Friday, July 31, 2009

Dudley Jumped Ship at the Right Time

More bad news for the Blackhawks front office. According to TSN, the NHL is investigating Hossa's new 12 year contract with Chicago to determine whether or not it improperly circumvents the CBA.

What the Hawks did was pretty transparent. Hossa's deal pays him almost 8 million per year for the next seven seasons, but the team will only feel a 5.5 million dollar cap hit. The reason for that is that Hossa's salary drops to 4 million a year for the 2016-2017 season, then to less than 1 million a year for the final 4 years of his contract.

Now, you could look at that and say that it makes sense to build in a declining salary for a player whose skill will be declining as he ages. Indeed, Hoss will be 42 by the time this contract expires. And if the Blackhawks honestly intended for the Magician to play in Chicago until the ripe old age of 42, there would be nothing wrong with that.

The problem comes in when you figure that Dale Talon probably had a good little chuckle to themselves about signing a contract for 12 years with a player who will probably retire in 8 years at the most. That means the Hawks get Hossa's services for the next 8 years, paying him a pretty fair market value of 7.9 million a year for most of that time, but only have to suffer a 5.5 million dollar cap hit thanks to those four years when the only Blackhawks games Hossa is likely to see are the ones he watches on plasma tv from a castle in Slovakia.

Loopholes are there to be exploited. Unless the league and NHLPA built in a "spirit of the law" type anti-circumvention clause in the CBA, this type of deal is shady, but not illegal. Since TSN is indicating that there is a risk of $5 million in fines and a loss of draft picks, there must be some kind of clause in there with that specific penalty.

For the Chronicle, I'm Razor Catch Prey.

Every Night I Have the Same Dream

Happy Friday, everyone. Hope our in-town readers made it through another night of horror. Have you read my important proposal for improving the Thrashers in virtually every way? If not, click the link above or scroll down one post. And don't forget to vote in our poll! We'll be sending the results to the Atlanta Spirit's front office.

For the Friday funs:

The greatest Atlantan visits Sea World and takes a particular liking to the penguins. Please watch this, as it's the most wonderful thing I've ever seen.

And this, just because:

At the very least, you have to admire Adam Clayton's risky fashion choices.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Modest Proposal

A Vision

So I'm driving across rain-swoggled roads during the Lunch Hour (the Chronicle always gives its employees at least enough time for a bottle of chardonnay) and listening to the radio machine. Wasn't in the mood for avant-gardist college radio, NPR is boring as hell, the resurrected 99x wasn't pleasing me and sounded much like it did in 1999, and needless to say the sages of AM are way over my head, and everything else is outright terrible, so I decided to listen to sports radio, which I almost never do outside of hockey season. 680 The Fan, if you must know.

Everyone's talking about the Michael Vick.

It was exciting, listening to people call in from all different corners of the Metro Atlanta Kingdom to express passionately-held, usually well-thought out opinions about where the famed dog-murderer might end up, whether he should be allowed back into the NFL at all, etc. I dream of the Thrashers someday drawing such controversy.

Anyway, I'm not here to express my opinion on whether Mike Vick should be allowed back into the Football*, but to make a modest proposal:

Presumably there are plenty of NFL teams that want Vick, but his game might be a little bit rusty after, what, 2 years in the pen. How to sharpen up his skills and get him back into NFL mode?

While we're asking questions, let me ask another one: How can the Thrashers improve their brand and draw more consumers?

We're in the business of killing 2 birds with 1 stone here at the Chronicle.

I think it should be obvious to everyone by now that the Thrashers should sign Michael Vick to a 1-year contract. Since his throwing and running skills might be restricted a bit by the hockey format, we can simply stick him on the 3rd line or even cast him as a bottom-pairing defenseman. He won't have to do too much work, but he'll get enough exercise and conditioning to get him back into NFL-ready shape, and the Thrashers will draw fans like mad. Probably even get in the papers.

Who's with me?

*I love dogs, especially my own small yellow-furred Labradorian companion, and I think Michael Vick is a hell-monster for what he did. But he's been to federal prison, and when you've been to federal prison, you've been to federal prison. No need to punish him further by keeping him out of the NFL. He's really good, too.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Public Service Announcement, With Guitar (and by guitar I mean hockey links)

Still no hockey, but be warned Chronicle-ites! There is a specter haunting the American Internet: dorky libtard bloggers financed by a certain frightening Jewish gazillionaire and former pupil of Karl Popper! Watch this patriotic video and weep, like a flag-tattooed eagle, for our perishing republic!!!!11!!!!1!!!!

The horror, the horror...

Before America is destroyed by non-white bloggers with funny wigga-wallah-ching-chong-dirkah-dirkah names and their Jewish banker, enjoy the End Times with these edifying hockey items:

- Craig Custance on which 08-09 non-playoff teams have the best chance to make the playoff in 09-10. Agree, disagree, laugh, shout and rend your pantaloons, but READ. I myself don't see the Wild being so good, but as Bernard Shaw said, "You never fuckin' know, right?"

Oh yeah the Thrashers are on the list. HOMER!!!!!1!!!11!!1!! confirms what we've known for years: Johan Hedberg is the greatest shootout goalie of all time. The Moose Check gets 'em every time.

- A fine discussion about hockey blogs, print media, newspapers, blogs, traditional media, new media, blogs, social media, the Twitter, etc. starring Greg Wyshynski and some other people at Defending Big D.

My favorite part:

It seems that bloggers in general get lambasted in the main stream media for lack of credibility. However, there is great stuff going on in the world of blogs; writing, analysis and research that is far beyond the scope of anything ever done in the mainstream media by mainstream writers. Why is this seemingly ignored by traditional media, and the narrative still revolves around "underwear and mom's basement?" To some, this is groundbreaking work that is going on.

Wyshynski: It's getting there. Keep in mind that the initial relationship was adversarial: A lot of blogs were born to tell the local media how much they suck.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Speaking of the Blogosphere...

Now that I've had a catharsis, of sorts, railing at the dullness of most of the hockey media, traditional and blogospheric, I think we should all take time to wonder how the better-read hockey blogs might generate some extra money through ad revenue.

They could follow the lead of this sexy promo reel from Gawker Media, hawking the network's various blogs to potential advertisers:

Curious. Can't Yahoo make a Puck Daddy promo reel to attract advertisers, possibly featuring Greg Wyshynski's appearance on Hockey Night or whatever Ron McLean* program that was? Surely James Mirtle can swerve his various media appearances into a suitor-attracting SB Nation promo video, right?

