The Athletic’s Max Bultman conducted a lengthy interview with Grand Rapids Griffins coach Ben Simon, yielding a feature story profiling the Griffins’ new bench boss:
As a player, Simon said, he always had to know what was going on because he was a third- or fourth-line guy, and if he didn’t know what was going on, he’d be out of the game — or even the league. Being a “student of the game” was a necessity.
“The one thing that I watched him do for three years, which I just marveled at, was coming back on bus trips — whether it be from Cleveland or Milwaukee or Chicago or Rockford, and even Des Moines, it didn’t matter,” said Bob Kaser, the Griffins’ VP of community relations and broadcaster. “If we were coming back to Grand Rapids or going onto the next city on a three-, four-, five-hour trip … you roll into that city, almost every light on the bus is out, with the exception of the lights over his seat. He’s still working.
“He’s working on video, he’s working on prep for the next game, he’s working on scouting for the next game.”
That’s an important trait for the coach of the Griffins at this particular time, when player development is essential to the future of the Red Wings.
As it stands, Grand Rapids could inherit a significant number of the team’s top prospects, with a logjam of contracts at the NHL level.
“We think he understands the importance of player development, what we’re trying to accomplish as an organization,” Red Wings GM Ken Holland told The Athletic. “But I also believe he understands we want to win. So you’re trying to balance the winning with playing the young players.”