Archive for the Category ◊ Playoffs ◊

28 Apr 2012 Cap Finally Gets His Feather
Semin is getting noticed for his post-season play.

Semin is getting noticed for his post-season play.

If you’re familiar with our blog, you know that I’m an unapologetic Russophile. And there is no Russian more deserving of my love than Alexander Semin of the Washington Capitals — especially during this post season.  In fact, he’s been so dominant in all aspects of the game that sportscasters, play-by-play and color commentators alike have been forced to acknowledge his stellar play.

You’d think I would be happy that he is finally getting his due, but I’m not entirely pleased.  As a matter of fact, I become a bit more exasperated every time I hear his name, because you never just hear what a great job he’s doing.  Rather, it’s always preceded by something like “not known for his defense …”

Maybe he’s not “known” for his defense but he’s not known for his lack of defensive play either.  He has been a plus player for most of his career and, while he was a mere +9 this year, he was a +22 in 2010-11 and a +36 in 2009-10.  Mike Greene has made more defensive errors in half the games this year and he is a defenseman!  Do you hear the experts make such qualified statements about him?  No.  Am I surprised?   Not at all.  The bias against Russians has emerged in this absurd, covert and undeserved bashing of Semin.

“In a rare effort, Semin dives for the puck,” the NBC Sports team raves.  Rare effort?  Let’s face it, Semin is never going to be an overly physical player.  It’s not his style.  He is deceptively fast as he is a smooth skater trained under the Soviet sports system, and could most certainly out skate the majority of current NHL players.  Yet for whatever reason, the rough-and-tumble skating style of most North American players gives spectators — and even Semin’s former teammates – the idea that these players are trying harder.  If you’re not willing to put your body on the line every shift, you’re accused of not putting out a decent effort.  Again, I’m crying xenophobia.

Then there’s the age-old accusation that Semin just doesn’t care.  Case in point:  “Semin one minute looks like a complete player, then the next looks like he’s not interested in the game,” a color commentator opined during the Boston series.  Earlier this year, his former coach Bruce Boudreau said Semin really does care, claiming no one on the team takes losing as hard as he does.  Taking a two-minute penalty is so devastating to him because of the consequences it might have on the team, Boudreau asserts, that he has a hard time not letting it affect the rest of his game.  This is an insight those highly critical of him apparently choose to ignore, forget or simply not believe.  After all, he’s not Sidney Crosby!

Maybe the North American media are coming around.  Before game one of the second round, they highlighted Semin as the top Cap the playoffs — without a hint of criticism.  I’m not ready to completely forgive the folks at NBC Sports just yet though.  If he fails to live up to his performance in the first round, I’m willing to bet he’ll be the first one blamed.  Still, with his contract up at the end of the year, the long-overdue positive PR can only increase the value of the overly criticized and extremely underrated Alexander Semin.

Photograph: Shannon Valerio

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08 Jun 2011 On Hypocrisy and Dirty Hits

Nathan Horton

Nathan Horton displays the "fencing response," a sign of neurological damage.

On Monday night at TD Garden in Boston, Boston’s Nathan Horton was knocked out of the game and into Massachusetts General Hospital by a vicious late hit from Vancouver’s Aaron Rome.

On Tuesday morning, the Bruins announced that Horton would miss the rest of the playoffs with a severe concussion.

Tuesday afternoon, NHL disciplinarian Michael Murphy announced that Rome would be suspended for four games.

So we are supposed to feel sorry for… Aaron Rome?

According to Manny Malhotra, we are:

“It’s devastating,” said center Manny Malhotra. “To be so close, to be playing in your dream, to now have it taken away, it obviously hurts a lot. That being said, he’s still a huge part of our team in that room. Just his attitude, his mentality, his focus, he’s going to help our guys a lot. I think as a group we don’t agree with the suspension.”

Here’s an idea: You don’t want to miss the Stanley Cup playoffs, don’t leap off your skates and drill a guy in the head more than a second after he’s released the puck.

Canucks coach Alain Vigneault says Rome “isn’t a dirty player, never has been, never will be.” Whether he is or not is irrelevant. It was a dirty play.

