Quick Hits – Post All-Star Break updates

  • Chris Terry had a great showing at the AHL All Star Game, where the WEST defeated the Eastern Conference in a shootout.  Terry, the Checkers lone representative in the Atlantic City event, scored two goals and an assist.  The two goaltenders the Checkers face most frequently, Yann Danis of Oklahoma City and Ben Bishop of Peoria allowed only one goal between the two of them.  Pretty impressive all around!
  • Riley Nash was recalled to Raleigh by the Hurricanes, which leaves the Checkers down another Center.  Nash played in last night’s 5-2 loss to the Islanders.  He had 13:38 minutes of ice time, including a couple of minutes on the power play.  Nice showing, Mr. Nash, despite the team’s loss.  In a related transaction, Jerome Samson was returned back to Charlotte.  Welcome back!
  • Mike Murphy continues to be sidelined with a lower body injury after stepping on a puck in warmups in Norfolk last week.  Jason Shaya has been practicing with the team, but the Checkers may need another backup in time for their roadtrip to Oklahoma and Texas this weekend.  Zac Dalpe is expected to be able to play by Friday.
  • Thanks to Paul Branecky’s handy dandy lines chart, it’s easy to be a bit worried about the position of center, and the Checkers ability to win faceoffs.  Zac Dalpe has been skating with the team, but wearing a no-contact jersey.  Sean Dolan, while his play has definitely been fantastic, is a Checker through a PTO, and AJ Jenks is still learning the ropes in Charlotte.  So basically, the team has one healthy, proven center right now, and that’s captain Brett Sutter.
  • With the Trade Deadline only a few weeks away, there’s a good chance Charlotte will continue losing players to Raleigh.  Currently, the Hurricanes have 12 healthy forwards, so any trade or injury will of course result in another Charlotte recall.  Hopefully, the Checkers will be able to continue to adapt to a constantly changing lineup.
  • After a few weeks of easy travel with only short bus rides between back-to-back games, the Checkers leave for the West division tomorrow.  They face Oklahoma City, the number one team in the league, and the Texas Stars, who are one of the worst teams in the AHL, in back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday.
  • February is a sad month for home games… the Checkers will be in Charlotte only three times this month, the first of which is February 12.  They’ll be skating on a freshly laid sheet of ice when they return, as we’re in that once-a-year period that the ice is removed for the elephants and company of the circus.
  • The Checkers are currently safe in the second spot in the Western Conference, and continue to lead the Midwest division.  
  • In Midwest division news, the Milwaukee Admirals continue to falter.  They are 2-7-1-0 in their last 10 games, a slide that began around the New Year (when I was in their fine city for a game).  Rockford, however, is on a major hot streak.  They went 7-2-0-1 in the past month, and in the last seven games, they haven’t lost in regulation.  
  • It’s too early to be talking about this, but if the Playoffs started today, the Western conference would be a strange mix.  Four of the five teams in the West would make it, three of five in the Midwest, and only one in the North division.  The Checkers would face the San Antonio Rampage, a team they have not fared particularly well against this year.  Thankfully, with a few months left, we don’t ACTUALLY have to worry about first-round match-ups, yet.

 

A quick personal note – Things have been slow for me here at Chasing Checkers over the past couple of weeks, and I apologize for that.  I lost a very dear friend to lung cancer over the weekend, and it’s been a hard time for everyone close to Chris.  He was a frequent attendee of Checkers games with me prior to getting sick, and one of my favorite people.  He was a huge supporter of Chasing Checkers from day one, and I miss him like crazy.

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