Monday, November 30, 2009

Kick Those White Mice and Baboons Out


That game qualifies as "wild and woolly."

- First things first. I hated to see what happened to Vokoun; I was honest-to-baby-Jesus pretty freaked out by the sight of him lying on the ice not moving at all and then getting carried out on a strecher. Compatriot Ondrej Pavelec looked quite concerned, I noticed...whether that had more to do with sympathy for a fellow Czech goalie or with seeing an opportunity to mind the net for the Czech Republic in Vancouver, we'll never know. I kid, I kid...

Distressing to see, no doubt, but it turns out Vokoun just has something called an "ear laceration," which doesn't sound career-ending or lethal, so hooray!

- Speaking of the Vokoun injury, it occurred just after the most hilarious goal in Thrashers history. I know you all saw it, but why not remember the scene, together: The Czar streaks in on a breakaway and shoots. Vokoun denies him, Ilya looks frustrated, the fans in Philips Arena go "ahhhhh" and scowl. But then everyone, including the Czar, notices that the puck is still loose. Not ONLY loose, but sitting in an opportune place. Kovy hammers it in, the crowd that was there (this time it was quite sparse, but hey, what do you expect for a rainy Monday night game against the Panthers in late November?) explodes, Ballard kills Vokoun.

- I don't mean that. The fans who were heckling Ballard all night are actual morons. That's not to say that what Ballard did wasn't reckless and stupid, but shouting insults at a guy consumed with holy dread just makes you a sub-garbage asshat.

- There were times in the game where the Thrashers looked pretty sloppy and couldn't get the puck out of their zone.

- There were times in the game where the Thrashers looked dominant and sharp and puck-handled like God. The passing was extra-alert; every shot, even the missed ones, was excellent.


- Maxim's game-winning goal was sweet, but it was a direct result of Evander Kane's sheer relentlessness. The kid doesn't give up. He carried the puck deep into the Panthers zone, dodged big clawing felines left and right, battled for the puck along the boards, and got it to Antropov for a killer pass to a perfectly-placed Afinogenov for the winner.

So, yeah. Evander Kane. He's pretty cool.

More Recognition

The latest Power Rankings from The Red Light District (great name) has the Thrashers up to #9 from their previous spot at #21.

The Thrashers and Bruins made the biggest upward jumps in the ranking while the Flyers and Red Wings dove 10 and 9 spaces respectively to numbers 16 and 17. Sounds like the author watched a couple of Atlanta shut outs last week and they made an impression.


TSN has followed suit, placing the Thrashers at #4!

Game Day: Florida Panthers

The Florida Panthers. 60% of the time, they work every time.

Shut down Nathan Horton and this team doesn't have much potency left. They have a good goaltender who is a little past his prime but can still steal a game now and then. It's a South East Division rival, so it would be nice to win this one in regulation to keep any points away from the kitties.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Late Weekend Briefing

A few news items that are probably worth everyone's while:

- Angelo Esposito has torn his ACL again. The same ACL that he tore a little while back. Needless to say, he's out for the season. Frustrating news for Esposito personally, of course. It takes a long time to recover from an ACL injury, and, well...

I'm not trying to be rude, but perhaps it's time to paraphrase Lady Bracknell and admit that to screw your ACL once (like Big Shooter, who plays hockey in a comical prat-falling style) may be regarded as a misfortune; to do it twice looks like carelessness.

I'll go out on a limb and say that he more than likely wasn't going to become a major NHL player anyway. I mean, look at his stats.

- Most interesting news out of Thrasherville this weekend---aside from all this crazy winning the Thrashers are doing---is that the team has recalled Boris Valabik from the Wolves. To Atlanta. To play on the Thrashers. The team we follow.

There are huge questions about where Valabik fits into this line-up and this style of play. Sure, it takes a relatively long time to develop a defenseman, especially a great big one like Valabik. There are even people who still say we need to adopt a "wait and see" attitude towards Boris. I don't think we can afford the luxury of giving him on-the-job training, and I think most sane people would admit that all of our current bottom-3 D---Salmela, Schubert, and Popovic---are better than Valabik.

So what do we do? The Falconer says that the Thrashers have been scouting the Nashville Predators lately. So it's not unreasonable to speculate about a quick and quiet Valabik-for-somebody trade. Which would be better for everyone, I think. The Thrashers can play their game without the risks that Valabik poses (penalties, mainly), Boris gets to go to a team to which he is much more suited, and the Predators get to have a bench that includes both Boris Valabik and Barry Trotz, a menacing and intimidating duo if there ever was one.


The greatest screen saga of our time, Ten Gallon Dick and the Russians, is still on its way. A few things have prevented me from getting it out this week, but I promise it will be appear soon. In installments. Think of it as a violent Advent calendar.

Official "Flyers Curse is Lifted" Thread


P.S. It was actually a good, loud, and intense crowd, considering the other game down the street.*


P.P.P.S. Great fight between Boulton and Cote.

P.P.P.P.S Big up K-Belle and Mr. Speaker. BIG UP.

This is good stuff.

*I know it's hard to believe, but a telecast on the Internet doesn't always convey the Ultimate Truth About the Universe.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Game Day: Flyers

The team will be riding a huge high from the five goal third period last night. The Flyers don't have Nittymaki anymore, so they can no longer count the Thrashers and an automatic win.

It'll probably be a light crowd at Philips tonight since the biggest college football game of the year in the state of Georgia will be kicking off at 8pm over at North Ave and Techwood. Those of y'all who will be downtown need to cheer on the team that much louder to let them know that we appreciate the exciting effort they've put on of late.

Oh, and Zach Bogosian needs to drop the gloves with Chris Pronger, then drop Pronger.

Don't Call It A Comeback, We've Been Here For Years

So Morty and I leave my house after seeing us in a losing situation at 4-1. Both of us were pretty upset, obviously. So we preceded to the wonderful Highland Inn Ballroom to get ready for our DJ-ing set after the bands played, and we sat at the bar. Sitting there, we saw the game was on without our request. To our shock we saw the game tied at 4-4. Staring at the screen along with a close friend who happens to be a Sabres fan, we were shocked, confused, and excited to see such a situation. The bartenders were pretty into the game as well. Hockey does work in Atlanta.

Then I see Bryan Little make a dash down the ice to set up a beautiful pass to "Ten Gallon Dick" Peverley, and "boom goes the dynamite" score. Then the Party set the night on fire. Damn son, that ain't the kind of shit you can sweep under no rug. Then Morty and I killed the dancefloor. Goodnight.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009

White Meat, Dark Meat...All Will Be Carved

Normally I don't give fair warning, but please, for everyone's sake, don't watch this with small kids or tottering grandparents around. Without further ado:

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Live-Blog: Atl@Det

--------First Period---------

-The entire Wings' roster stickhandles like Maxy Fins and are always in perfect position. Very frustrating.

-Holy Dinosaur Niel! Just when I thought Fins was going to stickhandle past the net without shooting again, he makes a great play for a tap in by Antropov!

-Zach Bogosian draws comparisons to Bobby Orr. Bobby Orr played in the 70's. Bogosian's mustache makes him look like a child molester who drives a van from the 70's. How's that for Six Degrees of Blueland?

-Unless I am mis-remembering the graphic SportSouth showed last game, the Thrshers are undefeated this season when scoring first. Looking good so far. Too bad we couldn't go out and sign David Harlock before tonight's game to go out and destroy a Red Wing for me.

-I hear Nick Lidstrom was asking Zach Bogosian for pointers on how to play defense before the game. True story.

-Good quote from Coach Anderson about only playing 20 minutes in an NHL game isn't enough. Last game Kovy only played 5 minutes and it wasn't all at once.

