1. After the Checkers won the last game of the three-in-three set this past weekend, players couldn't even muster the energy to celebrate in the room. One player told me they just sat in their chairs quietly once it was all over. Playing that many games in less than 72 hours is physically and mentally exhausting. Head coach Mike Vellucci responded with a much needed two days off for his team.
2. Because the Checkers sent their video crew on the road to document the trip, a camera was placed near the bench. The reaction after the overtime win was great. A big fist pump from Vellucci and assistant coach Ryan Warsofksy was exactly how everyone felt because it turned a weekend from disaster to acceptable with another comeback victory.
Coming home happy 🙌 pic.twitter.com/ztGzZDv7m7— Charlotte Checkers (@CheckersHockey) December 2, 2018
3. I read an article in The Athletic which discussed how games will be broadcast in the future. One point that struck me was that it is almost a certainty that after a commercial timeout, viewership dips. Even when games are tied going into the final minutes of regulation, some viewers turn away and don't return to see the finality. I've said this plenty of times before, hockey is the worst sport when it comes to keeping people watching. Three TV timeouts coupled by two long intermissions. This is analog thinking in a digital age. It has to be altered and the sooner the better. Games shouldn't take over two and a half hours to conclude.
4. Here is a relevant quote from Bruins TV broadcaster Jack Edwards: "No one will admit it, but there's audience erosion on every single break. Even it it's a 1-1 game and there's 90 seconds to go in regulation, we still lose audience. You don't pick up audience during ads." The newest technology should still allow for advertisements, which are a vital component for any sports franchise, without the need of stepping away for over a minute and stopping the action.
5. I read a story recently about former Checkers goaltender Ryan Munce opening up about the hazing he received as a rookie in Sarnia in the OHL. Other players on his team confirmed the abuse from teammates. One player said it destroyed him emotionally. This is absolutely tragic and if there is a coach out there that knows this kind of behavior is going on and doesn't say anything, they should lose their job immediately.
6. The Checkers sorely miss Josiah Didier on defense. The sooner he is back, the better for Charlotte.
7. Lots of credit is due this past weekend to the Checkers hockey staff. They moved the gear from Charlotte to Providence to Hartford and back to Providence. They are the first to wake up in the morning and the last people to get to bed. All of that is accomplished with a smile on their faces....except for Don White, he doesn't ever smile! Steve Latin, the aforementioned Don White, Bryn-Marc Conaway, Ryan Wysocki and unsung hero Nick "Trips" Roy always earn the respect of the players because of their continual hard work.
8. According to Senior Hockey VP, Derek Wilkinson, Aleksi Saarela is questionable for this weekend's two games against Hartford and Springfield.
9. If there has been one breakout star for the Checkers this year, it's Dan Renouf. The coaching staff has spoke very highly of his contributions lately and he continues to be the rock that Warsofsky relies on every game at crucial times. The former Calder Cup Champion with Grand Rapids is making the right kind of strides at the moment.
10. After going four games without a point, which is unlike him, Andrew Poturalski answered back with three points (2g, 1a) in the last three games. In the most important game of the weekend on Sunday, Poturalski had an assist and the game-winning goal in overtime on a nice pass from Gregg McKegg. When things are going poorly, every team needs their best players to step up and take the reins and that's what Andrew did when it mattered most.
The Checkers have two games coming up this weekend against divisional opponents. They were very unhappy losing Saturday against Hartford. I'm guessing it will be a much better performance and outcome this Friday night. On Saturday the team takes on their former assistant coach Geordie Kinnear in Springfield. 7 p.m. pregame show on Friday and a 6:50pm pregame show on Saturday. Puck drops 15 minutes after the broadcast begins. Join us then.