Tuesday, September 30, 2008
The Vancouver Canucks have taken Shooter's suggestion and given the C to their best player, Roberto Luongo. The league apparently has stated that there is no rule against making a goalie the captain, but his jersey cannot feature the traditional C designator for some reason. Maybe there's concern that Garth Snow would find some way to put a four foot high kevlar C on DiPietro's shoulder to help cover his glove side.
Kovy- Crusher -Williams
Kozy- Little -Army
Perrin- Reasoner -Thorburn
Bolts- White -(rotate either Sterling or Stewart)
Toby - Havy
Hainsey - X/Boris
Schneider - Bogo/Kulda
If Kulda ever cracks the lineup this season, you'd probably actually rotate Bogo up to play with Hainsey and let Kulda play with Schneider.
Depending on the play of Christiansen and Little, this could give us an average top line followed by above average second and third lines. Our checking line will be average and won't get much more than 5 minutes per game. But in those five minutes, they shouldn't hurt us at all.
Toby and Havy proved to be a very reliable pairing and will only get better as Toby matures and they develop more and more chemistry. Hainsey should pair well with a stay at home bruiser like Boris or human road cone like X. Schneider plays Crash Davis to Bogo and Kulda's Nuke Lalouche.
On the powerplay, Coach Anderson has more options than his predecessors did. With Toby, Havy, Hainsey, Bogo, and Schneider available to quarterback the play, he doesn't absolutely have to put Kovy on the point. Yes, his shot is brutal from back there, but it would be even more effective from a high face off circle area. move the puck around the outside, then have Kovy step up into that shooting lane to receive a one timer pass from the opposite point man. At the same time the center crashes the net for a rebound and the opposite winger goes to the faceoff circle are on his side for a longer kicked rebound.
While I'd like to see the team upgrade a notch on right wing, I think the team looks competitive right now. Exactly how competitive will depend immensely on the development of the rookies and the play of the Thrashers' netminders. If Anderson's system can cut down on the number of shots Kari faces, I think he'll respond very well and put up some huge percentage numbers this season. Combined with some increased scoring from the ranks under the Czar, that could spell playoffs. Unfortunately right now, the team doesn't look deep enough or tough enough to go past the first round. But hey, I've been wrong before. Once. Back in the 80's.
For the Chronicle, this is Razor Catch Prey.
Monday, September 29, 2008
- Once again, NHL season officially opening Over There. Unlike last season, this time the deal happens in places where people actually know what ice hockey is.
-No more news. Except the Thrashers traded Ken Klee and Brad Larsen for Mathieu Schneider. You know, I liked Ken Klee, and he was a reasonably good defenseman, but...
Head coach Ron Wilson was highly perturbed right after the loss, threatening to nail those who repeat their mistakes to the bench. A day later, he turned his annoyance on reporters who were wondering about the similarity to last year's team.
“It was an exhibition game – it didn't bother me at all,” Wilson said Sunday. “What bothers me is being asked asinine questions while you're trying to give young players a chance.“We're not going to win the Stanley Cup this year. There's a news flash for you.”
Puck Daddy weighs in:
Is this honestly too brutal? As we said in our Leafs preview this weekend, management has already put out the vibe that this team doesn't have NHL talent and that the playoffs aren't likely. The bar is ridiculously low, and Wilson has put his foot on it to drop it even lower. But is it fair to the fans when the head coach declares before a single regular season shift has been completed that this is basically a lost season for the franchise?
I say yes. No point in lying to the poor kids of the Leaf Nation.
I'm of the belief that, no matter how bad you get, there's still a lot of parity in this league - and especially in the Eastern Conference. Toronto will definitely struggle to score goals this season, but they're not alone in that, and I don't think it's ludicrous to think they could steal some games and hang around longer in the race for eighth than many believe.
Tavares. Las Vegas.
I agree with Rawhide that it's far too early to start drawing definitive conclusions based on yesterday's 4-0 shutout and Friday's abysmal defeat at the hands of the St. Louis Blues. The only statistic that really bothers me is that we were--guess what?--dramatically out-shot in the Red Wings game.
I don't want to make excuses for our lack of shots, but let's remember two things 1) the Red Wings defense is absurdly good, and their forwards are the best defensive forwards in the game (Zetterberg even tripped the Czar). Judging from the reports from the game it seems the Thrashers had very few real scoring chances. And 2) it takes time for a new coach's system to really sink in among the players. Give it some time.
If we lose every other pre-season game you can start panicking.
Oh, apparently Kari had a magnificent game. The Czar was too busy being awesome to score a goal.
I've always thought a little bit of facial hair enhanced the Czar's czarness.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
I never bothered to play, let alone buy, NHL 08, and that may have been a mistake. When looking online to see when NHL 09 was coming out, I found out that 08 got several awards from whoever gives video game awards, including Sports Game of the Year. So when somebody told me the other day that he had bought 09 and it was well worth it, I decided to give it a go.
The result: Damn.
If you've played the college football game from EA Sports in the past year or two, you're familiar with their Campus Legend mode. In this feature, you get to either create a player of your own, or pick a player on an existing roster, and go through his career, playing the games just as him rather than the entire team. You don't choose the plays, you just run them as that one player. If you're a quarterback or running back, it's a lot of fun, since you're involved in almost every play (you simulate the defensive plays). You go through the season, running the plays as that character, building your abilities and stats as you go.
Some genius at EA Sports realized that this would be infinitely better in hockey. Thus, they have created the "Be a Pro" mode. You create your own player when you first put the game in your console, then you assign them to your favorite franchise. You start out as a recent draft pick, and get sent to the minors. You can choose what position you play, and what kind of player you are. I of course, chose to be a power forward drafted by Atlanta. So I was sent to Chicago to play for the Wolves, and was put on the third line as a center.
You play the game, controlling only your character. A blue arrow shows you where to go in order to stay in position, and you can call for passes or yell for your teammates to shoot when you're skating around without the puck. The coach gives you feedback after each shift, period, and between games. Do well, and you can work your way up the depth chart from third line to first and eventually get called up to the show.
It's not just your skills with the puck on your tape that matter (as the Czar learned when he first came to America), but also how you are as a team player. So you have to stay in position, pass well, only call for the puck when you're in position and open, and not take too long of shifts, or the coach will be upset with you.
When you're not on the ice, the view shifts to a perspective from the bench, watching the action while your stamina regenerates. When you take a penalty, you spend your two minutes watching the game from the sin bin. It's truly the most realistic video game hockey experience on the market.
Well, enough of the free advertising for EA Sports. I'm going to go back to watching the Tide paint Athens "Overrated" then play some more NHL 09. I just got moved up to the top line on the Wolves with Darren Haydar, and hope to make it to the NHL to center a line with Bolts and Marty Reasoner soon...
Anyway, here's some reactions to the Klee-for-Schneider trade from around the blogosphere:
First up, Puck Wyshynski:
Atlanta blogger Ben Wright is happier than Bobby Cox in Havana, and not just because Ken Klee is gone: He believes Schneider, Ron Hainsey, Tobias Enstrom and Niclas Havelid give the Thrashers "arguably the strongest foursome in the Southeast Division." Scary part is that he might be right.
Over to Mirtle:
New coach John Anderson's suddenly got something to work with — and the need to keep Zach Bogosian with the big club isn't anywhere near as great.
At 39, Schneider has slowed down at little bit, but he was still a very solid 22-minutes-a-night guy for the Ducks last season.
Schneider wasn't complaining. He had no ill feelings toward Burke, who he said worked hard to put him in a good situation.
There were six or seven teams Schneider said he wanted to play for -- and the Thrashers were one of them. His brother lives in Atlanta and he liked the idea of working with talented young Thrashers defensemen Tobias Enstrom and Zach Bogosian, the team's first-round pick in June.
*******************************Earl Sleek at the Battle of California:
It's important to understand: Mathieu Schneider was not a failure for the Ducks, and I'm not convinced he's overpaid. I think he'll have a good year in Atlanta. With the recent waiving of Schneider and the fact that 29 teams refused to pick him up for free, I think there's been a lot of misconception that "Schneider has lost it" or that "he's grossly overpaid". Those statements could certainly be applied earlier in the summer to Todd Bertuzzi, but I think in Schneider's case they're off-base.
The fact that Burke managed to move Schneider without mortgaging the future means that by my eye, this trade is a whopping success. The Ducks did pick up some $1.8M in salary with Ken Klee and Brad Larsen, but neither is signed beyond this year so it's not even a long-term repercussion.
The Thrashers get a solid, productive defenseman who will do his job, score points, and teach the younguns. The Ducks get to sign Teemu Selanne, who will score 40-something goals for them this year. Ken Klee gets a guaranteed trip to the play-offs.
ST. LOOoIS - Defeed Perrun hed three-a guels und un esseest, und Undy McDuneld edded feefe-a esseests tu help zee St. Luooees Blooes tu a 9-4 pre-a-seesun veen oofer zee Etlunta Threshers oon Freedey neeght.
Bred Boyes und Lee-a Stempneeek hed tvu guels und un esseest iech fur zee Blooes (2-1), vheele-a Pool Kereeya und Petreek Bergoolund bot hed a guel und un esseest. Munny Legece-a sterted in guel und feced 15 shuts, mekeeng 12 sefes.
Brett Sterleeng scured tveece-a fur Etlunta (1-1), und Ireec Boooltun und Tudd Vheete-a edded oone-a guel epeeece-a.
Sterleeng sterted zee scureeng joost 1:10 intu zee geme-a vhee he-a cunferted ooffff a Blooes toornufer. Boot Kereeya scured a pooer-pley guel ooffff a scremble-a in frunt 9:04 leter, und Bergloond beet Threshers gueleee-a Juhun Hedberg veet a slepshut et 14:54 ooff zee furst pereeud tu geefe-a zee Blooes zee leed fur guud.
Stempneeek poot zee geme-a evey vhee he-a scured et 2:01 und egeeen et 5:14 ooff zee thurd pereeud tu meke-a it 7-3. Perrun scured et 8:07 und cumpleted hees het treeck vhee he-a pooshed zee poock pest Etlunte's Oondrej Pefelec et 12:09.
And because that was so much fun, here's the Swedish Chef's take on the Schneider signing:
ENEHEIM, Celeeff. - Zee Uneheeem Doocks hefe-a feenelly fuoond a noo hume-a fur Metheeeoo Schneeeder.
Zee NHL teem deelt zee feterun deffencemun tu zee Etlunta Threshers oon Freedey fur blooe-a-leener Kee Klee-a und veengers Bred Lersen und Ched Peeenchood.
Doocks GM Breeun Boorke-a hes beee tryeeng tu trede-a Schneeeder fur veeks tu help get hees teem under zee selery cep.
Schneeeder is dooe-a tu iern US$5.75 meelliun thees seesun - meuneeng Uneheeem veell sefe-a et leest $3 meelliun es a resoolt ooff thees deel. Klee-a ($1.25 meelliun), Lersee ($560,000) und Peeenchood ($565,000) veell cuoont $2.5 meelliun egeeenst zee cep iff zeey ell pley in zee NHL thees seesun.
"It vurked tu oooor beneffeet, zee ooppurtooneety tu edd a pleyer ooff thees celeebre-a veet a teem thet ves up egeeenst zee cep und hed tu meke-a a mufe-a tu get under zee cep," Threshers generel muneger Dun Veddell seeed. "It's a beeg dey fur oooor fruncheese-a."
