Nov. 2, 2011
by Kristi Page - griffinshockey.com
Chris Conner isn’t the easiest player to spot at first glance. Standing at 5-7, he is the shortest player on the Griffins roster. But as fans are finding out through the first month of the season, once the puck drops, he becomes very hard to miss.
The 28-year-old Conner is off to a fast start for the 2011-12 Griffins season, after spending last season in the NHL with Pittsburgh. The speedy winger recorded seven goals and nine assists in 60 games with the Penguins, proving to be an asset for the team.
“It was awesome. Obviously, it was the best year I have had in hockey,” said Conner. “They are a great organization that gave me a chance, and I really enjoyed it there.”
After two seasons in the Penguins’ organization, Conner became a free agent and signed with Detroit on July 7. A native of Livonia, Mich., Conner is happy to be back in his home state.
“I like it a lot. It’s nice because my family is from here, and it is nice for them to be able to come to games,” explained Conner. “Along with that, Detroit is a great organization as well. They have a good history, and I have always wanted to play for them. I always watched the Red Wings growing up, so I was happy that they had interest in me and I was able to sign here.”
In preparation for this season, Conner says he has been maintaining his same workout routine while continuing skating. However, one thing he worked hard to improve is his goal scoring ability.
“I was really working on my shooting this summer. I think it is something I need to work on, I think I can always get better at it,” said Conner.
In his case, hard work has paid off. Conner has had a phenomenal start to the season and is continuing to produce points for the Griffins. Needless to say, head coach Curt Fraser is glad to have Conner as a part of the Griffins roster.
“Chris Conner is a very welcome addition to our hockey club,” Fraser said. “He had a great year in the NHL last year, and he comes to us now and he adds a ton of speed to our team.”
Already with five goals on the season, Conner has proved to be a major offensive contributor. He was able to make his mark on the scoresheet immediately, tallying nine points (3-6—9) over the team’s first five games.
“He has 13 points, and he hasn’t even found his stride yet,” said Fraser. “We are looking for big things out of Chris. He has got off to a great start for us and hopefully he has a great year here.”
Despite being the smallest player on the roster, Conner is not to be overlooked. The former Michigan Tech standout has worked hard and compensated for his frame with his speed.
“Growing up as the smaller guy makes you work extra hard, kind of motivates you. People always count you out because you’re small, and I just use that to light a little fire and work hard,” Conner said. “I like to use my speed and make it frustrating for the other team.”
Early in the season, Conner has been successful in using his speed and creating difficulties for the other team. On Oct. 18 against the Hamilton Bulldogs, Conner became the fourth player in Griffin’s history to score two shorthanded goals in one game.
“We played well that game and we were able to win,” stated Conner, “I like contributing to help the team win and get a good spot in playoffs.”
Conner was named the Griffins alternate captain last month, to help push the team to better themselves as players.
“I’m excited about it,” said Conner. “I try to lead by my actions instead of yelling and screaming. I just want to be a kind of role model for the guys and show them that if you work hard, it’ll pay off.”