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Friday, April 20, 2018

First Round Preview: Charlotte Checkers Vs. WBS Penguins

It’s FINALLY time to start the Calder Cup playoffs. Sure watching the Pens kick in the teeth of the Flyers has been great, but being forced to wait over a week after the NHL playoffs started  before my team hits the ice has been BRUTAL.  It’s high time to get this sucker started. Yeehaw?  It’s WBS VS Charlotte on Friday and Saturday. GO! 

Badly shopped racing jokes are the key to success. 

Playoff structure:
It takes four rounds to win the Calder Cup. Three of the rounds are best of 7. The first round is a garbage best of 5. In order to cut down travel costs, far flung teams will play the best of 5 series as follows: 2 home games first for the lower seeded team (the Checkers). 3 games at home for the higher seeded team (WBS).  If the series goes the distance all 5 games) WBS has the advantage of hosting game 5. However the Checkers have a unique advantage early in the series by getting to play their first two games at home.
Last year this series format was problematic for WBS. WBS was eliminated in a best of 5 series against the Providence Bruins in 5 games. Hopefully history doesn’t repeat itself this year.
Advantage = Charlotte
WBS got smoked 4-2  in 2011 by Charlotte in the second round. WBS getting smoked in anything other than the Final is a pretty forgettable experience. No one cares about this.
Earlier this season, WBS played Charlotte 4 times. They only won 1 of those games. Ominous.
Advantage = Charlotte
The Checkers are coming off a 10-game point streak (9-0-1-0) where they won 15 of their last 18 games. WBS is 10- 5-2-1 in the same stretch.
Advantage = Slightly Charlotte
Players to watch out for:

The team. 

The checkers have formers Penguins Philip Samuelsson and Greg McKegg who is an elite scorer at the AHL level. McKegg  will surely get a hat trick against the the Pens. It’s just how things work.  Marcus Kruger who is worth mentioning for name only is also on the checkers.

WBS has 32 goal scorer and rookie phenom Daniel Sprong. Charlotte does not.  Pretty simple.
Advantage = WBS

Call him Booth. Callum Booth. Yes. 

The Checkers have a player fringe goalie named Callum Booth. We don’t call anyone Booth in WBS.
Advantage = WBS
Prediction = Charlotte in 5 because WBS can’t have anything nice. Sprong will likely get a ton of goals but will also likely be benched for parts of the series. You heard it here first.

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