Ahhhh…what a BEEE-U-Tee-FUL pre-spring weekend we are enjoying in lovely Atlanta, eh? It’s the kind of weekend we get here in the south that makes you remember why it is we are so blessed to live in this region.
Yesterday, the tax-exemptions, the Dive Mrs. R and I dusted off the mower and lawn-tending equipment and got the yard work season off in fine fashion. What a gorgeous day for it…even got a little burn on the noggin to show for it.
And today…well, it looks to be equally as nice also.
I’m sure many of you will once again head to the great outdoors to soak in as much of this spring tease weather as you can before making your way to Philips Arena for this afternoon’s matchup with Carolina, but before you do…sit back, sip on the morning brew and enjoy this morning’s Sunday Thrasherville Times
Curses! Thrashers Niittymaki-ed Again
16-0-0, 1.74 GAA and a .940 SV%. Those were the numbers Antero Niittymaki put up against the Atlanta Thrashers during his career going into Saturday night’s matchup in Tampa Bay. Well…make that 17-0-0 now.
This time it was a 6-2 loss to Niittymaki and the Lightning. It was the first time the Thrashers came away with no points earned in the standings since the 5-2 loss in Washington seven games ago.
Niclas Bergfors and Colby Armstrong with the goals for Atlanta. Johan Hedberg took the loss in goal as he allowed six goals on 30 shots…one on the power play and one a penalty shot.
The Thrashers failed to capitalize on six power play chances of their own.
Regarding this Niittymaki curse that continues to afflicts the Thrashers … as we move closer and closer to April 15, tax day, we were reminded yet again last night of the three certainties in life…death, taxes and the Thrashers losing to Niittymaki.
The good news is that we won’t have to face him anymore this season.
Just Happy To Be Here
Do you remember last month when Johnny Oduya and Nic Bergfors came over in the Kovalchuk trade and they were using phrases like “it is what it is” to describe how they felt about it? Well, recently Chris Vivlamore asked newcomer Clarke MacArthur about his reaction to the news that he was leaving the Sabres and heading to Thrasherville. His response?
“There were a few rumors. There were four or five of us [rumored to be traded]. I’m actually excited to be here. I’m glad it was me. They wanted to get a big third-line guy there and they didn’t see me fitting in. I think it’s a good fit here. There are a lot of good players here and I want to just jump right into it.”
Now, in all honesty, maybe too much was made of Bergie and Johnny’s words last month, but I would venture to guess that if they we asked again what they thought about their situation here in Thrasherville…they would probably that they like “what it is’ that they are experiencing here.
However, those are very welcome words coming from a playing heading this way via a trade. But words are just that…actions are another thing. Case in point, did you see how he backed up what he said to C-Viv with his actions Saturday night… standing up for his new teammate Marty Reasoner? After Steve Downie left his skates to plant an elbow in Marty’s ear, C-Mac took a run at a Lightning himself in retaliation…finding Marty St. Louis behind the net an plastering him into the glass.
Don’t really like to see any play have to be helped off the ice like St. Louis did…but when the cobwebs have finally cleared from his head, he can thank his teammate for the hit he took. If you’re gonna dish out a punk hit like that…expect to catch one yourself or see your linemate treated the same.
Regardless, it was good to see the newcomer take exception to the dirty hit and dish out a little instant retribution.
So Long Slow Starts
We have discussed at length the trades, deals and acquisitions that have seen players come and go around here in the past month or so. But somewhere in the shuffle the Thrashers seem to have also parted ways with the slow starts that plagued them for much of the season. Too many times they found themselves down 2-0 or 3-0 before they decided to show up. and start playing.
That’s certainly not been the case of late.
Starting with the game is D.C. on February 5, Atlanta has scored the first goal in seven of the last eight games. The one time they did fall behind early on, Feb. 6 against the Panthers when they trailed 2-0 after one period of play, they stormed back to win 4-2.
Their record during those eight games…4-2-2.
The Press Conference That Wasn’t
Last week was a very big week in the NHL world, what with the trade deadline and all. But, if I’m not mistaken, last week was also the time that a major announcement was to be made in Winnipeg, Manitoba in which the sale of the Atlanta Thrashers was to be announced as well as their relocation to that province capital.
Well…unless I missed it, the major news conference never materialized.
Whewww…thank the hockey gods, I was really worried. But it seems as though our NHL franchise has been spared once again from yet another near miss from the “Make It Seven-ers” that reside just north of the border.
Maybe there was a technical snafu…maybe Gary Bettman was unable to be there for the big event…maybe the whole thing was called off due to syrup tasting contest down at Canad Inns Stadium…who knows.
Regardless, the thing never got off the ground.
Kinda makes one wonder if the whole thing was just a made-up false rumor put out on a western Canadian classic rock radio station that sme people…like that poor sole who called into NHL Live last Friday asking what was the word on the “announcement”… just fell for.
But that couldn’t be the case…could it?
Atlanta Chickens? I Think Not
In case you missed this little ditty that was reported on February 25 in the AJC…you know, that other paper…seems as though somebody has gotten their feathers a-flitin’ about having the official Georgia state bird changed from the brown thrashers …to the chicken.
Chris Cunningham… a restaurateur in of Augusta, GA… feels that since the poultry industry brings in millions of dollars to the Georgia economy, it’s more fitting that the chicken should enjoy the honor of being named the state bird…taking the place of our beloved brown thrasher.
How did he come to such a revelation? Well as Mr. Cunningham puts it, “”My wife and I, we sit on the patio and have a cocktail and we were sitting there thinking, ‘what a waste.’ The brown thrasher is the state bird, and what’s it ever done for the state of Georgia?”
Continuing he adds, “[The brown thrasher] hasn’t done anything. It’s a pretty bird, nothing against the brown thrasher, but the chicken brings millions of dollars.”
OK then…just for kicks and giggles, let’s say this whole chicken thing actually gets off the ground…get it, a chicken ‘off the ground’…and the chicken becomes the state bird. Would that mean the Atlanta Thrashers would need to change their name, given that they were named such in honor of the official state bird of Georgia?
Seriously…the Atlanta Chickens? Balderdash!
There are too many other possibilities out there that would fit the team better. One suggestion I’ve seen recently regarding a name change came from regular contributor to this forum, Smoothie…the Atlanta Ice Crushers. His reasoning is that it would reflect the newly found toughness and size of the team.
That’s not bad, but if such action were taken against the brown thrasher and the organ-I-zation looked to change their name, I would advocate something else… something that relates to the city of Atlanta, something uniquely ours.
My two cents on the matter would be that since we boast one of the busiest airports in the world, many times even the busiest, why not rename them…oh I don’t know, say…the Atlanta Jets!
And besides, its not like that name is being used by any other NHL team…is it?
Wysh Betting On Thrashers To Make Playoffs
In last Friday’s Puck Daddy entry, Greg Wyshynski opined that he’s bullish on the Thrashers making the post-season. In the article, Greg cites the Falconer’s thoughts on the state of the race in the Eastern Conference that show how tight things really are there. Wyshynski then goes on to explain why he likes Atlanta’s chances to play past 82 games this spring…amoung other things, he likes the Thrashers schedule down the stretch.
“Why Atlanta? Check out the Thrashers’ schedule for March and April. Five games against the Hurricanes and the Maple Leafs, and an entire April slate against teams that might not have anything to play for at that point. Meanwhile, the Rangers have to close against the Flyers”.
New Jersey Fans Suffering Through A Taxing Season
A lot has been opined and written about the amount of empty seats at Thrashers games, but apparently things are nowhere near as bad as they are in New Jersey. No, not the Devils… I’m speaking of the NBA New Jersey Nets.
The Nets are struggling with the NBA’s worst record…an abysmal 6-55…and as such people up in the garden state haven’t been willing to part ways with their hard-earned dollars to see them compete play perform lose anymore. In fact, and certainly not surprisingly,they have the lowest home attendance in the NBA this season.
Given that, their marketing department has come up with a few clever ideas to entice people back into their arena.
First, they gave away tickets to unemployed citizens of the state and avail them to career advice while there. Uh-huh…yeah.
Next came the clever idea to give away jerseys to anyone purchasing a 10-game package. Oh, and the jersey featured not only a Nets player…but one of an opposing team as well. Hey, if you can’t sell your team…sell one of the others, I guess.
And the Nets’ most recent marketing ploy…any one 18-years or older that attended the Nets vs. Orlando Magic game would receive a coupon that they couple redeem at a local tax consultant in order to have their state taxes taken care of…a $29.00 value.
BTW, the Nets fell to Orlando 97-87. It was their 28th loss in 31 home games.
Hey…I wonder if Winnipeg would like a basketball team.
Sunday Morning Funnies
What’s a Sunday paper without the Funnies? Well, to that measue, I bring you this little clip that certainly made me chuckle. I wonder if Marquette basketball coach Buzz Williams will be appearing on Dancing with the Stars anytime soon.
Quote of the Week
“From good honest hard work you are going to get rewarded. There are no short cuts”. – Johan Hedberg