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.
For the first time in the Checkers' AHL history, albeit a relatively short one, they won three games in three nights. Both Grand Rapids and Peoria were not up to the challenge against Charlotte. With the exception of one period, Charlotte dominated play in all three games. Despite holding the league's best record early into the season, this team still has room to improve. For the rest of the league, that must be a scary proposition. That being said, Chicago will be a real test for Charlotte.
I had a chance to interview Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock during the third period of Friday’s game. After asking him about a player on either team that caught his eye, without hesitation he said he’d love to have Justin Faulk on his team. He went on to praise Bowman and Boychuk as well.
Landing in Michigan on Thursday afternoon, I quickly found out that Riley Nash loves the United States of America and Justin Faulk has a soft spot in his heart for the great State of Michigan (no retractions will be printed if the previous thought is disputed by either person).
Our bus driver was driving so slow on the way to Milwaukee from Peoria that we were passed on the shoulder by the Rivermen’s forecheck.
Walking into Steak and Shake with Steve Latin at midnight, I was comforted to see two heavily-armed police officers filling out an incident report. Life is about timing.
Derek Wilkinson said before the World Series that the Tigers were going to get waxed. I don’t like when he’s right.
After being pulled from Friday’s game against the Griffins, no one wanted to have a better game on Sunday more than goalie Justin Peters. He made a big save in the first period on a two-on-one and never looked back. Peters added one more spectacular save in the third to secure his first shutout of the season. Well earned and deserved. The guy is a warrior.
Chris “The Griffin Killer” Terry will be providing the broadcast with color commentary for Wednesday’s game against Milwaukee since he is suspended (yet again) after an on-ice collision in Grand Rapids. Tune in and send questions to either of us via Twitter (@Jason_Shaya
) and Chris will answer them. On average it takes a player five minutes into the first period to realize that doing color isn’t as easy or as fun as they imagined.
Turns out Justin Soryal doesn’t read 10 Thoughts
. I’ve confirmed he can read but have no indication of why this column is not amongst his weekly routine. Nevertheless, his debut on Sunday was great and he looked like he never missed a beat. After a freak injury sustained last season, his comeback is nothing short of remarkable and he should be proud of the level of perseverance in order to return to the AHL.
The good Alberta boy and captain of the Checkers Brett Sutter scored his first goal of the season on Sunday and then added two more. I knew I wasn’t wasting my time pumping his tires to Mike Babcock.
TV game on Sunday for our home opener. Wilky will provide analysis between periods.
It’s great having Cory Stillman around this trip. He's very knowledgeable and, of course, he’s won two Stanley Cups, so he knows what it takes to win. He engages in conversation with the broadcast department which is appreciated and refreshing.
Drayson Bowman hasn’t missed a shot in two weeks while Bobby Sanguinetti hasn’t missed the post in the same amount of time.
I probably don’t write enough about Nic Blanchard. The hardest-working guy on the ice scored his first goal on Sunday and then removed the monkey from his back. I could see the toothless smile from the booth and I couldn’t have been happier for him. You can have all the scoring forwards you want but you don’t win when it matters without Blanchard.
After Wednesday night, I’ll be playing this song on a loop
Final thoughts just to finish out the congratulations: Jeremy Welsh scored his first professional goal and then added another on Saturday night. He looked like a different player from that moment on. Dan Ellis was exceptional and earned player of the week. I in a political climate, “trending” is often heard. This team is trending upwards as I write this.