Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Spy's Love of Kovalchuk Makes One Nostalgic

When I first read this report about one of those recently-captured Russian spies being a Kovalchuk fan, I became all giddy, and eager to write a "ha ha espionage and my favorite player" post.

Then I remembered that he doesn't play for us anymore. I grew wistful.

I know we're all supposed to pretend he's History's Greatest Monster now, but still. Wonder where he'll end up.

Also, on this suburban Russian spy ring business: is THIS what international espionage has become? McMansions and HGTV? I mean, just how "deep cover" do you have to go?

And more importantly...what does Kovy know?

The View From the Newsroom

We are monitoring the Twitter, and all police blotters (hey, what do you get when you cross Twitter and a blotter? A Twotter!), for free agent news. News of both the Actual News and "I hear something about Dan Ellis going to the moon" varieties.

For the next few days, or for as long as this free agent period lasts, your Chronicle will bring you the Big Story as quickly as we can, while also serving as a filthy gossip column.

Monday, June 28, 2010

How Are The Thrashers Handling Their RFAs These Days?

Well, by extending qualifying offers to the ones that are good or useful or might have a future in the NHL (7 of them), and allowing the others (4) to continue their minor league careers as UFAs. As has been mankind's custom since the infamous Hockey Rink Oath of 1789.

The Lucky Seven:
Niclas Bergfors
Bryan Little
Ben Eager
Clarke MacArthur
Ondrej Pavelec
Peter Mannino
Anthony Stewart

The Four of Sadness:
Chad Denny
Rylan Kaip
Scott Lehman
Matt Siddall

And now we must pretend that all of this is surprising/interesting.

Also: We're sure money is involved!

Drafts of Dudley's Past

I've made it reasonably well known (well known if you read this blog or the occasional comment in the AJC blogs) that I'm no fan of Rick Dudley. Many 'round these parts think the man can do no wrong and couldn't be happier to have him at the wheel. Can't say I could blame you after what this franchise has been through over the last 10 seasons.

My problem is, I remember the other teams that he was in charge of. I'm not sure many of you are quite aware of what went on there. Many of you know him from the Rick Dudley is not Don Waddell fame. Let's take a stroll down memory lane and look primarily at the NHL Drafts Dudley was in charge of from Tampa to Florida. I will try and do this as fair and balanced as I can. Feel free to debate. We won't look at Ottawa in '98 as he took the GM spot one day after the draft. And we won't look at Chicago because, you know, he wasn't the GM. Dale Tallon was, of the Dale Tallon Florida Panthers fame.

Tampa Bay - 1999

Dudley traded down from the #1 spot to the #4 spot in this very weak draft class. He then traded the #4 pick out of the 1st round entirely. In the process he picked up Dan Cloutier, Shawn Burr, Andrei Zyuzin and a 1st in 2000. Four guys that he drafted in '99 played in the NHL totaling 261 games played and scoring 15 goals.

Tampa Bay - 2000

Dudley traded the #5 overall pick to the Islanders for Kevin Weekes, Kristian Kurdroc and the 31st overall pick (kind of hard to get screwed by Mike Milbury, but I think Duds pulled it off). He had the #8 overall pick from the trade the previous year and selected Nikita Alexeev. Wow, taking a skilled Russian at #8 overall, imagine that! Nikita played 107 games in the NHL scoring 14 goals and 15 assists. Other than Nikita, only two players picked by Dudley in this draft ever played in the NHL.

Tampa Bay - 2001

With the #3 overall pick in the draft Dudley chose Alexandr Svitov (hey, another skilled Russian!). Alex played in 179 NHL games scoring 13 goals and 24 assists. The only other player of note drafted by Dudley that year was some guy named Evgeny Artyukhin. Who, by the way, as of last year was the only player still playing in the NHL that Dudley drafted for the Lightning, making Artyukhin by far the best player Dudley drafted in his three years with Tampa Bay.

Now, in the effort to be fair Dudley did some nice things as GM that helped Tampa win a Cup after he left. He acquired Dan Boyle, traded for the Bulin Wall and I believe also picked up Marty St. Louis. Though the purpose of this post is to look at his drafting skills. Also it should be pointed out that Dudley left the Lightning after he tried to trade away some guy named Vinny Lecavalier, who keep in mind, also was kind of instrumental in the Bolts winning it all. Now then. On to the Panthers...

Florida - 2002

Dudley traded down from #1 to #3 and selected Jay Bouwmeester. All in all a pretty good pick I'd have to say. He did pass on Eric Staal at #2, but we won't be picky. He also had the #9 overall pick and selected Petr Taticek. Petr played a total of 3 NHL games. No one of note was selected the in the remaining rounds.

Florida - 2003

With the #3 pick Dudley selected Nathan Horton. A fine selection indeed. He also had another first rounder with the #25 pick and Anthony Stewart was chosen (46 NHL games played, 2 goals). No one panned out from the remaining rounds.

Clearly Dudley did much better drafting with the Panthers than with the Lightning. Unfortunately for them, he didn't do quite as well with the other moves like bringing in a Dan Boyle or anything like that.

By my count, Dudley traded three top 5 picks outright, and received very little in return. He also had five top 10 picks that he used, and totally whiffed on three of them.

I'm not trying to be over the top negative. I just wanted some of you that may not know where my criticism is coming from and why I wish we had chosen a different GM. You know after 10 years of losing when you finally make a change I would have thought that would be the perfect opportunity to see what was out there in the GM world of the NHL instead of letting the guy that put you in that spot for 10 years hand pick his replacement.

Dudley is hailed around these parts as the best talent evaluator in the NHL. Take a look at the draft history above. What do you think? Now, every ounce of me hopes I'm a complete fool and everything works out for the best and Dudley wins us a Cup. I just don't think so. I can't understand passing up on guys like Fowler, Gormley, or Campbell. I can't understand trading a 1st and 2nd rounder, Morin, and Reasoner and the main guy coming back has yet to top 40 points for the season. Clearly Byfuglien has talents and he should continue to improve. I just think we gave up way too much and got caught up in the playoff heroics, which can be a dangerous thing to do. I can't understand hiring another coach that has not been an NHL head coach for a full season.

Again, I'm not trying to dump on Dudley just for the sake of being negative. And I'm not trying to say the kid we drafted at #8 this year is going to be a bust. I've just read too many times about how everyone is saying Dudley is the man. He drafts the best talent. Nobody knows more about players than him. I had to say my piece.

Thoughts and comments are a welcome.


After thinking about it, I suppose you could say I believe Dudley's drafts have been barbaric:

For the Record

Despite my wailing and teeth gnashing, I have nothing against Burmistrov. I was very concerned that any Russian would be a risky pick, but his comments about the KHL have quelled those fears.

My outrage with Dudley's choice of Burmistrov isn't a knock on him, it's a commentary on the fact that Fowler and Campbell were both available and would have been a gift. As The Falconer will tell you, franchise D-men and goalies just don't come along as UFA's or in trades but once in a blue moon. Goal scorers are much easier to come by, so you should use your draft picks on the guys who will keep the puck out of your net.

If you misuse your draft picks, you end up with a team like we had last year that was able to put a lot of rubber in the other team's net but can't keep your own twine clean. That is a recipe for 9th and 10th place finishes, just out of reach of a playoff spot. Much like this:

Now that it's done, let's welcome Burma and hope he turns into a dynamic little scoring machine.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The More You Know

It's good to learn things, isn't it?

From the official Puck Daddy interview with Alexander Burmistrov:

Q. Congratulations on being drafted in the first round and making it to the NHL. Did you think you were going to get drafted so high?

BURMISTROV: Thank you for the congratulations. As for being drafted, yes, I was waiting for it. I was waiting for the Atlanta Thrashers to pick me.

