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. Opening weekend couldn't have been better for Charlotte. Despite some errors, which included 13 turnovers in the second period of Friday's game against Hartford, the team managed to overcome being down against both the Wolfpack and Penguins to win in regulation. Congratulations to Checkers coach Mike Vellucci on his first two AHL victories. Interesting to note that his first AHL coaching win came in the same building in Hartford where he made his NHL playing debut.
2. Perhaps something that went under the radar this weekend, mostly because of the performance of some of the Checkers forwards, was the play of goaltenders Alex Nedeljkovic and Jeremy Smith. Both were outstanding.
3. Warren Foegele, who scored 22 goals in 21 playoff games for Erie in the OHL playoffs last season, scored 2 goals in each of his first two AHL games last weekend. I was told by a close friend who is a scout for an OHL team that Foegele is the real thing. It won't always be this easy for him but so far, so good.
4. Is it possible Jaccob Slavvin is going to get some votes for the Norris this year? I think he will.
5.Red Wings RFA Andreas Athanasiou is still "weighing his options." As of today, he remains unsigned and is in Europe deciding his future plans. The offer the Wings have tendered is reasonable and with every day he doesn't sign, he actually loses money. If he doesn't take the offer, he doesn't magically become more valuable to the organization after playing in some European league. Moreover, he still has no arbitration rights if/when he wants to return. He is diminishing his own value and potentially harming his development. All for what? Detroit will not trade him because this will send a signal to every kid that all they have to do is wait it out and the team will give in to their demands, no matter how asinine.
6. Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs discussed possible NHL expansion cities being Seattle and Houston. I think both would be phenomenal. I think Checkers Director of Communications Nick Niedzielski is from Houston, but it's hard to tell from his endless tweets about the Texans and Astros and Rockets.
7. A story came out today in the Houston Business Journal which quotes the owner of the Houston Rockets, Tilman Fertitta, who didn't rule out putting an NHL team in his building. “Do I want to see Toyota Center filled up 300 nights a year? Definitely.” Fertitta said. "I would put an NHL team here tomorrow (but it has to make sense)."
8. I saw a picture of Penguins General Manager Jim Rutherford at the White House today when his team was honored for winning the Stanley Cup yet again. Rutherford is one of classiest gentleman I have ever met in this business and I can't think of a more deserving person. He will definitely go into the Hall of Fame and he may have another Cup to win this season.
9. I would expect both Checkers goalies to get starts this weekend and I hope that everyone attends both games. The Checkers have some great things planned for both Friday and Saturday and I believe getting four points will be the cherry on top of a great home opening weekend.
10. We had some issues with the Checkers app on Saturday night but we believe everything is sorted out now and that Android users will have no problems going into this weekend's games. Join us for the action if you can't be in the arena. See you all on Friday.