Charlotte 3, Peoria
Good luck to our Captain, Brett Sutter, as he heads to Boston tomorrow with the Hurricanes. I am not at all surprised by this call up. Throughout Hurricanes training camp, I felt very strongly he was the best choice to make the Canes roster. He’s a totally different player than the guys who were fighting for that magical spot in Raleigh (Dalpe, Boychuk and Bowman) but that difference to me is what sets Sutter apart. He has a whole different level of grit and determination that puts him on a different playing field. Game after game, I see incredible things from him, and I think he’ll do a great job filling the fourth line role in Raleigh. Paul Branecky does a better job talking about the call up, so go read it here!
This was a fun game, and featured a hockey team that was much more familiar to me than some recent Checkers contests I’d seen.
Michael Murphy was great in goal. Made some great saves, including what the dancers I was sitting with referred to as a “Fan kick” during the second period.
- A definite help to Murphy was the fact that the Checkers remembered how to block shots. He made 31 saves on 32 shots, which is a very acceptible number compared to the 40+ save games of last weekend.
- The Rivermen had a hard time staying out of the penalty box. After last weekend in Norfolk, I was glad the Checkers didn’t have that problem. The Checkers had eight power play opportunities, while the Rivermen had only four.
- I feared that when Justin Soryal got a double minor roughing penalty early in the first (for something that didn’t look very “rough” to me) we were going to be in for it with a four-official game, featuring one of my least favorite referrees, but it ended up less scary than anticipated.
- Speaking of “Roughing”…. did a Checkmate in the video on the jumbotron during the second intermission actually say her favorite thing about Hockey is “I like it rough”…. yikes. I took that the wrong way, so did those around me though.
- The Checkers have adopted a five-forward power play. This makes me incredibly nervous, especially since with the exception of Chris Terry, it wasn’t a particularly defensively-responsible forward crew on the ice when this happened. I can’t decide if the five-forward approach is a good thing, or simply the result of not having enough defenseman capable of playing the point. Bobby Sanguinetti appeared to be the only defenseman I saw on a PP, and he registered an assist on the first goal of the game.
As I watched Danny Syvret, I was reminded how I’ve liked him since his days in Edmonton…. and how much I’d hoped Carolina would sign him this off season. Needless to say, Peoria/St. Louis is lucky to have a leader like him. (And Charlotte needs another D-man who can play on the Powerplay like Syvs can!)
- Who saw the Duke Energy building last night around 9:30? It was lit up Checkers Red as I was driving to work. I say it was in honor of our weekend sweep of the Peoria Rivermen.
Ben Bishop is gigantic. I really wanted to have him stand down our normal-sized but mighty Mike Murphy just to see the difference. Sitting at center ice was a skewed perspecitve, seing the 6’7″ hulking frame of Bishop at one end, but equally far away at the other end, was a goalie who appeared to be more like 5’6″ even though he’s not that small. Bishop is a giant, and fills a lot of the net, but in my opinion, he definitely lacks some of the technique that a normal-sized netminder develops.
- Jared Staal and Ryan Donald were healthy scratches again. It looks like Staal might get his shot this weekend if Brett Sutter doesn’t return from Raleigh by Friday.