Thursday, March 31, 2011


(updated below)

Fun Fact: There are currently six (6) 20-plus goal-scorers on the Flyers roster. Two of these gents (Danny Briere and Jeff Carter) go a step farther and have decided to be 30-plus.

Fun Speculation: The Flyers will end the season with a roster that includes eight (8) 20-plus goal-scorers, as Ville Leino and James van Riemsdyk both have 19 at the moment. Tonight is as good an opportunity as any for them to hit the 20 mark.

While We're Speaking of Ville Leino: He's one of five (5) Flyers players who have 50 points or more.

If the Thrashers lose tonight, mathematics will confirm what we know already and (surprise!) the Thrashers won't make the playoffs (again). Apparently this is all the fault of whoever gave Jimmy Slater a concussion, because Jimmy Slater is the only thing standing between us and a losing season.

UPDATE: Haw haw haw, WHUT?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Supplément au voyage de Thrashers vers Montreal. GAME DAY: Canadiens

Now that the Thrashers have beaten the third-worst team in the league, they have a chance to NOT die tonight and instead postpone their death until some other game in the near future. This makes tonight's game very important, or something.

Monday, March 28, 2011


The perceptive folks at the Onion observe the world:

A recent outpouring of negative criticism levied against the Big East for the conference's poor showing in the NCAA Tournament has had absolutely no affect on anyone or anything, and will reportedly continue to have zero effect on the world due to the fact that being angry at a collegiate basketball conference is a completely worthless endeavour, sources confirmed Thursday. "I think the Big East is the most overrated conference," said a man whose overwhelming disappointment with what basically amounts to 19-year-old boys playing basketball makes one wonder what his priorities are, if he understands that there are millions of things much more interesting to talk about, or whether or not he's aware that such passion could be focused on saying something that actually matters.

Replace "the Big East" with "the Thrashers" and "basketball" with "hockey," etc.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Game Day: Canucks

So the Canucks are quite good and the Thrashers have had a couple of games that were quite good this season. Much earlier this season.

"Canuck" is a nickname for a Canadian, hence the treasury of Canada's greatest cultural exports above. Tonight you will be treated to such Canadian stars as Henrik and Daniel Sedin, Ryan Kesler, Mikael Samuelsson, Chris Higgins, Keith Ballard, Christian Erhoff, and Sami Salo.*

Thursday, March 24, 2011


...because Alcatraz is an isle, geddit?

Go Thrashers, we guess.

Monday, March 21, 2011

In Motion?

Don't say we never enlightened you.


What the H-E-double hockey sticks is going on?*

As you've all noticed (RIGHT?), your editor has been absent for more than a week. Where was I? Four hints: wineries, elephant seals, surfers, and a Kings game (the Staples Center is truly excellent, by the way, sort of like Philips Arena if Philips Arena was actually kept up).

It seems the Thrashers have been...winning dramatically? Losing predictably? We can't be sure, but it appears we're now in 12th place, behind the New Jersey Devils and several others.

What does this mean?

*Yes, I know I just said "H-E-double hockey sticks."

UPDATE: Ah, now I see what's going on. The Thrashers had a chance to get back into the playoff race and blew it spectacularly. This is in keeping with our team's many traditions.

Friday, March 18, 2011

So You're Still Thinking About Playoffs...

Another dramatic victory by the Thrashers last night has brought back the hopes of some in Blueland that the team might still scrape their way into the Stanley Cup playoffs over the next month. While it's still a mathematical possibility, it is also a mathematical improbability. But, since it's not totally ruled out yet, and it's better to talk about this than listen to co-workers discuss their basketball brackets, let's take a look at the situation.

Atlanta now sits at 72 points with 11 games remaining. Carolina is one step up in the 9th spot, 74 points and also have 11 games left on their schedule. The Sabres occupy the 8th place rung with 12 games left at 76 points, and the Rangers are in 7th with 11 games remaining at 78 points.

To make the playoffs, the Thrashers will have to avoid a tie with any of those three teams or the Leafs and Devils who sit just below Atlanta in the standings because all of those other teams have more wins and will win the tie breaker.

