Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Quick Bone to Pick

Ok, we know that the Thrashers get no respect from the hockey media. We're 951 miles SOUTH of Toronto, so that means we're not worthy. I get it.

I am getting a little tired of all of the predictions from hockey writers and pundits, mostly based out of Ontario, who think the Thrashers will finish 14th in the East.

TB- no goaltending, still lousy defense
NYI- no scoring, lousy defense
Senators- A team full of second line scorers with no goalie
Leafs- Burke has made them bigger, but worse
Habs- Implosion waiting to happen, no goaltending, no size
Panthers- Only change from 08-09 is swapping Leopold for JayBo

That's six teams in the Eastern Conference that I would be willing to bet large amounts of money will finish with worse records than Atlanta.

The Thrashers are more aptly put in the middle of the pack amongst the Rangers, Sabres, Devils, and Canes. Atlanta could end up at the top, bottom, or middle of that pack easily.

Thrashers- Added scoring depth, dramatically improved defense, still shaky in goal
Rangers- Very solid in net, iffy on D, improved O for the 12 games Gabby will play
Sabres- No real change from last year except health of Ryan Miller
Devils- Same roster, minus Clemmensen and Gionta, all one year closer to retirement
Canes- Fairly solid, but not great anywhere but inside the skates of Staal and Ward

The only teams in the East that are safe bets to do BETTER than Atlanta are Boston, Washington (barring a total melt-down by both goalies), Philly, and the Pens.

Boston- Great goaltending, solid scoring, tough D
Washington- Swapped an aging Federov and Vik Kozlov for Mike Knuble
Philly- Despite a big question mark in goal, they're scary
Pittsburgh- No one questions Fleury anymore, and they didn't lose much (with apologies to Scuds)

So here's an Eastern Conference prediction for you:

1) Washington- Firepower + Varlamov
2) Philadelphia- But Emery won't be starting by March
3) Boston- Still trucking along, but not quite as good without Kessel
4) New Jersey- Brodeur can pretty much do this on his own
5) Pittsburgh- Cup hangover will only hurt as much as early slump in 08
6) Carolina- A similar showing to last year, with a similar lineup
7) Atlanta- A marquee year from Pavs or Kari sets this up
8) Buffalo- A full year of Miller and 60+ games from Connoly
9) Rangers- Again, pretty much Lundqvist by himself
10) Montreal- Price can't quite get them there
11) Toronto- A lot of OTL's will move them down the draft order
12) Florida- A frustrating set back after almost making it last year
13) Ottawa- It's hard to replace Heatley if you don't get Hossa in the trade
14) Islanders- Only a little better than Tampa
15) Tampa Bay- Hmm, maybe it wasn't Barry Melrose's fault?

Feeling a little better after that rant, I'm Razor Catch Prey.

Via Kevin Allen's Twitter...

"Rookie Evander Kane will start the season on Atlanta's 3rd line, probably with Colby Armstrong and Rich Peverley."

Interesting. So they DO expect Army back. Assuming the top six will be Kovy, Little, Antro, Kozy, White, and Fins, it sounds like Marty the Party Reasoner is either being bumped to the fourth line or the press box for the first few games.

Shooter and I discussed this possibility last night and agreed that the Party is a solid team player who will play whatever role is needed, while Army and Pevs might not react as well to fourth line minutes.


Ron Hainsey on Hockey This Morning

Ok, at this point I think we've all been stood up by Ron Hainsey. Hopefully he'll be on next Wednesday morning. If you've got XM/Sirius it's channel 204.

Confirmed via Twitter: htmbigcountry "Thrashers defenseman Ron Hainsey joins us at 9:05 am ET...he will do a weekly hit throughout the season"

Edit: While waiting on RSASGH to call in, the guys on HTM talked about John Anderson's Toronto area restaurant. Apparently the burger is "amazing."

Petition to Sign Josh Gratton

I think there is a big enough consensus out there among those of us who have been paying attention during preseason. Josh Gratton would be an upgrade over certain elements on the Thrashers' fourth line. With the Norse God of Thunder as my witness, I'm not naming any names here.

As a career enforcer, Gratton obviously won't command to high of a salary so there's not a big downside to signing him and putting him in the lineup for game one Saturday. He's already proven he can put the biscuit in the basket when Jimmy Slater feeds him the puck, and he's likewise shown what he can do with his gloves off. Let's give the guy a shot.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Season Is Upon Us...

... My friends. And I, for one, am pleased to see our Moose yet again on the team. Doesn't have the best stats out there. But still can get the job done in my opinion. There is something to be said for knowing how to win games. That is all I will say on the matter. And now, for some chocolate:

And Finally...

Pops is officially here to stay.

FINS to the Left! FINS to the Right!

Bob McKenzie's Twitter feed: "Free agent Maxim Afinogenov has earned a spot on the Atlanta Thrashers, who are in the process of getting a contract done."

Kovy Antro Lits
Kozy White Fins
Party Pevs Army (when he's healthy)
Boults Jimmy Gratton?

UPDATE: 1 year for 800k, that is.

Boris Valabik Will Live With Us Forever

Kevin Allen a-Twittering:

Placed on waivers today: Vancouver's Brad Lukowich, Atlanta's Nathan Oystrick, Pittsburgh's Bayda, Phoenix's Hollweg, Washington's Bourque

That means our bottom pairing will alternate between selections from the Salmela, Popovic, and Valabik repertoires.

Why Was Legace Let Go?

Did he demand an exorbitant amount of money? Couldn't come to an agreement on some other aspect of a contract? Was it discovered that he's secretly a death-dealing robot from the future, sent to reverse the Thrashers' triumphant next decade? Or is the coaching staff really THIS confident in a Pavelec-Moose tandem?

I suppose we'll never know.

It's no secret that we here at the Chronicle, like most Thrashers fans I think, are a bit baffled and definitely disappointed with the decision to cut Legace loose. Even more dismaying is the fact that he was never really given a proper full game try-out. Speaking for myself, I'm not as grim about Pavelec as some others--in fact I think he's been okay in the pre-season; the 5-1 rout at the hands of Tampa was everyone's miserable fault, not just Pavs'--but I was really hoping for Legace to be part of the line-up. No reason why we couldn't have simply assigned Kari to IR (as we're doing now) and rolled with a three-goalie tandem like Edmonton did last season.

"But what about when Kari gets to feeling better?" I hear you ask, saucer-eyed. You might even add, "Legace might help us in the short-term, but for our long-term interests we need to give Pavelec a shot."

Well. We have actual NHL regular season games to win in the short-term. Legace would have given us a better chance of winning early in the season and not getting bogged down in losing streak after losing streak. I'm NOT saying that's what's going to happen with Pavelec as our main man--we simply don't know what's going to happen--but I think we can be reasonably sure that Legace is a bit more dependable as a starter. And given the history of this team, it's understandable that people are worried.

Needless to say, there wouldn't be as much freaking out if it weren't for that 5-1 loss on Sunday. Maybe the problem is Sunday games; the Thrashers have never been good at those. In fact, I'VE never been good at those. Always tired and dull-feeling...and I think I infect the team with my lethargy. Yes, THAT'S the ticket! From now on I stay away from Sunday games; we'll win every one.