Did you know that Atlanta was going to pick you?

I didn't know it, but I was waiting for it.

At this point in history, enthusiasm for the Thrashers is either heroic or ultra-naive. Probably both. Point is: we're in awe of this Ruskie youth's willingness to become a Thrasher.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Johnny Burma Craps on KHL

Writing from Mr. Speaker's laptop, as we (Speaker, K-Belle, Monsieur, and myself) all just returned from the surreal and demure draft party. We met famous Chronicle operative "Jay" there, who is a swell guy in real life, so hooray!

Anyway. I see my comrade Razor Catch Prey isn't too keen on this Alexander Burmistrov fellow, and I understand his horror. I must admit I'm not excessively keen myself, but then again, I'm pretty ignorant of this Barrie Colt, except for this:

"I really hate the KHL," Burmistrov told NHL FanHouse. "I really, really hate it. It's for old guys. I don't want anything to do with the KHL for a long, long time ... maybe ever."

The young man hates the KHL and doesn't want to play there. This is a Good Thing. He's compared, hyperbolically, to Igor Larionov and Pavel Datsyuk. He will likely be nothing like either of those esteemed cerebral Russians, but he might be a fine player. The Big Point here is that no one who writes for your Chronicle knows much of anything about this poor bastard, so God help us.

Your TBC editor loves Cam Fowler and Jack Campbell, like he enjoys any Team America hero, but the Fact of the Matter is we know very little about anything to do with the Future of Earth's Hockey.

I would have taken Fowler, probably. But then again we have so many defensemen that we probably don't need another.

This is probably some kind of ploy to entice Nabokov and re-entice Kovalchuk. It will fail.

Nonethless, Alexander Burmistrov will be known now and forever as "Johnny Burma." Hooray for Life.

Are You Kidding Me!?!?!

Alexander Burmistrov.

Yes, you read that right. That was a Russian name. That was not an American name.

Not Jack Campbell.

Not Cam Fowler.

A Russian.

Has Rick Dudley heard about the KHL?



There is a good chance this guy will never play in the NHL.

He's undersized.

He's a forward.

This team needs stud defensemen. Or maybe it doesn't. Apparently we don't need Pavel Kubina.

This team needs reliable goaltending.

And Rick Dudley takes Alexander Burmistrov.

Goodbye NHL 2010 Entry Draft.

We've left to enter the Dudley Zone.



So here we are.

Must admit---now that we've had a few days to digest it---we're feeling ambivalent about this week's big trade.

No question Byfuglien is a nifty guy, but was he worth Jeremy Morin? Of course Morin might come to nothing, but I'm having nightmares about him scoring goals in a Blackhawks jersey. Essentially, we've become seriously grittier and more physical, which is good, but I worry about our stock of players who can put the puck in the net.

It seems we've built up something resembling the supporting cast of the Chicago Blackhawks (which now includes actual Chicago Blackhawks) without ATL equivalents to Patrick Kane or Jonathan Toews. Who, after all, were the biggest factors in turning around Chicago's misery. I'm willing to learn, though: if I'm mistaken, just who are our equivalents to Toews and (P.) Kane? Or Hossa, for that matter....

BUT I'm willing to suspend serious judgement until this team actually starts playing. And of course the team isn't even completely assembled yet; who knows what might happen during free agency?

So, draft day. My own opinion is that we have no choice but to trade our #8 pick for a decent top-six forward, but that probably won't happen. I'm a bit wary of this #8 position, but who knows? We might get a Devin Setoguchi.

We could have gotten the ACTUAL Devin Setoguchi at #8 in 2005, but we traded down and picked up Alex Bourret instead. An argument against my "trade the 8th thing" argument? Perhaps, but I say WRONG LESSON TO LEARN TRADE IT DUDLEY, etc.

Now. If I could choose any player within range of this #8 pick, I'd take Swiss hero Nino Niederreiter and greet him with chiming cow bells and Roger Federer statuettes.

He'll be gone by #8, though, so....who's left?

Why not his Portland Winterhawks teammate Ryan Johansen? Uh, yeah, let's go with Ryan Johansen. Playing on the same team as Niederreiter makes him close enough, and he's probably related to Scarlet Johansson, despite the varied spellings (that's Hollywood for you).

Anyway, yeah, it looks like Chronicle operative "Krisabee" and her inconvenient boyfriend Mr. Speaker are dragging Monsieur Catalogues and me to the Official Draft Party at Philip's tonight, which could be interesting. Never been to one of these official Thrashers draft parties before.

Happy Draft Friday, comrades. Drive carefully if not safely.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Craig Ramsay Officially Named Head Coach

Link here.

I believe one of our esteemed posters here stated the day that Dudley was promoted and Anderson was fired that "this is not a time for old friendships and repaying old debts" regarding choosing a new coach. It sounds as though Ramsay is very well respected, but I am worried about the fact that his path through the NHL assistant coaching ranks reads a lot like Rick Dudley's path through front offices. Tampa, Florida, Ottawa... Is he really good and loyal to Dudley, or is he just adequate and Dudley keeps extending him patronage?

Time will tell.

Mortimer Peacock adds: Lookee here...

We like this gent's word-statements.

RIP Crabb Dance

In The Light of Day

So, anybody hear the news yesterday? It seems as though the internets believe the Thrashers made some kind of player swap with the Blackhawks. I know it's true because I read it on the twitter machine.

This move is quite a big trade in many ways. I really needed to sleep on it and see what I thought about it... in the Morin, if you will. Everyone seems to be all giddy with school girlish excitement over the move. Me, I'm not so sure. Clearly the key to this deal for us is Buf. Amazing what a good playoff run will do for you. I expect he will be a pretty good 2nd line player for us and hopefully he will continue to grow and be the playoff Buf we saw, and not have times where he disappeared like he did during the regular season. We also got Eager and Sopel, but those two guys are throw ins and depending on who they end up replacing on our roster are either at the same talent level, or slightly less than what we had before. Can't comment on the prospect we got in the deal as I've never seen him play.

What did we give up? A 1st, 2nd, Reasoner, Morin, Crabb, and essentially Sterling, Vernace, and a 7th. Now then, some of these guys are spare parts, for sure. I would have expected CHI to not get fair value with teams knowing they HAD to make a move. Looking at it very simply, I have a little heartburn basically giving up a 1st, 2nd, and Morin for Buf and a prospect. I think that is way too much to give when a team has it's back against the wall. Eager and Marty Party could be considered a wash, if it weren't for Marty's leadership (we will miss that the most, I say). Sopel < Kubina, so hopefully something else will happen there before it's all said and done.

We shall see, won't we. I've said many times I have strong reservations about Dudley as our GM. I really hope I'm wrong and will gladly admit it if the time comes. One thing is for sure, this is the biggest trade this franchise has ever made when we weren't actually forced to make a move (Heatley, Hossa, Kovy). Dudley has never been afraid to make silly video game type trades. Hope this one works out. I think we still have work to be done to be considered a better team for next year. While we added some pieces, don't forget about the pieces that were not a direct part of this trade but won't be back because of it.


Seeing as how everyone (professional and non-professional bloggers alike) but me seems to be confused about this let me clear it up: WE DID NOT GET AN EXTRA 2ND ROUND PICK FROM NJ FOR KOVALCHUK. WE SWAPPED 2ND ROUNDERS WITH THEM THUS WE GAVE UP OUR 2ND ROUNDER (VIA NJ) IN THE CHI TRADE.

It's the little things.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Fun Never Stops

(updated below)

What, you thought I'd gone to bed?

Not on this night of World Cup triumphs and Thrashers trades and endless Wimbledon matches and an Atlanta Braves team that never gives up, no sir.


Well damn me like Cavalcanti.

Word is Torchetti is likely to be assistant coach. What all this means I might have a better sense of in the morning.

Rick Dudley is some kind of hustler.

UPDATE: Brett "Stirling" Sterling and Mike Vernace have been banished to San "Sand" Jose's slave labor farm.

UPDATE II: Per Craig Custance, Joey Crabb would also be headed to Chicago in the Byfuglien deal if he wasn't in Chicago already, haw.

Quick Analysis

For your perusal:

Byfuglien, Sopel, Eager, and Aliu for Morin, Reasoner, 24th overall pick, 54th overall pick.

Byfuglien had an outstanding run in the playoffs but has struggled to put up points in the regular season so far in his career. He's a huge power forward with a lot of his career ahead of him at 25 years of age. He is making 3 mil this year and is an RFA after this season.

Sopel is 33 years old, registers on TSN at a 63.66 rating, and is a solid stay at home defenseman. Not Kubina solid, but he's cheaper at 2 million this year. He'll be a UFA after the season.

Ben Eager is roughly a straight up pound for pound even trade for Marty Reasoner. They're both grinders who can move the puck and put it in the net on occasion. Ben Eager is younger (26 to Reasoner's 33) and needs to be signed to an RFA contract. He'll likely make the same kind of money as Marty and will play a very similar game.

Akim Aliu was listed by as the Hawks' #4 prospect back in February of this year. He's got good size (6'2" 202 lbs) and plays on the right wing. Apparently he was the victim of a bad hazing incident in Windsor and has bounced around to several junior teams since, but has the right tools to be an NHL power forward someday.

Dudley sent Jeremy Morin back the other way. We here at TBC are big fans of Morin and wish him the best. He showed a lot of promise as a natural goal scorer, but you have to give something up to get something back. Like I said above, Reasoner for Eager is a wash with the slight edge going to Atlanta for gaining youth. It remains to be seen how valuable the two draft picks going Chicago's way turn out to be and how they balance the trade.

As Morty said, Dustin Byfuglien is your new and improved Colby Armstrong. Ben Eager is your new, younger Marty Reasoner. It looks like Brent Sopel is your economy version of Pavel Kubina.


Today we are all pawns in Rick Dudley's war of attrition.

INSTANT IMPORTANT ANALYSIS: Dustin Byfuglien is better than Colby Armstrong. Brent Sopel is the new Pavel Kubina. Ben Eager is better than many players. Hate to see Jeremy Morin go, but there it is. Give and take.

Award Tour

So the NHL Awards are tonight, and we should probably list our picks for things like the Norris, the Vezina, the Hart, and the Jack Adams.

We can't think straight right now, though, as we're still awfully excited about the USA making it through to the terrifying next round of the World Cup. Hooray!

Also: if Duncan Keith doesn't win the Norris then crack isn't whack.

Also also: if the modern day Atlanta Thrashers are truly the Chicago Blackhawks 2.0, as many would like to believe and some ACTUALLY DO believe, then who is our Duncan Keith? Zach Bogosian?

Now that I think of it, I will make my picks.

Vezina ought to go to Ryan Miller. Hart ought to go to Ilya Bryzgalov (Henrik Sedin's achievement this past season was huge, but he had a great supporting cast; without Bryzgalov I doubt the Coyotes would've done much of anything)*. Jack Adams to Dave Tippett, the end.

P.S. Oh yeah, ahahahahaha, Snoop Dogg's going to be playing the thing tonight, right? In honor of tha Doggfather (soundtrack of my childhood), here is my personal favorite Snoop performance, which he'll surely play tonight alongside a parachuted-in Dr. Dre:

"Call him Snoop Eastwood..."

"Tonight's the night like Betty White..."

A classic.

P.P.S. The Selke belongs to Ryan Kesler, now and forever.

*Not nominated? What do you mean "not nominated?" This is worse than live-blogging a non-existent game.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Why Do Hockey Players Love 3rd-Rate Vampires?

One of those questions that will never go away, I guess.

Thrashers Unleash 2010-11 Schedule, Ruin One's Travel Plans

The Thrashers have released their schedule for 2010-11 après Jesus. Hooray!

Looks like we're renewing the timeless tradition of opening at home against the Washington Capitals. And then the team plays in Tampa Bay. Then they jet off for a three-city (well, two, really) voyage of discovery in California.

"Oh, awesome," you might think, "an opportunity to go on my long-planned, forever-postponed hockey road trip in California, with detours into Venice Beach bookshops and Paso Robles wineries and visits with regal elephant seals at Monterey!"

It seems that way at first, but then you notice the confoundedest thing: the Thrashers play the Kings on October 12th and the Ducks on October 15. "More time to spend in the L.A. area," one thinks.

But wait. The Thrashers then play the Sharks on October 16. Hardly any time for a leisurely drive up Highway 1!

Unless, of course, you skip the Ducks game. Go see them play the Kings, hang out in L.A. for a bit, then head up the coast to San Jose. Four days is enough time to see some elephant seals.

Thank you for reading this week's edition of TBC Travel Planner, and you're welcome.

Thrashtards Take Mark Bradley Literally, The End.

Main Entry: sat·ire
Pronunciation: \ˈsa-ˌtī(-ə)r\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin satura, satira, perhaps from (lanx) satura dish of mixed ingredients, from feminine of satur well-fed; akin to Latin satis enough — more at sad
Date: 1501
1 : a literary work holding up human vices and follies to ridicule or scorn
2 : trenchant wit, irony, or sarcasm used to expose and discredit vice or folly

Jeezus, you people.

Not all of you, of course. All of US. This hyper-touchiness and lack of humor about our comical team (and it is comical) condemns us all. May Space Jebus and the ghost of Jonathan Swift have mercy on us.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A Plea to the Thrashers Blogosphere


So here's the thing: Rumors are flying about the Atlanta Spirit trying to sell the Thrashers, the Hawks, and Philips Arena. The newest rumor claims that the Thrashers are being offered separately. The Spirit kind of/sort of deny this and say they're simply looking for minority investors.

They do admit they're working with a firm to find some suitors, though. Thanks to yesterday's NY Post report, we know that the firm is called the Raine Group, and is based in New York.

Are they trying to sell it all or are they just trying to find other investors? How do we know what's true?

There's been some talk in recent weeks about the journalistic viability of the blogosphere, bloggers as proper reporters and journalists, etc. Everyone wants those press passes, understandably.

Well, fellow Thrash-bloggers, here's your chance to scoop the regular media. Because the AJC sure as hell isn't going to try to discover what's actually going on. Most journalists aren't willing to do the extra work that getting to the bottom of this mystery entails.

You want to be a journalist, or at least a reporter who offers something more substantive than "The Thrashers were nice enough to invite us to talk to Chris Thorburn today?" Chase this story down. Send the Raine Group an email. Tell them you write for a well-known weblog that covers the Thrashers, and you want to know if there's any truth to the rumors about the Atlanta Spirit---their client---trying to sell the package they own.

Now, we, the Blueland Chronicle, can't do this. A "boutique merchant bank" like the Raine Group wouldn't engage a blog filled with Ten Gallon Dick's and accounts of drinking, and rightly so. I'm talking to the two or three Thrash-blogs that actually resemble journalism.

Hell, pick up a phone and CALL the Raine Group. Tell them you write for an imaginary Atlanta-area newspaper or magazine. I don't know, call it the Atlanta Business Jihad, or the Gwinnett Spy and Telegraph. Offer some low-level employee anonymity. Have a fake business card made and head up to their office on the Avenue of the Americas. You may not get particularly far, but at least try. Come to think of it, you'd be surprised at how far you can get. I once got Jason Smith's agent on the phone. This is an actual fact!

There's more to journalism than asking players questions, and certainly more to it than waiting to re-print whatever the Thrashers press people say. Ben Wright is rightly praised for his dutifulness in keeping fans up to date with the latest team information, but it's good to remember that he's not a neutral or independent source. No one who works for the Thrashers can be an independent source, by definition.

Now get to work on those fake business cards.

Friday, June 18, 2010

NY Post and 680 The Fan Reporting ATL Spirit Looking to Sell Unwanted Possessions

(updated below)

(updated again below)

(very very importantly updated again, this time with very telling details)

A-ha! So the provenance of that 680 report is famed Murdoch tabloid the New York Post. They sez:

Today the National Basketball Association has a 2009-10 champion, but for the Atlanta Hawks the real battle has just begun.

The Atlanta Spirit, the group that controls the team, has put it on the block and, in recent days has started to solicit buyers for the franchise in a package with the Philips Arena where the team plays, according to sources with direct knowledge of the process.

The Spirit is also selling its Atlanta Thrashers franchise of the National Hockey League.

Over at the AJC, Jeff Schultz chimes in:

The only new thing the New York Post brought to the table this morning was its report that both teams and Philips Arena are all for sale in their entirety. Similar stories have surfaced before. Each time the Spirit ownership has issued denials (once all could finally sign off on a statement, which took hours to days).

Um, no, dude. We've known for some time now that the ATL Spirit are "looking for investors," but that's a far cry from a report claiming that the comical sports package they own is now up for sale "in [its] entirety." The detail about the Thrashers being sold separately is also more concrete than things we've heard in the past.

Meanwhile, the Spirit send out this email:

ATLANTA – (June 18, 2010) – Bruce Levenson and Michael Gearon, two of the principal partners of Atlanta Spirit LLC, the parent company that owns the Atlanta Hawks, Atlanta Thrashers and Philips Arena operating rights, have released the following statement regarding the rumored sale of the teams and arena:

“As has been shared publicly for more than a year, we are interested in finding minority investors and have engaged a firm to assist us in that effort. We have no plans to move either team, and remain committed to the Hawks, the Thrashers, Philips Arena and the city of Atlanta.”

Oh hey look, standard foam-rubber PR speak that tells us nothing! I've heard of such things, in stories.

Our friend Mr. Speaker tweets us:

Guys, they are simply looking for minority investors to make up for Belkin's share of the pie. Radio has distorted truth.

IS THAT SO? The Spirit's claim--that they're merely looking for minority investors---could well be true, but the gist of the 680 report (as opposed to the New York Post report) was that "sources close" to the Spirit say that everything is for sale.

So who, really, is the distorting the Troof: the Spirit or News Corp. or 680? We report, you decide.

UPDATE: Over on the Twitter, Mr. Speaker makes the point that 1) the Post is hardly known for its accuracy and scooping, and 2) anyone can piece together a report that bases its reliability on certain unnamed sources.

I shan't argue with point 1, but on point 2: over the course of this blog's life I've written several times about my hatred of anonymous sourcing, but it seems to be de rigueur for hockey journalism (no less than every other form of journalism today outside of a few intrepid/crazy war correspondents), so whatcanyoudo?

Additionally: it's worth remembering that 680 the Fan did break the story of Kovalchuk's imminent departure before anyone else did. It too was based on nameless but reputedly reliable sources.

UPDATE II: Ben Wright has posted the Spirit statement to his Blueland Blog. Otherwise, he's mostly silent. Nary a debunking Tweet. Perhaps he's...EERILY silent?

I also wonder why this came out on a Friday. You know what they say about Fridays, right?

UPDATE III: Something interesting about the NY Post article I thought I'd point out. The author of the article is Josh Kosman, who is not a sports journalist but a financial journalist. He writes about equity, credit, mergers & acquisitions and so on. Basically he's closer to the financial world than to the sports world, but that division is probably arbitrary, as the sports world is only an offshoot of the financial world.

Anyway, point is: Kosman and the New York Post know about this, and the AJC doesn't, because Kosman and the Post have contacts in the New York financial world. The Spirit have apparently hired the Raine Group, an NYC investment bank, to sell the teams. According to their LinkedIn profile, they are "A boutique merchant bank focused on advisory and investing in the global media, entertainment and sports industries. Specific sector focus: online gaming, digital media, sports, live entertainment, and content (music, film, television, education, etc.). Offices in New York, Los Angeles and Beijing."

The Beijing Thrashers!

Breaking News!!!!

Just spoke with Morty on the cellular mechanism, and he tells me that 680 The Fan told him that the Atlanta Spirit folk told them they are selling the Hawks, Philips Arena, and---wait for it---the Thrashers!

What does this mean?

Who knows. I couldn't find anything on the internets about it. But Morty swears the radio wouldn't lie to him. They have too good a relationship.

Gotta step out. More to come. Peacock will update.

Be safe.

Mortimer Peacock adds: What the radio machine told me is that the ATL Spirit have hired a group to help them find buyers for Philips Arena, the Hawks, and the Thrashers. The Hawks and Philips Arena are being packaged together, the Thrashers are being sold separately. Never forget.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


It's oppressively hot outside, comrades. The sun beats down, oil-waves smother the beach, the vuvuzelas haunt your dreams, and so do the World Cup lady fans of various nationalities.

What better way to stave off the heat than a mojito and this, the Thrashers' pre-season schedule for 2010? It's almost like the Internet can help us see into the future. Now tell me, Web-box, is the Swedish New Wave going to be our salvation or is it not? HMMM?

Another important question: if Dudley brings Torchetti here, will we see a reincarnation of the Blackhawks build-up, or perhaps even the heady days of the early 00's Florida Panthers? We shall all find out, together.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Swedish Mystery the name of Tobias Enstrom's new line of cologne.

Wait, no. Actually it's a phrase that every human must think of when they hear the name "Fredrik Pettersson." I mean, what gives here, amiritepeople?

The short version: the Falconer, and also a Swedish hockey zine called Hockey Expressen, are saying our Atlanta Thrashers are very close to signing a deal with this svelte ruffian. The Thrashers organization is denying this, but they deny most leaked news, and besides, everyone hates the Thrashers organization anyway so SEND THEM TO THE GULF, ETC.

Anyway, if Google's translation robots can be trusted (and your editor uses them all the time, so he can catch up with Mario Vargas Llosa's latest in Letras Libres) the Thrashers are contradicting their new player's own horse's word-mouth.


Among the worst

Atlanta Trashers is one of the NHL's worst teams. Have just gone to the playoffs once in the 2000s (0-4 in matches against the New York Rangers in the first round in 2007).

Why was it Atlanta?
- Atlanta has always been the first election, interest already existed before the World Cup, "says Frederick. They are building up an interesting team, and when I got the offer was not much hesitation on.
You have signed a two-year contract. How certain are you to take a seat?

- I think I have a good chance, but sure, I can not be. However, I intend to train hard, both with Frölunda and on their own, to get prepared for awesome.

Get prepared for awesome. Anyway, I'm sure the Thrashers are near a deal with this fellow and just don't want to talk about it. Either that or they've led this young man on in a most cruel way.

Also: even the Google robots call us the "Trashers."

UPDATE: Oh yeah the Thrashers finally went and signed the guy, the end.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Ho Hum, Part 382


Maxim Afinogenov is not close to re-signing with the Thrashers, according to his agent.

Don Meehan said Monday that after reviewing the one-year contract offer made by the Thrashers several weeks ago, he and Afinogenov “don’t agree at this point in time” with the terms offered by the team.
“Where we go from here, I’m not sure,” Meehan said.

No surprise, of course. As you were, then! So who do you like today, Japan or Cameroon?

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Note on Press Credentials, Blogging, and J-School Ethics

As the world probably knows by now, your Chronicle and a few other Thrashers blogs are featured in today's edition of Bill "Rawhide" Tiller's AJC blog. The article concerns the possibility of NHL teams like the Thrashers issuing press credentials to blog-makers like yours truly. Do read.

Everyone interviewed for Rawhide's article---Laura of Thrashing the Blues, the legendary Falconer, and our dear friend Smoothie/Mr. Speaker---has more or less the correct response: Of course bloggers should have press passes if they're worthy of it, but team organizations need to be selective about who they choose to admit to the press box.

My own criteria for granting press passes is "a record of decent writing and reporting," which sounds somewhat vague and subjective because it is, but the Thrashers PR folks have minds and reading abilities; surely they can use them. I'd hesitate to use more mechanical criteria...though don't get us wrong, we are very proud of the many times we've been mentioned in Puck Daddy and the Hockey News and the AJC (in the writings of both Mr. Tiller and Mark Bradley).

Also: I have a problem with the current (and pretty much exclusively American) fetishization of "Journalism school" and degrees in something called Journalism. The greatest journalists in history never went to J-school, and the best ones working today (both in the US and abroad) have never taken journalism classes. William Cobbett, Tom Paine, William Hazlitt, Walter Bagehot, Alexander Herzen, Mark Twain, H.L. Mencken, James Gibbon Huneker, Rebecca West, Alan Moorehead, Martha Gellhorn, George Orwell, Joseph Roth, Joseph Mitchell, A.J. Liebling, I.F. Stone, Murray Kempton, Mike Royko, Jimmy Breslin, Hunter S. Thompson, Ryzard Kapuzcinski, Bruce Chatwin, Robert Fisk, James Fenton, David Remnick, Seymour Hersh, Christopher Hitchens (he was once a journalist, and a great one), Neal Ascherson, Lawrence Weschler, Timothy Garton Ash...none of them ever went to ever went to Journalism school, much less had any concern for mind-numbing J-school "ethics." But they all wrote vivid, incisive prose without which we'd be much poorer, much dumber, and very lost.

The whole idea of "journalism classes" is a bit weird to begin with, and contrary to the spirit of inquiry, risk, and hard experience so necessary to journalism. Not that anyone ever notices that journalism requires such a spirit, now that most journalists are dull yuppies often too lazy to chase politicians and general managers through a guarded parking lot or to make the necessary phone calls, on or off the goddamned record.

So, yeah...what does this mean for Thrash-blogging? More Ten Gallon Dick, probably.

Anyway, back to the World Cup.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Your TBC Guide to the World Cup, with NHL Analogies (updated below)

The Stanley Cup thingy was exciting stuff, but tomorrow the Planet Earth will witness something at least comparable in excitement: the start of the World Cup! What is this World Cup and where does it come from? Let's find out, together:

Apparently, the World Cup is a great big international soccer tournament, except the Foreigners find assorted ways to call the sport "football." It comes along every 4 years, like the Vancouver Winter Olympics. This year it will be held in South Africa, in both characterless smogpit Johannesburg* and charming sea-breeze-filled model haven Cape Town. South Africa has come a long way since the days of apartheid, but my are they ever beastly to their extraterrestrial population.

Since this is a hockey blog, allow me to explain the various national teams using NHL analogies.


Are they any good? Very much so. If one team has a super-serious chance to win it all this year, it's Spain. They play a flashy offensive game, much like the team of their main striker David Villa (and your TBC editor's favoritest soccer team) FC Barcelona. That's probably because they have a lot of other players from Barcelona on the team as well. They will have a ton of scoring power, they will overflow with fancy footwork, and in net they can choose between one good goaltender and two brilliant ones. Real Madrid goalie Iker Casillas is the first choice, and he's a mighty good one, but Barcelona goalie Victor Valdes is also a splendid net-dweller. Rounding out the goaltending trio will be Pepe Reina of Liverpool FC, who is probably the Spanish version of Pekka Rinne. Which is just as well, because Liverpool is the British Nashville. Think about it: the Beatles, Echo and the Bunnymen, Clinic, COME ON PEOPLE SEE IT MY WAY.

Oh yeah, look at this Iniesta-Silva play as well:

NHL analogue: The Washington Capitals. Will they choke as well? Probably not, but time will tell. I admit I'm a fan.

And now...5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0, let's take a trip to RI-O!!!


Are they any good? Ugh, God yes. As usual, they're disgustingly good. It's pointless to even list the talented players they have, because not only are they stocked with talented players, they're stocked with super-talented players. Most of them have only one name, because in the football world they're deities, not mortals. Gobsmackingly brilliant midfielder "Kaka" is a super-religious evangelical, so I guess he's sort of like a Brazilian Tim Tebow.

NHL analogue: The Detroit Red Wings. This team is a freaking dynasty. They're the only team to ever qualify for every single World Cup, and your TBC editor despises them for it. Bored with this lot, hope someone will do like France did last time and knock them off their pedestal (for whatever it's worth: the France-Brazil game from the last World Cup is the single most exciting soccer game I've ever seen).


Are they any good? Sigh. The Englanders have all kinds of great players, and they're very strong in almost every position (one slight question mark is goaltending). As usual, they're contenders. If there's anything "as usual" about this World Cup though, they'll go down choking like always. They haven't won since 1966, so naturally everyone in England thinks the Cup belongs to them by rights. Your editor has immense affection for the Land of Hope and Glory, and counts several Englishers among his dearest, but good lord I do not like their football team. Names you should know: striker Wayne Rooney, midfielders Steve Gerrard and Frank Lampard, defenders John Terry and Ashley Cole. Three of those fellers play for Chelsea, who your editor likes, the end.

NHL analogue: Toronto Maple Leafs. Not the current Toronto Maple Leafs, but the Maple Leafs for the past few decades. If I wanted to be more precise, I'd say this year's England squad bears some resemblance to the Anaheim Ducks circa 2010. Don't misunderstand me, kids, it would be cool if England achieved something this year. The endless choking can be wearying, though.


Are they any good? Quite good, I'd say. They probably no longer have the all-around firepower of a Brazil or Spain, but they have plenty of it in players like Franck Ribéry and Thierry Henry (your editor's favorite soccer player of all human history). They will miss the great Zinedine Zidane, or maybe they won't, seeing as how the only reason they didn't win the whole thing last time was Z's scarcely believable head-butt on that dumb Italian player. Really, they were minutes away from winning it, then Zidane had to go and get himself thrown out of the game with the stupidest penalty of all time. Sad sad sad, especially considering that up to that point he'd been such a classy player. Oh well. What will they achieve this year? They have the potential to achieve a lot. And how could you not love that Gallic rooster on their blue uniforms?

NHL analogue: The Vancouver Canucks, Henry and Ribéry being the Sedins, with a stellar supporting cast of smart, hard-working midfielders and defenders. After the USA, this is the team I most favor. Mainly because of the photo above. However, they are getting some discouraging press at the moment, and in the comments section below Go Puck Yourself makes the case that they're really more like the Calgary Flames. My argument: people said very similar things about France last time, and they nearly won the Cup.

Who's next? Let's try Portugal. Let me find a suitable photo...ah, okay. I can see where this picture gallery is going.


Are they any good? Yes. They might even be good enough to knock off Brazil in Group G. Mainly because of the masterful but imminently hateable Cristiano Ronaldo, who is kind of like Sidney Crosby if Sidney Crosby showed interest in human females.

NHL analogue: Do you even have to ask? The Pittsburgh Penguins, without question.


Are they any good? Well, they have the single greatest player in the world right now. Lionel Messi is his name. You can't miss him.

Also worth keeping in mind is Argentina's coach Diego Maradona, who is one of the greatest and most hilariously arrogant soccer players of all time.

NHL analogue: The San Jose Sharks. They have all the talent in the world, but they haven't quite been able to get it done in recent tournaments. We'll see what happens this year. Always been a fan, since I was a tyke.

But you know who might do really, REALLY well this World Cup? So well that I'm actually picking them to win the whole thing...


Are they any good? YES. In fact, just let this article explain why they're in fact the best team and will probably win everything. Hint: it has to do with their love of the color orange. And their ridiculously talented roster: they're strong in every single position. And they have a super-easy group to get through. So hooray for Holland!

NHL analogue: Chicago Blackhawks.

There are a lot more teams, but honestly I'm just too tired to keep typing. South Korea is alright, Ghana will try their best, as will Uruguay, homeboys South Africa will try to put on a good show, Germany and Italy just might get something done, and the Cote d'Ivoire has Didier Drogba.

Well, that's it. Thanks for reading. Didn't leave anyone out, did I?



What about the USA?

Are we any good? We're not bad. In fact, I think we have the potential for some upsets, though this Saturday's joust with England probably won't be one of them. If our fine goaltender, Tim Howard, plays as well as he's capable of playing, we just might get somewhere. Hooray!

NHL analogue: Florida Panthers. World class goaltender, okay team up front, potential to play above our level.

Okay, exhausted now. To leanr more, take a look at the Guardian's witty and ultra-comprehensive liveblog and the New Republic's excellent World Cup blog Goal Post. It stars the always-fun, always-Brazil-bashing Brit Alex Massie. Worth your time.

*Sort of like Atlanta! And don't get angry, South Africans. As I say, Cape Town is a lovely place. Or so I hear. Including this one time I was told by a South African model, around whom I was so bumbling and dumbstruck I couldn't speak. It was sad/hilarious.

UPDATE: Two teams I didn't mention that could do well: Mexico and, as stealth operative Go Puck Yourself points out, Chile. Both of them could go farther than many would expect, particularly Chile. Mexico isn't going to get super-far, but they can do some damage. They might be on par with the US.


Congrats to Hossa, Toews, Kane, Keith, Campbell, Byfuglien, etc on winning the Cup. Now we can finally get down to the business of the offseason.

As you all know, Jimmy Slater was the first pending free agent to re-sign with our Atlanta Thrashers. Hopefully we will see a few more soon, though Rick Dudley obviously has a lot on his plate with the search for a new head coach, our pending free agents, potential free agent or trade targets, and the draft.

Speaking of the draft, that's the next set-in-stone event we have to look forward to this offseason. Two weeks from tomorrow night all 30 GM's will be in the City of Angels talking trades and picking prospects. Will Dudley use two first round picks, or will he send one afar to bring in tested talent?

Just six days after the draft we will witness the opening day of free agency. I still predict that Kovy will wait several days before agreeing to a contract either in the NHL or the KHL. My theory is he will take all offers, then use the KHL as leverage to haggle for more money/years from the highest couple of NHL bidders. He has no incentive to jump at an early bird. We will also get to see just how active Rick Dudley is in the free agent market. Thus far he has underwhelmed us here at TBC with his one year offers to players who deserve better. Is he saving up for something impressive on July 1?

After the initial surge of free agent signings in early July things will die down for a month and a half of so as our beloved winter sport goes into summer hibernation. Just three months from now, however, teams will be hitting the ice for preseason games once again.

We have a lot to look forward to between now and mid-September as Thrasher fans. Free agent re-signings. The draft. New free agent signings. A new coach. New assistant coaches. A bold new direction for marketing hockey in Atlanta? We can hope.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

LiveBlogging Game 6, Cajun Style: OVERTIME

10:50- As Jeremy Roenick says, "Wow." Jeremy Roenick is also saying other things, right now, on the TeeVee.

10:52- So, wait. Was Big Shooter correct? DID the puck go in off of Marian Hossa's skate? Great tiger/great drama if so.

10:55- Okay, bets on the game-winning (potentially series-winning) goal. I say Matt Carle for the Flyers, Marian Hossa for the Blackhawks.

11:00- Over on the Twitter James Mirtle is arguing with Don Cherry about the North Americans vs. Europeans ridiculousness. WHAT'S HAPPENING NOW AAAAAHHHH SHOOTING THE PUCK GLOVE SAVES, ETC. THIS IS NERVE-WRACKING. And I don't even have a dog in the fight.

11:02- I forgot about van Riemsdyk. How is his stock these days?

11:03- I'd like to revise my earlier telegraph about Matt Carle winning it for the Flyers. That was frivolous eccentricity. I think it'll be Claude Giroux. I stick to my Hossa/Blackhawks prediction, though.

11:06- Wait, what? Weirdest Stanley Cup-winning goal ever?

11:07- Damn, man. That's in. Patrick Kane. Jeezus.

11:09- Anti-climatic as a wet blanket. Well, now Hossa has a Cup. Goodbye forever, 09-10 NHL season! Congrats to the Chicago Blackhawks. They're a good team.

11:11- Philly crowd seems surprisingly decent. So who's going to get the Conn Smythe? Pierre McGuire talking to Jonathan Toews, who just dropped a reference to the "there are no words" commercial. My oh my. I do like that Toews boy; he's a gent.

11:13- Gary Bettman walking out to a symphony of boos. And the Conn Smythe goes to...Jonathan Toews! More boos. Good old Philadelphia.

11:17- Seeing Hossa hoist the Cup was actually moving. I've never seen him more excited. Which makes sense, because he just won the Stanley Cup...

11:18- It's the role players who stand the most chance of multiple Stanley Cup wins. Andrew Ladd = 2-time winner.

11:26- Well, I reckon that's it for this liveblog. JR getting emotional. GOOD NIGHT.

11:27- Actually, one more thing. Jesus Christ are you seeing Jeremy Roenick cry? It's a shame he never won.

LiveBlogging Game 6, Cajun Style: 3rd Period

10:04- No, I have no idea what that picture of Vladimir Putin on a horse is doing there. Can't find any more 6-related stuff that isn't obvious/lame.

10:07- We're 1:16 into the 3rd period and we all wonder, "Who's tired now?" Nobody, probably. Can you imagine the superhuman adrenaline you must get playing in a Stanley Cup Final Game 6?

10:09- Oh, Wyshynski, you blogue rogue. "Wachovia Center tries to capture essence of the end of period 2 by playing Van Morrison's 'Wild Night.'" TAW HAW HAW. Really.

10:12- NO WAY this game doesn't go to overtime. Or so I think. I hope it does.

10:13- Come on, come on. OVERTIME. Let's do it. I actually don't care who wins. This has all been thoroughly exciting.

10:17- What message is the coach of the Cyclones sending to his team if he takes them to Pizza Hut when they lose? Raising generations of soft mediocrities, I swears. Kidz theez dayz...

10:19- Do it, Leino or Carle! No, wait, Toews is cold cycling the puck and being rude.

10:21- Briere with the tying goal. Guaranteed.

10:23- In the Dark Ages, Europeans from Calais to Constantinople would pray to be delivered from the wrath of the Norsemen and their dragon-headed longboats. I think the Flyers should feel the same way about Nick Chalmerson.

10:29- Blackhawks playing life-altering defense in front of Niemi.

10:33- A break there, had to replenish the Peroni. Anyway, the Flyers are doing everything they can to score a goal. Niemi is frustratingly good.

10:35- YEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH turns out Ville Leino was the Norseman to be worried about. YEEEEAAAH BITCHES WE'RE TIED. As Dam Kamal tweets, "...still wondering how anyone cannot love this sport."

