Saturday, February 28, 2009

GAME DAY: Carolina Hurricanes

Let's see. When we last saw the Canes, if I'm not mistaken, they were coming from behind with an Eric Staal hat trick to cancel out a Bryan Little hat trick to win a dramatic game in the third period.

I wasn't a part of "we" in this case. One of the few games I missed this season; I was off somewhere else acting like a serf. Razor, Frenchie, and Shooter tell me I missed a good time.

What? Oh yes:

The Canes are currently stuck in 9th place and man do they want to claw into the Top 8. They're contending with the Buffalo Sabres, the Florida Panthers, and the fast-declining New York Rangers for the 8th spot; if they win tonight's game, they pull ahead of Florida and New York into slot #7. If we win...well, they'll be mighty frustrated and that'd be hella funny as all hell in hell in July.

Word on the street is that a bunch of Cane fans are travelling to Atlanta for this game, possibly in retaliation for the now-legendary Thrash-fan road trip in January.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Russia Has Declared War on Sidney Crosby

Via Puck Daddy, some thoughts the Czar shared in an interview with Sovetsky Sport:

Not long ago Washington played Pittsburgh. And Alex Ovechkin showed a sign to Crosby that might have meant less talk. Did he learn it from you? I remember that when [during one game] Crosby was given a penalty and you scored a goal, you pointed at him with your glove, and that gesture became famous in Atlanta.
KOVALCHUK: "These are emotions. Ovechkin did everything right. [You] have to play hockey. Show on the ice what you are capable of. And the weak talk a lot. Ovechkin proved everything - scored a goal and Washington won. He had a full right to his gesture."

Crosby said that Ovechkin is a dirty player...
KOVALCHUK: "Then no one at all should play hockey! The rules in the NHL after the lockout changed considerably. Let Crosby see how [players] played in the league before. Ovechkin's style is emotional, clean hockey. That's why he is the best player in the NHL right now."

But the league in [its] promotions puts emphasis on Crosby.
KOVALCHUK: "He is local. Here a [local] player is needed to become the face of the NHL. A Russian cannot be the face of a North American league! But Ovechkin, in all characteristics, is way stronger than Crosby. I am not 'rediscovering America' -- a lot of people have mentioned so. Crosby is a great player. But he has a long way to go to Ovechkin. If I were to pick players for my fantasy team, I would definitely pick Alex. We are friends. We have similar characters, a lot of common interests. I like Ovechkin not only as a hockey player. He is closer to me in spirit."

Oh, Ovechkin and Kovalchuk and Semin. Snipers with the puck, snipers with their words.

UPDATE: The Crosby Cultists respond in the Puck Daddy comments section:

Exhibit A
Good players get it done when it counts the most.
Crosby has 32 points in 25 playoff games.
Kovalchuck has 2 in 4 playoff games.
Way to get [profane] done Kovy.
Know what else is funny? Kovalchuck has had 87 points in 2 seasons and is on course right now for 87 points this season, again. I think someone has some Crosby jealousy...

What an intelligent observation. Moving on...

Exhibit B
I love sid hes my fav player and so is malkin and i hate ovechkin and people say hes a crybaby 4 talkin to the refs HES THE CAPTION what do u exspect

That speaks for itself, I think.

Exhibit C
I think this was another case of mistranslation...
Dmitry: "So, that ugly Canadian bastard said your boyfriend is a dirty player. Do you agree?"
Kovalchuk: "I love Ovie. He is passionate and emotional. We will make babies soon. He is better than cry-baby boy."
Dmitry: "But Crosby is the poster child! You see his misty-eyed image everywhere."

Get it? Because all Russians are fags, eh? I honestly think this comment offers a glimpse of the ugly impulse behind a lot of the Crosby-mania in certain quarters. I detect some Canadian anxiety and resentment here, a fear that they're losing control of "their" sport, not at all unlike Americans who have apocalyptic fears about waves of Mexican immigrants and the exotic President.

Really, I don't want to pile on Crosby. He's a great player and seems like a nice enough kid. I just think it's time people admitted a large part of his "Face of the NHL" status has more to do with Canadian nationalism/xenophobia than anything else.

Yeah I said it.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

GAME DAY: Washington Capitals

Buenos Aires, if you must know, which happens to be the capital of Washington DC.

Blah blah blah Caps are great blah blah


Not a lot of news to report. Not a lot of scintillating commentary to offer. The well is running dangerously dry.

Take a gander at the Falconer's trade speculations about goalies and defensemen.

All I'll say is this:

- If the Thrashers DON'T move Niclas Havelid for a 2nd-rounder or a decent roster defenseman I'll be most displeased.

- Much as I love Marty the Party, every team could use a guy like that in the playoffs and we could definitely get something decent for him. He'll always party in our hearts.

- We could, out of charity, find Eric Perrin a new home as well. Pittsburgh, maybe, so he can be reunited with his buddy Pascal Dupuis and possibly even his best friend Martin St. Louis (you've heard the trade rumors, no?).

- One of the thirteen goalies should probably go. I support holding on to Kari at pretty much all costs, UNLESS we get a killer offer from Detroit or Philadelphia.

Even the tumbleweed is bored.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Boring Nothingness Before the Storm

Having a hard time coming up with much to say in these pre-trade deadline dog days. In lieu of Chronicle Funtime, take a look at some of these good reads from around the Thrashers and NHL blogosphere:

- The Falconer finds a way to work the musical Chicago into a truly captivating post about an Atlanta Spirit investor who has a hard time remembering whether or not he lied to Jermaine Dupri and Citibank. Don't believe me? Read.

- The Falconer also notes Kari Lehtonen's stats since his return from annual injury:

Not only has Lehtonen been playing MORE minutes, he has also been playing BETTER in net. Both his GAA and SV% has gone up markedly since his return to the active roster.

Can our favorite Finn stay healthy for a full season? Time will tell. Did I mention that I'm low on material lately?

- If you haven't checked out Cycle Like the Sedins lately or ever, now's your time to indulge. Written by one James T. O'Brien, who also writes for the Battle of California, it's one of the finest blogs in the republic of hockey blogs, in my infallible opinion. Lately James has been thinking about who might be included on an "All-Decade Team." In other words: who are the best centers, wingers, defensemen, goalies, fighters, and loudmouths of the 00s?

Since we're in the final year of this horrible (but culturally rich, in some areas) decade, now is a good time to think about such things. Lately Monsieur Catalogues and I have been discussing what we'd put on our Best Movies of the Decade and Best Albums of the Decade lists. Didn't occur to me to do the same for hockey until I read the recent posts at CLTS.

The inevitable question: Who's on your All-Decade Team?

- Remember Wil Wheaton? The lanky main kid in Stand by Me? Well, via Chronicle favorite Mike Chen I've discovered that he's recently been writing about hockey on his blog. Didn't know the kid from Stand by Me has a blog? Yes sir, been doing it for years, and it's actually reasonably interesting, covering all kinds of subjects. The man loves him some Los Angeles Kings.

