Archive for April, 2010

Beast of the east humbled by Habs

So…is the Presidents’ Trophy becoming a curse? Well, if you ask the Washington Capitals and last year’s San Jose Sharks, they just might be open to the possibility that it just might be so.

Last year, the Sharks finished the regular season with an NHL-high 117 points, one more than the Boston Bruins…but fell to the Anaheim Ducks who squeezed into the playoffs with 91 points. This year it was the Montreal Canadiens entering into the post season with a mere 88 points…just five more than the Thrashers’ 83…and they then proceeded to knock off the mighty Washington Capitals, who finished with 121 points.

In fact, of the five Presidents’ Trophy winners since the lockout, three have failed to advance to the second round. In 2006 the Edmonton Oilers knocked out the top-seeded Red Wings and rode that waive right into the Stanley Cup Finals. Going back to 2000, it was the St. Louis Blues that ended their fine season on a down note, losing to the San Jose Sharks in seven …

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Round one in Wild West wrapped up with Wings win

OK…raise your hand if you thought that the last series to be decided in the opening round of this spring Great Hunt for Lord Stanley’s Cup would be the one between the President’s Cup-winning Washington Capitals and the Montreal Canadiens, who finished with fewer 33 points than did the Caps.

put your hand down, Smoothie!

Uh-huh…not too many, I see.

After a good run at Detroit, the Cototes skated out of the playoffs with a 6-1 loss Tuesday night (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

After a good run at Detroit, the Cototes skated out of the playoffs with a 6-1 loss Tuesday night (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

But that is exactly where we are now with only an improbable Caps-Habs game-seven standing between the completion of round one and round two.

Tuesday night the final four combatants of the Western Conference were finalized as the Phoenix Coyotes…after putting up one helluva fight in the series…eventually fell to the Big Red Borg. Detroit spanked the Yotes 6-1 to snap the 3-3 series tie, their third win in four games played in the desert.

The Wings will now take on the top-seeded San Jose Sharks …

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Habs working hard to kill off Caps & Max sighting in Birmingham

Last Friday, the top-seeded Washington Capitals were set to finish off the eighth-seeded Montreal Canadiens. They had taken games three and four in Montreal by a combined score of 11-4 and returned home with a 3 games to 1 series lead. With a win, they could have joined the Philadelphia Flyers as Eastern Conference teams that had punched their ticket to round number two and a week off to prepare for it.

Washington won the President’s Cup…had the league’s best G/G average, (3.82)…and the highest ranked power play, (25.2%). They had survived an early-series scare, losing the first game and then trailing 4-1 in the second period of game two, but now it was time to take care of business…do away with the first-round fodder and move on.

Besides, the NHL world is really just looking forward to that Crosby/Ovechkin rematch in the Eastern Conference Finals…so this first-round is just and exercise in academics, right?

Well if so…it seems Montreal has yet to receive the …

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Dealing with situation in goal will be high on Dudley’s summer to-do list

The common logic surrounding how to build a quality hockey team is to start in goal and work your way forward. To this point, many Thrashers fans will point to the area between the pipes as to why the first decade of play has led to the results they have. The lack of a solid, dependable, stable situation in goal has played a major role in nine out of ten seasons ending after the 82 scheduled games.

In keeping with this line of thinking, I do believe that how new GM Rick Dudley handles the goaltending situation here in Atlanta will go a long way in determining how the team he ices this coming season will fare. And, just after whom he picks for a new head coach, it could be the most important decision he makes during this offseason. So let’s discuss some of the options available to Dudley and Co.

Opie and the Moose Redux?

To date, Dudley does not have a goalie signed to play next fall. Veteran netminder Johan Hedberg will become a UFA on July 1 while Ondrej Pavelec will be an …

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Joe Friday looking for just the facts on Thrasherville beat

Today we have the privilege of being treated to a blog written by the 2010 Rawhide Blog Comment of the year winner, Joe Friday, (formerly known to us as “Bob”). He has been a regular contributor to this forum for quite some time now… before even I began hosting it in the fall of 2007. Over the past several I have come to appreciate and value his keen insight and knowledge in regards to the Thrashers, NHL hockey and sports in general. And this past season I had the distinct honor of finally meeting him in person prior to a Thrashers game.

So, without any further ado, I yield the floor to Joe Friday/Bob…

Unleash Joe Friday!

So this past Weds. night I was relaxing in my rose colored world, watching some stout NHL playoff action (great games so far, but the cream is rising to the top in these series), and feeling relieved in my delusion that we’re out from under the Master of Disaster, the Architect of Doom, the Fomenter of Futility, one Don Waddell, on the hockey …

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Fat lady prepares to begin her 2010 first round tour

Fresh off her regular season tour that finished off fourteen of the thirty NHL team’s season, the fat lady is once again preparing for her first-round playoff tour. Last we saw of her, she was singing a tune for the New York Rangers on the last Sunday of the season. The Tuesday night prior, she was doing so for Atlanta…a frequent stop on her regular season tour.

