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Red and Black Hockey

Entries with the tag: charlotte checkers

Canes sign Mathieu Roy

On Wednesday, the Hurricanes made a depth signing by inking veteran defenseman Mathieu Roy to a one-year, two-way contract.  He will most likely play in Charlotte, where he will make an AHL salary of $125k.  At the NHL level, Roy’s salary would be $600k.  He is guaranteed $150k. 

Roy (WAH) was drafted by Edmonton in the seventh round of the 2003 draft.  He has played in that organization, and also for the minor league teams of Columbus, Florida and Tampa.  Last season, he played four games with the Bolts and 45 with their American League Norfolk Admirals.

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  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, charlotte+checkers, mathieu+roy

Canes get organizational depth in net

After the Canes finished signing their own UFAs both at the NHL and AHL levels, things have gotten kind of slow around here.  Yesterday, the Charlotte Checkers announced that goaltender John Muse has signed a two-way American League contract.
There’s really not much to see here. 

Muse won two national championships (2008, 2010) with the Boston College Eagles.  He played and was the clear #1 goalie all four seasons, and set school records for games played and saves.  At BC, he played alongside Hurricanes 2009 second round draft pick, defenseman Brian Dumoulin.  After completing his fourth season this past spring, Muse signed an amateur tryout contract with the Portland Pirates (then affiliated with Buffalo).  He appeared in one game, earning a shootout win over the Albany Devils. 

It’s pretty clear that Justin Peters is being demoted to Charlotte and that Mike Murphy has already established himself as the starter there.  This leaves no room for Muse at the AHL level, so he’ll be shipped down to the Florida Everblades of the ECHL.

Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, charlotte+checkers, florida+everblades, john+muse

Canes re-sign pair for Charlotte

The Carolina Hurricanes have come to terms on contract renewals for Brett Sutter and Bobby Sanguinetti.  Each has re-signed for one year on a two-way deal. 

Sutter, who played very well in the playoffs for the Checkers, will be paid the NHL minimum of $525k, or $75k at the AHL level.  The contract has a guarantee of $105k.  He scored 21 (9/12) points in 60 regular season games, then led the Checkers with 14 (4/10) points and a +4 rating in 16 playoff games.  He appeared in one game for the Hurricanes last season, with no offensive stats to show.

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  Tags: bobby+sanguinetti, brett+sutter, carolina+hurricanes, charlotte+checkers

Minor League Moves

Although there are some ridiculous rumors circulating about a possible trade involving Ales Hemsky of the Oilers, the Hurricanes are done with signings for the big team.  In the last 24 hours, they’ve seen one of the key pieces for the Checkers sign elsewhere and they quickly got some help down there.

On Thursday afternoon, the Capitals signed 27-year old left winger Jacob Micflikier to a one-year contract to play in Hershey.  Today, the Canes signed 30-year old Chris Durno, who had been captain of the Norfolk Admirals (Tampa Bay)

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, charlotte+checkers, chris+durno, jacob+micflikier

Oskar Osala going to KHL

Last week, rumors circulated that 23-year old Oskar Osala of the Hurricanes had signed a deal to play with HC Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk “Petrochemists” of the KHL.  He vehemently denied the rumors, saying that he had gotten some calls but hadn’t signed anywhere.  He gave all sorts of indications that he wanted to come back to play for the Checkers next season, but I saw some red flags.  He tweeted about wanting to get rid of a lot of “extra” clothes, and that seemed to me like the actions of a person who’s about to leave the country. 

Today, the announcement came that he had, in fact, signed with the Petrochemists.  The rumors were true.

The native of Vassa, Finland was one of the most promising players in the Hurricanes system.  He had just five (3/2) points in the playoffs, but 42 (13/29) points in 59 regular season AHL games.  He played in one NHL game for the Canes in 2009-10, with no scoring points. 

Osala tweeted today “I’m excited to move on, but hope to be back one day”.  I think Jim Rutherford learned a lesson (although it took getting burned twice to learn the lesson) from the Anton Babchuk situation.  Obviously, the Babchuk situation was different because he bailed for the KHL while still under contract, but it’s still walking away. 

Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, charlotte+checkers, khl, oskar+osala

Charlotte has back against the wall

On Tuesday night the Binghamton Senators handed the Charlotte Checkers a thorough 7-1 beating and have taken a commanding 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series for the Eastern Conference Championship in the Calder Cup playoffs.  The BSens have two chances to close out the series on their own home ice.  None of the three games so far has even been close. 

Zack Smith led the way for the BSens, netting a hat trick.  Bobby Sanguinetti scored the only goal of the game (in fact the only goal since game one) for the Checkers.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ahl+playoffs, binghamton+senators, charlotte+checkers

One Canes Finn rumored to be headed to the KHL

Today, a guy named Dmitry Chesnokov, who is a contributor to the Puck Daddy blog, tweeted that Hurricanes prospect Oskar Osala has signed with Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk “Petrochemists” of the KHL.  He went on to say that the official announcement will be made once the Calder Cup playoffs are over (although he wrote “AHL season”).  He was, evidently, getting his information from a Finnish rumor site. 

