Saturday, September 12, 2009

So Long, and Thanks For All the Fish

After ten months and ~125 posts, the outsider is going on hiatus. The Falconer has asked me to join the team he's assembled over at Birdwatchers Anonymous, and posting will continue there. Expect such outsider mainstays as "Open Letters", "LoLThrash", and the newly-minted "Four Reasons" format. And hopefully some things that you may actually want to read. Also joining are the fantabulous Timmyf and the equally stupendous EvilMilkShake. Won't you join us?

Wait. I guess that would make us the BWA-Team, and Falconer would be Hannibal.

Do I want to be Face or BA Baracus? BA drove the van... and was Mr. T.... But Face was Face... AND Lt. Starbuck. Wow.


Wrap your head around that one...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Quick Favor...

Anybody have an extra ticket for Monday night's prospect game in Duluth against Nashville? If so, give me a shout, and I can find it a home. Spread the joys of preseason hockey.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Four Reasons for Concern In Blueland

Yesterday, the outsider gave you Four Reasons The Thrashers Will Do Better This Year. Today, the other side of the coin: Four Reasons for Concern in Blueland. If you're a Thrasher fan, none of these are particularly startling revelations. In fact, some of these have become mantras of sorts for the Blueland faithful.



Four Reasons for Concern In Blueland

Chemistry.
We've been down this road before, folks. Remember last year? Jason Williams was supposed to be a talented scorer that was going to center Ilya Kovalchuk to a third round playoff run. Mathieu Schneider was supposed to be not just a mentor to Zach Bogosian, but a quarterback to lead our power play out of sub-mediocrity. Erik Christensen was supposed to anchor our secondary scoring with his little dipsy-do abilities. How many of those guys even came close to fulfilling those expectations (other than Schneider's mentoring of Bogo)?

The Ilya Kovalchuk Three Ring Circus and Big Top. Every arena (but Atlanta's) will have a media mob, frothing at the mouth to disrupt the Thrashers dressing room in any way they can with trade speculation, contract questions, and general stupidity. I don't know if you've noticed, but the rest of the NHL has decided that Atlanta doesn't deserve Ilya Kovalchuk, and would love to see him in any other sweater as soon as fricken possible. If our boys can manage to tune out all of the rampant idiocy, they'll be ok; but, man, those dancing elephants in Montreal can be very distracting...

33 Shots Per Game. That's how many shots against the Thrashers averaged in the 08-09 campaign. -4.6 shots per game. That's the shot differential (per game) for last year's Thrashers (League average? Zero, strangely enough). Of course, these numbers aren't such a worry if you have a solid cut-and-dry number one goalie behind you to... oh wait...

Weasels, Ponies, and Moose, Oh My. The Thrashers goalie carousel continued it's roundabouts last year as Kari Lehtonen was felled by injuries, what, three times? Neither Ondrej Pavelec nor Johan Hedberg could provide consistent relief. Remember that dark night in December when the Bruins lit 'em up for 4 goals in about the first period? Something has to change if the Thrashers are to have any hope of a playoff run. If Atlanta fails in net again this year, it won't be for lack of trying. Check out the list of names invited to camp: Hedberg, Lehtonen, Drew Macintyre, Peter Mannino, Pavelec, and now Manny Legace. Let me say it again: Manny Legace. Some how, some way, one of those FIVE gentlemen must have enough goalkeeping ability to keep the Thrashers in any given game. Right?

Anybody?




Enough pessimism for today. If you'd like to check out some other stuff I've contributed lately, check out these links:

Puck Daddy

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Four Reasons the Thrashers Will Do Better This Year

This being the first preseason for the blueland outsider, I wanted to do some kind of season preview. So, in little bite size chunks, I give you four reasons why I think the Thrashers will be much improved this year. As a bonus, I've included my suggested lines for the upcoming season. So... don't sweat it Coach Johnny, I took care of it for ya, and I won't tell anyone. My man. Tomorrow, we'll have Four Reasons for Concern. I know, limiting it to four is going to be tough, but I'm up to the challenge.


Four Reasons the Thrashers Will Do Better This Year

Addition By Addition. The Thrashers actually went out and picked up not one, but two “name” players this summer. Nik Antropov is a big man not afraid of going into the kitchen to get himself a snack. Whomever he's lined up with (and my preferred lines are at the end of this post) will benefit from this fact. Imagine this, if you will: A Bogo-Kovy-Little-Pevs-Antro power play unit. Or, Kovalchuk on the left, Peverley on the right, and Antropov and his big ole butt planted directly in front of Varlamov or Fleury or anybody, with Antro burying a rebound from his comrade's howitzer of a slap shot. Kubina is a top-four d-man, to be sure, but even the fact that his outlet passes are better than Garnet Exelby's, plants this deal in the upgrade column. Kubina also brings an offensive sensibility that Exelby just didn't have, and solidifies (as well as legitimizes) the Thrashers top four defensemen.

Addition By Subtraction. Jason Williams. Erik Christensen. Eric Perrin. Nic Havelid. All non-believers, all gone. Williams moved on to Columbus, had some on-ice success, but is now with his 4th club in 3 years. Christensen... well, I don't wanna pile on. Eric Perrin was extremely unhappy last year. The only anti-Havelid statement I'll make is this: fantastic player, not the right kind of player for HC Johnny A's system. You could see he wasn't the player he had been – pretty easy to cover up in a conservative system, not so much when you're mongoosing your opponent to death. In a big-picture sense, the ajc.com article from yesterday seems to confirm what I thought: not everyone was buying the kind of burgers John Anderson was selling. Once again, not to pick on X too much (love ya, baby), Kubina is an upgrade at an historically weak spot for the Thrashers.

Let the Kids Play. A full season of Bogo and Tobes has me very excited. Call me crazy, but I have a hunch that this will become the Thrashers top d-pairing by the end of this year. After a rough start to their partnership last year, they began to coalesce into a pretty tough pair. Having seen a full year of what Brian Little can do, I can easily picture him being a point-per-game player. Tim Stapleton is a big unknown, but just might have the type of game that could earn him some ice time in a complimentary system and a Thrasher lineup that has some space. Anssi Salmella. Nathan Oystrick. Boris Valabik. They're all too young to know they're not supposed to win.

The Last 26 Games. February 15, 2009 thru April 11, 2009. 16-9-1. The leadership of Ilya Kovalchuk. 8 short-handed goals. A 9-4 home record. The comeback shootout victory over the Rangers. Kari's 50 saves against Washington. A whole bunch of very quiet Sabre fans shuffling out of Phillips. No one wants to see the Thrashers succeed more than I do, and even my homerism can't conceal the fact that Atlanta played some incredibly solid hockey last year. If they play this whole year as they played the last third of last year, we WILL see extra hockey in Atlanta this April.


The Offical blueland outsider Line Combos!
(note: I didn't forget Evander Kane. My personal feeling is that he might need just one more year in juniors to bulk up before he can be effective in Atlanta. Sure, he might be able to make the team out of camp, but I just don't see him on the top two lines, and I think it would be a disservice to him to play on the third or fourth lines. I may change my mind between now and opening night, but... I doubt it.)

