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Griffins' Minard receives AHL award

by Randy Cleves / Detroit Red Wings
Chris Minard
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The American Hockey League on Thursday announced that Grand Rapids Griffins left wing Chris Minard has been named the Reebok/AHL Player of the Month for February. Minard registered eight goals and five assists for 13 points and recorded a plus-seven rating in 10 games during February, returning to form after having missed the season’s first 36 games due to a concussion.

Minard, who tied for the league lead with eight goals during the month, is the first Grand Rapids player to win the award since it was instituted by the AHL in 2007-08. He also became the first Griffin to earn such an honor since April 2001, when Derek King was named the International Hockey League’s player of the month in that circuit’s final season of existence.

A veteran of 10 pro seasons and 40 NHL contests with Edmonton and Pittsburgh, Minard logged four multi-point games during February, including three consecutive outings from Feb. 11-15. He notched three points (1-2—3) and a plus-three rating in a 5-4 loss to Houston on Feb. 11, was named First Star after tallying his first hat trick of the season and another plus-three rating in a 7-4 win over San Antonio on Feb. 12, then chipped in two assists in a 4-3 overtime loss at Chicago on Feb. 15.

The 30-year-old capped off the month by netting his second hat trick in less than two weeks as part of a four-point night on Feb. 24, earning First Star honors and a plus-three rating in a 6-1 rout of Lake Erie. Minard became just the sixth Griffin to log multiple hat tricks in a single season, and his two hat tricks in a span of five games/13 days marked the second-fastest pair in Griffins history behind Donald MacLean, who recorded his in consecutive games on Jan. 14-18, 2006. Minard’s three career hat tricks now tie him for second all time on the Griffins, matching Kevin Miller and standing two behind MacLean.

Despite playing in only 17 contests this season, Minard places second on the club with a plus-nine rating and has averaged a point per game (12-5—17). His 12 goals already rank fifth on the Griffins, while his 11 even-strength markers are one off the team lead.

In recognition of his achievement, Minard will be presented with an etched crystal award prior to an upcoming Griffins home game.
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