Sunday, March 23, 2008

Diagnosing the Thrashers

Here's some article from ESPN written by some guy about the Thrashers and some shit. It's worth reading, but I want to politely demur from some of what Doctor Burnside says. His complaints about the Thrashers are all the commonplace ones:

1) management is shit
2)we're miserable at developing players through the Wolves (due to some totally fucked business arrangement)
3)Kari Lehtonen " has wobbled between just ordinary and full-blown bust and has one win in his past 12 appearances."

I have to agree with points 1 and 2. On point 3 Doctor Burnside reveals himself to be a cliche-spouting knob. That's alright though, because judging from the message boards and the comments on Custance's blog most Thrashers fans are cliche-spouting knobs. The desolating fact, readers, is that the Finn Between the Pipes is not our biggest problem. He's not even one of our biggest problems. In fact, he's not a fucking problem at all. Kari is one of the few aspects of this team that doesn't call to mind some horrible venereal disease. The reason he's dismissed by so many quarters among the print and cyber hockey commentariat has something to do with the innate pedantry of the modern mind. Look, I get it: the ruling force in the Western world since the Industrial Revolution has been numbers and statistics. We give authority to abstract statistics and mathematical formulas; we defer to them. They're cleaner than the messy, more complex details of concrete experience. I don't want to belittle numbers and statistics, for they are great and invaluable and shit and blah blah blah blah...but if you want to evaluate anything outside the world of finance or economics or mathematics with any comprehensiveness and fair-mindedness (whether it's goalie, a company, a historical period, a country's culture, a fucking movie or some shit) you have to take into account aspects of thing being considered besides disembodied flow-charts and statistics.

Kari has so many losses because the assholes playing in front of him don't put forward enough of an effort to keep the opposing team from getting near the goal in the first fucking place, Dr. Burnside, you cliche-ridden toss-pot. Kari is actually a fine goalie, and more excitingly he has the potential to develop and become even better. His statistics suck because the Thrashers suck. His moves are more lithe and mobile and impressive than quite a few goalies in the NHL, and he makes 40 or more saves on a regular basis because his teammates abandon him to a shooting gallery on a regular basis. Here's a fucking secret: even the best goalie, a Patrick Roy or a Martin Brodeur, lets shots go in occasionally. This isn't because they suck/sucked. The POINT is not to abandon the goalie to an onslaught by the opposing team, because some shots are inevitably going to go in. Kari does his best with the shit he's given; his team leave him to defend the goal and the scoreboard on his own, and he does as best he can. If his teammates prevented the opposing team from getting close to the goal more often than they do, Kari's fucking stats would be better.

Our problems are deeper than any one player. Another desolating fact, readers, is that sometimes the very same individual player can play very well in some games and play like utter shit in others. We have this problem. A player like Holik is excellent in some games and terrible in others. Same goes for--why name names?--a lot of the Thrashers. Some games they'll defend their territory, clear the area, protect their goalie. Other games they just stare at the puck as it either sails into Kari's gloves or glides past Kari into the net. Kari does what he can most of the time; that can't be said for most of the team.

The Thrashers are a paltry team with a lot of potential, but still paltry. Our paltriness isn't helped by the fact that--here's another fucking State Department secret that's NOT totally available to anyone with a memory and/or a Google-equipped computer--the Thrashers have had some fucking BAD luck in their short history. Worse luck than many, many franchises with much longer histories. Players killed in freak car accidents, star forwards driven near-insane by real or perceived guilt in said killing, injured goalies, indifferent and ignorant paymasters, that kind of shit. Serious management problems + sheer bad fucking luck = bad team.

Our main problem, I say again, is the fucking ownership. Don Waddell isn't a great GM or coach, but the bigger problem is that he simply doesn't have much to work with. Hossa left because he wanted to be on a team that didn't suck; we suck because the ownership is fuck-stupid with its money and its bizarre decision-making rituals. Tar and feather the dickheads, I say. Doc Burnside and ESPWank are worse than useless idiots* in this tragedy.

*Original, literal Greek meaning intended here; though I'm not averse to calling them idiots in the usual sense of the word.


Big Shooter said...

Feel better?

Mortimer Peacock said...

Yes. Much. I don't know if anyone else does though...