Archive for the ‘Atlanta Thrashers’ Category

Sites like Ebay help fuel the collectible market.  One can find just about anything on those sites, and sometimes for dirt cheap.  Surely every hockey fan has a random collectible that they scored for a bargain, whether it’s a jersey, action figure, or autograph.  The Whalers logo is one of the most sought after, thanks to their demise in 1997.  Likewise for Quebec and (the old) Winnipeg Jets.  Those three teams’ relocation in the mid-’90s, along with kids of that era being the most proficient with the internet, years later created a certain yearning.  If the internet was around in the ’80s, hockey fans would definitely be buying Atlanta Flames, Colorado Rockies, and California Golden Seals merchandise.

Anyone willing to pay for these monstrosities?

With the Atlanta Thrashers moving to Winnipeg to become the (new) Jets, Thrashers gear is considered out of date.  NHL Shop is selling Thrashers premier jerseys for $80, which originally sold for $120.   (Authentics are on sale for $200, by the way.)  Only a $40 discount for a defunct team? Not only just for a defunct team, but Atlanta’s unis are downright ugly, consistently ranked near the bottom of the league.  But the league is trying to dump their stock of Thrashers apparel.  (Word to the wise: If you really want Thrashers gear, it might be better off to wait to see if NHL Shop slashes their prices.)

Will the Thrashers join the Whalers and Nordiques in ten years, in terms of collectibility?   (more…)

Here are some thoughts on some of the potential rule changes being looked at in the NHL Research And Development Camp:

NHL Research And Development Camp (Photo:THN)

 Hybrid Icing: Safety is the main issue that gets addressed here (Remember Kurtis Foster’s injury?), without taking away from the game. Easily something I think that should be implemented in the game.  Although some would argue about the officiating on certain calls, which is the only real argument against it.

No Icing While Shorthanded: If the NHL can find a way to boost scoring, they’ll test it out (Remember the idea of round nets?) Now, I understand the want to score more often, but I don’t really like this idea. You should be able to ice the puck while shorthanded, make the other team actually have to work on the powerplay. The other guy has two or five minutes in the box, that should eb enough of a penalty on his team.

Overtime Changes ( 4 minutes 4 on 4, then 3 minutes of 3 on 3): If this gets rid of the shootout (unless the shootout goes to 5 shooters), im all for it. However, I really do not like the idea of 3 on 3 hockey, it should be 4 on 4 minimum.  Would be interesting to do on a test run basis in the NHL.

No Line Change For Team That Is Offsides: Honestly, I like this idea, if a line can’t come into the zone onsides, they shouldn’t be able to change. Honestly, unless the players on the line have been on the ice a while, but, going offsides is their own fault, is it not? But,like the next rule, it could have an impact on the game negatively.

Faceoff In Own Zone After Offsides Is Called: Now this, I do not like, at all. This would encourage dump and chase hockey, which, just isn’t that good  to watch from a fan standpoint. I don’t see this rule making it very far at all, it will not see the light of day in the NHL.

Eliminate The Trapezoid: Yes, yes, and yes. Getting rid of the trapezoid behind the net has my approval. Goalies should be aloud to play the puck, there is no good reason this rule was ever implemented. Goalies doing a bit more work, I don’t see any defensemen who would have to chase the puck otherwise, that would argue against that. Let the goalies be free from the evil trapezoid!

Goal Line Camera: A brilliant idea I can’t believe they didn’t think of sooner! So many close calls, some right , some wrong . Now, if we can work on defining “kicking motions”, that would be another huge step forward. I would really like to see this implemented in the NHL. But I feel it might not be 100% fool proof depending on the camera’s position if say, the goalie was on top of the puck.

Through the summer doldrums, I decided to share some of the games I’ve been at.  And before you call me bad luck, my Flyers winning percentage is over .700, so these five games are just a small sample.

This is only part one of two.  Sometime later in the summer I’ll chronicle five awesome games I was at.

5. Kings 1, Flyers 0 (2/13/11)
The highlight of this game was a monster pre-game tailgate we had. And we needed it.  Drew Doughty scored the only goal of the game very early in the second period. During the second intermission, @MikePatota didn’t even realize the Kings had scored (since it was so early in the period). Our frustrations boiled over when Jarret Stoll boarded Chris Pronger and no penalty on Stoll was called, this the day after the Islanders-Penguins brawl.  Jon Quick had 40 saves to earn the shutout and sent all of us home unhappy.

4. Devils 3, Flyers 1 (1/22/11)
You guys know when you play the Devils it’ll either be 1) fun if you’re scoring or 2) painful to watch. This game was in the second group.  I honestly couldn’t tell you who scored but my guess would be Patrik Elias, the Flyer killer. (Checking the boxscore showed he had two goals).  I do remember that it was Johan Hedberg, not Marty Brodeur, who shut the Flyers down.  Johan Hedberg of all goalies!

