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The Malik Report

Grand Rapids Griffins release 2011-2012 season schedule, too

It’s “announcement day” or something similar. The Red Wings more or less revealed their 2011-2012 national TV schedule today, and their primary affiliate, the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins, have posted their 11-12 regular season schedule today, too. Here’s the team’s press release (it’s very thorough):

The Grand Rapids Griffins on Thursday released their schedule for the 2011-12 season, their 16th overall and 11th as members of the American Hockey League.

The primary affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings will begin its 76-game slate by visiting the Rockford IceHogs on Saturday, Oct. 8 at 8:05 p.m., before hosting the Toronto Marlies in its Van Andel Arena opener on Friday, Oct. 14 at 7 p.m.

Highlights of the 2011-12 schedule include:

• Twenty-seven prime home dates (16 Fridays and 11 Saturdays) out of 38 games. All Friday games this season will once again feature the popular Dollar Dogs, Dollar Beers promotion;

• Competitive benefits, thanks to the AHL’s modified 76-game schedule. After playing three games in three nights on 10 occasions last season, the Griffins will run that gauntlet only six times in 2011-12, including a full weekend set at Van Andel Arena Feb. 10-12. In addition, the Griffins will never play four games in five nights this season, something they did five times in 2010-11;

• The Griffins’ 15th annual New Year’s Eve celebration and several other holiday home games, including St. Patrick’s Day (March 17) and the days before and after Thanksgiving (Nov. 23 and 25);

• Grand Rapids’ 11th annual Matinee Game presented by Lake Michigan Credit Union, on Nov. 9 at noon versus the Rockford IceHogs;

• The first visits to Van Andel Arena by the Charlotte Checkers (Nov. 5 and March 30). On Jan. 15 and 17, the Griffins will reciprocate with their first trips to the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, marking the 51st arena, 43rd city and 21st state in which they’ve played since their 1996 inception (including Grand Rapids and Van Andel Arena);

• Two busy, month-long stretches during which more than half of their home games will be played. After beginning the season with only two home appearances in their first nine games, the Griffins will play 10 of 13 games at Van Andel Arena from Nov. 2-Dec. 3. Another run from Feb. 3-March 3 will see Grand Rapids play 10 of 12 games at home;

• Extended spring breaks in the southwest in March, during which the Griffins will play eight games in the states of Texas (6) and Oklahoma (2).

Nearly all Griffins home games will begin at 7 p.m., with just four exceptions. In addition to the noon start on Nov. 9 and the 6 p.m. start on New Year’s Eve, both Sunday games (Nov. 27 and Feb. 12) will face off at 5 p.m.

Griffins full-season, mini-plan and group ticket packages for the 2011-12 season are now on sale. For more information, visit griffinshockey.com or call the Griffins office at (616) 774-4585. Single-game tickets will go on sale to the public on Saturday, Sept. 17.

Grand Rapids Griffins 2011-12 Schedule (Date Opponent Time)

Sat., Oct. 8 @ Rockford IceHogs 8:05
Fri., Oct. 14 TORONTO MARLIES 7:00
Sun., Oct. 16 @ Rochester Americans 6:05
Tue., Oct. 18 @ Hamilton Bulldogs 7:30
Fri., Oct. 21 @ Oklahoma City Barons 8:00
Sat., Oct. 22 @ Oklahoma City Barons 8:00
Sun., Oct. 23 @ Houston Aeros 6:05
Fri., Oct. 28 ABBOTSFORD HEAT 7:00
Sat., Oct. 29 @ Milwaukee Admirals 8:00
Wed., Nov. 2 LAKE ERIE MONSTERS 7:00
Sat., Nov. 5 CHARLOTTE CHECKERS 7:00
Wed., Nov. 9 ROCKFORD ICEHOGS Noon
Fri., Nov. 11 @ Hamilton Bulldogs 7:30
Sat., Nov. 12 @ Rochester Americans 7:35
Fri., Nov. 18 SAN ANTONIO RAMPAGE 7:00
Sat., Nov. 19 MILWAUKEE ADMIRALS 7:00
Wed., Nov. 23 HAMILTON BULLDOGS 7:00
Fri., Nov. 25 OKLAHOMA CITY BARONS 7:00
Sun., Nov. 27 OKLAHOMA CITY BARONS 5:00
Tue., Nov. 29 @ Toronto Marlies 7:00
Fri., Dec. 2 TORONTO MARLIES 7:00
Sat., Dec. 3 CHICAGO WOLVES 7:00
Fri., Dec. 9 @ Milwaukee Admirals 8:00
Sat., Dec. 10 @ Rockford IceHogs 8:05
Sun., Dec. 11 @ Chicago Wolves 4:00
Wed., Dec. 14 ROCKFORD ICEHOGS 7:00
Fri., Dec. 16 @ Lake Erie Monsters 7:30
Sat., Dec. 17 @ Lake Erie Monsters 7:30
Wed., Dec. 21 ABBOTSFORD HEAT 7:00
Wed., Dec. 28 @ Lake Erie Monsters 7:00
Fri., Dec. 30 PEORIA RIVERMEN 7:00
Sat., Dec. 31 MILWAUKEE ADMIRALS 6:00
Fri., Jan. 6 @ Abbotsford Heat 10:00
Sat., Jan. 7 @ Abbotsford Heat 10:00
Wed., Jan. 11 HOUSTON AEROS 7:00
Fri., Jan. 13 TEXAS STARS 7:00
Sun., Jan. 15 @ Charlotte Checkers 3:00
Tue., Jan. 17 @ Charlotte Checkers 7:00
Fri., Jan. 20 LAKE ERIE MONSTERS 7:00
Sat., Jan. 21 ROCHESTER AMERICANS 7:00
Wed., Jan. 25 ROCHESTER AMERICANS 7:00
Fri., Jan. 27 @ Peoria Rivermen 8:00
Sat., Jan. 28 @ Peoria Rivermen 8:00
Fri., Feb. 3 HAMILTON BULLDOGS 7:00
Sat., Feb. 4 HAMILTON BULLDOGS 7:00
Fri., Feb. 10 HOUSTON AEROS 7:00
Sat., Feb. 11 HOUSTON AEROS 7:00
Sun., Feb. 12 SAN ANTONIO RAMPAGE 5:00
Wed., Feb. 15 @ Chicago Wolves 8:00
Sat., Feb. 18 PEORIA RIVERMEN 7:00
Wed., Feb. 22 HAMILTON BULLDOGS 7:00
Fri., Feb. 24 LAKE ERIE MONSTERS 7:00
Sat., Feb. 25 @ Toronto Marlies 5:00
Fri., Mar. 2 ROCHESTER AMERICANS 7:00
Sat., Mar. 3 OKLAHOMA CITY BARONS 7:00
Sun., Mar. 4 @ Hamilton Bulldogs 5:00
Wed., Mar. 7 @ Texas Stars 8:30
Sat., Mar. 10 @ Houston Aeros 8:35
Sun., Mar. 11 @ Houston Aeros 6:05
Tue., Mar. 13 @ Texas Stars 8:30
Fri., Mar. 16 TORONTO MARLIES 7:00
Sat., Mar. 17 HAMILTON BULLDOGS 7:00
Tue., Mar. 20 @ San Antonio Rampage 8:00
Thu., Mar. 22 @ San Antonio Rampage 8:00
Sat., Mar. 24 @ Oklahoma City Barons 8:00
Sun., Mar. 25 @ Oklahoma City Barons 5:00
Fri., Mar. 30 CHARLOTTE CHECKERS 7:00
Sat., Mar. 31 OKLAHOMA CITY BARONS 7:00
Sun., Apr. 1 @ Toronto Marlies 3:00
Wed., Apr. 4 TEXAS STARS 7:00
Fri., Apr. 6 TORONTO MARLIES 7:00
Sat., Apr. 7 @ Toronto Marlies 3:00
Tue., Apr. 10 @ Rochester Americans 7:05
Fri., Apr. 13 CHICAGO WOLVES 7:00
Sat., Apr. 14 @ Hamilton Bulldogs 7:00
Sun., Apr. 15 @ Hamilton Bulldogs 3:00

