Friday, March 13, 2009

Whaddaya know... Marty IS a party...

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I do not gamble. I prefer my money in my wallet. For all of your hockey prognosticative needs, may I direct you to one Mortimer Peacock, Chronicle scribe & scary good future teller.

Mike Knobler has bonus features up from his Levenson interview. I believe I've officially changed my stance on Levenson. What I read in this and the original article tells me he's a guy who knows how to run a business, and is learning how to run a hockey team. Understanding that this whole interview thing is probably the brainchild of some PR person, there is still a tremendous amount of contrition and owning up to mistakes here; it takes some stones to go to a major print publication and say "hey, I screwed with stuff, found out that wasn't a good idea, and now we're trying to fix things." From the first article:
"I think you’ll see most teams be fiscally prudent because of the uncertainties of the economy. Just as we have done in past years, including right before this season, if there are opportunities that we think justify us increasing our spending, we’ll do that."
I read: this season is an anomaly as far as payroll is concerned. The ASG wanted to build a contending club, and then the realities of the Belkin situation caught up with them. In hindsight, I'd be in a pretty bad mood if I were in a similar situation; maybe even a bad enough mood to call a contentious STH a not-nice name. But hey, that's me. I'm a jerk like that. From the second article.
What kind of hockey team do you want the Thrashers to be? Do you want it to be a 2-0 team or the kind of team it was trying to be at the start of the year, when it was a little more open?

“I want them to win. That’s what I want. It’s the coaching staff’s job and the GM’s job to match the talent to the style of play. That’s another interesting mistake we may have made in the early days. Coming out of the lockout the rules were changed. It was going to be faster. It was going to be higher scoring. My thing was, let’s be the fastest highest-scoring team. It sounded good on paper. That’s not necessarily the right recipe for success.”

Either Brucie's copping to being the sous chef that spoiled the main course, or he drew the short straw in the fall-on-the-grenade lottery. Either way, I give him props. It doesn't take much of an active imagination to conceive of Levenson issuing orders to assemble a team he'd like watch, while Donnie's thinking "Are you kidding me??" Not to mention the absurdity of trying to build a team like that with Bob Hartley at the helm. Next year, the cap comes down, we lock Kovy up with a nice long deal, trade someone for someone else.... all is well in Blueland. Hey, we may even decide we want to keep Waddell around.

That sounded convincing, right?

Other Items of Note

They see me LoLin, they hatin....

John Anderson's comments on Kovy (AP Wire, via Yahoo Sports)
“We don’t want to say too much right now because we don’t know for sure,” Atlanta coach John Anderson said. “He’s day to day as we speak right now. He had a little problem yesterday and I didn’t practice him. He said he was OK to go today and obviously he wasn’t, but I’ve got to give him credit for trying.”
Scott Cullen over at has a pretty comprehensive list of potential UFAs. Add that to your Armchair GM arsenal. (Hey Scotty, Re: Who has $12mil for two top-line players? Hmmm... lemme think about that...)

What?!?!?! A Canadiocentric media outlet reporting "Kovalchuk LIKES Atlanta"!?!?!? You made that up. (Thanks Wayne for hitting me up on that link).

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Gameday, Oilers

Tonight in Edmonton
First off, the Oilers' website totaly curb-stomps ours for preview value. Instead of just the obligatory wire preview you get that + game notes + stat comparison + head-to-head stats... Thrasher web guys, the house tours and Blue Crew segments are nice and all, but this is a value-added service with low overhead - ya dig?

It might get chippy tonight with the Oil clamoring to hold on to a playoff spot. Good showing on the Oilers message board. That comic book thingy had me 'til panel 4.

Kovy Since the 'C'
20G - 15A - 35P, +4

I'll predict a 3pt night, 2G - 1A, Thrash roll 4-2 in regs. Oilers drop to tenth, and Molson flies off the shelves in Northern Alberta in record amounts as Oiler fans drown their sorrows.

Go Thrashers.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

This Post Has No Title, Just Words and A Tune

Let's get this out of the way: if you can't find at least one song to love on Fulfillingness' First Finale, then you have no soul, and should probably have that looked at by some sort of specialist.

The Thrashers officially have a streak. This is very exciting.

