The Grand Rapids Griffins blew a 5-3 third period lead in their final home game of the season tonight.
Adding insult to injury, the loss eliminated them from playoff contention. Despite the disappointing result, our prospects were plenty classy in defeat and were very generous with their time.
Talk a little bit about the tempo of the game?
“Obviously every time we play Chicago it seems like it’s a shooting gallery, and the games end up (high-scoring), so I don’t know how that works. I know for myself, I was satisfactory at best and I demand a lot more out of myself. I’ve got to be a professional and play better. I thought Frank (Pare) and Andy (Joakim Andersson) and Tomas Tatar’s line was fantastic for us and really set the tempo for us offensively and defensively.” - (The Pare-Andersson-Tatar line combined for three of the five Griffins goals)
This was the last game in Grand Rapids for the year, do you think it could be your last game in Grand Rapids, period?
I have no idea…
Does that cross your mind at all?
Not really, whatever happens I just go out and play and see what happens. I love playing here and I love the fans here. I don’t know what’s in store for myself. The biggest thing and the best thing for me is not to speculate and just play and do what they tell me to do always bring out a good effort. That’s what makes a true pro, and I need to do that.”
As much as you love being here though you have to want to be in Detroit that much more.
“Oh for sure, that’s been my goal since forever. To make it up there, I’ve got to be very consistent. You watch guys like Nick Lidstrom and Nik Kronwall and they’re consistent on a daily basis and very good at all times. That will ensure me to play up there. It’s my goal to play there, I’d like to play full time there. I’m not gonna speculate, just play.
You were up for a bit this year. When you’re there do you just attach yourself to Lidstrom’s hip and try to learn as much as you can?
“Oh yeah, I’m like a sponge trying to soak it in. See what they do, on and off the ice. Nick Lidstrom is, in my book, one of the top three all-time greats. It’s something that I’m going to try and watch and follow in his footsteps.”
What’s the best piece of advice he’s given you?
“Oh there’s tons, I could go off for a while. On the ice, it’s just little simple plays. Having a good stick, good pivots and stuff like that which ensures that you’re in the right position and make good plays. It’s a weird thing, the better you are defensively, the better you are offensively. Tips like these is gonna help me grow and become a better player.”
The Wings are notoriously patient with developing their players, they drafted you 5 years ago, but when they brought you up they threw you right into the fire, you had a lot of ice time playing with Nik Kronwall and on the power play.
“It was unbelievable. They’re so fantastic, everybody on that team, they help you so much. I thought I played very well because I was playing with great players. It was very exciting for myself and I’m going to keep working hard and try to get back up there.”
Who on Grand Rapids has taken you under their wing and helped you the most?
“I would say a guy like Doug Janik has been there for me a lot. He’s been my D partner for the last two years here and there. He’s really taken me under his wing, right from the get-go from last year. It’s just a testament to what kind of person he is. He’s always there to help no matter how he’s feeling, so that’s a person I’d have to point out as a person that’s always been there for me.
And you got to play with him for a bit in Detroit too right?
“Yeah, we both got called up. They had eight D and then dropped to four in like 24 hours so Dougie and I were up there and that was pretty cool.”
I noticed you were at the Nickelback concert the other night. Big Nickelback fan?
I am, I’ve enjoyed them ever since I was young. I’ve always listened to them. It was pretty cool. I thought the whole concert was pretty cool.
I saw you were taking a little bit of flak on Twitter. I have to put up with that from my friends too.
Yeah, I feel like some people somehow dislike Nickelback.
Must be a Canadian thing, I’m from Ontario too.
Yeah, I’m from Toronto, a Canadian boy. I’m not sure what the reason is, but I do enjoy them and a bunch of guys on the team do too. We also have some guys on the team who don’t so there’s some heckling back and forth. I think I threw back a tweet saying wouldn’t everybody love to be a rockstar?
Shout out to one of their better songs?
Yeah. It was a lot of fun, and it was a good concert to go to.
Who’s in charge of the music in the room?
Logan Pyett (at this point Logan Pyett happens to be walking by us on his way out of the room and flashes Brendan a big smile. More from him later). He’s got the tunes going all the time, and they’re really good actually. He’s always on the up, and always got the new stuff coming out.
What’s the big song in the room right now?
It’s changing all the time, he’s always on the get go. You’d have to ask him, it’s always changing. That’s his territory.
I was talking to Landon (Ferraro) a couple of weeks ago and he said Frankie (Pare) is one of the biggest pranksters on the team. What are some of the pranks that get pulled?
“(Laughs) I’d say Frankie is the biggest one. Hiding stuff, taping your phone up in your socks so it takes a while to get it out. Frankie is always doing something and being kind of a little bit of a shit.”
One question everyone always wants to know is whether or not you play as yourself on NHL12?
“Yeah. Well, I haven’t played NHL12 in a while, but every once in a while we put ourselves in the lineup and it feels like you’re playing yourself more than anyone else.”
Double shifting, both power play units?
“Yeah, (laughs) double shifting throwing it out for the powerplay, yeah.”
I went and tracked down Pyett to ask him about his job as the team DJ. Here’s what he had to say:
“I try to be (in charge of the music).
How did you get that job?
“That’s a good question. My first year, no one really wanted the responsibility. Aaron Downey did it quite a bit, and then when (Darren) McCarty came for a while he was running it for a bit, but other than those two guys no one was really jumping up. That’s something I kinda like to keep control of, I’m a fan of rock and a variety of things. I can’t just do techno like some guys would like. I kinda just took the reigns from there and been doing it ever since.”
There’s probably a big difference in music choices among guys on the team?
“Yeah, there is. Some guys are vocal about it, and other guys I don’t think they really care. When we’re at home here or even on the road, a lot of guys play sewer ball which I don’t do. I kind of spend my time in the dressing room before the game. I find myself in the room alone sometimes. Maybe that’s (because) of my bad tastes in music.”
Everybody is just leaving you there eh?
Yeah, if I’m the only one in the room I’m going to play whatever I want. I’m always open to input. If someone wants to play something, go ahead. But I definitely like to run it.”
What’s the guilty pleasure on your iPod?
“Guilty pleasure…you know what that changes all the time. Uh…good question. You know what, I’m a fan of Airbourne. Cheap wine. That’d be a song that’s a guilty pleasure of mine.”
If we looked on your iPod right now what would be the most played song?
“Another good question. Probably Young, Wild and Free by Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa.”
Big rap fan in addition to the rock?
“I like variety. I like everything. I go through phases where I listen to rap or country or rock, I listen to all of it. Techno from time to time, or just house beats. It varies. Pop, R+B. In the dressing room I try to keep it to rap, rock or some beats to keep going.”