3. (more…)

Now that the Winnipeg NHL team has reached their goal of 13,000 season tickets sold, True North Sports and Entertainment is expected to announce the team name between now and the draft.

What will the name be? Here are some possible choices:

Jets– The name of the original WHA/NHL franchise in Winnipeg until they left for Phoenix in 1996.  The Jets seem like the most popular choice among fans.  Gary Bettman also told TNSE that the league would allow them to use the name and logo if the group decides to.

Thrashers– When Calgary left Atlanta in 1980, they took the name (Flames) with them.  Winnipeg could too, but I don’t know if there are any Thrashers in Winnipeg. Highly unlikely the name travels with the team.

Moose– The Manitoba Moose, formerly of the AHL, have been in Winnipeg since the Jets left. The Moose have been popular, and it’s quite possible the NHL team could just take the name and continue the Moose tradition.

Falcons– The Winnipeg Falcons were an senior amateur team, who won the Allan Cup in 1920 and went on to represent Canada in the 1920 Olympics in Belgium, winning Gold.  Could be a nice homage to the past, like Ottawa did for the original Senators in 1992.

Chufugaboos– Thanks to a 3rd grader in Winnipeg named Joey, this name has circulated around the internet.  The Chufugaboos, with a logo of a monkey, might be a million-to-one shot, but it is still an awesome name regardless.

Phoenix– Rising from the ashes of the Jets to live again, and gives a connection to the former Winnipeg team.  Not sure about this one, as it might cause confusion (the Phoenix @ Phoenix).

Flashes (or Flash)– The city’s first team was named after Hall of Famer Bobby Hull (the Golden Jet), why can’t the new team be named after one of the best players in the past twenty years (and former Jet), Teemu Selanne.  Who knows, maybe Teemu decides one last year where his career began?

Slurpees– Winnipeg is the Slurpee Capital of the World.  No kidding.  Plus, it’d give easy corporate sponsorship with 7-11.

Which name do I like? I liked the Jets name growing up, but feel the new team should establish it’s own identity.  But I wouldn’t be mad if the Jets returned.

A Crying Shame

Posted: May 31, 2011 by JoeyD in Atlanta Thrashers, Gary Bettman
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“It’s such a tired game
Will it ever stop
How will this all play out
Out of sight, out of mind”

 –Jack Johnson “Crying Shame”

All of us have been following the latest NHL news du jour of the ever increasing guarantee of the Atlanta Thrashers moving to Winnipeg that has now become a reality as of today.  As disappointingly long as the Phoenix Coyotes situation has been, the Thrashers own has been disappointingly short.

Personally, I am very let down with this news that has come out today. As you know I am a Penguins fan, and ever since the Penguins’ near decade long arena issue and the subsequent relocation rumors that accompanied it, I have always been supportive of all franchises with any issues that bring about a relocation or contraction question. Have a team with arena, lease, financial issues and are worried you may someday lose your franchise? Well, you have a friend in me. Simply put, it’s because hockey should never be taken away from anyone.

I have attended two Penguins games in Atlanta in recent years. The first one happened to be the infamous “Crosby nut punch” game. And let me tell you honestly, Penguin or Thrasher fan, no one had a clue that happened. Welcome to our new world of things going viral via the internet.  That game had an official attendance of 15,184 but I very much doubt that only 20 percent of the seats were empty.  I was in the, I believe, second row of Section 307 and a few rows behind me I could see full rows of empty seats and there were more than a few of them. However one thing that I do recall that I cannot get out of my head today is a family of 6 with all four kids, two boys and two girls, fully decked out in their Thrasher gear having a fun family Friday evening even if the Penguins won the game 6-3. Two and a half years later I can only imagine what those kids are feeling today. And quite frankly it makes me upset. I am glad I don’t have to shatter some kids’ hearts today.

The second time was the following November in 2009 which was another Penguin win but this one was a near sellout and the number of people did match the number of seats sold. While there was a strong as always Penguins contingent there. The crowd was quite electric for both teams both for when the Pens scored three goals in the first two periods as well as in the final ten minutes where Atlanta scored twice and Ilya Kovalchuk flipped his lid on number 24 in your programs but number 1 on your Kill On Sight list, Matt Cooke.  After that game while waiting for our MARTA train, we had a conversation with someone talking mostly about how jumping it was when Atlanta hosted the All-Star Game while giving us a little insight to the sports landscape and that it was, in fact, a bit more popular than it may seemed at times.

I found both of my trips to Atlanta fun experiences. It is interesting to enter a sports stadium through the food court of CNN Center. I have had a pleasant time as well both times. One thing I recall is with the types of promotions, team videos, interactions from the mascot to the forever amazing Bad Commercials By Hockey Players PSA (first thing I think of when I hear Ron Hainsey) I have always found the Thrashers a good organization that worked hard to promote the game. In fact, the one of the best things about the Thrashers is the job they did in preserving the memory of Dan Snyder. While it is easy to expect a franchise to do that period, when your a much maligned non traditional franchise it shows that they may have more of a clue than being given credit for or at least showing how unfair such distinctions can be. Such things made me feel that the growing attendance issues, and thus revenue/profitability issues, were more of a sign of discontent with the management of the team from Don Waddell much more than the image of professional sports in Atlanta.