Drive Safely Today

September 29, 2003

Monday, September 28, 2009

Legace Released, Goalie Outlook Clears Somewhat

Via Ben Wright's Twitter Feed, the Thrashers have released Manny Legace without signing him to a contract. Apparently a 5 goal shellacking was exactly what we were looking for from Ondrej the Giant and we're going to reward him for it with a spot on the big club to start the year.

Colby Armstrong on the Technology

I'm late to the party on this (but not, thankfully, late to the Party), but Colby Armstrong has gotten himself an account on the Twitter, and my God is it a thing of beauty. A sample:

Had one of my top 10 naps of my life just now. It was wrecked by my 3 dogs jumping on me. What a pack of losers

He also likes Fritti. Excellent taste.

UPDATE: Razor tells us that Johan Hedberg is the first recorded instance of a Twittering moose. Amazing, this Internet.

Pre-Season Postmortem

First, just a few observations on last night's game.

Pavelec could have been better, but it's ridiculous to blame the loss on him alone. Almost everyone played terribly last night. The Kovalchuk-Antropov-Little line was invisible, Kovy himself couldn't hold onto the puck, and every shot went hella wide for some reason or another.

Not everyone played terribly though. Anssi Salmela and Rich Peverley both had a very good game, I think. I'm sure there were others, but those two gents were the ones I noticed.

I really don't know about this Boris Valabik. His greatest asset, people keep telling me, is his size. Observable reality tells us he rarely uses this size in a constructive, non-horrendous-penalty-taking manner. It's obvious he can't clear the puck or make good passes (though we're also told he secretly has a hellacious slapshot, which we never see). I'm not trying to be cruel to the big fella (why would I do that? Why, if I ever approached Boris Valabik personally and said "What ho, Boris Valabik, why do you suck so much and what is it like, sucking so much?" he'd probably give me a thorough head-bending, and he'd be right to do it) but REALLY WHY IS HE HERE?

And now, an analysis of the pre-season in general, and what it taught us.

Well, um, ah...

I'm not sure what signals we're supposed to be receiving from this pre-season. Are you?

I will say that I'd feel more comfortable with Legace in goal on opening night. Thoughts?

Sunday, September 27, 2009


That game was painful.

Oh well, pre-season.

I hate Tampa.

Time for Curb Your Enthusiasm and Bored to Death.

The Next Generation Will Get It From the Start

A-Team today, minus Ron Hainsey and Colby Armstrong. Afinogenov in the top six, Pavelec in goal, Enstrom and Bogosian BFFs. The Kovalchuk-Antropov-Little line makes Vinny Lecavalier and Marty St. Louis weep.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Cuts Across the Team

In a mass cull that should surprise no one, the Thrashers have sent the following players to the Chicago Wolves: Joey Crabb (no more Crab Dance, sadly), Jason Krog, Spencer Machacek, Tim Stapleton, Paul Postma, Arturs Kulda, Grant Lewis, Mike Vernance, and Drew McIntyre.

Good news. I've been wanting this team to get leaner and meaner since I witnessed the first pre-season home game, and these fellows should make the Wolves the best team in the AHL again. Seriously: Krog, Sterling, Stapleton? Goal-scoring city right there.

All this means, I reckon, that there will be another trimming within the next few days. The remaining question marks are Evander Kane, Josh Gratton, Dan Fritsche, Boris Valabik, Anssi Salmela, Mark Popovic, Nathan Oystrick, Manny Legace, Maxim Afinogenov and apparently some other players who were on the roster last season.

The Thrashers media department should film the final cut in reality TV style and put the video on the team website.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Everyone Who Pretended to (Fill in the Blank) is Gone

The roster for tonight's pre-season game in Carolina seems to point towards a last minute try-out for certain folks. The line I'm most intrigued with is Boulton-Slater-Gratton. HMMMMM...

Let's hope our B squad wins against their semi-A squad. I think we can do it. Ben Wright and the Falconer will be live-blogging. Sadly, I'll neither be watching (I ain't in no dagnab North Carolina silly!) or listening (going to see the Walkmen tonight woooooo).

I know it's gonna be a good year.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Another Defenseman

First off, Big Shooter regrets he was unable to join the fun earlier in the comments section reminiscing about last night. This thing called a job really gets in the way at times. But about last night... aaahhh, much laughter was had by all!! Pleasure meeting everyone. You know who you are. And please remember the golden rule, if you are going to dance... safety first.

So, the computer monkeys have told me that Don Waddell has jumped in the way back machine and traded for Steve McCarthy. Interesting. What to make all of this, hmmm? Heeeennnggh? Seems a bit crowded. Perhaps Waddell saw Boris play last night? That would be enough to make me trade for Stevie again.


Here is my source before Morty goes all bitch cakes again for me not having one. Yes folks, that's right, my source is Thrash's status update on facebook:

"Thrash: Atlanta Thrashers Acquire Defenseman Steve McCarthy From Anaheim for future consid."

Sorry, that is the best I can do. Hope it holds up in court...

Are the Ruskies Coming to Own Us?

Sorry I couldn't find a clip with English subtitles. Amazingly, YouTube doesn't have one yet. But if you ever want a rollicking good cinematic time in the company of the Russian analogue of  The Godfather, rent Pavel Lungin's 2002 masterwork Tycoon. Great movie.

What's all this about? Puck Daddy's Dmitri Chesnokov is onto something, on the Twitter:

Do you think other Russian oligarchs will try to move into the US pro sport field?

They've already moved into every other Western country's pro sport field.

I believe Russian oligarch = shady.

Oh, come on now. What makes you say that?

KHL's Medvedev once said they were monitoring the Coyotes case very closely. Does this mean there is a Russian oligarch waiting to move in?


The team a New Russian would want to purchase? NYI. lot of Russians in the NYC area.

Good point. A while ago I toyed with the notion of getting the shadiest, most mafia-enmeshed and blood-drenched Russian oligarch we could find to purchase the Thrashers.

If Bettman hates Balsillie, I wonder how he'd deal with a Russian oligarch. Worth pondering.

Yes, it's a slow day here at the Chronicle. I would talk about Wayne Gretzky stepping down, or the Sharks signing Malhotra, but jesus dude who cares?

Dan Kamal, Always Helpful

That is, no cuts today (damn! I was hoping for some blood). Legace starts in Raleigh tomorrow, and if we can avoid Penalty Hell Afinogenov should get significantly more ice-time.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Quick Impressions, etc.

Just got back. Tired and can't be bothered with too much coherence.

- Pavelec. He's good. I can get behind him.

- Kovalchuk circling the net and then dishing the puck to Nik Antropov for a hellacious goal was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. More beautiful than Botticelli's Primavera and Rilke's Duino Elegies put together.

- How about that Josh Gratton? Chris Thorburn's old job? Hm? Hmmm?

- Pavel Kubina. I still think this guy is ultra-solid. Possibly my favorite human out there so far. He's always on the right side of a play, and he rarely makes stupid mistakes. And he's a good all-around defenseman: he can block, he can get physical, he can pass, he can shoot and score, etc. And he went appropriately batshit when some joke tripped Kovy and took an honorable roughing penalty.

- I'm sorry Boris groupies, but Valabik is a miserable defenseman. He can't pass, he can't defend, and uh, that's enough reason to send him elsewhere. More than one goal against the Thrashers tonight had to do primarily with Boris, including at least one of the Preds' late ones. I'm sorry folks, the guy just isn't very good.

