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.
After watching both games this weekend, I really felt Jon Matsumoto was the best Checkers forward. On Friday night, he could’ve had four or five goals considering how many great chances he had throughout the night. Head coach Jeff Daniels agreed with this in his pre-game interview on Saturday.
Justin Peters battled hard on Friday night. For only playing 12 games last season, you could tell he’s trying to find his rhythm. Despite practicing, you never get into the right game-playing mode until you actually play. My prediction is that in about two weeks, he’ll be one of the best goalies in the AHL.
Michael Murphy was stellar on Saturday night. The team gave up 44 shots, far too many, and quite a few of them were high-quality chances. This is the biggest season of Murphy’s pro career, and after just one game, he proved he is more than prepared.
A big disappointment with the weekend’s games is that the Checkers gave up a combined 88 shots in both games. This wouldn’t be a big deal if the scoring chances were minimized and the shots were mostly from the perimeter, but they weren’t. There’s no question Daniels and Geordie Kinnear will be discussing this all week with their team.
Bobby Sanguinetti was the Checkers' best defenseman this weekend. It looks as if he’s completely healed from last season’s injury, and is one of the most offensively-creative defensemen in the league. It’s easy to see why he was a first-round draft pick. What’s also great is that he had 10 shots and three assists this weekend, and I’m also sure he logged about 30 minutes on Saturday.
Don Cherry likes to remind the hockey world that Bobby Orr is the greatest defenseman in the history of the game, and that’s fine. Orr revolutionized the game and Cherry has been around a long time and “coached” Orr in Boston. But, his need to demean and marginalize Nick Lidstrom, the greatest defenseman since Orr, is unnecessary. Imagine if Lidstrom was born in say, umm, Kingston, Ontario, or Calgary, Alberta. Seven Norris trophies, a Conn Smythe, Four Stanley Cups, an Olympic gold medal, over 1,100 points and a career +429 is pretty good, I think.
Peoria comes into Time Warner Cable Arena this weekend after going 0-2 in two games this weekend, allowing nine goals and scoring four. You know they will be desperate for a victory or two, but then again, so will Charlotte. I expect a very physical weekend.
Don’t forget you can watch the Checkers home opener on Time Warner Cable digital channel 520 this Saturday, in case you can’t make it out to the game.
No word on if Michal Jordan will be available for the games this weekend. He left the game on Saturday in the first period and never returned. Jordan came into last season low on the depth chart for Charlotte and in one season became paired with Brett Bellemore as the team’s number one pair on the back end to shut down the other team’s best line. The team needs this kid healthy and back in the lineup.
Last year, Ethan Graham said to me that Brett Sutter would be named captain of this team. Ethan’s prediction came true. Sutter is a quality guy. Anyone else remember that he had 14 points in 16 playoff games last season, including an overtime game winner against Wilkes-Barre? He is a Jeff Daniels type player.