Now that the playoffs are over and the NHL is officially over, we now focus our attention towards events that will shape the makeup of the Atlanta Thrashers. From the coaching staff to player signings, the next several weeks look to be pretty interesting in these parts.
First off, the Falconer is reporting that the Thrashers have signed Swedish left wing Fredrik Pettersson. He’s 23-years old and scored 20 goals last season in the Swedish Elite League.
So, the fun may already be getting started.
Outside of that, I fully expect that sometime this week we will begin to hear of a planned meeting with Rick Dudley and John Torchetti. Once that occurs, I’m sure we in the Thrasherville blogosphere will be looking for white smoke billowing from atop Philips Arena in anticipation of the decision.
And as the organization is in the process of putting together an entirely new coaching staff, they will be preparing for the entry draft. That event is scheduled to get underway in Los Angeles a week from Friday and the entire hockey world will be abuzz leading up to that extravaganza.
Now, speaking of the draft…I’ve been told, and Ben Wright has tweeted, that the Thrashers will be holding a draft party down at Philips Arena on the 25th. This is where I plan to view the first round of the draft proceedings and I hope to see all of you there as well.
But the summer will not end with the festivities of draft weekend. Once we get through with that, we then grab our swim trunks, our towels and get ready for the annual dip into the Free Agency Pool.
So far this offseason, the Thrashers have re-signed one pending UFA…Jim Slater…and still have several left to take care of, not the least of which are Pavel Kubina and Maxim Afinogenov. If they aren’t able to come to terms before July, then these players could very well leave the pool party with someone else.
To that point, C-Viv is reporting that Max and the Thrashers are no where close to a deal. Furthermore, Dudley indicates that all pending free agents have been forwarded offers that are in line with what the team is willing to compensate for their continued services. So, has the Thrashers’ GM basically said, “Here’s the deal…take it or leave it”?
Oh, and there is this matter of qualifying offers to be forwarded to such pending RFAs as Bryan Little, Nicklas Bergfors and Ondrej Pavelec.
Regardless, between the coaching staff hires, entry draft and free agency…the look of the 2010-11 Atlanta Thrashers is going to transform before our very eyes in the coming days.
Meanwhile, in news outside of Thrasherville…while we’re all keeping an eye on all-things-hockey, some of us are also focused on this little soccer tournament being held in South Africa. Maybe you’ve heard of it…it’s called the World Cup and the U.S. team is looking to make some noise there.
I bring this up because I have found that many hockey fans are also keen on the sport of soccer…or football, to the rest of the world. I guess maybe that’s because the two sports are heavy into international play, which to me is just intriguing to watch. Entire countries stand still and national pride flows in the stands as two countries square off on the playing field.
Personally, I have followed the World Cup since Argentina defeated the Netherlands 3-1 in the finals back in 1978.
Great stuff, really…but honestly, I could do without those insipid horns that are constantly heard from the stands. I understand that a test on these plastic horns…also known as a vavuzela…can reach 127 decibels. In contracts, air horns pop off at 123.5.
As you no-doubt already know by now, Team U.S.A opened up their Group C action with a 1-1 draw with England and will take on Slovenia Friday. Slovenia defeated Algeria 1-0 yesterday.
We benefited from a gaff made by England’s goalie Rob Green…who allowed a multi-bounce shot that was taken well outside of the penalty box to squirt through his hands and into the goal. It tied the game with about five minutes remaining in the first half and led to such headlines in Britain as “The Hand of Clod”.
Many of you, like myself, also have other countries whose teams you follow along with the United States. My second favorite team is Germany…who is fielding a fairly young squad, but squashed Australia 4-0 Sunday in their tournament opener.
Really, I have to thank the sports gods for the way they scheduled things this summer. We go straight from the Blackhawks hoisting the Cup Wednesday night, to the World Cup opening just days later. And as the games go on in South Africa, we will also get to follow a coaching staff take shape in Thrasherville, the NHL draft and free agency take form over the next several weeks.
Enjoy the fun while you can, however…August is still slated to make an appearance this summer, and that is usually the worst month of the year to get through for hockey fans.