Tuesday, November 30, 2010

GAME DAY: Colorado Avalanche

If you're ever driving through Colorado, your editor strongly recommends you take a swerving detour to the charming town of Durango, where you can, for some reason, find mighty fine Reuben sandwiches.

Anyway, the Thrashers play the Av's in Avland tonight, and so on and so forth. As you may have heard, the Thrashers are coming off an insane homestand that saw them walloping the Capitals, the Red Wings, the Canadiens, and perhaps some others MIGHTILY. Will this win streak endure? Which offensive defenseman will triumph tonight? Will it be J.M. "Scourge of the Rockies" Liles or the Enstrom-Byfuglien hybrid monster?

ALSO: The Thrashers played against that "Matt Hunwick" character Sunday. At that time he was a Bruin; tonight he'll be an Av. Will this restless wanderer ever settle down?

So many questions.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

5 Things

1) The Atlanta Thrashers have been very convincing lately. 5-game winning streaks have happened before, but never with this much confidence and energy from such a variety of players. As many have already pointed out, it seems like someone different contributes every night. This is a good thing.

2) Dustin Byfuglien seems to be working out just fine on the Defense thing, and it's probably not up to me to disparage the choice to position him there. Especially on a night like tonight, when he has a hand in every single goal (in tonight's case: 1 goal, 3 assists.)

3) Pavelec always had promise and potential, but my goodness.

4) Hooray! For all of this, that is.

5) Leslie Nielsen died today. Very few can equal a career such as his. Rest in peace, Lieutenant Drebin.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Le Jour de Match: Les Habitants

First off, be sure to check out this post from Pierre LeBrun (hey, we're playing a French Canadian team and I post a link from a guy named Pierre, how you like that for topical?) over on ESPN about the top ten surprise players of the early season. Atlanta boasts three of the ten, including the new captain, Big Buff, and Ondrej "how many fingers am I holding up" Pavelec.

Alex Auld will be getting the start in net for les bleu, blanc, et rouge to give All Star sure bet Carey Price a rest. If anybody happens to have seats next to the visiting bench tonight and can yell where Price can hear you, do me a favor and ask him why his rookie mask had Garth Brooks painted on the side of it. I've always been curious about that.

It'll be amusing to watch in person tonight as the munchkins that constitute Montreal's top line buzz around Atlanta's giants like Byfuglien and Antropov.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hey Toronto...

How's that Colby Armstrong workin' out for ya?

Prepare for the Zombie Wingnut Invasion!

This post also to be known as "Game Day: Red Wings."

We all know what happens when Detroit comes to town. It's the same thing that happens when Buffalo comes to town, only more disgusting.

Yes, our beautiful (if poorly maintained) arena is about to be sullied by those red clad minions of evil, Red Wing fans. Like mindless, bandwaggon riding zombies they stagger through the doors of Philips Arena and insult the home team by chanting "let's go Red Wings" and screaming with joy when their alien overlord scores on a hapless Thrasher goaltender.

If you've seen even one zombie movie, you know how to handle the walking undead. That's right, you get everyone you know to come out wearing blue on this night before Thanksgiving, drown the Wing Nuts out, and send then back to Hell. Or even worse, send them back to Detroit. No, wait, we can't be that cruel, just send them to Hell.

What's your zombie plan?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

We Got Assets

Rick Dudley recently discussed the trade climate in the NHL in an interview with the team's internal PR department. The most interesting statements were these: "at this point in time we are one of the few teams that are still assessing simply because of all the changes. . .. We’re a team that could conceivably make a trade that other teams can’t make partly because we have a pretty deep roster. . .. We have strength at certain positions that we could afford to give up a player and get something back that we really need. . .."

Dudley had discussed that "pretty deep roster" earlier in the interview when he singled out Riley Holzapfel, Spencer Machacek, Arturs Kulda, and Patrick Cormier as players who could potentially crack the Atlanta lineup and make the team better. He went on to say that "there are guys who you look at more like could they play as opposed to somebody else currently in the lineup but they might not necessarily make us better."

