Two guys with ties to the Grand Rapids Griffins 2002-03 AHL Western Conference championship team are on opposing sides in the quest for hockey's biggest prize.

Stacy Roest played center for the Griffins on that team, and he is now assistant general manager for the Tampa Bay Lightning, who clinched a Stanley Cup Finals bid Thursday by defeating the New York Islanders in the semi-finals, 4 games to 2.

Meanwhile, Todd Nelson, who coached the Griffs to a Calder Cup in 2017, was an assistant coach on that 2003 Griffs team. He currently is an assistant coach for the Dallas Stars, who won their way into the finals by defeating the Vegas Golden Knights.

Also on the Stars is center Mattias Janmark, who played for the Griffs in 2013-14.

The Lightning and Stars will square off beginning Saturday at Rogers Place Arena in Edmonton, where the Western coronavirus bubble was set up for the restarted season back in July. All seven games will be contested in Edmonton.

So that means the Griffins are guaranteed to have a former coach or player on a Stanley Cup championship team for the seventh time in the past 13 years.

In other Griffs news, Bruce Cassidy, who coached the team in 2001-02, was awarded the NHL Coach of the Year for his work with the Boston Bruins.

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