Weekly Plus - Minus 12/02/08|
Best and worst performances of the week...
By Jason Kasiorek
Grand Rapids had a good week, picking up 7 of a possible 8 points with a 3-0-1 record. What makes this surprising however was who was doing the scoring. Scorer's Darren Haydar, Darren Helm, and Ville Leino were all surprisingly silent. But solid goaltending and the emergence of secondary scoring kept the team on track this week as Aaron Downey, Evan McGrath and Cory Emmerton all picked up the slack. Downey wins this week's top honors, narrowly pushing aside rookie netminder Daniel Larsson's stellar play.
This weeks top three plus and minus performances:
Aaron rebounded from an abysmal start to become a key grinder last week, providing energy and grit as well as leadership on the bench. The wily vet even broke out some offense, tallying 1 goal (his first in two years) and two assists for the week.
The Swedish sensation appears to be making the adjustment to the smaller rinks in North America, and turned in two stellar performances on the week. Larsson won both both games he played, including a 1-0 shutout, his second of the season, and put together a miserly 1.00 GAA.
Emmerton paced the Griffins in scoring last week, notching four assists in four games, and taking on an expanded role on the ice. The gifted young center appears to have turned a corner after some early season troubles, and has surprised many opponents with his willingness to fight for the puck.
The hulking blueliner seems to be stuck in neutral, and lacks the intensity that saw him rise up the prospects list. His offensive game and physical play have been glaring in their absence, and his defensive game has been hit or miss.
The captain has been fighting through a tough season on and off the ice, and last week was more of the same. The former AHL MVP was very quiet offensively last week picking up only one goal in four games, and his play without the puck has pushed his +/- rating to a team high -10.
Talented Finn Leino has been a different player since returning from an injury. Last week he garnered one assist in four games and was not driving to the net as he had earlier in the season. Worst of all the shifty forward seemed to be avoiding traffic and gave up on the play rather than fight for position.