Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I've decided to start a Q&A here on 24/7 Hockey so I can get an idea of what's on your mind. Here's how it will work:

1. Submit questions to me via the Q&A comments section of the blog.

2. Each Tuesday, I will will answer as many as possible....and with as much accuracy as possible.

3. All subjects are fair game, just as long as they relates to hockey.

I really want this blog to be a conversation between all of us. The comments I have received to date have been great and I encourage each of you to keep sending me your thoughts.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I know alot of you have wondered why tonight's Thrashers at Tampa Bay game is not being televised. Here's the answer.

Versus, the national network home of the National Hockey league in the United States, has "exclusive" dates on their schedule in which they are the only broadcaster allowed to televise on a given night in the United States. Tonight is one of those scenarios. They have chosen to televise the Boston at Buffalo game. As a result, no other local broadcast outlet can televise any game this evening. That's why the Thrashers game is not being shown on either Sportsouth or Sunshine Network (Tampa TV). It has nothing to do with Sportsouth, so save your emails and phone calls to their offices.

With that said, if you subscribe to NHL Center Ice, you will still be able to watch Anaheim at Toronto (TSN), Vancouver at Columbus (Sportsnet-Pacific) and Washington at Calgary (TSN).


Here's the latest from the "farm", college and major junior as it relates to Thrashers prospects.

The Chicago Wolves are off to a 2-1-1 start and are 4th in the American Hockey League's West Division. They lost their first two games on a swing through Texas, losing 2-1 at Houston in the season opener and 2-1 at San Antonio. Their first win was a 1-0 shutout in Quad City in which goaltender Andrej Pavlec stopped all 25 shots.

Last Saturday night, they raised the Calder Cup banner in Chicago and defeated Peoria, 3-2. I understand Joey Crabb and the Rivermen's Brad Winchester had a pretty good fight in the third period.

Colin Stuart leads the Wolves in scoring with 1-2=3 in four games. Pavlec has played in all four games and has a 2-2-0 record with a goals against average of 1.49 and a save percentage of .949.

The Gwinnett Gladiators opened their season last weekend with a 6-2 win at home against Mississippi. Defenseman Josh Engel had a goal in that game. He's a rookie out of the University of Wisconsin that I got to see alot of last season while calling the college hockey games for CBS College Sports. He should really help their blueline.

Other notables:

First round pick Daulton Leveille (pron "lev-eye-ay") is off to a quick start at Michigan State and had a couple of assists during the Icebreaker Tournament in Boston a week ago. Angelo Esposito has nine points (2-7) in eight games for Montreal in the Quebec league and was named the QMJHL Player of the Week for the period ending on October 5th. Defensman Paul Postma is playing for the Calgary Hitmen in the Western Hockey League and has 10 points (1-9) in 11 games. Finally, goaltender Alex Kangas is off to a quick start at the University of Minnesota with a 2-0 record and a goals against average of 1.50. I saw him play last season in a game at Wisconsin in which he looked a little nervous. But he enters the season as the #1 goaltender between the pipes for the Gophers now that Kellen Briggs and Jeff Frazee have graduated.

Monday, October 20, 2008


I'm sure Thrashers fans remember the brutal start to the 2007-08 season. The team went 0-6 and head coach Bob Hartley was fired.

Saturday night's game against Buffalo was the team's fifth of the season. And since I love crunching the numbers, I thought I'd share with you a five game comparison of some team stats, from this season and last.

One of the biggest improvements has been penalty killing. Last season, the Thrashers allowed 11 powerplay goals against in the first five games on 32 chances (65.6%) compared to just five goals scored on 26 opportunities (80.8%) for an improvement of 15.1%.

The other major improvement is the amount of offense generated by the defensemen. Through the first five games last season, the blueliners had tallied a cumulative five points (1-4=5). This season, they have contributed 10 points over the first five games (1-9=10). The numbers from this season are skewed a bit considering Ron Hainsey and Niclas Havelid had a combined five points against Washington on opening night.

In terms of shots, the team this season is averaging 30.4 a game compared to last season's 22 shots a game over the first five contests. However, the shots against is identical with the opposition averaging 34.6 a game over both starts.

And while the before-mentioned penalty kill has been much improved from this season over last, the powerplay has struggled mightily. Since opening night when the team scored three with the man advantage against Washington, they have gone a collective 0-20 in the last four games. In fact, the powerplay is just 3-29(10.3%) through five games which is slightly better than the 2-21(9.5%) start a season ago.

As for the offense, it's not so much about the number of goals the team has scored during the first five games, it's more about the fewer number of goals they have allowed. This season the team has scored 14 and allowed 14 (Even) compared to tallying nine goals in the first five games last season and allowing a whopping 23 goals against (-14)!

Finally, what about the start of games for the Thrashers? Last season, they gave up plenty of goals in the first five minutes of periods. During the first five games a season ago, they gave up six goals to the opposition in the first five minutes. That happened in four of the first five games. This season, they've given up just three in the first five games.

Numbers are numbers and can be interpreted in many ways. But through the first five games, it appears the penalty killing units are more effective, the defensemen are contributing more to the scoresheet, and that the team is generating more scoring chances. With that said, the powerplay needs work. and for a team that will like be an offensive work in progress over the first half of the season, getting goals with the man advantage remains critical to their success.