Kovalchuk – Peverley – Antropov
Swap the Dispenser & Antro as needed.

Kozlov – White – Little
The Kahlua line won't be as strong this year, but will still have some kick.

Stewart/Crabb/Sterling – Reasoner – Armstrong
Imma call this The Business Line. As in, it's Business Time, call the Business Line. And this Business Line brings the Party.

Thorburn – Slater – Boulton
The Return of the Greek Gods.

Hainsey – Kubina
Bogosian – Enstrom
Valabik/Salmella/Oystrick

Please allow me to leave you with this nugget of wisdom for you to marinate on:

Being a Thrasher fan – it's kind of like being punk rock in a hick town.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Fandom Redefined.

Jumping right back into the fray, as it were.

The other day, a link from Greg Wyshynski’s Twitter feed caught my eye:

New Puck Daddy: The revenge of the best, worst NHL fan base rankings http://bit.ly/19iVDj
10:07 AM Aug 26th
from twitterfeed

So I click, and I find some obviously suspect research. If you’re here, you’ve read enough about it already, and I’ll spare you the warming-over (btw, if you haven’t seen the response by Jibblescribbits, you owe it to yourself to take a gander. How that much awesome came forth that quickly, I’ll never know. That’s probably why he’s Jibblescribbits, and I’m the Blueland Outsider. So… there you go.). I will also avoid linking directly to the story. This dude has gotten flamed more than a Whopper since the PD article, and I don’t really want to see that happen to anybody.

Anyway, I wondered what would make a fanbase good? Obviously, home attendance has a lot to do with it. Even here in Atlanta, those games against the Wings and Pens and Rags and other big-draw teams that pull the transplants out of the woodwork like so many pillbugs and grubs from a rotting stump don’t do much to bump our otherwise dismal attendance at Phillips. So there you have criteria one: average attendance against arena max capacity.

Criteria two is a little trickier. Yes, internet fandom is an ingrained fact of life at this point in time, and must be taken VERY seriously. If someone feels strongly enough about something to start a blog and regularly update it (even if the resulting posts may never be The Brothers Karamazov), they must be a passionate fan, right? But what to do about message boards? In my conversing with the guy that spawned this whole controversy, he made the point that message boards wouldn’t be the most accurate way to determine fan activity due to the creation of multiple accounts, other fans cross-posting, etc. Okay, so message boards are out, but to rely on a Google search in the middle of August to determine NHL fan activity? Little bit of a copout, my friend.

So here’s what I did. I hit SBnation – a very well-known, reputable & reliable source of hockey fandom – and I copied the blogroll from each teams’ page. The reasoning here is, if you have a respectable blog, a bigger blog would naturally link to it. I then removed the following:

  • Any blog from a news outlet, mainstream (sorry, Rawhide) or marginal (i.e. Creative Loafing, or other regional equivalent).

  • Any “official” team blogs (sorry, Ben).

  • Any blogs that haven’t been updated this summer (last post = June 1 or later).

  • Any blogs that covered more than one sport.

  • Any links that were solely message boards (see above justification).

  • Any blogs that were just drawings of Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin (I’d like to think we have some semblance of taste here at the Outsider.).

I took the total number of blogs for each team, multiplied that by four (just to make the numbers look pretty), averaged it with the attendance number I mentioned above, and voila, little better fan rankings. I did manage to avoid commentary on every team, realizing that it may make sound... well... like a pompous homer. If you want that, all you have to do is look at just about any other post I've made.

I make no claims to this being a perfect system, only a refinement to what’s been thrown out there, so without further ado…

These are the total scores. Some surprises:

- Players may not want to go to Edmonton, but the fans show up, have a good time, and then post marginally coherent stories on the internet the next day. Good times.

- Toronto fans show up, but most likely live less than fifty miles from the arena, so they can share their Leaf-related exploits face-to-face. Thusly, not as many Leaf blogs readily available.

- Montreal fans are too busy trying to catch their players in compromising positions and lighting things on fire to bother with blogging.

- Ottawa's average attendance dropped .7% from last year - upon hearing this, Danny Heatley expressed a desire to play in a "real hockey town." Just not Edmonton.

- Columbus fans can't show up OR blog... and I even counted Portzline, cause he doesn't really blog about hockey - just some sport he makes up in his head that happens to resemble hockey.

- Atlanta? Well, when it comes to online presence, we're pretty respectable. Up in the top third, according to my research. Attendance? Well, we're working on that.

- Florida swears their blogs will show up soon - right after their kids come down and program that fricken' VCR.

- The Islanders fans are probably pretty jazzed to be near the top of something that doesn't say "Draft Order".

Just for giggles, here are the separate listings for web presence and attendance percentage:




So that's the story, folks. More research than you'll find elsewhere, less than you need for an actual scientific study. Join us next week as we try to decipher the ages-old mystery of the Wings fan: Is obnoxiousness directly proportionate to their distance from Detroit?

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

“He is eager for the season to commence,” said Jay Grossman, Kovalachuk’s agent. “He said he has had the best offseason workout program that he’s ever had. He’s the captain and he wants to lead.”

From ajc.com



Just play already.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Thrashers Flashback




Retail is not for those with a weak constitution.

I may be back soon.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Like I'm Supposed to Be Excited She's Wearing a Friggin Backpack?

The outsider will be (and has been) taking a break. As lucrative as this hockey blogging is(n't), the responsibilities of my IRL job come calling, and I must head to a trade show.



Yea, baby. Nashvegas. And a tenuous connection to a post title.

Ah yes, the ins and outs of trying to get people to buy frivolous unnecessary items when disposable income is harder to find than Ovechkin on the backcheck. I figure it's a good time to go. We still have a little of that contact high from camp, and you all have the schedule to play with, so I don't think you'll be needing my particular brand of snark for a couple of days. I'll return soon with all sorts of bloggity goodness.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Prospect Interview: John Albert

First, a bit of honesty:

As we Thrasher bloggers gathered rinkside at the IceForum to be led for Media Availability, I was a little concerned. I had done research, but was it enough? This was the first time I had ever interviewed someone on any level, and then I planned to throw the results up on the internet for the world to see. Fortunately, it didn't end up a total trainwreck, and a lot of the credit needs to go to John Albert. He was engaging and easy to talk to. Once we got into a little bit of a rhythm, I began to remember some of the things I had read in my research, and quickly discarded some of the, um, lesser questions I had hastily scribbled at the last minute (unfortunately, that means we are deprived of learning Mr. Albert's favorite sandwich topping; my apologies).

To really get an idea of John as a player, you really don't have to go any further than this quote from Thrashers Director of Scouting Dan Marr:
Johnny is an old fashioned hockey player. He has that knack for being in the right place at the right time. He knows what the situation calls for and he makes the plays. If it is the type of game where it is about speed and skill, if it is a game where you have to fight one-on-one battles to get through--he will grit it out. He's a little back of throw back--a natural--his hockey instincts are very natural.
John may not be a big guy (5'11", 180lbs), but he has good legs and soft hands. He talked about being a play-maker, and you can see it in his game. He's a bright kid with an even brighter hockey future ahead of him. I really look forward to seeing John more at camp and (hopefully) in a Thrashers sweater.