-Bogo's got to move Holmstrom out of the crease. It looks like Ondrej is giving him the Heimlich.

-WHAT A SHOT BY ANTRO! I wish there had been a radar gun trained on that one! It might have broken 6 or 7mph!

-The key to being a broadcaster is being able to politely express the gut reaction we all have of "What the hell are you doing making that pass you idiot!?!? Andy Sutton could've picked that off!"

-Since I've already been heaping praise on Bogo, I'll take this opportunity to point out he's got a 2 goal lead for the NHL lead among 19 year old defensemen. Oh yeah, and the rest of the defensemen in the league, too.

-Detroit had five shots on that powerplay but it sure didn't feel like it. Good job by the PK to keep those shots coming from bad angles.

-Good first period. The shots will favor Detroit, but only because of the powerplays.

-----Second Period------

-I was worried hockey might not be as exciting without alcohol. I needn't have worried.

-Ok, so Atlanta was outshot 18-9. That's more than just the powerplays causing that discrepancy.

-I bet John Anderson and Paul Johnson get together to appreciate each other's awesomeness. And laugh at Mark Richt's inability to grow facial hair.

-Not sure I can stay up for it, but Chicago and San Jose tonight features Hossa vs. Heatley in the "You're really good but I'm glad you don't play for us anymore Bowl."

-Random thought- (unlike the others here) if we had a Tim Horton's franchise in Atlanta, would that make us a 'traditional hockey market?'

-Power Play! Let somebody other than Kovy shoot it every once in a while.

-Wow, -3 for the Czar last game. I knew he looked bad.

-Friend of the Chronicle just sent me a text message including the word "kewl." If you spell a word differently than normal, and it's not shorter, then it's not an abbreviation, it's just being annoying.

-Good back and forth action here. 3 shots on the power play for Atlanta, but the only quality one was the point shot from Toby.

-I literally have to drag my jaw up off my chest after that save by Pav. Yeah, he shouldn't have turned the puck over like that but holy cow, what a recovery. That'll be shown a few times on NHL On the Fly tonight.

-Another active penalty kill tonight. Atlanta's power play doesn't do well when penalty killers challenge the puck carrier.

-3 passes before we get out of our own zone on the power play. No one wants the puck. Not a good sign.


-Wow. Datsuk just tried to flip one over the back of the net to his teammates in the crease. If it had worked, he would have beat Pav out for play of the game.

-Salmela should have been in the lineup a lot more this year. Great chance but Howard robbed him. Had Army followed up rather than celebrating too early he might have been able to knock in a trickle. Oh well. Power Play #3.

-I concur with Darren Elliot. Other teams have figured out the Thrashers' power play. Time for some kind of change.

-Nice of JA to put Michigan State alum Jimmy Slater in the lineup for the game in Detroit.

-BS penalty against the Pevs Dispenser. He was digging for the puck and Helm fell over his stick.

-Elliot sounds genuinely pissed off about the bad call.

-Getting an HD projector is the best thing I ever did for my away-game watching experience. Not really the best thing I ever did for my relationship with my fiance, however.

-Good penalty kill. Heading to the locker rooms with Atlanta up 2-0. No speculation on the shot count this time.

---------Third Period----------

-Ok, after seeing the replay, there's no way Army could have made it to that rebound after Peanut's chance.

-Peanut has to be more careful. He deserved more playing time, but the good things Coach remembers from his game have to outnumber the bad things. That turnover just wiped out the scoring chance from last period.

-Todd Bertuzzi. Waste of space.

-Good awareness by Ondrej the Giant to knock away the bad carom there. Holmstrom was right there to knock it home if he hadn't swept it away.

-Detroit with a big advantage in the faceoff circle. It'll be interesting later to see individual faceoff stats. Who isn't pulling their weight? Tip- Pevs and the Party are probably winning most of theirs.

-The Czar picked off a pass in the slot and was ROBBED by Howard! Over all Kovy is playing better tonight, but still isn't quite himself.

-Kovy with some good hustle to get back on the backcheck, but then once he got some help he started to coast around the defensive zone.

-Ovechkin was ejected from tonight's Caps vs. Sabres game for a hit from behind on Pat Kaleta. Looks like a dirty hit to me. His back was turned, Ovy had time to pull up, but he hit him up high.

-Thrashers playing New Jersey style defensive game now. In years past this would have started at the beginning of the third period with a 1 goal lead and wouldn't reverse even after we'd given up three goals.

-A little better positioning by Atlanta's forwards would create a ton of goals tonight. Rebounds abound.

-The last two minutes of this game is going to last an hour if the Thrashers keep icing the puck every time they touch it.

-Powerplay for the Thrashers with 1:40 left to go, and the Red Wing fans stream out of the Joe and back into the Unemployment Line.

-Ok, that was in poor taste. Just because they live in a hellhole and cheer for an evil team doesn't mean we should laugh at their economic misfortune. But hey! Obama spent 700 billion dollars to revive the economy. It's bound to work any second now, right?

-Game over. 25 points after 21 games. Not too shabby. Congrats to Ondrej the Giant on his second career shutout. No one can say "yeah, but your only shutout was the Blue Jackets" anymore!

Gameday: Red Wings

First off, I hope everyone out there gets to spend Thanksgiving with family or friends. We all have much to be thankful for, that is sure. Gobble, gobble... and so on and so forth.

So, we got the Wings tonight. Looks as though they are finally on the down slide of the 15 years of dominance. Should be a good test. What, do you ask, could get the boys pumped up for this big game to try and end the slide? May I suggest a viewing of this in the locker room before the game:

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Gallery of 'Staches

So what do you do when Thanksgiving Eve Eve falls and you have nothing to talk about on the old hockey blog? Do you ask your readers for their opinions on the new Florida Panthers jersey (Monsieur Catalogues, who is a Panther of sorts himself, ought to respond to this important question)? Debate Puck Daddy's Top 10 Best Players of the Decade list?

Or do you raid Ben Wright's Twitter feed looking for comical photos of your Atlanta Thrashers?

I think we all know.

Lounge singer?

In-demand Hollywood stuntman, definitely.

Wealthy arms dealer who would usually be wearing a white suit and a panama hat.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Clicker Conspiracy: An Open Letter to Two Groups of People

This is another inside-baseball-ish post. I apologize in advance. Read Razor's excellent post from earlier in the day instead of this. I'm afraid the Chronicle has some unpleasant business to take care of, which we shall, herewith.

An Open Letter to Two Groups of People

To most of our readers, who are normal humans just going about your business and looking for a good time-

We love and appreciate you stopping by this here blog. We can't thank you enough.

Cheers and Much Love,


To the Clicker Conspiracy,

I know who you are, and you know what I'm talking about. Yes, you, you dumb, resentment-consumed, whiny motherfucker(s). How old are you, exactly?


Wooooo Go Thrashers. Carry on, golden lads and lasses!

Mysteries of Life, Again

- Why does most of the Toronto press continue to defer to Brian Burke even though he makes comical decisions like sending Pavel Kubina to Atlanta in exchange for Garnet Exelby? Obviously I'm very glad to have Kubina. We've praised him over and over here at Chronicle, and way back when we said Exelby-for-Kubina was an excellent trade on Wadudley's part.

So why does most of the press still speak of Brian Burke like he's some kind of genius? Is it just because he entered an already quite positive situation in Anaheim and won a Stanley Cup?

I mean, even in a piece where he acknowledges the hilarity of Kubina-for-Exelby, Damien Cox can't quite bring himself to name the man who is, you know, actually responsible for the trade. Apparently some nebulous entity called "the Leafs" made the final decision.

- Another great mystery: what is going on with the Ilya Kovalchuk contract? If you're reading and are Ilya Kovalchuk, we'd appreciate a tip.

