Two things. First of all, this is going to be highly opinionated, and not in the least journalistic. But thats why I am a blogger, right? I get to state my opinion… Secondly, I’m writing my first ever post on my iPad, so excuse the typeos in advance!
Only moments into the game, I had a feeling that last nights matchup between Charlotte and Chicago was going to be ugly. The black jerseys always make me uncomfortable, and the team wearing them was not the Checkers team that has dominated during the first two months of the season. They were sloppy, and lackluster, and completely unmotivated. I wonder how many more adjectives for SUCK I can think of?
Anyway. I wasn’t impressed. On Thursday night, the Checkers battled. The entire first period, it seemed, was played in front of Lack, with the Checkers throwing countless pucks at him. (ok, we have a count and it was 40, but I’m trying to get my point across!). The Checkers lost the game on Thursday, but they battled, and I didn’t feel discouraged like I did only a few minutes into the game last night.
So 17 minutes into the first period, when Mike Murphy was pulled, I was furious. I was mad his teammates let him down. I have seen countless goalies pulled at games, and most of them have deserved it. Who can forget the games just last year where it would take between three and five soft goals (with him looking over at the bench after each of them as if to ask if that was the one that was going to do it) that we would finally see Murph skate into the crease in relief of the losing net minder? It wasn’t Murphy last night that got pulled…. He was just the human sacrifice that the lack of defensive responsibility and lackluster play by all of the skaters.
There was a noticeable chill in the air as John Muse skated towards the crease. Half of my section
booed (and I NEVER boo my team!) and every one else gasped in shock of what we were seeing. This is the goaltender who played so well in his two partial games in the NHL last week.
I’m not naive to have not understood what was happening. Sure, Murphy had allowed two goals, but his teammates had dropped the ball. Someone had to be made an example of and it was the goaltender. Clearly, it worked (and this is why I wouldn’t be a good coach, cause I wouldn’t be able to do it!) because once the second period started, a team I recognized was back on the ice. They were being physical, aggressive. They scored four unanswered goals, and supported their young, unproven net minder as they should have been supporting Murph in the first period.
The game ended well, with a couple of points in the standings, and another digit in the win column, but it was still frustrating to watch. I love this team. Ive taken off of work twice this week to go to games. I spend money, and drag family and friends to games, and try and support them always, but it sure is hard when they bail like they did in the first last night! It was great to see John Muse get his first win in a Checkers sweater, because it sounds like he is going to be the number two for a couple of months, and we need his confidence!
Tomorrow is going to be a real test for the Checkers. Oklahoma City has a really strong team, and a couple of great goaltenders. They are ranked near the top of the toughest division (by far) in the entire league. It’s not going to be an easy battle, and I really hope that our team can come in fighting. The next two games and potential four points are going to be huge. I’d really like to travel to Rockford and Chicago for New Years knowing the team has a three game winning streak, right?
I also hope I never have to witness play like that any other time this season! Let’s Go Checkers!!!