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WELCOME MATT (AND DARRYL)

Matt Ellis (left) and Darryl Bootland

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – With less than a month remaining in the regular season, the Grand Rapids Griffins received a boost this week with the assignments of center Matt Ellis and right wing Darryl Bootland from the Detroit Red Wings. Ellis cleared NHL waivers at noon today, while Bootland rejoined the team on Wednesday.

Now in their ninth season as teammates, dating back to their 1998-99 OHL campaign with St. Michael’s, Ellis and Bootland skated together for the first time in the NHL during the Red Wings’ 4-3 shootout win over Nashville on March 6.

The Griffins’ captain, Ellis was recalled on Feb. 24 while in the midst of the most prolific stretch of his career. Then the reigning AHL Player of the Week, he had tallied his first hat trick as a Griffin (Feb. 16), become just the fifth player in franchise history to record back-to-back 20-goal campaigns (Feb. 17), earned his first player of the week honors (Feb. 19), and set his new AHL high with his 21st goal of the season (Feb. 23).

Ellis, who has now logged 16 games with the Red Wings during his debut NHL season, owns a six-game point streak with the Griffins (6-3—9) that is his longest in the AHL, and he has points in nine of his last 10 games (7-6—13) with the club. He stands second on the Griffins with 42 points (21-21—42) in 52 games.

Bootland leads the Griffins with six game-winning goals and 185 penalty minutes while tying for fifth on the team with 29 points (17-12—29) in 56 appearances. He appeared in six games for Detroit during his callup, his first action with the Red Wings since he concluded a 22-game NHL run on Dec. 20, 2003.

Both players will be in the lineup on Friday when the Griffins visit the Manitoba Moose at 8:30 p.m. EDT.

The Griffins made two additional player moves earlier this week, assigning left wing Mike Walsh to the ECHL’s Toledo Storm on Tuesday and releasing defenseman Cleve Kinley from his amateur tryout on Wednesday.


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