Friday, October 31, 2008

Knobler Posts New Lines Again

So now Kovy's line has gotten changed again. Now we have Williams at center with Sterling on the wing. Christensen goes to the fourth. I mean I can see it making sense, but I just have a hard time believing that Sterling is 1st line Kovy material. Granted, this is where he would best belong, but I just don't know if he has proven it. Maybe tomorrow he will.

Kovy- Williams -Sterling

Slava- White- Little

Army- Marty- Thorburn

Perrin- Christenesen- Slater- Boulton

We'll see what happens.

A Thought Before You Begin Your Halloween Revelry

Happy Halloween!

- Slava Kozlov: undead?

Thrashers Points Catalogue, 10 Games In

Todd White: 2 goals, 8 assists
Bryan Little: 5 goals, 3 assists
Slava Kozlov: 4 goals, 3 assists
Ron Hainsey: 2 goals, 5 assists
Ilya Kovalchuk: 3 goals, 3 assists
Colby Armstrong: 2 goals, 3 assists
Jason Williams: 2 goals, 2 assists
Mathieu Schneider: 1 goal, 3 assists
Niclas Havelid: 4 assists
Erik Christensen: 3 assists

Interesting. I can honestly say I didn't quite expect Todd White to be our points leader 10 games into the season.

Superstition Doesn't Get You Anywhere

...though the season is ripe for it.

After our blowout loss to Philly I decided not to post anything about the Thrashers in the hope that might bring them good luck of some sort. Stupid as hell, of course.

I'm disappointed we lost, of course, but again, we put up a STELLAR effort. Another one-goal game. Hmmmph.

The Falconer with some sanity here.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Bogo Out Six Weeks

Our boy Zach has broken his leg and will miss a month and a half.

Interestingly, I had a post a while back about how hockey players are much tougher than football players. Zach is going to miss I think only two weeks more than Tony Homo of the Dallas Cowboys will miss because of his broken pinky finger. According to Big Shooter's inside contact, Homo broke his pinky while trying to shove his fingers in his ear while listening to his girlfriend Jessica Simpson's new country cd.

Sharks Points Catalogue, 10 Games In

Patrick Marleau: 5 goals, 4 assists
Dan Boyle: 2 goals, 7 assists
Christian Ehrhoff: 2 goals, 7 assists
Devin Setoguchi: 5 goals, 3 assists
Joe Thornton: 1 goal, 7 assists
Joe Pavelski: 4 goals, 3 assists
Marc-Edouard Vlasic: 1 goal, 6 assists
Jonathan Cheechoo: 4 goals, 2 assists
Ryan Clowe: 3 goals, 3 assists
Mike Grier: 1 goal, 5 assists
Milan Michalek: 1 goal, 4 assists
Rob Blake: 4 assists

Just saying.

Only 1 Day Until Halloween

- The Finnish Flash scored a hat trick last night to lift the Ducks over the Red Wings something to something. Ryan Getzlaf, the feller who's been having a hard time lately? 5 assists. Should have kept him on fantasy. Meanwhile, Marian Hossa continues to rack up the points.

- Ken Klee now a Coyote!

- Trade deadline's been moved by one day. Adjust your calendars.

- Martin Brodeur had a rare hideous night last night. He gave up 5 whole goals to the Toronto Ron Wilsons, then lost the damn thing in shootout by positively encouraging Tomas Kaberle and Niklas Hagman to score goals on him. Hagman added insult to injury by snowing the poor portly fellow. NJ Devils fanatic Puck "Greg Wyshynski" Daddy with a postmortem here.

- If you manage to navigate the complicated way past the advertisements and the cheesy, out-of-context leadership quotes from Tacitus and Charles Barkley, Forbes Magazine has published a very interesting article about the relative financial value of the the different NHL franchises.
The Leafs and the Canadiens are money itself. The Coyotes, Thrashers, and Blue Jackets? Not so much.

Alright, two for one today. 1 day to Halloween.

Oh yes.

And finally, the trailer for the greatest bad horror film ever made:

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Lines Switching

Knobler posted that lines have been switched around:

Kovy- Christensen- Williams (I'm happy about this one. I've wanted Christensen to be Kovy's man all along)

Slava- White- Little (I hope this works, maybe Slava and Little can create some good plays)

Army- Reasoner- Thorburn (I mean it'll be a tough line for sure in terms of aggression and size)

Perrin- Slater- Sterling- Boulton (Ok)

The spiritual exhaustion I have as of this moment in regards to this team is overwhelming. Last night was just painful to watch. The Wolves would have played better and probably the Gladiators too (just making a point). It's over. Another game tomorrow against the Rangers in New York. God help us. These are the times when you just support. Be a fan and try to enjoy it.

Jagr Discovering the Benefits of Putin's Russia

Perusing Puck Daddy this morning, my eye was caught by this quote from a New York Times interview with Jaromir Jagr:

"Here, it's not like in the U.S.," Jagr says at a different point. "You got such freedom, it's hard to believe. In the U.S. you have so many rules, everything's regulated and structured. When you make a mistake you pay for it - a lot." It is a theme that Jagr returns to often, the freedom of this strange place. It is not so much that his departure from New York has left a disquieting wake, but that he has discovered the unlikely and unexpected promise of Siberia. "Look at A-Rod," he says. "No matter how well you do - they always want more. Expectations only climb higher. In Russia you don't have to worry if you make a mistake. And that's what I love about living here. There's always another way to make up for it. Nothing's too serious. Nothing is a problem, and at the same time, everything's a problem. But somehow no matter how bad things are, you can always work it out."
Hm. I can only assume he's talking about the freedom from the over-the-top, demented celebrity scrutiny we have here in the old US of A, not freedom in a political sense. I mean, this is the guy who famously wears the number 68 on his jersey to commemorate the year of the Prague Spring, when an experiment in Czechoslovakian liberty was brutally crushed by the Soviet Union.

On the other hand, it's probably not quite untrue that a multi-gazillionaire in modern day Russia has far more "freedom" than his American counterpart. In the sense that post-Soviet Russia is more or less a Mafia fantasyland where the ultra-rich can, quite literally, get away with murder. I'm not saying a decent, sturdy Czech type like Jaromir Jagr would get tangled up with mobsters and throw hookers in the Volga; it's just a simple fact that there's virtually no restraint (taxation, regulatory stuff, a money-neutral criminal justice system, independent judiciaries, etc.) on the wealth and lifestyles of gazillinaires in modern Russia. Jagr is a gazillionaire.

The fact that freedom of the press has been incinerated, and that journalists who investigate abuses of power committed by the government or atrocities committed by the military are shot to death and dumped in icy rivers is a small price to pay, really.

Only 2 Days Until Halloween

- Big Shooter, Monsieur Catalogues, and the absent Razor (he's been on a cruise around Italy, folks; don't worry though, he'll return soon) are free to write about the Thrashers. I'm putting a moratorium on posts from myself about the Thrashers until they actually win a game.

- One final note before the Thrashers content hiatus: What a horrible game. I'm reasonably sure that the Flyers aren't as good as they played last night, and that, yes, the Thrashers aren't as horrific, but Jesus H. was like watching every Thrashers blow-out crystallized into one game. Except this time it wasn't happening on the road (like our debacles in Buffalo and Long Island last season); it was happening before my eyes. The energy in the arena couldn't have been lower; ditto the team's energy. Except for Kovalchuk's totally insane outburst. I fear our young Czar may be losing his mind. I would be.

- So the Sharks won last night...that's something, I guess.

