"What did you do on your summer vacation?"
NEW YORK (AP) -- If ticket sales and optimism count, the former Thrashers franchise is going to do a whole lot better in Winnipeg than it ever did in 13 years in Atlanta.
ATLANTA -- A spokesman for the mayor of Atlanta acknowledged on Wednesday the NHL's Thrashers 'may leave' the city and become candidates for relocation.
Here's a story about the human spirit, goalie dads and the hockey community in general that'll make you smile, cry and wonder all at once.
Before the league capitulated to a salary cap, the NHL's trade deadline was the equivalent of a push-pull-tow-or-drag-it-in mega-sale at a car dealership. After carefully scrutinizing their teams, NHL GMS would don their Crazy Eddie masks and proclaim that the asking price for their wares was just too "In-saaaane" to pass up.
He's the gift that just keeps on taking. What appeared to be a simple rental transaction with Atlanta last spring that cost the Devils defenseman Johnny Oduya, forward Niclas Bergfors, prospect Patrice Cormier and a first-round draft choice has turned into The Thing That Ate Newark.
Traipsing around training camps can be a tiresome process. The storylines are essentially the same in each market and they only take on significance for those involved (fantasy gamers notwithstanding): Rookies hoping to prove they belong, veterans trying to show they've still got something to offer and goalies looking to assert themselves for more playing time. With slight variations, take 30 rosters and insert names and you have camps across the continent covered...until the introduction of injury as the unknown element in the equation.
Still no idea which sweater Antti Niemi will wear this season, but my gut (and gut only) tells me that it won't be one you can pick up online at NHL.com.
Steve Yzerman hasn't been in charge of the Tampa Bay Lightning long enough for his new business cards to be printed, but the floundering club's latest savior/general manager doesn't have time to worry about the small stuff. He needs to plan for the upcoming draft, where the Bolts hold the sixth overall choice.
ATLANTA (AP) -- The Atlanta Thrashers have assigned 48-year-old defenseman Chris Chelios, an 11-time All-Star, to the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League.
The big news out of the general managers' meetings this week in Florida involved the decision to clarify the rules so that some, but not all, hits to the head would be subject to in-game penalty and possible supplementary discipline. My colleague Jim Kelley offered up his well-considered views on the subject yesterday. No need for me to stir the same pot, especially since, like Jim, I'm baffled by the GMs' satisfaction over coming to unanimous agreement on what looks to be a limp bit of pseudo-legislation.
NHL teams will soon be turning their attention to next week's resumption of play that begins on Monday night in Denver where the Avalanche host the Detroit Red Wings. The Wings, currently tied with the Dallas Stars at 28-21-12, find themselves in the unfamiliar circumstance of chasing down a playoff spot. Both the Stars and Wings trail the Calgary Flames by a single point, having played one less game. In seventh are the Nashville Predators with 71 points.
"... the players arrive to work by bus, not limousine, so yes, there will be a game today." -- Legendary announcer Doc Emerick in opening Sunday's NBC Pittsburgh Penguins at Washington Capitals NHL Game of the Week.
Stop me if you've heard this one before: The Thrashers have traded away their star player for a handful of beans.
It's been a while since we dipped into the old mailbag, and you've sent in a batch of good questions and comments lately. So, here we go...
The thoughts that drifted through my head as the tryptophan kicked in:
In this era of instant access and gratification, how much time is enough when it comes to coaches taking over a team and getting results?
With the ol' crystal ball warmed up and finely calibrated after Thursday's round of playoff and hardware revelations, it's time to gaze even deeper into the mystical smoke-filled orb for my annual list of predictions you can take to the bank: the players, personalities and events that will shape the 2009-10 season.
Remember the term "cost certainty" coming out of the lockout to begin the 2005 -06 season? Sounded reasonable, even plausible.
For a franchise in need of something positive to rally around, the Atlanta Thrashers officially named Ilya Kovalchuk team captain on Sunday. I use the word officially because Kovalchuk has long been the star player and face of the franchise, this being his seventh NHL season, all of them spent in Atlanta. Yet, questions have lingered about the reticent star's willingness and readiness to lead.
Like the horizontal scar on the bridge of his nose, Ilya Kovalchuk wears his frustrations honorably. In five NHL seasons, he had as many 40-plus goal seasons as playoff games: four. Despite the futility, he still plays with a high-revving motor, maybe one not cranked to Alexander Ovechkin's RPMs, but certainly high enough.