Those players that can fill in adequately for current roster players without necessarily making the team better are what makes for depth. If the NHL club needs to call someone up due to injury or trades, the they can fill in the gaps without losing productivity on either side of the ice.

With the trade winds stirring in the NHL as teams begin to solidify their needs, we here at the Chronicle decided to take a look at exactly what constitutes the Thrashers' depth and who could be potential trade bait. For the sake of comparisons, we'll use an EA Sports NHL style numerical system to rate players' skill sets and value to the team and to potential trade partners.


This is where the depth really shows. The current NHL roster features:
Antropov- 80
Ladd- 75
Peverley- 75
Burmistrov- 75
Kane- 80
Little- 75
Bergfors- 75

Those players constitute the core of the forwards and are very unlikely to be moved via trade any time in the near future. The possible exception could be Bergfors if Dudley and crew don't feel that they have a good shot at signing him to an extension. The rest of the forwards currently on the roster and the prospects in Chicago are all fairly interchangeable and therefore could be packaged in any combination in order to bring marquee talent back to Philips Arena (prospects are ranked with a range due to the uncertainty of how their game will translate to the NHL):

Eager- 65
Modin- 60
Slater- 70
Thorburn- 70
Stewart- 65
Boulton- 65
Cormier- 65-70
Holzapfel- 60-65
Machacek- 65-70
Petterson- 65-70
Dawes- 60-65

Among these tradeable assets, Modin and Dawes' stock has fallen significantly since they were acquired during the summer while Thorburn and Stewart's value has likely risen due to their improved scoring touch through the first quarter of the season.

The blue line corps is deep, but doesn't feature as many ready prospects as the forwards. I would be shocked to see Dudley make a move that required our big three defenders to change zip codes:

Byfuglien- 85
Enstrom- 85
Bogosian- 75

Johnny Oduya, whom we will rate at a 75, fits into a similar category as his fellow former Devil Nick Bergfors. If management feels like he will re-sign with Atlanta, they won't usher him out the door. However, if they see the horizon reflected in his eyes, they could realize a healthy return by shipping him out early. The final two roster regulars and prospects are all potential trade fodder, though Hainsey's contract numbers may make him a difficult sell:

Hainsey- 70
Sopel- 70
Kulda- 65-70
Mayer- 65-70
Valabik 60-65
Postma- 60-65

Hainsey's stock is probably slipping a bit this season with just 1 point and an even rating through 21 games. On the other hand, 33 year old vet Brent Sopel, while no offensive dynamo, has quietly put up respectable stats at +3 with two points through 20 games. That may not sound like a big difference, but he's outpacing his colleague who makes $3 million per year more than he does and he's won a Stanley Cup. Boris has been passed over on the waiver wire going both ways (meaning that nobody claimed him even when they would only be responsible for paying half his salary), so his trade value is effectively zero.

While Peter Manino (65-70) and Drew MacIntyre (60-65) give the Thrashers good depth for the future, neither seems quite ready to take over as a backup in the NHL this season, so Pavelec (75) and Mason (70) should be safe from any trade rumors.

Of course there are also draft picks that can be offered up in trades. The Thrashers have already traded away their 2011 second round draft pick (Ladd) and 5th round draft pick (2 6th round draft picks in 2010; Kendall McFaull and Tanner Lane). With his team in the midst of a rebuild, and knowing Rick Dudley's pride in his prospect evaluation talents, I cannot imagine him making any deal that left Atlanta without a draft pick in the first two rounds.

A well stocked Chicago Wolves team and beaucoup cap room has Atlanta in prime position to make a trade or two when the time comes. Because so many players are ready to step in and fill gaps without giving up productivity, Dudley has the luxury of packaging multiple players for a single, higher profile target.

Glorious Week of Hockey and Football and Turkey

Happy Thanksgiving week, esteemed Chronicle readers! We here wish you all safe and happy travels wherever the festivities take you this Turkey Day.

What a week we have in store, with three hockey games (four for me since I'm going to the Gladiators game tonight) and college football's rivalry week.

