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The Malik Report

Griffins want to ‘take care of business’ vs. Barracuda

The Grand Rapids Griffins spent last night's post-game media availability suggesting much more than, "The fourth win is the hardest" when addressing the state of their foes, the San Jose Barracuda, ahead of tonight's possibly Western Conference Final-clinching game.

Instead, the Griffins insisted that the Barracuda were still a force to be reckoned with, and as a result, the Griffins are heading into tonight's Game 5 (7 PM at Van Andel Arena, on ESPN 96.1 FM and the AHL Live) with a bit of desperation to close out a series that would shift cross-country if the Griffins lose. DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji and Art Regner took note of the Griffins' comments to that end:

"Our mindset all along was to try and take care of business at home," said Eric Tangradi, who had a goal and two assists Friday. "We put together a good 40-minute effort so I think that's somewhere we can grow. They're a desperate hockey team, they're playing for their season (tonight) so we got to make sure we're ready to rock when the puck drops."

The Griffins are expecting the Barracuda to play their best game of the series tonight.

"We know how good they are," Griffins coach Todd Nelson said. "They're so dangerous. (Tonight) we have to come out and play hard and try to put doubt in their minds. But I don't think it's going to be the case at all. They're a very proud group over there, they're very good and they're very dangerous so it's going to be a battle."

Van Andel Arena has certainly been the friendly confines for the Griffins as they have won a new franchise record six straight playoff games there and are looking to extend that streak.

"We've taken a lot of pride in defending our home ice," Tangradi said. "The people that have come out here, the crowds, the energy, it's been amazing. It's very important to us to make sure that whenever the puck drops in the the Van Andel, we're ready to go and it's straight business."

Wakiji and Regner continue, discussing both the Griffins' desire to "take care of business" tonight and the presence of Dylan McIlrath as an intimidating presence in the Griffins' lineup...

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Holland on the Griffins’ playoff run

Red Wings GM Ken Holland spoke with the media during last night's Grand Rapids Griffins game (Grand Rapids defeated the San Jose Barracuda 6-2, and the Griffins can advance to the AHL Final tonight), addressing a broad variety of topics over the course of a 12-minute interview...

And the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner took note of Holland's comments as they pertained to the Griffins:

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Prospect news: Sambrook’s Otters beat Saint John, advance to Memorial Cup Final

Of prospect-related note:

At the Memorial Cup, Jordan Sambrook finished even with 1 shot as his Erie Otters defeated the Saint John Sea Dogs 6-3, advancing to Sunday's Memorial Cup Final vs. Windsor (7 PM on Sportsnet, and possibly the NHL Network).

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Prospect news: Grand Rapids Griffins win 6-2 over San Jose, take 3-1 series lead in AHL WCF

Updated 4x at 12:36 AM: Of prospect-related note:

In the AHL's Western Conference Final, the Grand Rapids Griffins rode a 4-goal second period to a 6-2 victory over the San Jose Barracuda, taking a 3-1 lead in the AHL's WCF.

Tyler Bertuzzi, Eric Tangradi, Martin Frk, Tomas Nosek (all in the 2nd period), Ben Street and Evgeny Svechnikov scored for Grand Rapids, who peppered Troy Grosenick with 36 shots.

Grand Rapids has earned the opportunity to advance to the Calder Cup Final with a win in Saturday's Game 5 (7 PM on ESPN 96.1 FM and on the AHL Live), and it'd be a fun game to attend if you can come out and enjoy what's been the best hockey I've seen in a month.

Much more to come as this post is updated. Gotta go down to the locker room first!

Update: Here's the AHL's website's recap...

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Audio: Ken Holland speaks with the media at the Griffins-Barracuda game

Ken Holland spoke with the media attending tonight's Grand Rapids Griffins-San Jose Barracuda game, discussing a multitude of topics, and as I am in the middle of covering the game, I'm going to present the audio of Holland's scrum to you without much comment:

Update: The Windsor Star's Bob Duff partially transcripted the interview:

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Questions For Ansar Khan

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Several players who finished 2015-16 with the Grand Rapids Griffins or started 2016-17 with the AHL club made an impact with the Detroit Red Wings or got an opportunity.

Xavier Ouellet and Ryan Sproul were no longer waiver exempt and spent the whole season in Detroit. Anthony Mantha was called up early and Nick Jensen brought up mid-season and both played well.

Jared Coreau, Robbie Russo and Tomas Nosek were up for an extended period. Evgeny Svechnikov, Mitch Callahan, Ben Street, Dan Renouf, Brian Lashoff and Matt Lorito got brief looks.

The Griffins are making another playoff run with their third trip to the conference finals in five seasons.

How many will be with the Detroit Red Wings in 2017-18? Who has the best chance? Those were among the questions MLive readers asked this week.

QWith (Drew) Miller and (Steve) Ott not coming back, does this clear a roster spot for Tyler Bertuzzi next season? He’s come up big in the playoffs and deserves a better look.