Zee 39-yeer-oold Schneeeder spent joost oone-a yeer veet zee Doocks, pootting up 12 guels und 39 pueents in 65 gemes. He-a ves seegned lest soommer vhee it luuked leeke-a Scutt Neeedermeyer vuoold retire-a und beceme-a ixpendeble-a vhee zee teem cepteeen deceeded tu retoorn meed-seesun.
Zee seetooeshun hes unffulded emeecebly, veet Schneeeder egreeeeng nut tu repurt tu Uneheeem's treeening cemp thees veek vheele-a zee teem ves in negutieshuns fur a trede-a.
"I'fe-a knoon fur sume-a time-a thet I ves gueeng tu be-a mufed," Schneeeder seeed in a telephune-a interfeeoo. "Breeun ves tremenduoos, vurkeeng veet my egent, tryeeng tu get a deel dune-a. .. Thees murneeng I ves ixtremely heppy tu heer zee noos."
Zee vell-trefelled deffencemun noo eeters hees 19t seesun in zee NHL veet hees ieeght teem. In 1,197 cereer regooler seesun gemes, Schneeeder hes 212 guels und 702 pueents. He-a elsu vun zee Stunley Coop veet Muntreel in 1993.
Zee 37-yeer-oold Klee-a jueens hees feefft teem seence-a zee NHL luckuoot. He-a spent ell ooff lest yeer veet Etlunta und hed oone-a guel und 10 pueents in 72 gemes.
Lersee is a checkeeng furverd vhu vun a Stunley Coop veet Culuredu Efelunche-a in 2002. Zee 31-yeer-oold spent perts ooff zee lest fuoor yeers veet zee Threshers.
Peeenchood is a furmer fuoort-ruoond drefft chueece-a vhu spleet lest seesun betveee zee ICHL und Emereecun Huckey Leegooe-a. Zee 22-yeer-oold hes yet tu pley un NHL geme-a.
I'm not sure what this does to Bogo. We still have the same number of D as we did yesterday morning, but we are very much upgraded swapping out Klee for Schneider. This means that we really don't need to rush Bogo if he needs a little bit more time. If he is ready, well by all means bring him on! I think ideally if Bogo and Valabik are on the team you would like them to be playing third line minutes.
Ideally as well, you wouldn't want to pair two rookies together on the same line. You would like to pair the rookie with a veteran. Also, it doesn't do a whole lot of good for a young guy to be with an NHL team and get scratched for half the games. See where I'm going with this?
I see our top four D (in talent, not necessarily who they will play with) being: Havelid, Enstrom, Schneider and Hainsey. That leaves Exelby, Bogo, and Valabik. If you rotate three guys through the final pair you will either have two rookies playing together, or one of them sitting instead of playing... SOMEWHERE.
If both Bogo and Valabik make the team do you break up the top four guys and have one of them on the third line? This would also mean that one of your rookies would be playing top four minutes. What if Bogo has some sort of a Dion Phaneuf rookie season? Unlikely, but possible. We would really be set then!
I suppose I have rambled on enough about this. Has it made any sense whatsoever? I hope so. The point I was trying to get across is that with the top four we have now, that allows us to be careful with the two young guys if they need it. One last point, I think Exelby will have a much better year playing third line minutes.
OK, too much thinking. Now my head hurts.
For The Blueland Chronicle, I'm Big Shooter.
Friday, September 26, 2008
So, I wonder how long it will take Jeff Dultz to tell us how bad of a deal this is...
Instant Big Shooter analysis:
Great move! You pretty much swap Ken Klee for Schneider. Larsen wasn't going to make this team, plain and simple. Now we have 3 puck moving defensemen on the team. Four if Bogo makes it.
This is how I feel right now:
A little culture folks!!!
For The Blueland Chronicle, I'm Big Shooter.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
After the game (nearly over, with us in the lead if NHL.com can be trusted) they're probably going to hang out with Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers and sing "Islands in the Stream" over and over.
UPDATE: Thrash win 4-2!
Blueland Ben is excellent enough to provide a link for radio-listening: Nashvillian radio station 104-5 The Zone will be broadcasting the deal at 8.
Apparently the roster is
Q: What sport do you enjoy calling the most?
A: That's a trick question. It's the one I'm calling now. I do hockey and I do soccer for the most part. If I had to give up one, I would have to give up hockey. With hockey, I think I'm one of maybe 30 announcers with NHL teams. With soccer and all of the World Cups I've done and all of the years I put into it, that would be a tougher one to walk away from. I've invested more in the sport and the sport has invested more in me, so that would be the one I would miss the most.
On a side note, Kamal says they are going to go with guest commentators for radio. I'm waiting for my call Dan...
I even have a thought: I don't get all these pre-season games. They confuse me.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Given, I am a bit biased here, because I am a huge Star Wars geek. Did you watch How I Met Your Mother this week? I'm a bigger SW geek than Ted and Marshall and Kevin Smith combined. So when Martin Gerber unveiled his new Darth Vader goalie mask, he instantly vaulted back into my top 10 favorite players, despite the fact that heplays for the hated Kansas City Senators.
Word is Ovechkin has vetoed Jose Theadore's Hello Kitty mask, and they're back to the drawing board.
EDIT FROM YOUR FRIEND MORTIMER PEACOCK: Since Razor can't make the image-creating capabilities of the blogging life work, it's up to me (I once stayed in a hotel room in San Francisco) to introduce (Rachel Maddow, total lesbian, on TV right now; I'd do her; I'm so crunk right now) this thing:
Things look blurry when you're crunk.
It is now being reported on the official message boards (I know) that Waddell said the players will be naming the captain (after the season starts). Bravo I say. This is how every team should do it. This leads me to one thought. If the players are choosing the captain, I say we should be the first team in NHL history to have a goalie as captain.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my pleasure to introduce you to... Captain Moose:
I saw yesterday that Johnson with the Blues tore his ACL. What I didn't know was how he did it. Look at this:
"Johnson suffered the injury while attempting to stop his golf cart to step out and hit his next shot. The 20-year old jammed his right foot between the accelerator and brake and felt a painful tweak in his right knee."
Maybe Erik is better suited for baseball? I feel bad for the kid, but come on!!! You gotta expect a little something when you hurt yourself in a golf cart!!!!!
Thanks, M.E.S. Now, on to the news.
Mike Knobler has exploded! Lots of articles from training camp:
- Toby Enstrom looking to score more in his second year.
- Erik Christensen injured. I repeat: Erik Christensen injured. Not sure how serious this is, but I don't like the sound of it. It looks like the job of #1 center is definitely going to Jason Williams now.
- Knobler reporting that Chris Thorburn and Todd White are having a good training camp. John Anderson is fulfilling his promise to push players like them to score more goals. I predict Thorburn plays on a line with Marty Reasoner.
- More Knobler fun here.
- Maali at Fire Wagon wonders: Could the Leafs have a good season? With Ron at the helm anything could happen.
- A lot of pre-season games going on around the league. Where are my season tickets?
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Here's something about Schneider I think we can all agree on: The notion that he, or any other high-priced veteran, "deserves to be dealt to Cup contender" in a capped culture is asinine. He chose to sign with the Ducks in July 2007 when people were still talking about Scott Niedermayer's "retirement" as temporary.
Whatever chance the Thrashers have to improve on last season will center on how improved their defense will be. Schneider could significantly upgrade that unit.
A reliable web site has the Sharks $267,000 over the $56.7 million salary cap — and that does not include pending contracts for Tomas Plihal or Alexei Semenov. The Sharks have until the season begins to lop salary and eliminating McLaren’s $2.5 million from the payroll would seem to get the job done.
SI.com: There are many who say this is your team -- yours to lead. How does that make you feel?
Allow me, readers, to preface this whole Bogosian argument by saying that I actually like James Mirtle's blog quite a lot. He's always interesting and knows much, much more about hockey than most living beings.
Meanwhile, I might as well post my reply (edited, slightly) to his post here:
When I was referring to the "facts" that told Mirtle that Bogosian won't make an immediate impact, I didn't mean necessarily facts about 18 year old defensemen in the NHL in general; I meant to make him consider (not literally; I had no clue Mirtle even read this blog) which facts about Bogosian as an individual player told him he wouldn't make an impact.
The point of the post wasn't to say that I'm dead certain he'll make an immediate impact; the point was that we simply don't know that much about Bogosian as a specific player. I SUPPOSE it makes statistical sense to think of him as just another representative of a general category called 18 Year Old Defensemen, but surely that's reductive and ignores specifics about him and him only.
Does that make any sense?
On the other hand, I DO take his point about Bouwmeester. Cautionary tale indeed.
There's no arguing Mirtle's point that "If he makes the team and plays a full season on the Thrashers blueline, he's certainly in some pretty rarified company." That's certainly true, but I don't think it's beyond the realm of possibility that he could do decently on the third pairing.
What is arguable, of course, are the ages of Rob Blake and Chris Pronger: Pronger sort of was 18, and Blake pretty much was 18 if you don't count two years of his life. So there. I win.
But seriously kids, the overall nugget of wisdom I wanted you to take away from the post was that when it comes to NHL predictions, oftentimes we simply don't know how things will turn out. Mirtle predicted the 07-08 Thrashers would make the playoffs, and so did I. On paper, we had a magnificent team: not just Hossa and Kovalchuk and Kozlov and Lehtonen, but power play wizard Alexei Zhitnik as well!
No one knows anything. Yet. We'll see. And shit.
As for the folk who are confused about what "the South Ossetia of the Hockey Blogosphere" means, I can offer two clues, and two clues only. One is that I live in Atlanta, and Atlanta is most of the time located in the US state of Georgia. The second clue is the existence of Ilya Kovalchuk. Go figure.
Monday, September 22, 2008
In addition to downsizing goaltending equipment and mandating more offensive-zone faceoffs, particularly on the power play, the NHL is emphasizing yet another obstruction-type crackdown this season.
“The new rules are going to be even more stringent on defending in the defensive zone,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said Sunday after the club completed its second day of training camp. “Anything with the free hand — before, players were allowed to put that stick in there. Any type of movement with that stick and arm to stop progression of a player, they’re going to be very, very strict on it.
“They don’t want that ability to pin (along the boards), and hold people on the wall. They want that freedom. There will be very little pinning. There will be free hands, but there won’t be grappling.”
As opposed to favoring speed-type players, the rules interpretation might give more freedom for bigger, stronger players to work their magic in the corners and behind the net.It'll be interesting to see how this affects the play of the John Anderson-era Atlanta Thrashers. Anderson is adamant about playing a more offensive style, and we happen to have one of the league's premier goal-scorers (one of only three players to score more than fifty goals last season; Mirtle says that goals trended way down last year, probably the reason for this most recent shake-up), so this could lead to even more tallies for the Czar. On the downside, Anderson's beloved mongoosing tactics might be called out occasionally: "Any type of movement with that stick and arm to stop progression of a player, they’re going to be very, very strict on it."
I think the impediment to rampant goal-scoring these days has less to do with New Jersey Devils-style neutral zone trapping, or any defensive tactics, than with the fact that there are a lot of super-talented goalies around. Even the non-elite goaltenders are better than average goal-tenders used to be. Razor Catch Prey once said that we're living in a "golden age of goalies." I see no reason to disagree.
Of course it says quite a lot about the Czar that he can score so many goals in this goalie golden age. And the fact that Jarome Iginla could score 50 goals in last year's Western Conference really says something.
