The Malik Report
by George Malik on 12/10/13 at 02:09 PM ET
I said I'd do this post so I'm gonna do it. I'm not delighted with going through...sixty-five stories, but I believe that it's important to keep track of the Red Wings' prospects on a game-by-game basis whenever possible, and more than a few of you gave the thumbs-up to the concept of a Prospect Catch-Up Post of Doom.
So here it is, and here's what the Wings' prospects did over the past week:
AHL: In the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins just kept rolling along.
UNHAPPY RETURNS FOR ELLIS AND TARDIF AS GRIFFINS ROLL
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins on Friday pushed their winning streaks to six games overall and seven at home with a 5-1 beating of the Rochester Americans at Van Andel Arena.
Paced by two goals from Landon Ferraro and 33 saves by Petr Mrazek, the Griffins (16-4-1-1) improved their AHL-best winning percentage to 0.773 and increased their lead atop the Midwest Division to seven points over Milwaukee.
Having outscored the Americans 13-2 in two meetings this season, including an 8-1 win in their season opener in Rochester on Oct. 4, the Griffins will look to sweep the weekend set on Saturday when they host a rematch with the Amerks (10-9-2-2) at 8 p.m.
In their first games back in Grand Rapids as visitors, former Griffins captains Matt Ellis and Jamie Tardif were recognized prior to faceoff for their longtime service to the franchise. After receiving a warm welcome from Griffins fans and current captain Jeff Hoggan, the pair nearly joined forces to score just seconds into the game when Ellis sent a pass across to Tardif during a two-on-none, but Mrazek came out of his net to swallow up the puck.
Tardif got his goal later in the period, though, as he set up on the doorstep during a power play and jammed a rebound past Mrazek at the 16:27 mark. The Griffins then answered during their own advantage at 18:18, when Ryan Sproul unloaded a slap shot that was tipped behind Matt Hackett by Tomas Jurco.
Early in the second, two quick goals by Ferraro staked the Griffins to a 3-1 lead. First, from the left circle, he drove hard to the net and had several whacks at the puck before putting it across the goal line 1:21 into the frame. Then, just 2:17 later, Luke Glendening centered a pass out of the left corner that Ferraro redirected past the Amerks netminder from the slot.
The Griffins appeared to extend their advantage to three at the 5:24 mark when Mitch Callahan tipped a Nick Jensen feed home from the left post, but controversy ruled as the goal was immediately waved off by referee Ryan Hersey, citing incidental contact with Hackett by Triston Grant. A vehement protest ensued from the Griffins’ bench and the arena’s stands, but to no avail.
And no further bother, apparently, as the Griffins scored one that stood at 9:22, with Riley Sheahan blistering a shot into the top of the net from the left circle to make it a 4-1 contest.
The visitors’ frustrations were put on display with less than four minutes remaining in the period when Ferraro and Rochester’s Frederick Roy, sons of longtime NHLer Ray Ferraro and Hockey Hall of Famer Patrick Roy, dropped the gloves at center ice, a tussle that ended with Ferraro on top as the pair tumbled to the ice.
Grand Rapids scored a knockout punch of a different sort with 10:13 remaining in the contest. Off a turnover in the Rochester zone, Jurco immediately found Patrick Eaves all alone in the slot, and the NHL veteran took advantage of his time and space to chip in his fourth goal in the last four outings.
The win was the eighth straight for Mrazek as a Griffin, while Hackett finished the night with 29 saves on 34 shots.
Notes: While extending a franchise record by scoring five or more goals for the seventh straight home game (previous record four games), the Griffins set another mark by scoring at least four goals for the seventh consecutive contest at Van Andel Arena. The previous record of six was accomplished twice, most recently from Nov. 23-Dec. 14, 2011…Grand Rapids has won 14 of 16 games following a 2-2-1-1 start to the season…Jensen made his AHL debut and logged his fourth pro game after recovering from an injury suffered during the Detroit Red Wings’ development camp in July.
Three Stars: 1. GR Ferraro (two goals); 2. GR Jurco (power play goal, assist); 3. GR Mrazek (W, 33 saves)
As well as a Flickr photo gallery and a slate of highlihts and interviews:
Prior to the game, the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner noted that the Griffins have been nothing less than dominant this season...
