Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Well, I think that about does it for Chronicle-blogging in 2008. As Supreme Editor round these parts, I'm using my authority to unilaterally declare a policy of No Blogging Until 2009.
But there were some good things that happened this year. Like this:
Last season, that was.
Most important hockey event of 2008: the resurgence of the Chicago Blackhawks.
Put him on a line with Bryan Little. I believe I've been saying this since the summer, but hey... who is counting?
I know a lot of you wouldn't want to break up the Kozlov White Little line. I don't either. But exactly how many games have we been winning with that line? When you are 29 out of 30 you have room to try different things. The fact is Kovy needs more than a 3rd and 4th liner playing with him. Nothing against those two guys, but they are what they are. Might I suggest a Czar Little Army line? I think that has the makings of one of the better #1 lines we have had in a while. That still leaves enough talent on line 2.
I have also been saying Army should be playing with Kovy for quite some time. I really don't see what the big deal with Thorburn is. I almost fainted when people thought it was a good idea to have him with Kovy at the end of last year, and then attempted suicide when I realized we were doing the same thing this year. I understand wanting that "type" of player with the Czar. Army is that type of player, and he actually has talent. Again, not knocking Thor, he plays hard but he is what he is.
Big Shooter's Lines For Tonight:
Czar Little Army
Kozlov White Crusher
Perrin Reasoner Williams
Boulton Slater Thorburn
For The Blueland Chronicle, I'm Big Shooter.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
*Apologies to Big Shooter for bumping down his picture of the Lady with the Elephant Fail.
The Thrashers DID, as several of our commenters have pointed out, play a fine game against Boston, but still...I've seen so many fine efforts by the Thrashers end in a one-goal loss that I find it difficult to get excited about said fine efforts.
Nor is Sunday's game in any way a mark of "progress." Anyone remember our first game against Boston this season? Nearly the same thing, albeit higher-scoring.
Oh well. Things could be worse.
The San Jose Sharks have signed Claude Lemieux, because, I mean, why not?
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Having lost a great deal of sleep the night before, Waddell felt fatigue pulling at his consciousness, and soon he was dozing in his chair.
He awoke in darkness and felt a chill. A deathly silence filled the air in the Thrashers' executive suite, almost overwhelming the smell of equipment from the locker room.
Waddell walked down the hall toward the media entrance, pleased that this terrifying day was finally over and he could head for the sanctuary of home. He rounded a corner and suddenly found his progress halted and his face buried in a musty black shroud.
Sputtering, Waddell backed up a pair of steps and gawked up into a hooded visage. The smell of death and borscht emanated from the figure, and the robe was emblazened with a Thrashers crest on the front and a captain's "C" on the left shoulder. Waddell didn't need Darren Eliot to explain that this was the Ghost of Thrashers Seasons Future.
"Oh, great, another one of you. Ok, what big lesson to you have to teach me," Waddell asked.
The spirit didn't speak, only reached up and pulled back his hood. Waddell was astonished to see the face of Boris Valabik.
"Boris? You're the Ghost of Thrashers Seasons Future? And you're the captain? What is this? You are barely competent to be in our third defensive pairing right now."
Still not speaking, the spirit beckoned for Waddell to follow as he moved toward the elevator. The ghost stared ahead stoicly as the Otis elevator brought them from the basement to the main concourse. Unnerved, Waddell tried to remain just as impassive, but was unable to resist snickering when the ghost ripped a squeaker.
Though he was certain he'd been the only person left inside Philips Arena, Waddell found himself looking out at a crowd of a few dozen people in the atrium when the elevator doors opened. Surprisingly, none of the people seemed to notice the 6'7" shrouded Boris Valabik and the GM walking among them, and when Waddell tried to speak to one, it was as if he didn't even exist.
The spirit lead Waddell through portal 6 and out into the belly of the arena where a game was being played on the ice below. The Thrashers were taking on the New York Rangers, but the stands weren't even half full. Waddell was still taking all of this in when a small cheer came up from the crowd and the goal light was lit at one end.
An announcer whose voice Waddell couldn't recognize came on the PA system stating "That is a hat trick for Ilya Kovalchuck! This is the Kovalchuck's 40th goal of the 2014-2015 season and the fourth hat trick!"
Waddell beamed as he turned to the Ghost and smugly said "See? Everything is going to be just fine! Kovy is still here and he's playing better than ever!"
Slowly, the spirit turned to look at Waddell. Without speaking, he pointed a long finger at the scoreboard hanging high over the ice.
Irritated, Waddell looked where the ghost had indicated. It took him a second to realize what he was being shown, then his jaw dropped and the smugness fled from his face. The score was 3-0 New York.
"Kovalchuck is playing for the Rangers!?!? But I'm going to offer him the league maximum to stay here! Why would he leave?"
The spirit bent over and picked up a copy of The Winger magazine from a seat in front of them and handed it to Waddell. The GM flipped through the pages, noting that he was still listed as the General Manager. Under his picture, he read a quote from himself explaining that Ilya Kovalchuck had decided to take less money to go to New York, wanting to play with the more gifted players on their roster and have a chance to win a Stanley Cup.
