The Malik Report
by George Malik on 12/31/13 at 02:02 AM ET
When you're getting ready to survey the exploits of the Red Wings' prospects (including a certain team of Grand Rapids Griffins who played at Comerica Park on Monday), and your answer as to which ones both played well and received favorable scoreboard results is, "Well, Anthony Mantha was great again at the World Juniors" (and Canada takes on Team USA at 11 AM EST on TSN and the NHL Network), and Trevor Parkes had a good night in Toledo...
You know that a significant number of players came up short.
In the case of the Grand Rapids Griffins, who did indeed battle the Toronto Marlies at Comerica Park on Monday evening, Grand Rapids rallied from a 2-1 deficit and regrettably lost 4-3 in a shootout--with the Griffins having every chance to earn some instant redemption as the teams tangle again tonight at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids (6 PM start)--but I haven't been in a palpably angrier locker room (or clubhouse, as it were) in a long, long time.
The Griffins were packing both themselves and their families up for a hurried bus trip back to Grand Rapids, and their families were also scrambling to meet the players after receiving an unwelcome boot from Comerica Park security before what was supposed to be a families-and-players post-game meal, so the atmosphere was already a bit tense, but you could feel palpable bitterness, anger, and a sense that a team having its day in the sun had wasted its opportunity to strut itself.
The Griffins also readily admitted--while biting their tongues--that the ice at Comerica Park was particularly poor for the first and second periods, but Tom McCollum was just plain pissed off at himself for giving up a pair of softies that would've made Jimmy Howard cringe, the Griffins were frustrated by giving into the Marlies' desire to muck things up, and...It wasn't pleasant, though the players were as pleasant as they could be given the circumstances.
If you dig the, "Well, it's okay, because somebody from Michigan made the difference" angle, the AP's recap has you covered:
Toronto forward Kenny Ryan, who is from nearby Franklin, Mich., scored the tying goal at 2:22 of the third period.
''I come to games a lot in the summer with friends and family,'' Ryan said. ''It was a pretty cool experience sitting out there in the outfield, almost, just looking at all the people that came, everything that was going on. It was a really great experience.''
Light snow fell periodically throughout the game, and the game-time temperature was a chilly 22 degrees. Outdoor games are generally tougher on the goalies, who don't get a chance to warm up on the heated benches.
''It was definitely tough staying warm out there,'' Griffins goalie Tom McCollum said. ''I was skating around as much as I could. I actually ended up switching to a heavier shirt after the first period. It seemed to help a little bit, but it's one of those things you have to battle through.''
Marlies counterpart Drew Macintyre, who spent time in the Detroit organization, admitted to his own struggles, as well.
''After a while, you get comfortable in a game. Pucks tend to kind of stick to you,'' Macintyre said. ''Every puck, it was a battle to kind of cradle the rebounds. The entire game, you feel like you just got into the game. Even when I got into the shootout, it was like the game just started. I hadn't got into a rhythm. That was different.''
It was the largest home crowd for the Griffins, who usually play at the 10,834-seat Van Andel Arena. However, it wasn't a record crowd for Grand Rapids, which played some games during its International Hockey League days at the 20,804-seat Palace — the home of the NBA's Detroit Pistons.
The AHL's recap tells an objective tale, save perhaps the attendance mark:
Michigan native Kenny Ryan scored the equalizer in the third period and former Detroit Red Wings draft pick Drew MacIntyre shut the door in the shootout as the Toronto Marlies defeated the Grand Rapids Griffins, 4-3, at the Hockeytown Winter Festival at Comerica Park in Detroit on Monday evening.
The Marlies, who defeated Hamilton at Ivor Wynne Stadium in 2012, are the first team to win two AHL outdoor contests.
Ryan, a native of nearby Franklin, Mich., who played his junior hockey across the river in Windsor, Ont., potted his second goal of the season 2:22 into the third period to tie the game at 3-3. After the rest of regulation and overtime were scoreless, Spencer Abbott and Greg McKegg scored in the shootout while MacIntyre denied all four Grand Rapids attempts.
Kevin Marshall and Carter Ashton scored in regulation for the Marlies, who opened up a three-point lead atop the North Division with three games in hand on second-place Hamilton.
East Grand Rapids native and University of Michigan product Luke Glendening, reassigned to the Griffins from the parent Detroit Red Wings on Sunday, scored twice, while Xavier Ouellet also scored and Brennan Evans recorded two assists for Grand Rapids. The Griffins remain in first place in the Midwest Division.
MacIntyre, a 2001 draft choice by the Red Wings who played with Grand Rapids from 2004-06, finished with 23 saves on 26 shots for his 15th win of the season, tied for the AHL lead. Tom McCollum stopped 21 shots for the Griffins.