- Speaking of a blog covering all kinds of subjects: I'm not a great fan of strict specialization, though I can see its uses from time to time. What I'm talking about, of course, is this: Monsieur Catalogues and I have revived a pre-Chronicle music blog that we threw words and Youtube clips onto for a while before abandoning it for well over a year. Well, now it's back, with some notes about the imminent U2 and Black Lips albums. Your Chronicle editor has also set up a solo blog where I'm writing about culture and politics and shit. I'm not sure exactly what I'm doing, but if you're interested...

Christ, I'm boring myself. Let's just watch Tintin.

"Hold on Snowy it's morphing time."

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

There Are Reasons We Love Toby Enstrom

Tobias Enstorm
Best hockey player ever?

Ho ho, perhaps that's overpraise, but seriously: a goal, an assist, and stellar defensive play all night long. What a great Swede.

Meanwhile, the Thrashers kicked ass tonight. TWO SHORT-HANDED GOALS WOOOOOO

There were some problems though. Namely ----> power play sucked donkey balls. Which really didn't matter, because we scored on their power play instead.

Meanwhile Peverley continues to dispense. Kari's a bit more aggressive. Life is good. WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THIS TEAM?

Tobias Enstrom has happened.

GAME DAY: Colorado Avalanche

This is going to be another tough one. A team that includes Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, Chris Drury, Milan Hejduk, Alex Tanguay, Ray Bourque, Rob Blake, Adam Foote, and of course Patrick Roy, isn't going to lie down and die without a fight.

But seriously folks, the 08-09 Avs are having a tough time. In fact, they pretty much suck, a lot like us but better.

It'll be mighty interesting to see if the Thrashers' stellar play during the West Coast road trip carries over to their homeland. Whatever happens, anyone who goes to tonight's game owes the team, and especially the Czar, a fat and handsome standing ovation when they skate onto the ice.

Jeff Schultz Emerges From His Blog-Office

...sporting a handsome beard.

It was about a year ago this time when we presented our completely unscientific inaugural rankings of area sports teams...we’re back. This ranking isn’t based merely on projected win totals but also direction, leadership, structure, stability, coaching, drafts/recruiting, fan support, litigation and any time one co-owner calls another co-owner, “evil” (thank you, Bruce Levenson). So here we go, top to bottom, with last year’s ranking in parenthesis...

Admiring the Falcons:

1. FALCONS (3): Last year’s high ranking was based on the hiring of Thomas Dimitroff and Mike Smith. So we got something right. And then those two got everything right. The team fumbled a season-ticket renewal push before the playoffs. But could anything stop them from consecutive winning seasons? (There. I jinxed it.)

Oh, you. Next:

2. GEORGIA FOOTBALL (1): I guess it says something that the Bulldogs went 10-3, yet were viewed as the Hindenburg. Mark Richt lost Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno but more importantly kept assistant Rodney Garner, his key to recruiting, which leads to wins and money and, OK, sometimes false expectations.

Literally don't understand what any of that means. My problem, not Jeff's. For the benefit of Razor:

3. TECH FOOTBALL (4): Paul Johnson inherited players who were recruited for an entirely different offense, won nine games, beat Georgia, energized the fan base and didn’t act surprised about any of it. Should we be surprised he and Mike Smith are close friends? Maybe they can do something about General Motors.


4. BRAVES (2): This winter was like watching Frank Wren work the Stardust Ballroom and every girl responding, “No, I don’t want to dance with you.” The spring optimism about the pitching staff – I witnessed that last year. This team still has more what-ifs than wows (Derek Lowe and Javier Vazquez as Nos. 1 and 2 starters?). Two big keys to success: 1) No exploding arms; 2) No exploding head on Jeff Francoeur.

Jeff loosens his tie to show he subscribes to the idea of a relaxed work environment:

5. HAWKS (5): Rick Sund admits he still isn’t sure what to make of the team. March (when the Hawks play 12 of 17 at home) needs to be better than the last two months (11-13). A playoff team? Yes. A fourth seed? Possibly. But Mike Bibby is doing most of it himself right now. Also, the spitting war in the executive suite precludes me from ranking them higher.



Skipping ahead, some business about basketball teams that aren't the Hawks, including the Atlanta Dream, who I'm pretty sure don't even exist. Finally:

10. THRASHERS (8): They have built only one thing since 1999. Debt.

Jeff adjusts his belt, inspects his loafers, and gives the thumbs-up sign. He returns to his office and closes the door.

Monday, February 23, 2009

James Mirtle Heads South

Looks like the most famous hockey blogger in all of human history will be flying down to Nashville for what should be some worldview-expanding travel among Southern hockey fans. Not that Mirtle needs his worldview expanded; he already understands that hockey outside the inhabited northeastern corner of our great continent isn't an abomination to Beaver Deities everywhere:

Hockey in the south is a Canadian fascination. It's such a strange idea, after all, that what was created as a cold weather game can thrive in many of the places it does, especially when there are bizarre, nationalistic feelings of ownership over a league which has really been very, very American for its entire existence.
I've been writing about the NHL in places like Phoenix, Dallas, Raleigh, etc., for years now, and in terms of unique markets — case studies in the NHL's strange expansion plan, if you will — Nashville is right at the top of the list.
I think it'll be a fascinating trip.

Well-said. Hopefully Mirtle's Preds journey will be exotic and weird and mind-opening all at once. The Chronicle took a trip to Nashville last month and had a fine time. Even though the distance between Atlanta and Nashville isn't quite the distance between Toronto and Nashville, I found it to be an eye-opening trip, Nashville being so different to Atlanta.

In many ways Nashville is a much more "Southern" town than Atlanta, culturally speaking, and the passion and knowledge of so many Predators fans we met confirmed (to me, anyway) that hockey in the Southeast is an experiment that can work pretty well if the team consistently performs. The passion of the Predators fans I met in Nashville, both during the sold-out game and afterwards among common bar-dwellers who follow the team (nearly everyone I talked to knew a good bit about the team and the NHL in general), actually made me jealous. If only we could have that in Atlanta...

POINT BEING, hockey in the South is both a bizarre curiosity and a perfectly legitimate pursuit. I'm looking forward to reading Mirtle's impressions.

Ovie vs Sidney

Back before 1999, I was a poor hockey fan in Georgia that had no team to root for. So for some reason I chose the Washington Capitals (along with my beloved Edmonton Oilers). The Caps big rivalry was the Penguins. Caps and Pens. They met in the playoffs every year it seemed like. The problem was it was the Pens that would always win with some guys named Lemieux and Jagr. Then the Caps got Jagr, and I could no longer root for them. I have morals people. He came close to destroying that franchise. Both the Caps and Pens started to suck, and the rivalry cooled.

