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Wings Ring in the New Year Written by hgimn - January 6th, 2010

After starting the season 4-5-1, most people had written the Wings off. But a midseason surge has pushed them back into the playoff picture, after going 8-1-1 in their last 10 games. The Wings have seemingly found their groove after two trades that saw Radek Martinek, Mikael Samuelsson, Slava Kozlov, Clay Wilson, and two late picks moved out of the Motor City.

In return the Wings picked up an injection of youth that is sure to help the team in the years to come. Andrew Ladd and Andrew Alberts were brought in for Martinek and Samuelsson to help give the team a shakeup, and rid itself of a potential walkaway from UFA winger Samuelsson. Ladd has been mediocre since joining the team in late November (11gp, 2g, 4a, -1, 10 PIM, 10 shots) while Alberts has yet to play a game since joining the Wings.The main reason why Alberts has yet to suit up is Toni Lydman who was brought over in the Kozlov deal. Lydman has 5 assists in 11 games and has recorded 12 shots on goal during that time. He has also shown his more physical style of gameplay with 18 PIM including two games of 6 PIM each. Also included in that deal with Lydman was veteran shutdown winger Stephane Yelle who has been solid if not unspectacular in his 11 games. His defensive play has helped the PK gain some respect, but GM Kemmer would like to see a little more offense out of his shutdown man as he has 2 goals playing with Mike Comrie and Tomas Kopecky. Also included in the Toronto deal are young defense prospects Thomas Hickey and Ilkka Heikkinen, both of which have spent some time with the ICHF Grand Rapids Griffins as injury fill-ins. Expect both to play full-time for the Griffins next season as 2 or 3 of the current defensemen are not expected to return.

The new members of the team aren't the only reason why the team has been playing better as of late. Joey MacDonald was put into goal in order for starter Ilya Bryzgalov to get a rest and find his game. Ever since they Joey Mac has taken over the crease with impressive preformances as of late. In his last 4 games, he has won all 4 starts, allowed 3 goals, and recorded 2 shutouts. Coach Babcock has said that he will go with the goalie with the hot hand so the team can make up some ground in the standings. As of now, the Wings sit just 4 points back of the Chicago Blackhawks for the 8th and final playoff spot in the West with 3 games at hand. Both management and the players know that the future matchups between the two original 6 teams could play a factor in postseason hopes.

Griffins News:

The Griffins continue their quest for being the best team in the ICHF. The team has gone 9-1 in their last 10 and have a record of 28-3-1 good for 57 of a possible 62 points this season. They are led by the high scoring defense pair of Cory Murphy and Brett Lebda. Murphy leads both the team and the league in scoring this season with 14 goals and 26 assists good for 50 points in 32 games. Lebda has 15 goals and 25 assists for 40 points in 32 games. With a high scoring yet defensively responsible defense the Griffins have had little trouble in shutting down opponents this season. Jimmy Howard is on a quest to surpass Joey MacDonald (who is having quite the season in the big leagues himself) as backup, or possible starter with the Wings next season as he has gone 26-3-1 this year with a 2.02 GAA, 91.1 save percent,and 4 shutouts to his credit. With the All-Star game just around the corner, look for Murphy, Lebda,and Howard to be on the Western team representing the Griffins.

News and Notes:

- Red Wings Right Wing Darren McCarty has announced that this season will be his last as a player, even though he has one more year left on his deal after this season. He has said that he feels that it is his time and hopes to work for Versus or TSN as a color commentator.

- Red Wings defenseman Mike Green is well on his way to smashing the team record of points by a defenseman of 54 set by Marek Zidlicky during season 4. Green has 34 points in 32 games and is on pace for 34 goals and 90 points. The record for goals in a year is 24 set by Marek Zidlicky in season 4, while the mark for assists and points are both held by Mathieu Schneider at 60 and 72 respectively set during season 2.

- The Wings had two players at the World Junior Hockey Championship held in Saskatoon (home of the old ICHF team Saskatoon Blades) and Regina. Forward A.J Jenks helped his American team upset the Canadians for the gold medal by chipping in 3 goals, while adding 2 assists in 7 games. Andrej Nestrasil played for a weak Czech Republic team who finished a disappointing 8th of 10 teams but played strong with a goal, and 6 assists in 6 games. Both are late round Picks in the last two drafts and project to be 3rd and 4th line shutdown players.

Submit A Comment -

Absolutely unreal how well the Griffins are playing! Whatever you're doing, keep it up!

Written By: habsfan93 (2010-01-06 07:22:23)

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