Story by Charlie Crowley, Sports Intern
Photo Courtesy of Mayra Monroy
With winter just around the corner in Grand Rapids (and Mother Nature playing a cruel joke with 70 degree weather), it is time for GR to turn their attention to the corner of Fulton and Ottawa, home of Van Andel Arena and the Grand Rapids Griffins. The Griffs are off to a rough start this year, sitting in the basement of the Western Conference’s central division with one win and seven losses.
Now you may ask yourself, “What’s the problem here? The Griffins are usually pretty good.” Well, you are correct. However, one must keep in mind that some of the Griffins’ big guns of the past few years – Teemu Pulkkinen, Tomas Jurco, Landon Ferraro, and Petr Mrazek, to name a few – have made the jump to the big time over in Motown. Thus, the Griffs have some new faces, and some familiar faces that are getting more playing time. The team is currently led in points by defenseman Ryan Sproul, who leads the team with five points (1 goal, 4 assists). As noted in a previous article on the Griffins, Martin Frk leads the team in goals with three. The Griffins are also tied with Manitoba for last in goals in the AHL, managing to score eleven goals so far. The team still has Andy Miele, who finished second in the league with 70 points last year, but so far his production sits at four points (1g, 3a) and 20 penalty minutes. On the back end, goaltending duties have been split between Tom McCollum and Jared Coreau, Coreau stealing the only win of the year against Charlotte on October 21. Both goaltenders have fairly nice save percentages, McCollum at .899 and Coreau at .904, but their flaw is in their goals against: McCollum is at 3.19, while Coreau sits with a .313.
Although things may be bleak, there is light at the end of the tunnel. The Griffins are playing under a new coach in Todd Nelson, who brings in a new system after coaching with Oklahoma City in the AHL and for Edmonton in the NHL last year. As the younger players begin to get a better feel for the game, expect the Griffs to turn things up. Although they may not show as much pep this year as in years past, things are going to look up for the squad over time.
About the writer…
Charlie Crowley is a junior studying communication and journalism.He is The Saint‘s Sports Intern and future Sports Editor. He spends most of his time playing hockey, sleeping, eating, and on Reddit. He’s also a Hoosier, and proud of it, but can’t hit the open three to save his life.