The usual song and dance regarding the worth of a possible unrestricted free agent hitting the open market come July is in preproduction these days. It may not make Broadway, but it's already getting a run in places like Minnesota and Atlanta.
On the surface, Mathieu Schneider going from Anaheim to Atlanta is a business transaction that helps both clubs. The Ducks freed up the requisite dollars to sign Teemu Selanne to a two-year deal and the Thrashers got offensive skill that should help on the ice and experience that should prove valuable to youngsters Tobi Enstrom, Zach Bogosian, Arturs Kulda and Boris Valabik in the dressing room. After all, Schneider is entering his twentieth NHL campaign and over the last couple of seasons he has served as mentor while being paired with up-and-comers Nik Kronwall and Brett Lebda in Detroit and Kent Huskins in Anaheim.
Ilya Kovalchuk scored 52 goals last season, made the All-Star team and did just about everything a player can do to help his team win. But the Atlanta Thrashers didn't win enough, particularly down the stretch. They were tied for the Southeast Division lead on February 15 after a rousing win in an 11-round shootout at New Jersey, but only won five out of their final 22 games. In the end, it was a disappointing season of tumult marked by the firing of coach Bob Hartley in October and mucn second-guessing the rest of the way.
With free agency looming, the waiting is almost over. Will Mats Sundin actually meet with anyone to discuss his future? Will Marian Hossa wind up in Montreal if the Habs can't get Sundin to sign via proxy? And will the Tampa Bay Lightning's aggressive pursuit of exclusive negotiating rights with Brian Rolston, Ryan Malone and Gary Roberts yield anything at all?
One honor that was conspicuous by its absence from Thursday's NHL awards extravaganza was recognition of the league's top executive. That needs to change. The salary cap has leveled the playing field and created a situation that demands true excellence from the GM position, and while the work of general managers is best measured over a long term perspective, there's still an opportunity to reward excellence on a yearly basis.
There will be six, and maybe as many as eight, new coaches patrolling behind NHL benches next season -- new, at least, in the sense that they'll be different than the coaches who finished the season in their respective places.
At least 20 homes in Atlanta's historic Cabbagetown neighborhood were flattened by a tornado that ripped through downtown Atlanta on Friday night, a spokeswoman for the mayor said.
I always said if I ever was in a tornado, I'd come up with something better to say than it sounded like a freight train. I lied.
CNN's Don Lemon reports from outside of the CNN Center in downtown Atlanta, where a possible tornado swept through.
Maybe the NHL is going to party like it's 1984.
As January concludes -- with the big mid-season events of the Winter Classic in Buffalo and All-Star Game in Atlanta behind us -- the "hard hockey" season begins. Action on the ice intensifies and difficult off-ice decisions require resolution as teams vie for the postseason in earnest.
Don Waddell has provided plenty of grist over the years for detractors who questioned his abilities as an NHL general manager. But with his Atlanta Thrashers finally sitting at .500 after an 0-6 start, no one can question his last two moves: firing coach Bob Hartley and installing himself behind the bench.
MYTISHCHI, Russia (Reuters) -- Jaroslav Bednar scored with 68 seconds remaining to overcome a furious U.S. rally and give the Czech Republic a 4-3 win and top spot in Group B at the ice hockey world championship on Tuesday.
While these aren't full recipes for playoff success, here are three ingredients for each of the eight semifinalists:
(Note to readers and NHL general managers : Clip or stick this in some electronic folder or whatever you internet generation people do, save, and read it next February as the frenzy of the trade deadline approaches.)
Just because you're paranoid, it doesn't mean they're not out to get you.
NEW YORK -- The surprising part about the Rangers' 7-0 victory against the Thrashers on Tuesday night wasn't really the result. New York closed the season on a 13-3-4 run, spooked into playing well by the threat of missing the playoffs entirely. Atlanta, on the other hand, bolted out of the gate to a 28-15-8 midseason record, but played closer to .500 hockey over the balance of the schedule (15-13-3).
ALSO: Western Conference Preview
If you were one of the smart ones who laid out the $159 for the NHL's Center Ice package, this is the week your investment pays off. With seven teams contending for three playoff spots in the East, and with crucial seeding battles going down to the wire in the West, it's time send the wife and kids to the in-laws, set the TiVo to record your other favorite shows, settle onto the couch and see who wants it the most.
