The Checkers will not have Justin Peters for at least the next three games, as the goaltender did not accompany the team to begin the first leg of its season-long nine-game road swing in Oklahoma City.
Checkers coach Jeff Daniels said that Peters, who has been struggling with a lower-body injury, could return for the team’s next practice in Charlotte, which should be on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. After leaving last Friday’s start and missing the next two games, Peters was told at a Wednesday doctor’s appointment that more rest would be needed.
“They just wanted us to hold off for a week or so, but it’s nothing beyond that,” said Daniels.
In Peters’ absence last weekend, Mike Murphy made appearances in three consecutive nights but seemed no worse for the wear, stopping 68 of 70 shots to record a .971 save percentage and 0.96 goals-against average in his two starts. It’s possible he could undertake a similar workload in the team’s upcoming three-in-three set that will also take it through San Antonio and Houston
“Murphy is going to start (Friday),” said Daniels. “Beyond that I don’t have plans, but I wouldn’t have a problem playing him in all three.”
The Checkers other option is 23-year-old rookie John Muse, who was recalled from Florida over the weekend. The recent Boston College graduate, who won two NCAA national championships with the Eagles (2008, 2010), made his AHL debut on a tryout with the Portland Pirates last season, making 33 saves to earn his first professional victory, and is 0-1-1 with the Everblades this season.
With Zach Boychuk and Brett Sutter still with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes, Daniels added that the team has recalled 19-year-old rookie forward Justin Shugg, who is expected to make his AHL debut on Friday. Shugg, the reigning ECHL Player of the Week, posted back-to-back three-point efforts for Florida over the weekend.
“He’s played really well down there, and he’ll get a chance to play with skilled players in our top nine,” said Daniels.
Shugg, a fourth-round pick of the Hurricanes in 2010, led all Checkers in preseason scoring with 3 points (2g, 1a) in two games. He currently ranks tied for second in ECHL scoring with 8 points (4g, 4a) in five games.