Pregame Quick Hits: Grand Rapids Griffins at Charlotte Checkers

 

Grand Rapids Griffins (15-14-4-3) at Charlotte Checkers (21-14-2-2)

This is the second of four meetings against the Griffins this year.  Charlotte won a 2-1 game on November 5.  During that game, Chris Terry was giving a two-game suspension following a charging call on goaltender Joey McDonald.  McDonald, as a result of a concussion, missed 11 games.

Grand Rapids Notes:
  • Just like their NHL counterpart and the famed winged wheel of the Detroit Red Wings, the Griffins are also named after a winged, mythical beast.  I’m mostly kidding about the Red Wings being mythical beasts, but both NHL and AHL teams do have winged mascots… and each is a bit far fetched, eh?
  • Grand Rapids has only lost once in regulation during the past month, a loss on Friday night in Michigan against the Texas Stars.
  • Joey MacDonald is the Griffin’s starting goaltender. He has spent most of his11-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 19 games this year, MacDonald is 8-8-2-2 (2.78GAA, 0.906 SV%).
  • Right Wing Gustav Nyquist leads the team in points with 34 (10G, 24A). Earlier in the season, he spent a few games with the Red Wings.  You can follow him on twitter!
  • Center Jamie Johnson leads the team in goals with 14.
  • Defenseman Travis Ehrhardt is expected to play today.  Due to shoulder surgery, he’s only played three games all season for Grand Rapids.
  • Left Wing Chris Minard was just assigned to the Griffins by Detroit.  He has not played yet this season, having missed all of it due to a concussion he suffered in 2009.
Charlotte Notes:
  • Sometimes I miss games due to awful things at work. This past Thursday, I had a chance-of-a-lifetime to work (and design the lights!) for the legendary B.B. King. Definitely bucket list worthy, and the concert was fantastic! (Photo - J. Propst)

    Today’s game is televised, and it should be a great crowd on hand at the arena!

  • Birthday boy Mike Murphy (he’s 23 today!) will be making his first start against Grand Rapids.  In 26 games played, he’s 13-10-1-0. (2.59 GAA, 0.913 SV%).
  • Checkers backup goalie John Muse is returning to Charlotte today following a two-game assignment in Florida where he played and won two games, including a 15-round shootout last night.
  • The Checkers lineup should be the same today as it was on Thursday against Hershey.  With forwards Jerome Samson and Brett Sutter still with the Hurricanes, and Chris Durno, Mathieu Roy, Riley Nash and Justin Shugg still injured, the Checkers are a bit thin up front.  New PTO signee Sean Dolan has looked promising as a fourth line center, and the other Florida reinforcements have been helpful as well.
  • Nicolas Blanchard and Drayson Bowman, who each left Thursday’s game with different injuries (such as bleeding profusely from the face thanks to being boarded) resumed practice and should be able to go today.
  • Unrelated to today’s game, something strange is afoot for the Checkers home game against Abbotsford on April 6.  Ticketmaster is still selling tickets to the game against the Heat, yet they have ALSO announced that the Red Hot Chili Peppers concert has been rescheduled for that date.  The Checkers haven’t made any kind of announcement regarding what is happening to the game, but clearly, it can’t happen on the same night as a rock concert.

 

 

 

Gametime:  3:00 p.m. EST

Charlotte TV:  Time Warner Cable 520
Charlotte Twitter: @CheckersHockey@PaulBranecky,
Grand Rapids Twitter: @griffinshockey@michaelzuidema

Officials
Referee:  Marcus Vinnerborg (#45)
Linesmen:  Paul Carnathan (#93), Mark Hamlett (#81)
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