Thursday, December 30, 2010

Game Day: Bruins

Big Shooter was feelin' the blues,
he was watchin' the news,
when this fella came on the tv.
He said "I'm tellin' you
that science has proven
that heartaches are healed by the sea."

Well that got both Big Shooter and Razor goin'
without even knowin'
they both packed right up
and drove down.

Now they're on a roll
and they swear to their souls
tonight they're gonna paint this town.

----End bastardization of Garth Brooks song----

Yes friends, Shooter and I will be missing tonight's surely epic rematch between the Thrashers and Bruins in which Milan Lucic and his finger square off against his hero Evander Kane and the rest of the Thrashers. Atlanta gravely needs a win to end their current four game losing streak to have a chance at a rare winning December.

The Thrashers currently stand at 6-7 for the month with tonight's tilt against Boston and tomorrow night's house call in Newark remaining. They built a nice cushion in late November and early December climbing briefly to the top of the Southeast Division and third place in the conference and still sit six points ahead of ninth place Carolina after the four game skid.

This is also the last home game before kids go back to school and is the team's last chance to make a good impression on folks who are making it out during the holidays to their first game. The glorious 7-1 exorcism of the Devils on December 18 seems distant in the past when looking past the 4-2 loss to the Blues and overtime heartbreaker against the Lightning at home. A good emotion-filled win against Marc Savard and the Bruins would go a long way towards keeping some of these seasonal fans.

Despite dropping the last four, the Thrashers haven't played as awful as their usual December Doldrums performances. The Blues game was close and ended with an empty net goal; the Tampa game was decided in overtime with Byfuglien in the box for a bad penalty. Atlanta dominated the first half of the game in Pittsburgh but couldn't deny Sidney Crosby, then fell apart in the third period. The Bruins game was the only ugly performance, but the team showed some fire by mixing it up in the third period.

Look for Cormier to go for a more impactful game tonight than he had in Pittsburgh. After the physical confrontations late in these two teams' last meeting, he has a chance to set the tone early with a big hit.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Patrice, Cormier On Down!

Yeah, it's cheesy, but I couldn't resist after seeing that State Farm ad with a corpsified-looking Bob Barker twenty times during the Independence Bowl last night.

According to Vivlamore and Ben Wright, Patrice Cormier has been called up from the Wolves and Tim Stapleton has been sent back down in his place.

In just 11 games in the AHL this season, Cormier has 2 goals and 3 assists for 5 points and is a +8 on a team where that ties him for second on the team to Spencer Machacek's +11 earned over 34 games.

Perhaps the rest of the team has fallen into despair from having to listen to Patrice Cormier and Spencer Machacek's endless "I'm a PC, I'm a Mac" jokes.

We'll get to see soon how well Rick Dudley's assessment of Cormier's potential has been. He was right about Byfuglien the defenseman, he was right about Andrew Ladd. Perhaps PC can inject the "spark" that Bergfors has been lacking.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Random Idea

The New York Islanders should be renamed the New York Pets.

The new name would be keeping with New York's naming scheme for their less successful franchises:





Plus, the Islanders kind of roll over for their opponents like a puppy wanting his belly rubbed, so it's very apropos.

Mr. Bettman, Mr. Wang, you're welcome.

You may now return to your regularly scheduled day.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Game Day: Lightning

Stamkos, The Imp, and Vinny L come to town on the day after Christmas as the daily leader in the Southeast Division. Having played two fewer games than the Thrashers and Caps, the Bolts have 45 points which gives them the tiebreaker over Washington. If the Thrashers are victorious in regulation tonight, they will also have 45 points but will remain behind Tampa in the standings by virtue of having played more games.

In my well traveled opinion, the Thrashers absolutely must earn a victory tonight in order to fend off a three game losing streak. It was pointed out by someone somewhere (sorry, I didn't write it down at the time) recently that the Thrashers historically draw well in December. However, December is also the month when Thrasher teams of the past have seen their season go down the drain. Meaning that our biggest crowds have been witness to our worst choking.

Now that the Thrashers are playing respectably, it is imperative that they win in front of large home crowds to keep the folks coming back January and into April.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

...from all of us here at the Chronicle. Your TBC editor is going out of town for a few days, so we expect Other Folks will handle the upcoming Game Day posts. Or perhaps I'll handle them from Elsewhere...who knows?

At any rate, God rest ye.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

GAME DAY: Bruins

(updated with Kane/Lucic lore below)

Yes, I know it's not a bear, but when else can we post pictures of Santa Horse?

UPDATE- This is hellacious and awesome: Milan Lucic texted Evander Kane to congratulate him after that time he knocked out Matt Cooke.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Warring Slobs End Their War, Remain Short of Cash

Oh yeah, this thing:

The owners of the Atlanta Hawks and Atlanta Thrashers have settled their six-year, high-profile legal battle, according to a statement sent from the ownership group, known as the Atlanta Spirit.

Part of the settlement includes seven of the group's co-owners buying out Steve Belkin's 30 percent stake in the group. There are no new investors to replace Belkin.

Good. Thin the ranks of investors until there ARE no investors, at least among the Atlanta Spirit LLC kids. Oh, and sell the team. To...Big Boi, maybe?

Whatever happens, this is truly a Christmas Miracle, almost as cheering as a Yule log.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

GAME DAY: St. Louis Blues

Alright, Toby Enstrom, you've pushed me far enough. I'll cave and purchase one of your name-brand ENSTROM 39 jerseys.

In other news, the Thrashers play the Blues tonight. How about that?

Monday, December 20, 2010

GAME DAY: Toronto Maple Leafs

You'd think the Toronto Maple Leafs would offer us an easy win. But what if they don't? After all, it's not like we've played them this year. HMMM.

Because the Capitals decided to cold break their long losing streak last night, the Thrashers are no longer first in the SouthLEAST (haw haw haw) Division. But we can regain the top spot if we, uh, win tonight. Which is feasible.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

First Place in the Southeast; Second in the Eastern Conference

With the 7-1 drubbing of the Devils and a Washington loss to Boston in the books, the Atlanta Thrashers have moved into first place in the Southeast Division and second place in the Eastern Conference.

Ilya Kovalchuk (who has fewer hat tricks this season than Eric Boulton OR Anthony Stewart) and his New Jersey Devils are now 18 points out of a playoff spot while the Atlanta Thrashers sit in the second slot in the East, seven points ahead of the 9th place team.

If the playoffs were to start on December 19th, the Thrashers would be playing the Washington Capitals in the first round - with home ice advantage.

As GPY said to me at one point in during tonight's game, "who would have thought that Byfuglien would be an upgrade from Kovalchuk?"

Who indeed?

On another note, I believe I have uncovered a sinister plot. I believe that Big Shooter is not who "he" has claimed to be. Instead of the jovial lad in the Blueland Chronicle Balcony, I believe the true author of Big Shooter's posts is indeed Kirstie of the Blue Crew.

Want proof? Here you go:

Big Shooter

(Move the S to the end and...)

Big hooterS

I rest my case.

"This happiness corrupt political shit." GAME DAY: New Jersey Goddamn Devils

So this isn't Ilya Kovalchuk's first game in Philips Arena as part of another team. If you want your Chronicle's take on the "Kovalchuk Returns" theme, click here and here.

Nothing has changed this year. I won't boo the man; he's given me too many great memories for that. But many of you are ungrateful titty babies and/or consumed by resentment, so you'll boo him as if your lives depended on it. An empty way to live and think, but there it is.

Should be an exciting game. But then again, maybe not. Maybe it'll just be an easy win for the Thrashers, because the Devils suck VD-corroded cow balls. Either way we'll be drinking!


Oh yeah, MOOSE will be back. Now that's something to get excited about. You folk know what to do when he's introduced.

Bruce Levenson Existential Question Time*

Oh look, it's the Wall Street Journal with an AP report.

ATLANTA — Thirty years after losing the Flames, Atlanta's hockey fans are on the clock again.

The NHL wants the city to show better support for its winning team.

Atlanta fans who can remember the Flames' move to Calgary in 1980 don't have to be told what could happen if poor turnouts continue at Philips Arena.

The Thrashers, blessed with young talent, have a winning record but rank only 28th among 30 NHL teams in attendance.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told The Associated Press on Friday the league wants to keep the team in Atlanta. He says the team's owners must consider all options if attendance does not improve and they cannot find additional investors.

Oh fuck. Is this much-praised "Free Thrash" gimmick a final desperate push before we're all boxed up and moved to Canada? I hope so, if only because your Chronicle has unfinished business with a waitress/nursing school student in West Edmonton.

No, just kidding, as it happens we DON'T want the Thrashers to move.

Wait, there's MORE to this AP report? Yes there is:

“I can’t tell you how close or how far away we are collectively from having to consider alternatives and make a decision,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told The Associated Press on Friday. “But it has not been the best situation for Bruce and as a result it has not been the best situation for the franchise or for the National Hockey League.”

For now, Daly says the league has advised Thrashers owners to look only for investors who want to keep the team in Atlanta. But they have been hard to find.

One of the team’s owners, Bruce Levenson, says he has had no luck while looking almost two years for investors...

“His focus has been exclusively Atlanta centered and our hope has been and continues to be that he’ll be successful in finding an alternative that will keep this team in Atlanta for the long term,” Daly said. “That’s our preference.

“Having said that, and this is what I’d say to any franchise, not just Atlanta, there comes a point in time where if there is no alternative in terms of ownership or in terms of support in a particular market, you have to look at alternatives. That is just the reality.”

Friday news dump with a fucking vengeance. God, how depressing. But probably not anything to get too worked up about. Nevertheless, the Atlanta Spirit remain a shameful fuck-catastrophe.


In other hockey news: your TBC editor has a conundrum for you. Is "Gretzky" a good name for an L.A.-based cat or is it terrible? Either way, the cat is dead.


Friday, December 17, 2010

5 Notes

1) How good was that Penguins-Capitals 24/7 thing on HBO last night? I find myself fascinated by that Dan Bylsma fellow.

2) Poor Thrashers. Oh well, at least we got a point.

3) This "Free Thrash" marketing campaign is highly amusing, but we here at the Chronicle weren't sure about the lack of Thrash/presence of the Braves', Hawks', and Falcons' mascots at tonight's game. We can't help but wonder if it'd be better to stage a Thrash jailbreak every game night: Thrash running around in his striped prison pajamas while policemen chase him all over the arena, catching him towards the end of the game and dragging him, kicking and flapping his beak, back to prison. BUT, Freddy the Falcon is a fine mascot.

4) Speaking of the Falcons: was PLEASED to see Roddy White, Brian McCann, and Robby Ginepri (dear God, your tennis fan editor hasn't heard that name in YEARS) at the game tonight. They were seated in the section directly below your Chronicle; we recognized McCann and White, but didn't realize Ginepri was present until after the game. SUCH IS LIFE.

5) Not related to hockey at all, but the Online Etymology Dictionary is a wonderfully useful thing.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Game Day: Hurricanes

That's right kids... Big Shooter has returned due to the demand of the public. We'd like to thank long time Chronicle reader, Jay, for giving us a swift kick in our collective lady parts for the way we have treated TBC lately. The Thrashers have been playing well for a change (I TOLD you all Rick Dudley was a mastermind :-) yet the Chronicle staff for one reason or another was all burned out.

Oh, there's a game you say? Indeed. A win tonight will have the Thrashers all alone in first place in the Southeast Division. On Dec 16. Now there's still much hockey to be played, but there is a big difference in Dec 16 and Oct 16. Very impressed with this team and the way they have played. I'm actually stunned by this team. TEAM, as in no Kovalsuck dur dur dur dur dur dur. Can we stop it with this nonsense yet? All across the internets that's all Thrasher fans talk about. He doesn't play here any more. Move on folks. NJ's problems have very little to do with Kovalchuk, even though he isn't playing well. Call me crazy, but I'd much rather have Kovy at a $6.5 cap hit instead of Hainsey at a $5+ cap hit. I do think at some point in the next 12 years Kovy will step it up. And no, it's not time to poop yet.

Oh, and then there's the marketing department! What is this... an actual idea???? Splendid! Creative, imaginative, different... let's hope it works. Thrash has always been the star of our team and best mascot in the NHL. Those of you who don't have tickets yet... help FREE THRASH for the love of God and get him out of jail before he is raped by Carlton the bear who was thrown in there after his, um... 'guest' appearance on To Catch a Predator.

Fun times in Thrasherville for sure. But those of us that have been here for a while know this is when we fall flat on our face and drive off any fringe fans that may go to the games. Wouldn't it be cool if it was different this time around...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

GAME DAY: Tampa Bay Lightning

Ah, snow. The best kind is when it comes down in flurries but mercifully doesn't stick to the ground.

Anyway, Tampa Bay tonight. Your editor once wrote a sonnet about the Tampa Bay Lightning, still unappreciated by our country's deaf and unperceptive literary critics. Here it is. A kitsch classic, with references to Mark Popovic and Slava Kozlov.

ALSO: As Chronicle operative "Jay" said in the comments today, it appears Thrash isn't happy with the Chronicle's paltry recent coverage.

Allow Me To Reintroduce Myself...

(As I said long ago, the Chronicle is going through some changes at the moment. Here, at long last, is our brand new columnist, for your instruction and delight. Enjoy or die. -Ed.)

It's not often you get offered opportunities that you can't say "No" to.

This is one of those opportunities. The Blueland Chronicle has offered me an opportunity to voice an opinion that has never been presented to me before. It's an opportunity to articulate thoughts and ideas in a forum that I believe in and open myself up to the feedback of the masses. Most people knock on impenetrable doors and make phone calls that go unanswered to try and get their foot in the door to do something like this. I'm fortunate enough that all I had to do was get to know the TBC staff over an adult beverage (or 7...was it 7?), be forced to speak with individuals like Big Shooter and Razor Catch Prey, and this opportunity was offered to me.

As far as the insight I can offer you, what makes me different from the other writers? Well, if my intel's correct, the entire TBC staff are season ticket holders. I have no financial investment in this team outside of what I'd like/want to spend on them. I am the fringe fan that the entire Atlanta Spirit ownership group values and is trying to covet. I wanted to invest in this team before the season started, but my skepticism kept me from doing so. My worries have been put to rest (to some extent) in the fact that a certain former Chicago Blackhawk can actually play defense (side note--Where you at NOW, Jeremy Roenick?) and the team's 4 lines seem to be consistently scoring. Like most of you, I've been waiting for a team worthy of such a significant financial and emotional investment. I still won't be writing any checks to Levinson et Al. anytime soon, but they're slowly starting to break down the pessimism I'd built around this organization.

As for me personally, my background's a degree in Psychology, a plethora of Thrasher games in person, and being a successful convert to the sport that I've never played, but now love more than any other. There's very little about me to set myself apart from the rest of you who read this site...but I hope to tackle the mental side of the game a little bit more. There's a few "disorders" that I would LOVE to diagnose the Thrashers as having, but all of these are ideas I hope to develop as the season continues. I've been fortunate that I've also recruited a "frozen correspondent" from the Rocky Mountains who knows what it's like to be a dislocated die-hard Thrashers fan to give an outsider's perspective. Somebody who's not as invested in the team as, say, you and I are.

Ultimately, my voice is going to be different from the TBC staff in that it's a "fresh" perspective. My name won't start with "Razor" or end in "Peacock." My ultimate goal, at the end of the day, is to get even more of you commenting here on TBC. There's not many blogs out there that offer the kind of opportunity that this site offers. As somebody who's been commenting here for awhile, it's the hope that all of you who "lurk" and read the content on the site will make yourselves known. If you've got the website bookmarked or on your list of "must-visit" sites...I sincerely want you to get up off you ass and say something. Because when you do finally stand up and say something, you'll find there's good people and a good time awaiting you.

I've joined the most dysfunctional family in the Thrasher world that isn't our ownership group, and I sincerely hope all of you join in as well.

On that note, Go Thrashers. Make Tampa your bitch this evening.

Go Puck Yourself

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Duschene and Stastny Dance

Reported by Puck Daddy over on Yahoo with video. I actually caught glimpse of them doing this after the game at Philips last week but didn't know what was going on.

Shows they have good taste in sitcoms at least.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Wait, What? GAME DAY: Ottawa Senators

This blog is the incarnation of "falling down on the job" lately. We're SORRY, world.

Go the Thrashers, git 'em, woooo etc.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Game Day: Avalanche

As Evander Kane posted on Twitter yesterday, "Lets see how much we can fill PHILLIPS arena tomorrow cause we love playing in front of a packed house[.]"

Rawhide's Rowdies will be whooping it up in the 200 section. You can still get in on the fun for $30 and get a free t-shirt by calling 404-878-3781. And be sure to bring your POMPOMs.

The Avalanche are two points out of a eighth place in the very competitive Western Conference despite being devastated by injuries this season. Among those missing significant time have been goalie Craig Anderson, Paul Stastny, Wojtek Wolski [EDIT- brain lapse here, I meant Peter Mueller for whome Wolski was traded last year], and Chris (better known as Anthony's brother) Stewart.

The Thrashers have won 8 of 10 including the 6 game winning streak and have been victorious in their last two. The Avalanche on the other hand have only won four of their last ten games including an overtime loss to Atlanta on November 30 courtesy of an Anthony Stewart overtime goal.

If Rawhide's royalty checks don't bounce, some of the crew from here at the Chronicle may make a quick grip-and-grin appearance at the gathering of the Rowdies tonight, so we hope to see you all there.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Repetition, Repetition, Repetition

The endless "will they Thrashers relocate? No, they won't relocate" back-and-forth has gotten stale beyond belief. It's tedious always to have to restate the obvious, but so it goes...

ALSO: I remain convinced that the Spirit ARE trying to unload the team, but to someone who will keep it in Atlanta. No bad thing.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Thrashers Involved in Three Way

Bet you didn't think you'd see that headline again once Andreas Karlsson retired, did you?

Yes, the Atlanta Thrashers, by virtue of a come from behind victory Monday night in Philips Arena against the Nashville Predators have moved into a three way tie with the New York Rangers and the Tampa Bay Lightning for fifth place in the Eastern Conference. The Bolts who have only played twenty seven games thus far take the tie breaker over the Thrashers who in turn have the tie breaker over the Rangers having played one fewer game than the Blueshirts.

The first period Monday night was unkind to the Thrashers who appeared to have difficulty finding a rhythm. Ondrej Pavelec was strong but saw goals by Colin Stewart and Steve Sullivan find their way past him. Atlanta remained calm and followed Craig Ramsey's game plan, drawing back to within one goal by the end of the second period thanks to Jimmy Slater's deflection goal.

Nashville goalie Anders Lindback stymied all Atlanta chances in the third until Captain Andrew Ladd suddenly remembered his Charlamagne. "Let my army be the rocks and the trees, and the" pucks in the net.

(Skip to 4:06)

The puck found Laddy's stick on his backhand after Lindback failed to corral a Byfuglien slapshot and the Captain buried it to even the score.

In overtime, Ben Eager (yes, Ben Eager was out there in overtime. Don't ask me why) was looking to dump the puck in and go for a change when he heard Zach Bogosian yell from the puck on the other side of the ice. Eager fed a beautiful pass across to the streaking Bogosian who then let loose a snap shot above the high slot and beat Lindback to the stick side and claim the victory.

The Thrashers have now won eight of their past nine, all with Ondrej Pavelec in net. Their only loss in that time was on December 2 to the Pittsburgh Penguins who have now won ten in a row.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Game Day: Predators

Nashville brings their 14-10-1 record into Atlanta to square off against the 14-10-3 Thrashers. Both teams are lead by star defensemen (remember those Sutter and Weber guys from the Olympics?) and feature bald men behind the bench who apparently specialize in turning out winning records with budget basement rosters.

The Preds also come to the table with two vets whose best days may be in the past but are still dangerous in Steve Sullivan and J.P. Dumont. Dumont is best known as "and that other guy" in discussions of good players who have left Buffalo for more money and the chance to live somewhere that is not Buffalo.

According to Dan Kamal on the Ol' Twitterometer, "Looks as though Kane and Enstrom are fine for tonight. Pavelec in goal."

Will Chris Mason ever get another start in goal? Pavelec has won 7 of his last 8 games played including every game of the six game win streak and two games against the Caps with a .5 GAA against Ovechkin, Backstrom, Green, and Semin.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Karmic Power Plays, Goalie Heroics = Victory

And pandas in splendor.

As you all know, last night's win against the Caps was a wondrous thing. Pavelec has morphed from a "young goalie with potential" type to "zeezus chrisht OMG what a save" Hero of the Net. And Andrew Ladd's power play goal was mighty satisfying after David Steckel's knee-on-knee incident with Toby Enstrom.

Speaking of Enstrom, how is he? I suppose I could scour the Internet looking for clues, but really, who wants to do that? At any rate, it'd be an unhappy thing if he was out for any significant amount of time.

One final note: at some point in the game I noticed Alexander Burmistrov streaking and deking past several Caps players in the neutral zone. I thought, "HMMM, that reminds me of that insane goal he scored against the Caps that one time." Three seconds later he scored another insane goal.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Game Day: Caps

Yes, I know, that's not a capitol building. It's my favorite non-historical/memorial site in DC. Settled in amongst the Capital's China Town just a block away from the Arch, Capital Q serves real Texan barbecue with all of the good sides. If you're taken in by your Oriental surroundings, you can get your 'cue served over rice with a pair of chopsticks. It's also one of the very few places in the District where you can get sweet tea. That's right, though DC was put where it was as part of a compromise that put the Capital in the South, it's now a very norther/international city where one must quest for Southern table wine.

Evander Kane has been skating with the team but there's no telling yet whether or not he'll be ready to go after taking that slapshot off the inside of his knee Tuesday night. Kane tweeted on Friday that he's feeling better but wasn't sure himself if he'd be ready to go today.

The loss to the Pens on Thursday night denied the Thrashers a franchise best 7 game winning streak and extended Pittsburg's unbeaten span to 8 matches. However, the team should still have their heads held high after battling back and having a chance to tie the game in the closing minutes. Even in the three games Atlanta dropped prior to starting their 7 game streak, they played very well against the cream of the crop in losses to the Pens and Caps that were one goal contests but for empty net goals in the final seconds of each.

In fact, the only "bad game" the team has produced in their past ten was the 2-1 loss to the Panthers on November 17.

No word as to who will be starting on goal tonight for the Thrashers and there is no pregame skate today due to the MCI Verizon Center playing host to a Georgetown University basketball game this afternoon.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Game Day: Penguins

Ok, actually that picture makes me sad. As much as I despise the Pittsburgh Penguins, I love penguins. When the Chronicle staff ventured to the Georgia Aquarium in October before the home opener, I stood in line with all the little kids and dragged my out of shape 6'0 235lb frame through the tunnel so I could put my head inside the little bubble amongst the penguin exhibit and take pictures.

But those aren't the penguins the Thrashers face tonight. The Penguins that will take to the ice tonight are the kind that would have punched me in the crotch from behind while I was taking my pictures at the aquarium. The kind that send flying blind-side elbows at little fake artists. The kind that the NHL shoves down our throats 24/7 as though there aren't any other marketable personalities *cough*Iginla*cough* in hockey.

Those same Penguins are 9-0-1 in their past 10 games and have won seven straight since dropping that overtime game to the Rangers on November 15th. A winning streak will be ended tonight, whether it is Pittsburgh's 7 gamer or Atlanta's franchise record tying 6 gamer.

We're still waiting (as of 10:55 Vivlamore is still seeking an updtate) for word on whether or not Evander Kane is going to play after taking a Toby Enstrom slap shot off the inside of his knee in Tuesday night's victory over the Avalanche.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Make it Seven

That is the only time you will ever hear that here on the Chronicle, folks.

The Thrashers have tied their franchise record of six wins in a row and will be going for a seventh Thursday night in Pittsburgh.

With Boris Valabik no longer playing in a Thrasher uniform, will Sidney Crosby try to find another set of testicles to punch? Will Matt Cooke wet himself if Evander Kane winks at him?

P.S. Kevin Shattenkirk's name makes me think of the Captain of the Enterprise on chili night at the food replicator.