Here’s Andrew Ference in February, after teammate Daniel Paille (not a dirty player; never disciplined before) was suspended four games for a head shot on Raymond Sawada (who was unhurt):

“It’s a bad hit, right?” said Ference. “You hear it from every player after they do it, they feel bad, and same thing, I talked to Danny [Paille] and he feels bad.

“You can’t be a hypocrite about it, though. I’ve thought about this a lot and had plenty of time to put things in perspective over the last year. Sidney Crosby has been very vocal about the head shots and blindside hits since he suffered one in the Winter Classic, but what did Crosby say after Cooke hit Savvy last year? Nothing.

“I thought a lot about that. You want to be a good teammate, but you shouldn’t be a hypocrite about it.” 

So here’s the question: If that was Henrik Sedin being strapped to a backboard and carted off on a stretcher, would Alan Vigneault be protesting that it wasn’t a dirty hit?

Photo: Nathan Horton from Getty Images

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02 Aug 2010 Hey Hockey Fans — How is Your Summer?

Mike Modano and his Dallas Stars crushed the hearts of Buffalo Sabres fans one summer night in June 1999.

Do you need something to distract you from the stifling heat?

I’ve been enjoying the offering of 35 years of Stanley Cup Finals on the NHL Network. What they’ve done in their Raising the Cup series, is to take the Cup-clinching game of each year and show it in its entirety. True greatness! (Although not shown in Canada.)

We’ve been able to see some of these games before on their Vintage Games series, but the games are always compressed and chopped up. So when I see that they have five hours dedicated on August 6 for the 1999 game, excuse me while I get a little excited. Few, if any, have that entire game on DVD. Now, because of the NHL Network, we’ll have a chance to throw away our deteriorating VHS tapes of that triple-overtime fingerbiter.

I’ve watched bits and parts of most of the games, including the North Stars loss in 1981 to the Islanders and the 1991 loss to the Penguins. Why? Because they are moments of time that my favorite team will never get back. How great was it to see rookie Dino Ciccarelli, or a young Mike Modano weaving his way through defenders? To see Neal Broten as captain still encouraging his clearly outmanned team?

And what Canucks fan wouldn’t want to see the beloved Trevor Linden single-handedly almost beating the Rangers? Or a Blackahawks fan watch Chris Chelios in his full glory almost decapitating Larry Murphy, or the skinny kid Roenick try to get a puck past Barraso? Even though you know your team didn’t win, how great is it to see your favorite players back in their prime? AND… still on your team!

To me, the worst part of this series has been some of the game presentations. Sometimes you get the CBC coverage, but there have been MSG, and Pittsburgh feeds also. Brutal … that’s all I can say about those Pens’ feeds. Especially against the Blackhawks. Blech! Talk about homers! It makes today’s Avs and Ducks guys seem tame in comparison. (oh, and Jack Edwards, I miss the OLD you!)

Tom Mees formerly of ESPN

Tom Mees former ESPN SportsCenter anchor and hockey play-by-play man.

My favorite game so far has been the 1993 Kings/Canadiens game with the ESPN feed. It wasn’t seeing all the Habs players who ended up in Dallas, or seeing Denis Savard’s eyes glistening as he stood behind the bench, or even Barry Melrose’s superior mullet. Nope, it was seeing Tom Mees again.

Who is Tom Mees you might ask? Tom was hockey on ESPN. He was one of the original Sports Center anchors, but when the NHL started on ESPN in 1987, he became their chief play-by-play guy.  He was also instrumental in furthering NCAA hockey coverage, as well as bringing the Frozen Four to national prominence. Unfortunately, Tom died in 1996 of an accidental drowning. During the work stoppage, I often wondered what role his voice could have had in ending that madness sooner.

A few other goodies gleaned from the broadcast?

  • That Patrick Roy was about to become the first $3 million goalie.
  • That ESPN2 was about to be up and running.
  • The interview with Brian Bellows where he talked about how happy he was to win the Cup, but that he wished he could have won it two years earlier for the fans of Minnesota. I may have teared up at that.

So thank you NHL Network for sharing these full game gems with us. I’ll be watching for 1999 and 2000, even though the latter didn’t turn out the way I would have liked.

P.S.  This is a tough week for my old Norris Division heart. Congrats to Marty Turco, and a possible congrats to Modano, who I hear is about to sign a deal with the anti-Christ.  Patrick Kane is going to score a gazillion goals with Marty’s puckhandling skills, and Mike??? Continue being you.