- Now Mark Popovic on the other hand, THAT'S a strong defenseman.

- Nathan Oystrick was a million times more physical than Valabik tonight.

- Therefore: our bottom pairing should be Salmela-Popovic, with Oystrick as the 7th man.

- Toby Enstrom and Rich Peverley both had a GREAT game tonight.

- Evander Kane had some good moments (throwing Preds into the boards, knocking dudes off the puck despite him clearly weighing less), and he made some expected rookie mistakes. At this point I'm agnostic about whether or not to give him an immediate place in the line-up...

- Maxim Afinogenov had one absolutely thrilling, lift-you-out-of-your-seat moment (a breakaway of some sort). He's super-fast, and while he wasn't extra-impressive tonight, I can imagine him doing damage alongside Peverley.

- Peverley: good at face-offs.

- Antropov: awesome in almost every way but face-offs. BUT he's improving.

- Little is still scoring those goals, as you probably heard.

- Zach Bogosian is God. And I don't want him and Enstrom split up under any circumstances.

- Joey Crabb can still inspire Razor's timeless Crab Dance.

Insane fun hanging with Daculafan, Rawhide, R. Stroz, and Chronicle commenter Speaker of Truth. One day there will be a Safety Dance vs. Crab Dance dance-off.


Pre-season game against the Preds tonight. Did you realize that?

Pavelec needs to prove himself. I hear the boy's bad news. In a good way.

See you all there, in body or in spirit.

Mid-Morning Briefing: Ilya Kovalchuk, Salman Rushdie, and Philip Frobos Dominate Creative Loafing's Best of Atlanta '09 Issue

I thought the FBI warnings would be hockey blog fodder enough for the morning, but apparently there's all this other stuff as well.

- Creative Loafing has just published--both online and in print--its annual Best of Atlanta edition. Who do you think wins Best Underrated Local Athlete?

Best underrated local athlete: Ilya Kovalchuk

Since being drafted first overall in 2001, hockey player ILYA KOVALCHUK has put together the longest sustained run of excellence — 38 or more goals every season since 2002, exceeding 50 goals twice — by an Atlanta athlete since Greg Maddux and Dominique Wilkins were in their prime. Overshadowed or forced to share the spotlight at various points in his career with superstars Dany Heatley and Marian Hossa, Kovalchuk put together arguably his most impressive campaign last season when he was the team's sole source of offensive firepower, scoring 43 goals and netting a total of 91 points — the second-highest total of his career. Kovalchuk's sustained level of dominance in his sport place him on a tier far above any other current local athlete, including Braves all-star Brian McCann and Falcons star quarterback Matt Ryan. Keep your fingers crossed, though — 2009 was the last year in his contract and it's unknown if he'll renew with the team.


I don't know about "sole source of fire power," but any "hey, wake up Atlanta" type recognition for Kovalchuk is a good thing, of course. But the best thing about Creative Loafing's Best Of list is their choice for Best Local Record Label. What, you've never heard of Double Phantom?

- How do you spell "inevitable?" Ben Wright tweets it out:

Special guest at morning skate today- AJC arranged for Evander Holyfield to come out and meet Evander Kane. Video later.

- And finally, it looks like Pavelec is starting tonight against the Preds. Rawhide wonders, "Is this wise?"

- Manny Legace (will we ever get to, you know, SEE him?) loves "the Kozzer." The Kozzer. The Koz. The Fonz's Russian cousin.

Al Qaeda to Come for Your Thrashers, Except Maybe Not...Ah, Who the Hell Knows?

Serious stuff, people. CNN is all like:

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Department of Homeland Security and FBI have issued security bulletins to raise awareness regarding "terrorist interest" in attacking sports and entertainment venues as well as luxury hotels.

Sports venues! Don't the Atlanta Thrashers, and indeed most hockey teams, play in a sports venue of some sort? Where's my Catherine wheel?!

The bulletins, which were sent to law enforcement Monday, said that authorities did not know of any credible or specific terrorist plots to attack U.S. stadiums, arenas or luxury hotels.

Oh, good. Places like the Garden, the Staples Center, HP Pavilion, Philips Arena and other sports venues will be attacked, probably, except they won't, because no one can detect any specific operations against sports venues. This sounds like an especially devious mind-warfare tactic. I think we need to get the Short Handed Mole on the case.

Best way to raise your own awareness of terrorist threats against Philips and the adjoining CNN Center food court? If you see anyone terroristicy-looking at tonight's game against the Predators, waterboard them with Gorin's beer. I myself have never trusted giant bearded TV feller Wolf Blitzer. What kind of terroristic name is "Blitzer" anyway?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Do We Really Need to Do This Again?

Very Important Man

I mean, so soon after the Proteau Affair?

Alas, comrades, cliché and conformism are unresting beasts.

Today's offender is Mike Brophy of Sportsnet. He's put together a very important list of the Top 50 Best Players in the NHL, as determined by Mike Brophy. I can't help but be fascinated by this entry:

25. Ilya Kovalchuk

A one-dimensional scoring ace on an otherwise awful team needs both support and a better understanding of how to play a more complete game to reach his potential. Otherwise he'll remain a novelty act.

Really, I mean really, what's the point of becoming a writer if your entire raison d'être is to think other people's thoughts, type other people's words, and pull out reliable stock phrases and thought-clichés every time you greet your keyboard?

There must be a hockey journalist's thesaurus somewhere, where the entries ILYA KOVALCHUK and ATLANTA THRASHERS handily include synonyms like "otherwise awful team," "needs support," and "more complete game."

Which brings us to another quarrel I have with Planet Hockey Writer. I've talked about this before, but why in the hell do people write as if there are only two options under the sun: either a hockey player is Super OMFG Complete or just "one dimensional?" There are some complete players in the NHL. There are also some one dimensional players. Kovalchuk is neither. He's a dude with a lot of hockey skills, the greatest of which is goal-scoring, but he's not a complete player. But "not complete" doesn't automatically equal "one dimensional," for goodness' sake.

And finally, how the hell does anyone "remain a novelty act?" Isn't the whole point of a "novelty act" that its novelty expires after a short while?

These people, these people...

Unknown Wrist Shot Key Player in Last Night's Game

(updated below)

Why does not love Mark Popovic like I do?

Also, "Unknown Wrist Shot" would be a killer name for something or other: a hockey blog, perhaps, or a long-playing record.

UPDATE: Victory! The NHL robots have discovered Mark Popovic after the Chronicle's searing exposure of their confusion:

Actually, all this does is lead to new questions. For instance: are "Unknown Wrist Shot" and "Mark Popovic Wrist Shot" BROTHERS?

Monday, September 21, 2009

10 Quick Impressions of Tonight's Game

(updated below)

The pre-season one. That took place tonight. Underwater. Against the Canes. In front of a crowd that was really not so bad, when you consider that half the metro area is under water and several people had no option but to cock the wagon and ford Northside Parkway.

1) My God do I love Nik Antropov. Let's hope his 3 assists tonight mean something.

2) As bitchin' as his goal and his assist tonight were (and they really were), I was actually damn impressed by Pavel Kubina's defensive play. He was hitting a good bit for a pre-season game, and he broke up Carolina plays like a hot secretary.

3) I was even more impressed by Pavel Kubina's black eye.