We were surprised to see this, then relieved when Oskar himself contradicted the tweet.  The flat denial could be a deflection so the Checkers can concentrate on their task at hand.  They’re down 2 games to none in a best-of-seven series with the Binghamton Sentators.  After losing games one and two at home, they have the task of having to win at least two of the three straight road games. 

It might be an effort at diplomacy, but I believe Oskar when he says (tweets):

Once again: I haven’t signed with anyone for next season. I’ve been getting a lot of calls from around Europe lately but haven’t made any decision about next season yet. For the record this is the third team I’m rumored to go to this spring!


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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, charlotte+checkers, free+agency, oskar+osala, rumors

B-Sens crush Checkers in game one

On Thursday night, the Checkers opened their Eastern Conference final series against the Binghamton Senators with a 7-4 loss.  The seven goals against matched the total goals against in the first five games of the six-game series against WBS Penguins.  Suffice to say, Mike Murphy didn’t bring his “A” game.  He gave up five goals on just 15 shots before being relieved by Justin Pogge midway through the second period.

Despite outshooting the B-Sens 40-22, the Checkers just didn’t have what it took in this game.  Charlotte surrendered a shorthanded goal and a power play goal.  They did manage to score two power play goals of their own, but every time they climbed to within one goal, the B-Sens widened their lead. 

Thirteen different Senators and nine different Checkers registered at least one point. 

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  Tags: ahl+playoffs, binghamton+senators, charlotte+checkers

The Checkers give back to their biggest fan

Tonight, on ESPN’s “investigative journalism” program E:60, there was a feature story about the Charlotte Checkers and their most devoted fan.  It’s a story that we all know down here, and I’m glad that ESPN shared it with the rest of the world. 

11-year old Zach “Bug” Bennett was born with a neurological disorder called Neurofibromatosis (type I)  Incidentally, I also have this disorder, but nowhere near as severely as “Bug” does.  Normally, this condition manifests itself as cutaneous lesions, markings or non-cancerous tumors.  People with NF1 are much more likely than others to develop brain tumors.  In severe cases, it can also affect the spine and/or leg bones.  I have lesions on my arms and torso, but nothing else (so far).  Zach has had to have dozens of surgeries on his legs including the amputation of both. 


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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: charlotte+checkers, zach+bennett

Checkers win series in dramatic fashion

The East Division final between Charlotte and WBS was a goaltenders duel for the first five games and the first period of game six.  The Penguins scored two midway through the second, then they added a shorthanded goal early in the third.  It looked like it was done, and there was already talk of practice tomorrow and game seven on Monday. 

Fortunately, the Checkers found life in the third and exploded for four straight goals in a span of 9:18.  Brad Thiessen, who had only given up one goal in the last three games, showed that there were chinks in his armour. 

Here’s how it all went down.  And it went down quickly:

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ahl+playoffs, brandon+sutter, charlotte+checkers, chris+terry, wilkes-barre/scranton+penguins, zac+dalpe

Another goaltenders duel in Checkers/Pens series

Brad Thiessen of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Mike Murphy of the Charlotte Checkers have been playing an outstanding series against each other.  They are the first and second ranked goalies in every statistical category, and their numbers get better every game.  Charlotte won game one 3-2.  WBS won game two 3-0.  After that, it’s been a goaltending clinic on both sides of the ice.  Charlotte won game three 2-1 in overtime, and they won game four 1-0.  Tonight, WBS turned the tables and took game five by the same 1-0 score.

It’s a real shame that few people will be experiencing this brilliant duel since, you know, it’s the American League. 

Mike Murphy had his shutout streak snapped at 161 minutes 11 seconds when Chris Collins tipped a Bryan Lerg shot at 8:54 of the third.  The tip, high in the slot, looked like it might have been with a high stick, but the play never even went under review.

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  Tags: ahl+playoffs, brad+thiessen, charlotte+checkers, mike+murphy, wilkes-barre/scranton+penguins

Checkers take commanding lead.  Murphy en fuego

On Wednesday night, the Charlotte Checkers defeated the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 1-0 in game four of the East Division final of the Calder Cup playoffs.  Charlotte leads the series 3-1 and will have a chance to finish the series at home on Friday night.  If and when they finish this series, they will advance to the Eastern Conference final against either Binghamton (Senators) or Portland (Sabres).   

Mike Murphy, who continues to improve in this playoff season, made 44 saves for the shutout, his first of the playoffs.  His GAA of 1.73 is second in the league for the playoffs.  His save percentage of .945 is first in the league.  He’s tied for the league lead with six wins and one shutout.  The last time he allowed a goal was at 13:23 of the first period in game three.  If you’re scoring along at home, that’s a run of 106 minutes, 37 seconds.  Oh.  Did I mention that he’s just a 21 year old kid playing in his first professional season? 

