Monday, April 28, 2008

A Toast To Olie

I know this is a Thrashers blog, but all of us here at The Chronicle love hockey and the NHL. So we will go off on a tangent every once and a while. Guess what? I have something to get off my chest.

Olaf Kolzig. One of my all time favorites. The reason that hockey is better than every other sport out there is because of the type of person that plays, or enjoys the game. For the most part, hockey people are down to earth, good individuals, that don't change. No matter how many millions they make.

Olaf Kolzig is one of the NHL's good guys. He has been the heart and soul of the Caps organ-I-zation long before some Ovechkin guy came along. Olie has always been great with the kids, and lends a hand to those who are less fortunate at every chance he gets. He also has the kind of sense of humor that every locker room needs, and is a great leader. He had many chances to leave the Caps, but never did. Because he is loyal. I, myself am loyal. To a fault most times. And that is why I am writing this post.

It pained me to see him sitting on the bench during the playoffs. Getting Huet for a second rounder was a good move. But if you ask me, Huet was very average in the playoffs. Why they didn't play Olie when Huet struggled is beyond me. Olie isn't what he used to be, but he is still a solid goalie. He should have been given the chance to lead the Caps into the 2nd round. But alas, he wasn't. And now I am watching the Flyers play the Habs.

After game 7 Olie took his name plate off his locker and left without speaking. He is a free agent and most likely won't be back with the Caps. He could move on, or as I suspect, retire. I mentioned before that he is loyal. I would think it would be the Caps or nothing for our friend Olie.

If you are reading this Olie, and I know you are, please know that all of us here at The Chronicle have a tremendous amount of respect for you. So, let's all raise a glass to Olie for being such a grand part of our game. This world needs far more Olaf Kolzigs. You deserved better Olie. This long time Caps fan thanks you for all the years.

For The Blueland Chronicle, I'm Big Shooter.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Liveblog! Dallas Stars vs. San Jose Sharks, Game One

Afraid my blogging on this one might be sporadic; I'll be too wrapped up in the action. Joe Thornton's on TV right now; he's a true mensch.

--Joey Thornton played a game of Risk the night before Game 7 against Calgary. Last night he played a card game. Jesus what a BMF.

--The puck drops!

10:13 PM- Joe T. makes an amazing pass to Michalek, doesn't go in. Damn it.

10:14 PM- What kind of name is Turco?

10:16 PM- Brian Campbell slides to block! Beautiful!

Mental health break:

10:23 PM- I predict Dallas will put up a big fight, but the Sharks are solid and intense so far.

10:24 PM- Michalek is faster than a slippery Holland Lop on rollerblades.


The only arena where it makes sense to play the Jaws theme.

10:26 PM- Fuck. Rivet takes a penalty. Fo on fo.

10:28 PM- Sharks are defending and back-checking better than I've ever seen. This is awesome. JR slides into the boards, some Star dude lays down on him and goes to sleep.

10:30 PM- Sweet Jesus, Ron Wilson is a sharp-dressed man. Someone reveal this man's tailor.

10:35 PM- Sharks outshooting the Stars like whoa. Sharks have fired five times I think, the Stars zero.

10:36 PM- Sharks penalized, Stars get a power play. Time for the Volkswagon again. I really dislike this ad campaign, I've decided. The "Avis is your other car" campaign is just totally uncool.

10:37 PM- The commercial with all the dogs on boats, on the other hand, is magnificent. Can't go wrong with canines. Or polar bears. Or canines and polar bears.

10:40 PM- Nabby and the Sharks kill the penalty and invade Stars territory. Charge!

10:41 PM- JR with a sweet shot but denied by Turco. JR's line fires several times, draws a penalty. Another power play!

10:45 PM- Sharkies miserable on that power play. Or maybe Dallas was good. Either way, no goal. That concludes the first period. Turco is good.

10:46 PM- Ovechkin commercial. "Thas how the Cup changes erything." Missed the small clip of Kovalchuk. Is it sad that I've memorized so many of the commercials on Versus?

First Intermission Musical Interlude (I'd like to dedicate this one to the Czar; stay strong, Kovy):

11:03 PM- Second period begins. Come on Sharkies!

11:04 PM- Nabokov.

11:06 PM- Nabokov again.


11:10 PM- I love Mike Grier. Get a goal, Mike! Shit. Sharks get a penalty. Dallas power play.

11:11 PM- Fuck Mike Modano. Fuck him right in the ear. Stars tie it 1-1.


11:37 PM- Big Shooter has just texted me; he's been attending the International Onion Festival in Vidalia, GA and he's told me to tell all of you, readers, that he really loves JR. He loves JR and he hates Mike Madonna, Marty Turco, Brenden Morrow, Brad Richards, and the rest. That is all.

11:42 PM- Second intermission. Flipping over to Bill Maher. Garry Shandling is on. Funny, funny man. Talking about Hillary. Har har har. God I hate the Stars.

11:49 PM- Arianna Huffington also on Bill Maher. What an irritating voice. Matt Taibbi too! One of my favorite political writers, and an influence on this blog. Conversation on the panel is a lot more thoughtful than I'd expected, given that everyone agrees with everyone. Maybe that allows for more nuance and subtlety than the regulation Left vs. Right nonsense.

Holy shit.

Ariana: "Bill's slept with more black women than Barack Obama."

Maher to Arianna: "At least my husband wasn't gay." OH SNAP!

11:53 PM- 3rd period about to start. Make us proud boys. Go Sharks go!

11:54 PM- Billy Jaffe doing some commentary. Big Shooter has seen him do the moonwalk naked.

11:56 PM- COME ON!!!!!!!!!!!

Stroke of Fucking Midnight- SHARKS ON THE POWER PLAY!!!! WEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!

12:03 AM- Another failed power play.

12:10 AM- Nice by Christian Ehrhoff. Stopped by Turco.

12:13 AM- JR nearly had it!!!

12:20 AM- THEY SCOOOOOOORE!!!!!!!!! JONATHAN CHEEEEEEECHHHHHOOOOOO!!!!!!! What a violent, blazing scuffle in front of the goal. Neon lights of teal and green. Thanks Cheech!

12:26 AM- I'm tense. Madonna and co. are on a power play because, uh, Brian Campbell made a totally clean hit on some Star vagina. Nabby and the Sharks D holding up so far. COME ON BOYS! CLOSE THIS OUT!

12:28 AM- We're goin' tah Overtime.

12:40 AM- Outdoor enthusiast and ATV rider Chad Randell looks like a caveman. Seriously, what a frightening-looking guy.

12:43 AM- Overtime's about to begin. Lots of shots of Jonathan Cheechoo on the bench. Apparently a very religious man. The Sharks are a team of characters. Shot of a teenage couple in the stands hitting each other with teal-and-white pom-poms. Reminds me of why I love the Bay Area.

12:45 AM- Cheechoo kicking ass in the neutral zone. I bet Ronnie developed some brilliant strategy back in the locker room.

