My mom always said if I can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all, however I have to publish an update, so you’ll have to read some not-nice things. I should probably wait to cool down a bit before posting this, but hey, I’ve got nothing to lose, right?
The game was won by Jeremy Smith, who made 31 games to get the shutout. The sore loser in me must mention that Smith shouldn’t have even played tonight, having been suspended previously by the AHL following actions in a game this past Sunday. But more on that later.
The first period was an enjoyable one to watch. It was physical without being overly aggressive, the Checkers had a lot of shots on goal, and guys like Chris Terry were frequently in the midst of the action, driving to the net and being physical.
But as soon as the second period started, it was like we were watching a freshly deflated whoopee cushion, without the excitement one feels as it makes that oh-so-special whoopee cushion sound. The team was flat, the mere shell of what they have the potential to be. They lacked energy, and seemed to be chasing the pucks as individuals instead of playing as a team.
Shots on goal were weak slapshots from the blue line, or wristers aimed directly at the chest of Smith. Not exactly the types of shots that score goals.
The first goal 2:56 into the second period was the result of, at that point, nearly 23 minutes worth of the Admirals driving to the net and getting second chances. They scored on the rebound, and after the number of times they had nearly driven over Mike Murphy, I’m not surprised he let one in.
Less than a minute later, in the midst of a line change by Charlotte, the Admirals scored their second of the night, an even-strength goal by Kyle WIlson.
The fourth goal? Almost identical to the second of the night, it was the result of the Admirals driving to the net and being a physical presence in front of Murphy. Ryan Flynn was able to bang a puck just barely past Murphy’s glove hand, who had no help from his defenseman in front of him.
All in all, not a good night. Not an impressive showing by the home team who is trying to cement themselves into the post season.
Assorted thoughts in no particular order:
- I have said this once, I’ll say it again, I really wish the AHL officially tracked (and published) time on ice. Brody Sutter played in his professional debut having joined the Checkers on an Amateur Tryout last month. He was definitely out for a few shifts, briefly at times, but I have no idea what his total TOI was. I do know he was in the midst of a line change and seemed a bit confused with the second goal of the night went in for the Admirals. Not blaming younger Sutter, just sharing an observation.
- Chris Terry impressed me tonight, mostly because he and Dalpe were about the only Checkers to consistently be in front of the net trying to get rebounds and second chances. I guess the emphasis is on trying… because no Checker really had any second chances all night.
- I like Sean Dolan a lot. He’s scrappy and physical and aggressive. He did crash the wrong net a couple of times which made me nervous, but I like that he isn’t afraid to get in the middle of something and make his presence known.
- Is it too late for some team building exercises? Something to promote unity in the group of athletes on the ice? I have a good friend who teaches fitness classes with an emphasis on ballet and core conditioning. She teaches professional athletes, and is one herself… maybe something like that would bring the team together. (You want to see some athletes? Go watch a ballerina… you will be amazed at their technique, control and physical strength).
- I rarely take too much into account of +/- ratings because they don’t tell the whole story, but only four Checkers ended the game with a neutral rating tonight (Terry, Dolan, Brett Sutter and Chris Durno). These were the only four players who didn’t disgust me at some point of the game.
RE: AHL suspensions to the Milwaukee Admirals following their melee on Sunday against the Rockford IceHogs.
At about 4 p.m. this afternoon, the AHL finally announced suspensions and fines to the IceHogs and Admirals players (and coaches) following their bench-clearing altercation midway through the second period.
The altercation started a few seconds after a tv timeout happened, so the video I’ve seen is a bit spotty since the in-arena cameras were focused on non-ice activities during the break. The way I understand it is the Admirals (as the home arena, and owner of the cameras) submit a DVD to the AHL, who then reviews the footage and assess the situation and hand out the penalties. It’s a long process, for sure, but waiting until 4 p.m. two days after the event happened does seem a bit late in the game. Is it blatant favoritism towards the Admirals? I don’t think so, however I do think the Ads got off REALLY easy and could have had a much more severe penalty.
Admirals center Michael Latta, who left the penalty box to join the fighting, got a three-game suspension that began this evening in Charlotte, and will carry on through the Admirals Sunday game in San Antonio.
Goaltender Jeremy Smith was given one game, but isn’t serving it until Thursday night.
Milwaukee coach Ian Herbers was fined an “undisclosed” amount for his involvement.
What I want to know is how these incredibly light suspensions and penalties will affect precedence. In my experience, leaving the penalty box usually results in a MUCH longer stretch of games, as in between 6-10. Smith and the Admirals were given a HUGE favor when the AHL decided to let him serve his suspension on Thursday instead of tonight. I guess in the wilds of Charlotte, far away from civilization and major International airports, the Ads couldn’t be expected to find a back-up goalie to fill in tonight. Considering there have been times this season the Checkers didn’t have a backup until the second period due to injuries and flight delays, I guess I don’t have a great deal of empathy for the situation, and think the right thing would have been to suspend Smith immediately, as most every other suspension is done.