Saturday, November 22, 2008


Here's the latest from the morning skate:

***Todd White is ready to go and will be in the lineup tonight vs Columbus (7pm, Sportsouth, 680 The Fan). As a result, Joey Crabb will be the healthy scratch assuming he's not reassigned to Chicago later today.

Lines look like this:




Regarding the lines: Head coach John Anderson said he decided to put Perrin up with Kovalchuk and Williams in an attempt to jump start his offensive game. He brought up a good point in that Perrin played with Martin St Louis in Tampa, so he used to playing with offensive line mates. He also added that they've asked Eric to play more of a defensive game, especially since he's one of the team's best penalty killers. Maybe this move will get him going offensively.

***Colby Armstrong slides back to his customary position of right wing after seeing action on the left side.

***Chris Thorburn is back on the right side of the fourth unit. I don't think this move is as much a demotion for Thorburn as it is a move to reunite the gritty threesome from earlier this season. Anderson has talked about the team "taking the initiative more", especially on home ice. Look for this line to play a bigger role starting tonight.

Speaking of this line, a fan left this comment:

"How can JA expect Slater, Boults and Thorburn to step it up physically when he doesn't put them back out there after the hit? "

I understand where you are coming from. But remember the situation of the game from the other night. The score was tied 2-2 and JA wasn't about to put a player out on the ice that would have taken a penalty, putting Pittsburgh on the power play. Had the game been out of hand, I'm sure he would have done it. Just my opinion.

For those of you headed to Philips Arena for the game tonight, please be advised that, as of midday today, three lanes on the southbound downtown connector were closed for repairs. I have no idea if this road project will continue into this evening, but consider yourself warned.

Based on my rants of the last few days, can you tell I hate Atlanta traffic? :)

Friday, November 21, 2008


Todd White did not practice with the team on Friday morning at the Ice Forum. Instead the team has recalled Joey Crabb from Chicago. In 16 games with the Wolves, Crabb has five goals and five assists for 10 points. Head coach John Anderson said this morning that, according to Wolves head coach Don Granato and general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff, Crabb has been their best player as of late.

As a result, Eric Perrin moves to the top line and Crabb takes his spot on the right side of the fourth line. The newest Thrasher will wear #42. Anderson did not, however, rule out White's insertion into the lineup on Saturday against Columbus (7pm, Sportsouth, 680 The Fan), saying it would be a game day decision regarding his availability. Stay tuned.

Here's how it looked earlier today:



Other nuggets:

***In talking with Anderson, he was happy about Kovalchuk's response to the hit administered by Pittsburgh's Kris Letang on Todd White and thought it was great to see teammates helping each other out. He also made a great point in how tough it must have been for Kovalchuk to send a message to Letang without taking a penalty in a 2-2 hockey game. He added that he wants to see other players step up and initiate physical play, especially on home ice (see: Slater, Boulton, Thorburn). This was addressed in a team meeting earlier today.

***When Asked about the penalty killing units, Anderson was pleased with their performance until the end of the game when Sykora got the game-winner with the Pens on the power play. Look for the team to continue it's initiatives of cutting away the middle of the ice in the defensive zone.

***Slava Kozlov had some interesting thoughts regarding his line and their success this season. He said the line has had success because they all think the game the same way. He also said that to have success in the NHL these days, lines need to rely on give and go plays instead of those that try to pit players in one on one situations, which is becoming tougher by the game. He said it's critical to be able to move the puck with speed if you are going to be successful.

***The team placed goaltender Kari Lehtonen on injured reserve Friday, retroactive to October 31st.

That's the latest. See you at the game.


It's funny the types of thoughts that run through one's mind when sitting in traffic on the way home from a disappointing loss. Here are a few:

Ilya Kovalchuk loves his teammates.

Last night's officiating crew was horrific.

As for the traffic in and around Philips Arena, please see the comment about the officiating.

Plenty has been said in the recent days of whether Kovalchuk is ready to be named captain of this team. For those who continue to ponder, may I say that fact was decided a long time ago. Whether he gains the "C" in the upcoming days or weeks is strictly material to me. Ilya Kovalchuk IS the captain of this team.

He has been for a long time.

There's been no better proof of that than his reactions to defending teammates in the past few weeks. The latest come last night when he went after Pittsburgh's Kris Letang after Letang drilled Thrashers center Todd White into the end boards.

To debate whether the hit was clean or not is beside the point. Kovalchuk didn't care....and nor should he. Once again, he was the first to step in and stand up in defense of a teammate. His dedication to winning and defending his teammates is beyond reproach. He's a throwback in many ways. Old school on many levels even though old school would suggest he go after a star player as Letang did.

Leadership? No question.
Captain Kovalchuk? Without a doubt.
The need for the "C" letter? Whatever.

As for the officiating? Well, the word horrific was the first to roll off my tongue. Oystrick's second period interference call was so-so at best. But when Don Koharski called Marty Reasoner for a hook behind the Atlanta net less than a minute later to put the Thrashers down two skaters, I just about jumped out of the press box. The hook was barely a touch. It was a brutal call to make on a team that was already down a man. As for the non-hook/slash call on Crosby defending Kovalchuk's breakaway in the third period, I talked to Atlanta head coach John Anderson after the game and he said Crosby never touched him.

Let me be clear on this. I believe the officials in the National Hockey League do an excellent job 99% of the time. They have the toughest jobs on the ice and a forced to make split second decisions. But I can honestly say their performances last night won't be referenced in any off-season training videos.

Finally, something has to happen to improve traffic congestion in the downtown following home games.


Last night, I jumped into my car at the media parking lot at 9:58pm. I made it to the 75/85 connector at 10:27pm! It took a half an hour to "stick handle" down Luckie Street and around the Georgia Aquarium. Not once did I see an Atlanta police officer directing traffic flow. Heck, there wasn't even the officer at the W-Hotel (you know, the one that flunked Traffic Flow 101) to help us get out of dodge.

Let's go Atlanta! We're a world class city with world class events. When tangled traffic and ZERO assistance are what consumers remember about their night on the town, that can't be good for anyone.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Seriously, if I don't vent I might lose my mind. If you go back to the Thrashers game Friday night against Carolina, on two different occasions, a delayed penalty was called against the home team. And twice, the home team touched the puck which normally whistles the play dead.

Not on this evening.

Instead, the referees overseeing the game (Eric Furlatt and Dan O'Rourke) allowed play to continue until a Thrashers defender fully gained possession of the puck. In defense of Furlatt and O'Rourke, their decision to allow play to continue was the right call. But come on people, for the love of power plays everywhere, let's get some consistency within this rule.

As for the rule, here it is, according to the 2008-09 NHL Rule Book:

"15.1 Calling a Penalty - Should an infraction of the rules which would call for a minor, major, misconduct, game misconduct or match penalty be committed by a player or goalkeeper of the side in possession of the puck, the Referee shall immediately blow his whistle and penalize the offending player or goalkeeper.
Should an infraction of the rules which would call for a minor, major, misconduct, game misconduct or match penalty be committed by a player or goalkeeper of the team not in possession of the puck, the Referee shall raise his arm to signal the delayed calling of a penalty. When the team to be penalized gains control of the puck, the Referee will blow his whistle to stop play and impose the penalty on the offending player or goalkeeper."

Without a doubt, the National Hockey League needs to revisit this rule with all of it's officials. Believe me, I'm in favor of the zebras allowing play to continue until the penalized team is in full control of the puck. It creates additional offensive chances, especially with the goaltender pulled for the extra attacker. But as a fan, I want consistency. Whether I'm at a game in Atlanta or watching one from San Jose, I want the standard to be the same. Some officials, like Furlatt and O'Rourke, get it right. Others aren't as sharp as witnessed when a play is blown dead when the penalized team simply touches the puck.

Sorry....just had to get that one off my chest!