The Week Ahead
The Griffins have a 3-1-0 record and take on the Lake Erie Monsters (for the 3rd time in 5 games) at the Van tonight at 7:00 PM. This game kicks off a 4 game home-stand for the Griffins where they host the Rockford Ice Hogs Wednesday the 19th at 7:00, the Chicago Wolves on Friday October 31st at 7:00 PM, and the Chicago Wolves again on Saturday November 5th for the annual matinee game at 11:00 AM.
After losing the season opener at home, getting shut out by the Monsters, the Griffins have won three straight games on the road, and Teemu Pulkkinen has not only scored a goal in each of them, but he also has the game winning goal in 2 consecutive games (10.11.14 vs the Monsters and 10.17.14 vs the Checkers.
The Griffins do a lot of cool promotions and special events during the season, and if you can make it to the game on Halloween, they've got something pretty cool cooked. up.Friday, Oct. 31, 2014 vs. Chicago Wolves
October 31st vs the Chicago Wolves: Game Time: 7 p.m. at Van Andel Arena (doors open at 6 p.m.).
Halloween Costume Party: Dress up in your favorite costume and prepare to get spooky as the Griffins host an array of Halloween-themed activities, including Trick-or-Treating on the concourse for kids, hair-raising in-game videos and ghoulish on-ice activities.
Costume Contest: The second intermission will feature an on-ice Halloween costume contest. Fans who come to the game in a costume can register at the social media lounge behind section 224 for their chance to be put to a crowd vote. The contest will feature six children (14 and under) and six adults, with the winner from each group receiving a prize pack. The prize pack for the kids group includes four tickets to Sesame Street Live at Van Andel Arena (Nov. 18-19), Griffins tickets and SkyZone passes. The prize pack for adults includes two tickets to WWE Smackdown at Van Andel Arena (Dec. 16), Griffins tickets and a Sony BluRay Player.
$2 Dollar Beers and $2 Hot Dogs: Fans can enjoy $2 hot dogs and $2 domestic drafts from 6-8 p.m., while supplies last.
How much fun would a Halloween costume party at the Griffins game be? You can check out the full list of promotions this season here, and if you can get to the Halloween game, I recommend it.
With Tomas Nosek out of the lineup, I expect Andreas Athanasiou to move up to center the top line with Teemu Pulkkinen and Mitch Callahan on his wings.
Here's my best guess at the lines we'll see:
I feel pretty confident about the top line, but there's lots of room to juggle the other lines and see who works well together. There are also a couple "extra" centers so it's easy to put Miele on the wing and Porter in the center, for example. Hopefully Nosek is able to return to the lineup quickly (laceration) because he was playing very well and he and Teemu Pulkkinen have developed some nice chemistry.
|Teemu Pulkkinen||Andreas Athanasiou||Mitch Callahan|
|Jeff Hoggan||Landon Ferraro||Colin Campbell|
|Kevin Porter||Andy Miele||Shane Berschback|
|Chris Bruton||Alden Hirschfeld||Martin Frk|
The Griffins have 7 good defensemen, so Blashill has been rotating between Paetsch and Evans for the healthy scratches. Here are the two different sets of D pairing he uses.
|Xavier Ouellet||Alexey Marchenko|
|Mattias Backman||Nick Jensen|
|Brennan Evans||Ryan Sproul|
|Xavier Ouellet||Alexey Marchenko|
|Nathan Paetsch||Nick Jensen|
|Mattias Backman||Ryan Sproul|
I'm not a fan of the Backman- Sproul pairing because they're both offensively minded guys and there's some confusion when they play together about who's going to pinch, who's back, and that sort of thing. Jensen is also an offensive guy though, so I'm not sure if putting him with either Backman or Sproul would be any better. Ideally I'd like to see Ouellet and Backman together, Marchenko and Jensen together, and Evans/Paetsch and Sproul together. I think the biggest reason Marchenko is still with Ouellet is because he's still really rusty and trying to get up to speed after his ankle surgery. Ouellet is the best all around D-man on the team, and he's the most responsible and best able to take on extra responsibility and cover for Marchenko while he gets back to 100%.
I expect Mrazek to play more games than McCollum, but Thomas has (for the most part) played well and Blash will start him in one game of back to backs, or if the Griffins play a lot of games in a short period of time.
Bring on the games!
Is anyone planning to attend any of the upcoming Griffins games?