Monday, June 30, 2008

An Announcement

In the midst of all this free agent and possible trade anxiety and excitement, we think it's only appropriate that we here at the Blueland Chronicle announce a free agent signing of our own.

A new writer has agreed to terms with Big Shooter and myself, and he's set to join the roster very soon. He's intelligent and witty and passionate about hockey, and I'm sure you'll all love him. He hasn't decided on a pseudonym just yet, but he'll be winning face-offs for us in no time.

Though it pains me to do this, it looks like under-producing Monsieur Catalogues will have to be put on waivers.

Overloaded with Forwards

Vaclav Prospal--not to be confused with his great compatriot Vaclav Havel--has officially re-signed with the Lightning.

Is this fall-of-the-Roman-Empire overstretch and overspending or is this genius?

A Prayer on UFA Eve

O Hockey Gods,

We pray to thee in the light of the Great One and the Holy Czar and the Exalted Don Cherry,

The hockey fields in Atlanta are barren. The plants yieldeth no fruit and the grass withereth and the ice might as well melteth. Hast thou forgotten Jerusal--...Atlanta? The city this evening lieth in ruin. Were it not for the generosity and grace of our Holy Czar we would be as ashes of cow manure after being runneth over by a steamroller. If we repaireth not our fields nor buildeth again our city, the greedy and wicked Empire of the Bolts will surely trampleth on all Thrasher life that remaineth.

Send the Czar help in this most troubled of times. We beseech thee, O Hockey Gods, for the Czar is a good man, the Czar is a wise man. He deserveth the full glory that only thee can bestow. Bestow this glory by sending us the Soup of Ontario, the one that swims with sharks and weareth fierce red hair. While we're on the subject of sharks, send us also the one they call Cheechoo, he of the Rocket Richard Trophy from a place called Moose Factory. We realize that nothing is free, that we must make sacrifices on thine altar for the Cheechoo Train to come among us and water our fields.

We plead as well for a solid shut-down defenseman to aid the Soup of Ontario and the young Swede Tobias. Either the one they call Gator or the the one they call Free Candy would be fine. We beg thee also for Rolly of the Twin Cities. In fact, we demandeth Rolly of the Twin Cities. For he is a gifted center who seeth no reward for his labors, and he will serve the Czar well. Maketh it happen. For these gifts we will offereth our charity and taketh in Michael Ryder from the wind and the cold, for few now believeth in him and we have faith that he will rise from the dead.

The Blueland Chronicle

My ideal scenario?

Kovalchuk - Rolston - Cheechoo
Kozlov - Christensen - Ryder
Perrin - White - Armstrong
Slater - Little - Thorburn/Recchi

Campbell - Orpik/Smith (same player, different age)
Enstrom - Havelid
Bogosian - Klee/X/Boris


How long, Lord, o how long?

The Besieged Rolston Speaks

From the bomb cellars of St. Paul-Minneapolis and via the pen of a very tired Minnesota Wild beat writer:
"Whether we get something done with Tampa or not, we haven't talked to Tampa yet. We have 24 hours," Rolston said in a phone interview. "But as far as I'm concerned, it's no different today than it was yesterday. I'm a free agent July 1. I wanted to go to July 1 and see where I'm at in the NHL market. This is the last time I might become a free agent."

I'm hesitant to say anything at this point, given how well my expectations of the Malone affair turned out. Malone's deal with Tampa really does beggar belief; after draining so much money from the Lightning vault I (following our esteemed comrade Zach in the comments) can't imagine that Rolston would be willing to take a back seat to Lecavalier, St. Louis, Stamkos, Prospal, and now Malone for not that much money. If he signs with the Thrashers he gets to play the most important position in hockey--first line center--with a goal-scoring force of nature named Kovalchuk. He'll be recognized as someone who plays with and enhances the superstar, rather than what he'd be in Tampa: a 2nd line winger who plays only a supporting part to marquee names like Lecavalier, Stamkos, St. Louis, etc. He'd be co-Top Dog with the Czar. 

If the Thrashers somehow sign Brians Campbell and Rolston (they have the money to lavishly overpay them, to overpay them beyond Ryan Malone's wildest dreams) this will be a happy Chronicle. Make it happen DW. 

Sunday, June 29, 2008


The ever-expanding Bolt Empire, Anno 1 of Emperor Melrose, has become a rapacious monster. Like all empires, it isn't content with seizing rich territories like Ryan Malone; once it has tasted conquest it has to continue its march of subjugation: now its fleet is surging up the northern Mississippi River and is apparently within shooting distance of the Twin Cities. The objective is to conquer Brian Rolston as well. 

Resist, Rolly. Be brave. You'll be rewarded with a front-line position marshaling the Atlanta Thrashers. Don't become a mere client state of the empire of the mighty Melrose/Saw torture porn dudes. Maintain your independence and make the right choice on July 1st. 

Puck Daddy is taking the cautious and sober line here. Quoth Daddy:
"The bottom line is this: Rolston wants to test the market, and could find a situation where he'd be a top-line player next season rather than a contributor in Tampa Bay [he'd be a top line player on the Atlanta fucking Thrashers. -editors]. If the Bolts find a way to get him into the fold ... well, after Malone and Roberts and potentially Rolston, let's just go ahead and add this to the Puck Daddy glossary: Drinking the Koules-Aid."

I never liked the Saw movies. Misogynistic and mindless torture porn, ideally suited to the age of Abu Graib and Guantanamo Bay (i.e. the age of the normalization of torture in American life), hilariously sent up by Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino in Grindhouse

If Rolly signs with the Lightning...well, this becomes all-out war. Brian Campbell, come on down. 

ALSO: John Michael Liles has re-signed with the Colorado Avalanche. Brian Campbell, come on down. 

UPDATE: The Rolston crisis is an ongoing affair. It's presently 12:10 AM Eastern time, which means it's 10:10 PM Mountain time (the time zone in which the Minnesota Wild eat and play and copulate). This shit only became a story two hours ago, and I think it comes exclusively from the Wild beat writer. Though I may be wrong. Stay posted kids. I'm not in a state to follow a developing news item...drinking...

UPDATE: Now it's official. Ryan Malone has signed a contract with the Lightning that virtually defines excess. 7 or 8 million a year?!!!! That's Crosby-Ovechkin-Kovalchuk-Thornton money. Ri-fucking-diculous. Will the Bolts even have the money to sign Brian Rolston? I think not. 

The Progress of Things at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Circa 2008

It should go without saying that hockey is our favorite sport--nothing can compare to it in intensity, power, drama, even beauty--but I've (speaking for myself here, not necessarily Big Shooter) watched tennis all my life and I enjoy the damn thing. 

As you may or may not know, one of tennis' so-called "Grand Slam" tournaments is afoot right now in a leafy southern suburb of London. England, that is, not Ontario (please come to Atlanta Soupy!). Wimbledon is probably the most hallowed of the big tennis tournaments, partly because of the romantic and slightly archaic atmosphere at the All England Club and partly because of the level of weird skill it takes to win on a grass court, and as it happens the Gretzky of tennis (oh hell, the Shakespeare or Michaelangelo or Beatles of tennis), one Roger Federer, is trying to win his sixth Wimbledon. 

Any sports fan should feel grateful to have lived in the era of Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, and, yes, even Tiger Woods (anti-hockey comments or not, I hate golf) because these players mark the pinnacle of achievement in their respective sports. The exact same can be said of Roger Federer. Greatest player of all time and he rarely breaks a sweat. Awfully classy guy as well, much like Jordan or Gretzky. I'm hoping he gets his sixth Wimbledon title. It's too bad that he can't manage to win the French Open; he IS the greatest all-round player of all time, but he has the dumb luck to play at the same time as the greatest clay court specialist of all time, fiery muscular Spaniard Rafael Nadal. Nadal would win Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, and the Australian Open if it weren't for the dominant presence of Federer. Federer would win his only blind spot, the French Open, if not for Nadal. 

Irony or something. 

At any rate, I just wanted to briefly salute Federer from Hockeyland. He's the best of his kind playing in the best tournament of a sport that I love for its individualism and heroic one-person-against-the-world vibe. I wonder if he follows his fellow Swiss in the NHL at all?

Bolts To Announce Malone, Roberts Signings Monday?

Just as I was telling everyone Malone would wait until after July 1st to sign anywhere...

Sportsnet is reporting a deal is done. Not only with him, but also Gary Roberts.

Damn that Mullet.

Oh well, I'll be happy with a Brian Campbell and Jason Smith signing at about 12:01 PM on Tuesday...

The Blueland Chronicle vs AJC: Round 3

Thank goodness we all have our various Thrasher blogs in an effort to keep everyone properly informed. Because the AJC sure does drop the ball more often than not. This is not a knock against Custance or Knobler. They do a fine job, and the latter is on vacation, so he gets a free pass.

The problem I have is when your beat writer takes some time off, even though it is the offseason, shouldn't there be SOMEONE to report on Thrasher news when it takes place?!?! Zhitnik gets placed on waivers, which means he will be bought out. This, in turn, means we are about to make moves on the D come July 1. And no one at the AJC bothers to make note of it. Instead, they put on the front page about UGA's mascot dying. I'm a dog lover, a bulldog fan (to some extent), but this just makes me a little angry that we get such poor treatment and others are talked about to death.

Save your breath, I know UGA Football is top dog (way to easy!). But the Thrashers are a major sports team, and deserve proper coverage. Thank God for Rawhide, or The Ice Man Bloggeth, not sure which one he goes by. He has reported it on the AJC, and does a fine job keeping the fans informed. My complaint is, should it really be up to the fan blog on a major newspapers website to be the only source of, ahem, news?

Please come back soon Knobler. Everyone else at your paper ignores our boys (we only wish Jeff Dultz ignored us, but alas, another argument for another time). Just know one thing loyal reader... we here at The Chronicle will always do our best. Not only to inform, but also to keep an eye on the big boys at the AJC and let them know we are not happy. We are aware of their shenanigans. They can feel the heat coming from The Chronicle... we will make them change their ways!!

For The Blueland Chronicle, I'm Big Shooter.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Don't Panic

It seems Tampa, and Tampa alone, will be trying to seduce Ryan Malone and Gary Roberts up until July 1. If you're interested in having Malone in Atlanta next season (or Roberts, if you're that way inclined), you shouldn't be worried. We of the Chronicle think this is just an example of the Bolts' new owners trying to make their presence felt. And why shouldn't they? 

Malone has been adamant about waiting all the way to July 1 to test the market and see what's on offer for him. I would be VERY surprised if he signed with Tampa before July 1st. Especially since we can offer him so much more money. 

It should go without saying, of course, that if he goes to the Tampa Bay Lightning he immediately makes the Enemy List. 

Zhitnik To Be Bought Out!!!!!

Can you believe it?

Friday, June 27, 2008

Kovy and Ovie Meet a Bee Gee

The Czar and the Czarevitch certainly know how to work a crowd.

When they retire they should host their own hockey show. 

I'm in Love with John Anderson Already

Greg Wyshynski, a.k.a. Puck Daddy, has taken it upon himself to interview our new coach and ask him the important questions. I'm a bit annoyed by Wyshynski's phrasing about the Czar needing to become an Ovechkin-like leader (which Anderson handily corrects by saying, uh, he already is), but overall the interview is WELL worth reading. Great stuff. 

Some things I take away: 
1. He knows Kari Lehtonen and Ilya Kovalchuk well enough to coach them effectively. 
2. He's seriously interested in attracting more interest in the Thrashers in the Atlanta market. This might include sending Kari and the Czar to schools...
3. He understands the Czar to the letter. He sounds like a Hollywood studio executive talking about an exceptionally brilliant director when he talks about Kovy. Wonderful.
4. Kari is definitely our guy. 
5. With Anderson, Boudreau, and Melrose coaching, the Southeast Division is going to be barking crazy next year. 

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Center Stuff, Marleau Stuff Update

Actually, it sounds like Doug Wilson IS a little unsure about Patrick Marleau's future with the Sharks. The Sharks beat writer, David Pollak, has written that Wilson has been talking to several teams about both Campbell and Marleau. I wouldn't be surprised if San Jose doesn't have the money to match the offers Campbell is going to get come July 1st; to get that money, they'd have to give up Patrick Marleau. Hmmmmm.

Meanwhile in San Jose, the Sharks have managed to re-sign the likes of Jeremy Roenick (praise his name), Joe Pavelski, and Nabby back-up Brian Boucher. Pavelski is a great asset; he's going to be a quality forward for years, and he's only going to get better. I can't wait to see him on Team USA at the 2010 Olympics. Boucher likewise (a good asset, not the Team USA thing). And JR...well, it goes without saying that it's a beautiful thing the Sharks have held on to him.

Ryan Clowe is a restricted free agent this year; I doubt he'll leave San Jose, but if for some reason we wanted to be extravagant and sell off some future draft picks for Clowe I actually think it might be worth it. Just my two cents, and so on and so forth.

The Marleau-Campbell business is very, very intriguing though. It looks like at least one of them will leave San Jose.


We haven't posted on this because we've been afraid of jinxes and curses and the like.

Normally I try to stay ten and a half miles away from endorsing anything that comes from a news organ with the word "sun" in its name, but I just can't resist sharing this item from the Ottawa Sun with anyone who (like us) is starving for Thrashers-specific news and rumors:

It's believed the Thrashers, who need to make a splash to get more interest in their marketplace, could be willing to offer in excess of $7 million US per season to sign Campbell, but the Rangers are going to make a hard pitch.

Brian Campbell + bottomless well of money in the Thrashers' backyard = playoffs

The Search for a #1 Center Goes On

Calgary re-signed Daymond Langkow a few weeks back. Olli Jokinen has been traded to Phoenix. The Patrick Malreau trade rumors seems to be dying down; perhaps Doug Wilson, meditating in his cliff-top tower high above the Pacific, realized that giving up his captain/warhorse because he had a slightly off year is frothing-at-the-mouth insane.

I doubt Joe Thornton or Marc Savard or Jason Spezza will be available anytime soon. Ah, Marc Savard...

It just came to my attention, however, that two potentially Czar-enriching centers are still unsigned UFAs. One of them is Brian Rolston, a fine fellow who's put up impressive numbers for the Minnesota Wild a few seasons in a row. I think Rolston plays left wing for the Wild (feel free to correct me, all you Wild fans who read this blog), but he's extremely versatile: he's apparently quite good as a center as well. The man is an easy 30-plus goal-scorer without a superstar like the Czar; imagine what he can do as his center. The best thing about Rolston, though, is his nickname: Rolly. Rolly. Say it again: Rolly.

Meanwhile, Brendan Morrison, he of the semi-legendary West Coast Express line (Bertuzzi-Morrison-Naslund) on the Vancouver Canucks, is also available through unrestricted free agency. He didn't have the best season of his career last year, but paired with the Czar he might play an integral part in establishing a Trans-Siberian Railway in Atlanta.

Speaking of Vancouver's West Coast Express, Markus Naslund is still unsigned. Not advocating anything, not implying anything, just floating the information. Markus Naslund is available.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Welcome Back Melrose

The Blueland Chronicle is proud to congratulate one, Barry Melrose, on his new job coaching the Tampa Bay Lightning. You couldn't have picked a less evil team Barry? Nonetheless... you, loyal reader, know how much we all think of someone like Don Cherry. It only follows good, sensible, logic that we also love the Mullet. The two best dressers in all of television.

The first NHL hockey game I ever saw was Game 7 Western Conference Finals, LA vs TOR. The Great One would later say it was the best game he ever played. No wonder I'm hooked! A young, redneck looking Barry Melrose, was coaching that Kings team (feuding with Pat Burns as I recall). Now we have a slightly older, still redneck looking, Barry Melrose re-entering the league. I'm all for giving John Anderson a shot, but my how I would have loved for us to hire Melrose. One can dream I suppose.

Just to show you what a kick ass guy Melrose is, he has hired Rick Tocchet and Wes Walz as his assistant coaches. So now not only do the Bolts have the coolest head coach, they also have the coolest assistant coaches. Melrose also would have done wonders for our fan base. Not many people in Atlanta know about hockey, but thanks to ESPN nearly everyone knows Barry Melrose. The spotlight would have been on the Thrashers. That, fellow readers, is never a bad thing. It says here he will have the Bolts turned around in no time. That bastard.

A Few More Thoughts:

Darcy Tucker is getting bought out by the Leafs. A lot of people hate this guy, but I think it would be great to have him on our team. Any thoughts?

We all probably knew this already, but we have talked with Recchi about bringing him back. Wouldn't mind having the ole Recchin' Ball around for another year, but we need additional help on the right side.

I have been a big Hossa supporter, even after he left. But this hogwash about him not caring so much about the money, he just wants to play for a winner, is a complete joke. Your team, Maid Marian, came 2 games away from winning the Cup. They offered you $50 million. And you turned them down. Well within your right. You've played your entire career to get to this point. Just be honest, and say you want to win with the team that is going to pay you the most money. This is America... it's ok to say things like that!

Reminds me of the time Ryan Smyth cried like a girl when the Oilers traded him. He said he would always be an Oiler at heart and never wanted to leave. How sweet! What he failed to say was they were only a couple hundred thousand dollars apart (on a multi, multi million dollar deal) and if he REALLY wanted to remain an Oiler, he could have. SOMEBODY GIVE THIS MAN A GOLDEN GLOBE!!!!!!!!!!!!

Just my 2 cents...

For The Blueland Chronicle, I'm Big Shooter.

The World is Less Interesting

We here at the Blueland Chronicle love hockey, but we don't specialize in it. We love plenty of other things too. One of these things is quality stand-up comedy. Most stand-up comedians, like most hockey players, are shit. 

George Carlin was a genius. The Bobby Orr or Mark Messier of disgruntled and surreal humor. His riffs on cliches of language and thought (or more precisely non-thought), his attention to words in all kinds of dimensions, and his riotous stand-up routines are classics of their kind and even a lofty influence on this paltry, hopelessly amateur hockey blog. I can't think of which one of his monologues I like best: is it baseball vs. football, "going for a drive," the 7 Words You Can't Use on Television, or the stuff about death in his final, brilliant (a return to form, really) HBO special? It was all great; rest in (suitably) angry peace George.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

State of the Thrashers, Pre-July 1

Pretty successful draft for the Thrashers. And when I say pretty successful draft, I mean we got Zach Bogosian. I thought it would be fun to take a look at where we are before a very important Free Agency. Just like how you are supposed to build a team, lets start from the goal out.

Kari, Moose, Pavelec. Any questions? I think if there was going to be a move, it would have happened during the draft. I was hoping for one, but as we have found out before, you can never have too many goalies. Obviously no moves needed here on July 1.


I'm doing this from memory, so don't flame me if I forget someone. Under contract we have Havelid, Enstrom, Klee, X, Bogo the Bull (soon to be anyway), Valabik, and Shitnik. That's 7 defensemen. Before Bogo the Bull strolled into our barn, I wanted us to make 2 pretty substantial UFA signings on D. Now I think it is ok to maybe only make one. Don't expect too much from The Bull right away. He will grow into his role. I say pair him with Klee, depending on who we sign. Assuming we sign a UFA, what do we do with someone like X? Is there room for him on this team? Does Valabik make the squad?

Possible UFA on Defense:

So we need to pick at least one. You have: Cambell, Orpik, Streit, JM Lies, Jason Smith, Commodore, Adam Foote, Rozsival, Wade Redden and on and on and on. We have a lot of money to spend this offseason. That is a good thing as we likely will have to overpay for whoever we get on this list.

Offense (or for those watching on TSN, Offence):

There are virtually no really good centers in the UFA market. That leaves us with: Christensen, Little, White and Slater. The only one that scares me a little is, well Little. Is he ready for a 2nd line role for the entire year? EC is not ideal on the 1st line, but he is the best we have had since Savard. White will be a perfect 3rd line center. Unless there is a trade, I expect these to be the guys we go with at Center.

The main question on the offensive side of things, I believe, is who is going to play RW with the Czar? The other lines work themselves out. Slava and someone like Perrin on line 2. Army on line 3, and so on and so forth. So, back to the Czar. Ryan Malone seems to be the perfect fit (only for the small detail that he plays LW!). Not sure if he could switch to the right side. He would create a little space, and put the puck in the net. I say overpay for him. As we said before, finishing 28th means you will have to overpay to get who you want. A cheaper option would be Michael Ryder (or maybe try to get both?). He is more of a gamble, but well worth it if you ask me. And I believe this is where I officially begin my campaign for us to sign Big Georges Laraque!

So there you have it folks. One major signing on D, and one major signing on O, mixed in with a couple of depth signings... Can't wait for July 1st at noon!

For The Blueland Chronicle, I'm Big Shooter.

Thoughts on the Draft, Trades, and So On

The Jokinen trade is intriguing. What is Florida getting out of it, exactly? Who knows, perhaps it was the right move: it seems that Olli had been unhappy for a long time. And as Mirtle points out, there are few players of Jokinen's skill and stature that have played for so many bad teams. The fact that he's joining the fine young players in Phoenix (Peter Mueller and Kyle Turris, look out for them next year) suggests to us that the Great One is hoping to crack the playoffs as soon as possible. It'll be interesting to watch.

Not to sure what to make of Alex Tanguay's arrival in Montreal, other than assume that Michael Ryder is definitely gone from the franchise. Should the Thrashers make an effort to sign him? He certainly wouldn't be expensive, given his puzzling drop in production this past year. Might the Chronicle venture a proposal?

Sign Michael Ryder.

We know it's a risk, but this is a time that calls for risks. Heroic risks. The man might benefit from a change of scenery, and if he does revert to his previous excellence (and we of the Chronicle believe he will) that would take care of our need of another quality forward. And we'd still have plenty of money left over to sign Malone and Orpik as well. Or Campbell. Or Mark Streit (who no one ever seems to talk about; why?). Or John Michael Liles. Make it happen DW.

The Blueland Chronicle has been fascinated by Kyle Beach for a while now. TSN describes him as a mix of Owen Nolan and Claude Lemieux, which is another way of saying he's a net-crashing psychopath who also happens to be a quality player. I think the Blackhawks have done well by picking him up. I expect them to make a big noise in the next few years: Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, Duncan Keith, and now Kyle Beach. Put Beach on a line with Toews and Kane and invite genocide.


Speaking of teams that might have gotten back on track, I think quite a few underachieving teams have done well in this draft and might well bounce back (or bounce for the first time) next year. Who, you ask? The Chicago Blackhawks, the Los Angeles Kings, the St. Louis Blues, the Phoenix Coyotes, and the Atlanta Thrashers.

That's the Atlanta Thrashers. I repeat: the Atlanta Thrashers.

Who's fucked? The Panthers and those hilarious Islanders.

Who are the wild cards? Without a doubt, Columbus is the biggest one. They acquired R.J. Umberger and Nikita Filatov last night, and it'll be mighty interesting to see how they play with Rick Nash. They have a good goalie in Pascal Leclaire, but I know nothing about their defense. Will Filtatov continue the tradition of Russian superstars like Kovy, Ovie, and Malkin? Will Umberger deliver? Again, it'll be interesting to watch.

Did I mention that I think the Thrashers have done well out of this draft and might well bounce back next year? I strongly suggest everyone takes a look at Fire Wagon Hockey's thorough coverage of Mr. 29, Daulton Levielle. Liking the sound of him, too...will the kid deliver some day? Bob MacKenzie thinks so.


To steal a line from our friend Morty... Dear God. Jeff Dultz has written a column.

Didn't we have this discussion just a day or two ago? Someone really needs to remove the over grown corn cob that has been stuck up Dultz's ass for some time now. I have never seen someone who is so negative, and that is saying a lot.

At this point, it appears that Dultz has some vendetta against Waddell. We struggled through a horrible year. Finally come out the other side of it yesterday. Hire what appears to be the correct coach. Draft what appears to be the defensive savior. And all Dultz can do is complain.

Everyone notices it. All he does is make the same argument he has been making for the past 8 years. And I certainly can't say it any more eloquently than Morty recently did. So I have a proposal. And we will all have to help each other with this, ok?


I am the first one to get excited when I see an new article on the AJC about the Thrashers. But the only way to get this moron fired is to not read. No posting of comments on his blog. Completely ignore him.

So for old times sake, have one last read from this asshole. See for yourself. And then never again.

God, I already miss Custance.

Are you with me?

For The Blueland Chronicle, I'm Big Shooter.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Bogo the Bull Charges Into Blueland

Defining, transformative night for the Atlanta Thrashers, says the Chronicle. Bogosian is exactly who we wanted, and it looks like he's ready to tear up the ice immediately.

It looks like my grand visions of trading the #29 pick or somehow wrangling ourselves the #2 or #4 have faded to thin air (as all grand visions should). Fine by me. I am slightly disappointed, though, that the fellow I wanted to draft with our #29 pick--Swedish d-man Erik Karlsson--was snatched up by Ottawa. Karlsson is going to be somebody; remember his name and mark my words.

Who cares, though? Let's celebrate the arrival of Zach Bogosian, the first person of Armenian descent to play in the National Hockey League and the awesomest dude on the planet right now. I've already ordered my BOGO 4 jersey. He looks good in Thrashers blue.*

*Can't find a damn stationary picture.


What to Expect From Anderson

My take? Wonderful news. I urge all of our readers to point their trusty browsers in the direction this James Mirtle look-over.

Money quote:

"John obviously had a very good NHL playing career, and a lot of times, NHL playing careers lead right into coaching," Cheveldayoff said. "In John's case, what makes him unique from a lot of other guys that step into the coaching realm is that John so badly wanted to get into coaching that he went right down to the Southern Hockey League, which was at the time the lowest rung of professional hockey. He worked his way up."

He coached at every single level you can find."

"John relates well to the players. If you had to categorize him as a coach, he’s a players' coach. One thing he has is an ability to get a lot of different styles of players to come together and play as a cohesive unit. Not unlike every other team, you have ebbs and flows in the season, but one thing that I think with John — and he talks about it all the time — is he treats the players the way he wanted to be treated as a player. That’s the kind of first and foremost characteristic of him..."

Ben Wright from the Blueland Blog got in an interview with the man himself:

"We like to play an attack type game," said Anderson this afternoon. "We don't like to sit back. I will tell you this though- we change our systems throughout a game sometimes and it takes a little while to get all of the sub-systems implemented. But because I've had some of the players already they know some of the thing we do so hopefully that transition will come easier. But it's going to be a lot of hard work in practice though, a lot of positioning and just understanding what I want as a coach."

UPDATE: Dog saves family from burning building, only did it because he liked their choice of dogfood. Also, dog not an arctic fox.

Go get fucked. Seriously.

Now It's Official...

From The Blueland Blog:
"When Don offered me the job last night it had been such a long time since I was in the National League that I went up to my room and cried," he said. "I couldn't believe it and I was so excited. My family can't believe it either. They're so excited about going to Atlanta. I can't wait for the future now."

Sorry Morty...

The Blues just got their goaltender.

Last Minute Trade Proposals, Volume I

The word on the street (I'm street so I know the word thereon) is that the St. Louis Blues are willing to give up their #4 pick for a good goalie.

This is a bit strange, considering they have a mighty fine goalie in Mr. Legace, but perhaps they're looking for a youngun for Leggy to mentor. I raise them one Mr. Pavelec.

The word on the street also tells me that for a while now the Kings have (for some reason or another) been primarily interested in using their #2 pick to draft not Doughty or Bogosian, but Alex Pietrangelo. A young Chris Pronger, apparently. There's also been rumors of them going after Nikita Filatov, hoping he's the next Ovechkin or even Semin.

