Posts tagged “Tomas Tatar”

Griffins Lose to Americans

Since I didn’t catch the Wings/Blue Jackets game, here are some thoughts on the Griffins/Americans game we attended. It was a 4-3 shootout loss to Rochester.

Smith: He had a huge hit in the first period, running over the Amerk player inside the Rochester blueline. On the power play, he held the role of quarterback and did alright with that

Throughout the game, I tried to keep an eye on his apparent effort level and I’m starting to think he just plays a more leisurely game. Maybe he’s looked at Lidstrom and thinks that leisurely is the path to effortlessness and perfect minimalism of movement, but so far he just looks like he’s coasting at times.

Two other individual Smith highlights: his third period offensive zone penalty that took place below the goalline and his game-losing shootout attempt that got stopped by the Rochester goalie.

Nyquist: Not his best night. Megan says he doesn’t usually look like he did, but as it was, he seemed unalert to the puck offensively and just kinda out of it. I was unimpressed with his offensive game, though defensively he wasn’t bad.

The offensive complaints melted away, though, when he busted out the Zetterberg in the shootout. It was awesome.

Tatar: Tots never disappoints in terms of effort level. The kid’s so much fun to watch, whether he’s stealing the puck out front and setting up a huge solo chance or just taking command in the zone.

He was the lead dude in generating offense all night, and finished with a goal and an assist. They initially credited his goal to Andersson, so when I saw again on the replay how emphatically  he celebrated, I remarked to Megan that he must have gotten it instead. She said it’s not unusual for him to celebrate a teammates goal like that, which is pretty awesome, even if in this case, it was his goal.

One criticism: too many attempted moves in the shootout, Tomas. None of them fooled the goalie.

Conner: He’s fast. But finished -3. He did score in the shootout, though.

Brunnstrom: He doesn’t play his size. The rest of that note on him is “Brunnstrom is variably good/ungood.” That about sums it up.

Callahan: Had a pretty heavy fight with an Amerk in the 2nd. Started out a little slow, but they both got in some serious head and body shots. I found myself more interested in what those fists were doing to brains than in the entertainment factor of the fight.

Lashoff: A fringe prospect at this point, but nonetheless had a strong night, notching a goal and making some strong defensive plays. Most notably, he recovered very nicely when Aubre coughed up the puck to set up a Rochester chance. Lashoff caught up with the guy and stole the puck back to negate it.

MacDonald: That note on Brunnstrom could apply to Joey, too. He looked bad on the first goal allowed and then was overall sharp the rest of the night as far as regular play. In the shootout, he was beaten easily on the first two shots, and made the third save. Then after Brunnstrom put the puck off the pipe, he made the 4th save initially, and then forgot about it. It trickled into the net. To his credit, he made the fifth save, but by then, the game was on Smith’s stick and it didn’t work out.

Thomas: The new kid, the one they got for Amadio, is not Red Wing property, but I’ll mention him for the absolutely, flat out incredibly glorious chance he had in OT, with a wide open net. He put just about a perfect shot on it, but somehow Rocherster goalie David Leggio got across and absolutely robbed him. Ridiculous.

Griffins Close Out 2011 With A Win

We went to the New Year’s Eve Griffins game last night against the Milwaukee Admirals, which was a 3-2 win. So I’ve got a couple thoughts on some guys you care about:

Tomas Tatar looked very good. He was heavily involved in the offense and had a few great scoring chances himself. He managed to score on one after being fed the puck from behind the net. His patience on the play in drawing the goaltender out of the net was a good sign for his increasing maturity.

Brendan Smith looked much better than he did in the last game I attended. He was more obviously interested and it paid off with some great power play quarterbacking and a goal. It looks like his attitude is improving, which is a great sign.

Jan Mursak definitely has his speed back and isn’t afraid to use it. Unfortunately, he looked a little rusty and didn’t stand out apart from his speed.

Thomas McCollum played a very strong game, though he was beaten more times than the score indicated: the Admirals hit the post a lot.

One non-Griffins player note: Milwaukee’s Zach Stortini is an idiot. He must be pissed about no longer being an NHLer, but if there was any trouble on the ice at any point, you could assume he was involved.

Griffins Team Ready to Go

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)

In Goal

Thomas McCollum

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.

Joey MacDonald

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.

Jordan Pearce

Will likely end up in Toledo this season. Given his objectives, this could be his last season.

On Defense

Logan Pyett

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.

Travis Ehrhardt

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.

Brendan Smith

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.

Sebastien Piche

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.

Greg Amadio

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.

Sergei Kolosov

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.

Brian 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.

Doug Janik

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.

Forwards

Cory Emmerton

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…).

Francis Pare

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.

Jamie Johnson

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.

Kyle Rogers

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.

Brent Raedeke

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.

Jan Mursak

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.

Chris Minard

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.

Ilari Filppula

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.

Willie Coetzee

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.

Joakim Andersson

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?

Jordan Owens

Awesome.

Jamie Tardif

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.

Tomas Tatar

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.

Griffins Ponderings

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.

Goal

Thomas McCollum

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.

Jordan Pearce

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.

Joey MacDonald

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.

Defense

Brendan Smith

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.

Logan Pyett

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.

Travis Ehrhardt

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.

Sebastien Piche

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.

Sergei Kolosov

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.

Brian Lashoff

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.

Doug Janik

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.

Center

Chris Minard

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.

Jamie Johnson

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 Emmerton

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.

Brent Raedeke

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.

Joakim Andersson

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.

Wingers

In GR, the wing positions are pretty much interchangeable, so I’ll do them all together.

Ilari Filppula

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.

Jordan Owens

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.

Willie Coetzee

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.

Jan Mursak

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.

Francis Pare

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.

Tomas Tatar

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.

Greg Amadio

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.)

Others

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.

Bonus

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.

Camp Numbers

Update (4:17 PM): Clark has pointed out a major brain cramp on my part: Rouse’s number was 3. Ugh. Sorry about that. Lame joke replaced with another one. – Matt

Red Wings Central via George Malik via Detroit Hockey: Salei’s keeping his #24 and symbolically further cementing his role as aged mentor, Kindl’ll try to live up to Rouse’s legacy with #4 clear #4′s name of the Krupp stain, Smith gets Jiri’s #2 (a little sad), MacDonald’s going with a not-so-great #31 (just don’t cry when talking to the media), and Tomas Tatar is taking on the baggage that comes with #21.