01/05/2010 11:46 AM
This Week’s Games
Wed., Jan. 6 - San Antonio Rampage at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM / AHLLive.com
Fri., Jan. 8 - GRIFFINS at Rochester Americans - 7:05 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM / AHLLive.com / Time Warner Cable 26 (Rochester)
Sat., Jan. 9 - GRIFFINS at Hamilton Bulldogs - 7 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM / AHLLive.com
Last Week’s Results
Thu., Dec. 31 - Hamilton Bulldogs 7 at GRIFFINS 3 - 18-16-0-1, 37 pts. (T4th, North Division)
Sat., Jan. 2 - GRIFFINS 5 at Rockford IceHogs 4 SO - 19-16-0-1, 39 pts. (T4th)
Sun., Jan. 3 - Lake Erie Monsters 7 at GRIFFINS 2 - 19-17-0-1, 39 pts. (5th)
Winning Wednesday: Tomorrow, the Griffins will host the San Antonio Rampage for Winning Wednesday. All fans who were in attendance for Grand Rapids’ 4-2 win over the Rampage on Dec. 9 can redeem their ticket stub for a free ticket to the game. In addition, if the Griffins win this rematch, each fan will receive a free ticket to the Griffins vs. San Antonio game on Wednesday, Feb. 24. As part of Library Night, fans who present their Grand Rapids Public Library card or Kent District Library card can purchase a lower bowl ticket for just $10 (limit four tickets per card per person).
Litmus Test: The Griffins will reach the 40-game midpoint of their regular season schedule this weekend after road games on Friday at Rochester and Saturday at Hamilton. The Bulldogs and Americans rank 1-2, respectively, in both the North Division and the Western Conference standings, giving the Griffins a midterm glimpse of where they stand, as well as an opportunity to make up some lost ground. They currently trail Hamilton by 12 points and Rochester by seven points in the divisional race.
Winter Potholes: Grand Rapids, which has dropped five consecutive home games for the first time since Nov. 2007, has allowed at least five goals in each of its last four home games and in six of its last seven contests overall…After giving up 75 goals in their first 27 games this season, the Griffins have surrendered 50 in their last 10 games alone, a stretch during which they’ve posted a 2-7-0-1 mark and allowed fewer than four goals just once (a 4-2 win at Texas on Dec. 19)…Grand Rapids’ starting netminder has been pulled in five of the last seven games…The Griffins have surrendered seven goals in two straight home games, three of the last four home games, and in five contests overall this season. Never before had Grand Rapids allowed seven or more goals more than three times in an entire season.
Tatar Watch: Tomas Tatar is expected to return to the Griffins’ lineup on Wednesday after helping Slovakia (2-4) to an eighth-place finish at the World Junior Championship in Saskatchewan. In six games, he ranked among his country’s leaders with three goals (2nd), five points (T3rd) and a plus-two rating (1st). Tatar, who stands seventh on the Griffins in scoring (8-9—17) despite missing their last 10 games, should bring a spark to a team that has gone 2-7-0-1 since his Dec. 15 departure.
Skeleton Crew: Recent recalls and injuries – both in Detroit and Grand Rapids – have taken their toll on the Griffins’ lineup, forcing them to skate without some of their top players. Doug Janik (3-12—15, T10th overall, 3rd among defensemen) and Mattias Ritola (8-7—15, T10th) remain in Detroit, Tomas Tatar (8-9—17, 7th) has missed the last 10 games while with the Slovakian squad at the World Junior Championship, Sergei Kolosov (1-2—3) has missed three straight games due to injury, Jakub Kindl returned on Sunday following his own three-game stint on the sideline, and Kris Newbury (7-13—20, 4th) will serve the third and final game of an AHL suspension on Wednesday.
Who’s Hot?: Reebok/AHL Player of the Week nominee Jan Mursak is riding his second three-game goal streak of the season and has lit the lamp in five of his last seven contests. With 15 goals, he has passed Jeremy Williams for team supremacy in that category…Howell, Mich., native Trent Daavettila, signed by the Griffins to a tryout on Sunday, netted his first AHL goal in the 7-2 loss to the Monsters…Cory Emmerton has points in four straight games (1-3—4), tying his career high…Since posting no goals and seven assists in his first 21 games this season, Francis Pare has scored seven goals and contributed 12 points in his last 14 contests…Andy Delmore owns a three-game point streak (1-3—4).
