March 27, 2012 9:37 AM
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) Two games over the weekend and only one point to show for it in the standings. It’s a trend no one wants to see continue. What must be most frustrating for Jeff Daniels is that the team is getting numerous chances to score and just can’t seem to find enough goals despite outplaying their opponents. What was annoying before is now epidemic.
2) Jerome Samson has played five games since returning from Carolina. In that time, he has one point (an assist) and is a minus-4. This team needs everyone pushing forward not feeling sorry for themselves.
3) Justin Peters and Michael Murphy both had excellent games this weekend. One of the bright spots for this team has been the goaltending all season long. If it wasn’t for the John Muse, Peters and Murphy, this team wouldn’t be in the race for a playoff spot.
4) Hershey Coach Troy Mann tells the story of when former Checkers d-man Julien Brouillette was on the bubble to make the team in Columbia during his rookie season. He walked into Troy’s room after the last day of training camp and promised him he’d be the hardest working guy on the team and he wouldn’t ever disappoint him. Five years later, Brouillette is thriving as a top-four defenseman in the AHL and Manner refers to him as his best gift to the hockey world.
5) I’d like to take a moment and pay tribute to another former Checkers defenseman, Ethan Graham. He called me on Sunday and told me that he decided to retire after this past season playing in Italy. I’ve never been more proud to call someone my friend than Ethan. Not only one of the greatest guys I’ve met in hockey but in life. Bevies will be flowing this summer and so will the stories. USHL championship, NCAA national title, AHL Calder Cup Final, OT playoff winner…not too bad.
6) Let’s hope Nic Blanchard makes the fastest possible recovery. Not sure how you win in the playoffs without that kid. People talk about heart and soul players. They mean Nic Blanchard.
7) You’d really hope some of these kids would take the approach that guys like Brett Sutter and Blanchard have each and every game. I heard Rod Brind’Amour say with Sutter, you know exactly what you are getting each and every game. The sad thing is you can’t say that about the some players on the Checkers. The fact is, you just don’t know what you are getting each night and it manifests itself in losing. Perhaps, those men honestly don’t care and in that case, these words are in vain.
8) It seems the termites have spread and they have dined long and well. I just read that the NHL will team up with the World Wildlife Foundation to celebrate Earth Hour (whatever that is). "When it comes to winning the fight against climate change, it's clear that we all need to work together," says WWF-Canada Freshwater Ambassador Scott Niedermayer, who captured four Stanley Cups in 18 NHL seasons. "By joining Team Earth Hour, we can work together for a sustainable future." The future would be even more sustainable if we didn’t give in to support false causes for the glorification of other people’s self-righteousness.
9) The Checkers play Grand Rapids (12th place) on Friday and Peoria (9th place) on Saturday. These will be as important as playoff games. Not taking at least three points could be disastrous.
10) The most underrated coach in the NHL is the Predator’s Barry Trotz. It doesn’t matter who is on his team in Nashville, the guy just wins. Absolutely remarkable. Don Cherry said on Twitter you could make him coach of the year—every year. He’s about to get his 500th win.
11) This week begins the most important judicial trial in this country for over 30 years. The ramifications will shake the foundation of our politics.
12) I read that Pavel Datsyuk said he really likes Winston Churchill. Me too, Pav!
13) People keep asking me if the Checkers are going to make the playoffs. My answer: Chris Terry, Zach Boychuk, Zac Dalpe, Bobby Sanguinetti … we will make it.
14) A new front office rule won’t let us bring cellphones into full staff meetings. Now, it will be nearly impossible to text co-workers making fun of other co-workers.
15) Listen to the broadcasts and comment on Twitter @jason_shaya. Two huge games this weekend. AHLLIVE.com.