Chris Terry scored the only goal of the game at 2:01 of the third period.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ahl+playoffs, charlotte+checkers, mike+murphy, wilkes-barre/scranton+penguins

Sutter lifts Checkers

On Monday night at the Time-Warner Cable Arena, the Charlotte Checkers beat the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 2-1 in overtime to take a 2-1 lead East Division final series of the Calder Cup playoffs.  Charlotte will host the next two games Wednesday and Friday nights.  Oddly, they have done in three post-season games what they could not do in eight regular season games: beat the Penguins twice.  They lost all four home games in the regular season, but won the first home playoff game between the teams.  It just goes to show that the playoffs are a completely different animal. 

Chris Collins of the Penguins scored at 13:23 of the first, and for a long time it looked like Pens goalie Brad Thiessen was going to be unbeatable again.  At 9:45 of the second, Nick Dodge finally snapped a Checkers scoreless streak that lasted four and a half periods.  His fourth goal of the playoffs ended up being the last goal of regulation.

Just 5:40 into the bonus frame, Brett Sutter potted the game winner from right out in front.  His third marker of the postseason was assisted by Zac Dalpe and Jacob Micflikier.  Checkers goalie Mike Murphy made 26 saves for the win.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brett+sutter, calder+cup+playoffs, charlotte+checkers, mike+murphy, wilkes-barre/scranton+penguins

Checkers, Penguins square off for three in Charlotte.  Murphy looking good.

On Saturday night, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins squashed the Charlotte Checkers 3-0 in game two of the East Division finals of the 2011 AHL Calder Cup playoffs.  Charlotte won game one 3-2 on Thursday to swipe home-ice advantage from the Pens.  With the series tied at one, the next three games will be at Charlotte’s Time-Warner Cable Arena.  Tonight, Wednesday and Friday.  The guarantee of three home games is good for the team, good for the arena, good for the city.  It’s not the same impact that home games at the RBC Center would have for Raleigh and the Canes, but it’s still quite good. 

I expect tonight’s crowd to be somewhere around 3,500.  Wednesday’s should be somewhere around 3,000.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Friday’s crowd pushes 6,000. 

The shutout loss on Saturday obviously put an end to Zach Boychuk’s seven game scoring streak.  It was the first time since a 2-0 loss at Worcester on March 5 that the Checkers have been blanked in a game. 

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  Tags: ahl+playoffs, charlotte+checkers, mike+murphy, wilkes-barre/scranton+penguins

Charlotte wins game one vs Baby Pens

On Thursday night, the Charlotte Checkers won the first game of the East Division final 3-2 against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Baby Penguins.  Jon Matsumoto scored two power play goals and Zac Dalpe netted his fourth of the playoffs.  Zach Boychuk assisted on Dalpe’s goal to extend his points streak to seven games.  He has at least one point in every game of the postseason.  Brett Sutter, who has also had a hot hand, got the second assist on Dalpe’s goal. 

Mike Murphy made his fifth straight start and got his fourth straight win, making 28 saves in the process.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ahl, brett+sutter, calder+cup+playoffs, charlotte+checkers, mike+murphy, wilkes-barre/scranton+baby+penguins, zac+dalpe, zach+boychuk

Checkers advance

On Sunday evening, the Charlotte Checkers defeated the defending Calder Cup champion Hershey Bears 2-1 in overtime of game six of their first round matchup.  Charlotte has won the series 4-2 and will face the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Baby Penguins in the second round.  Games one and two will be in Scranton on Thursday and Saturday nights, respectively. 

Just 36 seconds into the game, Brett Sutter scored his second goal in as many games to give the Checkers the early lead.  Zac Dalpe and Zach Boychuk assisted on the goal, which stood as the game’s only goal for more than 53 minutes.  Boychuk has tallied at least one point in every playoff game this season.  He’s the only player in the East and one of only two players in the entire AHL to have a six-game points streak.

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  Tags: calder+cup+playoffs, charlotte+checkers, hershey+bears, nicolas+blanchard, wilkes-barre/scranton+baby+penguins, zach+boychuk

Amazing comeback puts Checkers up 3-2 in series with Bears

On Friday night, the Charlotte Checkers overcame a 3-0 lead late in the second period to score five straight goals in a 5-3 win over the visiting Hershey Bears.  Charlotte now has a 3-2 lead in the series as it shifts back to Hershey for games six Sunday and (if necessary) seven on Monday. 

Drayson Bowman had an empty net goal and two assists.  Oskar Osala had a goal and two assists.  Nick Dodge had the game winner for the second game in a row.  Brett Sutter had a goal and an assist.  Zach Boychuk also had a goal and one assist.

It would have been easy for the team to give up.  Down 3-0 late in the second, they could have folded up the tents and mailed it in for the rest of the game.  But they didn’t.  They stayed hungry, got a good break on a late goal in the second.  Then they got a power play goal in the first minute of the third, and it was a new game.  Instead of being down and out, they responded with a flurry of goals and put themselves into a good position.  Two chances to finish off this series on the road.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: calder+cup+playoffs, charlotte+checkers, drayson+bowman, mike+murphy, nick+dodge, zac+dalpe, zach+boychuk

Checkers level series with Bears

On Tuesday night, the Hershey Bears defeated the Charlotte Checkers 3-2.  On Wednesday night, the Checkers returned the favor, winning game four by the same score.  The series is tied 2-2 with one more game to be played in Charlotte on Friday night.  Games six and (if necessary) seven will be in Hershey. 