The Griffins have picked up where they left off last season as the defending Calder Cup champs have won five in a row, lead the Midwest Division by seven points and their 15-4-1-1- record is tied for the best start in franchise history (15-4-0-0 in 2005-06).
They have also won six in a row at home, and continue their longest homestand of the season 7 o’clock tonight at Van Andel Arena against the Rochester Americans. The teams also meet Saturday with an 8 p.m. start – an hour later than usual.
How have the Griffins reached this point? One reason is the growth of Tomas Jurco, the Red Wings' top pick in 2011 who has stepped into the spotlight left by the since-promoted Gustav Nyquist. The second-year forward leads the Griffins with 23 points (10-13-23) and has points in 13 of 21 games. He already is near his 2012-13 total of 28 points (14-14-28) in 74 games.
There’s also been solid goaltending from Petr Mrazek, who has won seven in a row and has two shutouts in 11 starts, and veteran Tom McCollum who has a 7-2 record and enjoyed a six-game winning streak to start the season. The save percentages for each is strong – Mrazek at .918 and McCollum at .922.
Also, the roster logjam in Detroit has added to the veteran presence in Grand Rapids with Cory Emmerton, Jordin Tootoo and Patrick Eaves from the parent club this season. Emmerton (3-11-14) is currently back in Detroit to fill a gap with from injuries to Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi. Eaves, meanwhile, scored twice for the Griffins on Saturday against Texas and has five points (3-2-5) in five games.
And after the game, Wallner penned a recap (which includes a 25-image photo gallery) focusing on Landon Ferraro's big game:
Ferraro, who led the team with 24 goals last season, had not scored since Nov. 3 against Rockford and had not scored at home this season. But after a 1-1 tie in the first, Ferraro scored at 18:39 in front of the net, putting his own rebound past Matt Hackett to put the Griffins ahead for good.
He added the second goal at 16:22 on a short shot from the right side to give him five on the season.
"I felt like I had kind of gone down for a bit," Ferraro said of his play. "You see guys moving all around you and getting points and you start forcing things and that's when it really starts going bad for you. I feel like the past five or six games, it's been going better, and I have been starting to get pucks on the net a little more."
Moments later, he got a shaving cream face in the face compliments of teammate Tom McCollum.
Coach Jeff Blashill said the line of Ferraro with Jordin Tootoo and center Luke Glendening was a force.
"That line was our best line tonight," he said, "I thought Tootoo's physicality was extremely impactful in the game. That made it a real forceful line. You have Tootoo, who can really hit, you have Glendening, who's really hard, and you have Landon, who has a great combination of speed and the ability to score."
On Saturday, it was "same old, same old." Griffins captain Jeff Hoggan racked up points 2 and 3 over the course of his 2nd game in 2 nights (he'd been sitting with Emmerton pushing the Griffins over the 5-man veteran limit) and Mrazek stopped 29 shots as the Griffins defeated Rochester 3-1. Here's the Griffins website's recap...
BACK TO BACK TO BACK TO BACK...
Dec. 7, 2013
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – No team in the 18-year history of the Grand Rapids Griffins has possessed a better record through 23 games than this year’s edition, which improved its AHL-best mark to 17-4-1-1 (0.783) with a 3-1 victory over the Rochester Americans on Saturday at Van Andel Arena.
Petr Mrazek earned his ninth straight win as a Griffin behind 29 saves, leading Grand Rapids to its eighth consecutive home victory and its seventh win in a row overall. The Griffins, who beat the Americans 5-1 on Friday to kick off the weekend sweep, have allowed exactly one goal in each of their last three games and have yielded more than one goal just once in their last seven outings.
Grand Rapids now leads the Midwest Division by eight points over Rockford. The team will conclude its season-high seven-game home stand by playing three games in four nights this week, beginning with Wednesday’s 7 p.m. visit from the Chicago Wolves.
Rochester (10-10-2-2) scored its lone tally at the 15:55 of the opening period. Mrazek turned aside a long blast by Chad Ruhwedel, but a fat rebound found the stick of Nick Crawford in the left circle and he threw the puck into a gaping cage.
Teemu Pulkkinen’s ninth goal of the season knotted the score during a power play 5:25 into the second, as he snapped a shot from the high slot into the top left corner of Nathan Lieuwen’s net.
Early in the third, the Americans had a great chance to pull ahead when Alex Hutchings was awarded a penalty shot after being impeded by Alexey Marchenko during a breakaway, but the winger’s attempt sailed wide right. That failure’s magnitude was amplified just 16 seconds later when David McIntyre ripped a shot past Lieuwen from the slot at 2:44, putting the Griffins on top 2-1.
Mike Zigomanis sealed the Amerks’ fate with just 2:04 remaining when he was sent to the penalty box for the second time in three minutes, this time for slashing Jordin Tootoo’s stick. Jeff Hoggan made Rochester pay for Zigomanis’ transgression at 18:50 when he potted a Luke Glendening feed from the slot for a power play goal and the final 3-1 margin.
The Griffins, who surpassed the 16-5-0-2 start of the 2005-06 AHL regular season champions, have won all three meetings with Rochester this season, by a combined 16-3 score.
Notes: The Griffins’ franchise-record streak of scoring at least five goals in seven consecutive home games came to an end…Grand Rapids has won 15 of 17 games following a 2-2-1-1 start to the season.
Three Stars: 1. GR Mrazek (W, 29 saves); 2. GR Pulkkinen (power play goal); 3. RCH Lieuwen (L, 30 saves)
Cue the Flickr gallery and post-game clip...
As well as some birthday wishes...I mean pies...For Riley Sheahan and Tom McCollum...
And some surprisingly decent singing:
Today, the Griffins posted the following press release:
The fourth season of the Grand Rapids Griffins’ “Wednesday is Hockey Night” promotion will kick off this Wednesday, Dec. 11 when the Griffins host the Chicago Wolves.
In conjunction with the Arena District and Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., “Wednesday is Hockey Night” serves to reinvigorate a weeknight in downtown Grand Rapids and support businesses in the area surrounding Van Andel Arena.
Every Wednesday home game from December through March, fans can show their Griffins ticket at participating Arena District restaurants and bars to enjoy Happy Hour specials before the game and Hockey Night specials afterward. The game dates are: Dec. 11, Jan. 8, Jan. 15, Feb. 5 and March 5.
Participating establishments include Peppino’s Sports Grille, home of the Griffins’ Wednesday post-game parties with the players, along with The Apartment Lounge, Back Forty Saloon, Bar Divani, The Bistro, The B.O.B., Buffalo Wild Wings, Grand Rapids Brewing Company, Hopcat, J. Gardella’s Tavern, McFadden’s Restaurant and Saloon, Mojo’s Dueling Piano Bar, Ritz Koney Bar and Grille, Stella’s Lounge, Sundance Grill & Bar and T.G.I. Friday’s.
In support of the program, and in an effort to help reinvigorate another night in downtown Grand Rapids, local businesses have purchased 3,000 Wednesday night game tickets that will be donated to dozens of West Michigan non-profits and organizations, including Cherry Street Health Services, Dwelling Place, Goodwill, the Grand Rapids Fire Department, the Grand Rapids Police Department, Grand Rapids Public Schools, Heart of West Michigan United Way, Kids' Food Basket, Mel Trotter Ministries and the Salvation Army.
Please visit http://griffinshockey.com/hockeynight/ for more information.
In addition, every Wednesday home game is an “Amway Winning Wednesday.” Every time the Griffins win at home on Wednesday, each fan in attendance will receive a free ticket to the next Wednesday game. Additionally, the first 300 fans to visit the Amway table in Section A will receive a gift.
This week, the Griffins host Chicago tomorrow, the 11th, and they'll battle the Milwaukee Admirals on Friday the 13th and Saturday the 14th.
In the ECHL, things are upside down, with the Toledo Walleye posessing an ugly 5-and-13 record. The Toledo Walleye dropped a 7-3 decision to the Evansville IceMen last Thursday, though Trevor Parkes scored a goal, added an assist and took 5 shots; Max Nicastro had an assist and finished at -3, Marek Tvrdon scored a goal on 3 shots, Martin Frk had a goal and an assist on 2 shots, Louis-Marc Aubry went scoreless and finished at -2 and Richard Nedomlel finished at -2.
The Walleye provide a recap...
The IceMen scored 4 unanswered goals in the third period to beat Toledo 7-3 Thursday night in Evansville. Toledo has an overall record of 5-10-2-0 and is 2-6-2-0 on the road this season.
The IceMen would collect the lead when Mike Seidel deflected a pass through Hannu Toivonen at 5:36 of the first. Toledo would tie the game at one when Martin Frk threw a pass in front of the Evansville net that deflected off of the leg of defenseman Thomas Larkin and into the net at 10:27. Forward Kyle Rogers and defenseman Max Nicastro picked up the assists on the 4th goal of the year for Frk.
“I was happy that we were finally rewarded with some goals tonight,” said Head Coach Nick Vitucci. “We gave ourselves a chance tonight but credit Evansville. They made the plays in the third period to beat us.”
Evansville would regain the lead at 4:48 of the second period when Andre Bouvet-Morrisette blistered a one-timer past Toivonen. Toledo would tie it with a power play goal at 10:28 of the second period when Marek Tvrdon blasted a slap shot through Evansville goaltender Allen York. The 5th goal of the year from Tvrdon was set up by Russ Sinkewich and Trevor Parkes. The IceMen would lead 3-2 after two periods when Morrisette scored his second goal of the game at 14:59.
After the IceMen regained a one goal lead, the Walleye would tie the game at 3 when Trevor Parkes scored his 11th goal of the season at 6:27 of the third period. Evansville would get three goals in 2:21 to pull away from the Walleye.
Walleye Notes: Goaltender Hannu Toivonen made 18 saves on 25 shots in net for Toledo. Toivonen has a record of 0-2-0-0 this year. The goal by Frk at 10:27 of the first period snapped a scoreless streak of 200 minutes, 57 seconds for the Walleye. The power play goal in the second period was the first power play goal for Toledo since November 11th at Orlando (span of 6 games).
On Saturday, the Walleye lost 6-5 in OT to Evansville, with Jared Coreau stopping 31 of 37 shots, Parkes scoring 2 goals and adding an assist but finishing at -4, Tvrdon adding an assist and finishing at -1, Frk also registering an assist and finishing at -1, Aubry scoring a goal and finishing at -1 and Nedomlel not denting the scoresheet.
A "Win" by Walleye standards? Almost, per the Walleye's website's recap:
Trevor Parkes scored twice for Toledo, but the IceMen defeated the Walleye 6-5 in overtime Saturday night in Evansville. Toledo has an overall record of 5-10-3-0 and is 2-6-3-0 on the road this season.
Mike Seidel of Evansville beat Jared Coreau with a wrist shot to put the IceMen in front 1-0 at 5:35 of the first period. Toledo would tie the game at 12:26 of the period when Trevor Parkes tapped in his team leading 12th goal of the year on the power play. Kyle Rogers would score Toledo’s first shorthanded goal of the season at 16:21; his third goal this year. Evansville would score a late power play goal to tie the game at 2 following the first.
“When we are playing with an edge, being physical we will be successful,” said Head Coach Nick Vitucci. “That showed tonight as we built the two goal lead. Just need to find a better way to finish a game.”
Former Walleye defenseman Matt Krug would put the IceMen back in front at 4:46 of the second period. Toledo’s power play would strike again at 5:08 when Trevor Parkes scored his second goal of the game tapping in a rebound. Stephon Thorne would jump on a rebound to give Toledo the lead at 6:28 scoring his first goal of the season. The lead would grow to two goals when Louis Aubry wristed in his second goal of the year on a power play goal at 15:00. Evansville would get a goal in the last minute of the period to trim Toledo’s lead to one after two periods.
Evansville scored the lone goal of the third period at 13:28 to tie the game at 5. Toledo carried the play through much of overtime, but Jeremy Langlois beat Coreau with a wrist shot at 3:17.
