GRAND RAPIDS, MI- Coming off of a Calder Cup Championship and returning the majority of the team brings high expectations. So far though, the Griffins haven’t quite lived up to that potential. Thankfully, the season is still young for the Grand Rapids Griffins. Through six games so far, they stand at 2-3-1.
Not a weekend to remember
The Griffins played on back-to-back nights. Friday night, they fell in a shootout to the Rockford IceHogs by a score of 3-2. Former Griffins and Red Wings Tomas Jurco scored what would be the only goal in the shootout to propel Rockford to the win. The Griffins came up empty on all three attempts. On Saturday night, the Griffins hosted the Hershey Bears for the first time since the 2005-2006 regular season. The Griffins jumped out to a 1-0 lead with a goal from Colin Campbell. But the Bears scored three straight and eventually took the game 4-2.
Eric Tangradi has himself a good weekend. On Friday night he accounts for both Griffins goals in the loss to Rockford. His first goal evened the game at a goal apiece in the first period. His second goal came with under 1:30 remaining in the game and forced overtime.
The offense for Grand Rapids has yet to find any consistency. During their previous three games, two regulation losses and one shootout loss, the Griffins have an average of just over one goal per game. That makes it tough to beat anyone. Over their only two victories, they averaged six goals.
On Friday night the Detroit Red Wings and forward Andreas Athanasiou finally resolved their contract stalemate by agreeing to a one-year deal. For the Red Wings to make this move possible, they needed to shed some payroll to open up the cap space to officially sign AA. Before the game on Saturday, defenseman Ryan Sproul was traded to the New York Rangers for 24-year-old forward Matt Puempel. Puempel was immediately assigned to the Griffins. He was a first-round pick by the Rangers in the 2011 NHL entry draft. Puempel has played in 175 AHL games and has collected 114 points (61-53-114). Former Griffin Riley Sheahan was also traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Griffins will be home for two games this week before hitting the road for a Saturday night matchup.
On Wednesday, the Griffins will welcome the Tuscon Roadrunners to the Van Andel Arena for the first time. Tuscon is the AHL affiliate of the Arizona Coyotes. The Coyotes are 2-1-1 so far this season.
On Friday night the Griffins will host the Chicago Wolves and former Griffins sniper Teemu Pulkkinen. This will be the first time these two teams hook up since the Griffins beat the Wolves in the Central Division finals in five games last season. The Griffins finished just percentage points behind the Wolves for the regular season Division Championship last season.
Saturday night will have the Griffins seeking revenge from their defeat on Friday night at the hands of the Rockford IceHogs. Grand Rapids will be traveling to Rockford for the second time already during the young season. The Griffins fell to the Hogs 3-2 in a shootout loss.