The Afternoon Shift – Feb. 24

Patrick Rissmiller/Photo by Mark Newman

A tip of the ol’ chapeau today to Patrick Rissmiller, who last night became the 116th former Griffin to play in the NHL when he skated for the Atlanta Thrashers in their 4-1 loss at Buffalo.

Rissmiller, who also became the 100th skater to join Grand Rapids’ NHL alumni ranks, went scoreless over 13:07 of ice time in his first NHL appearance since Oct. 20, 2008, when he played for the New York Rangers.

After leading the Griffins with four game-winning goals last season and ranking among the team’s leaders with 45 points (2nd), nine power-play goals (2nd), 20 goals (3rd) and 25 assists (T4th), Rissmiller was traded by the Rangers to Atlanta in August. He began the 2010-11 campaign with the Chicago Wolves before a pre-Thanksgiving reassignment to Lake Erie, where he contributed 30 points (11-19–30) in 42 games prior to his Feb. 21 recall to the Thrashers.

Rissmiller is tied for fourth in scoring for the Monsters, who will host two-time defending Calder Cup champion Hershey tonight before embarking on a crucial home-and-home series against the Griffins on Friday at Van Andel Arena. Lake Erie, which just welcomed back veteran netminder John Grahame and rookie standout Mark Olver from the parent Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday, is locked in a three-way tie for second place in the North Division with Hamilton and Toronto, just two points back of leader Manitoba.

If the surging Griffins can sweep the two-game set against the Monsters, it could take a big four-point chunk out of what currently is their seven-point deficit in the race for a playoff spot.

Today’s Griffins links:

Video – NHL alumni goal:

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