Walleye Notes: Goaltender Jared Coreau made 31 saves on 37 shots in net for Toledo. Coreau has a record of 1-5-3-0 this year. The three power play goals ties a season high for the Walleye set in a 4-3 overtime win at Florida on November 9th.
This week, the Walleye host Cincinnati tomorrow evening (Wednesday the 11th), and they'll battle Evansville on Friday and Saturday (the 13th and 14th).
In Sweden, in the SHL...
A week ago today, Mattias Janmark scored a goal and played 20:12 but finished at -2 as AIK Stockholm lost 5-4 to Mattias Backman and Linkopings HC, with Backman registering 2 assists and finishing at +3 in 21:58 played;
Last Thursday, Janmark didn't score but played 19:51 in AIK's 3-2 shootout win over Vaxjo;
Backman didn't score but played 19:14 in Linkopings HC's 4-1 win over Brynas;
On Saturday, Backman scored the game-winning goal and played 24:51 in LHC's 2-1 win over Orebo;
And Janmark didn't score but played 20:43 in AIK Stockholm's 3-1 loss to AIK Skelleftea.
In the J20 SuperElit league, on Saturday, Rasmus Bodin remained out of the lineup as Linkopings HC's junior team won 4-1 over Malmo;
On Sunday, Hampus Melen didn't play in Tingsryds IF's 6-4 win over Sodertalje SK;
And Bodin remained out of LHC's lineup when they defeated Vaxjo 6-1.
Back over on this side of the pond, in the QMJHL...
Last Wednesday, Anthony Mantha had 2 goals and 2 assists in the Val-d'Or Foreurs' 9-3 victory over Rimouski;
Last Thurdsay, Phillipe Hudon didn't register a point in the Victoriaville Tigres' 4-1 loss to Halifax;
Mantha had 2 assists in Val-d'Or's 3-2 win over Rimouski;
Last Friday, Hudon had a goal and an assist in Victoriaville's 5-0 win over Saint John;
And on Sunday, Hudon scored a goal in Victoriaville's 4-3 loss to Moncton;
And Mantha scored a goal in Val-d'Or's 5-4 win over Gatineau.
Here's a "fun fact" about Mantha from the QMJHL:
Anthony Mantha (VDO) – His current 20-game point streak has him closing in on the team record streak of 23 games set 16 years ago by Jean-Pierre Dumont (1997-98). He also notched his sixth short-handed goal of the season leaving him only two back of the Foreurs’ club mark of 8 held by Simon Gamache (2000-01).
Mantha's registered 33 goals, 36 assists and 69 points over the course of 31 games played.
In the OHL, over the course of 10 games played...
Last Wednesday, Zach Nastasiuk had an assist and finished at +3 in the Owen Sound Attack's 5-3 win over Kitchener;
Last Thursday, Jake Paterson was pulled after giving up 4 goals on 15 shots as the Saginaw Spirit lost 5-2 to Windsor;
Last Friday, Nastasiuk scored a goal, added an assist and led Owen Sound to a 5-3 win over Tyler Bertuzzi's Guelph Storm, with Bertuzzi going scoreless;
Paterson sat out the Spirit's 5-3 loss to Kitchener;
Andreas Athansaiou didn't register a point in the Barrie Colts' 5-2 loss to Kingston;
On Saturday, Bertuzzi scored a goal as Guelph defeated Plymouth 5-2;
Paterson stopped 38 of 43 shots as the Spirit dropped a 5-4 OT decision to Sault Ste. Marie;
Nastasiuk scored a goal in Owen Sound's 6-2 loss to London;
Athanasiou had a goal and 2 assists in the Colts' 5-1 win over Belleville, and was named the game's first star;
And on Sunday, Athanasiou earned his OHL Player of the Week honor by scoring a goal and adding 3 assists in Barrie's 7-2 win over Ottawa. He was named the game's first star, and Athanasiou now has 14 goals, 25 assists and 39 points registered over the course of 24 games played.
