Rivermen franchise sold to Canucks…. what other AHL teams might move as well?

I was hoping to have trade deadline updates, but it’s been pretty slow today.  So instead let’s see if I can get all of this franchise movement straight….

According to the knowledgeable Dave Eminian in Peoria, moves are still in the works following the April 1 (not fools) announcement that the Rivermen had been sold.

The Vancouver Canucks have purchased the Peoria Rivermen from the St. Louis Blues, but it seems that the Canucks have no interest in moving their AHL affiliation from Chicago (where it is currently, and has been for two seasons) to Peoria, a couple of hours away.  Ideally, they want to move their team to Abbotsford, where Calgary’s franchise currently plays and has a long-term lease.

Minnesota had been working on a deal that would move their AHL team (currently the Houston Aeros) closer to them in Des Moines, Iowa.  That deal is allegedly on hold (or cancelled altogether) and Peoria is being considered as an another site.

Calgary wants to move their AHL franchise to Utica, NY, but first has to find a way out of their lease and agreements with the city of Abbotsford.   The other moves make a lot of sense, but moving an AHL team for a far-west team like Calgary to the middle of upstate New York doesn’t make sense to me.  Sure, travel would be a breeze for a team in Utica (Binghamton, Albany, Glen Falls, Syracuse and Rochester are all within a couple of hours of Utica…) but easy travel is a small part of operating a successful franchise, and call-ups would be a hassle. Ticket sales and sponsorship revenue is incredibly important to running a successful sports franchise, but if Calgary thinks there is enough potential in Utica, a city of 62,000 people, then I say go for it.  Clearly, the AHL has done well in small towns in New England for a long time, and expanding to major markets outside of that small region doesn’t seem to be a focus of the league.

As a fan of the sport of hockey, and a team outside of the north east, I’m disappointed that this kind of move would be approved by the league and the Board of Governors.  I don’t think that oversaturating New York and the north east with yet another team is going to help the AHL brand, or the league itself.  If the AHL brand is to grow and expand, it needs to be in recognizable markets with the potential for growth. In cities where there is real name recognition and the opportunity to reach a totally new audience.

 

Other odds and ends from the east (the AHL conference I admittedly don’t pay enough attention to) that also may affect franchise movement:

  • Any move of a western team (Abbotsford or Peoria) to New York means the Western Conference divisions will have to be re-worked again. Just for fun, can the Checkers move to the division with Rochester, Hamilton and Toronto? Maybe then Charlotte will actually play those teams.  Plus, four divisions and two conferences in four years would be a pretty epic stat, eh?
  • Allentown, PA will have a completed arena in 2014, and the plan is to move the Adirondak Phantoms out of Glen Falls, New York.
  • There’s plenty of chatter about the desire for the NY Rangers to move their team in Hartford to Bridgeport. I have no idea where the Sound Tigers/Islanders would go, but the rumors are out there.  There’s also the possibility of moving the Rangers team (currently the Whale) to Glen Falls.
  • I’m probably missing some of the chatter… what have you heard?

Talent Overcomes Effort – Charlotte Wins 5-4 in OT

A win is a win but this one was ugly, Charlotte played very loose defensively and Justin Peters gave up some weak goals but Zach Boychuk bailed the team in with a beautiful OT breakaway winner top shelf over Jake Allen’s blocker.

Also very disappointing was the loss of two defensmen during the game. Bobby Sanguinetti took a vicious hit to the head from Cody Beach in the second and did not return for the third.  Hopefully this will lead to a long suspension for someone who looks like nothing but a goon in his first AHL game.  I looked up his stats on hockeydB and in only nine ECHL games this year he has 40 PIM and a ton more in juniors.  Later in the game Marc-Andre Gragnani left with what looked like a hand injury and did not return.  Two great offensive D-men down in one game is going to hurt going forward and hopefully both are not too badly injured.

The main problem on defense was sloppy clearing, turnovers in the defensive zone and forwards chasing the puck (this directly lead to the second goal).  Justin Peters also gave up a couple of real soft goals but maybe he was tired from the lack of support in front of him?

A couple other observations:

  • Jared Staal does finally look as if he is getting what it takes to play at this level, puck handling was better and he started to play more physical!!!!!!
  • Justin Faulk continues to make really bad decisions with the puck in the defensive zone looking for home run passes.
  • Michal Jordan puck handing has regressed from what I saw at the end of last year.

