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.
I will miss Dan Ellis. I will miss being near him, I’ll miss his laugh, I’ll miss his scent. In all seriousness, great guys like Dan don’t come around very often. Truly humble and immensely talented. I wish nothing but success for Dan as he goes back to the league where he belongs.
David Rutherford played in his first AHL games over the weekend for Charlotte, the same team he started his pro career with during the 2008-09 season. David has won at every level he has ever played including a Memorial Cup with Spokane, the Presidents Cup with the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs and a Kelly Cup last season with the Florida Everblades. Hard work and maturity have paid off this season for him and he registered his first AHL point on Sunday with an assist.
MVP of the weekend has to be head coach Jeff Daniels. No one sees that he has to manage the roster away from the actual game. For the men who didn’t get called up to camp on Saturday morning, it was very difficult. Daniels had to keep them focused for two more games in addition to the infusion of several new players to the lineup, all while trying to win. It should be noted here that he literally never slept from Saturday to Sunday.
John Muse stepped into the crease on Sunday and picked up right where he left off from last season. He will be a Checker for the rest of the season which is where he should’ve started if it wasn’t for the lockout. Welcome back, John.
Safe to say the Checkers have said goodbye to Drayson Bowman for the last time. He is clearly one of the most talented players to ever wear a Checkers sweater. In 130 games played, he ends with 39 goals and 39 assists.
Now that the lockout is over, the whole “hockey is back” slogan is ridiculous. What have we been doing since October? Pretty sure it’s also hockey.
One of the oddest moments from the weekend came during a faceoff when I read off the names of the five Checkers players. Brett Sutter was the only guy on the ice that started with the team in October. Justin Shugg and David Rutherford on the wings with Beau Schmitz and Bobby Raymond on defense. It must have felt strange for Sutter.
Detroit Red Wings draft pick Petr Mrazek was called up to the AHL earlier this season and has taken the Griffins to being one of the top teams in the Western Conference. The Griffins were a team that has been desperate for solid netminding for years. Mrazek will be the worth the price of admission this week when the Griffins fly into Charlotte on Red Bird II for games tomorrow and Thursday.
Thursday's home game will be on Sirius/XM, and Chris Jablonkski and I will have the call at 7 p.m. one more time on the NHL Channel this season. We’ll do it for the balloon guy #insidejoke.
The perfect Saturday to have off this week, just in time to sit home and watch every single NHL game possible. Ron and Don are back too - always good for an unintentional laugh.
Congrats to Chris Terry for a ridiculous one-timer in overtime that won the game on Saturday night against OKC. No goalie stops that shot.
Riley Nash scored an overtime game winner on Sunday and was named the game’s number one star. I thought he’s really stepped up his play lately. In his past five games, he has six points (3g, 3a).
Finally, the NHL season is upon us. The 48-game schedule is a test of willpower just as much as a physical battle. There will be little time to rest or to reflect. Because of the shortened season, the emotion of wins and losses will be amplified. Teams will enter the year knowing prolonged mistakes can be the death knell. There won’t be time to get ready, you must already be ready. Surprises are inevitable. Crushing defeats and miraculous victories are around the corner. This sport is above all, hard to predict, which is what makes it the greatest sport in the world today.
Who will win the Stanley Cup this season? The answer: “Invincibility lies in the defence; the possibility of victory in the attack" -- Sun Tzu. The team that manages to incorporate that into their game plan will be hoisting the Cup in June. The New York Rangers have it within them to be that team.