Photos:  Mike Modano from Getty Images; Tom Mees from Wiki Commons.

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05 Jun 2010 Surely You’re Joking. No, and Don’t Call me Shirley!

Chris Pronger

Flyers D-man Chris Pronger works his magic in a room full of lights, cameras and stupid questions.

Not only am I a big supporter of the boys of the junior ranks; but for the last 30+ years I’ve been a fangirl of the big boys too. For the most part, I’ve leaned towards the good guys like Nicklas Lidstrom, Teemu Selanne and of course my beloved Captain Canuck aka Trevor Linden. But once in a while I would go for someone who didn’t fit that mold … he did what he damn well felt like and f*@% you if you don’t like it. For a long time, that was Mark Messier … well until he went to New York and started a reign of terror over my Trevor, but that is another story for another day. The last couple of years, though, someone piqued my interest. Someone whom I never ever thought I’d find interesting — until he became a member of one of my teams. That man is Chris Pronger.

Christopher Robert Pronger has been on the radar for quite some time but as we came more and more into the Internet age; things that you wouldn’t read about other than in local papers or see on ESPN/TSN for 30 seconds would cross the globe (especially for those of us in the Pacific Time Zone). What kept my attention on him was the whole “Pronger wants to be traded” thing that got started in Edmonton after the Oilers lost to the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006. There were all sorts of stories concocted from the actual reason that was given by the man himself which was “personal reasons,” to his getting a local celebrity knocked up; and the one that most of the media ran with, which was that his wife hated life there. I’ve been to Edmonton. Sure, it’s not the mecca that St. Louis is; but it’s not that bad. You just have to like miles and miles of flat land and build your kids’ Halloween costumes around snow suits that look like the little brother in “A Christmas Story.” Other than that, it seems like a very lovely town.

Once the Oilers found a buyer for their disgruntled boy, he went to a place that might possibly be the photo negative of Edmonton and that is Southern California. I wasn’t sure what to think when he was traded to the Ducks. I was happy to have a player of his caliber on my team; but I wasn’t sure what sort of mischief he was going to get himself into. What we found out is that, yeah, he’s really good at what he does but part of what he does is knock people around. He is also kind of an ass sometimes. Sometimes, though, you are willing to accept the “con” of his being an ass, for the “pro” of what else he can bring to the team. Namely, he is a player who is not only skilled at what he does, but he was willing to step into a leadership role, taking over the captaincy of the Ducks while Scottie Nieds made up his mind about retirement.

So I guess what I’m trying to say, and may get rotten fruit thrown at me for saying it, is that Chris Pronger doesn’t owe anything to anyone; and least of all the media. As a professional, he has missed the post season only four times; and one of those was because no one else in the league was working. During those playoff runs, three separate teams in the last five years went to the Stanley Cup Finals, with one winning it all — and the team he’s on this year has a good chance.

And for a very large defenseman, he’s scored a fairly respectable 661 points in a little more than 1,100 games, as well as being a six-time All-Star and owning one of those cute little copies of the Hart and the Norris Trophies. On top of that, he’s helped Team Canada win a World Championship and two Olympic gold medals. What more do you want from the man?

It amuses me reading different blogs and watching various sports shows. It appears that the media, both here and on the northern side of the 49th parallel, expect that since he’s a veteran and a Stanley Cup champion that he’s in the same vein of interview as Sidney Crosby or Johnny Toews. Well, kids, he ain’t. He never has, never will be; and for God’s sake stop having the nerve to look so surprised.

Photo: Chris Pronger from The Associated Press/The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz

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03 Jun 2010 Pronger’s Head Games — Amusing ‘Little Minds’
Chris Pronger

"Look into my face and know, to look into my face is to look into the face ... of EVIL!" so said comic Kevin McDonald of The Kids in the Hall as Sir Simon Milligan. Does the same go for Chris Pronger?

Oh Chris! Yes, I mean the Chris of the Philadelphia Flyers: Pronger. I have to hand it to him for bringing the controversy to the Stanley Cup Finals. I love that in losing efforts he raced over to snap up the “winning” (er, losing?) puck after both games in Chicago, then claimed he threw them in the trash can “where they belong.” Total asshole thing to do? Maybe. But it’s also a dash of genius in a weird, twisted Dr. Evil kind of way.