The way I see it, John Anderson' up-tempo style of play + new rules' giving big forwards more scoring chances + the Czar= lots and lots and lots of goals. My bold prediction is that Kovy tops his career record of 52 this year.
- It appears Chris Pronger has gotten himself a blog. And he can spell! So far the content isn't spell-binding: it's mostly stuff about groins and re-hydrating. I suspect things will get more interesting when the season starts (more hilarious attempted murders on the ice, juicy secrets about Teemu Selanne's locker-room voodoo rituals, etc. ). Big Shooter, have at it with the nasty comments. He does allow them.
- Razor Catch Prey has already reported on this, but it appears the San Jose Sharks' young and talented checking center Torrey Mitchell has gone down with a fractured something or other and will be out for eight full weeks. What is it with the Sharks and injuries? You'd think they played hockey all the time or something. Anyway, the Sharks now have a gaping hole on the Mike Grier Line...might I steal a line from Razor and suggest Todd White? And in return:
- Meanwhile, Steve Stamkos is already scoring goals and whatnot. The Vinny-less Bolts beat the Crosby-and-Malkin-featuring Penguins the other day. My. Also, Sergei Gonchar is injured. Both he and Ryan Whitney will be out for a few weeks. Kris Letang will provide some points, but this is really going to be a stumbling block for the Pens: Whitney and Gonch were their top scoring defensemen.
- Thrashers training camp is on! Mr. Practice has some excellent reports here. My favorite part:
Slava was talking to the police officer who was watching the locker room door and said "You should see my dog, big black German shepherd, OMG."
- Some pictures of training camp here. Report of Day 1 from Mike Knobler here.
- Mrs. Lehtonen at Fire Wagon Hockey is freaking out over the lack of pictures coming her way. I would have gone up to Duluth this weekend and photographed the boys in action, but I felt it was more important to sit on my couch and gaze meaningfully at the TV screen.
- John Anderson talks to Mike Knobler, seems confident as ever. Jason Williams might play center on the Czar Line. It'll be interesting to see how things play out.
- Very Serious Sports Commentator Jeff Schultz knows in advance exactly how everything will unfold. What a joke.
- Elsewhere in the world: Regardless of your political slant, does any thinking person actually believe Congress should PASS this piece of shit?
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Back to hockey, there's a new development that just might make our dreams of a Czar Train line or McLaren/Hainsey pairing come true. Torrey Mitchell of the San Jose Sharks has gone down with a broken leg. TSN is saying he'll be out at least 8 weeks. I don't know if you've ever broken a bone before, but as I remember it, it takes a heck of a lot longer than that before you feel like playing professional hockey again. So the Sharks may just be in need of a stopgap at Center. They may even be in the market for somebody along the lines of Todd White. Now, with his cap hit, they'll have to offload at least 2 players to make sure they're under the limit. We here at the Chronicle have a couple of suggestions for them.
Now then, isn't it great that training camp is officially underway! I'm really starting to get pumped about the season. It's not going to be as bad as some say. For those of you who have not renewed your season tickets, I say what are you waiting on?!?!? Yes, we haven't been that good in the past. No, we don't have the ideal ownership. Yes, ticket prices went up.
But you know what... it's still hockey. The last time I checked there was nothing in my season ticket holder contract that assured me the Thrashers would be a winner. Spare me the argument that you want to get the most bang for your buck and only have tickets when a certain winning season is on the horizon. I understand the argument. Don't agree with it, but understand it.
I love watching hockey. I love watching NHL hockey in person. Anything above that is icing on the cake. If you haven't renewed yet because of ownership or poor management, that's your call. But before the puck drops on Oct 10th, I urge you to take one last minute to think about things. Is it really worth it to miss an entire season of something you really love just to prove a point? A point by the way, that ownership and everyone in the organization is very well aware of. Do you really think that the organization is trying to lose?
As in most things in life, take a deep breath. Realize that you love hockey, AND JUST GO AHEAD AND RENEW YOUR TICKETS!!!!! The arena is more fun with you there (well, most of you anyway!).
Of course, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.
For The Blueland Chronicle, I'm Big Shooter.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
To which I would answer: How does he know? What "facts" tell him this? PERHAPS Bogosian isn't NHL-ready, but perhaps he is. We don't know yet. That's what training camp is for.
Elsewhere in his post Mirtle says:
It's very, very rare than an 18-year-old defenceman can make any sort of impact in the NHL, and to do so on what appears to be an awful team like the Thrashers would be downright impossible. It makes zero sense to rush Bogosian into the NHL when, if he plays more than nine games this season, a year of his entry level deal will be eaten up.
Bogosian has been compared to Rob Blake and to Chris Pronger; both of them entered the league at age 18 and put up some impressive numbers.
I don't quite follow Mirtle's logic about the awfulness of the Thrashers being an even bigger impediment to Bogosian's making an impact than his age. Surely if the Thrashers are as awful as Mirtle believes, their awfulness would allow Bogosian to have an even greater impact than normal.
Mirtle also seems worried that if Anderson and co. allow Bogosian to play more than 9 games this season the Thrashers will somehow have wasted one year of his entry-level contract.
Who cares? If Bogosian is ready to play in the NHL, he'll play. If he plays he'll more than likely make an impact. What does it matter if the first year of his entry-level contract is 08-09 and not 09-10? If the kid gets results, etc. etc...
Everything Doc Mirtle says in the way of predictions should be taken with a grain of salt, of course. This is the same Mirtle who--along with most other journalists in the echo chambers of the mainstream hockey media--predicted the 07-08 Thrashers would make the playoffs, what with awesome players like Kovalchuk, Kozlov, Hossa, and Zhitnik (such impressive numbers in 06-7!).