12:48 AM- Brenden Morrow. Goal. Game over. Stars lead series 1-0.

I want to see something like this:

Fuck you Stars.

Liveblog! New York Rangers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins, Game One

7:03 PM- Darren Elliot's on the TV screen. Sidney Crosby is doing that thing where he looks directly into the camera after answering a question; this makes me uncomfortable.

7:04 PM- Darren and the other guy are talking about Chris Drury. What a dude.

7:07 PM- No special guest goalie commentator alongside Keith Jones and company. I liked Manny Legace during the first week of the playoffs. Rick di Pietro had some kind of problem with turning away from the camera; maybe he wanted us all to see his perfect profile.

7:10 PM- First Ryan Miller commercial of the night. First Dockers "California Soul" as well.

7:11 PM- Hossa gets a big cheer from the Pens fans. The crowd at Pittsburgh is all white and stuff. Puck drops!

7:13 PM- Jagr shoves Gonchar into the boards, Pens get a power play mad early.

7:16 PM- Nothing came of that power play. I think one Staal brother just clobbered the other one.

7:17 PM- Pittsburgh soundsystem superior to Philips Arena. We need a better music selection.

7:18 PM- Van Halen has to be the most popular sports arena music selection. If it's not "Unchained" it's "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love." I'd like to see David Lee Roth play hockey.

7:20 PM- Malkin is a badass.

7:22 PM- Pizza's arrived. Must take a break. Unless something happens.

7:35 PM- Something happens. Rangers score on a powerplay; something tells me this series won't be as easy for the Pens as the one against the Senators. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOH Hossa nearly had a goal. Not to be. Lundquist.

7:57 PM- My God I LOVE that Geico commercial with the race car-driving kid. It's nearly Wes Anderson-esque.

8:00 PM- There's no way that guy in the Rogaine commercial actually uses Rogaine. False advertising, I say.

8:06 PM- Sean Avery gets a little close to Fleury. He-----RANGERS SCORE AGAIN. And they're playing "Some Guys Have All the Fun!" Genius. Bitch about the goal, though.

8:09 PM- The goal was Chris Drury's. And what a goal; he basically met the puck in mid-air and swatted it in.

8:10 PM- Georges Laraque is a tiger resting its snout on its paws.

8:11 PM- Are you reading DW? SIGN BROOKS ORPIK!

8:12 PM- SEAN AVERY SCORES! This has to be particularly irritating for the Pens fans. Much as I dislike Avery, he's played very well this season. Hats off. Grudgingly.

8:13 PM- Laraque update: The tiger snarls but doesn't pounce. Or does he? He skates to the box.

8:19 PM- Gotta hand it to them Rangers. They're playing pretty damn well. Darren Elliot just explained to me what makes their play so effective. I agree with Darren about almost everything (the Kari-Goes-Ballistic incident is a notable exception). Jesus Sean Avery has such a punchable face.

8:21 PM- Ruutu, who I hate almost as much as I hate Avery, maybe more, scores a goal. Glad the Pens have scored...but did it have to that Kovy-crippling bastard? GOAL! WHO?



Rangers 3, Penguins 2.

8:24 PM- The Pens seem to have shaken off their nine-day nap. The crowd is certainly back in it.

8:29 PM- It is my wish that Ruutu and Avery get into a scuffle and kill each other. Not BY fighting, understand. Instead I wish their mutual obnoxiousness will just create an Obnoxiousness Fire that will consume both of them. Or maybe a hole in the ice opens beneath them and they fall into the jaws of a killer whale.

8:37 PM- Sidney Crosby is an excellent penalty-drawing actor.

8:42 PM- Penguins don't tie it just yet. Second period over. Ho hum. Great game!

9:06 PM- HOSSA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

9:07 PM- It's tied, kids. I think Hossa somehow inserted a goal-seeking magnet into the puck. Lovely goal. That kills everyone's suspicions that Hossa disappears in the playoffs.

9:08 PM- PETER SYKORAAAAAAAA!! Pens ahead by 1! Huzzah.

9:13 PM- "Yuh got man versus animal. It don't git no realer than that."

9:16 PM- Pittsburgh crowd singing along with Blitzkrieg Bop. I wish the Thrashers crowd would do likewise. Or do they? I can't remember.

9:17 PM- Fuckeditit. Gomez fires a fucking javelin for the Rangers. 4-4.

9:19 PM- Darren Elliot talks an awful lot about rhythm. What is he, the POPE?

9:20 PM- The other commentator dude breaks to a commercial with "4-4 New York." What the fuck?

9:21 PM- I agree with Darren about this rhythm business, by the way. The Pens have lost theirs for the moment, and the Rangers are just thrusting away. It's useful to think of hockey in terms of offensive "rhythm."

9:22 PM- Van Hagar-era shit on the soundsystem.

9:30 PM- Pens get a power play with three minutes and twelve seconds to go. Do it now! Hives on the soundsystem.

9:31 PM- Gonchar, Crosby, Malkin, Malone, Hossa on the power play. Between them they SHOULD score.


9:33 PM- Ranger dicklings want the play reviewed. Pens crowd not happy. Chanting rude things about Lundquist.

9:35 PM- Goal officially credited to Crosby. Malkin just had a front row seat.

9:36 PM- One minute. There's one minute remaining in the period.

Stoppage. Queens of the Stone Age's best song on the soundsystem. Jesus, now it's Cottoneye Joe.

9:37 PM- More Cottoneye Joe. Play resumes. Frantic. Was Lundquist left the net? YES he has.

9:38 PM- Goal credited to Malkin now. Five seconds. GAME OVER! PENS WIN! Fuck you Rangers! Blur's "Song 2" closes it out.

An Attempt at a Liveblog, T-Minus 22 Minutes and Counting

Most Friday nights we here at the Blueland Chronicle are out carousing with supermodels and rock stars, but tonight I, at least, will be staying in to watch the Penguins-Rangers and Sharks-Stars games. That's right kids, Mr. Peacock recently dislocated his kneecap and has been chair-ridden for about a week. Got too dance-happy at a wedding last weekend. Not a hockey injury.

ANYWAY, I'm going to try to live-blog both games tonight. Stay with me, children; my knee is fucked, but I would be watching this anyway...I mean, think of the excitement of the Pens game alone! Will Hossa deliver? Will Avery do something to Crosby and get walloped by Big Georges Laraque? Will Jagr get torched on his return to the city where he played during his (and the Pens') legendary years? Let's go!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

American Stuff

We here at the Blueland Chronicle are American citizens, reasonably certain that we've been legal and documented since our births. Big Shooter might have slightly more American points than me, as he's met most (or is it all?) of the members of the 1980 Miracle on Ice team and even sports a signature-covered Team USA jersey now and then. He also loves Bruce Willis.