To anyone who watched the game yesterday on NBC, or anyone who has paid attention to the season this year, you are very aware of how great this rivalry is yet again. Ovie scored yet again. Crosby whined yet again. Here are some quotes following the game:

"What I can say about him?" Ovechkin said. "He is a good player, but he talks too much."

"Like it or lump it, that's what he does," Crosby said when asked about Ovechkin's showmanship. "Some people like it, some people don't. Personally, I don't like it."

"I was just skating to the bench and he pushed me from behind," said Crosby. "So I just gave him a shot back. That's hockey, and he likes to run around these days, so that was it."

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!! Daddy, he hurt me! And I think that is the first time I've ever heard an NHL player use the phrase "Lump it". Obviously you know where I stand on this little argument. I just thought it would be interesting to see what our loyal readers think of Sidney.

So, in the spirit of the great Puck Daddy... what say you readers about Crosby: Like it or Lump it?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Congratulations Ilya, You Have Won The Oregon Trail

Well, well, well. What was it the great American poet Meatloaf once said... 5 out of 8 ain't bad. Those accustom to Thrashers February road trips know that it could have turned out much worse than this. Even in yesterday's game against the dreaded Sharks (see above) we played extremely well. Bogo continues to impress.

Many thanks to Captain Kovy for guiding us along this great Wagon Trail out West. It wasn't easy, Todd White was lost to dysentery. Slava broke his leg. And Boris died due to some sort of monkey virus. Yes kids, they had the monkey virus on the Oregon Trail. But with our great leader at the reins, we fought through tough times, small rations of food, and the risky move of not taking the toll road and instead floating down the river, but we did it!

We will be looking forward to our new start having made it to Oregon. That is what those folks were looking for back when they made the original journey on the Oregon trail. Go out west, leave the past behind and start all over. New beginnings bring excitement. And now we can get excited about our team all over again due to the successful road trip. Way to go boys!

Enjoy Coach's Corner from Hockey Day in Canada. Grapes has a GREAT line right at the end:

For The Blueland Chronicle, I'm Big Shooter.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

GAME DAY: San Jose Sharks

Clutch those rosary beads close, now. Burn the incense. Bow towards Mecca. Stuff a note in the Wall.

This isn't going to be easy.

Now, close readers of this blog will know that your editor is a huge Sharks fan. To clear up any ambiguities: NOTHING would make me happier than if the Thrashers beat the Sharks today.

Meanwhile, enjoy Hockey Day in Canada!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Thrasher Deadline Talk

Kevin Allen had this to say about the Thrashers around the trade deadline.

Atlanta Thrashers (seller): Havelid, who will be unrestricted free agent this summer, will be one of the hottest defensemen in the market place. Center Marty Reasoner could also be moved, and possibly Eric Perrin. GM Don Waddell has also received calls about his goaltenders Kari Lehtonen and Ondrej Pavelec, but he's not likely to make any goalie moves at this time. This week, he will start to talk to Lehtonen's agent about a new contract

Interesting to say the least, in regards to Kari. I do like that vanReimdyk a lot, but we are seriously lacking in defence at this time. Honestly we are doing pretty well in regards to our offense right now, and Kari is playing excellent. Maybe his injuries will go down. You never know.

Our young defence is getting better. They maybe just need time. Look at LA. They are so young in defence but have one of the best PKs in the league. Maybe Kulda will eventually come up as well as Postma. Also there is that young Russian prospect Andrei Zubarev who is supposed to be eventually good. Postma and Zubarev, if we can get Zubarev out of Russia, will need to go to the Wolves obviously and do their time to grow. If for maybe a year or two we could acquire a solid shut-down guy to help out, that'd be great. Maybe the blueline just needs time, and it will grow into something nice.


This is what he had to say about Philly to give a better picture on that rumor.

Philadelphia Flyers (buyer): The Flyers have reviewed their goaltending options, and even made a call or two about availability. But they aren't likely to find any attractive options at the deadline. They have shown some interest in acquiring a puck-moving defenseman.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

It Turns Out All They Needed Were Acme Glasses

I would photoshop a brown thrasher's head onto the Roadrunner, but you can use your imagination.

Yes, I'm disappointed. True, we didn't play as well as we did against Anaheim and Los Angeles.

But the Thrashers, again, played pretty well, and Governors of Hockey Ilya Kovalchuk and Bryan Little (not to mention Erik Christensen) continue to score like nobody's business. How about Kovy's pass to Little, and the goal that followed? Those two are made for each other.

Kari was flinging his glove hither and thither like a snow leopard poucing from rock to rock in front of a hockey net, blocking shots and hunting mountain goats.

Zach Bogosian is, I'm sorry, going to be a GREAT hockey player. He gets more confident every game. Handsome fella as well.

You can take pride in your Thrashers now. They seem to have gotten something together in terms of scoring, chemistry, and playing consistently throughout the game and from game to game. It's no bad thing that they lost this game deep into the longest and most insane shootout of all time.

GAME DAY: Phoenix Coyotes

[from Flickr, Kassel's photostream]

The Coyotes are going to be desperate for a win. They were playing quite well for a while there, nicely positioned inside the top 8 in the West, but lately they've lost 10 of their last 12. They're going to be quite hungry and aggressive tonight: they don't want to end up as endangered as their cousin the Mexican Gray Wolf. HIY-OH!

Seriously, there are only like 250 of them left.

On the other hand, the Thrashers seem to be finally fulfilling John Anderson's "I dare you to out-score us" strategy. They've given up a lot of goals on this crazy jaunt through the desert, but they've scored many more. And despite the enduring majesty of Shane Doan, the 'Yotes have a hard time putting the puck in the net.

We have a good chance tonight.

I do love Wile E.

Oh Goodee Another Season Ticket Holder Meeting

[photo: Colin Purrington, Flickr, "Angry Mob Attacking Charles Darwin"]*

Checking the old Email, I came across a missive from the Atlanta Thrashers inviting me to the annual Season Ticket Holders' Threnody/Don Waddell Mea Culpa Meeting far below Philips Arena in the Hawks' practice court. I'm told there will be "light hors d'oeuvres."

I suppose I should go, for the sake of Chronicle Journalism, but I really don't want to. What will go down is all too predictable. Don Waddell will once again perform his note-perfect Cheshire Cat act, reassuring the customers that things will be better in the near future, acknowledging Epic Failure while magically deflating fan frustration through changing the subject and his patented charm-hypnosis ("We didn't KNOW that Erik Christensen wasn't a top-line center" and such) while various enraged season ticket holders throw Truck Nuts and demand to know why DW never emails them personally to listen to their ideas about free agent signings.

Interestingly, Bruce Levenson won't be present at this year's festivities. It's safe to assume, I think, he'll have important courtrooms to be in on the day of the meeting (March 6th). This year, it'll just be Don Waddell, who is not only General Manager, but (as they never tire of reminding us) "Executive Vice President" as well.

*Don Waddell is in no way comparable to Charles Darwin. For one thing, Darwin was a guy who actually understood natural selection and evolution.

