The Malik Report
Red Wings prospect news: Griffins to host Milwaukee; Bertuzzi, Athanasiou score; Wheaton has a scare
by George Malik on 11/20/13 at 02:50 AM ET
Red Wings prospect Anthony Mantha will be in the national spotlight when the second game of the Subway Super Series resumes tonight in Sherbrooke, Quebec (with the QMJHL playing a team of Russian stars at 7 PM EST Sportsnet, TVA Sports and the Fan 590 in Canada; Mantha scored the game-winning goal for the Q on Monday).
On a more local basis, the now-veteran-overloaded Grand Rapids Griffins will host the Milwaukee Admirals in their only home game of the week, so their weekly press release earns precedence this morning:
GRIFFINS HOST ADMIRALS ON WEDNESDAY
This Week’s Games
Wed., Nov. 20 Milwaukee Admirals at GRIFFINS 7 p.m. WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM/ AHLLive.com
Fri., Nov. 22 GRIFFINS at Iowa Wild 8:05 p.m. WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM/ AHLLive.com
Sat., Nov. 23 GRIFFINS at Chicago Wolves 8 p.m. WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM/ AHLLive.com
Last Week’s Results
Wed., Nov. 13 GRIFFINS 1 at Milwaukee Admirals 2 9-3-1-1, 20 pts. (1st, Midwest Division)
Fri., Nov. 15 Rockford IceHogs 3 at GRIFFINS 5 10-3-1-1, 22 pts. (1st)
Sat., Nov. 16 GRIFFINS 3 at Chicago Wolves 4 10-4-1-1, 22 pts. (1st)
Reboot: The Griffins entered last week with a seven-game winning streak, but were unable to extend the streak to eight after losing to the Milwaukee Admirals 2-1 on the road last Wednesday. They got back on track with a 5-3 home victory over the Rockford IceHogs on Friday, including a three-goal performance by Tomas Jurco and a three-assist showing by Gustav Nyquist, but ended the week with a 4-3 road loss to the Chicago Wolves on Saturday.
The Midwest: Despite dropping two out of three contests last week, the Griffins (10-4-1-1, 22 pts.) still maintain their first-place spot in the Midwest Division. Second place is knotted three ways between the Milwaukee Admirals (8-3-2-1, 19 pts.), Chicago Wolves (9-6-0-1, 19 pts.) and Rockford IceHogs (9-8-1-0, 19 pts.). The Iowa Wild (6-8-0-0, 12 pts.) retain fifth place. The Griffins rank second overall in the Western Conference behind the Abbotsford Heat (13-5-0-1, 27 pts.) and third overall in the league behind the Heat and the Manchester Monarchs (11-3-1-2, 25 pts.).
Wednesday Promotions: Wednesday’s game versus Milwaukee is an Amway Winning Wednesday, where the Griffins will aim for their third-straight Wednesday victory. All fans who were in attendance for the Griffins’ 6-2 win over the Rockford IceHogs on Nov. 6 can redeem their ticket stub for a free ticket to this game. If the Griffins beat the Admirals, every fan in attendance may also redeem their ticket stub for a free ticket to the game on Dec. 11. The box office will be open following the game for redemptions if the Griffins win. Fans may also redeem their stubs at The Zone during business hours (Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m.-2p.m.) and at the box office the night of Nov. 20. Additionally, the first 300 fans to visit the Amway table in Section A will receive a gift. Wednesday is also a Library Day; fans who present their Grand Rapids Public Library card or Kent District Library card at the Van Andel Arena box office on the day of the game or at The Zone anytime during the store’s regular business hours can save $7 off the price of a Lower Level Faceoff ticket (regularly $18 in advance and $20 day of game). Limit four tickets per card per person, subject to availability.
Home for the Holidays: After playing consecutive games on the road this weekend, the Griffins will return home for the longest home stand of the season from Nov. 29-Dec. 14. The seven-game stretch will begin with back-to-back games next weekend against the Texas Stars on Friday, Nov. 29 and Saturday, Nov. 30.
Road Warriors: Dating back to the playoffs, the Griffins are 12-2-1-1 in their last 16 road games, including 7-2-1-1 this season. The Griffins (Oct. 26-Nov. 8) are tied with the Abbotsford Heat (Oct. 30-Nov. 15) for the longest road winning streak this season with five victories.
Tip-A-Griffin: On Monday, the Griffins held their eighth annual Tip-A-Griffin event at three different Uccello’s Ristorante locations across Grand Rapids. The Caledonia location was closed due to a power outage, but the players spread out among the three remaining locations (Grand Rapids, Grandville and Standale) in an evening of serving appetizers, entrees and beverages to patrons of the restaurant. The event raised an estimated $7,200 for the Griffins Youth Foundation.
Jurco’s Trick: Right wing Tomas Jurco recorded his first career hat trick against the Rockford IceHogs on Friday in a 5-3 Griffins victory, while right wing Gustav Nyquist recorded an assist on each of Jurco’s goals, marking Nyquist’s second three-assist game of the season. Jurco’s hat trick not only marked the first of his career, but also the first hat trick of the season for the team. In Saturday’s 4-3 loss against the Chicago Wolves at Allstate Arena, Nyquist once again assisted on a Jurco goal.