Like so many of you, readers, we're Americans in love with a Canadian sport (okay, a Canadian-Russian-Scandinavian-Eastern European sport that also features players from France, Germany, and Switzerland), so we're always interested to see how hockey comes across to American sports fans who might be more interested in football, baseball, and basketball. This article at the NBC website seems to be intended as a sort of marketing pitch to potential American playoff viewers: the whole tone is salesmanly and glad-handing ("Whaddaya MEAN you don't watch hockey? Well just wait 'til you see Sidney Crosby, he's a dandy, etc."), and it reads like it had to be approved by a committee somewhere high atop Rockefeller Plaza ("mention the Crosby kid at least seven times"; "oh, New York has a team in it? Mention them a lot"). The journo seems to have an unhealthy Jagr obsession, and he seems to think that Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Alex Ovechkin are the only players in the NHL (aside from Jagr, of course). BUT I don't disagree with him that this year's playoff match-ups are interesting and exciting, and he's right to note that one of the reasons the Sharks-Stars series will be great fun to watch is because two American legends will be squaring off against each other...and that that's a useful selling point, and so on and so forth.

NBC market-hunger aside, I AM excited that Mike Modano and Jeremy Roenick will be battling one another in the upcoming Stars-Sharks series. It's going to be a rollercoaster...which, of course, begs the question: who's better? To the polls!

I do get exasperated about the lack of interest in hockey here in Atlanta, not because it's hockey but because one of the best players in the league in playing here right now and nobody knows. I wish the Atlanta media could get more excited about hockey; it seems like Ilya Kovalchuk would be a glamorous catalyst for a surge in Hockey Love in the ATL. But perhaps the Atlanta media would cover Kovy more if the NHL media establishment covered Kovy more. And maybe the NHL media establishment would cover Kovy more if the Thrashers made it to the playoffs more often. Actually, no not really: the Caps have sucked worse than the Thrashers in the last few years, and Ovechkin became a star long before their recent renaissance. But I digress very, very far...

How do NBC and the NHL generate more interest in hockey in the United States? Is it even advisable to think about this on a national scale when there's so much trouble generating interest in cities like Washington and Atlanta, where some of the greatest NHL players play? To get to the point: sometimes I wish my favorite sport (hell, one of my Favorite Things in the Universe) was more popular in my home country, but ultimately I'm not that bothered when it comes to American indifference to hockey. Let people have their grid iron Neanderthals and their overweight juice-injecting baseballers. Let anyone curious about the beautiful and violent game of hockey discover it on their own (or with the help of an interested friend). Meanwhile, who's going to win, Modano or JR?

April 24th Game Day Preview


Ah, the ultimate battle of Good vs Evil. Let us hope that St. Sakic and the rest of the boys put a stop to the Evil Devil Wings once and for all.


How could you have a picture of the Canadians and Flyers and NOT have a picture of Mountie Moose and a flight attendant. Just way too easy!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

2nd Round Predictions

Montreal vs Philadelphia:

Boy the Flyers surprised me in Round 1. They were able to score and Biron was pretty good between the pipes. Montreal also looked really good. Price struggled a little, but rebounded nicely in Game 7. Long story short for this series, the Habs are just better. I think they will continue without major problems against Philly. Their power play will rebound and make the difference. Habs in 6.

Pittsburgh vs New York:

The thing that surprised me about the Pens was how good they were defensively. Offense does not seem to be a problem. Should be an interesting series against the Rangers and that goalie they've got. I also thought the Pens would suffer from a long layoff between games, but as it turns out the Rangers have had quite the layoff as well, so I consider that a wash. The Rangers have a good chance, but right now I just don't see who in the East is going to beat the Pens. Pens in 6.

Detroit vs Colorado:

Oh baby! I was hoping this was going to happen! It just doesn't get any better than this folks. Theodore was awesome, and I think the Wings have a problem in goal. Call me crazy, but I've been saying it all year. We will see if Osgood can hold up against the Avs fire power. I'm not sure he can. Rivalry renewed! Avs in 7.

San Jose vs Dallas:

I hate the Stars. Can't believe they beat the Ducks. I think the Sharks had their scare, and will go on a roll. In game 7 they looked as though there was no way ANYONE was going to stand in their way. There might be a team that gets in their way, but I really don't think it will be the Stars. I think JR just might be on a mission. Sharks in 5.

...and as for my playoff predictions...

I believe I predicted that the Penguins would beat the Senators in 5. Turns out it was 4. Ho ho!

I predicted that Montreal would sweep Boston and I was, thankfully, mistaken. It turned out to be a great series! I wish Boston had come back and won, but they made a great effort nonetheless.

For whatever daft reason, I predicted that the Devils would beat the Rangers in 6. Was I wrong? Yes. Do I care about the Rangers? No.

I wavered back and forth quite a bit in the lead-up to the Capitals-Flyers series. I changed my mind thrice before settling on the Caps in 7. Turns out it was the Flyers in 7, which was my original prediction. Should've stuck with the gut.

Moving our binoculars to the Western Conference, I predicted that Detroit would off Nashville in only 5 games. This is the one I'm most pleased to be wrong about. The Preds were awesome; they deserve much better than constantly going down in Round One. Next year, I predict...

I predicted that San Jose would beat Calgary in a tough 6-game series. Turns out they beat them in a tough 7-game series. Don't feel bad Flames; Iggy will lead you to Stanley Cup glory eventually. And you probably gave the Sharks the toughest series they'll face in this postseason. 

I predicted that the Wild would win in a 7-game war. Man, did I underestimate the sheer killing machine awesomeness of Forsberg, Sakic, et. al. Hats off the the Avalanche veterans. I still think the Sharks will win the Cup this year, but I wouldn't be surprised if the Av's made some serious noise...

Lastly, and most confusingly, most making-you-question-the-universe-and-life-itself-ishly, the Stars destroyed the Ducks in 6 games. I'd predicted a clean sweep by the Ducks. I think I'm as bewildered as everyone else. Now it's time for the Sharks to murder the Stars in Round Two. 

New Species of Flame-Eating Shark Discovered, JR Proves Himself the Messiah Once Again

The Blueland Chronicle has much love and respect for Ron Wilson, but we must admit to being puzzled about his decision to bench Jeremy Roenick during Game 6 in Calgary. Calgary won, the Sharks looked dreadful, Ronnie came to his senses and realized that there was only one man who could achieve true heroism in Game 7. Enter JR. Enter JR's two goals. Enter JR's four points. I might be mistaken about this, but I think he was actually on the ice for all five of the San Jose Sharks goals last night. Feel free to correct me. 

I blather about JR because he's one of my favorite hockey players, perhaps my second favorite after the Czar. I love the Sharks as a whole, though, and this 7-game war against Calgary was exactly what they needed to toughen themselves up to go all the way. Calgary played extremely well for most of the series, and when a team wins a series against a team as determined and talented as the Flames they've truly earned it, as Big Shooter said in his playoff predictions. I have full confidence that the Sharks can go all the way, and Joe Thornton, Evgeni Nabokov, Jonathan Cheechoo, Patrick Marleau, Ryan Clowe, Joe Pavelski, Mike Grier, and most of the others have proven in this series that they have what it takes. I'm a bit worried about Milan Michalek and Brian Campbell though; the two of them MUST raise their level of play in the coming games. They're both excellent players--Campbell a brilliant skater and adept at offense and defense, Michalek a Hossa-esque feller--so I don't see why they couldn't. 

As for the Caps: I'm bummed, and I suspect Big Shooter will soon be gracing us with an essay on why Ollie the Goalie would have won the series for them, but I have to say that Ovechkin was gracious in defeat, applauding the Washington fans and looking pretty sincere in congratulating the Flyers. The Ovechkin-era Caps have a lot more playoff appearances left in them, so don't despair Caps fans. The fact that they won't be advancing clears the ground for my Russian Three Year Plan: this year I want the Cup to go to Nabokov, next year to the Czar, the year after to Ovie, and the year after that to Malkin. It's a seniority thing, perhaps...I just don't want to Ovie to get the Cup before Kovy. After Nabby and Kovy have won it, Ovechkin is free to go for it. After that, Malkin.

All of which  begs the question: will Ovie and Kovy be playing for Team Russia in the World Championship this year? If they are I just might have to buy myself a ticket to Ontario...or is it Nova Scotia? 

You know who else looked magnanimous in victory? JR. The way he hugged Owen Nolan brought tears to my eyes. I like the Flames an awful lot, but I'm glad the Sharks are advancing. This is the year Nabokov and JR win the Cup. Fasten your seat-belts and tighten the lock on your underwater shark-proof cage. 

First Round Recap

Unlike most places, we here at the Chronicle don't hide our predictions from what really happens out there in the real world. So here is a look at how I did in the first round:

Montreal vs Boston:

BS Prediction: Habs in 5
Reality: Habs in 7

Pittsburgh vs Ottawa:

BS Prediction: Pens in 6
Reality: Pens in 4 (LOVE IT)

Washington vs Philadelphia:

BS Prediction: Caps in 6
Reality: Flyers in 7 (Same old, same old for us Caps fans)

New Jersey vs New York:

BS Prediction: Rags in 6
Reality: Rags in 6

Detroit vs Nashville:

BS Prediction: Devil Wings in 6
Reality: Devil Wings in 6

San Jose vs Calgary:

BS Prediction: Sharks in 7
Reality: Sharks in 7

Minnesota vs Colorado:

BS Prediction: Avs in 6
Reality: Avs in 6

Anaheim vs Dallas:

BS Prediction: Ducks in 4
Reality: Stars in 6 (I HATE THE STARS!!!!)

So, there you have it folks... 6 of 8. Not bad, but not great. I think you need to get at least 7 before you start bragging. I'll try to get my second round predictions up later on for the two of you that care.

For The Blueland Chronicle, I'm Big Shooter.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Game 7 Preview


The Caps home crowd will help lead them to victory. Oh yeah, and
some guy named Ovie will also help.


I know this goes against my earlier prediction, but I think
the Flames will come away with this one. Don't you like how
I now have picked both teams!

Coach's Corner, April 21

Post Game:

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Why the Sharks Will Win

These interviews were done the morning after Game 3--the game where the Sharks blew a 3-0 lead and lost--and the attitude of Craig Rivet, Joe Thornton, Ron Wilson, and (especially) Evgeni Nabokov speak volumes about the confidence, adaptability, and intelligence this team has. Or maybe I just have serious man-crushes on Wilson, Nabokov and Thornton. Either way, have a look if you're following this series:

Hero of the Week

God I wish we still had de Vries. At any rate, congrats Big Greg! Your mission now is to humiliate the Red Wings on their home turf and carry the Preds into the second round.

Mark My Words

2008-09 season

2007-08 season

Do the Sharks Have Sharp-as-Hell Teeth?

We know what fine swimmers they are, but what they need to do in the game against Calgary tonight is bite, bite, bite. I mean literally bite, not "bite" in that early-90's Winona Ryder synonym of "suck" way.

Brian Campbell is probably the finest swimmer (skater) on the Sharks, fast and graceful. He needs to keep that up, but he and his teammates ALSO have to be willing to totally deck a guy or two to send a message along the lines of, "We WON'T be intimidated by your bigger, scarier physicality, Mr. Flame. I can check just as hard, and twice as fast, etc. etc..." The Joe Thornton line has to make sure that Mighty Joe T's passing lanes aren't shut down, and that might require some heavy-handedness now and then. Apparently after the Sharks' 3-0 lead evaporated in Game 3, Evgeni Nabokov assumed the role of Playoff Team Leader and challenged his men to raise their game...resulting in a win in Game 4, thanks to actual production from Thornton and Campbell and a beautiful goal by Jonathan Cheechoo. I know that some Sharks fans have criticized Joe Thornton for not making 103 assists in the playoffs so far, but he really came through in the last game and it's obvious that he passionately wants to win. He'll only grow from here.

I'm hoping that Nabby leads them to another dramatic victory tonight, as I'm sure he can. Of all the Sharks Nabokov seems like the real team leader, the one most dedicated to his teammates, the one most unafraid to criticize himself, and the one who can inspire his comrades to make a heroic, game-raising effort. Might I toss his name into the MVP Hat? If the Sharks advance to the second round, I think he deserves it just as much as Ovechkin.

I'm expecting some serious biting action from Mike Grier and Jeremy Roenick tonight, by the way. Mark my words: before this series is over Mike Grier will have a goal and JR will have a decisive game-winner.


Have fun this offseason Dany! Good news... you've got some EXTRA time this year to get in all that community service!!!

Coach's Corner, April 16th

Senators Franchise Loses the Damn Plot

I'm not sure what's more embarrassing (for the Senators, that is; I'm elated)-- the fact that the Senators got swept, or this:

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

April 16th Game Day Preview


I think the Penguins are going to do it tonight ;-)


Rangers will beat the Devils. And yes, I think I am very clever!


I suspect Osgood to be in net tonight.

TSN Thrashers Article

A little early to be doing articles on the 08-09 season you say? Not for TSN it isn't. Check out this read on the Thrashers.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Preds Win! And Hossa Scores!

A rather nice night so far.

Sean Avery Outlawed, Canucks Undergo Purge

I'm watching the Red Wings-Predators game at the moment, waiting for the Preds to break the tie and for Greg de Vries to smash Holmstrom, Zetterburg, and Lidstrom into the boards with his mind.

It's intermission, so I thought I'd pass along two bits of information:

1) by diktat of Central Committee, Sean Avery has been legally abolished.

2) the Vancouver Canucks have fed their GM to the killer whale that lives under the ice at GM (har har) Place.

Remember kids, you heard it here first. Unless, of course, you watch the CBC.

Godammit, the Dick Wings are winning again.

Could Sean Avery Destroy Hockey and Civilization?*

Interesting post by James Mirtle about whether or not a favorite move of Sean Avery's will soon be outlawed by the League.

Money quote:

If it's a part of the game, it is for everyone, and this isn't anything anyone wants to be made a widespread phenomenon. Imagine seeing this in front of the net on every power play?

For one, it's a dangerous tactic to be waving the lumber around that close to another athlete's face, and more importantly, it's an antic that detracts from the quality of the game being played.

In what way is it fair to a goaltender? This is a play that redefines "unsportsmanlike."

What do you think?


Sharks Attack Early, Seem Triumphant, Get Devoured by Cujo

Sharks 3, Flames 4.

What a game! The Sharks looked invincible in the opening minutes, scoring three goals in the first five or something like that. Out goes Kipper, in comes Cujo, Patrick Marleau gets decked by some guy, Dion Phaneuf morphs into the Devil himself, and the Flames come back and win. The Sharks looked exhausted by the third period: Nabby, JR, Marleau, Cheechoo (who got awfully banged up last night; he keeps trying to start fights in this series even though he's not the biggest guy) Clowe, and Pavelski have all been making a heroic effort this series, last night no exception. Joe Thornton and Brian Campbell were nowhere in sight, and Milan Michalek was dead in the water. If the Sharks are going to win this series Thorton, Campbell, and Michalek will have to wake up.

At any rate, good job Flames! And congrats Cujo. I have to say, though, that I feel bad for Kipper.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Big Georges Laraque Owns Ottawa Sun Journalist

Big Shooter, this one's for you.

From the Ottawa Sun-
"The very banging and battering the Penguins wanted to avoid from the Flyers can serve as an equalizer in this series for the undermanned Senators. They just need to bring it...They have to frustrate the skilled Penguins. They have to throw them off their game. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Marian Hossa, Petr Sykora and Sergei Gonchar have to be targeted. They cannot be allowed to free-wheel without concern or they will roll right over the Senators.

Crosby's got a bad RIGHT ankle? How will it stand up to a two-hander? The Senators have to find out."

Dumb Ottawa Sun Journalist Again-
"Seem to have created quite a media uproar with my win-at-all-costs way of thinking and suggestions that the Senators test Sidney Crosby's previously injured ankle by giving it a good whack, eh... Big Georges, who was quoted as calling yours truly 'stupid,' had this gem yesterday when asked about Senators targeting Crosby's tender joint. 'I thought Slapshot was a movie, not reality.' And who didn't like that classic?"

He also tells Laraque to call him stupid to his face.

From the Globe and Mail:
"Brennan, whose suggestion was one of the silliest things to appear in print, wrote in Thursday's Sun that Laraque should 'call me that to my face.' "

"So, with a full house of media and players looking on, Laraque spotted Brennan in the dressing room and marched over. 'You wanted me to call you stupid to your face? Well, you're stupid,' he said, towering over the scribe."

More Playoff Recapping

Canadiens: 4

Bruins: 1



Red Wings: 3

Predators: 1


Stars: 4

Ducks: 0

Damn. There goes my prediction. I really want a Battle of California at some point, so these Ducks had better get it together. Do you hear that, Chris Pronger?!


And, finally:

Sharks 2, Flames 0. This is becoming an epic, deliriously exciting battle of the goalies. Kipprusoff was awesome, but Nabokov was truly the the Beast from the Eastern Steppes. I've run out of good pictures, so here's two videos of Nabby from last night:

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Playoff Coach's Corner

Last Night

New York Rangers: 4

New Jersey Devils: 1

So the Rangers win this one. I have a feeling my predictions will look ridiculous very soon, at least as far as this series is concerned.


Colorado Avalanche: 3

Minnesota Wild: 2

Most exciting game of the night!


As for the games I was looking forward to:

Pittsburgh Penguins: 4

Ottawa Senators: 0



Calgary Flames: 3

San Jose Sharks: 2

That last picture says it all I think.

Offseason Thoughts...

OK folks... I've been thinking. For those of you who know me personally you know how scary that is.

It is obvious we need a number 1 center (among other things). Those guys just don't grow on trees you know. I'll refrain from speculating what possible players we might get this offseason (other than Jason Smith of course). Consider this scenario for a moment if you will:

Step 1:

Thrashers trade for a #1 center to play with Kovy. Possibly using a combination of Pavelic, our draft pick from the Pens, and a prospect for trade bait. Obviously depending on who we get will dictate our offer. I think we can get a #1 guy without taking someone significant off of our roster.

Step 2:

Sign Moose to backup Kari. Under this scenario we are saying Kari is our man. I'm fine with that.

Step 3:

This leaves us with cap room to still sign 2 top 4 defensemen. Throw in the guy we are going to pick at #3 in the draft and our defense is much better (sounds easy doesn't it!). And again, depending on who we sign we could still have room for a second line winger.

Just some thoughts to chew on. This offseason is loaded with options for us. I don't understand why everyone is so negative. I think this is an exciting time!

For The Blueland Chronicle, I'm Big Shooter.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Peacock Playoff Predictions

Everyone else is doing it, you say, and if everyone else was jumping off a bridge, etc..

So off the bridge I go, following Grand Shooteur all the way down.


(1) Montreal Canadiens vs. (8) Boston Bruins

Isn't it painfully obvious? Boston isn't that great, really, especially with Marc Savard confined to the chiropractor's den. Tim Thomas is a reasonably good goalie, but he's also a reasonably shaky and inconsistent goalie; I'll echo Grand Shooteur in warning you not to be surprised if Carey Price turns out to be a Patrick Roy or a Cam Ward. Then there's that pesky power play/penalty kill issue. Boston is miserable at penalty kills (28th in the league, I think), and you can be sure that they'll take a fair number of penalties. Which sucks for them, because Montreal is the best team in the league when it comes to power plays. Carey Price will be an ambidextrous wall, Andrei Markov and company will be rock-solid on defense, and look for Alexei Kovalev to be a candidate for MVP.
Peacock Prediction: Habs in 4

(2) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (7) Ottawa Senators

Another hilarious mismatch. The Pens' firepower--Crosby, Malkin, Staal, Malone, some guy called Hossa--will be too much for Jason Spezza and Dany "I kill people" Heatley to match. Sergei Gonchar is one of the league's finest defensemen, much better than anyone on the Sens, and the Senators goal-tending has been nothing short of disastrous in these last few weeks. The Senators MIGHT squeak out one win. It'll be interesting to see if Hossa delivers. Whether he does or not:
Peacock Prediction: Penguins in 5.

