The Malik Report
by George Malik on 03/06/12 at 01:14 PM ET
The Grand Rapids Griffins released their “Clear Day” roster for the remainder of the regular season and any possible playoff run, and it includes every player that the Red Wings have called up to replace their injured players:
According to American Hockey League by-laws, only those 22 players listed on a team’s Clear Day roster are eligible to compete in the remainder of the AHL regular season and in the 2012 Calder Cup Playoffs, unless emergency conditions arise as a result of recall, injury or suspension. Teams may also add signed junior players or players on amateur tryout contracts after their respective junior or college seasons are complete.
The Griffins’ Clear Day roster consists of goaltenders Ty Conklin and Jordan Pearce; defensemen Travis Ehrhardt, Garnet Exelby, Gleason Fournier, Doug Janik, Brian Lashoff, Logan Pyett and Brendan Smith; and forwards Joakim Andersson, Louis-Marc Aubry, Fabian Brunnstrom, Mitch Callahan, Chris Conner, Landon Ferraro, Jamie Johnson, Chris Minard, Gustav Nyquist, Francis Pare, Trevor Parkes, Brent Raedeke and Tomas Tatar. In addition, goaltender Tom McCollum, defenseman Bryan Rufenach and forward Willie Coetzee are currently in residence.
Update: In case you didn’t already know it, the Grand Rapids Press’s Peter J. Wallner suggests that the Griffins probably have a full-time starter in Ty Conklin due to the re-entry waiver rule:
Ty Conklin may resurrect his career and save the Grand Rapids Griffins season at the same time. Since he arrived in Grand Rapids, the veteran goaltender is 5-1 with a 1.81 goal-against average (.936 save percentage) and revived the Griffins’ playoff run. They’ve gone from near the bottom of the 15-team Western Conference to six points out of eighth and a playoff spot.
He also probably won’t be going anywhere. When Detroit starter Jimmy Howard suffered a groin strain Sunday, the Red Wings on Monday called up Jordan Pearce to serve as backup for Joey MacDonald for Tuesday’s game against Philadelphia. Why not Conklin? It might have been because it’s short term; Howard hopes to be ready for Friday’s home game against Los Angeles. But more telling, if the Red Wings wanted Conklin, he would have been exposed to re-entry waivers, meaning all his good work with the Griffins could have been put to use with another NHL team.
It also would disrupt what’s going on in Grand Rapids. Conklin has done wonders with the Griffins, who had lost five of seven and allowed four goals or more in five of them with Jordan Pearce and Tom McCollum. The 35-year-old veteran of nine NHL seasons arrived Feb. 21 full of dust after he was waived by the Red Wings. He had played one period in a month, He has started every game for the Griffins since. The team loves the way he plays the puck around the net, and the defense has become more aggressive.
“He has added a dimension to our team - confidence,” said coach Curt Fraser. “We haven’t had that … you can see that happening in games, especially late.”
Conklin played three games in three days last weekend, including the shootout when he stopped all four shots. The five-game winning streak ended Sunday afternoon in a 1-0 loss at Hamilton. It was the Griffins’ longest winning streak since a nine-game streak in 2009, and moved them into fourth in the North Division at 25-22-5-4.
The Griffins returned from Hamilton on Monday, flew to Austin, Texas, on Tuesday and will continue their road trip with games Wednesday against Texas, Saturday and Sunday at Houston and March 13 at Texas again before returning home March 14 for a pair of home games at Van Andel Arena on March 16-17. This month, the Griffins have nine road games and 15 games overall – the second busiest month in franchise history. Conklin could be in goal for all of them.
The one-year contract he signed with the Red Wings in July has become a stretch-run gift to the Griffins. It’s unlikely he will return to Detroit next season given the play of MacDonald, a former Griffin. Instead, he is auditioning for a job in the NHL next season that, for the Griffins, couldn’t come at a better time.
MacDonald’s contract becomes a one-way deal next season, and I have little doubt as to whether he’s going to be next year’s back-up. He’s won that job already.
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