FIRST OF ALL, the Hurricanes are coming to CHARLOTTE to play the Atlanta Thrashers on September 25. It’s a preseason game, and the building swap will also include a Bobcats preseason game in Raleigh at the RBC Center. This is exciting news to see the big club play on Checkers home ice! I’ve been wanting this to happen all season, so I’m glad it has come to fruition. I’ll post more information as I have it!
Checkers Pre-game skate notes:
- All Checkers except for Jon Matsumoto were accounted for at the skate this morning, including Matt Pistilli and Zack FitzGerald, who both spent extra time with the coaching staff after the rest of the skaters were finished.
- There was a very different energy at practice this morning. While they were still very focused, and participated in organized drills, they were much more vocal and chirpy.
- Fitzgerald spent a great deal of time doing skating and shooting drills following the pre-game skate. While he definitely appears to be in game shape, I don’t anticipate him playing in this series with the level of play our other six defensemen are putting up.
- All three of the Penguins goalies skated again. Of course, there is no way they will start anyone but Thiessen.
- It appears to me that a number of the Penguins have shaved. As in… playoff beards no more. By no means do I think the Pens were as hairy as our Checkers to begin with, some that did have noticeable playoff beards on Wednesday are mostly clean shaven today, as if following the game on Wednesday and their loss, they took a razor to the beards to change their luck. If this is a sign that the Checkers have gotten into their heads, I’ll take it.
- The Penguins skate, like the Checkers skate, had a very different vibe today vs. Wednesday. They were much faster, with a much more edgy aggression to their drills and skating. At times, their practice was bordering on a level of frantic that felt uncontrolled.
- There was nothing at all about the Pens skate that made me feel like they felt it was their last one of the season. This team has a lot of fight, and are going to battle tonight.
- I think the first thing the Checkers need to do is CONTROL the energy and control the game. The Checkers are a fast, young aggressive team with all kinds of depth, especially at forward, but they have to prevent the game from getting frantic.
- The Checkers are 6-0 in the Playoffs when outshot by their opponents. So while drilling a lot of pucks at Thiessen is always nice, if we keep getting good chances and rebounds, we CAN and will score.
- The Checkers are perfect on the PK at home, but by no means is this the perfect safety net should we have to kill more penalties tonight!
- POSITIVE ENERGY. I can’t say this enough. I hope we can rally together in the stands behind OUR team. 100% support, no negativity, and ONLY positive energy.
- It’s not too late to buy tickets to the game! I bought spares to give away to friends, because tonight is something I want everyone in Charlotte to be a part of. This is OUR team, let’s support them!
- I’d like to hear the MURPHY chants start before puckdrop, and carry the team through the game. So after the anthem, let’s do it. MURPHY MURPHY MURPHY!