If Bogo is NHL-ready, he'll play. A first season on the third defensive pairing should be a relatively easy way for him to begin his big league development. And if he's not ready, we have every reason to believe Anderson will give him more time in juniors.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Slava Kozlov - Patrick O'Sullivan - Jason Williams
Eric Perrin - Bryan Little - Colby Armstrong
Eric Boulton - Marty Reasoner - Chris Thorburn
Ron Hainsey - Kyle McLaren
Tobias Enstrom - Niclas Havelid
Zach Bogosian - Mathieu Schneider
Never gonna happen, of course, but there it is. Happy weekend, everybody.
LOMBARDI: ``A little honesty...We're not very close. That's the truth. What I'm most concerned about is, Sully has made great strides but he has to continue to make strides if he's going to put up big numbers on a good team. There's a big difference between being a 50- or 60-point scorer on a team that's out of the playoffs in January, and doing it on a good team.
``Let's get real. It was just 14 months ago -- 14 months, 16 months, whatever it was -- that we had to put him in the minors. To his credit...he sulked at first but then he figured it out, earned his way up and proved himself. But there's another step you have to take in order to be a good player on a good team. My concern is that this is not the time for him to be sitting on the sideline.''Hmmm. So what's the deal? Are the Kings refusing to pay a player like O'Sullivan the big bucks he wants or is O'Sullivan talking to another team?
If so, what team is he talking to?
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Plenty of analysis has already been done on this blog about everything brought to the table by McLaren and Cheechoo. McLaren would be an immediate improvement, provide a physical presence (not what he once possessed, but still better than we've got), and is just as good as Matthieu Schneider in a younger package. Cheechoo is a former Rocket Richard Trophy winner who had a rough year last season. On either the opposite wing from Kovy or Kozy, he'd have huge potential in Blueland.
Our loyal readers already know that we here at the Chronicle absolutely love us some Mike Grier. This is a tough, hard working, American guy who came up through the Oilers organization and can contribute on the PP and PK, stick up for your goal scorers by dropping the gloves, and is a great locker room presence. I remember having his rookie card. Where most guys' card featured a picture of them skating around, or at least posing for a promotional shot in their jersey, Mikey Grier's card had a picture of him sitting in full gear on a table in the locker room, grinning while munching on a big piece of pizza.
What the hell? DW, I say take all three of the Sharks' hands. If "an NHL team" just offered you "two NHL players" for Pavelic, make an offer to the Sharks of Pav and White for all three, McLaren, Cheechoo, and Grier. Talk about making your team better right away. Add to that the fact that Cheechoo is under contract until 2011, and the future looks pretty good, too.
Edit: Since apparently I STILL can't get my html tags to work, here's your link: http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog.php?post_id=16796
All four scribes from the Chronicle were present. This is what went down (I don't have the will or patience to write this in coherent sentences, so it's all in note form; enjoy):
Nothing that interesting really. It was exciting being in Philips again, and almost as exciting as loafing in the CNN Center beforehand. Hockey season is truly upon us.
Nothing inspires confidence like John Anderson. Very compelling speaker, witty and warm and wise, and his plan for next season basically consists of adapting our system to match whatever team we're playing. Like he told us at the bloggers meeting, he plans to play a much more offensive style of hockey, uptempo and more in the other team's zone than our zone. He intends on people other than Kovalchuk scoring twenty goals and more, and presumably on Kovalchuk scoring 100. Sounds good to me.
A pleasant surprise: Ron Hainsey was there! He took a few questions from the crowd and gave thoughtful, interesting answers. Nice dude, I'm excited to have him in Atlanta (he says he thinks a D-corps of Enstrom, Bogo, and himself looks pretty good; I can't disagree), and best of all he reminds me 100% of Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman in American Psycho. Columbus fans talk about how he resembles Orlando Bloom, and he does a bit...but when he opens his mouth I literally hear the voice of Christian Bale as Bateman. I think we've discovered a new motif for the Chronicle:
I can't wait for his power play goals.
Now then, on to Don Waddell. Wait, before I get to him, did I mention how much I like John Anderson? He's awesome. And he's going to horse-whip the Thrashers into playing a more offensive game. I mean, why shouldn't we when we have a guy like Kovalchuk? Hainsey said Ilya was one of the main reasons he came to Atlanta. Good for him.
Anderson also said something about our team becoming a chameleon, adapting itself to the opposing team's game. Hainsey noted the importance of each player on the team playing the exact same style/system, whatever that style/system may be. Like those Anaheim Ducks or those Detroit Red Wings, who play very different styles but win Stanley Cups and such. Speaking of Stanley Cups, Anderson said that his goal isn't to get into the playoffs. His goal is to win the Stanley Cup.
Ambition. Confidence. We of the Chronicle like it.
After Anderson and Hainsey finished their spiel D-Wad took the mic and fielded some questions from the audience. Not all of them hostile. Most of the questions were excellent ones, and Don answered them pretty well I thought. I just can't remember anything that was said now. Oh well.
Oh, yes: Apparently Slava Kozlov started sucking in the second half of last season because he was horribly injured and, John McCain-like, couldn't lift his arm above his shoulder or something. Poor Slava....though apparently he's 100% now and will presumably score 30 goals next year. I hope so. I love Slava (he and Hossa's line were the real reason I even got into the Thrashers; them and that other Russian dude) and I hope he'll revive himself this season. Really, why wouldn't he?
Someone asked a question about the Thrashers franchise moving to Las Vegas or Kansas City or some God-forsaken ghost town in Canada. Don said it's not going to happen, as the ownership also owns Philips Arena and something something something.
Basically, we're not moving. Good.
A lot of people asked questions that concerned, in one way or another, the possibility of Kovalchuk being traded. Don said he thinks Ilya is committed to the team and the money we can give him. In response to two questions that recommended urinating on the Czar's skates and running him out of town, Don simply said--as gently as he could--that guys like the Czar don't come along often and you don't trade a generational elite talent (genius, even) for draft picks and the Sedin Twins.