We began the week with Dustin Byfuglien's overtime heroics sealing the deal after Ondrej the Giant kept the Thrashers in the game against New York on Sunday. Allowing the Islanders to break their 12 game losing streak against the Thrashers would have been a huge letdown after the high of smacking around the Caps on Friday night 5-0. How bad are the Islanders? Their announcer pulled a Bob Uecker impersonation into a live mike during what he thought was a commercial break, so we'll let him explain.

Wednesday night will see a packed house at Philips Arena. The night before Thanksgiving should produce a good turnout no matter who the opponent is, but when you add in the fact that the dirty Red Wings are visiting, it all but assures a rocking house.

On Thursday, after you've devoured your body weight in turkey, cranberry, stuffing, sweet potatoes, green bean cassarole, cornbread, gravy, and pecan pie, you can look forward to the first game in many, many years in which the Texas A&M Aggies are favored against their rivals, the Texas Longhorns. Texas must win to be bowl eligible, and the game is in Austin. Talk about a recipe for a heated rivalry game.

This Friday will find the Thrashers fending off a French-Canadian invasion as the Habs visit Blueland. Dustin Byfuglien and Nik Antropov will think they've wandered into Lilliput as they watch Gomez, Gionta, and Cammaleri skating around their knees. Your appetizer for that game is the 2:30pm matchup between Alabama and Auburn in the Iron Bowl. Bama is looking to deny their rivals a trip to the national championship game while Auburn wants to show that Cam Newton was worth every penny.

As you recover from Friday's excitement on Saturday morning, make sure you get up in time to hear Big and Rich sing the theme song to College Gameday and get ready for the rest of college football's rivalry games such as USC/Notre Dame (make sure you scroll down for the pictures on that link), Ohio State/Michigan, and of course Georgia Tech vs. the population of the Carke County Correctional Institute.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Important Note Regarding Your Chronicle

It's the Thanksgiving holidays, yes indeed, and thus time to take off your shoes and brave the gropey security mimes of U.S. America's gleaming airports. And to spend time with bourbon-flavored cranberry sauce and pleasantly plump turkeys, etc.

All of this means that your Chronicle, or at least your Chronicle's editor, is going to take a few days off. If you hadn't noticed already (and surely you have), this blog has been mired in shameful writer's block for a few weeks now. What to say about the Thrashers that wasn't said in the late 18th century by Christopher Smart?

So this blog needs to rest for the week. Rest, and think about investing actual currency in a Dustin Byfuglien jersey. HAPPY THANKSGIVING, KIDS.

(^-----NOT ideal to watch with your grandmother or 5-year-old nephew or whatever non-demented human being happens to be around)

Sunday, November 21, 2010


The Thrashers were as impressive as a blue okapi in Friday's game against the Capitals. How will they fare against this angry wounded bear of an Islanders team? We don't know, which is why we'll be watching.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Actual Swedish Chef's Take

An actual Swedish Chef (well, he's Swedish, and I assume he can at least cook toast or something) had this to say about the Thrashers' making Andrew Ladd captain:

"Atlanta Thrashers har utsett dubble Stanley Cup-mästaren Andrew Ladd till ny lagkapten.
Ladd har inlett säsongen bra, med 18 poäng på 19 matcher, men Babyhawks går oväntat trögt, bara en 11:e plats i Eastern Conference så här långt. [Editor's note: Bork, bork, bork, huunn de moose]"

The best part is that he calls the Thrashers "Babyhawks." I don't know if that's actually what Swedes call a brown thrasher, or if that is a commentary on our offseason makeover.

The rest of the interview can be seen below:


First game with our brand new captain! Very important stuff.

Ah, what is there to say about the Thrashers that hasn't already been said?

Game Day: Caps

The Thrashers take to Philips Arena ice once again tonight to face the Southeast Division leading Washington Capitals. The Thrashers are 1-1-1 against Ovechkin's squad after opening the season with a 4-2 victory on home ice. Atlanta has since lost twice in DC, once in overtime and once in a 6-4 game sealed on an empty net goal.

