This Week’s Games
Fri., Feb. 8 - GRIFFINS at Lake Erie Monsters - 7:30 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM/B2 Networks
Sat., Feb. 9 - GRIFFINS at Lake Erie Monsters - 7:30 p.m. - Comcast Local/WOOD/B2
Sun., Feb. 10 - GRIFFINS at Rochester Americans - 6:05 p.m. - WOOD/B2
Last Week’s Results
Thu., Jan. 31 - GRIFFINS 1 at Peoria Rivermen 4 - 18-22-2-5, 43 pts. (5th, North Division)
Fri., Feb. 1 - GRIFFINS 0 at Iowa Stars 3 - 18-23-2-5, 43 pts. (5th)
Sat., Feb. 2 - GRIFFINS 3 at Iowa Stars 2 - 19-23-2-5, 45 pts. (5th)
Time to Make Hay: The Griffins will look to maintain the momentum from Saturday’s 3-2 comeback win at Iowa this weekend, as they’ll close out a season-high six-game road trip with a two-game set at Lake Erie and a Sunday visit to Rochester. The Monsters and Amerks are the only teams looking up at Grand Rapids in the Western Conference standings, giving the Griffins a prime opportunity to improve their playoff positioning. Fifth-place Grand Rapids is in the thick of the hunt in the North Division, standing three points behind third-place Syracuse and Hamilton and only five points in back of second-place Manitoba.
A Look Ahead: Following nearly three weeks on the road, the Griffins will return to Van Andel Arena on Friday, Feb. 15 to host Lake Erie and begin a five-game home stand. That game is expected to mark the Grand Rapids debut of former Red Wing Darren McCarty, who signed a tryout with the Griffins earlier today (see item below). A pair of celebrity appearances will highlight that home stand, including American Idol’s Phil Stacey on Feb. 16 and Hanna Montana’s Cody Linley on Feb. 23.
Big Mac Attack: The Griffins today signed former Red Wings star Darren McCarty to a pro tryout. He is expected to make his Grand Rapids debut and play in his first AHL contest since 1993 this Friday in Cleveland. McCarty, 35, was one of Hockeytown’s most popular players from 1993-2004, helping the Red Wings capture the Stanley Cup in 2002, 1998 and 1997. Detroit’s second choice in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft, he teamed with Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby in the late 1990s on the famed Grind Line. The Burnaby, British Columbia, native scored the Cup-clinching goal in Game 4 of the 1997 Stanley Cup Finals against the Philadelphia Flyers to give Detroit its first championship in 42 years. McCarty’s toughness defined the Red Wings’ once-bitter feud with the Colorado Avalanche, highlighted by his legendary brawls with Claude Lemieux. During his 11 seasons and 643 regular season games with Detroit, McCarty accumulated 1,275 penalty minutes and 273 points (119-154—273), placing him 34th on the Red Wings’ all-time scoring chart. He also ranks 14th on Detroit’s all-time playoff scoring list with 45 points (20-25—45) and 194 PIM in 150 contests. Following the 2004-05 lockout year, McCarty logged two campaigns with the Calgary Flames, giving him 286 points (126-160—286) and 1,450 PIM in 742 career NHL games. He missed the majority of last season while recovering from hernia surgery and recently began a comeback with the IHL’s Flint Generals, tallying six points (3-3—6) and 30 PIM in 11 contests.
On the Tube: Saturday’s game at Lake Erie will be televised live throughout Michigan at 7:30 p.m. on Comcast Local. The recently added telecast marks the third of six Griffins contests scheduled for Comcast Local this season. Next up will be the Feb. 23 home game against Manitoba at 7 p.m.
Attendance on the Rise: The crowd of 9,802 on Jan. 26 was the Griffins’ largest since their opening-night sellout (10,834) on Oct. 20. Their attendance of 142,630 through 24 home games (5,943 avg., ninth in AHL) represents a year-to-date increase of 10 percent over 2006-07, when the Griffins eventually finished with their largest attendance in four years. Last season, Grand Rapids welcomed 129,650 fans through its first two dozen home games.
If I Could Turn Back Time: Excluding a 10-game winless stretch (0-8-0-2) from Oct. 28-Nov. 23, Grand Rapids has posted a 19-15-2-3 mark (0.551) in its other 39 contests.
