Random thoughts about Charlotte vs. Chicago:
I still kind of think their logo looks like a rabid dog more than a wolf… and their font is as dated as the Carolina Panthers one. But hey, why change something with great brand recognition, right?
- The pyro/laser light show before the game was pretty incredible. Shocking, really, to have that much pyro in a city that was once destroyed by fire, but hey, the fans seemed to like it a lot!
- The relationship between Wolves fans and the Blackhawks is an interesting one. While the two teams aren’t affiliated, and the Wolves are big time rivals of the IceHogs, a friend (and Wolves season ticket holder) said to me that Wolves/IceHogs games are like “Home and Home” with both teams being the home team. I still can’t grasp this concept… who do you cheer for? Where is your allegiance? With your team’s rival, or… your NHL team’s farm team. It’s a crazy but cool dynamic!
TV timeouts made my mind drift to many random things, like when talking about a single player on the Wolves, do you change their name to “A Chicago Wolf”? Ahh, grammar… forever making me think about important stuff like that.
Actual thoughts about the game, and the Charlotte Checkers:
This was a MUCH different game than last night. It didn’t seem to be slow because of a lack of energy, but a more disciplined match. I think this pace paid off, and the Checkers seemed to be more consistent, and clearly had a better outcome in the end.
- Rasmus Rissanen has really grown a lot during his rookie season. He’s become more physical in his play, and someone I really enjoy watching. He was aggressive and physical and a great presence in the defensive zone.
- The Defense as a whole did a much better job supporting the goaltender all night. While the Checkers are lucky to have a fantastic goalie in Mike Murphy, it’s nice when he doesn’t have to do all the work!
- Brett Bellemore had a great game. While I’ve been questioning the apparent lack of consistent defensive pairings, it didn’t seem to matter tonight. Bellemore was physical and forceful and had some great blocks and hits.
- Charlotte did a better job getting second (and third) chances. Guys were in the crease going after rebounds, and turning those rebounds into goals.
- The Checkers had a 5-on-3 kill during the second period for about :45 seconds. During that time, they kept the puck in front of the opposing goalie and even had a SOG by Brett Sutter. Very impressive to be down two men!
- Chris Terry is a guy that makes things happen. He might not be scoring as many goals as last season, but when you watch him, you are watching a player who is in the middle of things and making things happen. I believe he’s one of the most well-rounded players and contributors on the Checkers.
- Sometimes, I think Mike Murphy is slightly magical in the way he can grab a puck out of mid air that I don’t even see coming. This happens frequently, and every time, I’m even more greatful for our fantastic netminding!
This roadtrip has been fantastic. When it’s all said and done, I will have driven about 1800 miles, seen three hockey games (I still have Milwaukee tomorrow, afterall!), celebrated New Years with my best friend from high school in the great city of Chicago, and of course, seen TWO victories by the Charlotte Checkers. What more can I ask for, right?
Let’s Go Checkers!