EDITORIAL COMMENT (9/1/99)
The Open Ice hockey summit held in Toronto came up with a few recommendations on the future of hockey in Canada. The two most important ones were raising the draft age to 19 or 20 and the practice-to-game ratio.
By moving the draft age to 19 or 20, you allow players to be more well-rounded mentally and physically. I think you would see an immediate change in attitude in kids. Now, if you're not 6', 220 at age 14, you can pretty much forget about it. That leads to all sorts of excesses: from andro and steroids to coaches and scouts who don't look further than heigth an weigth recruiting in development leagues. Eventually, the NHL would be welcoming late bloomers whith great skills and speed who are now droping out too early in their carrer. But as long as the GMs rather see a bad rookie paid 500,000$ than an average veteran paid 1,500,000$, I don't see that happening.
The draft age alone is not enough. You need to allow players to develop outside the 60 minutes of game time. How refreshing would it be to see a rookie who can make hard passes right on the tape, a young defenseman learning the strategies against 3 on 2's instead of learning how to skate backward, a goalie not dropping on his knees every 5 seconds... But less games means less revenues. Unless people start paying to see pratices, I don't see that happening.
So. What does the future holds for hockey in North America? Euros needing their own All-Start games and an North-American Hall Of Could-Have-Been. In on the first ballot: Alexandre Daigle and Brett Lindros. Maybe Sedin's parents should have been invited to that summit.
EDITORIAL COMMENT (8/24/99)
There is definitely something missing. The fact that the message board on AccessAtlanta spent most of the last two weeks dissecting Lambert's trade is the best exemple. Is it a power forward? A defensemen that can carry the puck? A snipper? A name for the mascot? The road jersey?
No. What is missing is the pre-season camp. We need quotes from actual players sweating actual sweat on an actual hockey rink. I, for one, am getting tired of wondering who is that no name norwegian that will never play a shift in the NHL. I want to see who can skate and who can pivot on both side.
The end is near, people. We will be able to put our teeth on some meat in a week or so. I hope to see you all here. I'll try to call crap, crap and give praises to those who deserve it.
On a personal note, we are still expenting our first little Thrasher any day now. The little devil is making himself desired... BTW, I am trying to get a domain name. Anybody knows a cheap way to forward sites? Thanks. EDITORIAL COMMENT (8/11/99)
Not much going on again this week. And the Atlanta-Journal-Constitution, Atlanta's lone daily newspaper, does nothing to uncover interesting stories. Now that the football season is underway, the Thrashers will take a back seat. Too bad. the pre-draft coverage was pretty good.
Stefan has not put his name on a contract yet. Since the Twins already did, I hope we won't have any problems. But you never know. I could try to pull a Jamal and let the team out to dry.
There is a lot of talk around the NHL about Pat Verbeek. I think we filled the "veteran-offense" position with Ferraro, and to a lesser extent Emerson. Verbeek is a good fit for a team in need of a solid 3rd lineman who can come in on the powerplay when the 1st unit is in a slump. I am not sure he wants to end his carreer with an expansion franchise anyway.
On a personal note, we are expenting our first little Thrasher any day now, so I may be a little late with the news. BTW, I am now listed on yahoo!. Yippee!!!
EDITORIAL COMMENT (7/30/99)
Very slow week, newswise in the NHL. ESPN.com had the same feature on the Trashers for at least 5 days and the AJC had nothing until yesterday.
I am glad that The Zone got the radio rights. This means that we will have great pre and post-game show where people will be allowed to say what they want about the game and the players, good or bad. Just listen to Skip Caray's butt-kissing show and you'll know what I mean.
My sources tell me that we are on the verge of signing Ray Ferraro. That's a step in the right direction. He knows what it takes to play well on a bad team (his Whalers days) and will be a much better role model for Stefan than Emerson.
I put (or will in a few hours) a link to MY team song: Cum on feel the noize by Oasis (originally by Quiet Riot). It's in MP3 format. Here is a link to the player I use.
EDITORIAL COMMENT (7/25/99)
According to comments heard here and there (I learned my double checking skills with CNN!!!), it will be impossible for regular folks like me to get single tickets to see the games live. Over 13,000 season tickets have already been sold, out of 18,750 seats. Where the sock hurts, like we say in french, is that starting August 1st, those season tickets holders are having first choice on an unlimited amount of single games tickets. 10 games packages go on sale at the same time.
Now that's what I call a scam. I should get one season ticket and buy 100 seats for Colorado and start a little scalping business... Otherwise, I can't wait to call the ticket office and get a seat in Section 414, Row ZZ on February 11 to see the Sharks. Hockey a blue-collar sport?
I am in the process of changing the look of the site (my wife didn't like the colors and I don't have a spine). Sign the guestbook and let me know what you think (look, broken links, etc).
EDITORIAL COMMENT (7/20/99)
According to Jeff Shultz of the Atlanta-Journal-Constitution, the Thrashers are having serious talks with Nelson Emerson. 4 and 5 years deals worth 2$ per are on the table. Now, that's a big mistake.
Inconsistent and lazy are the first two words that come to mind. For having had Emerson on my pools for a couple of years, I can tell you that he's always been a big disappointment. His production is going down, he's not getting younger (32) and his best scoring season dates back to 92-93 when he was playing with Selanne, Tkachuk and Zhamnov in Winnipeg. He's been milking that season ever since. Emerson is a piece of a puzzle but he is in no way the answer for the Thrashers lack of offense. Update: Emerson did signed with the team today...
EDITORIAL COMMENT (7/13/99)
Finally, Waddell put his pants on and gave us a coach. Get use to being lied to, people. Even if Fraser turns out to be a great coach, he has no NHL coaching experience as promised. But who was Waddell kidding? No coach his weight of salt would go for an expension team. And let me tell you, Nolan seems to stink real bad. Why would he still be out of a job after all this time?
Curt Fraser has 12 years of NHL experience with Vancouver, Minnesota and Chicago. It's seems that it's good enough nowadays to coach in the NHL. Well. Good luck, Curt. You'll need it. Do you realize that his 16 goals/yr is better than any Thrashers players? Have you ever heard of Curt Fraser before?
EDITORIAL COMMENT (1/28/99)
I stand by my original "Yikes" comment originally made after the expansion draft. Sure, we have good goaltending and defense (although Gord Murphy won't win the Norris any time soon. But Yake with 9 goals as your snapper? I said it before and I'll say it again: Yikes! I understand that the best way to win a new hockey town is to keep the score close. There is nothing worse than opening the sports section (after seeping through the results of every high school football team in the state...) and seeing stuff like 10-2, 8-0 and 10 game loosing streaks. I know, I was a Quebec Nordiques fan through the early '90s when they had a 32 points season and when Tugnutt stopped 70 shots against Boston. But do not count on Stefan to carry the offensive load. And if he is the only treat, then he won't remember his rookie season from all the pounding he will receive.
I guess the name (un)recognition from the expansion draft is not that bad. Who in Atlanta can name 5 hockey players? But I would have like to see a few. Maybe Waddell is waiting for the coach to file out those 2 or 3 free agent slots. So, here they are. And please don't take all the hype from the Thrashers management (which seems to include Ferrel...) I am waiting for my jersey and will post a picture on myself as soon as I get it (suggestion: hide your girlfriends, boys!)