Hronek’s learning curve is both mental and physical

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…

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George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.

9 thoughts on “Hronek’s learning curve is both mental and physical”

  1. George, how can the Wings possibly even consider re-signing Mike Green when Hronek appears very ready to take the next step in the NHL?

    We have Kronwall, Ericsson, Dekeyser, Daley all coming back. Can we just pencil Hronek in for 82 games already! That leaves one more spot. Leave it open for Hicketts to battle guys like Ouellet, Russo, Cholowski. One of you guys can win a job. Then just have a Jensen as your 7th guy. Someone who can rot in the pressbox since his ceiling is so low anyway.

    Cue Kenny talking about the pitfalls of dressing a roster of 20-year olds if heaven forbid Hronek and Hicketts are both on the roster. Sorry, but when surrounded by Kronwall, Ericsson, Daley, and Dekeyser well I think these guys can survive. No need for Green in this equation.

    1. No! Let’s not get to excited about a guy (Hronek) who hasn’t actually proven anything at the NHL level. Remember how many AHL All Rookie selections turned out to be busts? Yeah, me too. Lots.

  2. Well, another issue is the logjam in Grand Rapids, too.

    Sure, Hronek eventually earned a regular role.

    But Villi Saarijarvi sat a lot and spent significant time in the ECHL.

    Now, Cholowski and Sulak are arriving in Grand Rapids.

    Which mean, even if Hicketts is up in Detroit all season, the Griffins already have (8) defensemen:


    Sure injuries will crop up, which is why guys are signed for short-term tryouts or are called up from Toledo.

    But that’s (8) guys who are either veteran AHL regulars or important prospects. It’s like having two traffic jams for prospects, one in Grand Rapids, one in Detroit and these guys are being held up by one or both.

    It sounds like both Hronek and Cholowski are guys who could get a look in Detroit – maybe Sulak as well. It’s assumed Detroit will move on from Ouellet, who didn’t play much anyway. But if Holland brings back Green and there are no major injuries, that means with Jensen or Hicketts is the 8th defenseman in Detroit – not counting Witkowski when he plays that role.

      1. I’m not too far from GR. I went to the fewest GR games this year that I have in a long time. I have a ton of respect for AHL journeyman, they earn every penny. With that said, especially this year..I’m watching an AHL studded team. I want to see a healthy mix of prospects getting time and a chance to grow along with stable AHL players. Mismanaged. I definitely done blame Todd Nelson.

    1. Renouf is an RFA once this season wraps up. Just don’t bring him back

      Problem solved in GR.

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