Charlotte Checkers Update: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

The Good:

  • Dan Ellis makes a save for the Charlotte Checkers in Peoria on Saturday night. (Photo – S. Neer

    The Checkers have only one more game in their nine game roadtrip before returning to Charlotte for their home opener on Sunday. Their record is currently 6-1-0-1, which is FREAKING AWESOME.  Last year, after eight games, the Checkers were 5-2-1, and in 2010 after eight games, they were 2-6.

  • Dan Ellis, after a PERFECT weekend on the road, was named the AHL player of the week.  Though he was only scheduled to play in one of the team’s three games, he played 38 minutes of the game on Friday in relief of Justin Peters, who had a bit of a shaky start.
  • Captain Brett Sutter had a hat trick on Sunday in Peoria.  Hopefully, Checkers fans will get to see another one at home this season!
  • Want to see some outstanding shots from the Checkers game in Peoria last weekend? Scott Neer of TSN Photography had some GREAT shots that are all posted at the Blue Note Zone.
  • After eight games worth of listening, it’s safe to say that the partnership with ESPN 730 is just about the COOLEST thing to come from the Checkers.  The feed is always crisp and clear, and I can stream it on my iPhone when on the road.  It’s SO much better than that product you have to pay for to get crappy video and audio!
  • The Chasing Checkers Game Day Twitter List seems to be getting a favorable response.  I will continue to add and fine tune each team’s Twitter lists and change them on game day.  Feel free to suggest people to add on any given day!
  • #LetsGoCheckers

    It’s almost Halloween, and that means pumpkin carving.  This was my first attempt at surface scraping… what do you think?

The Bad: 

  • Chris Terry was given a three-game suspension by the AHL on Sunday for a peculiar elbowing situation in Grand Rapids on Friday.  I say peculiar, because there was no call on the ice when it happened, and Grand Rapids did not submit the play for review to the AHL.  Needless to say, Chris Terry who is considered to be one of the hardest working players on the Checkers and has never missed a game due to illness or injury, will now have five missed games in his professional career, all due to suspensions due to on-ice activities in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Following the first-period elbow in Grand Rapids, Terry went on to score the game winning goal shorthanded, and added an empty net goal to seal the win for the Checkers. Terry SHOULD make his Checkers home appearance next Tuesday against Chicago.
  • My friends over at The Admirals Roundtable will have seen MY team, the Charlotte Checkers, twice after tomorrow night, and fans here at home still have yet to see them.  It’s not fair! Thankfully, waiting until Sunday seems bearable at this time.
  • I picked up my season tickets on Friday, though I wasn’t able to hang out for BBQ (and as a vegetarian, it wasn’t a huge loss, though I must say, the Q has great sides and an amazing beer selection!).  Is it petty for me to say I was a bit disappointed to have them handed to me in a manila envelope when I know other teams had much fancier presentation with souvenirs and mementos included? After getting cool Tervis tumblers season one along with a fun meet-the-team event, and season ticket holder jerseys season two… a plain envelope was a bit of a let down.
  • As you can probably tell, I’ve decided not to do game-day previews for away games this season.  As a graduate student desperately trying to finish my Master’s thesis, and having a crazy job in the busiest time of the year, I just can’t keep up with everything, so away games were the first sacrifice.  If you’d like to contribute to Chasing Checkers as a regular contributor of things like previews, please drop me a line and I can put you to work!

The Ugly:

  • Despite having a large roster of healthy players to pull from, Jared Staal and Justin Soryal have each only played in one game this season.  Soryal made the cut on Sunday in Peoria after Terry was suspended, and Staal’s only start came during the season opener in Houston on October 13.  Last week, Paul Branecky reported that Staal had a maintenance day, which just… seems peculiar considering he hasn’t played a game in weeks.
  • AJ Jenks and Justin Krueger have each only played in three games.  Their games tend to come with Victor Rask or Justin Faulk are scratched, neither of whom has had to play a three-in-three yet.

4 thoughts on “Charlotte Checkers Update: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

  1. So my question to you is. Do you think that if Dan Ellis’ play over the next couple of games continues the way it has will Daniels make Ellis a true #1 or will he continue the rotation crap that he did last year?

    1. Ahh… truer words have never been spoken. I do not think he will become the true #1, even if he keeps up the stellar play of the season so far (cause seriously, he’s THE MAN in goal!). The rotation crap has been the name of the game for the past two seasons, so why change now? Plus, Ellis is, for the time being, on an AHL contract. Peters belongs to the Canes. (Though, I’d guess that if the lockout actually ends, Ellis will be signed as a full fledged Hurricane backing Ward up in Raleigh since Boucher is out indefinitely)

      1. That is the problem with the Canes organization. If a goalie comes to Charlotte he knows that the best that he is going to get is to be Wards backup, because Cam is singed til either 14-15 or 15-16. I think that is one reason Murphy was not happy even when he was in Raleigh he didn’t get any quality ice time. I read Braneky’s article on and they talked about the new system that was Muller’s. I wonder how it makes Daniels feel to have that new system thrust upon him? Am I going to see you Sunday?

      2. Ward was once a backup, too. But he’s been really good for the most part, even without much of a team in front of him in recent seasons. And he claimed the starting position during the Cup run of ’06. I think another goaltender could challenge him, but so far they’ve only had mediocre guys to back him up. And don’t get me started on the Murphy situation. He has so much potential, and it was wasted. He didn’t even GET a chance in Raleigh. He played great in relief of Ward but never got the chance to play in a game from the beginning. They called up Peters instead, and shipped Murph back to the minors. There’s going to be a huge hole in the HEART of the Checkers this year without him here, but I wish him the best and all the success in the world in Moscow.

        But its not just goaltenders who get stuck in the minors in the organization. Few, if any, in recent years, have climbed up through the ranks to the NHL team. Guys like Faulk skipped the AHL for the most part, and the seriously talented crop of young forwards in Charlotte continue to flip flop between the leagues, never really sticking on the Canes. Bowman may prove that theory wrong, and I hope he does, but so far, he hasn’t cemented his ultimate fate yet. Dalpe, Samson, Boychuk… all have potential, but never move up all the way.

        As for the coaching style… it’s pretty typical for the AHL squad to adopt the systems of the NHL squad. I actually felt that the refusal of the Checkers to adapt midseason to the ways of Muller was a huge reason for their demise during the second half of the season. They continued playing the Maurice-era systems, and it wasn’t working at all. I’m anxious to see how the new regime in Raleigh impacts the AHL team. So far, I’ve liked what I have seen on the roadtrip, but time will tell when things settle down here in Charlotte.

        As for Sunday, yes I will be there. I had to make a major work decision so I could be, but it will be worth it. I have new seats this year, but I’ll look for you before the game or at intermission(s) if possible!

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