Berkhoel Nets AHL Nomination: The Griffins today nominated goaltender Adam Berkhoel for the Rbk/AHL Player of the Week award, following his 29-save performance in Saturday’s 3-2 come-from-behind win at Iowa. He helped the Griffins snap a four-game skid by stopping all 20 shots over the final two periods, in the process breaking a personal 0-6-3 streak with his first win since Oct. 27. In his last two games, Berkhoel is 1-0-1 with a 1.45 GAA and a 0.945 save percentage (52-55).
Thanks for Coming: Newcomers Darrell Hay and Tyler Redenbach each earned an assist on Saturday – their first points as Griffins – to help Grand Rapids rally from a 2-0 deficit for a 3-2 win at Iowa. Hay was released from his pro tryout on Sunday, returning to ECHL Idaho.
Shooting Blanks: Prior to being shut out in four of their last 16 games, the Griffins had played 72 regular season contests without being blanked, including their first 33 games this season.
Tough Luck: In Jimmy Howard’s last seven losses, the Griffins’ offense has totaled five goals and has been shut out four times.
M*A*S*H Update: The Griffins’ defensive unit continues to toil without the services of two of its veterans. Brad Ference (wrist) has missed 15 straight games, while two separate injuries have sidelined Garrett Stafford for nine of the last 13 games.
Red Wings Jersey Auction: Twenty-three autographed, game-issued Detroit Red Wings jerseys are being made available for public bidding throughout the 2007-08 season through exclusive auctions that begin at griffinshockey.com and conclude after select Griffins home games. Online bidding, which begins at $250 per jersey, will establish the starting bids for silent auctions that will take place on the arena concourse during Griffins games. Subsequently, the highest bids from the silent auctions will serve as the starting bids for live post-game auctions. Online right now are the Dan Cleary and Chris Chelios jerseys, with silent and live auctions set for Feb. 15, and the Kris Draper and Jiri Hudler jerseys, with silent and live auctions at the Feb. 22 game. Proceeds from the auctions will benefit the Griffins Youth Foundation.
Fri., Feb. 8 at Lake Erie Monsters (16-21-3-6) – Quicken Loans Arena – 7:30 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 9 at Lake Erie Monsters – Quicken Loans Arena – 7:30 p.m.
TV: Comcast Local at 7:30 p.m. (Sat. only). Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 7:10 p.m. (Fri.) and 7:30 p.m. (Sat.). Web Casts: Video ($6 – B2 Networks) and audio (free) available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time/Season Series: 2-0-0-1 Overall, 1-0-0-1 Road. Fourth and fifth of 10 meetings overall, third and fourth of five in Cleveland. NHL Affiliation: Colorado Avalanche. Head Coach: Joe Sacco (1st season). Notes: The Monsters are undefeated in regulation in their last seven outings (4-0-2-1), closing within four points of the Griffins in the North Division race…Grand Rapids won each of the first two meetings by a 3-2 count before Lake Erie answered with a 2-1 home shootout win on Dec. 26…Former Griffin Matt Hussey has been suspended by the Monsters after leaving the team…Lake Erie (2.46 goals per game) and Grand Rapids (2.45 gpg) rank 26th and 27th in the AHL in scoring.
Sun., Feb. 10 at Rochester Americans (13-31-3-4) – Blue Cross Arena – 6:05 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 5:40 p.m. Web Casts: Video ($6 – B2 Networks) and audio (free) available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series (W-L-T-OTL-SOL): 16-12-1-1-0 Overall, 5-8-0-1-0 Road. Season Series: 2-2-0-0 Overall, 0-1-0-0 Road. Fifth of eight meetings overall, second of four in Rochester. NHL Affiliations: Buffalo Sabres, Florida Panthers. Head Coach: Randy Cunneyworth (8th season). Notes: Rochester is on pace to finish at the bottom of the AHL standings for the first time since the 1980-81 season and just the second time in the last 37 years…The Amerks are 3-21-2-2 since their 10-10-1-2 start, including a 1-5-2-2 mark in their last 10 outings…Rochester ranks 28th in the AHL in goals scored (2.39) and 29th in goals allowed (3.59).