DW, Please Make This Happen...

As Big Shooter reports below, a rumor has arisen in which our Thrashers are speaking with the Flyers about swapping Kari for prospect James van Riemsdyk.

I ruined three keyboards by drooling on them while trying to type that last sentence.

JVR, as he is abbreviated, is second in all time Team USA Juniors scoring only to that other JR. Not only that, but his coaches make him out to be the perfect team player. He's a big kid, at 6'3" 211 lbs and is already proving to be a major contributor to UVH halfway through his sophomore season. He'll probably be ready for the NHL next season or the one following.

Coach Rolston of the national junior team says that JVR's production this year in the tournament is especially impressive due to the fact that teams were all gunning to shut him down. You can bet the same goes for every game he plays for UVH. Hockey East is the toughest division in NCAA hockey, and to excel there you have to be a special player. (See Drury, Chris; Gionta, Brian; McTavish, Craig; Amonte, Tony; Guerin, Bill; Grier, Mike; Kariya, Paul; etc...)

Add to this the fact that JVR's linemate in the junior tournament was Jordan Schroeder, who will be an attractive option for DW in the draft. He's in his freshman year at Minnesota and is tied for the team lead in points.

The prospect of more American powerhouses on the Atlanta bench is almost too much to think about.

As has been pointed out on some message boards, it's hard to imagine Philly giving up a prospect like JVR for a goalie they've treated like a 2x4 on a pond for the past four years, but if it can be done without giving up an early draft pick, I think DW needs to pull the trigger before they change their minds.

Trade Winds A Blowin'

Per TSN:

No. 3 - Philadelphia prospect James van Riemsdyk. The University of New Hampshire forward, picked second in 2007, has been linked to Atlanta in a deal that would see a goalie going to the Flyers.

No. 2 - Thrashers goalie
Kari Lehtonen is of interest to the Flyers. If Atlanta GM Don Waddell continues to rebuild, swapping Lehtonen for a prospect such as Van Riemsdyk would have to be seriously considered.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Chronicle is Famous Among Bruins

Your Chronicle owes Tom at Here Come the Bruins! 20 bottles of claret and several boxes of Truck Nuts (in all colors) for his kind--and, let's be honest, perceptive--words over at his blog. I have to give him particular kudos for noticing what happens to be your Chronicle editor's only rule: new posts every day. We break it from time to time, of course, but, well, you know...

Tom, if you'd give us your address we'll get to work on mailing the claret and the Truck Nuts. We promise we won't stand outside your window and stare all night long.

More importantly, his central point is that the Thrashers can boast of a very large and diverse and capable blogosphere. Most underrated on the Interwebs. We agree.

Pavel Datsyuk is a Cultivated Man, and Miikka Kiprusoff is a Gov

Puck Daddy's Dmitry Chesnokov with another great interview with a Russian NHL star. Pasha Datsyuk has gone up quite a lot in my estimation. As a person, I mean, not as the sick hockey player he insists on being.

First of all, the guy has a great sense of humor, if this interview is any indication.


Q- Do you have any interests other than hockey?
A- If you are talking about sports, then it's original 12-foot Russian billiard and tennis. But in general I enjoy reading books.

Q- What's your favorite book?
A- It's Mikhail Bulgakov's "The Master and Margarita." It's probably going to be hard for North American fans to understand because it's a Russian classic now.

Pavel Datsyuk and I share a favorite novel! He's clearly a man of taste. But he's wrong about one thing: it shouldn't be hard at all for North Americans to understand it. Many already have. All you need to know: the Devil pays a visit to 1930s (Stalin-era) Moscow in the guise of a refined gentleman, there's a big talking black cat, there's a story-within-the-story about Pontius Pilate's regrets in his old age, a love story about a censored novelist and his mistress, and a beautiful woman spends quite a lot of the narrative walking around town totally nude.

Great book. And recently Russian TV made a magnificent film of it, starring the smokin' hot Anna Kovalchuk (no relation, apparently).

In other news, did you see this?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Confident Crusher

Watch this post-game interview from the LA game. Good interview too, well spoken. It's crazy how he is so confident sounding in regards to his move. Why can't he be like this at ES? I don't get it.

Better Late Than Never, I Suppose

When I was a tyke, growing up during the final decade of the last millenium, I worshipped the Atlanta Braves. Nothing could convince me that they were lacking anything. Plenty of sportswriters and fans argued that as, brilliant as their pitching and fielding were, they lacked truly world-class offense. I would never buy it.

"Ron Gant," I'd say, "Dave Justice."

Even in my youth, at the far end of my mind, I knew that there was one thing the Braves lacked. That was Ken Griffey Jr. I barely considered non-Braves teams worth paying attention to; the lone exception was the Seattle Mariners. Griffey was the only player I loved as much as any on the Braves. I dreamed of us acquiring him one day.

Inter-Spirit Warfare, as Told by Ella Fitzgerald

Bomp bomp bomp, looking at today's AJC:

In an August 2005 memo Atlanta Spirit, LLC co-owner Bruce Levenson mentions “Belkin’s misdeeds” as a business partner and says his wrongdoings should have a “not-so-subliminal affect against the evil Belkin.”


The eight owners have been sparring for years, sometimes over petty stuff such as who got the best seats at that NBA All-Star Game.

Dee dop, dee dop, reading further:

The Hawks play the Lakers in Los Angeles on Tuesday night.

Thrashers were in L.A., too, on Monday to play the Kings.

The teams’ eight owners didn’t plan to be at either of the games.

They are in court instead.

Bomp bomp bomp, why things are bad, skit-skat-doo-wop, YEAH!

The Morning After

Did the Thrashers still win that game? Are they still considered the official victors? I see Puck Daddy has declared Anze Kopitar the Star of the Western Hemisphere. knows what's up with their "King Kovalchuk" headline and their crowning him 1st Star of the Late West Coast Night. Yes they do, yes they do.

If you kids haven't been following the Battle of California's coverage of the Thrashers' road trip, from the other side of course (was it necessary to type that? Would this sentence sound better if I'd just left that clause out?), I urge you to do so now. Fine stuff. And Kings blogger Rudy Kelly has a SERIOUS crush on the Czar. As do we all. As do we all.


I want Ilya Kovalchuk so bad. If i had to choose between boning Jessica Simpson (back when she was hot, not the stretch pant-wearing GIrl Scout troop leader she's turned into) or getting Ilya Kovalchuk on the Kings, I'd take Ilya and never look back. It makes me ill, how badly I want Ilya. I know it would cost a ton to get him* and I know we could just wait and see if he makes it to free agency, but I want him now. I want to savor in his glory and lick the tears of Ducks' fans as Kovalchuk ravages them again and again and again. There's not one player in the league I'd rather have on the Kings than Ilya Kovalchuk.

The Thrashers Party wagon train rolls on to Arizona.



I would say something like "Well that was fun but MAN ALIVE do I need to get to bed for my wage slavery in the morning."

