7 overtime elimination against Chicago.

It was a disappointing year, to say the least.

That’s a far cry from Filppula’s 2011-12 campaign, when he appeared in a career-high 81 games while notching a career-high 66 points, playing primarily on a line with Henrik Zetterberg and Jiri Hudler.

(Yet another possible reason for Filppula’s downswing in 2013 — Hudler left to sign in Calgary, and Zetterberg moved units. Filppula never really clicked with his linemates last season.)

That ’11-’12 breakout season was a big reason why clubs were lined up to secure his services this summer — Filppula agreed to a five-year, $25 million deal with Tampa Bay after receiving interest from a number of clubs, most notably the St. Louis Blues.

Filppula said he’s ready to embrace a larger workload with the Bolts than he had with the Wings. In Tampa, he’ll likely replace ex-captain Vincent Lecavalier as the team’s second-line center.

“It’s always the goal to have a bigger role wherever you play,” he said.

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?