Charlotte got goals from Nick Dodge and Zach Boychuk on Tuesday while Zac Dalpe was held off the scoresheet completely.  On Wednesday, Charlotte got goals from Dodge, Nicolas Blanchard and Oskar Osala.  Jon Matsumoto had two helpers while Boychuk, Dalpe, Jacob Micflikier and Drayson Bowman each had one assist.  Mike Murphy made 35 saves to pick up the win, which was his first career Calder Cup playoff victory. 

It’s now a best-of-three series and Hershey has a decided home ice advantage.  Charlotte can make things hard for them with another win on Friday.

Defenseman Justin Faulk, who just helped UMD win the NCAA championship, was signed last week and immediately reported to Charlotte.  He made his professional debut tonight with no points or penalties and a +/- of zero.  The guys on the Checkers radio broadcast said that he looked “like he belonged”. 

Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: calder+cup+playoffs, charlotte+checkers, hershey+bears, justin+faulk, mike+murphy

Checkers steal home ice.  Dalpe on fire

It’s been a while since I’ve checked in here, and you probably can’t blame me for failing to find anything to post about.  I lost my job.  The Hurricanes missed the playoffs on the final day of their season.  Things haven’t exactly been sunshine and light over at RBH headquarters.  While the Hurricanes are looking at their free agent contracts, the Charlotte Checkers are busy in the first round of the Calder Cup playoffs. 

On Thursday, the series between the Checkers and the defending champion Hershey Bears (Washington Capitals) got underway in Hershey.  Charlotte took that first game 5-4 on goals by Zac Dalpe, Chris Terry, defenseman Brett Bellemore, Zach Boychuk and Drayson Bowman.  Dalpe also added two assists. 

On Sunday, the Bears turned the tables on the Checkers.  They evened the series at on apiece with a 4-2 win.  Dalpe had both goals for the Checkers and now shares the league lead with three goals. 

This particular series uses the 2-3-2 format, so Charlotte will get three straight home games:  this Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.  It will be the first ever Calder Cup playoff game in Charlotte.  By splitting the games in Hershey, Charlotte now has home-ice advantage in the five remaining games.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: calder+cup+playoffs, carolina+hurricanes, charlotte+checkers, joni+pitkanen, zac+dalpe

Checkers prepare for playoffs

While the Hurricanes are still clinging to an ever-so-thin chance that they’ll qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs, things are going much better down on the farm.  The Checkers had a productive week, going 3-0-0-1, climbing within one point of clinching a spot in the Calder Cup playoffs.  During that four game span, Zach Boychuk tallied five goals and five assists.  Two of those goals were game-winners.  For his efforts, he was named the Reebok/AHL player of the week. 

With five games remaining, any combination of one standings point gained by Charlotte OR lost by the Worcester Sharks would result in a guaranteed playoff spot for the Checkers.  As of right now, Charlotte is third in the East division of the Eastern Conference.  If the playoffs started today, they’d have to play defending Calder Cup champs Hershey Bears (Washington Capitals) in the first round.  They’re hoping to avoid that, but anything can happen in the playoffs and the Chekers are playing really well right now. 

The Clear Day rosters were announced early this month, and the Checkers clear day list has one glaring omission: Jerome Samson.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: charlotte+checkers, playoffs

Canes recall Dalpe, Samson

On Sunday morning, the Hurricanes announced the recall of Jerome Samson and Zac Dalpe from the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL.  Zach Boychuk, who has been up and down all season will be reassigned along with Brett Sutter, who was mysteriously recalled to the big team on Saturday.

Samson (Sam-SOH) is leading the Checkers in every offensive statistical category with 54 (26/28) points through 53 games.  He was one of two Checkers to appear in the AHL All-Star game, where he notched a goal and two assists.  This will be his first recall of the season.  He played in seven games last season, earning two assists.  He wore the number 67 last season, and it looks like he’ll wear number 71 today. 

Dalpe has 36 (16/20) points in 35 games with the Checkers this season.  He began the season on the big team, but has been up and down.  This will be his third recall.  He has appeared in 14 Hurricanes games, notching three goals and an assist.  On New Year’s Day, he had the game-winning goal against the New Jersey Devils. 

Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brett+sutter, carolina+hurricanes, charlotte+checkers, jerome+samson, zac+dalpe, zach+boychuk

Checkers back in action tonight

Tonight, the Charlotte Checkers, top affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes will finally be back in action after having eight days off.  They’ll play two games on the road against the Norfolk Admirals (Tampa Bay Lightning) in what might be a preview of the playoffs in the spring of 2011.  Currently, the Checkers sit third place in the East division and fourth overall in the Eastern conference.  Norfolk is four standings points ahead of them in both races.  This is an excellent opportunity for the Checkers to leapfrog Norfolk in the standings, or for Norfolk to gain some breathing room. 

There’s no doubt that the starts will be split between netminders Justin Pogge and Mike Murphy.  They’ve both played well this season, and neither has done anything to make the coaching staff declare a #1 starter.

