Joey MacDonald has back spasms.
Of course he does.
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Joey MacDonald has back spasms.
Of course he does.
In case you didn’t see my tweets from Traverse City yesterday, some quick thoughts on the one day of camp I was able to attend:
The difference between the organization #1 goalie and a kid fighting for a spot in a logjam: after the practice portion of the morning, the group splits into squads that do this skating routine that’s like watching team speed skating. The leader goes along a route either he decides or that’s pre-determined (I’m not sure which) and the guys behind him follow at a couple feet’s distance.
Jordan Pearce Â did Â his best to follow the exact route set by the leader at his best pace and ended up struggling to finish most times in his heavy equipment. I’m pretty sure he got lapped a couple times. Meanwhile, Jimmy Howard took abbreviated routes at a much more leisurely pace and didn’t keel over at the end.
Jimmy’s somewhat casual attitude was also evident in other drills, which isn’t a huge surprise as the other top tier guys obviously hold something back in these scenarios too.
Ty Conklin’s been attacked by a bush: He’s got a big beard. If he doesn’t contain that thing, he could gain some extra chest padding in the form of facial hair before the end of the season. Conks looked good in drills, so here’s hoping that translates into the season.
Hudler is very short in person: It’s kind of shocking just how short. He played a bit bigger than he is, though, in the scrimmage. Seemed to be working to try to make a splash. Wasn’t all that successful, but points for effort, I guess.
Moods: Bertuzzi didn’t miss an opportunity to slam a puck into the net or, if he missed, the endboards. He seemed annoyed. Holmstrom looked like he was just having fun. He showed off his ridiculous top-shelf-at-close-range abilities while goofing off during down time in the practice.
Eyes On Defense: Smith’s looking confident. Maybe too much so. He uses drop passes at every opportunity and is probably going to look like a moron when one of those gets picked off in the NHL whenever he gets a game in.
Commodore did some good work recovering with smart poke-checks on some drills.
Jonathan Ericsson looked serious, but still sent pucks into skates on breakout drills. He did a lot of yelling instructions, too.
During the scrimmage, Ian White looked pretty good. He has a shot that should fit well with the team’s net front guys and seemed to do fairly well with Lidstrom. He’s pretty small, like Rafalski, but has a different build. He’s obviously not as good a skater. If he can be coached to change his game some, he could fit in well.
Datsyuk: It was a little strange to see him in #24, because I kept wondering where #13 was when his linemates were out there, but he looked good. As I said before, guys of his caliber seem to hold back a bit in these things, but he did have an element of trying to one-up Zetterberg. It wasn’t in a seriously, game-time way, though. Contrast that with the young guys, who were obviously working much harder to impress, which led to a marked difference in intensity. Even with that, though, when the main team’s lines were on the ice, there was a big difference in quality of play, as you’d expect. When it was the kids, there was a lot more clump skating.
Brunnstrom: Definitely tried to stand out, and earned a goal in the scrimmage. I wasn’t blown away by him.
Tomas Jurco: Really impressed me with his use of his size and just the fact that he looked a step ahead of everyone else in his tier on the ice. I’m looking forward to watching him develop and fill out. He could shoot a little more, but he’s got the ability to cut through a defense and make a play, as well as the size to shrug off defenders. He also looks distractingly like Valtteri Filppula, so I kept confusing the two.
Eaves: Looked pretty good in his new role, though I doubt it’ll last.
Franzen: Seeing him in person and around other players and you really get why Yzerman had that initial reaction to the guy. He’s big. He didn’t do a ton in the scrimmage, except scare me when he went off hunched over and grimmacing. I think he may have just been out of breath, though.
