Gameday: Charlotte at Grand Rapids

Charlotte at Milwaukee

  • Another game with too many penalties.  The Admirals Roundtable has a better write-up than I will be able to do from watching the game on mute during a Boys II Men Concert (which was TOTALLY rad, I might add!)
  • Chris Durno scored his first goal as a Checker.  This is a guy who, the more I watch on and off the ice, the more I like.  He may become the most important off-season move the Hurricanes made last summer.  His leadership and skills on the ice are huge assets, not to mention, he seems like a pretty funny guy after the Movember draft the team did.
  • Ryan at the Admiral’s Roundtable, told me the biggest standouts of the game were Durno and Jerome Samson.  He said the game had the feel of playoff hockey, which is a comment I really like hearing.  The Checkers this year have impressed me with their control and maturity and playoff-team attitude.  The Milwaukee Admirals will continue to be a tough competitor against Charlotte this year, and I can’t wait to have the team in OUR barn later this month.
  • In some of the oddest routing ever, following the game in Milwaukee, the team traveled five-hours in a sleeper bus (I wonder who didn’t get a bunk?  Usually there are aren’t enough bunks to go around, in my road-crew sleeper bus experience, anyway).  They arrived in Grand Rapids at about 4 a.m. this morning.  Tonight, after the game, they drive back, another five-hours, to Rockford, Illinois, via almost the exact same route.

Charlotte Checkers (6-4-1-0) at Grand Rapids Griffins (5-5-0-0)

  • I’m a big fan of the team having a mythical beast as their mascot.  There’s something pretty awesome about a half lion/half eagle hockey mascot.
  • Tonight’s game marks the halfway point of the Checkers nine-game roadtrip.
  • The Griffins have often impressed me with their great use of social media.  Along with the Checkers, they are definitely one of the leaders in the AHL in this arena.
  • Unlike the Checkers who have had brutal travel lately, the Griffins should be well-rested.  Their last game was at home on Wednesday, a win against Lake Erie.
  • Defenseman Brendan Smith has been called up and sent down to Detroit throughout the first month of the season.  During a preseason game, he was suspended for a hit to the head of Chicago’s Ben Smith.  Basically, whenever Detroit has a game and Grand Rapids doesn’t, they call him up so he can be suspended, then send him back to Grand Rapids.  He has one more game to go on the five-game suspension.
  • Right Wing Chris Conner leads the Griffins with 15 points in 10 games (5G, 10A).
  • Gustav Nyquist, a left wing who has spent time with Detroit already this year, has nine points (4G, 5A).  You can follow him on twitter!
  • Justin Peters is expected to get the start tonight, his first since being injured in Charlotte seven games ago.
  • Joey McDonald, the number one goaltender in Grand Rapids, has spent most of his 11-year professional career in the Red Wings organization, but has NHL games with other clubs including the New York Islanders, Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins.  In eight games this year, he’s 5-5-0-2 (2.09GAA, 0.934SV%).

Gametime:  7:00 p.m. EST

Charlotte Radio:  WFNZ 610

Charlotte Twitter: @CheckersHockey@PaulBranecky,
Grand Rapids Twitter: @griffinshockey, @michaelzuidema

Officials
Referee: Darcy Burchell (#42)
Linesmen:  Jim Scarpace (#75), Chris Libett (#19)
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