The Afternoon Shift – Sept. 19

Just a shameless excuse to put a Rush reference in today's blog. But at least they're Canadian.

When the players skated onto the ice for the start of the Detroit Red Wings’ training camp in Traverse City on Saturday, it marked 160 days since the Griffins had last played a game, dating to their 2010-11 season finale in Milwaukee on April 10.

Following an offseason of change that’s customary in the American Hockey League, the Grand Rapids team that will eventually emerge from training camp will look markedly different from the one that finished sixth in the North Division last season.

Gone, most notably, are Ilari Filppula, the Griffins’ top scorer from last year, and Jamie Tardif, the captain and the franchise’s second-leading all-time goal scorer. Gone, most likely, are offensive threats Jan Mursak and Cory Emmerton, to the Red Wings. Gone too is Derek Meech, the team’s top-scoring defenseman from last season who is now trying to earn a spot on the roster of his hometown Winnipeg Jets. (And did we mention Bob McNamara, who departed in June to end his tenure as the only general manager the team has ever known?)

But for every player who left, there are now several more fighting for his vacated roster spot in the time-honored exercise of hockey Darwinism. Time marches on, the circle of life continues, and we acknowledge the sage wisdom of the Greatest Rock Band of All Time (Rush, of course): changes aren’t permanent, but change is.

Some of this season’s changes will come in the form of veterans such as Garnet Exelby and rookies like Gustav Nyquist, while many others will be determined over the next two weeks on the frozen proving grounds of Northern Michigan and North America. But for now, while the Griffins and Red Wings begin to sort things out, just sit back, relax, and catch up on a treasure trove of links and reading from the last week. 

Today’s Griffins links:

AHL links:

Alumni news and notes:

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