Griffins Look to Rally with Return of Carter Camper & Turner ElsonDecember 20, 2018
The Grand Rapids Griffins, much like their parent team the Detroit Red Wings, have suffered some unfortunate injuries. The two primary setbacks being Carter Camper and Turner Elson. Both forwards were line-mates on the top line and enormous scorers and playmakers. Though on the mend and slowly trickling back in, can Grand Rapids rally after even more defensive and offensive losses from their top lines?
Turner Elson Down But Not Out – Set to Return Against Manitoba
Turner Elson is having his best pro season to date. In 28 games, he’s tallied 24 points and is on track to set a new personal best. Elson has gained league-wide attention for being one of the best penalty killers – earning three short-handed goals in the meantime. Playing in his second season with Grand Rapids, Elson has already landed a spot on the top line.
Blocking a shot on the penalty kill, as per usual, Elson took a shot directly to what appeared to be the wrist area. In obvious agony, he immediately left the ice and did not return to the game. Elson is expected to return to the lineup this weekend in the back-to-back away games in Manitoba.
Though no official statement as to what his injury is, rumors spread quickly regarding a broken hand and/or wrist. Thankfully, he is on the mend and will be a huge asset to have back for Grand Rapids.
Carter Camper Returns After Missing Four Games
Carter Camper is another top-line skater the Griffins have been forced to live without for the last few weeks. Added to the Grand Rapids lineup this season as a veteran leader, Camper had produced 20 points in 24 games prior to the injury. Considered an “upper body” issue, head coach Ben Simon stated he was day-to-day. Camper returned to the lineup on Wednesday against the Cleveland Monsters and finished with a -1.
Camper will remain in the lineup thankfully and should add a comfortable boost to the offensive end for Grand Rapids.
Falling Short: Griffins Down McIlrath, Hronek, Smith, Zadina, and Megan
There’s no good time for injuries and for Grand Rapids, they happened as two big assets were called up. Filip Hronek (D) and Wade Megan (F) had received the summons to join the parent team shortly before injury struck. Megan will remain in Detroit until further notice.
Filip Zadina (F) is in route to the World Junior Championship, which will negate his usefulness for Grand Rapids. As for Hronek, he’s a valuable penalty killing option that will remain in Detroit for some time yet. Though a defenseman, he has offensive capabilities that’d make him a multi-tool in a penalty kill situation.
Givani Smith (F) is listed as day-to-day with a minor injury and will likely not be in the lineup against Manitoba. Another huge loss is Dylan McIlrath (D). Having stepped out of Wednesday’s game due to a death in the family, it’s unknown whether he’ll rejoin the team for Friday and Saturday’s games.
Grand Rapids Must Rally Against Manitoba Moose
Despite the constant ebb and flow of the AHL, several injuries at once, call-ups, and suspensions (Matt Puempel served Wednesday) put teams in a tighter bind than usual. Grand Rapids has proven that they have what it takes to come together and win despite large losses. Star players are out, however, the youngsters and Toledo Walleye call-ups are getting some much-needed ice time – and making the most of it.
Heading into the final few games before the Christmas break, its imperative that Grand Rapids gets healthy or finds a way to work with what they’ve got. They’ve earned points in 13 of the last 16 games which shows their tenacity as a team. The division standings are narrowing. There are only four points between Milwaukee at number one and Grand Rapids in fourth.
The Griffins will hopefully be back to almost full strength against Manitoba, who is currently sitting last with 24 points. Earning another four points through the weekend would give a boost to Grand Rapids in the standings as well as the locker room.