As for a smaller blog like the Chronicle (I say this only observationally, not in the spirit of whining and self-pity; if we wanted a bigger audience we'd probably make an effort to get one), our promo reel would probably look a bit like this, but worse:

If you don't invest in the Awl or Wonkette, you should.

*I'd like to stress that none of my criticisms of the hockey media apply to Ron McLean, ever. Ron McLean can do no wrong.

Breakfast at Half Moon Bay

Good noon, Chronicle-ites. Did you make it safely through the night, in murder-rich Atlanta? Truly a city of hell-demons.

Still nothing going in the Hockey right now, unless you're interested in depth signings for the Chicago Wolves or the ongoing "Where will Alex Tanguay land?" caper. It's amazing that right now, in the middle of the worst recession since the Great Depression, when magazine staffs and everyone else are being laid off by the gazillions and the blogging underclass offers up its writing for free, oftentimes every day, so many people still want to read what most of the hockey press offers: lifeless headlines, bad writing, and robotic daily coverage of stagnant news stories without a single new development. Well, all that stuff characterizes the press in general, so I suppose the beautiful and brutal sport of hockey shouldn't be an exception.

Truth be told, most of the hockey blogs are as dull as the traditional media, totally unsuited to the thrilling sport they cover. I mean, really: where is the Joseph Roth or Ryszard Kapuscinski of the blogosphere? I mean...really. So far there's not even a Hunter S. Thompson of the blogosphere. And he wrote about sports!

Puck Daddy, who can always be counted on to avoid the demented gopher-hole of banality, shares two items of interest:

- Some homeless Christian rock fan stalks Mario Lemieux with letters, advice, and music.

- Ovechkin, Semin, and several other Russians throw down in Moscow, with blondes.

His commenters are complaining that he "favoritizes" Ovechkin and that he shouldn't be writing about such fluff when there are important hockey news stories to be covering, like the impending retirements (unannounced, but still) of Brendan Shanahan and Chris Chelios, how great the Penguins are, etc.

How to avoid the horror of boredom? Well, read Eliot Weinberger's new book, for one. If that's not your cup of tea (and really why should it be?), try these these two concrete examples of the fruits of our republic's long slide into morondom:

First, a young lady whose disjointed, meaningless psychobabble is so appalling and stupid that, well, just watch:

Reminds us a bit of Miss Teen South Carolina, of course, not to mention the probable next President of the United States. An important difference, though: being from Santa Cruz she 1) has a slightly larger vocabulary, even if she doesn't know what she's saying, and 2) is on drugs.

Second, this untouched, non-Photoshopped image from America's favorite news outlet:
Everywhere, like and, such as.

Whoa hey the Bolts have bought out Prospal. He's an on-again, off-again sort; is it time for the Thrashers to claim him for his scheduled upcoming good season (which inevitably follows all his bad seasons)?

Oh yeah I believe the Chronicle is planning a hockey-oriented road trip during that long stretch in December when the Thrashers out of town battling various teams in faraway places. Except we won't be following the Thrashers. No sir, we've decided to go West. The Sharks, the Ducks, and the Kings. The romance and poetry of the Pacific Highway, with swelling mists and lumbering elephant seals and enormous waves breaking against black crags. Yessir, that's our game, along with Union Square and City Lights and the Marin Headlands. And Venice Beach and the Hotel Figueroa and the Philip Marlowe tour.

And hockey too, of course.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Georgians in the News

I believe many of our readers live in Georgia's District 6, which somehow encompasses the exotic hamlets of Alpharetta, Roswell, Dunwoody, Sandy Springs, Woodstock, and Vinings. I didn't know this until a minute ago, but it turns out your Congressional representative is a man named Tom Price.

Here he is, in action, at about the 1:46 mark. And don't miss his words of wisdom at about 2:24.

Congressman Price, if you're reading: you truly are a great American.


To balance out that patriotic video--and because it's late July and anyone who's actually writing about hockey right now is a) making money from it, or b) really needs to broaden their horizons--here's an Al Qaeda recruitment video, presented without explanation or context:

TALKING HATS from Choire Sicha on Vimeo.


- How many articles about the Phoenix Coyotes fiasco, the greatness of Scotty Bowman, the history of the RFA offer sheet, or how various Penguins will spend their days with the Stanley Cup (is there any other sport in human history where the actual trophy is this fetishized? Curious) can one person read before getting really, really bored?

- Even the ongoing douche-hattery of Dany Heatley is drearily predictable. I mean, not going to Spezza's wedding? The man's either clueless about how he's coming across or he simply doesn't care. Oh well; wherever he ends up going, he's somebody else's problem.

Hey, lookee here. Via James Mirtle, here's a Heatley-themed video that--if you don't understand a word of German and can imagine Hitler as a funny Ottawa Senators fan that praises folks like Hossa, Havlat, and Chara instead of wanting to enslave them as the Slavic untermenschen they are--is really fucking funny.

All this really does make me want to watch Downfall again.

- Oh yeah, good news: Pollstar Magazine thinks Philips Arena is the best arena in the United States. I've always thought Philips was a world-class facility, so hooray!

- And finally, WHY did the French treat their fallen-while-jogging President with their own ramshackle and nightmarish Frog proto-Obamacare? Why didn't they immediately fly him to the United States so he could receive Jesus' own healthcare, the Best Ever in the Planet Earth's Short History? And how in HEAVEN'S NAME did they cure him of his falling-while-jogging sickness, being gubmit-dependent welfare queens who can't do the Doctoring? HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? Didn't Glenn Beck tell us that foreign leaders come to the US for their healthcare?
Regardez-moi/ Je suis le plus beau du quartier

I'm so confused.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Baffling Report of Extravagant Kovalchuk Contract Terrorizes Internet

There's a post at Russian-language hockey forum All Hockey.Ru that reports Ilya Kovalchuk either has or is about to sign a DW-authored contract that will see him paid $11.35 million a year.

At first I suspected this was just a rumor, but I decided to look into it. All Hockey.Ru isn't a professional news site, so I scoured actual Russian news services like Russia Today, which covers Kovalchuk and all things Russian hockey in detail, and couldn't find anything.

BUT THEN I Googled the phrase ""Атланта" собирается подписать многолетний контракт с Ильёй Ковальчуком. При этом ежегодная зарплата форварда составит $11,36 млн. в год - максимум, возможный в НХЛ." on and several things popped up; it looks like Sports Daily Russia, a reliable source, has picked up the exact same story. BUT WHAT WIRE REPORT IS THIS COMING FROM?

Most bizarre of all, this report specifically references the AJC as its source. WHAT THE FUCK?