Just before the long break, the Checkers lost a game at Hershey (Washington Capitals), which snapped a seven game road win streak that went back all the way to October 30.  After this two game set which wraps up a five game road trip, Charlotte will host four games in five nights.

The Admirals have only played 11 home games this season and have gone 5-2-3-1 in those games.  The two regulation losses were both against Charlotte.  This is the fifth of twelve meetings of the two teams, and Charlotte has a 2-1-0-1 lead in the series.

Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: charlotte+checkers, justin+pogge, mike+murphy, norfolk+admirals

Checkers bash Bears, climb standings

On Sunday night, the Charlotte Checkers completed a two game home set with the defending Calder Cup champion Hershey Bears.  After a frustrating 2-1 shootout loss on Friday, Charlotte came out with guns blazing, scored goals in bursts, and even got their hands dirty a few times.  The end result was a convincing 5-3 win, which allowed the Checkers to leapfrog the Bears in the standings. 

Charlotte got a lot of production from the heavy lifters, as the top line of Zach Boychuk / Zac Dalpe / Jacob Micflikier accounted for three goals and seven assists.  Micflikier had two goals and an assist; Dalpe had a goal and two assists; Boychuk had four assists.  They swept the three stars of the game.  The Checkers also got goals from Matt Pistilli and defenseman Bryan Rodney. 

The Bears got one goal from Sheldon Souray, who is getting paid $5.5 million after the Edmonton Oilers kicked him out of training camp and then loaned him to the Capitals organization.  For the record, it was a five-on-three goal.  They also got a shorthanded goal by Jay Beagle and a four-on-four goal from Lawrence Nycholat. 

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: charlotte+checkers, hershey+bears, jacob+micflikier, zac+dalpe, zach+boychuk, zack+fitzgerald

Carolina takes three of four road points

The Hurricanes had a difficult back-to-back road set this weekend in Dallas on Friday and in St. Louis on Saturday.  The Stars are the second best team in the West, while the Blues are one point out of eighth place in the West.  Behind some stellar goaltending by Cam Ward, the Hurricanes were able to earn a consolation point on Friday and eke out a shootout win on Saturday. 
For the second night in a row, Ward allowed only one regulation goal and emerged as a hero of the game.  Jussi Jokinen got the game-deciding goal in the shootout.  With the win on Saturday, the Hurricanes are back at .500 for the season.  This isn’t any way to make the playoffs, so they’ll need to string together some wins.  It won’t be an easy task in the much improved Southeast division.

I wasn’t able to see either game, but I was able to listen to Saturday’s game.  I can’t say much about the games, but I know that Cam Ward made some spectacular saves in the overtime period on Friday and that he made 38 stops on Saturday.  He and the rest of the Canes will have a well-deserved three days off before playing another back-to-back road set on Wednesday and Thursday in Florida and Atlanta respectively.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: cam+ward, carolina+hurricanes, charlotte+checkers

Checkers crush Crunch

On Monday, the Charlotte Checkers wrapped up a two game set with the Syracuse Crunch (Anaheim Ducks) with a blistering 10-3 win.  They lost a tough one on Sunday 3-2 against the same team, but the retribution was swift and hard.  There were nine different goal scorers and fifteen different players tallied at least one point.

The second period was an absolute explosion, in which the Checkers scored eight goals.  In a span of 101 seconds, they scored four. 

Crunch starting goaltender Timo Pielmeier was yanked early in the second after he had allowed a total of four goals, including two in 21 seconds.  Backup netminder J-P Levasseur was terrible in relief, giving up two goals in his first 1:34.  He was chased and Pielmeier was put back in for the rest of the game.  He gave up four more to finish with eight goals against.

Newcomer Brett Sutter joined the fun, scoring his first professional goal.  Riley Nash was the only player with two goals.  The only skaters who did not register a point were Casey Borer, Drayson Bowman and Bryan Rodney.

Mike Murphy went the distance in nets for the Checkers.  They’ll be off for the next three days before hosting two games (Friday, Sunday) against the defending Calder Cup champs Hershey Bears.

Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brett+sutter, charlotte+checkers, mike+murphy, riley+nash, syracuse+crunch

Checkers remain hot, Canes lose in shootout

On Friday night, the Charlotte Checkers continued their hot play with a 4-3 overtime win over the visiting Adirondack Phantoms (Flyers).  They’ve gotten standings points in nine of their last ten games, going 7-1-0-2 in that stretch. 

It seems like it’s been a different hero every night for the Checkers, and on Friday, it was Zach Boychuk.  He had one goal and two assists to lead the way.  Jacob Micflikier had one goal and Bryan Rodney scored his first of the season.  Defenseman Bobby Sanguinetti notched the game winner in overtime, making up for a big mistake earlier in the game. 

It wasn’t exactly pretty.  In fact, it was downright ugly.  However, the Checkers will gladly take the two standings points.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: adirondack+phantoms, carolina+hurricanes, charlotte+checkers, zach+boychuk

Canes sign Troy Bodie off waivers; O’Sullivan on notice

On Tuesday, the Hurricanes picked up “rugged” right winger Troy Bodie off waivers.  He was placed there by Anaheim on Monday and snatched up by Jim Rutherford today.  He is on a two-way contract, so he could be sent to Charlotte, but not without being placed on waivers again.  This is, if I understand correctly, due to his age (25 years). 