I wasn't give much comfort by Don's answers to questions about how much money the Ownership allows him to play with. I got the impression that he's on a tight stingy leash indeed. He DID say that they firmly supported pursuing Brian Campbell with mega-millions, so that's something I guess. Perhaps I'm wrong, but it seems that the ownership, for whatever reason (the legal imbroglio they're wrapped up in at the moment?), aren't willing to pay enough money for a winning team. Depressing, but not totally hope-destroying. The Atlanta Spirit might inspired premonitions of doom, but John Anderson really does inspire confidence and a hope that doesn't feel totally bogus. Hope that doesn't feel bogus at all, really.
Don also said that "an NHL team" had made him an offer of two "NHL players" for one of our fine goalies. Who who and who, I wonder? I suppose we'll never know. Unless Mike Knobler puts on his muckraker hat and gets seriously dirty.
Some dude from Parallel Universe, USA said something about Hossa being superior to Kovalchuk last year and got applause from exactly one other person. It takes all types to make a world, I suppose.
Before the Q&A Monsieur Catalogues and I had a good time chatting with the Falconer, mainly about music. He doesn't seem terribly confident about the 08-09 Thrashers, and that's fair enough, but my view is more agnostic. Anderson inspires confidence, like I've said a million times, but the team is full of question marks. Not ciphers or black holes, but question marks. We simply DON'T KNOW how Erik Christensen will do as Kovy's top-line center. He's never played that position before, and it might very well be his natural place. He didn't have that opportunity in Pittsburgh, where he was usually stuck on the third and fourth lines as a winger, not a center. How would, say, Marc Savard perform in those circumstances? Players like Christensen need to be given top six forward minutes to see how they'll perform.
Don said that the Thrash will use Marty Reasoner in a more offensive way than Mac-T did in Edmonton...Who knows how that'll turn out? Who knows how Jason Williams will peform? Kozlov, Bogosian, Armstrong, etc. etc. etc...
There are just a lot of unknowns, as some guy once said.
I consider myself a reasonably skeptical and critical guy, but I do choose to be hopeful about this season. There's no concrete reason for fatalism or doom-mongering, I think, and at the very least we will have improved our defense drastically and embraced a style of play that fits us much better than previous systems.
Like Anderson said, at some point last season we were in first place and then went on an eight game skid. Part of making to the playoffs (and, of course, winning the Stanley Cup) is shaving off those losses and increasing our winning streaks. Like I said in my write-up about the bloggers meeting, Anderson offers a way of looking at the Thrashers that deals in do-able particulars (increasing our winning streaks, getting depth players to score more goals than they did last year) and not in apocalyptic generalizations ("the Thrashers suck," etc.). He could, step by step, make us into a serious winning team.
Another reason to be hopeful: Don Waddell knows we shouldn't do something fuck-stupid like trade Kovalchuk.
Do we have the right stuff? Time will tell.
"We got a lot of players battling for jobs," coach Mike Babcock said. "I got 10 NHL defensemen, can't have 10. I got a whole pile of NHL forwards, can't have that; got three NHL goalies, can't have that. So there's going to be some real battles."
The thing is though, all of these players love and I mean love being Red Wings. How can you blame them, except for wanting to be physically in Detroit, but from a professional standpoint, why would want to leave?
So there are four more guys, that maybe we could pick up. Obviously, the Wings don't want anymore players. They'd go for a draft pick. So take what you will. There it is, and so it was. More options.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
The Flames have placed Marcus Nilson on waivers now, but I'd expect him to clear as well. While I like the guy, he's not going to be a difference maker on anybody's roster. He hasn't played a full season since 03-04 when he actually played in 83 regular season games by virtue of being traded from the Panthers to the Flames mid-season and playing in every game for each club while on their roster. In the past three years seasons Nilson has managed only 37 points over 180 games in between stints on the IR with knee, hip, and concussion issues. In his defense, he has also been a +22 over those three seasons while playing on the bottom two lines in Calgary. Not a bad stat at all. He works hard, and is kind of like Brad Larsen-light.
All in all, I wouldn't expect to see him wearing a new jersey at the end of the day. Maybe the Flames are making room on their roster to make room for a blockbuster trade that will put Iginla on a line with the Czar in Atlanta.
Mirtle says,""The waiver system ranks teams worst to first based on their finish last season until Nov. 1, meaning Tampa Bay would have first crack at Schneider. The Kings, Thrashers, Blues and Islanders would then be next in line."
Now with that in mind, The Kings have already passed. So, in theory, we are next in the decision process. If that's true. I just ask DW, please, please please. Burke and Waddell are buddies. So let's hope at today''s town hall, we all get a little surprise. I'm a hopeful person if you haven't guessed.
Anyway, that leaves us next in line.
or some other combination thereof.
The Thrash are undefeated in the Traverse City Prospects Tournament, 3-0-0, and they're set to play in the Championship Game against the similarly undefeated Dallas Stars.
The best thing about this tournament is that the most valuable players have been the ones everyone's been talking about for a while now: Spencer Machacek, Riley Holzapfel, Angelo Esposito, Arturs Kulda, and that Zach Bogosian guy.
Ben Wright has highlights here.
Concerning the Stars: you kids know what to do. Destroy them.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
He's priced around $5.75 million, and the waivers system is a "worst-to-first" contraption (as Mirtle usefully reminds us), so the Bolts might snatch him up before we can. Then again, could they handle the cap hit?
We certainly could.
The dude's like a million years old but his numbers are still very impressive.
I vote yes.
