Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Vital Questions

What causes the Thrashers to play so erratically?

Could it be the recent ultra-spike of Pig Flu cases here in Georgia?

Someone ought to do a study.

P.S. There is still no way we're making the playoffs. I ask again: what does 9th place mean for this team? Should we consider this season a modest success, business as usual, or a disaster?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Walls are Closing In Again (Oh Well)*

So last night the Thrashers offered up a first seder of actual shit, but the Bruins lost too, so, um, hm?

Tonight they play the Toronto fellas. I can't be bothered to do a proper game day post; perhaps someone else will indulge you.

The Boston fellas also play tonight, against the New Jerseyians. Maybe the Thrashers just didn't want to tie for 8th last night; maybe they're a more Tuesday-philic team.

Does any of this matter, though? As all of you well know, Boston would get the tie-breaker in the event of a Thrashers win and a Bruins loss. And I don't really see this situation changing, which is to say, I don't foresee a Bruins collapse. Or a Philly collapse, come to that.

So, on to the question that actually does matter: what does 9th place mean for this team?


Monday, March 29, 2010

Double the Game Day Nonsense

Hahahahahahaha, it's happened again.

Game day post 1 and game day post 2.

Choose your own adventure.

Game Day: Canes

According to the website, the above picture is actually of a cane made from a bull's penis. Of course I had no choice but to make that today's representation of our opponents. And before you chastise me for associating our opposition with virility, remember that it had to be cut off before it could be made into a cane.

The boys did a great job on Saturday in Raleigh in front of an impressive turnout of Thrashers fans who made the 5 hour trek up I-85. John Anderson's Come-to-Big-Shooter-meeting must have done some good. We'll see how long it lasts.

Last night, Ilya Kovalchuk was in effect playing for Atlanta again, as he faced the Flyers who were just two points ahead of the Thrashers. Unfortunately for us, an over-the-hill Martin Brodeur was also playing for us last night, so we now sit four points behind the Flyers with one game in hand.

Montreal and Philly are both idle tonight, so if the Thrashers can defeat Carolina tonight, then they will sit just two points out of 6th place.

That's right, that's a 6 (six).

Don't get too excited now. While they would be just 2 points back of 6th place Philly/Montreal (and maybe Boston if they win tonight), the Thrashers would still be in 9th place. If Boston loses tonight and the Thrashers win, then both teams will have 80 points, but Boston will hold the advantage in tie breakers (games in hand and head to head record, both teams would have identical w-l-otl records).

However, wouldn't that outlook be promising with 6 games left and only needing to get one more point than Boston, or two more points than Philly to make the playoffs?

Non-Thrasher games to watch this week:

Monday- Buffalo at Boston
Tuesday- Boston at New Jersey
Wednesday- Carolina at Montreal
Thursday- Philly at NY Islanders
Florida at Boston
Friday- Montreal at Philly
Saturday- Boston at Toronto
Buffalo at Montreal
Sunday- Detroit at Philly

I'm walking unknown territory/ Where the sun's not shining. GAME DAY: Carolina Hurricanes

Why, we played the Canes just the other day, didn't we? We would have done an official game day post for Saturday's game, but your Chronicle editor decided to abandon the Internet this past weekend (every now and then it's good to exile yourself from the tyranny of computer screens) and the other typists here are simple derelicts.

The Thrashers won, though, so hooray! Goals from just about everyone, plus a Moose shutout, as you might have seen. Like I've said before, every time I officially give up hope on the Thrashers, they manage to win. Therefore I'll give up hope for tonight's game and the entire rest of the season, for Victory.

The New Jersey Devils and their exotic new pet Ilya Kovalchuk could have helped a Thrasher out last night by defeating the Philadelphia Flyers, but they failed comically (5-1 Flyers, though Kovy did score that one goal). These days the Thrashers are 2 points away from being tied with the Boston Bruins for the 8th seed. That's if the Bruins lose tonight, of course; they play Buffalo. Hooray?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Easter. That's Soon and Relevant, Right?

Ha, the Thrashers. Aren't we all a bit bored with this team? I'm sure there are things to write shit on the Internet about, vis-a-vis the Thrashers and the Hockey, but when you have giant rabbits in the world, why bother?

I mean, look at this fucking ginormous furry bunny buddy:

A happy Friday to all.

P.S. How could I post this thing without remembering to post this as well?!

Tick Tock, Tick Tock

Time is quickly winding down for the regular season.

With eight games to play, the Thrashers sit two points behind the Bruins (who have nine games left) and four points in back of the Flyers (who have no goalie).

While it may seem futile to hold out hope for a team who can't beat the Leafs to squeeze two more points out of a schedule including two games against the Caps and two against the Pens than the Bruins can over nine games, I just can't help it. It's mathematically possible, so I can't give up.

If the Thrashers could get points for Jimmy Slater's heroic efforts, we would be on top of all of the standings.

Come on, guys, win some games for Little Jimmy.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

And now in my cell, well, I followed you. GAME DAY: Toronto Maple Leafs

So after a dispiriting but predictable loss to the Boston Bruins on Tuesday, the Thrashers have a chance to prolong their lives with a win over the Leafs tonight. Will they win? If they do win, will they continue to win, and thereby perhaps make the playoffs? If they make the playoffs, will they finally win a playoff game, or will they die playoff-win virgins?

More importantly, what angle does your Chronicle take here? World-weary and cynical, or full of generous hope? We do not know.

Free Leafs Tickets

First person to tell me who had the first ever Thrashers hat trick gets 2 tickets in Section 311 for tonight's Leafs game.

Tickets will need to be picked up at Will Call. Leave your e-mail address and Morty will be in touch with you (gonna be out of the office all day, Morty, thanks for taking charge).

Let it be known, readers, that if you win and something has happened to those tickets the blame is not on me. I'm innocent I tell you. INNOCENT!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Haw Haw Haw

1) I apologize profusely and shamefacedly to everyone to whom we gave tickets for that smegma tournament of a game. Especially to anyone who might have driven from Savannah---one of America's most beautiful and romantic cities---to Hate City for a 4-0 shutout at the hands of a team that really isn't that much better than us.

2) Haw haw, silly Puritans. They actually think giving the homeless free beer is a bad thing. We in the relaxed and strange city of ATL know it is, in fact, a wicked idea.

3) I hope it doesn't sound self-righteous when I say that the Thrashers' fucking great fans (like the ones who drive great distances to see an important game) deserve something better than tragic un-clutchness on the one hand and complacent/snotty/provincial condescension on the other.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Cause I Have Done It Before/ And I Can Do It Some More/ I Got My Eye on the Score...GAME DAY: Boston Bruins

It's not often I announce some Blueland Chronicle Keys to the Game, but everything about today is an exception.

What do the Thrashers need to do?

1) Score early and often.


2) Every Swede on the ice has to be good.


More Free Tickets Trivia!

Who did the Thrashers defeat in their first ever home win?

First correct answer gets 2 free gleaming seats in section 312. Gimme your email address and we'll sort something out.

UPDATE: We have a winner! Storied Chronicle regular Jay just nuked this piece.

