Begging for Jonatan Berggren’s villain era for the Grand Rapids Griffins

The American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate to the Detroit Red Wings took game 1 in overtime Saturday night. A few changes to the lineup may be necessary for the second game of the series to ensure victory. 
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Jonatan Berggren to return to his Villain Era 

Speaking of the Grand Rapids Griffins regular season leading scorer, Berggren should return to his Villain Era. 

While he was ping-ponging between the Detroit Red Wings and Grand Rapids Griffins, Berggren’s chipper, happy-go-lucky attitude started to chip. 

Peeking behind the veil, fans had the privilege, to spin things in a positive light, to see a hidden side of Berggren. 

If we rewind to 2020, there was at least one incident in which Berggren displayed his frustration in a not-so-productive way. George Malik (@georgemalik), Detroit Red Wings guru blogger extraordinaire of The Malik Report, mentioned that Berggren would face supplemental discipline for a cross-check to the face of an opposing player.

As fans, we don’t see the frustration very often as Berggren has mastered the art of deflection (usually through comedy). However, this season, his frustration seemed to have reached a boiling point. 

It’s completely understandable, and I would be more concerned if he weren’t frustrated with this season. A lot of things were out of his control. Things that were within his control, at least at the National Hockey League (NHL), didn’t go according to the script, which made frustration levels rise even more.

With all this said, I was still shocked to learn that Berggren was tied with Newpower for second place in penalty minutes this season on the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Aside from the face cross-check, the slashes here and there, stirring the pot and skating away, I didn’t realize Berggren had also taken 58 penalty minutes in 53 games with the Grand Rapids Griffins this season. For context, in 67 games played in the NHL with the Detroit Red Wings last season, Berggren had 16 penalty minutes. There were a couple of seasons listed (2016-17, 2017-18 in Sweden) where he had more than 30 penalty minutes in a season, but nothing close to 58 penalty minutes.

At times this season, Berggren seems to have let loose. The pinnacle was the Flying Toaster Night at the Van Andel Arena. It just so happened to be the Winged Wheel Podcast night, too:

When I say I want Berggren to reignite that villainous side, I don’t want him sitting in the box. Instead, I want him to use that same energy he brought as a Flying Toaster to the playoffs. 

It’s clear that opponents are zeroing in on Berggren. We can put all the heavyweights around him, but at the end of the day, he might need to get a little spicier. They are not quite the same but in a similar way to a Matthew Tkachuk-type player.

Embrace that quirky, nasty, chaotic Joker energy and have some fun. (Like Eminem and the Detroit Red Wings’ goal song, just bring it!)

Continue the communication and freestyle play

Something that the Grand Rapids Griffins did really well Saturday night, especially period two on, was play as a team.

There were so many drop passes, no-look passes, and creative plays that I just thought, “Dang, what just happened?” Then, some guy in the crowd stood up and blocked the camera. 

All jokes aside, coach Watson has allowed his team to learn the systems he’s implemented while adding their own unique styles and gifts to it. The team knows each other as well as my cousin knows her Taylor Swift songs, and let me tell you it’s beautiful to witness on the ice.

If the Grand Rapids Griffins play as well as they did Saturday night, they have the world at their fingertips and Detroit Red Wings fans are the beneficiaries of their tremendous play.