So if the Kings draft Filtatov or Pietrangelo, and we trade Pavelec for #4, we can get Bogo and Doughty that way. Hurrah!

Then we trade Esposito, #29, Todd White, and a dancing bear to San Jose in return for Patrick Marleau. To be slightly more serious, I think all of that (Espo, Mysterious Mr. 29, White, the bear) WOULD be a reasonable price for Jonathan Cheechoo. If that comes to pass, say hello to the Rocket Richard Line.

Then there's the possibility of trading, say, Esposito and #29 and White and Sterling to Florida in exchange for Finnish Mr. Jokinen. The benefits of Olli are obvious, but I'll name one more not so often talked about. If Kari is our main man (and, to quote Big Shooter, "why shouldn't he be?") and we get Jokinen, we'd have a Finn at the back and a Finn front line and center. Surely that would work some kind of Norse vortex magic and get us into the playoffs on the power of Loki alone.

Thoughts? Prayers?

"I am a patient boy..."

Waiting for a coach, waiting for the draft, waiting for a trade.

Seriously: What the blessed fuck is UP with this Anderson business?

And Now We Have This...

Waddell denies TSN's report we have hired John Anderson.

DW says he is still doing "due diligence". ???????????????????

Come on Donnie. I ain't buying that line. Don't know why we don't have a coach, but NO ONE has been doing "due diligence" since October.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Breaking News...

Well, all it took was me posting a bitch session that we do not have a coach and...

TSN reports we have hired John Anderson.

No one else is reporting it, but it makes sense. Bravo, I say! Anderson deserves a shot. Somewhere Don Cherry is smiling.

We are still investigating the rumor that Anderson was hired after Don Waddell visited The Blueland Chronicle and saw the poll showing people wanted Anderson as coach at a cool 13-2.

For The Blueland Chronicle, I'm Big Shooter.

O Curt Fraser, Where Art Thou?

This time tomorrow we should know who the Thrashers have taken with the #3 pick. I really feel this draft is going to be a great day for the franchise. We have been crawling since '99 and now maybe we will be able to walk (not run, walk). With all of my optimism (the glass is always half full after all), I do have one rather large problem...

This time tomorrow we still might not know who is going to coach our newest draft picks.

No Coach?!?

Are you kidding me? I have been one of the few Waddell supporters over the years, but this is borderline ridiculous. Let me first state that I'm well aware that I am looking at this from the outside in, with no real knowledge of what is going on (by the way, when are they going to hire me to run the show?). Why don't we have a coach? October was a long time ago. I understand why Waddell coached the whole season. We turned things around after he took over. Beast then turned down the job. Yada yada, yada yada. In my opinion Beast should not even be considered for the job if he already turned it down at one point.

There is NO excuse to not have a coach in place by now. The draft is the most important day in the offseason, and I firmly believe you need your entire team in place for that day. This leads me to a question that scares me...

Why don't we have a coach?

Waddell said he wanted to wait to see who might be available. Well, that day has come and gone... With everyone filling their various needs except us. Is it a real possibility that our franchise is in such bad shape that no one wants to coach us? I find that hard to believe, but I'm having a harder and harder time finding another reason why we don't have a head coach. Do respectable coaches all laugh at us and the gigantic pile of elephant dung that is the Atlanta Spirit? Does Joel Quenneville want to take a year off? Why haven't I even heard a whisper of his name?

It is very obvious that John Anderson wants the job. Why don't we just give it to him? It appears we should be counting our blessings that at least SOMEONE wants to be here. So what is the hold up? This entire process has left me a tad bit embarrassed for our beloved boys in blue.

Perhaps it will end soon. As Monty Python used to say... "Get on with it!!!!!"

For The Blueland Chronicle, I'm Big Shooter.

The Mob Bays for Blood

Dear God. Jeff Schultz has written a column. It's the standard Jeff Schultz rabble-rousing stuff; he really enjoys whipping the slavering fiends in the comments section to a frenzy.

He's obviously not wrong when he says that Waddell has made some boneheaded moves, and for my part I would be delighted with a new GM...but let's try to keep some historical perspective (which is NOT the same thing as blindly applauding everything DW does, contra some of the philosophers who post in the comments section) and remember a few things.

Like Kovalchuk, like Toby Enstrom, like (and I know many of the bright sparks in the comments thread will vehemently disagree) Kari Lehtonen, like Hossa for Heatley, like Marc Savard (who we eventually couldn't afford; not DW's fault I'm afraid), like Hedberg, like Braydon Coburn. Yes, Braydon Coburn of the horrific trade that brought Zhitnik to Atlanta. Remember, though, that we were headed to the playoffs that year and needed some veteran talent. Alexei Zhitnik was having a fine year. Hindsight is exceptionally clear etc. etc. etc...

But there's no denying Schultz's point that the Thrashers are in disarray and that the key to alleviating some of our bigger problems is making a bold, risky trade or free agent signing. Amen to that. But Schultz is either ignorant of a few important facts or is withholding them from his target audience:

1) He says that our draft picks won't be ready to play in the NHL any time soon, if ever. This is nonsense. Anyone with a nodding acquaintance of most of the important hockey press knows that Drew Doughty and especially Zach Bogosian (our likeliest new Thrasher) are NHL-ready now. Not next year. Not in two years. Right now.

2) He rehashes the old paranoid meme about Kovalchuk's imminent departure. It IS possible, of course, that Kovy could leave in two seasons if we continue to perform as badly as we did last season. But it seems more likely that he won't, based on a few things: after Russia's recent gold medal victory in the World Championship, Kovy told an interviewer that he wouldn't be leaving the Thrashers because the NHL is unpredictable and you never know, we might actually be good next year and the year after. This is empirically true. Which brings me to point number

3) Lovable amnesiacs that they are, people forget that when Ovechkin signed his massive deal with the Caps the team was languishing behind US in the standings. He committed to a team and the team committed to him. Where Schultz and some of the commenting hordes are right is in their skepticism about whether this team will live up to the standard set by Kovy. According to Waddell (I know, I know, I'm using Lucifer himself as a source) Kovalchuk explicitly told him that he was interested in an Ovechkin-like deal with Atlanta.

One last thing about Schultz himself: The quotes from Kovy's agent aren't exactly pregnant with implication to me. They're typical room-temperature non-answers of the sort beloved by agents, publicists, and bureaucrats of all kinds. The quotes only have an ominous ring to them because Schultz imposes it on them. Like the man says, "read between the lines."

Many of the comments on Schultz's column are, of course, dumber and more ahistorical than the column itself. Everyone likes to posture and beat their chest ("Be ready to talk about Atlanta hockey from the early 70's onward, asshole! YEAH! Smash this brick on my forehead!") and Americans love a good enema of paranoia and hysteria, but again, let's try to maintain some perspective.

