When Stephen Weiss signed a five-year, $24.5 million contract to join the Detroit Red Wings, he probably knew things would be different than he’d become used to as a longtime member of the Florida Panthers.
Not that playing for his previous team was some sort of high-paid vacation, but winning a Stanley Cup with the Panthers was never a realistic goal while he was there. The fact Florida missed the playoffs in all but one of Weiss’s 11 seasons with the club was proof of that.
In Detroit, expectations are a tad higher.
“We explained the situation to him very clearly,” Wings head coach Mike Babcock said Tuesday, per MLive.com. “Told him if he wasn’t ultra-competitive 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, dislike the coach and dislike playing here.
“It’s real straightforward. If you don’t do it right, you’re not happy here.”
Ideally, the addition of Weiss will allow Babcock to play superstars Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg together on the team’s top line, with Weiss holding down the No. 2 center spot.
While Babcock would like to see his new center tally in the neighborhood of 50 points, the coach will also be demanding a solid 200-foot game out of the 30-year-old.
“We think he has lots of skill set,” said Babcock. “He’s got to bring it every day. You got to play without the puck here. Simple.”