In the WHL, a week ago Tuesday, Mitchell Wheaton continued to sit out while recovering from a broken nose as his Kelowna Rockets defeated Vancouver 4-3 in OT;
On Friday, Wheaton sat out Kelowna's 3-1 win over Everett;
Marc McNulty didn't register a point in the Prince George Cougars' 4-3 OT loss to Tri-City;
On Saturday, McNulty registered an assist and finished at +3 in Prince George's 5-2 win over Tri-City;
And Wheaton remained sidelined in Kelowna's 2-1 win over Kootenay.
In the BCHL, last Friday, David Pope didn't register a point in the West Kelowna Warriors' 4-3 loss to Surrey;
And on Saturday, Pope had an assist in West Kelowna's 4-1 win over Salmon Arm.
In the "bigger picture," last week, RedWingsCentral's prospect report," duly noted that Jake Paterson and Anthony Mantha will be taking a little time away from their Major Junior teams. The gents will take part in the Canadian World Junior Selection Camp from the 12th-15th, and then they'll play for Canada at the World Junior Championship in Malmo, Sweden from December 26th to January 5th.
RWC spoke with Wings director of player development Jiri Fischer about Paterson's "call" and his underdog status in a battle against Halifax Mooseheads goaltender Zach Fucale for Canada's starting job:
“Patty’s really excited — this is probably the most positive news he could have received,” Red Wings director of player development Jiri Fischer told RedWingsCentral.com after the announcement. “It says a lot about how much Team Canada believes in him. I know how dedicated he is, how much he wanted to be great this year, and for all young Canadians, it’s the ultimate honour to make the Canadian world junior team.”
The 6-foot-2 183-pounder was a third-round pick (80th overall) of the Red Wings and has spent the past two seasons on a generally mid-pack Spirit squad. He’s 10-8-1 this season, while his goals-against average (3.53) ranks just 14th in the OHL and his save percentage (.903) is just 15th.
But numbers don’t usually tell the whole story when it comes to junior goaltenders — if they did, Fucale and his sub-.900 save percentage wouldn’t be on the team either — and Fischer said Paterson “is very athletic and a leader” who is at his best when the lights are brightest.
“He’s super competitive and he wants to be in high-pressure situations where a lot is at stake,” Fischer said. “Those are two traits every elite goaltender has to have and we’ll see how he does with them on the international stage.”
RedWingsCentral's wide-ranging prospect report confirmed Bodin and Melen's injuries and took note of Tomas Jurco's scoring streak as well...
Today, RWC notes Calle Jarnkrok's struggles to adjust to North American hockey, Petr Mrazek and Jurco's roll-along play and Trevor Parkes' scoring prowess at the ECHL level in a prospect report whose focus involves Andreas Athanasiou's breakout. suggesting that Athanasiou may be the next Darren Helm:
“He had an outstanding camp … he came in and he was on a mission, he wanted to open everybody’s eyes and prove to everyone how good he could be,” said Red Wings director of player development Jiri Fischer. “When he got back to Barrie, in all fairness, I know Andreas tries really hard, but he didn’t play up to the level he did at camp and in the rookie tournament. He played harder, he was more determined and he played better when he was in Traverse City.”
The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder was ranked as a top-20 prospect entering his draft year in 2011, but slipped all the way to the fourth round, 110th overall, after struggling on a deep London Knights team that won an OHL championship and went to the Memorial Cup.
Traded to Barrie last off-season after requesting a change of scenery, Athanasiou reestablished himself as a prospect with a 67-point campaign and turned heads in a run to the OHL final with 25 points in 22 games. Now, he’s on the cusp of the OHL’s top-20 scorers and will likely continue to climb that list now that he’s shaken off his early-season struggles.
Elite speed has always been Athanasiou’s claim to fame.
“I haven’t seen a better skater this season, yet, in the OHL,” Fischer said. “In the Traverse City tournament, it was good enough to create at least one breakaway per game … He was routinely beating defensemen with his speed, driving wide, taking the puck to the net. You don’t see that every day when there are so many great-skating defensemen who are so great positionally. He’s as fluent on his feet as anyone … He’s fun to watch skate, that’s for sure."
And the prospect report continues.
Update: In addition to being a must-follow on Twitter, DRW Prospects posts highlight clips:
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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.