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02/11/2008 3:34 PM -

This Week’s Games
Fri., Feb. 15 - Lake Erie Monsters at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM/B2 Networks

Sat., Feb. 16 - Milwaukee Admirals at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - WOOD/B2

Last Week’s Results
Fri., Feb. 8 - GRIFFINS 4 at Lake Erie Monsters 1 - 20-23-2-5, 47 pts. (5th, North Division) 

Sat., Feb. 9 - GRIFFINS 2 at Lake Erie Monsters 3 - 20-24-2-5, 47 pts. (5th)

Sun., Feb. 10 - GRIFFINS 0 at Rochester Americans 1 - 20-25-2-5, 47 pts. (5th)

Big Mac Attack: Darren McCarty earned an assist and Third Star honors in his first game as a Griffin last Friday at Lake Erie, his first AHL contest since 1993. The former Red Wings star, who shows that assist, an even rating and eight shots through three games, is expected to make his much-anticipated Van Andel Arena debut this Friday against the Monsters. From 6-8 p.m. that night, fans can visit Van Andel Arena concession stands to purchase $1 hot dogs and $1 beers (21 oz. domestic drafts, with ID). Local band Sons of Beaches will perform live before the game and during intermissions, and three Griffins players will sign autographs after the game. A host of ticket promotions include the Wendy’s Family Four Pack, Bono’s Pit BBQ Student Night, Library Night and the popular web coupon. Click here for complete details.

American Idol Night: Phil Stacey from last season’s American Idol will meet fans and sign autographs before Saturday’s game against Milwaukee and perform live from the ice during the first intermission, thanks to Lighthouse Insurance. The Griffins will wear special jerseys with a stylistic “G” crest that will be up for silent auction before and during the game, with a live auction taking place afterwards. All proceeds will benefit the Griffins Youth Foundation. In addition, fans can bring their skates and take to the ice after the game for the O’Charley’s Post-Game O’pen Skate.

Hockey Day in Michigan: In celebration of Hockey Day in Michigan on Saturday, the Griffins will host a Cross-Ice Hockey Jamboree at Van Andel Arena. Approximately 250 players from nine West Michigan youth hockey associations will participate in cross-ice games from noon-5:30 p.m. For the Griffins game that night, three area youth hockey teams will join in the pre-game festivities by helping the promotional team throw t-shirts into the crowd and skating out with each starting Griffins player as he is introduced. In addition, Griff will make a series of visits to area hockey rinks from 4-7 p.m.

End of the Road: After finishing their season-high six-game road trip with a 2-4 mark, the Griffins will play their next five games within friendly confines. This Friday’s game will mark their first home contest since Jan. 26, a span one day shy of three weeks. Grand Rapids has posted a 9-5-1-2 record at Van Andel Arena since losing its first seven home games in regulation. 

Tracking the Race: The Griffins continue to reside in fifth place in the North Division race, just five points behind both Syracuse and Hamilton in the race for the third (and most likely final) playoff spot in the division.

Coming and Going: The Detroit Red Wings today recalled goaltender Jimmy Howard from the Griffins, marking his second call-up of the campaign (Oct. 25-Nov. 7). In 39 games this season, the AHL All-Star shows a 17-19-2 record with a 2.61 GAA, a 0.914 save percentage and two shutouts, and he places fourth among AHL netminders in both minutes played (2,300) and saves (1,057). Dominik Hasek is day-to-day with minor inflammation of his hip flexor. Chris Osgood and Howard are expected to dress on Tuesday when the Red Wings visit Nashville at 8 p.m. EST...Last Friday, the Red Wings acquired right wing Francis Lemieux from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for right wing Brett Engelhardt. Lemieux, 23, has logged 33 games with the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs during the current campaign, earning six assists and 27 penalty minutes. A third-year pro, Lemieux has tallied 63 points (24-39—63) in 144 career contests with the Bulldogs and was a member of their 2007 Calder Cup championship squad. He is expected to make his Griffins debut this weekend.