Rissmiller an AHL All-Star: Griffins center Patrick Rissmiller has been selected to play for the PlanetUSA AHL All-Star Team at the 2010 Time Warner Cable AHL All-Star Classic, which will be held Jan. 18-19 at the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland, Maine. Since being reassigned to the Griffins by the New York Rangers on Oct. 22, the 31-year-old Rissmiller has registered points in 19 of 32 games to rank among the team’s leaders with 10 goals (3rd), 15 assists (1st), 25 points (T1st), four power play goals (T3rd) and two game-winning goals (T2nd). He is the first Griffins forward to be selected to play in an AHL All-Star Classic since Kip Miller captained PlanetUSA at the 2007 edition in Winnipeg. Rissmiller will be joined in Portland by five former Griffins: forwards Alexandre Giroux (Hershey), Darren Haydar (Lake Erie) and Ryan Keller (Binghamton), and defensemen Danny Groulx (Worcester) of the Canadian AHL All-Star Team, as well as forward Mark Cullen (Rockford) of the PlanetUSA All-Star Team.
Going for Gold: Three of the 12 men’s hockey teams that will compete at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver will be counting on former Griffins in their medal quest. Niklas Kronwall (2003-06) and Stefan Liv (2006-07), both of whom won gold with Sweden in the 2006 Turin Games, will look to repeat, while Slovakia’s Pavol Demitra (1996-97) and Tomas Kopecky (2002-06) and Finland’s Valtteri Filppula (2005-07) will try to dethrone the defending champs.
Syvret Scores a Classic: Former Griffin Danny Syvret netted his first NHL goal on New Year’s Day, scoring Philadelphia’s lone goal during the Flyers’ 2-1 overtime loss in the 2010 NHL Winter Classic at Fenway Park. He earned 20 points (4-16—20) and 16 PIM through 57 games with the Griffins during the 2006-07 season.
Shirts Off Their Backs: Twenty of the game-worn/game-issued jerseys donned by the Griffins on New Year’s Eve – which featured a fierce-looking Griff designed by local artist Chad B. Stilson – were auctioned to the public after the game, raising $9,625 for the Grand Valley State University club roller hockey team. Jan Mursak’s jersey drew a high bid of $950.
Wed., Jan. 6 vs. San Antonio Rampage (15-15-3-2) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 6:35 p.m. Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series: 29-13-1-1-0 Overall, 15-5-1-0-0 Home. Season Series: 1-3-0-0 Overall, 1-0-0-0 Home. Fifth of six meetings overall, second of three in Grand Rapids. NHL Affiliation: Phoenix Coyotes. Head Coach: Ray Edwards (1st season). Notes: The Rampage have climbed to 0.500 for the first time since Nov. 12 by going 4-0-0-1 in their last five games…The home team has won all four meetings between Grand Rapids and San Antonio this season…The Rampage have lost seven straight visits to Van Andel Arena, with their last win coming in 6-2 fashion on April 16, 2005.
Fri., Jan. 8 at Rochester Americans (22-13-2-0) – Blue Cross Arena – 7:05 p.m.
TV: Time Warner Cable 26 (Rochester) at 7 p.m. Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 6:35 p.m. Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series: 22-16-1-1-1 Overall, 9-10-0-1-0 Road. Season Series: 0-1-0-0 Overall, 0-0-0-0 Road. Second of six meetings overall, first of three in Rochester. NHL Affiliation: Florida Panthers. Head Coach: Benoit Groulx (2nd season). Notes: The Griffins and Amerks both rank in the AHL’s top five in goals scored and bottom six in goals allowed…Rochester has suffered only two regulation losses at home (13-2-2-0), best in the league…The Griffins have won their last four visits to Blue Cross Arena after posting a 3-0 mark there in 2008-09…The Americans own the AHL’s best home power play (26.8%), while Grand Rapids possesses the league’s worst road penalty kill (66.2%).
Sat., Jan. 9 at Hamilton Bulldogs (23-9-2-3) – Copps Coliseum – 7 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 6:35 p.m. Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series: 20-24-1-0-2 Overall, 9-14-0-0-0 Road. Season Series: 0-1-0-0 Overall, 0-0-0-0 Road. Second of six meetings overall, first of three in Hamilton. NHL Affiliation: Montreal Canadiens. Head Coach: Guy Boucher (1st season). Notes: The Griffins swept all three games in Hamilton during their playoff upset of the Bulldogs last spring, including a 4-1 victory in the Game 6 clincher on April 26…Grand Rapids won as many games at Copps Coliseum during that playoff series as it did in its previous 14 regular seasons tries (3-11-0-0) between Nov. 2005 and April 2009…The Bulldogs, who lead the Western Conference and rank second in the AHL with 51 points, defeated the Griffins 7-3 in this season’s only meeting, on New Year’s Eve at Van Andel Arena.