The 6’4” Bodie has spend this entire season on the Ducks big team, but has been a healthy scratch for most of it.  His addition to the Carolina roster gives them some size and toughness, but it also gives them one too many skaters. 

At first, I assumed that this acquisition was for Charlotte and that Jared Staal should be scared for his tenuous spot on the Checkers roster.  However, it looks more and more like this is for the fourth line of the big team and that Patrick O’Sullivan should be worried about his spot.  After two weeks in the press box, Patty-O will be getting his first start in a long time on Wednesday against the Senators.  There’s already been an indication that Bodie will suit up for at least one of the back-to-back games over the weekend.  This will make O’Sullivan’s situation a little rougher.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, charlotte+checkers, patrick+o'sullivan, troy+bodie

On the farm: Checkers heating up

The Charlotte Checkers have just completed a grueling stretch of eight games in eleven days.  Included was a stretch of five games in six days.  They will now have four days off before playing two in a row against the AHL worst Adirondack Phantoms (Flyers).  The Checkers got off to a bit of a slow start, but in that eleven day stretch, they earned 12 of 16 points, going 5-1-0-2 along the way.  They are now in second place in the East Division, third overall in the Eastern Conference. 

They showed a few signs of fatigue last week, but they looked sharp towards the end of that stretch, scoring goals in big bunches.  The goaltending has been pretty good, but in the two games that I attended during that stretch, the defense was a little suspect.  In last night’s 6-5 win over the hapless Bridgeport Sound Tigers (Islanders), Bobby Sanguenetti had a particularly bad time, leaving goaltender Mike Murphy in a helpless situation. 

Rookie Zac Dalpe has been very good in the last two weeks.  Chris Terry, Jerome Samson and Jacob Micflikier have been consistently good all season.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: charlotte+checkers, chris+terry, jacob+micflikier, jerome+samson, zac+dalpe, zach+boycuk

Canes bounce back; Checkers roll

On Friday night, the Hurricanes played one of their worst games of the season, but they used the back-to-back situation to their advantage and bounced back with a nice 3-2 win over Florida at home on Saturday night.  On Friday they allowed 50 shots and seven goals.  On Saturday, in front of a packed house, they cleaned that up quite a bit and allowed just 20 shots and two goals. 

It’s still early in the season, but there’s very much a flat line to the level of play.  It’s encouraging that they’ve bounced back from a bad game, but it’s not time to get happy about it until they can put together several good games in a row.  They won two in a row to start the season, and they’ve lost two in a row two times since then, but there haven’t been any other highs or lows.  They’ll have an opportunity to win their second in a row on Tuesday night when they play a struggling Oilers team at the RBC Center.  After that, the rest of the week will be difficult, with a home game on Thursday against the Flyers and a Saturday game at Montréal.

Once again, the JET line was terrific, and Jeff Skinner is making the front office look brilliant.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, charlotte+checkers, erik+staal, florida+panthers, jeff+skinner

Canes lose wild one, will re-set with Panthers tonight (plus a farm report)

On Friday night, the Hurricanes lost a roller coaster ride of a game in the front end of a back-to-back, home-and-home with the Florida Panthers.  Last night’s result in Sunrise was a 7-4 loss that featured six goals and three lead changes in the first period alone.  The plan all along has been to start Cam Ward in goal for both games of the set, but he might get a rest tonight.  It’s not likely, but it’s possible. Last season, when he wasn’t healthy, he excelled in the back end of back-to-back games. 

Tonight, the teams will do it all again in the RBC Center, and hopefully the outcome will be better for Canes fans. 

I was in Charlotte, supporting the Checkers in their 3-2 shootout loss to the Norfolk Admirals (Tampa Bay Lightning).  Incidentally, they are in the same situation with a back-to-back, home-and-home set.  The Checkers are smack in the middle of a grueling five games in six nights set.

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  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, charlotte+checkers, florida+panthers

Checkers bounce back with 5-1 rout of Adirondack

On Friday night, the Charlotte Checkers, top minor league affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes, snapped a four game losing streak with a convincing 5-1 win in Glens Falls NY over the Adirondack Phantoms (Philadelphia Flyers).
Jon Matsumoto, Zach Boychuk and Jacob McFlikier each had his third goal of the season while goaltender Mike Murphy made 31 saves for his second win of the season.  Murphy was named the first star of the game.

Charlotte is now 2-5-0 on the season.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, charlotte+checkers, jon+matsumoto, zach+boychuk

Checkers drop home opener in front of 12,000

On Friday night, the Charlotte Checkers played their first home game in the history of the AHL franchise.  On hockey nights, the arena is configured for a capacity of 14,100 and it was nearly full with an announced attendance of 12,512.  Unfortunately, the visiting Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Baby Penguins emerged with a 4-2 decision. 

