Friday, March 02, 2007


Start Stocking Up on Eric Belanger Jerseys

by Greg

The trade deadline is in the past, the world has continued on its axis despite at least two Thrashers deals (Zhitnik and Dupuis) I was less than thrilled about. The flurry of activity was enough, at least, to earn the humble birds a place in the august pages of the New York Times today (thanks to reader Wayne for passing it along). The article centers around a sports theory I'm not sure I really buy into -- that deals reinvigorate a team on a mental level. Sure, I buy it (generally) that having Keith Tkachuk on the ice is a positive. But I'm not so sure that someone's going to say "holy crap, I've got a locker next to Alexei Zhitnik now. As soon as I get his autograph, I'm going to try harder."

With the Zhitnik and Tkachuk deals taken care of, that was enough for everyone to cite the "New Look" Thrashers winning over the Bruins earlier this week, but c'mon ... it was the Bruins. They've pretty visibly given up. Tonight's game -- against a team north of the Atlantas in the standings -- was a much better gauge.

And, hey, success. I had to listen on the radio -- couldn't pick up a televised broadcast at work -- but everything seemed to be going pretty well. Heard Tkachuk's name surprisingly little, but Eric Belanger's post-trade bounce continues, the announcers were very into saying Pascal Dupuis's name, and when they got up by one goal on the Senators, the Thrashers actually scored the next goal rather than giving it up. A new development, and a promising one.

I'll actually be in attendance for Sunday's game against Carolina -- who beat the Thrashers pretty soundly last time they met. It's on. My enthusiasm is rekindled. Folly though it may be, I've got some faith in this team again. (Check back in two days to see how that holds up.)

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