Welcome to another season of MiHockey’s Michi-gamer, now powered by Bauer Hockey.
We take great pride in our homegrown talent. Whether they grew up in the Mitten or we welcomed them here for college or juniors, they are our own. They represent the best place in the world for hockey.
Every night, we’ll keep an eye on those players, and every morning, we will pick one Michi-gamer of the night – one Michigan player who stood out above the rest.
Sometimes, you have to reward the guy who’s doing the right things behind the scenes – even if his team doesn’t come out on top. Last night, Grand Ledge native Matt Greene was the only member of the Kings’ defensive corps to finish in the positive side of the plus/minus chart. Greene, 30, was +1 on the night in the Kings’ 3-2 loss. The NTDP alum and former North Dakota standout also recorded three hits and two blocked shots in 15:50 worth of ice-time. Unfortunately for Greene, the Kings couldn’t muster up enough offense to avoid another loss to the Blackhawks, which means they will be facing elimination when they return to Chicago for Game 5. Greene’s still trying to return to form after missing the majority of the regular season – he only played in five games – but he’s showing that responsibility in his own end isn’t a problem.
More MiHockey articles on Greene:
Look, we’re giving a Michi-gamer nod to both of them today. Luke Glendening and Chad Billins, the two Michigan natives on the Griffins’ roster (not counting Danny DeKeyser), both had a pair of assists last night, helping Grand Rapids to a first in franchise history. The Griffins’ 5-4 win over Oklahoma City in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals means that the club will appear in the AHL Finals for the first time. And the team’s two Michigan boys deserve a healthy amount of credit. Glendening continues to shine after having to start the season in the ECHL, and work his way up to the Griffins. The former Michigan Wolverines captain has five goals and eight assists in 18 playoff games, along with a +4 rating. Meanwhile, Billins continues to be one of the rocks on the Griffins’ blue line. The former leader of the Ferris State Bulldogs has two goals and nine assists in the same timeframe, and a +6 rating. Now, the Michigan boys and the rest of the Griffins prepare for the Syracuse Crunch – Game 1 of the AHL Finals takes place on Saturday.
More MiHockey articles on Glendening and Billins:
Justin Williams keeps on scoring for the Los Angeles Kings. The former Plymouth Whalers star recorded his sixth goal of the postseason last night, and it was a big one for L.A. Williams showed off his hands with a quick catch-and-release off a cross-ice feed from Slava Voynov to register the game’s first goal, and put the Kings on track to win Game 3. With a 3-1 final score, L.A. now only trails Chicago 2-1 in the series, with a chance to even it all up in Game 4, which will be played Thursday night in Hollywood. Williams, 31, now has four goals in his last four games – talk about heating up at the right time.
More MiHockey articles on Williams:
Livonia native Torey Krug just keeps on thriving with the Boston Bruins. The former Michigan State captain set up the second goal of last night’s Game 2 between the Bruins and Penguins when he knocked down a clearing attempt just inside the Pittsburgh zone and took a hit to get the puck on goal. Nathan Horton was there to knock in the rebound, and the play gave the Bruins a big 2-0 lead. After taking care of things in his own end, as well, Krug finished the night with an assist and a +1 rating, as he helped the Bruins take a 6-1 win on the road…and a 2-0 series lead. Krug, 22, now has six points in seven playoff games, along with a +4 rating. And according to a tweet from John Grigg, the Bruins haven’t been scored on when Krug’s on the ice. At all. Not bad for a guy who only played in three career regular-season games before being thrown into the deep end for the playoffs.
More MiHockey articles on Krug:
We’re making an exception to the Michi-gamer rules today so we can pick Petr Mrazek to be Monday’s pick. It’s not that far of a stretch, right? After all, the Red Wings’ draft pick is looking like he’s going to be within the organization for quite a while with how well he’s playing. The Grand Rapids Griffins are on the verge of their first Calder Cup Finals appearance in team history, and it has a whole lot to do with the play of their goaltender. Mrazek has stopped 100 consecutive shots, and he posted back-to-back shutouts over the weekend. Grand Rapids shut out Oklahoma City on the road both Saturday (4-0) and Sunday (3-0), even after having their games bumped back a day due to severe weather preventing them from playing on Friday night. That clearly didn’t rattle the goalie; Mrazek hasn’t given up a goal in more than eight periods now. The Ostrava, Czech Republic native holds a 1.95 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage in 16 postseason games this year – his first taste of pro playoff hockey. The Griffins now have two chances – at home – to close out the series against the Oklahoma City Barons, and accomplish a major first in franchise history.
More MiHockey articles on Mrazek:
To see last week’s Michi-gamer nominations, click here.
This week’s Michi-gamer list assembled by MiHockey’s Michael Caples.