The Malik Report
by George Malik on 11/19/13 at 05:01 PM ET
The Detroit Red Wings' demotions of Cory Emmerton, Jordin Tootoo and Cory Emmerton have yielded something of a sticky wicket for the Grand Rapids Griffins.
AHL rules allow teams to dress five professional-league "veterans" in their lineup, but no more, and the Griffins already had four "veterans" on their roster in the AHL-contracted Jeff Hoggan (the Griffins' captain), Triston Grant, Nathan Paetsch and Brennan Evans.
That's seven players vying for five available spots on the team, and as such, some of the "veterans" will have to sit to make room for the NHL'ers. The Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner spoke with Griffins coach Jeff Blashill about navigating the issue:
Two veterans will need to sit each game beginning with, the coach said, captain and left winger Jeff Hoggan and defenseman Brennan Evans for Wednesday’s home game against Milwaukee.
It would be the first game Hoggan has missed, including regular season and playoffs. He joined the team last season and played in all 100 games and won the Calder Cup.
“It’s not necessary a straight rotation, but everyone is going to have to take their turn,” Blashill said. “We’ll take it game by game because you never know what the next day brings. But everyone is going to have to take their turn, and they are on board with it.”
In addition to Hoggan and Evans, the Griffins in the offseason also re-signed veteran defenseman Nathan Paetsch and left winger Triston Grant. They also added center David McIntyre, an offseason signing, who has 229 games as a pro.
McIntyre's presence is important as Wallner points out that the "veteran rule" also includes a restriction that, outside the five over-320-games-played veterans, a sixth player has to have played in no more than 260 pro games, and a seventh must have played in 320 or fewer pro games:
“We are in a position where we have a lot of really good players,” Blashill said. “I recognize there are certain challenges with that, but I look at it as a positive – it’s great to have a lot of real good players. But, what’s extremely important at that point is that you have really, really good character people who are willing to make some sacrifices for the good of the team.”
Blashill said he will look at the opponent and determine the lineup based on the matchups.
“We have just talked about it real factual – ‘This is where everything stands,’” he said of discussions with Emmerton, Tootoo and Eaves. “Just like everybody, everyone is playing to build their own resumes to make an impact on the Red Wings and others. And they understand that teams that win are also a lot more fun to play on.”
According to Wallner, Eaves will play with Emmerton and Teemu Pulkkinen to start--and the Griffins host the Milwaukee Admirals on Wednesday, and will then play road games in Iowa and Chicago on Friday and Saturday--and as RedWingsCentral and the Left Wing Lock's Sarah Lindenau have noted, the Wings' demotions probably mean that forwards Louis-Marc Aubry and Andrej Nestrasil will be heading down to the ECHL's Toledo Walleye in short order.
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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.