The Afternoon Shift – Jan. 3

Tomas Tatar's first NHL goal

After a long winter’s nap, The Afternoon Shift returns to work today with two weeks’ worth of to-dos clogging up its inbox. Given the backlog of links below, let’s give a quick shout-out to some deserving and familiar faces before getting down to business.

The Griffins witnessed just one alumnus graduate to the NHL (Jeremy Williams) during the season’s first two and a half months before celebrating three in a span of five days last week. Jan Mursak (No. 112 on Monday), Nashville’s Chris Mueller (No. 113 on Tuesday) and Tomas Tatar (No. 114 on Friday) each made his NHL debut before the curtain dropped on 2010.

Grand Rapids’ leading scorer, Tatar notched his first NHL goal midway through the third period of the Wings’ overtime loss to the Islanders, earning a point for Detroit with a deflection that tied the game 3-3.

In other alumni news, the Connecticut Whale have officially become a halfway house for former Griffins, after Todd White and Jason Williams last week joined Kris Newbury and Jeremy Williams on a veteran-studded roster.

White, who arrived in Hartford on waivers from the Rangers, last played in the minors in 2000-01 as a member of the Grand Rapids squad that captured the IHL’s final regular season championship, tallying 54 points (22-32–54) in 64 games. His scoring touch apparently hasn’t faded over the years, as he contributed two goals and an assist in his first three games with the Whale.

Jason Williams, who hadn’t played in over a year since suffering an injury midway through his 2009-10 campaign with the Red Wings, signed with Connecticut as a free agent and promptly notched a goal and an assist in two outings. He, too, was an offensive force for a powerful Griffins squad, earning a point per game (23-22–45 in 45 contests) during the 2002-03 season when Grand Rapids fell one win shy of a berth in the Calder Cup Finals.

Today’s Griffins links:

AHL/opponent links:

Alumni news and notes:

Video – NHL alumni goals:

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