Blueland Chronicle: Operation Fill the Arena (more free stuff). Updated Below!

Urgent news Chroniclites! Santa Shooter has more free tickets to give away to tonight's big time game! Two free seats in section 206 could be yours. Just be the first person to respond with your e-mail address included and tell me what Thrash's original number was (before he was #0).

These tickets cannot be e-mailed, but I will be in contact with you via the e-mail to see the best way of ticket delivery (Will Call, Gorins....). Good luck, and God speed....


Congrats to our winner, who just happens to follow me on the Twitter with his Twitter machine @BiggieShooter. See kids, it pays to follow the Big Shooter on Twitter!

Monday, March 22, 2010


So, I heard there is this really big game tomorrow night. In an effort to help fill the arena, I have two seats in the 400 section that I will give away for the free to the first person that comments with their e-mail address included in the comment section and tells me who the 2nd ever Captain of the Thrashers was. Tickets will be e-mailed to you tonight if you comment before 5:00, or first thing tomorrow morning if it is later than that.

And just like that, the first ever Blueland Chronicle free shit give away was over before it ever started (well, 11 min after it started). Congratulations to GNOME for winning the prize. Surely this will be the answer to a trivia question one day...

M. Peacock adds: TBC reader Andrew is also offering a free ticket to tomorrow night's epic squid-whale-tyrannosaurus rex fight. Click here and scroll down to the comments for details.

Scouting the Opposition

Because unlike Congress, I think you should pay attention to those who oppose you, let's take a look at the teams directly ahead of the Thrashers and that one team clinging to hope behind the Thrashers in the standings.

The Atlanta Thrashers have played 72 games and have amassed a record of 32-29-11 for 75 points, good for 9th place as of March 22, 2010.

First of all, the Boston Bruins who sit one point ahead of Atlanta with one fewer game played.

Boston Bruins. 71gp, 32-27-12, 76 pts. The Bruins have been holding steady since losing Marc Savard to Matt Cooke's thuggery, and have posted a 5-4-1 record over the last 10. Most recently, they have won 3 and lost 2 in the last 5. Timmy Thomas seems to have lost his starting job to Tuukka Rask, who has proven quite formidable.

Three teams are tied at 79 points, just four ahead of Atlanta. All have 10 games remaining.

Philadelphia Flyers. 4-4-2 in their last 10, 1-3-1 in their last 5 including 2 straight losses to Atlanta. They have lost goaltenders Ray Emery and Michael Leighton, so they're down to Brian Boucher and Jeremy Duschene who played in the ECHL this season. After last night's game, they have also lost Jeff Carter for the rest of the regular season. A team in a slump has just received significant blows to morale, momentum, and health.

Ottawa Senators. 2-7-1 in their last 10 and a big 0-5 in the last 5. This team has hit the same kind of wall that Atlanta did two weeks ago. They don't have any injuries that look to hamper them down the stretch, but their goaltending is streaky and unreliable, as is their goal scoring. Picking up 4 points on this team over 10 games looks pretty realistic right now.

Montreal Canadiens. Les Habs have been very hot lately. They have won 7, lost 2 in regulation, and dropped 1 in overtime over the past 10, and had won 4 straight before losing to the Leafs this weekend. With Cammalleri and Bergeron due back immediately from injury, they don't look to slow down any time soon. I would expect them to finish in 5th by default.

Obviously the Thrashers can catch and pass the Bruins by winning in regulation tomorrow night, but the Bruins will have a game in hand. The Thrashers would have to be 1 point better over 9 remaining games than the Bruins are over their remaining 10 games. If all teams continue playing as they have lately, the Thrashers also have hope of catching the Flyers and Senators.

A week ago we were lamenting dead hope. Now it is actually feasible that the Thrashers could take 6th place. Feasible, but still a long shot.

Oh yes, and there are the Rangers sitting 4 points behind Atlanta in the 10th spot in the East. With 10 games left, the Rags are 31-32-9. In their last 10, they have put up 3-5-2 and have lost 3 straight for a 2-3 record over the past 5. Callahan and Avery are injured but will probably be back soon. Lundqvist has been average lately, and with scoring like theirs, the Rangers can't have average goaltending. If the Rangers catch the Thrashers, it will be because the Thrashers collapse, not because the Rangers fought back.

Since the Bruins have a game in hand, the Thrashers' playoff hopes are not entirely in their own hands. Every game must be a Game 7 for this team until they head back to the locker room on April 10.


...this is a promising time for Thrashers fans. I think I should probably revise what I said about the "march to the playoffs" lacking drama and excitement. Revise, not retract: the Thrashers really were boring me to distraction until the last few games. Needless to say I'm glad events have taken a new course.

In the comments section of your Chronicle's previous post, Go Puck Yourself wrote of tomorrow night's game, "Biggest game since the Rangers series. We aren't true fans if we aren't there tomorrow night."

Seconded. Everyone who has the means should come to the game tomorrow and be as riotous as possible. And perhaps even dress up for the occasion! I'm talking party hats, face paint, brown thrasher costumes, sunglasses at night, etc...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Never Forget the Great Anti-Flyers Campaign of 09-10! Here's a Final Battle Liveblog

Correct us if we're wrong, but your Chronicle is under the impression that the Thrashers have beaten the Flyers in 3 out of 4 engagements this season. Tonight is the 4th...what's going to happen?

Indeed, lots of things could happen. The Thrashers could earn themselves at least a point tonight, and that might be useful for sneaking into the 8th playoff spot.

Or they could begin another one of their patented comical losing streaks.

Or they could play reasonably well for the rest of the season but still miss the playoffs, finishing just outside the postseason group at #9. Some people, not unreasonably, think would be the worst of all possible scenarios because the team would miss both the playoffs and a high draft pick. What's worse, it might further reinforce the organization's complacency and encourage them to keep things in a state of room temperature, Business-as-Usual mediocrity.

But then maybe a 9th place finish would generate some confidence for next season (shudder; I have to admit that, as much as I love hockey, I DO NOT understand these people for whom summer is just an unwelcome distraction between hockey seasons).

Anyway, the game is a-starting! Keep it here. The liveblog will begin as soon as I wrangle myself another Pacifico.


- The game appears to have started. The Bergfors line just did their familiar crashing-the-net-and-trying-to-score-early shtick. It's a SHTICK, I tell you, not unlike Carl Reiner's.

funny animated gif

No one will ever convince me that Ronald Hainsey is not also Patrick Bateman.

- Nic Bergfors almost had a fine goal, but Boucher just barely made the save. Slater unleashes his storied one-timer, misses.

- So I was talking to Big Shooter at the game last night, and he said something like, "You know who's had a good year? Ron Hainsey, that's who. I don't care what anyone says. He's had a great year, and he makes me laugh, and he treats me like a gentleman. I mean, HE'S the gentleman."

This is an accurate statement. Ronald has been pretty steady all year, and he occasionally does stuff that results in goals. His comic plus/minus has to do with playing with Zach Bogosian much of the year.

- Nik Antropov: a man with a full head of beautiful hair.