One commenter says that "hockey in the Southeast" is a death-trap, and that if Kovalchuk played in a market with more hockey fans he would have a career like Ovechkin's. First of all, Kovy DOES have a career like Ovechkin's. It's not a matter of who's better: we should feel privleged to be following hockey at a time when two great goal-scorers--both Russian, both playing in the Southeast--are slugging it out in a friendly rivalry. And secondly, has this person ever BEEN to Washington? It's not exactly Hockeyopolis. NO ONE cares about hockey in DC; the crowds at Verizon Arena are roughly equivalent to crowds at Phillips. Washington DC is not a hockey city like Buffalo, Pittsburgh, or the Canadian cities.

Commenters that pride themselves on their deftness with the CAPS Lock key and on blood-and-thunder proclamations about the "sheep" that go to Thrashers games and "Donnie FRAUDell" (chortle chortle chortle) really need to mellow out. Not everyone who hasn't burned their season ticket renewal forms and hasn't sworn on a holy book (written by Jeff Schultz, of course) never to return to Phillips Arena until Don Waddell's head is placed on a stick is a mindlessly optimistic "sheep," dudes. They (we) just enjoy hockey, and they're (we're) willing to pay extra money to watch the likes of Kovalchuk battle the likes of Ovechkin, Crosby, Lecavalier, and on and on and on. You really ought to drop the apocalyptic tone in your comments; Kovy and the Thrashers will have their day. Look to NHL history, that's all. Patience. Delayed gratification. Enjoy the ride.

You fucking dickheads.

My (Quixotic) Proposition

Give Pavelec, Esposito, #29, Havelid, and Todd White to L.A. in return for Drew Doughty.

Somehow land Ryan Malone, Valterri Filpulla, and/or Corey Perry. Make up for the absence of a good veteran defenseman (Havelid) by signing Jason Smith.

And we're off!!!!!!!!

Does anyone think we could trade Todd White for Patrick Marleau? Surely Todd White, an excellent stamp collection, and a summer pass to Six Flags for the entire Sharks team would do the trick. Does anyone in the Thrashers organization own a Matisse?

The Czar and the Czarina

Not sure if this is footage of their marriage last summer (when they purportedly tied the knot) or a more recent ceremony, like, say, their official state coronation as Czar and Czarina. Either way, watch.

Sadly I'm no good with the language of Turgenev and Mandelstam. Any Russian speakers/readers who know what this is all about?

Nice to know that Kovy is still a good Russian Orthodox boy. He won't be converted by any Southern Baptist neanderthals while he's in Atlanta. You gotta love the white suit/pink tie combination. The Czar is truly a man of style and taste.

UPDATE: A quick perusal of the Smirkin Chicken forums has revealed that the Czar and the Czarina were married last summer in a civil ceremony and waited til now to have the big, gaudy (I mean that in the best possible way; "gaudy" like the poetry of Wallace Stevens, say), religious ceremony. That almost makes me want to be received into the Russian Orthodox Church and listen to strange incantations every Sunday. Also picked up from the Chicken (a tip of the hat to commenter JuneyMoon):

The royal family.

I predict that the young one becomes one of those Russian tennis phenoms.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Madness, Just Total Madness

OK folks... I am about to explode waiting on the draft! I've given up on us hiring a coach. Morty and I talked it over and decided Moose will be the backup, and also coach the team. On days when Moose is in goal, Marc Crawford's hair will be brought in to coach. Not Marc Crawford, just his hair.

Morty also has got me thinking about the Kings #2 pick. I want it. What have the Kings been missing since the beginning of time? That's right, a goalie. What do we have a plethora of? That's right. Not sure what would be fair market value for the #2 pick. Pavelec, our #29 pick and top prospect/roster player? What say you faithful Chronicle readers? Is that enough? Too much?

If that happens (unlikely by the way, but still fun to speculate!) we should take both Doughty and Bogosian. Our defense would be: Tobi, Havelid, Bogo, Doughty, UFA(Orpik$?$), Klee/X/Shitnik/whoever I forgot about. Then possibly sign Ryan Malone and we are much better.

First thing first, we have to decide as an organization what goalie to go with. Is now the time to do that with Kari needing a new contract? Or do we give Pavelec another year or two to get his feet on solid ground? If Kari is our man (and why shouldn't he be?) then we need to move Pavelec. I know it is a little risky, but we have too many holes to fill. We could get a key piece in return. Good Lord this is exciting!!!!!!!!!! So many possibilities!!

What say you Blueland? Am I totally off my rocker?

For The Blueland Chronicle, I'm Big Shooter.

The Atlanta Sharks?

According to TSN, Patrick Marleau is definitely available. The article here (and its accompanying video) says that the teams most interested in making a big trade are San Jose, Carolina, and Florida. With whom, I wonder?

Ollie Jokinen is also available, and apparently he comes at the asking price of two young roster players and a draft pick. Too expensive, I say. I think Jokinen would be an excellent center for the Czar, but if we somehow wrangled Patrick Marleau I'd die of an ecstatic heart attack. For one, I love the Sharks. For two (and this has more relevance to our Thrashers), he would be the answer to all our prayers. He'd be the ideal center for Kovalchuk because he's big, physical, a good passer, and FAST. I'm not sure if you've noticed, but Kovalchuk is also fast. A Kovalchuk-Marleau pairing would be the fastest line in the NHL. Marleau is pretty much the incarnation of the archetypal Power Forward. His drop in production last season isn't much to worry about, I think: he was injured for quite a lot of the year, and I'm pretty much convinced a change of scenery could set him on fire. Did I mention he's fast as a spanked cheetah?

Apparently Marleau isn't the only big-name Shark available. That's right, Jonathan Cheechoo, he of the "what the hell?!" Rocket Richard Trophy, could come join us on right wing. I'm not sure if he'd make up for the absence of Hossa, but-----and I remember saying this VERY early on----if he played on a line with Kovalchuk the numbers would be astronomical. Not just because you'd have two former Richard Trophy winners on the same line, but because what Cheechoo primarily is is a finisher. Cheechoo actually ISN'T a goal-scorer along the lines of Ovechkin or Kovalchuk. The reason he won that Richard Trophy in 2006 is because Joe Thornton had a blazing year doing what he does best: making plays. Cheechoo was always the primay dude to finish the plays. Hence the 56 goals.

I say we go after either Marleau or Cheechoo, but not both. Marleau would be preferable, since he is the high-quality center and power forward Kovy needs. If we can't get him, get Jonathan Cheechoo, I say. People forget what an exceptional passer and play-maker Kovy is: if he had Cheechoo serving him on right wing he could not only score a ton of goals himself but also finally have a team-mate he can set up and pass to.

Though I'm obviously not averse to getting both. That would be AWFULLY expensive, though.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Goalie Depth

We have it.

Thought experiment: trade Angelo Esposito, Ondrej Pavelec, and perhaps some future draft picks as well to the L.A. Kings for the number two pick. Use our #2 and #3 spots to draft Zach Bogosian AND Nikita Filatov. No? Alright, fine: revel and be glad in the fact that your team has the greatest netminding depth (or, looking at it from another angle, greatest excess of trade possibilities) since the Kiprusoff-Nabokov-Toskala era of the San Jose Sharks.