Near the back of the program, there was a section with updates on former Thrasher players who had moved on to other teams in the league. Tobias Enstrom was listed as a Norris Trophy finalist playing for the Sabres and Bryan Little was being touted as the next Adam Oates feeding passes to Alex Ovechkin in Washington.
Finally, he found an insert with the current standings. The date at the top of the page read "March 28, 2015." His eyes skimmed down the standings, looking for the Thrashers. It was not until he reached the second to last spot in the Eastern Conference that he saw his team listed. Right above the New York Islanders.
"But... we've made no progress at all. We're still terrible and all of our best players are gone. How could this happen?"
The Ghost of Thrashers Seasons Future didn't speak. Only stared into Waddell's soul, leaving him to watch his own reflection in the spirit's eyes.
The GM fell into despair, shutting his eyes as tight as he could and clutching at his own hair. It was all too terrible to bear, that his labors lead the team to such desolation.
When he finally opened his eyes, he found himself again sitting in his office alone, the lights dim and silence all around him. Was it all a dream? Was the team really doomed? Where was Craig Patrick's phone number?
Friday, December 26, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Waddell made it through the day with his distracted state doing little to interfere with his routines, and eventually he made his way to Philips arena for the evening's game against the Hurricanes. Arriving over two hours early for the game, the GM passed through the media entrance, down the hallway, and into the Thrashers locker room.
To his surprise, the light switch did not illuminate the room, and a chill swept into the dark as his eyes adjusted. At this point, he knew what was to come next.
"Ok, come on out, Ghost of Thrashers Season Present. Let's get this over with." he called.
"Actually, Don, it's just me," replied Coach John Anderson as he stepped into the glow of the emergency exit lights. "The Ghost of Thrashers Season Present called in sick and asked me to fill in, so here I am."
With that, Anderson suddenly swung a Koho goalie stick overhand and whacked Waddell over the head.
"OUCH! What the hell was that for?"
"I've been trying to send you a message all season and you've entirely missed it, so I decided I'd try just hitting you over the head to see if I can jog anything loose in there."
"Do you think I have Chris Thorburn and Marty Reasoner playing on a line with Kovalchuck because they earned the chance? It was the most obvious way I could think of to show you that WE HAVE NO ONE WHO CAN PLAY WITH KOVY!!! You have one superstar, and absolutely no one to support him. The only forward on the team who even deserves to be on the ice with him is Kozlov, and he plays the same position! How the hell did you expect me to forge a winning team with this crop of losers?"
Waddell became defensive, pointing his finger in Anderson's face like he thought he was Harrison Ford. "I drafted Bryan Little, you ingrate! And I signed Todd White! They are leading this team in scoring! How's that for giving you winning forwards?"
"Little has a lot of promise, but belongs on the second line, where I have him. White's putting the biscuit in the basket more than anybody else on this team, but that's like being the homeless guy who finds the best Tim Hortons dumpster rations.
Anderson hit a button on a remote control and a video screen shone to live in the darkness. On it, Waddell saw video clips of Marion Hossa scoring goal after goal for the Detroit Red Wings, then of Pascal Dupuis scoring and assisting on goals for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Then an NHL Network commercial featuring Braydon Coburn took their place.
Without a word, Anderson hit another button and the video screen disappeared into the dark. Nearby, a single light came on, illuminating the a player's locker. Anderson led Waddell over and picked up the player's jock strap.
"Smell this," Anderson instructed.
"What!?!? Are you out of your mind? That's disgusting!" Waddell exclaimed.
Without warning, Anderson shoved the garment into Waddell's face, covering his mouth and nose. Waddell gasped and recoiled, horrified, then paused.
"Thank God, it was clean. You're still an asshole."
"Yes, but do you know WHY it was clean, Don? Look at whose locker it is."
And Waddell looked at the nameplate over the locker. The name Christiansen was etched on its face.
"It's clean, because this guy you got in exchange for Marion Hossa - or did you get Armstrong for Hossa and Crusher for Dupuis - can't crack the lineup. And Angelo Esposito may never play an NHL game, much like Alex Bourret that you took with a first round draft pick."
"Ok, ok, you've made your point. But it's up to you to get all of the offensive talent of out guys like Christiansen and Reasoner and Thorburn that all of their previous coaches neglected. All I have to do is bring them in."
"Don, I think you should leave now before I begin hitting you over the head with the stick again."
Stay tuned for the final installment coming soon.
That is what Christmas is all about isn't it? That, and the birthday of Baby Jesus. We all love Santa and Rudolph, but please don't loose sight of the true meaning of today. I'm not going to get all preachy on you, I've never been one to try and force my beliefs on others. I just wanted to give you a reminder of why we celebrate today, it is CHRISTmas after all.
If you don't get into all of that, at least recognize that Christmas is a truly special time to be with family and friends (the greatest gift of all). If you have lost touch with someone you care about, pick up the phone and call them today... trust me, you will be glad you did. If you know someone that will be spending today alone, invite them over to have Christmas with your family. Christmas is a time for looking past small and petty differences. It is a time simply to love everyone. So, with that said I wish you all a very, merry, Christmas!
For The Blueland Chronicle, I'm Big Shooter.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
He went through his morning routine with the NHL Network playing On the Fly in the background, and grabbed a donut from the kitchen, wishing that he was with the team on a Canadian road trip so he could visit a Tim Hortons.
Intending to head to the Ice Forum to begin calling teams about who might be on the waiver wire soon, Waddell opened the door to his garage and passed through. Immediately, he knew something was wrong. The temperature was far too warm for this late December morning, and a smell of pretzels and stale hotdogs hung in the air.
Wide eyed, he stared around him at the press box of Philips Arena where his garage should be. Waddell turned to go back through the door into his kitchen, but the door was gone.
"You can't escape that easy, boss." Said a slightly accented voice behind him.
"Hnat Dominichelli? I thought you were playing rec league hockey in Latvia." Don exclaimed.
"I'm not really Dommer, I'm the Ghost of Thrashers Season Past, here to show you the error of your ways." The spirit replied.
"Look around you and tell me what you see."
Waddell did as he was told and replied "Well I can't see much, because everything is dark. Why are we here?"
"This is Philips Arena, and tonight is the start of the 2002 Stanley Cup Playoffs. But there's no one here, because the Thrashers finished out of the top 8 in the East yet again."
"Now come on, that's not my fault. We were an expansion team and it takes a while to build up." Waddell meekly countered.
"Yes, just like the Florida Panthers who only took two years to make it to the finals. Or the Nashville Predators who have made the playoffs several times to Atlanta's one." Dominicelli replied.
"But I am sure that once the team makes it to the playoffs for the first time, you will make sure that they maintain a high level of play and make it every year after that, right?"
"Um, yeah. Of course. And you'll be team captain, too."
"The silver lining of these abyssmal seasons was that the franchise received high draft picks. How well did you use them, Waddell?" the spirit asked.
"As well as any GM in the league."
"It will be up to the Ghost of Thrashers Season present to judge that claim."
And with that, Waddell found himself sitting in his office at the Ice Forum, staring at his copy of Mike Milbury's book "How to trade your franchise players for high paid dead weight."
I've always enjoyed the Eve more than the Day, for some reason. At heart I'm more a longing-for-something person than a getting-something person...which might explain why I'm a Thrashers fan (other than the accident of where I live).
It was the winter wild,
While the heaven-born child
All meanly wrapt in the rude manger lies;
Nature, in awe to him,
Had doffed her gaudy trim,
With her great Master so to sympathize:
It was no season then for her
To wanton with the Sun, her lusty Paramour.
Most importantly, I see that the Czar got his 500th career point for Christmas. If only we could give HIM something...I'd like to join Razor in asking Santa for a play-making power forward to play with Ilya.
Lastly, your editor's favorite Christmas song:
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
It was a cold and windy night in Atlanta late December of 2008. Don Waddell pulled his bedcovers tight under his chin as he tried to banish thoughts of the Thrashers abysmal game against the Maple Leafs from his head.
The wind whipping by the windows howled and the house creaked and moaned in the face of wintry gales. On the precipice of sleep, Waddell's mind wandered though a list of players that other teams had given up on but that he might be able to obtain in exchange for a bit of his team's future. Perhaps next year's first round draft pick in exchange for Jamie Heward? So lost was he in these Milbury-esque fantasies that he almost missed a slight change in the lonesome sound of the wind.
Why, that sounded just like the night air was calling his name. But that's insane. He must have dozed off and dreamed of Paul Coffey crying out to him for a free agent contract to make a comeback. But wait, there it was again. More distinctly this time. The sound was so mournful and dreary.
When he heard it the third time, fear clawed its way up Waddell's spine, but all he could do was pull the sheets up tighter like a goalie's blocker. As he shut his eyes tight and told himself it was only a dream, he heard footsteps outside his bedroom door.
The footsteps grew nearer, then the doorknob rotated with an unearthly creak. When the door swung ajar, the air from the hallway carried in a stench of old hockey pads, defeat, and... fishsticks.
"DON WADDELL!" This was no trick of the wind, but an authoritative voice commanding his attention. Shaking with fear, Waddell opened his eyes and gazed at the foot of his bed at the figure there before him.
"Curt Fraser? What the hell are you doing here?" Waddell asked.
"I have come to warn you of the comming of three spirits this night." Fraser replied.
"Wait a minute, you mean like in that Bill Murray movie, Scrooged? But I love Christmas, and you're not even dead, how can you be a ghost?"
"Well, I thought I was dead for a while, but it turns out I was just coaching for the Islanders. The inside of that arena is quieter than a tomb. And these are not Ebaneezer Scrooge's Christmas ghosts, but the Ghosts of Thrashers Seasons Past, Present, and Future."
"But why? Why am I being tormented by these spirits?" cried Waddell.
"When you have seen what they have to show you, then you will no longer need to ask that question. Now I must go, for the Ghost of Thrashers Seasons Past will be here anon."
"Anon? Curt, it's when you used words like that that Per Svartdvadet couldn't follow your coaching anymore" Waddell said, but before he had finished the sentence, Fraser's spirit was gone.
Check back soon for more of the story, as it will be continued by Big Shooter, Mortimer Peacock, and French Catalogues. For now, I'm Razor Catch Prey, wishing you all a Merry Christmas, and asking Santa for a playmaking power forward to play with the Czar.
Monday, December 22, 2008
I won't bother.
All I'll say is:
1) This game had everything: hideous play from literally everyone on the Thrashers, retarded calls by the officials, and the Vegas Maple Leafs. This game couldn't have been more infuriating.