You went to college versus going the junior hockey route; can you talk a little bit about that decision?

I think education is a very important part of life right now. With the economy, it's always good to get a degree. School is the number one priority for me and my family - it was a big thing for us that I get an education. I've been a life-long Ohio State Buckeye at heart, so it was a great opportunity for me to go to a school that I love.


What do you think that you're getting out of going to school, other than the education? There's talk about players coming out of college having a different hockey mindset going in the game, rather than having spent their whole lives just playing in juniors. Is there a difference in the way that you view the game now?

Not necessarily. I think that, obviously, every high level you play at, whether it's OHL or college, there's great competition, so I think either is going to get you prepared for the NHL. The best thing about going to college is obviously the education, and that was the biggest thing to me. I think we have a great strength coach there at Ohio State, and getting stronger is a big part of playing in the NHL.


You were a sophomore this past year. I read a lot about how your coach wanted a little more out of you and a couple of other guys on the team. What did you learn from that as far as being a leader, as far motivating guys, kind of at a young age, but still having to step into a leadership role?

Yea, I'm very young myself, and having to be a leader on the team as a sophomore was a hard thing for me to kind of first grasp. When I got in there my sophomore year, they told me they wanted me to be one of the leaders on the team. We didn't have very many upperclassmen, so being a leader on the team taught me to keep my composure, be confident all the times, have a good attitude in the locker room, because the younger guys reflect off of that. If I come in with a bad attitude, they all come in like, “Well, if he has a bad attitude..” Having a positive attitude is the best thing, and encouraging guys to do better, even if it's not such a good play, just telling them, “Well get 'em next time.” I learned a lot of leadership skills that hopefully I can take into my junior year.


You guys definitely improved this year over last year. What was that due to? Was it everybody just stepping up?

Yea, we played as a team. That was the most important thing: we didn't have any individuals on the team. Everyone got along well; you play with your linemates, and you have good chemistry throughout all four lines. We did have a good attitude the whole year, we tried to stay as even-keel as possible. We had some rough games, but we bounced back the next weekend. We had a lot of come-from-behind victories which helped our team out towards the end of the year. It gave us confidence that when we are down, we know we can come back.


Some of the bloggers were talking, and it was mentioned that another blogger talked to Dan Marr, one of the scouts for Atlanta, and Dan's eyes lit up when your name was mentioned. Do you feel any kind of expectation for this year, or is there a bar that you feel you need to reach?

I think I just have to try my hardest, give my best effort, work hard, and I think they'll appreciate that. That's why we're here; we here to show them how hard we could work and the skills we have. If I work hard, I think they'll appreciate that.


OSU isn't necessarily a “hockey school.” You guys were playing a barn that wasn't always all that full at home. Can you talk a little bit about how that affects you as a player?

If you think about it, I think we averaged about 4,000-5,000 fans a game [4,181 to be exact]. Our building holds 17,000, so [the crowd] looks small to us, and it looks small to other teams, but relatively, around the league, I think we're up there with smaller barn teams. If we had a smaller barn, we'd fill it pretty good. Playing a big barn like that, it's kind of a disadvantage, but our fans were great this year. They were really good for us. We played really good at home, and we had a very good home record [13-5-2], so I think they appreciate that. When you play good, you'll have fans in the crowd. We just went out there every night, and tried to play the best we could and the fans came for us.


You saw a lot more work on the power play, especially at the point. Was that a coach that pushed you there, or was that something that you wanted to do?

It was kind of both. Being on the power play is an honor, and I really don't care where I play on the power play as long as I can help the team out. The coach decided to put me there, he just told me to shoot the puck, he said I had some good vision, so I tried to dish the puck to an open player. Even if I'm playing on the half wall in front of the net I'm going to try my hardest and do whatever I can for the team.


What part of your game do you want to work the most on? What do you think you need to improve on?

I think defense. I had a pretty strong defensive year last year, I was up there [+12], and it was a big improvement from my freshman year. I think my freshman year was -3, or something like that. I was a big improvement for me, but I still need to work on it. I'm getting better knowing what I need to do down there. Obviously, good defense turns into good offense.


I read that the player you'd like to play with the most is Sidney Crosby?

Yea... I think he's probably the best player in the NHL. He has great vision, very smart on the ice, it would just be an honor to play with him. I think he'd teach you a lot out there.


Is that who you style your game after?

No, not necessarily. I just think he's a really good player.


How do you see yourself, then? What are some names you'd throw out there to compare yourself to?

I don't know... I'm small, so Martin St. Louis. I'm a small guy, I'm quick, I try and score as many goals as I can, even though I'm a playmaker.


What is your favorite team?

Um, Atlanta.


Good job. In my blog, I talk about some other things sometimes, like music. Are there any bands that you listen to to get you amped up and ready to play?

No, not necessarily. I'm not that kind of guy. I think I'm ready for every game. If I do listen to music, it's always country. I don't listen to anything but country.


Cool. Well, you'll find a lot of that down here.

Yea, I'm a big country fan.


...and that's where our interview was awkwardly concluded by my meek statement of, “Um... I think I'm done.”



Um, I think I'm done.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Prospect Camp

Very exciting time this afternoon at the Ice Forum in Duluth. The Chronicle/Outsider confab before interview time was enjoyable, as always. The official Outsider interviewee was John Albert, picked by Atlanta in the 6th round of the 2007 entry draft and currently with the Ohio State University. A HUGE thanks to John for putting up with a rookie interviewer. Hopefully, we'll have a transcript up by Monday. Also, big thanks to the Thrashers organization (Ben Wright, et al) for putting this thing together, and to the other Thrashers bloggers, it was good to put names with faces.

Meanwhile, please head to Thrashing About for our "media scrum" with Evander Kane. Truly a team effort. Big up, Thrasher bloggers.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Hudler is the New Kiwi

But first, some things I've been a little remiss with:

- Thanks to Rawhide for the mention on Wednesday. Cross-promotion, grassroots, yes.

- I will be attending the prospect camp media availability on Saturday; I'd ask for questions, but both Laura and teh Chronicle staff are much more on the ball than I. If you DO have questions not posted elsewhere, feel free to leave them in the comments, or I may have to resort to queries of:

"So... you play... hockey...

...how's that working out for ya?"


Trust me, it won't be pretty.

Now on to new business:

We just got done with that whole Kiwi/KHL nastiness, and now we have another intercontinental mess on our hands. From Dreger @ TSN:

Jiri Hudler remains property of the Detroit Red Wings and therefore the recent contract he signed in the KHL is being contested.

The National Hockey League has approached both the IIHF and KHL, seeking their intervention.

According to the NHL, Hudler is contractually obligated to the Red Wings for next season.

Hudler, a restricted free agent filed for salary arbitration, which in the eyes of the league is acknowledgment of his intent to play in the NHL next year.

