Playoff Quick Shots & Hats Off To Sidney

Crosby’s vs. Ovechkin’s

This is exactly what the league, the networks and the fans were wanting from the Caps vs. Pens, eh? Even though Washington takes a two-OH lead into Pittsburgh, both games have been awesome to watch.

Crosby has scored all of Pittsburgh’s five goals so far…including matching Ovechkin’s hat trick Monday night…and very well could have a pair of three-goalers had it not been for Simeon Varlamov’s incredible save in game-one!

I’ve picked the Capitals in seven games in this matchup…and I’m prayin’ to God it does indeed go the full seven.

74 mph+ Winds vs. Big Bad Bruins

Remember that scene in “Dumb and Dumber” when Llyod, (Jim Carrey) asked Mary, (Lauren Holly), what the chances were of the two of them getting together.

“Not good”, replyed Mary.

“You mean, not good like one out of a hundred”?

“I’d say more like one out of a million”.

Lloyd then pauses to reflect and then says, “So you’re telling me there’s a chance…YEAH”!

Well, I’m telling Canes fans…there’s a chance. Not a big one, mind you…but escaping Bah-ston with a split gives them hope where there would be none had they been facing an OH-two hole. Cam Ward was stellar Sunday night, especially in the third period. They’ll need much more of that from here on.

Oh and Toronto…it was too a goal!

Quackers vs. Big Red Borg

If you could write up a good formula for the Anaheim Ducks to succeed against the Red Wings, it might go something like…”Keep Marian Hossa and Pavel Datsyuk off the scoresheet and continue to enjoy strong goaltending by Jonas Hiller”.

Well, it’s worked so far.

Hossa and Datsyuk have a grand total of one assist between the two and, even with their depth, the Wings will need more from them than that. As for Hossa…remember, he’s playing without a contract next season and a poor showing in the post-season might hurt him in the bank account this summer.

After Hiller allowed a couple of unfortunate goals in the first period of game 2…one off the ankle of his defender…he returned to the same form displayed in the first round against San Jose. He stopped 59 of 62 shots Sunday afternoon, including all 29 he faced in the 41:15 of overtime.

Heading back to the pond, the Ducks have to feel god about gaining the split in Motown.

Windy City vs. Orca’s

This series in tied at one apiece…but easily could be led 2-0 by either team. In game one, Chicago erased a 3-0 third period deficit, only to lose at the end. They then fell behind 2-0 in the first during game two but this time completed the comeback for a 6-3 win.

What this means is that even if the Knuckleheads get off to an early lead from here on out in the series, there could still be a little stick-clutching taking place on their bench. Plus, the Blackhawks have shown they won’t panick if they fall behind.

Robbie-Lu has surrendered eight goals in the two games on 62 shots, (.871 SV%), after giving up only five in four games against the Blues in round one. Yeah…we all saw that coming.

Meanwhile…Back At The Ranch

OK, so since it’s the hockey offseason here in Atlanta…which normally arrives here the day after game number 82… that means the Ilya Nikulin saga is upon us again.

Joy…rapture.

To me…after he put Waddell on the yo-yo last summer…I’m of the frame of mind that if he joins the team this season…great! If not…fine. Time to move on. We’ve pretty much been playing this game since Waddell picked in in 2000 with the 31st overall selection.

Now, that having been said, I actually think there’s a decent chance we’ll see it happen this year. His contract with Ak Bars Kazan is up and the bloom is kinda off the KHL rose right now. Plus, I think Kovy is probably using his time in Switzerland right now having a word or two with him as well.

If he does make it over, his 6′-4″, 210-ish frame could provide the blueline addition that the Thrashers need to solidify that corps.

So…what kind of odds am I giving that Nikulin finally decides to play in Atlanta? Well, let’s just say it’s better than Llyod’s chances with Mary.

Mid-Week Reading Assignments

The Falconer has posted Part One of his interview with Dan Marr in which he reviews the junior prospects.

What if Don Waddell decided to hold a White Sale this summer.

And finally…what’s all that whining I hear? Oh…it’s just that Crosby kid again. And what is it this time that the NHL’s poster child for post-lockout recovery has a problem with?

