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Hamilton Bulldogs Game Thread: Bulldogs @ Griffins

The Bulldogs get set to open up their 2012-2013 season against the Grand Rapids Griffins on Saturday night

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Richard Wolowicz - Getty Images

The Hamilton Bulldogs (0-0-0-0) get set to open their season tonight against the Grand Rapids Griffins (0-1-0-0) who are the minor league affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings. The Griffins will be playing their second game in as many nights, after losing 3-2 to the Milwaukee Admirals last night. Last season, the Bulldogs finished 2 points behind the Griffins, good for 14th in the Western Conference. Both teams are heading into this season looking to improve on abysmal campaigns, with help from locked-out NHL prospects.

The Griffins lineup for tonight will presumably look something like this:

Nyquist - Andersson - Pare
Tatar - Sheahan - Jurco
Ferraro- Aubry - Hoggan
Grant - Raedeke - Callahan

Paetsch - Smith
Lashoff - Almquist
Evans - Nicastro


The notables:

  • Gustav Nyquist, a pretty impressive winger prospect, selected in the 4th round (121st overall) by Detroit in 2008.
  • Tomas Tatar is another player to watch, an impressive young Slovakian winger.
  • Brendan Smith, the Wings 2007 first rounder and top D prospect is also spending the season in Grand Rapids due to the lockout.

Derek Wills (@dogsplaybyplay) tweeted this mornings Bulldogs line combos:

Forward Lines

Aaron Palushaj - Michael Bournival - Patrick Holland
Steven Quailer
- Blake Geoffrion - Brendan Gallagher
Michael Blunden
- Darryl Boyce - Louis Leblanc
Kyle Hagel
- Gabriel Dumont - Zack Stortini

Defense Pairings

Nathan Beaulieu - Frederic St-Denis
Jarred Tinordi
- Brendan Nash
Antoine Corbin - Greg Pateryn


Robert Mayer
Peter Delmas

Some very interesting info. It appears Lefebvre is trying to spread out the experience by splitting Palushaj, Leblanc, and Geoffrion. Its surprising to see Beaulieu on the first pairing as well, I figured he would be on the third pairing while he adapts his game. It appears every d pairing brings both offense and defense, which may help the Bulldogs get their offense going. Ellis is still not back to 100%, so Corbin will play his first pro game in his spot. The biggest shock is Robert Mayer getting the nod in goal over veteran starter Cedrick Desjardins. My guess is that Desjardins is hurt, which is why the Bulldogs kept both Delmas and Mayer, though we're still looking into it. Also missing from the lineup is Joonas Nattinen, which is strange since there was no injury reported and he was playing top 6 minutes in preseason. We'll update you as the information comes available.

The Bulldogs are going into this season with as many questions as answers. They hope to answer some of those questions with a win tonight.

You can watch or listen the Bulldogs take on the Griffins live tonight at 7pm EST. Watch here or listen here.

Geoffrion spoke to CJAD this morning.

Special deal for those wanting to catch the Dogs home opener.

Griffins coverage from their homepage and Winging It In Motown