A: Bertuzzi has a knack for stepping up in the playoffs. He has 19 goals and 31 points in 34 career AHL playoff games; 25 goals and 68 points in 121 career regular season games.

He’s averaged 0.91 points per game in the playoffs and 0.56 points per game in the regular season. Here’s an interesting stat: Bertuzzi’s career shooting percentage in the regular season is 9.3 percent; in the playoffs, it’s 27.5 percent.

Bertuzzi had no points in seven games with the Red Wings last season, a stint that ended after he suffered a high-ankle sprain Nov. 26. He is waiver-exempt for one more season but he’ll have an opportunity to make the Red Wings roster in training camp and the preseason. Several factors come into play: Will they lose a forward in the expansion draft? Will they sign a veteran fourth-line forward? Will an injury or two create a roster spot?

Like all waiver-exempt players, Bertuzzi will only be on the roster if he’s in the lineup. Otherwise he’ll be playing regularly in Grand Rapids.

read on for more questions and answers...

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Kulfan discusses the Grand Rapids Griffins’ success

The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan penned a superb article discussing the establishment of the Grand Rapids Griffins as a sporting and hockey superpower in Western Michigan, speaking with players, fans and ownership about the Griffins' status as a "people's team":

The Griffins are the Red Wings’ minor league affiliate — they have been since 2002 — and their niche in the west Michigan market is growing.

“I might be biased, but this is the best American Hockey League city there is,” said Griffins forward Mitch Callahan, whose late third-period goal Wednesday snapped a 2-2 tie. “The other night I was out to dinner; a guy bought me an appetizer and wished me good luck before we went to California. The city is behind us and the support is amazing. Hockey is pretty big in Michigan. With the success we’re having, it’s fun being around here.”

Capacity, or near-capacity crowds, are expected for Games 4 and 5 Friday and Saturday at the 10,834-seat Van Andel, with a possible trip to the Calder Cup Finals at stake. The Griffins, who won the Calder Cup in 2013, lead the series, 2-1. This is their fifth consecutive year in the playoffs.

Kulfan continues...

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Grand Rapids Griffins post video of Eric Tangradi’s take on Game 3 of WCF

The Grand Rapids Griffins have posted a 4-minute video of forward Eric Tangradi's reflections on the Griffins' win over the San Jose Barracuda in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final:

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Afternoon news: On the Griffins, LCA’s partnership with Chevrolet, sponsorship talk & WC reflections

Of Red Wings-related note this afternoon:

1. The Grand Rapids Griffins defeated the San Jose Barracuda 4-2 last night, and ahead of Games 4 and 5 in Grand Rapids, the Free Press's Helene St. James spotlighted the performances of 3 Red Wings prospects:

Wings goaltending prospect Jared Coreau continued a strong playoff run with a 31-save performance; Coreau is 9-2 with a .917 save percentage and 2.48 goals-against average. Other Wings prospects who did well included forward Martin Frk, who set up a game-tying power play goal (scored by Matt Lorito) early in the third period, and forward Tomas Nosek, who sealed the victory with an empty-net goal in the last minute.

Frk missed the first round of the playoffs because of injury, but has put up four power play assists since returning eight games ago. He led the Griffins with 12 power play goals in the regular season. Nosek’s goal was his sixth of the playoffs, tied for first on the team. Nosek and Frk both would require waivers to be sent down starting next season (Frk already was waiver eligible this past season) and strong playoff performances help their case going into September’s training camp. Frk’s asset is his shot, and that he shoots right (the Wings don’t have many who do that). Nosek has a head start as he handled himself well during 11 games with the Wings down the stretch, demonstrating an ability to play to his 6-foot-2, 210-pound size, a willingness to go to the net and to shoot the puck. He also did well on faceoffs, winning 37 of 68 (54.4%).

“This is great experience and exposure for the players,” Wings general manager Ken Holland told the Free Press. “We like Nosek, he can play power play, penalty kill, has a lot of different dimensions. He’s having a real good playoffs. Frk has a weapon, he can really shoot the puck. He makes the power play go with that weapon.”

St. James continues, and the Griffins prepared for tomorrow's Game 5 via a full team practice today:

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Walleye’s Shane Berschbach gets his Jeep back

According to the Toledo Blade, Toledo Walleye forward Shane Berschbach 2005 Jeep Cherokee was stolen during the Fan Thank You event in downtown Toledo, but there's good news on the vehicle search front:

Toledo police helped recover the stolen equipment and vehicle of a Toledo Walleye player.

Officers received a tip at about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday about a bag full of hockey equipment in a trash bin and several men in the 2800 block of Wayman Palmer Drive in West Toledo.

Responding officers found items there owned by hockey player Shane Berschbach, 26.

Mr. Berschbach told police he left his Jeep Grand Cherokee and hockey sticks on Monday evening in the unit block of North Huron Street. Officers later located the occupied vehicle near Collingwood Boulevard and Boston Place.

An investigation continues into the theft, police said.

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About The Malik Report

The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.


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