Well, he seems to have an issue with…of all things…hats.

110 comments Add your comment

GaVaHokie

May 5th, 2009
1:38 pm

Great read Rawhide. :)

Sara

May 5th, 2009
1:50 pm

Perhaps if I hadn’t have typed the great american novel I would have seen the “Ranallo Alert” before I posted. Oh well…Tony C. my answer to your question re: Nikulin is on Rawhide’s last blog. http://blogs.ajc.com/iceman-thrashers-blog/2009/05/03/reasoner-deserves-an-aand-not-just-for-effort/#comment-2816

GaVaHokie

May 5th, 2009
2:09 pm

Sara… “Life would dictate it” would seem like “such is life” in general terms. Sometimes you have to figure out what he’s “trying” to say, more than taking the literal meaning. :)

The CBA wouldn’t allow him to make over $1 million, the Thrashers couldn’t guarantee him an NHL-only contract… “such is life”… he stayed in Russia another year until he could qualify for a higher salary in the NHL. If we can’t give him $2-$3 million to play THIS year, and can’t offer him a one year, NHL-only contract… “such is life” again… he’ll sit out another year and then sign with Pittsburgh or Washington next summer, because it sounds like to me that he wants to play with Ovie or Malkin.

He had two stipulations… NHL only (no AHL), and he wanted only a 1 year contract.

GaVaHokie

May 5th, 2009
2:15 pm

Sara… my next question is, do we get any draft compensation if Nikulin allows his time-frame to expire and then signs with another team?

If that punk sits out another year and then signs with Washington, he’s built up the biggest Boo-barrage in the history of Boo’s! …Bigger than Dany Heatley and bigger than Blake Wheeler stiffing the Coyotes.

LAC

May 5th, 2009
2:17 pm

Why would you throw a $20 hat on the ice only to see it swept up and thrashed ? Just STUPID…

Tony C.

May 5th, 2009
2:46 pm

Sara-No worries, I read it. Thanks for digging.

Jason

May 5th, 2009
3:41 pm

did anyone catch the “unleash the fury” signs that the caps fans were holding last night? I could be wrong, but I thought that was the thrashers phrase from 2 seasons ago. Not that I really care but it was somewhat lame the first time around.

Sara

May 5th, 2009
3:56 pm

Hokie honestly I’m not positive. There are different rules for different situations and it’s all muddled. However if our rights technically expire, I doubt we’re entitled to a blessed thing. I’ve always been under the impression that Nikulin was a defected player because he signed binding contracts with another league. Generally defected players can essentially come back to the NHL as Group IV FAs (RFAs). That of course carries the right of first refusal and draft pick compensation. And while I remember seeing more than one source making the comment last year that we only had one year left to negotiate with Nikulin, I haven’t found anything in either CBA that definitely states when rights just expire.

It’d be nice if the new guy could talk to Larry Simmons – he’s supposed to be the Thrashers’ CBA guru. Maybe he could explain how those rules work in better detail…since I’ve always gotten the gist anyway that the CBA as published really doesn’t have all the rules spelled out.

BTW, I pulled up the old 1995 CBA and the max compensation for a draft pick in 2000 is $1,075,000. In addition, there were no dollar limitations on performance bonuses under the old CBA. So again, the issue is complicated in just trying to figure out which set of rules would even apply to Nikulin.

*shrug* we’ll see how it all plays out I suppose. It was July last year before we even heard a peep about negotiations with Nikulin so I wouldn’t expect to hear anything until after the draft anyway.

Thrashy Thrashy

May 5th, 2009
4:04 pm

LAC,

The lesson?

Always wear/take your dirtiest, dingiest cap with you to a hockey game.

BLitz

May 5th, 2009
4:29 pm

**LAC**,

It is also a little known fact that Cubs fans who sit out in the famous bleachers of Wrigley Field bring an extra ball with them. That way if they catch a homerun from the opposing team, they throw the old used ball back to the cheers of the crowd while keeping the major league souvenier.

Or you can just be a whiner like Sidney and complain about the hats LACrosby.

BLitz

May 5th, 2009
4:31 pm

FWIW Crosby is now the official whiniest athlete in all of sports. To complain to the referee that the home crowd was throwing hats after a player scores 3 goals is just being a b!tch.