This was the seventh outdoor game in AHL history. Six of the seven have been decided by one goal, with five of the games requiring overtime.
Attendance was 20,337.
20,337 tickets may have sold for the game, and the stadium may have been half-full halfway through the game, but that didn't last for long in 20-degree weather.
In the first-ever outdoor game in franchise history, the Grand Rapids Griffins fell to the Toronto Marlies 4-3 on Monday in a thrilling shootout in front of 20,337 at Comerica Park.
Luke Glendening scored two goals in the historic matchup on his way to securing a point for the defending Calder Cup champions. The loss marks the second time that Grand Rapids (22-7-1-2) has fallen to Toronto (17-10-2-1) this season, previously dropping a 4-3 overtime decision to the Marlies on Oct. 5. The Griffins have lost three of the last four games and, until tonight, held a 17-0-0-1 record when leading after the second period.
The Griffins, who still maintain a nine-point lead over Milwaukee in the Midwest Division, will host a rematch with Toronto tomorrow at 6 p.m. in their 17th annual New Year’s Eve celebration at Van Andel Arena.
Toronto defenseman Kevin Marshall tallied the opening goal a mere 1:10 into the first period, when he lobbed the puck toward the home net. McCollum, who lost track of the shot, allowed the puck to slip past his right side to give the Marlies a 1-0 lead.
Kenny Ryan was called on a two-minute charging infraction at 5:36, providing Grand Rapids with the first power play of the game. However, the extra man was squandered just 57 seconds later, when Adam Almquist was sent off for interference. During four-on-four play, a hard push to the Marlies net resulted in goaltender Drew MacIntyre giving up a Riley Sheahan rebound. A sliding Xavier Ouellet collected the loose puck and put it home at 7:20 to tie the game at one apiece.
Ryan ran into Teemu Pulkkinen's face and gave Pulkkinen such a bloody nose that he had to head back to the dugout for a new jersey. He returned to the game but had to wait for a stoppage in play to cross the rink to get to the Griffins' bench.
Late in the first period, Carter Ashton pushed the Marlies to a 2-1 advantage at 18:00, when he collected a puck played by McCollum and put it between his back and the post from the bottom of the left circle.
In the latter half of the second period, Glendening came alive and scored two goals to give the Griffins a 3-2 advantage by the end of the frame. At 11:22, he threw the puck at the net from the goal line and it deflected off of MacIntyre’s skate and across the line. At 16:18, Glendening stepped out of the penalty box, collected a pass from Brennan Evans and walked into the Toronto zone alone, hammering the puck past MacIntyre.
Just 2:22 into the third period, Ryan jammed the puck into the Griffins crease, and it trickled past McCollum and a diving Evans to knot the game at 3-3. The goal would be the only mark of the third period.
After a scoreless overtime, the Griffins and Marlies headed to a shootout. Spencer Abbot and Greg McKegg connected for the Marlies, while the Griffins were unable to solve MacIntyre in four tries, ensuring the victory for Toronto.
MacIntyre stopped 24 of 27 shots, while McCollum shut down 21 of 24 beneath the Detroit skyline.
Notes: Tonight’s game marked the seventh outdoor game in AHL history, the second outdoor game for the Toronto Marlies and the first-ever outdoor game for the Griffins. The crowd of 20,337 is the largest home crowd in Griffins history and the fifth-largest crowd overall, exceeded only by four late-‘90s IHL games against the Detroit Vipers at the Palace of Auburn Hills…The game began with a temperature of 22 degrees and finished at a chilling 17.
Three Stars: 1. TOR McKegg (shootout goal, assist); 2. GR Glendening (two goals); 3. TOR Abbott (two assists)
The Toronto Sun's Lance Hornby spoke with former Griffin and Wings prospect Drew MacIntyre about his win...
Drew MacIntyre needed ice in his veins to win an outdoor shootout on a bumpy surface.
The Marlies goalie emerged the 4-3 victor over Tom McCollum of the Grand Rapids Griffins, as the Leafs farm team drew first blood in the three-day series of themed games between Toronto and Detroit. A crowd of 20,337 frosty fans at Comerica Park shivered for almost three hours as the Marlies tied it in the third on local product Kenny Ryan's goal. Spencer Abbott and Greg McKegg struck in the shootout, while MacIntyre stopped all three chances by the defending Calder Cup champs.
"It took a while to get my sightlines," said MacIntyre, whose net was where Prince Fielder used to play first base for the Tigers. MacIntyre had no rinkside seats for background perspective.