Pronger has always known how to poke and prod and push his way onto the “hate” lists of opposing players on the ice. Now, here he goes doing the same thing skating off the ice — and I love it.

I am a firm believer that pretty much any press is good press. If this gets people talking about the NHL — great! If it fired up the Flyers for Game 3 (which they did win in overtime) — also great! If it got under the skin of the Blackhawks and caused them to lose focus — way to go Chris. The mind of an NHL agitator works in mysterious ways.

NHL players say Pronger is one of those guys you loathe — unless he’s on your team. Now he’s making off with pucks and infuriating certain members of the Blackhawks (hello Ben Eager!), going so far as to remark to the media (in regard to Eager’s eager interest in his puck-snatching ways) that “apparently, it got him upset. So I guess it worked, didn’t it? It’s too bad. I guess little things amuse little minds.”

Oh Chris! You are truly evil! With such a remark, you zing not just Eager, but all of us who find your unique brand of gamesmanship so amusing.

(No word yet on who grabbed the Game 3 puck.)

So gamesmanship or disgrace? We want to know what YOU think!

Photo: Chris Pronger by The Associated Press.

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29 May 2010 Facing Off on the Stanley Cup, Playoff Beards and More

It’s a Goddess smackdown! Ha ha! Just kidding. But it is that time again. Time for the Hockey Goddesses to make their fearless predictions. Much like we did with our Olympic pick off 1 and 2, read the tea leaves and let you know what we see. We’ll also share our thoughts on some marginally related — but fun — items, like our vote for the “best playoff beard.”

We made our selections before the first game of the Stanley Cup playoffs without consulting one another. So, now that I have kept you in suspense — here are the results! After you read, let us know what you think!

Goddess Face Off

Stanley Cup Winner Conn Smythe Prediction
Amy Blackhawkscheck Michael Leighton Blackhawks in 7
Annalisk Blackhawkscheck Antti Niemi Blackhawks in 6.check
Kaat Blackhawkscheck Antti Niemi Blackhawks in 6.check
Sasha Philadelphia Michael Leighton Flyers in 7.
Savvy Blackhawkscheck Jonathan Toewscheck Blackhawks in 5.

Watercooler Chatter

The Goddesses want to give a special award to Scott Hartnell. We appreciate irreverence. We appreciate the desire to make a bold statement, but none of us seems to appreciate Scott Hartnell’s special brand of wolfishness. (We prefer the Peter Forsberg kind of wolf.)

Scott Hartnell

Scott Hartnell takes the prize -- worst hair, worst beard, biggest beast. Thank you Mr. Hartnell.

Goddess Amy

  • Ugliest player: * I don’t think either team has anyone truly stomach turning in the looks department; but I think that Scott Hartnell has to be the player who best personifies ugly in the way he plays.
  • Prettiest player: Blackhawks- Niklas Hjalmarsson You would think being a Swede would give him a head start; but hi!, you’ve met Daniel Tjärnqvist and the Sedin twins right? Patrick Sharp is a very close second as the brunette contender, but I think Nikky is just lovely.
    Niklas Hjalmarsson

    The Blackhawks' Niklas Hjalmarsson.

  • Disappearing act: I don’t know if there has been one from the Flyers, which is probably one of the reasons they’re in the Finals. On the Hawks though, I have to go with Brian Campbell. He’s being paid a lot of money and, though his regular season was pretty good, in the playoffs his plus/minus is higher than is point total.
  • Best shirtless: I’m sure there are more out there, but I was in a time crunch and I remembered this one. Yeah, he’s a douche sometimes, but he helped my Ducks win a Cup and he’s pretty built too. I give you Chris Pronger (pictured, left, with former NHLer Eric Lindros).

    Chris Pronger

    Chris Pronger, left, and Eric Lindros

  • Best hair: ** It has to be the mullet on Pat Kane. OMG … it’s so bad that it’s fabulous.
  • Best playoff beard: Best playoff beard — I hate him but Scott Hartnell has to win. He also comes second to Pat Kane in the best hair department.
  • Worst playoff beard: It’s gotta be Danny Briere. It’s just only a tiny bit thicker than Sidney Crosby’s but Sid is 10 years younger.
  • Best goalie mask (of those goalies remaining): Cristobal Huet. It’s beautiful with the Native American headdress on it. I do miss Patty Lalime’s mask with his signature Marvin the Martian wearing the headdress though.