Brendan

May 5th, 2009
5:59 pm

I’m in NO WAY defending Sidney Crosby, but just you watch … during the offseason … someone will propose that the hometeam be assessed a “delay of game” penalty if excessive hat throwing occurs during a game. You laugh. I’m laughing. But I wouldn’t put it past these committees that decide such things. Of course, I have no idea how they’d enforce such a rule. Would the refs get out a ’stop watch’ and if the hat tossing doesn’t stop after 40 seconds, then a penalty is assessed? If it’s not that SPECIFIC, then it’d be totally discretionary. I hear the pundits. “By the time you clean up the ice, the game has stopped 3, to 3 and a half minutes, that’s 10 times longer than any ‘timeout.’ It’s delay of game.”

Oy gavult.

N/A

May 5th, 2009
6:58 pm

Yeah, to whoever asked if Unleash the Fury was our phrase a few years ago. And yes the Caps’ media stole it ;D. It seems to working better for them than it did for us. Also…who complains about a tried and true tradition like a hat-trick hat throwing? Honestly….

Rawhide

May 5th, 2009
7:39 pm

N/A“who complains about a tried and true tradition like a hat-trick hat throwing? Honestly…”.

Ummm…a spoiled crybaby who is in the process of watching as the spotlight is shown upon someone else and is looking at an OH-two playoff deficit.

That’s who.

Hockeyfan

May 5th, 2009
8:29 pm

Sid needs to get some Rogaine for his chin

Mr. Heat Miser

May 5th, 2009
9:42 pm

The whole “Unelash the Fury” thing was thought up by the marketing folks from the A$G that went to the Caps the season before last.
Cindy needs to pull his skirt up, shut up and play. You can’t grow a beard until you pass puberty.

LAC

May 5th, 2009
10:49 pm

Gee Whiz… Guess some of you guys have the $ to burn !

Hey Rawhide, is waddell asleep at the controls or what ?

The idiot has acted like the worthless $hit he is and looks like another summer of second & third tier rejects from other teams…

Brendan

May 5th, 2009
11:59 pm

You know what I’d like to see, LAC? Just once. One measely little time, I’d like a modicum of honesty to escape the lips of Bruce Levenson. To what am I referring? I wish the Spirit Clowns would just admit that they’re HALFWAY THROUGH a 4-year building plan.

Would it upset anyone to hear this?? I think fans would be receptive to hearing truth and, having been clued in, would get BEHIND the PLAN. Instead, it’s like the Carnies at the “ring toss.”

“Oooh, just missed. Try again. Oh, almost had it that time. So close. Too bad, sir. Thought you might have had it with that last toss. $1 buys three more tries.” Aye, aye, aye.

I’m sick of the Thrasher fans being hustled, flimflammed, bamboozled and hoodwinked. It’s enough already. If the word ‘playoffs’ escapes Bruce’s lips, or the phrase, “moving in the right direction,” I think each utterance should force half an inch of his tongue to be removed.
Eventually, he’ll either start telling the truth, or he’ll have no tongue left.

Imagine, just for a second, that next season the Thrashers finish with 79-points. And Bruce’s season ending interview reads something like this, “Well, we’re still not quite where we thought we’d be at this point. But, clearly, we’re still moving in the right direction.” Especially if the 2010 Thrashers have a season’s end budget at or just above the FLOOR of the salary cap (!!).

What would your reaction be? Really think about it for a minute, will ya? How many times are you willing to listen to this? See, it’s old. And it’s insulting. TO YOU. The fans. Compare that hypothetical quote to this hypothetical one:

Bruce Levenson: “As I told the fans last Summer, in 2009, we’re engaged in a 4-year commitment to building this team with a real ‘window of opportunity.’ We knew that a ’slow build’ was the only proper way to make our team young, fast, and highly skilled. So, for me, 79-points reflects continued success at developing our prospects while still reloading via the draft, as we enter the LAST and FINAL YEAR of the project. If we’re still below .500 at the conclusion of the 2011 season, then I’ll be very concerned. But for now, I think we’re still on course.”