(3) Washington Capitals vs. (6) Philadelphia Flyers

This is going to be a wild one. I'm not going to reproduce any of the stock metaphors that the hockey press has used to describe Ovechkin and the Caps' phenomenal surge. I will say that the Caps are awfully good, and that Ovie has a fine supporting cast of defensemen and forwards. And he has Cristobal Huet backing him up. The Flyers will be ferocious though: they'll clamp down hard on Ovechkin and play violent, solid defense, egged on by their barbarous fans. But I think Ovie is such a sparkplug-firework-lighting bolt-freight train-hurricane-Cossack cavalry officer, and that the Caps fans will be so exuberant and energy-generating, that he'll break free of their clutches just enough to lead the Caps to victory.
Peacock Prediction: Caps in 7

(4) New Jersey Devils vs. (5) New York Rangers

This is going to be awfully boring. Not just because I dislike both teams, but because it will be a goalie's duel between Lundquist and Brodeur. I think Brodeur is better, as is the Devils defense, so:
Peacock Prediction: Devils in 5


(1) Detroit Red Wings vs. (8) Nashville Predators

Nothing would thrill me more than Big Greg de Vries and the Preds pulling it out over those damned Devil Wings, but, well, come on...
Peacock Prediction: Red Wings in 5

(2) San Jose Sharks vs. (7) Calgary Flames

The Sharks are lacking in almost nothing, while even a team as good as the Flames has a few holes here and there. The Sharks have the NHL's best goalie in Nabokov, the craftiest defense, and the league's best play-maker in Joe Thornton. The Flames will put up a huge, physical fight though. Jarome Iginla is a fighter in every sense of the word: look for him to have a few passionate outbursts and dust-ups. The Flames will battle bravely, and Dion Phaneuf will clear his territory as much as he can (and maybe even score a few goals), but ultimately Thornton and co. are just too hard to beat. Expect lots of highlight-reel-quality bodychecking.
Peacock Prediction: Sharks in 6

(3) Minnesota Wild vs. (6) Colorado Avalanche

Along with Washington vs. Philly and San Jose vs. Calgary, this is going to be one of the most exciting to watch. These two are evenly matched, they're division rivals, nothing I have to say here is remotely original...The Av's will put up a huge fight, but eventually:
Peacock Prediction: Wild in 7

(4) Anaheim Ducks vs. (5) Dallas Stars

Have you watched/read about the Stars recently? They suck mightily. Meanwhile, Pronger, Niedermayer, and co. are a well-oiled killing machine. No contest.
Peacock Prediction: Ducks in 4

Second round predictions? You want second round predictions? Fine.

Montreal will beat the Devils. Pittsburgh will beat Washington in a rip-roaring 7 game explosion of youthful exuberance, passion, and rage.

San Jose will beat Minnesota easily. Anaheim will beat the Red Wings in a tough and exhausting 7-game series.

Conference finals? Montreal over Pittsburgh in a GREAT 7-game series. San Jose over a tired Anaheim in a 5 or 6 game Battle of California.

Which obviously makes my picks for the Stanley Cup Montreal and San Jose. San Jose will win. A good thing, too.

Playoff Game Day!




Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Free Agent Thought Experiment #1

I would love to land Brian Campbell for next year, and the franchise certainly has the money to do it (assuming that Brian would take dirty sexy money in Atlanta over nobility and prestige in San Jose), but in case we don't go after Campbell here are some free agents that I think we MUST lure to Atlanta:

Mark Streit- Awesome defenseman, fearsome on the power play, not getting paid enough by Montreal. The Habs probably won't be able to give him enough of a raise to keep him in Montreal next year. Think about it. To hold him down the Habs would have to subtract from Carey Price's raise, and that simply ain't gonna happen. I say we offer him a tempting sum.

Brooks Orpik- Another fine defenseman, and offensively skilled as well. The Pens are counting their money closely, as Malkin is going to get a massive raise after next season. That means no money for Brooks. Where will Brooks find the money he deserves? In the Dirty, of course, where else? The Pens give Malkin the reward he deserves, and the Thrashers get another Penguin. Everybody wins.

Daymond Langkow- Considered an excellent 2nd line center, this fellow is what we call a "power forward," something Atlanta sorely needs. Still not a top center for Kovy, but he could handle the second line while Christensen becomes Kovy's line-mate. I think Crusher has the potential to develop into a great 1st line center/ power forward. Let him play. And let Langkow hold down the second line. Money, please.

Jason Smith- Do I even need to explain?

Ryan Malone- This feller is absolutely essential in my opinion. He WOULD be a great line-mate for Kovy, except the two of them both play left wing. Perhaps he could play on a line with his fellow Penguins Army and Crusher. Either and any way, he would an awesome boost to the team and the supporting actor our leading man has needed for a long, long time. The Czar doesn't need a co-Czar or a Slovak prince; he needs a prime minister. Pittsburgh is going to try to give Malone a big raise, but there's no way they'll be able to match us in funds. Welcome to ATL, Ryan.

One of the interesting things about this batch is that Malone and Orpik, in addition to being Penguins, are both American. It's high time we had some true blue red-blooded Yankee males on this team (not that Jim Slater isn't red-blooded and all that, but you know what I mean). If we can't land at least SOME of these folks Waddell really does need to be flogged by a lesbian nun. We certainly have the money...

Penguins Fans Suspicious of Hossa's Postseason Capabilities

Regardless of how long the Penguins last in the playoffs or what Hossa's point total is, he's not going to be playing to change anyone's mind about him.

"I know my numbers are not the same as in the regular season," Hossa said. "Everybody compares those numbers, and they're below, so people are pointing that out. That's fine. They can do whatever they want.

"I will be doing exactly the same thing I was doing, just play my game, have some fun and work hard. I am here to play."

-From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

We're Number Three! We're Number Three! We're...

So we didn't get lucky and seize the number one draft pick. Just so none of you get too down about this, I've conducted some exhaustive and wide-ranging research about past number three draft picks (and draft picks lower than number three). Yes, it is too bad we're not getting Stamkos. But look at who we MIGHT be getting (metaphorically speaking, of course):

Past #3 Picks

Jonathan Toews
Jack Johnson
Nathan Horton
Marian Gaborik
Henrik Sedin
Brad Stuart
Olli Jokinen
Scott Niedermayer

Past Picks Ranked Lower Than #3
A rather more impressive list, actually...

Sam Gagner
Toby Enstrom
Nicklas Backstrom
Peter Mueller
Boris Valabik
Bryan Little
Alexandre Picard
Thomas Vanek
Milan Michalek
Braydon Coburn
Dion Phaneuf
Ryan Getzlaf
Ryan Whitney
Alexander Semin
Pascal Leclaire
Colby Armstrong
Nikolai Antropov
Alex Tanguay
Roberto Luongo
Sergei Samsonov
Marian Hossa
Jarome Iginla
Daymond Langkow
Rob Niedermayer
Viktor Kozlov
Jason Arnott
Cory Stillman
Jason Smith
Peter Forsberg
Alexei Kovalev
Markus Naslund
Jaromir Jagr
Bobby Holik
Olaf Kolzig
Jeremy Roenick
Rob Brind'amour
Joe Sakic
Grant Fuhr
Mark Messier

Take your pick!

I'm sure Stamkos is every bit as good as we think, but let's not forget all those less-than-spectacular number one's over the years:

Monday, April 7, 2008

Will these men get Hossa a Stanley Cup?

Malkin, Staal, and Crosby celebrate their latest foray into the playoffs.

