It was a pretty ugly loss in Charlotte tonight. Though not as devastating as it could have been, the Checkers fell by a score of 4-2 to the Oklahoma City Barons. The first two periods were just abysmal, and the third only slightly better. Overall though, the Checkers couldn’t maintain control of the puck, rarely were able to take it into the offensive zone, and lacked any of the effort required to win hockey games.
In the first period, Checkers goaltender John Muse, in his first game as the number one goaltender in Charlotte, he allowed three shots on four goals.
What impressed me the most though, was that Muse was able to shake it off and come back into the game, allowing one more goal on 20 shots. It’s not easy to shake off one of the worst periods I’ve ever seen a goaltender have, but Muse did it, which I believe is a great sign of his potential.
An ever changing lineup certainly contributed to a lackluster performance by the Checkers, the team knows what needs to be done to get back to winning.
Sean Dolan was very honest about what needs to happen to get back to winning. “We’ve got to come out more physical and know we have a good team. Doesn’t matter who’s in the lineup or who’s not in the lineup. You’ve got to play as a team like coach says, and come out and, you know, bang bodies and get pucks on net.”
Chris Terry, one of the few players who has played in every game for the Checkers this season with the exception of a brief AHL suspension he served earlier in the year, knows he has to continue being a leader on the ice, especially as a skater who is a key member of the Checkers special teams, and a veteran leader.
“I don’t think my role is changed… ” Terry said, “I need to do my job everywhere and obviously scoring has been a good thing lately, but I don’t put any added pressure.”
Positives to look forward to after a tough loss, and a few random thoughts that don’t fit anywhere else:
- Tomorrow at noon, there’s always the chance that the Checkers could have a new (again) forward by the name of Zach Boychuk. The Pittsburgh Penguins put him on waivers today, and the Hurricanes are the only team in the NHL that could claim him and assign him to the AHL.
- Rob Madore is the newest addition to the Checkers. He dressed as John Muse’s backup for the first time tonight, and with Cam Ward’s season-ending injury and Justin Peters recall to the Hurricanes, it looks like Madore will be in Charlotte for the duration.
- John Muse, while pretty flat in the first period, came back to have a strong rest of the game. Hopefully, his turn-around mentality will rub off on his teammates and they’ll find a way to turn it around! There’s #NorfolkingWay the Checkers can allow another loss in Virginia like they did last week!
- A fellow writer sent me this link today. After you read the dodgy German translation, what do you think about the author saying Justin Krueger may be headed back to the Swiss elite league? I think he’s been a great asset to the blue line in Charlotte, and would hate for there to be any truth to the rumor. I feel like it’s wishful thinking on the part of his former team and it’s fans, just like I can name a few thousand (million?) Canes and Checkers fans who would do just about anything to see Mike Murphy return to the Hurricanes organization!
- A very small sampling of photos from tonight’s game can be found here.