But teammate Kevin Marshall, an outdoor-game veteran, made sure to shoot early on McCollum for the very reason the Griffin would be unsure of his surroundings. Marshall's first-shot goal was also his first of the year.
MacIntyre had always wanted to be in an outdoor game and hit the jackpot. He's a baseball fan, who'd watched the Tigers a lot here when he was Wings property.
"I said to my wife this morning, 'This will be one thing off my bucket list,' " MacIntyre said.
And in the Griffins' busy locker room, Luke Glendening was leaned upon quite heavily as a quote machine because his demotion on Sunday robbed him of the opportunity to play a second outdoor game at Michigan Stadium.
Glendening insisted to NHL.com's Corey Masisak that it he was cherishing the outdoor game he did get the opportunity to play in...
"It was special. It was in Detroit," Glendening, a Grand Rapids, Mich., native said. "I've been coming to Tigers games with my family and friends, so to get to play here was fun. Obviously we were frustrated by the outcome, but to soak in the whole experience was special. I was looking around a lot and just trying to soak it all in."
The Red Wings played Monday night against the Nashville Predators. There is still a chance Glendening could return to the Wings in time for Wednesday, but he's not holding out hope.
"No, I don't think I'm going to play," Glendening said. "Obviously it would have been quite an experience to play back where I went to school. I got to play in the Big Chill, and that would have been fun. Helm is a great player, and I'm excited he's back and excited to watch the game."
Glendening scored twice for the Griffins in the second period to help erase a 2-1 deficit. His first goal was from near the goal line; he threw the puck toward the net and it went off Toronto goaltender David McIntyre's skate and across the goal line at 11:22.
The second goal came in a slightly more conventional manner. He received a pass and broke behind the Marlies' defense before sliding the puck through McIntyre's legs. It did hit the post and come back, but it went off the goaltender and trickled across the line at 16:18.
"The first one was I was embarrassed to look at the scoreboard, but I guess they all count the same," Glendening said. "I was actually trying to make a pass and it hit his skate. The second one I got a great pass from [Brennan] Evans and I was fortunate it went in."
And he quite happily reflected upon his most recent tenure with the Wings...
"It was awesome. It was a dream come true," Glendening said. "I know a lot of people say that and it sounds cliché, but I just remember dreaming and dreaming to be one of those guys when I was kid. My parents didn't push me to play hockey, but they were always supportive. They were there and my brother was there so to know they were behind me. It was an awesome experience."
Griffins coach Jeff Blashill was also in a reflective mood, as the Free Press's George Sipple noted...
“The experience was great,” said Griffins coach Jeff Blashill. “I’d never been part of one before, so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, but it’s a great venue. They did a great job putting it on. You deal with lots of different things that happen in a game like that, but you take it all in and enjoy it and I think our guys enjoyed the experience for sure. We would have liked to end up with a win, but that’s how sports goes. I thought overall we gave a real good effort.”
But McCollum was upset with himself...
Most of the players were frustrated by the loss, none more so than McCollum. McCollum gave up goal 1:10 in the game on a point shot by Marlies defenseman Kevin Marshall. It was Marshall’s first goal of the season.
Xavier Ouellet tied the game at 7:20.
Carter Ashton, who assisted on Toronto’s first goal, scored on a bad angle rebound at the 18-minute mark. Ashton’s shot down low went off McCollum’s back and in on the short side to give the Marlies a 2-1 lead.
“Two terrible goals on my part,” McCollum said. “It just went straight and somehow found a hole. Same thing with the second one. Shot from a bad angle that just hit me in the side and just went in. Just seemed like one of those days where I wasn’t as sharp as I needed to be and that’s why we lost.”
And while Michigan Hockey's Pat Evans noted that Blashill readily admitted that the Griffins were jumped upon to some extent...
"We weren’t as sharp early as they were,” Grand Rapids head coach Jeff Blashill said. “A lot of games have ebb and flow to them, this one did. They just came out a little bit sharper than we did.”
The former goaltender felt no need to chastise his starting goaltender:
“It’s hardest on the goalies,” Blashill said of playing outdoors. “I’d have to go back and look at the history of outdoor games, but the pucks bouncing a bit and it takes getting used to.”
The last half of the third period was fairly chippy as the teams fought for control of the puck, and the game.
The game stayed tied after the overtime. The Marlies won the shootout, 2-0.
They might have lost on the scoreboard, but the Griffins will take home one point and plenty of memories.
“We got one point, we would have liked two, but you know, we could have played this game 7 o’clock on a Monday, indoors and got one point,” Blashill said. “We’ll take the one point. But we’ll certainly cherish the opportunity.”
The Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner actually posted two recaps, first a sans-quotes game narrative, and then a recap which focused on this particular "outdoor classic's" AHL twist in kicking off a set of back-to-back games.