James Mirtle, who seems to be in a Vegas state of mind these days (and really, why shouldn't he be?), has happened upon a Las Vegas Sun article that claims "Hollywood producer Jerry Bruckheimer, MGM Studios CEO Harry Sloan and Wall Street financier David Bonderman" are partnering to bring an NHL franchise to Vegas by October 2010.
Good, I say. The best part? The proposed 20,000-seat arena has a good chance of being built right behind the Strip! After the game you can stumble right across the street to the Bellagio and watch the dancing fountain show, drunk.
Okay, so what's the name going to be?
The Vegas Sinatras
The Las Vegas Wayne Newton (not plural, mind, but singular)
The Las Vegas Lounge Lizards
The Vegas Siegfrieds
The Las Vegas Mafia
...anyone else have better ideas?
Whatever name they choose, their mascot should be a dancing slot machine.
We're doing ads now. Strangely, this coincides with the much more popular Pensblog's announcement that they, too, are doing ads.
The economy is in the outhouse basement and I need more money. The gigolo business just can't cover all my expenses anymore. So don't be alarmed if you see ugly disfiguring ads in the right column from now on. It's all about money:
Monday, September 15, 2008
Apparently, he is coming home soon this week (I know Mortimer alluded to this, but something was written up today apparently). He ran in the Silver Forest in Moscow and practiced with some trainers in Russia. God bless.
How about that crap job on photo shop I did!
Robert Lang is old, signs with Canadiens. Mats Sundin out of the question.
Wayne Himself says the league's reliance on new, non-traditional hockey markets is a good and healthy thing. Coyotes AT LEAST make it to the playoffs this year. Surely.
Mirtle thinks the Penguins might take a hit this season. Compared to last season, that is. It's possible, I reckon...but assuming either Crosby or Malkin, or both, stay healthy they can't have THAT much to worry about. Unless Fleury goes. Fleury goes and their hopes and dreams get thrown in Guantanamo along with the former librarian of Wasilla, Alaska.
Ovechkin is back on North American soil. That means Kovalchuk can't be far behind...Tarik El-Bashir's take here. Craig Custance's here.
Thrashers' prospects defeat Rangers' prospects up at Traverse City tournament. They haven't allowed a goal yet. Awesome awesome awesome.
From here on the news is political, so if you can't stand it, look away now.
In non-hockey news, the economy is collapsing and your house/apartment is worth nothing. You'll be homeless in a fortnight and your bank has already burned all your savings and eaten the ashes.
In that vein: Merrill-Lynch, apparently some kind of banking and investment institution owned by relatives of great gay American poet James Merrill, has no choice but to be eaten by an outfit called Bank of America, which reporters claim is also a bank.
Obama finally shows signs of non-pussydom (i.e., actually standing up to McCain's moronic smears and made up shit).
Apparently, a slight majority of God's Own Nation enjoys the banking and housing crisis and fully intends to support a regimen of more Bush-style tax cuts matched with cuts in spend--, er, tax cuts matched with heaps of borrowed money lavished on our eternal wars against Russia, Iran, and Evil. Apparently this will make economic sense when Ilya Kovalchuk is in Gitmo and Johan Hedberg is food on Sarah Palin' plate.
1. One day in the future (and hopefully some other days after that) Arturs Kulda and Zach Bogosian are going to be a Moby Dick WHALE of a defensive pairing/power play unit.
2. Zach Bogosian has a Dantean HELL of a slap shot.
3. The thought of Zach Bogosian's slap shot and Ilya Kovalchuk's one-timer sharing the same ice is enough to make me SALIVA salivate.
4. In addition to "Bogo" and "The Bull," Zach Bogosian will also be occasionally known as Zacho Bogosian around these parts, so as to maximize the number of O sounds.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Saturday, September 13, 2008
SN: Everybody assumes you'll do TV after you retire. Is that where you're headed?
Roenick: I love the camera. The camera is great for me. It was something that I gravitated to very quickly when I became a pro. My first attitude was, the media has a job to do. I'm going to make it as easy as I can for them to do their job. In doing that, I said what I felt, and wasn't worried about the consequences of it. It just blossomed from there. I'm one of those guys who doesn't care if he looks like an idiot. Embarrassment isn't in my vocabulary.
Roenick: I haven't become as popular as I've become in the sport just because of my on-ice numbers. People know me because of the things I'd say. There are a lot of people who say negative publicity is what opens up doors — whatever kind of doors it opens. Nobody wants to hang out with blah, 'We came out, wanted to work hard tonight.' Nobody wants to hear the cliches that go around way too many times. They want to hear, 'Screw that guy or the refs sucked.' The media has made me a lot more popular, but they have thrown me under the bus, too.
SN: So what will it be after you retire — television, radio, movies, coaching ...
Roenick: I think all of the above. I really want to look at the opportunity of staying in the game in the management side. I don't know about coaching, I wouldn't mind being a coach. I wouldn't want to do the two or three years in the minors before I spend my time in the show. I have a couple guys I work with who are determined to make me a Hollywood star. They put me in all these things to get my resume as many TV jobs as possible. I've been in early talks with Sirius Radio, doing a show for Sirius. I have a lot of business deals constantly coming my way.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Lisa over at the 411 has a fine post about this already, but I thought I'd urge all of you to take a look at the new aesthetic in Thrasherville. I like the blue laser and the Czar's terrifying demonic eyes. Not a fan of the new slogan, "Become One in Blueland." It doesn't roll off the tongue like "Believe in Blueland," though I can accept the need for a change. Why not "Keep on Czarin'?"
Taken from our "friends" over at HockeyBuzz. Specifically, Howard Berger, who is part of the dreaded Toronto sports media, but we'll take our info where we can get it during the off season.
This sounds a bit more promising to me. I'm hoping that the red is more of the maroon that is part of the original logo than that bright red in the picture we've previously seen. With the number in the middle and the stripe on the side, I think it should end up looking pretty good.