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Grand Rapids Griffins drop Game 4 against Syracuse, need to bounce back on Saturday

I had a bad feeling about tonight's Grand Rapids Griffins-Syracuse Crunch game as all the veteran leadership in the world can't prevent a very young team from getting a little over-eager when up 3-0 in a championship series...

And I was right. The Grand Rapids Griffins' power play and a six-minute stretch in which the Griffins dropped a 2-1 lead and ended up losing 3-2 to the Syracuse Crunch, including a spear-that-was-a-not-a-spear yielding Gustav Nyquist tossed (5-minute major and a game) because Richard Panik got a stick on a hand and dove...

Well, to put it politely, the Griffins got ahead of themselves, and they forgot that the fourth win is the hardest against a team that had lost one playoff game prior to its series against Grand Rapids in the hard-charging, big, physical and downright mean Crunch.

But when mean is effective--Panik had a goal and an assist--the game-tying goal was a softy from an otherwise superhuman Mrazek (who channeled his innner Hasek at times, drawing an even-up on the major and getting called for diving once), and the power play stinks, you're not going to sweep your opponent (late-third-period flourish included as Cedric Desjardins hugged the post), and as such, the Griffins need to win tomorrow night's Game 5 (7 PM EDT, AHLLive.com/WXSP/WOOD Radio) lest they face another bus ride to Syracuse for a potential Game 6 or 7.

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Grand Rapids Griffins-Syracuse Crunch Game 4 open post

The Grand Rapids Griffins will attempt to sweep the Syracuse Crunch and capture their first Calder Cup tonight at Van Andel Arena (7 PM EDT, AHLLive.com/WOOD TV8 in Grand Rapids/WOOD Radio; Adam Almquist won't play tonight), and the Red Wings' website posted a game-day preview video:

Several TMR readers have attempted to "live blog" the game in other threads, so this is an "open post" for live-blogging purposes, save two articles (and the Drew Miller post has been updated, too)::

1. First, a story from Fox Sports' Art Regner regarding Chris Chelios and Chris Osgood's respective roles as player mentors for the Griffins' players:

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Zetterberg Wins NHL Foundation Player Award

Updated at 6:04 PM with two stories from the Wings and news about where Datsyuk finished in Selke and Lady Byng voting:

From the NHL:

CHICAGO (June 14, 2013) -- Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg is the recipient of the 2012-13 NHL Foundation Player Award. The award recognizes the NHL player who applies the core values of hockey – commitment, perseverance and teamwork – to enrich the lives of people in his community. The NHL Foundation will present $25,000 to the Zetterberg Foundation to help fund the creation of three water stations in Kemba, Ethiopia, and provide 1,900 people with clean water for a lifetime. This donation will enable more children in the village to attend school as opposed to spending their days walking hours to get water for their families.

Zetterberg and his wife, Emma, give back to the Metro Detroit community through numerous initiatives as well as international causes in Ethiopia, Guatemala and Nepal. Zetterberg hosts children’s charities, including Metro Detroit area children’s hospitals and mentoring nonprofits, at each Red Wings home game during the regular season in the Zetterberg Foundation Suite. Zetterberg also funds a high school hockey scholarship each year and underwrites the Hockey Weekly High School All-Star Banquet.

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A pair of mid-day Red Wings narratives: on adding a goal-scorer and Kyle Quincey’s trip down under

The Red Wings have re-signed Drew Miller and want to re-sign at least one of Daniel Cleary and/or Damien Brunner. As such, tthe Wings may very well go into training camp and the exhibition season with more than 14 forwards and 23 players (with Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar and Joakim Andersson will all lead what the Wings hope will eventually be a slate of graduates from the Griffins' roster as full-time Wings).

The Free Press's Helene St. James duly notes that the Wings have their reasons for not just possibly but also probably heading into training camp with a glut of forwards (regardless of whether the team decides to buy out Mikael Samuelsson)...

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Griffins-Crunch Game 4 game-day updates: no Almquist for GR; Griffins trying to remain even-keeled

Updated 2x at 2 PM: With the probabilty of Pavel Datsyuk snagging another Selke Trophy nod when the NHL announces its first slate of award winners this afternoon (and, as Sportsnet's Mark Spector suggests, Henrik Zetterberg being snubbed by Mark Messier in the "leadership award" department--though you can make a difference as Pavel Datsyuk faces off against Jake Allen in the TSN Play of the Year semifinals), the spotlight sits squarely upon the Grand Rapids Griffins, who can sweep the Syracuse Crunch and capture their first Calder Cup this evening at a sold-out Van Andel Arena (7 PM EDT, AHLLive.com/WOOD TV8 in Grand Rapids/WOOD Radio).