The Access Abyss

WARNING: The following post is intolerable inside-baseball, navel-gazing stuff about Thrashers blogging. Don't read it, ever.

Anyway. Some of you, I'm told, are wondering why the Chronicle didn't take part in the most recent Thrash-blogger event thingy over at Philips Arena this past weekend.

The short answer: We really just didn't feel like it.

The longer answer: We've done every other blogger event, and I think we did a reasonably good job of interviewing Coach Anderson and Evander Kane, but this one just didn't feel right. As awesome as sitting in the press box probably is, there are some places we belong and some places we don't. I'm very glad to see that the Thrashers have gotten serious about giving bloggers press credentials every now and then. It's good that they're recognizing that blogs can produce important content.

But you have to consider what kind of content each individual blog produces. I'm not sure if you've noticed, but the Chronicle is the scuzzy down-market tabloid of the Thrashers blogosphere. Like many tabloids, there's some sharp writing and quality insights every now and then (if I can dispense with false modesty for a minute and say so), but it thrives off of the bizarre and the trashy. If you thought of the Thrashers blogs as actual newspapers, Bird Watchers Anonymous would be the quality daily, the Times or the Guardian, and we would be the Sun or the Daily Mirror. I'm sure you can think of your own analogies.

If I were given free reign in the Thrashers press box, I would, like many others chose to do, type a live-blog of the game. But I would do it in the style of the Chronicle, and something tells me the Thrashers organization wouldn't be entirely comfortable with that. And that's completely fine with me.

When there's several million other Thrashers bloggers doing a live-blog of the game, and the game is on TV, and many of you are actually AT the game, there's less than zero point in the Chronicle doing a normal "oooh good chance for Slava but FLEURY SAYS NO!" type live-blog as well. UNLESS, of course, we could do it in our peculiar style and tone, which isn't exactly suited to a space for the credentialed press.

So basically the only way we could truly do what sitting in the press box requires is if we watered down the Chronicle's style, domesticated it a bit, etc. And that, kids, ain't gonna happen, ever.

I hope we get invited to future Thrash-blogging events (interviews with players and coaches, etc.), but the press box isn't for us. There are Thrashers blogs that fit very well there, of course. They're all listed under "Thrashers Liberation Front" in our blogroll and I urge you to check out not only their reports of the recent blogging summit, but their regular, daily output.

Another reason we couldn't bring ourselves to sit in the press box: We were playing the Pittsburgh farking Penguins, for chrissakes, and we wanted to drink and make tortured animal noises and high-five our comrades. Anyway...

Reasons for Optimism

So the Thrashers have lost three straight. However, the team did storm back to tie up two of those games and earn one point in each.

The team's record as of this morning is 10-7-3, good for 23 points out of a possible 40. The Thrashers also have one or two games in hand over 5 of the 8 teams above them in the Eastern Conference standings and are only one point behind 8th place Boston.

The Thrashers' 71 goals for is good tied for 2nd in the East (behind the Caps' 82 over 23 games) and third in the NHL. San Jose leads all teams with 85 goals for in 25 games, and the Pens are tied with Atlanta's 71 goals, but they've had 23 games in which to do it.

The team is respectable in terms of goals against, with 61 over the 20 game period. Only 10 teams in the NHL have fewer, but most of those teams have played more games than Atlanta.

Atlanta's +10 goal margin is tied for third in the East and fifth in the NHL. If the team gets back on the winning side of things as they close the gap in number of games played, they'll move up that list steadily.

The defense has made even bigger forward strides than we expected during the offseason. Bogosian has improved more than I could have hoped, Enstrom is getting opportunities to use his offensive skills, Hainsey is steady as she goes, and Kubina is all he was advertised to be. I'm not sold on Schubert yet, and would prefer to have one solid presence in that final pairing with the Popovic/Salmela rotation, but overall our defense has been the most solid corps we've ever witnessed in Blueland.

There's more offense to come. The Little White Russian line hasn't been producing yet, but over the last couple of games they've been flying. It's only a matter of time before they start scoring goals. At this point, they won't catch up to their numbers from last season, but you can bet they will pick up a decent clip. Once that happens, the team will be rotating three potent scoring lines and an energy/checking line that can hit, fight, and will control the puck in the other team's zone.

The rotating goalie situation with Moose and Ondrej the Giant has been working thus far. That is going to be crucial down the stretch with so many games played so close together. We're one of the few teams who can safely play their backup in 40% of the games and expect the team to believe that they have just as good of a chance to win with either masked man at their back.

There are some reasons for concern however:

Kovy looked awful last night. I commented to Morty and Shooter in the third period last night, I was glad to see the Czar LEAVE the ice for the first time ever. He was making bad turnovers, coasting, and just looked like he didn't care except for a few flashes. Something was wrong. Whether it was physical or mental is anyone's guess. Maybe his foot has been hurting.

The team doesn't get more than two days of rest between games again until February. That's a grueling pace that will wear down on the entire team and is going to generate and irritate injuries. This next two months is really going to test the team's endurance and depth.

As I discussed above, that depth is shaky on defense, where we already have a couple of question mark players in the lineup on a regular basis. On the positive side, we're almost certain to get to see Kulda and give Boris another chance in the coming months.

The powerplay is stalling out. Over the past few games, the team appears to be trying too hard to set up the Czar on the powerplay. Other players are passing up shots to try bad passes to Kovy. Other teams have obviously been watching film and have the cross-ice pass figured out, because it's been picked off over and over again this past week.

Hopefully the positives will outweigh the negatives over the coming weeks and the team can climb the standings ladder.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

GAME DAY: Tampa Bay Lightning

pictured above: Vinny and crew at today's morning skate


If the Thrashers manage to win this one, we'll somehow be back in the Top 8.

True story.

In other words, we really HAVE to win this one. The Lightning aren't as good as their position in the standings; doing nothing but raking up overtime loss points eventually becomes unsustainable and you get beaten out by better teams.

And I do think the Thrash are better than the Lightning.

But the Bolts will crave revenge for the home opener, and blah blah blah, etc. etc., and so on and so forth.

I think I'll need an IV to make it through this game.

P.S. To placate any Lightning fans that might be, like, Just So Offended that we would insult the opposing team: Regardless of who wins this evening, I would bet actual sterling that Steven Stamkos scores on us.


A few important thoughts:

- Terrible.

- Moose, though, was pretty much excellent.

- Matt Cooke is an actual example of human smegma that's taught itself to skate. I mean, really: What's the point of knocking down Kovalchuk when you're already wining 3-0? The Czar was right to murder him.

- Penguins fans should be imprisoned for coming to hockey games and burdening others with their disruptive existence. Many of them, of course, can't help their degenerate brains and should only be locked up in friendly mental hospitals.

- The ref's sure do like those Pens.

- In conclusion: Everyone associated with this game, except perhaps Johan Hedberg, should suck a shit-pipe and explode.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Gameday: Pens

If you have been on the fence about the team this year, and have stayed away from Philips waiting for a better team... quit it. There is no better game to come to than a Sat night against the Stanley Cup Champions. So I'll see you there then? Except for our friend Frenchy. He won't be there because Swinging Richards won't let him off work. If you go by there to see him, he dances under the name, "Ladybugz". Oh, and Razor won't be there either. He is getting married tonight, or something like that. Shame on the Chronicle for having such a poor showing tonight.

Anyway, should be lots of fun. Personally, I'd like nothing more than to sneak onto the ice and punch Cindy Crosby over and over again in the testicles. But alas, she doesn't have any. When Sid came into the NHL I tried to not hate him. But the way the league markets him while ignoring others makes my head hurt. Not to mention the fact that he is a little bitch. I don't know if it is still true, but as of last year he STILL lived in Mario Lemieux's basement!!! You are a grown man, who is a multi-multi millionaire. Time to get a place all to your own Cindy.

