Griffins 2012-13 Jersey Number Changes

With twenty-two players having been sent to Grand Rapids by the Red Wings in advance of the expected NHL lockout, the Griffins web site has updated the team’s roster with all the new player jersey numbers. Here’s a look at the changes we’ll see for the 2012-13 season.

Incoming netminder Petr Mrazek picks up the #34 worn last season by Ty Conklin during his AHL demotion, making him one of two Griffins wearing the same number as they are assigned by the Red Wings.

Nathan Paetsch takes the #4 vacated by Travis Ehrhardt. Adam Almquist switches from the #6 he got at the end of last season to the #5 that had been worn by Riley Sheahan, who takes the #19 from outgoing Mike Thomas.

Luke Glendening gets Jamie Johnson‘s old #10. Chad Billins claims the #14 last worn by Chris Minard after having shared #23 with Ryan Sproul last year, with #23 going to Triston Grant.

Fabian Brunnstrom‘s #17 goes to Max Nicastro and Chris Conner‘s #25 goes to Damien Brunner.

Tomas Jurco claims #28 from Alan Quine, making him the second Griffin with the same number he’s currently assigned with the Red Wings, pending Carlo Colaiacovo‘s number selection. Colaiacovo wore #28 with the St. Louis Blues and could request it in Detroit.

Finally, Brennan Evans will wear the #44 of the deceased Bryan Rufenach.

What’s In a Name?

With the news about Nicklas Lidstrom just having broken, this is hardly important, but I wanted to post something before I forgot.

Paul Kukla pointed out a blog post today by Ben Shpigel of the NY Times, which states that the most common surnames in NHL history are “Smith (59), Brown (27) and Wilson (26).”

For the Red Wings, the results are similar.  The top three are Smith (12), Brown (8) and Johnson (5).  Wilson is one of eight names tied for fourth with four.

Defenseman Brendan Smith is the only player currently on the roster with one of those names.

Having never played a game in Detroit, Grand Rapids Griffin Jamie Johnson is not counted in the list.

Wings Make 16 Cuts

Per Petrella over at TPL, the Wings have announced sixteen cuts, bringing the number of players on their preseason roster down to 39.

Tryout goalie Ramis Sadikov was the only player cut outright has he has no pro contract. Nick Oslund is also without a deal but was invited to the Grand Rapids Griffins’ training camp with the possibility of earning an AHL job.

Louis-Marc Aubry, Mitchell Callahan, Willie Coetzee, Gleason Fournier, Jamie Johnson, Thomas McCollum, Andrej Nestrasil, Francis Pare, Trevor Parkes, Sebastien Pice and Brent Raedeke were all assigned to Grand Rapids. Greg Amadio, Adam Estoclet and Bryan Rufenach were also sent to Grand Rapids but they were bound for the Griffins anyway, as they are on AHL-only deals.

Aside from Sadikov, all of the cut players will appear in tonight’s Red & White game in Grand Rapids.

Rosters Released for Red & White Game in Grand Rapids

The Red Wings announced the rosters for their Red & White game in Grand Rapids on Tuesday.

The White Team, featuring Nicklas Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk clearly has the star power but the Red Team seems to have more depth, not that it matters much in an intra-squad scrimmage.

White Team
Henrik Zetterberg
Pavel Datsyuk
Tomas Holmstrom
Tomas Tatar
Justin Abdelkader
Gustav Nyquist
Andrej Nestrasil
Jamie Johnson
Willie Coetzee
Mitch Callahan
Brent Raedeke
Nick Oslund

Nicklas Lidstrom
Ian White
Garnet Exelby
Logan Pyett
Sebastien Piche
Gleason Fournier

Jimmy Howard
Thomas McCollum

Red Team
Johan Franzen
Valtteri Filppula
Danny Cleary
Jiri Hudler
Joakim Andersson
Todd Bertuzzi
Chris Conner
Louis-Marc Aubry
Francis Pare
Adam Estoclet
Landon Ferraro
Trevor Parkes

Niklas Kronwall
Brad Stuart
Travis Ehrhardt
Bryan Rufenach
Greg Amadio
Brian Lashoff

Ty Conklin
Jordan Pearce

Ansar Khan points out that a number of players are sitting out the match, which has me disappointed. Khan’s list is as follows: Darren Helm, Patrick Eaves, Drew Miller, Fabian Brunnstrom, Ryan Johnson, Jonathan Ericsson, Mike Commodore, Brendan Smith, Jakub Kindl, Doug Janik, Joey MacDonald.

For a game that has been billed as a chance for West Michigan fans to see the Red Wings close to home, it’s odd to me that so many of those Wings are sitting in place of players the fans in GR will see all season.

My Weekend Without Wings: Part One

The Red Wings face two Eastern Conference opponents this weekend but I’ve traded in those games for a couple others. Last night I skipped out on the Detroit – Montreal matchup to head to my first Griffins game of the year, a 4-3 Grand Rapids loss to the Texas Stars.

The loss reminded me of many Detroit losses this season. The Griffins were sloppy early. Their passes weren’t connecting, they weren’t taking shots, and when they did shoot they were firing right into Texas goalie Tyler Beskorowany’s chest protector.

The Stars were up 3-0 by the end of the first and made it 4-0 4:09 into the second.

Griffins coach Curt Fraser looked like he wanted to throw something. At various points he was laying into the players on the bench and the officials on the ice. I’m not sure how effective it was but it was entertaining.

The Griffins’ special teams helped them rally back. Brendan Smith had a shorthanded goal on a rush in the middle of the second and Jamie Johnson scored a power play goal late in the period.

Ilari Filppula scored with 48 seconds left and the Griffins skating six-on-four but Grand Rapids couldn’t get the tying goal.

As I said, this looked a lot like some Detroit losses earlier this season. Several Wings looked bad in those games and you’d never guess how good they really are, so I don’t want to pass judgement on the Griffins players based on one night.

That said, Smith looked really good out there. Head and shoulders above everyone except for Jakub Kindl, who’s not even supposed to be there anyway.

Joey MacDonald was strong in net considering the porous defense. He got a little lucky on a first-period penalty shot that beat him but went off the post.

Derek Meech is never coming back to Detroit but looked good. Ilari Filppula looks a lot like his younger brother, passing too much when he should shoot.

I’ve got some photos I’ll get posted to the site when I can.

Part Two of my weekend puts me at the Big House for U-M vs. MSU this afternoon. With the 3:00 start, traffic, and incoming snow, I’m not expecting to make it back to catch the Wings and Devils at 7:00.