Former Coach and Present Nemesis to Visit Van Andel Arena
This Weeks Games
Fri., Oct. 28 - Iowa Stars at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM/B2 Networks
Sat., Oct. 29 - Houston Aeros at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - WTKG 1230 AM/B2 Networks
Last Weeks Results
Wed., Oct. 19 - GRIFFINS 6 at San Antonio Rampage 3 - 4-1-0-0, 8 pts. (1st, North Division)
Fri., Oct. 21 - GRIFFINS 3 at Houston Aeros 7 - 4-2-0-0, 8 pts. (T1st)
Sat., Oct. 22 - Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights 1 at GRIFFINS 3 - 5-2-0-0, 10 pts. (1st)
Familiar Faces and Frustrating Foes: The Griffins, who stand atop the North Division with a 5-2 record, will continue their five-game homestand this week with visits from the Iowa Stars on Friday and the Houston Aeros on Saturday. Iowa head coach Dave Allison served in the same capacity for Grand Rapids from its 1996 inception until March 1998, and the Stars roster features former Griffins Patrick Traverse (1996-97) and David Oliver (2000-01). Houston, meanwhile, has been the lone wrench in Grand Rapids cog this season, handing the Griffins their only two losses against those five wins.
Party Time: Fridays game against Iowa will feature the Bud True Music Happy Hour from 6-7 p.m. on the concourse, with $2.25 drafts and live music from Righteous, a 70s-inspired funk-rock group. After Saturdays rematch with Houston, Griffins players will sign autographs in the stands for 15 minutes during the Fox Motors Post-Game Autograph Session. Fans can skate around the Van Andel Arena ice for 45 minutes after the game, and kids will receive Halloween bags as they exit the arena, courtesy of Meijer Stores.
We Hardly Knew You: Chris Osgood finished his Griffins conditioning stint on Saturday with a brilliant 35-save performance in a 3-1 win over Omaha. Osgood, who rejoined the Red Wings on Sunday, went 2-1 with a 3.34 GAA and a 0.882 save percentage in three games with Grand Rapids.
Ozzie Oddities: When he netted a hat trick last Wednesday to help Chris Osgood earn a 6-3 win, it marked the second time that Jiri Hudler stole the show from an NHL goalie making his first rehab start for Grand Rapids. On Oct. 24, 2003, making his Griffins debut along with Curtis Joseph, Hudler scored two goals and added an assist to overshadow Cujos 20-save performance in a 4-1 win over Utah at Van Andel Arena
Osgoods start on Saturday versus Omaha came almost two years to the day since Josephs appearance in Grand Rapids
Osgood and Joseph are the last two Griffins to wear jersey no. 30.
Say Hello to Howard: The Detroit Red Wings today assigned rookie goaltender Jimmy Howard, who had served as a backup to Manny Legace during each of the Red Wings first nine games this season. Howard, 21, was Detroits first choice (64th overall) in the 2003 Entry Draft. During his three-year career at the University of Maine, he earned a school-record 15 shutouts while posting a 1.84 goals against average, a 0.931 save percentage and a 47-23-10 record. As a junior last season, Howard showed a 1.92 GAA and a 0.924 save percentage in 39 games, including a 1.58 GAA and 0.940 save percentage in his 20 starts after Christmas. After earning the Hockey East Rookie of the Year Award in 2003, Howard enjoyed a 2003-04 sophomore campaign that ranked among the best in Division I history, setting NCAA single-season records with a 1.19 GAA and a 0.956 save percentage.
Share the Joy: While Jiri Hudler leads the AHL with 10 goals, accounting for 36% of Grand Rapids total, the Griffins offense has been anything but a one-man show. Thirteen players have already potted goals for Grand Rapids, tying Hartford for the most goal scorers on a single team. In addition, 16 of the 19 Griffins skaters whove earned ice time have recorded at least one point, including two Hudler (10-515) and Kent McDonell (1-910) who have points in all seven contests.
Hudler Heroics: Jiri Hudler, who leads the AHL with 10 goals and 15 points (tied), extended his goal streak to six games last Friday at Houston, tying the franchise record set by Pavol Demitra and Kip Miller. While his run ended on Saturday, he contributed an assist in the 3-1 win over Omaha to push his point streak to seven games, tying for the longest in the league. Hudlers hat trick in San Antonio last Wednesday was his second as a Griffin, coming nearly a year after his Oct. 24, 2004 feat at the SBC Center.
Keep it Going: Kent McDonells six-game assist streak ended on Saturday, one game shy of the franchise record held by Derek King and Michel Picard. But he scored his first goal of the season to extend his scoring streak to seven games, matching the league-leading performance of linemate Jiri Hudler.
Explosive Start: Starting with their six-goal output on opening night, the Griffins have displayed one of the AHLs most dynamic offenses in the early going. Grand Rapids has scored 28 goals, its most ever through seven games (26 in 2001-02). If they can maintain their current pace, the Griffins would accumulate 320 goals this season, shattering their record of 279 from 2000-01.
History Lesson: After jumping out to their fifth 3-0 road start in the last six seasons, the Griffins suffered their first setback in hostile territory in Houston last Friday by a 7-3 count. The Aeros Roman Voloshenko became only the second opposing player in Grand Rapids history to score four goals in a game, a feat also accomplished by Eric Boguniecki in a 6-4 win over the Griffins in Fort Wayne on Feb. 17, 1999. Houston went 4-for-10 on the power play, marking just the third time in 10 seasons that the Griffins were touched for four power play goals. Grand Rapids is 0-2 versus the Aeros this season, having been doubled-up by a 10-5 goal count, and 5-0 against the rest of the league, having outscored those opponents by a 23-10 margin.