Graduation Day: On Sunday night, Peter Vandermeer became the 89th Griffins alumnus to play in the NHL, taking eight shifts and registering two hits for Phoenix in a 6-3 loss to Nashville. He appeared in 73 games for Grand Rapids in 2004-05, logging 17 points (4-13—17) and a whopping 310 penalty minutes, tying for the seventh-highest single-season total in Griffins history.

Cullen Nets AHL Nomination: The Griffins today nominated center Mark Cullen for the Rbk/AHL Player of the Week award, after he posted three goals and an assist in three games over the weekend. In Friday’s 4-1 win at Lake Erie, he scored a pair of power play goals and added an assist – matching his season highs for goals and points – en route to earning First Star honors. He completed a solid weekend in Cleveland by netting a goal in Saturday’s rematch.

Right Adam: Adam Berkhoel put in a fine effort on Sunday in Rochester, stopping 24 of 25 shots in the 1-0 loss. In his last three games, he is 1-1-1 with a 1.31 GAA and a 0.950 save percentage (76-80).

Shooting Blanks: Prior to being shut out in five of their last 19 games, the Griffins had played 72 consecutive regular season contests without being blanked, including the first 33 games this season.

Kudos: Mark Cullen (3-2—5), Mark Hartigan (2-1—3) and Darren Helm (1-2—3) each had a three-game scoring streak snapped in Sunday’s shutout loss…Josef Fojtik logged his first AHL point with an assist in Friday’s 4-1 win at Lake Erie.

Tough Luck: In Jimmy Howard’s last eight losses, the Griffins’ offense has totaled seven goals and has been shut out four times.

M*A*S*H Update: After missing nine of 15 games with two separate injuries, Garrett Stafford returned to the Griffins’ blueline on Friday and played in each of the weekend’s three games, recording an assist…Brad Ference (wrist) has been sidelined for 18 straight games and will likely miss the remainder of the season.

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 20-17-2-3 mark (0.536) in its other 42 contests.

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.

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 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 this Friday’s game, 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.

Scouting Report

Fri., Feb. 15 vs. Lake Erie Monsters (17-22-4-6) – 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 All-Time/Season Series: 3-1-0-1 Overall, 1-0-0-0 Home. Sixth of 10 meetings overall, second of five in Grand Rapids. NHL Affiliation: Colorado Avalanche. Head Coach: Joe Sacco (1st season). Notes: The Monsters’ lone regulation loss in their last 10 outings (5-1-3-1) came at the hands of the Griffins in 4-1 fashion at Cleveland on Friday…Grand Rapids leads Lake Erie by just three points in the North Division race…Right wing David Jones paces the Monsters and is tied for 12th among AHL rookies with 29 points (14-15—29)…Four of the five meetings this season have been decided by a single goal.

Sat., Feb. 16 vs. Milwaukee Admirals (26-22-2-2) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 6:40 p.m. Web Casts: Video ($6 – B2 Networks) and audio (free) available through All-Time Series (W-L-T-OTL-SOL): 45-28-7-4-3 Overall, 26-12-2-1-0 Home. Season Series: 2-3-0-0 Overall, 1-1-0-0 Home. Sixth of eight meetings overall, third of four in Grand Rapids. NHL Affiliation: Nashville Predators. Head Coach: Lane Lambert (1st season). Notes: Milwaukee is tied for sixth in the rough-and-tumble West Division and would currently miss out on a playoff spot, even though their record would tie them for second place if they played in the North Division…The Griffins have two regulation wins in their last 18 regular season and playoff meetings against the Admirals (4-11-3-0)…All-Star netminder Pekka Rinne is tied for first in the AHL with 24 wins and leads the circuit with 2,742 minutes played.

Griffins Game Rewind

Feb. 10 at Rochester
Recap (0-1 L)
Official Game Report

Feb. 9 at Lake Erie
Recap (2-3 L)
WOOD Radio Highlights: 1 2
Official Game Report

Feb. 8 at Lake Erie
Recap (4-1 W)
WOOD Radio Highlights: 1 2 3 4
Official Game Report

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