With any stroke of luck, the hockey gods will smile upon us sometime early this week and we’ll hear news of whatever decision the arbitrator has made in the Kovalchuk contract saga. Personally, I’ve been over his departure for some time now and I think this latest “As The Kovalchuk Turns” drama has long since jumped the shark.
And while I also believe that more and more Thrashervillians have come to say to themselves that Kovalchuk’s departure is The Best This That Ever Happened To Me, I Can’t Fight This Feeling that there are still a few of you that still more than a handful of fans still suffer from a sort of jilted lover syndrome when it comes to number 17. You know…loved him and told him You Are Everything while he was a Thrasher…then, through the bitter breakup period of last winter, many seemingly sang to him Don’t Give Up On Us and If You Leave Me Now you’ll take a way the biggest part of our offense. And once he ultimately took off for New Jersey, some among us felt Bluer Than Blue-Sadder Than Sad.
Since that time, many have gotten over the latest jilting of a star player. They’ve thanked him For The Good Times and moved on with their hockey lives. Sadly though, others still have not dealt with their Feelings and have been seen nightly in the Thrasherville Tavern drowning their sorrows while listening to breakup songs on the old jukebox.
But Kovy is not the first fling to take leave of us. ..and to that point, I wonder if there are other players out there you might like to play a song for. You know, as a way of letting it known you’d welcome then back to Thrasherville with Open Arms. If so, step on up and select a tune to send out to your favorite former Thrashers.
I’ll start things off with some song selections and players to dedicate them to. If you like them I’ll drop the record down onto the turntable and we’ll spin it for all to enjoy.
Selection K17 “Nobody Does It Better”– This number is dedicated to the aforementioned Ilya Kovalchuk, who is currently a New Jersey Devil. He’s the all-time leading scorer for the Thrashers and, while he would not be atop my list of players returning, many would still love to see him back in Philips playing for Atlanta. Let’s face it…50 goal scorers don’t just grow on trees, so once you land a good one ya gotta find a way keep ‘em. Unfortunately, former GM Don Waddell’s inability to keep such a good man is the reason why the Thrasherville Tavern has been kept so busy for the past decade.
Selection S09 “Baby Come Back”– This is my personal selection and it goes out to our old number 9, Marc Savard. Savy came to us back in November of 2002, acquired from Calgary in exchange for Ruslan Zainullin. While with Atlanta, Marc scored 63 goals and 133 assists in 184 games played. Although he was a –12 in the three seasons here, he has been a +30 player over the past three years in Boston…including a +25 in 2008-09. Imagine him between Kane and Buff right now.
Selection H18 – “Maybe I’m Amazed”– In his almost three seasons here, Marian Hossa dazzled us with his strong play on the right boards. Well, that is, up until the winter of 2008 when he seemed to hold a little back for whoever his new team would be after the trade deadline. As we all know, that was Pittsburgh. And after falling just short of the Stanley Cup there he then fell just short again the next season in Detroit. Last year, though, he finally caught up with the Cup and his name is permanently engraved upon it. While with the Thrashers, he netted 108 goals and 140 assists. In the playoff season of 2006-07, he amazed us with a 100-point performance.
Selection H01 “Unforgettable”– Johan Hedberg was certainly a player that fans loved having in Atlanta. And it’s hard to imagine just where we would have been last season without the Moose in net. Not only did he perform his job well on the ice, but he was well respected in the locker room as well. His time here will certainly be unforgettable.
Selection L32 “Precious and Few”– Not all of our ex’s live in Texas…but Kari Lehtonen does play there now. And I chose this tune for him because it best illustrates the number of happy memories he left us with…precious and few. The second overall selection in the 2002 draft has all the natural God-given abilities you can ask for in a goalie, and the potential for greatness in definitely there. But with Kari, the issue isn’t as much his play between the pipes as it is what’s playing between his ears. He’s has a new start in Big D right now and honestly that may be the best thing for him…maybe for us too.
Which ex-Thrasher would you most like to see return?
Total Voters: 230
Selection A61 “Do You Know Where Your Going To?”– The latest player to officially cut ties with us is Maxim Afinogenov. His fling with us was brief, just one season. But his time here was full of excitement and thrills. He scored a career-high 24 goals playing in all 82 outings last year…quite a few of them coming late in periods and games. But Friday it was announced he was heading to play in the KHL…the league that Alexander Burmistrov called an old man’s league. While that may or not be true, last I checked it’s damn-near impossible to win a Stanley Cup Championship over there.
Selection W12 “I Was Only Joking” – Todd White. Again…I Was Only Joking.
Selection X02 “Never The Same”– Kind of tough to speak about ex’s here without at least giving some mentioned to Mr. X himself. Last season was the first time since 2000-01 that the Thrashers with without the services of the defenseman that was selected in the 8th round of the organization’s very first draft. He was definitely a fan favorite while here and the first few seasons we saw much promise in the hard-hitting blueliner. But Garnet just was never the same player after suffering a concussion a few seasons back.
There are my suggestions…but like I said, maybe you have other players you’d like to dedicate songs to as a way of letting us know they are still welcome. And remember, whomever you may desire back in a Thrashers uniform can be based purely upon emotion. Your choice is not tied to whether or not it’s feasible, practical or even possible for this player to be re-acquired.
So just for this one time, spare us the “this player doesn’t fit into our cap structure” and “that player’s team won’t trade them” logic. We are dealing with matters o the heart here!
However with that said, let me also acknowledge the one player we all wish was back with us… Dan Snyder. S37 will always be #1 on our play list and the song of Danny’s memory will always be in our hearts.