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Charlotte can clinch a playoff spot tonight with a win against Texas and losses by Millwuakee and Chicago, but the first key to that is a win against Texas.  Checkers control their own destiny (unlike getting squeaked out last year) so win and you're in baby! 

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Well they missed it on Friday with the loss to Texas, but Charlotte clinched a playoff spot last night between the combination of picking up one point in Chicago (SO Loss) and Milwaukee losing in Regulation to Rockford.  So the Chex are in the Playoffs!! 

 

Based on the current standings the 4/5 matchup would be Charlotte vs South Division rival Houston Aeros with Charlotte having home ice.  The Checkers have dominated Houston this year with a 5-2-1 record against them.  We are only two points ahead of them in the standings though and they have won 2 games in a row, so Charlotte still needs to win a couple games to hold on to that 4th spot.

 

The 6th place team (also, 2 points behind Houston) is the Rochester Amerks, whom we have not faced this season at all.  

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Checkers finish the season strong with a 5-0 tonight in Peoria and clinch the 4th spot in the Western Conference and home ice advantage for the first round of the AHL Calder Cup playoffs.  

 

Of course in the bizzaro system that is the AHL, the first 2 games are on the road, with Games 3,4,5 at home and the first round is a 5 game series, so if they win games one and two on the road then they would only have to win game 3 at home to sweep the series.  Not a really great "home ice advantage", at least not from the fan standpoint.  Assuming if you could win both road games to start the series then you don't really NEED the home ice.  

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MURPHY GETS ANOTHER CHANCE  Paul Branecky

gocheckers.com

 

Murphy, the Carolina Hurricanes’ first-round draft choice (12th overall) in 2011, has only been with Charlotte for a little over a week after his junior team, the Kitchener Rangers, lost in the second round of the Ontario Hockey League playoffs. Thanks to a solid AHL debut last week (two assists in three games) and some injuries on defense, it looks as though he may again fill a key role as the Checkers begin their quest for the Calder Cup against Oklahoma City this weekend.

 

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Charlotte split the first two games of the opening round of the Calder Cup playoffs with Oklahoma City. Charlotte won the first game 4-3 in OT and dropped the second game 5-2. Tonight the Chex are back in Charlotte.

 

PREVIEW

 

“Game 3 is crucial, especially in a short series like this,” said coach Jeff Daniels. “We have to come out on top and do a lot of the little things we didn’t do last game to get the win.”

 

According to Paul Branecky -John Muse's recent absences from practice make it probable that Rob Madore will make his third start, though the experienced Mike Murphy remains a valid option.

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The Chex won game 3 of their first round playoff series 6 with Oklahoma City

 

GOCHECKERS.COM

 

Chris Terry scored two power-play goals just 88 seconds apart, one on a five-on-three and another at the following five-on-four, to lead the early onslaught. Matt Marquardt, Tim Wallace, Bobby Raymond and Justin Shugg also scored for the Checkers, who got a strong 37-save performance from rookie goaltender Rob Madore.

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Checkers got blown out in game 4 of their series against Oklahoma City 8-1

 

GoCheckers.com

 

“It was a tough night for everyone,” said [Jeff] Daniels. “(Madore) was one player on a team that didn’t get the job done.”

 

The 5th and deciding game is tonight in Charlotte.

GAME FIVE: CHECKERS VS. OKLAHOMA CITY

 

Charlotte has options in terms of other lineup changes, with Hurricanes prospect Victor Rask, a center whose Calgary team exited the WHL playoffs earlier this week, joining a group of healthy extras that included forwards Matt Beca, Sean Dolan and David Marshall and defenseman Beau Schmitz.

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Smoked again 6-2. Maybe returning guys who hadn't been with the Checkers in several months wasn't really helping them

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CHECKERS' SEASON ENDS IN GAME 5

Despite out-shooting Oklahoma City by a 51-30 margin, tying their second-highest shot total of the entire season, the Checkers fell by a 6-2 score in the winner-take-all Game 5 of their first-round playoff series.


