1) What I didn’t realize until today is how the 1992 NHL Entry Draft (specifically the 7th round) went on to shape the history of the Charlotte Checkers. Derek Wilkinson was taken with the 145th pick by Tampa and just 17 picks later, Geordie Kinnear went to New Jersey. Now both are on the hockey operations side of the organization. It should be noted that Ian Laperriere was also selected in the 7th round and amassed 1,083 NHL games in his career. Between the three of them they played a combined 1,109 NHL games! What an accomplishment. I also found a VERY rare picture of the Kinnear and Wilkinson back in the IHL Days. Pretty cool stuff.
2) Head coach Jeff Daniels must be happy his team sits atop the Midwest Division of the Western Conference but at the same time I am sure he knows the Checkers can still play better. Now that the team can spend a long time at Time Warner Cable Arena, I would suggest these points at home become the most important part of the season. There are 16 points on the line in the next eight games at home, and I believe he’d like to take at least 12 of those points.
3) Matthew Pistilli shaved his moustache figuring he needed change and scored a goal on Sunday. Coincidence? Absolutely.
4) The gesture by Mark Howe to don his father’s No. 9 Red Wings jersey at the Hockey Hall of Fame induction speech was an incredible moment. Mark found out after his career was over that his dad wished he’d worn the retired No. 9. Earlier this year, I spent time talking with Mark about how his dad is doing. Mark says he loves when Gordie comes to live with him in New Jersey because his dad spoils him. Here’s a look at a great moment from a classy man who just happened to be the son of one of the greatest players to ever play. Has anyone seen a more beautiful jersey?
5) Milan Lucic gave Sabres goalie Ryan Miller a concussion when he purposely ran into him during a game last week. What makes me more upset than the hit is that no one from Buffalo went after Lucic! Gutless play by Lucic and equally as stupid was that no one from Buffalo made him pay the price. The Sabres that were on the ice should be ashamed of themselves. Let’s go back to Mark Howe for a moment, "The reason I think there's a lot more injuries now? Guys are bigger, stronger, better fit overall. But you can just take runs at people left and right and they're coming at full speed. And in the old days, you eliminated that from the game." They eliminated that from the game by players regulating the ice themselves. Apparently, the Sabres were content letting the referees sort things out. What a joke.
6) Yesterday was the five-year anniversary of the death of one of the greatest men in the 20th century, economist Milton Friedman. His work can be summarized by this quote, “So that the record of history is absolutely crystal clear. That there is no alternative way, so far discovered, of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by a free enterprise system.” He spent his life defending the freedom of the individual and his book, Capitalism and Freedom, helped many understand liberty and economic freedom go hand in hand.
7) The Checkers had little gas in the tank when they played Houston on Sunday but, to their credit, the team still battled as hard as they could. When you’re faced with sleeping very little, playing six periods of hockey in two previous days and taking two planes on the same day as a game, it’s not a recipe for anything but exhaustion. NHL teams like Vancouver are taking sleep deprivation very seriously. Lack of sleep correlates directly to an inability to perform at a high level. Also, it didn’t help that Houston hadn’t played a game that weekend until the Checkers rolled in on Sunday.
8) Bobby Sanguinetti was hit in the foot with a shot during Sunday’s game. He should be fine and the reason is that he’s from New Jersey. It takes a lot more than that to keep a good American defenseman down. He’s been paired with Mathieu Roy for the majority of the season and I think it’s a great combo for Charlotte.
9) Radio Games this week are as follows:
• Friday, Nov. 18, at 7 p.m. vs. Rockford - 610 AM
• Sunday, Nov. 20 at 2:45 p.m. vs. Rockford - 1660 AM
• Wednesday, Nov. 23 at 7 p.m. at Norfolk - 1660 AM
• Sunday, Nov. 27 at 1:45 p.m. vs. Milwaukee - 1660 AM
• Wednesday, Nov. 30 at 7 p.m. vs Texas - 1660 AM
10) The Checker's annual golf tournament, A.K.A. the Aaron Osborne Classic, was really fun on Tuesday. Everyone had a blast. That being said, I’d like to take the time to apologize to coworker, Eric Bridenstine for roughing him up after a heated discussion about Murphy vs. Peters.
11) I met an 11-year-old kid on an airplane Sunday and he is from India. He said he wanted to grow up and be a scientist. While here in the United States for the past six months, he said school was too easy for him. He speaks three languages and he’s teaching himself Japanese by watching Japanese television back home. In stark contrast, when I was 11, I wanted to be a minor league hockey broadcaster. He did agree that America was the greatest country in the world.
12) Rockford comes into town on Friday having the worst record in the Midwest Division and they are tied for the most goals allowed in the Conference at 49. They’ve only won three games in their past 10. I think it’s fair to say that the Checkers would like all four points out of Friday and Sunday’s games against the IceHogs.
13) Former Checkers forward Jacob MicFlikier is tied for second in scoring with the Hershey Bears this season with 16 points (7g, 9a) in 14 games played. Another great part about his season is that he’s +6. At this point, the Checkers miss his scoring.
14) Jerome Samson’s goal is to have one million shots on goal by December. He’s on pace.