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 of depth when you factor in the likes of Arturs Kulda, Paul Postma and Andrey Zubarev.”

He also liked the way certain forwards performed, and he was very impressed with a line that was put together following the trade with Boston last February.

“I also thought the line of Andrew Ladd, Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler gave the team a legitimate scoring threat every game. Some of the younger players did well too. Ladd added leadership and grit while Wheeler brought size and skill. I thought Evander Kane showed maturity and swagger in his second season and Alex Burmistrov show well in his rookie season.”

Given that he adds, “There’s plenty to be excited about.”

As for the play between the pipes, McConnell says that it “was a position of strength in the first half and sub-par during the second half. Ondrej Pavelec needs to return in the fall and be lights out.”

“Dudley told me at training camp last September that they need him to be great 75% of the time, not 50% of the time. Only time will tell.”

I asked Matt if there was one particular moment from the 2010-11 campaign that stuck out as a “high-point” in the season. Like so many others, he remembers back to how the team played in the first half of the season…and specifically, one game when the New Jersey Devils paid us a visit.

“Bolt’s [hat trick] against the Devils was the culmination of a great first half for the hockey team. And it’s the first 40 or games that I will remember as the high point simply because it seemed the team was figuring out ways to win every game. It was all set up with their successful trip out west with those wins in Anaheim and San Jose. Then there was Byfuglien’s overtime game-winner against Buffalo and the 5-0 shutout of Washington.”

“But what that success showed me was the team’s ability to get over the hump and string together wins, which has been rare for this franchise in the past.”

To McConnell, there isn’t one clear-cut reason or cause for what happened to the team in the second half of the season. But he points out that one contributing factor was the loss of a key role player.

“When Jim Slater got injured right after Christmas… they never seemed to regain their swagger.”

Much like radio voice of the Thrashers Dan Kamal and others within the organization I’ve spoken to, Matt McConnell also believes the second year of the Craig Ramsay era is bound to build upon what was established during this past one.

“Anytime a new coach assumes the reigns, there’s a certain amount of culture shock that takes place within a locker room”, he explains. “Coach Ramsay came to town with a clean slate for everyone and gave each of the players ample opportunities for success, which I think was appreciated inside the locker room.”

“The ‘buy in’ was facilitated by early season success for sure”, he contends. “I also liked the fact that if a player failed in a certain sequence or situation, Ramsay would put them right back out on the ice offering immediate redemption.”

And McConnell insists that coaching staff that is assembled here is among the hardest working group that you’ll ever find.

“All of the coaches, including assistants John Torchetti, Mike Stothers and Tony Borgford were tireless in their work ethic. There wasn’t a single flight home late at night where the four of them weren’t reviewing game tapes or planning for the next opponent. Their dedication was beyond reproach. Like the blueline, hockey operations is a strength of this team.”

As for what he has planned for this summer, Matt told me that there will be some work on his schedule as well as some ice-time at a local rink.

“First off, I have some lacrosse duties for the CBS Sports Network. After that, I plan on taking it easy with the family. We’ll do a couple of small trips including ones with our families and I’ll try and shed a few pounds from a season full of road food via afternoon pick-up hockey at The Ice in Cumming.”

There will also be some night’s spent at the ballpark with one very special young lady.

“We’ll plan dates down at Turner Field cheering on the Braves. My daughter Zoe has become a huge Chipper Jones fan and the ballpark has become our summer getaway spot, especially when my wife is working late at the office.”

Not a bad way to spend a summer, if you ask me.

But much like you and I, the TV voice of the Thrashers anxiously awaits the coming fall when the Thrashers once again take to the ice of Philips Arena. Until that time, however, he asked me to pass along a few things to you, the good people of Thrasherville.

“First, enjoy these great playoffs that are taking place. Second, keep the faith with the Thrashers as they continue to get better and deeper. Remember, the key is to build the roster to insure success for many season, not just one or two.”

“Finally, thanks to everyone for their kind words throughout the season. As always, it’s very much appreciated.”

56 comments Add your comment

Wayne stuck in AL

May 6th, 2011
11:32 pm

God, is McConnell a boring announcer…and I used to think Bob Rathbun was the worst.

If the Thrashers get a new owner, I hope the second thing he does is replace both McConnell and Eliot. (The first would be to send Waddell packing.)

