Archive for February, 2010

Sunday Morning Thrasherville Times

Is there anything better to do on a chilly winter weekend morning then to remain between the sheets with the Sunday paper to peruse through? Well, this morning you may do just that. Yes, just sit back on your pillows, nestle yourself between the flannel sheets, sip on a nice hot copy of morning nectar and enjoy this morning’s Thrasherville Times… written, published and editorialized by yours truly.

And the best part of this is, given the publication’s web-based nature, you didn’t even have to wander outside in your robe to pluck it off the driveway…something I am certain that your neighbors greatly appreciate.

I just hope my online editor doesn’t have an issue with the AJC online sports page hosting my little startup cyber-publication.

Anyway…headlining this morning’s rag…

WAKE UP ATLANTA!

That’s right, its Sunday morning…the last day of February. And as the calendar flips over to March tomorrow, the Atlanta Thrashers will be preparing to play 12 of the …

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Darren Eliot is doing what he likes and liking what he does

Darren Eliot has one simple piece of advice for anyone regarding their profession, their pastimes, hobbies and passions. That is… you should do what you like and like what you do.

It’s a simple enough rule, really…but how many of us can truly say that about everything we do in life? Well, after spending some time with the Thrashers’ TV analyst, I honestly believe he’s one of those who can do just that.

Eliot grew up in a southern Ontario. His dad’s career moved them around while growing up and he enjoyed what is considered to be a true, tradition Canadian upbringing…enjoying playing hockey every chance he could.

”I was on the ice a three [years of age]”, Darren told me. “Playing the game out in the streets, on the ponds, in the creeks…just playing hockey all the time”.

Sports in general were his passion, playing every one he could growing up…high school football, baseball, lacrosse and tennis. “Ya know, one season ended and I’d pick up another…but …

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Matt McConnell is enjoying second tour of duty in Thrasherville

Matt McConnell…the Atlanta Thrashers’ original TV play-by-play man has, in his own words, quite the whirlwind journey in life so far…but his travels have brought him back to Thrasherville for his second tour of duty for the team and he’s loving every minute of it.

McConnell was born in Gary, Indiana and his father worked for a steel company…a job that would eventually move the family around quite a bit. He lived in Indiana for the first 12 years of his life and that’s where he became a fan of hockey…a big Chicago Blackhawks fan, he told me.

“I remember one night when I was about 4 or 5 years old”, McConnell recalled, “My dad turned on a Blackhawks’ game on WGN and I just kinda started watching it…and just really seemed to enjoy it”.

Then his dad came home with some tickets and he soon got his first taste of live hockey action. “That became something we did ten times a year”, Matt recalled. “We’d go to Blackhawks games… those Sunday night …

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Oh no Canada! USA wins 5-3

USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA!

Oh Yes…USA 5, Canada 3!

One night shy of the 30th anniversary of the Miracle on Ice, Team USA again took to the ice and came away with a stunning victory against highly-favored opponent. This time, the team wearing the red jerseys who were supposed to win the game was Canada…not the Soviet Union. And it wasn’t played in front of a highly supportive home crowd as was in case in Lake Placid, NY in 1980…this one was in Vancouver, BC.

USA's Jamie Langenbrunner celebrates his third period goal against Canada during men's Olympic ice hockey action between Canada and the U.S.A. at Canada Hockey Place in Vancouver, British Columbia,  Sunday, Feb.  21, 2010 at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Scott Gardner)

USA's Jamie Langenbrunner celebrates his third period goal against Canada (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Scott Gardner)

To listen to all the pundits, this wasn’t supposed to happen. Team Canada was stacked…the preliminary rounds were merely a necessary formality to the real games scheduled for the second week of the Olympic games. But something has happened so far on the way to the Canadian’s gold medal coronation…instead of taking all three Group A games in easy fashion, they have actually only …

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Thrashers Olympic update and other quick shots

Just a couple of quickie notes here as we are now almost a week into this Olympic break…

First off… an update on some of the Thrashers players who are playing for their counties Olympic team in Vancouver. Toby Enstrom assisted on Mattias Ohlund’s second period goal as Sweden downed Germany 2-0 Wednesday night. Tuesday night Maxim Afinogenov assisted on Russia’s fourth goal on the way to an 8-2 thumping of Latvia. Max was credited with the secondary helper when Evgeni Malkin scored in the second period. Ilya Kovalchuk has the primary assist.

Oh, and I guess technically speaking, I should also mention Ilya Nikulin’s assist on Danis Zaripov’s goal that opened the scoring for Russia.

Today’s action will see team USA, who bet the Swiss 3-1 in their first game, taking on Norway…who was thumped 8-0 by Canada Tuesday afternoon. Russia will play Slovakia and Canada will match up against Switzerland.

USA woman’s hockey team…fresh off it’s 13-0 beat down of Russia …

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What if the NHL did away with the overtime ‘loser’ point?

One subject that circles around the world of NHL hockey is the discussion of how points are calculated in the standings. As you know, currently 2 points are doled out for wins…a single point if you lose in overtime or the shootout. This formula comes from the past when games ending in a tie score remained so without the need for overtime or the shootout to break it. As such, two points were given for wins and one for each team in games that end in a draw. When the league pushed to insure all games have a declared “winner”, they kept the extra point for teams that lost in extra time…as they would have gained that point in the “old way” of calculating the standings.

However, this point awarded for simply getting the game into overtime before eventually losing is what I call the consolation “loser point”.

Many I’ve spoken to about this cite the inequity of having some games worth 2 points, those that end in regulation…and some games being worth three, such as …

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Glass ‘half full’ or ‘half empty’ road trip?

First of all…I’m working this morning from an office that resembles an over-stocked flower shop. All of you people that sent Valentines Day roses to Trixie…just thanks. I’m not going to get any work out of her at all for the next several days as she reads all of the cards attached to them. Plus, since she absolutely loves getting flowers, she is just beside herself if happiness and bliss…and work has taken a backseat.

So just thanks…thanks a pant load!

sigh…

Well, at least she is letting me have some of the chocolate.

Anyway…the Thrashers return from their three game road trip with a record of 1-0-2, gaining four out of a possible six points. Anytime you can net 2/3 of the points available, you’re doing well. But at this juncture in the season, a team that considers themselves as a playoff contender has to find a way to get that extra point from games that made it to overtime…which was the case in two of the three games.

Making things just a little more …

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That Bergie kid comes through again

The “LAB Line”…that’s what Thrashers TV commentator Darren Eliot referred to the line that is made up of Bryan Little, Nik Antropov and Niclas Bergfors…which I think is very appropriate given that they have found great chemistry together and the experiment of putting them together has so far proven to be a great success.

Friday night in Minee-SOH-Tah, they again brewed up some magic to help propel the Thrashers to a 3-2 win over the Wild…the first time ever that Atlanta has come out of that state’s capital with a win.

Bergie’s blast at the 11:05 mark of the third period broke a 2-2 tie and provided the winning margin…it was the second time he’s scored a game-winner since coming over to the Thrashers along with teammate Johnny Oduya, who got the secondary assist on the goal. Little’s pass from center ice sprung Bergfors toward the goal up the right hand side.

Bergie has gotten of 15 shots on goal and is a +3 in the four games played since joining the …

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Two goal lead swept away in Avalanche comeback

Nine seconds. That’s all it took…nine lousy seconds.

Paul Stastny wins the face off to begin the overtime period…one…Kyle Cumiskey gathers the puck on the left side of the circle…twothree…moves in over the blueline…fourfive…sees that Zach Bogosian has no desire to challenge him as he cuts through towards the center…sixseven…Toby Enstrom makes a half-hearted swipe at Cumiskey as he move through towards the center…eight…he shoots…nine…he scores.

Niclas Bergfors receives congratulations from his new teammates after notching his second goal for the Thrashers (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Niclas Bergfors receives congratulations from his new teammates after notching his second goal for the Thrashers (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

And with that, the Colorado Avalanche successfully erased a 3-1 Thrashers lead in the third period and snatched the all-important second point away from Atlanta in OT.

A disappointed John Anderson said of the winning goal, “[Johan Hedberg] would have had to make a great save but there’s no way he should be walking in…nobody tested him”.

Indeed.

Wasted in …

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Kari Lehtonen era comes to an end in Thrasherville

Tuesday night the Atlanta Thrashers shipped off Kari Lehtonen to the Dallas Stars in return for defenseman Ivan Vishnevskiy and a fourth round draft pick.

Kari Lehtonen, seen here in action last spring against the Caps, was the Thrashers second overall pick in 2002 (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)

Kari Lehtonen, seen here in action last spring against the Caps, was the Thrashers second overall pick in 2002 (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)

With this deal, combined with the one that sent Ilya Kovalchuk to New Jersey last week, the Thrashers have dumped quite a bit of salary of late. Lehtonen is scheduled to be an RFA this summer and is currently making $3 million…Vishnevskiy will be an RFA in 2011 and is being paid just under $850,000 per season.

Vishnevskiy was the 27th overall draft pick in the 2006 draft and has played in a total of 5 NHL games…two this season. He has two assists in those games…both coming last season and both on the power play. In between periods of the Stars game in Chicago, Craig Ludwig…a former NHL defenseman for Montreal and Stars… said that the Thrashers are getting an offensive-minded …

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