Streak-Snapping Admirals: The Griffins’ seven-game winning streak was snapped by the Milwaukee Admirals in a 2-1 road loss last Wednesday. Grand Rapids has fallen to Milwaukee in two out of its four regulation losses this season, and the team will be looking for redemption when it hosts the Admirals this Wednesday at 7 p.m. Last week’s loss at Milwaukee marked the first regulation loss in the last 15 games on the road for the Griffins, dating back to the playoffs. Grand Rapids went on an eight-game winning streak last season from Nov. 3-24 before its run was snapped in a similar fashion by the Milwaukee Admirals in a 3-2 loss on Nov. 25, 2012.
Jump Starts: When scoring first this season, Grand Rapids holds a 7-2-0-1 record. The Griffins also hold the AHL high for goals scored in the first period (20).
Right Wing Leaders: Right wing Gustav Nyquist (7-14—21) continues to lead the team in scoring, having done so since the first game of the season. Second-year pro Tomas Jurco (9-10—19), fresh off of a hat trick performance on Friday night, follows behind in second place, while right wing Teemu Pulkkinen (7-6—13) ranks third. Nyquist is tied for fourth overall in the AHL in scoring and third in assists.
Making Waves: Griffins rookie defenseman Ryan Sproul (5-7—12) is the highest-scoring first-year defenseman in the league, and he ties for sixth overall among league blueliners with three others, including former Griffin and current Abbotsford Heat Chad Billins (6-6—12). Sproul (plus-nine) leads all league rookies in plus/minus and ties for second with Brennan Evans (plus-nine) among AHL defensemen, just behind Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguin Simon Despres (plus-13).
Two For Me, One For You: The Griffins lead the AHL in goals for per game, averaging 3.88, while the team ranks 11th in goals against average (2.75).
Close Shaves: Aside from suffering a 5-0 loss to the Charlotte Checkers on Oct. 25, each of the Griffins’ 6 losses have been decided by one goal. Four of the one-goal losses came during regulation, and the other two are accounted for in an overtime (4-3 OTL at TOR, Oct. 5) and a shootout (5-4 SOL at RFD, Oct. 19).
NHL Firsts: On Nov. 3, Griffins defenseman Adam Almquist was recalled by the Detroit Red Wings, subsequently making his NHL debut in Detroit’s 4-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Nov. 4. Almquist became the 135th Griffins alumnus to play in the NHL, and he notched his first NHL goal and point on Nov. 7 against the Dallas Stars before being assigned to the Griffins later that night. Almquist became the third Griffin to make his NHL debut this season, following in the footsteps of center Luke Glendening (133rd) and defenseman Xavier Ouellet (134th). Goaltender Petr Mrazek made his season debut with the Wings on Nov. 2 against the Edmonton Oilers in a 5-0 victory, making 14 saves to earn his first career NHL shutout.
Tootoo’s Arrival: Last Thursday, the Detroit Red Wings assigned right wing Jordin Tootoo and defenseman Xavier Ouellet to the Griffins. Originally the Nashville Predators’ sixth selection (98th overall) in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, Tootoo, 30, has skated in 536 regular season games over 10 NHL seasons, posting 133 points (49-84—133) and 808 penalty minutes. The Churchill, Manitoba, native has also played in 40 career Stanley Cup Playoff games, notching 10 points (3-7—10) and 65 PIM. Clocking in at 5-foot-9 and 198-pounds, Tootoo signed as a free agent with the Wings on July 1, 2012, and has since produced eight points (3-5—8) and 83 PIM in 50 games for the team, including eight scoreless appearances this season. Now in his 11th professional year, Tootoo last played in the AHL with the Milwaukee Admirals during the 2005-06 season. Tootoo made his debut with the Griffins last Friday.
Number Shift: With the arrival of Jordin Tootoo, Louis-Marc Aubry now wears 25 as his jersey number. Tootoo’s famous number 22 will remain on the back of his jersey for the duration of his time in Grand Rapids.
Eaves Drops In: On Friday, right wing Patrick Eaves and center Luke Glendening were assigned to the Grand Rapids Griffins by the Detroit Red Wings. Eaves, 29, has appeared in 417 regular season games over the course of nine NHL seasons with Ottawa, Carolina and Detroit, producing 141 points (72-69—141) and 145 penalty minutes. Originally the Ottawa Senators’ first selection (29th overall) in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, the 5-foot-11, 205-pound forward signed with Detroit as a free agent on Aug. 4, 2009. The Calgary, Alberta, native has skated in 175 games with Detroit since 2009, notching 51 points (27-24—51) and 46 PIM, including three scoreless games this season. Eaves has played in 18 career AHL games, all with the Binghamton Senators, where he recorded 13 points (5-8—13) during the 2005-06 season. Eaves is set to make his Griffins debut on Wednesday.
