This Week’s Games
Fri., Dec. 12 - GRIFFINS at Manitoba Moose - 8:30 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM / AHLLive.com
Sat., Dec. 13 - GRIFFINS at Manitoba Moose - 8:30 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM / AHLLive.com
Last Week’s Results
Fri., Dec. 5 - Toronto Marlies 3 at GRIFFINS 2 OT - 12-5-3-3, 30 pts. (2nd, North Division)
Sat., Dec. 6 - Hamilton Bulldogs 5 at GRIFFINS 2 - 12-6-3-3, 30 pts. (3rd)
Open Season: The Griffins will face their two most important games of the season to date this Friday and Saturday, when they visit the MTS Centre in Winnipeg for their only road clashes with the North Division-leading Manitoba Moose. Grand Rapids currently sits in third place in the division, only four points in back of Manitoba and two behind second-place Hamilton.
Sled Hockey Showdown: Tonight, the Griffins will play their fourth-annual sled hockey game against the Grand Rapids Sled Wings, a talented team of physically challenged teenagers sponsored by the Griffins Youth Foundation in partnership with Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital. Faceoff at Griff’s IceHouse is set for 7 p.m., with the Griffins looking to avenge last season's gut-wrenching 4-3 defeat. Tickets will be available at the door for just $5 (free to children 2 and under). From 6-7 p.m., fans can try out a sled on the ice for a $1 donation, challenge a Griffins player to a game of bubble hockey or air hockey for a $3 donation, or take part in a free autograph session with Griffins players. All proceeds from the event benefit the Sled Wings and the Griffins Youth Foundation.
Come One, Come All: The Griffins stand fifth in the AHL with an average attendance of 6,576, a year-to-date increase of 18.3% over the first 13 home contests of 2007-08 (5,559) and 32.4% over the first 13 home games of 2006-07 (4,968). The team’s total attendance of 85,484 is its highest through 13 home games in eight years, since the 2000-01 campaign (97,854).
All Good Things Must End: Saturday’s 5-2 loss to Hamilton snapped the Griffins’ six-game overall point streak (4-0-1-1) and eight-game home point streak (5-0-1-2), and it marked Grand Rapids’ first regulation loss this season to a North Division rival (now 5-1-2-1). The Griffins’ eight-game point streak at Van Andel Arena was their longest since a 9-0 stretch from March 1-April 14, 2006.
Go Easy, Go Hard: This weekend’s games in Manitoba are the only two contests the Griffins will play in a 10-day span from Dec. 7-16. Starting with their Dec. 17 home game against Syracuse, they will play eight times over the final 15 days of the month.
Chelios Makes AHL History: Chris Chelios was recalled by the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday, finishing his two-game conditioning stint as a Griffin with one assist, two penalty minutes, four shots and an even rating. According to the Society for International Hockey Research, the 46-year-old future Hall of Famer became the oldest player in the 73-year history of the AHL, supplanting former Hershey Bears trainer William “Scotty” Alexander, who was thrown between the pipes in an emergency during the 1953-54 season at the tender age of 45.
Daniel’s Den: Daniel Larsson made a season-high 38 saves in Friday’s 3-2 overtime loss to Toronto, putting his record at 5-1-1 with two shutouts, a 1.77 GAA and a 0.935 save percentage (188-201) over his last eight games…Oddly, Larsson is 0-3 in his first decision of each month and 7-0-1 in all other contests.
Youth is Served: Cory Emmerton netted his first pro goal on Saturday against Hamilton, giving him points in four of the last six games (1-4—5)…Justin Abdelkader has points in five of his last seven outings (1-5—6)…Jamie Tardif has contributed points in four of the last five contests (2-2—4).
Alumni Notes: Since being recalled by Dallas on Nov. 21, Landon Wilson has tallied two points (1-1—2) and 10 PIM in eight games, averaging 9:57 of ice time. Despite his absence from Grand Rapids’ last nine games, he still places among the club’s leaders with eight goals (3rd), 15 points (T5th), 37 PIM (3rd) and seven power play goals (1st)…Last Thursday, former Griffin Derek Meech (2004-08) scored his first NHL goal on a wraparound during the Red Wings’ 6-5 win over Vancouver, in what was his 50th NHL contest with Detroit.
Take Me to Your Leaders: Several Griffins rank among the AHL’s individual leaders: Justin Abdelkader – T11th rookie points (16); Cory Emmerton – T5th rookie assists (12); Tom Galvin – 5th defenseman shooting percentage (0.167); Jakub Kindl – T15th defenseman points (13); Daniel Larsson – T4th shutouts (2), 17th GAA (2.56); Garrett Stafford – T8th defenseman points (15); Landon Wilson – T3rd power play goals (7).
Miss You: As of Landon Wilson’s recall to the Dallas Stars on Nov. 21, the Griffins ranked third in the AHL with an average of 3.60 goals per game (54 goals in 15 contests). Their output has since dropped by more than a goal per game, having scored just 23 goals in the last nine outings for a 2.56 average. Overall, Grand Rapids now ranks 10th in the league at 3.21 goals per game.
On Pace for 100: The Griffins have 30 points through their first 24 games, putting them on pace for exactly 100 points and their fifth 100-point campaign in 13 seasons (115 in 2005-06; 106 in 2002-03; 113 in 2000-01; 111 in 1999-00).
Hard to Kill: The Griffins’ six regulation losses are tied for the fewest in the Western Conference and second-fewest in the AHL, but their six losses past regulation time (3 OTL, 3 SOL) are the most in the league.
Get Back on Track: After denying all 17 opponent power play chances from Nov. 26-30, going 3-0-0-1 in the process, the Griffins surrendered three goals on eight opponent opportunities while going 0-1-1-0 last weekend.
Fri., Dec. 12 at Manitoba Moose (17-6-0-0) – MTS Centre – 8:30 p.m.
Sat., Dec. 13 at Manitoba Moose – MTS Centre – 8:30 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 8:05 p.m. each night. Web Casts: Video web cast ($6 at AHLLive.com) and audio web cast (free at woodradio.com) available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series (W-L-T-OTL-SOL): 37-20-1-0-7 Overall, 17-12-0-0-2 Road. Season Series: First and second of four meetings overall, first and second of two in Winnipeg. NHL Affiliation: Vancouver Canucks. Head Coach: Scott Arniel (3rd season). Notes: The Griffins and Moose are tied for first in the Western Conference with just six regulation losses apiece…Manitoba is the only team in the conference yet to lose after regulation time…Moose netminder Cory Schneider leads the AHL with a 1.37 GAA and ranks second with a 0.945%...Manitoba’s penalty killers rank second in the league (88.7%) while its power play places only 25th (13.8%)…The Moose are the only AHL team that has not allowed a shorthanded goal…They lead the circuit in goals allowed (2.13) and stand fifth in goals scored (3.39), giving them the second-largest scoring margin in the league (1.26)…Former Griffin Mark Cullen (2007-08) is tied for the Moose lead in scoring with 20 points (10-10—20), while Darryl Bootland (2002-07), Grand Rapids’ all-time leader in penalty minutes with 1,164, has contributed eight points (4-4—8) and 40 PIM in 13 appearances…Griffins center Darren Helm hails from St. Andrews, Manitoba, located 35 miles north of Winnipeg.