Now, there has been some confusion of late as to the exact nature of the relationship between the NHL, the KHL and the IIHF (as illustrated by a somewhat unplesant commenter in Rawhide's corner of the world). Let's try to clear it up. As noted by our boy Andre, the, the NHL IS NOT a member of the IIHF. But as noted by Mr. Dreger, the KHL IS a member of the IIHF, and any player wishing to join the KHL would need an IIHF International Transfer Card (ITC). Hudler's case normally wouldn't be a problem: he saw a greater opportunity for ice time over there (not to mention more tax-free dollars), and he went for it. However, Hudler had already set in motion the process of salary arbitration: a very arduous and time-consuming undertaking. The NHL apparently to this to mean Hudler was going to play over year this coming season - after all, if a player is going to subject himself to arbitration, why not make it worth it?

Hudler signed his Dynamo Moscow contract Thursday, July 8th. The player-elected arbitration request deadline was Sunday, July 5th. Unless Dyanamo Moscow swooped in last minute with a contract all ready to sign (some Kiwi Karma, perhaps?), it looks like Hudler has been burning the candle at both ends - something that (I'm guessing) won't sit very well with GM Ken Holland and head coach Mike Babcock. But (unlike the Radulov situation) it looks like the NHL may have some recourse. Alex Radulov was under contract with the Nashville Preadtors when he "defected" for the KHL. A quick Google search turned up another player who took off to the KHL, and the IIHL (in its infinite quest for justice) ADMONISHED the KHL, but declined to levy sanctions. This was back in November of 2008, just after Radulov "defected." In May 2009 , the IIHF set forth its International Transfer Regulations, which outline possible discipline for a "poached" player still under contract:

1.3 The disciplinary measures which can be applied by the IIHF Disciplinary Committee include, but are not limited to:

  • Caution
  • Censure
  • Fine
  • Suspension for international and/or national games/competitions

1.4 When a player plays without a valid transfer card the following shall apply:
- The IIHF General Secretary shall sanction the new Member National Association of the player with a fine of CHF 5000.- and request the Member National Association to advise the club that the player has to stop playing until provided with an ITC.

- Should the player continue to play without an ITC, the matter will be submitted to the IIHF Disciplinary Committee. The following sanctions shall be applied by the IIHF Disciplinary Committee:

  • Member National Association: Fine of minimum CHF 5’000.- and up to CHF 150’000.- (maximum) per game the player played without ITC since the IIHF General Secretary’s intervention.
  • Club: Ban on international transfers (during international transfer period) of minimum 3 months and up to 24 months (maximum).
  • Player: Suspension form IIHF Competitions for minimum 1 year and up to 3 years (maximum).
But is a player in arbitration considered to be under contract? The IIHF defines under contract thusly:

1 Definition of “Player Contract”
A player under contract is a player who has concluded a written contract with an ice hockey club (signed by the player and the club) according to which he is compensated for taking part in matches or training sessions or both. Contracts concluded between clubs and players must be of a specific duration.
2 Termination of Player Contracts
2.1 A player contract may be terminated (a) upon expiry of the term of the contract, (b) by mutual agreement, or (c) where there is a just cause.
2.2 Any contract provisions for early termination are considered to be mutually agreed upon.
2.3 Any other termination shall be considered as a breach of contract.
According to my reading of the CBA, a player electing arbitration has to accept the award given by the arbitrator (as part of crappy teams being able to hang on to their prospects a little longer). Wouldn't that mean Hudler is still under contract to the Wings?

I don't know, I'm asking.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Kovy Wars

Let me just go ahead and add Rory Boylens to the list of Good Hockey People.

After writing and article entitled "Thrashers shouldn't put Kovalchuk ahead of the team"*, and the ensuing rebuttal from the Chronicle Staff, Rory drops himself directly in the line of fire by engaging a full 2/3rds of the Thrashers' fan base** in the comment section.

Good work, Rory.




*Which is well written, but based on a flawed premise.
**We got jokes.

The Kiwi Wars

From RussiaToday.com (via Kukla's):
Canadian Joel Kwiatkowski has agreed to join the Atlanta Thrashers next season despite having already signed a two-year deal to play for SKA St Petersburg.

This is the first such precedent after the International Ice Hockey Federation introduced its new rules concerning player transfers. The move was dubbed “a non-aggression to Northern America pact” as it banned clubs in Europe from signing North American players on contract. In return, the NHL promised not to poach European players under contract.

The KHL says that breaks a gentleman’s agreement between the two leagues.

The funniest part of the article (other than the inevitable jabs at the Thrashers not being an NHL team; har har, get back to yer Zubaz an' Natty Light, fellas), is this little ditty at the end:
This episode is feared to spark a tit-for-tat response from KHL clubs, and will see them snap-up NHL stars, even if they've signed deals to play in North America.
Okay, first of all, over Joel Kwiatkowski? Look, I'm as much of a Kiwi fan as the next guy, but we're not talking Alex Ovechkin here; we're not even talking Alex Radulov. There are other guys that could fill the role here in Atlanta languishing on the FA market.

Secondly, with 7 D, we're almost solid for this year (at least as far as body count goes). If I'm a coach/GM looking to introduce some competition for jobs, bringing back guys like Kiwi doesn't really make a ton of sense. Unless I'm stocking the Chicago pond for injury backup - then having a solid defenseman that is familiar with the system would be a bonus.

But not enough of a bonus to pick a fight with the KHL.

Hm.

EDIT, 5:44PM -

From Dimitri Chesnokov:
Re Kwiatkowski; the player may have misrepresented his status to the Thrashers, because he acted without an agent, according to sources.

Whoops.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Miscellany

Just some quick-hit blathering hockey thoughts on an all-too-hot Georgia afternoon:

I Love Stan Fischler. Seriously, you should really check out his Twitter feed. Some examples:
- Don't know all the details on Al Kovalev's failure to please the Habs. But he still has the goods. I'd take him for the right price.

- Here's an interesting candidate for comeback g.m. of the year. How about my buddy, Don Waddell. He's en route to securing Ilya Kovalchuk.

- Why the fuss over Dan
(sic) Brashear (to the Rangers? All's fair in love and war and we all know the NHL is a war game on ice.

- I LOVE when John Tortorella tells his Rangers that they should appreciate the comfortable manner in which they're treated. Torts gets it!
It doesn't really hurt that this is how I hear it in my head:



Speaking of Kovy:
Andy Strickland reports negotiations have begun.


Self-Promotionblog:
I made the papers. Sorta.


Pronger to Flyers?
Yea, this'll end well. They're gonna be more watched than the series finale of LOST.

Yes, I have been waiting to use that one. No, it may not have been worth it.


Grudge Match Outside the Aud!
A Sabres fan named Vance takes Scott Burnside to task on some crap he wrote. Not that I have anything against Burnsie, just a fun read. Hey, someone should give ye olde internete smackdown to someone in Columbus. Maybe someone who's name rhymes with Aaron Portzline. Oh, wait.



It's just too friggin hot.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Free Agent Madness: Attack of the '08 Leafs

Welcome to the newest Outsider Feature: Free Agent Madness. It'll run as long as it keeps me entertained. Then, most likely, it'll be back to shiny, jingly things like key rings & pocket change - but for now, enjoy & comment.

Hey I'm nothing if not committed – even if it's just to seeing a joke through to the bitter end.

Figured it was a good time to go over the moves made so far.

The Big Trade: Kubina & Stapleton for Exelby & Stuart – I don't exactly have much to add to all of the analysis that has been tossed around, except for this: Stapleton could be a pleasant surprise for the Thrashers. Thanks to the ultra-obsessive TML fanbase (and I mean that in the nicest way possible) (Seriously.), we actually have some info on Stapleton floating around out there:

  • Undrafted thru college, but played at the University of Minnesota-Duluth on scolarship.
  • Signed with Portland Pirates (AHL) in '05
  • Played in Finland for Jokerit Helsinki (SM-Liiga) from 2006-2008, pacing a point per game.
  • Signed w/ Toronto for 08-09 season (one year, one way), and kept up a pace of over a point per game for the Marlies.
Seems the knock on Stapleton is his size and lack of a physical dimension to his game. “Perimeter Player” was a phrase that kept popping up in my reading. But still, a point per game in the AHL is pretty respectable hockey. What if Stapleton had a little more freedom to use his strong skating and his ability to be creative in open spaces? Is Stapleton the new Peverley? Or is he just a solid depth guy, bound for Chicago? Keep in mind too that we only have his rights; who knows if WadDudley plans on signing him?


Oh, and Kubina? Big D-man who was too € for Brian Burke. Oh, and about $2 million too expensive. I think everyone else has got plenty on Big PK, so I'll spare you my ramblings.


The Big Signing: Nik Antropov – Honestly, I'm OK with this deal. He's a top six guy at $4 million/year for 4 years. A little higher than, say, Boston might pay for a guy like that, but that's what you get when your ownership takes it's collective hand off the wheel. And lets your team run off the road, across the median, through the opposing lanes, over the sidewalk, through the yard and into the living room of some sweet old lady's house. Antro doesn't have to be a superstar, he just has to be pretty good.


(EDIT: As I type this, the Falconer over at BWA drops his Antro-knowledge on us.)


Chris Thorburn Re-signs: So... what would you say..... you DO here?



But ya know what? I like yer face, so we'll give you a raise! C'mere ya big lug!


Player I Will Miss, If only for the Pure Joy of Yelling “Matzoh Ball!” - Joe Motzko. I still hold out hope that the lack of a qualifying offer is a negotiating tactic, and young Joseph isn't a sacrifice to the WadDudley. For certainly a player of his stature could... command...

A slim hope it is.

Love you, Motz.




OK, clearly we're done for right now – after all, I do have one more title to make use of; gotta save some for later.

Have a safe & happy holiday weekend, everyone.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

An Open Letter to Dany Heatley

Dear Dany,

Guess what I did today? I got up, brushed my teeth, put on semi-respectable clothes and dragged my sorry butt to a job I don't always like.

For a LOT less than $8,000,000 a year.


Joke.


Your friend,
-Aaron @ the Outsider


PS - Good job on that whole "writing your name" thing. TOTALLY worth $4,000,000



EDIT: Please see Down Goes Brown for his thoughts on Heatley.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Free Agent Madness: The Phantom Armstrong Trade

I'm not gonna post anything until the dust settles.



COLBY DON'T GO!!!1!!!!1!!!



@kausatoday - Have it confirmed that there is NO CHANCE the Thrashers will part with Colby Armstrong in any trade. He is considered an essential piece.

False alarm.


Go about your business.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Free Agent Madness: Return of the Forwards

Welcome to the newest Outsider Feature: Free Agent Madness. It'll run as long as it keeps me entertained. Then, most likely, it'll be back to shiny, jingly things like key rings & pocket change - but for now, enjoy & comment.

Here comes Free Agent Madness: Return of the Forwards. Yea, I did that, and no, I'm not sorry.

Name: Brian Gionta
Current Team:
New Jersey
Current Salary:
$4 million
Why:
89 points in 05/06. Stunning. But only averaging about 50/year since. Still, good pace for a second liner (Kozzy/Kane-White-G) , and could be a first liner in a pinch (Kovy-Pevs-G). Gionta's not a big dude, though. Speaking of big dudes....

Name: Nik Antropov
Current Team:
New York
Current Salary:
$2.15 million
Why:
Is a big dude. Is capable of showing up big. Why not? Often doesn't show up big. But, Atlanta might be the place for him to get his head focused right, and I can't think of anyone better than Kovy for him to... wait, he wants HOW MUCH?

Name: Maxim Afinogenov
Current Team:
Buffalo
Current Salary:
$3.3 million
Why:
I don't know why, but Max's name keeps popping into my head. Played 48 games last year, both due to injury (groin) and to increased press box time. Decent size, has a record of producing, and is looking forward to a fresh start somewhere other than Buffalo. Could be a sleeper.

Name: Marion Hossa
Current Team:
Detroit
Current Salary:
$7.45 million
Why:
...someone should really put the cap back on those Sharpies....

EDIT: I'd just like to say very quickly that I heartily endorse the idea of an offer sheet to that nice young man Phil Kessel. Though he may not be particularly photogenic (think the Hulk at an Olan Mills studio: "Okay, say cheeeeese!" "Graaaaaaaaggggghhhhhhnnnnnnnd."), he has proven himself to be a fantastic winger. He & Bryan Little will enjoy playing Call of Duty and making bunkbeds so they'll have more room for activities & stuff.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Free Agent Madness: The Defense Strikes Back

Welcome to the newest Outsider Feature: Free Agent Madness. It'll run as long as it keeps me entertained. Then, most likely, it'll be back to shiny, jingly things like key rings & pocket change - but for now, enjoy & comment.

Here comes Free Agent Madness: the Defensemen. These guys might look good in Thrasher Blue.

Name: Mattias Ohlund
Current Team:
Vancouver
Current Salary:
$3.5 million
Why:
While everyone is worried about where the Wonder Twins will land, maybe we can sign Ohlund under the radar. A short term deal at a reasonable price would make him a fantastic signing. Hopefully J-Bow hits the market, and everyone balks at “Old Man” Ohlund.

Name: John Oduya
Current Team:
New Jersey
Current Salary:
$600,000
Why:
Johnny D's due for a raise, and would fit in very well, age-wise. This might mean a longer-term deal, and it remains to be seen if the ASG will pony up on that front. Rumors were floating that Sweet Lou had already signed Oduya to the tune of $3 mil/year – if we can get him for $4 mil/year, I'd call that success. Wait, why are you laughing?

EDIT: Sweet Lou does it again.

Name: Greg Zanon
Current Team:
Nashville
Current Salary:
$725,000
Why:
This one comes courtesy Mr Mirtle. Zanon's a name that sticks out only for its ability to sound like a second-tier comic book villain (try it, “ZANNON!”). Turns out Greggers is a solid d-man. And he looks scary.

Name: Rob Scuderi
Current Team:
Pittsburgh
Current Salary:
$713,000
Why:
Those Pens fans are too freaking happy.

Draft Weekend Wrapup

Wow. Fantastic time this Friday; everyone @ TJ's did a stellar job pulling this off. A timeline of events for the Outsider:

- Graciously welcomed by Bill Tiller.
- Sat down at a table with Tim & Tom, later learned of a "Six Degrees"-type connection involving a former bandmate, Ole Miss, and geese. Random.
- Saw Grumpy Brian Burke on big screen. Laughed.
- Watched Waddell take podium, reference draft party that wasn't us, and pick Evander Kane. Cheered.
- Rob (the Wings fan) showed up.
- Met up with the Chronicle staff. Long lost family reunion ensued.
- Watched as reports of huge robbery came across the wire. Hope Mrs. Sasquatch likes Philly.
- Saw Grumpy Brian Burke. Laughed again.
- Rob (the Wings fan) won tickets to a future Thrashers game. Protested loudly to no avail. Made my own Grumpy Brian Burke face until Rob said "What? You'll probably be going with me."
- Ate, drank, made merry.
- Ran in fear as politics surfaced.
- Met Dan Bouchard & grandson. Wonderful human being.
- Bid my fairwells, and returned to Outsider Farms to retire for the night.


A wonderful evening. I'm behind the curve on the picks' stats and what have you; may I recommend the ever-vigilant the Falconer for your further reading? Oh yea, seems Marian Hossa's rights may be dealt sometime soon. What? No reason, just sayin.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Weekend Update

Before things get too nutty on a Friday afternoon in Atlanta, and you have to make a hasty decision as to where you should spend your oh-so-precious Friday evening, may I recommend TJ's in Alpharetta? There will be a room full of hockey-mad Georgia residents, one dollar drafts, and some sort of viewing device with which we will monitor the actions of our beloved Atlanta Thrashers Hockey Club and possibly find out if our new associate GM will be heretofore referred to as Studley or just #(%*&^#*@)!!!!!! (i.e. more of the same)

Slated to appear:
- blueland outsider
- The Blueland Chronicle Staff (possibly minus an anthropomorphic rodent correspondent)
- Rawhide of the AJC

There will be food, fun, prizes, gratuitous references to mid-90's popular culture, and maybe I'll break out a Springsteen face or two. Who knows.

But I know who WON'T be there; and not because he doesn't like us, or he thinks any of us smell funny (I hope), but because he's the Thrashoblogosphere's Official Representative at the NHL Draft: the Falconer from Birdwatchers Anonymous. Whatever your plans, make sure to check in with him. He's s-m-r-t about this whole pucky-shoot business.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Free Agent Madness: Petr Sykora

Welcome to the newest Outsider Feature: Free Agent Madness. It'll run as long as it keeps me entertained. Then, most likely, it'll be back to shiny, jingly things like key rings & pocket change - but for now, enjoy & comment.


Free Agent Madness
Petr Sykora

Word has come through that while in his native Cezch Republic, Sykora has wondered aloud whether or not he should return to the Pens, or find another NHL team. Let's take a look a Pety's file, shall we?

The Good
- Pretty solid on the power play, career-wise.
- .74 PPG since he entered the league - another solid stat.
- Potted 15 PPGs in 76 games last year.
- Probably still capable of a 50 point season, which would be on par for a 2nd line RW (the likeliest place for him in Atlanta).
- Seemed to play his best with Geno Malkin, which bodes well for playing with guys like White & Pevs (smart, puck distributing centers).
- Has two cup rings.

The Bad
- Only played 7 games in the playoffs.
- Injuries seemed to be a constant last year (Respiratory infection, goin, foot, etc.).
- Frank D. at PensBurgh seems to think Sykora's been a little slumpy this year.
- Cap hit of $2.5 mil over the last two years with the Pens seems to be a bit more than what we're looking to spend for a top-six forward (I literally had to choke down bile as I typed that sentence).
- Might send some folks into booze-fueled depression to see him leave Pittsburgh.

Outsider Verdict

As hockey players go, Petr Sykora would be a solid pickup for any team. age is a-creepin up on him, but he's still got plenty left in the tank. At the right cap number Sykora is gold. But the combination of the ASGs unwillingness to spend and Atlanta not being (shall we say) very attractive to FAs who are used to any high degree of success should keep Blueland free of the Petr Fevr for the time being.

Thoughts?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Another Moment of Silence

For Colby Armstrong/Diane Lane jokes.

Today some lucky young woman secures a place at the side of a strong, handsome and rugged hockey player....





Yes, ladies & gentlemen, Colby Armstrong gets married today.

Chris Thorburn as well has "sealed the deal" (as the kids say) last night in the fine state of Michigan. No suitably embarrassing picture of Thor could be found, so text will have to suffice.

God bless the new Mr. & Mrs. Armstrong and the new Mr. & Mrs. Thorburn. Best wishes to both couples.

Friday, June 19, 2009

A Moment of Silence

RIP, GA Theatre

Georgia Theatre
18??-2009

I've been there. I've played there. I've seen friends, neighbors and assorted others walk across the stage. Here's to a long life, and life-long memories.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Scouting Report: Rick Dudley

Craig Custance brought the knowledge at 1:52pm, via Twitter that the Thrashers had hired Chicago Blackhawks Assistant GM Rick Dudley to be Associate GM under DW.

(EDIT: the Blackhawks didn't make the announcement until 3:51pm. If that mins a-whata think it mins [horribly placed Inigo Montoya reference], then I'm very happy.)

Am I reading too much into the creative wordplay there? According to Kevin Allen,
Waddell has been looking to add another strong voice to his staff, and Dudley was lured to Atlanta by the challenge of an expanded role in the Thrashers’ organization.

Dudley has previously been a GM in Tampa Bay and Florida. He has always indicated that he enjoyed the personnel decisions much more than he enjoyed the contact negotiations side of management.
Hm.

Let's look at Dudley's GMing rap sheet:

2006-2009 - Asst GM, Chicago Blackhawks
2004-2006 - Hockey Ops Consultant, Chicago Blackhawks
2002-2004 - GM, Florida Panthers
1999-2002 - GM, Tampa Bay Lightning

This is what we know about Rick Dudley:

- He likes trading the #1 pick. A bunch.
- He basically assembled what was to become the 2004 Stanley Cup winning Tampa Bay Lightning (a speedy, high-scoring team that was defensively responsible).
- He likes building fast young teams full of "soft Euros and Russians."
- He doesn't like Mike Keenan.
- He was a big part of the Blackhawks' current success - or, at least he's had 4 years to soak up that Dale Tallon goodness.
- Lookie here - Donnie's been a fan for a while:
"'Anyone who knows Rick Dudley knows that the day he took over [June 8], the Lightning became a better franchise,' says Thrashers general manager Don Waddell."
Hmmm.

He understands franchises that are rebuilding on a budget (see Panthers, Florida and Lightning, Tampa Bay), but he also has had insight into the Blackhawks recent draft plan, which probably doesn't include many high picks, but does include sitting next to/near/in the same room as Greatest Hockey Mind in the Universe™ Scotty Bowman. No no no... it doesn't matter that it was only a year - just to touch Scotty is a Vulcan mind-meld download of the secrets of the Hockey Universe. Like a 10,000-volt charge.

Why do you think Scotty always looks constipated?


Okay, I'm declaring myself unfit for anymore writing.


You're welcome.

Monday, June 15, 2009

It's Funny 'Cause It's True

Go read the Wings Eulogy over at Puck Daddy. It's written by Sam, one of the guys from Outsider Fave Second City Hockey. I just had to pass along this little nugget:
Sure, you'll hear calls that a Cup would have been good for a moribund city quickly descending into hell, though no Wings fan actually lives in the Detroit Metro area.


