03/13/2013 12:05 AM
Rookie goaltender Petr Mrazek has sparkled during his first professional season.
When Petr Mrazek won his debut in a Red Wings uniform, his Detroit teammates could hardly contain their enthusiasm.
“He's awesome," said forward Cory Emmerton, who was one of five Red Wings to score in the 5-1 road victory over the St. Louis Blues on Feb. 7. "I didn't really know what to expect, but he was great. He had no problem playing the puck. He looked very confident. He made huge stops.”
"Mrazek did a great job in net, very stellar, calm back there,” said defenseman Niklas Kronwall. "He never really panicked whatsoever. I thought he was square to the puck all night, kept control of the rebounds. I thought he looked really good.”
"He played well,” said Red Wings coach Mike Babcock. “He really handles the puck well. That makes it easy for the D. The other thing I liked about him is he didn't generate second chances for them. The puck wasn't coming off him. It was soft; it was under control. Good for the kid. It's not an easy league to play in.”
Mrazek, who was a week away from his 21st birthday, became the youngest goalie to start for the Red Wings since Chris Osgood was 20 years, 10 months, 19 days old when he made his 1993-94 debut.
03/13/2013 12:04 AM
Red Wings prospect Riley Sheahan has come to realize that he has been given the chance to do something that very few are able to achieve.
Life is what you make it.
Growing up, Riley Sheahan and his older sister Karli were encouraged to participate in sports by their parents, Mike and Peggy, who were both physical education teachers in St. Catharines, Ontario.
“We always had access to gyms when we were young,” Sheahan recalled. “At times, I was more into basketball than hockey because both my parents were basketball coaches. My mom even played basketball at a Canadian university.”
As the family was living north of the 49th parallel, however, it was almost inevitable that Sheahan would eventually gravitate toward hockey. “Most of my friends were playing hockey and I eventually realized that I was better at hockey than I was at basketball.”
While his sister turned her sights on rowing (she earned a scholarship to the University of Texas), Sheahan focused on hockey, eventually playing Junior B hockey in his hometown and earning the attention of the University of Notre Dame.
Although he visited Boston College, Sheahan admits there wasn’t much debate about where he was headed. Coming from an Irish family, Notre Dame seemed a natural fit.
03/13/2013 12:03 AM
Entrepreneurial defenseman Nathan Paetsch is determined to be successful on and off the ice.
Griffins defenseman Nathan Paetsch was born in LeRoy, Saskatchewan, a small town located in the western prairies of Canada – an environment that would exert a big influence over his life.
“It made me the person I am today,” said Paetsch, who has fond memories of growing up in a town of 400 people. “It was a great place to grow up.
“My dad had a key to the rink down the road, so I had the opportunity to skate whenever I wanted. It was just a safe feeling. I’d get home from school and play street hockey for hours. You knew when dinner time was and you just went home.”
Paetsch, who has an older sister, spent most of his formative years being coached by his electrician father, Rich, a demanding disciplinarian who had plenty of advice for his son.
“He definitely pushed me,” he recalled. “Like most of his generation, he was old school. He was a strong voice in my development and he helped build my character.”
03/13/2013 12:02 AM
Getting into the AHL playoffs is the first step on what every team hopes will be a journey to a Calder Cup championship.
Jeff Hoggan is the only Griffins player who has lifted the Calder Cup trophy, having won the AHL championship as a member of the Houston Aeros following the 2002-03 regular season.
Even though a decade has passed since his rookie year, Hoggan said it doesn’t seem that long ago. “It seems like yesterday,” he said. “It was my first year and I thought there were more to come.”
The Griffins’ captain learned that it wasn’t that easy. In fact, since that time, he has not been on a team that has even come close.
He hopes that changes this year.
“You don’t want to get too carried away. As the cliché goes, you don’t want to put the cart before the horse because we’re still fighting for a playoff spot,” he said. “But I have a feeling.”
It’s the same special feeling that he had as a member of the Aeros.
03/13/2013 12:01 AM
The move by the Griffins Youth Foundation to expand its hockey program to high school-age students has been a blessing for players like Travus Thrun and Kylie Lindsey.
Travus Thrun and Kylie Lindsey have little in common, except for one thing – they both love to play hockey.
Both are grateful that they still get to participate in their favorite sport, an opportunity that would not have been available to them if the Griffins Youth Foundation hadn’t expanded its program to include 10th- through 12th-grade students this season.
Travus, who was recently named the Youth Foundation’s Player of the Year, is a cognitively impaired junior at Northview High School. He joined the Youth Foundation in 2004 when he was 10.
Kylie, meanwhile, is a senior at Wyoming High School, where she gets good grades while balancing her work schedule between two part-time jobs. Her school has no hockey program, so the Youth Foundation gives her the chance to play.
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