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. Not getting a chance to watch and be a part of Saturday and Sunday’s games against Providence feels surreal and awful. I think everyone whose normal routine is interrupted by this event is reeling. Having a career and a job you love helps coordinate and direct your life. I remember during the road trip when I spoke to Stelio Mattheos, he said the best part about coming back to hockey after his cancer treatment finished was that his life had purpose again. When your life’s work is taken from you, there is a time of disequilibrium. But, we will all pull out of this soon and life will return to how it was before. That I believe. Until then, let’s talk about the sport we love.
2. No one around here is surprised that Morgan Geekie made a successful NHL debut. He’s progressed significantly since the start of his pro career and was one of the most consistent offensive producers for Charlotte this season. He was already in the mix for a spot on the big club next year and took a giant leap forward with his play in his first two NHL games. Well done, Morgan.
3. If there’s one moment that defines goaltender Keith Kinkaid’s relatively short time with the Checkers, it’s his save with 6.4 seconds left against Cleveland on Tuesday night. The Checkers were up by a goal and if it goes to overtime, they could’ve lost a point. Kinkaid, as poised as ever, made the save and won the game.
4. Michael Kahn’s name rightfully now hangs in the rafters at the Coliseum. There is no more important person to Charlotte hockey than Michael. What people might not know about Michael is that, even with his personal success, he’s a humble man who’s simply a fan that loves the game. Someone once asked me how much Michael enjoys standing at the glass nearly every home game. My answer is that the only way to measure it is by the dollars he paid in fines during last year’s playoffs. So, I’d say he likes the games a lot. Congrats, MK.
5. I think it’s safe to say that when play resumes in the AHL, forwards Colin Markison and Brian Gibbons will be available for Charlotte. That will be a tremendous addition.
6. What do Checkers VP of Hockey Ops Derek Wilkinson and Charlotte Mayor Alex Nedeljkovic have in common in their NHL careers? Both men have allowed goals to Patrick Marleau. That makes Patrick Marleau a very old man.
7. Great coaching definitely matters and Checkers head coach Ryan Warsofsky made an interesting decision during the overtime win on Wednesday. For Charlotte’s power play, he decided to move Lorentz to the right side for a one-timer instead of his usual net-front position. Once Jake Bean put a perfect pass on the stick of Lorentz, the game was over. I didn’t see that coming and I don’t think the Monsters did either.
8. Speaking of Jake Bean, he received high praise during my interview with Hurricanes Sr. VP of Hockey Operations Paul Krepelka, who said once Jake goes up to the NHL he’d be surprised if he ever came back down. Bean and Roland McKeown probably played over 30 minutes on both Tuesday and Wednesday night. It was an impressive performance by both men.
9. With the time between games, the Checkers office is looking to add some new content. Next week, we will stream a live show on our app. Details will follow but we will have special guests call-in and take questions right from twitter. If you don’t have the app, download it now!
10. Let me make one final thought about John Forslund, a man who is one of the biggest influences in my career. When you walk into PNC Arena and you step inside the booth, it’s very daunting trying to fill in for one of sports’ most eminent play-by-play broadcasters. His goal calls seemingly reverberate off the walls even when he’s not there. Yet what is most characteristic of John is his humility and his humor. He’ll be fine and we’ll be listening to him soon enough. Life as it should be will return. That’s hockey, baby.