Walleye World: The ECHL’s Toledo Walleye (4-6-2-0) have fallen into a bit of a rut, dropping the last four contests to stand fourth overall in the North Division. After losing back-to-back games to the Orlando SolarBears on Nov. 10 and 11, the Walleye subsequently dropped games to the Fort Wayne Komets (4-5 OTL) on Friday and the Reading Royals (4-5 L) on Sunday. Trevor Parkes (8-6—14) still leads the team in scoring, while Marek Tvrdon (4-2—6), Martin Frk (3-3—6) and Kevin Lynch (3-3—6) all tie for seventh. Goaltender Jared Coreau posts a 0-5 record, 4.74 GAA and 0.848 save percentage. The Walleye head into a light week, only facing the Evansville Icemen at home this Friday at 7:15 p.m.
Wed., Nov. 20 vs. Milwaukee Admirals (8-3-2-1) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM at 6:40 p.m. Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through woodradio.com. All-Time Series: 59-48-7-5-7 Overall, 33-23-2-1-2 Home. Season Series: 0-2-0-0 Overall, 0-1-0-0 Home. Third of 10 meetings overall, second of five at Van Andel Arena. NHL Affiliation: Nashville Predators. Head Coach: Dean Evason (2nd season). Notes: The Admirals have presented a challenge for the Griffins this season, handing the team two of its four regulation losses. The Griffins fell to the Admirals 3-2 on Oct. 18 at home and 2-1 on Nov. 13 at BMO Harris Bradley Center…Milwaukee faced three Midwest Division opponents last week, gaining four out of six possible points. The Admirals defeated the Griffins 3-2 last Wednesday, fell to the Chicago Wolves 4-3 at home on Friday and bounced back with a 1-0 victory over the Iowa Wild on Sunday at Wells Fargo Arena…Rookie Colton Sissons (7-6—13) continues to lead in points for the Admirals, while defenseman Anthony Bitetto (6-4—10) ranks second and center Mark Van Guilder (3-6—9) and rookie left wing Miikka Salomaki (2-7—9) are tied for third…Sissons is on an active point streak, having notched seven points in his last five games since Nov. 9.
Fri., Nov. 22 at Iowa Wild (6-8-0-0) – Wells Fargo Arena– 8:05 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM at 7:40 p.m. Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through woodradio.com. All-Time/Season Series: 1-0-0-0 Overall, 1-0-0-0 Road. Season Series: Second of 10 meetings overall, second of five at Wells Fargo Arena. NHL Affiliation: Minnesota Wild. Head Coach: Kurt Kleinendorst (1st season). Notes: Iowa is on a three-game losing streak overall and a five-game losing streak at Wells Fargo Arena…Defenseman Brian Connelly (0-11—11) leads the Wild in scoring, while rookie left wing Erik Haula (4-6—10) ranks second.
Sat., Nov. 23 at Chicago Wolves (9-6-0-1) – Allstate Arena – 8 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM at 7:40 p.m. TV: The U-Too (Chicago) at 8 p.m. Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through woodradio.com. All-Time Series: 57-41-2-4-2 Overall, 29-24-0-2-0 Road. Season Series: 1-1-0-0 Overall, 1-1-0-0 Road. Third of 10 meetings overall, third of five at Allstate Arena. NHL Affiliation: St. Louis Blues. Head Coach: John Anderson (12th season). Notes: After dropping Saturday’s contest 4-3 to the Wolves, the series is now tied at 1-1 on the season, with both games being decided by only one goal (3-2 W, Oct. 26; 4-3 Nov. 16)… When scoring first, Chicago has won six out of six contests this season…Center Corey Locke (5-8—13) leads the team in scoring, followed by right wing Mark Mancari (4-5—9) and right wing Shane Harper (3-5—8) and defenseman Evan Oberg (2-6—8) tie for third…Goaltender Jake Allen has posted an 8-3 record so far this season behind a 0.928 save percentage, earning him the fifth-highest save percentage in the league. Allen also ranks seventh among league goaltenders with a 2.24 goals against average and is tied for third in wins with eight…Defenseman David Shields leads league defensemen with a .300 shooting percentage, having tallied goals on three out of 10 shots.
In terms of actual games played, in Sweden, both of the Red Wings' prospects in Sweden's J20 SuperElit League did not play in their respective teams' games, and that may be a good thing for the latter prospect.
Back over on this side of the pond, in the OHL, Tyler Bertuzzi scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal in the Guelph Storm's 9-3 win over Mississauga;
Andreas Athanasiou scored a goal, added an assist but finished at -1 in the Barrie Colts' 3-2 OT loss to Peterborough;
In the WHL, Mitchell Wheaton didn't register a point in the Kelowna Rockets' 4-3 shootout win over Seattle, and there's a scary reason for that:
That's all the information I've got for you, regrettably.
Update at 3:48 AM EST:
And finally, in the statistical oddity that is the BCHL, David Pope finally returned to the West Kelonwa Warriors' lineup, but didn't register a point in West Kelowna's 6-2 win over Salmon Arm.
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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.