10:38- This is mental. I predicted Briere would tie it, but it was Scott Hartnell with some key assistance from Ville Leino. Danny Briere DID, however, have the secondary assist. So I was like 1/3 right.

10:41- Jesus Hector Christ, what a sport. The Q-Stache barking ferociously, Jeff Carter nearly scoring a point-blank goal, Niemi showing he can rebuff the Luftwaffe circa 1940, Byfuglien cold hitting mofo's, etc.

10:45- WE'RE GOIN' TO OVERTIME, FOLKS! AHHHHHHHHHH! Put on your dancing shoes and head for the next piece of living blogging, Overtime Edition.

LiveBlogging Game 6, Cajun Style: 2nd Period

9:09- And we've arrived in the 2nd period. BTW, there is no way on Earth that Geico gecko could ever be mistaken for an Australian in real life. That lady in the commercial has, as one fellow once put it in another context, "dead ears."

9:11- Oh yeah, hockey. Simon Gagne had a breakaway a minute ago but failed.

9:15- What's going on now? Hockey, good hockey. That's why I'm going to get up and get another eye-talian beer.



9:25- Hossa lounges on the entire Flyers team, earns himself a penalty. He was trying ever so hard to score a goal. He looks mighty pissed off. Eddie O. is none too pleased.

9:26- PATRICK SHARP. Conn Smyth and immediate retirement and Hall of Fame induction. This is one wild-ass game.

9:31- Steve Carell: Not, in reality, funny. You heard it here first.

9:32- Hossa ain't havin' no luck no how.

9:34- Now, Jonah Hill. He's actually funny. Explosive too. Which is good, when done right.

9:35- Over on the Twitter, Puck Daddy's Black Sea correspondent Dmitry Chesnokov brings up an aspect of this series I hadn't considered: "A great game in Philadelphia! Pizza vs. Cheesesteak all square now." A fantastic angle. I love pizza, but I'v enever been a huge fan of Chicago-style pizza. Philly cheese steaks are often good but lethal.

9:37- It took me about 2 years to realize that Niklas Hjalmarsson and that "Nicholas Chalmerson" guy I kept hearing about were, in fact, one and the same.

9:41- FACT. There's a famous hockey blogger---who is Internet-famous for whatever reason---who is actually honest to God terrible in every way. WHo is he? Hint: not Wyshynski, not Mirtle, not Eklund. Guess.

9:42- The "Nick Chalmerson" of my imagination scores a damned goal! Or maybe it was Andrew Ladd. 3-2 Blackhawks. Is this the night the entire Blackhawks roster is murdered in international waters by drunken Philadelphia sports fan commandoes?

9:44- Well whuddayaknow Steve Lepore of Puck the Media fame has the same idea I do: "Superintendent Hjalmers!" he tweets.

9:47- Well, that's the end of that heated puckfest. For now. Now there's a bunch of chicks, a car, and a shape-shifting dude on my TV screen. And now a bunch of falling dominoes. And now---AHHHHHH!!!!A TALKING FOX!

9:51- That "there are no words" Stanley Cup TV spot gets me every time. I lose it around the time Teemu Selanne pulls his cap over his eyes.

9:53- Stanley Cup Itself in the hizz. Milbury and what's-his-name were just talking about stuff, and all they allowed JR to say was "Oh."

9:57- Perhaps we should move to an official 3rd period live act of blogging. Let's go.

LiveBlogging Game 6, Cajun Style: 1st Period

8:03- Pierre McGuire talking to Chris Pronger. Two odd-looking people. Pronger is wearing a suit, and looks not unlike a very large Danish schoolboy.

8:06- Oh hey it's Marian Hossa with a bushy, tangled beard. I hear he calls himself the "Bratislavan Bear." Just FYI, folks.

8:08- I miss Hossa. Will tonight finally be his night (not that he's done A TON in this post-season)?

8:10- Television, check. Spectacles, check. Peroni, check. Hey, y'all all realize how excellent Publix subs are, right? I mean, they're really good! Good bread, good turkey, good spicy mustard.

8:11- Wha-what the fuck? I just heard the unmistakable voice of Snoop Dogg and looked up in baffled wonder, only to see a very bearded Daniel Briere walking down the sidewalk, in a suit and tie. This experience has made me realize just how good a retro-70's exploitation film starring Danny Briere would be. "He keeps his pimp hand Quebecois and strong," the posters will say.

8:15- "God Bless America" still going on. Was this Irving Berlin? Or did he do that "America the Beautiful" thing? Let's ask Google.

8:16- YES, it turns out Irving Berlin DID want his G-d to bless America.

8:17- And we're off! Blackhawks going stone cold nuts right off the draw. Philadelphia fans, as ever, are loud and into it. If Chicago wins tonight, will they survive the inevitable mass projectile vomiting?

8:20- Well now they're just all "awwwww imma ice it."

8:21- Blackhawks going stone cold nuts in front of the Flyers net. But you can all see this, as it's on TeeVee, right? THAT'S why you know it. That or you're currently absorbed in the Puck Daddy live chat with its fancy auto-update software and/or HTML monkey business.

8:25- My nominee for the Conn Smythe trophy? Duncan Keith for Chicago, though there's something deep within me that says Danny Briere deserves to win whether Philly wins or not. I could say the exact same for Chris Pronger, but I won't, because he's Chris Pronger.

8:28- Philadelphia seems to wresting control to some extent. Except, no, they're not. Toews has got something going on and PENALTY ON THE FLYERS. Is this when the kids snort their "power play" powder?

8:30- Got to hand it to Wyshynski: "If Hossa scores in a game that ends with him holding the Stanley Cup, will the sun explode?" To which the answer is NO, of course not, but Saturn might, because of the Terrorism.

8:37- Joel Quenneville looking stern as the Flyers start their power play.

8:38- Real life text message I just received from Big Shooter: "I once, in person, applauded the Cup as the Red Wings skated it around my favorite team's ice. It's what you are supposed to do, even if you lose." I'm guessing this was 1998, not 2008.

8:41- Shooter also informs me that security measures are in place if the Blackhawks win tonight. No projectile vomit will reach its target.

8:42- There's been a weird symmetry between the Flyers and the Blackhawks this post-season. For example: Ville Leino = Patrick Sharp. Discuss.

8:43- SHARP. That's another man ZOMG CHICAGO SCORES BYFUGLIEN! Right at the net, right into the end.

8:44- And now a penalty on Chicago. Seabrook to the box.

8:45- Chicago. City of broad shoulders, city of Augie March and Moses Herzog, city of Bueller and Frye. And the Blackhawks aren't there! And they might win the Cup tonight! Do they suffer from what Baudelaire called "horreur du domicile" or something? Your editor does.

8:49- WHO WOULDA THUNK IT HARTNELL SCORES UH GOAL. The play was set up by Briere. Conn Smythe now? Immediate induction into the Hall of Fame? I think so.

8:54- How is it that I'm still on my first Peroni? What a disgrace. As it's intermission, Jeremy Roenick is on TeeVee just going mental. JR is explaining something about "fatigue." Mike Milbury is talking about "jobs" or something like that. Hockey is supposed to be an escape from the horrors of the Great Recession, Mike! A little less Grapes of Wrath and more My Man Godfrey, please?

8:58- Speaking of...


9:00- MORE HOSSA MELODRAMA. You have to fill the intermission TeeVee somehow, I guess. Will he do it? Won't he? All I know for certain is that JR's suit and purple shirt is, as Big Shooter described it via text, "majestic." Mike Milbury can't hold a candle.

9:03- I don't get that commercial where the camera is panning around some messy bedroom while the Nazi boyfriend from The Sound of Music sings that "You Are Sixteen, Going On Seventeen" song. Oh wait, the room is supposed to BELONG to a 16-year-old? Mad.

