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McCollum hopes hard work pays off

Griffins' goalie wants to be in action, not have front row seat to it

Monday, 01.21.2013 / 6:21 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
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McCollum hopes hard work pays off

The Griffins' Gustav Nyquist (14) and goalie Petr Mrazek in action against the iceHogs on Breast Cancer Awareness Night in Rockford, Ill., last Saturday evening.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Griffins goalie Tom McCollum could see it coming.

But certainly not to the magnitude that eventually transpired last Saturday when Grand Rapids and Rockford IceHogs tussled at BMO Harris Bank Center.

“They’ve been a lot of fight-filled games when we’ve played them, but I don’t think that (Saturday) ever crossed anybody’s minds,” McCollum said. “There have been fights pretty much every game, so you knew something was going to happen.”

A season’s worth of animosity and ugliness heated to a boil when the Griffins and IceHogs, the minor-league affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks, engaged in an old-fashioned bench-clearing brawl, resulting in 192 penalty minutes and 13 player ejections.

In seven games this season, the Griffins and IceHogs have amassed 604 penalty minutes – that’s little more than 86 PIM per game. Rockford will host the Griffins in the last of an eight-game season series on Feb. 22.

The two AHL clubs have had a long contentious rivalry, McCollum said.

“We’ve really had eight different guys who have fought somebody on their team at some point,” McCollum said. “That’s probably something that contributed to the other night. We’ve had a lot of guys go at it in the past, just some bad blood building up.”

For their involvement in the second-period skirmish, which lasted more than 3 ½ minutes, five Griffins’ players – goalie Petr Mrazek, defensemen Gleason Fournier and Brian Lashoff, and forwards Francis Pare and Tomas Tatar – received game-misconducts and subsequent ejections.

McCollum, however, was the lone Griffins’ player who didn’t join the fracas.

“There’s no room on the bench there, so I was in the Zamboni tunnel and they weren’t interested at all in opening the door and adding another body to it,” said McCollum, who entered the game after Mrazek’s ejection. “Their backup goalie stayed on the bench too, which at least, numbers-wise, kept it really even. So I really had a front-row seat to everything.”

McCollum will have a front row seat again when he backs up Jimmy Howard in Monday night’s game against the Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. The Red Wings recalled McCollum for the next two games after backup goalie Jonas Gustavsson complained of groin soreness on Sunday.

The Red Wings’ first-round draft pick in 2008, McCollum made his NHL debut nearly two years ago, where he surrendered three goals on eight shots in a backup role. He hasn’t played for the Red Wings since, but he remains hunger for another chance in the league.

“I would definitely love to, especially considering how the first go-around went,” said McCollum, who is 10-6-1 with a 2.69 goals-against this season. “I know I’m much better than that. Two years later I think I’ve really learned a lot and have been working hard the last couple of years. It would be nice to get a chance to show what all of my hard work has led to.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose


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  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
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12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 77 17 49 -6 66
P. Datsyuk 63 26 39 12 65
T. Tatar 82 29 27 6 56
G. Nyquist 82 27 27 -11 54
J. Abdelkader 71 23 21 3 44
N. Kronwall 80 9 35 -4 44
R. Sheahan 79 13 23 -3 36
D. Helm 75 15 18 7 33
D. DeKeyser 80 2 29 11 31
S. Weiss 52 9 16 -2 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
P. Mrazek 16 9 2 .918 2.38

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