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GREAT EXPECTATIONS

02/06/2015 4:02 PM -
As a highly touted Red Wings prospect, Anthony Mantha is learning it’s a long road from Grand Rapids to Detroit.
 
Anthony Mantha remembers what it was like when he was first learning to play.
                
“When you’re young, it’s all about having fun,” Mantha said. “We would go to the park outside and just skate. My dad and my grandfather would take me to free skates and that was the main message, just have fun, probably all the way up to midget AAA.”
                
Almost from the beginning, Mantha excelled. A natural athlete, he has participated in a plethora of sports – tennis, golf, cross country, handball, soccer, badminton – but hockey was his first love. “Back in those days, it was easy,” he said. “You’re just having fun with your friends and hanging out.”
                
If Mantha is feeling a little nostalgic about growing up in Longueuil, Quebec, north of Montreal, it’s because his first professional season has not been easy.
                
Expectations were high. Many people had anointed Mantha to be the next star in Detroit despite the fact that he is only 20 years old and is still learning to use all of his tools.
                
“For Anthony Mantha, it’s a process,” said Griffins head coach Jeff Blashill. “Everybody wanted to expediate his timeline to a very, very unfair degree. This is a hard, hard league and it’s a huge jump from major junior. I thought the expectations were extremely unfair.”

"ROZIE" DREAMS

02/06/2015 3:54 PM -
After a nightmare 2013-14 season, Griffins goaltender Jared Coreau envisions a brighter future.
                
Not everyone remembers the day they decided what they wanted to do with their life, but Jared Coreau definitely remembers his.
                
“I was at my first NHL game,” Coreau said. “It was Buffalo against Ottawa at the Corel Centre, and I was 5 years old at the time. We sat three rows behind the glass. I don’t remember watching the game, but I do remember staring at the goalies the whole time. It was Damian Rhodes for Ottawa and Dominik Hasek for Buffalo.
                
“I watched everything they did. I watched how they drank water, how they skated to the corners and back. I especially watched Hasek because he had a few quirky things that he did. I watched them the whole time.
                
“The next morning I woke up and told my parents that I wanted to be a goalie. I think they looked at each other like, ‘Oh boy, this is going to cost us some serious money,’ but that’s how it started.”
                
Jeff and Sharon Coreau acquiesced to their son’s wishes, buying him a helmet and used goalie pads. Eventually they bought his first set of custom goalie pads – a set of blue and white Bauer pads in the style of Curtis Joseph, Jared’s favorite goaltender at the time. “I can remember pulling them out of the box,” he said. “I actually slept the whole night in my gear because I refused to take it off, that’s how much I loved it.”

PRETTY LUCKY GUY

02/06/2015 3:48 PM -
Mike Knuble is grateful for all of the opportunities he has enjoyed in hockey, including his current position as an assistant coach for the Griffins.
                
When Mike Knuble looks back on his hockey career, he says that he has "no regrets whatsoever," which is not surprising given all he accomplished after playing four years at the University of Michigan:
                
• Selected in the fourth round of the 1991 NHL Entry Draft by Detroit, he broke into the NHL with the Red Wings, playing on both the 1997 and 1998 Stanley Cup championship teams;
                
• Traded to the New York Rangers for a second-round draft choice (eventual Griffin Tomas Kopecky) before the 1998-99 season, he got the opportunity to play with Wayne Gretzky, his childhood hero;
                
• Played in Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, where his teammates included Joe Thornton, Peter Forsberg and Alex Ovechkin;
                
• Recorded nine straight 20-goal seasons after the age of 30, including two seasons where he topped the 30-goal mark;
                
• Played in the 2006 Winter Olympics, representing the United States (thanks to dual citizenship; he was born in Toronto but raised in Kentwood);
                
• Appeared in 1,068 games over the course of 16 NHL seasons.
                
Knuble is "very satisfied" with his career, but he still loves the game, so he's now happy to be serving as an assistant coach to Griffins head coach Jeff Blashill and his staff.

GOLD STANDARD

02/06/2015 3:42 PM -
Former U.S. Olympian Lisa Brown-Miller wants to continue to do her part to promote youth hockey in the Grand Rapids area.

When Lisa Brown-Miller looks at the Griffins Youth Foundation hockey program, she sees opportunity.
                
Having gone from the only girl on boys teams growing up to a member of the gold medal-winning U.S. women's hockey team at the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan, she is living proof that playing hockey can be a life-changing experience.
                
Working with young female hockey players as a coach in the Griffins Youth Foundation program, she is doing her best to share her experience and expertise in hopes of making a difference.
                
"Hockey challenges you to step outside of your comfort zone or to at least make that box a little bit bigger," she said. "I tell girls to accept the challenge and have fun with it. You might fall the first time, but you can know that you're going to get better every time you get on the ice.
                
"I fell down a lot when I started. Falling down is OK. Just get back up and go again."

LISTEN UP!

12/19/2014 12:04 AM -
Andy Miele is doing his best to improve his play to a level that pricks up the ears of the Red Wings' front office.
                
When you think about the various skills required to play in the National Hockey League, the ability to listen is probably not the first one that comes to mind. And yet, there may be no more important quality for a player interested in improving his game.
                
Hockey is a sport where self-preservation is a natural urge, and the tendency of some players is to hear only what they want to hear. Thinking they know what is best for them, young players all too often believe the quickest way to the NHL is the path of least resistance.            
                
Andy Miele has learned to listen.
                
It was not always so. As a youngster growing up in Grosse Pointe Woods near Detroit, Miele (pronounced mee-lee) was a bit of a pistol with a rebellious streak. Having been raised on 8 Mile like rapper Eminen, he wonders if he might have had a little bit of a gangster attitude.
                
"I was probably a tough kid to deal with," said Miele, who started skating when he was 4. "When I was real young, my mom and dad would have to pin me down to get me dressed because I didn't want to go to the rink."
                
Miele liked to play hockey – in fact, he played all sports except football – but practice was another story. "Some days I wanted to go, but if I didn't want to go, I didn't want to go. So on certain days, for a little bit, they had to push me."


SKATE LIKE THE WIND
December 19, 2014 12:03 AM

HOCKEY AMBASSADOR
December 19, 2014 12:02 AM

POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT
December 19, 2014 12:01 AM

GROWING CONFIDENCE
October 10, 2014 1:15 AM

GREECED LIGHTNING
October 10, 2014 1:07 AM

MICHIGAN MAN
October 10, 2014 1:03 AM

CONFIDENT CONFIDANTS
October 10, 2014 12:57 AM

THE QUEST TO REPEAT
March 29, 2014 2:12 PM

REMAKE/REMODEL
March 29, 2014 2:02 PM

RADIO MVP
March 29, 2014 1:56 PM

POSITIVE ATTITUDE
January 30, 2014 10:28 AM

TAKING FLIGHT
January 30, 2014 10:22 AM

MAKING THE GRADE
January 30, 2014 10:17 AM

MEDAL WINNER
January 30, 2014 10:11 AM

NO BUS FOR GUS
December 13, 2013 1:34 AM

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