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ON A ROLE

01/29/2016 4:35 PM -

Having found his place as a regular contributor in the Griffins’ lineup, center Louis-Marc Aubry feels comfortable saying that he has finally discovered his niche.

Niche is a French word for a unique quality that distinguishes something from others.
              
It is a good word, certainly appropriate, to apply to the work of Griffins center Louis-Marc Aubry. The French-Canadian seems to have finally found his role during this season, his fifth year in Grand Rapids after being drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in the third round (81st overall pick) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
              
Aubry has won the approval of Griffins head coach Todd Nelson, who is getting to know the 6-foot-4 forward better this season after watching him from the opposing bench for the past four seasons while he was coaching in Oklahoma City.
              
“We like his growth and what he brings to our hockey team,” Nelson said. “You can’t have 25 players in the same style, and he’s been doing a good job for us as a penalty killer and defensive forward. You’ve got to have a good mix, so he’s very valuable to our hockey team.”
              
When Aubry joined the Griffins before the 2011-12 season, he was still growing into his body. An unusual growth spurt saw him sprout up several inches during his junior hockey career, and while his demeanor on the ice during his rookie pro season wasn’t exactly awkward, it was evident that he was not yet comfortable with where he stood.
              
“I had just stopped growing when I first came to Grand Rapids, so I was a tall, lanky forward with potential, but not too solid on my skates,” Aubry said. “I knew it was going to be a little bit longer process for me (to develop).”


SAVING GRACE

01/29/2016 4:29 PM -

The Griffins have a long list of illustrious goaltenders who have served during their 20 seasons.

The Griffins have enjoyed great success over the past 20 years, finishing with winning records in all but three seasons.
              
Through three seasons as an independent, three seasons as the minor league affiliate of the Ottawa Senators and now 14 seasons as the top development team of the Detroit Red Wings, the Griffins have enjoyed one near constant – great goaltending.
              
Beginning with Pokey Reddick, who had won a Stanley Cup championship with the Edmonton Oilers in 1990 as the backup to goaltender Bill Ranford, the team has benefited from the services of a number of elite performers.
              
During the team’s history, the Griffins have employed the talents of 10 all-star goaltenders: Reddick, Ian Gordon, Jani Hurme, Mike Fountain, Martin Prusek, Marc Lamothe, Joey MacDonald, Jimmy Howard, Daniel Larsson and Petr Mrazek.
              
They have also welcomed the services of a number of goalies who have seen significant NHL duty, including Blaine Lacher, Tyler Moss, Patrick Lalime, Ty Conklin and Drew MacIntyre. In addition, Curtis Joseph, Chris Osgood, Manny Legace and Jonas Gustavsson all joined the Griffins on conditioning stints.
              
It’s no coincidence that Grand Rapids has earned a reputation for hosting good goalies over the years. Bob McNamara, who was the architect of the early Griffins teams as the organization’s general manager, said it was all by design.


POISED FOR SUCCESS

01/29/2016 4:20 PM -

A product of the U.S. National Team and University of Notre Dame hockey programs, defenseman Robbie Russo is proving to be a quick study at the pro game.

As the holder of a degree in sociology, Robbie Russo might argue against the idea that he was destined to become a hockey player.
              
Destiny is the idea that some hidden power controls what happens in the future. Sociology, on the other hand, argues that human behavior is not so simple – actions are consequentially complex due to the convoluted clutter of theoretical paradigms and social responses that are retroactively influential.
              
In other words, it’s more complicated.
              
Nobody in Russo’s family played hockey, so the bloodlines that direct some players toward the sport were absent. Growing up in Westmont, Ill., a southwest suburb of Chicago, Russo might just as easily have become a baseball player, which was the other sport he played as a youth.
              
His neighbors played roller hockey, and when he enjoyed the open skates that he attended with his family, he started gravitating to the game on ice. He was a defenseman from the very beginning, although he is hard-pressed to know the reason for it.
              
The fact is he loved the sport, and by high school he had embraced the game of hockey. At the age of 16, he moved to Ann Arbor to take part in USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program (NTDP), a step that put him squarely on a path to what was becoming a dream to play in the NHL someday.


WORKING MEN

01/29/2016 3:44 PM -

As Part 3 of a season-long series celebrating the organization’s 20th anniversary, Griffiti caught up with a hat trick of former Griffins finding success in careers post-Grand Rapids: Patrick Lalime, Todd Jackson and Francis Pare


MIND OVER MATTER

12/09/2015 12:05 AM -

Eric Tangradi is thinking positively about his chances of playing in the NHL again.

“Ninety percent of this game is half mental.”

– Yogi Berra
              
Yogi Berra was talking about baseball when he articulated the importance the mind plays in a game, but he could just as easily have been talking about hockey.
              
When a netminder is allowing too many bad goals or a skater is mired in a scoring slump, staying positive isn’t always the easiest thing to do, especially when one’s confidence is haunted by the specter of serial struggles.
              
For many players, the prescription is mind over matter: “If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” But the reality is that psychology is a powerful piece in the puzzle of every player’s performance. Dealing with the ups and downs of a professional career, players learn that the mental aspects of the sport can be almost as important as the physical parts.
              
Just ask Eric Tangradi. The Grand Rapids Griffins’ power forward knows the rollercoaster ride of professional hockey all too well.



TOUGH GUYS
December 09, 2015 12:04 AM

TRUSTED ADVISOR
December 09, 2015 12:03 AM

MR. POSITIVE
December 09, 2015 12:02 AM

WORKING MEN
December 09, 2015 12:01 AM

ALL FOR ONE & ONE FOR ALL
October 16, 2015 12:05 AM

EXPERIENCE COUNTS
October 16, 2015 12:04 AM

CAPTAINS COURAGEOUS
October 16, 2015 12:03 AM

LIVING THE DREAM
October 16, 2015 12:02 AM

WORKING MEN
October 16, 2015 12:01 AM

RAZOR'S EDGE
April 01, 2015 12:04 AM

BRUT FORCE
April 01, 2015 12:03 AM

MOTOR CITY MOTIVATION
April 01, 2015 12:02 AM

GO WEST, YOUNG MEN
April 01, 2015 12:01 AM

GREAT EXPECTATIONS
February 06, 2015 4:02 PM

"ROZIE" DREAMS
February 06, 2015 3:54 PM

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