Oh yes. The other day Jeff Schultz wrote on his blog: "Kovalchuk has a year left on his contract at $7.5 million. Theoretically, his new deal could pay him up to $11.2 million per season (20 percent of the NHL salary cap of $56 million). The bigger issue is term: The NHL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement has no cap on length of contract."

Through either bad translation (these days usually left up to Google and Babelfish robots) or very poor reading skills, some Russian reporter took Schultz's brain-wave for an empirical fact and set off a firestorm of false reports in the Russian sports press and spread confusion among Thrashers fans.

False alarm, ha ha, GO BACK TO BED. What a terrifying night it's been, though, full of endlessly circling M.C. Escher-like mirror games that plan to eat you.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Man, I Like That Moon

It amazes me that in the dead of summer, no hockey around, that ALL FOUR OF US at The Chronicle neglected to say something about the 40th anniversary of our landing on the moon a few days ago.

Just shameful, all the way around.

So, here is a tribute. All of us at The Chronicle love space, and we promise not to slip up like this again:

A Small Non-Hockey Note (Do You Realize How Great JR Is/Was? If Not, DO Read the Next Post)

Even though America is a nation of morons, it needs a public health care option.

JR to Retire?

It looks like it might be imminent, given this highly readable interview. Maybe the reports of his retirement are premature; either way, read the article. He offers his thoughts on the Coyotes trouble (silly to move the arena to way out in Glendale), and just how much impact former teammate Chris Chelios has had on his career.

It's no secret your Chronicle staff are all huge JR fans. He's a rare thing in so many ways:

1) An American NHLer.

2) A great American NHLer: 513 goals (36th of all time, and one of only 4 Yanks to score more than 500) and 1,216 points (40th of all time)

3) Unlike fellow great American NHLers like Mike Modano (simpering) and Keith Tkachuk (strong, silent type), he has an outsize personality that's a delight on and off the ice.

4) He went from scoring star to nonentity to, when Doug Wilson invited him to San Jose, third-line grinder with no trouble. The Sharks period saw a renaissance of a sort, and JR reveled in his new role. I can't think of many hockey players who've followed a similar trajectory.

So then, a toast. I'm raising my Evan-and-Coke, sir. Long may you flourish (as a commentator for either the Blackhawks or the Sharks?).

Like Calling Up Thunder

Kovalchuk contract negotiations about to begin in earnest, according to reports at the AJC and the Fourth Period (whom Jay Grossman, agent of the Czar, has spoken to directly). Rumors of Malhotra still floating in the cyber-ether. Otherwise, no hockey. And very little interesting Thrash-news. If anything happens we've got the Short Handed Mole on the beat.

Since there's no hockey this time of year, why not listen to the Music? I've always found it a fine way to pass the time. Not that you asked, but some suggestions for summer days, cloudy and sunny:

I've made two great discoveries this week. One of them is Blur/Gorillaz auteur Damon Albarn's record label Honest Jon Records. It's the exact musical equivalent to New Directions Publishing: it puts out records by great musicians from all over the world, from Morocco to India to Latin America to Iceland, in all genres, American blues to Czech jazz to baile funk to Japanese noise-rock. Best of all, perhaps, it's brought great old bossa nova, Delta blues, and funk records back into print. Just how do the likes of Blind Willie McTell and Sarah Vaughan go out of print? Anyway, have a look; it's a treasure-house.

The other great discovery is seminal 80's L.A. roots-punk band the Gun Club. They played a combination of country, punk, and surf rock. Their songs are unbelievably energetic, passionate, and catchy. Their song titles are mysterious and tantalizing: "Ghost on the Highway," "Black Train," "Like Calling Up Thunder," "Devil in the Woods," "Texas Serenade," "Sleeping in Blood City." Their lyrics are a mix of Raymond Chandler noir and Biblical warnings of apocalypse. The singer occasionally drifts into anguished-sounding Spanish crooning. They've done a bitchin' cover of CCR's "Run Through the Jungle."

Listen to their masterful 2nd album Miami right here, all the way through if you wish. It's a warm and overcast summer day in the form of a record.

The Most Amazing News of Our Admittedly-Still-Young Century

World's most loyal Thrashers fan--and, okay fine, Braves fan too (hence the nickname, which I can never remember to address him by)--and Chronicle seat-neighbor/conqueror of Big Shooter's cell phone_______ (am I allowed to say his actual name on the Internets? Or would that qualify me for a Henry Louis Gates-esque arrest in my own house? Probably would) has his very own Facebook tribute page!


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Searching for Manny Malhotra in Sydney

What's up, kids. Or is it more grammatically proper to say "What's up kids?"

Short Handed Mole here, blogging from a secure location in New South Wales. The Park Hyatt in Sydney*, to be exact, in a room overlooking the Harbour. It's nearly noon on a Wednesday here, so to our North American readers I'm technically writing from the future.

the actual hotel where the Short Handed Mole is actually staying, under the bridge and all

And the future is where I am, personally. You might have heard that Editor Peacock exiled me to rehab--in Kentucky, of all places, among Trappist monks who occasionally practice Zen Buddhism--when he and FrenchCatalogues discovered me on one of Georgia's Golden Isles, drunk as a mole in a mug of Black and Tan plus Jameson. Needless to say, I'm much better now; the rehab was the greatest thing that's ever happened to me. Yes sir, 100% clean and sober for 1 month now. At first, I was pretty angry with Mortimer for sending me to Kentucky, but as soon as I got there I was bowled over by the bluegrass and the endless hills of big-dicked horse ranches. I realize now he did the right thing.

What does any of this have to do with hockey? You know.

Actually, you don't (how could you?!) so I shall have to explain.

You see, as soon as I got out of the rehab monastery I decided I'd return to the Chronicle a much healthier, happier, sharper-penned rodent, with actually interesting news to report. News that actually matters to your Atlanta Thrashers. I decided, ladies and gentilhommes, to search for Manny Mahotra in Australia. To see, that is, if this whole "Thrashers are interested in Manny Malhotra" rumpus is for real or a just a fever-dream in the teeming psyche of Dave Pagnotta. You see, I got a tip from the Australian bureau chief of Short Handed Mole Reports that Malhotra had been sighted on Bondi Beach, and I was on the 1st commuter plane out of Lexington to Atlanta, and then on the first marathon nightmare flight from Terminal E to Sydney.

Turns out, I haven't found Manny Mahotra yet. No idea if he's even in Sydney. But I thought I saw his wife on Bondi Beach. I'll keep you posted. Seriously.

*The Blueland Chronicle is in no way in the pay of the Park Hyatt Sydney. Not at all.

Hockey Media Power Rankings...You Know You Want It

We really need something like this for hockey blogs. Heck, all of hockey media, divided up like the Mediaite grid into Online stuff and Other stuff.