- Oh fuck, who am I kidding? What a clusterfuck.

2 days to Halloween.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Big Shooter and Morty Post Game Show, Oct 28th

On National TV

I stand corrected on my post from earlier today. Perhaps everyone is expendable.

Only 3 Days Until Halloween

The Philadelphia Flyers come from a city where Benjamin Franklin invented the Philly Cheese Steak and lightning. They have several professional sports teams, one of which seems to be competing furiously in a sporting championship of some kind. Meanwhile, Sarah Palin drops pucks there and continues to campaign in Philadelphia's vicinity; she's convinced that if she gets votes from enough racists in western Pennsylvania she can become President in 2012. Can't wait.

The Thrashers play the Flyers tonight.

3 days to Halloween.

Is the Czar Expendable?

Some rumor-monger who puts together sentences for a publication with the word "sun" in its name says something about the Thrashers shopping Kovalchuk.

The Falconer has a post about the to-trade-or-not-to-trade quandary (such a difficult one, really; I mean, I can see both sides of the question "Is it good to lose an elite player?"). I really DO NOT want to talk about this because 1) it's a pathetic rumor generated by a guy who gets paid to generate rumors, 2) talking about it just lends credence to the rumor and generates more chatter that might, as the Falconer says, damage the team's focus, 3) I love the Czar and don't want him to leave, and 4) it's tedious to go over this over and over and over again.

Whatever "benefits" come from trading Kovalchuk wouldn't be benefits. The Czar is a masterful hockey player and proves to be a more complete player every game. I simply don't buy the argument--advanced by many in the hockey blogosphere and echoed by the Falconer in his post--that Kovalchuk is a huge defensive liability. If commentators are coming to that conclusion based on his plus/minus statistics, I can only say that I simply don't believe that the plus/minus rating is the end-all/be-all when it comes to evaluating a player's defensive abilities. Kovy's minus-heavy rating in seasons past has more to do with a bad defense than his own defensive abilities.

Let me correct myself. He was irresponsible defensively early in his career. He's not anymore. Look at him.

He's more than a guy who scores a lot on the power play. He's incredibly fast and agile with his body and with the stick, he's an excellent passer and playmaker, and he can play with a physical edge when he wants to. He also happens to be one of the best goal-scorers in the NHL.

And if we traded him the Thrashers' already depleted attendance would basically vanish entirely.

He's indispensable to the Thrashers as a team AND as a money-making venture.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Only 4 Days Until Halloween

- Just how useless is Marian Gaborik? I've already had to kill him on the Fantasy Hockey and replace him with the ghost of Milan Hejduk.

- The Ottawa Senators are as frustrated as us. Harrumph.

- Meanwhile, Puck Daddy is hosting a fine contest for all you fans of the Hockey: Come up with 10 reasons that the Florida Panthers are actually pretty cool.

Pavel Bure. Scott Mellanby one-timing a rat. What else? The Panthers organization is going to give you absurd prizes for your trouble, IF your list is good enough. The absurd prizes?

• Four tickets to the snazzy ADT Club at BankAtlantic Center for the Panthers' Friday, Nov. 14 game against the Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings.

• Free food and drinks all night. (The Panthers clearly underestimate our readers' thirst.)

• A Florida Panthers prize pack, with swag like hats and shirts delivered to the winner's seat by mascot Stanley C. Panther and ... wait for it ... Panthers Ice Dancers.

Ah, Stanley C. Panther. The most lovably goofy of NHL mascots. He has the non-threatening cuteness of Carlton the Polar Bear and the gravitas of Sabreto--wait, ice dancers?

4 days to Halloween.


Re: Instant Gratification "I WANT RESULTS NOW!" Crowd

I was as dejected as anybody about the loss Saturday night. It was a game that belonged to us; we gave it away because of a few silly mistakes.

But the Thrashers are a million times better than they were last season. Like several folks have already pointed out here at the Chronicle (in the comments section as well as in posts; see Andrew and the Falconer in particular), Anderson's system will give us a walloping record once the boys get his system down pat. It's a lot like rehearsing a play...all hockey fans have been in plays, right?

You stumble over your lines in the early rehearsals; hell, you don't even KNOW your lines. You don't know your lines until a few weeks in, and you're still eons away from cobbling together a decent performance. If you pay attention to detail and actually give a damn, though, the thing comes together. Give it time.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

System Kicking In

First off, last night was rough. It has had an effect on me; even today it hurt so badly, but I'm not freaking out about the team. The problems that cost us the game last night can be fixed. It's not a lack of talent or because we have crap players. It'll just take practice and time. JA will fix it. Again, the thing that keeps me sleeping so well is that man. He saw how bad the power play was, and he fixed it. Kovy looked more comfortable in his positioning, the puck was moving, and we scored on 3 out our 4 power plays. Personally, I'll take that.

Today I was on the message boards, and man, some of the fans were freaking out on levels I don't think I've seen before. They were putting down players left and right. It's almost like they think we don't have any players on our team that are good at all. Some people have been saying Schneider is a disappointment. I just laughed. Yeah that goal last night totally sucked. Who does he think he is scoring on the power play?

Some people think Toby is the worst player now. I have noticed some errors on him, but by no means am I upset with him. Big Shooter and I were watching him at one of the recent home games, and he was talking about a defensive play Toby did that was magnificent. He had another one in a later game as well. Big Shooter went into depth of the shutdown that Toby did and how probably no one will notice it and what a good job he did. That is the case. Yes, we wish Enstrom could of cleared the puck last night, but it is not the easiest job in the world to be a short defenseman.

Also, last night I noticed another young defenseman coming into his own. Obviously this was Bogo. He seems to have gotten more comfortable with holding the puck and not immediately passing it. It looks like he getting more used to moving it in an NHL game. There were some people on the boards saying he should have scored by now and why hasn't he scored like three goals. I mean, really? You expect an 18-year-old rookie defenseman to of scored in the first eight games? Talk about high expectations. The boy is only going to get better. Also, during the game he did a great shutdown and I screamed "OgoBogo." For those of you that don't know Ogopogo is lake monster in British Columbia supposedly along the lines of Champ and the Loch Ness Monster, just another nickname to throw out there for my own and hopefully your amusement.

Things that I came out with from the game:
- We scored on the power play :)
- M Schneider scored and was a good addition (something I already knew)
- Kovy scored
- Slava scored
- Williams scored
- Army is an amazing human being
- Moose did not lose the game for us
- Zdeno Chara is really tall and scored
- Lucic is a badass, I mean did you see the moves on that last goal?
- Boston has a weird ice issue apparently
- We should've won
- Too bad we didn't
- That makes me sad
- I'm not worried about our team
- Give us time
- I have faith, but I'm not blind

Hockey 101

I was going to post my thoughts on the game last night, but Morty pretty much summed it up below. Just when you think the boys might be ready to take a small step forward, they find new ways to lose. Here is a little lesson in Hockey 101... if you have the puck on your stick in the defensive zone, FIND A WAY TO GET IT OUT!!!! That led to three goals last night.

One more thing, as a defensemen your head has to be ON A SWIVEL!!! Know your surroundings and don't let a six foot four inch guy be all alone in front of the net (or 1.9304 meters for those of you crazy about the metric system). Sometimes easier said than done, but this is the NHL. The two things I mentioned should be pretty easy things to accomplish.

I love Colby Armstrong and Marty "The Party" Reasoner. That is all.

Enjoy Coach's Corner. What a suit!! Very sharp:

For The Blueland Chronicle, I'm Big Shooter.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Most. Disappointing. Game. Ever.

