Archive for May, 2011

Thrasherville will not soon forget what Atlanta Spirit did here

On October 5, 2007, opening night of the Thrashers 2007-8 season, Atlanta Spirit co-owner Rutherford Seydel stood by as the 2006-07 Southeast Division Championship banner was raised to the rafters of Philips Arena. He took control of the microphone as it was hoisted up and made a promise, a vow, to the 18,707 fans that had packed into the arena…and everyone else in the greater Thrasherville community. He assured us that night that he and the other co-owners would do everything in their power to bring a Stanley Cup championship to Atlanta.

I remember this event very well. My wife and I were sitting in section 319 along with our two sons. Just six months prior we were in 316 for the first playoff game in team history, feeling the upper deck shake when Eric Belanger scored the first ever post season goal for the Thrashers.

Rutherford Seydel stands by as the 2006-07 Southest Championship banner is raised to the rafters of Philips Arena. That night he promised the AS, LLC would do everything in their power to bring a winning team to Atlanta. It was a promise that went unfulfilled (AJC/Pouya Dianat)

Rutherford Seydel stands by as the 2006-07 Southest Championship banner is raised to the rafters of Philips Arena. That night he promised the AS, LLC would do …

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Who is your pick to win Stanley Cup Finals?

And then there were two…the Vancouver Canucks and the Boston Bruin. These two teams have battled there way through three opponents and number of challenges to get here, now they stand just four wins away from skating the Cup.

It will certainly be the toughest four wins for either of them to get.

Vancouver, of course, entered the playoffs as the Presidents’ Trophy winners of the NHL. Their 54-19-9 record for 117 points was the best in the league. They finished 23 points ahead of the Calgary Flames. Boston’s 46-25-11 mark for 103 points was good enough to take the NE Division crown and the third seed in the east.

The Bruins and Canucks met only once this season with the Bs taking a 3-1 decision on February 26 in Vancouver. Nathan Horton tied the score at 1-1 half way through the second period while Milan Lucic’s wrister at 15:22 of the third proved to be the game-winner. Patrice Bergeron added an empty-netter with 73 second left to play while Tim Thomas stopped 27 of the …

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Another chance for Atlanta Spirit to do the right thing

Last weekend the Atlanta Thrashers held their annual Select A Seat event at Philips Arena. Many fans here and across the NHL world saw this as little more than a farce in light of the news that the team could be stripped from Georgia and jettisoned to Manitoba.

As you’ll recall, I made a request of the current team owners to call off the event if the deal was in fact “done” and it simply is a matter of time before an announcement is made. I opined here that I firmly believed the Atlanta Spirit was simply looking for cover, knowing the turnout would be held down given the circumstances and they could then point to that as reason why they have “no choice” but to sell to TNSE. Thus, asked them to “do the right thing” by canceling it if they knew for a fact what so many here suspect, that the team is indeed gone.

Yeah, I know. Asking the most disingenuous and apathetic ownership cluster in professional sports to do the right thing is much like asking politicians to …

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Surviving predictions of impending doom

Once again we seemed to have survived impending doom. After much anticipation, preparation, discussion and debate, the prediction of our demise seems to have been a tad premature and we made it through this past weekend without witness of “the end”.

Oh, I’m not talking about the current predicament the Atlanta Thrashers organization and its fans find themselves in…I’m referring to the doomsday prophecy of Harold Camping who insisted that the end of the world would take place last Saturday. He had it all mathematically figured out, he told us, and sent forth his followers to warn us of it all.

Of course Saturday came and went…and last I check, we are all still here.

Thrashers fans gather edSaturday to show support for their team at a tailgate party outside of Philip Arena. Inside the Atlanta Spirit held their Select A Seat event (Photo/Brendan)

Thrashers faithful congregated Saturday to show support for their team at a tailgate party outside of Philip Arena. Inside the Atlanta Spirit held their Select A Seat event (Photo by Brendan)

This isn’t the first time Camping has come forward with this type of prognostication of Armageddon. He did this …

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Do the right thing, Atlanta Spirit…for once

This weekend was already expected to be a very busy one for my family and I. Tomorrow my youngest tax exemption’s JROTC academic team will compete for the national championship, Sunday is his graduation baccalaureate and after that is over we’ll motor down to Savannah. We head there for a college campus tour scheduled for Monday, after which we will make our way back home that evening.

He then graduates Thursday morning, so as you can see this is a very busy time in my household.

I tell you this for a couple reasons. 1). This is why I will not be able to join you all tomorrow at the tailgate party put together by my good friend “Kracker” and, 2). Because of the news that broke last night in the Globe and Mail, I wanted to give you forum to discuss this as the story unfolds over the weekend.

As I’m sure you all have read by now, in the latest twist and turn of this roller coaster ride known as The Thrashers Relocation Saga, last night Stephen Brunt of The Globe and …

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“The Balkan” is Detroit venture capitalist JB Smith

John Kincade, co-host of the Buck and Kincade Show on the flagship station of the Thrashers 680 The Fan, has finally let the cat out of the bag. The person he has been telling us about who is interested in buying the Thrashers, NBA Hawks and Philips Arena…the person he has referred to as “The Balkan” is non other than Detroit venture capitalist J.B. Smith. Smith is formerly of Equity11, “an independent, private equity firm focused on investment of growth capital and business expertise into scaleable business models” per their website.

Kincade broke this via his twitter account saying, “J.B. Smith has been attempting to put together a deal to purchase the Thrashers, Hawks and Philips Arena since early March” and “J.B. Smith will now get the full ‘media treatment’ and will make his desire to own all 3 entities public knowledge”.

I spoke with Kincade earlier today and asked him about his involvement with J.B. Smith and getting him together with the Atlanta …

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Cool your jets Thrasherville and remember four letters: WWGD

Just as soon as the Glendale City Council voted 5-2 to pony up the $25 million to the NHL to keep the Coyotes there for at least another year, it was clear that Thrasherville was soon to become the new frontrunner in the ongoing relocation saga. Clearly the media, at least the cyber media, was ready to turn its attention to our team once the dust became settled in the Arizona desert.

The “news makers” of the web need traffic and they’ll direct whatever they can however they can, after all.

And sure as hell is hot, it only took about a day before a rumor was posted in the cybersphere that within 24-48 hours it would be announced the team was sold to TNSE and will be moving to Winnipeg for the 2011-12 season. Making people’s reaction to it even that much more interesting is that the “breaking news” came from a source that so many brush aside as “unreliable”…but that didn’t keep some from pointing to it as the sure sign that the end was near.

Of course that …

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Western Conference Finals: Vancouver vs. San Jose

The Vancouver Canucks and San Jose Sharks finish one-two in the Western Conference this season and will square off to see who advances to the Stanley Cup Finals. Both teams find themselves at this point after surviving comeback scares during the playoffs. In round-one the Canucks were up three games to none against the defending champs Chicago Blackhawks and were forced to win a game seven…the Sharks faced the same deal against the Detroit Red Wings in the second round, finally getting past the Big Red Borg last night 3-2.

They met 4 times this year with the Canucks going 3-0-1.

On November 26 The Canucks pounded San Jose 6-1 then won again 4-3 just after New Years. The last two meetings were decided by way of a shootout with the Sharks winning 2-1 on January 20 and the Canucks coming out with a 5-4 victory on March 10.

The Canucks finished the regular season 54-19-9 and their 117 points won the Presidents’ Trophy. They are making their first trip to the Western Conference …

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Eastern Conference Finals: Boston Bruins vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

While we wait for the Sharks, Wings, Predators and Canucks to finally settle who’ll play in the Western Conference Finals, we already know who will go at it in the east. Both the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning swept their way into the ECF, the Bruins knocking off Philadelphia in four games and the Lightning doing the same to the top-seed Washington Capitals.

It was the first time a number-one seed had been swept in a playoff series since the current conference-based format began in 1994.

Boston entered into the postseason as the third seed and Tampa Bay fifth, but both had identical 46-25-11 records and 103 points. That was good enough for the Bruins to win the Northeast Division crown and for the Bolts to finish second in the Southeast.

Tampa Bay’s 247 goals were one more than Boston tallied, but the Bs only gave up 195 goals while the Lightning allowed 240.

The Bruins took three of the four games played between the two. On November 11 the Lightning won 3-1 and …

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Matt McConnell finds ‘plenty to be excited about’ with Thrashers

For the first four seasons of their history, Matt McConnell brought Atlanta Thrashers hockey to us from the TV broadcast booth. Now after his third year of his second tour of duty here he says he’s as optimistic about the team’s future and that brighter days are just ahead for Atlanta hockey fans.

“I think if you talk to most hockey people around the league, they’d agree that the Thrashers are one of the up and coming teams with a bright future”, he told me recently.

McConnell explains that the reason for this positive outlook rests in what he observed from the defensive corps of the team.

“First, I thought the blueline did an excellent job and became the strength of the team. Dustin Byfuglien, Toby Enstrom and Zach Bogosian gave the team three legitimate power play point men. The addition of Mark Stuart was a late season coup by general manager Rick Dudley and Ron Hainsey played some of his best hockey as a Thrasher.”

“The blueline has also become a position …

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