Oh, come on. Don't act like you don't want to see the Chronicle ranked somewhere around #261 on the Weblogs Power Grid.

Interweb Briefing

- As Big Shooter reported earlier, the Thrashers have signed Evander Kane, which makes all kinds of sense, because we drafted him, to our team.

- The Falconer unleashes his statistics hounds and confirms what your Chronicle staff has known all along: if you don't believe in Ron Hainsey, you don't have a soul, and if you did it would burn in hell for eternity. The problem with Hainsey last year was not Hainsey. After all, he's a fine top-4 defenseman, good in his own end and adept at that carrying-the-puck-and-shooting business. And such a handsome feller too, I feel I can admit. LADIES, am I right? Ladies? La--

The problem with Hainsey was his partners, especially Garnet Exelby, who was, let's be real, awful in just about every way. And now we've exchanged him for Pavel Kubina, a legitimate top-4 defenseman. This is a good thing. As the Falconer says:

Ron Hainsey demonstrated that he could be a positive defenseman last year when paired with some stronger defenseman. Pavel Kubina has been a top four guy for several years. Hainsey strength as a defender is his mobility and passing skills. Kubina is not the most mobile but uses his size effectively and he passes well. If Hainsey and Kubina can learn to complement each other the Thrashers could really benefit from having a top 4 pairing that can put up a positive goal differential.

A good thing.

- I'm not sure what to believe about all this Manny Malhotra talk. If the rumors can be believed, we've offered him a 4 year, $8 million contract. Reports say he's thinking about it, but he doesn't want to sign with the Thrashers, because they're-the-Thrashers-that's-why. But then there's the be honest, I'm not sure I want him if he has to think this long and hard about signing with us. But then again, he's a great defensive forward who could really, REALLY help our weak penalty kill. Versatile, too; he can score when he needs to. What to do?

- Are there things in the world besides hockey? Why yes there are. Pictures of English ultra-rose Anna Friel, the ghost of 60's London come back to sexily haunt us all, for instance.

- Oh yeah, ha ha, this is HILARIOUS. Who are these Rage Monkeys? They don't seem to be prioritizing very well.

Kane Signs


Monday, July 20, 2009

The Unhockey

Tick tock, etc., IS IT OCTOBER YET?

Summer has many advantages, but, uh, em, no hockey. So sad. But there are other things going on in our world, things that aren't directly related to the Hockey but are, kind of, if you think about it in the woods after dark while fumbling around on the ground searching for the spilled resin ball. In some ways the stories of our day-to-day world of the headlines and 24 hour news babble are a bizarro inversion of the World of Hockey. Seriously, bear with me. Can you dig...

Your Chronicle editor doesn't know much about the Detroit, other than the following: 1) the Red Wings, 2) Motown Records, 3) late 60's garage rock sonic terror like the Stooges and the MC5, 4) the Great Cecil Fielder, 5) glorious Detroit techno, from Juan Atkins to Matthew Dear, and 6) cars or something.

Being a hockey fan you'd never know it, but apparently Detroit is having a tough time these days, even as it flourishes in the NHL. Not sure if the two phenomena--the decline and fall of Detroit's auto industry and perhaps the city itself; the Hockey greatness--are linked. What do I know is that the usually execrable TIME Magazine has put together an astonishing photo essay on "Detroit's Beautiful, Horrible Decline." Massive and elegant public buildings, totally abandoned and left to rot. Crumbling Victorian homes. Empty, rusting factories and upturned broken pianos on the floors of luxurious hotels of the 1920s. It's stunning stuff: the city is well on its way to becoming an actual ruin, no different from Carthage or Persepolis, but one wonders if the death of Detroit's economy might actually transform the city into something new and different, something totally other to what it was before, but more interesting.

Did you know the Red Wings play there?

Sports Business Journal on the Decline of Local Newspaper Coverage (of the Sporting)

Via Puck Daddy, an article about this tired old (true) theme. It's a good read, actually, and it offers plenty of interesting insights about the way sports is covered today, complete with quotes from Mark Cuban (plus a surprisingly generous helping of NHL references).

Sadly, and as P. Diddy points out, the article fundamentally fails to understand the modern Internet by framing the story as a battle between newspaper reports and the official team websites. The likes of Sports Business Journal and Mark Cuban are correct that most (certainly not all: think of David Pollack, Michael Russo, Tarik el-Bashir) newspaper coverage of local sports is appalling, but surely official team websites aren't the only alternative. Team websites are a fine enough source of news (signings, etc.), but the whole point of journalism, surely, is to explore the news beyond the official version offered by the team's front office. This is just as true in sports as it is in politics; a journalist should investigate, not be a mere stenographer for the received story. Imagine just how poorly people would understand the Atlanta Spirit's legal war if the means of communication were controlled exclusively by, uh, the Atlanta Spirit.

And that, ladies and gents, is why Baby Jeebus invented independent journalism, which sometimes coincides with blogging. The Chronicle can't lay claim to much original reporting (except for the Short Handed Mole's reports), but some blogs can. If newspaper coverage is declining, surely that is where most interested fans go for coverage of their favorite teams, not to the team's official website. Right?

Friday, July 17, 2009

There is No Hockey

right now, in the summer. The delirious highs of the draft, free agency, and prospect camp are over and done with, and we'll have to wait until training camp at the end of September for any substantial NHL action.

But that doesn't mean there aren't hockey things to talk about.

There is exactly one interesting hockey-related thing going on right now: ice girl try-outs. The estimable crew at Melt Your Face Off knows what's up: they've generously documented a few try-out notices from various teams around the league.

The Phoenix Coyotes contingent is called "The Pack." Who knew? The one on the far left of the 2nd row sports a very nice combination, I have to say. Glasses + ice girl wear = the Smart One, possibly?

Oh yes, there is one other hockey news item to report. Chronicle commenter PK Waldrop has heroically converted the Thrashers 09-10 schedule to Excel format, for any of you that wish to import it to Excel. Email him at for the goods.

That's pkwaldrop at hotmail dot com, folks.

This is Friday, isn't it? I think that means I'm obliged to offer you all a Friday Fun Post.

Been in a Tex Avery/Chuck Jones sort of mood lately. Some stone-cold classics:

Another early Tex Avery:

Does. Not. Get. Any. Better. Then again, there is Daffy:

And WWII-era Bugs, possibly as funny as The Great Dictator:

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Thrashers and Armstrong Agree to Terms...

According to Chris over at the AJC.

Big Shooter says... good news. You never want things to go to arbitration. The player says how he is soooooo good, and the team has to point out all the ways he sucks. Not a good situation for anyone involved. Way to go Don and Army!

And just because it's the offseason and I feel like a good laugh:

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Day in the Life

Went to the office.

Looked at pictures of El Guapo from ¡Three Amigos! (1986, Landis) all morning.

Read and re-read the schedule for 2009-10, over and over, most of the afternoon.

Left office.

Descended into traffic hell.

Re-entered the Peacock Estate.

Opened my electronic correspondence.


Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

I wonder if these terms include being traded.

Not that I want Kari to be traded.

UPDATE: Word is this deal is, yet again, for 1 year at $3 million. I figure Waddell and Dudley are waiting until play starts, until they see how Kari actually performs this year, before they sign him to a longer deal and give him a raise. Here's hoping Kari has a great year; we all know he's capable of it. All he needs to do is stay healthy.

2009-2010 Schedule

A Plethora of Hockey Games

Well, 82 anyway.

You Want The Schedule... You Take The Schedule

Courtesy of Chronicle ally Rawhide... here are A FEW games:

"Saturday October 3: Opening night for the season will be at home against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Sunday November 8: At 5:00 afternoon start when the St. Louis Blues come to town.

Sunday November 15: Another afternoon game for the Edmonton Oilers.

Saturday November 21: The Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins bring their act to Thrasherville…we also close the season at home against the Penguins on April 10.

Wednesday November 25: The night before Thanksgiving will see the Thrashers in Detroit to play the Red Wings.

Thursday December 17: the Dallas Stars pay Thrasherville a visit."

More to come...

NHL Schedule

For those of you living under a rock... the schedule is released today at 3:00. Last year The Chronicle had a copy of the schedule several hours before it was released. Don't know if lightning will strike twice.

Nevertheless... this afternoon it is road trip planning time!!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

As the Czech Tweets: The Martin Havlat/Chicago Blackhawks Soap Opera

Some updates on Martin Havlat's Twitter feed today:

- I guess everyone saw what happened to Dale....yes, the story is starting to come out but it's just the tip of the iceberg.

- Lot's of people are telling me to stay quiet but shouldn't the fans know the truth? It's your loyalty, season ticket money and emotions here

- Just so everyone begins to understand, Dale was like a 2nd father to me.

- As I said before, I didn't leave Chicago, it left me.

- By telling truth, don't want people to think I'm bitter. Everyone in Minn has been awesome, they believe in me and I won't let them down


Monday, July 13, 2009

And Now For Something Totally Different...

Some of us here at the Chronicle (or as I like to call it TBC), including myself, have been a little critical of some out of town writings on our boys in blue. While it was indeed called for, let's try to keep the glass half full and point out some positives when you see them. Take our new beat writer Chris Vivlamore at the AJC for instance.

Obviously he is not an out of town reporter, but his coverage of the Prospect Camp has been some good reading for sure (I mean, AJC hockey coverage in July... way to go!). He does a story here on Esposito. He does one here on Kane. Yet another article here about Klingberg. And just today he has written another piece about Big Shooter's new favorite, good American boy he is, Jeremy Morin.

We've taken a few shots at the AJC over the years, but I think Chris has done a fine job writing stories about the Thrashers since he has taken over. Very insightful stuff on all the prospects... I encourage you to read them if you haven't...

ESPN Hack Leaves No Howling Cliché Unused banality merchant Terry Frei apparently isn't bothered by the fact that he conforms to virtually every stereotype of the unthinking, well-paid mainstream hockey writer. They're really remarkable, these guys; I've always assumed (and assumed that every writer assumed) that the whole point of writing about anything--hockey, politics, wildlife, finance, exotic travel destinations, any subject of a good poem or novel--is to express some sort of curiosity about the world and some impulse to learn from observable reality in a fresh and interesting way.

This isn't the case for Terry Frei. He's resolute in his commitment to never learning anything beyond the over-used stock phrases, thought-clichés, and prejudices clogging his brain, ever.


- In his predictions of the final NHL Eastern Conference standings for next season, he has the Toronto Maple Leafs making the play-offs in the 8th spot.

- He relies on the "Who last won the Stanley Cup?" formula for his prediction of which team finishes 1st, a time-honored device for saving thought and coming to a conclusion without the trouble of gaining knowledge of the particulars of each team's situation.

- He has the Thrashers finishing DEAD LAST, because...

- I'm paraphrasing, but his argument is actually, "ZOMG Kovalchuk I cant think of another Trasherz playr, HAW THEY LOOSE>!" Notice his paragraph about the Thrashers is extremely short, shorter than every other paragraph. What can we infer from this?

- He uses the word "enigmatic" to describe Nik Antropov. Why doesn't Terry just go the whole hog and compose his entire article out of press clippings from pre-existing articles?

There is a comments section. Not sure if you can e-mail him. You know what to do.

UPDATE: Not that you asked, but my assessment is that the Thrashers are on par with the Buffalo Sabres and the Carolina Hurricanes. We'll probably be fighting both of them for the #8 spot at the end of the season. I'm reasonably sure that the Thrashers are better than the Islanders, the Lightning, the Senators, and the Maple Leafs, and very probably better than the Panthers now. 8th-10th, that's our range. We'll be wrangling with the Canes and the Sabres, possibly the Devils and/or Rangers as well, for the 8th spot.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Blueland Chronicle Interviews Some Prospects

First off, a big thank you to Ben Wright and the rest of the fine folks at the Atlanta Thrashers for allowing us goof-offs to be anywhere close to the locker room for serious interviews. Loyal readers will want to know that I did promise Mr. Wright I wouldn't call anyone a "douche bag", "tool", "asshat", and or "weenie".

Now then, on to the transcript (hope to have audio up at some point):

Carl Klingberg Interview

Mortimer Peacock: You've played in Sweden for your whole career, and you'll be in the Elite League for two years, so how did you end up playing a more North American style of game?

Klingberg: My national team coach told me to play more physical and I tried one game and he told me I was the best player on the ice and I kept on doing that, so that was my style from that moment on.

MP: I heard you're from Gothenburg Sweden...

(unintelligible noise)

I have a friend from Gothenburg so I know a little bit about it.

Big Shooter: Heeennngggh?

MP: This has to be your first time in Atlanta, I assume you've been doing nothing but playing hockey.

CK: Yeah, I've been to North America about 8 times, all the times have been for hockey. Maybe I've had a chance to look around one afternoon, but not that much.

MP: Are there any NHL teams you follow besides the Thrashers?

CK: I like the Canadian teams, very interesting. Lots of people in the crowd.

MP: Who is your favorite player of all time?

CK: I think Ovechkin. He has a style like me, go to the net hard and hit people.

Jeremy Morin Interview

MP:Do you consider yourself a pure goal scorer?

Morin: Yeah, that's how I like to model my game.

MP: Do you see yourself competing for a roster spot soon?

JM: Well, I've got two more years in Kitchener and just kind of go from there.

Big Shooter: Is it one of your goals to make the World Juniors this year?

JM: Yes, I've been a part of the USA organization for a while and to play for the U-20 team is definitely one of my goals.

BS: Who else in USA hockey should we be on the look out for?

JM: I think the goalie Jack Campbell that played with us at the U-18 tournament... he is a really good goalie and I can see him having a future for sure.

Frenchy: Have you played with Bogosian before?

JM: Yeah, I have. We grew up playing together.

MP: So you're kind of friends, you and Bogo...

JM: Yeah, we are.

BS: Awwwwwwwwwwwww.

BS: Who would you compare yourself to that is playing currently in the NHL?

JM: I'm a guy that likes to shoot the puck a lot, kind of a guy like Bobby Ryan. I like to shoot the puck.

Evander Kane Interview

You can find the audio of part of the interview at the other blogs (we have linked to them below). I'll post the questions from your Chronicle staff only:

MP: Before you started talking to the Thrashers, what did you think of hockey in the Southeast?

Kane: I didn't really think about it that much. It's definitely one of those markets that isn't having it's best years, but I think it's starting to turn around and hopefully we can get the fans back. Just by the crowd I see out there (prospect camp) it seems like people care.

BS: Being the highest drafted black player in the history of the NHL, you have an opportunity here that might not have existed had you been drafted by another team, say up in Canada or teams that have a really built in fan base. Can you touch on the opportunity that you have to bring in an entirely different fan base not only to the Thrashers, but to the NHL?

EK: Absolutely, I think it all starts with role models and hopefully I can be one of those role models that can reach out to the community and bring fans into Philips Arena. I really hope to do that, the first thing is hockey, but there's definitely going to be that opportunity there and I'm going to try and make the most of it.

BS: Are you tired yet of answering questions about your name and whether or not you've met Evander Holyfield?

EK: (laughter all around, man that Big Shooter guy knows all about the funny doesn't he!) Yeah, I get that quite a bit! My dad and my grandfather are big Evander Holyfield fans, my mom really liked that name and my parents both agreed to name me after him.

MP: Are you as big a boxing fan as your father? Who's your favorite boxer of all time?

EK: Not as big, but I definitely like it. My favorite boxer of ALL TIME? I'll say Evander Holyfield (much laughter, everybody likes all the funny. Big Shooter makes a stupid joke about George Foreman). Currently I'll give you Floyd Mayweather.

BS: What have been your impressions so far of your first prospect camp?

EK: Yesterday was just kind of getting the rust off a little bit. I haven't skated in about two and a half weeks. I thought today was a lot better, I felt better on the ice. We've had two on ice work outs and I thought both went well and hopefully tomorrow will go better.

BS: Can you touch on your experience in the World Juniors? Being in the south this year was the first year we were able to watch on the NHL Network. I could not believe the level of skill in that tournament, and the New Years Eve game (Canada vs USA) was one of the most amazing things I've seen even though we wound up on the wrong end of it down here. Talk a little bit about your role having to come back to the team (after being cut) when someone else got injured. (that Big Shooter guy is one long winded gas bag isn't he?)

EK: When I got the call back I knew I was going to start at the bottom and I really wanted to show I could play at that level and on that stage and work my way up. As you referred to in the US game, I thought that was a real turning point for me, we started that game and our line got a lot of confidence off that and that's when I really started to play well. You know, being out there in key situations in the semi-finals and over time really helped me and like I said, my role just got bigger as the tournament went on.

MP: Since you're an 18 year old citizen of Canada I can ask this... favorite adult beverage?

EK: I'm actually 17, and it's 19 (legal drinking age) in Vancouver (lots of ohhhing and ahhhing, someone said something about a road trip to Alberta... very nice!).

At this point there was an abrupt end to the recorder, but as I recall that was the last question.

There you have it kids. We did talk a little with Paul Postma, but The Falconer really did the interview, so go on over to his home to find out all about that. All in all, everyone was extremely nice. All good handshakes and good eye contact... I think that speaks well about a person. So thank you to Evander, Jeremy, Paul, and Carl for playing along with us. We look forward to seeing you all out on the ice very soon.

One more thing, as I was leaving a nice little surprise happened. You never know who you are going to run into, and this is a Chronicle first. We have video people. I ran into noted Carolina Hurricanes fan, Rick "The Nature Boy" Flair. Big Shooter never turns down the chance interview with a wrestling God. I hope you enjoy:

MORTIMER PEACOCK ADDS: I have to say Evander Kane has serious presence. Not sure how to describe it; he just gives off a Future Star kind of vibe. He's a super-nice guy, but you can tell he's supremely confident, confident to the point that he doesn't seem to have any doubts that he'll make the Thrashers this year. Just an all-around very pleasant, very cool guy.

Carl Klingberg=a man of intimidating size, but very nice. You could tell he and locker neighbor Jeremy Morin were winded and exhausted; the last thing they wanted to do was talk to our stumbling, mumbling asses, but they were both extremely nice fellers.

True story: At one point Paul Postma had a huge crowd clustered around him, pretty much every blogger there. Some guy (not sure who) walking to the showers called out "OH MY GOD PAUL POSTMA!!!!" in a mock-teenybopper voice. Hee!

That is all.

And don't forget, the audio from the Kane interview is here. To limit your listening experience to the Chronicle: Big Shooter is the one asking the good questions and I'm the one asking the dumb questions. But don't just listen for us; listen for everyone!

Prospects Talk Transcript A-Comin'

Hi kids. As you may already know, your Chronicle staff stormed the Thrashers prospects' locker room yesterday in the company of several other fine bloggers and asked a bunch of awesomely well-sculpted half-naked dudes profound and searching questions.

The transcript of what we asked, plus some overall impressions and opinions, will be posted LATER TONIGHT. DO READ IT.

Talked to Carl Klingberg, Jeremy Morin, Paul Postma, and Evander Kane. Eric O'Dell was nowhere in sight. We thought we saw Angelo Esposito but weren't 100% sure if it was him, and didn't want to walk up and be all "Angelo, tell me, is Patrick Roy totally insane or only half-insane?" if it was someone else.

It was great fun though, finally got to meet Laura of Wazzupwitchu? and Timmy F. himself, and we got to chat again with esteemed Thrash-bloggers like Lisa and Rose of The Thrashers 411 (they're also, remember, the founders and top proprietors of the Atlanta Thrashers Fan Club), Rawhide, Aaron the Outsider, and the Falconer. Good times. Stay tuned.