See, I can live with that far, far better. That has elements of HONESTY about it. But to continue to make statement like, “we’re 1 or 2 pieces away” is just infuriating. To win a Cup, this team needs TWO Tier I blueliners, plus Bogosian, unless Bogosian turns into that Tier I guy. And that’s before we even address the Top 6 forwards. And, given Waddell’s comments, we’ll be making changes in the goal crease, too. Well, are either Lehtonen or Pavelec the kind of proven commodity netminders that will bring home a Stanley Cup? They could be, but certainly aren’t YET. So, how many more ‘pieces away’ are we???? It’s a lot more than two (2). And the goal shouldn’t be to get to the playoffs, only to be woefully and inadequately prepared to play those games.

Since we’re already on this path of ’slow build,’ we might as well finish it, rather than gamble with several high-priced, 30-something years old GREYBEARDS that Waddell thinks can get us to the playoffs. That, to me, is a far bigger failure that continuing to take our lumps and hoping for the best inside the lottery draft, and off waivers, as a bottom feeder.

Andrew

May 6th, 2009
12:20 am

A husband?!?! What was all that one in a million talk?

GaVaHokie

May 6th, 2009
8:07 am

Actually… I think the “Unleash the Fury” montage is a NHL video that’s distributed to venues. I don’t think it’s unique to Phillips.

Same with Kiss Cam and Sport Shorts.

Alan

May 6th, 2009
10:06 am

someone will propose that the hometeam be assessed a “delay of game” penalty if excessive hat throwing occurs during a game.

For the sake of argument, I went ahead and looked it up.

Here’s what the rule reads currently:

63.4 Objects Thrown on the Ice – In the event that objects are thrown on the ice that interfere with the progress of the game, the Referee shall blow the whistle and stop the play and the puck shall be faced-off at a face-off spot in the zone nearest to the spot where play is stopped. When objects are thrown on the ice during a stoppage in play, including after the scoring of a goal, the Referee shall have announced over the public address system that any further occurrences will result in a bench minor penalty being assessed to the home team. Articles thrown onto the ice following a special occasion (i.e. hat trick) will not result in a bench minor penalty being assessed.

While you have a valid point in that the league tries to squash good things that have become tradition (as a Detroiter, their attempt to squash the throwing of an octupus before home playoff games bothers me (please, guys, I love the team spirit and all, but don’t do that in visiting arenas, okay?)), the fact the league went so far in their rulebook as to clarify that hat tricks (”special occasion”) are excluded from the “delay of game” penalty makes me believe that no matter how loudly Sid cries about the hats, he’s going to have to suck it up and play.

I hope Kovalchuk scores one on the Pens next year, and I hope he gets just as much hat-love as his fellow countryman. I don’t have the money to burn, but I’d gladly throw three or four of them just so I can see Sid go cry to Mommy Ref.

Sara

May 6th, 2009
10:09 am

Brendan I wouldn’t laugh either. It’s already come out after the Wings/Ducks OT doozie the other night that the competition committee was apparently one vote shy of going to 4 on 4 play after the first OT *in the playoffs*. http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/blog/puck_daddy/post/Should-NHL-change-playoff-OT-format-to-avoid-mar;_ylt=AqH1_GRvRVJrbCWC6NImSFB_ppJ4?urn=nhl,161249#remaining-content

Are you f’in kidding me?

Alan

May 6th, 2009
10:20 am

Hey LAC, speaking of money to burn… check this out.

Balsillie tables an offer for the Coyotes.

The Research in Motion CEO made his intentions known in a media releason on Tuesday which confirmed that a $212.5 million (US) offer was on the table to purchase the team. One condition of the purchase was that Balsillie would relocate the franchise to an unspecified region in Southern Ontario.

Now that’s what I call money to burn.