9:06- I just glanced at the Puck Daddy live chat and everyone is complaining about how Don Cherry is loud. That and super macho tough guy jive like "YOU EVER TAKEN AN ELBOW WYSH? YEAH I BET NAUGHT"

Let's now MOVE to a new 2nd period live a-bloggin'.

Maxim Taking His Detective Skills Elsewhere, Actual LiveBlogging Tonight, Etc.

Late to this, but we thought we'd offer our Important Thoughts anyway. Here's a news item for you:

The Afinogenov thing, that is. "But that's a speculation, not a news item," I hear some of you murmur in the hollowed-out angry night. But as most of you already know, Kevin Allen has seldom been wrong when he makes Thrasher prophecies. I doubt his spotless record will get all crudded and clouded here. POINT BEING: Maxim Afinogenov ain't coming back.

Hardly surprising, given that Herr Dudley only offered him a meager 1-year contract. Your Chronicle thinks that the offer should have been increased a bit, not least because
1) Maxim Afinogenov is our top offensive player
2) we can't afford to send him off willy nilly, with some joke offer
3) we CAN afford to pay him for a more substantial contract and invite others in at the same time

A bad thing, then. Glad we sorted that out.


The sequel to yesterday's hideous game time gaffe---the most egregious mistake in Peacock history, though not in Chronicle history---is this: JOIN US FOR REAL, TONIGHT, for a real life actual Stanley Cup hockey game and some Bisquick mix-fueled love-blogging. It will be awesome. 8:00 PM Eastern coast of America time, etc.

Until then, you're in the company of smooth-but-tough old rogue Sean Connery, who will now tell you all about thuggish Chicago-style hockey politics:

Do the Blackhawks ever play that on their Jumbotron? They should.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Join Us for Especial Stanley Cup LiveBlogging TONIGHT (Hilarious Update Below)

So tonight MIGHT be the final night of the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals, and you are all invited to come to this very spot circa 8:00 PM Eastern time and witness the Chronicle engage in a fit of mild-to-severe live-blogging.

Of course, it may not, and probably will not, end tonight. In fact I'm predicting the Flyers live to fight another day. But because there's an off chance we see a new Stanley Cup god-king crowned tonight, we want you and your cocktails here, for the Love-Blogging.

UPDATE: Wahahahah what a moron. The game is actually TOMORROW night, so join us then, I think. I can't be expected to keep up with this "time" stuff.


The Blueland Chronicle can exclusively report that one of Jimmy Slater's terms in agreeing to a new contract with the Atlanta Thrashers was that he must be known forthwith as "James" Slater. The Thrashers were willing meet these terms.

Slater Signs

Jimmy! Very good signing by the Atlanta Hockey Thrashers (news broken by our very own Chris V-Spot of the AJC). Details to come...

I think we all knew this was coming but nice to know it has actually happened. No word on whether or not Dudley broke the bank and offered more than a one year contract just yet.

In all seriousness, this is a pretty safe signing. By a player that actually wants to be here. We pretty much have our bottom two lines squared away, which, as anyone will tell you, is a good thing. It would be an even better thing if we had our top two lines squared away. But hey, we have the rest of the summer to work on that. We'll see. Trading that #8 pick if the right deal comes a long will go very far in getting us where we want to be.

Monday, June 7, 2010

That Empty Coach's Chair

Not a whole lot going on around the TBC offices here of late. The Stanley Cup Finals have been exciting, but you don't need us to tell you that. Thrasher news should pick up more in a week or two with the draft and free agency coming up.

Dudley has said he doesn't necessarily want or need to have a coach lined up before free agency begins. In his interview with Ben Wright (too lazy to look up link), he indicated that some players would refuse to play for some coaches and so it could actually hurt you to make a hire before signing your free agents. Personally I would think it might be a better approach not to list that as your reasoning lest players STILL avoid your team because they think you're planning to hire such a coach.

Speaking of coaches, I know we at TBC are on the record as saying we'd like an experienced NHL coach, but all rumors to this point have had Dudley looking at AHL coaches and NHL assistants. Why not dip down another tier to the Juniors and pick up a respectable former player who is doing wonders with the young'uns in the CHL? Somebody like, say, Dale Hunter of the London Knights?

Hunter was as hard working and hard nosed as they come as a player. Since the 02-03 season, his Knights have finished no worse than 2nd in the Midwest Division of the OHL and have won a Memorial Cup. In that time he has coached the likes of Patrick Kane, John Tavares, Corey Perry, Rob Schremp, and David Bolland. Apparently the man knows how to develop young talent.

If Hunter isn't ready for the jump to the NHL, then he should get a close look the next time the Wolves job opens up.

TBC Q&A Hour

Question: Why go to Alpharetta, at any time, ever?*


Perhaps I was wrong about the reign of Rick Dudley. He's wise to build the team from the Blue Crew on out. We might have a downright visionary on our hands, actually. First things first, etc.

There is absolutely nothing, no thing, to write about right now.

Oh, yeah. We should trade our #8 pick, for fun.

*Your editor works in quasi-Alpharetta, so shut up.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Honest to Goodness Thrasher News

Hey lookie here, kids. Kevin Allen tweeted to his computer device that Craig Ramsay MAY be the front runner for the coaching job. He did say that Dudley, rather, was more far from near me in the decision making process instead of near me. For the record, Craig Ramsay is not THE Mike Ramsey that represented the US in 1980. In Kevin Allen's own words:

"Could see Craig Ramsay emerging as frontrunner for Atlanta coaching job. But it's early. Formal interviewing process just beginning."

Hey... also isn't it great that we are such a good and stable team that we can afford to offer our best offensive player a one year contract!! Why bother with treating players with actual respect by giving them at least a TWO year deal. I'm on record as not being a fan of Dudley long before he was hired, and his first move as GM, offering Fins only a one year deal, has not eased my concerns.

Oh, whatever. It's summer time and I will no longer let delusions of potential Thrasher successes bother me while I'm flip flopping around town. See you at the draft.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Wha Happened?

...and we're back. What did we get up to, you ask? Well, we ran into some Ruskie mafioso friends of Ovechkin (OK, I don't know that they were Ovechkin's friends) in a terrifying bar in Adams-Morgan DC, saw with our own eyes Joe Biden's helicopter, and attended Razor Catch Prey's bachelor party on a deer-governed island off the coast of somewhere. About the bachelor party it might be wise to be reticent, but perhaps I'll work some of its events into Ten Gallon Dick.

What happened while we were gone? The first two games of the Stanley Cup Finals, of course. How 'bout those Blackhawks? I'm heartened by how watchable this year's finals are, and maybe even more heartened by the hefty ratings this hockey tournament is getting. So, hooray! For hockey, for all of us, etc...

In other news, I see some of you strongly doubt my implication that Steve Yzerman will be a better GM than Rick Dudley. Feel free to email me about an actual monetary bet, if you fancy. Whatever awkwardness Yzerman will have with Team Canada rejects Martin St. Louis (who really did deserve to be on the team) and Vincent Lecavalier (who really didn't) will soon be water not only under the bridge, but also off a duck's back and downstream to the waters of Lethe. Yzerman isn't there for them; he's there to properly cultivate the likes of Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman, and to develop a new Tampa Bay Lightning around them.

So where does this leave your Thrashers?

With Rick Dudley, Don Waddell (he is still around, lest we forget), and the Atlanta Spirit LLC (who will NOT, it turns out, be joined by Hollywood investors of any sort). Dubious caretakers all.

But your Chronicle realizes that it's useless and boring to worry about the Thrashers while there's still exciting Stanley Cup hockey to be seen and those long-awaited Daria DVDs to be watched. Like for serious.