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12/21/2010 9:23 AM -

This Week’s Games
Wed., Dec. 22 - Toronto Marlies at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. -
Buy Tickets / WOOD 1300 AM /

Sun., Dec. 26 - Lake Erie Monsters at GRIFFINS - 4 p.m. -
Buy Tickets / ESPN 96.1 FM /

Mon., Dec. 27 - GRIFFINS at Chicago Wolves - 8 p.m. - ESPN 96.1 FM /

Last Week’s Results
Wed., Dec. 15 - Houston Aeros 2 at GRIFFINS 5 - 13-12-1-4, 31 pts. (5th, North Division) 

Fri., Dec. 17 - Peoria Rivermen 5 at GRIFFINS 2 - 13-13-1-4, 31 pts. (6th) 

Sat., Dec. 18 - GRIFFINS 1 at Peoria Rivermen 2 - 13-14-1-4, 31 pts. (T6th) 

Yuletide Cheer: The Griffins will continue their busy home December with two games at Van Andel Arena this week. After entertaining Toronto on Wednesday, they’ll wake from their yuletide slumber on Sunday by hosting Lake Erie for their semi-traditional day-after-Christmas affair. This will mark the ninth time in 15 seasons that the Griffins play at home on Dec. 26; they won their first four (1996, 2000, 2002 and 2003) before dropping each of the last four (2004, 2006, 2008 in OT and 2009).

Fun at the Van: Wed. vs. TOR – It’s Hockey Night! Fans can show their tickets to receive drink specials and 20% off food at participating Arena District restaurants and bars, both before and after the game. It’s also a Winning Wednesday, as all fans who were in attendance for the Griffins’ 5-2 win over Houston on Dec. 15 can redeem their ticket stubs for free tickets to this game. Fans can take advantage of the Library Night discount and join the Griffins at the post-game party at Peppino’s downtown. Sun. vs. LE - Sunday is Fun Day! Fans can enjoy $1 Cole’s breadsticks and $1 Pepsi products from 3-5 p.m. Kids in attendance will receive a hockey skate Crazy Band, while the first 1,500 fans will receive a Jan Mursak jersey card presented by Jack Links. Fans can take advantage of the Library Night and Fan 4 Pack discounts, then stick around for the Huntington Bank post-game autograph session and the J & H Family Stores post-game skate.

Sharing the Christmas Spirit?: Wednesday’s clash between the Griffins and Marlies at Van Andel Arena will be their first since Grand Rapids dropped a penalty-filled 3-1 decision in Toronto on Nov. 24. In that contest, the Griffins were whistled off for a franchise-record 112 penalty minutes, breaking the mark of 104 that was set 13 seasons ago on April 11, 1998 versus Quebec. The game’s combined 218 PIM, which also set a Griffins record, included 184 PIM during the third period (96 for Grand Rapids, 88 for Toronto), when three players from each squad received game misconducts.

Griffins Give Back: Thanks to the Griffins Give Back program, approximately 3,000 tickets for this Sunday’s contest against Lake Erie are being distributed to local unemployed workers and their families. While supplies last, those who visit any of the three Grand Rapids offices of Michigan Works! in person and present both proof of unemployment and a valid Michigan photo I.D. can receive up to four free tickets to the game.

Reebok/AHL Player of the Week Nominee: The Griffins on Monday nominated right wing Francis Pare for the Reebok/AHL Player of the Week award, after he recorded five points (3-2—5) and an even rating in three games last week. After tallying three points (1-2—3) and assisting on the game-winner in Wednesday’s 5-2 win over Houston, he accounted for both Grand Rapids goals in Friday’s 5-2 loss to Peoria, earning Second Star honors in each contest. Pare now ranks among the Griffins’ leaders with nine goals (4th), 14 assists (2nd), 23 points (T2nd), eight power play assists (1st), nine power play points (T2nd) and four first goals (1st).

Enjoy Him While it Lasts: Defenseman Jakub Kindl is scheduled to return to the Detroit Red Wings following Wednesday’s game against Toronto. He shows three points (1-2—3) in seven games during his conditioning stint and needs just one more assist to tie Tomas Kopecky and Ed Patterson (75 each) for ninth place on Grand Rapids’ all-time assists list.

Standing Ovation: Grand Rapids currently ranks fourth in the AHL in attendance – the same position in which it finished the 2009-10 campaign – with an average of 5,696.

Short Story: Grand Rapids, which scored eight shorthanded goals all last season, is tied for the AHL lead with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton with that same number after netting five shorthanded goals in its last 11 games.

Hectic Holidays: Grand Rapids will tie a franchise record in December by playing 10 home games during a single month, something it has done just twice before to great success. The Griffins, who are 3-3-1-0 so far, went 6-3-1-0 in December 2007 after going 7-2-1 in February 1999.

So Close Yet So Far: The Griffins are 5-8-1-4 in games decided by one goal including a 1-4-1-4 mark at Van Andel Arena, where nine of their 13 total losses have been by a single goal.

Kudos: Joey MacDonald is tied for 14th among AHL netminders with a 2.45 GAA…Brendan Smith’s 19 points (7-12—19) tie for 10th among AHL rookies and 11th among defensemen, while his seven goals tie for third among blueliners…Francis Pare’s three-game point streak (3-3—6) was snapped on Saturday…Jamie Johnson’s five-game scoring run (3-4—7) ended last Friday…Jamie Tardif’s four-game point streak (2-4—6) was halted on Saturday.

On the Mend: Cory Emmerton, who was tied for the Griffins’ scoring lead as of Dec. 4 with 19 points, has missed the last nine games due to injury.

Milestones: Francis Pare needs just one more goal to become the 14th player to score 50 during his Griffins career…Jamie Tardif has played 271 career games as a Griffin, putting him nine behind sixth-place Dave Van Drunen (280) on the team’s all-time list. Meanwhile, 10th-place Derek Meech (260) sits just two games behind ninth-place Evan McGrath (262) and four behind eighth-place Derek King (264)…Last Friday’s game marked Jamie Johnson’s 300th AHL contest.

Scouting Report

Wed., Dec. 22 vs. Toronto Marlies (15-12-0-4) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 6:45 p.m. Web Casts: Video web cast at, free audio available through All-Time Series: 20-17-1-0 Overall, 11-6-1-0 Home. Season Series: 1-1-0-0 Overall, 0-0-0-0 Home. Third of six meetings overall, first of three in Grand Rapids. NHL Affiliation: Toronto Maple Leafs. Head Coach: Dallas Eakins (2nd season). Notes: Griffins goalie Joey MacDonald split last season between the Marlies (14-19-3, 2 SO, 3.18 GAA in 36 games) and parent Maple Leafs (1-4-0, 3.20 GAA in six games)…Grand Rapids defenseman Brian Lashoff is the younger brother of Marlies blueliner Matt Lashoff, and Wednesday could mark their first-ever game against each other in organized competition…Toronto is 9-5-0-3 on the road.

Sun., Dec. 26 vs. Lake Erie Monsters (13-13-3-4) – Van Andel Arena – 4 p.m.
Radio: ESPN 96.1 FM at 3:45 p.m. Web Casts: Video web cast at, free audio available through All-Time Series: 15-10-1-3 Overall, 9-5-0-0 Home. Season Series: 1-2-0-0 Overall, 0-1-0-0 Home. Fourth of eight meetings overall, second of four in Grand Rapids. NHL Affiliation: Colorado Avalanche. Head Coach: David Quinn (2nd season). Notes: Patrick Rissmiller, who ranked second on Grand Rapids with 45 points last season, has 11 points (5-6—11) in 15 games since joining Lake Erie from the Chicago Wolves…Lake Erie is just 5-9-1-2 away from Quicken Loans Arena…The Griffins (8) and Monsters (7) have combined for 15 shorthanded goals this season.

Mon., Dec. 27 at Chicago Wolves (16-15-2-0) – Allstate Arena – 8 p.m.
TV: Comcast 100 (Chicago) at 8 p.m. Radio: ESPN 96.1 FM at 7:45 p.m. Web Casts: Video web cast at, free audio available through All-Time Series: 47-34-2-3-2 Overall, 23-21-0-1-0 Road. Season Series: 2-0-0-0 Overall, 1-0-0-0 Road. Third of six meetings overall, second of three in Rosemont. NHL Affiliation: Atlanta Thrashers. Head Coach: Don Lever (2nd season). Notes: The Griffins set or tied seven franchise records in their 10-8 win at Chicago on Nov. 27, while Tomas Tatar set or tied five individual marks…Since taking a 4-2 home win against the Wolves on Nov. 6, Grand Rapids is 7-11-1-2…Chicago is 6-3-1-0 in its last 10 games…Darren Haydar, who paced the Griffins with 80 points (31-49—80) during the 2008-09 season, is back with the Wolves and currently shows 28 points (11-17—28) in 30 games.

Griffins Game Rewinds

Dec. 18 - GR 1 at PEO 2
ESPN Radio Highlights:   Tatar Goal     Peoria Goal 2
Official Game Report
Dec. 17 - PEO 5 at GR 2
GriffVision Video Interviews
ESPN Radio Highlights: Pare 1st goal    Pare 2nd goal
Flickr Photo Gallery
Official Game Report
Dec. 15 - HOU 2 at GR 5
GriffVision Video Interviews
ESPN Radio Highlights:  Owens SH goal    Johnson goal
Official Game Report

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