If I had told you just two weeks ago the Atlanta Thrashers would today be one of the hottest…if not THE hottest…teams in the NHL, you would have sworn I was hitting the holiday spirits a little soon. They had just dropped a tough one to Florida, had lost three straight and six of their last seven. They were playing sloppy, making critical mistakes too often and dropping stinkers on the ice regularly.
Many thought they could improve and play better as a team eventually. But seeing teams like the Caps, Detroit, Montreal and Boston on the horizon…well, things looked like they wouldn’t be getting too much better any time soon. And as for any discussion of taking five consecutive by a combined score of 19-3…well, surely you can’t be serious.
But as it turns out, that’s exactly what they’ve done…and don’t call me Shirley.
Yes, the Thrashers have treated their fans to some of the best hockey ever seen around these parts. In contrast to what we’ve become accustomed to around here for the past several years… it’s an entirely a different style of hockey, altogether.
everyone at the same time… “It’s an entirely a different style of hockey”.
As you’ve probably noticed, ever since this team started the five-game winning streak the good people of Thrasherville have been happy and have noticed thing they’ve never new were there before; Birds singing, dew glistening on a newly formed leaf… stoplights.
Admittedly though, the recent run of great play and team-oriented hockey has left me shaken and disturbed, and all the questions keep coming up over and over again, like bubbles in a case of club soda.
Can they continue to get the same kind of consistent, disciplined performance from all players?
Can Ondrej Pavelec…now 6-4-2 with a 1.62 GAA, .949 SV% and 2 shutouts…maintain that level of excellence?
Will wonder-kid Alex Burmistrov be ready to go tonight after the hit he took Sunday?
How much more can they expect from Dustin Byfuglien, who now leads the team with 25 overall points, (9 goals & 16 assists) and is a +4.
Can this squad continue to outperform their opposition…even when it’s fourth and fifteen and your looking at a full court press.
Can they, when the whole crew is up against it, and the breaks are beating the boys…can they get out there and give it all they’ve got and win just one for the Zipper?
But if there is a sure fire way to keep this winning streak going, it’s this: score goals and stop others from scoring on you. Or stop other teams from scoring then score yourself, whichever way you wanna do it. Just remember the two key elements here…score more goals and don’t allow them to score as many.
Of course, statistics show they’ve only got a 50/50 chance of continuing the streak…though there’s only a 10% chance of that. But it’s a chance they’ll just have to take, win or lose. After all, you take a chance getting up in the morning, crossing the street or sticking your face in a fan.
Following their successful homestand, the Thrashers boarded a chartered airplane Monday and winged their way westward where they’ll try to keep their winning ways going away from Philips Arena. They’ll begin a three-game road trip starting Tuesday night in Denver against the 13-9-1 Colorado Avalanche. The Avs currently are tied with Vancouver for the Northwest Division lead, both with 27 points. And I’m sure you all join me in saying to the Thrashers…”Good luck. We’re all counting on you”.
That, and let’s certainly hope no one ate the fish as their in-flight meal, instead opting for the steak.
Given the choice between the two…I would have had lasagna.
After their date with the Avalanche, Atlanta will then head to Pittsburgh and Washington later in the week to try and impose the smell of fear upon the Penguins and Capitals.
And now in closing, and to show our support for the Thrashers and our country…let’s all rise and sing our National Anthem.
“Oh say can you see…by the dawn’s early light. What so proudly we hail…in the twilight’s last gleaming? Whose bright stripes and broad stars…in the perilous night…for the ramparts we watched…uh, da-da-da-da-da-daaaa. And the rocket’s red glare…lots of bombs in the air…gave proof to the [Knights!], that we still had our flag. Oh say does that flag banner wave…over a-a-all that’s free. And the home of the land…and the land of the – FREE!”
Today’s blog entry is dedicated to the memory of Leslie Nielsen who past away Sunday at the age of 84. Most of us remember Nielsen for his comedic roles in Airplane as well as The Naked Gun, however he was a dramatic actor prior to turning to comedy. Among other roles, he also portrayed Captain Harrison in The Poseidon Adventure. Before his career in acting, he served in the Royal Canadian Air Force.
Thank you for all the laughs, Leslie. May you rest in peace.