Thrasherville troops preparing for another NHL campaign

In a hangar at Dobbins ARB the Thrasherville masses are assembled. Gen. Rawhide takes to the stage, moves to center-front and addresses the troops

At ease, men…ahem…and ladies.

For decades now, Stanley Cup winners returning from the playoffs enjoyed the honor of a triumph – a tumultuous parade. In the procession came trumpeters and musicians, together with carts laden with awarded treasure and captured hockey equipment. The head coach rode in a triumphal convertible, the dazed members of the press who wrote it would never happen walked before him. The players, robed in white jerseys, rode behind him in their convertibles, or rode in backs of flatbed trucks. The general manager stood behind the coach, holding the silver Cup, and whispering in his ear a warning: that all glory is fleeting.

Well, fleeting or not…I want to experience that glory!

Today, as we have at this time since 1999, we stand at the precipice of another Thrashers campaign. And tonight we’ll gather once more in the theater of operations known as Philips Arena to begin the eleventh season of battle for our home, Thrasherville.

Unfortunately, all previous endeavors have seen the fight come up short of total victory…only once advancing far enough as to claim a playoff birth. In the past, we have seen our troops go into battle with a porous defense, questionable goaltending and certain forwards that thought only of self-first, not team.

Thrashers defending their zone were attacked by legions of enemy skaters. The Thrashers were proud and brave but they couldn’t hold. They were massacred. Opposing forwards stripped them of their pucks and sticks…as well as various other athletic protective and supportive gear. The goalies lay naked, alone to face the assault. This has happened for the past ten seasons.  No glory…fleeting or otherwise.

I was there…as were many of you too.

But if there is one thing we’ve learned, it’s that no poor, dumb team has ever won a championship by constantly defending their goal. You win by making the other poor, dumb players defend theirs. Tonight, the Capitals are the enemy. Wade into them, pour into their end of the ice. Attack their zone. Shoot at their goal.

Now there’s one other thing I want you to remember. I don’t want any messages posted here this season saying that we are doing fine despite losses…that we are, in essence, “holding our positions” until wins finally come.

We’re not holding anything! Let the other team do that!

We are taking the puck and advancing constantly…we’re not interested in holding anything except the enemy. We are going to hold on to him by the nose and we’re going to kick him in the butt. We’re going to kick the snot out of him all the time and we’re going to go through him like a Varsity chilidog.

Remember, all real hockey players and fans love the sting of on-ice battle. When you were kids, you all admired the Stanley Cup Champion team, the fastest skater, the best NHL players, and the toughest enforcer. Hockey fans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. You must play to win all the time. Losses are not acceptable…not even overtime losses that come with the consolation “loser” point.

It’s time for the Big, Bad, Blue Brigade to show up in force

With the beginning of another Thrashers season, it’s time for the Big, Bad, Blue Brigade to show up in force

Why, I wouldn’t give a bag of used, chipped pucks for a player or fan that lost and laughed.

As for those pundits up north whose preseason predictions have the Thrashers finishing low, even last, in the standings…why, the blow-hards who wrote that stuff in the on-line hockey blogosphere don’t know anything more about that than they do about forechecking. This week everyone started out 0-0-0 again, and anything…yes, anything…can happen.

Anything, that is, if this Thrashers’ squad play as a team. It must live, eat, sleep, skate, play and fight as a team. This individuality stuff is a bunch of male bovine excretion!

Some of you who are stationed in the stands, rooting for our on-ice combatants, are concerned that when the time comes you won’t know what to do. Well, let me tell you something. When you put your hand into a bunch of goo that just moments before was the clean, unsoiled crest of your brand new Thrashers jersey…and that goo is the remains of a hotdog smothered in ketchup, mustard and relish, spilled on you my some obnoxious, uncouth fan of the visiting team…well by God, you’ll know what to do.

Now, there’s one thing that you men…and ladies… will be able to say when this campaign is over, and you may thank the hockey gods for it. Thirty years from now when you’re sitting around your fireside with your grandson on your knee, and he asks you, “What did you do in the great Thrashers hockey campaign of 2010-11”, you won’t have to say, “Well, son… I shoveled snow in Buffalo”.

Alright now, you know how I feel. I will be proud to lead you wonderful men and women into battle anytime, anywhere. Or at least at Philips Arena…and TJ’s tomorrow night.

That is all.

166 comments Add your comment

Alan R.

October 8th, 2010
7:18 am

Hockey fans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser.

Unless you’re the Maple Leafs.


October 8th, 2010
7:37 am

Shoveling snow in Buffalo lasts almost as long as an NHL season. Been there; done that. Trust me, you do not want to do that.

I am thinking the Thrashers will have a start quite opposite from last year. I think they will have slow start until the players get used to the coaching style and they get used to each other. Then by mid-Novemebr they will start to jell and pick up the steam needed to make the playoffs.

Streethockey Oldtimer

October 8th, 2010
7:56 am

I didn’t think I could be any more psyched for going to tonights game, but that just did it. Thanks General.


October 8th, 2010
8:22 am

Great use of a great movie. BRAVO!

(But Generals shouldn’t smile)


October 8th, 2010
8:32 am

Great post, as usual RH…Lets watch some pucking hockey!


October 8th, 2010
8:48 am

Thrashers – 93 pts.
2nd. in SE
5th in conf.

Stan Drulia

October 8th, 2010
8:51 am

I can’t wait for tonite – but I have a sinking feeling. I am totally worried about our team and major lack of scoring power. Hope I’m wrong!!!


October 8th, 2010
8:51 am

Now I am ready!!!! CHARGE!!!!!!! LETS GO THRASHERS!


October 8th, 2010
8:51 am

It’s gonna be tough figuring out all these new players on the ice and their numbers. Hopefully the boys in blue… red, knock some Crapitals all over the ice and give us all reason to cheer loudly, and if Buff wants to play D, well then he better give #8 an introduction that this isn’t the same place it was last year, where they came in and took points at will from us. And on the other end give Mr. Green something to think about other than rushing up the ice by laying some bodies on him too.
GO BLUE!!!! red


October 8th, 2010
8:58 am

2 questions:
* Where’s your pearl handled pistols?
* Are you going to start slapping Hainsey if he cries during the game?

The missus & I have been waiting months for tonight. GO THRASHERS!


October 8th, 2010
8:59 am

I like the photo Bill… Home of N.C. State, my school !!!!

Hope for a decent showing tonight, and not to get run all over.


October 8th, 2010
9:08 am

five_hole – How many times do I have to tell you, they are IVORY! Only a pim…oh, never mind!

As for Hainsey…he starts cryin’ and heck yeah I slap him once or twice. It’ll do him good. Then I’ll tell him, “You’re going back to the ice, boy. You may get a puck shot at you, and you may get killed, but you’re going back to the ice fighting. Either that, or I’ll stand you up before Zach Bogosian and let him fire shots at you like a firing squad”!


October 8th, 2010
9:08 am

Great Photo!
Bill is General!
See you today at Philips.
Let’s Go Thrashers!:-) :-)


October 8th, 2010
9:10 am

It’s gonna be a brutally good time!!


October 8th, 2010
9:32 am

The first few weeks are going to be brutal as we go on the road and find our identity. I think this team is going to be very good this year after a slow start. I just want to see a team play physical and use our speed lines and big lines the way they’re supposed to. I have confodence that Ramsay and Dudley will do what is necessary to fire this team up.
Drop the friggin’ puck already!


October 8th, 2010
9:36 am

I’m excited!!!! But I also think its gonna be for a slow start to the season, maybe a 5-6-1 start, then we really need a BIG November. 14 games – 10 at home. HAVE to make use of that!

38-36-8 84pts
10th in east (3pts out of the 8 spot)
2nd in SE


October 8th, 2010
9:39 am

Best blog photo ever. Spit my coffee out.


October 8th, 2010
9:40 am

What’s your major malfunction numbnuts?


October 8th, 2010
9:47 am

Great blog! Nothing like getting the people excited for the game. Hey, maybe they’ll suprise me and get off to a good start!

Drop the puck!!!!!!!

Red Light

October 8th, 2010
9:53 am

The Eastern front is bogged down with indecisive generals, but even so I can’t see Gen. Montgomery’s troops breaking through the enemy lines and into the playoffs this year. I have Atlanta’s ice army finishing 11th in the campaign because of Monty’s unwillingness to provide the necessary fuel for the armored division up front to soften the enemy’s defenses. If you don’t have quality majors leading your troops up front to enact the overall plan, it puts too much onus on the lieutenants and sergeants to try to do more than they are capable of doing, and the enlisted troops will sense the overall uncertainty, making the battle plan largely unsuccessful.

Luckily, the Eastern campaign has nine other units that wouldn’t know a bayonet from a K-ration, which means with any slight improvement and a few victories in minor skirmishes, Atlanta could find itself in the midst of the front lines and be one of the eight in that paper-hanging son-of-a-bitch’s (Bettman) chase for the Cup. But, unless the reserved Gen. Omar Bradley (Ramsay) can get his guys to play the system well in the first three months of the campaign, I think Atlanta may get bogged down in the Ardennes on the way to the ultimate objective. Resources are the key to success in any campaign, and no leader can be successful without them. The tanks need fuel and the men need support. Without those ingredients, casualties could be high and as has been proven in the past with this army, you can’t rely upon the rear guard to win key battles alone.

Atlantic: Pitts, Philly, NJ, NYI, NYR (Tortorella gone by Jan. 1)
Northeast: Boston, Buffalo, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa
Southeast: Wash., Tampa Bay, Carolina, Atlanta, Florida
EC Final: Boston v Washington

Central: Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, Nashville, Columbus
Northwest: Vancouver, Minnesota, Colorado, Calgary, Edmonton
Pacific: LA, SJ, Anaheim, Phoenix, Dallas
WC Final: Vancouver vs. LA

SC Final: Boston vs. LA

Stanley Cup Champs: Boston

That is all for now. Picks above subject to change upon sobering up.


October 8th, 2010
10:10 am

Great inspirational post, Mr. Rawhide – I am sure we will all be referring to your message for years to come as “the” turning point of Thrashers hockey. :) Wish I could be there tonight, but currently any discretionay funds are funneled to the travel hockey playing tax exemption who by the way turns 18 tomorrow. Here’s to believing today that anything is possible – even the Trashers having a winning season!


October 8th, 2010
10:17 am

Somehow it feels more like Hogan’s Heroes to me. Anyway, see you at TJ’s on Sat.


October 8th, 2010
10:25 am

LOL Hogan’s Heroes, featuring Don Waddell as Sgt. Schultz. Cause he “knows nooothing!”


October 8th, 2010
10:29 am

“We’re going to kick the snot out of him all the time and we’re going to go through him like a Varsity chilidog”

HAHAHAHAHAHA…*milk coming out of my nose*

Go Thrashers!

Red Light

October 8th, 2010
10:33 am


October 8th, 2010
10:39 am

Wish I could be there tonight, but currently any discretionay funds are funneled to the travel hockey playing tax exemption who by the way turns 18 tomorrow.

hockeymom92 – Happy early birthday to your boy! 18, eh? My oldest did that last spring and the youngest will do so next summer. I hope his team does well this season…keep us up to dat, will ya?


October 8th, 2010
10:48 am

Waddell is Colonel Klink.


October 8th, 2010
10:53 am

Gorins White Cuppers Unite!


October 8th, 2010
10:55 am

I am so excited about the opening game tonight! I am a little nervous about the Atlanta Thrashers not winning any pre-season games but I still believe in Blueland! I hope that we will have a main scorer tonight and the rest of the season. Got my fingers cross.


October 8th, 2010
10:57 am

Rawhide – thank you for the well wishes. He is actually the baby of three – man am I old.


October 8th, 2010
11:01 am

Can’t wait for tonight. I just hope that “A Brutally Good Time” is caused by our physicality and not our lack of cohesion. Still non-the-less Go Thrashers (Baaa!)

mikey da mug

October 8th, 2010
11:03 am

Love the Varsity reference – Let’s Go Thrashers! (Clap – Clap – Clap-Clap-Clap)


October 8th, 2010
11:06 am

I’m with you… We can no longer tolerate “good losses” anymore… Time to do work. Happy Opening Day, everyone!


October 8th, 2010
11:08 am

Per Dan Kamal tweet: ” It is Ondrej Pavelec in goal tonight for Atlanta”.

OK, I’ll just restate that I wish it were Mason starting. However, I hope Opie brings his A-game tonight and helps us steal a game from the Caps.

Christoph Schubert

October 8th, 2010
11:10 am


October 8th, 2010
11:17 am

Per Ben Wright, tonights lineup:


Oduya- Bogosian



October 8th, 2010
11:20 am

Don Waddell in a monacle?! Ha!

Let him do something useful – like handing out programs as people enter the arena.
(Nah, I like Don as a fan…just not as a GM)

Red Light

October 8th, 2010
11:22 am

Thanks Bill for the lineup. I like the lines a lot and the only bothersome “D” pairing is the first. C’mon Ondrej!


October 8th, 2010
11:34 am

Brendan for the record, I’m not also JLH. Just Jen for now. Can we drop the puck already??? Yesterday was killing me watching all that hockey and no Thrashers. We have freshly laundered jerseys, scarves and hats ready to go. The hockey shrine is refreshed and polished up and the Molson XXX is chilling in the fridge. Bring on the season!

BTW, if I haven’t said it before, Bill, you do a wonderful job with this blog, can’t wait for another season of your insights and humor. It’s much appreciated


October 8th, 2010
11:39 am

ajcthrashers Coach Craig Ramsay said Ondrej Pavelec earned opening start with preseason play.

Ok, that works for me. So both guys are motivated by playing for the #1 spot.


October 8th, 2010
11:42 am

Wow, opening night and I have to dig deep into the sports page to see anything on the Thrashers. Their “Flagship” radio station never even mentioned them on the drive in today, instead drooling over the Braves loss and football picks Saturday.

Can we get some serious hockey talk in this susposed to be NHL town? I have to turn on 1120AM KMOX out of St Louis at night to hear great hockey talk. Thank the Lord NHL Center Ice is free for the first 18 days of the season!


October 8th, 2010
11:43 am

Ack..Hainsey / Sopel… I hope Ronzo brings his game tonight

Spud Webb

October 8th, 2010
11:49 am

Red Light…listen up, 81 or more for Thrash and You buy me a steak dinner, 80 or less, I buy for you??? What do you say?
BOSTON, really???? Good freaking lord I hope not. Making me sick.
Gorins, 530 ish to lube things up. It’s go time.

Spud Webb

October 8th, 2010
11:52 am

Longtimehockeyguy…we did get a full page in the AJC today, not sure when that has happened before!!! Yes, our local AM stations have no clue, UGA is playing tomorrow so they’re (all AM stations in the area) intellectually challenged right now….


October 8th, 2010
12:26 pm

for me, i want to see this team come out with fire in their eyes, play physical, play smart and play with a whole ton of effort and stay out of the box. If that happens, I like our chances because I think the offensive pucks will start to go into the net.

I am more concerned with our style of play than the outcome in the first week or so. This team needs to establish an indentity. Without and indentity, there is no team.

Sage of Bluesland

October 8th, 2010
12:26 pm

Very clever blog, Rawhide…One of my favorite movies of all time.

Put me in a senior leadership position, and I’ll have Waddell fired…and I’ll make it look like his fault…It’s about time we kicked his rear end out of here and back to Michigan where he belongs (selling Port-a-Potties, his true medium)…

Oh, that’s right, another sacrificial lamb of a season upcoming….Oh well, it’s only Year X of our newest “Five Year Plan”.

I can’t get excited over incompetent ownership anymore. I apologize.

I hope all the sheep love “moral victories,” because I’m sure there will be plenty of them this year…


October 8th, 2010
1:23 pm

**Blog Comment of the Year** 10:48AM, by Jethro. Waddell is Colonel Klink.


October 8th, 2010
1:35 pm

Sage, all your need is a few gallons of gas, and Waddell’s entire office could be torched. And you could make it all look like Waddell’s fault! Blame it on a faulty space heater! Dagnabit!

General Patton would never tolerate the Thrashers as his hockey team of choice. However, I’m not convinced that we’ll be making incremental progress this year, since last year’s point total was “83.” I’m in the contest at “81.” I was willing to go to “89,” had the trade for Travis Zajac materialized.

As I gaze at the lineup … I cannot help but wonder … “Stewart, Dawes, and Modin, plus rushing Burmistrov, is how this team plans to fill in the gaps left by Armstrong, Afinogenov, and Kovalchuk?” Well, maybe they can all play really good defense? Keeping the puck out of our goal is an important objective, too.

I hope Burmistrov is just here for the 9-game audition. I’d rather have him on his entry-level contract, at age 21, then his RFA contract at age 21. More bang for the buck. Rushing prospects has always resulted in injuries, in the past, for the entire season. Always.

English Teacher

October 8th, 2010
1:58 pm

See, now we need Todd White. At some point in the season, General George S. Rawhide would get to slap the snot out of him when he says from IR, “Well, I… I guess I… I can’t take it anymore. It’s my nerves, sir. I… I just can’t stand the shelling anymore.”


October 8th, 2010
2:01 pm

Caps win 4-0 and outshoot Atlanta 37-27. Hope I’m wrong. GO THRASHERS!!!