Short on time and hard road to make playoffs
The Griffins have 6 games remaining in their regular season and are sitting 4 points out from a playoff berth. The team has been playing well the last few games. With so little time left there are 2 major events that need to happen like in every hockey game for them to move on to the playoffs:
They will need to play hard and their team leaders will need to continue scoring goals like they have been doing the last few games.
The defense must play a smart game and protect their goaltender from those unfortunate shots that have plagued the team this year. Giveaway goals are not an option at this point.
There have been a few leaders this week that have jumped out and caught my eye.
Chris Minard continues to get stronger every game he skates. He is a strong player and not easy to push out of the crease when he positions himself. He looks for the loose puck and jams it home when the opportunity arises. Minard scored another Hat trick this past week with their win over Oklahoma. I see him possibly moving up and playing a couple games for the Wings next season.
Joakim Andersson followed Chris’s Hat Trick with his own in Wednesday win over the Texas Stars. He has already been up with the Wings this year and has proven himself in both organizations.
Another leader that has heated back up is Chris Conner. Though he has not scored many goals in the past few games he always is able to start a great offensive rush. With his speed and agility on the ice he seems to break away from his defenders and make things happen. He is a firecracker whenever he is on the ice. He has seemed to find a place for himself with the team and is making the plays happen instead of waiting for something to come to him.
I was troubled to see Center Riley Sheahan (Sha-han) leave for Detroit. He looked real good in the games he played with the Griffins. I think he would of got a lot more play time here in GR and been able to grow more before moving up to the big show. I am sure he will do great when he is able to play. Sheahan helped the Griffins with the big win over Oklahoma this past week with a goal and an assist in the game.
Tom McCollum is looking great between the pipes. Even though his GAA is up there the numbers do not show the great effort by him between the pipes. Tom is not afraid to come out of the net and move the puck around when needed. He has a great attitude towards the game and does not seem to let a goal against him control his game. So many times I see a goalie getting upset and breaking his stick and showing bad sportsmanship, but this young man respects the game. If he can get the help around the net he deserves he will grow confidence quicker and be a great net minder. I expect him to start in goal tonight against the Toronto Marlies. He has had a couple close games with them and this should prove to be another nail biter of a weekend.
In the past few games all the players in general have turned it up a notch and have been making for some great hockey. No matter what happens in the next few days it has been a good ride this year and will look forward for more to come next season.