And the Thrashers have played some. Disappointing. Games.

The Bruins had no business winning that one.

Our power play was ace. We were keeping them scrambling and scurrying in their own zone, applying all kinds of offensive pressure and shooting the puck like mad.

We need to fix that whole "Let's not play in the second period" thing.

Toby Enstrom needs to clear the puck more often.

Traditional Original Six hockey city Boston needs to sort out its fucking ice.

I need to find a quiet place to go cry and mutilate myself.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Is Ron Hainsey Currently the Best Defenseman in the NHL?

The stats say he is.

Via the Falconer.

Only 7 Days Until Halloween

- The men from Buffalo continue to impress.

- How about those Panthers? Doing reasonably well, they are, but tonight they face the greatest team in professional anything ever. Aside from the Thrashers.

- Down 500-0 last night, Jarome Iginla did what all captains are supposed to do and scored 501 goals to outdo the Nashville Predators and win the game. Dion Phaneuf is now actually helping me on fantasy.

- Oilers undefeated no longer. It's that damn Joe Sakic, mugging Oilers at ATMs and carving backwards J's into their faces.

- So Eric Staal holds his brother Jordan's head under water (through a hole in the ice) for two periods, then Jordan's friends--star hockey players Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin--roll up in their snow mobile and show the elder Staal the proper way to do such things.

- Speaking of the Penguins, what the HELL is the deal with the Pensblog?

7 days to Barack Obama's Satanic bathtub holiday.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Facing Down the Red Wings

Can it be done?

Can it be done against a Red Wings team featuring Marian Hossa?

Can it be done against a Red Wings team featuring Marian Hossa without Marian Hossa?

Last year's game against the Red Wings--you know, the one where the Thrashers annihilated the Wings on the strength of a Hossa hat trick and an unbelievable performance in goal by Kari Lehtonen--is one of the all-time classic Thrashers games. Yeah, I know: a book as long as--how does the joke go?-- "Jewish WWE Champions" or "Swiss War Heroes" or something along those lines...

If the Thrashers are even going to entertain the notion of beating the Red Wings and achieving a winning record, they'll have to 1) actually score on the power play, and 2) score more than two fracking goals. After the avalanche of goals in our opening game against the Caps I figured that Anderson's system would open the floodgates to scoring from just about everyone on the team. That IS already happening to some extent (before the season, did anyone expect Todd White to have the points he has right now?) despite the last few low-scoring games, but it needs to happen a heckuva lot more.

I think we can do it...we just need Ilya Kovalchuk AND Bryan Little AND Slava Kozlov AND Jason Williams AND Ron Hainsey AND Mathieu Schneider AND Kari Lehtonen to score hat tricks.

Official Editorial Position on the World Series

Only 8 Days Until Halloween

- The Flyers still haven't won a game (JR single-handedly destroyed them last night, see below). Some are beginning to wonder if Sarah Palin inadvertently put a curse on them when she dropped the puck at the home opener a few weeks ago. That's no way to win Pennsylvania.

- Mats Sundin is still alive.

- If there IS a Palin curse, how do you get rid of it? Someone consult an Alaskan witch doctor.

- Sarah will be dropping the puck at a St. Louis Blues game. Is this really necessary? Do the Blues really want to put an end to the awesome season they've been having this early?

- Speaking of the Blues' awesome season: our old, dear friend Keith Tkachuk has scored 7 goals so far. 7 goals.

8 days to Halloween.

JR Sharks It in Shootout

I didn't watch it, but it seems last night's game in Philadelphia between the Flyers and the Sharks was an epic. Ridiculously high-scoring, too: I think everyone on each team had a goal. Patrick Marleau even scored two (along with two assists to tally a four point night).

Daniel Briere scored late in the game to tie (6-6) and send the game into overtime. In the shootout the Flyers couldn't get one past Nabby, and the Sharks goals were scored by Joe Pavelski (a true shootout master, like Slava Kozlov or Erik Christensen) and, best of all, Jeremy Roenick. JR's credited with the game-winning goal in his final game ever in awesome is that?

UPDATE: Here's the whole glorious video:

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Kahlua Line?

Mike Knobler's christened the Kovalchuk-White-Little juggernaut with the best line name ever.

Start serving little White Russians at Philips. Do it now.

Empty Seats

Mirtle notes the sharp decline in attendance at Thrashers games.

Half-literate commenters predictably talk about relocating the team to Toronto.

Seriously, the lack of fan interest in Atlanta is pathetic. I realize that quite a lot of this has to do with a destroyed economy and the Thrashers' disastrous play last year. And attendance is down all around the league. Again, the economy...

But it's a new season, with a new coach, and we seem to be playing much better than last year's opening six-game suckfest. If nothing else people should come to see Bryan Little score a million goals.

Only 9 Days Until Halloween

- We could have added another loss to the Lighting's record last night, but apparently Bryan Little punched Martin St. Louis in the balls and gave the Bolts an overtime power play. Sigh.

- Isn't Dan Kamal wonderful? He should do TV commentary alongside the Darren.

- Judging from Kamal's radio commentary, we played a hideous game the first two periods (the second marginally better than the first) and came roaring back in the third. A sudden burst of confidence and competitiveness late in the game...something that WOULD NOT have happened last season. Yes, we lost. But we got a point for the standings (9th place, yeah!) and more importantly, we're proving to be a reasonably competitive, confident team. Goodee.

- The Caps lost to the Flames last night. This is a good thing for the Atlanta Thrashers.

- Puck Daddy has a story on the greatest thing that's ever happened anywhere ever.

- Thomas Vanek = unreal. Rocket Richard?

- Ron Wilson is a great coach, but why in God's name does a great coach all of a sudden yank his starting goalie (who put up a solid performance in the third period) and replace him with the back-up just before a shoot-out? Strange. Almost as strange as this:

A Point, I'll Take It

Sure, I wanted the win, and there is nothing I hate more than losing to Tampa. It just doesn't go over well with me.

But, there is something to take from this. I didn't get to listen to the game, but I kept checking my phone to see the score. We were down and then we came back. Last year this kind of play probably wouldn't have happened, especially in February. Army said it best: that we are going to be a tough team to beat. And if we are going to get beat, I want the other team have to work for it.

Sadly Bryan Little had a bad penalty that put a 4 on 3 advantage in OT to allow Vinny to score, again something that I hate to hear. I'll let Little slide, obviously: one, shit happens, second, he's our leading man right now.

Another thing that's interesting about all this is that Todd White is acting like a first line center by getting two points in this game. He is second on the team in points. With this game, points came from Schneider and Hainsey, which is awesome of course. These guys are doing exactly what we want. Then there is Army, who gets a goal.

Right now the Thrashers are technically in Ninth place in the Eastern Conference. We are a point behind both Washington and Carolina. I'm not really concerned about anything right now. We are moving forward nicely I think. When we lose to Tampa, the thing that helps me sleep is JA. He doesn't get down about things. He sees what needs to be done and does it.

Also, I'm just so excited right now. There are people on the team other than Kovy contributing to the scoring and points, and it's just awesome to see this potential come through. I'm still waiting on Christensen. I think he'll come through. I just feel he's got such potential. As a whole I think things are looking up. It's early in a very long season, and things aren't bad at all. It's turning out to be a really interesting one with Buffalo playing like they are and the Sharks and Edmonton playing awesome. Hopefully the good guys will keep winning, and hopefully we'll be one of them.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Few More Thoughts on Bloggers vs. "Journalists", Professionals vs. Amateurs, etc.

