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The Malik Report

Prospect news: Sulak hits 30 (minutes played) and the Griffins’ weekly presser

Of prospect-related note:

In the KHL, on Monday, Alexander Kadeikin played 12:31 in Lokomotiv Yaroslavl's 2-0 win over Admiral Vladivostok;

In the SHL, Christoffer Ehn took a penalty and won 43% of his faceoffs in 22:04 played as the Frolunda Indians lost 3-2 in a shootout to the Malmo Redhawks;

In the Finnish Liiga, Libor Sulak had an assist and finished -1 in a staggering 30:41 of ice time as his Lahti Pelicans lost 7-5 to Sport;

And here's the Grand Rapids Griffins' weekly press release:

THIS WEEK'S MENU: MOOSE

This Week’s Games
Manitoba Moose at GRIFFINS // Fri., Nov. 24 // 7 p.m. // Van Andel Arena
Listen:
WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM at 6:35 p.m.
Watch: AHLLive.com  
Season Series: 1-1-0-0 Home, 1-1-0-0 Overall. Third of eight meetings overall, third of four at Van Andel Arena
All-Time Series: 28-11-1-1-5 Home, 51-27-1-1-7 Overall
NHL Affiliation: Winnipeg Jets
Noteworthy: Turner Elson leads the Griffins with five points (1-4—5) in two games against Manitoba this season.

Last Week’s Results
Tues., Nov. 14    GRIFFINS 6 at San Antonio Rampage 3    8-7-0-1 (17 points, 5th Central)
Fri., Nov. 17    GRIFFINS 2 at Iowa Wild 4    8-8-0-1 (17 points, 6th)
Sat., Nov. 18    GRIFFINS 2 at Rockford IceHogs 3 SO    8-8-0-2 (18 points, 6th)

Opening Faceoff: The defending Calder Cup champion Griffins have points in three of their last four (2-1-0-1) and place sixth in the Central Division with an 8-8-0-2 record. Last week, Grand Rapids concluded its five-game road trip with a 2-2-0-1 mark. This week, the Griffins host the division-leading Manitoba Moose on Friday.

Follow the Leaders:
Points:
Matt Puempel (6-10—16)
Goals: Puempel, Matt Lorito, Eric Tangradi, Dominic Turgeon, Turner Elson (6)
Assists: Puempel, Ben Street (10)
PIM: Dylan McIlrath (36)
Plus-Minus: Dylan McIlrath (+7)
Goaltender Wins: Jared Coreau (5)
Goals Against Average: Coreau (2.80)
Save Percentage: Coreau (0.907)

Last Week’s Notes: Grand Rapids scored five goals in the second period on Tuesday at San Antonio, the most in a frame since tallying five in the third period on Nov. 25, 2016 versus Cleveland…The Griffins scored five times via five different scorers in the middle frame to batter Rampage netminder Spencer Martin, who was the AHL’s reigning Player of the Week…Martin allowed five goals in 9:48 after his previous five were surrendered over a period lasting 208:20…The Griffins have won five of their last six matinee games, dating to Feb. 23, 2016…Ben Street tallied two assists on Tuesday, the 300th and 301st points of his AHL career…Grand Rapids was outshot on Tuesday for the first time since Nov. 1…After the winning the first eight all-time meetings against the Wild at Wells Fargo Arena, the Griffins are now 4-4-0-0 in their last eight games at Iowa following Friday’s 4-2 loss…Landon Ferraro, in his first season in the Wild organization, scored the game-winning goal against his former team on Friday…Grand Rapids is 0-1-0-2 against Rockford this season following Saturday’s 3-2 shootout loss, with all three meetings coming in Illinois…Behind a goal and an assist on Saturday, Eric Tangradi has a team-high four points (3-1—4) in three appearances against the IceHogs this season…The Griffins are 0-2 in shootouts this season and 96-103 all time.

18th Annual Teddy Bear Toss: Fans are encouraged to bring new, store-tagged teddy bears and stuffed animals to throw onto the ice after the Griffins score their first goal on Friday. Presented by J&H Family Stores, the teddy bear toss benefits Hug-A-Bears of Kent County.

Movement Monday: The Detroit Red Wings on Monday reassigned defenseman Vili Saarijarvi and forward Dylan Sadowy from the Griffins to the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye, while the Griffins assigned forward Luke Esposito to Toledo. In his first full professional season, Saarijarvi has played in four games with the Griffins, tallying one assist and two penalty minutes. Sadowy, a second-year pro, has recorded seven PIM in eight games with the Griffins this season. In his first season as a pro, Esposito has skated in seven games with the Griffins, recording one assist and four PIM.