Andrew Ladd will lead the team onto the ice for the first time wearing the captain's C on his sweater. Coach Ramsey is undoubtedly hoping that the team will shape up behind their newly appointed leader much like they did two seasons ago when Ilya Kovalchuk was finally named captain midway through the season.

It is never good to have a ship without a captain. A team needs a designated leader to help rally the troops and give direction. An army without a standard bearer tends to break into factions. That being said, it is understandable that a team with a new GM (Dudley was part of the organization last year but reportedly spent most of his time scouting and wasn't around our players) and new head coach would want to give his players a trial by fire before naming the leader. The captain position is too important to get that decision wrong. See the Sharks under Patrick Marleau or the Panthers under Olli Jokinen.

Speaking of captains, the Capitals have one that is pretty darn good at the hockey. And at the really creepy commercials:

And the really crappy commercials:

And the highlight reel goals:

Not too shabby. But he's no Chris Thorburn. No sir. Thorbs scores, hits, fights, and apparently assasinates Templars in Renaissance era Rome:

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cap'n Laddy

Via Vivlamore, Ben Wright, and Dan Kamal on Twitter, Andrew Ladd has been named captain of the Atlanta Thrashers while Byfuglien and Enstrom will wear the A's.

More to come later in the afternoon with analysis and reaction from your Chronicle staff.

So was this a matter of "see who scores the most and name a captain 1/4 of the way through?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010


You play well.

Against top-tier teams, even.

But you just can't win.

Especially when said top-tier teams' top-tier just cold keep scoring on you.

What gives?

IN OTHER HOCKEY NEWS: Colin Campbell should be exiled to a malarial swamp-prison.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

GAME DAY: Pittsburgh Penguins

Penguins. They only live at the South Pole, and they're tied with your Thrash-monsters and like 10 other teams for 5th through 9th place in the Eastern Conference. What does this mean?

It means that tonight's game will be full of actual penguins, and because of various other downtown Atlanta event-horrors traffic is going to be a nightmare. So get there early, and get there drunk.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Some Important Thoughts on Puck Bunnies

You've all seen this thing, right?

I don't really understand the puck bunny-hatred, myself. Most people know the difference between a puck bunny and a female human who likes hockey. I mean, I don't think many men look at the women at a hockey game and think, "Must all be puck bunnies, to a gal."

And since our immediate context here is Atlanta, ANY reason to get people to come to a game is a good reason. And if some chicks aren't interested in the game beyond wanting to sleep with hockey players, who the fuck cares? I mean, really.

BUT: Clever song.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

GAME DAY: Minnesota Wild

Martin Havlat, remember him?

Most awesome human to ever come out of Minnesota? Prince. Paul Westerberg a close second.

And yes, this blog has taken its final logical step into "uhh, we have nothing to say so here's a video" decay. Weep for it.

P.S. Oh yeah, it's Armistice/Remembrance/Veterans Day, isn't it? Are you Commonwealth subjects wearing your poppies? Here's something for the occasion.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Nothing Occurs to Us

...on the subject of the Thrashers' loss last night.

Carry on, comrades, carry on.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Livestream of Thrashers/Sens Game


Game Day: Senators

Hey, are these guys still in the NHL? The Ottawa Senators, currently performing an 82 game (and probably no longer) version of "Daniel Alfredsson's Swan Song."

The Sens roster consists of Jason Spezza who is constantly at the center of "I wanna trade" rumors, the soon-to-retire Alfredsson and Alexei "Remember that time I won the Stanley Cup? It was in 1994. I played with Mark Messier!" Kovalev, the still very good Sergei Gonchar, and some guy who is married to THIS:

Which is not to be confused with this:

Or this:

Or this:

Ottawa has been fighting a losing battle with the Goalie Gods in recent years. They have somewhat reliable minders between the pipes right now with 25 year old Brian Elliott and 28 year old Pascal Leclaire. Both are serviceable and capable of pitching a shutout or posting an open house sign on their net any given night.

The game isn't on local TV tonight and is listed in Ottawa on "SNET-E(HD)." No clue as to whether or not those with the Center Ice package will be able to watch the game, but I will try to update the Chronicle with a link to a live stream if I can find one.

Monday, November 8, 2010

What is on the TV? Hockey, Sometimes

Couldn't make the most exciting game of the year (perhaps, maybe, depends on what happens in the Future) this past weekend, due to hellish illness, but from my side of the teevee screen it looked like a raucous time.

This version of the Thrashers definitely shows up for big games. Intense situations (games against the olde team, goalie faints, etc.) make them play intensely. Hooray!

What they could work on, perhaps, is showing up for stupid boring games like that thing against the Blue Jackets.

IN OTHER HOCKEY-AND-TEEVEE-RELATED WEEKEND EXPERIENCES: I was watching Boardwalk Empire and all that other HBO Sunday night programming last night. At some point there was a brief trailer for that "follow the Capitals and Penguins around" thing. Looking forward to it, yessir.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

GAME DAY: Chicago Blackhawks

Blackhawks against Blackhawks! Jeremy Morin! Danger and excitement.

And Billy Jaffe has predictions.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Bogo Bonks Bloodless Box Office!

YES, it has to be terribly disheartening to play in an empty, prematurely decaying arena. It's a sports taboo for a player to say anything even mildly critical of the fan base, and I'm totally fine with Zach Bogosian being honest about how he feels.

THAT SAID, it's not very hard to figure out why the arena is empty and uninspired (which contributes, perhaps, to the Thrashers' uninspired play at home). If the team wins at home more consistently, people will show up, even in times of economic horror. Simple as that.

Philips Arena's biggest issue, though, is the the fact that its facilities are getting a little creaky and out-of-sorts. If only the place was owned by someone willing to invest in it.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

GAME DAY: Columbus Blue Jackets (Ohio Squid Lords)

First things first. Freddy Modin: god among men or god among gods?

Secondly: the Thrashers play the Blue Jackets tonight!

Never been a big fan of the Blue Jackets' name, logo, and uniform. Even the city name of "Columbus" somehow lowers the excitement factor. One wonders if they could change it from boring "Columbus Blue Jackets" to something more interesting, like "Ohio Squid Lords."

Yeah, from now on they're the Ohio Squid Lords.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Game Day: Panthers

Pictured above: what do you get when you cross the two NHL teams in the state of Florida?

The Thrashers travel to Sunshine tonight to congratulate Marco Rubio, get a tan like John Boehner and take on the Florida Panthers. This will be the first of six meetings this year against the Panthers who are now managed by Dale Tallon under whom Rick Dudley worked in Chicago. The Swamp Cats sent Eternally-Scowling-Nathan-Horton and Dennis Seidenberg to the Bruins during the offseason, effectively isolating David Booth as their only legit scoring threat.

Being so close to the ocean, this might be a good opportunity to take Freddie Modin shark fishing on a slippery boat with no hand rail.

EDIT: So about that Freddie Modin...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Ronnie Haines on Puck Daddy Radio

Ronald F. Hainsey, live and in radio person, on P. Diddy Radio! RIGHT NOW.

Listened to P.D. Radio for the first time yesterday. Very solid show.

A few minutes ago Wyshynski was making an excellent point about Blur's "Song 2" and why, even though Blur are a great band, arenas are silly to adopt it as their official Goal Song.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Brent Sopel is the Bat Man

What the hell is he talking about? Oh wait:

Adam West, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale, Brent Sopel.


The Thrashers have played impressively of late. The Thrashers have played disappointingly of late. WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

The game against Buffalo on Friday was the first game of the season I've been able to get super-enthusiastic about. Good times, wild and exciting finish.

Didn't get to see the game against St. Louis, but it seemed like a stellar effort that wound up becoming a bucket-on-foot effort. None of which is new in Thrashers history.

MEANWHILE Bryan Little is out, due to a stick-meets-face incident on Friday. So, um, yeah. The important topic for today is "Bryan Little: when will he come back?" So many possibilities...