2) I'm asking Waddell for a trade to San Jose, including a cabin on the Pacific with this view:
This team, it pains me to say, is never going to go anywhere until there's a radical overhaul in ownership, management, scouting, and, um, everything else.
Losing in humiliating ways AT HOME has become routine. Weep.
Will they? The last game between these two teams, at the Air Canada Center in Toronto (we all know the hockey rink at the Bellagio isn't finished yet; you must be patient) was a roaring good time: Colby Armstrong flattened a hapless Jason Blake and made the Toronto media froth at the mouth, the Czar had to turn his armies against some guy named Ian White, and the Thrash won 6-3 (I think).
What's more: White promised Kovalchuk will "get what's coming to him." This should be interesting.
Larry Brooks of the NY Post:
Bettman will never discipline the Baby Jesus! ESPECIALLY AT CHRISTMAS!
How, by the way, would the Protector of Children explain Sidney Crosby's behavior on Thursday night in Atlanta when the Chosen One first sucker-punched Boris Valabik across the side of the head before continuing to rein blows on his nether regions while the Thrashers' defenseman was wrestling with Pittsburgh's Kris Letang and unable to defend himself or fight back?
Crosby should be facing a disciplinary hearing with NHL vice president Colin Campbell. He should have gotten a game-misconduct penalty as third-man-in. Instead, the wimpy Chris Rooney-Don VanMassenhoven referee tandem got into the spirit of the Christmas season by assessing Crosby a mere two minutes for roughing. Ho! Ho! Ho!
Maybe Bettman would like to explain that, and the concept of equal justice under the law, to all those 12-year-olds out there.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
James Mirtle on the Falconer on the decline of fan interest in Atlanta. Worth reading.
But, ATL-defender that I am, I particularly enjoyed this comment by one Big Picture Guy:
To me the worst part is that Phillips Arena is a wonderful place to watch a hockey game, more intimate than most modern arenas, and the staff on the ground there have always been genuinely pleasant and accommodating to fans. Coming through the Marta station (subway) and hearing fans chant “Let’s Go Thrashers” after an exciting win (far too rare), riding the subway with a bunch of local Finns singing Finnish drinking songs (I’m mentioning these things because I think Canadians have a very one-dimensional picture of Atlanta-it’s actually very diverse)you could almost imagine that you were at one of the old intown arenas (Boston Garden etc). The last act in this tragicomedy hasn’t been played out but “savior” is the appropriate word to use in this context.
And this one by one Hooks Orpik (nice name):
I caught a game in Atlanta last month and there was a wider variety of fans than I’ve seen at any other hockey game.Damn straight.
The area kind of reminds me of Nashville: the fans that are there are just as ardent supporters of their club as you’d find in any other market….But the problem always remains in an untraditional market of how to keep the team on the radar and attract new ones. It’s difficult to do in areas where other sports are more known.
It’s almost impossible when a guy like Waddell has run them straight into the ground.
I realize I'm beating a dead horse here, but I'm prepared to be boring on certain important subjects and I'll say it again: Don Waddell is a large part of a problem that's bigger than him alone. I would think that for anything at all to change in the fortunes and performance of the Thrashers, everyone--the scouting director we've had for THE ENTIRE EXISTENCE OF THIS TEAM, for instance--would have to go, not just Waddell. That would require the Atlanta Spirit committee to agree (unanimously) to fire everyone.
That isn't going to happen.
Beating a dead horse again, but: What this team needs is ONE owner, preferably an eccentric billionaire who will hire the right people. The ASG is a bungling, bureaucratic mess.
Nonetheless, Happy First Night of Hanukkah, everybody! I hope our Jewish readers (and I happen to know there are at least eight of you, one for each night) all get at least one gift from the Chronicle's Guide to Holiday Gifts for Fans of the Hockey. Hopefully something to do with Hockey Jesus.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
And that Mathieu Schneider will play as well.
And that Garnet Exelby has been playing on a fractured something-or-other for weeks now, and has finally decided that it's probably not the healthiest thing. True heart and soul, playing on a broken leg or whatever, but Jesus Christ...
All this has to do with speculation about trades at the end of the holiday freeze. Ho hum.
Pretty Deep (Double Line) - Tanya Donelly
With Detroit's newspapers in as bad a way as its crumbling car empires, and the owners of the L.A. Times and the Chicago Tribune declaring bankruptcy (which your Chronicle, with some help from Gary Coleman and a naked Mark Messier, wrote about here), it's quite clear that newspapers as we know them don't have a whole lot of time left. The big ones will find some way to adapt, and in many ways already have, but I'm not sure if a paper like the AJC would survive via online ad revenue alone.
Could the AJC survive through online pay-to-read articles? Like the Falconer, I can't imagine many people PAYING to read Jeff Schultz or Mark Bradley...I would pay to read a few hockey writers with blogs, though. For a reasonable fee, of course.
I happen to think that the blogosphere and the dominance of online media is quite good for things like hockey coverage (less good for writing about culture and politics, but that's another story). Most blogs are bound to be junk, but the good ones are very good indeed. And wildly diverse. And interesting. What's not to like?
And pay for, eventually?*
*Actually, I don't think you readers should pay for any online hockey content. If ad folk were smart, they'd advertise all over the place on quality hockey blogs and the scribes could generate a meager income through ad revenue.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
First, we have NHL Monopoly. Not sure how this works, but I'm sure it's even more fun than regular Monopoly. Perhaps the object of the game is to win enough money to buy the Atlanta Thrashers from those spooky Spirits and hire a competent GM.
Can you believe it? Learn how to play here.
This terrifyingly intelligent and sinister hockey robot will almost surely defeat you every time you try to engage it in a game of the Hockey. For trained professionals only.
I said I'd include it. Join Zach Bogosian and other ice hockey stars in resuscitating dead limbs with this innovative contraption. It looks bitchin' to me.
Happy shopping. Try not to get trampled to death by the barbarian hordes.
Parts I and II
Chris Drury Just Might Become Available in the Near Future...On the Planet Earth...Right Now...In Reality...
Or, more precisely:
Here’s one thing I’m hearing from people in the know: The Rangers are so intent on getting Mats Sundin that they may well trade Chris Drury to make room.Naturally, the All Things Av's fellow thinks Drury could return to Colorado, but, well....
Are you thinking that I'm thinking?
I was worried I'd have to write another post about truck nuts, but thankfully your Atlanta Thrashers dominated the Ottawa Senators last night. The Sens were never really in the game: Pavelec was near-unbeatable (no shutout, but close), our penalty kill looked a bit better, and Colby Armstrong scored two goals. Hooray!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
After Gaborik, you have Bouchard, Koivu, Miettenen, Nolan, Brunette, and even Belanger! Brunette and Belanger have obviously been in Atlanta before, so make of that with what you will. Brunette would be cool to have, but he is getting up there in years. I want young players.
In terms of RW, one could get Antti Miettinen who is playing rather well this year. Yet, I am no GM, and if I wanted an offensive talent, I wouldn't go to Minnesota. For defensive talent, I would. So maybe DW is following the Wild not for the offense but for their Lemaire style defense. This would be an upgrade. It'd be nice to get someone from the penalty kill or a solid stay-at-home defensemen. I would enjoy this, and it'd be a step in the right direction.
If DW is truly looking for a trade, then go for someone to help us defend. We certainly need it. Defensemen like Nick Shultz and Marc-Andre Bergeron or real checking liners like Stephane Veilleux and James Shepard, or maybe snag Benoit Pouliot. These are the people the Thrashers would actually benefit from at the moment. We'll get our offense eventually, but we desperately need to work out our Goals Against.
This is good news. I was really hoping he'd make it. If he got cut this time, it would have killed his confidence. I honestly don't think it was a sympathy vote though, considering he's playing with John Tavares on his line.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
I had the idea to do a break down of our games this season and last season to see how many times we have faced the opposing teams backup goalie. I got a couple games in and gave up. I don't need to look up the numbers to know we have faced the backup goalie more than our share. That is bad on a couple different fronts. One, when you repeatedly face the backup that means the other team doesn't perceive you as a big threat. The second thing is, we finished 28th last year and well on our way this year, AND A LOT OF OUR GAMES ARE AGAINST THE SECOND BEST GOALIE ON THE TEAM.
Have I depressed you yet? Not my intention, but just something I thought I would point out. Enjoy Coach's Corner and remember life's number one lesson: If you dress the part, you will be the part.
For The Blueland Chronicle, I'm Big Shooter.
And his "fire" seemed clearly expressed in his visible fury with himself last night.
It is ridiculous that he didn't have a single shot on goal; that's partially his own fault and partially his line-mates' fault. There was a moment in the game when Kovy was positioned directly in front of the goal, wide open as the kids say, ready to hammer in the puck. Jason Williams chose not to pass it to Kovy, thinking it would be more fun to drive a bus into the net.
- I've been critical of young Boris Valabik, but I'm liking his play more and more. His fight with Chara must have been bewildering for him, given the fact that Chara is his idol and all, but the two of them fought nobly and fairly, without any malice.
- This team really is a basket case. I wonder if we'll see any serious change before the New Year?
Oh yeah, the Thrashers lost again last night.
Your Chronicle editor, along with Monsieur Catalogues, watched the game in the cozy surroundings of the Midway Pub in East Atlanta, which I can't recommend highly enough. Nice place.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
The only think I'd like to mention is the one positive to take away from last night. Boulton and Thorburn. That brought back memories. If you are getting your butt handed to you, you are supposed to stand up and fight and let the other team know they might be better than you, but you aren't going to take it lying down.
Thorburn's fight with Chara was particularly beautiful. Thor dropped his gloves first, knowing he wouldn't win the fight. But he did it anyway. He showed the Bruins, his teammates, and the fans of Atlanta that he cares and went after the biggest guy on the team and maybe the NHL. I was disappointed that the fans didn't give him a bigger applause. Probably because he didn't win. But what honor he showed in the fight. I know his teammates noticed. If you looked over to the bench after the fight they were all banging their sticks on the boards in approval.
Goes to show you that in hockey, it doesn't matter who wins the fight. The only thing that matters is you show up for it.
For The Blueland Chronicle, I'm Big Shooter.
Friday, December 12, 2008
That last game had not so much to do with the fact that Boston is a fine team (which they are) as it did with the fact that the Thrashers are horrific.
Nice to see Boris Valabik get his first NHL goal, I suppose.
How about that crazy Phil Kessel? At one time a potential Atlanta Thrasher, he.
And that Don Waddell? Inept, but not the main problem.
Even if the Thrash hired a better GM, not much would change. The Atlanta Spirit Group aren't terribly interested in the Hockey, and it shows.
Trade me now.
I think I could help L.A. or Chicago or Vancouver, perhaps. San Jose, sadly, doesn't need my help.
Come to think of it, I was happy to see Chris Thorburn drop the gloves against the unbeatable (in a fight) Zdeno Chara. Courage, and such. I wish the Thrash had allowed the game to "degenerate" into an all-out brawl. Maybe that'll happen tomorrow night.
UPDATE: Mine eyes told me (at the game, they did) that that one goal was scored by Ilya "I'm the only talented one" Kovalchuk and not Boris Somebody-or-Other. The NHL boxscore people just told me my eyes shouldn't be so hard on themselves: they were right. The Czar with 11.
So the Bruins are the best team in the East these days.
People say Marc Savard used to center Ilya Kovalchuk. What a ridiculous folk tale: everyone knows it's well-nigh IMPOSSIBLE for one of the best play-makers in the league to center one of the best goal-scorers. Ha ha, PREPOSTEROUS.
Don Waddell could have gotten Phil Kessel for Marian Hossa. Weep.
Speaking of all things related to the Thrashers' midget-orgy-distracted (all credit to Chronicle commenter the Jointhead for that one- Ed.) front office, do read Big Shooter on Jeff Schultz on David McDavid and some other guy that knows a guy that Frenchie and I know.
Don't think that the Atlanta Spirit Group are just sitting back and letting things happen. They ARE looking to replace Don Waddell, but just haven't found the right match yet. Big Shooter has scored a taped interview that members of the Atlanta Spirit had with one Craig Patrick. Sadly, they determined he was not fit for the job. Don't believe me, watch:
For The Blueland Chronicle, I'm Big Shooter.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Aside from the irrefutable evidence that the Atlanta Thrashers are cursed, there was a lot to like about the game against the Rangers on Wednesday night. For one, the team played hard for three periods. This hasn't been the case in many of the matchups this season, and almost wasn't even the case last night. There was an obvious deflation amongst most of the Thrashers roster after the fluk-ish (kind of a fluke, kind of hard work paying off) short handed goal scored by the Rangers in the third period, but the Czar was not to be denied. He took the game on himself until he was able to bang in a truly impressive rebound which eventually sent the tilt to overtime.
Not only did they fight for all three periods, but the team showed some fire out there. Whether it is frustration from not scoring or not winning games, or he has made a decision to be more Igginla-like, Ilya Kovalchuck has stepped up his physical play and his attitude on the ice. If Exelby hadn't stepped in, it looked like Kovy and Gomez were on their way to a real brawl, and the Czar wasn't the only one displaying some spine.
Perhaps the best part of the night, however, was the fact that Joseph S. Crabb himself scored his first NHL (regular season) goal. That meant a resurrection of the CRAB DANCE! Those of you who did not have a view of the upper deck on the attack twice side truly lost out last night. However, you can still enjoy a celebration here on the pages of the Chronicle.
For the Chronicle, this is Razor Catch Prey.
This time, kids, it's all about the figurines. I know you're suffering from money-anorexia, like everyone else in the present economic wasteland, but Christmas is a time for orgy and excess even if you're scrounging. Remember Bob Cratchit.
Now then. On to the creepy figurines!
Gordie Howe Figurine!
Isn't this a beauty? Apparently this Gordie Howe character played in the National Hockey League at one point, for the Detroit Red Wings (probably in the Yzerman era; one can't be sure), and people like him. Moving on...
Scary Wooden Hockey Dolls!
Some lady makes these out of wood and grass. You can even send her a photo of your favorite hockey player and you'll have a decent little wooden version of Sean Avery in no time! Or of small children who play in the local kiddie league, if that's what you're into.
Hockey Snoopy Figurine!
Don't ever let anyone tell you there's anything better than the Peanuts, or anyone cooler than Snoopy. The fact that he enjoys the occasional skate-and-shoot session just makes him even more godlike.
Donald Duck Hockey Figurine!
Not quite as cool as Snoopy, but still pretty cool, is this crazy figurine of Donald skating merrily along, menacing the opposition with his stick, and carrying the puck in his beak. Surely that calls for some type of penalty? Perhaps they do things differently in Disney World, what with its Hollywood values and all.
Little-known fact: Donald and his obnoxious nephews starred in a Disney film all about the Hockey. Better than Slapshot, I think, but not quite as good as The Mighty Ducks 3.
And finally, we mustn't forget the Reason for the Season (aside from the ancient human impulse and custom to throw a gladdening and warm festival of eating, drinking, partying, and gift-giving at the end of the year, to make the darkness and cold of winter more bearable), JHC Himself. If only there was a Nativity scene version of this:
Not the Baby version, certainly, but priceless. I say you should all buy twenty of these each and give them to everyone.
I think we've seen this before, Part 1:
The Thrashers play a pretty good game against a pretty good team (in this case, the New York Rangers and their moronic fans) and don't fail to lose because of some freakish bouncing puck disaster. Sigh.
I think we've seen this before, Part 2:
A bunch of idiots (including one who was CERTAIN that Evgeni Malkin was going to be traded to the L.A. Kings at the end of last season) jabber about how they're hearing all kinds of things about Don Waddell talking to other teams about trading Ilya Kovalchuk. None of it, it turns out, is the least bit true.
Boring boring boring.
Thoughts for the day:
- Joseph S. Crabb, well done.
- Scott Gomez is a joke.
That's right kids. Super Joe has been signed by the Colorado Rockies. Why you say? Well, everyone knows how baseball players always get injured in the silliest of ways. And the Rockies thought Joe had potential.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
2nd place in the Eastern Conference after many said they would dwell in the sewers all season long without Jagr, Shanahan, Avery, and some other useless but headline-generating money pits. They keep winning despite most of their players having terrible +/- stats. How they do that is beyond me, since we all know that +/- is the best and only way to tell whether a player is worth the mold growing in the back of his locker.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Lots of stuff about his recovery process, which actually interests me a lot, as I got my right knee all discombobulated last spring and had to do all this crazy physical therapy to set things right again. So I'm exactly like Zach Bogosian, sans underwater treadmill. The underwater treadmill sounds seriously bitchin'. Perhaps I'll add it to the Chronicle Gift Ideas List.
Ah, yes, that time of the year. Decked halls, glowing candles, and lovingly decorated Christmas trees. And STUFF. STUFF STUFF STUFF!!!!!!!
It's only decent of us to offer a few gift ideas for your nearest and dearest hockey fans this Christmas-Hanukkah-Kwanzaa-Saturnalia. Keeping in mind the sputtering economy and the fact that everyone is jobless and hungry, here's Installment 1:
Don Cherry's Hockey Stories and Stuff, by Don Cherry
Don Cherry is the crazy uncle of the NHL, and the key to enjoying him isn't working yourself into a tizzy over whether you agree or disagree with his loony judgements; it's recognizing that he's a great entertainer and a passionate devotee of the game. It's high time his wonderful rants were committed to paper, and seeing as he's coached the likes of Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito and has been on the CBC for years, I'm sure he has plenty of great tales to tell.
Black and Gold: Four Decades of the Boston Bruins in Photographs
If it's a classy coffee table book you're looking for, you can't go wrong with this lavish photographic book all about the Bruins. As it happens, Don Cherry wrote the foreword.
Everyone loves teddy bears, right? Well, if you know a youngin who likes the Hockey, you do worse than to find them one of these adorable fellows.
Of course, since you have no job or house, it might be a bit difficult to afford something as expensive as a book or a teddy bear. Why not buy this bar (puck?) of hockey puck soap, for only $5 or so. It'll keep you clean enough while sleeping on the streets and working at Wal-Mart.
Still with us? Today, comrades, is December 9th, 2008, which can only mean one thing: It's John Milton's 400th birthday!
Who, you ask? Wikipedia will tell you everything you need to know bio-wise, but if you're a true adventurer I recommend you start with the best lyric poem in the English language, Lycidas, and from there immerse yourself in crazy old Paradise Lost. It looks daunting, and the language is quite strange, but it has everything you could ever want: public nudity, hot sex, lots of violence, talking animals, Satan-as-action-hero, God as a fussy old man with a hobby. All in gorgeous and entrancing blank verse.
Certainly one of the best poets in the English language, if not quite THE best (that honour definitely goes to that one guy). But in my opinion Milton is the most thrilling and contrary.
Also, if you enjoy that whole freedom of speech and freedom of the press business, you might want to look into his great prose essay Areopagitica. Milton practically invented the whole thing.
So if you run into John Milton today, thank him for his service to English and world literature, and to human liberty. Tell him that...oh, right, he's totally dead, so you can't do that. Perhaps you can just phone him instead.
Okay, enough of that scary cultural stuff. If you really want to have a fantastic eight or so minutes, please, PLEASE watch this video:
I'm pretty sure that guy in the business suit urinates behind the librarian's desk at 2:38.
- James Mirtle reviews Don Cherry's new book, and likes it. He says there's a streak of humility in Grapes' book that we don't often see on Hockey Night in Canada. Stay tuned for a Chronicle Christmas Gift Ideas List, which is sure to include Cherry's book.
- Rawhide delves into those statistic things and discovers that for the Thrashers to achieve much of anything this season we immediately need to become as good as San Jose.
- Some kind of ice-making machine is being transported from Mobile to Chicago for the Winter Classic and is stopping off in Atlanta tomorrow. The dude doing the transporting seems to like barbeque joints; might I recommend Fox Bros. on Dekalb Avenue, near Little Five Points and Decatur? It's a Chronicle favorite.
- Not sure how much coverage this has gotten in the hockey blogosphere, but apparently your new President (of U.S. America), Barack Obama, has been invited to attend the Winter Classic. Barry might be a White Sox fan and more of a basketball guy, but he is a Chicagoan, and your Chronicle editor heartily approves of him bringing extra attention to the Winter Classic, and thereby the NHL. Do it, Barry.
