Friday, October 10, 2008


Without a doubt, it's the best time of the year. Opening night in the National Hockey League. And while the league officially kicked of it's 2008-09 season in Europe last weekend, the North American version got rolling last night.

Some observations:

Versus did an excellent job covering the banner raising ceremony in Detroit. They were able to capture the tradition of hockey-rich Detroit, in part by showing the Red Wings legends that helped bring out the 2007-08 championship banner. It never gets old seeing the likes of Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay. The opening night concert, which featured Def Leopard from the Fox Theatre was a refreshing twist for fans of all ages and helped celebrate the sport and league across the city.

On the ice, I thought Toronto looked very good. Anyone who thinks the Leafs won't be improved defensively doesn't know the sport of hockey. Head coach Ron Wilson is a defensive specialist. The Leafs did an excellent job eliminating odd-man rush attempts by Detroit and provided excellent, 5-man coverages in the defensive zone. Vesa Toskala made some key saves. Should their offense play well and Jason Blake rebound offensively, the Leafs could be alot better than people think.

What about the Vancouver Canucks? They took Calgary to the woodshed with a 6-0 pasting of a team many think will win the Northwest Division. The win was overshadowed by a classy pre-game celebration of the life of Luc Bourdon, who was killed in an off-season motorcycle accident. John Ashbridge, the Canucks long time PA Announcer was outstanding in the narrative presentation of the ceremony.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


On Tuesday, the Atlanta Thrashers continued their preparation for Friday's season opener at home against the Washington Capitals. The roster stands at 22 players. Mike Hoffman did not practice and neither did forward Bryan Little and goaltender Johan Hedberg. according to head coach John Anderson, Hoffman is still bothered by a hand injury and will likely miss 10 days to two weeks. Little is day to day with a sore hip while Hedberg is day to day with a toe injury.

The injury to Hedberg comes on the heels (no pun intended)of the news regarding goaltender Ondrej Pavelec and his refusal to report to AHL Chicago. If Hedberg can't dress for Friday's opener, a roster move will have to be made by general manager Don Waddell.

Line combinations and defensive pairings today were as follows:



With the injury to Hedberg, the Thrashers borrowed one of Gwinnett's tenders for their one hour practice.

Random thoughts from John Anderson:

He seemed happier with the progress the team has made at learning the new system. But he did predict it will be a month or so before he feels it's working as efficient as possible.

When devising line combinations, Anderson said he's mainly interested in finding a good balance for all four of them heading into the season.

I'll post more thoughts as the week moves along.