Update (8:11 PM): Commenting as “WHL Scout,” a reader chimes in with a take on Grumet-Morris. Not that it matters, unless he manages to land a longer-term deal somehow. But interesting that the Griffins chose him. – Matt
Update (1:56 PM): Khan has the reasoningÂ behind the move straight from the team. Waiver rules are ridiculous. And yeah, Khan’s right: if/when Nabokov gets claimed, MacDonald’s likelyÂ headed back to Detroit. – Matt
So says the AHL transaction wire. With the Griffins down to just Pearce and a guy named Dov Grumet-Morris (really), returning their #1 goalie makes sense for the Wings, if they’re confident that Nabokov’s going to either clear or be returned to them. The Griffins have a double-header starting tonight, both games of which will no doubt feature MacDonald. Meanwhile, Pearce will chart faceoffs tomorrow. The Wings could bring MacDonald back up after tomorrow night, but that depends on the results of the waiver process with Nabokov.
CapGeek suggests this is a cap move, but I don’t see why. Pearce makes more than MacDonald and the Wings don’t have a need for room anyway. Wuest says it means Osgood’s likely going on LTIR, but I don’t know why this has to mean that.
The team is set (mostly), which is good because they open the season on Friday at the Van. After seeing most of these guys at the prospect tournament, training camp, and during preseason, here are my thoughts. (disclaimer: some thoughts may be influenced by previous experience in previous years)
Unless things go terribly wrong, he will be the “starter” in GR. All this means is that he will play the most games. Maybe by 20, maybe by 2. He has not progressed as fast as many would like, but Kenny Holland says that goalies take longer, and I always listen to Ken. I think he’ll have a better season this year. His confidence seems to be back, as he was once again directing traffic in front of his net during training camp.
Um, I remembered him being better. Spending time on Long Island and then in Toronto did not do good things for his development. He looked…holey during training camp. That being said, he’s Joey MacDonald. As a Griffins fan, I know that he is the awesome. He holds every goaltending record in GR. I have complete faith in him.
Will likely end up in Toledo this season. Given his objectives, this could be his last season.
Shocked. I was shocked. He played WELL!! I didn’t notice a ton of extreme turnovers on his part in preseason (though he had his fair share in the Red and White game). I’m not worried. I’m sure Pyett will be back in form by midseason. But until then, he could prove to be reliable on defense. He will likely be down on the second pairing this year, with Smith likely to take a spot next to Janik on the top pairing.
I don’t know what he was doing during the off-season, but it seems to have worked. He looked more than ready for GR. He still could find himself scratched often, depending on the play of the other 7 defenseman, as well as whether or not Meech reports.
He had a very slow start in the prospect tourney, but he got better and better as time went on. By the end of preseason, he and Janik were playing really well together. I predict they will be paired in GR, probably as the top pairing. The Red Wings brass had high hopes for him, as do the fans. Hopefully he won’t be slowed down by the grind of AHL hockey.
I love this kid. Why? Because his name is Sebastien Piche. That’s pretty much it. He might split time with Ehrhardt, or may get sent to Toledo for Meech.
On the team for toughness. He was here a few years ago, and I enjoyed him then. He beat up on some Wolves and forever endeared himself to me. I hate the Wolves. I don’t care that they are not in the same division as us anymore and we only play them four times, I still hate them. I don’t care that Hamilton, Milwaukee, and Syracuse injured far more players than Chicago in the past two seasons, I still hate them the most. I still hold it against them that they injured Quincey on an incredibly dirty hit behind our net. I could go on and on, but I guess that’s not really the point.
To me, he looked like a guy who knew he may have missed his chance with the Wings. He didn’t hit, he didn’t make the smooth passing plays that he did in GR last year, and he just plain didn’t awe. He’s solid, and he’ll be good in GR. But motivation could be a problem if he continues to be outplayed by guys like Smith and Lashoff.
Speaking of…I’ve liked him since the first time I saw him. He played 6 games in GR last season, and 6 the season before. Last year I was excited all year for him to get to GR once his junior team was done. I’m excited to see what he can do with a full year in GR.
Veteran. Dependable. Likes to take the puck dangerously close to his own goal. But he’s a good d-man. With all the young guys on defense this year, I’m glad there’s a veteran.
Wow, was he ever impressive in camp and preseason. He certainly made an impression with Babs. If he continues to improve, he could easily be a call-up this year. And just based on what we’ve already seen, he will be a black ace during the Wings Cup run this year (depending on the Griffins…).
He still seems to be lacking something since Francis Lemieux left. But he’s still got his speed and agility. Fewer turnovers would be good for everyone. And I will be calling him Frankie for the whole season.
Um…who? I didn’t ever notice him. I think there was one time in training camp where he did something good…He may get sent to Toledo to make room for Maltby.
I have no idea who this is. Seriously, no idea. I saw a picture of some curly haired guy and couldn’t place him, but just attributed it to my bad memory. Then I looked at the roster, saw this name, and was completely stumped. Then I looked at his profile, and he’s the curly haired dude. Literally, that is all I know.
For those of you wondering, it is pronounced RAY-Dick-ee. That information is from his dad. I think he probably knows. Brent has looked great so far. He was another bubble player last year, and has clearly developed and will step into a steady position on the team.
I loved him last year, Matt loved him last year, and now everyone can love him. Babs certainly does. He will be one of our top guys this year, when he’s in GR. I say that because he will be one of the first called up if there are injuries in DET. I like his work ethic and his speed.
He was signed by DET in the off-season for GR. He scored 22 goals in 40 AHL games with Springfield last year. He had one point in five games for Edmonton, which is pretty spectacular for an Oiler. He’s been injured, thus I cannot say anything more about him.
We call him Flip 2. When standing with his hands in his pockets, he looks shockingly like his younger brother. But he doesn’t appear to have to same level of skill as Val does. We’ll see how he does in GR before making any NHL predictions. He was not that impressive during camp.
He’s just a little ball of energy, isn’t he? He works hard and has no problem grinding in the corners. I’m excited to see him in GR.
He’s big. He wasn’t all that impressive, but didn’t make me want to find a corner and cry either. So that’s good, right?
Hopefully he’ll get the C again. He’s a great character guy, and has been one of my favorites since he’s been here. He was one of the only guys last year that actually worked for the whole season. He scored a goal in the Red and White game, but other than that didn’t do much offensively. He’s really more of a defensive forward. Mostly he’s a veteran character guy, along the lines of McCarty, but not quite as rough.
Tots is awesome. I can’t say enough about him. He will be a Red Wing. But until then, we will enjoy him fully in GR. Hopefully his ice time will improve, with a lot of guys lower than him on the depth chart.
Fraser said to our Griffins ladies (ask George if you don’t know who they are) before camp that we were gonna like the team this year. After seeing our roster and seeing these guys play for almost a month, I do. I think Emmerton, Mursak, Owens and Tatar will be the big guns on offense. The D will be led by Janik and Smith, with Lashoff not far behind. I think McCollum will have a much better season, with Joey there to show him how to handle the AHL.
Looking at both the Wings roster and the Griffins roster, I’d say this is the best chance we’ve had for a double Cup win. Wings take home #12, and the Griffins get their first Calder Cup since joining the AHL. It’s gonna be a great year for hockey in Michigan!! The puck drops on Friday at 7:00 in GR and 7:30 in DET.
Training camp is only weeks away, and as it gets closer, I’m starting to think about the Griffins roster. We pretty much know what the Wings are gonna look like, even what the lines will be, but I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about GR. All of these guys will be at Red Wings training camp, including those on AHL contracts, as the Wings generally invite all Griffins to camp.
He is very important to Detroit, and highly regarded. This means nothing. He will have to earn his spot as a starter if he wants it. He started last season at full force and was very impressive, but struggled through the grind of an AHL season. He was even sent to Toledo for a confidence booster (proven to work with other players in the past, but less effective for Thomas). He never fully regained his early season form, but he did improve toward the end. He will need to have an impressive camp to assure the number one spot and to get his career back on track.
I love Pearce. I really do. He’s got a great attitude. Last fall at training camp, when we asked for his autograph, he was genuinely surprised and flattered. Of course, in a purely hockey sense, that doesn’t mean squat. Odds are he will not make GR. With Thomas and JoeyMac also at camp, it would take a disaster or an injury. But if either get called up, Jordon will get a chance to play for GR, as they like to have a goalie balance due to the many back to backs.
I can tell you this with full confidence: when Joey makes his first start, the cheers will be deafening in the Van. He was a fan favorite when he played here and set every goaltending record in GR, and we’ve longed for him ever since. No goalie is JoeyMac. Even with Jimmy Howard, we longed for Joey. He’ll likely split starting duties with Thomas McCollum. I would guess he’d be the #1 call-up if Ozzie or Jimmah gets injured, depending on McCollum’s play.
There is talk of him jumping straight to the NHL, but I don’t see it. Probably partially because I don’t want to. We are so excited to finally be able to see him in GR. We’ve been waiting for a defenseman to be what Ericsson was. All that I know about him everybody else knows, so I don’t have much more to say. We’re just so excited to see him.
Although he’s on an NHL contract, Pyett is a career AHLer at best. He’s a great guy, and a pretty decent d-man. He has a tendency to give up the puck right in front of our net when pressured, and this seems to get worse as the season goes on. However, he is still a backbone of the GR defense. He has a good first pass (when he doesn’t cough it up) and makes appearances on the pp. He’ll likely be a fixture.
Hopefully he’s worked hard this offseason, because he needed it. He was another newbie who struggled with the grind. He spent a lot of time in Toledo, and when he was in GR he was usually scratched. I think he could be a good d-man if he can catch up to the game. I do think he should change his name, because it’s a pain in the butt to type. He’ll likely be on the edge of GR’s lineup again.
He had a great camp last year (I thought) but did not follow that up with a good season. In fact, I don’t remember seeing him much. I don’t see him AHL ready, but who knows.
One of the best d-men last season, Kolosov will be back and probably on the top pairing. He’s a solid defensive d-man, which an intimidating size when he chooses to use it (which is less often then I’d prefer). He could make the NHL in the semi-near future, but not as a Wing.
Another up and coming d-man I’m fond of. I’ve seen very little of him, a whopping 6 games, but I’ve liked what I’ve seen. He should spend this season in GR.
Pretty much unliked by Red Wings fans everywhere, he actually makes a pretty good AHL d-man. He does this really annoying thing where he comes out from behind our net with the puck, centimeters from the corner of the net, giving the crowd and his goaltender a heartattack almost every shift. But he will still likely anchor the top pairing.
I honestly have no idea who this guy is. He’s played 40 NHL games, 35 of which were with Pittsburgh. This makes me sad. But hey, Darryl Bootland was drafted by Colorado, so I won’t write him off. He had 38 points in 40 games with Springfield last year, so he should be good for offense.
He played with Rochester last year and had 71 points in 80 games. He also had 6 points in 7 playoff games. Hopefully he will also inject some offense into GR. Again, I can only give numbers on him.
Cory struggled a little last season, with only 12 goals in 76 games. He was supposed to be a major player last year, so that number was disappointing. Hopefully he can have a better season and not become the next Evan McGrath.
He’s only played 2 games in GR, so again, I can’t say much about him. He’ll likely play at least some of the season in GR.
He did a wonderful Axelsson impression last year, fleeing to Sweden before even playing a game for GR. I have about as much interest in him playing with the Griffins as he does. Not much at all.
In GR, the wing positions are pretty much interchangeable, so I’ll do them all together.
It’ll be fun to see the name Filppula on a Griffins jersey again, but part of me thinks it will just be a disappointment. He’s the Steffan to Niklas, the Fedor to Sergei. I hope he’s at least as good an imitation as Steffan. Either way, we can just call him Val and pretend.
He finished last season with GR, so he’s not new. However, by the last 17 games, I had sorta stopped paying attention. It was too painful, and I was busy punching out the drunk guy who sits behind me on Fridays and spills his beer on us (okay, I never did that, but I thought about it a lot). Anywho, Jordon only had 5 points in those 17 games, but is that really his fault? The team had disintegrated by then.
Another guy I liked in camp last year, if only because it’s a lot of fun to yell his name. Any name with three e’s and a z is pretty much a win. He didn’t play in GR last year, though he did make a brief appearance at the end of the season. I like what I saw then too. I hope he makes the team. He’s a quick player with good hands.
Possibly one of the most underrated Griffins last year. He played solidly throughout the season, and was often the best player on the ice for GR. He scored 24 goals and had 48 points. He will be in GR, and probably on the top line.
Frankie struggled without his other half, Francis Lemieux. He had a great season on an AHL contract in 08-09, which got the attention of the big club. That year, he scored 24 goals and had 48 points. His production fell to 16 goals and 39 points last season in 14 more games. He is still fast and a good puck-handler, but he will need to find another line that works for him.
Tatar, aka Tots, is currently the story of GR. He doesn’t get as much ice time as we feel he should, but he still managed to get 16 goals and 32 points. He’s speedy and surprisingly gritty for his size. He also seemed to get better as the season progressed. If the Wings make it far in the playoffs this year (I should say when) and if the Griffins don’t, he will be a black ace. I could also see him getting some NHL time this year depending on injuries. The best thing about Tots is that he wants to be in GR, and he plays like it every night.
He played with GR a few seasons ago, going back and forth between GR and Muskegon. He’s a tough guy, not expected to get a lot of points or ice time. I liked him when he was here because he beat up on the Wolves. Hopefully he’ll do the same this season to the Admirals (Milwaukee) and Bulldogs.
(Let me just take this brief moment to express how idiotic I find it that there are two teams in the AHL with the same name – Norfolk and Milwaukee.)
All of the above are currently on the roster as listed on griffinshockey.com. There are a few other prospects who could be in GR after training camp, or even later in the season.
As we all know, it is possible that Ritola will be back there. I have issues with Ritola. He causes me great amounts of pain. I don’t want to talk about it.
Landon Ferarro could find himself in GR, if he has a good camp and if Detroit allows it. Right now I’m just hoping he can make it through at least one day of camp without getting injured.
Jamie Tardif is not listed as on their roster, but I don’t believe this. He was their captain last season and he is a great leader and character guy. He is signed to a Detroit contract as well, so he will be in GR.
Aaron Downey will be at camp, but I’d be surprised if Detroit gives him a spot in GR at the expense of a prospect that deserves it.
Other guys to consider and watch through camp: Mitchell Callahan and Andrej Nestrasil. Both had a decent prospect tournament last year, and have the potential to crack the lineup, especially if other guys falter.
Matt would like me to talk about Kindl a little bit here. I honestly don’t know what he’ll do this season. I dislike him in the same way I dislike Ritola, and have similar feelings as I did with Jimmah. However, I was dead wrong about Jimmah (very glad I was). Kindl has been in GR for what seems like forever. If I think about last season honestly, I can say he had a much better season than the previous two. He was pretty dependable on a horrible team. I’d say he might be NHL ready, but not ready for no supervision. When he plays, he will need to be watched. This is why they brought in Salei.
I would be surprised if Babs ever willingly plays Kindl and Ericsson together. Kindl is not as ripe as he should be after three full seasons in GR, and not nearly as good as Big E when he graduated to the NHL. I’m guessing he’ll have to fight to get into the rotation regularly. When he is in, I’ll still cringe every time he touches the puck, but probably more from habit than from a legitimate concern. I expect him to step up and at least not be a liability, though I’m prepared for the opposite. I’ve seen him do both.