4) A few other people around the Thrashers blogosphere have already commented on Little's kick-ass goal on the feed from Kovalchuk and Antropov. It did, indeed, kick ass. Let's hope that it's a sign of things to come.

5) Mark Popovic deserves a spot on this team.

6) Whoever the guy is who took Boris Valabik's old number doesn't.

7) Moose is still Moose.

8) Toby Enstrom had a very nice carry-in at some point in the game (early 3rd period, I think). Puck-moving defenseman, he.

9) Paul Postma is goddamn awesome, offensively and defensively. Still a year or so off, though.

10) These Thrashers are fast, fast, fast. And they shoot the puck a lot.

Let's not get ahead of ourselves, folks, but this team looked pretty good. Or so I thoughted.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Razor told me he saw Maxim Afinogenov wandering the concourse. That is all.

Drive Carefully Now

On your way to the game, that is. The Great Monsoon of 2009 spares no one, no matter how devoted to the Thrash.

John Anderson is Hard as Nails

Disappointed about so many players being cut from the roster somewhat early? Sad to see certain favorites sent down to Chicago? I might feel the same way myself if I'd never been set straight by John Anderson.

"Tough gig," he told me. "Listen wise guy, I got a hooch parlor to run here and I ain't got time for any baby grands that can't make it in the big time, ya get me? We don't wanna be all wet when the season gets goin,' see. I know my onions, and besides, it's raining pitchforks out there."

He knows what he's talking about.

"We saw some players that we liked, some that we didn't, and some of them aren't here now." Delivered with a smile, even! That's some gangsta shit.

Oh Ilya, It's Been Too Long

(updated below, with tonight's roster woooo)

Did you have a good weekend folks? A happy Rosh Hashanah? Isn't Bored to Death the greatest show on television already?

It's time for the Thrashers to get down to serious business.

The roster is getting thinner, the coach is growing more confident, and Atlantans' first sight of pre-season hockey happens...tonight?


The Thrashers line-up for tonight's game against the Carolina Hurricanes hasn't been announced, but we do know 1) that Kovalchuk, Antropov, and Kubina will be playing, and 2) the Canes roster is Rod Brind'Amour, Sergei Samsonov, and some other non-Staals.

Could be our first chance to see Manny Legace and Maxim Afinogenov as Thrashers. A sexy time should be had by all. And that calls for a song like this. This one goes out to Ilya Kovalchuk and possibly his agent too. You know what I'm talking about.

UPDATE: Thrashers line-up over at the Blueland Blog. We get to see the Kovalchuk-Antropov-Little line in action, as well as Kozlov-White-Peverley. In fact, we get to see our entire team minus Bogosian. No Afinogenov. Starting goalie will be either Legace or Heberg, depending on something or other.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Depth Part Dos

In Part Un, we discussed the Thrashers' depth when it comes to forwards in the 09-10 season. It is looking more and more like Maxim Afinogenov will be in Thrashers blue this season. Personally, that is more exciting to me than one year of Nik Zherdev, and means that forward depth will be just fine.

On then, to the guys who keep the puck out of Atlanta's net. We've all heard plenty about the goaltender merry-go-round that has been happening during preseason. Obviously, Legace only factors in if he measures up as a top two goaltender, otherwise he won't get a contract. Anderson praised Pavelec's play in the Tampa game, but others have reported that his effort in training camp has left a lot do be desired. Moose is still apparently working harder than anyone. Like Dan Snyder in goalie pads. Lehtonen's back in questionable, and D-Mac is still a question mark after being knocked around for five goals with no help in front of him against Nashville. With three NHL caliber goalies in camp (Legace, Moose, and Pavelec) and another recuperating from back surgery, the Thrashers should have to worry about the issues that they faced when Pasi went down, Kari only lasted one period, and half the washed up goalies in North America made brief appearances in Blueland.

So while it's still anyone's guess who will be starting in net on October 3, there's plenty of depth in camp to say that it would take at least three injuries before we really need to worry about keeping the puck out of the net. So what about the folks trying to limit the number of shots our masked men face?

I doubt there's anyone anywhere who doesn't expect to see Zach Bogosian and Toby Enstrom accounting for more ice time than any other skaters on the Atlanta roster. They will make up the top pairing and each one probably has more skill and potential than any two D-men to ever wear a Thrasher uniform. Hainsey and Kubina likewise make up the best second pairing in team history. So that leaves the third pairing; the guys who will probably get 10-15 minutes of ice time per night, mostly just to give the top two pairings time to rest. I had worried about this last pairing until hearing the reports from folks who have been attending practices during training camp.

Boris Valabik is back, and we can hope he's made some forward strides. He wasn't too much of a drag on the team last year, and if he makes reasonable improvements, he'll be a reliable third pairing defenseman. Anssi "Peanut" Salmela showed a lot of promise last season, and the same things I just said about Boris Valabik could be echoed in regards to Nathan Oystrik. The real ray of hope, however, appears to be Mark Popovik. According to the devotees who have been attending training camp, he's come back from the KHL in far better shape than the last time he wore Thrasher blue. He's won accolades from the coaches and wows from the crowds. I no longer have any fears for our blueline if one or two of our defenders goes down to injury.

On another note, several TV channels have been running classics this weekend in tribute to the late Patrick Swayze. I think the Thrashers should consider offering professional tryouts to Derrick Sutton and Dean Youngblood. They look like they have some potential. And wow, the coach's daughter in that movie gets my vote for best looking 80's movie girl ever.

For the Chronicle, I'm Razor Catch Prey.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Hockey News Loves Us

Dashing Chronicle operative "Go Puck Yourself" has alerted us to the following: Adam Proteau of the Hockey News simply does not care for the Blueland Chronicle, or for squirrels on his head.

It's fun to be mentioned in such venues, of course, and the Hockey News needs blog links and the occasional blog war to generate traffic, but I was actually more interested in a comment left under the offending post by a certain "Joe":

You guys might be taking Proteau's articles just a little too seriously. It's kind of weird that you're calling him names. Maybe even a bit pathetic that you care about his predictions that much? I don't know, just putting that out there...

You have to love that passive-aggressive "I don't know, just putting that out there..." Seriously folks, if you think we're idiots, just say so. None of this "I don't know, you guys kinda maybe might be not altogether unlike fucking assholes. I don't know, just putting that out there..." business. Just say "you guys are pathetic." It's very liberating, and it makes for plain, forceful English.

As for taking Proteau too seriously: it's not about any one hockey journalist, "Joe." It's not even about the Hockey News. It's about the miserable groupthink and banality of the hockey press. As I told "Joe" in the comments, we think bores and cliché-mongers should be exposed and laughed at. That's all.

Friday, September 18, 2009

More Maxim Plz

A few things.

First of all, Maxim Afinogenov. Can we just give this man a job already? Ben Wright talked to him and his buddy Ilya Kovalchuk earlier today, and it went something like this:

I think Ilya Kovalchuk is unofficially in control of this team. Perhaps even officially.

Looks like ESPN's Pierre LeBrun has talked to Max as well:

Afinogenov had a career-high 73 points (22-51) in 2005-06, but has dipped ever since as injuries slowed him down. Last season, it was a groin problem.

"I'm putting that behind me," said Afinogenov. "I'm starting a new life and I want to help this team now."

But first, he needs to make the team (the Thrashers can sign him between now and the end of the preseason). At least there's one thing he doesn't have to worry about: lodging.

"Slava gave me no choice. He said, 'You're staying in my house.' He's a good guy," said Afinogenov.

Sounds to me like someone has found a new home in more ways than one.

All these Russians, dude. Moscow on the Chattahoochee.

Over at the Blueland Blog, Ben lists some important facts about the dude, but he neglects THE most important fact about Maxim Afinogenov: that he dates Russian tennis star Elena Dementieva.

Truly adorable. Really! And she'll probably come to games every now and then, and maybe she'll occasionally bring fellow Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova, and I can talk to her, and we can be happy together, forever. Right?

Well, our prospects and try-outs play the Bolts of Tampa tonight. Let's hope we see some CRYING LIGHTING, hee!

Depth, part 1

This loooooong post is really just an attempt to bump that nightmare-inducing picture in Morty's last post down off the screen. You're welcome.

In an Olympic year, depth is far more crucial to a team’s success than is normally the case. Because of a sixteen day break in February (as opposed to the usual four day All-Star break), teams play more frequently than normal. More frequent games means more physical and mental fatigue, which means more mistakes, skating with your head down, and general opportunities to get yourself injured.

On top of that, you have a lot of the league’s best players participating in a high-stakes international tournament during that sixteen day break instead of resting. Thus, if they don’t get themselves injured during that tournament, they come back to the NHL more tired than ever and face off against guys who just had two weeks off to recharge their own batteries. The potential for teams to find their difference-makers on the IR in late February is very high. On the flip side, teams who don’t boast many Olympic caliber athletes have an opportunity to take advantage of their opponents’ tired stars after the medal ceremonies are over.

So what does this mean for our Atlanta Thrashers? How good should we all feel about the depth on this team for the 09-10 campaign? Rick Dudley told Rawhide this week that he’s very impressed with the assets at our disposal, and stated that there will be guys who deserve to be in the NHL starting the season with the Wolves because there’s just no room for them on the Atlanta roster.

In this post we’ll look at the forwards, since depth at those positions are the most complicated. In another post later this weekend, we’ll look at the defense and goaltending situations.

The center position is one that in the past has been woefully shallow for Atlanta. That is no longer the case. With John Anderson penciling Nik Antropov in at the top center spot, and Jimmy Slater presumably set in stone as the fourth line pivot, the Thrashers have intense competition for the middle two center spots. Todd White, Richard Peverly, and Marty Reasoner are all vying for those two posts. White and Peverly are both very capable of playing on the top line with Kovy and any given right winger. Marty the Party and Jimmy Slater can fill in admirably for a time on the second or third line if injuries stack up and require that.

On left wing, it currently looks like we’re expecting a rotation of Kovy, Kozy, and Kane(y?), with Thorburn playing on the checking line. Thorburn has served time on just about every line in the past couple of years, so there should be little concern if he has to move up the lineup due to injury. Likewise, it seems as though Anderson and Waddell are high enough on Kane that if he has to play second line minutes for a stretch this season, it probably won’t hurt the team or his development.

Right wing isn’t nearly as deep for Atlanta as the right. With Anderson’s top line, we can anticipate Little, Armstrong, and probably Peverly or Reasoner moving over from their natural center position, and Eric Boulton peddling his fisticuffs on the Greek Gods Line. In case of an injury, any of those first three should be able to fill in on the top line admirably in case of an injury.

I wouldn’t expect Boulton to move from his spot on the fourth line regardless of the injuries above him in the lineup. Thorburn and Slater on the other hand have the speed and skill to contribute as high as the second line for a game or two if called upon to do so. For the most part, any injury to the top two lines would necessitate a shift upwards in the lineup by the players in that position. Thus, if the Czar should tweak something and miss a few games, Kozlov would take over on the top line, while Kane played left wing on line two, and Thorburn and a call-up from Chicago would hold down the left side on the third and fourth lines. Circumstances would dictate whether Thorburn stayed put on the fourth line and let a kid play third line minutes or if he moved up and made room on the checking line for the rookie.

Our reserved in Chicago for the forward positions consist of Tim Stapleton, Angelo Esposito, Brett Sterling, Joey Crabb, Anthony Stewart, and Spencer Machacek. It would do any of those players some good to get a taste of NHL life while playing third line minutes for part of the season, I have a hard time holding on to my optimism should any be required to play on the second line due to a plague of injuries to our NHL regulars. However, as long as six of our top nine are healthy enough to form two scoring lines, even dressing four of these reservists along with Slater and Thorburn in the bottom six forward positions should be competitive. Especially considering that every other NHL team will be facing the same injury problems as the Thrashers.

In my next post, we’ll discuss the big step forward folks are reporting from Mark Popovic and what that means for Atlanta’s depth on D as well as the goalie merry-go-round we may see this season.

For the Chronicle, I’m Razor Catch Prey.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Best Pre-Season Shutout Disaster of All Time

Game a'stilling going on, but winding down. Getting exhausted with all this interpretative dancing to Dan Kamal business. Dan tells me there's going to be a shoot-out at the end of the game, for Laughs.

Tonight's pre-season jamboree against the Nashville Predators was, I gather, more or less a try-out for prospective fourth line grinders (plus Evander Kane). From the sound of it, everyone is terrible and there will be no fourth line this season. Oh, and Drew MacIntyre? Hm.

Then again, this was a game that saw the Thrashers send their fourth line try-outs (plus Evander Kane) against J.P. Dumont, Jason Arnott, Steve Sullivan, and Shea Weber. Ha ha, BULLSHIT. Judging from Kamal's commentary and the Falconer's liveblog, it sounds like Kane, Mark Popovic, and Tim Stapleton come out of this game relatively well. Also: Boris Valabik threw down, as did Arturs Kulda, so hooray! But the conclusion remains unavoidable, my friends: there will be no fourth line this season, because of the Terrible. All fourth liners from now on will be played by Maxim Afinogenov.

Oh yeah, there's something you might want to look at here. There's simply no point in fighting the zeitgeist. 

UPDATE: Thrashers win the shoot-out! Thank you Jason Krog!

Hockey News Puts Thrashers at 14th

a very important man II


14. Atlanta.
Despite all the bluster about Ilya Kovalchuk signing a contract extension with Atlanta, it hasn’t happened yet. And that’s because the Russian superstar has seen this organization stink for too long to take management at its word that things will be different this year. This situation has Jay-Bouwmeester-playing-out-the-string-in-Florida written all over it. Enjoy Kovy while you can, Thrasher fans.

Nothing new or interesting, especially coming from the Hockey News. I think they really have it out for the Thrashers. My favorite part is the "Enjoy Kovy while you can, Thrasher fans." I found this prediction funny, honestly, because it has so little merit: he, like most hockey writers, doesn't read Kovy's comments or DW's. Whatever. But that last statement just makes him come off as a big prick nonetheless.

Also: I found it funny that he said Washington plays in the weakest division despite him putting three SE Division teams in the playoffs. Hmm....

Oh well, this guy probably calls European players "enigmatic" when trying to describe them.

MORTIMER PEACOCK ADDS: I'm sorry, I can't help myself. This guy is pretty feeble even by the standards of the Hockey News. You have to love how he simply translates everything into terms he already understands. A Canuckle-dragging space-filler at THN can't wrap his snowbilly head around the idea of Kovalchuk re-signing, so he just types "UHHHH BOUWMEESTER."

And If All Else Fails I Am the Prince of Wales

First pre-season game of the entire dag-blasted season tonight, in Nashville. It's being covered on the Internet by the likes of Ben Wright and the Falconer, and it can even be heard on the wireless! 8:00 PM on 680 The Fan. Dance party at my place.

And by "dance party" I mean interpretative dance to Dan Kamal's voice.

Roster and line combinations here. Evander Kane's first game as a grown-up Thrasher, apparently.

Lots of decisions that need to be made during this training camp: the Kane thing, the goalie thing, what happens with Maxim Afinogenov, etc. MAXIM AFINOGENOV. And MANNY LEGACE. What the hell is going on? Tough, complicated choices.

So here's a ditty about life's tough, complicated choices. This one goes out to you, John Anderson. This decision is yours.

Maxim Afinogenov, Thrasher?

Thrashers bring Maxim Afinogenov in for pro tryout.

-Chris Vivlamore, Twittering


Details here.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

For What It's Worth- Official Editorial Position on Manny Legace, the Goalie Situation, and "Hey Buddy I'm on Fire"

The Blueland Chronicle has decided (well, myself and Frenchy at least) that Manny Legace will be the starting goaltender after the pre-season is all said and done.

Many people laughed when we offered the "washed up" goalie a try out. I don't consider him washed up. He got a little bit of a raw deal in St. Louis. With everything going on with Kari (makes my head hurt to think about it), I just think the job is Manny's for the taking. Moose is what he is. Pavs and Drew are unproven. I expect Manny to come out like a buddy on fire and take the job.

I realize I'm leaving myself open for ridicule here, but I thought it would be fun for some goalie predictions with things so wide open. So, loyal Chroniclites... who is it going to be... hmmm? Heeennngggh?

Atlanta's Many Musicians Dig the Thrashers

That's Ben Wright on the Twitter, saying: "Celebrity sighting at Thrashers practice rink- Brann Dailor, drummer for Mastodon. Mark Popovic jammed with them a few yrs ago."

Gads, what's next? We find out Tommy Selmanaire is a THRASHERS FAN or something?

Reasons to be Cheerful

(updated below)

So your Chronicle staff, in its entirety, went to the season ticket holders' Q&A, or (to make ourselves sound more like New Englander colonists of the 18th century) town hall, last night. Hung out with Rawhide all evening, which was the best part of the whole deal. John Anderson, Don Waddell, Rick Dudley, and Colby Armstrong spoke from under lighting that, from where we were sitting, obscured their faces and made the whole experience a bit weird, like they were talking to us from behind black masks. Can't remember a damn thing that was said.

I do remember the gist of things, though. Basically:

- Rick Dudley has never seen so many valuable assets in one place at one time.

- Colby Armstrong has got some flared trousers.

- John Anderson wants to start Nik Antropov at center because it's a challenging position Anderson is convinced he can play. If it doesn't work out, the Coach says, he'll move Antro to wing. Meanwhile, he seems to have developed instant chemistry with Kovalchuk and Little.

- Don Waddell is all like, "Yes, we're going to re-sign Kovy. This is nothing like Hossagate." Which it's not.

- Why is it not like Hossagate? Because Kovy just built a new house in Buckhead. Where he lives, with his family...

- Both Nik Antropov and Pavel Kubina are big, good players, and awesome dudes that will only help the locker room.

- Everyone seems to think Evander Kane is ready. Like, now.

- DW wants to keep Johan Hedberg in the organization when his Moose-checking days come to an end. Solid, I think.

- For the first time in franchise history, there will be a heap of deserving players who won't get a roster spot. Insanely competitive, this training camp. Which is good!

- The Don wanted to trade a goaltender over the summer, but couldn't find a deal good enough to make him "go for it," as the youth counselors (but not DW) say.

It got especially weird when they concluded the Q&A with a singing, dancing rendition of Ian Dury's "Sex and Drugs and Rock n' Roll." I mean, I really wasn't expecting that.

UPDATE: Rawhide has an ACTUAL recap.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Prospect Game Observations

Sorry for the late post, but folks keep committing crimes in my county. You'd think they would have learned by now.

There was much to inspire optimism in the prospect game last night at the Ice Forum. First and foremost, it was a sell-out, and the young'uns played to a packed house. DW, Coach Anderson and crew watched from elevated positions while us ruffians filled the bleachers and pressed our noses to the glass. It was great to see such an outpouring of support for the team.

Evander Kane and his father (or so Rawhide told me that's who the gentleman next to Evander was) watched from the far corner behind the glass. Understandably, this lead to rampant speculation that Kane is no longer considered a prospect and will is already expected to suit up in Atlanta on October 3. That speculation looks a little more solid today with the news that Zherdev has signed in Russia.

As you've probably heard by now, "Scorin' Morin" (thanks to the young boy next to me for coining that name) potted two goals, had some dandy passes, and was even blocking shots last night. Not bad for a guy whose biggest knock prior to the draft was his work ethic. Kozek and Drew Paris also impressed with their efforts, while O'Dell and Postma left me underwhelmed- but it was only one game. Postma, to his credit, was named captain of the prospect squad so it appears that the coaching staff see something in him to which they want the other players to aspire.

I've been working on a report on depth in the Thrashers lineup that will hopefully grace your computer screen sometime later this week or over the weekend.

Stay tuned for more. For the Chronicle, I'm Razor Catch Prey.

Items of Interest

Two, in fact.

First, Nik Zherdev has signed with Atlant, that's ATLANT NOT ATLANTA, of the KHL, the end.

Secondly, Big Shooter will be awfully pleased to hear that TSN has just hired his hero Craig MacTavish as a commentator. MacT's statement:

"I'm happy to finally be among the experts where the issues are many and solutions obvious. I appreciate TSN providing a safe haven for unemployed coaches, as we rehabilitate ourselves towards future employability."


Late Morning Briefing

- The Thrashers prospects manhandled the Predators prospects last night 6-3. Hot and famous young goal-slinger Jeremy Morin, who your Chronicle once interviewed, scored 2 goals and added an assist and by all accounts played quite well all around. Taylor Swift will be even more pissed off now. Razor Catch Prey attended the game, and may or may not have a report on the way.

Another thing. I think it's fair to say that Evander Kane is officially no longer a prospect.

- The Falconer and his armada of new writers have constructed a season preview over at Bird Watchers Anonymous. Quite optimistic (justifiably so, in our opinion), readable, and hey this was my favorite part for some reason:

Each member of the top four can make a good outlet pass. The addition of Kubina greatly upgrades the passing of the 2nd D pairing. Last season, smart teams pressured Hainsey and made him dish over to his partner Exelby who frequently just dumped the puck to center ice. The Thrashers are very likely to establish a new record for points from their defensemen in the coming season.

I keep trying to tell people something like this, and they're always like, "Yeah but Mike Komisarek, how 'bout 'im?"

- Ben Wright with a curious post on Johan Hedberg. Money quotes:

Johan Hedberg might not have put up the most outstanding statistic of his career last season, but he is still one of the most respected players in the Thrashers locker room, if not the entire league.

If not the Milky Way!

Johan Hedberg is an example that other goalies should be following when it comes to both attitude and fitness.

Oh snap. Is that some sort of stealth dig at a certain injury-prone Finn?

- According to Vivlamore at the AJC, Bryan Little says he's going to score even more goals this season, although "it's not really about the numbers, man."

- The new Thrashers season tickets look bitchin'. Deep dark icy blue colors, an all-star cast of Kovalchuk, Bogosian, Enstrom, Kozlov, and Little, etc.; one of those rare times the Thrashers Aesthetic Department gets something really, really right. Now if they could just change from the third jersey to something with the iced Thrasher logo...

- Good news Chronclites. Your entire Chronicle staff will be invading the town hall meeting with John Anderson, Don Waddell, Rick Dudley, and Colby Armstrong tonight. We all plan to ask variations of "Hey, remember that time we signed Nik Antropov, and put him with Kovalchuk? Is that gonna be cool?"

- And what...what the fuck? I just checked my email and saw this thing:

Hey Mortimer,

I had a short notice event put on my desk and I figured I would send it out to my season ticket holders to get some guests. We have a breakfast with Don Waddell in Duluth Wednesday September 15th, 2009 (tomorrow!). Attendees will need to be there at 8:30am and Don will speak at 9:00 during the Thrashers practice/breakfast at the Ice forum. It should last about an hour or so and you are free to leave whenever you like. It’s a unique time to ask questions on a one on one basis with Don. THIS IS A LIMITED EVENT SO I WILL TAKE THE FIRST 7 TO RESPOND TO THIS E MAIL!!!

Thank you for your response and I hope to get you there.


If my Google robots can be trusted, this email arrived at 10:17 AM this morning. Last time I checked, September 15th is today, not tomorrow. I can't go anyway, but I'm curious to know how, hypothetically, I can go to Duluth and ask "Hey, remember that time you signed Nik Antropov?" at 9:00 if I get the "short notice" at 10:17? That's, like, Ultra Short Notice. So short you get the notice after the event has happened. The Thrashers organization is getting too avant-garde for my plain-man tastes.

Monday, September 14, 2009

God Love 'im...

She's like the wind through my tree
She rides the night next to me
She leads me through moonlight
Only to burn me with the sun
She's taken my heart
But she doesn't know what she's done

Feel her breath on my face
Her body close to me
Can't look in her eyes
She's out of my league
Just a fool to believe
I have anything she needs
She's like the wind


I look in the mirror and all I see
Is a young old man with only a dream
Am I just fooling myself
That she'll stop the pain
Living without her
I'd go insane

Feel her breath on my face
Her body close to me
Can't look in her eyes
She's out of my league
Just a fool to believe
I have anything she needs
She's like the wind

Feel your breath on my face
Your body close to me
Can't look in your eyes
You're out of my league
Just a fool to believe
(Just a fool to believe)
She's like the wind
(Just a fool to believe)
Just a fool to believe
(She's like the wind)
Just a fool to believe
(Just a fool to believe)
She's like the wind
(Just a fool to believe)
Just a fool to believe
She's like the wind

(Just a fool...)
(She's like the wind)
(She's like the wind)
(Just a fool...)
(She's like the wind)
(Just a fool...)

I Believe the Expression is "Hell Yeah"

Regarding the blurry item at the bottom of the photo.

"The lamplighters are at work. It's Hockey Season Eve for certain." paraphrase Fozzie Bear.

All kinds of Thrash stuff going on lately, what with the season just a few weeks away and all.

I haven't had the opportunity to waltz up to training camp just yet, but that's what videos like this are for:

Nik Antropov in a Thrashers jersey is some crazy shit, yo.

Some sort of Q&A with John Anderson, Don Waddell, Rick Dudley, and Colby Armstrong tomorrow evening at Philips Arena. I reckon I'll go, but mainly for the atmosphere, the feeling of being the arena again, etc.

Hey, anything you kids want us to try and ask? Like, possibly, "Say big fella, why no Nik Zherdev? I know Evander Kane is gonna be the cat's meow, but don't act like you're from Squaresville, daddy-o."

Whatever happens with Kane (I know he'll be good, but he is quite young), I can't help but think it might be a good idea to indulge Nik Zherdev and sign him to the one-year contract he wants. But tarnation, what do I know?

This brings us to the line combinations for 09-10. It looks like Anderson has already decided who's playing with who, and reckons we're just going to run with:



1st thought: I hope Peverley can continue his glory as a winger. I'm really not sure if the Pevs Dispenser can be the Pevs Dispenser if there's no one to dispense to. But again, John Anderson is an NHL coach and I'm a publisher of hard smut on the Internet.

2nd thought: I suppose Kovy and Little played too well together to split them up. It's good that they'll be line combo BFFs. I just hope Antro (who I still think was a hellacious signing) can get the face-off business done. I'm already having dreams about him standly rudely in front of the net while Kovalchuk and Little race about like crazed jackalopes.

3rd thought: All I am saying is give Mark Popovic a chance.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Kovy Update.... Heeeeennnnggghhh!

Well, with the start of training camp comes this article.

We are all hopeful, but this gives me a little more reason to rest easy tonight. Here is the money quote:

Asked if he is confident he’ll re-sign with the Thrashers, Kovalchuk said, “Yeah, hopefully because I’ve been here all my [professional] life. My family is excited to be here and my daughter is starting [pre-] school. Hopefully, we get it figured out.”

God love him. Really...

Heatley Demands Trade from Sharks

Blueland Chronicle sources are chasing down a story that Dany Heatley has demanded a trade from the San Jose Sharks. Sources say due to some "personal reasons that I don't want to discuss", Heatley has asked out of town.

Indications are that Dany has demanded Jim Balsillie to buy a yet unidentified NHL team and move them to his summer home in Kelowna, BC. Heatley will only accept a trade to this team. League sources have confirmed the team would be named the Kelowna Community Servicers. According to Heatley, he enjoyed his time in San Jose, he thanked the fans and organization, but felt it was best for all parties involved to move on.

Fans in San Jose are outraged. They supported Heatley for nearly a full 24 hours, and feel slighted by his request. Heatley's parents have come out against the fans, and in support of their son. "Dany is such a good boy, I just don't understand all the negative feelings towards him", his mother was heard saying. She continues, "I mean, he always ate all of his supper growing up. I told him he couldn't have any ice cream unless he finished dinner. He would say, 'ok Mommy.' And he plays for Canada. I just don't understand why the entire world hates my little boy".

Heatley's father had this to say, "Look, just because he skipped out on the Swiss team he played for during the lockout, demanded a trade from Atlanta, demanded a trade from Ottawa, and now has demanded a trade from San Jose, people shouldn't judge him. I mean, come on, that coach in San Jose hasn't even played him in a game yet. What do you expect Dany to do? Just sit there and wait until the season starts? Give me a break."

When reached for comment, Heatley had this to say:

More on this story as it develops...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Cry Baby Gets His Wish

Per TSN, not John Buccigross.


"I don't think I did anything wrong asking for a trade," Heatley said on Saturday. "I had my reasons and if people think different of me that's fine, but I feel I've done nothing wrong and I'm happy to move on."

Big Shooter says: Don't worry Dany, I don't think differently of you. I've known you were like this all along (even before the accident for those of you interested).

''I want to thank everyone in Ottawa, the organization, the fans, and the city. I had a great four years here (and) I'm happy to move on.''

Big Shooter says: Hahhahahhahahahahahhahahahhahahahahhahahahaahahahahahahahahahahahah!

Here is a video clip of the press conference:

Friday, September 11, 2009


- Today is September 11th. Take a moment to remember where you were on that day, and think about the folks whose lives were stolen, and those who gave their lives heroically.

- By now you've probably heard about the rumors of a three team deal involving Heatley. ESPN ran a report on the bottom line last night crediting John Buccigross and stating that Heatley had been traded to the Sharks, Marleau to the Kings, Stoll and I believe it was Kopitar to the Sens. A little while later they ran the same thing with a disclaimer that the Kings and Sharks GMs were denying the story. The link above will take you to Bob McKenzie from TSN letting us all know that there's no truth to it at all.

All in all, it sounded like a pretty fair trade.

- The Commrie press conferences from Edmonton this morning were the most somber and confrontational new-acquisition announcements I've ever heard. Sounds like the press were hammering Lowe and Commrie both pretty hard about their past differences and both got sick of hearing about it.

- The Penguins visited the White House yesterday to be congratulated by the president for winning the Stanley Cup. President Obama also greeted Willie O'Ree (or Billy, as Shooter calls him) and Mario Lemieux.

I assume he then spent an hour trying to convince Lemieux that the team would be better off with a government run training staff that was told by folks in DC what procedures could be done to help rehab a torn ACL.

- Thrashers hockey returns to the area in a matter of days. The team begins training camp tomorrow. They take to the ice Sunday. Thrashers prospects play Preds prospects at the Ice Forum Monday and Tuesday. In just ten days we get to sit in Philips Arena and watch the first home preseason game.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

From Ben Wright's Twitter

John Anderson plans to play Antropov at center between Kovalchuk (LW) and Little (RW) to start training camp.

That's interesting. So where does that put White and Pevs? Both centers on the second line?


Via Craig Custance's Twitter:

Was told the reason Thrashers are holding off on Zherdev is partly because of Kane. Don't want to crowd roster if Kane is ready.

This is getting interesting.

It's All, He's All, She's All...I Can't Get Behind That Kind of, Like, English*

Have to cut my Chronicle workweek short, dear readers. Not sure if Razor and/or Shooter will be writing pretty ballads for you over the next few days, but I gotta go to a far-away (but not that far) wedding this weekend, so here's Henry Rollins bringing teh Funny:


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Evander Kane Eats Average Prospects for Brunch

I can get behind this.

Look at This

So your editor is trying to finish Some Work while watching the US Open and emptying a bottle of wine.

I realize that hockey at Philips Arena is still a little over a week away (!!!).*

So I thought I'd share this not-hockey story with you.

You know how idiots are always complaining that the news is too negative and gloomy, too full of "bad news" and such? Too many massacres, bombings, and hideous crimes and not enough...what, exactly? Alas, my friends, that's the world. But the world also includes marvelous stuff, like scientists discovering entirely unknown, uncharted ecosystems of strange animals in remote volcanic jungles in the South Pacific.

From the Guardian:

A lost world populated by fanged frogs, grunting fish and tiny bear-like creatures has been discovered in a remote volcanic crater on the Pacific island of Papua New Guinea.

HELL YEAH! Wondrous article here. Even more wondrous photo gallery here.

Well look at that, lovely Danish wunderkind Caroline Wozniack has beaten pretty 17-year-old Marietta wunderkind Melanie Oudin. On to Federer! Federer vs. Soderling (a man of few illusions and a hot girlfriend), to be exact.

*Though, ominously, I see that my tickets haven't yet arrived.

Was He Provoked?

Dany Heatley, I gather, is a pretty popular topic.

As much as I enjoy reading the beat-Heatley-with-a-bag-of-hammers brigade--which now covers a majority of the Canadian press, a press corps who have only recently awoken to things about Heatley's character that Atlanta fans have known for years--I'm always grateful to read a new perspective. This article in the Ottawa Citizen argues that Heatley's petulant behavior (which the article makes no attempt to justify) was deliberately provoked by the Senators organization.

Last season the organization seemed oddly determined to send Heatley a message: to make him adapt to new coach Cory Clouston's style of play, or make him want to simply leave altogether. He was even "demoted" to the second power play unit, which is a bit weird given the fact he was the team's leading scorer. Whether or not playing on the second PP unit is true demotion (many argue the coach was simply trying to spread out the scoring), the Senators organization must have known that it would piss Heatley off.

Why was Heatley the only high-profile player to be centred out as lagging behind the rest when it came to adjusting to a new style of play?

Heatley was the one demoted to the second-unit power play. Ask yourself: How often does that happen, the top goal scorer chosen as the first "example" by the new coach, a newbie at that.

As an organization, the Senators were clearly sending a message to Heatley, whether just to tick him off, make him improve or make him want out. They seemed genuinely shocked that it came to Heatley wanting to be moved, but then teams always win the PR battles against star players.

They are equipped for this type of warfare (think back to Rod Bryden versus Alexei Yashin). Professional organizations such as the Senators have years of experience from which to draw, and well educated ranks in these matters from the owner through to the top hockey people and media relations staff, a pretty stacked deck for an individual player to confront, especially a player as reluctant to express himself publicly as Heatley.

My guess? It's all about the salary cap.

Which brings us to this:

There may only be days to spare, but it remains to be seen whether the reluctant Senator will actually have to show his face in Ottawa. It would certainly appear that no trade is imminent, but the rumours continue to come at us from all angles.

One that made a lot of sense, and still does, involved the New York Rangers and two of their good, young players, defenceman Marc Staal and forward Brandon Dubinsky.

A Rangers top line of Heatley-Drury-Gaborik could be very unpleasant, couldn't it? As could a Senators defense as young and promising as Erik Karlsson, Marc Staal, and Jared Cowen.

I can't get behind that.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

This and That

Hockey soon, but not soon enough.

I've got nothing, so here are some wild and wooly Thrashers-related things you probably already know about, but what the hell:

- Brave Chronicle operative and author of multi-sport blog Just Straight Random "A2B" has alerted us to this fine piece from the world of the Hockey Writers. It is, indeed, very well done. And I hope it turns out to be right.

- Then there's Dan Kamal. The fellow who should've been given the TV play-by-play job (seriously, can nobody tell me why they can't simply put Dan and Darren together and let them rip on TV and radio at the same time?). He's now a-twitterin', seems a natural for the medium (unlike your editor, what with his lack of pithiness and shit), and he's also prepared a generous preview of the Thrashers' upcoming season, in the form of an interview on the radio machine. Sadly for us, Lil Jon and the East Side Boyz rudely disrupt EVERYTHING before Dan can get out a single word.

Haw, not really! In fact, Kamal seems optimistic about Kovy in particular and the team in general. The radio interviewer dude's line about Kovalchuk being "more married to Atlanta than Marian Hossa was" seems correct and obvious. You know, from what I've heard so far (it's still unfolding in my ears) it's a fine listen. So listen.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Fantasy Draft TONIGHT at 10:00

Don't forget, comrades.

Ten o'clock. Here.

Big Shooter and I will probably be there a little early, arranging our draft orders and calling each other obscene names. I'll have my Internet bottle of wine in tow.

Be there or be a square-faced sheep-shagger.