My goal for the Thrash this game is to see Little get it going. This team could take the next step if he, uhhh.... steps it up. As long as it's not a blow out early, Philips is going to be ROCKIN' tonight. I love games like this, and I know you do too. See you tonight, brothers and sistas!!!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Canuckle Dragger Alert

From TheHockeyWriter's Twitter feed, I was directed to this piece pleading with the league to move teams out of Atlanta, Miami, Tampa, Nashville, Long Island, Columbus, and Phoenix and relocate them in Winnipeg, Quebec City, Seattle, and Hamilton.

Even though it's getting tiresome constantly having to introduce these folks to little things I like to call "logic" and "reason," I replied thusly:


Have you ever been to a game in Nashville, Atlanta, Tampa, or Miami? Attendance is down in Atlanta this year due to chronic losing. However, it is turning around as fans catch on to the exciting on-ice product. Low attendance is a result of not icing a good team, and is not endemic of the market. In Nashville, the town loves their team. Walk into a bar on Broadway any night in a hockey jersey and folks will want to talk Preds. While I haven't personally attended games in Tampa and Miami, I know the stands were full and rocking when their teams were winners. The same could be said for Phoenix back when Tkachuk and Roenick were leading the team to the playoffs on a regular basis.

You could put thirty teams in Canadian towns and attendance numbers would be far better than they currently are across the board. However, the sport would never grow because the thirty-three million people in Canada would be the only ones who ever watched or cared. Maybe that's what you want, but the game is better off with a wider fanbase.

You have a choice there of more fans overall (and more grassroots hockey and thus a wider pool of talent in the future) or fewer fans with a higher percentage actually attending games.

Dallas and Carolina have done great things growing the game in their markets. That's because they had a winning product on the ice for much of the first ten years of their presence. It was easy for them to do so since they were established franchises who moved to a new home. The Panthers, Thrashers, Predators, Lightning, Blue Jackets, and Wild didn't have that advantage. Tampa had great management in the beginning and were able to win a cup in just over 10 years, but have been bottom feeders a couple of years later. The Panthers had a flash in the pan, then have shown ineptitude of monumental proportions since. The Wild were put in a hockey-crazy market and had good management to build a winning franchise quickly. The Jackets and Thrashers have both struggled to put winning products on the ice but have both recently shown signs that patience is paying off, and fanbases are growing accordingly.

Hockey teams belong in markets that can grow the game. I'm all for further expansion to bring the game to KC, Quebec City, and Winnepeg if that will help hockey gain in overall global popularity and will make the game more exciting.

The whole point of expanding into the Southern US was to introduce the game to people who hadn't been exposed to hockey before. As great as our game is, it's not going to win everyone over immediately. That is especially true when those folks are presented with a losing team. Denver was one of the best hockey cities in the world for years after the Nordiques became the Avalanche. Now the arena is a ghost town. Is it because hockey doesn't belong in Colorado? Or is it because people, especially in a recession, only pay for tickets when they think their team is going to leave them feeling good about what they just watched on their way out the door?

Deep Thoughts

The Thrashers should cancel the defeat-causing, universally disliked third jerseys (okay, maybe not universally; I'm sure there's someone, somewhere, who likes them) and hold a contest for fans to design a kick-ass new one. Amiright?

Also, Maxim Afinogenov is a great man. Not only is he a quality player, but he seems like a super-nice guy. HOWEVER, recently the Chronicle photographic unit caught him during a particularly intense moment:

At times, the man can be downright intimidating.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Who Laughs This Way Ho Ho Ho

A wild game. A standings point we probably shouldn't have gotten, but then again totally deserved. Afinogenov, Enstrom, and Kovalchuk continuing to produce. Pavelec playing solid.

Most heartening of all, perhaps: a great big crowd by Thursday night standards. I haven't seen a crowd that big and that loud in a while. It was a rush of manic collective energy, especially in the third period. I wanted to hug and kiss every person there (even the annoying Bruins fans) when Afinogenov scored the late tying goal. The resulting multi-player pile-up was beautiful.

Many reasons to feel good. Don't fret about the silly shootout (WHY didn't Kozlov go wide?).

If you are upset, here's a very early piece of Christmas entertainment, which Bob Dylan just released as a Thanksgiving present, to all of us.

Too soon?

P.S. Those hideous third jerseys should have been murdered in their crib long ago, but surely it's high time we got rid of them. Not only are they ugly, but they lead to losses. This needs to be rectified.

GAME DAY: Boston Bruins

(updated many a time below)

Got to get these game-day posts in early these days.

The Bruins have been injured and stricken with the pig flu quite a bit lately, which is preventing them---at the moment---from being as awesome as they were last season. Milan Lucic and that Marc Savard fella have been out with injuries, but there is talk that both of them might be ready to play just in time for tonight. Lucic in particular is a "game time decision," so we'll keep you updated as the long day wanes.

Me? I'd like to see the Thrashers win 5 in a row, and then even more games in a row. Not sure whether Bryan Little will be back in the fold tonight, but if he is I can see him re-igniting against the Bruins. Again, there will be updates.

Oh hey why not watch this video of comical Bruins-related folk like Jack Edwards and Mike Milbury talk all about the Atlanta Thrashers? It's actually quite good. Pedobear would approve.

UPDATE: No Lucic tonight, though it looks like Savard made the trip. We only know this thanks to the Chronicle's long-standing friend and ally the Artist Formerly Known as Maali, now paying tribute to the no-matter-how-popular-he-was-he's-actually-quite-underrated LL Cool J as "Around the Way Girl." Thank you, double agent!

UPDATE II: The Twitter speaks, I only record:

No Savard and no Lucic!

UPDATE III: Massive props to the Thrashers video folks. They've been doing an absolutely, no qualifications, excellent job this season.

UPDATE IV: According to ESPN, Lucic didn't make the initial trip but apparently he'll be joining his team before game-time. He is still, though, a "game-time decision." As are Little and Kubina.

UPDATE V: We have, thanks heavens, the Mullet Seal of Approval.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Custance Talks With Kozy About Kovy

Link here.

For those too lazy to click, Kozlov says that he doesn't know whether Kovy will sign or not, but he hopes so. He says he's heard rumors of ridiculous money from the KHL, but Kovy really wants to win the Stanley Cup.

The "money quote" (pun semi-intended): "if Atlanta wants to sign him, they have to give a good deal – a great deal."

I don't think that's ever been an issue. Even the Spirit group must know that Kovy is going to demand - and is completely worth - astronomical money. If not the 20% of the cap which is the most any single player can make under the current CBA, then very close to it. He wants Ovechkin money and he will get it. He is going to choose from whom he takes that paycheck.

Keep winning games. Show Kovy that he will raise the Stanley Cup in a Thrasher uniform if he stays. That's how to get this deal done.

For the record, I predict that if the Thrashers have twice as many wins as losses after the 25 game mark in the season, that should be enough to convince the Czar that we're his ticket to the Cup and legendary status.

Heck, how about signing a 10 year deal, winning an Olympic gold medal, then captaining the Thrashers to a Cinderella Story Stanley Cup this season? Think that's too much for one guy in one year? See Sakic, Joe.


In other news, Boris is headed to the Wolves "for conditioning." Thanks to his injury, the team was able to politely say that he needs conditioning rather than "he's not good enough to play in the NHL." Then again, I would argue the same could be said for Christoph Schubert. Maybe somebody is desperate enough for goaltending depth (hello, Mr. Burke!) that we can trade Kari for someone solid to put on the blueline in that sixth spot.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

How to Market That Russian Fella?