Charlotte knew they where more talented than Peoria but did not have the same effort or heart and it almost cost them tonight, hopefully they will take this performance and come out and stomp the Rivermen tomorrow night.

Nice to have Wilson back trying to motivate a team and crowd that was dead tonight for long stretches.

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE AGGRESSIVE FORECHECKING TEAM THAT PLAYED SUNDAY? That is two straight games where they laid back and looked more like they wanted to play the Paul Maurice system.

Looking forward to seeing the team again tomorrow and hoping they come out ready to play a whole 60 minutes and crush Peoria!!

Gameday: Peoria Rivermen at Charlotte Checkers

Peoria Rivermen (2-5-1-1) at Charlotte Checkers (7-3-0-1)

  • The Checkers sit atop the Western Conference (and the league), while the Rivermen are last in the Western Conference, and 29th overall.
  • In the teams two meetings this season, the combined score is 10-0 Charlotte. On top of that, the Rivermen are on a five-game losing streak when they face the Checkers.  Overall, the Checkers are 8-2-0-0 when they face the Rivermen.
  • The offensive play of the two teams is distinctly different. The Rivermen have scored 13 goals all season long.  The Checkers have scored 41.
  • The Rivermen will start Jake Allen in goal, while the Checkers will play Justin Peters between the pipes.
  • This has nothing to do with the RIvermen, but I promised pictures from Tuesday! Brett Sutter down in front of the net against the Chicago Wolves. (Photo – J. Propst)

    Rasmus Rissanen LEADS THE LEAGUE in minor penalties with 10.  Last year, he had 57 PIMs in 64 games.  He currently has 20 PIMs in only 11 games.

  • In nine games this season, Justin Faulk has 13 points (2g, 11a) and is third in the league in points.
  • Drayson Bowman has scored a lot of goals.  Of the nine he’s on the books for, four of them came on the power play.
  • The more I glean the stats to write this, I feel like I’m gloating about the Checkers amazing skills on the ice, but I swear, I’m not!  It’s just an incredibly unbalanced match up.
  • The Checkers have the best power play in the league, and not surprisingly, the Rivermen have the worst.  The Checkers penalty kill is ranked fourth, while the Rivermen are in 24th.
  • Chris Terry against the Chicago Wolves (Photo – J. Propst)

    The Checkers had the day off yesterday, and should be a much fresher team than the one who took the ice on Tuesday against Chicago.

  • I hear there are dollar beers at the arena tonight.  If I wasn’t morally opposed to drinking macrobrewery watered down swill, I’d be really excited about this fact.  Instead, I’m going to visit Courtyard Hooligans after the game for the tapping of a keg of one of my favorite winter beers, Natty Green’s Red Nose Winter Warmer.  It’s tasty beer and I’ve been requesting it for a couple of years now, and they finally agreed to bring it in!
  • To see a few more photos from Tuesday’s game, visit the Chasing Checkers facebook page.

Gametime:  7:00 p.m. EST

Charlotte Radio: ESPN 730
Chasing Checkers Game Day Twitter List
Charlotte Twitter: @CheckersHockey@PaulBranecky,
Peoria Blog: The Rivermen Blog
Officials
Referee: Dave Lewis (#46)
Linesmen:  Kyle DeMaggio (#97), Mike Sheehan (#90)

The One About the ’12-’13 Schedule.

Tess and Haley here again! First of all, our apologies for not posting our thoughts earlier, Haley and I have been pretty busy between moving, school, work, and life. Regardless, better late than never!

We’ll go ahead and start this off with the massive elephant in the room. To rip it off like a band-aid, the Checkers don’t play at home until November 4th, nearly a month after their season starts. Luckily, the nine away-game stretch that starts out the season is the longest our fellas will be away. The hockey gods giveth, and the hockey gods taketh… and thankfully they made up for that nine game stretch by giving us a 10 game stretch at home from November 24th to December 15th!

As for the competitors this season, though the Checkers have once again changed divisions, the opponents won’t be all too unfamiliar. All of Charlotte’s adversaries this season are in the Western conference, with the exception of area rival, Norfolk Admirals. The team will face each of their South Division foes (Houston, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, and Texas). Since joining the Western Conference the Checkers have yet to face Hamilton, Rochester, and Toronto and will continue not oppose them during the regular season. However they will face Norfolk, Houston, OKC, Peoria, Milwaukee and Texas eight times and Abbotsford, Chicago, Grand Rapids, Lake Erie, and Rockford four times.

