01/30/2014 10:28 AM
Cory Emmerton is determined to take his career day-by-day and continue to prove that he can be a valuable two-way player at the NHL level.
Cory Emmerton is not taking anything for granted. When it comes to professional sports, he knows that nothing is given, everything is earned, and there are no guarantees.
At the age of 25, the young Red Wings center has already learned the harsh realities of the business. Faced with salary-cap issues and too many forwards, Detroit placed Emmerton on waivers before the season with the intention of sending him back to Grand Rapids, where he had begun his pro career in 2007.
After two full seasons in Detroit, including last year when he was one of only four players to dress for all 48 Red Wings games, Emmerton thought he had shown he was a capable NHL player. But he was now on his way to the minors – a victim of Detroit's roster crunch.
"The waiting is the hard part," he said of being placed on waivers. "You can end up anywhere. I was just hoping to be picked up and get a chance to stay in the NHL, somewhere new, somewhere I could develop new roots. And then nothing happened."
To his relief, 36 hours later he was back to Detroit, where he found himself in the starting lineup for the Red Wings' season opener after the organization decided to put Patrick Eaves on long-term injured reserve.
01/30/2014 10:22 AM
After two turbulent seasons, Andrej Nestrasil is finally steering his career in the right direction.
There is a pivotal point in a hockey player's career where he finally establishes himself, a time when he realizes it is his moment to shine and that if he doesn't grab the proverbial brass ring, he could lose his chance to make his mark.
For Andrej Nestrasil, that moment may have come at the end of the Griffins' triumphant Calder Cup championship run, but it wasn't on the ice. It was in the air. On a plane. With a microphone in his hand.
On the flight back to Grand Rapids, the 22-year-old Red Wings prospect took a leading role, stepping into the spotlight as he playfully interviewed many of his teammates for a local television station, taking charge of the post-game celebration by injecting a little extra excitement into a time that every player on the plane would remember for the rest of his life.
Nestrasil had practiced with the Griffins during the entire postseason run and had dressed for only one game, but it would be enough to get his name on the Cup. In the end, he had experienced the whole process. There was no way that he was going to let down his teammates at that moment.
01/30/2014 10:17 AM
Like most professional hockey players, David McIntyre is a student of the game. He's more than willing to put in the hard work necessary to graduate to the next level.
High test scores do not guarantee success in the real world any more than hockey statistics hold the promise of championships.
Numbers do lie.
It's the lucky player who learns that the value of his contributions on the ice cannot be measured purely in points. Getting goals and assists are a worthy pursuit, but they do not solely determine the development or even the long-term potential of a player any more than good grades can mark someone as the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs.
"It's about being a complete player," Griffins head coach Jeff Blashill said. "We want winning hockey players in this organization, not just point-getters. Certainly points are part of it, but so is being responsible defensively and being hard to play against."
So when the Griffins started looking to add depth at the center position this past summer, Blashill wanted a smart, experienced player who was hungry for success and willing to work hard for another chance at the NHL – a player like David McIntyre.
01/30/2014 10:11 AM
Former Griffins Youth Foundation player Andrea Stewart was a member of Team USA at the World University Games in Italy.
Andrea Stewart couldn't believe it.
The Michigan State University sophomore was standing on the blueline of an outdoor hockey rink in the middle of majestic mountains in Austria. "It was basically every hockey player's dream," Stewart said. "It was so cool."
It was only an exhibition game against the Austrian national team, but it was special all the same. Preparing to play at the 2013 Winter University Games in Trentino, Italy, Stewart thought about how far she had journeyed from her days skating at Griff's IceHouse.
"If it wasn't for the Griffins Youth Foundation, I would never have played hockey," said the Grand Rapids native. "Some of the best memories of my childhood happened there. I'd spend every Saturday in the winter at Griff's IceHouse. I can say that I made a lot of friends there over the years."
12/13/2013 1:34 AM
Having finally been promoted to Detroit full time, Gustav Nyquist can look forward to flights aboard the Red Wings' jet after completing the long journey from highly touted college player to NHL regular.
For the ideal illustration of how to "mind your Ps and Qs," you need look no further than Gustav Nyquist.
There are many theories behind the origin of the phrase for watching your tongue and being on your best behavior, but all of them might pale in comparison to the story of the Swedish hockey player who came to North America to play college hockey for the Maine Black Bears.
After leading his team in points for all three of his seasons at Maine, including 2009-10 when he was the NCAA regular-season scoring leader, Nyquist came to Grand Rapids as a relatively high draft pick (4th round, 121st overall in 2008) of the Detroit Red Wings.
He recorded an assist in his first AHL game, then scored his first goal in his second game off a pass from Jamie Tardif. He became a consistent high scorer for the Griffins – one of the best in the team's history – and continued at a point-per-game pace while waiting for the opportunity to play in Detroit.
Nyquist scored his first career NHL goal off a pass from Pavel Datsyuk against Steve Mason of the Columbus Blue Jackets on March 26, 2012, a year and a day after making his debut with the Griffins. He looked ready to make his mark in the NHL, but the lockout at the beginning of the 2012-13 season forced him back to Grand Rapids.
December 13, 2013 1:29 AM
HAVE ICE, WILL TRAVEL
December 13, 2013 12:55 AM
December 13, 2013 12:51 AM
December 13, 2013 12:41 AM
October 18, 2013 12:03 AM
October 18, 2013 12:02 AM
HUNGRY FOR SUCCESS
October 18, 2013 12:01 AM
GOOD HEAD START
March 13, 2013 12:05 AM
March 13, 2013 12:04 AM
March 13, 2013 12:03 AM
THAT SPECIAL FEELING
March 13, 2013 12:02 AM
A DECISION WITH CLASS
March 13, 2013 12:01 AM
PLEASED AS PUNCH
January 25, 2013 1:57 PM
THE JOURNEY OF TOM McCOLLUM
January 25, 2013 1:51 PM
THE SECRET'S OUT
January 25, 2013 1:44 PM