During the season, Checkers broadcaster Jason Shaya checks in each week with his 10 Thoughts - a series of observations about the team and the hockey world in general.
1. On Saturday night, in front of a massive crowd at the Coliseum, the biggest moment wasn't a goal or a save. Lehigh Valley could've pulled within a goal on a five-on-three man advantage for nearly two minutes but it was Josiah Didier who spent the entire kill on the ice throwing himself in front of five shots that stole the show. He almost singlehandedly willed his team to keep the Phantoms off the board. He earned second star of the game for that moment alone.
2. With Martin Necas out this past weekend due to illness, Morgan Geekie stepped up as first line center and delivered two very good games while scoring a highlight reel goal on Saturday. Games like that are a glimpse into what this kid can develop into as time goes on.
3. We had Brock McGinn down in Charlotte for a few seasons. Great person and hockey player. Was he the best interview for the broadcast? Not really. But after watching his father talk to Mike Maniscalco on TV and also announce the starting lineup for Carolina during the mentor’s trip, you have to wonder if his dad could help him deliver a line sometime. You can tell why Brock is such a great kid after listening to his dad.
4. Liam Flynn, a young boy who endured six rounds of chemotherapy, is finally done with treatment. He celebrated that occasion with a couple thousand of his friends at a Checkers game this past weekend. What a moment it was when Liam and his family were on the video board and the crowd roared as it was announced Liam was done with chemo. Please pray for the continued recovery of an incredibly strong young man and his family. It's great to have them as a part of the Checkers family.
5. Zack Stortini, forever a fan favorite, had his Miracle on Ice jersey auctioned off for $3,000 on Friday night to benefit The Independence Fund. The gentleman from Sudbury is always revered by fans and most gracious with his time to everyone he meets. The team raised over $28,000 that night for charity.
6. In contradistinction to the Checkers’ light March schedule, the Hurricanes are about to run through a gauntlet of some of the toughest teams in the NHL while essentially playing every other night from now until the end of the season. If the Hurricanes are going to make the post season, they are going to have to earn it the hard way.
7. As of today, Bridgeport, on an eight-game point streak, is only six points away from the Checkers for first in the Atlantic Division. Back to back wins last weekend helped ease the anxiety of the coaching staff but there's no time to relax. The good news is that Necas should return on Friday and recent acquisition Tomas Jurco will make his Checkers debut possibly on the same line.
8. I am annoyed by how many people want to become "hockey insiders" on Twitter by putting their imaginations into words and pedaling them authoritative. Meanwhile, they have
absolutely no clue what they are talking about. You'd think they would delete their errors after someone with more knowledge of reality and basic facts has to correct them.
9. In my opinion, the series was the best two games Jake Bean has played all year. Jake's work away from the puck and in the d-zone were fantastic against a very good Phantoms team. A defenseman isn't always going to be measured by his point production, which means it's vital to be competent in all areas considering the ice time required to play the position.
10. Derek Wilkinson told me the games against the Phantoms were the best home games Charlotte played all season. Hopefully, the midseason lull is over and the team can get back to playing the way it was for the majority of the year. Puck drop against the Binghamton Devils, who have the fewest points in the Eastern Conference, is at 7 p.m. on Friday. Pre-game show begins at 6:45.