- Some blogs are like traditional reporting in newspapers and magazines. Some (and I would include the Chronicle in this category) are more like fanzines or alternative press. More Dazed & Confused than Newsweek. I'm not sure if our house style is terribly congenial to the press box, but if we were given press passes I think we could come up with questions at least as penetrating as the questions that, say, Creative Loafing asks state politicians when they're given access.

- To generalize about blogs and bloggers is as meaningless as generalizing about television, movies, or novels. It makes literally zero sense to say "All blogs are unprofessional and juvenile and horribly written." It makes as much sense to say "All television shows dumb you down, destroy your capacity for focused attention, and zap your imagination" in the age of The Wire and The Sopranos.

- Some people need a refresher course in the English language. The word "journalism" comes from the French word "jour," meaning "day." The first print journals in England and France called themselves journals for two reasons: 1) like people's private journals, they kept a record of the day , though in this context it was a record of public, rather than private, events; and 2) they came out every day. A liveblog is an example of journalism at its purest: it quite literally makes a record of the day. Blogs that are updated daily have at least some claim to calling themselves journals.

- Some people need a further refresher course in the English language. The opposite of "professional" in these people's minds is, presumably, "amateur," meaning "one who loves." I'll proudly assent to being called an amateur. I love hockey and I love the Thrashers. The question is whether a blogger allows his/her love of their team to get in the way of professional behavior in the press box (not giving Craig MacTavish or John Anderson a high five after a victory, etc.).

- There are a lot of blogs in the hockey blogosphere. There are as many levels of quality and types of writing. It's up to a team's organization to decide which blogs are good enough to merit a press pass. To ignore all blogs or to make grand pronouncements against blogs in general is a stunning example of blindness and willful ignorance.

Only 10 Days Until Halloween

- And the Tampa Bay Lightning are getting into the spirit of things by forcing their goalies to wear Saw V masks.

OOOOOOH, SCARY. I actually watched Saw III a few nights ago...ridiculous. I hate the Saw movies. They're no Cannibal Holocaust.

I also hate the Lightning. But most of all I hate the fact that tonight's game isn't going to be on TV. I suppose I should be thankful, though: this gives me a reason to listen to the great Dan Kamal.

- No way Marian Gaborik finishes the season with the Minnesota Wild. Wild beat writer Michael Russo is reporting that Gaborik is being shopped around the league already, and that likely destinations include the Montreal Canadiens and--wait for it--the Los Angeles Kings. I just want him to score more goals; he's not helping me on fantasy.

- It's in the interests of the Atlanta Thrashers to 1) beat the Lightning tonight, and 2) to hope that the Calgary Flames--who are definitely due a win--defeat the Washington Capitals in Calgary tonight.

- I predict Ovechkin goes down with an injury before the All Star Break. Not a serious one, but one that will force him to miss a chunk of games. Just saying.

10 days to Halloween.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Only 11 Days Until Halloween

- Via Fire Wagon Hockey: Don Le Greca and E.J. Hradek interview our very own Zach Bogosian on their NHL Live radio orgy. He talks like he's a member of the team or something.

- Puck Daddy points out the sad shortcomings of Radim Vrbata. G.W. thinks the problem with Tampa Bay is Melrose; others think it's the shitty players. I'm not sure. What I am sure of is that we play them tomorrow night and there's no excuse for us not to score on them seven times.

- So the Ducks are having a hell of a time. Ryan Getzlaf's plus/minus is killing me on fantasy. Sigh. At least my top center is Joe Thornton (on one team; my other fantasy team, in Maali's league, is flat-out godawful).

- Will Joel Quenneville's moustache turn the Blackhawks into a killing machine? They play the Oilers (whose management likes to roast bloggers on spits and drink the blood of puppies) sometime soon. Either the Oilers continue their undefeated start to the season or the Blackhawks, um, win.

11 days to Halloween.

Bloggers, Press Credentials, and More

The Falconer has an interesting post about the Covered in Oil crisis. He makes some points about the situation up at the ol' Atlanta Thrashers press box that I think are worth quoting here:

Here in Atlanta we have what may be the largest press box in the NHL. You can look up there on any given night and the upper press box looks like a ghost town. That sure looks like a wasted resource to me. Why not fence off one side of that and create a Blogger Row? Here is a team that gets precious little coverage and fans have little to read in the mainstream press. Often the mainstream press is very negative (which is fair when factual, but that has not always been the case in my opinion). Why not encourage more fan blogs and websites by setting up something to facilitate them?
The Falconer has experience blogging from the press box in Nashville, and elsewhere in the post compares the empty press box at Philips Arena to the Washington Capitals' pro-blogging, pro-innovation press policies. Why can't the Thrashers be more like the Capitals and offer press passes to bloggers who can string together coherent sentences?

"Oh, but how does the organization know that the blogger is PROFESSIONAL enough to be granted a press pass?" bleat the reactionaries.

"Professional" is a nebulous term, and sometimes (sometimes, sometimes, not the majority of the time) the "professional" ethos even gets in the way of serious and engaging journalism. Was George Orwell being "professional" by running off to Spain to fight in the Spanish Civil War and then writing a book about it from his very un-objective, "biased" (but highly individual and non-partisan) perspective? Did he need a press credential for his writing about the war to be "professional" and valuable?

How did I get onto this topic? What was I talking about? Hockey bloggers...yes...

To be fair, the Atlanta Thrashers organization is gradually becoming more blogger-friendly. I mean, last summer they invited us humble Thrashers bloggers to interview the new head coach! All this without pre-conditions (I never signed anything that said "You can't ask John Anderson about x, y, or z") and at a time when quite a lot of the mainstream hockey press hadn't had a crack at the guy.

I'm not saying that the Thrashers organization is backwards and hostile to today's media (it's ridiculous to call blogs and the online press "the media of the future;" look around you), because they're clearly not. Like I said in my write-up after the Anderson interview, the people in the organization who invited us are forward-thinking and smart on a purely pragmatic level to embrace the blogosphere. Like the Falconer says, print media is dying, and there's no going back to some Edenic state where bloggers don't have some measure of influence and attention.

I love newspapers and magazines, but they're declining irreversibly. Just two or so weeks ago Creative Loafing declared bankruptcy and announced that its print days are over: it's gone totally online. I suspect alternative papers around the country will follow suit (as it looks Washington DC's City Paper will do), and eventually even the mainstream broadsheets might transfer 100% of their content to the online world.

As for how a hockey club determines which bloggers are worthy of a press pass and which ones are not: judgment, kids, judgment. Most blogs are junk, but most of anything is junk; the hockey blogs that get lots of attention almost always deserve it. The hockey blogosphere is quite diverse, and the most popular blogs (Mirtle, Kukla, Puck Daddy, the Pensblog, etc.) ALL merit the traffic they receive. They deserve their popularity for different reasons, but they certainly deserve it.

Maybe hockey organizations should appoint an official blog gatekeeper, a sort of online literary critic who determines which bloggers produce content good or interesting enough to merit a press credential and which ones write meaningless dreck. The Thrashers already kind of have just such a blog gatekeeper in Ben Wright of the Blueland Blog. The Falconer offers some (to my mind) excellent ideas here:

One argument I hear against this is that people will only blog to avoid buying tickets. Well here's a news flash--I know multiple people who sit in press row on a regular basis who produce ZERO THRASHER CONTENT and simply use their press passes to attend games. Basically if you work for a media outlet at some point in your past you can get a press pass and do NOTHING and still watch NHL hockey for free. I understand why individuals would take advantage of the Thrashers organization, but I don't understand why the Thrashers organization allows itself to be taken advantage of.

