Former St. Lawrence 100-point man and current Charlotte Checkers forward Mike McKenzie is keeping a journal of his life in American minor hockey. He has agreed to let me share his journals with you every Sunday.
You can follow Mike on Twitter @MikeMcKenzie11
For more McKenzie journals, search "Minor Updates" in the blog archive.
Follow me on Twitter: @SLUHockey
March 21, 2011
Ok I skipped another week of blogging and I feel bad about, but it’s my blog so I can basically do what I want so deal with it. It was a hectic week as I got called up to Charlotte again. It always comes at the most unexpected times.
A week ago today I was sitting by the pool on my day off and I get a call saying I have to catch a flight in a couple hours. It sounds like a lot of time but once you get over the shock factor, start packing, go to the rink to get your gear and get to the airport it ends up always being an adventure. Fortunately I got all this done just in time to catch my flight and I was on my way back to the ‘A’. We had a four-game road trip as soon as I arrived, and I was pretty happy with my play. The team went 2-2 which isn’t bad on the road. We flew back today and have the rest of the day off, which is nice. We are right back at it tomorrow for our fifth game in seven nights as we welcome Adirondack to town.
March 22, 2011
Pretty typical game day so far. Woke up had a good breaky and headed right to the rink. A couple more Everblades arrived today, so it was nice to see some familiar faces in the hotel; it had just been me before. After the morning skate a bunch of the boys went to Carrabba’s to eat a pregame meal, and it was delicious as usual, but the service was a little suspect.
Now I’m just getting ready to go down for my standard hour and a half nap, then heading to the rink for hopefully another solid effort. Let ya know tomorrow how it went.
March 23, 2011
Quite an eventful game last night. I scored my first AHL goal on my second shift of the game. It was a pretty special moment especially since I scored it on Michael Leighton, who took the Flyers to the Cup last year. It’s definitely a good story for the grandkids someday. The goal was created by a great backdoor feed from Cedric McNicoll, who I have played with all year in Florida. It took me 14 games to get it, but it finally went in and I got the puck to prove it.
My next shift, right off the draw, the puck took a crazy bounce off the glass on a dump-in and ended up in our net which was a bad break, but those things happen. Right after the next faceoff I got the puck and wheeled up the wall and before I knew it boom elbow to the face. It’s safe to say I got my bell rung and it took me a couple seconds to get my bearings but I managed to get up and make it to the bench like any good Canadian boy would. Fitzy (Zack FitzGerald) and Harry (Brad Herauf) jumped in to stick up for me after the hit and both got into fights, so thanks to them for having my back.
I’m not going to get into any more details on the hit or the guy who did it, but I will just say it was not what you would call a “clean hit.” The trainer told me I would not be going back out because my head got hit pretty hard, and it was not worth the risk. I couldn’t argue with that after seeing so many players go back too early and injure their brain even worse. Your brain is not something to mess around with and we are seeing this more and more as this epidemic of head injuries is really taking its toll on the game.
I woke up today not feeling too bad at all, which is a good sign. I am going to see the doctor later today, so we will see what he says but I’m really hoping for a quick recovery; I was just starting to heat up!! haha
March 25, 2011
Very, very boring last couple days. Other than a doctor’s appointment yesterday and another one today, I have done next to nothing. I did not go on the road with the team, so I’m pretty much stuck in the hotel by myself for three days. It is boring, and I hate having to miss games, but hopefully it will give me some time to relax and get healthy for the last couple weeks of the regular season. Tonight Oskar Osala invited Mike Murphy and me over for dinner because we are the only three guys who didn’t make the trip. His girlfriend made us a nice meal which was really nice of her and a nice change from eating out. It was great to get out of the hotel for a couple hours too. Oskar’s apartment is on the 21st floor and has an amazing skyline view of the city; it is a really nice place. I couldn’t help but think hopefully next year I will be living in a place like this and playing in this league full time. Anyways, back to the couch, I have some March Madness to watch and some scoreboard following to do (NCAA hockey, Everblades, Checkers, NHL hockey).
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” - MLK