- Good lord all of a sudden there's a howling storm outside. I wonder if this has to do with the Thrashers.

- Mark Popovic tends to make the same kind of move every time he has a chance to shoot. Matt McConnell is noting this as I type.

- Credit where credit's due: Todd White has been much better recently.

- Lots of fighting in the corners, lots of Flyers in the Thrashers zone, a goddamn deluge outside.

- OK, this Bud Light auto-tune commercial needs to be sent to to the gulag.


- Very pretty pressure by the Thrashers just now; Max seems determined to make something happen. I've said it before and, hell, I'll say it now: he protects the puck exceptionally well.

- This is stone cold nuts. The Thrashers just had the puck in the Flyers zone for like two weeks.

- Whoa hey Daniel Carcillo very nearly scored a goal. I have literally no idea how Pavelec made the stop---AHHH I see, Afinogenov was cold hookin' the dude. Flyers power play.

- Our movie hero Rich Peverley just got sent to the box for cold tripping some dude after he and Clarke MacArthur had a short handed breakaway. But you know that, because you're watching the game, right?

- Excellent:


- 2nd period just cold beginning right now.

- Oh yeah, that penalty.

- Penalty on the Flyers. Darren Eliot says "That's for boarding" in the exact same tone Sean Connery says "That's for blasphemy" after he slaps Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

- Daniel Briere goes to the box. Huh huh BOX. What now?

- ...and SportSouth employs its most ridiculous camera angle.

- Our power play is still balls, apparently.

- If the Thrashers make the playoffs this year, I promise to sing Cory Hart's "Sunglasses at Night" at some karaoke place or other. Mr. Speaker and Krisabelle will be my witnesses.

- Why is Eric Boulton so very mean to Daniel Carcillo? AND Mike Richards? How many penalties have there been in this period anyway?


- Todd White speaks with such authority.

- That last scramble-and-shoot orgy around the Thrashers net was pretty nerve-racking. Someone could make the Thrashers blogosphere a lot more interesting with a serial online comic book about some Ondrej Pavelec-esque superhero and his funny sidekick, Goal Post.


- So the third period is underway. What might happen? I predict Bryan Little, having spent the 2nd intermission reading Lawrence Durrell's travel books about the Greek isles, will score a crazy goal.

- Hartnell and Slater fighting. Hartnell's coarse locks a-flying, Slater decks him. Jimmy is PISSED. Crowd involved, lots of screaming. If you punch Hartnell, beads and doubloons fly out of his hair.

- Arron Asham tries to murder Bryan Little with his stick. PENALTY. Thrashers power play still comical, OH LOOK FLYERS COMING ON SHORT HANDED...but it's okay. This power play is a horse-faced shithouse.

- Flyers all over the Thrashers zone. Can't get behind this.

- Why does Matt McConnell always call players by their first names?

- Up and down, up and down, another Thrashers goal would be no bad thing.

- Camera just lingered on what's-his-name, James Van Der Beek or whoever, for far too long.

- Jimmy Slater is a man afire.


- Oh fuckity fyck fuck fyucuckckkckckckcfu fuck

- Hartnell's lock ooze has an evil influence.

- The Thrashers had damn well better not let this one slip away...

- The Flyers are too good at the stick-checking. Thrashers will have to---what else?---just cold storm the crease.

- Pavel Kubina. Player of the year? Perhaps co-Player of the Year alongside Antropov.


Our Hero comes through big time.

- Ricky Pevs is now a 20-goal-scorer, I believe.


- This is insane.


Your Chronicle Will Be Live-Blogging the Thrashers' Glorious Cavalry Charge TONIGHT at 7:00 on the PM

Self-explanatory headline, I think. some melodious plot of beechen green, and shadows numberless. GAME DAY: Flyers, Again

Well, well, well.

The Thrashers are strange birds indeed. They played what might be their finest game of the season last night, and actually have a chance to catch the 8th playoff seed.

I could list a lot of specific Good Things about last night's game, like Colby Armstrong going nuts and Nik Antropov being the ultra-solid player he's been all season, but I'll just leave it at this: I haven't seen the Thrashers play with that much confidence since the brave days down the stretch in '07.

Just as heartening was the big, noisy crowd. Again, shades of '07.

By all means, let the Thrashers take this one game at a time (that's the only way to win, after all). But let's do this. Let's creep up on the entire goddamned NHL.

Go Thrashers.

ALSO: Looks like Boston won today. Not the greatest outcome for the Thrashers, but not an apocalyptic one either. Anyway...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Do You Want the Real Thing or Are You Just Talkin'? GAME DAY: Philly Flyers

On a fine spring day such as this, a young man's thoughts turn naturally toward sunlight, breezes, cafe terraces, sidewalk pubs, and greening city parks through which couples stroll, pretty girls jog, and dogs bound. Also, the Philadelphia Flyers. If there's one team I associate with springtime mirth, it's the goddamn Flyers.

Go Thrashers.

Friday, March 19, 2010

"Give me soul and show me the door..."

Two important news items for your Friday drive home, or to the liquor store, or wherever (we know you read the Internet on your IphoneBerry while you're driving):

- The other day the Chronicle seconded Rawhide's proposal of a relentless letter-writing campaign on behalf of the storied Kiss Cam Couple. But apparently you can't propose someone else for the 7th Man Award; you can only write essays on yourself. Good to see that even the Atlanta Thrashers have adopted the dreary solipsistic M.O. of college creative writing programs and Oprah's Book Club memoirs. Also: why do the Thrashers hate old people?

-The NHL has invented a bold new thing: team-themed bikinis (to be worn by all)! Ha, what WILL they think of next?

Have a good weekend, everybody.

This is Just to Say

Every time your TBC editor gets giddy with hope over the Thrashers, they collapse and die.

Every time your TBC editor gives up on the Thrashers, they do well.

This is a fact, proven by History.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

You Got Too Much Soul. GAME DAY: Senators

Yeah yeah I know, NOT a senator anymore, just some dude who makes hilarious motorcade death gaffes. Anyway, go Thrashers.

I Never Travel Far Without A Little Big Star*

Yeah, I suppose hockey is important. In fact, we'll talk about it in the morning.

But right now, here are some songs written by the just departed Alex Chilton, one of America's greatest and most influential songwriters. If the world were just, his obit would be on the front page of every newspaper and news site in the dead USA.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Who's That Woman on Your Arm, All Dressed Up to Do You Harm?

Two urgent things, reader.

1) AJC blogger Bill "Rawhide" Tiller has been writing some of the greatest posts of his already-lustrous career lately. Funny, imaginative, good sense of the Hockey, etc. What's not to like? Do read some of his recent output.

2) One of those recent posts concerns the annual 7th Man Award that the Atlanta Thrashers give to some important superfan or other. Rawhide has a bold suggestion for this year's 7th Man thingy: why not award it to TWO people, specifically the elegantly dressed couple of a certain age that always pop up on the Kiss Cam? I literally can't think of a single reason they wouldn't deserve it, as they come to every single game, and uh, as Rawhide says:

They have weathered life’s storms, endured hardships, troubles and tribulations…something we Thrashers fans case certainly relate is some measure to…as well as shared many wonderful moments in life as well along the way. And they still find a way to make it to so many home games…together.