Reading the old Puck Daddy this morning. Reading the interview with the new co-owner of the Florida Panthers. Reading this:

P. Diddy: It's an interesting concept you've hinted at: That there are very few players in the current NHL that you could acquire and then market to a general sports fan as a gate attraction. Look at the Atlanta Thrashers: They have a legit star in Ilya Kovalchuk(notes), but what does that mean for a general sports fan in Atlanta? Is he Ovechkin to them, or just a guy with a funny name?

Panthers Dude: That's a good example, right? That one superstar, arguably one of the top 10 players in the League. And the market doesn't know who he is, or they're not marketing him properly.

Obviously, this is something that puzzles us all. Atlanta has one of the greatest and most exciting hockey players in the world playing right here, but very few people in the area know his name. WHY?

To me, the answer is stupid-simple. Kovalchuk won't be popular in Atlanta until hockey is popular in Atlanta. Hockey won't be popular in Atlanta until the Thrashers put together a good season and hopefully a good post-season. I really have a hard time believing that people aren't interested simply because he's a Russian with a--horror of horrors--Russian name. The professional football leagues in Europe are full of players from all over the place, most of whom don't play in their home countries. No one cares, as long as they're good. Obviously, the English prefer English soccer heroes, the French get excited about French stars, etc. But no FC Barcelona fan is going to ignore Thierry Henry or Lionel Messi because they're French and Argentine, respectively, instead of Spanish.

The reason for this? People there are football-crazy, and Henry and Messi are good football players.

So, to me, it really is as simple as that. Kovalchuk will be popular when the Thrashers are popular, and that will happen only, and I do mean only, when they get on a roll. Which, we're finding out, is possible.

The Thrashers marketing department is still terrible though. Marketing that right? Is there such thing as a "Thrashers marketing department?" Or do they use some ad agency staffed entirely by fifth-graders? Need to get the Short-Handed Mole on it.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Q and A

Well, it was a fine Thrashers weekend, was it not? You can't help but be thrilled with the Thrashers' play these last four games, and even better: we here at the Chronicle have a good feeling that they'll keep this up. So hooray!

About the attendance, which some can't stop talking about in the most depressing feces-flinging way: perhaps I'm succumbing to myopia, but I thought Friday's crowd rocked. Large, loud, and impressive. Sunday's a different story, of course, what with all the silly things people spend their time on on Sundays. Needless to say, the seats will fill as the Thrash continue to win. Friday's game is a sign of things to come, I think. Reminded me of 06-07.

And who knows? Maybe the Thrashers should abolish the absentee corporate seating thing that makes our lower bowl look so empty.

Another thing that will happen as the Thrashers continue to win, and is in fact already happening, right this minute, as you stare into the Internet, is that questions we all had going into this season are going to be answered.

Because we went into this season with a few questions marks. Not nearly as many as we did in the year previous (Erik Christensen? Jason Williams?), but there were still question marks.

Did Moose have anything left to offer? The Chronicle said yes.

Would Mad, Meticulous Max Afinogenov be a good addition? We said yes.

Power of accurate prediction is just one more reason to nominate us for Greatest Very Large Sports Blog East of the Mississippi. For your services, Big Shooter might ask his newest friend, Peter Bondra of "Peter Bondra" fame, to consider becoming YOUR friend too. And, as ever, there are screenplay benefits.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Polite Request

I know that there're a ton of blogs in the hockey blogosphere, and a gazillion more in the overall sports blogosphere.

Some of them are pretty great. A sizable minority of them, in fact.


We do a lot for you, don't we?

So you ever wanna, you know, go get some ice cream...and, uh, nominate us for something. That'd be cool.

If you don't think we're worthy of doing battle with other nominees for Best Sports Blog, at least nominate us for Best Religious Blog or Best Military/Gun Blog. You know, SOMETHING.

For your cooperation, you will all receive advance printings of THE ADVENTURES OF TEN GALLON DICK for Christmas. Or in eight installments for Hanukkah, if that's your thing.

Lest We Forget

Today, November 15th anno domini 2009, Big Shooter actually met the actual Peter Bondra, who was at the game this afternoon, in person, as Peter Bondra, scouting his compatriots Hemsky and Visnovsky for the Slovakian Olympic team, of which he is GM.


It Was A Good Day

3-2 win over the Oilers. 10-2 over the past two games. 4 game winning streak. 10-6-1 over all. Back in the playoff picture. Kozlov finally scored a goal, Peverly and Fins continued their streaks.

I brought my nephews, ages 3 and 6, to their first ever hockey game today. Thankfully, it was a good game and a win. Before the game I told them about Zach Bogosian, and the whole game the 3 year old kept asking me "Is Zach winning?" In the third period he actually started chanting "Go, Zach, Go!" The 6 year old told his dad that he wants to be a hockey player when he grows up. Good job, Thrashers, I think you won over two new fans.

It is my belief that if the team can prove to their captain that the latter third of last season was not a fluke, but rather a trend for the future, he will sign a long term contract. That last third of the season, the team won twice as many games as they lost. After 17 games this season, the team is sitting at 10-6-1. I believe that if the team can extend the current streak to 6 and reach a record of 12-6-1 (twice as many wins as losses for the mathologically challenged), Kovy will be satisfied and sign. Maybe I'm dreaming and maybe not. If the team can pull off wins against the Bruins and Penguins Thursday and Saturday we'll find out.

It was good to see the Speaker and Krisabelle at the game. The Speaker of Truth was kind enough to join in my nephew's "Go, Zach Go" chant by adding "yeah, Zach, go get on the ice" since Bogo was actually on the bench at the time.

Gameday: Oilers

As loyal readers, you may know that the Oilers are Big Shooter's SECOND favorite team in the hockey NHL. Heck, the enitre Chronicle staff has even been to Edmonton to take in a game (minus the Short Handed Mole, he and I can't be in the same room due to a court order). Always a good time for me when the Oil come to town.

They play a similar game to the Thrash. Up tempo, fast skaters that don't mind trading chances up and down the ice. Ales Hemsky has all the talent in the world, but they can't seem to find anyone to play with him. I'm not sold on the whole Dustin Penner thing. Does he have talent, yes. I just don't see him keeping it up. In every interview he likes to talk about how the reason for his resurgence is the coaching change. He doesn't take any blame for himself, why should he? All he did was show up for both training camps fat. This means that MacT's delicious pies he customarily makes for all of his players in the offseason are to blame. I hear Pat Quinn is not so great in the kitchen, thus Penner is reborn.

ANYWAY, should be a very entertaining game to watch today. The Oil are not all that physical, so some of our smaller guys should have a chance to do some damage. Am I the only one that takes comfort the year has gone pretty well so far with a combined 2 goals from Little, Kozlov, and Antropov? And it has gone so well with Kovy missing 6 games. I get the sense that we could be close to taking off. Three game win streak... keep up the winning and I believe a Kovy signing should be in the near future. If the boys were ever going to put together an extending winning streak, THIS IS THE TIME TO DO IT. I beg of you boys, keep it rolling and the Czar will be ours forever! Forever! DO YOU HEAR ME... FOREVER!!


Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Revival of Maxim Afinogenov, Ross McKeon's Curious Blindness, and Other Things

Something that needs to be emphasized over and over again, if you ask me, is just how well Maxim Afinogenov is playing these days. He's clearly re-discovered his mojo in Atlanta, and it's clear that he's a million times happier and more confident now than he was towards the end of his tenure in Buffalo. Being away from terrifying Lindy Ruff certainly helps, but most of all, it seems, he's enjoying playing with Kovalchuk and Antropov. The Perestroika Line is flourishing; those three guys simply love playing together.

It's well worth reading a write-up over at SB Nation Sabres blog Die By The Blade about this very subject. A snippet:

I've made it a habit to follow the play of former Sabre representatives once they've found a home elsewhere. And Max's numbers have spoken wonders: 16 points in as many games; ahead of any Buffalo forward currently. I knew his window was closing in 2009 and that he'd be heading away but I also felt he wasn't as awful as his statistics were in those latter stages.


Watching Baby Bure perform today, you can tell he's regained his confidence and most importantly, is happy where he is. I can't speak for everyone, but I'm happy for Maxim Afinogenov too.


From our News of the Weird section: I'm sorry, I can't help but find occasional Puck Daddy contributor Ross McKeon's "3 stars" post from last night pretty strange. As much as I enjoy insulting active Thrash-haters, I usually try to avoid the "but what about us?" special pleading/whining that you occasionally hear about hockey commentators ignoring the team, never mentioning them, etc. But this post is a horse of an entirely different color. How, after a bravura 7-0 demolition of a super-talented and hot L.A. Kings team, can a hockey analyst ignore Pavelec entirely, and only mention Kovalchuk, Afinogenov, and Kane in passing? It's odd. I suppose I shouldn't speculate about what motivates this kind of thing.

Oh well. I suppose living well is the best revenge.

Did That Just Happen? 7-0?


Really, has anyone seen anything like that before? I just don't have the words. I would, however, like to apologize to everyone sitting below us in the lower bowl, for what was the most glorious beer spillage of all time. After one of the goals, Frenchy and I stand up to scream. Well, his shoulder hits my elbow, and what ensued you would really have to see to believe. The entire FULL beer goes flying out of my hands, jumps up in the air like Old Faithful, and continues all the way down to the lower bowl where it splashed all of the handicap seating. Like any responsible adult, I immediately sit down in my seat so as not to be identified. And keeping with the code of the spilled beer, Frenchy replaced my beer and we all lived happily ever after.

That is until I went out after the game and returned to the Georgia Bar Association parking lot only to find that it is locked down with my car inside. Has anyone else ever had this happen before? It is now Sat AM, and I still can't get my car. Shouldn't they, well you know... HAVE A SIGN THAT SAYS IF YOU ARE NOT BACK THEY WILL STEAL YOUR CAR?!?!??!?!?!?! Never parking there again.

Oh yeah, those Thrashers have won 3 in a row and kicked the crap out of those Kings, so it was a successful night indeed. After all that excitement, I need a breather:

Friday, November 13, 2009


I don't know about you, readers, but I think "Los Angeles Kings" is a hilarious misnomer, because no one who's ever played on that team has ever, at any time, been King of Los Angeles. In fact, no human ever has. What morons!

But seriously, if L.A. had a king, who would it be? Philip Marlowe? Henry Rollins? Harvey Weinstein?

Anze Kopitar might be a good candidate for "King of L.A. but kind of a Slovenian usurper," what with all his goals and points this season.

Which leads us to the central point: the Kings are damn good this year. GM feller Dean Lombardi has been criticized a bit for not making the playoffs at all recently, but it's clear enough that all this time he was patiently building---mostly through the draft, though lately with some truly ace trades---a monster. Now it's fully formed and ready to kill us all.

But the Thrashers can totally win this game, because with Kovalchuk in the fold they're awesome, right? Which brings me to today's "In Praise Of..." section.

This game day, we would like to praise last night's dazzling effort against the New York Rangers. I could watch the replay of Evander Kane's goal, complete with awesome pass from Rich Peverley, exactly 10 million times. Same with Peveley's power play goal: one-timer blast from Kovalchuk, bounce off of an Antropov-screened Lundqvist, straight to the Pevs Dispenser and then into the net. Beautiful.

As some of our commenters have already pointed out, the level of confidence goes up quite a bit when the Czar's around. There were some imperfections, but I'd wager that last night's game was the most complete, most confident game the Thrash have played this season. And it was the most entertaining: lots of goals, including strikes from the Superstar on each team; a hellacious Boulton vs. Brashear fight; and Zach Bogosian ruining Ryan Callahan's evening. Say, with his mustache doesn't Bogo look like he should be quietly selling arms in a low-lit, slightly grubby cafe?

Anyway, it was a real cool time.

As for the bout tonight: Kings blogger Rudy Kelly, a great among greats at the great blog Battle of California, is a huge Kovalchuk fan and is mighty stoked about tonight's game:

Just think of it: Kopitar v. Kovalchuk; Doughty v. Bogosian; Fro v. Maxim...


UPDATE: DO check out Mr. Kelly's official game day post.

Game Day: LA Kings

The Kings are off to a great start this season and sit at 4th in the West for now. Anze Kopitar has 14 goals. They also have that Doughty kid that Canadians pretend is as good as Zach Bogosian.

Let's hope the momentum from the Czar's return last night on Broadway carries over.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Live and Kinda-Live Blog: ATL vs. NYR

Our guest Ranger Fan is stuck at work and will be watching the game on TiVo. As such, I will be live-blogging alone and will add in his comments after he watches the game later.

15 minutes left in the 1st: My dog had unplugged the DSL, so I am late posting. The game is already 1-1 and Boulton is taking a beating from Donald Brashear. Boults got in a few shots at the end to even the fight out.

Great play by Kane to get the puck on the tape of Army for the first goal. Atlanta finally gets on the board first in a game. Bad break after that with some Russian I've never heard of bouncing one off Moose, then off Little's skate and in.

The Czar's Movember Mustashe is scary.

HOLY COW what a save by MOOSE on Prospal right in front! The boys need to start playing defense sometime this season.

14:00 1st: Oh yeah, our questions have all been answered. Kovy, Gabby, King Henrik, and Kane all playing.

BOGO DROPS THE GLOVES! And man, is he whaling on this poor, unsuspecting Ranger kid! OH< IT WAS CALLAHAN! Hard to recognize him with Bogosian's fist covering up his face.

12:00 ist: Darren Elliot just read my mind commenting about all of these Rangers I've never heard of.

SCHUBERT WITH A GREAT CHANCE! How the heck did he get out in front like that? Too bad he can't finish. As a guy who used to sit next to us at games would've said, "wrong guy."

11:15 ist: Henry STONES Fins! What a great play to get him the puck. Fins has got to get that up in that situation.

Two great 19 year olds wearing #4 here in this game. Del Zotto and Bogosian are both having great years and play like 10 year veterans.

Gaborik loks totally different as a blueshirt. I remember being in Minnesota for the World Cup of Hockey and hearing a group of Slovaks walking through the concourse singing "Marion Gaborik" to the tune of "Let's Go _______"

8:48 1st: Shubert takes a bad penalty. Thanks a lot Andy Sutton 2.0.

Gaborik ended up on what should have been a breakaway but he fanned on the shot and Ron OMGIRH Hainsey made a play! Should have gotten the puck away but the follow up man got a shot away and MOOOOOOSSE! made the save! Like I said, Defense. Sometime this season. It's coming.

6:04 1st: Great shift by the Perestroika Line. Kovy was all over the ice. Fins has to learn that the net is 8 feet narrower than his aim.


No more powerplay... Todd White for high sticking, and wow is Mostachioed Kovy upset.

4 on 4 and my dog chooses now to knock over my rum and coke. She is not on board with this liveblog idea.

KOVY WITH A CHANCE! Only a hook kept the puck out of the net. 4-3 powerplay.

I missed it thanks to the dog's antics, but Big Shooter just called to tell me that Darren Elliot just referred to Peverly as the Pevs Dispenser! I have never been so proud.

30 seconds to go: Amazing 2-0, but Fins can't finish. How many times have Sabres fans said that over the years?

End of the period: Bogo with a rocket a bit wide. The first period felt like it was tilted heavily in the Thrashers' favor. More next period.

