Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Blueland Blog,
Despite all the talk of this being the Thrashers first playoff appearance it turns out that the Thrashers, as individuals, have oodles of experience in the post-season. The second-most in the Eastern Conference and fifth most among all playoff teams. Scott Mellanby has been there. Bobby Holik has been there. Slava Kozlov has been there. Greg de Vries. Keith Tkachuk. Alexei Zhitnik, Niclas Havelid and Jon Sim. They’ve all gone deep, and there are six Cup rings and 15 Finals appearances on this roster to show for it. Combined our roster has 275 games more of NHL post-season experience of the supposedly veteran Rangers.
I told you before that people would call us out as being inexperienced, and I told you they’d be wrong. Now you have the numbers right in front of you to show you just how wrong they are.
more & a nice chart with playoff games played for each team…
from the New York Times,
And while the Thrashers have lived on their offensive firepower, the Rangers are a defense-first team that has frequently won, or lost, by 2-1 scores.
The series, which starts Thursday in Atlanta, will most likely swing on which team can impose its style on the other.
“They are a strange team to play,” Rangers forward Jaromir Jagr said. “They’re like a snake. They make you sleep and they jump. They’ve got so much power, they just hit you with three goals with the skill they have.
“You have to be ready for that. I think you just have to play your game, don’t adjust to their game.”
added 9:51pm, from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
Not only are the Thrashers playing in their first playoff series, they’re doing it on the biggest media stage in the world. The team, which at times has complained about the leaguewide lack of exposure for its stars like Ilya Kovalchuk and Marian Hossa, now has to prevent being burned by overexposure and the distractions that come with playing a New York team.
“That’s going to be a challenge,” coach Bob Hartley said after Monday’s practice. “That’s the challenge of a pro sports athlete — some people will lose their focus.”
from the Mining Journal,
His Atlanta Thrashers had made the NHL playoffs for the first time in the team’s brief history, but Don Waddell didn’t celebrate much Sunday night.
“I was in New York and was excited,” the Thrashers’ executive vice president and general manager said in a telephone conversation Thursday morning, “but it had been such a long time coming, I didn’t go out and celebrate. I just thought, ‘we finally made it.’...
“We try to get character guys,” said Waddell, a member of the NHL’s Competition Committee. “You need that to be a successful team and we have an outstanding locker room.
“You have to have patience, though. There were many times I wanted to blow up (our roster) or trade younger guys. But then there’s the danger that you’ll miss the playoffs — or have a short run — and not have any future assets,” he added.
from Mark Bradley at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution blogs,
The Thrashers have never played a postseason game. That changes next week. The NHL playoffs are different from the NBA’s. Any team that gets in has a realistic (as opposed to a theoretical) chance to play for the Cup. The Thrashers could surprise everyone and be playing not just next week but next month.
If that happens, Atlanta will tune in. This is, as we know, a bandwagon city. But I’m guessing the first round will get little attention from the masses because the bandwagon hasn’t really budged
I think the Blueland Blog has had enough of the “soft” talk…
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
If the Thrashers manage to finish out of the playoffs or get blitzed in the first round, then the jobs of general manager Don Waddell and head coach Bob Hartley could be in danger. Even worse, the future of the franchise, which has yet to take Atlanta by storm, could be at stake.
“This is a critical year for our franchise,” Waddell said Wednesday. “Our attendance is heading in the right direction, but if we fall short, it could affect us for years to come.”
Both Waddell and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman say they are not worried about the future of the franchise in Atlanta. But there are troubling signs aside from attendance, which is improving this season but still among the worst in the NHL.
from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
Bob Hartley is as much a hockey fan as he is a coach. He has a satellite dish at home to watch minor-league hockey in Canada, and his flat-screen television in his Duluth office keeps him constantly updated with feeds from TSN, Canada’s ESPN equivalent.
Right now the fan in him is puzzled. Why, he wondered on Monday after practice, are hockey pundits debating fighting in hockey when the NHL — and the Thrashers — are in the stretch run of an exciting race to the playoffs?
“Why are we not talking about this great race?” he asked. “Tell me a sport where we have seen a race like this, that’s what we should be talking about. Some teams won’t go down. No one wants to go down.”
via Sports Business Journal,
Atlanta Thrashers co-owner Bruce Levenson and EVP/GM Don Waddell were seen in mullet wigs after a promotion in which the team gave out 9,000 wigs. At the black-tie team fundraising “Casino Night,” several players, including Greg de Vries and Marian Hossa, wore mullet wigs.
from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
De Vries won it in Colorado under Bob Hartley in 2001 and sees more in common with that team than just the head coach.
“[In Colorado] we had a quiet confidence,” de Vries said. “But I see that here, especially since the trade deadline, since we acquired [Zhitnik], Tkachuk, Dupuis and Belanger. You can see it, we think we can win every night and that’s a huge quality.”
Kozlov, who won two Stanley Cups (1997-98) with Detroit, agreed.
“I think it’s there,” said Kozlov when talking about the team’s confidence. “Especially after the trades, we have so much confidence. We’re playing much better right now. The four lines are clicking together.”
from the CP via the Globe and Mail,
Hockey is a tough game and for a team to be successful, it has to be played that way. Against opponents of similar stature, he would do the same.
Only far too often this season, Tkachuk believes, tough play has given way to dirty play. And with a spate of recent ugly incidents in mind, the veteran power forward feels his fellow players need to be a little more considerate toward their opponents.
“I think guys are taking a little more liberties now whereas years ago you had to be held accountable,” Tkachuk said on a conference call Wednesday. “Now with more and more players coming in there’s a lot of guys who aren’t accountable. It’s not fair. You want to go out and do something but you can’t because you’re worried about the consequences.
I have been preaching respect all year- The NHLPA needs to step up and make all players aware of the damage they are doing to the game…
added 5:31pm, You can read the whole transcript of the Tkachuk tele-conference…
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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