Manitoba Notes: Grand Rapids and Manitoba have met 87 times since 1996-97 when both were members of the International Hockey League...Since the Moose rejoined the AHL in 2015-16 following a four-year hiatus, the Griffins are 7-3 against their Central Division counterpart, including a 5-1 mark in games at Van Andel Arena…In those six games in West Michigan, Grand Rapids is outscoring Manitoba 30-18…First-year Griffin Turner Elson scored a career-high four points (1-3—4) in the season opener against Manitoba on Oct. 6…Forward Eric Tangradi, who appeared in 91 games with the Winnipeg Jets between 2012-14, has skated in eight games against the Moose as a member of the Griffins and produced 16 points (7-9—16) and a plus-eight rating…Manitoba’s Mason Appleton was named the AHL Player of the Week for the period ending Nov. 19 after tallying six points (3-3—6) in three games last week…The Moose are 7-4 on the road this season…Manitoba leads the Central Division and is 6-3 against division foes…The Moose tagged Grand Rapids for seven goals in the last meeting on Oct. 7 at Van Andel Arena, the most allowed by the Griffins on home ice since April 18, 2015. 

Thanksgiving Measuring Stick: Entering Thanksgiving, the Griffins rank sixth in the Central Division and would be out of a playoff spot if the season ended today. The November holiday is often used as a prediction for hockey teams and their playoff fate. This has rung true for the Griffins, as 12 times in their 16 AHL seasons their playoff position at Thanksgiving has correctly corresponded with the season’s ultimate postseason status. Of the seven previous times the Griffins have been out of a playoff position at Thanksgiving, they still went on to the postseason three times. During the Griffins’ current five-year playoff streak, they have been out of a playoff spot at Thanksgiving on two occasions (2014-15 and 2015-16), yet they still went on to not only make the postseason but to win at least one playoff series in both of those seasons.

Season  Thanksgiving Date  Record Thru Date  In Playoff Position Thru Date?  End of Season Record  Reached Playoffs at End of Season?
2001-02  Nov. 22  12-5-0-0  Yes  42-27-11-0  Yes
2002-03  Nov. 28  12-3-4-1  Yes  48-22-8-2  Yes
2003-04  Nov. 27  11-6-4-0  Yes  44-28-8-0  Yes
2004-05  Nov. 25  11-4-1-0  Yes  41-35-2-2  No
2005-06  Nov. 24  15-3-0-1  Yes  55-20-1-4  Yes
2006-07  Nov. 23  6-9-2-1  No  37-32-6-5  Yes
2007-08  Nov. 22  5-10-0-1  No  31-41-2-6  No
2008-09  Nov. 27  9-5-2-3  Yes  43-25-6-6  Yes
2009-10  Nov. 26  12-6-0-0  No  34-39-3-4  No
2010-11  Nov. 25  8-8-0-3  No  36-34-2-8  No
2011-12  Nov. 24  7-9-1-0  No  33-32-7-4  No
2012-13  Nov. 22  8-4-1-1  Yes  42-26-4-4  Yes
2013-14  Nov. 28  13-4-1-1  Yes  46-23-2-5  Yes
2014-15  Nov. 27  8-7-1-0  No  46-22-6-2  Yes
2015-16  Nov. 26  6-8-0-1  No  44-30-1-1  Yes
2016-17  Nov. 24  9-6-0-0  Yes  47-23-1-5  Yes
2017-18  Nov. 23  8-8-0-2  No  TBD  TBD


Puemped Up: Matt Puempel, who was acquired by the Red Wings organization in a trade on Oct. 21, has scored 13 points (5-8—13) in 12 appearances with the Griffins and leads the team with a 1.08 points per game average. Puempel has five multi-point outings with Grand Rapids, including three in the last six games.

Special Teams: Grand Rapids is one of three teams (Manitoba, Hershey) to rank in the top 10 in both power play and penalty kill. The Griffins’ power play is operating at a 22.2% clip (18-for-81), good for third in the AHL, and finished 3-for-16 during their recent five-game road trip. The penalty kill has seen quite the reversal, going from dead last in the league to its current position tying for sixth at 85.1%. The Griffins allowed four power play goals on seven opportunities at Rockford on Oct. 28 sending them to a league-low penalty killing percentage of 75.5%, but since that time, Grand Rapids has gone 37-of-38 on the penalty kill over its last nine games.

More Than Just a Mask: Since debuting his new cold-activated mask for this season on Nov. 5 against Milwaukee, goaltender Tom McCollum is 3-2-1 in his last six games and shows a 2.26 goals against average while stopping 167-of-180 shots (0.928). In his eighth season in Grand Rapids, McCollum has 106 victories as a Griffin, which is just three shy of Joey MacDonald’s franchise-record 109 wins. McCollum is already the Griffins’ all-time goaltending leader in games played, minutes and saves.