On the other hand, bloggers who do create Thrasher content are turned away because we don't work for professional news organizations. Look, if you're worried about a Blogger Row becoming a cheap ticket alternative, then establish some ground rules to weed out the slackers--you have to publish regularly or loose your spot--"publish or perish"--seems like I've heard that one before.

The other objection that is frequently tossed out is that bloggers are unprofessional. Fine, establish ground rules and have Blogger Boot Camp during Training Camp in which any blogger must learn and consent to basic journalistic rules before receiving a credential. At the risk of offending my journalist friends--we are not talking about learning how to split the atom here. Eric McErlain has already created a Code of Conduct statement which the Thrashers could modify to their satisfaction.
I dig the "publish or perish" idea. What do you think?

Mirtle Relocates

He's left his digs at Blogspot and taken up a position at SB Nation. From now on, Mirtle can be found at

After almost four years and 3,967 posts, this site is joining SB Nation and will be relocated to for the foreseeable future. I'm taking on the title of manager of NHL blogs, with the goal of building up the site's small offering of hockey sites into a community of 30+ bloggers producing quality content for every team.

So if you love blogging on the Florida Panthers, drop me a line.

Moving was a very difficult decision, but I honestly believe that SB Nation is going to be a big, big deal when it comes to hockey blogging and I'm ready for the challenge of helping it get there.
The Chronicle will adjust its links accordingly.

Oilers Brass are Petty Bureaucratic Tyrants

Quelle surprise.

I've been slightly out of the loop vis-a-vis the larger hockey blogosphere the past few days (my focus has narrowed to the Thrashers somewhat, if only for a little while, given the season just started and all) but poking around here and there the curious hockey fan will find that several blogs are discussing the case of David Berry, one of the gents who blogs at the fine Edmonton Oilers blog Covered in Oil.

For those who don't know the story already, Puck Daddy has a fine summary of what happened here, plus a righteous polemic against the authoritarian dinosaurs in the Oilers organization. I strongly suggest you read Berry's version of events here.

Basically, Berry's press credential ok'd him for a single activity: gathering quotes after the Oilers game for Vue Weekly, a news-and-arts publication in Edmonton (their equivalent to Creative Loafing or the Stranger or Austin Chronicle or LA Weekly, I think). Sitting around in the press box DURING the game--before his credentialed work was to begin--he decided to do a liveblog for Covered in Oil. The ruling bureaucrats didn't like what he wrote, so they stripped him of his press credential and kicked him out of the box.

Like Puck Daddy says, in this case the Oilers organization is "technically right, morally wrong." All censorship-happy authoritarians are pedants at heart; they always point to some rule-regulation technicality to justify their censorship or muffling of unwelcome opinion. This is the case for EVERY kind of writing, from hockey blogs to the Chinese poets whose work was abolished by the Chinese government in the 70s, 80s, 90s, and now and designated "spiritual pollution."

In other words, this has nothing to do with the proper credentialing and authorization and whatnot. It has everything to do with content. The Oilers folks didn't like what Berry had to say. He uttered unwelcome thoughts, so they censored him.

I really have nothing original to add to this discussion. This post has more to do with solidarity than offering new insight. Let it be known I agree 100% with Puck Daddy. What he said.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Encouraging Signs

As we all know, through six games last year we had exactly 0 points and our coach got shown the door. Things then went downhill from there! Not so this year. Through five games we are 2-2-1 for 5 points. What is encouraging to me is not necessarily that we have won, but how we are playing, even in the losses.

We have been in every game, and have come out roaring every game. That first period last night was the best I've seen the Thrashers play in a long time. Kari has been near perfect! I love it! And how 'bout the job Bryan Little is doing. Hennngh?!!? Heeeeengggh!!! How about the job he did last night? Heeeeengggh!! If only that Don Waddell knew how to draft people maybe the Thrashers could be better.

I'm so glad Little was put on the first line wing. This past summer when Morty and I had the privilege to sit down with John Anderson for a few questions I asked him about our offense, and told him I thought the biggest key for our success this year would be how Little does. He was pretty quick to agree with me.

If our second line can gel we might be on to something. I certainly think the talent with Kozlov, Crusher, and a mix of Army and Williams can provide enough scoring punch to help us win games. And I've been pleased with Bogo. He is just getting his feet wet, but so far no big glaring mistakes. As the year progresses he will get more comfortable and start jumping into the play.

All in all, I think we should all be pleased with how things are going so far. The only thing that worries me is the crowds so far. Sell out opening night (no surprise), but then three weak crowds after that. Imagine if we hadn't played the Sabers last night. Would have been pretty empty for a Saturday night. The economy sucks, and I understand if people can't afford to go to games. What I don't understand is people that have the money, love hockey, but are trying to send a message to ownership by staying away. Just get over it and go to the games and have fun with your family and friends.

Anyway, lots of positives so far. I think it will only get better. Enjoy this week's episode of Coach's Corner:

Post Game:

For The Blueland Chronicle, I'm Big Shooter.



Saturday, October 18, 2008

Only 13 Days Until Halloween

1. Either John Anderson's system isn't extremely effective against teams that play an ultra-defensive trap system (Minnesota and New Jersey, the boring bastards) or the Thrashers professional sports team hasn't completely bought into the system yet.

2. The Sabres play a more free-flowing, offensive game, much like the Capitals or the Anderson-era Thrashers. This game should offer us more scoring opportunities.

3. How about those Oilers?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Are There Any Teams in the NHL Who Don't Play a Boring Hyper-Defensive Style?

I can't remember.

Can Brodeur Stop This?

Behold the original Czar Pushka (cannon):

Which was just slightly less powerful than this Czar Cannon:

Hope Brodeur is ready.

Bobby Holik Returns Tonight

How to react?

Only 15 Days Until Halloween

And we play the Devils tonight.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Building a Better Power Play


Fixing the power play was the theme of today’s practice. In the latter part of practice John Anderson tried a look he hadn’t used. He moved Ilya Kovalchuk to the point, paired him with Ron Hainsey and added Slava Kozlov to the rest of Kovalchuk’s line (Todd White and Bryan Little) as forwards. I’ve seen Kovalchuk rotate up to the blue line with Hainsey going low, but this was the first time I saw a power play unit with four forwards.

The Thrashers are 0-for-7 on the power play in their last two games, the overtime loss at Florida and Tuesday night’s 4-2 loss to Minnesota.

We could use a better power play. I'm sure you've all noticed that in our power plays thus far Kovy has been positioned all over the place instead of at his traditional perch at the point, waiting for one-timers. I like Kovy getting into the thick of the action, and he scores excellent goals that way at even strength (like the one he scored last night on a wondrous feed from Bryan Little), but the official editorial position of the Blueland Chronicle is that the Czar needs his throne. Keep him at the one-timer perch.

We have confidence that J.A. will do the right thing. I was actually still quite impressed with our offense last night; we had the Wild scurrying around their own zone frightened at several points. But our lack of delivery on the power play DEFINITELY needs to be corrected, and it's a good thing John Anderson is trying to do just that. Like I've said a million times, one of the reasons I think Anderson is a fine coach is because he thinks in terms of details and particulars.

For instance, during both this summer's blogger summit and the town hall meeting, he said that he would reduce the team's losing streaks by examining the immediate problem at hand and trying to tweak it as soon as possible.

In other words: If you're a losing team, try to have a winning record. To get a winning record, reduce your losing streaks. To reduce your losing streaks, win games one by one. To win the game, score more goals. To score more goals, score on the power play. If the power play isn't working, FIX THE POWER PLAY!