All they needed was time to return to winning ways. Even if winning ways would be described as one playoff appearance, two playoff home games, and three seasons where they were above .500 in percentage of points gained. Time of which, in addition to the fans, Rick Dudley and Craig Ramsey are not being given, at least in Atlanta, Georgia.  This is a failure of ownership much more so than any management that relates to the on-ice product and even moreso than the fan reluctance to walk thru the turnstyles.

This city has now lost two NHL franchises. The Flames were born inAtlanta due to some unforseen expansion in junction with beating the WHA to Long Island and the need for a team to balance the schedule. The team ended up moving to Calgary because of what was described as a Godfather deal, a then record $16 million purchase price to relocate to Calgary. Even though the attendance and profitability slipped in Atlanta the first go and new ownership was sought doesnt necessarily make it a ‘hockey does not belong in the South’ failure.

Im sure there are people celebrating today for today’s news. However, I am not one of them. I hope for nothing more than to see it work in Winnipeg, I would hate to see this have to take root 6-10-15 years from now again. Pittsburgh, Nashville, temporarily Phoenix, and seemingly in Long Island and Edmonton have been saved and I guess you cant bat 1.000 all the time. While many are happy for what ever reason they choose, today I am down and defeated and feeling a little bit stung. What the Thrasher fan is feeling today could only be exponentially worse. And that, is a crying shame.

With the Atlanta Thrashers’ inevitable move to Winnipeg, the NHL will undergo its’ first major realignment since 1998.  The Winnipeg team will likely play as a member of the Southeast Division during the 11-12 NHL season, before the league realigns in 2012.  The Thrashers, Jets, or whatever their name is, will move from the Eastern Conference to the West.  So a Western team will have to move East to balance out the conferences.

There are three logical possibilities to take Atlanta’s spot in the East.

Detroit has wanted to move East for a while now, citing travel and TV viewership.  But, with the Red Wings as a huge draw for Western Conference teams, a Detroit move seems unlikely.  Columbus would benefit by moving to the East.  They’ve struggled with attendance; it’s hard to grow a fanbase of a young franchise with a quarter of the team’s games starting after 9:00.  Out of the three, Nashville makes the most geographical sense.  Even in  the Central time zone, they’re the closest team to the other four currently in the Southeast.

One of those three will likely move into the East; but who will replace them in the Central?  There are a few possibilities. (more…)

As the NHL season comes to a close, we are going to vote on the NHL Awards, and four of us will pick one candidate each to “campaign” for. At the bottom, you will see balloting and the final results.

Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings by Gabbi

While there are several worthy candidates for the Norris trophy, there’s no doughty about who this year’s recipient should be. All puns aside, the top defenseman in the National Hockey League this season is Drew Doughty of the LA Kings. For a young guy playing only his third season in the NHL he’s playing as though he’s been in the league for 20 years. (While looking at his numbers I saw NHL Seasons: 3 and said, “No. There’s no way!”) Coming of a sophomore campaign where he was nominated for the Norris, he had 40 points and helped anchor the defense of the young Kings team. With that, young Drew Doughty has earned this year’s Norris trophy.

Lubomir Visnovsky, Anaheim Ducks by Realdeal

Visnovsky has to be the Norris favorite after leading all NHL Defensemen in points (62), and finishing second in goals (18).  He’s played over 24 minutes per game for the Ducks, being a rock on their blueline when the team needed it the most.  His 116 blocked shots are ahead of the likes of other Norris candidates such as Weber, Letang and Chara.  His +18 is pretty respectable and his 5 Power Play goals and 31 Power Play points are part of the reason the Ducks finished second with the man advantage.

Shea Weber, Nashville Predators by Cujo

For the Norris trophy a man you should consider is Shea Weber. He might not have as many points as some, but he has been a real workhorse for the Nashville Predators. He is averaging 25:19 in ice time and 29 shifts per game. 2nd on the team in blocks and 1st in hits, he knows what it takes to get the job done on the ice.

Keith Yandle, Phoenix Coyotes by Joey

I’m sorry say that again…Yandle is 24? Hard to believe that this year’s most consistent defenseman in all facets of the blueline game is young buck Keith Yandle of the Coyotes.  Handling top minutes and opposing teams’ best forwards night in and night out in lieu of Zybnek Michalek’s departure to Pittsburgh could easily have been a sign of tough times for Yandle this year. Except not only has he filled in admirably but he has only improved in stats and intangibles for the third consecutive season. Considering the typical development of an NHL ready defenseman, we may be looking at the next big thing on the blueline for a long long time. This is no flash in the pan; this is a Norris candidate for years to come. 

Final Voting (more…)