So, the Thrashers will need to gain 5 points on the current 8th place team or 7 points on the current 7th place team to make the playoffs. We're not even going to worry about the Leafs and Devils today because if the Thrashers can't outpace the teams ahead of them, it won't matter if the teams behind them vault ahead.

Atlanta (and New York and Carolina) has 11 games left, meaning a potential 22 points up for grabs. Buffalo has the ability to gain 24.

If the Rangers, Canes, and Sabres all failed to gain another point the rest of the season (impossible since the Sabres play the Rangers and Canes once each) the Thrashers could make the playoffs by gaining just 5 points, meaning that they can afford to squander 17 points.

For every point the 8th place team gains over the remainder of the season, the Thrashers have one more point they can't afford to lose. Saturday's game in Buffalo is huge since a regulation win would deny two points to the Sabres while securing two for the Thrashers.

But obviously the Thrashers can't count on five other teams to tank the last 11-12 games of the season.

The Sabres have gone 5-3-2 in their last 10. If they continue that pace, they will finish with 88-90 points, meaning the Thrashers would have to gain 17-19 of the potential 22 points remaining.

That's a record of 8-2-1.

A tall order for a team who has gone just 5-3-2 in their last 10 after a horrendous first two months of 2011.

Are the playoffs still possible? Yes.

Is it probable? No.

Does Gorin's still have a great deal on beer to make all this enjoyable? Thankfully, yes.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Paddy's Game Day: Flyers

Hey, look! Bet you never thought you'd see one of the NHL Guardians again after the All Star Game, did you? Well as long as President Obama isn't yet letting the UN jail us for posting copyrighted material on our Blog, we might as well get some more use out of the colossal waste of money.

Anybody still talking about playoffs is kidding themselves at this point, but that's no reason not to go enjoy a few pints and cheer on the Thrashers as they attempt to beat the top team in the East for the second time in a week.

Remember, real men don't drink green beer. They drink black beer.

Oh yeah, and despite Comrade Rawhide's taunts and pleas on his blog, I don't believe any of the Chronicle staff will be in attendance tonight at Philips. Alas. Somebody drink an extra Guinness for each of the five (six if you include the Shorthanded Mole, but he's a recovering alcoholic) of us.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

No Goal? No Playoffs

With the decision to overturn Evander Kane's game-tying deflection last night, the Thrashers wound up giving up an Ilya Kovalchuk empty net goal and losing to New Jersey 4-2. Despite what The Spin Doctor over at the Blueland Blog would like you to believe, this has to be the finishing move to the Thrashers' chances of making the playoffs. Certain people, like Big Shooter, would have you believe that our playoff chances ended somewhere between the 2nd and 3rd period on October 8, 2010. However, I allowed myself, like most of you, to think that maybe this March would be different. That the Thrashers would finally succeed in their push to the playoffs. It's the only reason to come back every year and cheer for this typically sorry sack of pucks that is our hockey club.

Now, my attention will be solely on the ASG ownership sale, John Kincade's Twitter feed, and who Georgia Tech's hiring to be the new basketball coach.

So since there's little left to play for in Blueland, let's all go to the Flyers game tomorrow and have a pint or ten, shall we?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

March Madness in Bleuland

In case you missed it because you have a life, the Thrashers came back from 3-0 & 4-2 deficits last night to win a 5-4 overtime thriller in Philadelphia. Ron Hainsey (or "The Mane from Massachusetts" as I've affectionately dubbed him) put home the game winning deflection from the slot, getting involved in an OT winner. Anytime that fans in Philly go home losers, I'm thrilled. However, most pundits seem to believe that this is the beginning of a late season "push" for the playoffs for your boys in Blueland. I'm pessimistic about any sort of push because of two reasons

1) This is the Thrashers.
2) The Thrashers don't make the playoffs ever.

What do you think? Are we about to go on a New Jersey-esque run through opposing teams, wreaking havoc on goaltenders and scoreboards alike? Or is this just a great comeback in Philly and much ado about nothing? Sound off, children.

