Brother reunited

DETROIT — Valtteri Filppula was finally reunited with his older brother, Ilari, on the ice.

Ilari, who’s three years older than his brother, took part in the Wings’ informal skate for the first time yesterday.

“I feel honored to be able to tryout for this team,” said Ilari, who arrived in Detroit on Monday.

Ilari’s path to Detroit was aided by the coordinator for the team he played for in Finland, who also has ties with the Wings.

“That had something to do with it,” Ilari said. “Everything is really new, but I’m really excited.
“(The) NHL has been my goal ever since I started playing hockey,” Ilari added. “I think the timing was right.”

Ilari finished with 12 goals and 37 assists in 58 games while playing for TPS. In 15 playoff games last season he had two goals and 12 assists and was awarded the Jair Kurri Award as the Finnish Elite League’s playoff MVP.

The Wings signed him this summer to a one-year, two-way contract. He’ll make $500,000 if he makes the team out of camp or $105,000 if he’s sent to Grand Rapids.

“I’m prepared (to go to Grand Rapids),” Ilari said. “Whatever team I’m on I will play hard and help the team as well as I can.”

Ilari, who has played at center for most of his career, knows one thing both he and his brother must do … shoot more.

“I don’t know it’s something in your head, I don’t know why, but it’s the same thing with both of us,” said Ilari, who feels Valtteri is a better skater. “We just have to shoot more.”

Valtteri has done all he can to get his older brother prepared for anything.

“It’s a really tough team to crack into,” Valtteri said. “Hopefully everything goes well and we can play together. We may have to wait for that. I know he’s really happy.”


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