John Manasso over at the Atlanta Business Chronicle is joining the chorus of voices chanting "Winning sells tickets," and illustrates the point finely with the Buffalo Sabers. He also shares the little tidbit that (according to American City Business Journals), the Thrashers have appreciated by 6% - thus proving the old adage "You can always make money, even if you suck".

If you haven't yet, go check out the interview with Bryan Little on the team site. Bry-Bry speaks very highly of Outsider-aproved activities like Call of Duty and playing guitar. And have you seen the vid of Lits with goal-calls by the Kamalian himself? Super rad.

But did they know the song is about heroin?

For this next item, I traveled down quite a rabbit hole, but the comedy gold at the end of this rainbow is worth it. Check out one of Bruce Garrioch's March 9th blog post regarding Ron Wilson, fearless leader of the hapless Leafs. the post in and of itself is quite funny. But it's the comments that made me almost wet myself. I like watching Ontario/Toronto flame wars. The only thing missing is one of them dropping the "Jane, you ignorant slut" bomb. Priceless. (Glove tap to Down Goes Brown, he of the "Brian Burke" Twitter account. Aces in my book.)

One of the best lines in recent memory, courtesy Mike Babcock (Via Kukla's).

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Gameday Avs

A 9pm game between two teams "playing for respect" - code for "there is absolutely no reason to care about this game at all." Budaj's in net, whom we lit up for 4 on 26 shots last time. This should be fun.

Over at Puck Daddy, there's linkage to a list of the top 10 undrafted players. Greg points out that Lou Lamoriello has had a hand in a couple of those - will Salmela's name be on a list like that one day? We can only hope.

Just weighing in on the anniversary patch: seriously, are there any other ways to turn this franchise into a peewee team? Serve orange slices between periods? The ASG has discovered yet another way to devalue this franchise: self-destructive marketing.

Over at BMR today? Just.... wow.

Some LOLs. Just for laughs.

Monday, March 9, 2009

When Did We Get a Hockey Team?

Friday Night's Game. Habs taking liberties; PIMs for everybody!; Habs watch playoff seeding (and maybe even hopes) fade; O'Byrne's a joke; X gets 10 for allegedly being a Francophobe. Oh yea, and a shutout for Kari.

Sunday's Game. Bry-Bry (again) with the leadoff tally; jobbing by CalGARY; Toby with a MONSTER shot; more jobbing by CalGARY; Kovy being Kovy; even more jobbing by CalGARY; and Bry-Bry (again) with the final word. Oh yea, and a Greek God goal thrown in for good measure.

Obligatory Stupid Question: Where was this team in October? With all of the different guys that have been moved from the team, I wonder how the chemestry has been affected. Did we dump some malcontents? Did we move some bodies that didn't jive with the of the team, not from any mental issues, but simply years of habit? At this point, you could ask these questions without having to name names, and I'd really like to know.

The Finer Points. Team play. That's the buzzword. Only Boris was a minus this weekend, and only Bogosian was over +1 (+2). There wasn't on line that led, or one line that let everybody down.

"Live together, die alone."

Um, thanks, Jack.

The cycles in both weekend games looked tighter & crisper, but the boys didn't back down from a physical game, either. I've had the recurring thought that we need a little more grit, but watching both games put that to bed. Friday night's backcheck looked a little sloppy at times. But when the average age of your defense is 24, that's gonna happen. Then came Sunday, and all fears were assuaged. Add the recently arrived Mr. Salmela, and we might just have a defense. Then again, that's what we said at the beginning of the year, too. But I choose hope.

Kovy Since the 'C'

Gms G A Pts +/- PPG SOG Pts/G S% Pts/G
23 20 13 33 2 5 90 1.43 22.22% 1.43

Money. As in: "The man is." As in "Show him the." We know what he's capable of. Now, he's proving it. The crowd was LOUD Sunday, especially toward the end.

Goals. We has 'em.
The way I see it, this team is playing against itself. More specificly, the 5-9-2 record of last year's Thrashers. That's .375 points per game. For the remainder of the year, we have 16 games, 12 against playoff (or within spitting distance of a playoff spot) teams, 6 on the road, 6 at home. If we could pull off a 9-7 record over that span (.889 points per game), I will be convinced. I know, a lot to ask. The team that showed up this weekend could do it.