The Afternoon Shift – Oct. 7

Name that captain...

Everything on the preseason checklist was pretty much complete when the Griffins’ bus rolled out this morning toward Rockford for Saturday’s season opener against the IceHogs.

Final roster decisions had been made, all the equipment was packed, the game plan was in place, and 30 players, coaches and support staff were on board.

Only one thing on the to-do list remained: appointing the Griffins’ captains for the 2011-12 season. That final piece of business was completed after the team’s practice this afternoon at the BMO Harris Bank Center, when Curt Fraser announced the news to his team.

It wasn’t exactly the stop-the-presses variety.

Four of the Griffins’ five veterans were given leadership positions: defenseman Garnet Exelby was named captain, continuing a role he had, ironically, for Rockford last season. He replaces Jamie Tardif, who served as Grand Rapids’ captain the last two seasons before moving on to Providence over the summer.  

A trio of alternate captains were named, with defensemen Greg Amadio and Doug Janik reprising their 2010-11 roles alongside forward Chris Conner. 

The selection of Exelby as captain comes as no surprise. In addition to a mean Ron Burgundy impression, he also boasts nearly as many games of NHL experience (408) than his other 22 teammates combined (416), having played seven seasons with Atlanta and Toronto.

If you didn’t follow the bus to Rockford for Saturday’s 8:05 p.m. EDT contest, be aware of a late radio programming change. While Bob Kaser’s call of the action will still be streamed online at espn961.com, the over-the-air broadcast will be heard on WTKG 1230 AM due to Clear Channel’s contractual obligations to both the Detroit Tigers and Michigan Wolverines. The pre-game show will begin at 7:45.

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