Adios

May 6th, 2009
10:31 am

Little mention of Phoenix’s problems, but the Coyotes have filed for bankruptcy and Jim Balsillie, RIM (Blackberry) co-CEO, is once again seeking to buy a franchise and move it to Ontario, after failing in previous attempts to do the same with Pittsburgh and Nashville. Thrashers fans should hope that he is successful this time. His ambition and deep pockets will sustain his efforts until he is successful. If he fails again with Phoenix then the Thrashers will become an obvious target of pursuit. If the Coyotes were losing 30 million a year then the Thrashers have to be in a similar situation. Even assuming that the losses are exagerated the ASG will need to sell the Thrashers to subsidize their basketball fantasies. (btw … did anybody notice that the Hawks-Heat game 7 at Philips did not sell out? I can’t imagine a Thrashers game 7 at home not selling out.)

Alan

May 6th, 2009
10:44 am

Adios, considering the Coyotes also filed for Chapter 11, I find the conjecture about Balsillie targeting the Thrashers ludicrous. Atlanta isn’t bleeding near as much money as Phoenix is, plus Atlanta is also in a better position to make money in the coming years, assuming the young guys we have and our level of performance increases next season.

Sure, ownership cares more about basketball, but also consider that the successes of the Hawks translate to more money for the Thrashers. We need to spend money to keep Kovalchuk. We need to keep Kovalchuk to draw crowds to the arena. Ownership, from the way it sounds, is beginning to realize this. Hopefully, they take action.

In short, though, there are teams out there in worse shape than Atlanta (see: NY Islanders, TB Lightning, Florida Panthers). The hockey landscape will very likely change a considerable amount, given the economic forecast in the US and Canada. However, Atlanta will emerge unscathed. Book it.

Spud Webb

May 6th, 2009
10:45 am

WOW Sara, I’m with you. That is BS how can they do that? 4 on 4? NO WAY.
GO DUCKS, man that Heller is RIDICULOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Of course the early whistle saved them on a Hossa goal, but I don’t feel bad for the wings!!!!!
Here is another tid-bit about the penguins. They are by far the BIGGEST GROUP OF BABIES I’ve ever seen…
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/penguins/s_623801.html

Tharashers27

May 6th, 2009
11:19 am

Hats off to O-V, but not that weiner…I mean whiner, Crosby. The kid is talented, but he’s such a baby. After watching him trying to practice his “speedbag” technique on Valabik this season I have no respect for “The Kid”.

R. Stroz

May 6th, 2009
11:24 am

Here’s an idea that should catch on like wild fire:

Whenever Cindy Crotchby scores a goal, fans should throw pacifiers on the ice.

Watching Cindy whine to the refs would be PRICELESS.

Midfield

May 6th, 2009
11:32 am

Spud, my guess is that Fleury is stocking up excuses to explain away how he got beat by a 20-year old Russian kid.

Smoothie

May 6th, 2009
12:39 pm

Shifting gears a bit to some Thrashers related news, it looks like our beloved Captain has done it again at the Worlds. This time he has scored the GWG against the feisty and talented Belarus team coached by none other than Glen Hanlon (remember that guy?). Congrats to Kovy and his Russian teammates for a return trip to the Semi-Finals versus the winner of Finland and the USA. Here’s the linky:

http://www.iihf.com/channels/iihf-world-championship-oc09/home/news/news-singleview-world-championship-2009/article/russia-bids-belarus-bye-bye.html?tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=2717&cHash=4980dd3ca4

Tony C.

May 6th, 2009
12:57 pm

USA vs. Finland in like an hour; play-by-play supplied by LAK announcers(audio only):

http://www.universalsports.com/mediaPlayer/media.dbml?CLIP_ID=127801&_MODE_=COUNTDOWN&db_oem_id=23000

Apologies if it doesn’t play right off the bat.

Viking

May 6th, 2009
1:48 pm

I have been reading about the upcoming game between USA and Finland and there is one player mentioned more than others: Niko Kapanen! It is weird that he was such a bust for the Thrashers. However, I wonder if he ever did a power play minute while in in Trashers uniform. Check out this excerpt:

Strenghts for Team Finland:

If given the chance to work on the power play, Finland is lethal. They are tied for second with Russia for the most power play goals scored with eleven. The star for Finland on the man advantage is Niko Kapanen. Of Kapanen’s six goals, five have come via the power play. In other words, Kapanen accounts for over 40% of Finland’s power play goal scoring.

Midfield

May 6th, 2009
1:59 pm

Kapanen was way to soft for NHL. His big advantage at the worlds is bigger rinks – more space to skate in to avoid contact.

Hockey Biltong

May 6th, 2009
2:03 pm

I was just reading a link thru CNN/SI about a conversation between the Falconer and the ‘Blue Shirt’ fan e-zine. Talk was about Kovalchuk and the Rangers desire to have a scorer on their team. As an out of towner peering in on this, I definately was reminded about how drawn into a conversation one can become.Myopeia affects all of us at times, distorting the reality of our situation and influencing us in strange and wacky ways.
If I was technically more proficient I would have a link for you all. I found it in the NHL section of CNN/SI. Look at the Teams link towards the bottom and click on Thrash.

Jason(Darkhorse)

May 6th, 2009
2:07 pm

Thanks for the link Tony C. Salmela got on the short end of that fight with Backus in the last US-Fin match up huh?

Brendan

May 6th, 2009
2:08 pm

Sara, that’s a scary thought. I cannot support the notion of a 4-on-4 playoff overtime. If I were NBC, I just wouldn’t schedule some ‘hard and fast’ programming in the hours immediately following. That’s a “Know Before You Go” type of thing. If you can’t have a Hockey game fit nicely into a 1-4PM slot, or 3-6PM, play the game at a different time. I know newsrooms hate hockey most of all. They’re 11PM broadcasts, historically, suffer when an overtime occurs.

I love the multiple overtime games. I remember Keith Primeau’s 5th overtime winner. Great inside/outside move, then a perfect shot just under the bar. Of course, I remember the LaFontaine 4th OT goal, on Easter Sunday, vs. the Islanders. Brett Hull’s tally, in the 1999 Finals, in Game Six, in Buffalo. Anaheim and Dallas, a few years ago. Brendan Morrison’s goal, in Game Six, for Vancouver over Calgary, in 2004. Remember, Vancouver led that game, 4-0, but the Flames came all the way back to force overtime. In fact, they could have won the series, right there. Instead, it went to Game Seven, where again, overtime would be needed. But that overtime lasted less than a minute. Gary Roberts ended it, I believe, on the PP.

If the NHL is willing to go the 4-on-4 route, what’ll stop them from then instituting a shootout, if the 4-on-4 method fails? I don’t like any of these ideas. It’s got to be 5-on-5, at the puck drop of overtime. Playoff overtime … in my opinion … is the greatest single thing … ever … in sports.

Brendan

May 6th, 2009
2:09 pm

At AOL Sports/Hockey, there was a recent video of Kovalchuk advocating that Washington will win the Eastern Conference this year. Did anyone else catch it?

Viking

May 6th, 2009
2:23 pm

Watching the beginning of Finland – USA. It is kind of funny how I hear Anssi Salmela, Niko Kapanen and briefly Bogosian mentioned all the time.

Viking

May 6th, 2009
2:33 pm

I guess the Hockey World is quite “americanized” or whatever I can call it. I just watched three Finnish girl fans doing the “YMCA-dance” in Switzerland!

Viking

May 6th, 2009
2:43 pm

By the way, the link provided by Tony C is not audio only right now. There is video, but it appears that commercial breaks are kind of short. So if you can put up with some seconds delay, enjoy a nearly live game!

Viking

May 6th, 2009
2:47 pm

Salmela is playing good!

Viking

May 6th, 2009
2:50 pm

First period over. 0-0 is a result USA should be happy over.

Viking

May 6th, 2009
2:51 pm

Enter your comments here

Viking

May 6th, 2009
2:55 pm

Shots 20-7 to Finland for the first period.

Viking

May 6th, 2009
3:07 pm

1-0 to Finland. Kapanen power play or just after it expired.

Viking

May 6th, 2009
3:09 pm

We need to keep Salmela!!!

Viking

May 6th, 2009
3:26 pm

1-1! 5 on 3. Brown.

Just a little less than half the game left.

Viking

May 6th, 2009
3:27 pm

Viking

May 6th, 2009
3:34 pm

3-1! USA Ryan Suter. To be honest, not at all reflectve of what has happened on the ice. Finland has owned the play.

Viking

May 6th, 2009
3:41 pm