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Have the Red Wings signed Drew Miller to a 3-year contract extension? Yes indeedy

Updated 13x at 6:15 PM: This hasn't been confirmed yet, but, per Pro Hockey Talk's Jason Brough, Josh Rimer's reporting that the Red Wings have signed Drew Miller to a 3-year contract extension:

That would be a fair deal given Miller's versatility as a penalty-killer, occasional top-six forward and someone who posts 15-20 points a season despite playing only 8-12 minutes per game at times, though he can play much more as necessary.

Update: MLive's Ansar Khan's confirming:

Update #2:

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Five Red Wings among invitees to Swedish Ice Hockey Federation’s Olympic summer powwow

According to the New York Times' Jeff Z. Klein (via RedWingsFeed), the Swedish Ice Hockey Federation has released the roster of its summer camp for the 2014 Olympics, which will meet from August 12-14 (of this summer) in Stockholm. The roster will meet to discuss Olympic strategies and get on the same game-planning page instead of taking to the ice, and here's the roster includes five Red Wings in Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen, Gustav Nyquist, Jonathan Ericsson and Niklas Kronwall:

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Red Wings Looking East

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

What can they expect? What adjustments are needed? Coach Mike Babcock said after the season that he won't know until he's experienced it. But, he has spoken to Ottawa Senators coach Paul MacLean, the former Red Wings assistant.

“He says it's more physically demanding from the get-go as far as fighting and physicality,'' Babcock said. “But, he told me he just did what he always did, so that's what we're going to do. We understand (more physicality) might be part of it, but we're going to get prepared.

“We've broken up that (conference) into groups, so that each (assistant) coach covers it and gets a good handle on all the players. We got to know all the players before we get to camp.''

The Red Wings' new division includes Boston, Buffalo, Florida, Montreal, Ottawa, Tampa Bay and Toronto. The other division in the East will consistent of Carolina, Columbus, New Jersey, the Islanders, the Rangers, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Washington.

The Red Wings will play four or five games against each team in their division, three games vs. each club in the other Eastern division and home and away against each of the 14 Western teams.


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Red Wings overnight report: Griffins prepare for Game 4; Osgood on Mrazek, Wings announce gear sale

Beware, Wings fans, auto-play clips lurk within!

The Grand Rapids Griffins can capture their first Calder Cup title tonight when they battle the Syracuse Crunch in Game 4 of the Calder Cup Final this evening (7 PM EDT, AHLLive.com/WOOD TV8 in Grand Rapids/WOOD Radio), and they'll do so in front of an AHL-attendance-record-setting, sold-out Van Andel Arena audience (the Griffins have stated that tickets are only available on the secondary market; and if you wonder what the AHL does with Calder Cup jerseys, pucks and even player nameplates, it swipes 'em and puts them up for auction!).

The Griffins preached patience, poise and wariness of the Crunch's hard-hitting offensive aplomb on Thursday, off-setting Ken Holland's suggestions that the rebuilding-on-the-fly Wings may see 10 of the Grifins' playoff-performing prospects graduate to the NHL at some point, and we do know that the Griffins will probably face some adversity as Richard Panik's hit on Adam Almquist, clean or not, gave Almquist a concussion, so the team probably won't have the services of one of their best puck-movers at their disposal.

Almquist spoke to Fox 17 about his injury, which is likely to result in Jeff Brett Skinner returning to the Griffins' lineup, in a video discussing the Griffins' Thurdsay practice...

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Ken Holland tells Wallner that the Red Wings’ prospects are receiving a developmental boost in GR

The Detroit Red Wings' brass is doubtlessly pleased with the Grand Rapids Griffins' progress given that the team's one win away from a Calder Cup championship. After Game 3, Wings coach Mike Babcock suggested that Luke Glendening will play at the NHL level at some point (and he praised Tomas Jurco and Riley Sheahan, too) we already know that the team's planning on accommodating Tomas Tatar, Joakim Andersson, Gustav Nyquist, Danny DeKeyser and probably Brian Lashoff as full-time NHL players next season...

And this afternoon, Wings GM Ken Holland told MLive's Peter J. Wallner that a combination of strong player development and the boost that the Griffins players' confidence levels are receiving from their Calder Cup run could yield ten or more current Griffins playing for the Red Wings at some point in the future:

“Success breeds confidence and that’s what we’re seeing,” said Ken Holland, the Red Wings general manager who watched the Grand Rapids Griffins defeat Syracuse 4-2 on Wednesday to take a 3-0 lead in the Calder Cup Finals.

Holland has high hopes.

“We look at the age of this team and we’re hoping half of them end up in the National Hockey League, and lots of them are going to be in Detroit,” he said.

Wallner says that Holland, de-facto assistant GM and now Grand Rapids Griffins GM Ryan Martin and Wings coach Mike Babcock attended Wendesday's game, just as the trio took in Games 1 and 2 in Syracuse, and the trio believe that the Griffins' playoff run should allow some players to skip a developmental step along the road to becoming well-rounded professional hockey players...

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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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