The AHL’s ‘Morning Skate’ reveals some unpleasant Griffins stats

The AHL posts a “Morning Skate’s” worth of notes and stats regarding each and every one of its playoff teams’ respective series, and I usually don’t share these.

Given that the Grand Rapids Griffins are on the ropes heading into tonight’s game (down 2-1 in a Best-of-Five series; tonight’s game starts at 7 PM EDT on ESPN 96.1 and the AHL Live), there are some stats that stick out:

Game 4 – Tonight, 7:00 ET, AHL Live
(MB leads series, 2-1)

The defending Calder Cup champions are on the ropes after Manitoba grabbed a 2-1 series lead with a 6-3 win in Grand Rapids last night… The Griffins host Game 4 this evening, looking to extend their title defense for another day… Chase De Leo (1-5-6) had a goal and three assists to lead the Moose offense in Game 3, while Mike Sgarbossa (1-1-2), Sami Niku (1-1-2) and Nic Petan (1-2-3) all chipped in with a goal and an assist… Making his professional debut coming off a 47-goal season with Portland (WHL), Skyler McKenzie scored what stood up as the game-winning goal for Manitoba in Game 3… Eric Comrie (2-1, 3.75, .907) made 45 saves in Game 3 as Grand Rapids finished with a 48-25 advantage in shots…

You would think that, with numbers like that, Comrie would be exploitable, but he’s been a rock against the Griffins when it counts. He’s not been perfect, but he’s stopped enough Griffins shots to earn two “W’s.”

Ben Street (3-3-6) and Eric Tangradi (2-2-4) each picked up a goal and an assist last night for the Griffins, who lost a home playoff game for the first time since 2016 after their 10-0 run last spring… Street’s six points in the series give him 11-16-27 in 22 playoff games in a Griffins uniform…

This is where you’d get the lecture from me that, “The AHL’s regular season is about balancing player development and winning, but the playoffs are about winning, not player development.” The line of Ben Street, Eric Tangradi and Matt Puempel is the Griffins’ best line, and they’re leaned upon heavily.

Regrettably, last night was a story of just-missed nets, pucks that wouldn’t settle down on sticks in front of the net and some miraculous saves…

Tom McCollum (1-1, 3.00, .891) allowed three goals on 11 shots in Game 3 before being replaced by Jared Coreau (0-1, 1.61, .917), who stopped 11 of 12 shots in his first appearance this postseason…

The Griffins’ goalies have simply not been very good…

Grand Rapids is 3-for-14 on the power play in the series; Manitoba is 2-for-9… The Griffins are 11-9 when facing elimination from the AHL playoffs, including 8-4 at Van Andel Arena.

And while the Griffins have home-ice advantage, their power play has had awful, awful timing. Grand Rapids struggled to get over the Moose blueline with their later-in-the-game power plays, and when they did get shots off, they went into the logo on Comrie’s chest. Improvement is in order, and Todd Nelson and Ben Street made a point of suggesting that the Griffins need to shoot for rebounds off leg pads instead.

Central Division Semifinals – Series “F” (best-of-5)
C2-Grand Rapids Griffins vs. C3-Manitoba Moose
Game 1 – Sat., Apr. 21 – MANITOBA 3, Grand Rapids 2 | Recap
Game 2 – Sun., Apr. 22 – Grand Rapids 5, MANITOBA 1 | Recap
Game 3 – Wed., Apr. 25 – Manitoba 6, GRAND RAPIDS 3 | Recap
Game 4 – Thu., Apr. 26 – Manitoba at Grand Rapids, 7:00
*Game 5 – Mon., Apr. 30 – Manitoba at Grand Rapids, 7:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

Published by

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.

4 thoughts on “The AHL’s ‘Morning Skate’ reveals some unpleasant Griffins stats”

  1. So the regular season is a better opportunity to focus on player development than the playoffs. Sure I can buy that.

    So then why did Saarijarvi sit as a healthy scratch or get confusing deployment as a 7th d-man during much of the regular season? We couldn’t move on from folks like Lashoff, Renouf, Russo, McIlrath? Not all 4 of them. But we couldn’t cut bait with one of these guys to focus on Saarijarvi’s development?

    Sorry, if playing Saarijarvi means that we missed the playoffs and didn’t get to enjoy 4 or 5 playoff games then it’s worth it to me. When the Griffins roster is loaded with vets I see little benefit in a long playoff run anyway.

    1. There’s no doubt in my mind that the Griffins went WAY too far in terms of retaining veterans when the Wings needed to carve some space for its younger players…Ryan Martin deserves some of the blame there, as does the franchise’s desire to repeat…and I wouldn’t mind seeing, say, Renouf, skidaddle, but the playoffs are a weird dynamic.

      It’s not about developing the kids on the ice, not about putting the kids into the key roles when you’ve got more-seasoned playoff vets, but the Wings DO essentially keep a practice squad of youngsters and players who are going to be on the team the following season, and those youngsters say that their eyes are opened and opened wide by the level of play that they witness in the AHL playoffs. Guys like Libor Sulak are getting an eyeful of North American playoff hockey, and that will help them.

      So I guess you could say I feel split about the developmental issue. :/ Oh well.

      1. Fair enough. I’m glad Kenny and Martin finally acknowledged this. Because shuffling a guy like Saarijarvi from Toledo to Grand Rapids, from top pair, to 7th man, to healthy scratch was ridiculous. Seeing Ben Street and Tangradi scoring goals on the top PP unit is nice for the win column, but Svech is the guy who needs more reps on the PP. And we better not waive Ouellet or Jensen back to GR and stunt the development of Cholowski and Saarijarvi next year. Just get rid of them.

      2. George, to the best of my knowledge, only two Dmen are under direct contract with the Griffins and both were signed near the end of the season. One is playing in Toledo while the other hasn’t seen any playing time during the playoffs. All Dmen playing in the playoffs are Red Wing contracts. Sure, it’s arguable that some of them should be playing while others sit, but we have to keep in mind that the more playoff games the Griffins have the more revenue they will have. Playing more proven players might be part of that business decision.
        We should also note that Martin did sign 4-5 forwards and I would wager it was because he needed to fill out a roster that wasn’t populated with ready Redwing’s prospects. I, personally, have a hard time being critical of Martin as a GM. He is doing what he has to to run a complicated business while being successful at it (making the playoffs).

Comments are closed.