Oh yeah the full multi-blogger interview with Kane be here, thanks to Timmy F. YOU CAN HEAR MY AND BIG SHOOTER'S VOICES, PLUS MANY OTHERS.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Russia and Atlanta to Go to War

Huge fuss over JOEL KWIATKOWSKI:

"We assumed that the KHL and NHL would honor a gentleman's agreement" said Alexander Medvedev. "Therefore we didn't sign a single player having an NHL contract. We didn't even make any offers, even though agents for a whole host of world-class hockey players themselves came to the KHL clubs with the desire to enter into contract negotiations. But we didn't follow after them, because we were mindful of the general agreement."

Energy oligarch and KHL president Alexander Medvedev is furious. If this gets out of hand and Ilya Kovalchuk gets dragged into some public dispute where he's pressured to take sides with either the NHL team he captains or his country (whose national team he also captains), someone really needs to get punched in the nads.

UPDATE: Via Ben Wright, Don Waddell says, “After agreeing to terms on a contract with Joel Kwiatkowski, we learned that he had already committed to a team in the KHL. Therefore we have rescinded our offer and have been told that Joel will honor his agreement with St. Petersburg.”

Well then.

SI Compiles List of Top 10 Most Thrilling Players Ever, in Hockey and Everything Else

Not the top ten "best" or greatest or most complete, but the top ten "all-time bests at quickening the pulse and evoking a visceral response from those fortunate enough to have witnessed their artistry." And Sports Illustrated has performed this great service not just in hockey, but in all major sports. Check out all the lists; the choices are all mightily interesting.

I have to say that exciting players who make you gasp and cling to the edge of your seat with their insane style and finesse are my favorite types of athlete, in any and every sport. In soccer, I love Diego Maradona and Zinédine Zidane.

Pelé is overrated.

My favorite current soccer player, though, is this guy. Best of the best.

In tennis, I was always more of an Andre Agassi guy than a Pete Sampras guy, simply because he was more exciting to watch (though not as complete a player as Pete) and today I'm more a Federer (style) type than a Nadal (force) type. In baseball: even though they played before I was born, my favorite baseball players of all time (based on my experiences with that wonderful invention, film) are Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle. Basketball? Bliss was it to grow up in Atlanta during the era of 'Nique Wilkins. And yes, Michael Jordan is by far both the most complete basketball player and the most thrilling. He has a legitimate claim to being the most thrilling athlete of all time, if you ask me.

What is this blog about, again? Oh yes, the Hockey. Here's Sports Illustrated's list. If you ask me...

Well, allow me to make Top 5 lists instead of top 10.

Top 5 Most Thrilling Hockey Players Currently Playing
1. Ilya Kovalchuk
Yes I'm a homer, but I really do think that while Ovechkin is the (slightly) better player, Ilya in his best moments is actually more exciting than Ovie. Kovalchuk is my favorite kind of athlete, the hockey equivalent to Maradona or Zidane or Agassi. Lucky that I get to watch him in person all the time.

2. Alex Ovechkin
He's Ovechkin.

3. Marian Hossa
A brain surgeon with the puck.

4. Marian Gaborik
Fast as a spooked jackalope, and his close-range shots are insane.

5. Alexei Kovalev
When he's on, he's on.

Top 5 Most Thrilling Past Hockey Players
1. Bobby Orr
2. Pavel Bure
3. Peter Forsberg
4. Valeri Kharlamov
5. Mario Lemieux

And your thoughts?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Evander Kane Media Blitz Underway

Looks like the Thrashers began their Evander Kane marketing onslaught as soon as the young man stepped off the plane.


An interview on 680 The Fan.

And this:

Questions, people, questions.

What Would You Have Us Ask of Evander Kane?

Good news, Chronicle-ites. Ben Wright and the Atlanta Thrashers organization have invited some blog-craftsmen (and craftswomen, of course) to interview a few Thrashers prospects during Media Availability Time on Saturday. Your Chronicle will be face to face with the likes of Evander Kane, Paul Postma, Eric O'Dell, Spencer Machacek, Angelo Esposito, Carl Klingberg, and more!

If there's anything you'd really, really like to know about any of these fellows (including all the prospects I didn't mention), leave a question proposal in the comments section and we'll see if we have enough time and space to work the best ones in.

Have at it.

Then again we know all the interviews will probably go something like this:

BLUELAND CHRONICLE: Uh, so you're, you're Evander Kane.


BC: Um, so, that's cool.

EK: Yeah, I guess so.

BC: What does it feel like?

EK: What?

BC: Yeah.

Watch more My Video videos on AOL Video

Seriously, leave your question ideas, because Lord knows we haven't started brainstorming yet.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Per TSN, DW/RD have re-signed Jimmy Slater!

The league's best 4th line has put ink to paper and will be frightening visitors to Philips Arena again this Fall.

So to date, the Thrashers have under contract:
Kovy, Pevs, Antro, Kozy, White, Little, Marty the Party, Slats, Thor, and Boults.
Army has elected arbitration, so he's back as well, we just don't know how much he's going to get paid and whether it'll be a 1 or 2 year deal.

That leaves one forward position up for grabs among the Crabb/Macachek/Kane/Stapleton crowd or another acquisition.

Defense is looking good, too, with:
Bogosian, Enstrom, Hainsey, Kubina, Oystrick, and Peanut all under contract.

I'd like to see us upgrade one of those 3rd pairing guys, though if Oystrick and Peanut can both take a decent step forward from last year, they'll do nicely at about 9-12 minutes per night.

Our goalie situation is still a logjam with 3 NHL netminders under contract:
Moose, Kari, and Ondrej the Giant.

Moose is a huge locker room presence and the quintessential back up goalie. Kari and Ondrej each expect to be starting for an NHL team this season. Somebody's got to go sooner or later.

Toronto just dropped off the market for a goalie. Colorado has Anderson and will be happy with him unless/until he proves himself unready for the starting job in October or November. Dallas and San Jose have aging goalies who need reliable youth behind them who can play 20-30 games. Somebody make us an offer.


If you haven't read the epic battle in the comments section beneath Big Shooter's rant against Hockey News writer Rory Boylen, in which Rory Boylen showed up to defend himself against the Chronicle's bluster, do so now. Surely the greatest comments thread in Chronicle history.

But I think it's time to chill out. Look at this mysterious engraving of a Renaissance astronomer/astrologer (they went hand in hand in those days) by Albrecht Dürer and tell me what secret Ninth Gate-esque symbols you can find:

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Hockey News Tool...

