Checkers news and notes:
Mike Murphy is still with the Hurricanes who face the Jets tonight in Winnipeg. He was recalled on Tuesday morning in relief of Brian Boucher, who was injured in practice. If by chance he gets the chance to start (and he deserves it!) I’m pretty sure people in Winnipeg will be able to hear the cheers from Charlotte.
- Bad news for Charlotte, but great news for Mike McKenzie. McKenzie was released from his contract with the Checkers in order for him to play in the AHL with the Houston Aeros. The depth that the Checkers have at Forward had left McKenzie playing in Florida, and an opportunity to get playing time in the AHL was too good to pass up, and signing with Houston is a great opportunity. The Aeros made it to the Calder Cup finals last season, and are one of only three teams in the AHL with a better record than Charlotte. In two games played, McKenzie has one assist, and a +1 rating. I wish him all the best in Houston!
The Shuggernaut, Justin Shugg, who played the past two games while Matt Pistilli sat out, was sent back to the Florida Everblades. In his 12 games with Charlotte, he had three points.
- John Muse was recalled from the Everblades and traveled with the Checkers to Texas this weekend.
- Thanks to Nicola Huffstickler for allowing me to use her great game photos from Sunday. To see more of her work, check out her flickr album!
Charlotte Checkers (15-8-1-1) at Texas Stars (9-11-0-1)
- Justin Peters should get the start in net against Texas. He has lost his past two games, including the 4-2 loss against Texas on Saturday. I have great confidence he will bounce back and end the losing streak.
- Bobby Sanguinetti is expected to make his return this weekend after being sidelined for the past nine games due to a fracture in his foot. With seven D, no word on who will sit. In his previous 16 games, Sanguinetti had four assists, all on the power play. The power play has been struggling a great deal lately, so it will be a huge boost to have Sanguinetti back on that unit.
- The Stars haven’t played since last Saturday when they faced the Checkers in Charlotte. They currently sit in last place in the toughest division in the AHL with 19 points.
- Tyler Beskorowany continues to fill in for starting goaltender Richard Bachman, who is with the Dallas Stars while Kari Lehtonen recovers from injury. He played both games against Charlotte last week. In eight games played this season, he’s 2-5-0 with a 3.02 GAA and a .894 SV%.
- Travis Morin leads the Stars with 20 points (4G, 16A).
- Rookie Matt Fraser has the most goals with 10, plus 5 assists.
- Jerome Samson and Jon Matsumoto lead the Checkers with 10 goals each.
- Texas has the third-best power play in the league. Charlotte’s special teams have struggled lately, and will need to overcome this tonight
- For the first time this season, the Checkers will have a day off between two different road cities. Previously, they had to travel on game days, making for a very hectic schedule. Charlotte will face the San Antonio Rampage on Sunday.
Gametime: 8:15 p.m. EST