But all I can say is "dklaj;fslkdjmostexcitinggameoftheyearalkjflakjfdaholyfuckingshitsdkfsjdaklf."

Bogo with 3 assists, and all-around excellent play, on Armenian Night.

Kovalchuk with 2 more goals and another assist.

Bryan Little continues to score woooooooooo

Marty Reasoner = great player or greatest player?

Colin Stuart sure does have short hands.

Why can't Erik Christensen be as confident during the game as he is doing his crazy move in the shootout?

Congrats to Slava on his 800th and 801st career points.

I need to hook myself up to some kind of respirator.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Brief History of Mathieu Schneider's Career with the Atlanta Thrashers

September 16, 2008
The Chronicle first becomes aware that the Anaheim Ducks have put future Hall of Fame defenseman Mathieu Schneider on waivers. At the time, M. Peacock wrote, "The dude's like a million years old but his numbers are still very impressive. I vote yes."

September 18, 2008
The Chronicle reports on season ticket holders' townhall meeting with Waddell, Anderson, and Hainsey. We report that DW said that his overlords weren't willing to put up money for Schneider, whom the Kings had just turned down.

September 27, 2008
A great day for hockey. Anaheim trades Mathieu Schneider to the Thrashers for Ken Klee and Brad Larsen.

Greg Wyshynski: "Atlanta blogger Ben Wright is happier than Bobby Cox in Havana, and not just because Ken Klee is gone: He believes Schneider, Ron Hainsey, Tobias Enstrom and Niclas Havelid give the Thrashers 'arguably the strongest foursome in the Southeast Division.' Scary part is that he might be right."

James Mirtle: "New coach John Anderson's suddenly got something to work with..."

Earl Sleek: "It's important to understand: Mathieu Schneider was not a failure for the Ducks, and I'm not convinced he's overpaid. I think he'll have a good year in Atlanta."

Mortimer Peacock: "The Thrashers get a solid, productive defenseman who will do his job, score points, and teach the younguns. The Ducks get to sign Teemu Selanne, who will score 40-something goals for them this year. Ken Klee gets a guaranteed trip to the play-offs."

Big Shooter: "HELL YEAH!"

November 17, 2008
Mortimer Peacock starts war with anonymous Boris Valabik fan, who may or may not actually be Boris Valabik, who thinks Valabik is far superior to Schneider. Peacock takes the easy way out and calls his opponent an anti-Semite. And a "schlmazel."

November 27, 2008
In a podcast, the Chronicle warns Atlanta to lay off Mathieu Schneider and remember the humane advice of the great rabbi Hillel.

December 2, 2008
Schneider injured for like the third time in his Atlanta career, just before a game against his once and future team, the Montreal Canadiens. Atlanta fans, possibly believing (mistakenly, of course) that Schneider is really the vengeful ghost of Leo Frank come back to punish them for their racism, begin baying for blood and muttering darkly about who really killed their Lord.

December 19 , 2008
Schneider returns from his injury, which hardly quells the pogroms.

January 6, 2009
The Chronicle realizes that Mathieu Schneider would make excellent trade bait. Mortimer Peacock starts lobbying aggressively for a trade to Pittsburgh.

January 11, 2009
Schneider appears to be merrily and talkatively stoned at the Thrashers' Casino Night.

February 15, 2009
Thrashers fly to Schneider's old stomping ground in Anaheim to play a game against his old team the Ducks. Thrashers win big, Schneider gets an assist.

February 16, 2009
The young man gets traded to his old team the Montreal Canadiens. Godspeed, Mathieu! We know you'll help the Habs on their power play! Thank you for saving us from the Cossacks!

Thrashers Trade Schneider to His Old Team


The Atlanta Thrashers have traded defenceman Mathieu Schneider the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for second and third round picks.

Schneider previously played for the Canadiens from the 1989-90 season until 1995, winning a Stanley Cup with the team in 1993. He was traded to the Islanders in 1995.

UPDATE: I command all of you to read Four Habs Fans' reaction. Apparently Montreal's Jewish community has exploded in exuberant gratitude.

Bogo On His Heritage

Bogo writes up on the Blueland Blog about his Armenian heritage and playing in LA. A fair amount of Armenian people live in LA, and the Kings have heritage nights throughout the season. Tonight is Armenian Heritage Night. This is another reason why I love the Kings. They get that there are a lot of people that live in the city, and they should try to appeal or draw them in.

Why doesn't Atlanta do this? It's a great idea, and anytime we acknowledge another culture on a day or holiday I love it. It's fun too. If they could find a way to appeal to other groups in Atlanta, I'd be floored.

This should be fun for Bogo though. Hopefully there will be a large amount of Armenian people in the Staples Center tonight rooting him on. It's kind of like when Brazilian tennis player Gustavo Kuerten used to play, and in the stands in the American tournaments, mainly the US Open, there would be a bunch of Brazilian people in the stands going crazy for him and waving the Brazilian flag. It was awesome. Could you imagine that at a hockey game!? It gets crazy enough at times, but then you can have other groups of people that'd be proud to back up a player. Talk about a sport unifying people across the board. Atlanta is a diverse city; hopefully one day the Thrashers could try to appeal to that.

Also I just want to add how impressive a human being Bogo is. He knows his history too. So happy to have him on our team.

GAME DAY: Los Angeles Kings

Think of the L.A. Kings as Prince Hal. They're young and rambunctious (witness captain Dustin Brown's running into every Oiler on the ice in their last game, followed by his own demolition by Oilers captain Ethan Moreau) but underneath their green exterior they're carefully plotting NHL domination and an invasion of France.

Give them another season or two. You can't have a top six that includes Dustin Brown, Alexander Frolov, Anze Kopitar, Patrick O'Sullivan, and Jarret Stoll and a defense that includes Jack Johnson, Drew Doughty, Matt Greene, and Kyle Quincey--not to mention Jonathan Quick in goal--and not go somewhere. All of these guys are very young, but they're also very talented, and they'll only get better. Assuming the Kings can keep this core group away from free agent signings elsewhere, they'll be a force to be reckoned with in the near future.

I have no idea how the Thrashers will measure up. It'll certainly be interesting to see rookie offensive defenseman Drew Doughty and rookie offensive defenseman Zach Bogosian playing against one another. Your editor will make no predictions here.

Game starts at 7:30 West Coast time, which makes this a sexy funtime late-night game for us (10:30, in case you needed some help). Don't miss the "Under the Lights" feature on Ilya Kovalchuk beforehand at 10:00.

You might also enjoy this article by Mike Knobler, all about what the Thrashers do on long flights. Great article, but Knobler is clearly confused. According to our sources the Thrashers travelled by wagon to California, and the journey was full of river-crossings, buffalo hunts, and outbreaks of dysentery and cholera.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Thrashers 8, Ducks 4

Shorter AJC Dude Named Hummer (heh heh heh)

Need to take up some space on the old Microsoft Word. Hmmm...what to say?

Oh yeah, the Thrashers aren't very good. I read this thing in the Toronto Sun that said something about something. Ray Ferraro thinks the Thrashers are struggling; myself, I cannot disagree.

Something something something owners something legal battle something something.

Talked to a guy who used to a play for the Flames.


Longer version here.

Kovy, The Family Man

A preview of the show to come.

GAME DAY: Anaheim Ducks

The first stop on the Thrashers' overland journey to the West is Orange County. This should be an interesting one.

Big Shooter has already demanded that Toby Enstrom destroy Chris Pronger tonight. We'll keep an eye on young Toby all night to see if he can deliver the goods. As he says, Shooter isn't the biggest fan of the Ducks.

Me, I like the Ducks just fine. I would give several fingers to have Ryan Getzlaf on the Thrashers, and I can't help but be infatuated with their two snipers: ageless Finnish Flash Teemu Selanne and American rookie phenom Bobby Ryan.

It'll be interesting to see how Mathieu Schneider performs tonight.

The Thrashers are a small, soft team. The Ducks are big and mean. You do the math, but nevertheless, Go Thrashers.

Sigh. Maybe things would be different if the Thrashers had Gordon Bombay. Or at least Julie "The Cat" Gaffney.

Go West Young Man...

... haven't you been told, California's full of whisky, women and gold.

Ah, the dreaded February West Coast road trip. Yes, that's right kids, the Circus is in town.

Other than us always stinking up the joint on these road trips, I kind of enjoy them. It's fun to watch our boys play against teams that we don't often get to see. Someone correct me if I'm wrong (I'm not big on digging up old info and statistics, I trust the old noggin) but I believe this is our first game against the Kings since we GAVE them the game a few years ago, and thus, our playoff chances.

Too bad the game tomorrow starts so late (10:30). I'd love to watch us play the Kings. I guess I should say too bad I'm old/have real world responsibilities. I remember the days I could stay up til 1:00 watching hockey... ah, the good ole days. I did watch the Kings/Oilers game yesterday. What a gem!! Those two teams know how you are suppose to play the game. Good stuff.

I'm not a huge fan of the Ducks. I'll be watching tonight hoping for Toby Enstrom to cheap shot Chris Pronger. Probably not going to happen, but one can dream.

Enjoy Coach's Corner:

Well, I just went to YouTube and it is not up yet. Check back later!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Pacific Division Trail

The Thrashers hop aboard the wagon and head west this weekend. Word has already reached the Chronicle that Chris Thorburn has a bad case of cholera, and that one of the oxen drowned while attempting to ford the river. It's been replaced with Eric Boulton though, so no worries.

This should be an interesting road trip. Let's see what our three greatest California troubadours have to say about it.

All Sorts of Thrashers Buzz A-Buzz

I hope my suggestions for Valentine's Day came in handy. I trust your day has included all manner of unnatural sins.

Moving on from this dumb holiday (which isn't even a proper holiday: we don't even get the day off, and besides, it's SATURDAY) let's take a look at all the the trade rumors hovering over the Thrashers.

You might have read via Ben Wright and the Falconer that our great former beat writer (and Big Shooter BFF) Craig Custance has returned to blogging. His return post deals with possible deals involving everybody's favorite tragic bird-themed team. Our man writes:

Here's what we know about Colby: The Penguins did NOT want to include him in the Marian Hossa deal last year. Their original offer didn't include Armstrong but on the final day when it looked like Hossa would go elsewhere, Ray Shero was left with no choice. If Army was in the deal, it was done. And that's what happened.

Here's what else we know about Armstrong: He's close with Sidney Crosby, he's great in the room and he's a heck of an actor in local car commercials. He's also on pace for a career-high 21 goals. So don't think for a second that the Penguins haven't at least kicked the tires on what it would take to bring him back to Pittsburgh. But what's the asking price for a guy who has all the intangibles and is also a 20-goal scorer?

"Somebody is going to have to blow me out of the water," Waddell told me. "He's the kind of player we need in this organization."

- The Chronicle agrees that Colby would make fine trade-bait, but for the love of God, Don, please don't send him to Pittsburgh. I mean, I can see every reason why he wants to go back: adoring fans, Sidney Crosby, etc. I sympathize with Army's homesickness, but what exactly would we get back? Another draft pick?

Unless we could get Jordan Staal or someone along those lines the Chronicle declares a plump and galumphing NO to this idea.

- Why not send him to San Jose, who--if the somewhat reliable Fourth Period can be trusted--are looking for a good third-liner? How about that Jonathan Cheechoo, folks?

- Or maybe send him to Phoenix in exchange for Kyle Turris, who will presumably turn into something one day? What do you folks think?

- I see our friend Rawhide has gotten a new address and had renovations done to his home at the AJC. Update your blogrolls, kids.

- According to Custance, Waddell just got back from an Ingmar Bergman festival in Sweden. He'll be screening The Seventh Seal in the locker room before every game from now on.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Chronicle Wants to Help You Get Laid

Now then.

It's that time of year. I hope you're enjoying that Manics cover of Frankie Valli on the right-hand side. Even though you all spend most of your waking hours reading the Chronicle, I'm sure many of our male readers have girlfriends, or at least girls you're interested in, and perhaps some of you even have wife action going on.

Your Chronicle editor is of two minds about the celebration of St. Valentine's Day. On the one hand, it represents an appalling commodification of love and romance, which totally blows. The commercials one sees every early February, telling you she won't do you unless you buy a teddy bear in biker pants or one of those totally-insane Pajamagrams, are a real disgrace, and I hope no such situation exists in real life. Do any of YOU have girlfriends/wives who trade sex for presents? I hope not.

But at the same time, your editor is a bit slushy, and enjoys any silly occasion to exchange candy, cards, and VD.

If you are looking to impress your damsel this weekend, look no further than the Chronicle's Consumer Guide to Valentine's Day Presents:

...I've got nothing. At least as far as candy and flowers are concerned (though flowers always get a positive reaction).

Don't buy a Vermont Teddy Bear. Do the old-fashioned thing and write her a sexy poem. Or better yet, just plagarize one out of this here anthology. It's full of good stuff, like this ancient Egyptian thing:

Her love awaits me on the distant shore.
The river flows between us,
crocodiles on the sandbars.

What's sexier than crocodiles? Hmmmm?

Lots of other good stuff in there, from the Egyptians and Greeks (no one's better than Sappho for lady-on-lady love) through the T'ang Chinese and Mughal Indians and Elizabethan English to our own American day.

The whole poetry angle (writing it or reciting it or copying it and pretending it's yours) got ladies into bed in former days. These days they just think you're gay (though the ones that are impressed still exist; you just have to look harder). So perhaps it's better to send her one of these classy/ridiculous French erotic postcards.

Okay, I've Got It Now

Colby Armstrong and Niclas Havelid for Jonathan Cheechoo and either Douglas Murray or Alexei Semenov.