All Times Eastern
Dates, Opponents and Times Subject to Change
Games Broadcast on ESPN 96.1 FM

Grand Rapids Griffins
2011-12 Schedule Breakdown

Season Opener: Sat., Oct. 8 at Rockford IceHogs
Home Opener: Fri., Oct. 14 vs. Toronto Marlies
Home Finale: Fri., April 13 vs. Chicago Wolves
Season Finale: Sun., April 15 at Hamilton Bulldogs

By Conference

Western – 76 (38 home, 38 road), Eastern – 0

By Division

North – 30 (15 home, 15 road), West – 26 (13 home, 13 road), Midwest – 20 (10 home, 10 road), Atlantic – 0, East – 0, Northeast – 0

By Opponent

Hamilton – 10 games (5 home, 5 road)
Oklahoma City and Toronto – 8 games each (4 home, 4 road)
Houston, Lake Erie and Rochester – 6 games each (3 home, 3 road)
Abbotsford, Charlotte, Chicago, Milwaukee, Peoria, Rockford, San Antonio and Texas – 4 games each (2 home, 2 road)

By Day (Home)

Friday – 16, Saturday – 11, Wednesday – 9, Sunday – 2

By Day (Road)

Saturday – 13, Sunday – 9, Tuesday and Friday – 6, Wednesday – 3, Thursday – 1

By Month (Home)

November and February – 8, December and March – 6, January – 5, April – 3, October – 2

By Month (Road)

March – 9, October – 7, December and January – 6, April – 5, November – 3, February – 2

Longest Home Stand

5 games: Nov. 18-27, Feb. 3-12

Longest Road Trip

5 games: Oct. 16-23, March 4-13

Three Games in Three Nights

6 times: Oct. 21-23, Dec. 9-11, Feb. 10-12, March 2-4, March 30-April 1, April 13-15

I don’t know if you know this, but the AHL and PHPA (Professional Hockey Players Association) agreed to put the kibosh on 4-games in 4-nights slates, as the Grand Rapids Press’s Michael Zuidema points out:

The Grand Rapids Griffins should have a less grueling schedule this season, and not just because the American Hockey League decided to reduce the season from 80 games to 76 back in April.

The Griffins’ 2011-12 schedule, which was released Thursday afternoon, features only six three-games-in-three-nights sets and zero four-games-in-five-nights stretches. Last year, they had 10 three-in-threes and five four-in-fives. In addition, Grand Rapids’ longest road trip is just five games, from Oct. 16-23 and March 4-13. The longest homestand also will be five games from Nov. 18-27 and Feb. 3-12.

Griffins senior vice president of business operations Tim Gortsema said the team worked hard to create a balanced slate.

“Overall, we’re pretty happy with the schedule,” Gortsema said. “We spent a lot of time this past week analyzing and getting feedback from our coaches and hockey operations people trying to make it as easy on the guys as possible and eliminate some of the wear at tear that we’ve had in past seasons.”

Zuidema offers quite a bit more in terms of breaking down the schedule and offering its highlights…

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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.