On July 1 of this year, Garnet Exelby woke up as a member of the Atlanta Thrashers defense. As we all know, he went to sleep that night a Toronto Maple Leaf after playing in 357 games in Atlanta. At the time, that made him the defensive player with the most number of games played as a Thrasher among those who were currently on the roster. But, now that Garnet is no longer with the team, which defender currently on the roster has the most experience playing on Atlanta’s blueline?
Why, with 164 games played, it’s none other than Tobias Enstrom.
In two seasons played, the twenty five year old is yet to miss a start. He has ten goals as well as 60 assists and is a +9 during his career here so far…last season he was a +14.
The second most games played in Thrasher-blue among current defenders is Ron Hainsey, who played in 81 games last season. Third…Boris Valabik with 57 games, followed closely by Nathan Oystrick’s 53 starts with the team. Zach Bogosian has 47 games under his belt here in Thrasherville and then it falls off to Anssi Salmela with nine.
True, Pavel Kubina…traded in exchange for Exelby…does have 746 NHL games to his credit. 552 of those games were with Tampa Bay and the rest with the Leafs. So, clearly he’s the defender with the most overall experience. However, Toby is the one currently on the squad who’s played the most games with this team.
Now…why even make a point of this? Well, I think it says a lot about just how much this blueline has changed over the couple of seasons. Specifically, since the playoff team of 2007.
When the Thrashers ended the 2006-07 season with a 4-2 loss to the New York Rangers in game four of the playoffs…sorry to re-open that old wound…the six defenders that took to the ice for Atlanta were Garnet Exelby, Alexei Zhitnik, Andy Sutton, Nic Havelid, Shane Hnidy and Greg DeVries, who scored a goal that night which actually put Atlanta up 2-1 in the second period.
When the Division Championship banner was raised the next fall, only three of the above-mentioned members of Atlanta’s defense remained…XLB, Zhitnik and Havelid. By the time that season ended, with a 4-1 win over the Bolts, only Havelid and Exelby remained as Zhitnik sat in the press box.
X and Havs started last October…only Garnet finished.
And then, the turnover cycle of the Thrashers defensive corps was then completed on July 1 of this summer with the XLB/Kubina deal…leaving young Toby Enstrom as the “Senior Member of the Thrashers Defensive Corps”.
Its Only Business
Atlanta Hawks beat writer Sekou Smith posted this interview with the Atlanta Spirit’s Michael Gearon, jr regarding this week’s court ruling and the relationship between Steve Belkin, himself and the other six partners.
It’s “business as usual”, the junior Gearon commented. “”Steve has actively participated in meetings that we’ve had, in which our [general managers] have made recommendations and there hasn’t been a situation where there was contention and we did not go in a direction our [general managers] wanted to go.”
Yup…just one big happy family.
Show Me The Money
According to the Falconer, Steve Belkin could be on the hook for $26 million in cash calls…his 30% share that’s been missed during the on-going legal battle between he and the remaining six members of the Atlanta Spirit, L.L.C.
Welcome back, Steve!
Last week I told you all about the Party Bus event on October 24 when San Jose comes to town. There is now a link to TJ’s site which gives contact information so you can procure your discount tickets to that game, get aboard the bus and be eligible for prizes including a ride on the Zamboni during intermission of that game.
So…here is the link. Hope to see ya there!
Also, Mark mentioned us holding a viewing party there for the November 25 game when the Thrashers travel to Detroit. That will be the night before Thanksgiving…so if you’re planning on being in town, mark you calendars and make plans to join the fun there.