Hoof Arted

May 6th, 2011
11:41 pm

McConnell seems like a decent enough guy but I can’t say I like his call as much as Kamal’s.

I will give him high marks for having the professionalism and self control to not scream out, “WHAT THE HELL IS BOGOSIAN DOING OUT THERE? HE’S KILLING US!” every other game.

J(Z)

May 7th, 2011
1:08 am

Yeah McConnell just doesn’t cut it for me. I actually miss J.P.! I cringe everytime I hear McConnell say “wide of the mark” every 10 seconds!

Jason

May 7th, 2011
2:05 am

I was wondering what one of the most mediocre announcers in all of the NHL was doing with his spring. Thanks Rawhide!

Honestly, if McConnell was shipped off to call games in the KHL, I would be kinda happy.

The Real Thrash

May 7th, 2011
7:48 am

I know he has to be a booster, but including Zach as a reason we are
“up and coming” is a joke!

Acer9

May 7th, 2011
7:49 am

No end in sight in the ownership situation. Hey, I’m so excited about the Thrashers.

cubybear

May 7th, 2011
8:04 am

Word is that the Phx situation has stabilized and now the Thrashers are headed to Winnipeg…………as early as next week……….?????

Tom

May 7th, 2011
8:09 am

Mama said, “If you can not say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” Since this is Mother’s Day weekend I will just leave it at that…

alex

May 7th, 2011
8:16 am

yes check espn.com most likely thrashers done in atlanta, so sad. rawhide you can close the shop. thankyou asg and don waddell.

nittanythrasher

May 7th, 2011
9:12 am

I met Matt (and Daren) at a fundraiser years ago during his first tour of duty with the Thrashers and I can tell you that he is a genuine person and a great guy. I was sad when he departed. So happy for him and his family now that he is back with the Thrashers. Keep up the good work! What a true professional.

Atlanta Flames Fan

May 7th, 2011
9:19 am

Please, Alex. The article does not say “…most likely thrashers done in Atlanta…” What it says is that the Thrashers are their target. Big difference.

From http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/news/story?id=6496907

“…and multiple sources have told ESPN.com that if the Coyotes remain in the desert the Thrashers would be the next target for relocation to Winnipeg.”

ron

May 7th, 2011
9:21 am

it looks like coyotes staying…I think they can make it work there.

What do you think is Thrashers solution? Are the same problems from last team (Flames) occuring now? Why is Nashville now working and can some of these solutions apply in Atlanta.

I do want Winnipeg to have a team but not at the cost of Atlanta losing theirs….we know how it feels.

Essentially Winnipeg has been used as a pawn in all this. We should get some money for that….

EA

May 7th, 2011
9:23 am

The NHL needs to step in now and save the Thrashers until a buyer is found. Why would they do that in Phoenix and not Atlanta? Any thoughts?

EA

May 7th, 2011
9:45 am

I love reading the ignorant comments on the Peg website about the size of Atlanta–”the city of Atlanta only has 420,000 people–it’s METRO Atlanta that has 5 million. As if we don’t have a car to drive into the “city of Atlanta”. These comments were in reference to the size of their market versus ours. Also, “a lot of the players are from here, they would love to play here”. Really! Ask Chris Thorburn, Toby Enstrom–the list continues.

litz

May 7th, 2011
1:01 pm

Comments also completely ignore the size of the television market (where a team makes its actual money).

#8 is Atlanta … and it’s worth noting that every single market ahead of us (except San Francisco) has a NHL team. So does every market between us and #20 (except Houston, Seattle, and Orlando, and Cleveland).

Winnipeg, near as I can tell, isn’t even *on* any TV market rankings list I can find.

So where would Winnipeg rank by comparison?

Considering Winnipeg has 172 thousand .. households, period (that’s from the census), that would put it around #140 on the Nielsen rankings (presuming every single household watched TV). Or, in other words, roughly equivalent to Beaumont, Texas.

If you go more towards reality, which is around 50-70% of census households = TV households, that’s probably more like 100 to 110 thousand … or roughly equivalent to #170 Billings, Montana.