The Checkers looked a little slow and sloppy in their own end.  They couldn’t sustain any offensive pressure, their passes weren’t crisp and goaltender Justin Pogge looked positively awful.  Conversely, the Pens created a lot of havoc in front of Pogge’s net with no resistance.  They were quick, they were aggressive, and they deserved the win.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: charlotte+checkers, justin+pogge, wilkes-barre/scranton+penguins

Canes assign three to Charlotte; Checkers begin play tonight

On Saturday, the Hurricanes announced that they have assigned three players to the AHL Charlotte Checkers.  Goaltender Justin Pogge, who traveled to Europe as a third goaltender, will be joined by defensemen Brett Carson and Bobby Sanguinetti in Charlotte.  The trio will not be available to the Checkers when they begin their season tonight. 

The Checkers begin their first AHL season tonight in Hartford and will play in Springfield on Sunday afternoon and in Portland on Monday afternoon.  Three games in three days.  They’ll need all the healthy bodies they can get.  It’s likely that one of the two defensemen will be recalled before Carolina’s next game, which will be Thursday night in Ottawa.

Since Sergei Samsonov is injured and Jiri Tlusty not quite ready for NHL action after surgery this summer, it’s also possible that one of the young forwards could be called from Charlotte to join the big team.

After the back-to-back-to-back situation, the Checkers will have three days off before their home opener against the Baby Penguins on Friday.

Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: bobby+sanguinetti, brett+carson., carolina+hurricanes, charlotte+checkers, justin+pogge

Canes sign two more for Charlotte

On Thursday afternoon, the Hurricanes announced the signings of goaltender Justin Pogge and defenseman Bryan Rodney to one year two-way contracts.  This is good news for Charlotte, where both players will spend the bulk of, if not all of, the season.

Pogge, who was acquired from the Anaheim Ducks on the trading deadline this past spring will compete with Mike Murphy for the starting job down on the farm.  His contract is for the league minimum $500k at the NHL level and $85k at the AHL level.  He is guaranteed $105k. 

Rodney’s contract is for $525k at the NHL level or $105k at the AHL level.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: bryan+rodney, carolina+hurricanes, charlotte+checkers, justin+pogge

AHL schedule format announced

While the actual AHL schedule won’t be out until sometime in August, the league has announced the format. 

The Charlotte Checkers know that they will, as expected, play a schedule heavy with games against the Norfolk Admirals (Lightning).  The two teams will play twelve times; six in each team’s building.  They will play the defending Calder Cup champ Hershey Bears (Capitals), the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and the Binghamton Senators eight times each.  They’ll play the Adirondack Phantoms (Flyers) and the Albany Devils six times each.  Each of the seven teams in the Atlantic Division and also the Syracuse Crunch (Ducks) will play four times. 

They will not play any teams from the Western Conference. 

Details are here.

Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ahl, charlotte+checkers

Raleigh and Ithaca still waiting

Carolina’s prospect conditioning camp ended on Saturday, and there was supposed to be some news coming out of that.  Folks in Raleigh and also in Ithaca are awaiting word from Riley Nash about his plans for the fall.  The big center could return for his senior season at Cornell, or he could turn pro.  He repeatedly turned down pro contracts from the Edmonton Oilers, who drafted him in the first round of the 2007 Entry Draft.  He indicated that he wanted to play in the NHL or stay in college, and he knew that his chances of making the big team were slim and none.  After Carolina traded for him at the Entry Draft this summer, he said that his options were open.

At the start of last week’s prospect conditioning camp, the Kamloops native said that he would declare his intentions at the conclusion of camp.  Canes assistant coach Ron Francis has been on the job, throwing his weight around in effort to convince the 21-year old to turn pro.  Nash’s coaches at Cornell aren’t trying to dissuade him from leaving; they’re simply reminding him about the benefits of staying.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, charlotte+checkers, riley+nash

Buyouts and Qualifying Offers

The Hurricanes announced Monday afternoon that restricted free agent defensemen Alexandre Picard and Brett Carson have not been tendered qualifying offers, and will thus become unrestricted free agents on Thursday.  Jim Rutherford said that he attempted to re-sign both players but could not reach an accord with either.  He was worried that the players would take the team to arbitration and he was unwilling to take the risk of facing a binding arbitration outcome. This, and the draft day acquisition of Bobby Sanguinetti, will give the team a little bit of freedom to do something in the free agent market.  More on this in a bit.

The other news out of Carolina is that these are the last two days for them to buy out the contracts of the septuagenarian Rod Brind’Amour and Sergei “Hold Me Closer Tiny Dancer” Samsonov.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, charlotte+checkers, free+agency, rod+brind'amour, sergei+samsonov

about the AHL schedule

To correct something I posted a couple of days ago, the American Hockey League schedule WILL NOT be released before the NBA schedule.  My information was faulty, and I was contacted by a different Checkers representative with the correction. 
The other information is still good.  The Checkers will have their home opener on October 15 against an undisclosed opponent.  That will be officially announced tomorrow at the Checkers’ party for the NHL Draft.  They will also reveal their new sweaters at this party.
In addition, four bonus tickets for opening night indeed serve as incentive to sign up for season tickets.

There will be plenty more Checkers updates in the coming days along with the Hurricanes draft details. 

Sorry about the misinformation.

