Thrash Talk: A New Start
A New Start
The Thrashers start what will hopefully be a better era for the franchise. Certainly can’t be worse than before. The team started off very well under their new coach. The question now is will they keep up this type of play and learn from their coach, or will they fall back onto those very familiar bad habits. Time will tell, but at the very least Thrasher fans now have a bit of hope.
Hartley’s debut was a successful one. The team played with more discipline defensively and more passion. As time goes on, that passion will fade a bit but hopefully be kept at a level higher than the first half of this season. Hartley’s plan is to not change the system in Atlanta immediately. He will spend a few weeks getting to know his players, and where their individual strengths and weaknesses lie. Once he has a better understanding of the players, then he may choose a system to fit the team. While he will not change things immediately, he will constantly instruct the players on better defensive techniques and the like. Personally, even though it would be nice, I’m not expecting a miracle. A reasonable hope for Atlanta fans is that the team can become more consistent: defense, offense, special teams, etc., along with more passion and intensity night in and night out. Just have to wait and see.
Dafoe out at least two weeks with a groin injury. Very tough for a goalie to fully recover from such an injury during the season (the fact that he missed training camp and the first part of the year didn’t help either). Bartecko also sidelined with a bad groin. Krupp watch – another week or two and he should be ready to play. Argue amongst yourselves whether this is good or bad.
Players doing well in the organization: In Chicago, Simon Gamache and Mark Hartigan are scoring at a very regular clip. While Derek McKenzie, Ben Simon and Garnet Exelby are playing with great intensity every game, and are improving defensively. As for the college prospects, leader of the pack is Jim Slater of Michigan State. Averaging more than a point a game, he is also +7 on the season.. While LW Stephen Baby of Cornell has notched 21 points in 15 games thus far.
Curse of the captain? Three previous captains in Thrashers history and while they were captain: Kelly Buchberger traded, Steve Staios not re-signed, Ray Ferraro traded. Is Shawn McEachern next? Everyone seems to think so, and that Slava Kozlov will go with him. But the situation in Atlanta has changed sufficiently that any rumors will be put on hold for a bit. Nobody can realistically say which players will improve under the new coach and which might become expendable. After a few weeks of games and practice and evaluation, it should a little more clear what category the Thrasher players fall into. Until that time, talk of rumors about them will merely be fan speculation, and nothing more.
I was tempted to go into a big rant about how some recent news reports have described the Thrashers as “woeful” and “losable but loveable”. From fans, I’ve heard that and much worse in the past few years. Deserved comments maybe. As a die-hard I know better than the casual hockey fan how bad this team has been, and such comments (from fans or media) suffer from a perceptible lack of class. While I would never say the media is filled with class, they usually refrain from such obvious insults. Guess I did rant a bit.
My other tid-bit is the selection of Dany Heatley into the All Star game. In most people’s opinions, a good selection. It’s the omission that gets me a bit, and I can’t believe it but I have to agree with Melrose on this one. Mogilny and Kovalchuk left off the team kinda baffles me. Both have had very solid starts to the season and would bring a great deal of flash and flair to the game, which I thought is what the league was looking for. And I know there are other selections and omissions that will draw many a heated comment (deservedly so), but just thought I’d show my displeasure for this one.
Until next time…