The Pittsburgh Penguins – #1 in the TV rankings in the NHL (not including Canadian teams, for whom #s are not available) – only drew 93,000 households (vs the Thrashers abysmal 8,000 households), albeit in a much more dense population-wise Northeastern marketplace.

The big question is … Do the TV markets matter? I dunno …

2nd question … which of the NHL teams are available on local broadcast TV vs cable/sat only? That for sure skews #s … WGN, for instance, broadcasts Blackhawks games locally on broadcast as well as cable/sat. For us, FSSO and SportsSouth are only available on selected cable/sat stations, and at that, only in the local market. WGN by comparison is national cable/sat.

(don’t you miss the days of national WTBS?)

Lastly – all of the above may well take on much more meaning with the new NBC contract with the NHL, where all of a sudden, TV viewership takes on much more importance …

(and note, that a Winnipeg team does NOT equate to NBC money in the NHL’s pocket, whereas an ATL team does)

Food for thought, eh?

jim

May 7th, 2011
1:06 pm

If one googles SB Nation Atlanta and types in May 5th,2011 there is an article with Gary Bettman commentary in it.He states there is no truth that the Thrashers are moving and that he doesn’t know where these stories are coming from.His focus is on Phoenix right now and I am sure it will shortly turn to Atlanta and helping out the Thrashers ownership situation.After all,Metro Atlanta is 1.5 million people larger than Metro Phoenix and the Thrashers were averaging over 16,000 a game a few short years ago…why would the NHL abandon a market with such potential to have a renaissance and with a great young team that is a few players away from being a real contender? I would be very surprised if that were to happen.

Brendan

May 7th, 2011
4:02 pm

First off, thank you, Rawhide, for taking the time and trouble to conduct interviews for this blog site. It’s certainly NOT REQUIRED for a “fan blogger” to do this kind of effort for the readership. That’s why we’re spoiled, here. I thank Rawhide for going the extra mile, FOR USSSS, the readers.

Re: Matt McConnell … folks, this is your chance to say something nice, or go ahead and make some kind of constructive criticism of the man. To make comments equivalent to “go suck an egg, Matt” is not appropriate. And I say that as a free speech advocate. If you want to be critical of the man, fine. Offer improvement advice for him. If you like him as a person, or a broadcaster, say so. He’s probably reading this. One of the positive things I can say about Matt McConnell is that he seems very genuine … and he doesn’t ’sugarcoat’ things too much. I recall a post-game interview, where he flat out said, “Darren, I don’t like the way the team is trending.” Darren stared blankly at him, as if to say, “Matt, don’t you want to keep your job?” I like Darren Eliot. I think we get far more ‘truth’ out of Darren Eliot when he’s not doing Thrasher games, on Versus. Matt is a good guy. He tries real hard. He has a passion for hockey. He has to put up with Darren’s dry wit. I say, give the guy a break. He has to cover the Thrashers. When you figure that the only season that really matters is the playoffs, that’s not a lot of coverage. I want to personally wish Matt McConnell every success is the upcoming season. I hope he has a great spring and summer, and will be there at the Draft, with Thrashers coverage. I’m very interested in what Rick Dudley will do this Top 10 pick. I hope he trades it. I’ve seen our attempts at player development. Let’s just get what we need to make us a playoff team next spring.

Rawhide, keep up the great work. You spoil us. We’re underappreciative of your efforts. I recall the “Ice Princess,” and David Vecsey. Like the Quebec license plate says, “Je me souviens.” And if there’s a Quebecer reading this, you might want to enlighten the blog what references.

sammykatz

May 7th, 2011
5:01 pm

Unfortunately, with the Coyotes staying in Phoenix, all of the ire of pathetic Winnipeg trolls will become more & more popular on Thrasher boards. Thrashers will stay in Atlanta, Winnipeg will not get a team. These types of deals always have a way to work themselves out at zero hour. Phoenix has seen many ‘deadlines’ come & go, yet the franchise is still alive & kicking in Glendale. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. There are buyers watching the Atlanta situation closely, waiting for the right moment to pounce. Keep the faith Thrasher fans. And to Winnipeg fans, GO MOOSE GO!

LAC

May 7th, 2011
6:36 pm

Matt, Ok, Darren, AWFUL, his “moving forward” is as worn out as the Alabama Tornadoes !!!!

