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Duffer’s Dabbles: AHL Griffins Continue To Struggle

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Jared McIsaac, Detroit Red Wings
The Grand Rapids Griffins, AHL farm club of the Detroit Red Wings, are winless in seven games after Friday's 5-2 loss to the Ontario Reign.

When the issues of the Grand Rapids Griffins are put up alongside those of the Detroit Red Wings, of late it’s been a case of like parent club, like farm club.

The AHL Griffins are winless in seven games (0-6-1) following Friday’s 5-2 loss to the Ontario Reign. The Reign are the farm club of the Los Angeles Kings, who beat the Wings 5-3 in Detroit’s final game before entering the NHL All-Star break.

Another parallel – Joe Veleno scored Detroit’s final goal agains the Kings. Friday, in his first game since being assigned to the Griffins, Veleno scored the final goal for Grand Rapids against the Reign.

“I thought he made the transition just fine,” Griffins coach Ben Simon said of Veleno’s return to the AHL. “When you get a guy back like that, not just because he played in the NHL, obviously the best league in the world but you’re getting a guy that’s had success.

“He’ll help us drive the offense a little bit more down here, which we’ve been struggling with.”

Griffins Must Get Down And Dirty

Hearing Simon discuss the offensive woes of the Griffins sounds a lot like listening to Wings coach Jeff Blashill rehashing his club’s inability to put the puck in the net.

“We gotta find ways to score a little bit more gritty and greasy goals around the net front,” Simon said. “They’re not gonna be pretty goals. We have to find a way to get a little bit dirty around the net.”

Jumbo Joe Sets Unique NHL Mark

With Joe Thornton playing for the Florida Panthers recently against the San Jose Sharks, he was shattering a long-standing and unusual NHL record. Thornton played his 1700th NHL game this season. He was facing the Sharks for the first time in 18 years and 84 days.

That set a new NHL record for the longest gap between games against a team. Netminder Moe Roberts held the previous mark and he set it against the Red Wings. He tended goal for the New York Americans against Detroit on Nov. 12, 1933. Serving as trainer for the Chicago Blackhawks, Roberts replaced the injury Harry Lumley for the third period of a Nov. 25, 1951 game against the Wings.

That was a gap of 18 years and 13 days.

Around The NHL

Detroit: Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin finished seventh in the NHL’s Fastest Skater competition.

Pittsburgh: Assessing who should be the midseason MVP of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Washington: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin was flattered by Kirill Kaprizov’s impression of him at the NHL All-Star Game.

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