There are a few notable games in the schedule. The Checkers will have two doubleheaders with the Bobcats this season, December 15th and January 12th. On both dates the Checkers will play at noon and the Bobcats will follow at 7 pm. The November 24th game coincides with the team’s 5K Run & Walk, which is still open for registration and volunteer help.

The last game to keep your eye out for is on January 6th. The team will play in Raleigh against the Norfolk Admirals, the reigning Calder Cup champions. Keep in mind that the ‘Canes play the Isles the night before in Raleigh as well so make a weekend out of it! We’d also like to make note that the promotional schedule has yet to be released, so we’ll be sure to make mention of more notable games later.

Lastly, the Checkers have a huge advantage towards the end of the season. During the month of February the team only plays eight games, two of which are at home, then play 14 of their next 18 games at home, spanning from March 1st to April 12th. After the 12th, the team closes the season with four away games, ending regular season on April 20th.

To check out the Checkers schedule for yourself, go here. For the full AHL schedule, click here.
As always, we look forward to writing much more about the season to come!

 

 

Rivermen fall to Charlotte, Checkers win 6-1

Peoria, IL – The Charlotte Checkers defeated the Peoria Riverment tonight by a score of 6-1.  I could go on right now and make an account of every goal the Checkers scored (and some were #realbeauties, but the best part of the game was that I won the first round on behalf of my friend over at the Rivermen Blog.  You see, we had a friendly wager on the game, and when the Checkers won, I got a pint of Goose Island 312, a tasty summer beer out of Chicago.  But enough about that.

If I could attribute one thing to the Checkers winning the game, it was the presence and intensity of Nicolas Blanchard.  In his first game back since being injured March 24 in Hershey, his presence was noticeable.  He didn’t score any goals (though he did notch a helper on Justin Krueger’s AMAZING goal from the blue line), but there’s just something about him on the ice that turns the whole team into fighters.   It’s a grit and fire that inspires the rest of the team.

From the moments warmups began, you could see a fire in the Charlotte team they hadn’t had in weeks.  Two panes of glass were broken in the Checkers end during warmups.  The team was passionate, and played together, and were defensively responsible.  It was the kind of Charlotte hockey played prior to the downward slide of the past two months.

The key to to the game tonight was offensive pressure.  The Checkers drove in deep time and time again, and didn’t give up when going into the crease.  Jake Allen, who finished 1-4-1 on the season against the Checkers, really didn’t have a chance.

Justin Peters had a good game, but I don’t know that he deserved his second star honors. His teammates played amazingly well, and that’s what kept them in the game.  He always stopped the first shot, but was shaky on rebounds.  My friend Zack, who was at the game and is a goalie, had this to say, “Peters could have stood in front of a soccer net and won.  Charlotte’s defense was the real winner.”

The Rivermen… well, I felt like I was watching the Checkers during their abysmal 8-2 drubbing last week by Abbotsford.  It seems like they already have tee times scheduled for Monday, and that’s too bad because they are a team that was strong for most of the season, and is part of a great Blues organization.

Tomorrow morning, it’s off to Rockford.  Charlotte has the IceHogs number, but after being shut out on Tuesday, Rockford might be out for blood.  It should be a good game, and one I’m looking forward to seeing in person.

Let’s Go Checkers!

Gameday: Checkers at Rivermen

 Charlotte Checkers (36-28-3-6) at Peoria Rivermen (39-31-2-2)

  • Tonight is the eighth and final matchup between Charlotte and Peoria.  Charlotte leads the series with a record of 5-2-0.
  • Brian Dumoulin, who just won his second NCAA championship in three years at Boston College, has joined the Checkers after signing an entry-level contract with the Hurricanes, should make his professional debut tonight.
  • Chasing Checkers will be making it’s Peoria debut as well, having reached the goal of visiting all four rival cities in the Midwest division.
  • In 74 games played, the Rivermen have 82 points.  Charlotte has 81 points, but in only 73 games played.
  • While officially this is not a playoff game, the playoff hopes of both teams are riding on the contest, so it will be an intense match up in what is also Peoria’s final home game of the season.
  • Jake Allen, the Rivermen’s starting goaltender, was recently returned from an emergency recall to St. Louis.  Allen has a 1-3-1 record against Charlotte this year.
  • For Charlotte, Mike Murphy is 3-0 with a 1.34 GAA and .951 SV% against Peoria, and Justin Peters, who shutout the IceHogs on Tuesday,  is 1-1 against Peoria and has a 3.41 GAA and .854 SV%.
  • Zach Boychuk leads Charlotte against Peoria with eight points (6g, 2a) in seven games against Peoria.
  • Chris Terry has seven points against the Rivermen (1g, 6a).

Gametime:  8:00 p.m. EST

Charlotte Radio: WBCN 1660 AM
Charlotte Twitter: @CheckersHockey@PaulBranecky,
Peoria Blog: The Rivermen Blog
Officials
Referee: Graham Skilliter (#48)
Linesmen: Aaron Mills (#23), Dan Cohen (#47)

Charlotte Checkers – Playoff Outlook and regular season wind-down

Eight games, and a maximum of 16 points are on the line in the next two weeks.

The Checkers play the next four games at home, then play four more during the final week of the regular season (three of which I will be at, live and in person!).

The race to the post season in the west is a tight one.  Only three points separate positions four through nine in the conference.

Here’s a brief look at Charlotte’s remaining opponents:

Milwaukee Admirals – The Checkers face them three times in the next two weeks.  Twice at home, and once on April 15, the final game of the regular season for both teams.  While Milwaukee isn’t currently in the playoffs, if they were to take all six points from Charlotte, the post season wouldn’t be out of the picture.  The Admirals have a record of 34-28-2-4 on the season, and have 74 points in 68 games played.  They are 1-3-1 against Charlotte, the only victory coming last November in Milwaukee.

Abbotsford Heat – The Checkers have back-to-back matinee games against the Heat next weekend at home.  Abbotsford is fourth in the conference with 80 points.  They are in what is probably the toughest division in the entire league, and are one of four teams from the West currently sitting in a playoff position.  The Checkers are 1-1 against the Heat after they split a pair of games in January in Abbotsford.

Rockford IceHogs – Currently in 11th, the IceHogs are just on the outside of the playoffs looking in, but if they took four points from Charlotte, that could potentially be enough to get them into the post season.  The Checkers are 4-1-0-1 against the IceHogs, and both games in Rockford resulted in wins for Charlotte.  With two more games there in a five-day stretch, those two games will be crucial to the Checkers playoff hopes, and quest for not only a spot in the post season, but home ice advantage that will probably require them to sit atop the Midwest division.

Peoria Rivermen – The Checkers have a record of 5-2 against Peoria this season, and face them one more time during the final weekend of the season.  The Rivermen are currently in eighth place in the west with 78 points in 71 games played.  Mike Murphy is 3-0 against the Rivs this season, so I for one hope he gets the start in two weeks against them in Peoria.

Other teams to watch out for:

Chicago Wolves – I’ll be doing a lot of scoreboard watching regarding the Wolves.  They currently sit atop the Midwest division, and are three points ahead of Charlotte with 82.  The scheduling gods were smiling on Charlotte when they made up the Wolves final weeks of the season.  From April 4-13, Chicago has a five-game roadtrip that has them play Oklahoma City, all three Texas teams, and finally a game in Grand Rapids, Michigan before returning home for their last two games of the season.  Needless to say, I’ll be cheering for their opponents over the roadtrip stretch.  With the Vancouver Canucks playoff future bright, there’s also the chance of losing valuable prospects to the NHL club, something the Wolves never had to worry about during their tenure with the Atlanta Thrashers.

San Antonio Rampage – Currently in a three-way tie with Charlotte for fourth place, the Rampage have 79 points in 70 games played.  Five of their final six games are at home, a factor that may prove to be incredibly beneficial.

Houston Aeros – The other third of the Checkers three-way tie, the Aeros have 79 points in 70 games played.  They are 32-23-5-10.  Yes.  They have lost 15 games after 60 minutes of play, including 10 lost shootouts.  That’s an incredibly crazy stat if you ask me, and is the highest number of loser-points given to a team in the entire league.

Sweet redemption – Peoria Rivermen at Charlotte Checkers

After a frustrating loss, and an apparent wake up call the night before, the Checkers bounced back for an exciting 6-2 win against the Rivermen. It had been a while since a home win for the boys, and what a better way to do it than a flashy offensive win?

The boys seemed to start a little slow, but by any means of how the last few games have turned out it was a fantastic start by that standard. Both goalies were making the saves they needed to and got out of the first period scoreless, one doing so with his normal flash and flare that we know and love. Tonight was one of the nights where we had two referees and two linesmen but it made hardly a difference at all. I’m never one to berate the officials unless they deserve it, but there were a few missed calls in the first and it was quite frustrating that they were not on top of it even with an extra pair of eyes to look out. Later on in the game when we were on the penalty kill I felt like I was finally seeing the team that we should be seeing on the ice every night. The PK was back with all the glory it should uphold every game, not just when they realize they feel like playing.

The scoring tonight was absolutely enthralling, like jump out of your seat and scream at your neighbor before you realize what you’ve done exciting. Durno’s goal that opened the floodgates was set up by Sutter undressing two Peoria defensemen and nearly getting it around Allen’s pads, all Durno had to do was tuck it in. Nash’s shot was an absolute bullet, and the look on his face told everyone even he was surprised. I saw that look on a few of the players faces tonight after getting away with some of the things we hadn’t been able to the past few games. Chris Terry was on fire tonight, being in the right places at the right time and making gorgeous passes at the right times. The play from everyone tonight was impressive, it was very refreshing after seeing them miss on chances and fail on plays they usually excel at during the past few games. All night I was watching Zach Boychuk waiting for him to score, I knew by the way he was playing he’d get on the board at least once. When he finally delivered it was well worth it, the perfect pass through the crease from Dadanov was hard to mess up, and it slipped past Stalock with ease. Speaking of Stalock, he has some of the oddest goalie-isms I have EVER seen. Most people think of Braden Hotlby when they mention odd mannerisms and traditions but he has nothing on Stalock. As soon as play stopped my eyes were glued to him seeing what he’d do next, very amusing addition to the game. He was a recent acquisition to the Blues organization after the departure of Ben Bishop, and still has his San José Sharks colors on his pads and helmet which were very cool looking.

Mike Murphy was back in his normal fashion, and I honestly thought with his play tonight he was going to get a shut out for a good bit there. Special teams were back at it tonight, scoring two goals on the power play, while also allowing none on the kill. Both of our PP units continue to impress me, along with the play of defensemen Joe Sova. He’s been very solid on the defensive end, but tonight he crashed the net and led to a few very good scoring chances, just by knowing when to pinch and jump in on the play.  I mentioned it before, but tonight’s game was a great relief, after the past few games and the painfully tight playoff race I was starting to even doubt us making the post season. Even if we keep up our current level of play we should still be wary, but it’s a very very tight race and it will definitely come down to the last game for many teams in the West.

Tonight had a different air to it, from the moment the teams hit the ice for warm ups. They had changed the music from tecnho and house music they had switched to recently to more alternative style us fans used to hear. The defensively smart but offense heavy team has made another appearance, hopefully we don’t fall back into a (small) slump again!

Pregame – Peoria Rivermen at Charlotte Checkers

Peoria Rivermen (35-26-2-1) at Charlotte Checkers (32-22-3-5)

  • Charlotte is 3-1 against Peoria.  The Checkers only loss came in February.  Dave Caruso, in his only start for the Checkers, was the losing goaltender.
  • Peoria is in the midst of a four-game winning streak.  They have 73 points (one more than Charlotte, who is two games back), and sit in second place in the Midwest Division.  The Checkers fell to third over the weekend after a pretty abysmal pair of games against Norfolk.
  • The Checkers have lost the past two games, both against the league-leading and AHL record holding 18-game win streak Norfolk Admirals.  Over the course of last weekend, the Checkers were outscored by 10 goals, a slump they will look to overcome tonight and tomorrow.
  • After spending the first two months of the year atop the division, and as one of the best teams in the Western Conference, the Checkers have slipped to seventh in the west, and are barely holding onto a playoff berth.   A LOT can change in only a month, and there is still plenty of time for the Checkers to make it back to the top spot in their division.
  • The Checkers and Rivermen have nearly identical special teams records. Each rank in the top ten in both the penalty kill and power play.
About the Checkers
  • Justin Peters and Mike Murphy each have one start and one win against the Rivermen.  Peters will start tonight, with Murphy starting tomorrow night.
  • Bobby Sanguinetti was returned (again) from the Hurricanes after a game in Winnipeg on Sunday.
  • Zach Boychuk, in 4 games against Peoria, has five points (3G, 2A).
  • AJ Jenks, who has faced the Rivermen only twice since becoming a Checker, has three assists.
  • Brody Sutter, cousin of Brett and Brandon, arrives in Charlotte today to join the Checkers since his Western Hockey League junior team failed to make the playoffs.  You can follow him on twitter:  @Sutts19.
  •  Side note:  Brody played for the Lethbridge Hurricanes, in the middle of Alberta, which is VERY much a land-locked province, and I would be surprised to hear that Alberta had ever experienced a Hurricane before…
  • According to Paul Branecky, due to clear day roster rules and the fact the Checkers currently have so many injuries to defensemen, Justin Shugg is not eligible to play.  He will be a healthy scratch.

About the Rivermen

Danny Syvret won the Memorial Cup as a London Knight with Bryan Rodney, Corey Perry and a number of other NHL superstars. He leads all Rivermen defensemen with 41 points. (Photo- J. Propst)

  • The Rivermen’s parent club, the St. Louis Blues, currently sits in first place in the NHL.
  • Just a month ago, the Rivermen’s Calder Cup playoff future was looking bleak, especially after trading away their starting goaltender Ben Bishop.  Since he was traded to Ottawa, Jake Allen has gone 5-2 for Peoria, and his team is on a roll.
  • In four games against Charlotte, T.J. Hensick has four points (2G, 2A).  Hensick also leads the Rivermen in points this season with 65 (20G, 45A).
  • Danny Syvret leads all Rivermen defensemen with 41 points (7G, 34A), and is fourth on his team in this category.  In four games against the Checkers, he has four assists.

Gametime:  7:00 p.m. EST

Charlotte Radio: WBCN 1660 AM
Charlotte Twitter: @CheckersHockey@PaulBranecky,
Peoria Blog: The Rivermen Blog
Officials
Referees: David Banfield (#44), Ian Croft (#87)
Linesmen:  Joe DeMizio (#3), Jean Menard (#12)
Unrelated personal note:  I promise to do better about updating!  I can count on three fingers the number of days I’ve had away from work since the beginning of February, but I do believe I’m going to have time off in April… thank goodness!  Go see the Hunger Games on Thursday night!  I hear my name might be in the credits…

Checkers win! Charlotte defeats Peoria 4-2, maintain division lead.

What a change of pace from last Saturday’s night in Peoria.  It was a different set of goaltenders (this time, Peoria started their back up, Jake Allen, and Charlotte started John Muse).  Prior to the puck drop, the Rivermen learned that St. Louis goaltender Jaroslav Halak was injured, and a recall by Ben Bishop was a possibility, and risking him to injury in an AHL game was not worth is, so Allen filled in.

Justin "The Shuggernaut" had two points in his first game for the Checkers since December 15. He was injured for most of that time, and spent last week with the Everblades.

The Checkers were victorious after 60-minutes in Peoria, defeating the Rivermen by a score of 4-2.  Justin Shugg and Zach Boychuk had two points each (1G, 1A), and AJ Jenks finished the night with a pair of helpers.  The official gamesheet is here.

Last weekend, the first period saw PTO signee and Checkers first-time starter David Caruso face 47 shots, 42 of which he stopped.  The first period saw Charlotte put only two shots on goal.  Tonight, the Checkers had 12 SOG in the first, had a 3-0 lead at the end of 20 minutes.

The third period was a typical one for Charlotte… they were outshot and outscored, but fortunately, were still able to come out on top.

Yikes, Checkers. After a great first 40-minutes, they dropped the ball (or puck, rather) in the third period.

 

By allowing two goals by Peoria, and only scoring one of their own in the third, the Checkers increased their third-period negative goal differential.  They’ve scored 43 goals during third periods this season, but allowed 56.  That is not a statistic to be proud of!

But the good news is, the Checkers won the game, and it was an important two-points against a Rivermen team that has been winning a lot lately, and making steady progress at chipping away at Charlotte’s Midwest division lead.

The Checkers are Chicago bound via a bus tonight, for two more games this weekend against the Wolves.  It’s about a three hour drive to Rosemont, where the Wolves play, which is nothing compared to recent three-in-three weekend travel.  The next two games are crucial, as the Midwest Division is becoming a tighter one with every game played.  Charlotte leads Chicago by four points, but the Wolves are two games back, with 50 games played versus Charlotte’s 52.  The next two games are big ones for both clubs.

 

With that in mind, Let’s Go Checkers!