Goddess Kaat

  • Ugliest player: * It’s so predictable that I hesitate to select him, but Scott Hartnell, come on down!
  • Prettiest player: * Marian Hossa. When he was traded away, it was like they traded away my best friend and I suddenly had to find a new best friend. I am still looking. He’s pretty when he is playing well. He’s Magical Marian and I hope to see that gorgeous play come out to, well, play. I hope he silences the critics.
  • Disappearing act: I predict one of the two starting goalies goes AWOL. It would be so easy to cherrybomb on Hossa, who is having a rough go.
  • Best shirtless: My selection is the Michael Jordan statue outside the United Center. Someone has placed a Blackhawks jersey and helmet on it and it just ain’t right as we say down South. Jordan deserves to be left in his old Bulls jersey, not dolled up like the famous Manneken Pis in Brussels, Belgium whom they love to dress up in costumes. No, no. MJ deserves the respect of being in his own gear. Therefore, he’s my pick for “best shirtless” — or would be best shirtless. He shouldn’t be in that jersey!
    Blackhawks jersey on Michael Jordan statue outside of the United Center.

    A Blackhawks jersey was placed on the Michael Jordan statue outside of the United Center.

  • Best hair: ** I am kind of loving Marian’s shag. He’s got a nice looking Beatles vibe going and I dig it. Enough of the spiky. He’s going all sleek and silky. Nice! (His beard looks well looked after too. Extra points!)

    Marian Hossa

    Marian Hossa's new 'do.

  • Best playoff beard: Yeesh, that’s a tough one. I am not much of a beard fan in general, but I rather like the beards that haven’t come in all the way or are patchy — you just know that bothers the poor guys. I find it endearing and, dare I say it? Cute. There, I ruined my rep.
  • Worst playoff beard: Chris Pronger. I am baffled by his lack of a beard at all. Come on!
  • Best goalie mask (of those goalies remaining): Cristobal Huet. I really like the feathers and the continuity of a theme. It just looks cool. I know some people will think that makes me uncool and that I am stereotyping or being otherwise rude. Not in the least. I just think it looks awesome. Only great love is intended.

    Cristobal Huet

    Cristobal Huet's beautiful, colorful mask.


Goddess Sasha

  • Ugliest player: *I’m interpreting like I always do. Literally. It is a close race between Scott Hartnall and Ian LaPerriere.
  • Prettiest player: * Niklas Hjalmarsson. Just check him out.
  • Disappearing act: I will predict that Patrick Kane does the disappearing act .
  • Best shirtless: Riley Cote. I’m not sure what is best, but it’s best something.
    Riley Cote

    Riley Cote's sexy chest.

  • Best hair: ** Patrick Sharp always has great hair.

    Patrick Sharp

    Patrick Sharp and his fabulous hair.

  • Best playoff beard: Arron Asham – he looks Asian with his..so much so the third search suggestion when you start to type in your google toolbar is “Arron Asham Asian.”
  • Worst playoff beard: Simon Gagne — Because it’s just ugh.
    Simon Gagne.

    Simon Gagne, left, and Danny Briere were both tagged as having the worst playoff beard.

  • Best goalie mask (of those goalies remaining):Both are very un-inspiring I think.
  • Thoughts: I think Philadelphia will win — a bunch of no names, barely squeaking in and have scratched and clawed their way to the finals.

Goddess Savvy

  • Ugliest player: * Hmmm… Carcillo or Hartnell… Carcillo or Hartnell… oh great. Now I have to go wash my brain out with soap.
  • Prettiest player: * Patrick Kane. I like pretty boys with curly blond mullets. Reminds me of my college days.
    Patrick Kane

    Patrick Kane wears hockey hair nouveau (and a fauxhawk?).

  • Disappearing act: Chris Pronger. Wishful thinking, I know. But I’m hoping somebody does this to him:

  • Best shirtless: [Editor's note: Goddess Savvy is cheating again! Ha ha! -- Admin] The Boston Bruins aren’t in the final. :-( He’s pretty anyway: Matt Hunwick.
    Matt Hunwick

    He's not in the finals, but he still looks good with his shirt off: Matt Hunwick.