Monday, December 8, 2008
First, the Falconer:
The future is hard to tell but moving Kovalchuk and Lehtonen for more young talent would broaden the base of inexpensive young talent (see Chicago Blackhawks) to which you could add a couple of pricey free agents and suddenly you could have a very impressive squad playing in Philips Arena.
I certainly see where he's coming from, but like I've said before, I have zero confidence that DW could pull off a halfway-reasonable Kovalchuk trade. And I wonder why "pricey free agents" would in their wildest dreams want to come to Atlanta after the sadistic media spectacle that would follow a Kovalchuk trade.
Anyway, read the post and the incisive comments. Interesting stuff.
Elsewhere, Rawhide writes:
...now the Thrashers’ are facing the possibility of another “have to” situation. Two years ago they traded away a promising defender because they “had to” make the playoffs. Last year they “had to” trade away one of the most high-profile scorers the team has ever had because he refused to re-sign. Now it’s the possibility of “having to” trading away Ilya Kovalchuk for the exact same reason Waddell “had to” trade away Hossa. That we are even approaching this point yet again and “have to” even give such a notion serious discussion is…to say the least…un-good.Exactly.
So I ask you…exactly what is it in the history of Don Waddell’s dealings that makes anyone believe that he is capable of bringing in the highest yield in exchange for Ilya Kovalchuk?
I've recently scribbled (typed) some thoughts about a Kovalchuk trade here and here, but just to make things extra-clear: I happen to think that the Czar is irreplaceable, and that trading him would be the final disaster that demolishes the Thrashers forever. It's not that I don't think there is such a thing as roughly equal return value for Kovalchuk (all the under-25 players on the San Jose Sharks), it's just that I honestly don't think Waddell could get roughly equal return value.
If Kovalchuk was traded for draft picks and/or young prospects that won't make an impact for a few years, the Thrashers' already-depleting fan base would disappear completely. If the Thrash traded him for players who more or less immediately spurred the team into a playoff position, things would be different, of course.
Why do I feel like Don Waddell would either get draft picks or about seven ineffectual players?
Wait. No, I mean, look at this:
Media conglomerate Tribune Co. filed for bankruptcy protection Monday, as the owner of the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Cubs and other properties tries to deal with $13 billion in debt.
Ouch! Since print media outlets like the LA Times, the Chicago Tribune, and the Chicago Cubs are failing and will never recover their losses, ever, surely hockey print journalism will be entirely over in about a week. All this means that from now on you people will get the majority of your hockey news from the Chronicle, if at all.
But seriously: Newspapers are dying. It's quite sad, really, but I don't see a way for newspapers to avoid losing money other than slashing their staffs and their scope and coverage, which sort of defeats the whole purpose of having a newspaper. Our own Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which is owned by barbarians who give each other gift-wrapped boxes of their own feces for Christmas, eliminated its book review section to cut costs...deplorable, certainly, but to be fair they were only following the lead of several other newspapers around US America. I wonder how long it will be before they eliminate their (quite good, in my opinion) hockey coverage?
I mean, in Atlanta there's probably less interest in hockey than there is in books, which is saying a lot.
James Mirtle, who comes from the western regions of Mooseland but makes his living in the beaver worship mecca of Toronto, points out that the Phoenix Coyotes are the least valuable team in the NHL, from a usurer's perspective, and that they might have to be moved back to Winnipeg or some other outpost in the far and snowy Beaver Theocracy frontier.
Greg Wyshynski frames this debate as a Beaver God True Believers vs. hapless hockey teams in non-traditional markets issue, which it is, seeing as this jumped onto the Toronto media's radar only when the Leafs recently traveled to Phoenix. I find it hard to disagree with his points here:
...why all this special attention on Phoenix?
For one, there's the Gretzky effect, as the coach (and defender of hockey in the desert) is hockey royalty seen wasting away in a market that doesn't appreciate him or his sport. Remember, it wasn't too long ago that Gretz was seen as the Leafs' potential savior. Canada wants its "favourite" son back.
Then there's the fact that the Canadian media generally supports more teams north of the border, and Phoenix appears to be the latest loose apple on the non-traditional market tree -- find the U.S. team struggling the most, and shake until it hopefully falls to the ground.
But perhaps deep down, it all comes back to Winnipeg. Perhaps the notion of "stealing one back," or simply proving that the relocation of a Canadian team to the U.S. was a mistake, is a subtle driving force behind the scrutiny, too. Not to say the Coyotes will ever become the Jets again, but there might be a measure of revenge at play in the back of some minds.This kind of superstition tends to make people resentful; the people at TSN, for instance, actually believe that Wayne Gretzky is going to be poked in the backside by a Senora cactus for eternity, for his transgressions.
All of which brings me to my REAL point: the Coyotes would be fine if John McCain had been elected President-Emperor of America. Thanks a lot, Communists!
Sunday, December 7, 2008
We still give up too many shots, and don't get enough of our own, but at least we won. Good game as usual by Moose. I wouldn't get too excited just yet. It was the Islanders after all. Play a game like that against a top 8 team and that is another story.
By the way, it's amazing how many Americans forget the significance of today. My, how easily we forget. On this date in history the world was changed forever. Thank a solider today if you run into one. Or pick up the phone and give one a call. Just because Pearl Harbor didn't happen in most of our life times doesn't mean we should breeze through today and not think about it.
Enjoy Coach's Corner: