Friday, April 06, 2007


Trouble in Paradise

By Greg

As a hockey fan, theoretically, I'm excited about the Friday and Saturday setup in the Southeast Division -- the Thrashers and Lightning separated by one point for the division championship, both playing division foes Friday night, then meeting up themselves Saturday for a game that will almost certainly decide who takes third. (If I've done the math right, the only way it can be decided tonight is if the Thrashers beat Carolina and the Lightning lose in regulation to the Panthers.)

As a Thrashers fan, I'm considerably less so. The Lightning are on a mini-roll, having won three straight, and have a bit more experience in this sort of thing. The Thrashers are doing their familiar win-one lose-one, waddling into the playoffs, marveling at the novelty of it all -- and have a sulky superstar who doesn't like his coach. (Registration possibly required -- passwords here.)

Hurrah! Just the recipe for success, just what you want to be seeing. Kovalchuk's petulant display at the end of the loss to the Capitals (and good job a) blowing a lead, and b) blowing a 6-on-3 power play at the end, guys) was noticeable, and his comments afterwards haven't been really encouraging. Sure, conflict can nurture greatness, as in the case of the 1970s Oakland A's .... and, uh, I can't think of any other examples. I'd like to think that this will all end with the anger motivating Kovalchuk to amazing, lights out displays in the coming weeks, but he's never been noted for his maturity.

But, hey, anyway. It's a great weekend for hockey -- and regardless of the outcome, it looks like the Thrashers-Lightning have a great chance of falling into the 3rd and 6th spots in some manner or another, so we're likely to see a lot of these two teams battling in coming days.

Random note: the Stanley Cup made an appearance in Atlanta the other day, so I got to go up, take a crappy cell phone photo, verify that it does indeed have "Sucks" etched in on every Red Wings appearance, verify that the bowl does indeed say "Do Not Deliver to Vancouver." Last time I saw the Cup up close was in '96, when it made an appearance in Colorado, during the Avs' playoff run. Does this sighting hold similar good tidings for the Thrashers?

Yeah, probably not.

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Somehow, I am not at all surprised that the player who acts like an empty-netter is a Stanley Cup-winning goal is the same one getting all primadonna-ish about (Dr.) Bob Hartley...

That said, if the Thrash ever let go of Kovy, I sure as hell hope that Jim Rutherford does not even give him a gander. I don't care if he can score a bajillion goals in his sleep, the Canes don't need a Kovy or Jagr-type attitude in the locker room.
"I got to go up, take a crappy cell phone photo, verify that it does indeed have "Sucks" etched in on every Red Wings appearance..."

Best quote ever.
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