The Grand Rapids Griffins’ 6-3 loss to the Manitoba Moose included the debut of Dennis Cholowski, who acquitted himself well during limited duty as the team’s seventh defenseman.
Peter J Wallner of the Grand Rapids Press spoke with Cholowski and Griffins coach Todd Nelson regarding #44’s first pro game and first pro playoff game:
“I thought he did fine … maybe a few jitters here and there but he made some plays out there,” Nelson said. “When you have seven defensemen, sometimes it’s hard to get in a rhythm but with what happened, after we scored our first goal, I dropped down to five, so he got some ice there.
“But I think it was just a situation where he was kind of thrown into the fire, (we) wanted to see what he could do, but I thought he was fine.”
Cholowski wasn’t on the ice for the fights, but the 20-year-old acknowledged a different level of play from juniors.
“It’s a little more chippy. It’s pro hockey,” he said. “The guys are bigger, they’re older and they want to play hard. You’re getting slashed, you’re getting whacked, you’re getting hit, cross checked. So, I got to get used to it and give some of it back.”
Next season, Cholowski is expected to be a regular on the Griffins’ blueline next season. For the rest of the playoffs, though, he will be learning as much as possible.
“It was good,” he said when asked to evaluate his performance. “Obviously, wish I could have done a little more to help the team out to win. Down the line, I think I’m going to have to impose my will a little more and skate with the puck a little more and make strong plays.
Wallner continues, and here’s his interview: