This might all be old news by now, but this week has been a little crazy – what, with the podcast, Bertuzzigate, Helm and Ericsson, not to mention your regularly scheduled pre-games and recaps – that many of these notes have become a little secondary to actual Red Wings news. But, that doesn’t mean they’re not worth mentioning, and I’m proud to present the following Griffins storylines.
PAGING “TOTS” TO THE INTERNATIONAL STAGE
First, Tomas Tatar has left the Griffins to be with Slovakia’s World Junior Championship team. Last year’s darling of the tournament is expected to be a big attraction for the eastern European nation – hopefully re-showing the world why the Red Wings used a second round draft choice on him. Tatar is the youngest player in the AHL, and he’s done nothing to make anyone question why he’s stayed in the pro ranks as opposed to being sent back to juniors. He’s currently fourth on the Griffins in points – scoring 8 goals and adding 9 assists, and he did it in only 22 games. This season’s WJC takes place between December 26th and January 5th. NHL Network will carry all 16 Team USA games in HD. If you’ve never watched a WJC game before, shame on you. It’s quite a sight.
I REFUSE TO CALL HIM HAT TRICK DICK, BECAUSE THAT’S STUPID
Second, and most intriguing, Dick Axelsson has bolted. There is some confusion if its for good, a la Ryno, as he’s hinted lately that he’s not happy and that he’s homesick. However, a recent translation of a Swedish article indicates that maybe it’s just for a two week break, to practice with his hometown team over the holidays. For much more in-depth analysis, head over the Babcock’s Death Stare, who has the skinny. However, a post from Nightmare on Helm Street (cleverly titled Dick Move) makes it sound like Axelsson was not given permission to leave the continent. Uh oh. Whatever’s going on – it doesn’t seem to be GREAT news, because the Griffins have suspended him.
NO-MOVEMENT CLAUSES ARE FUN, AREN’T THEY, GEORGE?
Third, Michael Nylander – President of the Washington Capitals Department of Retarded Contracts – is in Grand Rapids for the remainder of the season. The AHL has limits on how many veterans may suit up each game, so some juggling will take place. Each team may only dress five players that have played over 260 professional games (NHL, AHL, Euro leagues, etc…). With Nylander, the Griffins now have seven of those (Nylander, Ryan Oulahen, Jeremy Williams, Kris Newbury, Patrick Rissmiller, Doug Janik, and Andy Delmore). There is speculation that Axelsson was to be a scratch more than he already has been, leading to his defection, but again – I point you to BDS.
HE DOESN’T LIKE BEING CALLED FRANKIE
Finally, Francis Pare was named AHL Player of the Week. In four games last week, Pare scored three goals, added three assists, and was a +8. Kind of makes you wonder why he wasn’t called up to replace Helm instead of Newbury, especially if they knew it wasn’t a long-term thing. Nothing says reward for a week well-played like a game in the NHL, which a few years ago, maybe even Francis Pare didn’t think was possible.