According to Aftonbladet’s Jonathan Nilsson, Red Wings prospect Jonatan Berggren plugged “Grand Rapids” into his GPS and drove all the way…To Grand Rapids, Ohio. What follows is roughly translated from Swedish:
The AHL Swede’s blunder–drove to the wrong state
Jonatan Berggren: “Like in ‘Dumb and Dumber'”
Right city, wrong state.
Detroit forward Jonatan Berggren’s trip to the farm team was anything but straight.
“I guess there is only one Grand Rapids in the U.S.A., I thought,” said the 21-year-old.
NHL teams have trimmed down their rosters before the NHL premiere, which means that several Swedes are starting the season in the AHL.
New Detroit forward Jonatan Berggren, 21, who had a big breakthrough season with Skelleftea AIK last season, is one of them. But his trip to Grand Rapids’ farm team, located west of Detroit in the State of Michigan, was anything but straightforward.
Berggren says that he packed his rental car together with his girlfriend, Tilde, before they drove…south.
“She told me to enter the arena’s address in the GPS, but I couldn’t find it. We only entered ‘Grand Rapids’ so we could prepare for it when we arrived, I said.”
“It said Grand Rapids, Ohio, and I’ve never heard of it before. But I thought, well, there’s probably only one Grand Rapids in the U.S. It was also two hours from Detroit, and they told me that it would take about that long.”
When will the city come?
The following two hours passed without any problems, although Berggren says that the “law of the jungle” applies in American traffic.
“It felt so damn good when there was only about 20 minutes left, but also odd in some way. I’ve read about Grand Rapids and it’s supposed to be pretty big. But this looks like a village, when will the city come? Once we entered Grand Rapids, we were met by farmers as well. We checked it out and there are only 700 people living in that small town,” Berggren laughs.
It was when he finally typed the name of the arena into the GPS that he realized his mistake.
“It was three hours away. No, it must be wrong, I thought. And I did it again and then it dawns on me. No, no, no. My girlfriend wasn’t very happy, but in the end, we got there. It was a five-hour trip instead of two.”
What did she say?
“‘You should have let me drive’ was the first thing she said. It felt a bit like in that movie, ‘Dumb and Dumber.’ Right there and then it was a bit tough. But when we arrived, you could see it. The guys on the team also had fun with it. It turned out to be a good story in any case,” says Berggren, who fortunately had a full day off.
Is it a bit unpredictable that this thing happened to you?
“If you ask those that I’ve played with, they probably would say that this sounds typical for me. But, uh, this kind of thing of happens!”
“Like an MMA fight out there”
Berggren flew over to Detroit in August and made a good impression during the preseason, though an injury did it in for him.
“During the second ‘prospect game’ we met St. Louis. Although you can’t call it hockey, they said it was like an MMA fight out there. I got a shoulder injury that kept me out of games for two-and-a-half weeks. It was a bit sour, but you can’t do anything about it.”
What does Detroit’s management say, about how close you are to earning a chance in the NHL?
“They have said that they were very happy with me until the injury, but then I couldn’t play at all. Then I had to come here [to Grand Rapids]. It’s sour because you always want to play in the NHL, but if you think long-term, this could be the best thing that could happen. I get to develop in peace and quiet and learn the game here. I have confidence in my offense, where I will make my game in the NHL. There’s a bit more in terms of structure, a bit of a trade-off with defensive play. That’s what I have to learn here, as well as building myself up and gaining strength. That will probably be simple.”
The Detroit Red Wings face the defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night. The AHL team, Grand Rapids Griffins, premieres the next day.