February 09, 2012 12:22 PM
After missing the Checkers’ last 20 games due to injury, rookie forward Justin Shugg will return to the ECHL’s Florida Everblades to get back up to speed.
Shugg had been practicing with the Checkers for the last few weeks, but had not been cleared to play until Thursday. With the Checkers already carrying one extra forward, Shugg, who turned 20 on Dec. 24, will return to where he started the season in order to get playing time. In seven games with the Everblades this season, Shugg earned 11 points (4g, 7a) and an ECHL Player of the Week award.
Shugg, who also sat out three games in early November due to a freak practice accident that occurred when his own skate caused a laceration in his leg during a fall, has now missed a total of 23 games due to injury this season. Both injuries occurred soon after the Checkers had recalled him from Florida, with the latest happening in his first game back with the team.
After beginning his AHL career without a point in his first eight contests, Shugg was just starting to gain momentum, earning 4 (1g, 3a) in his last five games. Prior to leaving the Dec. 15 game against Chicago, he had recorded an assist on Mathieu Roy's goal to give the Checkers a 1-0 lead.
Though Shugg has twice made the trip down to Florida for brief two-game conditioning stints, it’s unclear how long this stint will last as long as the Checkers have enough healthy players on their roster. Should they need outside help at forward, he’ll surely be at the top of the list as was the case to start the season.
The Everblades are in action Thursday night in Gwinnett, though it’s unclear whether Shugg, who practiced in Charlotte earlier in the day, will take part. Defenseman Chris Murray, another ECHL recall who suffered an injury while playing for Charlotte, returned to practice this week but did not make the team’s trip to Milwaukee and Peoria for games on Friday and Saturday, respectively.