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) The weekend for Charlotte couldn't have gone any better. There were contributions from almost everyone up and down the lineup. It's only two games but for the immediate future, the worry about goal scoring has subsided. Nic Roy stole the show, putting up four goals and two assists. His work in front of the net on the power-play turned heads and his short-handed breakaway goal was of the epic variety. Also, Roland McKeown and Alex Nedeljkovic were both excellent. McKeown played with incredible confidence both nights. More on Alex later.
2) The kids of hockey coaches are aware that they have to spend time away from their dads during the season. In the case of Checkers head coach Mike Vellucci, he does all he can to see his son Ryan play as much as possible, even though it's quite difficult because Ryan is playing in Michigan. After Charlotte's win on Saturday, Vellucci drove five and a half hours to Detroit to wake up and see his son play in a tournament at 8 a.m. that very morning. There's no doubt that being a good dad is more important that being a good coach, but Mike manages to do both at the same time.
3) Some, but not all, rookies coming into this league have less respect for the AHL than they should. Many of them left junior hockey as the best player on their team and think that playing in the minors is going to be easy or even beneath them. Judging by what I saw this weekend, winning both games aside, some of these young players have plenty to learn and should get used to the idea of playing in Charlotte.
4) A scout told me before Saturday's game that last year he felt Janne Kuokkanen was the best prospect on a team filled with incredible talent. After watching game one of the season, he might be right. However, consistency is what gets you to the next level, and we will find out if Kuokkanen can do it each and every night. If he can, he'll be in the NHL soon enough.
5) Last Sunday’s contest between the Hurricanes and Rangers was a game that no one is soon to forget . This Hurricanes team genuinely looks like they are having fun and it was on full display postgame as led by their captain Justin Williams. Aside from the hockey, listening to John Forslund in mid-season form is amazing. He displays the absolute best delivery of big moments of any broadcaster in our sport. Period.
6) Checkers PR Director Nick Niedzielski tweeted that he thinks Alex Nedeljkovic will score at least three goals this season. After seeing Alex's near goals on Saturday, that prediction is actually reasonable. The attempts at the empty net shouldn't overshadow how well he played in game two. His lateral movement, position and rebound control were stellar. He was unphased by the late surge of Rochester in the third period Saturday when they were in full desperation mode for a goal.
7) The NHL "streamlined" goalie gear again. The fear of NHL goalies getting hurt on shots is becoming a reality. Flyers goalie Brian Elliott said "I’ve already sent a couple emails to Kay Whitmore (the NHL’s vice president of hockey operations who literally signs off on every piece of goalie equipment). I’m getting bruised like crazy on my arms." The only thing stopping a goalie from being sent to the emergency room is his goalie equipment. I have seen the new chest protectors, someone is going to get hurt really bad in one of those.
8) Tomorrow marks the 25th anniversary of the death of the greatest economists and philosopher of history whoever lived: Ludwig Von Mises. Perhaps no one but a few will care about this but I can't let it go without mention. His writings changed nearly everything about the way I understand the world. He never received a Nobel Prize in economics, even posthumously, which says plenty enough for me. "Peace and not war is the father of all things" – LVM.
9) Heard this week that former Checkers defenseman Brendan Kichton has found a team to play for in Europe. Kichton battled one injury after another last season. He never complained or got down on himself. He simply worked as hard as possible to come back and play great hockey. He's an excellent defenseman and a gentleman as well. We wish him nothing but the best of luck this season. Also, congrats to another former Charlotte D-man, Phillip Samuelsson, for signing in Lehigh Valley. He had an excellent season for Charlotte last year and we'll see plenty more of him as a divisional opponent.
10) Finally... one of the following things will come true this season: either Andrew Poturalski will have the best statistical season of his career or the Buffalo Bills will win the Super Bowl. Both can't happen.
AHLTV was a huge success this past weekend. The reviews were exclusively positive. Tune in this Friday and Saturday as the Checkers visit Utica and Syracuse. Pre-game show starts at 6:45pm for both games. Download the Checkers app for iPhone or Android to listen on the ESPN stream as well.