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. Head coach Ryan Warsofsky said after Saturday’s loss that his team would be much better on Sunday against Springfield. He was right. It was a step in the right direction, especially away from the puck where Charlotte was much tougher. Also, congrats to Warsofsky, assistant coach Pat Dwyer and video coach Noah Segall for their first AHL coaching victories. The three are a very hard working group.
2. New captain Roland McKeown, who received praise for his NHL training camp, put up three assists over the weekend. There’s never been a more consistent defenseman in team history than Roland and he’s starting the season leading by example.
3. A scout who saw both Charlotte games over the weekend singled out Eetu Luostarinen as a player to watch.
4. Morgan Geekie, who was the team’s first line centerman during the Cup run, looks even more poised and confident to start the year. He’s going to make a serious case for an NHL call-up and when it comes it will be much deserved.
5. Jake Bean and Geekie’s work on the power play helped Charlotte to a 50% efficiency last weekend. That’s an area where Charlotte can win plenty of games this season. Warsofsky is picking up where Mike Vellucci left off. Perhaps Charlotte will surpass last year’s power-play numbers.
6. In his first game with Bridgeport, Nick Schilkey was called for an instigator and a fighting major against Springfield. A new year, a new Schilkey. He and Bridgeport will be in town during the Checkers opening night on Friday where Nick will get to see the championship banner he helped bring to the city go up inside the Coliseum.
7. There was controversy this summer after a former Carolina prospect was quoted in a European newspaper saying disparaging comments about the Hurricanes. As I understand it, these published remarks were fabricated and not at all indicative of what this person actually said or felt. You can’t believe everything you read unless it’s this column. Then, go ahead and believe.
8. In his first three games of the season, Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton looks as comfortable and confident as I’ve seen him. He’s put up 4 points (1G, 3A) so far and, just as important, the Canes power play looks dangerous while he’s running the blue line. What a phenomenal week for the whole team starting 3-0. The fourth line has played key roles every game.
9. After two games, it’s evident to me that Chase Priskie was a great pickup by the Canes. It takes a while to adjust to the pro game from college but judging by this weekend, Chase has all the tools necessary to make it happen.
10. Friday night should be quite the scene at the Coliseum when the championship banner is put into the rafters. The broadcast will have it all covered with a pre-game show starting at 6:30pm. We will listen live to the ceremony and have all the game action that night. Tune in on AHLTV, Facebook Live, the Checkers app and ESPN 730 live stream.