All of these considerations are secondary to the fact that I just love that Moose.

Al Gore Knows What Hockey Is?

I'm surprised that ANYONE from our political class has the foggiest notion about our beloved game. Right at the start of the speech:

Politically speaking, not the ballsiest move ever. I mean, he could've endorsed Obama when such a thing would've actually HAD AN EFFECT. Ah well...I suppose he wins points for graciousness, considering how the Red Wings defeated his hometown Nashville Predators.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Official Editorial Positions

The official editorial position of the Blueland Chronicle is that the Thrashers must draft Zach Bogosian.

The official editorial position of the Blueland Chronicle is that the Thrashers must make Ilya Kovalchuk captain next year. It should be noted, however, that the 'C' on his jersey will stand for 'Czar.'

The official editorial position of the Blueland Chronicle is that Slava Kozlov will awaken from his slumber next season.

The official editorial position of the Blueland Chronicle is that the Thrashers are in a uncomfortable period of their history much like similar periods in the histories of--to give only recent examples--teams like the Tampa Bay Lightning, Carolina Hurricanes, Washington Capitals, and Pittsburgh Penguins. Ahistorical and alarmist talk about the inevitability of a) the Czar leaving for another team when his contract runs out or b) the Thrashers being sold off to new owners and relocated to another city, probably in Canada, is not only ignorant of the realities of the NHL but tedious and time-wasting. The bright sparks that comment at the AJC blog and the message boards should really drop their collective self-pity: the NHL is wildly unpredictable, and teams go through phases, sometimes long and sometimes short, of glory or mediocrity or outright awfulness. Free cupcakes to anyone who can tell us where Ovechkin and the Caps ranked at the end of the 2006-07 season. We'll add free cookie cake for anyone who can tell us how many Stanley Cups the Caps have won throughout their history. We'll add a wave pool for anyone who can tell us the same about the St. Louis Blues.

The official editorial position of the Blueland Chronicle is that the Thrashers must sign Brooks Orpik.

The official editorial position of the Blueland Chronicle is that Erik Christensen is a highly interesting hockey player who will flourish as Kovalchuk's center as long as he's schooled properly. We suggest a front line of Kovalchuk-Christensen-Kozlov for next year.

The official editorial position of the Blueland Chronicle is that Angelo Esposito and Ondrej Pavelec are excellent prospects either to use or trade away for first-rate NHL talent.

The official editorial position of the Blueland Chronicle is that Tobias Enstrom will become one of the league's elite defensemen.

The official editorial position of the Blueland Chronicle is wordless delight that Moose has been re-signed.

The official editorial position of the Blueland Chronicle is that Kari Lehtonen is a fine goalie whose numbers will finally reflect his talent when we have a decent defense. Fuck any and all naysayers.

The official editorial position of the Blueland Chronicle is that the Thrashers will do well next season.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Do Your Duty, Don

If the Atlanta Thrashers were a parliamentary democracy and Don Waddell was prime minister, he would've been overthrown by a vote of no confidence a long, long time ago. I like Don, and I've defended him against some of the more mindless complaints of Thrasher fans, but seriously...if we can't land Ron Wilson, can we at least land Brooks Orpik and Ryan Malone?

Both of them are exactly what this team needs: Malone is a power forward that can clear space for the Czar and score plenty of goals of his own; Orpik is precisely the rugged, pissed-off defenseman this team has always lacked. It's come to my attention that the Columbus Blue Jackets--they of Rick Nash fame--are lobbying hard for both of them. The Pens more or less HAVE to unload Malone and Orpik if they want to keep the likes of Crosby, Malkin, etc. Malone's from Pittsburgh, so he might offer a hometown discount, but Columbus is well below the cap and seems to be offering loads of cash. Columbus can dish out plenty of money to both these guys; so can we. So it's on, then; a fight to the death between Atlanta and Columbus to see who will get the two Americans. Please, Don, don't let them slip away.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Kings Fire Marc Crawford

Big surprise to me! The Thrashers could do a lot worse. Wonder if Donnie boy already has his list set, or if he will give Marc a shot. The thing I love best about Crawford is, of course, his hair. Let's take a look at his hair through the years, shall we?

Beautiful. Just beautiful.

For The Blueland Chronicle, I'm Big Shooter.

That's Why We Call Him the Czar, Part II

Monday, June 9, 2008

Finally! Some News...

So, the AJC has finally gotten off their asses and hired a replacement for Craig Custance. I feel sorry for the guy. I haven't met one person who disliked Craig, but lets give the new guy a shot. He says here he has worn his old Atlanta Knights t-shirt until it can be worn no more. Good enough for me.

More importantly there is news on the coaching front. I have seen a lot with the Thrashers and the lack of media coverage, but I can honestly say I can't believe it has taken this long for some news. Here is what Mike Knobler (new guy) has to say:

**One drank beer from the Stanley Cup last week. Another hopes to hoist the Calder Cup Tuesday night. A third won the Stanley Cup as a player. Todd McLellan, John Anderson and Brad McCrimmon are candidates to become the Thrashers' coach. One of them could have the job by next week. But, Thrashers general manager Don Waddell said Monday, he might hire someone else.

Waddell said he will begin interviewing three or four candidates later this week and that two of them will be Anderson, coach of the Thrashers' top minor-league affiliate, and McCrimmon, the Thrashers' associate coach. McLellan, an assistant with the Detroit Red Wings, was in San Jose on Monday interviewing for the Sharks job and will interview for the Thrashers job, too, Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said.

"He's one of several people we've reached out to talk to," Waddell said of McLellan, but there's no guarantee he's one of the ones who will have a face-to-face interview. A coach will be in place before the NHL draft June 20-21, Waddell said.

The Thrashers have been without a permanent head coach since Waddell fired Bob Hartley in October. Five other NHL teams have coaching vacancies, too, but Waddell said there are plenty of excellent candidates to go around and the Thrashers aren't necessarily in a race to snag their man before somebody else grabs him.

"We all have different needs," Waddell said, adding that he needs someone whose strength is developing young players. "Our best players are young players. We have to make sure we have somebody who can not only win games but help these players continue to become the best hockey players they can."

One prerequisite for the job: With the exception of Anderson, Waddell said, anyone who interviews will have NHL experience. That would appear to eliminate one of this year's hot coaching prospects – Peter DeBoer of the major junior Kitchener Rangers. Ron Wilson, who might have been a prime candidate, has agreed in principle to accept the Toroto Maple Leafs job, Canadian network TSN reported.**

Welcome to the club Mike. I already like you better than Jeff Dultz.

For The Blueland Chronicle, I'm Big Shooter.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Some Thoughts...

So, another season come and gone. It pains me to do this, but congratulations Devil Wings. You turned out to be the best team in the NHL. I look forward to the day you suck, but doesn't look like that is coming soon.

