Former Charlotte Checkers are excelling with the Carolina Hurricanes - see Phil Di Giuseppe's goal on Sunday. However, the current Checkers are struggling as they have dropped their last four games. The Checkers are in the midst of a six game road trip and have dropped their first three decisions (0-3-0) to Bakersfield, Stockton and Ontario, the last of which was a regulation loss with the game winner from former Checkers captain Brett Sutter scored with 33 seconds remaining in the game.
With a depleted squad due to call-ups to the NHL, the Checkers have been outscored 15-5 in their past four games. Alex Nedeljkovic continues to struggle between the pipes in his rookie season, with a current stat line of 3-8-0, a 3.43 goals against average and .884 save percentage. Shot suppression has been an issue as of late and it continued on this current trip as the Checkers have been out-shot 90-76.
The Checkers have now slipped to sixth in their division and 13th in the AHL Western Conference after the past ten games, sporting a 2-7-1 record. They are the unfortunate holders of the longest road winless streak posted by any AHL team this season, 0-6-1 since November 11, and a loss on Wednesday would tie the franchise record for road losses.
So what can be blamed for their recent woes after a promising start? Goal scoring and a very weak power play. The Checkers are dead last in the league on the power play, converting only 10.3% of their chances with the man advantage. Some of the goal scoring woes can be blamed on NHL call-ups, of which there is about to be another as Ryan Murphy's two-week conditioning stint ends today and he is likely to return to the Hurricanes. (Update: the team made Murphy’s recall official this afternoon. The press release from the team is below.)
However, the scoring woes continue as the Checkers do not have a single player in the top 50 in AHL scoring. The team also currently ranks 23rd in the American Hockey League in goals for as they have only scored 53 through 21 games. Minor league veteran Kris Newbury, signed to a professional tryout contract after Di Giuseppe was recalled, scored his first goal as a Checker on Saturday in Ontario, but he has done little more than stem the tide of goals that have disappeared up I-85 in the last month .
The remaining stretch of the Checkers’ current six game road trip will see the team face off against the same three teams in which they face over the first part of the trip: the Stockton Heat, Bakersfield Condors and the Ontario Reign. The Checkers will look for redemption against these teams to finish .500 on the road trip before returning home on December 13th against the Manitoba Moose.
Since Last We Met:
- November 22: Checkers 4, Chicago 3
- November 23: Chicago 4, Checkers 2
- November 26: Checkers 3, Iowa 2 (OT)
- November 27: Iowa 5, Checkers 1
- November 30: Stockton 4, Checkers 2
- December 2: Bakersfield 3, Checkers 0
- December 3: Ontario 3, Checkers 2
Next for the Checkers (9-11-1-0, 19 points, 6th Midwest Div):
- December 7: at Stockton
- December 9: at Bakersfield
- December 10: at Ontario
- December 13 and 14: home vs. Manitoba
- December 17 and 18: home vs. Grand Rapids
‘CANES RECALL MURPHY FROM CONDITIONING STINT
Defenseman played in seven games with AHL’s Charlotte Checkers
Ron Francis, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has recalled defenseman Ryan Murphy from the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League (AHL). Murphy was assigned to Charlotte on a conditioning stint on Nov. 21, and played in seven games with the Checkers.
Murphy, 23, has appeared in four games for the Hurricanes this season, earning one assist. The Aurora, Ont., has totaled 36 points (6g, 30a) and 30 penalty minutes in 128 career NHL games with the Hurricanes. Carolina’s first round selection, 12th overall, in the 2011 NHL Draft, Murphy has played 89 career AHL games for the Checkers, registering 66 points (10g, 56a).