It's Going to be a Defenseman

Yes, I'm a bit disappointed that we didn't get the number one pick. Stamkos would have been an immense help to Kovalchuk, but I think the Czar has proven that he can take of himself just fine. For the time being Kovy will have to continue being his own center while we snatch up a top defenseman like Drew Doughty, Alex Pietrangelo, or Zach Bogosian. Which is exactly what we need, in case you haven't noticed.

All of this complicates the matter of Brian Campbell. Should we still throw millions and millions at him this summer if we get an offensively skilled defenseman like Doughty? Would the money be better spent on a high-producing forward like Ryan Malone?* What do you kids think?

*Sign Ryan Malone!

Draft Lottery Dementia

Bob McKenzie of TSN has written an indispensable article about the draft. Historically, the lowest-ranked team (and therefore the one with the highest chance of winning) has only won three times, while the second lowest-ranked has NEVER won. The majority of the lotteries have been won by one of the other bottom five teams. Like us. Fingers crossed, etc. etc.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Enstrom Gets Votes for Calder Trophy From TSN Panel

Three, to be exact. But hey, that IS something.

Read the whole thing.

End of the Year Blueland Chronicle Peacock Awards!

Ladies and gentlemen! Gather the kids, gather the pets, gather the vagrants and derelicts lying in the gutter outside your house and bring them to the computing machine! Welcome to the first annual Blueland Chronicle Peacock Awards! YAAAAAAAAAY!!!!!!!!!

Several categories and several winners to take care of, so without further ado, 'ere we go:

Thrashers-Oriented Awards

Villain of the Year Award- Jarkko Ruutu

Most Underrated Player Award (a.k.a. the Fucked-Over by His Teammates Award): Kari Lehtonen

The Tar-and-Feather Awards: The Atlanta Spirit Committee of Clueless Bloodsuckers

Most Superfluous Player Award: The Late Slava Kozlov

The "You've Done Fuck All to Help This Season" Award: Bobby Holik

The Pleasant Surprise Award: (tie) Tobias Enstrom/ Mark Recchi

The God Award: Ilya Kovalchuk

The Thrashers Hero of the Year Award: Ilya Kovalchuk (for continuing to play his heart out while injured and hobbled for the entire second half of the season)

The You-Deserve-Better Award: Ilya Kovalchuk

NHL at Large Awards

Hero of the Year: Evgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh Penguins)

The "Fuck me! Good God! CHRIST! HE'S GOOD!" Award: (tie) Alexander Ovechkin (Washington Capitals)/ Evgeni Nabokov (San Jose Sharks)

Rookie of the Year: Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks)

Most Underrated Player: Alexander Semin (Washington Capitals)/ Duncan Keith (Chicago Blackhawks)

Resurrection of the Year: Jeremy Roenick (San Jose Sharks)

The "I hope you KILL next year Award: (tie) Los Angeles Kings/ Chicago Blackhawks

Most Impressive Team: San Jose Sharks

The Don Cherry Award for Colorful Hockey Commentary: Big Shooter

The Czar Lays Down the Law


...the losing this year, Kovalchuk said, got to him more than any other season. Mostly because he got a taste of the playoffs last year, which gave him high expectations this year, but it doesn't help that other Russians like Ovechkin and Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin are making playoff runs.

No, he'd never admit that. He pointed out that Ovechkin was sitting at home last year when the Thrashers were in the playoffs.

But clearly, Kovalchuk has had it with the losing. He voiced his frustrations with pointed post-game comments as the season sunk to new depths, until finally admitting he felt empty after the season finale.

"I think for him," teammate Niclas Havelid said, "enough is enough."

The bottom line seems to be that if Waddell doesn't make the right moves in the off-season, and if the Thrashers don't make it to the playoffs next year, the Czar will go rule some other city. This is sickening. This is despair-inducing. This is disheartening in the extreme. I can't blame him, though. If you're reading, Donnie, do your duty.

Obviously, if we win the lottery tomorrow night we get Steve Stamkos, who seems to be a real live play-making center who could play alongside Kovalchuk. Fingers crossed, comrades, fingers crossed...

Tropical Depressions Downgraded to Light Rain


n. Pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others.

[German : Schaden, damage (from Middle High German schade, from Old High German scado) + Freude, joy (from Middle High German vreude, from Old High German frewida, from frō, happy).]

Playoff Predictions

Finally! The best time of the year. For those of you who would like to know just how little I know about hockey, here is your chance. Without further ado, my playoff predictions:

Eastern Conference:

Montreal vs Boston:

It's about time this great rivalry got going again isn't it? I'll admit, I didn't think Boston would make it but here they are. They will be really hurt by Savard not being available. Montreal on the other hand could be without their captain Koivu. I don't think that will hurt them very much, and I think Carey Price is the real deal. No playoff meltdown here. Habs in 5.

Pittsburgh vs Ottawa:

Ottawa nearly had the most historic collapse of all time. Don't look for them to do any better in the first round. Alfredsson will be out, which only means he won't have an opportunity to choke. Martin Gerber on the other hand will have multiple opportunities to choke. The Penguins firepower will be too much for Ottawa to handle. Crosby, Malkin, Malone, Stall and yes, even Hossa. I look for the Pens to put the puck in the net, and do it often. Pens in 6.

Washington vs Philadelphia:

The Caps come in to the playoffs the hottest team in the East. I think they have the fourth most points in the NHL since Boudreau took over (for those of you who HAVE to know the numbers you can look it up on your own). Ovie will SHINE in the postseason. Huet has been great. And if he falters they have Olie The Goalie to fall back on. This could be the year the Caps put their postseason blues behind them. As you can see, I don't think much of the Flyers. Caps in 6.

New Jersey vs New York:

Two great goaltenders. That is what the playoffs is all about. I don't think the Devils will score enough to win this series. Plain and simple. The Rangers could make some serious noise in the playoffs, especially with the East as wide open as it is. And they have some guy named Chris Drury. I hear he is pretty good in the clutch. Rangers in 6.

Western Conference:

Detroit vs Nashville:

What a job by Nashville to make it to the playoffs. Unfortunately, they have to play the Wings again. I think this is the 4th year in a row the Preds have made it, and haven't won a round yet. The Wings have some holes, but I don't think Nashville is the team to expose them. I'm not high on the Red Wings, but I think they will hang in there for at least one round. Wings in 6.

San Jose vs Calgary:

Best matchup of the first round. San Jose was my preseason pick to win it all. And it looks like they are peaking at the right time. They have the scoring, defense and goaltending to do it all. And I think they are tough enough. The Flames are built for the playoffs, and any team that beats them will have to earn it. The battle of Kipper and Nabby will be awesome! I look for this to be an absolute classic first round match. Sharks in 7.

Minnesota vs Colorado:

The Wild have the playoff toughness to win, but for some reason I just can't fall in love with them. Backstrom will have to prove himself. As will their offense. The Avs on the other hand could be the most interesting team in the playoffs. Can Forsberg stay healthy enough to make an impact? Will Theodore recapture some of his old magic? If he can the Avs could be in it for the long haul. Avs in 6.