INDEED. Get cracking, Thrashtards! We need a massive letter campaign on behalf of the Olde Couple.

When You Ask Yourself Why

Here is the reason Atlanta is on the outside looking in at the playoffs at this moment.

Thrashers 2009-2010 record vs. SE Division:

Washington Capitals: 0-4

Florida Panthers: 4-2

Carolina Hurricanes: 3-2

Tampa Bay Lightning: 1-5

I'm counting overtime and shootout losses as what they really are here, and that is losses. If you're going to be picky about it, the Thrashers' record against their own division is a pitiful 8-11-2.

That's 18 of a possible 42 points in the standings, or 42.85% point retention rate. Unacceptable.

Of course there is still time to improve those numbers with one more game against the Canes and two more against Washington, but only taking ONE GAME against the Lightning is pathetic.

The team has got to get Nittymakki out of their heads.

Thrashers Might Be for Sale, Says Vaguely-Worded Report

Jeff Schultz has read an article in the New York Times all about sports ownership during the Greatest Recession. It includes this paragraph:

Now that the economy seems to be on the mend, owners who held off selling during the downturn are seeking to unload their teams. According to sports bankers, the teams thought to be for sale include the Atlanta Hawks, the Memphis Grizzlies, the Golden State Warriors and the Detroit Pistons in the N.B.A; the Stars, the Atlanta Thrashers, and potentially the Columbus Blue Jackets in the N.H.L.; and baseball’s Houston Astros.

This would be consistent with all we've heard about the Atlanta Spirit looking for new investors, Rutherford Seydel's word jazz in SovsSport about Russian investors, etc. But this is coming from "sports bankers" making speculations, so...

Could they be for sale? Who knows? Where's my green eyeshadow? Anyway...

And Today in Banished Goaltender News

So what's exiled Finnish net-minder Kari Lehtonen doing these days? Driving a convertible to Austin to check out South by Southwest? Drinking diet sarsaparilla to stay thin, hopefully with an extra dollop of Jameson for St. Patrick's Day?

Wait. Actually, it looks like he's just cold making 44 saves in one game and inflicting defeat and shame on the San Jose Sharks.

Nice win for the Thrashers last night. The games against Buffalo are always good fun, though I could do without all those unsightly Sabres fans.

So, St. Patrick's Day. Here's some (relevant to the post, even) Irish sound:

Miller's Off Night Spares Thrashers

Well that was a heck of a game. Come out and chase the Vezina favorite in the first ten minutes, blow that lead over the next forty minutes, then let Jimmy "The Gladiator" Slater bulldoze giant Tyler Myers and score the game winning goal by crashing the net.

As I told Morty in the first period, if the Thrashers' marketing and in-game entertainment crew had their heads on straight, somebody would have found a clip from Miracle of Kurt Russell as Herb Brooks telling his team "You just put the best goalie in the world on the bench" and put it up on the big screen while cutting to shots of Ryan Miller sitting out.

As always, there was an overabundance of exuberant Sabres fans in attendance. I don't know what they're all doing in Atlanta other than not being in Buffalo, which is probably excuse enough.

So that's 1 win down, 9 wins and an overtime loss to go in order to make the playoffs according to the Globe and Mail. Come on, Jimmy, you can keep this up for a while longer can't you?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

GAME DAY: Buffalo Sabres

Oh for God's sake.

You leave your hockey blog alone for most of the day, because you have irritating-to-the-nth-degree "real things" that need to be done, then visit it in the late afternoon only to find that no one has written a game day post with a dumb picture of a buffalo yet.

This is an outrage. Here's a lightsaber fight, between cats:

The Thrashers play the Sabres tonight. As some have discovered via the Globe and Mail, they are not mathematically eliminated just yet. But probability is a hateful thing, and it's likely they will be very soon.

Why do we care at this point? Because the Thrashers remind us of our favorite cartoon characters.


Damn you, Math! Why won't you just put us out of our misery already!?!?

According to the Globe and Mail, the Thrashers are still not mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.

Based on their prediction that it will take 88 points to get into the playoffs in the East, the Thrashers must accumulate 21 of their remaining potential 28 points. That means that in the next 14 games, they must win 10 and go to overtime in one of the other four.

Four regulation losses to go until we can stop talking about the Thrashers' playoff chances and abandon them for our fall back teams until Draft time.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Thrashers Playoff Chances All But Oveur

Is it just me, or does this picture remind you of the guys in charge at the top of the Atlanta Thrashers organization? By now you've all read the news about Captain Oveur. I salute you, sir. You will be missed. If only he hadn't eaten the fish (too soon?).

On to the hockey Thrashers. You, constant reader, will know that I have not been all that optimistic about the Thrashers chances in this post Kovalchuk era. As you can read here. I wanted our team to succeed and prove me wrong. And they got off to a decent start after the trade. The problem is the season is not 6 games long. Flaws and lack of talent will shine through in time. The problem with this post Kovalchuk roster is no one can score goals. It's just not there people. Bergfors put a few in the net, but he is a rookie and the fact that he has been put on line 1 and is now the savior is, to put it in the words of one Mortimer Peacock, "comical". With this team prone to falling behind early, there is little chance of a comeback due to the lack of fire power. So, in the past when Kovalchuk could come to the rescue we could still make a run at it. Now, most games are over in the 1st period with no chance of a comeback. As I've said many times before, at the start of the year I thought our weakness was secondary scoring. Turns out that it is a big problem. You take Kovalchuk out of the picture and all you have left is secondary scoring.

I often giggle when I hear people say that Waddell or Anderson should be fired and then they have no idea of what the replacements should be. It's fine to throw those accusations around, but have a plan in place if you do. With that said, if I were in charge (and lets be honest, it's surely only a matter of time) here is what I would do:

Fire Waddell. The logical choice is to replace him with Rick Dudley. And if Waddell goes, I'm sure that will happen. Me? I'm not a huge fan of this. I think Dudley can help scouting wise, but I think he made a mess of things in Florida. He did make some key moves in the eventual rise of the Tampa Bay Lightning, but he still scares me as a GM. He is, after all, the guy that during our first game after the Kovalchuk trade said he didn't know how our team wasn't in first place. Most fans love him for the lone reason that he isn't Don Waddell. What would I do? Keep Dudley on and hire this guy named Craig Patrick as GM. I have been calling for this move for years but I know it won't happen. He is a winner. A two time Stanley Cup winner, that is. Due to money issues he had to dismantle his team in Pittsburgh, but was on his way to building it back. Nearly all of the key guys on that team were drafted by Patrick. Unfortunately for him they developed one year too late. No one ever talks about him but I know he is the guy to get the job done.

