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Charlotte Checkers Playoff Thread

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Follow the Checkers as they play in their first playoffs in Charlotte!

FRIDAY, APRIL 8 – WOR @ 7 PM: Fan Appreciation Night presented by Amtrak.

SATURDAY, APRIL 9 – WOR @ 7 PM: “Wilson” Bobblehead Giveaway Night – First 3,000 fans will receive a Bobblehead of Checkers Game Night emcee Wilson courtesy of Horizon Eye Care. Salute to Heroes Night presented by AutoTrader.com – stick around after the Checkers game as the Police & Sherriff team square off in a match against the Fire & MEDIC squad to benefit families of fallen public service workers. Coke Zero Exit Sampling. Smoothie King Sampling Night.

AHL Final Standings (almost)

All series are "best of seven' format.

Charlotte (93 pts) takes on Hershey (98pts)

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On this date in 1987, the franchise as the Hartford Whalers clinched its first NHL regular season division title. (Unfortunately, the team would lose in the first round to the fourth-place Quebec Nordiques in six games after winning the first two...a reversal of the year before when the fourth-place Whalers beat the first-place Nordiques in the first round in the last season a best-of-five format was used.)

Here is a clip of Chuck Kaiton making the call:

Whalers clinch Adams Division title

http://www.brassbonanza.com/Sound/WhalerAudio/WhalerAudio07.mp3

I remember this game very well...especially since we came back to beat the hated Rangers in the process. How can that be 24 years ago???

Mark

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In the System: Checkers Preparing for Playoffs

Thursday, 02.24.2011 / 9:36 AM / Blog

By Michael Smith

With just over 20 games remaining on their schedule, the Charlotte Checkers are looking to fine-tune specific parts of their game as they make a final push toward the American Hockey League playoffs.

smith_michael.jpgMichael Smith

Currently, the Checkers sit in third place in the East Division – above the cut-off line for the playoffs – with a 32-20-7 record (71 points). They trail the second-place Hershey Bears, a team Charlotte won’t see for the remainder of the regular season, by just three points.

The Checkers have earned points in eight of their last 10 games. Michael Murphy was in net for six of those, posting a 5-0-1 record in that span. He has won 15 of his last 18 starts, and posted his first career AHL shutout on Feb. 20 in a Checkers 5-0 win over Hershey.

Though not the most technically sound goaltender, Murphy is 17-9-3 this season with a 2.80 goals against average and a .911 save percentage.

“Not unlike a lot of young goalies, the flaws in his game need to be addressed and, technique-wise, he’s a work-in-progress,” said Jason Karmanos, the Hurricanes’ vice president and assistant general manager. “But at the end of the day, he’s still winning games, and that’s the most important thing for a goaltender.”

murphy022411_storythumb.jpg

Slowing the Checkers down has been a rash of injuries. Currently they’re without four key players who are injured, in addition to losing Jerome Samson and Brett Carson to call-ups.

“We have a situation that a lot of AHL teams deal with given the way the schedule is constructed,” Karmanos said. “There are a lot of games packed closely together, which unfortunately leads to a lot of injuries.”

Among those injured include defenseman Bobby Sanguinetti, who could return in March following his December hip surgery. When he went down, Sanguinetti was playing his best hockey of the year.

“It would probably take him awhile to get back to where he was, but he certainly has the ability to help the team,” Karmanos said. “He’s making good progress, and it would be a nice boost to have him back.”

Other injured Checkers include forward Oskar Osala, a team leader in assists with 28, whose shoulder injury will sideline him until early March. Forward Nick Dodge has been out of the lineup for 10 days due to an infection from his minor finger surgery. Defenseman Casey Borer has also been out 10 days with an upper-body injury.

“The team has done pretty well, but in order to compete with some of the top-end teams in the division and league, we probably need some more depth, and we’ll see if we can address that,” Karmanos said.

Samson’s departure from Charlotte hasn’t helped the team, considering he was a scoring leader with 26 goals and 54 points. His offensive production has contributed to the Checkers netting an AHL-best 202 goals.

“He’s pretty much done everything he can do at the AHL level, and now he’s getting a chance to show what he can do at the NHL level,” Karmanos said. “In the short term here, he’s performed well. He’s made some adjustments and improvements that have allowed him to play his game.”

His offensive game is seemingly based on a simple yet effective strategy: shoot the puck. He leads the AHL with 245 shots on goal, over 30 more than the player trailing him. In five games and under 10 minutes in each with the Canes, Samson has taken 11 shots.

“He’s confident out there, and he knows this is an opportunity for him,” Karmanos said. “He’s a young guy that can have a bright future ahead of him, and he certainly has the work ethic to get the job done.”

With the team leader in points and other key forwards making regular trips to Raleigh, Chris Terry has stepped in to fill the offensive void. He has accumulated 46 points (23g, 23a) this season and is currently riding a four-game point streak (3g, 3a).

“As a second-year pro, it’s encouraging to see that he is accumulating points now,” Karmanos said. “Consistency in his game will come with conditioning and maturity over time.”

Ahead on the Checkers’ schedule is a three-day set of games beginning Thursday that features a pair of games in Charlotte on the 24th and 26th against the Connecticut Whale, with a match-up in Norfolk – the closest AHL team to Charlotte, nearly 330 driving miles away – sandwiched in between.

“It’s not ideal,” Karmanos said of the awkward scheduling. “But the team is very happy in Charlotte, and with all the other benefits we’ve seen this year in having them there, we know the travel situation just comes with the territory.”

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Are we locked in now to facing the Bears? Regardless of where they are in the standings, the Bears are the two time defending Calder Cup champs, so it's only fitting if the Checkers are going to win it they have to travel through Hershey at some point. Wilkes Barre has been by far the best team in the AHL this year and look for them to go deep.

Go Checkers!! Playoff hockey comes to Charlotte baby! :)

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The schedule for the 2011 East Division Semi-Finals is as follows:

Game 1: Thursday, April 14 at Hershey, 7:00 p.m.

Game 2: Sunday, April 17 at Hershey, 5:00 p.m.

Game 3: Tuesday, April 19 at Charlotte, 7:00 p.m. - Time Warner Cable Arena

Game 4: Wednesday, April 20 at Charlotte, 7:00 p.m. - Time Warner Cable Arena

*Game 5: Friday, April 22 at Charlotte, 7:00 p.m. - Time Warner Cable Arena

*Game 6: Sunday, April 24 at Hershey, 5:00 p.m.

*Game 7: Monday, April 25 at Hershey, 7:00 p.m.

*if necessary

Tickets for Games 3 and 4 at Time Warner Cable Arena are on sale atwww.ticketmaster.com now.

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Is it just me or does the 2-3-2 format favor the "road" team? This is good in this case since that's Charlotte, but it seems odd to me to give the lower ranked team 3 home games in a row while the higher ranked team, who does get 4 games, but only 2 in a row at a time. Looking at last years bracket very few series went the distance. All the opening round series were 4-0 or 4-1. The finals between Hershey and Texas went 4-2. I didn't see any that went 7.

Charlotte enters in on a 2 game win streak. Hershey has lost 1 game, and plays tonight against Conference leading WBS, but who knows if they will take it easy since neither team can improve or fall.

Jared Staal played last night while some of the regulars took the night off. I wonder if he will get to play in the playoffs. I believe the playoff rosters are set, although last night they said Bowman should be available for game 1 since Carolina got eliminated, but I know Samson can not come down, he is locked into the Hurricanes for the post season.

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Looks like Drayson Bowman is the only one left able to play for the Checkers in their playoffs:

clearday.png

Full clear day rosters for the AHL playoffs

I agree Eric, that format does seem to favor the away team at times, MLB uses it too and I've never understood it. Then again, it must work or they wouldn't use it.

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I hope the Time Warner people televise some of the playoff games. That would be awesome. If they make it to a game 5, I will try to make it down for the Friday April 22nd game, but games 3 and 4 are Tuesday and Wednesday. It's only about an hour and a half from my house to the Cable Box, but that's still a late night when you have to get up at 5:30 AM the next morning for work.

Should be a good series. Charlotte split Hershey in the regular season 4-4-0. Hershey is still the champs until someone beats them, so you gotta go through them at some point, Charlotte gets the chance first. With the games I've seen on TV and the one game I saw live, Charlotte just looks like a much more talented team than the other guys out there. They beat Norfolk 7-2 the game I saw live and they beat Worcester 6-2 last night. Norfolk is going to the playoffs and Worcester was fighting for a spot but will finish 9th, so not bottom dwelling teams. It's a wonder they lost any games at all, but of course WB-S has a lot of talent despite being roster stripped by the big league Penguins due to injuries and Hershey of course is always dangerous. I'm glad these guys are getting to play another 4 to 28 games and get experience. I really think a few of these guys will crack roster spots for the Canes next year. Looks like Samson maybe already has.

I don't know if they re-seed in the AHL playoffs like they do the NHL, but we would probably be looking at a second round date with WB-S if we were to advance past Hershey. I'll have to ask my brother in Charlotte to pick me up a Calder Cup Playoffs hat or something if he goes to a game.

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Looking at the schedule, I was hoping games 3 and 4 would be Friday and/or Saturday to get people from the Triangle and other places outside of Charlotte to come. I guess if the series makes it to 5 then that game should be a good draw since it's two days before Easter.

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I'll be there on Tuesday for GAME #3. What's a 6 hr roundtrip to see some playoff hockey!

Awesome. I hope many more like you make the trip, would be great to get 10,000+ for the playoffs.

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Checkers are leading game 1 3-2 halfway through the second period. Goals by Dalpe, Terry and Bellemore.

*13:11 of second period Hershey ties it. Score is now 3-3.

*Tied 3-3 after 2 periods.

*Bowman and Boychuk score in the 3rd, Charlotte leads 5-4

CHECKERS WIN GAME ONE!!! Steal home ice away from the Bears!!!

GWG Drayson Bowman.

Edited by ericncsu

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Yeah!! This was a big win on the road. Nice to see them score 5, but I'm not sure we want to let them get 4 again. Great win!!

Get your Charlotte Checkers widescreen wallpaper to celebrate the post season and cheer on our future stars.

GO CHECKERS!

*edit*

Here is another wallpaper, this time featuring the alternate logo.

Edited by jb_online

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So far all is well in Checkerland.

Since they got the first win under their belt, I say win game 2 on Sunday. Forget being satisfied with a split going back to Charlotte.

Lets go Checkers!!!

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I'm really hope that the Cablebox will fill up for the playoff games. I know i'll be there for both game, but I think the people in here in Charlotte are really excited that our team has made it this far & is up 1-0 in the series woohoo! :)

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One thing that surprised me about the box score to game 1 was Zack Fitzgerald had 0 penalty minutes, after leading the team in PIM. But that tells me the guys came to play and are taking the game serious.. no scuffles, no dropping the gloves to impress the fans.. only take that step if it becomes necessary. (Zack may not have played much since he has no SOG, but the gamesheet doesn't give TOI). Plus it was a close game that might have helped as well. You expect someone to want to fight from Norfolk when they are getting beat 7-2, and Zack will never back down from a fight, but in a 4-4 game there may not be as much call for that.

The other thing that jumped out at me, and I'm sure this is a confidence thing is that three of the 5 guys who scored had spent a significant amount of time up with the Canes this season, Dalpe, Bowman and Boychuk. Dalpe also picked up 2 assists.

Game 2 tomorrow night I'll be glued to theahl.com. I would almost want Hershey to win, so as to guarantee a game 5 to let Charlotte get all three of their home games, but on the other side of the coin you don't want the Bears getting any confidence.

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The Norfolk Admirals are leading their series with the Wilkes Barre Scranton Penguins 2-0 winning the first two games on the road. WBS was by far the best team in the league all year. Another example of the best team in the regular season floundering in the playoffs? We'll have to wait and see since the series is not over yet but not a good start at all for the babyPens.

Game 2 Charlotte @ Hershey 5PM Tonight.

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Game 2 is underway. About 3 minutes in and still scoreless.

*12:02 First period, Hershey scores to take a 1-0 lead.

*Zac Dalpe has scored twice, but Hershey still leads 3-2 nearing the end of the 2nd period.

*Hershey has scored again, it is 4-2 at the end of the second period.

Edited by ericncsu

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