You can't tell me that Mike Grier-Jeremy Roenick-Colby Armstrong wouldn't be the most insane checking line of all time.

Idea for a Trade That Actually Might Happen*

(Don't miss the two updates below, now!)

The Fourth Period:

As the Sharks gear up for the playoffs, San Jose GM Doug Wilson is looking to strengthen his roster by acquiring depth players before the deadline.
Wilson is apparently looking for third-line forward and a No.4 or No.5 defenseman.

San Jose, meet Marty Reasoner, who's a million times better than Marcel Goc.

Atlanta, meet Jonathan Cheechoo, whose career would be revived by playing right wing to Kovalchuk and Peverley. Like I said: the Czar's Pev-Dispensing Cheechoo Train.

UPDATE: Perhaps I should explain this a bit better. Jonathan Cheechoo has not been playing on either of San Jose's scoring lines much of this season. He's stuck on the third line with Mike Grier and Marcel Goc. He doesn't belong there; for Cheechoo to have any effect he needs to be top six forward.

Problem is, the Sharks don't have any room for him in their top six anymore. Marleau, Setoguchi, Clowe, Michalek, and very probably Thornton and Pavelski are all going to have more goals than Cheechoo this season.

Problem is, in addition to being stuck on the third line, Cheechoo is soaking up quite a lot of San Jose's money. He's overpaid, in other words. I wouldn't be surprised if Doug Wilson is eager to get rid of him and free up some cap space for a true third-line checker like Marty Reasoner or Colby Armstrong.

Which brings me to what might be a more realistic option: Trade Armstrong for Cheechoo. That way, Cheechoo gets to play on the top line in Atlanta and San Jose has a good character guy on the third line who can bang people up and score goals.

Armstrong is on pace to have way, way more goals than Cheechoo this season. If I were Doug Wilson I'm not sure what would stop me from taking the cheaper, higher-scoring Armstrong and putting him on my third line in exchange for the (currently) overpaid Jonathan Cheechoo, who just might flourish again if he played with Ilya Kovalchuk and Rich Peverley. Or with John Tavares.

But, as they say, "Wow."

UPDATE II: Another reason for Colby Armstrong to go to San Jose: his younger brother Riley plays for their AHL affiliate, the Worcester Sharks.

*Perhaps some of the incomprehension over this post could have been avoided if I'd titled it "Idea for a Trade That Could Conceivably Take Place If Don Waddell Were a Sane Man." Apologies.

Melt Downs

Bored with hockey.

Let's talk about teevee talk show melt downs instead.

I'm sure you've all seen Joaquin Phoenix's burly appearance on Letterman from a few nights ago. God bless the American public, for in their innocence they don't realize that Joaquin was pulling an elaborate Borat-like joke for a movie filmed by his brother-in-law Casey Affleck; it's much easier to talk about how "messed up" the guy is, how he'll probably OD soon, etc.

Joaquin Phoenix on Letterman wasn't a TV melt-down. It was funny because he was Quantum Weird AND allowed Dave to make fun of him. Great performances by both of them.

If you want to see a real TV chat show melt down, try this wondrous clip: two great Americans, who depending on the day were good friends or great enemies, going at it on the show of another great American. Mailer comes off like the most pompous man alive, Vidal is his impish self, but the best lines of the night belong to Cavett. Watch and enjoy.

Nothing Hockey to Report. Here are Two Special Friday Videos.

Everyone remembers Chevy Chase's awesomely bad TV chat show from like 2 weeks in 1993, right?

I don't either, so let's take a look.


Now then. Let's also take a look at the man who wrote many of Chevy Chase's jokes in the SNL days, Michael O'Donoghue. Comedic genius, not recognized or praised nearly enough.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

LaVallee Called Up

So he is finally here. It's about time if you ask me.

As we all know the Thrashers are a rather soft team. As we all know the Western Conference is not a soft place. As we all know Jordan LaVallee is 6-3 and 225 lbs. If we want to hold up against teams like San Jose, LA, or Anaheim, we must push back. LaVallee will hopefully add that physical presence that we need. I'm pretty much not even expecting any wins on the road trip, but at least we can maybe put up a literal fight.

If I Were Brian Burke...

I'd shoot myself for being such a media loving whore. But not until after the Olympics in 2010, now exactly one year away. Our boy Brian is the GM of Team USA. My dream job. I once hounded Waddell, at the Casino Night Party, when he was the Assistant GM of the World Cup a few years back. I told him I had the roster all worked up and wanted to give it to him. He initially laughed, until he realized I was serious. Needless to say, I was ignored. Waddell's roster was vastly different from mine. Our team played horribly (but not as bad as the '06 Games). And we lost.

So, just for fun, here is my first draft at Team '10, USA Hockey (This is your first warning that I will probably repeat this post about 30 times over the course of the year):

Parise Drury Langenbrunner

Kessel Stastny Kane

Tkachuk Brown Gionta

Cole Kesler Ryan

Rafalski Komisarek

Whitney Martin

Ballard Orpik


Please realize I could sit down ten minutes from now and come up with an entirely different list. There are quite a few guys you could mix in and out at the forward position. I'm not convinced I have enough offense on the blueline as well.

Apologies to Dougie Weight for leaving him off the list. That pains me more than anyone knows...

-Big Shooter

Idea for a Trade That Will Never Happen

Now then. The San Jose Sharks are the best team in the world, probably the best team ever, and certainly better than the Atlanta Thrashers. There's absolutely no reason for them to mess with their line-up as it stands.


- Trade Todd White for Joe Pavelski. This will fool Doug Wilson, because White has better stats than Pavelski this season. Trouble is, Pavelski is years younger than White and will only get better.

- Trade Colby Armstrong, who's a character player who could make a difference banging people around on the third line, for Jonathan Cheechoo, who's a confused scoring winger playing on the third line because the Sharks no longer have any need for him in the Setoguchi/Clowe era. Put Cheech on a line with Kovalchuk and Peverley and you've got the highest-scoring line in the league: the Czar's Pev-Dispensing Cheechoo Train.

You may have noticed your Chronicle editor is running low on inspiration these days. Perhaps Naughty Gras will help.

George Washington and Teddy Roosevelt to Skate at Caps Game

Greg Wyshynski has an even better idea:

Since we're on the topic of racing presidents and giant sausage, is there a tradition like this can be started in the NHL? Some teams have fans or workers race against the team mascot during intermissions, but can we get an oversized Garth Brooks, Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash somehow involved in Nashville?

Please. PLEEEEASE???!!!!!!

This obviously raises the question of what oversized fake dead celebrities could skate during the intermissions at Thrashers games. What has Atlanta given the world? Seems like everyone worth a damn has come from Macon or Athens or Savannah, for some reason.

Okay, I've got it. Bobby Jones hits a golf ball off of Margaret Mitchell's giant head, which in turn richochets off Martin Luther King's podium, and ends up in W.E.B. DuBois' gaping mouth.