Some of you will notice over the next few weeks that Morty will not be with us. May he rest in peace. Just kidding! He is over seas reporting for the Chronicle in England. You didn't think we had it in the budget to send our top reporter to the hockey hotbed that is England did you? What will we think of next!! I already feel the pressure of handling the Chronicle all by myself. Perhaps Frenchy will make post number 3... but I doubt it!

I am about ready for us to hire a coach!!! Looks like ole Ronnie boy will be going to Toronto. Big surprise to me. The only two names that I've heard for us are Todd McLellan (Det. Ass) and John Anderson (Wolves). I don't really know much about either one. Don Cherry seems to like Anderson, and that is good enough for me. Plus he has a kick ass handle bar mustache working during the playoffs!

Can't wait for the draft. Speaking of draft... Taco Mac has opened at Philips. Over 100 beers on draft and I'm told you can bring them with you in to the game! God Bless them. Oh yeah, the draft! I'm hoping for Bogosian, but suppose I will happy with either him or DD (it BETTER be one of them).

I'm already dreading August. Hottest month of the year. No hockey stuff at all. Just sucks all the way around.

For The Blueland Chronicle, I'm Big Shooter.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Hockey People

I've probably said it over a million times, but I'll say it again. Hockey people are plain and simple the best people living on the planet.

For those of you that don't watch the Coach's Corner episodes on here (why don't you?!?!), Don talked about Bourdon, the young Canuck that was killed in the motorcycle accident. The fan that received his jersey at the "Jesery off our back" give-away the last game of the year mailed that jersey to Bourdon's mom.

Also, take a look at this link. Wonderful article on my favorite player of all time, Big Georges.

Hockey people are just the best. Kiss my ass Tiger Woods.

For The Blueland Chronicle, I'm Big Shooter.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Head Coach Madness

Three links, for your hockey awareness edification:

1. Ron Wilson has been offered the head coach position in Toronto. Sensible man that he is, Ron says he needs some time to think it over.

2. Tampa Bay head offices reveal they've sacked John Tortorella.

3. Rumors about the return of Barry Melrose swirl.

And now for Our Take On It All:

On the Wilson front, getting spurned for the Toronto Maple Leafs would be a slap in the face. I realize that the Thrashers organization is woefully dysfunctional, but if that's a reason to stay away from a team then Ron should avoid Toronto like the plague. They're the only organization in the NHL that manages to be more dysfunctional than the Thrashers. Besides, the Leafs are not going to give Ron Wilson his long-desired Stanley Cup. The Leafs will continue to do what they've done best for these last few seasons: hover in the middle of the rankings, not good enough to get into the playoffs and not bad enough to rebuild their team through the draft. Who could get Ron the Stanley Cup? Of the teams that are available, the Av's and the Senators seem like the mostly likely options. But Ron doesn't like cold weather or the Canadian press. So that leaves him the option of coming to the Southeast Division, to either the Thrashers, the Panthers, or the Lightning.

Obviously, the Chronicle's official editorial position is that we badly, badly want Ron Wilson to be the Thrashers' head coach next year. So we're not disinterested observers, but I think I can honestly say that I think Atlanta offers more to work with than Florida. If I were Ron I'd choose either Atlanta or Tampa Bay. They're two teams that have had a lousy time but offer plenty to work with and develop. Between those two I know which one I want Ron to choose.

Something that seems to work in Atlanta's favor, though, is that John Tortorella has been fired and it looks like his old position will almost certainly be filled by Barry Melrose. It's not official yet, but it appears that Melrose is eager to coach the young Stamkos and his esteemed comrades Messieurs Lecavlier and St. Louis. This is especially strange, as Big Shooter once offered Melrose the Thrashers head coach job in person and the Mulleted One declined. Why Tampa and not us? After Wilson, Melrose is probably Dream Option #2. But probably less likely than Wilson.

If Wilson takes the Maple Leafs job that leaves us with...John Tortorella, possibly. I have to admit to a downright loathing of Mr. Tort, so if he became the Thrashers' coach I'd probably hang myself in effigy. I'd sooner take some minor league nobody than Tortorella. I say "minor league nobody," but I don't mean it to be pejorative: the Thrashers could land someone of Bruce Boudrou-esque caliber to lead us out of the wilderness.

Other suggestions for head coach if we can't get Ron Wilson?

1. Scott Mellanby- Played with us and stuff. Nice guy, knows his hockey very well, already has chemistry with Kovalchuk (our Captain/Czar). Also, he once got into a bar fight and nearly lost his arm. Which means he'll teach our Thrashers to be tough as nails; we'll become a physical, bar-brawling, arm-detaching team overnight.

2. Pavel Bure- I know he's not from the Greatest Continent on God's Green Planet Ever in World History, but he was Kovalchuk's childhood idol and his GM on the Russian Olympic team. A Kovy/Bure partnership could work well for a few reasons: for one, Bure's presence would inspire Kovy to raise himself to some unprecedented level of awesomeness to impress his hero; secondly, Bure once played for the Vancouver Canucks and thus knows how to deal with orca whales.

This possibility could turn out to be a complete disaster though. Bure's presence could put Kovy into some weird state of mind and wreck his game, and his orca whale-fighting prowess could raise questions from animal rights groups.

3. Dale Hunter- Do I even need to explain?

4. The chick who played goalie for the Atlanta Knights- Can you imagine the notoriety?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Coach's Corner, May 31st


Thank You Craig

By now most of you have heard, Craig Custance is leaving the AJC at the end of June to become the NHL national beat writer for the Sporting News. While this is a wonderful move for Craig and his family, it leaves us Thrasher fans feeling sad.

I've seen what the AJC coverage was before we had CC. Ehhwhwhhw... just had a full body shiver. I really don't want to go back to those days. In his latest blog, Craig said that if the rumors are true his replacement is fantastic. Lets all pray he is right.

***Edit: Got this from

BEAT CHANGE IN NEWS & INFORMATION Mike Knobler, who has done a stellar job as the lead Georgia Tech football reporter, will take over the Thrashers beat immediately. With the team preparing to hire a new coach in the next two weeks and NHL free agency starting on July 1, we needed someone who could step right in. We are thrilled that Mike wants to take on this new challenge. — Ronnie Ramos, N&I senior editor for Sports & Features ***

When Craig took over some time ago, it was immediately obvious to me that he would be moving on to bigger and better things. It was the same feeling I had the first time I heard Billy Jaffe. I thought to myself, this guy is waaaaay to good to be doing color radio for the Thrashers (NOT A KNOCK AGAINST SHERIFF OR KAMAL). I knew he would move on to a TV job somewhere. A few years later he moves on to New York and VS.

Craig will excel in his new job, and the sky is the limit for him. He always preformed with class, hard work, and didn't blindly throw anyone under the bus just to grab a few headlines... like his cow-worker Jeff Dultz.

So here is to you Craig. We were lucky to have you. I suppose it will be nice to have a Thrashers guy working in the national media. All of us here at The Chronicle wish you nothing but the best.

For The Blueland Chronicle, I'm Big Shooter.