It's very simple. Hey, look at these McCain-Palin supporters:

And before Razor points it out: Yes, that report IS from the English language version of that sinister bearded Saladin of TV networks, Al Jazeera itself. It's interesting the American media finds none of this worth reporting.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Their West was Wilder than Ours

The 4-2 defeat at the hands of Minnesota tonight was tough to take, but isn't nearly a harbinger of doom. Thanks to the OTL format, Atlanta is still not below .500, and if they continue to build on the positives they displayed tonight, they may not fall below that line this season at all.

The defense was steady overall with scattered bouts of heroism and total breakdowns. Tobi Keith Enstrom picked up his game noticably from opening night, and his partner in Swedeishness, Niclas Havelid made a great save after the Wild poked one behind Kari. Schneider performed very well with Nathan Oystrik, continuing his mentoring role, but was plagued by penalties that I don't think he actually committed.

Oystrik had a solid game until he made the gaff that he will probably remember for the rest of his career, just because it tarnishes his first regular season NHL game. Trying to keep the puck in the offensive zone so the team could generate some offense to tie the game, Oystrik fell down as the puck was poked past him, leading to a breakaway that sealed the deal in Minnesota's favor. It could have happened to anybody, and it's unfortunate that it happened to this promising kid in his first start. Hopefully he'll put it behind him and come out solid in his next chance.

Bryan Little continues to impress, and played with more confidence now that he has less responsibility at wing rather than center. The Czar's first goal of the season came off a beautiful behind the back pass from Little, that was practically one-timed on the backhand as a tic-tac-toe from Hainsey to Little to Kovy. Absolutely a thing of beauty. Little added a goal of his own, finally capitalizing on the plan of streaking to the net to meet a pass from the side boards. The team was obviously trying for that several times tonight and it paid off on Little's tally.

Kari will probably get lambasted in the message boards (as will Oystrik) over tonight's game, but it's not deserved. Kari made the saves that he should have made and several that he shouldn't have. He was beat on a nice breakaway move and was beat on separate two-on-one situations in which his defenseman should have taken the pass and didn't. The first goal was a powerplay marker that was also the result of some impressive passing leading to some wide open twine.

In all, the Thrashers seem to be picking up Anderson's system and running with it, but need a little more time with it before it's truly reliable against a good defensive team. And that's exactly what they were up against tonight. The Wild play team defense so well that it feels like they have seven skaters on the ice clogging every shooting, passing, and skating lane that was just open a split second ago. With Backstrom providing reliable goaltending and that team defense making up for a lack of scoring depth, the Wild look a lot like the Devils teams that won three cups in nine years.

Fortunately, those aren't the same Devils that will be rolling into Philips Arena this Thursday night. They have a lot of the same names as those old teams, but a lot more gray hairs and a lot fewer goals for. Here's to hoping the birds can keep Brodeur shy of Saint Patrick's record a little longer.

For the Chronicle, I'm Razor Catch Prey.

Minnesota Wild Finally Have a Mascot

Since we're playing them tonight, I figure now would be as good a time as any to introduce the new Minnesota Wild mascot. Until this season the Wild were one of the few NHL teams that didn't have one; I'm glad finally they wised up and joined the club.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Nordy.

Bear? Fox? Beaver? Flesh and blood incarnation of the abstract Wild?

Photo gallery here.

A Slight Change of Strategy for Tonight's Game

Mike Knobler reporting that John Anderson will be encouraging a more cautious style of play against tonight's opponents the Minnesota Wild, who do quite well playing coach Jacques Lemaire's infamous neutral zone trap. 

Anderson’s message to his team is, I’d rather have you chip the puck forward and make the Minnesota players have to turn to get it than to have turnovers that can lead to offense for the Wild coming the other way.

Well, we beat them last year. Let's do it again.

A Few Facts and Questions about Alexei Cherepanov

- First of all, there was no collision with Jagr. Cherepanov collapsed while sitting on the bench with Jagr after the two had completed a shift.

- It's unclear whether he died in the arena or at the hospital. Cherepanov's agent Jay Grossman (who also happens to be Ilya Kovalchuk's agent) says that he was told doctors could detect brain activity shortly after the player arrived in hospital. But at this point the exact time of his death is unclear, a case of hearsay.

- It's now more or less certain that Cherepanov died of cardiac arrest. No one is sure what triggered it.

- That thing you heard about the ambulance not being on hand? It's true.

- There was also no stretcher, if cameras can be believed. Or more accurately, if people who've watched the video can be believed. Yes, Cherepanov's last moments were, of course, caught on video. I can't watch it, and I won't post it here because I refuse to traffic in snuff films (yes, that sounds pompous and self-righteous, but so be it), but if you insist on seeing it there's no shortage of hockey blogs that have posted it.

UPDATE: reports this:

Vladimir Shalayev, the managing director for the newly formed Russian league, said a preliminary autopsy showed Cherepanov had a "hypertrophied heart."

"It has nothing to do with yesterday's game, there were absolutely no injuries," Shalayev said in televised comments. "He was not injured during this game."

Cherepanov's agent, Jay Grossman, said the player had tests at the NHL combine before last year's draft that didn't reveal any heart problems. He has been told that players in the Russian league receive regular heart and blood tests, similar to those given in the NHL.

The incident caught the attention of a high-level government meeting, chaired by President Dmitry Medvedev, to discuss how to revitalize Russia's deep sporting traditions.

"A person should not be allowed to take part in competition if he has ischemic heart disease," sports minister Vitaly Mutko said. "This means that in fact there is no preliminary health control and monitoring. And this system should be very well-defined."


Hockey Themes

TSN is hyping the re-vamped version of their traditional "hockey night" theme song that is set to debut this week. Apparently this is the greatest thing to happen to Canadians since Mike Weir won the Masters.

I'm sure that the song brings up lots of great hockey memories for Canadian hockey fans, and I know that we're all partial to what we grew up with. That being said, I have to say that this (or the original) woefully pales in comparison to the epic NHL on ESPN theme music that followed such historic game intros as Gary Thorne chronicling the 95-96 Red Wings' President's Cup winning season in which they (cue footage of Patrick Roy yelling at the Montreal GM after being left in for 10 goals) "ran a hall of fame goaltender out of Montreal..." (cut to Roy in net for the Avs, making Statue of Liberty save after save against the Wings in the playoffs) "but he landed on the wrong team."

Outside of the hockey world, I have always been a big fan of the NFL on Fox theme music. If you listen closely, you can tell it's actually a Christmas song. They used it for the broadcast of football games during the holidays and it was so popular they adopted it year round.

Also, being the huge fans of Big and Rich that Shooter and I are, I'd be amiss not to mention the very appropriate use of "Comin' to Your City" as the theme song of College Gameday.

In the spot of worst theme song ever, I just found this Team Canada song by Canadian born country star (ok, so he had 2 hits in the mid-90's) Paul Brandt.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Rangers 4- Jersey 1

HAHAHAHAHAHA. I hate Jersey.

But with that aside, 5-0-0 for the Rangers. Damn. I'd have to say that's a good start. It seems Drury as a winger to Gomez is creating some good stuff, and some bad attitudes are out of the locker room. So there you have it, New York leading the East.

Vancouver Canucks @ Washington Capitals Liveblog!

Why not?

7:14 PM- Game's been underway for a few minutes now. Brent Johnson in goal rather than the the hilarious Jose Theodore. Alexander Semin just poked a goal past Roberto Luongo (not to be confused with some other Luongo). 1-0 Caps.

