Early this morning, the Griffins hopped their first flight of the season en route to Winnipeg, where they will serve as the opponent for the Manitoba Moose’s first two home games tomorrow and Saturday.
The Griffins and Moose franchises share a deep mutual respect, a common bond as former IHL teams, and a bitter rivalry on the frozen pond. Grand Rapids authored a memorable rally to defeat Manitoba in seven games in the 2006 North Division Finals, but the Moose answered by bouncing the Griffins from the playoffs in both 2007 and 2009. The rivals’ regular season series has been all square over the last few seasons, with each team claiming four wins overall since 2008-09 as well as four wins at the MTS Centre since 2007-08.
This weekend’s matchups mark just the third and fourth games of the season for the Griffins, so it’d be wrong to place too much weight or importance on the games. But Grand Rapids will only get four shots at its powerful foe all season long, so it will need to make its lone visit to Winnipeg a successful one.
Friday’s contest will mark Winnipeg native Derek Meech’s first game in his hometown since Nov. 8, 2006, as well as homecomings for two others on the trip. Head coach Curt Fraser lived in Winnipeg until age nine, while new medical therapist Brad Shaw is a native of Cardale, Manitoba, who previously worked for both the Moose and the Winnipeg Goldeyes minor league baseball team.
Today’s admittedly meager offerings are highlighted by two videos. This one previews the Griffins’ visit to Manitoba, and this one recaps the third annual “Pups and Pucks” walk-a-thon that was held on Monday at Mackenzie’s Animal Sanctuary. Enjoy.
Today’s Griffins links:
- Griffins’ Ilari Filppula eager to follow in footsteps of younger brother and Red Wings center Valtteri (MLive)
- Griffins’ Curt Fraser can’t help but wonder ‘what if’ after Red Wings veteran Kirk Maltby retires (MLive)
- NHL Network to air 10 AHL games (AHL)
- Wolf Pack To Officially Change Name To Whale Nov. 27 (Hartford Courant)
Alumni news and notes: