Three Detroit Red Wings players went into the semifinals of the IIHF World Championship looking to advance to Sunday’s gold-medal game. All three will be settling for a chance at bronze.
Forward Riley Barber of Detroit and the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins and the USA Hockey squad were edged 4-3 by Finland in one semifinal. Red Wings athletic therapist Piet Van Zant and former Detroit coach Jeff Blashill are also on the USA staff.
In the other semifinal, Canada put a 6-1 whipping on Czechia. Red Wings defenseman Filip Hronek drew an assist on the lone Czech goal. Detroit winger Jakub Vrana is also playing for Czechia.
Finland's fourth consecutive Gold Medal Game, incl. Olympics. Valtteri Filppula can become Finland's first member in the #TripleGoldClub and the 30th player to join this exclusive society.https://t.co/PaFncaOtcj
— Szymon Szemberg (@Sz1909_Szemberg) May 28, 2022
The USA and Czechia will meet Sunday for the bronze medal, with the Canada-Finland gold-medal match to follow.
Last year, Canada won the gold medal and then-Red Wings defenseman Troy Stecher was playing a key role with the Canadian club. The closest thing Canada has this year to a Red Wings connection is Columbus Blue Jackets forward Cole Sillinger. He’s the son of ex-Detroit forward Mike Sillinger.
Filppula Nearing Triple Gold Club Membership
Finland is offering a much more intriguing Red Wings connection in former Detroit forward Valtteri Filppula, who is captaining the squad.
“Our goal was to go to the final so we are happy that we are here now, but hopefully we will make our best match (Sunday),” Filppula told Aftonbladet.se
Filppula was also captain earlier this year at the Bejiing Winter Olympics when the Finns took home the gold. He won a Stanley Cup with the 2007-08 Red Wings. With a win on Sunday, Filppula will become the 30th player in the IIHF Triple Gold Club and the 10th with a connection to the Red Wings.
“It would be fantastic,” Filppula admitted. “I have been in a good team and hopefully we can win another match and it would be a bonus to be part of that group.”
Another Verbeek Leaving Red Wings
One member of the Verbeek family left the Red Wings organization midway through last season when Detroit assistant GM Pat Verbeek accepted the role as GM of the Anaheim Ducks.
— Jay (@hwcJay) November 6, 2021
Now the other Verbeek has also skipped town. Forward Hayden Verbeek, Pat’s nephew who split last season between the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins and ECHL Toledo Walleye, will be playing in Europe next season. Verbeek is signing with HK Spisska Nova Ves of the Slovak Extraliga.
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