7:15- MP's instructions to Canucks: Alright, dudes, you need to win this game. The Thrash need to be first place in the Southeast by the end of tomorrow night's game.


7:17- Sergei Fedorov playing defense for the Caps. So strange. 

7:17- You kids need to know about Ryan Kesler. He plays third line for the Canucks, he's a great defensive/offensive power forward, and he's American. He'll be our premier checking line dude in 2010.  And he already knows all about the ice at GM Place!

7:18- Canucks so far keeping the Caps pinned down in their own zone. Much more offensive than I remember. 

7:21- Slapshot the Eagle looks trimmer this season.

7:21- Fedorov with a wrist shot, deflected by that Luongo person.

7:24- The Sedin Twins really are terrifying. Is it absolutely essential for them to sport the exact same facial hair? I bet their powers dry up if they shave differently. 

7:25- Lots of poking.

7:26- Lots of hits! Luongo pokes and deflects another shot.

7:27- Alexander Ovechkin (not to be confused with another Ovechkin) takes a shot, misses.

7: 28- So I have this sore throat and cold that strikes every year at exactly this time. That's almost as odd as the Sedins. Hey, here's Daniel Sedin on the television.

7:30- "Thank you," he says. 

7:30- Carolina losing to Detroit 1-0. Still early, but good. Canes sporting those awesome new red and black jerseys. They really ought to make those the official things. 

7:31- Bam ba lam. 

7:32- I'm obviously not paying attention. The Caps have been on a power play for like TEN MINUTES and I didn't even notice. Ovie gets knocked down, crowd at Verizon boos, no penalty on the Canuck. Power play nearly over. 

7:33- Vancouver on the power play!

7:34- Sedins keep setting up some crazy juju. No dice so far. 

7:35- Caps kill off the penalty. Alex Semin is a big deal. 

7:35- Backstrom storms Luongo, shoots, Luongo deflects. 

7:36- Penalty on Vancouver! Washington power play.

7:38- Pavol Demitra committed the sin of hooking, apparently. So judgmental, these officials. Haven't we all done a little hooking in our day?

7:38- Power play fifteen seconds old and the Caps still haven't scored. What fools. 

7:39- Mike Green scores. He's a BMF. 2-1 Caps.

7:42- Some Cap messes with a Sedin, earns team a penalty. 

7:45- End of first period. 2-1 Caps. 

7:56- If the Rangers win tonight my fantasy team does better than Big Shooter. He has Brodeur, I have Lundquist. 

8:06- A few minutes into the second period. Caps extremely aggressive. Luongo's quite good.

8:07- Excellent chance for the Canucks, but everyone slipped and fell down in front of the net and went home to weep. 

8:08- Caps regain puck, charge into Canucks territory, fire a rocket into Luongo's glove. Stunning sa--Caps just scored. 3-1.

8:11- The Caps do not let up. They try to score, shoot the rebounding puck, fail to score again, shoot the rebound puck again, score. Semin with his second goal: 4-1 Caps.

8:12- Caps keeping Canucks in their own zone, super-offensive. 

8:17- Ovechkin smashes Wellwood against the boards. Ovie is awfully big. 

8:22- Shots on Goal: 19-3 Washington. Penalty called on Vancouver. Another goal for the Caps?

8:25- At least Monsieur Catalogues' fantasy goalie Luongo has given up 4 goals tonight. 

8:31- Jesus tap dancing Christ, ANOTHER Washington power play?!

8:31- Fedorov is quite the PP point man.

8:32- Some Canuck gets whistled for interference. Caps have 2 man advantage. Prepare to lose another point in fantasy, Monsieur. 

8:33- Penalty shot. Semin on Luongo. I predict Luongo stops it.

8:34- Arguing the call. Interference or penalty shot? Luongo chatting with ref. Semin anxious for the hat trick.

8:36- Semin not doing the penalty shot. Michael Nylander instead. Here we go. 

8:36- NYLANDER SCORES. Shit. Was I wrong?

8:36- I'm closing in on M. Catalogues and his Luongo in fantasy hockey.

8:41- End of 2nd period. Luongo's been abandoned by his skaters. 5-1 Caps.

9:01- 3rd period underway. Lots of men with sticks.

9:02- Canucks looking a bit more aggressive, no, wait. Caps nearly score again. New non-Luongo goalie in net. None of this shitfest is Luongo's fault, of course.

9:09- I've lost interest. 

9:13- Steve Bernier half-heartedly slaps some Caps.

9:32- Was there a Canucks-Caps game tonight? 

Dear God

Young Ranger player dead after collison with Jagr in the KHL.

What horrible, horrible news.

Moose's Mask (Indiana Moose)

This is Moose's new mask. Big Shooter might just kill himself by how inclined to his tastes this is.

Hockey is Alive and Well

A few snapshots from around the league in these early days of the 08-09 season:

- Big Shooter's Edmonton Oilers are kicking ass. Dustin Penner scored two goals last night in the Oil's 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. I think there's hardly a question that the Oilers are going to be the NHL's most exciting team to watch this year. Nice.

- San Jose Sharks are undefeated so far. I like what I'm seeing from new head coach Todd McClellan. The Sharks are playing an even tighter and more offensive game, based on Red Wings-style puck possession. This has so far resulted in 2 points each for Patrick Marleau and Jonathan Cheechoo, something that neither of them achieved this early last season. Young feller Devin Setoguchi has a goal, as does other young feller Joe Pavelski. What depth. Seriously.

- And how about those New York Rangers? Might they take the Eastern Conference?

- The Tampa Bay Lightning are, as of yet, winless.

- The Flames-Canucks are going to have a blistering, hate-filled rivalry all year. Steve Bernier's going to be a big deal for Vancouver this season, I predict. Daniel Sedin is already scoring goals like it was his profession or something. Another prediction: the next time these two teams play, the Flames are going to get a hellacious revenge.

- The Carolina Hurricanes are serious this year. They want a playoff return badly.

- My favorite news item from around the league: the Phoenix Coyotes are killing it. Olli Jokinen and Peter Mueller had goals in the very first game, Shane Doan scored two goals last night against a so-far faltering Anaheim Ducks, and much-anticipated rookie Kyle Turris scored his first NHL thing-where-the-puck-goes-into-the-net. Ilya Bryzgalov has been excellent. Like I said, the Stanley Cup is not out of the question.

Once Again, Proof That Big Shooter Is All Knowing

Bryan Little has been moved up to the first line right wing. I have been saying this should happen for quite some time. If you are going to ask him to succeed, I say put him in a spot where he can succeed. Nice compliment to the Czar, and he won't have to worry about being a Center.

I'm about to go Don Cherry on you, but look at my post from back in July when I said they should do this. Not too far off folks. Please ignore my bitching about Knobler. He has been much better lately.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

A Point of Comparison

The Thrashers scored 9 goals in the first two games of the 2008-09 season.

Last season, the Thrashers scored only 3 goals in their first two games. They didn't get nine goals until five games in.

Bristol Palin Impregnated by Mike Richards in Front of Thousands of Screaming Flyers Fans

Ho ho, just joshing. Actually, vice presidential hopeful and avid newspaper reader Sarah Palin stood between Scott Gomez and Mike Richards and dropped a puck. Some people booed, some people cheered.

I'm sure you've already seen this like twenty times, it is again.

I wonder what position Bristol's fiance plays.

Philadelphia is located in one of those wild and woolly "toss-up states" where Obama leads in the polls by like ten points.