2ND PERIOD-----------

Oh my god, I never want to hear Matt McConnell do a Boston accent again.

The Rangers' goal in the first period was scored by Artisimov. I think that's the name of a Russian date rape drug.

18:00 in the 2nd: Great save by Lundqvist on Fins. And if you're wondering, I'm going to keep calling him that so I don't have to try to spell his name.

The Pevs Dispenser draws a penalty! Ok, so it was Army, but I wanted to mention Peverly.

ALL I HAD TO DO WAS WAIT!!!!!!! Peverly with the powerplay goal off a rebound! He actually banked it off a defender. His 8th goal this year! What a waiver pickup by DW.

Boulton getting chippy again in the corner. Smartly not dropping the gloves when the Thrashers are up by a goal. Don't want to give the other guys a chance to steal momentum.

Cunneyworth makes his mustache look good.

Even though he took a beating from Bogosian earlier, you really have to love Ryan Callahan. American kid, plays hard every shift. I'd love to see him in a role playing position on Team USA in February.

13:40 in the 2nd: Toby with a nice heads up play jumping up and batting the puck away with his hand to keep it away from the net. Anyone else could have reached out without having to jump, of course.

Antropov has to learn to shoot the puck.

Bogosian makes so many things just look easy. He makes room for himself using moves that look like they just shouldn't fool NHL caliber players, but they do.

7:39 in the 2nd: A little pressure here from the Rangers. So far nothing in the way of real quality scoring chances, but they'll come if the Thrashers don't get control of the puck back.

AAARGH!! Great give and go between Kovy and Fins but they DON'T FINISH! Nobody wants to shoot the puck!

Kovy shoots it this time and strikes iron!

Penalty coming on Armstrong after a great play by the Pevs Kane Army line. I think it's cheap to call a penalty on a guy who swipes at the puck and happens to also catch a guy's skates. What do you think Shooter?

The "For Every King, a Crown" ad campaign is clever, but Crown Royal is for Canadians and other people who aren't man enough to enjoy their whiskey. If it's not from Kentucky, Scotland, or Ireland it's not worth drinking.

5:00 in the 2nd: Great clearing effort on his stomach by Marty the Party.

Gaborik with a nice goal. He was handcuffed on his shot and still got plenty on it to beat Moose. 2-2 game. Maybe he pulled his groin on the celebration.

Thrashers coming out after the goal with a bit of a defeated look to their stride. Hope they can shake that off and buckle down.

Kid's Day this Sunday at Philips. Have to remember to double Morty's tourette's medication.

WOAH! Kubina really screwed the pooch defensively there but Moose came up huge with a save!

Callahan upended a Thrasher and ruined a 2 on 1 chance for the Rangers. Powerplay Thrahesrs.

Brian Boyle in the box for the Rangers. God, I wish he played for us. I used to love watching him play for Boston College.

CZARED!!!!!!!!!!!!! Kovy with a classic zipline to the top corner! 3-2 Thrashers.

Wow. That mustache. Kovy. **Shiver**

OH MY GOD!!!! What a play by whoever that was on the boards to steal the clearing attempt and hit Evander Kane in front of the net!

It was the Pevs Dispenser. Shoulda known.

1:15 left in the 2nd: 4-2 Thrashers.

Hey, Antro shot the puck! He needs more practice. Missed the net.

McConnel: "Unable to put it home was [Fins]." Again, a very familiar phrase.

End of the 2nd period: Talk about stealing the momentum! 20 more minutes to go!

3rd Period--------------

Bogosian takes a penalty on a trip. Unintentional, but a call that had to be made. Powerplay to the Rangers.

How smart a player is Rich Peverly? He can't get enough ice time.

Nice blast from Rosival, but Hedberg saw it all the way and closed down on it.

A near miss by the Rangers after the powerplay had ended. Good save by Moose and some luck that the Blueshirts couldn't get wood on the rebound.

"Avery got it in behind." Too easy.

13:42 in the 3rd: Rangers bring it to within 1. Kotalik with a boomer from the point; Moose can't control the rebound and Big Brian Boyle reacts quickly enough to bury it.

The "Let's Go Rangers" cheer reminds me: did you know that in England instead of saying "Let's go" they say "Come on?" I was there during the Soccer World Cup and they would yell "Come on England!" It is like they are pleading with their team not to suck. Actually that would have been an appropriate cheer for the Thrashers during most of our 10 year existence.

Is Antro that slow or is he just not trying?

10:16 left in the 3rd: Atlanta's play looking a little sloppy here.

Schubert takes another penalty and gives the Rangers a chance to tie the game on the powerplay halfway through the third period. This is not the way to secure your spot in the lineup. Yeah, you're better than Boris Valabik, but who isn't?

WOAH! Bogosian has the worst mustache of them all!! But impressive that a 19 year old can grow one that well.

9:20 in the 3rd: That was out.

HOLY RINGING IRON BATMAN! That's all Moose gave 'em.

Del Zotto gets a 9 from the East German judges for a beautiful dive!

Yeah, looks like they're both going to go.

Good pick off by Kaner.

Powerplay is expired and we're back to 5 on 5 with 2 men in the box on coincidental minors.

MOOOSE! But what the hell was that center by the defender afterwards!?!?

Brian Boyle and Antro jawing at each other. Not much chance of anybody's gloves dropping there. Lots of size, not much aggression in that matchup.

Seriously, has Slava Kozlov done anything but use up Evander Kane's ice time this season?

5:00 left in the 3rd: Atlanta hanging on to a 1 goal lead here late. Action at both ends of the ice for the past several minutes.

Is that Bronson Pinchot in that Fantasy Five Easy Match commercial?

Scoring chances in the third period 11-1 Rangers. Sounds like some our recent 1st period efforts.

2:15 in the 3rd: My heart just stopped seeing the puck hit the outside of the net. Great job by Moose locking it down.

Empty net! I want a Moosegoal!!!!!

Another icing. That wouldn't have been icing back under the old rules with the half circle crease. Back then if it went through the crease it wasn't icing.


5-3 Thrashers with 12 seconds left, and the team will stay a couple games above .500.

And that's the game!

See you tomorrow night in Philips!

In Praise of...John Anderson's Mustache

The tone here at the Chronicle can occasionally lean towards the acid and the impolite, so we thought we'd institute a new, affirmative tradition. Every game day, we've decided, one of us will pay tribute to some unique feature of the Thrashers, or perhaps hockey in general, that you can't find elsewhere.

We shall inaugurate this new feature with a post in praise of John Anderson's fabled, influential mustache.

picture above stolen from Aaron at BWA

I mean, just look at it. It's glorious and walrus-like. What more do you want out of a mustache?

Another great thing about the Ander'stache: it's like a great cult band that didn't get extremely popular, but had all kinds of influence because its fans all started their own cool bands.

To be more specific: Coach Anderson told Big Shooter and me, in person, that his walrus 'stache was the reason Lanny McDonald grew HIS more recognizable mustache. Like the secrets of alchemy, this is arcane but very enriching knowledge.

The best part? The Coach is re-growing his famous 'stache---that glory of Toronto, Chicago, and now Atlanta---for MOvember. It's great that he's making this gesture of solidarity with cancer charities, but I honestly hope he'll keep it even when MOvember comes to an end.

Long may it flourish.

Game Day: NY Rangers

In honor of Veterans' Day yesterday, we will forgo our usual comedic imagery in favor of this tribute to the U.S. Army Rangers who scaled the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc in Normandy on D-Day.

An interesting fact: the New York Rangers are not named for the U.S. Army Rangers, but rather for the Texas Rangers. In the early part of the 20th century, the team was owned by a New Yorker whose nickname was "Tex." A local newspaperman began calling the team "Tex's Rangers" and the name stuck.

