One item that got lost in last week’s shuffle of four games in five nights was the Feb. 15 trade of former Griffin and longtime Ottawa Senators center Chris Kelly to the Boston Bruins.
Ten years ago this October, Kelly made his pro debut in Grand Rapids as a 20-year-old, contributing six points (3-3–6) in 31 games for the Griffins’ 2001-02 squad that won a West Division title in its first year of AHL membership. As unremarkable as Kelly’s lone season in West Michigan may have been — he also was dispatched to the UHL’s Muskegon Fury for four games — his hard work enabled him to eventually carve out an impressive NHL career.
Renowned for his reliability and defensive skill, he’s also contributed at least 10 goals and 23 points in each of his six full-time NHL seasons, and he should be a great new asset for the Northeast Division leaders.
Kelly’s departure from the Senators marks one step closer to an end of an era, as former Griffins Chris Neil and Jason Spezza — both of whom are also rumored to be on the trading block — are now the only evidence that remains of the three-year affiliation (1999-2002) between Ottawa and Grand Rapids that produced the Griffins’ three straight division titles, a Turner Cup Finals appearance in 2000 and the IHL’s final regular season championship in 2001.
At least the Bruins helped Kelly earn a measure of revenge with a 4-2 win in his Boston debut last Friday. In Ottawa.
And before signing off for today, here’s a simple plug for tonight’s sixth annual Griffins vs. Sled Wings sled hockey game at Griff’s IceHouse: be there. Admission is just five bucks at the door, and you can meet the Griffins and try out a sled on the ice before sitting back and enjoying as a team of teenagers (most likely) whoops professional athletes at their own sport. How often can you see that? Or Frankie Pare tending goal?
Today’s Griffins links:
- Griffins keep rollin’ against Rivermen (Griffins)
- Marlies slip past Griffins 4-3 in shootout (Griffins)
- Stars don’t align for Griffins (Griffins)
- Keefe makes most of second chance (Griffins)
- Lead by example (Griffins)
- Jordan Pearce develops into Griffins’ No. 1 goalie after starting season in Toledo (MLive)
- Jamie Tardif scores twice as Griffins beat Peoria (MLive)
- Griffins lose in shootout after 2-0 lead slips away (MLive)
- Griffins’ Jan Mursak relieved to sign two-year contract with Red Wings (MLive)
- Griffins’ scoring dries up in shootout loss to Stars (MLive)
- Hamilton’s Ryan Russell suspended for one game for hit on Griffins captain Jamie Tardif (MLive)
- Griffins captain Jamie Tardif racking up shots along with goals (MLive)
- Red Wings sign Jan Mursak to two-year deal (MLive)
- Greg Amadio close to returning to Griffins lineup (MLive)
- Video: ‘Getting to know the Griffins,’ Episode 16: Goalie Jordan Pearce (MLive)
- Jamie Tardif’s goals lift Griffins past Hamilton (MLive)
- Holland couple to marry at Griffins game: ‘It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience’ (MLive)
- Holland couple weds at Griffins game (Holland Sentinel)
- Couple married at Griffins game (WZZM 13)
- Video: Wedding at the Griffins game – 2.17.11 (Fox 17)
Alumni news and notes:
- Confident goalie Jimmy Howard continues hot streak (Detroit Free Press)
- Former Griffins defenseman Bryan Helmer plays in 1,000th AHL game (MLive)
- Red Wings’ Jiri Hudler reels in catch of the day as players, dads do some deep-sea fishing (MLive)
- Sens trade Kelly to Bruins (Ottawa Citizen)
Senators in state of shock after Kelly trade (Ottawa Citizen)
Video – NHL alumni goals: