03/03/2011 8:00 AM
March 3, 2011
GRAND RAPIDS — Logan Pyett was surprised to learn that he had made Grand Rapids Griffins history.
On Sunday night in Hamilton, the 22-year-old became the first defenseman in the franchise’s 15 years to record a hat trick when he scored three times in a span of 11 minutes, 6 seconds in the second period of a 5-2 win.
“I was getting a little lucky, getting some bounces,” Pyett said. “It was hard to wipe the grin off after the second, that’s for sure.”
He didn’t even want to think about that it took Detroit Red Wings captain and future Hall of Famer Nicklas Lidstrom more than 1,400 games before he recorded his first professional hat trick earlier this season.
“I’m not really in that class,” Pyett said with a laugh.
Perhaps not, but Pyett has made strides in his development in his third season with the Griffins. The hat trick gave him nine goals, equaling his output from last season, although he still hopes to increase his assist totals — he has 11 after recording 21 last year — and improve his minus-2 rating.
“I think I started this year kind of slow,” Pyett said. “I wasn’t really happy with my production or how things were going, and the last couple of weeks the team has been playing better and as a result it’s been helping me. I think my game has improved since the first half of the year, so hopefully I can keep it up.”
Pyett sometimes can be overlooked on the Griffins’ deep blueline, playing alongside NHL veterans (Derek Meech, Doug Janik), rugged fighters (Greg Amadio) and hot prospects (Brendan Smith).
But coach Curt Fraser knows how valuable Pyett has been to the Griffins.
“I think he’s gotten better each year. Obviously you’d love to see more of what we saw from the last game to get peoples’ attention,” Fraser said. “But at the same time, I think he’s done a good job for us. The bonus benefit about Logan is he’s a good offensive player that can produce.”
That’s why Fraser wasn’t surprised by Pyett’s recent three-goal outburst.
“We’ve actually been expecting that to happen for some time now,” Fraser said. “He’s got all kinds of great skills and tools offensively, and it was only a matter of time until he put together a game like that.”
Pyett said he has struggled to find the consistency he had last season, when he was the only Griffin to appear in all 80 games and had a plus-7 rating. He was hampered at the start of the season by an injured hip that forced him to miss five games, but he doesn’t want to use that as an excuse.
He just wants to finish the season strong and help the Griffins make a playoff push.
“Right now, it doesn’t look like I’ll surpass my numbers from last year, which is disappointing because you set goals for yourself at the beginning of the year, but there’s still 19 games left,” Pyett said. “I’ve still got that time left to improve.”
At 5-foot-10, Pyett is considered small for a defenseman, but he skates well and obviously knows what to do with the puck offensively. With a few more games like Sunday’s, he might be able to distinguish himself from the rest of the defensive unit.
Not that he even cares about that.
“We’ve all got our roles. We know what we have to do and we’re all pretty comfortable with each other,” Pyett said. “We just help each other out. I don’t think there’s any overshadowing and there certainly isn’t any jealousy or anything like that. They were obviously happy for me when I scored my goals, and I’m happy for them when they score them to.
“Everyone just kind of players their role and does what they need to do to help the team win.”
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