  • Best hair: ** Kane, of course.
  • Best playoff beard: Danny Briere, because it’s so… sad. Like a little lost playoff beard.
  • Worst playoff beard: Jonathan Toews, hands down. He looks like he’s molting.
  • Best goalie mask (of those goalies remaining): Tuukka Rask. He’s not remaining? He SHOULD be!
  • Thoughts? Blackhawks in five. (I wonder if Stan Bowman, the Blackhawks GM, will cap off the series win by hoisting the Stanley Cup and saying, “Après moi, le deluge”?)

* Note 1: Prettiest/ugliest player was open to interpretation. It could have meant looks, style or play, however the goddess chose to interpret that question.
* Note 2: There is not a “worst hair” category as it is clear that Scott Hartnell would sweep it.


Photos: Patrick Kane by Getty Images; Matt Hunwick by Stuff Boston; Marian Hossa by The Associated Press; Michael Jordan statue by The Associated Press; Niklas Hjalmarsson from NHL.com; Chris Pronger and Eric Lindros from deadspin.com; Riley Cote from fllyers07-08.blogspot.com; Patrick Sharp by NHL.com.

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24 May 2010 Some Guys Have All the Luck

Thrasher fan on Heatley trade.

A Thrasher fan simultaneously expresses his thoughts on Dany Heatley and Marian Hossa.

My dear Marian (Hossa, of course!) has once again made it to the Stanley Cup Finals. That’s three years in a row, with three different teams — and that’s a pretty incredible feat. As someone who was lucky enough to get to watch Marian for many years in Atlanta, I know how good he can be. It’s time for him to step it up in the playoffs and get over the yips or whatever it is that has him underperforming. He’s better than his playoff stats show. He’s magical when he’s on. It’s time for him to bring out the magic stick and show everyone what I think we all know he’s capable of. I can’t help but think that, although the Blackhawks got this far in the playoffs without — for the most part — his otherworldly skills, Marian has to be more than a mere mortal before the hockey gods (and goddesses!) will allow him to lift the Cup. He just seems to have a curse on him.

I find it rather intriguing that Hossa, who was signed by, and traded from, the Ottawa Senators (to the Atlanta Thrashers) before the ink was even dry on the contract, was going up against the guy — Dany Heatley now of the San Jose Sharks — he was traded for way back when. For all of the gaffes Marian has made in the media over the last several years and for all the things he’s said that have pissed people off, I think he’s been nothing if not honest and hard working. I will sound like a bitter Thrashers fan but I think the exact opposite of “the Heater.”

Marian Hossa

Is this Hossa's year -- at last?

I’ve always understood Heatley’s desire to depart from Atlanta and try to cobble his mind back together without the daily, sorrowful reminders the city held for him. But he’s shown himself to be kind of a louse. Quitting, not just on the city of Atlanta and the fans who stood so firmly behind him, but on the Swiss team he signed with during the NHL lockout (to head to Russia to play for Ak Bars Kazan, a team loaded with NHL talent), then on the Senators last year, demanding a trade after signing a big old contract, which, of course, contained the dreaded no-trade clause. I’m not going to go so far as to compare him — either jokingly or seriously — to Stalin as one somewhat amusing columnist did back during last summer’s “Dany-gate.” But maybe the hockey gods have spoken after all. Hossa’s in, Heater’s out.

Or maybe I am just being ridiculous. Maybe it’s just the way Lady Luck danced … the cookie crumbled … the puck bounced. Whatever it is, I have always admired Marian Hossa as a person and a player. As a Thrasher fan, it sucks he’s gone and it hurts to know he didn’t want to be in my city on my team, but he didn’t choose Atlanta and I respect his decision to seek his fame and fortune elsewhere. In short, I wish him well and hope that, the third time is, indeed, a charm. There is a Russian proverb that asserts “God loves the number three.” Maybe this is Hossa’s year after all.

Photos: Thrasher fan by Goddess Kaatiya. Copyright 2007-2010. All Rights Reserved. Marian Hossa by Chris Stanford, chrisstanford.com.

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25 Apr 2010 Death of a Season
Darcy Tucker

Darcy Tucker at his first Avalanche training camp.

Yep, the Colorado Avalanche are out. I don’t know why, but watching the kids this year scrap their way into a spot this year has really endeared me to them  — more so than many other teams.  Yes, they weren’t supposed to make it to the playoffs this year, and were slated to finish last in the NHL.  Yet I can’t help but feel a bit of heartache for the kids.

Maybe it’s because I know that I’ve probably seen Darcy Tucker for the last time with the Avs.  It seems like just yesterday when Goddess Kaatiya called me to tell me we had signed him.  One of my all-time favorite players, I was ecstatic.  Tonight, he waited until the rest of the team had exited the ice before giving the fans a big wave.  How could have time passed so quickly?  Still, we saw almost every single home game he played with the Avs

Then there are the kids.  Who doesn’t love to see a bunch of 18-to-mid-20-year-old kids play their hearts out each night?  I don’t know about you, but I’d rather see a bunch of kids over achieve than the team of old talent reach a quarter of their potential year after year.  Yeah, they made the games worth attending this year, and my heart breaks a little bit for them.

Maybe it’s that we’ve finally given up our season tickets for next year.  I’ll save the details for another post, but it was time.  I actually love this team more than I have in years, but the folks at Kronke Sports Enterprises and team management have proven to me this year that it’s not worth dumping another several thousand into the least fan-friendly organization in the league.  And it makes me sad knowing that we no longer have those 40 games to go to in the middle of winter.

I hope the future holds more energy and fire, and I’d love to see them pick up a talented, skating European — a Swede or a Russian would be nice.  But alas, the Avs seem to be an “all American, all the time” team anymore (with a couple of exceptions.)  Now THAT might bring me back to season tickets.

But that’s all in the future.  For now, I think I’ll just listen to the down and depressing music of the Drive-By Truckers and wallow in some self-pity.  I went to almost all the home games this year.  I deserve it.

Photo: Darcy Tucker by Goddess Sasha. Copyright 2008. All Rights Reserved.

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03 Apr 2010 Jim Slater: You’ve Been Voted Off … Now GO!
Loathsome Jim Slater.

Loathsome Jim Slater: You're fired!

Yes you, JIM SLATER! You took a penalty in the last two minutes of today’s crucial game against the Penguins — and they scored to tie the game. Then, they went on to win the game. This is the second time in three games that you, Jim, have taken a penalty in the last two minutes of the third period of a game. You should be in the press box while Slava Kozlov — world-class player — gets a chance. I hope that’s where you end up. I have no sympathy.

Thank you for your very untimely “contributions.” Now get the hell off Thrasher Island. You are the Mike Dunham of this year. And you’re as unwelcome in Atlanta now as he is. See ya and please … feel free to let the door hit your ass on the way out!

Goodbye playoffs and adios Jim!

Photo: Jim Slater by Goddess Kaat. Copyright 2009-2010. All Rights Reserved.

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01 Apr 2010 The Kiss of Death

An April Fool's Day joke came via e-mail to Atlanta Thrashers fans. Cruel.

An April Fool's Day joke came via e-mail to Atlanta Thrashers fans today. Cruel.

April Fools.

That’s the Thrashers.

The Boston Bruins lost tonight. The Philadelphia Flyers lost. Both teams have 82 points. The Thrashers are chasing both of these teams and guess what? They lost too! The Thrashers remain at 80. Going nowhere fast. This isn’t the first time this has happened. The Thrashers have had their chances to climb into eighth place and pass some teams, but they just can’t or won’t (or a combination of both). As a matter of fact, all three teams I mentioned seem not to want to grab those last few playoff spots, but as a Thrasher fan I am so incredibly frustrated. They could have pulled closer — even in points tonight. But no. Of course not. These are my Thrashers. This is April. It’s time to take the pieces of my heart that I’d cobbled together after losing Heatley, Savard, Hossa and Kovalchuk and shatter them to bits.

I partially blame their failure on the fact that today the marketing department sent out information for playoff tickets. Kiss of death.

Playing the Washington Capitals didn’t help either.

As I say every year: “Oh Thrashers!” :-(

Photo/Image: From Atlanta Thrashers marketing e-mail, April 1, 2010.



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