Friday, March 11, 2011

RIP TR Benning

Most of you are familiar with Mr. Benning but may know him better as one half of the 'Kiss Cam Couple.' We here at the Chronicle joined forces with our good friend Rawhide to campaign for the Bennings to be named 7th Man last year and indeed they were rewarded for their loyalty at the end of the year.

Mr. Benning and his wife were stalwarts at Philips Arena, and he could always be recognized in his fedora sitting beside his lovely wife in the accessable seating near center ice.

A veteran of World War II, he was a recipient of a Purple Heart, Silver Star and Bronze Star; returning home to start a successful construction company. Prior to his Army career, he received a degree from Auburn.

Philips Arena won't be the same without you, Mr. Benning.

GAME DAY: Devils

Tonight, Ilya Kovalchuk, Mike Krzyzewski and the New Jersey Blue Devils come to town. This means that drunk and bitter Thrasher fans will boo our former Fearless Leader, which continues to make no sense to me. As much as living in New Jersey can't be much better than living in, say, Winnipeg or Kansas City, I'd move there for $10-12 million a year myself.

Anyways, New Jersey has won 45 games in a row coming into tonight's game, mainly due to the goaltending of 2010 Veizna Trophy winner Johan "Moose" Hedberg. The Paul Postma-Era Atlanta Thrashers are coming into tonight's game riding the first back-to-back wins that this team has seen in 2011. Also, the Thrashers hopes should be bolstered by reports that budding NHL SuperDefenseman Zach Bogosian found a lucky penny at the mall yesterday. No reports as of yet as to whether it was a regular penny or merely a commemorative penny, but I'll keep my eyes on Twitter and make sure to update you, the loyal TBC readers.

Also, Jacques Martin is the exception to the rule of all teams with "Devils" in the nickname having tyrannical and polarizing coaches. Duke has that Mike guy I already mentioned once, Manchester United has Sir Alex Ferguson, and Jacques Martin just kinda comes across as a limo driver who somehow found himself on the bench, but knows more than he's letting on.

So let Mr. Gayfish himself tell you a thing or two about Devils. Happy Friday, folks.

Go Thrashers? Since Georgia Tech's out and baseball hasn't started yet, sure, what the hell.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Finding Your Demographic = Everything

Whoever the new owner(s) of the Thrashers might be (we do know who it is, cause that's how we roll), he/they will have to give some serious thought to improving the Thrashers' branding and marketing. Hopefully, they'll spend a lot of time thinking about the Thrashers' target demographic, i.e. the sort of people who live around here and might want to go see some hockey.

The new marketing team shouldn't limit their reach to measly old Fulton and Dekalb Counties. They need to embrace the entire population of our state, and perhaps even the entire non-North Carolina Southeast. At the very least, EVERYONE in Georgia should know about the Thrashers.

Who are these people? All diabetics, apparently, at least according to a new study by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine:

A swath of the Deep South and Appalachia has emerged as the U.S. “diabetes belt,” researchers find. County-by-county mapping shows that the highest rates of diabetes cut two paths—one strung through Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia, and another running eastward from Louisiana through Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina.

Excellent. THIS is why the Thrashers don't draw enough fans: they've never known how to market themselves to Georgia's large diabetic population literally everyone who lives around here.

We need new slogans ("a corn-syrupy good time!"), new uniforms (the brown thrasher should be fried), and maybe even a major re-modeling of Philips Arena to make it look more like a Snickers bar.

I could really use a sugary drink right about now.

GAME DAY: Hawks-Lightni...erm, Thrashers-Canes

So tonight the Thrashers are in Carolina to procure seats to the NCAA Tournament East Regional Finals from Coach K and/or Roy Williams, as well as to lose to the Hurricanes in Raleigh. Without Big Buff on the blueline, that leaves nobody on our team who can play defense, score goals, or even do one of those 2 things correctly. So to say I'm optimistic about tonight's game would be like Jim Tressel saying he doesn't know who to send emails about his players to. Anyways, the Canes have something to play for, and apparently the Thrashers are locking in those sick vacation deals in the Gulf for the end of April/early May. Roadtrip with Chris Thorburn and Detlef Shremp? Don't mind if I do! Also, maybe it's time we start looking at NHL draft projections, cause we're almost certain to end up in the top 5 again. How dare some people say this team isn't consistent!

However, should you find yourself sick of watching our awful brand of puck-slapping this evening, you'll find there's actually good games to watch tonight between teams who still have everything to play for. Kings-Red Wings and Hawks-Lightning, namely. Perhaps you should find yourself in a place showing both of these games or flip back and forth on Center Ice, as I plan to do.

Enjoy your rainy Wednesday and the games to come this evening. On that note, here's a video of a space shuttle taking off, as seen from a commercial airplane. Consider the Thrashers the guy watching from the airplane, and the space shuttle to be seemingly every other team in the Eastern Conference.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

IRONY! Thrashers to be sold to Ilya Kovalchuk!

The Blueland Chronicle has learned* that the Atlanta Spirit Group has reached a tentative agreement to sell the Atlanta Thrashers to a group of current and former NHL players headed up by Ilya Kovalchuk. The Russian star will be joined in his venture by Dany Heatley, Donald Audette, Marc Savard, Marian Hossa, Damien Rhodes, Mike Dunham, Byron Dafoe, Ray Ferarro, and Milan Hnlicka.

The deal includes rights to the Atlanta Hawks as well, but Kovalchuk has already stated that he intends to move the NBA franchise to Winnepeg effective before the team's next home game.

* By "learned," we of course mean "made up."

What Does Bruce Levenson Want?

The Atlanta Spirit are trying to sell the Thrashers. You know this. What no one is quite certain about is whether they're trying to sell the entire package of the Hawks plus the Thrashers plus Philips Arena OR just unload the Thrashers like an unloved, disused VHS copy of 101 Dalmatians. Your Chronicle, like you, has heard conflicting tales. All your Chronicle knows for sure is the secret identity of one (1) of the prospective buyers. Whatever it is he's (yes, it's a he; sorry to spoil International Women's Day, wimmins!) interested in buying. We hear it's the whole package.

There's not much in today's Craig Custance report---which is based on an interview with Bruce Levenson---that contradicts the recent reports of John Kincade or Chris Vivlamore. Just Levenson's assertion that the Spirit are trying to sell the Thrashers alone. That detail, incidentally, jibes with that New York Post report from long ago.

Another important detail to consider: Levenson is a known liar, so everything he says should be taken with a grain of salt.

What does this mean? We don't know, but we do know that Queens of the Stone Age finally re-released their long out-of-print first record, fuck yeah and hooray!*

*Also: Levenson is lying. How gullible do you have to be to take what he says at face value?

Repetition, Repetition, Repetition

The Thrashers seem to be following the same pattern they follow every season: smoke show at the beginning, shit show in the middle, donkey show at the end. There's not much a common hockey blogger can say about any of this (nothing interesting, anyway), other than "Hey when is this new owner going to throw down some expired schillings and energize this flightless toucan of a franchise?"

Because that's the only (only) way this endless loop will ever stop.

As we've told you, your Chronicle knows a bit about the prospective owner, but for reasons to do with espionage and secrecy we can't tell you anything unless it takes the form of ciphers and glyphs. We don't want the Short Handed Mole to be shipped to Gitmo.

Meanwhile, the Thrashers keep on playing hockey games of one sort or another, because that's what you do when you work for the National Hockey League.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Friday, March 4, 2011

Why Doth They Stink?

Remember December? First place in the South East Division, second place in the Eastern Conference? Seems like a long time ago, doesn't it?

The easiest response to the question of "what happened" is that the Thrashers' standing was artificially inflated by having played far more games than most other teams in the league and have since been hit hard by injuries.

There is truth to both assertions. Look at the Thrashers' roster in early December:

Kane, Antropov, Ladd, Peverley, Stewart, Little, Burmistrov, Modin, Slater, Boulton, Thorburn, Eager, and Bergfors on offense; and an on-fire Pavelec in net.

Defense has stayed steady with the exception of some juggling due to injuries wherein Freddy Meyer played a number of games.

The March 3 lineup against the Senators was missing the injured Burmistrov and Slater as well as the now departed Peverley, Eager, Bergfors, and Modin. Pavelec's play had fallen off before he left with an injury as well. In place of those seven contributors were proven NHL talents Radek Dvorak, and Blake Wheeler as well as still unproven Ben Maxwell, Rob Schremp, and Tim Stapleton.

As much as I loved the guy, there's no doubt that Blake Wheeler is an upgrade over Rich Peverley. Ditto for Mark Stuart replacing Brent Sopel on defense, so those changes aren't to blame. However, replacing Bergfors, Burmistrov, Slater, and Modin with Dvorak, Schremp, Maxwell, and Stapleton is a big step back.

All that being said, I would point out that there is reason to be optimistic about the roster Rick Dudley has built here. Even if the roster were to remain untouched between now and next October, the Thrashers would be able to ice a solid competitive team when everyone is healthy.

Forwards: Kane, Ladd, Wheeler, Antropov, Little, Burmistrov, Dvorak, Cormier, Boulton, Slater, Thorburn, and Stewart. Reserves: Schremp, Maxwell, Machacek, Stapleton, and Klinberg.

I would like to see an upgrade on the right side. Neither Dvorak nor Stewart should be a second line winger in the NHL at this point in their careers. Either would be a respectable third liner.

The checking line, when Slater is healthy, is still one of the best in the business. A third line of Burmistrov, Cormier, and either Stewart or Dvorak is serviceable.

Ladd, Little, Kane, Wheeler, and Antropov are all bonafide top six talent. They need one more to keep up with them and round out a solid forward corps.

I would not touch the defense if I were in Dudley's well-shined shoes. The addition of Stuart really strengthened the blue line. They just have to play up to their potential, which has not happened lately.

In net, Mason has been a disappointment this year, but he is a solid backup to Pavelec if we can keep the younger netminder healthy.

It has been hard to find a silver lining over the past couple of months of Thrashers' hockey. A potential new owner and a solid core group of young players do make the horizon look brighter than the ground on where we currently stand.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Game Day: Senators

Should be an exciting match up at Philips Arena between two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. Daniel Alfredson, Dany Heatley, Zdeno Chara, Mike Fisher, and crew always put on a good show when they face off against Atlanta's Kovalchuk, Hossa, Savard, Bondra, Lehtonen, Chelios, and Peverly.

Wait, what?

Oh, yeah.

Evander Kane vs. Jason Spezza. There will be other guys on the ice for both teams, but I don't remember who they are.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Game Day: Habs

Yes, I know that's not Quebec, you know that's not Quebec, but les Quebecois don't know that's not Quebec.

Brent Sopel returns to Atlanta tonight after his whirlwind tour of Montreal's jazz clubs and strip joints this past week. He may get the opportunity to face Ben Maxwell, the player for whom he was traded, as the latter has been called up and may make his debut tonight in Philips Arena.

Radek Dvorak should be in the lineup, taking Freddie Modin's place on the 3rd line. Hopefully he will not also be taking Modin's place as "guy we can't wait to get off the ice." Dvorak should help our penalty kill with his speed and defensive responsibility. Think of him as a European Marty Reasoner.

No word as of yet whether Robbie Schremp will be with Atlanta or will report to the Wolves to start his career with the Thrashers' organization. Considering our penchant for making it to shootouts and losing, I would vote to have him up here as soon as possible.


Rob Schremp, Radek Dvorak and Ben Maxwell appear to all be in the lineup tonight, judging from tweets from Ben Wright and Dan Kamal today. Schremp will be wearing #13 previously donned by the Late Slava Kozlov and Patrick-first-overall-pick-Stefan. Maxwell is wearing #49, and Radek Dvorak will be honoring Jeff Odgers by sporting #20.