1) The Checkers suffered another heartbreaking loss on Sunday against the Griffins, coming up short in a 2-1 loss. The playoffs look almost impossible at this moment after losing four of the last five games. When the team needed victories the most, it just didn’t happen for them.
2) One of the bright spots for the Checkers in the past two weeks is the emergence of offence from Victor Rask. In the past 10 games, he has managed five goals and five assists. Hopefully, this can carry over into the following season as the Checkers will heavily rely on Rask in his sophomore season.
3) If Rochester gets one point in its last three games and Oklahoma City takes three points in the next three games, that will eliminate the Checkers from the playoffs. Two of Oklahoma’s remaining three games are against the Iowa Wild, which rank last in the Western Conference.
4) Team owner Michael Kahn did a television interview with me during the first intermission of Sunday’s game. He assured fans that missing the playoffs won’t be acceptable. He was adamant that no one wants to win more than he does and that he doesn’t tolerate losing. He will do whatever is within his power to assure this team is better equipped to win in the upcoming season, including expecting more from the Hurricanes. The Checkers are close to missing the playoffs for the second time in three years and there isn’t a single person who will be more infuriated with that outcome than Mr. Kahn.
5) If the Checkers don’t make the playoffs, the postseason autopsy will conclude that the major cause of death was the seven-game losing streak in November and losing four out of the past five games. Far too many points left behind and the Checkers never found a way to get ahead.
6) The team I think could surprise everyone in the NHL playoffs: The New York Rangers.
7) I could see Peter Laviolette ending up in Nashville and Barry Trotz in Washington. There are still a lot of things that will transpire with hockey staffs around the NHL. It’s always easier to fire the coaches and general manager than the players.
8) Justin Peters replied to a question from the media regarding what he learned about himself this season by saying, “I proved to myself that I can play at this level.” I don’t think anyone can disagree with that. He is a goaltender that proves time and time again that if it doesn’t go as expected, you just work harder.
9) With the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings one year ago, let us remember that there are greater misfortunes in life than the setbacks of professional sports. But, it is through sport that as a nation and a planet, we find a common ground. The pursuit for peace and victory are not at odds. They run together and in sports competition, they coalesce.
10) I’d like to close with the words that will become immortalized as they were expressed by former pro wrestler, Warrior, a week ago, the night before be passed. “Every man's heart one day beats its final beat. His lungs breathe their final breath. And if what that man did in his life makes the blood pulse through the body of others and makes them believe deeper in something larger than life then his essence, his spirit, will be immortalized.” Warrior was the epitome of hard work and self-reliance. RIP.