A horde of drunken booing Flyers fans won't dissuade this assclown from voting for Palin, however:

And no, I don't think all conservatives/Palin fans are sick racist trash. Most of them are just sincerely concerned that this Barack HUSSEIN Obama character is going to enslave them and force their daughters to marry terrorists. Before he gets on with the business of being the Antichrist, of course.

Good Start

Not bad. 3 out of 4 points on opening weekend. I think we will all take that. I thought we played pretty well until the third period last night.

Through two games this season there is not one doubt in my mind that our best player has been Ron Hainsey. I had never seen him play before. I hate the Blue Jackets, and avoid them at all costs. Come on... the Blue Jackets!!! Anyway, Hainsey has been impressive both offensively and defensively. He and X have been the best pair. Hopefully Havelid and Enstrom will join them soon. At times they have both looked lost in both games.

Looks like it is going to be an exciting season folks. Enjoy the first two episodes of Coach's Corner:



For The Blueland Chronicle, I'm Big Shooter.

Kari the God, Kovy the Playmaker, and Patrick Bateman

Yeah, we lost. But we lost in overtime.

I'll (we''ll) have something more substantial later.

For now: it sucks we lost, but at least we got a point.

Kari Lehtonen is unbelievable.

Ilya Kovalchuk has always been as good a playmaker as he is a goal-scorer. This year he becomes an assist-making mastodon.

Jason Williams really does look like Neal Patrick Harris.

Ron Hainsey is a big deal. Nothing but impressive so far.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Kopitar to Stay with Kings

Hopefully a miniature preview of the Czar's eventual contract extension.

Thrashers Point Tally, One Day In

Correct me if I'm mistaken.

Bryan Little- 2 goals, 1 assist
Niclas Havelid- 3 assists
Eric Perrin- 2 assists
Ron Hainsey- 1 goal, 1 assist
Slava Kozlov- 1 goal, 1 assist
Todd White- 1 goal, 1 assist
Marty Reasoner- 1 goal
Colby Armstrong- 1 goal
Tobias Enstrom- 1 assist
Erik Christensen- 1 assist
Jason Williams- 1 assist
Ilya Kovalchuk- 1 assist

John Anderson, anyone?

Bryan Little First Star Of The Night on

My Man.

McCabe Out Today

Bryan McCabe of the Florida Panthers might have broken his back in a game against the Boston Bruins. He will be getting an MRI today to see the full extent of the injury, reports TSN.

Unsurprisingly, Popular Hockey Commentator Knows Nothing About the Thrashers' Play

Puck Daddy has no clue.

This wasn't the Capitals' loss. It was the Thrashers' win. I'd bet golden hogs that Puck Daddy didn't even watch the game.

Yes, the Thrashers let an early 3-0 lead slip. But unlike days past, when the Thrashers (and Kari Lehtonen, most prominently) would lose all confidence when they fell into a tied game, the fellers battled back and never once looked like they were ready to retreat and nod off.

Read what Colby Armstrong told Jeff Schultz. It's quoted in that there post below. He speaks truth.

Oh, the Thrashers beat the sexy Caps 7-4. No goals were scored by Ilya Kovalchuk. However, the Czar did have one beautiful set-up, pass, and assist. I need to find some Alka Seltzer.

UPDATE: As usual, the Pensblog gets it:
Colby Armstrong, wow. Thrashers stun the world.
Amen, the Pensblog, amen.


Hey Jeff, Thanks Man

Schultz is coming around. Awesome. I'm so giddy.

Another point made in this article: We didn't roll over and die like we used to. We battled.

“We competed, we battled,” Little said. “We never got down.”

“Look at the way we played,” Colby Armstrong said. “Look at the character we showed coming back after they tied the game. That’s going to be the mentality of this team. Things are changing around here. That’s how we’re going to play this year. We’re going to battle. We’re going to be a tough team to play against.”

Boo ya kasha

More thoughts

If the season ended today, the Thrashers would win the Southeast, clinching 3rd in the Conference and would play the Sabres in the first round. Montreal would miss the playoffs entirely. Wow, they suck, they should be moved. Obviously Quebec doesn't deserve to have an NHL franchise.

Now that that is out of the way...

The outcome tonight was obviously great, but it was a rocky road to get there. And not the tasty, chocolate, marshmellow, and almond kind of rocky road. The first period was sloppy. Kari pulled the Thrashers' butts out of the fire after Bogo took a bad penalty early on, and some miscues lead to some good chances for the Caps. Luckily, the home team got some lucky bounces and some impressive opportunistic play to go up 3-1 at the end of the first stanza. It is very lucky that they did so, because the second was a mirror image, with the Caps outscoring the Thrashers 3-1 in turn.

The four goals scored by the Caps weren't really Kari's fault, and I can't even say that they were due to any major breakdowns defensively. They were the result of some impressive puck movement by the Caps that culminated in essentially empty net goals. There was one long range shot that beat Kari on the glove side, but for the most part, the goals were 90% Caps hard work and only 10% Thrashers lapse. This could not be said for most of the lamp-lighters last season.

Most importantly, the Thrashers didn't quit. They gave up a 3 goal lead, went into the locker room for the second intermission, and came out full bore. It wasn't just Kovy. In fact, Kovy didn't dent the twine once tonight. The goals came from the guys that are going to have to share the Czar's load this season. Reasoner. Little. Armstrong. Todd White for God's sake!

As the team gels even more, there will be better team defense and even good passing won't create so many scoring chances for the opposition, and at the same time, Atlanta's chances will come more often. This team is going to get better. Look for a score of 9-1 in favor of the good guys when they take on the Vegas Leafs later on this season.

A Few Thoughts

- Jose Theodore is not a goalie.

- Bryan Little is God.

- Kovalchuk got a point before Ovechkin.

- Kari Lehtonen has the reflexes of a snow leopard. Remember that Ovie penalty shot? Ovie missed. Poor Ovie. 39 saves.

- Bogo owns Brashear. Our 18 year old rookie can hold his own against Washington's massive enforcer. He lost the fight, but he can hold his own. What does this mean?

- I shook Niclas Havelid's hand two nights ago. He currently has more points than Joe Thornton.


- The third line was massive.

- Ron Hainsey scored his first goal as a Thrasher!

- John Anderson uses his saliva to polish Bruce Boudreau's head.

- Commentators who hate the Thrashers can dine on the Chronicle's collective member.

And on that note:

Friday, October 10, 2008

We Won.

Ok, I know it was a high scoring game (7-4), but damn that was some fun. I just hope this makes naysayers think twice. By all means, I'm not saying we are the 80's Oilers, but give us credit when deserved. We played hard and came through when needed. Also, to those people out there who thought that other players couldn't score I give you this: Bryan Little = 2 goals, Kozlov = goal, Army = goal, Hainsey = goal, Reasoner = goal, and White = goal. So there you have it. Kovy didn't even score, but he did have an assist. Havelid had three assists. Kari had 39 saves = ridiculous. Schneider looked ace. Bogo looked like a rookie. He was trying and did well with a few mistakes, and the kid is younger than me (I'm Bryan Little's age). So give em some time.

Brashear did start a fight with Bogo, which is unacceptable. Brashear is a big enforcer. I understand letting the rookie know his place in the NHL and welcome-to-the-big-leagues-and-all-that, but you don't go after an 18-year old kid in his first NHL game. I like Brashear, but that is unsportsmanlike. In the end, it was a hell of a game, fun as hell. The whole Chronicle was there, and we had a hell of a time. Good job boys, and most importantly, congrats John Anderson.