They Closed

I’m late to the party, but wanted to write about the Griffins’ Calder Cup championship win. First of all, I’m glad they were able to finish the job. Syracuse is a great team and being up 3-0 was a bit unexpected as far as I’m concerned. How does that BS line go? ‘If you had told me we’d be up 3-2 going into game 6, I’d take it?’ You know what’s better? Winning in 4.

But they won and that’s what matters in the end. Syracuse did their best to get in their heads after games 4 and 5. ‘You shouldn’t have let us win that one.’ They’d say. But words are not enough when you’re playing a team that’s clicking.

More after the jump:

 Tatar ended up with the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy for playoff MVP. He scored 16 goals and added 5 assists for 21 points in the 24 games played. It could have easily been Petr Mrazek, too with his multiple extended shutout streaks.

Danny DeKeyser played all 6 games in the Calder Cup Finals. I wondered if anyone felt any kind of resentment that he showed up at the last minute and took a roster spot, but no, I don’t think so. If someone loses a roster spot to a guy coming off a broken thumb with less than 20 pro games under his belt, that’s on him and I think his teammates understand that.

Bob Kaser and Larry Figurski were great to listen to all year. Last season I signed up with an online streaming service so I could watch the Griffins play. When the regular broadcast went to commercial, we stayed and could still hear Kaser talking. Usually he’d just be prepping for the next segment, but if they were losing or had just lost, it would go something like this:

Kaser on air: A tough loss here in Grand Rapids as the Griffins fall in OT. Some unfortunate bounces and a couple questionable calls went the wrong way tonight. We’ll be right back with all coverage and analyses after this:

Kaser off air: Damn it! Every time with that guy! He calls a cheap little hook at that stage of a hockey game? With playoff implications? I’m sick of him! And of course it would go in off some lucky bounce! That guy hasn’t scored in two years and now, NOW he puts one in!? DAMN IT!

3, 2, 1…

Kaser on air: And we’re back here at Van Andel Arena…

He’s so great. And Figurski is hilarious. His standard commentary when he sees a great play is this: “Whoa! Hahahaha!” One time this season the Griffins had a 5 on 3 for nearly a full 2 minutes. They kept the puck deep the entire time and created chance after chance, but never scored. Figurski laughed the whole time as Kaser frantically called the play. It was awesome.

Back to the team: I like our prospects. Callahan is a beast who can chip in points from time to time. Tatar is a sniper. Nyquist does it all. Andersson is a reliable 2-way forward. Mrazek is a great goalie. The blueline looks promising and our best defensive prospects didn’t even play.

A great team and a great year, for sure.