Getting rid of Elliot, would be a BIG Step in “The right direction”.

Thrashers27

May 7th, 2011
6:47 pm

I’m not a fan of Matt McConnell. Never have been. It’s painfully obvious that he isn’t a “hockey” person and doesn’t “get” the sport. He strictly regurgitates the lingo and comments he’s heard elsewhere. Fair enough. Everybody needs a job, but as a hockey fan, I’d rather have a person who “gets” the sport.

At least we don’t have to listen to someone talk about “clearance” all season long anymore.

Looking forward to next season.

hockeygoon79

May 7th, 2011
7:57 pm

Brendan, I second your words of praise for our blog host. With what he does here plus Vivlamore’s daily “Five Questions With…” blogs we’ve been fed a healthy dose of reading material on the team and the NHL playoffs.

I understand that back in the days of the Ice Princess and Vecsey this blog would go dark for weeks DURING THE SEASON and months during the offseason. I’ll take this any day, thank you very much, and twice on Sunday.

Plus, we sometimes forget that this is not blogmaster’s full-time gig. He does this on his “free time”. And it seems he keeps up a busy schedule on the weekends with his family. For those of you who may not follow him on twitter or FB, he posted a great picture today of one of his sons in uniform with US Senator Johnny Isakson.

So yes, spoiled is a very good word for what we are here.

As for Matt McConnell, he’s what we would refer to as “serviceable” if he were a player. He does a decent enough job, brings us the game and sets up Darrin Eliot’s commentary nicely. He also strikes me as a decent down-to-earth kind of guy. Not overly self absorbed and someone you wouldn’t mind having a beer with while watching a game, be it hockey, baseball or whatever.

Andrew Maxwell

May 7th, 2011
9:42 pm

As someone who works for The Balkan, sammykatz is right on the money.

Brendan

May 7th, 2011
9:55 pm

Hee, hee, hee. “Clearance.” That sums up J.P. Dellacamera very nicely, Thrashers27! Well played. When I’d listen to J.P., I’d think there was a special at K-Mart.

By the way, Nashville has tied it up, in Vancouver. It’s 2-2. Preds scored first, short-handed, by the Canuckles answered with two goals. I missed the goal, here to start the 2nd period. Go Preds!!

So, who do we like in the East, Boston or Tampa Bay? Before any of us answer, I got thinking, today, while cutting my grass, that a lot of teams that have been “good for a while now” but never produced that Cup are very much in the hunt.

Vancouver has been a “100-point” team for the past three (3) seasons running, and four years out of five (4/5), winning the NW Division three years in-a-row, and four times in the past five (4/5) seasons. They’ve reached the CSF four years running. Due for a Cup?? Well, they’ve never won one. Ever. Last trip? 1994. They lost to the NYR in seven games. They “escaped” Chicago, in overtime of Game Seven, after blowing a 3-0 series lead. Team of destiny??? I do have to wonder. Then again, maybe those additional games with the Blackhawks will be their undoing, as the marathon rolls along.

Tampa Bay Lighting. Okay, they’re not one of those teams that has been knockin’ on the door for a while. They’ve sprouted up out of DEAD LAST, via Stamkos and Hedman, along with the retention of St. Louis and Lecavalier. If they’d only kept Dan Boyle, who knows?? Plus prior ownership ran the club as if it were a “fantasy league.” Folks, I won’t rule out a Lightning Cup, their 2nd since 2004. I think they could actually do it. Roloson just has to be the Roloson of 2006. So far, so good.

And finally, we have Boston. They’ve been a “100-point” team for two of the past three (2/3) seasons. Boston was the # 1 seed in 2009. They were upset by Carolina, in overtime of Game Seven. A goal by Walker, I believe?? That’s how good the Bruins have been. They’ve reached the CSF three years in-a-row. They’ve made the playoffs four years in succession. Last year, they knocked off the NE Division Champs, Buffalo, in six games, then choked that 3-0 series lead to the Flyers. They were totally vindicated by sweeping the Flyers right back, this year, cover quick, with NO EXCUSES!! Good team? Yes. Been around a while? Yes. Knockin’ on the door? Sure. Can’t be a # 1 seed in the East by being sucky. Due for a Cup?? Last one was the Bobby Orr-era, in 1972. The Bruins have lost their 1ast five (5) trips to the Finals, in 1974, 1977, 1978, 1988, and 1990. Boston was last in the Conference Finals in 1992, when they lost to the Penguins.

So, there you have it, if you haven’t been following these four clubs for the past while. By the way, here’s another interesting note. Neither San Jose, nor Vancouver have ever won the Cup. If the Western CF feature those two teams, then we’ve my “ideal” situation, where someone will be getting the chance to get off the Schneid. For Tampa Bay, it’s hard to feel sorry for them, with a Cup as recently as 2004. They’ve done a good job of rebuilding. They have good ownership now. Good GM now. Good coach now. For Boston, I have sympathy. It’s been 38 years. (We had a Lockout, remember?) That’s almost four decades. That’s Leaf-like failure. For TV-ratings purposes, the NHL would like to see Boston reach the “showcase event” this June. It’d a real ratings winner if Vancouver were waiting them for them. But knowing the NHL’s luck, they’ll get San Jose vs. Tampa Bay, and no one will watch.

What about San Jose? They, like Detroit, are teams that have made the playoffs every single year of the current CBA. The San Jose Sharks have reached the CSF for the fifth time in six (5/6) seasons. Pretty consistent. They’ve been a “100-point” club for past five seasons in-a-row, and in ‘06, they had “99-points.” Pretty impressive, with a hard salary cap in effect. Window closing??? Maybe, so. I don’t know, for sure. But, I don’t know that conditions for a Sharks Cup are going to get any better. The biggest impediment to the SJS playoff success, through the years, has been Dallas, Detroit, and Colorado. Well, they eliminated Detroit last year, and they hold a commanding 3-1 series lead on the Red Wings this year. If Nashville is their CF opponent, the Sharks are 2-0, lifetime, in the postseason vs. Preds. If it’s Vancouver, they’ve never met in the playoffs, believe it or not. I know. I’m stunned, too.

Cornbread

May 7th, 2011
10:21 pm

I don’t have too many problems with McConnell’s calls. I think he has a pretty good encyclopedic knowledge and passion for the game. I question some of his observations of what’s going on during the game. He comes across at times as someone who has not played the game much if at all. That’s what Elliot is there for. But then again, he was a goalie. Still, I think both of them do a decent enough job calling the game on Fox and Sports South.

I would like to see better production. Like replays of penalties, questionable calls/non-calls, and away from the puck action. More analysis of plays and systems being employed by both teams. Also, a little more focus on the other team’s players in between play and during the game. Some of the live camera work, especially in the corners, was awful and would miss key action. Save it for the replay or show it when there is a battle along the boards and not when there are scoring chances.

Brendan

May 7th, 2011
10:28 pm

It’s 4-2, Nashville. Looks like Preds fans will get to use those Game Six tickets after all! Meanwhile, Boston and Tampa smile, as they will be getting even more rest.

Brendan

May 7th, 2011
10:36 pm

10-mins left in regulation, in Vancouver. Once again, the Canucks can’t close!! When you have to run a 28-mile marathon, and you see a detour that shaves off three (3) miles, you take it. Instead, they went seven games with Chicago, and needed OT to decide. Here they have the chance to shave off two (2) miles, by closing in five games. Doesn’t look too good, for doing that. If Vancouver is going to win the Stanley Cup this year, they just might need all 28 games to do it! Lord knows, they don’t seem to like to the detours and shortcuts to the finish line.

Can’t wait to see tomorrow’s paper in Vancouver! I think the possible headlines are “Still not there yet.” “Can’t close. Again.” Or “You Gotta Be Kidding, me?!”

Atlanta Flames Fan

May 7th, 2011
10:56 pm

Game 6 in Nashville where the Preds can even up the series!

Red Light

May 7th, 2011
11:19 pm

Joel Ward from Mike Fisher was an absolute beauty for the go ahead goal. Nice stat by Zavs this morning. ‘Nucks are now 4-5 when trying to clinch a series when up 3 games to 1.

Matt is genuine and never fails to speak his mind off the air. There is no talking out of both sides of his mouth.

Wayne stuck in AL

May 7th, 2011
11:49 pm

As much as I’d like another SE division team to make the Finals (just to piss off the Ca-necks), I can’t root for Tampa; I won’t root for any team that plays a trap.

Alan R.

May 8th, 2011
2:20 am

I sorta agree with you, Wayne.

Out of Boston and Tampa, I really don’t care who wins it. I don’t like either one of those teams. However, if I had to pick one, I’d pick Tampa only because they’re in the southeast.

If the Wings get eliminated, I’d love to see a TB-NAS final.

Red Light

May 8th, 2011
9:26 am

There is absolutely nothing wrong with using the “trap” because it’s within the boundaries of the rules. You use what gives you the best opportunity to win. Football: 3-4 defense, 4-3 defense, 6 dbs. Basketball: zone, press, trap, man to man. Baseball: play for the big inning, manufacturer runs? You have to respect whatever the coach feels is required to win. What’s the big deal? There is beauty in all systems when they are effective. May not be aesthetically pleasing, but if you trap and win, who cares how you did it? Give credit where credit is due.

World Be Free

May 8th, 2011
9:36 am

Vancouver getting away with more interference in this playoff series than any team so far, Bieksa is a horse, always has been tough as nails-good to see he is finally getting some press. He will get is $6M contract next season from somebody.

Getting ready foir the Wings-Sharks game. Sharks will get a taste of Red Wing pride tonight, Wings will not go down without a fight. Old champions die hard.

Are the Sedins playing in this series?

World Be Free

May 8th, 2011
9:43 am

Tell me what Winnipeg, Manitoba has done to derserve an NHL franchise. What are the merits and benefits to moving an existing or giving an expansion team to this city, why it is such a priority? There are no reasons, shades of Hamiltin in the 80’s when they build that stupid arena then “demanded’ a team.

The entitlement mentality

FYI-there were about 15,000 fans that the Tronna Blue Jays game to see Verlander’s no hitter yesterday, on a Saturday afternoon. Does this mean we need to move the Blue Jays to Las Vegas or even Buffalo, or another U.S. city that derserves a MLB franchise?

World Be Free

May 8th, 2011
9:45 am

I have no issue with Matt or Eliot-there are better and worse in the league. We need a better franchise before we can demand better announcers.

ZAvalanche

May 8th, 2011
11:58 am

RL – nice compliment from our resident stat master! I don’t really have a problem with Matt. The worst announcers, in my opinion, are McNabb and Haynes. I actually turn the volume off and listen to Marc Moser call it. He is the MAN, and actually responds to fan emails (you may recall about 2 months ago we all had a question on this blog and I emailed him, he got back to me in a day and I posted his response here).

Blog Master – I love your work and you know this. Thank you for the best blog in the NHL. I don’t know what your 9 to 5 job is, but you definitely have a future in journalism.

Today’s Game: Game 5 in SJ = The Big Red Borg, I can’t wait to see you go down. But if I were a betting man I couldn’t bet against you. I don’t know Detroit’s record facing elimination but I bet it is pretty good.

Joel Ward – nicely played sir. Keep it up.

The 27

May 8th, 2011
12:02 pm

I’ll take Matt and Eliot over those annoying losers in Boston. Man they suck!! Also JP Dellacamera used to put me to sleep.

ZAvalanche

May 8th, 2011
12:13 pm

World Be Free

May 8th, 2011
1:26 pm

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms, wives, sisters and friends.

Red Light is the king of stats – we all benefit from R/L making it real on the blog every day. Zavs-right on, thanks to Rawhide for making this a great place to talk hockey- Happy Sunday everyone.

Fianlly all the credit to Joel Ward for working hard to get to the NHL. Equal credit to the Preds for sticking with the kid-he paid dividends last night for sure!! Think we should have stuck with Kunitz?

ZAvalanche

May 8th, 2011
2:29 pm

Oh and roger that WBF – Happy Mother’s Day to all the Ladies – making a nice fondue for Alice today (yup, my Mom and one of the strongest ladies I have ever met). An extra special Happy Mother’s day to Mrs. Rawhide – I am sure she has to put up with a lot of hockey travel, watching, and late-night blogging! Mothers are priceless.

Acer9

May 8th, 2011
4:00 pm

ZA: 2009 has the potential to become a monster draft for the Avs.

