Jurco was thrilled to win the Calder Cup in his rookie season, but on the plane trip back from Syracuse, he looked miserable. He was battling the effects of a badly infected elbow. “I felt terrible, watching everyone celebrating,” Jurco said. “I know how it feels to win and I wanted to be able to celebrate with the team, but I couldn’t. My elbow was sore, I felt cold and I had a bad headache. I wanted to be happy, but I had the worst couple of days.” Jurco stayed in Grand Rapids a couple of extra days until the doctors were sure that he was improving. He was glad to get home – glad to be eating his mom’s cooking again – but now he is eager to continue his career trajectory. Blashill is confident that Jurco is up for the task. “He’s got skills that other guys don’t have,” Blashill said. “He’s got a chance to be a top-six forward in the NHL, and very few guys get that opportunity. What he has to do now is take his play and turn it into production on a consistent basis without sacrificing anything from his defense or team game. That’s the challenge of learning to be a go-to guy.
“He’s going to face the other team’s best defenders on a more regular basis, and he’s going to have to learn to be successful while facing those guys. Tatar learned it. Nyquist learned it. Now he’s going to learn it, and that’s going to be the next step in his maturation process.” Jurco is ready for the challenge. “I’m hoping to be a leader on the ice,” he said. “I want to have a good year and, to be honest, play a couple of games with the Red Wings. That’s my dream, and I feel I’m more ready than I was last year. I want to play there one day; that’s why I’m here.” Jurco knows he has to be patient. “Obviously, I’m only 20 and although I’ll be 21 soon, I’m still young,” he said. But getting a taste of the NHL would be like icing on the cake – and almost as good as mom’s cooking.
GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS SCORE GOALS.
Easter Seals Michigan helps children like Andrew reach theirs.
EASTER SEALS MICHIGAN serves and supports people with disabilities or other special needs and their families so they can live, learn, work and play in their communities. essmichigan.org PROUDLY SERVING MICHIGAN SINCE 1920 56
Grand Rapids GRIFFINS • 2013 Calder Cup Champions
The official magazine of the Grand Rapids Griffins