What? Should I have titled this post "March Madness?"
It takes some atmosphere adjustment to switch from the international heroics of Ryan Miller to our bizarre blue-clad Atlantan team, but we'd be selling you short, readers, if we didn't talk about how downright crazy March is going to be. So here's a curtain raising:
We're entering what one might call the "long home stretch" of the NHL season. As you all know, the Thrashers are still very much in the playoff hunt. We play a staggering amount of home games this month; Mr. Speaker or someone else more gifted with the Numbers than myself can perhaps tell us exactly how many. Things could happen.
In my brief post-epic gold/silver medal game post (ha, two different meanings of the word "post"; only in the blogosphere!), I mentioned how I'm not sure I can handle anything close to the drama of Team USA's exhilarating and heartbreaking rampage through the Olympics anytime in the near future. Several of you have already pointed out that it doesn't matter, I have to. The Thrashers have a serious chance of making the playoffs this season (something that was obviously not the case this time last year), and they have a serious chance of not quite making the playoffs. Anything could happen. There are ample opportunities for drama, brutality, romance, and pain. For stress.
You already know about Slava Kozlov requesting a trade. His request makes sense, of course, given his constant benching; and there are good reasons for him and the Thrashers to part ways. But I couldn't help but read that news with just a pinch of sadness: Slava's a phenomenal player, and he's played the best seasons of his career with us. By "best seasons" I mean in terms of goals and assists; obviously the crown of his career will always be playing as part of the Russian Five with a steamroller incarnation of the Detroit Red Wings. I'll never forget how insanely effective and fun to watch he was playing with Marian Hossa in the 06-07 season. Sigh. Memories...
But perhaps I should save my Slava elegy for when he's, you know, actually traded.
So, yeah. March. The Thrashers marketing folks are promoting this last stand with all kinds of curious stratagems, like sending various players to various AM/PM stores hither and yon to hand out coffee. They're also offering a pretty cool deal to season ticket holders, along the lines of "Hey, here are some free tickets. Not better tickets, necessarily, but free tickets so you can bring all your friends and comrades." Which is, and I mean it, pretty nifty.
In closing: If you saw Nik Antropov at the old convenience store this morning, I hope you accepted his coffee, clasped his hand, and said "Do it, sir. Make it happen."