Griffins Opening Night Thoughts

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It’s late and I’m just getting home from the Griffins game so I’ll keep my notes on it short and sweet.

#1 – The Admirals aren’t that good of a team. Grand Rapids really gave this one away.

#2 – Even with all the turnover and the new guys coming in, the Griffins are better today than they were a year ago. And I don’t think that’s just because Gustav Nyquist and Darren Helm are skating for them when they should be in Detroit. Ryan Sproul, Xavier Ouellet, Alexey Marchenko, Calle Jarnkrok and Teemu Pulkkinen are still raw, for certain. They’re not nearly as bad as Adam Almquist and Tomas Jurco were to start last season, though.

#3 – Speaking of those two, what a difference a year makes. Both came into last season playing very tentatively. Tonight, both looked completely comfortable out there. Jurco in particular even looks bigger.

#4 – Cory Emmerton. I was surprised to see him on the ice for the final seconds because he looked like an AHLer all game. Like you could see why he’s not in the NHL anymore.

#5 – Darren Helm. Helm, on the other hand, is a regular NHLer so you’d be tempted to think he should step right in and light it up in the minors. Not true. He definitely played “his” role rather than trying to be a top-line player. Still has great speed, fearless. Failed on two shorthanded breakaways and flubbed a wide-open one-timer chance so he still has no hands. There was a play where he stretched to try to get back onsides and I thought for sure he was going to pull his groin again but he seemed fine afterwards. He’s ready to come back. As I Tweeted after warm-ups, in the Griffins’ Wings-inspired alts he almost looked normal.

#6 – The banner raising was awesome. Kind of cool that every returning Griffin was introduced as “Reigning Calder Cup Champion.” The banners themselves look awful and I hate that they’re not in the actual rafters at Van Andel but that’s a whole other thing.

#7 – Finally…

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Clark founded the site that would become DetroitHockey.Net in September of 1996. He continues to write for the site and executes the site's design and development, as well as that of DH.N's sibling site, FantasyHockeySim.com.

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