The Opossum-Palooza

It's okay. We don't know what the name means either.


NHL Preview: Atlanta Thrashers

It's time for the eleventh installment of our thirty part series previewing the fast approaching NHL season. For those of you who were rather enjoying DefDude's most excellent previews, you are completely out of luck. Southeast division previews are being brought to you by yours truly. Check back in a week, when DefDude starts previewing the Northwest division. But for today, let's look at the Atlanta Thrashers.

The Atlanta Thrashers? Where to begin. Ordinarily, I fill this first paragraph with tales of a franchise's glory days. Problem being, with the Thrashers, the closest thing they have to a glory day is the day they drafted the (then) best Russian prospect ever in Ilya Kovalchuk (pronounced Koval-chook for you ignorant, non-Russian speakers). Other than that, the hockey fan(s) in the ATL had very little to get excited about in the franchise's first five seasons (plus lockout). Things started looking up last year, as the Thrashers were in the thick of the playoff race (well, if not the thick, then they were out there on the edge fighting for the eighth spot) up until their second to last game of the season. They eventually finished tied with the Toronto Maple Leafs for the sixth worst record in the Eastern Conference (or ninth best, if you're a glass half full type). This year, the team embarks on a noble quest to be only the eighth worst team and bring the joy of playoff hockey to the state of Georgia for the first time since the Jimmy Carter administration.

It won't be easy. The only real bright spot for the Thrash (great nickname, by the way) this offseason was the signing of backup netminder Johan "Headcase" Hedberg (you can also call him "Moose" if youd like). While he will provide a stabilizing presence in net when Kari Lehtonen inevitably goes down with an injury, the fact that he is batshit crazy should probably be a cause for concern. Not as much, though, as the loss of Jaroslav Modry, which has left their already thin defensive corps in a very bad state.

The only really good move the Thrashers front office made was the decision to do away with the team's dark blue home sweaters, and replace them with the significantly more aesthetically pleasing third jerseys (ostensibly, this was because this is the only reason anybody outside of the NHL even knows who the Thrashers are).

To keep up with the Atlanta hockey team via blog (because, really, what other way is there?) check out Thrash Talk.

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