FOUND 'EM!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Her Majesty

Epic.

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Clutch.

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Massive.

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Grizzled.

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Game 7 was worth everything.

Big time show of maturity by Sid for not going in after the Franzen hit - he'd have done more harm than good, and he knew it.

Maxime Talbot. Garrioch is writing furiously about rumors of Talbot to the Sens for Heatley, straight up.

Marc-Andre Fleury is a man. Settled down, didn't allow anyone to shake him as he shook the "Flower wilts in big games" label. Didn't let himself drift out of position for no reason...

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Whoops.


Check out Danny B. in the waning seconds:

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All business.
To borrow a phrase.


But it wasn't fun & games for everybody.

Photobucket
Sad Slovak.

Say what you will about Hossa. I understand the reasons on both sides. He wanted a shortcut. He's an athlete in his money-making years; he's got the right to pick & chose.

But, like we say on the farm, you can't get corn from flaxseed.

Reap what you sow, in seety-tawk.

But the best news: Sid & Malk got their hardware, SSgt. Bill Guerin got his last chance, Wings fans can yap about more conspiracies, and Pens fans can yap about the coming dynasty. All business is settled, and the field is wider than it was this time last year. Let's set some goals. I wanna see this, in some measure, in Phillips at the end of next year:

kovalchuk


Right boys?

asg,LolThrash

Uh-oh.



Commence LoLCup.

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wings,bench,game

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crosby,franzen,wings,pens,game

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Lesser of Two Evils

Pens,logo

Let's Go Pens.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Wait Is Over!!!! Let The Party Begin!!!



Yes, folks - the joyous news has been received:

Marty "The Party" Reasoner is a Thrasher for two more years.

Add this to the recent signing of Anssi Salmela (who, thanks to Razor @ teh Chronicle shall be heretofore known as "Peanut"), and the Thrashers are in the midst of their best offseason in recent memory.

Quiet, you cynics - that's supposed to sound like optimism.

Be sure to come visit me while I house-sit for nhLOL. You bring the keg, and I'll sit in a parking lot, picking my nose until George Clinton shows up.

"You're majoring in a 5000 year-old dead language?"
"Uh... yeah."
"Out. Get out of my room."

Sorry. Back to business.

All that remains is to sign Army, Slates, Thor, Kari, Boris....

...oh yea, and some other Russian dude.

Remember folks, optimism.


EDIT: From the venerable Craig Custance, Guru of Puck @ The Sporting News, terms on the Reasoner deal are 2 years at $2.3 million total. A decent raise and a modicum of security for our Mr. Reasoner.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Please Do This For Me... For Us...

This is Mark Bradley of the ajc (neƩ, the AJC).


Mark has asked a very profound & important question:
To all Atlantans: If the Thrashers left town -- and I don't think they will -- would you miss them? Email me at mbradley@ajc.com. Thanks.
Please take time out of your busy schedule to drop Mr. Bradley a note concerning this question. Regardless of your thoughts on Mr. Bradley (a pretty decent writer) in particular or the ajc (not fit to slop the hawgs here on Outsider Farms) in general, any kind of groudswell grassroots response can only help out our Thrashers. So, all 30 of us... let's get to... ground... swelling...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Oh, And One More Thing...



THIS MAN STILL NEEDS A CONTRACT.


DO IT.

Okay, I've Made You Wait Long Enough...

...here's my take on the whole "Thrashers-to-Ontario" thing.

Will never happen.

Why?

Well, here's a big ole list of other people's research & opinions:

-Falconer @ BWA: Thrashers tied to arena deal, and, oh yea, you can't buy something nobody owns.
- Craig Custance @ SN: Seconded! And, oh yea, fans like winners.
- Mortimer & Co.@ the Chronicle: A fantastic angle to consider - Press? Responsibility? Nahhhhh!
- Vivlamore @ the ajc: Donnie says "Nu-uuuuh! We got dibsies and wrote it down!"
- Phil Foley @ the Examiner: A great list of reasons that just about boil down to "It's the economy, stupid."

Now, here's just a little bit of my own research.

I did some digging, (not much digging - I didn't want to strain myself) and looked at the populations of the two cities in question. (These numbers come from Wikipedia, so we can assume they're reasonably accurate.)


City Proper Metro Area
Hamilton, ON
504,559 692,911
Atlanta, GA
519,145 5,376,285

So, let me get this straight: you want to take a franchise out of a metro area of over FIVE MILLION PEOPLE and move it to a metro area that is almost EIGHT TIMES SMALLER?

Tell me again how that makes sense.

Granted, the Hamilton population is much more hockey-mad. Granted, with Toronto & Buffalo you would have 6 all-but-guaranteed sellouts. Granted, the rivalries would be intense.

But a difference of 4.5 million people?

That's a lot of Tim Horton's & bagged milk, folks.

Let's be honest here: as teh Chronicle pointed out, journalism ain't what it used to be. What sells papers? Headlines - or rather, peoples reaction to headlines. What red-blooded Canadian isn't gonna snap up a paper that loudly trumpets the possibility of one more Canadian NHL franchise (e.g. one more chance to fail in the playoffs)? Oh, in case you weren't aware, this is CANADA'S game after all - they just let us borrow it from time to time. Just like we let them borrow three quarters of the league's revenue. Like it or not, them's the facts. The NHL has a lot of money and potential gain tied up in American markets. And let's be clear here: I'm not blaming your average-everyday working-joe Canadian for being excited enough to buy said paper with said headline. That's his thing - he's Canadian. What's life without at lease a little civic pride? What I am doing is blaming journalists who don't fact-check, don't cite sources, and don't bother to hold enough integrity to not write a story without at least some shred of factual basis. And I'm also blaming these billionaire fanboys that play on the sensibilities of your average hockey fan to get the great new toy they've had their eye on. But, back on point...

Yes, if you're running a "simply numbers" game, it makes sense to move the Coyotes to Hamilton. I mean, you're talking about a city with NO hockey history whatsoever. But Atlanta does. Know what it also has? A population that is equal in size and greater in economic stability than Detroit. Oh yeah, and a huge Yankee-transplant population. What does that mean? A lot of potential hockey fans. Once someone with some actual assets figures out what a potential moneymaker this franchise could be and puts a quality product out on the ice (or at the very least, some quality marketing behind what's already there; have you seen that 10th Anniversary logo? I'm too ashamed to even post it here.) Atlanta will be a hockey town. Again.

So... a franchise in Atlanta is a bad idea why?

Oh yea. Forgot.

One more thing: this whole MakeItSeven.ca thing smacks louder of populist opportunism than one of Don Cherry's magnificently calamitous suits. To all those red-blooded Canadian citizens, make sure Jimmy B. leaves the money on the dresser on his way out.

HEY oh!!!


EDIT: Think I'm off my chump with this theory? Well, Lyle "Spector" Richardson hit this idea four days ago.

In Other News:

- In honor of tonights' game 6, we give you this: Christensen fails again, Selanne barely keeps head attached.


- I heart Adrian Dater. Why? Here, and here, for starters. You almost don't know what to do with all this honesty coming from a journalist. Sort of the Atlanta Spirit with hockey. (See what I did there? Full circle, baby.)

- Mike Modano decides for one more year. That sound you heard was... wait, you didn't hear anything. Mike Modano hasn't made any post-season noise for years.

- Have I mentioned Down Goes Brown lately? If you aren't reading this blog, you need to be.

Why Why Why

...is no one really talking about this?





Call me crazy, but I think this storyline is just as intriguing as the Ovie/Crosby/Malkin/Semin hype machine.

It's time for the Outsider to throw it's considerable weight & influence behind another team for this postseason. It's time to champion a cause. It's time for over-wrought melodrama. It's time to shine some light on a deserving subject.




It's time to

Saturday, April 25, 2009

IIHF Tourney Info

USA just got by Latvia 4-2. Esche was the best we could do? Yikes. 


One down, two to go.


Go USA.


Go Kovy.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Miscellany


Just so you don't loose respect for me 'cause I jumped the shark by using the same bit two days in a row, here's some rambling crap dredged from the recesses of my brain.

Who I'd Be If I Had Any Actual Hockey Knowledge: Down Goes Brown. To read him is to love him.

From The "Why Don't You Give Me A Nice Papercut & Pour Lemon Juice On It" Dept:

Ouch.


GMwatch '09:
John Manasso over at the Atlanta Business Chronicle (or, the ABC as the hipsters in L5P call it) has an interesting thought of John Risebrough and the Atlanta GM job. He makes fantastic points about Risebrough's success in MIN, and his ability to work with limited resources. This got me thinking about other possibilities:

Warning: what follows is pure speculation and may or may not have anything at all to do with acutal hockey knowledge.
You've been warned.

Risebrough: The question raised by Manasso is a vaild one: Who is responsible for the Wild's defense-first strategy, Risebrough or recently-deposed head coach Jacques Lemaire? If the trap begins & ends with Risebrough, he's an awful fit for HC Johnny A's system. But if the system came completely from Lemaire, well... that's a different story. It would be intruiging to see what John could bring to the table.

Bob Gainey: Gainey = Habs = Epic Mortal Fail, so thanks, but no thanks on this one.

Doug Wilson: This would be exciting. Douggie has a rep for building great regular season teams that don't quite get the job done come playoff time. With a group as young and hungry as the one here in Atlanta plus any key "hockey people" (i.e. scouts, management types) Doug might bring with him, it might be an explosive combination (In case you couldn't tell: yes, I am assuming Ole San Jose Doug gets the ax very shortly; what can I say? I'm a risk-taker).

And, of course, there's always...

Don Waddell

Hm. Wonder which one it'll be.

From The Grass Is Greener Dept:
Erik Christensen is averaging ~12min of ice time, and has 2 points to show for it. Jason Williams is averaging ~14min of ice time, and has 1 point to show for it. Oh, and his team just got swept out of the playoffs. Hm.

Hey. You with the "At least they were in the playoffs" crap. Shut it.


Useless Top 5 List:
It's back. With a vengance.

Top 5 Windows-Down, Ready For Summer Songs
5) Happy Day Mama - Better Than Ezra
4) D'yer Mak'er - Led Zeppelin
3) American Girl - Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
2) Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) - Bruce Springsteen & the E-Street Band
1) September Gurls - Big Star

Bonus Hazy Summer Night Makeout Track: Girl From Ipanema by Getz/Gilberto/Gilberto narrowly edges Dusty Springfield's Son of a Preacher Man.

Yea, that'll all change by tomorrow.

Have a good weekend.

An Open Letter to the City of Columbus

Dear Columbus,

Saved you a seat.


Your friend,
Aaron @ blueland outsider

Thursday, April 23, 2009

An Open Letter to Brooks Orpik

Dear Brooks Orpik,

Dude, you're making it very hard for me to continue hating the Penguins.

Stop it. Stop it right now.

The reasons for hating the Pens are numerous and egregious.

Reason #1:


Okay, okay, you're right... that's too easy. I promise, I won't bring him up anymore...

But, c'mon, he's just such a.....

I know. I'll behave. Sorry.

Reason #2:

Tyler Freaking Kennedy

Seriously, he looks like one of the kids I routinely kick out of my store for playing obnoxiously loud (and incredibly awful) Metallica covers. And how can you really take seriously anyone who wears a shirt like this:


Mm-hm. Yup. Moving on.


Reason #3:

Matt Cooke

Why Matt? WHY MATT? Um, for starters:




Oh, and there's always:




And... well... I really didn't want to bring this up, but....

He eats babies.

I know, I know... a pretty shocking & heavy allegation, but see for yourself:

Matt Cooke, basting a baby.

Matt Cooke, upon being told eating a baby is a Game Misconduct.

I didn't think it'd come to that. I'm sorry you had to hear it this way, Brooks.

And really, there are so many other reasons why hating the Pens is just so gosh-darn easy. But for the sake of time I'm gonna skip to the only reason why I like the Pens:

That's right, baby... you.

I knew there was something special when I first saw The Shift.




And then, the Greatest. Shop. Ever.

C'mon, dude... it's freaking hilarious.

But what really locked me in was this past Sunday's game against the Flyers. You took that high stick to the face, and before anyone knew what was going on, you were back out on the bench, ready to go. As a matter of fact, you were so fast, no pictures survive of the alleged "event," so we present an artists rendering:

Note manly unnecessary stitches.

This brings me to my suggestion: you should pull a Geno, and defect to Atlanta. Srsly, it's like a whole other country down here, Pittsburgh wouldn't even know where to find you. Why are you looking at me like that? Here are some reasons why this is good idea:

1) Instant Fame
With that manly studliness that you posses, you would be a household name here in the footbawl-lovin' south. I can hear it now: "Wooo-eeee, boy! I cain't tell whut thay whus doin with that thar rubber thingy, but boyhowdy that Oar-pick shore can lay um out! I ain't never goin back to no footbawl game!"*

*ED NOTE: We here at the Outsider love the south, and do not wish to offend. We're merely using this horribly outdated stereotype for comedic effect. Thanks for your understanding. That shirt looks great on you, by the way.

2) Colby's Already Here.
He can save you a seat at lunch and a locker next to his. Oh, and I think he was looking for someone to double with him and Diane Lane.

3) I Will Buy You a Beer Whenever You Like
No kidding, all you have to do is call me up. Just give your phone to the bartender/waiter, and BAM. Free beer. Bud, Guinness, even the old Pottsville Pisswater. But watch those carbs, buddy...

4) Playing With Ilya Kovalchuk, King of Russia
See, people don't know it yet, but Kovy will go down as the greatest Russian leader since Czar Nicolas II. Not only is he a scoring machine, but he's also:

magic...


great at scoring Hawks' tickets, and...


...um, ignore this one. I'm sure there's a very good and rational explanation. For a leather kilt...


Besides, would you rather play for a captain that fights like this...



...or like this?



Sorry, sorry, I said I wouldn't mention him... sorry.

Anyway, take some time to think it over. We don't need answer now, you've got important things to do. Just take some time, consider all the facts, make a rational decision. But I have a feeling....

....next round. Is on me.


Your friend,
Aaron @ blueland outsider