Or, including live oversized fake celebrities on ice: Neal Boortz and Lil Jon and Young Jeezy fight a chair-throwing Spike Lee (went to Morehouse, he did).

Paul Postma, Maybe One Day

So we have this young gentlemen from the WHL that we drafted 207th overall in 2007. He has lately been kicking up a storm in the WHL. Lately I love to check up the power rankings of players on TSN, especially the junior power rankings, because I hope we can draft one of these guys.

I was on the rankings for the WHL, and saw Paul Postma ranked 5th, right behind Evander Kane, with NHL rights to Atlanta. I thought it was bizarre that we actually drafted someone who could be good.

I went to the Hockey News yesterday and saw this. He was again featured on a top ten list about juniors they were excited to see play in the NHL. The Hockey News had this to say about him:

Postma just set a Hitmen record by becoming the first defenseman in team history to record 20 goals in a season. The 6-foot-3, 184-pound defenseman could still stand to fill out a bit more, but with 66 points and a mind-bending plus-46 rating in 56 games, it’s hard to argue with the results.

I've always wanted a diamond in the rough. Maybe one day. Whatever happens, it's exciting to read and think about.

Why the Thrashers are Like the Javan Tiger

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the Javan Tiger. The last one is said to have died out aroud 1972. Despite this poor fellow's "extinct" status, some islanders report seeing them now and then, strolling up and down the green hills on the eastern side of the island, where forests cover 30% of the land. In 2008, a female mountain hiker was discovered mauled by something that left marks strongly resembling those of a tiger, in an area where villagers had reported seeing a tiger, every now and then.

This is a lot like talent among the Thrashers. It's probably extinct, forever, but occasionally there are glimpses and unconfirmed reports of its survival.

The team has a long break to enjoy before they hitch up the wagon and head overland to California, for what should be a daisy-chain of Fail at the hands of the Anaheim Ducks, the L.A. Kings, the Phoenix Coyotes (not in California, but close enough), and the San Jose Sharks.

After last night, I think this team and your Chronicle editor could use some time apart. I think we'll describe it as--what are the kids calling it?--a break. Ah yes, breaks. Not together for the time being, but it doesn't mean you can't still have filthy sex every now and then. I call this "going to games."

Which is a lot like seeing the Javan Tiger every now and then. Right?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

10 Things, Plus Bonus, Plus Postscript

1. Most exciting home game in a long, long time.

2. The Czar scored his 100th career power play goal. Congrats, Your Majesty. He celebrated with a classic fist-pumping Kovy crouch.

3. How Nikolai Khabibulin isn't Chicago's #1 goalie remains an inpenetrable mystery. That guy is excellent.

4. Kari Lehtonen was also stellar, all night.

5. Did I mention how exciting that game was?

6. To the Russian girl who was sitting next to me during the third period: I know you're reading. Go ahead and dial me on the email-phone. We could be friends. It doesn't matter if you speak no English.

7. To the Russian dude who was sitting next to me and filming the entire game: I fully expect to see a portion of your oligarch fortune when this video makes a bunch of Internet Money. My abusive screams are all over the soundtrack, and I even appear in the frame now and then. 5% will be fine.

8. To all the Russians sitting next to me: Don't take what I said about Khabibulin's love of the Vodka personally. I don't go in for the Russian Stereotype business. We can all still be friends, right?

9. Refs were either wicked or soft in the brain.

10. Thrash = one well-sculpted bird. What a fine feathered physique. Makes me jealous.

(Bonus)11. The Thrashers are terrible. I have no idea why I continue to go to games. Probably because the Atlanta Spirit have spent years with behavorial psychologists studying ways to drain Mortimer Peacock of his (already scanty) money. Remind me to break up with this team.

P.S. It's not so much that the Thrashers are terrible (which, make no mistake, they are) as the fact that I really don't have the Cashmagic or the energy to do this kind of thing anymore. I love hockey, and I heartily sympathize with anyone who loves any sport, but at some point one also has to acknowledge the dark side of modern sports: the fact that, as a smart and funny fellow (and rabid sports fan) puts it: "sports promote greed, conformity, tribalism, and social distraction." Couldn't agree more. Doesn't mean I'll stop watching, of course. It's just necessary to point out that if you invest a huge amount of your time, emotions, and income in a professional sports team something in you has to be barking insane.

You've Got to be Kidding Me, Part 3,953

Ben Wright has a good preview of tonight's game against the Blackhawks.

In it, he passes along the following piece of information:

Marty Reasoner is doubtful for tonight and several other forwards are sick and/or dinged up. That might lead John Anderson to dress seven or eight defensemen and play one of two of them as forwards. He mentioned Zach Bogosian as a possible candidate but liked the idea of Oystrick or Valabik playing as a checking forward. Or how about Enstrom as a forward, since Anderson has been trying to get him going offensively all season? The coach didn't rule it out.

That'll win us the game. God help us.

GAME DAY: Chicago Blackhawks

That, ladies and gents, is Black Hawk, a leader of the Sauk Indian tribe in the early 1800s. He fought on the side of the British in the War of 1812 (sensible enough, one thinks); in 1830-31 he led an insurrection against predatory US military land-stealing scum in what became known as the Black Hawk War. After his defeat and the murder of several of his comrades, he was thrown in prison but got the chance to tour the Eastern United States as a sort of walking, talking curiosity. He was met with huge wondering crowds everywhere he went, except for in Detroit where a mob burned him in effigy. Eventually dicated an autobiography, which was published in 1833. It immediately became a bestseller.

Been looking forward to this game for a while now.

The Chicago Blackhawks are one of the best and most exciting teams in the NHL.

The Thrashers are the Thrashers.

Perhaps their young talent (Bogosian, Little, Tavares/Hedman) will earn them a similar reputation one day. Needless to say, I'll be thrilled if the Thrashers win tonight. Which is a demanding thing to say, really, because I have Patrick Sharp, Patrick Kane AND Duncan Keith on one of my fantasy teams.

Do it.

At Least There are Koalas

Your Chronicle editor can be a grumpy and gloomy human, and why not, given the following:

- Your brave US American interrogators are slicing off dudes' balls, for Democracy.

- It looks like the next Israeli government will be a coalition of the mildly insane right-wing party and the absolute barking-like-a-retarded-dog, dude-in-urine-stained-pants-bellowing-about-the-Apocalypse-on-a-street-corner Insane far-right party, with an actual real-life human fascist and genocide enthusiast in the Cabinet.

- It seems like no economic recovery bill can pass the US Senate without allocating gazillions to "fossil fuel research" (nudge nudge wink wink) and eliminating ALL provisions for Communist plots like "school construction and technology" and the CDC, and slashing substantial funds from improving mass transit. Oil execs gotta eat too, I guess.

But then I see things like this wonderful Youtube video of an Australian fireman giving water to a dazed, scared koala who's lost his forest home. Just makes me want to weep.