Now she looks to begin her post-season schedule in the northeast as both the New Jersey Devils and Ottawa Senators face elimination, down 3 games to 1 in their series with Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Tomorrow night, she’ll find her way to Buffalo and D.C. as the Sabres and Canadiens will be hearing the hefty soprano if they fail to defeat Buffalo and Washington in game five of their matchups.

Later tonight, the seventh-seeded Predators will look to push their advantage to 3-1 over the second-seeded Blackhawks as game-four of that battle will be played in Nashville. Colorado and San Jose will also play game five …

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For those still hoping for Kovy to come back – We need to have a little chat

From the comments posted during the past few days, it looks as though most of us agree that Thrasherville A.K. (After Kovalchuk) is not as bad a place to reside as some had feared. In fact…life after Kovy isn’t so bad at all.

However, there have been some who have asked me, e-mailed me, texted and phoned me about the possibility of a Kovy-Thrashers reunion this summer. You tell me the organ-I-zation has the cap space…you remind me that Kovalchuk still has a home in here…you insist that it is still possible, still feasible that Ilya could be persuaded to “come home”. You’re still thinking about…chatting about…hoping for…wishing for…a possible Ilya Kovalchuk return.

And so, it is time we had a little intervention…a “come to Jee-zus meeting”, as it were.

slap…slap…

OK, now that I have your attention, let me introduce a new word into your vocabulary…

Stopit-forgiddaboutit-notgonnahappen-nowayinhell-donotdothistoyourselfanymore

Let’s look at this …

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How much pressure will new Thrashers coach feel to reach playoffs right away?

Late last week I listened to Thrashers general manager Rick Dudley interviewed a couple of times on XM’s NHL Home Ice Channel. Each interview started off with the same question…”Why did he feel the need to replace the entire coaching staff at this time?”

He responded by saying that he and the organization felt they had a team that was good enough to make the playoffs and, as such, they had set a “goal” to qualify for post-season play. When they failed to meet that goal, Dudley would continue, they felt the coaching staff should be held accountable for that failure.

This train of thought falls right in line with departing veteran Slava Kozlov’s comments last week that he also felt the blame for last season’s failure to make the playoffs landed squarely on the shoulders of head coach John Anderson. He cited that the Thrashers lineup was, in his words, the best they had ever had in his time here, but that the coaching staff didn’t seem to work hard enough…or …

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Vote for the 2010 Blog Comment of the Year

So how are your playoff predictions coming along? Me…well, so far not so hot.

Wednesday night saw three road teams…Ottawa, Colorado and Philly…beat higher-seeded teams…Pittsburgh, San Jose and New Jersey.  The one home team that won was the Coyotes over Detroit.

Last night, we saw Montreal down top-seeded Washington 3-2 in OT, Buffalo hold off the Bruins 2-1 behind Ryan Miller’s 38 saves and then Vancouver worked the late shift to finally do away with L.A. in overtime.

Oh, and that “Sedin to Sedin back to Sedin” goal that made it 2-1 Vancouver in the second period…nice.

All this means of course, is that after seven games played six teams I predicted to eventually advance to round-two are down 1 game to zip early on. Good thing I didn’t predict any sweeps, eh?

Derek Morris' third period goal helped get the Coyotes past Detroit Wednesday night (AP Photo/Pat Shannahan - The Arizona Republic)

Derek Morris' third period goal helped get the Coyotes past Detroit Wednesday night (AP Photo/Pat Shannahan – The Arizona Republic)

Regarless… if these first seven games are any indication of what’s to come, we …

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New coach should not require on the job training

That tremor you felt in the late morning was a major management shakeup that rippled through Thrasherville. It moved certain front office members from one position to another…and left in its wake several casualties.

Anderson…out.

Cunneyworth…out.

Nelson and Weeks…out and out.

A general manager other than Don Waddell will hire the new coach, however, as he will relinquish his general manager’s duties to Dudley. Waddell will take on the role of team president…something that has been speculated for a while now.

What do you think of the Thrashers parting ways with Anderson?

  • Agree with it: He failed to do the job (72%, 144 Votes)
  • Disagree with it: He was not to blame (28%, 55 Votes)

Total Voters: 199

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In essence, the Thrashers “Rich McKay-ed” Waddell.

My thoughts on that…well, I would have rather had a clean break with Waddell altogether. But I will take this over the status quo. I think his 12 years on the job has been, well, just look at …

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