Whoa, Nelly: Todd Nelson, in his third season as Grand Rapids’ head coach, shows a 99-61-2-8 (0.612) record with the Griffins and needs one win to become the fifth coach in franchise history to reach the century mark. Greg Ireland is the fastest coach in team history to achieve 100 wins, hitting the mark in his 167th game coached while Danton Cole, who attained his 100th victory in his 172nd game, is second. On Nov. 11 at Texas, Nelson, who is in his seventh season as an AHL bench boss, became the fifth active AHL head coach to coach in 500 or more games.

No. 166: Kyle Criscuolo became the 166th Griffins alumnus to play in the NHL when he made his debut with the Buffalo Sabres last Friday during their 3-1 loss at Detroit. Criscuolo has appeared in three games with the Sabres and averaged 7:58 of ice time. Criscuolo tallied 41 points (17-24—41) as a rookie with the Griffins in 2016-17 and helped Grand Rapids win the Calder Cup.

Lashoff Makes Season Debut in Detroit: Recalled by the Red Wings last Friday, defenseman Brian Lashoff made his season debut that night in Detroit’s 3-1 win against Buffalo at Little Caesars Arena. Lashoff played five shifts and totaled 4:02 of ice time and was assigned back to Grand Rapids last Saturday.

Streaks: Ben Street has four assists in the last four games…Eric Tangradi has two multi-point outings in his last three games and has six points (3-3—6) in the last five contests…Matt Lorito has five assists in the last four games…Matthew Ford has three points in his last two games and six (2-4—6) in his last five.

November to Remember: Historically, the month of November has been a fruitful one for Grand Rapids, as the Griffins have posted a 0.500 record or better in the month 16 times in franchise history. Since the 2012-13 season, Grand Rapids has tallied a combined 43-17-1-3 (0.703) record in the 11th month of the year. At home in the month of November, the Griffins are a combined 24-7-0-1 (0.765) since 2012-13.

Milestones: Several Griffins are nearing career benchmarks, including Corey Elkins (97 pro goals and 97 AHL points), Matthew Ford (547 AHL games), Matt Lorito (49 AHL goals) and Robbie Russo (147 AHL games). Third-year Griffin Eric Tangradi became the 23rd player in franchise history to record 50 goals when he scored last Tuesday at San Antonio. Colin Campbell played in his 200th game as a Griffin last Saturday at Rockford. Veteran defenseman Brian Lashoff played in his 343rd game as a Griffin last Tuesday at San Antonio, passing Louis-Marc Aubry for sixth on the franchise’s all-time list.

Goalie Leaders: Eighth-year Griffin Tom McCollum and fifth-year Griffin Jared Coreau both rank in the top five in several categories in Grand Rapids’ all-time goaltending record book.
Games Played  Minutes  Wins  Saves
1. Tom McCollum (235)  1. Tom McCollum (13235:22)  1. Joey MacDonald (109)  1. Tom McCollum (5890)
2. Joey MacDonald (210)  2. Joey MacDonald (11784:31)  2. Tom McCollum (106)  2. Joey MacDonald (5362)
3. Jimmy Howard (190)  3. Jimmy Howard (10886:40)  3. Jimmy Howard (93)  3. Jimmy Howard (4941)
4. Jared Coreau (121)  4. Jared Coreau (6978:30)  4. Jared Coreau (69)  4. Jared Coreau (3215)


Up and Down: With an 8-8-0-2 record through 18 games, take a look at how the statistics compare between the Griffins’ eight wins and 10 (including overtime and shootout) losses. Thirteen of the 18 games have been decided by two or more goals. Grand Rapids has scored five or more goals in seven of its eight victories.
   GF  GA  PP%  PK%  SF  SA
W (8)  5.38  2.50  30.43%  91.43%  34.88  30.50
L (10)  1.50  3.60  12.12%  80.77%  32.00  31.10


Back-to-Backs: The Griffins will play back-to-back games a total of 24 times this season. Compare the statistics for when Grand Rapids has played on consecutive nights:
   W  L (incl. OT, SO)  GF  GA  PP%  PK%  SF  SA
First Night  3  3  3.67  2.83  25.00%  86.36%  31.67  30.50
Second Night  1  5  2.33  3.83  11.11%  76.67%  31.83  33.50

Championship Effects: Since 2001-02, the year Grand Rapids joined the AHL, nine Calder Cup champions have gone on to qualify for the postseason in the following season, including the Griffins, who reached the conference semifinals in 2014 after winning the franchise’s first championship in 2013. Only one team in this 16-year span repeated as champions (Hershey in 2009 and 2010).

Walleye Report: Under second-year head coach Dan Watson, the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye are on a 10-game point streak (9-0-1-0) and lead the Central Division with a 11-2-2-0 record (24 points). Christian Hilbrich (9-6—15) and Griffins-contracted Mike Borkowski (7-8—15) tie for the team lead with 15 points apiece. Griffins-contracted goaltender Pat Nagle leads the league with 10 wins while placing fifth with a 2.28 goals against average and 12th with a 0.919 save percentage.

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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.