–The Wings and assistant coach Brad McCrimmon agreed to part ways after three seasons. McCrimmon, who worked mainly with the defense, has decided to pursue other opportunities. He would like to be a head coach. Former Wings draft pick Bob Boughner has emerged as a candidate to replace him. Boughner coached the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires to two Memorial Cup titles and was an assistant coach with Columbus last season.

–Ilari Filppula’s first season in North America was a success as the skilled Finnish forward led Grand Rapids in scoring and played in the AHL All-Star game. But it wasn’t enough to convince Filppula, the older brother of Wings center Valtteri, to stick around. He has opted to return to Europe, signing with the Finnish club Jokerit. Filppula, 29, had 20 goals and a team-leading 64 points in 76 games for the Griffins. But he was an average skater, prompting the Red Wings to look to younger, faster players when needing to recall someone.

“I’m not sure if we win the Stanley Cup in ’08 without Brian Rafalski. Not only was he a real good player, he was a perfect fit for Nick Lidstrom. The two of them were as good a tandem as there was in the NHL.” — Wings general manager Ken Holland.


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