Top of the Charts: The Griffins trio of Jiri Hudler, Kent McDonell and Eric Manlow dominates the AHLs stat charts. Hudler has 10 goals (1st), 15 points (T1st) and a plus-seven rating (3rd), McDonell shows nine assists (T2nd) and 10 points (T8th), while Manlow has tallied seven assists (T8th), nine points (T13th) and a plus-six rating (T4th).
Movin On Up: With 98 points (39-5998) in 116 games over his three seasons with Grand Rapids, Jiri Hudler has passed current Red Wing Mark Mowers (42-5395 in 94 games) into tenth place on the Griffins career scoring list. Hudlers 59 assists already place ninth all time on the club, and he stands just four points shy of ninth-place Kevin Miller (47-55102 in 137 games) on the points list.
Power Supply: Through the seasons first two games, the Griffins led the AHL by converting six of 11 power play chances (54.5%). Theyve cooled off over the last five contests (4-for-34, 11.8%) but still rank seventh in the league at 22.2% (10-for-45). Grand Rapids penalty killers, meanwhile, stand 19th in the league at 81.0% (47-for-58).
Getting Ready: Two of the Griffins former AHL all-stars - defenseman Travis Richards (knee) and goaltender Joey MacDonald (back) - have yet to make their 2005-06 debuts. However, MacDonald practiced with Grand Rapids for the first time this morning, while Richards could be back in the lineup as soon as this weekend. He has not suited up for the Griffins since Jan. 9.
This Week in Griffins History: Oct. 24: Playing their first games for Grand Rapids, Jiri Hudler notches two goals and an assist, while Curtis Joseph makes 20 saves to lead the Griffins to a 4-1 win over Utah (2003). Oct. 25: Travis Richards scores 3:08 into overtime to give Grand Rapids a 2-1 victory at Rochester (2002). Oct. 26: Grand Rapids kicks off a franchise-record nine-game homestand with a 4-0 thrashing of Rochester, giving the team its first-ever 5-0 start. Joey MacDonald makes 20 saves to claim the tenth shutout of his Griffins career, equaling Marc Lamothes standard (2004). Oct. 27: Glen Metropolits natural hat trick and Neil Littles 38 saves send the Griffins to a 4-0 win over Utah (1998). Oct. 28: Center Jeff Nelson, a member of the Griffins inaugural team in 1996-97, returns to Grand Rapids after signing a pro tryout with the club (2003). Oct. 29: Former Spartans Danton Cole and Bryan Adams return to East Lansing as the Griffins conduct an open evening practice for fans at Munn Ice Arena at Michigan State University (2002). Oct. 30: Griffins earn their first-ever shootout win, edging Cincinnati by a 5-4 count at Van Andel Arena. Pokey Reddick notches a season-high 42 saves, and Len Hachborn tallies the decisive shootout goal (1996).
Alumni Report: Twenty-one Griffins alumni, representing 15 different teams, have logged ice time in the NHL this season. The list includes three of the leagues top scorers in Detroits Jason Williams (3-811, T7th), Ottawas Jason Spezza (3-811, T7th) and Los Angeles Pavol Demitra (5-49, T26th), one of its premier assist men in Minnesotas Todd White (seven assists, T13th), and its second-most accurate shooter in Ottawas Chris Neil (4-for-9, 44.4%). Meanwhile, Josh Langfelds appearances for San Jose leave Buffalo and Colorado as the only NHL teams for which a former Griffin has never played.
Fri., Oct. 28 vs. Iowa Stars (3-3-0-0) Van Andel Arena 7 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 6:59 p.m. Web Casts: Video ($6 B2 Networks) and audio (free) available through griffinshockey.com. Season Series: First of four meetings overall, first of two in Grand Rapids. NHL Affiliation: Dallas Stars. Head Coach: Dave Allison (1st season). Starry Night: Dave Allison coached the expansion Griffins to a 70-55-19 record from 1996-98
Iowas Patrick Traverse and David Oliver previously played for Grand Rapids
Traverses seven assists lead the Stars scoring parade and place fourth among AHL defensemen
Dan Ellis ranks fifth in the league with a 1.64 GAA and seventh with a 0.944 save percentage.
Sat., Oct. 29 vs. Houston Aeros (6-1-1-0) Van Andel Arena 7 p.m.
Radio: WTKG 1230 AM at 6:40 p.m. Web Casts: Video ($6 B2 Networks) and audio (free) available through griffinshockey.com. Season Series: 0-2-0-0 Overall, 0-1-0-0 Home. Third of four meetings overall, second and final in Grand Rapids. All-Time Series (W-L-T-OTL-SOL): 26-21-6-1-4 Overall, 15-9-2-1-1 Home. NHL Affiliation: Minnesota Wild. Head Coach: Rob Daum (1st season). Aero Dynamics: The Griffins are 0-2 against the Aeros and 5-0 versus the rest of the league
Houstons 13 points lead the Western Conference
The Aeros convert 24.2% of their power plays
Erik Westrum (4-1115) is one of four players tied atop the AHLs scoring chart
Kurtis Foster (3-710) and Curtis Murphy (0-99) rank second and third in points by defensemen.