Filed in: , | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ahl, charlotte+checkers

Checkers stealing some of the NBA’s spotlight

This season, the Charlotte Checkers will play their first season in the American Hockey Leauge, and they’ll be one of

only two

a few teams in the AHL (the other being the San Antonio Rampage—edit.  also, the Houston Aeros, Milwaukee Admirals and Lake Erie Monsters—) to share its arena with an NBA pro basketball team.  The ECHL Checkers also played in the Time Warner Cable (Bobcats) Arena in downtown Charlotte, and theyf got the short shrift when it came to scheduling.  They used to get their schedule after the Bobcats and the NBA had already laid claim to 41 dates.  This year, however, they’ll be getting better priority. 

I’ve been told by a Charlotte Checkers representative that the AHL schedule will be released “sometime in August” and that it will be released before the NBA releases its schedule.  This means that the Checkers won’t have “second choice” and they’ll be able to have more of the attractive weekend games and less of the crummy Tuesday night home games.  I’ve been told that the home opener will be on Friday October 15.  No other details are available just yet, but this is a big deal for the Checkers to have first chair fiddle.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ahl, charlotte+checkers

Checkers to play in AHL’s East Division

With the folding of one team, a couple of affiliation changes and a couple of new teams, the American Hockey League today announced the new divisional alignment for the 2010-11 season.  The Charlotte Checkers will be playing in the East Division of the Eastern Conference.  This is the same division that the Albany River Rats played in, and the changes appear to be minor at first, but there are actually quite a few. 

Unfortunately, the league didn’t make the change that it really should have.  There are two conferences of 15 teams with two divisions each.  I really wish they would have burned that system down and made two conferences of three five-team divisions.  Instead, there’s the imbalance of one division with seven teams and one with eight.  It complicates playoff qualification and it makes for a schedule with no hope of balance.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ahl, charlotte+checkers

Checkers to unveil new sweaters on draft day.

The Hurricanes, like every other team in the league, will be hosting a party on Friday June 25 in conjunction with the Entry Draft.  There’s nothing special or even interesting about the party. 
On the same day, the Charlotte Checkers will be doing the same, but there is something interesting about that.  Since this is their inaugural season in the AHL and they have a new affiliation with the Hurricanes, they will need to change their existing uniforms and color scheme.  They will officially unveil the new sweaters at the draft party.  Details of that event are here
I won’t be attending either event, and I won’t even be able to watch the draft on teevee because of the Canadian indie rock that I love so much.  I’ll be keeping tabs, though.

Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, charlotte+checkers

JaStaal signs pro contract

At noon on Friday, the Hurricanes announced that they’ve signed newly acquired right wing Jared Staal to a three-year entry level contract.  He was acquired via trade with Phoenix on Thursday afternoon and it didn’t take long to get him committed to a minimum wage contract.  The standard two-way rookie contract will pay him $500k at the NHL level in 2010-11 and $525k in each of the following two seasons.  At the AHL level, he’ll be paid $50k in all three seasons.  The contract also features a signing bonus of $150k.

The youngest Staal brother was almost always paired with the eldest Eric in their backyard games in Thunder Bay.  EStaal chatted with Raleigh’s 99.9 FM about the acquisition, giving us a little insight about JaStaal.

Jared will be at training camp this summer and will play in the rookie tournament in Traverse City.  After that, he’ll end up in Charlotte for at least one season.

Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, charlotte+checkers, jared+staal.

Hurricanes acquire another Staal

On Thursday night, the Hurricanes announced that they have acquired the rights to right winger Jared Staal.  Staal, who was the property of the Phoenix Coyotes, was acquired in exchange for a fifth round draft selection in this summer’s NHL Entry Draft.  There was a time when Jared was believed to be the most talented of the four Staal boys, but he was the only one not to have been selected in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft.  He was selected by the Coyotes with the 49th overall pick in the 2008 Entry Draft.

JaStaal is the only right-handed shot of the four Staal boys and the only right winger.  In addition, he’s the only one not to have made an impact on the parent club in his first season as a pro.  There is some speculation that although he has the most raw talent of the four Staal boys, he has the least ambition.

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Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, charlotte+checkers, jared+staal., phoenix+coyotes

Rats win TWC Cup

On Saturday, the Albany River Rats defeated the Adirondack Phantoms 2-1 to clinch victory in the inaugural Time Warner Cable Cup challenge.  The two teams will meet 12 times this season, and Albany is now 7-1-1 in the season series with three games to play.  This was going to be an annual grudge match between the two Eastern NY hockey clubs, but it turns out that it will be the one and only challenge cup.  The Rats will be moving to Charlotte next season, and it’s unlikely that the Checkers (I hate that name) will play the Phantoms more than eight times in the regular season.

Jerome Samson scored his 24th goal and added an assist to give the Rats the win over former Hurricanes backup Johnny Crackers.  Zach Boychuk scored the game-winning goal and Justin Peters earned his 20th win of the season for the Rats.

The Rats will face the Hershey Bears on Sunday afternoon.

Filed in: | Red and Black Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: adirondack+phantoms, albany+river+rats, charlotte+checkers


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