McCollum most certainly told Wallner that he hoped to lead the Griffins to a better result on a more forgiving ice surface...
“Definitely,” he said. “It’s a lot more familiar conditions to everybody, and everybody will be a lot more comfortable in there, and we’ll just get back to work tomorrow.”
And Blashill was intrigued by the challenge of refocusing his players:
“It will be interesting,” Griffins coach Jeff Blashill said of the turnaround. “The event build-up to play in the game is one thing. We’re going to have to do a real good job of re-focusing. The one good thing for us is the New Year’s Eve game is a big game for us and guys know there will be a real good crowd, so we’re going to have to put this event, which was a great event, behind us.”
Wallner also captured the Griffins' tiptoeing through the ice surface tulips...
“We’re both playing in the same outdoor game, so I don’t know,” Blashill said. “We weren’t as sharp as they were early. They did a better job early probably of playing north-south hockey and being hard at the net.”
But if we're going to end a downer game on a good note, this comment regarding Luke Glendening's ability to refocus is the one to end upon:
“Luke is a really good hockey playing for one,” Blashill said. “But to come back in and be able to play after just getting in last night, I thought he did a real good job.”
The Detroit News's David Goricki also penned a sans-quotes recap, and in the multimedia department:
Fox 17's Steve Amorose's highlight clip and post-game clip starts...Eventually...
And I captured part of Luke Glendening's presser...
All of coach Jeff Blashill's post-game presser...
I had a solid chat with Mitchell Callahan...
Riley Sheahan was quite polite and let me and Mr. Amorose talk to him for almost seven minutes...
And Xavier Ouellet approached me, not the other way around, and was happy to chat for a bit:
In the ECHL, the Toledo Walleye defeated the Kalamazoo K-Wings 3-2 thanks to a goal and two assists from Trevor Parkes. Louis-Marc Aubry, Richard Nedomlel and Max Nicastro were held off the scoresheet, but the Walleye's website reports that all went well...
Toledo scored twice in the first four minutes and defeated Kalamazoo 3-2 at the Huntington Center Monday night. Toledo has an overall record of 9-15-3-0 and is 6-6-0-0 at home this season.
Toledo would strike early as Kyle Rogers tapped in a shot at 1:47 of the first period for his 7th goal of the season. The Walleye would jump up 2-0 when Pat Mullane jumped on a rebound at 3:49 for his second goal of the year.
“The effort was there tonight and we were rewarded,” said Head Coach Nick Vitucci. “It helped that we collected an early lead, but everyone made the plays tonight that we need to win hockey games.”
Kalamazoo would tie the game at two when Yannick Veilleux wristed a shot past Toivonen at 2:26. Trevor Parkes would cap an incredible effort at 11:31 of the second period to put Toledo in the lead for good. David Gilbert picked up the lone assist on the team-leading 14th goal of the year for Parkes.
Walleye Notes: Goaltender Hannu Toivonen made 33 saves on 35 shots in net for Toledo. Toivonen has a record of 4-7-0-0 this year. Trevor Parkes finished the game with a goal and 2 assists and has 4 goals and 4 assists against the Wings this season.
Parkes got the eventual game-winner with a highlight-reel goal with 8:29 left in the second. Parkes first slipped and recovered. He got around Wings defenseman Elgin Reid then had the patience to get goalie Jordan Binnington on his back and lifted the puck over him.
“I just tried to beat the guy to the net and then I tried to hold on to it for as long as I could and wait out the goalie,” Parkes said. “You just blackout in the moment. It's just one of those things you practice and it might happen once in a year.”
“If they had the ESPYs for our league that would have to be No. 1,” [coach Nick] Vitucci said. “As a hockey fan I like to be wowed like that every now and then.”
Parkes and David Gilbert assisted on Rogers' early goal. Parkes intercepted a clearing pass to set up the pressure. Gilbert's shot then deflected off of the post and Rogers slammed it home.
“That was big for us because every game we've been down two or three goals and fighting back,” Parkes said. “It was nice to get a couple early. The boys were ready to go.”
The Walleye also posted a highlight clip:
In Europe, in the SHL, Mattias Janmark didn't play in AIK Stockholm's 3-1 loss to Modo;
And Mattias Backman played 19:51 in Linkopings HC's 4-2 loss to Orebo.
Back over on this side of the pond, in Western Canada, in the WHL, Marc McNulty didn't register a point in the Prince George Cougars' 5-2 loss to Vancouver;
And in the BCHL, David Pope scored the 3-2 and game-tying goals as the West Kelowna Warriors rallied from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Trail Smoke Eaters 4-3 in overtime.
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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.