The food was exquisite, the evening historic. On the March night that Mike Modano became the second U.S.-born player to score 500 goals, several Stars congregated for a celebratory supper in a swank Dallas restaurant. While Modano dined with some teammates and friends at a long table in the center of the room, the Stars' No. 1 goalie, Marty Turco, who hadn't played in the game but had thumped the plexiglass behind the bench with gusto after the milestone goal, sat at a satellite table with his wife, his agent, his sister and her husband. "You should send a bottle of wine over to Mike," said Turco's wife, Kelly.
Earlier this week, I expressed the opinion that Dallas Stars president Jim Lites mistakenly got his knickers in a twist about the Nashville Predators' failure to acknowledge Mike Modano breaking the NHL career record for goals by an American player. To this old Canadian's way of thinking, Modano's record was so esoteric as to not be worth the fuss. Some of you felt somewhat differently.
Things haven't exactly been going David Beckham's way since he signed his lucrative contract to join the Los Angeles Galaxy in January. First he suffered a serious knee injury that will sideline him until the end of April and possibly May and now he's having a difficult time finding a new home in Los Angeles. While many outlets had soccer's royal family all but moving into the former mansion of Meg Ryan in Bel-Air last week, the asking price for the seven-bedroom, six-bathroom house is apparently too high for the Beckhams.
The trade was, at first blush, almost as bad as the optics. On the day the Oilers retired Mark Messier's No. 11, the team ditched perhaps the most respected player in Edmonton since Messier left. After failing to reach a contract agreement by the 3 p.m. trading deadline with Ryan Smyth, the left winger and security blanket of the franchise, the Oilers promptly moved him to the New York Islanders for a pair of disappointing former first-round draft choices and another No. 1 in 2007.
If you've followed the Atlanta Thrashers since they joined the NHL in 1999, you know that GM Don Waddell has long eschewed the short view. On the job since the inception of the franchise, he always put the longer view of the organization's development ahead of momentary fixes or incremental improvements.
It's getting to be that time. Points are more precious, opportunities more scarce. If teams are going to grab a playoff berth or set themselves up for a serious postseason run, it's time for the guys who carry the mail to strap on their sacks. Here are six players who can -- and must -- deliver during the next six weeks for their clubs to become contenders.
Time to answer your questions concerning Brad Richards, Horton's vs. Starbucks, Matthew Barnaby, Jaromir Jagr and pointed criticism directed at Gary Bettman.
Avalanche defenseman Karlis Skrastins isn't the type to jump into the headlines with one feat of brilliance, but then, neither was Doug Jarvis.
At the start of last season the Tampa Bay Lightning's arena finally got wired to receive Canadian sports networks TSN and Sportsnet, throwing the organization a technological lifeline that was as significant, in its way, as the bullet trains linking Paris with France's provincial capitals or the World Wide Web connecting China to the West. Even after winning the Stanley Cup in 2004, Lightning players still sensed they were working in a far-flung hockey redoubt, away from the sport's hot stove, and that by hooking up with Canada they were finally coming out of the cold or, more precisely, into it. "So at last we get TSN and we're all pumped,"
Maple Leafs center Kyle Wellwood is a man who can do without. For one, the Toronto sophomore doesn't own a television set. "I watch too much television on the road as it is," the bookworm says.
Opponents already know about Alexander Semin's sneaky quick wrist shot and wicked slap shot. Turns out his backhander isn't too bad, either.
The Chicago Cubs are acting very un-Cub like this winter. That may be good news for the team's long-suffering fans but not for shareholders of newspaper publisher Tribune Co.
National Hockey League fans will have yet another reason to cheer when teams take the ice this season.
A Fulton County Superior Court judge was killed when a defendant grabbed a gun from a deputy sheriff and opened fire in an Atlanta courtroom Friday, officials said. A court reporter and deputy also were killed, and another deputy was injured.
Colleagues remembered a judge killed in his Atlanta courtroom Friday as a man who inspired his daughter to seek a career in law and as a jurist who reached out to people in court.
Dick Parsons, CEO of AOL Time Warner, is chatting about the news coverage of Steve Case's resignation as chairman just two days earlier. The stories--dozens of them--speculate about who will replac...
Lots of top athletes like picking stocks, but most leave the real work of wealth management to a pro. Below, our All-Star Money Managers share their strategies and picks.
Peter O'Malley sounds like a man who's tired of the fight. His family has owned the Los Angeles Dodgers for 47 years--a longer tenure than any other ownership group in Major League Baseball--but ea...