I had a “snerk” moment when Grand Rapids Griffins coach Todd Nelson suggested that it took a close observer of the Griffins to see that defenseman Filip Hronek can be an agitator.
Hronek’s 2-minute slashing penalty plus 10-minute misconduct in the 3rd period of last night’s 6-3 loss to the Manitoba Moose was indicative of a combative personality that Hronek’s displayed since he first came over to North America, if not before, and his various scraps and skirmishes with a Manitoba Moose team that was clearly targeting #13 were part of the bargain…
As Nelson told The Athletic’s Katie Strang, however, when one of the Griffins’ most talented offensive defensemen is being pulled off his game and goaded off the ice, that’s not necessarily a good thing:
After the game, a 6-3 loss that swung the best-of-five playoff series in Manitoba’s favor, 2-1, Griffins coach Todd Nelson was not pleased.
It didn’t help matters that Hronek took another penalty in the second, an unsportsmanlike conduct minor at 12:56 with the Griffins trailing 4-3.
“I like the emotion, but I don’t like the tradeoff,” Nelson said. “I’d rather see him on the ice.”
Nelson made this a point of emphasis for the 20-year-old blue-liner, a 2016 second-round pick and one of the team’s top prospects at the AHL level, telling him on Thursday why he needs Hronek to be able to navigate the delicate balance better than he did the night prior
“I said I need you on the ice. I can’t have you for 14 minutes in the penalty box. So we talked about it,” Nelson said of the conversation he had with Hronek on Thursday. “That’s something that everybody goes through. And it’s a good learning experience for him. He’s a smart kid. He’ll bounce back and play the right way. But I don’t want him to lose any of that nastiness inside of him. That’s what makes him great.”
Strang continues (paywall), also speaking with Daniel Cleary and Griffin assistant coach Bruce Ramsay regarding Hronek’s learning curve…