 

Paul Branecky @PaulBranecky 11h

Brett Sutter: "We thought we had a good thing here and we had a strong belief in each other. It's shock and disappointment"

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A nice breakdown by Paul Branecky  on the contract situation for the Checkers. We have a bunch of RFA's and UFA's to consider going forward. Decisions, Decisions, Decisions.

 

OFFSEASON PLAYER TRACKER

 

 

11UFA  13 RFA  I'm wondering if Boychuk comes back, if Wallace is resigned and if Jared Staal earned a new AHL stint with the Chexa after his showing with the Canes the last two games.

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For some reason the home jersey doesn't look as bad to me as the Canes' home jersey but they still look like they're missing a stripe or something along the bottom.

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It sure would be nice this year, if someone in Charlotte would take it upon themself to keep the Caniac Nation more informed of how our players are doing. Might let us more accurately judge their progress and chances of making the big club should injury befall anyone here. And thanks in advance!!!    

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It sure would be nice this year, if someone in Charlotte would take it upon themself to keep the Caniac Nation more informed of how our players are doing. Might let us more accurately judge their progress and chances of making the big club should injury befall anyone here. And thanks in advance!!!    

Paul Branecky, who used to be our webmaster for the Canes now covers the Checkers. 

You can follow him on twitter here

Subscribe to the newsletter here

Read the news blog here (similar to our TTS Blog)

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Goalie Allen York Signs PTO with Checkers

York, 24, joins Charlotte from the ECHL’s Evansville Icemen. Though he has yet to play a game this season, he does bring the prior track record the team was looking for, having posted a 2.30 goals-against average in 11 NHL games with the Columbus Blue Jackets during the 2011-12 season.

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Checkers are trying out Rick DiPietro!

 

http://gocheckers.com/articles/350-checkers-sign-rick-dipietro.html

 

Rick DiPietro, a longtime NHL goalie who has struggled with injuries for the last several years, is joining the Charlotte Checkers.

According to the New York Post and since confirmed by the Raleigh News and Observer, DiPietro, 32, signed a professional tryout contract with Charlotte and was scheduled to join the team following today's game in Rockford.

"It's a safety net and could give us more depth," Carolina Hurricanes General Manager Jim Rutherford, who helped facilitate the signing, told the News and Observer. "At this point it's a PTO. We'll see what kind of shape he's in, how he plays."

A veteran of 11 NHL seasons dating back to 2000, DiPietro joins center Manny Malhotra as well-known NHL players to sign with the Checkers in recent weeks.

It is not yet clear how DiPietro will fit in to the Checkers’ goaltending picture, although recent injuries to Cam Ward and Anton Khudobin in Carolina have certainly resulted in a situation where any additional depth is welcome. Heading into this weekend, the Checkers were carrying two goaltenders who they had signed to tryout contracts from the ECHL level earlier in the week – John Muse and Allen York.

In 318 career NHL games, all with the New York Islanders, DiPietro posted a 130-136-36 record with 16 shutouts, a 2.87 goals-against average and .902 save percentage. However, a multitude of injuries, including concussions and hip, knee and groin surgeries, limited him to just 50 NHL games over the last five seasons. In four of those five seasons, he played eight or fewer games.

That injury history, along with his contract – a whopping 15-year-deal signed in 2006 – led the Islanders to buy out the eight remaining seasons in July. Prior to that, the organization had sent him to AHL Bridgeport, where he appeared in 18 games last season.

The first overall draft pick by the Islanders in 2000, DiPietro (6-foot-0, 185 pounds) has represented the United States at the 2006 Winter Olympics, the 2005 IIHF World Championship, the 2004 World Cup of Hockey and two World Junior tournaments in 2000 and 2001. The native of Winthrop, MA, also played in the 2008 NHL All-Star Game.

In 117 career AHL games, DiPietro is 56-45-15 with a 2.37 goals-against average, .913 save percentage and eight shutouts.

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