One major but often overlooked factor in the Griffins’ disappointing record last season was the absence of longtime forward Ryan Oulahen, who missed the entire campaign while recovering from a dislocated hip suffered late in the 2008-09 season.
His defensive excellence, blossoming offensive skills and, most importantly, leadership were sorely missed as the Griffins struggled on both ends of the ice and were unable to form a cohesive unit. Never one to put up huge numbers, Oulahen nonetheless had achieved career highs with 19 goals and 31 points prior to his injury, but his hip never fully recovered and he was forced to retire this summer.
MLive’s Mike Zuidema wrote a nice feature today on the former captain, who ranks third all time on the Griffins with 302 games played. While his career ended much too soon, and although he sadly never had the opportunity to take a shift in a regular season NHL game, Oulahen will always be fondly remembered in Grand Rapids for four seasons of service that were greater than the sum of their parts. Simply put, he was one of the best to ever don a Griffins sweater.
Thank you, Ryan, and best of luck in your next calling.
Today’s Griffins links:
- Video: Meet the Filppula’s (Detroit Red Wings)
- Detroit exports nine to Grand Rapids (Grand Rapids Griffins)
- Red Wings’ lineup for Wednesday’s preseason game (MLive)
- RWC Report: On the hot seat (Red Wings Central)
Alumni news and notes:
- Red Wings’ Darren Helm working to win more face-offs (Detroit Free Press)
- Red Wings coach Mike Babcock believes Drew Miller has earned a spot on the team (MLive)
- Spezza says play will turn boos to cheers (NHL)