My evening at the arena started off with a very nice lady asking me about my Plymouth Whalers jersey and if I was from Michigan. I assured her I was not, and just a fan of the team and former players, and that Terry had been a favorite of mine all season long, at which point she finally told me she was Chris’ mom. I wish I’d had more time to talk to her, because if I had I would have told her how much I’d enjoyed watching him play this year, and that he went from just another player in the lineup, to the one I most look forward to skating, and that we gave him the nickname Terryiffic (what can I say, I like making up nicknames!). I would have loved to tell her how genuine he was on the few occasions I’ve spoken to him, and how much he means to this team, both on and off the ice. I can count on my hands the number of times I’ve spoken to Terry, and that’s three, and each time he impressed me with his sincerity and charisma, which is why I went to the trouble of getting a Plymouth Whalers jersey complete with his name, number and Captain’s C. I think mom’s need to hear stuff like that about their children, and Mrs. Terry should have the privilege of hearing from the fans in Charlotte how much her son means to us!
So onto the game… I’ve decided that I am a horrible blogger when it comes to recounting specific details of a game. I watched it with all kinds of enthusiasm, but I’m terrible at minute details, especially when it comes to remembering them. I tried to jot down notes at intermission, but too much was running through my head. So, a few random thoughts:
- I have been wondering how the NHL tracks Time On Ice. Do they have special stopwatches? A guy who just times each and every player? Can I borrow one of these special contraptions from an NHL team? Can I sign up to learn how to be a stop watch runner? I was the scorekeeper for my middle school volleyball team… I’m sure I could learn. Do the Hurricanes have the necessary equipment in Raleigh? Can I borrow it since they don’t need it till next year? I REALLY wish we could see how much time the Checkers D-men spend on the ice, because wow, was it unbalanced (once again). The majority of minutes were taken up by Jordan and Bellemore (as usual) with a close second to Rodney and Faulk (wow, that kid can SKATE! We’ve nicknamed him Wheels, until something better comes along!). Borer seemed to take more shifts than Sanguinetti, but still not close to the time the top two pairs got. Sanguinetti was put into the lineup in place of Zack Fitzgerald, who was a healthy scratch. I really hope that Sanguinetti gets his magic back…
- I thought Michal Jordan was going to drop the gloves only minutes into the first period. Jordan is the kind of player you want on your side… especially when Mike Murphy is in net. Jordan is very defensively minded, loyal, and rarely takes stupid penalties, and he is ALWAYS there when his goaltender needs him. He had an outstanding game tonight, and finished the evening with a +2.
- It was pretty great for a Monday night in Charlotte to have a crowd of 3700 fill the stands. While the numbers were much less than the 12K + we had at some weekend games during the season, they were into it, cheering and backing the team. I love a loud, enthusiastic crowd. What I REALLY want to see is these numbers increase this week! I bought my parents tickets to the game on Wednesday, and they are driving in from Boone, NC to take in their first playoff game, and are super excited. So I would encourage each and every one of you reading this to bring a friend (OR MORE!) to the games this week. Our team needs our support!
- Seriously? Checkmates danced at all three intermissions? That is three times too many, in my opinion! Uggh. In the words of Ralph from The Simpsons, their bad dancing made my feet hurt.
- I kind of hate the “*insert goalie name here* Sucks” chants. I don’t believe the are effective at all, and would much prefer a good LETS GO CHECKERS chant to be echoing through the arena. I’m a Checkers fan, down to the bone, but the Thiessen sucks chants bugged me tonight, because it doesn’t matter how much I love my team, that kid is REALLY FREAKING GOOD. He made saves most goalies never would be able to make, and played an incredible game.
- The OT Game Winner by Brett Sutter was a shot no goalie could have EVER stopped (though high blocker side does seem to be Thiessen’s weakness, from what I’ve seen. So take note of that, Checkers, and shoot high, blocker side!)
- Mike Murphy was just… AMAZING tonight. He made some incredible saves, time and time again. Watching him develop and grow this season, even just in the past four months, has been amazing. I noticed a drastic period of growth with him that began in late December/Early January, and now, in May, he’s a different goaltender. He’s brimming with confidence, and knows he can make the plays and stop pucks in ways he didn’t before. He’s definitely a superstar in my book!
- Despite the fact that the font is TOTALLY incorrect and a blatant jersey (tshirt) foul, I was excited to see NEW name and number tees on sale at the merch booth! I bought a Murphy one, and considered getting a Dalpe one as well, to go along with the other two I already own. Charlotte Checkers, rocking the merchandise world. (Next batch though, can you PLEASE use accurate fonts to match the player jerseys? Pleaseandthankyou!)
- We missed a number of breakaway attempts…. at least four that I can recall (Terry, Dalpe, Boychuck and someone else I can’t remember). Somehow, we have to figure out how to score on these.
- I was glad we stayed out of the box more than last game! There were some pretty dirty dives by the Penguins, and missed calls on both sides, but that’s hockey I guess. The special teams on both sides were outstanding.
- I am too tired to upload pics, but I saw some hilarious and awesome signs in the crowd tonight, and was inspired to maybe make something epic and awesome for Wednesday and Friday. The best sign of the night I saw was “Murphy makes more saves than Jesus.” OK, so maybe it’s a bit sacrilegious, and my dad the Pastor wouldn’t approve, but it made me giggle, anyway!
- Mike Lappan deserves all of the credit for this stat find, but tonight was the WBS Pens FIRST OT loss of the season, and they only lost one in the shootout, in 80 regular season games. WOW. One more reason to be proud of our Charlotte Checkers!