Fire John Anderson. Some say two years isn't enough time and they may be right. Some say he hasn't been given the talent to win with and I know they would be right. The problem we have is we desperately need a change in culture. And that means making big changes with the top guys involved. Ever notice how it seems as though we can't play a full 60 minutes. Don't you think that is partly the fault of the, oh I don't know, THE HEAD COACH!! So, you fire Anderson and replace him with Craig MacTavish. Can you honestly tell me that this team wouldn't play a full 60 minutes of tough, hard nosed-hockey with him behind the bench? And with the change in personnel I think he would be a good fit. Oh, in addition to getting the boys to play hard every game, MacT is a damn fine coach.

That's where you start. And a short message to all the Kovy haters out there that thought we would be better off without him because of his poor defensive play here is a little stat for you:

Goals For: 3.01
Goals Against: 3.20


Goals For: 2.61
Goals Against: 3.46

So maybe it wasn't all Kovy's fault after all. Now, I'm not a huge stats guy and these numbers certainly don't prove much. But they can be used as a guideline to help some of you understand that while having a few flaws defensively, it is no reason to give up on a guy that is going to score 50 goals a year. Let this be a lesson, you don't call for the head of your best player and try to run him out of town and then expect to be better off once he is gone.

Oh, one more thing... if you would like to send hate letters directly to me, you can now follow me on the Twitter with your Twitter machines @BiggieShooter.

Ovie's Hit

Because it's too painful to talk about the Thrashers.

Here's what everyone is up in arms over:

It's a shame that Soup will miss the rest of the season due to injuries sustained here. However, I don't see that it was a particularly dirty play by Ovechkin.

Crosby fans out there will scream and call me an Ovechkin partisan who thinks he could do no wrong, so let me point out that I have called Ovi out on dirty moves in the past such as his slew foot on the Pevs Dispenser. I also think that Downie's take down of Crosby yesterday was dirty. Maybe not the definition of a slew foot, but a dangerous play that could have really messed up his knee.

Anyway, back to this Ovi-Soup hit. I have heard folks on Home Ice today saying that this was a hit on a player without the puck. Watch the video. Campbell plays the puck, then gets hit before you can count "one thousand one." Bumps after a player has dished the puck away are standard in the NHL. Nothing dirty per se about hitting a player who just passed the biscuit away.

The hit itself was not a cross check or an elbow. Ovi just shoved him in the direction of his momentum.

This was also not a hit on an unsuspecting player. Campbell was playing the puck while being pursued. The first instant of the video shows him looking right at Ovechkin, so he knew he was coming.

So the only question really comes down to the position. Campbell is on the goal line when Ovechkin pushes him. That's too much space between Soup and the boards. If you hit a guy when he's a foot away from the boards, he'll hit them while still fully upright and his body will be able to properly absorb the impact. If you hit him three or four feet out from the boards, he will go in at an odd angle in which he can't protect himself from the impact.

Ovi hit him too far out, and the debate will have to be whether to hold him accountable for that. We all know about how fast the game of hockey is played. Did Ovechkin do a mental calculation, determine that Campbell was too far out from the boards to protect himself then decide to hit him anyway? Do we hold hockey players responsible for making that determination at full speed? This is a full contact sport, and to some degree you assume a risk when you step out onto that ice. You're going to hit hit, you're going to hit the boards. That's not to say that you accept the risk that Matt Cooke is going to target your head with his shoulder or that you agree to let Ryan Hollweg's elbow imprint itself on your brain, but you do expect to get hit or shoved at any point on the ice.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

GAME DAY: Phoenix Coyotes

So today it's our canine desert buddies, possibly including pipe-smoking Misha from Ten Gallon Dick.

The Coyotes are really good. They haven't budged from their high position all season. You should seriously consider buying them and moving to the ghostly, UFO-ridden desert.

The Thrashers? Hm.

Can't make the game this evening, as Big Shooter and I have tickets to teevee funny man Craig Ferguson's unbleeped standup act. Oh yeah there's also some sort of "bloggers' day" today, in recognition of international bloggers everywhere. Apparently everyone gets to interview famous hockey player Niclas Bergfors and famous hockey coach John Anderson. Your editor would really like to go to one of these, as he hasn't been to any of the Philips Arena hoedowns and hasn't been to a single blogger convention since last summer. But it seems that every time the Thrashers call one I can't make it for some reason or other. Ah well. Craig Ferguson: funnier than the Thrashers!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Only Bad Can Make You Bored

Well, that's it, is it not?

You readers are all perceptive and knowledgeable hockey fans; you don't need us to tell you that everything about the Thrashers was bred in a Mediocrity Laboratory, that Don Waddell is a silly GM, that John Anderson should be told---via a dismissal---that he can't blame every loss on "bad bounces" and bad luck over and over through eternity.

This epic clusterfuckery is only possible through the patronage of the Atlanta Spirit, of course, so remember to thank them on your way out. C'mon y'all, give it up.

I've never left a game earlier than I did last night. Got myself a Jack-and-Coke at the Jack Daniels Bar, hung around in the concourse for a while talking to Big Shooter and Monsieur Catalogues, and just cold left the Gymnasium of Bullshit as the third period began. I did hear the goal horn and the roar of the crowd as I was crossing some street or other, but I figured it wouldn't mean anything. It didn't!

I used to think that, as awful as the Thrashers were, I could always enjoy going to the games and having a riotous old time watching NHL hockey and cheering on the hometown team. I often left the arena depressed, but that's just a part of being emotionally invested in something you really, really like. Like Neil Young and later Saint Etienne said, "Only love can break your heart."

These days though, I mostly feel numb. Immediately after the Olympics I said that the Thrashers may or may not make the playoffs, but that March would contain "ample opportunities for drama, brutality, romance, and pain." But it didn't do that. It didn't even offer stress. The Thrashers' losing ways are so predictable at this point, so lacking in any drama or just-missed-it/close-game intensity, that watching them play is just damned dull. Not stressful or heartbreaking, just dull.

And I have a horrible but clear sense that this dullness will be on endless loop until the team gets new owners who will do what's necessary to compete. I doubt they're going to fire Waddell. I can slightly imagine Waddell firing Anderson, even though that would be another admission of failure in huge blinking neon lights. Nothing is going to change until the current owners sell off the team. And more importantly, nothing is going to change until the current owners sell off the team.


ALSO: But hey! Springtime is coming, and now instead of going to mind-numbing hockey games we can all go fishing for sea beasts in the Outer Banks, or fight off drug-lords at a villa in Oaxaca. Or take a trip the Greek Isles; it must be cheap there these days, what with the collapsed economy and all...

Friday, March 12, 2010

GAME DAY, of some kind

We have no idea what's going on, so here's a picture of a dog on a seal.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Like the Queen Said

The late Oduya goal was pretty nifty, and the power play scrambling at the end was nail-biting.

But this is what happens when your scoring vanishes until the burnt-ash end of the game.

As I type, Boston has destroyed Philadelphia, while Tampa Bay and Montreal are headed to overtime.

This team's playoff hopes have gone from very slight to practically non-existent. Sometimes you just have to stare into the desert wasteland, much like this handsome mutt here:

With a getaway jeep parked conveniently nearby, of course.

We All Live in a Metal Cage. GAME DAY: Columbus Blue Jackets

So what's going on in the world of the Thrashers today? Playing the Hockey? Probably.

After checking my Hockey Atlas, I can confirm that the Thrashers are in Ohio, just cold getting ready to play the comical Columbus Blue Jackets. Chris Chelios has joined them there, and according to Chris Vivlamore:

Chris Chelios has taken to the ice for his first practice as an Atlanta Thrasher. He will be the second oldest player to appear in an NHL game, second only to Gordie Howe, when he plays tonight at age 48.

Eight Thrashers were not born when Chelios made his NHL debut. They are – Ondrej Pavelec, Zach Bogosian, Boris Valabik, Evander Kane, Bryan Little, Niclas Bergfors, Tobias Enstrom and Clarke MacArthur.

Ha! Neither was your TBC editor.

I would say the Thrashers have a good opportunity to get two whole points tonight, especially with Rick Nash out, but that would be self-incinerating hubris. Especially because the BJ's always seem to beat us. But you never know, comrades, you never know...

Despite my recent bitching, I don't think the Thrashers are out of it just yet. If we win tonight, we can hop to 9th place. Tomorrow's game against the Rangers, needless to say, is a must-win. But first we have to remind the BJ's that they suck.

God, that was terrible. I accept your death sentence for crimes against humor. It's very tempting to make jokes about the Blue Jackets' initials, but really, what is there to say?

"Uh, your name reminds me of oral sex. THAT'S LAME, right?"

Also: Per Kamal, Reasoner and Artyukhin are out. Kozlov and Boutlon are in. Moose in goal. Fancy that!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Kovy the Devil

Ok, I've seen comments from Shooter and Morty about this below two threads and thought that it deserved to be its own topic. Besides, some glitch with my network at work won't let me post comments most of the time.

So the assertion from a lot of people lately has been "the Thrashers are better off without Kovy."

Their points:

1) Kovy has only scored 3 goals with the Devils.

2) Bergfors has scored 6 goals, including 2 game winners, for the Thrashers.

3) The Thrashers can gel more as "A TEAM" now.

Big Shooter and Morty have countered those points.

1) Kovy is not the leader who is relied upon to score goals for New Jersey.

2) Bergfors is a rookie who is excited to be here and will level off.

3) After a brief surge, the Thrashers are now mired in a 3 game skid and cannot find any offense.

So are the Thrashers a better team without Kovalchuk? Are the Devils a better team with Kovalchuk?

My thoughts:

1) The Devils have 4 players other than Ilya Kovalchuk with 15 or more goals (Langenbrunner, Parise, Zajac, and Rolston). The Atlanta Thrashers have 4 players with more than 15 goals (Fins, Bergie, Pevs, and Antro) plus two more at 14 (MacArthur and Kane). So the Devils traded to get Kovy's 34 goals-to-date versus Bergfors' 19 goals-to-date. Yes, it's true that the Devils have one other 30 goal scorer on their roster, it's obvious that Kovalchuk WAS acquired in order to light the lamp. He's done that 3 times so far, with one of them being a game winner. The fact that Bergie has gone on a tear and scored six in the same time period doesn't mean a whole lot. You need a bigger sampling to make judgments.

2) Yes, Bergie will certainly taper off his nearly goal-per-game pace. However, he has shown us that he has tremendous potential. With Bergfors, Little, Kane, Bogosian, Vishnevskiy, Morin, Klinberg, Macachek, Kulda, and Leville, this team looks a lot like the LA Kings of three years ago. That's a pretty favorable comparison.

3) The Thrashers have crashed back to earth after the pre-and post-Olympic mini-surge. Any hope for the playoffs is also plummeting through the atmosphere like a meteor. Part of that is the fact that a team of 20 goal scorers either needs one 40 goal scorer or an 80 assist guy who can make thing happen if they want to win the majority of their games. Another reason is that while Moose is good, he's not what you want as your Number One goalie. Ondrej has been disgustingly sub-par in the past several starts, so he can't be relied upon in this stretch run.

I think that this team has a very solid foundation of youth and role players. In order to be a playoff team next year, management has to spend like crazy on two of a) a legit 40-50 goal scorer (I hear NJ has one who will be a UFA in July), b) a set-up wizard, or c) a REAL number one goaltender (Turco or Nabokov, or in a pinch, Nittymaki). Either a) or b) will increase goals for by a margin of 30 or 40, and c) will reduce goals against by a margin of about 50. Do those two things together and you're looking at a secure post-season berth and a nervous first-round opponent.

Oh yeah, and hire the amateur goalie scout who worked for either Anaheim or San Jose in the 90's.

At Least the Thrashers are Kind to the Elderly

And at least I'll be able to say I saw Chris Chelios play.

ALSO: Does this mean that, even though he'll only be around for a few weeks, we should all get Chelios jerseys? I'm not joking. I think I might get one.

ALSO ALSO: Will the presence of the very old version of Chris Chelios turn the Thrashers into a bullish playoff-ready team? Personally, I think the possibilities for this team extend about as far as "Hey look, that's Chris Chelios skating around out there," but I accept there might be valid arguments for Cheli single-handedly saving this brimming cloaca. How do they go, exactly?

Why is Ilya Kovalchuk So Very Mean to the Atlanta Thrashers?

Some NJ papier mache Internet site:

Ilya Kovalchuk never remembers a team meeting being called after two straight losses during his 7 1/2 seasons with the Atlanta Thrashers. A prolonged slump like six wins in 20 games seemed normal for a club that made the playoffs just once in nine years.

So when the Devils held a dressing room meeting after practice Tuesday and coach Jacques Lemaire implored his players to pull together as a team both on and off the ice, Kovalchuk was impressed.

“I love it, because in Atlanta it was a little different,” Kovalchuk said. “Here, when the team loses one or two games, it’s a big deal. That’s how it’s supposed to be if you want to

Doesn't the hated Kovalsuck understand that this is simply our culture? Why does he hate our tradition of losing all the time? What's so wrong with that? Bigot.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

5 Questions, a Statement, and a Parenthesis

Where to begin?

The power play that never shoots (yeah yeah I know all the people in the crowd yelling "SHOOOOT" are annoying, but that doesn't mean the Thrashers don't have a problem with taking shots; my this is a long parenthesis)?

The superstitious disbelief in rebounds?

The long passes through the neutral zone that almost always get picked off and end up back on our side of the ice?

Just about everything else?

Truly, this is a team of epic sadness.

"I'm an older man, so you can trust what I say."

Following the hockey news is always a refreshing experience. Especially when you sleepily abstain from whatever bullshit "real work" you're supposed to be doing and glance at the Twitter: an entire word-and-graph universe of hits to the head, GMs talking, who's gonna make the playoffs, who's not, and what have you. Compelling stuff.

Breaking News: Some Bullshit Happening Somewhere

The Thinning Blue Line

According to Vivlamore, Christoph Schubert has pulled a muscle in his hip and will be out 3 weeks.

He joins Evander Kane and fellow defenseman Boris Valabik on the "i iz hurt" committee.

So...what are our defensive pairings again? Bogosian and Hainsey, Enstrom and Kubina, Popovic and...who else? Never mind a seventh man: do we have a proper sixth defenseman?*

Clearly, there is only one thing to do.

It's time to add "Atlanta Thrashers defenseman" to the list of Chris Chelios's achievements.


A quick inside baseball note: HEY, guess what, Ten Gallon Dick still lives (onscreen if not on the ice) and he will return this week. Be on the lookout, or not, whatever. Your editor just enjoys writing this thing.

ALSO: You may or may not remember that back at the Chronicle's 2nd birthday, we asked our readers if they'd like to debauch themselves and have a splendid time with us at some place or another. A few of you have been all "Hey what ever happened to that?" lately, and rightfully so. It got lost in the Kovalchuk trade hysteria, the Olympics, and actual real life business, but it looks like sometime in the near future we'll be able to put on our dancing shoes and throw a proper get-together. So, those of you who might show up (you know, and I know, who you are): what's good for you? Might I suggest COSMIC BOWLING?


*Oh right Johnny Oduya. I knew I was forgetting somebody. Well, my point still stands. Time to liberate the old man from the AHL.

Game Day: Predators

Do you really need any build up? The Thrashers now sit 3 points out of 8th place with no games in hand on Boston. 4 points out of 7th with 3 games in hand on Montreal. The Rangers sit 1 point above Atlanta and have played 2 more games.

The Thrashers have got to get back on a winning track. If they don't this whole playoff pipe dream will go away by the end of this week.

Nashville is in 7th out West with a 1 point lead on Detroit and 2 points on Calgary who looks in from the outside. However, Calgary is atrocious lately. The Preds are so comfortable in their spot that they have scheduled a wine tasting for their home game this weekend. How's that for contempt for your opponent, getting tanked on vino before playing? At least that's how I assume it's going to go.


According to analysis from the Globe and Mail, the magic number to make the playoffs in the East this year is a measly 87 points. If that holds true, the Thrashers could make the playoffs with a 10-7-1 record over the remaining 18 games. 21 more points.

Atlanta has to win 10 and go to overtime once against:


Are there 10 winnable games in there? That depends. Are we talking about the team we saw in the two games before and three games after the Olympic break, or are we talking about the team that soiled the sheets against the Bolts and Canes this weekend?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Hockey People = Good People

While the play of our Atlanta Thrashers was odorific yesterday, there were good things to take away from the experience as my fiance and I brought our nephews, age 3 and 6, to the game.

We were able to find lower bowl tickets on StubHub for about $25 apeice and sat just below the Chronicle Balcony. Some hoser in front of us moved twice and actually brought an usher over to complain about the lack of legroom in his seats. Neither he nor any of his brood wore a stitch of hockey apparel and they didn't follow the game closely, so I'm guessing it was his first time at a game. We can do without his kind in Blueland.

On the other end of the spectrum, however, was a young hockey player named Ryan and his father.

During the second intermission, my fiance and I took the young'uns down to the glass at the end of our aisle to take pictures there on ice level. We figured it would make a lasting impression for them. When we got down to the "good seats," I turned to a gentleman in an aisle seat and asked if he would mind taking our picture. He cheerfully agreed and was infinitely patient as we tried to get the boys to pose for the picture when what they really wanted to do was marvel at the NHL ice.

While this gentleman (whose name I regrettably failed to ask) took our pictures, his 17 year old son climbed over the rail to return from where he had been speaking to someone over by the zamboni entrance. We learned that he played on the local youth travelling team and had been speaking with his coach over in the "behind the scenes" area. He brought with him an official NHL puck that his coach had flipped to him as a souvenir.

This young man, named Ryan (good omen for his hockey future, based on this year's Olympic team) saw my young nephews gawking at the ice and asked me if I thought they would like to have the puck. I asked him if he was sure and he assured me that he had a large stack of pucks at home and knew that it would mean more to them. Sure enough, being given that puck elicited the biggest grin of the day from the 3 year old.

As you can imagine, one puck between two young brothers soon turns to hurt feelings. As the 6 year old posed for a picture with it, his little brother sulked. To his great credit, Ryan recognized the issue and went on his own to find his coach to ask for a second puck. He wasn't able to find him this time, but when he returned to his seat, he sent a text message. We had to climb back up to our seats for the start of the third period, but about ten minutes later, Ryan followed us up the aisle with a second puck in hand.

Really gives you hope for the future when a teenager shows character like that.

And he's a hockey player. His dad told me he's a future NHL hopeful. For his sake and the sake of the game, I hope he makes it.

Where Does One Find a Good One-Timer?

The Falconer examines why the Thrashers are so very bad against teams that play the trap. I was particularly intrigued by this thing: "when playing a defensively sound team you must take one-timers on net."

He's right, of course. But didn't we used to have a guy who could execute a decent one-timer? Where do we find such men today? Where do we find such one-timers?

Dire Hockey, Dire Navel-Gazing

I'm not sure that the Oscars were an adequate cure for watching a Thrashers game in which the entire team seemed to be playing in a codeine haze. Though, Carrie Mulligan...and Julianne Moore and Kate Winslet and even triumphant Kathryn Bigelow...

And Kristen Stewart from the Twilight, what's with her? Something about her bad posture and sulky "Yeah I'm in shitty movies, but I really hate it, but then again the money is good" vibe positively batter-rams my heart.

ANYWAY. So, the Thrashers, what's their problem, henngh?

I suppose we'll never know, but it's probably reasonable to think that nothing is going to get better until young Evander Kane returns. Sez Chris Vivlamore:

We are awaiting official word on Evander Kane’s injury. I should know something today, but I would be surprised if it was not a broken foot. He left the arena after last night’s game with a large walking boot (similar to the one Ilya Kovalchuk had earlier this season) and using crutches.

I’m no doctor, but I would imagine the location and the severity of the injury will determine how much time Kane misses.

And I'm no hockey team, but I would think that it can't be that hard to score at least one goal against the 09-10 Carolina Hurricanes. Then again, the Canes have been playing much better lately. But then agai---oh for fuck's sake who cares? I can't even muster the enthusiasm for an impassioned rant against poor play.

The worst thing about following the Thrashers, in my admittedly eccentric and particular experience, is that at times I feel like I'm taking on some of their qualities. The Thrashers play like they're bored and apathetic = I become bored and apathetic. It's a shameful way to be, really, and I admire the passion of fans who are genuinely outraged by yesterday's dismaying effort, but...I suppose I've been emotionally wrapped up in this team too many times in the past to really get too worked up about their current bloopers and pratfalls.

In other words, I want to believe like I once did---which means feeling bummed when they lose, happy when they win, ecstatic if they get to the playoffs---but I'm finding that takes more effort than scoring on Manny Legace.

But I'll probably change my mind in two days, so whatever. Hey, remember when Legace was a Thrasher?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Predictable Things Happen in Predictable Ways

Well, it's been an embarrassing weekend for our favorite sporting team. No need for us to recite the specific horrors of this evening's gagging-on-truck-nuts loss to the Carolina Hurricanes (a shutout, even, at the hands of onetime prospective Thrasher Manny Legace).

It's still not impossible for the Thrashers to make the playoffs, especially because Montreal and Boston and the like aren't very good. But surely it wouldn't be a violent shock if they didn't.

Attentive readers of this blog will know that our position post-Kovalchuk has always been, "Well, um, YES it would be awesome if the Thrashers made the playoffs, and it looks like they can, but don't get your hopes too far up, dude." I'm bummed that the Thrashers have played badly these last two games, but I can't say I'm ultra-bummed. Because I'm not that surprised.

Got to take these comical sporting failures in stride.

Game Day: Canes

So that damned Finnish netminder stymied the Thrashers again last night. 17-0. Legendary. Infamous. More than famous.

Lose a game and you're sitting on the outside looking in again, perched upon 9th place. Rebound with a win today and you could be back in, but only if Montreal loses in regulation. This is one tight race, folks.

The Canes have been the hottest team in the NHL since one of the Staal clan took over as team captain. Reminds one of the Thrashers last season when Kovy donned the "C." However, their star goalie is injured and they've traded away several good players since the last time we faced them. Hopefully the reloaded Thrashers can buffer the winds of the depleted but still raging Canes.

Today is also Kid's day and I will be bringing my nephews to their second ever hockey game. They love Zach Bogosian (though last night they insisted his last name is in fact Maccaroni), so it would be nice to see him get back on the score sheet.
Other teams to cheer for today: Ducks (playing Habs), Sabres (Rags), Leafs (Flyers), Pens (Bruins).

Saturday, March 6, 2010

GAME DAY: Lightning

This is a most important game because, uh...because...why, again? Let me check my Hockey Blogging Encyclopedia.


RIGHT. It's important because if the Bolts win they'll pull within striking distance of a playoff spot, and it's not like we need that kind of drama, right?

If we win, that puts serious distance not only between us and Tampa Bay, but between teams like the Rangers and Canadiens as well. If they lose tonight, that is (they're playing the Capitals and the Kings, respectively).

The Thrashers have not played very well against the Lighting this season. All the more reason to...what's the saying? Come out of the gate strong? Strongly come out of the gate? Come strongly out of the gate?

Anyway, they need to score some goals early and not look back. EVER. Because as Phife Dawg once said:

I never let a statue tell me how nice I am
Comin' with more hits than the Braves and the Yankees
Livin' mad phat like an oversized mam-pi
The wackest crews try to dis, it makes me laugh
When my track record's longer than a DC-20 aircraft
So next time that you think you want somethin' here
Make somethin' differ, take that garbage to St. Elsewhere

Go Thrashers.

P.S. Oh yeah there's that whole Nittymaki thing. Kill the bitch!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Meta-Blogging Encouragement for the Thrashers

Famous hockey Internet superhero "the Puck Daddy" has written a piece on why the Thrashers will probably make the playoffs.

The thing is based on a post by Thrashers Internet superhero "the Falconer", who I can confirm wears a falconing costume and insists on talking in a raspy Christian Bale-type voice while falconing about the city solving crimes against hockey analysis. The post outlines---with the help of statistics from Times Past---why teams with a certain amount of points at the trade deadline usually make the playoffs.

So feel good about yourselves, Atlanta Thrashers! The Hockey Internet sees you and recognizes you! Keep phuquin that chikkin.

Also, Happy Friday to all our readers. Drown yourselves in g & t's, but only if they're poured into and mixed in a glass with the Thrashers logo on it. Big weekend coming up, big ol' weekend.

Hey, wouldn't it be cool if we remained in playoff position for the rest of the season? No sleep 'til 6th place, I say!

A Look Ahead to the Offseason

With the trade deadline behind us and the roster frozen (except for waivers and free agency signings) through the end of the 09-10 season, let's take a quick look at DW and Dudley's summer job. No, they won't be shagging balls at Lake Lanier Islands, they will be trying to ensure that the Atlanta Thrashers continue to improve for years to come.

Loyal readers know I like to look at things as a depth chart, so let's do that now. Here's what our current roster looks like for forwards:





With Kozlov, Boulton, and White in the press box.

Kozlov, Armstrong, Slater, Afinogenov, Artyukhin, and Boulton will be unrestricted free agents at the end of the year. Little, MacArthur, and Bergfors will be restricted free agents. For those who don't know, UFA's can sign with anyone for any price. RFA's, after being offered a minimum "qualifying offer" from the Thrashers, can only sign with another team if Atlanta declines to match the other team's offer. In that case, the other team has to compensate Atlanta with draft picks for poaching the player. That very rarely happens.

So with eight roster spots filled with players currently under contract or RFA's, Waddell and Dudley have to fill four more spots. They may do so by re-signing some or all of those UFA's, bringing in new UFA's, trading for players, bringing up prospects, or drafting NHL ready players.

We all know that NHL ready players are very rare in the draft. Especially once you get past the first five or six picks. The Thrashers don't project to have a top six pick this year, so even a draft like this one that is supposed to be "deep" won't likely produce someone you can plug right into your lineup for 2010-11.

I would expect Waddell to make strong pitches to Armstrong (who is rumored to want out, but his wife is a native, so don't discount him yet) and Fins. With the way Jimmy Slater has played in the latter half of the season, I would also expect him to be offered a deal, and can't imagine him leaving. If you could Jimmy as staying with the fold, then you need to fill 3 forward spots with some combination of pending UFA's Fins, R2, Boulton, or Armstrong, an outside RFA, trade, or prospect.

Teams don't like to keep their youth down in the minors without trying them out on the big squad, and Atlanta is looking stacked as far as forward prospects go. ranks Atlanta's stable the 6th strongest in the NHL. Between Cormier, Macachek, Leville, Morin, Klinberg, Crabb, and Postma, somebody is going to get a shot next year to fill one of those slots. Those are all guys who are expected to light the lamp in the NHL, so they won't be brought up just to occupy a spot on the 4th line, but 3rd liners get significant playing time in John Anderson's system.

With the in house UFA's and that crop of prospects, I wouldn't expect Thrashers' management to dive too deep into the free agent market for forwards this summer.

On to defense, here is the hand we're currently holding:






Kubina is a pending UFA, as are Schubert, Popovic and Chelios. Kulda looked good before the Olympic break and I would expect him to have a home in Atlanta in October. Kubina will receive a lucrative offer, but I have no way to gauge whether or not he'll be receptive to it. If he leaves, you can move Oduya up to his spot in that depth chart, put Kulda on the third pairing and look outside to fill the last spot and add some depth.

Vishnevskiy will also get a close look at training camp and might fit into that last roster spot, but we will still need an insurance defenseman for the inevitable injuries, suspensions, and the flu.

Trading away the obsolete Todd White, perhaps packaged with either a forward prospect or draft pick could bring in someone useful to bolster the defense as well.

Assuming Moose re-signs with Atlanta, which I absolutely expect he would, he and Ondrej will continue to tend the crease with MacIntyre coming up in emergencies.

It's not a daunting task for DW and Dudley this summer. Draft well and develop the young'uns, and this team's future looks bright.

For the Chronicle, I'm Razor Catch Prey.