Will the Czar be on the ice or not? Will King Henrik be on the ice or not? And how is Gaborik's groin feeling? All these questions will be addressed tonight at Madison Square Garden.

Stay tuned to the Chronicle for a liveblog with myself and a guest Ranger fan tonight during the game.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


The plot, it thickens. SURELY he's not up there just to make an appearance in a Brighton Beach nightclub, right?


So I check my email.

Something from the Thrashers.

At first I read it as "Kovalchuk signing." My scream was loud and giddy.

UPDATE: Dam Kamal and Ben Wright both say that Kovy won't play tomorrow night in New York. Kamal says it's possible he'll return Friday against the Kings.

The Chelios is the Most Dignified of Instrument/Cereal Hybrids

(now with more stuff below!)

Is this necessary?

More news items, you say?

- First of all, Ilya Kovalchuk is confusing everyone. According to Ben Wright's Twitter feed, he practiced this morning but left the ice a bit early, and is "probably messing with the media." Why does he hate us so?

- Maybe we should check Chris Vivlamore's beat blog. Hmmmm, whatsitsay? AH HA, details: [Kovalchuk] was on the ice before the start of practice, dressed and skating. It looks like his foot responded well after yesterday’s practice. However, as practice started he left the ice and Rich Peverley put on a yellow practice jersey along with Nik Antropov and Max Afinogenov. I think it was planned because the extra yellow jersey was already on the bench. I will verify everything after practice." Please do, sir!

- Also, this: Evander Kane is back at practice. He missed Tuesday’s workout to have his foot examined. He is skating and shows no signs of being slowed by a shot off the foot he took Sunday.

- And, um, this: Boris Valabik is also dressed and skating.

- If you take a short golf-cart drive around the blogosphere, you'll see that everyone's favorite fan from Dacula is trying to convince a hockey neophyte (real? imaginary? a talking LOLcat?) to choose the Atlanta Thrashers as "his" team. The Thrashers' short but dramatic history is a primary factor, as is the the nobility in being able to say you've suffered through all the highs and lows of this team's struggles.

- Rawhide is all like, "Math math math math math math." I can't read numbers, so if someone could read his post for me and give it to me in Cliff Notes I'll be much obliged.

- Via Kukla's Korner, an interesting Remembrance Day news item: Carey Price will be wearing a special commemorative helmet tonight, complete with rows of red poppies and lines from that "In Flanders Fields" poem. Now, we all know the McCrae poem is moving. But last year (mainly because today last year was the 90th anniversary of the Armistice) I tried to introduce the planet Earth to some other (better) war/fallen soldier/WWI-in-particular poems that aren't as popular. You can go look at my old anthology post if you wish, but today's official TBC Veteran's Day/ Remembrance thing is this. Do click.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Update on the Czar

As reported below by Big Shooter (via Vivlamore), Kovalchuk participated in full practice today. After seeing Viv's twitter update, I saddled up and headed to Duluth to see the Czar's progress with my own eyes and report it to you.

Kovy appeared to be skating perfectly normally and participated in all the drills I watched. The couple of caveats were that in a drill in which a forward and defenseman battled along the boards, Popovic conspicuously laid off Kovy while others battled in earnest. In maneuvering however, Kovalchuk didn't seem to favor either foot. On one stop (on the right foot) I thought I noticed him stutter step away, but that could have been my imagination. He later skated around gliding on the bad foot and continued to make turns and stops on it with no apparent problem.

Ben Wright has updated his Twitter page with a note that Coach Anderson is 95% sure the Czar will be in the lineup with the Thrashers take to the ice in Madison Square Garden Thursday night.

Obviously getting Kovalchuk back this quickly (and posting a 3-3 record without him) is a big boost to the team. The Rangers' biggest star, Henrik Lundqvist, is questionable for Thursday night, so the team has an opportunity for a big morale boost.

The one bit of bad news from practice is that Evander Kane was nowhere to be seen. Chris Vivlamore informed me that someone posted a comment on his site that they thought Evander took a puck off the foot and came up injured Sunday.

Kovy Takes Part In Practice

According to Vivs. Our very own Razor Catch Prey is on the scene and hopefully will have a report of his own.


Just spoke with Razor: The Czar is wonderful. Looked to be going full speed, stopping and turning with seemingly no problems. It is Razor's opinion that as long as the foot doesn't swell up after he takes his skate off, Kovy should be back Sunday at the latest, but he wouldn't be surprised to see him on Thursday. And if you can't trust Razor Catch Prey's medical opinion, then whose can you trust?


According to Vivs blog (the link above), John Anderson says Kovy is 95% chance of playing Thursday. Yes, this proves Razor Catch Prey is now a Doctor. God help us all.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Mid-Morning Briefing

We all like looking at pandas and their mixed drinks, but sometimes you just have to move on and click various news items.

- Manny Legace has signed with our notorious enemies the Carolina Hurricanes. Cam Ward going down for "a month" has something to do with this. Would using Legace have been useful for the Thrashers? Probably not, given how Pavelec and Moose have performed, but I'm sure any lingering What If's will be answered by his play with the Canes. This is great news for the Thrashers, etc.

- Ilya Kovalchuk is still out. This, too, is great news for the Thrashers.

- It actually IS great news that the Thrashers' D can score so much, but sometimes I can't help but gaze wistfully out the window and remember the days when our forwards could score as well.

- The blogosphere got a big scoop yesterday when Puck Daddy reported that Alex Ovechkin would be out for awful lot longer than the Washington Capitals organization says he will be. The Caps organization is disputing the claim (made by Ovechkin himself in an interview with Dmitry Chesnokov), but some wonder if the Caps are simply in denial and/or want to conceal the nature of Ovie's injury from the public. A company wanting to control the free flow of information like this should be surprising, to some.

- People are FLIPPING OUT about the Red Wings' disappointing play this season.

- Hall of Fame stuff happens today. Steve Yzerman, Brett Hull, Luc Robitaille, Brian Leetch, and Lou Lamoriello. True fact: Luc Robitaille was a player in the very first hockey game I ever watched. This sort of thing makes sense, because it was a Los Angeles Kings vs. Toronto Maple Leafs game. Yes sir, it was.

- Do you like shootouts, saloon girls, strange meetings aboard trains speeding through the desert? Then you'll love Chronicle Entertainment's forthcoming production, tentatively titled...well, we're not sure yet. We do know that autumn is the time of year when the big studios bring out their Oscar candidates, though, and this one is ours. I would describe it as a mix of John Ford and Howard Hawks and John Waters. Be ready.

- Also, remember: great big hockey sale over at Fire Wagon Hockey! Everything must go!

Sunday, November 8, 2009


If you're familiar with the Chronicle, readers, you know that Ron "OMGIRH" Hainsey and Marty "the Party" Reasoner are the two most important players on the Atlanta Thrashers.

I have to admit I was asleep during most of the game today, but I was delighted to be awaken by the achievements of these two men. I was even more delighted to win in the shootout, thanks to Slava Kozlov and Rich Peverley.

The Thrashers won, and the kids love it, so hooray! Let's hope it means something.

GAME DAY: St. Louis Blues

Yup. The St. Louis Blues. Traffic apocalypse in downtown ATL today.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


Waste of time.

Did any of you actually watch the whole thing, instead of turning on the DVD player?

Very difficult to care in any deep and serious way at this point. The Thrashers have revealed, after 10 years of existence, that their primary purpose on Earth is to supply the basis for a Chronicle-authored western movie.

I'm sure that, in the coming hours and days, we'll be hearing from certain quarters about how this humiliating loss is actually great news for the Thrashers, how past Thrashers teams would have lost 6-0 instead of 6-3, how they didn't give up, Progress, we're very close, etc.