ZAvalanche

May 8th, 2011
4:13 pm

Acer – I totally agree! Welcome back to prominence Burgundy and Blue! If we can just stay healthy………..

Brendan

May 8th, 2011
4:48 pm

Hope all the Mom’s out there are being spoiled. It’s your Day. Enjoy it.

The Atlanta Hawks can either make a series of this with Chicago, or it’s over in five. I feel bad about what I’ll say next. I think the Hawks fans deserve to see wins. And for their sakes, I hope they get them. But I don’t think this ownership deserves an ounce of good fortune. How long did they keep Billy Knight? How long did they keep Woody? How many years did they wallow? And then there’s the JJ contracts, plural. They don’t deserve to see any success.

Let’s go, San Jose, tonight!!!

World Be Free

May 8th, 2011
4:48 pm

Speaking of 2 good announcers, how about the 2 guys who do the Sharks’ games. So good I don’t know their names, but these 2 guys are just about perfect. They are quick with their analysis, normally right on and never melodramtic. They point out mistakes, players or refs but never dwell on them. These 2 guys know their business. Sharks, Ducks and Kings all have first class announcers.

How about Patrick Marleau; this guy has top shelf talent but does not have the drive to use it. when it takes 10 stides to make a play, Marleau always takes 5 strides and glides the rest of the way. What a waste, no wonder he doesn’t come through in the playoffs.

Brendan

May 8th, 2011
10:19 pm

Sharks scored first, then took a 3-1 lead in the 3rd period, but the Red Wings have tied it. I smell an overtime. Red Wings don’t want to book their tee times. Billy Jaffe picked Detroit to win the Cup this year. I’m sure he’s intently watching.

Brendan

May 8th, 2011
10:22 pm

Maybe not! 4-3, Red Wings. Three unanswered goals here in the 3rd period. WBF, Marleau let go of his man, and it led to the goal. Wow, SJ went for salting this away, at 3-1, early in the 3rd … to trailing, 4-3. 5:30 left in regulation. Game Six is in Detroit. This series might just go all seven games.

Brendan

May 8th, 2011
10:38 pm

Let’s suppose that San Jose wins this series. Look how much UNNECESSARY hockey they’ve now had to play. They could have forced Game Four to overtime, and one goal would have won it. Instead, Detroit scores with 1:27 left. Tonight, up 2-0 and 3-1, they CANNOT close. Now, they have to go back to HockeyTown, in panic mode.

Red Light

May 8th, 2011
11:06 pm

If the Western Conference finals pits the Canucks and the Sharks, the series might go nine games because neither team will know how to win it once they take the lead. Of course you have to give credit to the Wings and Preds, but not closing out a series on home ice several times in one playoff year is inexcusable. One time, OK, but two or three times for a Stanley Cup Finalist or champion. Pretty doggone weak if you ask me.

Sage of Bluesland

May 8th, 2011
11:46 pm

McConnell fits in nicely with this abomination of an organization; he’s not as culpable in the ridiculous ’sunshine’ as that clown Eliot. What do you expect from an organization headed by the incomparably incompetent Don Waddell? The stench permeates from the top down–and the tentacles reach every corner (including the broadcast booth–Kemal is virtually unlistenable, too).

The ‘only’ thing above the ‘buffoon’ level is this blog and its author (not the other AJC one by the “professional”–and I use that term very loosely). His “sunshine” is a little higher than reality should allow–but he every now and then it smacks even him in the face….and it is amusing.

Cornbread

May 9th, 2011
2:33 am

I like Joel Ward’s game. I like it a lot. He’s the type of blue collar player I like to watch. But if he played for the Atlanta Thrashers, he’d be accused of being soft, lazy, having no hands, not deserving of top 6 minutes, and belonged in the AHL instead of taking up an NHL roster space. You know, just like Anthony Stewart.

World Be Free

May 9th, 2011
5:35 am

Brendan, let’s get Marleau his goat horns for Detroit 3nd and 4th goals. He was a bystander for the game tying goal (take your man!). Patricia’s encore was getting schooled by Datsuyk on puck control for the game winner.

Pavel is my favorite player in the entire league. The guy is this generation’s Bryan Trottier.

Red Light-you wonder if San Jose and Vancouver will beat each other to death so badly that Tampa Bay will swoop in for their 2nd Stanley Cup?