Quick thoughts about game 80 for the Charlotte Checkers.
- First, and most importantly, the Checkers defeated the Sharks by a score of 6-2. They finished the season with 97 points, and a record of 44-27-2-7. Not bad for a first-year franchise!!!
- Bobby Goepfert got the start in net. This is something I DEFINITELY think was a good idea. With Mike Murphy’s return to the team being uncertain, Goepfert needs ice time. As every Checkers fan knows, Justin Pogge has had plenty of games that required him to be pulled (two of which were against Hershey, by the way) and we’ve got to have confidence in our netminder AND the back-up going into the playoffs.
- On the radio/TV feed they were talking about watching Jared Staal develop this season. How can we consider this a development year? Maybe when he was in Ft. Meyers and actually getting ice time, but for the past month he’s sat in the press box in Charlotte, where his hair grew longer and longer as the time from his last game did as well. If he’s not ready for the AHL, I can understand that. I just don’t get why he’s in Charlotte if he’s not playing. The only reason he played last night, I assume, is to rest some of our regulars.
- Speaking of our regulars, three were NOT in the lineup last night. Bryan Rodney, Zack Fitzgerald and Nick Blanchard all had the night off. I do not have any information as to whether they were injured, or just being rested. I assume the latter.
- Defenseman Rasmus Rissanen played in his first AHL game tonight. He was a +1, and had three SOG. Not bad for his first time in the lineup!
- Chris Terry scored his 34th goal of the season. He’s currently third in goals scored in the AHL, and 34 is twice the number of goals he had last season as a rookie in Albany.
- On a disappointing note, the Carolina Hurricanes lost tonight 6-2. The loss ended their season and playoff hopes. The only positive I can see in this is that Drayson Bowman will be returned to Charlotte and available for the playoffs. The Florida Everblades also lost, 5-3, finishing their first found of the playoffs vs. the Kalamazoo Wings.
- The Checkers lineup saw a number of players not on the Clear Day list, including Jared Staal, Cedric McNicoll, and Bobby Goepfert. Rasmus Rissanen, while not on the clear day list, is eligible as a junior player who’s season is finished. As long as Mike Murphy is injured, Goepfert is eligible to dress and play in all playoff games.
And… be excited Chasing Checkers fans (I have some fans, right?) I spent some time designing a VERY special playoff logo for the first-round matchup. Expect to see it’s debut in the next couple of days!