Anaheim vs Dallas:

I hate the Stars have I ever mentioned that? There is nothing more that I enjoy than watching them suffer, and I couldn't be happier that they drew the Ducks in the first round. They could very well repeat as Champs. I look for them to steam roll the Stars. Huge checks, tough D and timely goaltending. Ducks in 4.

For The Blueland Chronicle, I'm Big Shooter.

Coach's Corner, April 5

Friday, April 4, 2008

Way To Go Preds!!

Well deserved congratulations go to Big Greg deVries and the other Nashville Predators. No other team faced such obstacles in the offseason, and yet here they are, making the playoffs once again.

The team almost moved to Ontario, Paul Kariya walked, Vokun wound up with the Panthers. The list goes on and on. I'm happy for the fans. I'd like nothing more than to see the Preds take out the Wings in the first round.

And how would you like to be involved with the Canucks organ-I-zation right now? Man, heads are going to roll. That team should NOT miss the playoffs. It will be interesting to see what happens in that beautiful city.

On a side note... LETS GO CAPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Edit: It was brought to my attention that Dany Heatley, you know... prison inmate number 429736, and the Ottawa Senators will miss the playoffs if the following happens (to the best of our knowledge anyway):

Friday: Bruins, Canes, and Philly all win (B's in regulation)
Saturday: Caps win, B's get at least a point
Sunday: Philly wins

And I will be a happy man.

For The Blueland Chronicle, I'm Big Shooter.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Journey

And so another year has come and gone.

Still no Stanley Cup.

If you are anything like me, you are more than just a fan. There are those that occasionally go to a game. They might catch up on the highlights to see the score or maybe even check in on Custance from time to time to try and stay in the loop.

Then there are the rest of us. No we are not large in number, but we are passionate. We are the kind that go to every single game. We sit there and root on our team through the good and the bad. What we put in this team is more than just our money and time. It is an honest to God emotional investment. I have been lucky enough to be here from Day 1, but that doesn't make my investment any more special than someone who has just picked up the sport and team. All of us are unbelievably disappointed in how this year has turned out.

A few weeks ago when I came to the conclusion that we were missing the playoffs I started to think... how great would it be if we could someday win the Cup? That lead me to some deeper thoughts. Is the Stanley Cup really everything? Of course to us hockey folk it is the Holy Grail. But let's not lose site of something in our quest for said Grail. As in most things in life, once you obtain a great goal you look back on how you got there and realize what a special road you were on. You might not have known it at the time, but perhaps the goal you achieved was secondary to the Journey that brought you to the goal.

The Journey. That is what we are on my friends. Enjoy every step of the way. Some steps are forward. Some steps are backward. That is just how things work in this crazy world. Sure we have taken a step backward this year. Does that make me sad that I'm still on The Journey with all my friends? Absolutely not. I cherish every game I get to see, even the bad ones. Because I know one day we will get to that great goal. And when we get there I will be able to say that I realized how special this Journey really is. You even hear players talk about it after they win the Cup. They talk about the Journey they were on with their teammates. And how tough it was. And how they shared it together.

Hockey is one of my favorite things in all the world. It is where I am making most of my memories with all my friends. It is a sport that brings people together. All of us share a special bond. Let's not let the The Journey pass us by. I read comments from fans saying how the Thrashers suck and they won't come back until Waddell is gone and the team is better. You know the kind. They go on. And on. And on. I read their comments and just feel sorry for them. Because I can see that they just don't get it. They don't care about or even notice The Journey. They just want to root for a winner and have everything come easy to them. Let me tell you something folks... if everything comes easy to you and you don't have to work for it, it really doesn't mean all that much. The great things in life are accomplished only after much hard work and some real tough times. One day the Thrashers will win the Stanley Cup. How awesome will that be! After the dust settles and we come down from our high of winning, we will look back on all the years.

And quite possibly, we will see that while winning the Cup was great, it maybe was not as important as the road that took us there...

The Journey.

For The Blueland Chronicle, I'm Big Shooter.

Who Represents Finland Abroad? Kari Lehtonen and This Man, Of Course

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Alex Stubb, the new Finnish Foreign Minister. Please look at his website; the photo gallery is funniest thing I've seen since the last episode of Coach's Corner. And remember, this guy is actually the Foreign Minister of have to wonder if Kari voted for his party.

UPDATE: It appears his website is down at the moment due to excessive traffic. Meaning a million other people realize just how hilarious this is. When the web hits calm down (after lunch hour, I reckon) PLEASE have a look.

Hockey, Politics

What it's all about:

Pre-Playoff Mental Health Break

I'd like to dedicate this one to the Edmonton Oilers and their number one fan, Grand Shooteur. Take a load off, fellas; calm your nerves and heal your hearts by watching this scene from a witty classic of olde Hollywood screwball comedy.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Long Live the Czar

Around whom do we rebuild our team? Around this man, of course.

Towards the end of the first half of the season, the Czar led the league in goals and points, it looked like the Thrashers, while shaky and erratic, still had a playoff chance, and the great man looked set to win the Rocket Richard Trophy, the Art Ross Trophy, and the Hart Memorial Thingy. How things have collapsed. Literally, in the case of the Czar: I'm sure none of you need me to remind you of this. I might be blowing this a bit out of proportion, but I think Ruutu's hit on Kovalchuk--dirty or not, beside the point--derailed most of his season. His injury was more serious than it looked: it stifled his skating for a run of several games (which somehow coincided with the losing streak that obliterated us), and he's started to recover only recently. Had he not been taken down by Ruutu, it would be Kovalchuk, and not Ovechkin, leading the league in goals and points and possibly willing his team into a playoff position. Even if the Caps don't make the playoffs, I think the point still stands.

All of which should tell you two things about the Czar: 1) to have his season hampered by an injury and still score 52 (and counting) goals, he has to be Really Fucking Good, and 2) the way he continues to play the way he does in each game, even with his injured knee, proves that Kovy is desperately committed to the team, and that he would do anything to help us win. Kovy has tied his own record (and the Thrashers' record) of goals, the amount he scored the year he won the Richard Trophy (along with Jarome Iginla and Rick Nash). Let's hope the Czar has a restful summer; we need that knee next season. He'll make his buddy Ovechkin look like, um, Ovechkin in a season where Kovalchuk scores more goals and leads his team to the Stanley Cup. Perhaps.

Check This Out...

Great game last night... I guess. Two horrible teams and the game wasn't even on the Center Ice package. Now that is saying something! Congrats to Kovy and Kari anyway!

Continuing our quest of making this blog a Sharks and Oilers friendly place, check out this great read on my beloved Oilers. HUGE game tonight against the Flames. Rexall will be rockin' for sure. If you have Center Ice, I can promise this is one you don't want to miss.

For The Oilers Chronicle, I'm Big Shooter.