OK, now I don't normally condone sending e-mails to out of town sports writers that know nothing about the Thrashers, but I can't help myself sometimes. Take this douche bag for instance. He hints that the Thrash are only trying to please Kovalchuk, and that the moves of Antropov and Kubina are not upgrades...

Have at 'em boys.

His title of the article is,"Thrashers Shouldn't Put Kovalchuck Ahead of Team". So if we are taking our friend "Rory's" (Hey Pat, give me one more "R" in that first name if you don't mind) opinion, trading a beloved, but slow footed D-man for a BIG upgrade, and signing a nearly 30 goal scorer to fill a GAPING hole on the right wing is done merely just to, "please Kovalchuk"... GIVE ME A FU$#*NK break "RORY"!!!!!

Here is a glimpse into the great article "Rory" has written:

"Kovalchuk is a dynamic player whose caliber doesn’t come around often, but if he is unwilling to commit to the team, I’m not sure the GM should be committing the team to him. If Atlanta struggles again next year despite Waddell’s efforts, Kovy will be gone and the Thrashers will be a misfit team without direction."


Come on folks... the only way to stop this BS is to call them on it. Send an e-mail to our friend "Rory" and let him know how you feel. I can't find his e-mail on the site (I'm waaay too dumb for that kind of thing), but I will keep looking. A quick check of his hockey background says he is the following:

"With The Hockey News since 2007, Rory Boylen is the web content specialist of A certified minor hockey referee for 10 years and a pesky center, he grew up with a rink in his backyard. His duties include editing and helping generate content for the site."

One look at his picture shows him to be a total Weenie.

Pesky, eh? Well, then he shouldn't mind our outrage if he is "pesky" should he?

Go get em...


Another quick check of "Rory's" blog shows an article titled: "Islanders should explore trading Tavares"... Nuff said.

*** Update 2***

A second look at "Rory's" blog shows another article titled: "Feeling Sorry For Hossa"... perhaps this asshat isn't even worth the e-mail...

May I Call You Joe?

OK, I know this blog thingy here normally focuses on the Thrashers... and that is all well and good, but we would be remiss if nothing was said of the great Joe Sakic deciding to hang up his skates. I'll be honest, I thought he would come back for one more year. Thinking he didn't want to go out with the old snow blower accident, and also because the Olympics are next year. And there is some guy named Duchene that the torch needs to be passed to... but hey, who are we to judge JOE SAKIC?!?!?! I think even our loyal Red Wing fan reader Jointhead would agree that Joe is due his... well, uh... due.

So here's to ya Joe! No one handled themselves with more class, on or off the ice, than you did. One of the true good guys. All of us at The Blueland Chronicle salute you Sir:

Another Thrashers Blog

This one written by former Thrashers beat writer John Manasso, author of Season of Loss, Lifetime of Forgiveness: The Dan Snyder and Dany Heatley Story, a book I remember being so engrossed by I read it in a single night. The now-poignant details on the young Ilya Kovalchuk waking up to the fact the Heatley-Snyder horror made the Thrashers "his team" were the best thing in the book, in my shy and retiring opinion...perhaps I should say they were my Favorite Part. Anyway, good writer, worked for something called "the Newspapers" for many years and knows all about the Thrashers! Check it out.

Obama Wants to Gay-Marry Ovechkin, Compares Him to Islamosocialist Great Poet

You know, it's things like this that keep Barry's approval rating above 55% at all times in the Peacock mansion.

Comical Moonie-owned newspaper the Washington Times (as opposed to the outright horrible Washington Post; WHY didn't they print this story?) reports:

MOSCOW -- We knew he was into basketball, but apparently President Obama keeps an eye on Washington Capitals hockey as well namely NHL MVP Alexander Ovechkin.

The Caps left wing made Mr. Obama's list of great Russian contributors to the world, along with scientists, cosmonauts and pioneers of literature such as Pushkin.

"As a resident of Washington, D.C., I continue to benefit from the contributions of Russians -- specifically, from Alexander Ovechkin. I'm very pleased to have him in Washington, D.C." Mr. Obama said, drawing a laugh from the graduating class at the New Economic School in Moscow on Tuesday.

Not only does the Pres know who Alexander Pushkin is, he knows who Alexander Ovechkin is. If he accomplishes nothing else during his administration, this will be an improvement of US America for all time.

UPDATE: Pandering to his wicked Hawaiian-Russian audience or not, HMMMMMM? Infinitely bland reporter (apparently the WaPo did cover this) and Caps fan Chuck Todd digs deeper:

Todd: You mentioned Ovechkin in there, our friend in Washington. Do you think should you have been transparent and said you've never been to a hockey game? Are you going to fix this?

Obama: The truth of the matter is is that i have watched this guy play, and he's outstanding. But you know, Chuck, I grew up in Hawaii....

Todd: Don't tell those Blackhawk fans that. You became a Bulls fan!

Obama: We have basketball [in Hawaii]. We didn't have hockey. I love watching hockey.

Monday, July 6, 2009

It Begins

Via Blueland Outsider:

Thrashers and Kovalchuk have began [sic] negotiating a long-term contract extension with the star forward..

-Andy Strickland, Twittering earlier today

Why Offer Sheets Don't Happen

It's been mentioned a time or two that while Boston is shopping Phil Kessel, and I think we'd all love to see him playing for Atlanta, the Bruins don't need what we have to give. Sadly, Atlanta is just not a viable trading partner in a potential Phil Kessel move.

There is of course another way to acquire a restricted free agent whose rights are owned by another team. That is to sign the player to an offer sheet and hope his club doesn't match the offer.

Phil Kessel is a great player and would look great on a line with the Czar. But when a team successfully swipes a player from another team via offer sheet, the "losing team" is automatically compensated according to the following criteria:

For a contract worth a yearly salary of:
$2,615,623 - $3,923,437
1st and 3rd round pick

$3,923,437 - $5,231,249
1st, 2nd, and 3rd round pick

$5,231,249 - $6,539,062
Two 1st's, one 2nd, one 3rd round pick

Kessel is reportedly seeking around 5 million per year. It's likely that if a team forced Boston's hand at 5 mil per year, they'd just match the offer and the American sniper would stay with the Hub. So in order to successfully steal away Phil Kessel, a team would have to negotiate a deal worth an excess of 5.23 million per year, placing it in the final category. As good as Kessel would look in that Thrasher jersey, I don't think it'd be worth tossing away all of our draft picks for the first three rounds of next year's draft.

Alas, we'll have to resign ourselves to only cheering for Phil Kessel for two weeks in 2010 while he wears the American flag on his shoulder.