Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Metal Thrashing Mad

Part of the intent of this thing is to give me an outlet to talk about hockey -- since 95% of my friends couldn't give two shits about the sport, I need such an outlet (though obviously those friends also won't care about any of these posts).

This morning seems appropriate to start -- I'm horrendously hungover, I had to drive 20 minutes to take a shower thanks to yesterday's caulking activity, and the Thrashers lost their eighth game out of nine last night, just days after GM Don Waddell (rather rashly) promised the team would make the playoffs. At this point, it's not looking terribly hopeful, since the team that looks to be the main rival for a spot turns into the '84 Oilers when playing Atlanta.

What a difference a month makes -- in early January, Lehtonen was back and looking sharp, the wins were flowing like cheap white wine, and if Waddell's prediction had come then no one would have thought twice. Now? Managing to take one of two from the (lousy) Panthers provided the only bright spot in recent weeks.

There's two pretty gaping holes in the lineup (and unfortunately, not enough salary cap space to really fill them). Marc Savard is a career second-line guy sometimes made to look much better by his linemates (and really, there's something pouting about his personality that makes me automatically dislike the guy), Bobby Holik is a career third-line guy asked to be a second-line player.

But at least at the center spot they can patch something together. When, in my dotage, I look back on the 2005-06 Atlanta Thrashers, it'll be the defense... Jaroslav Modry losing control of the puck at the blueline, Garnet Exelby holding his stick like a baton, Andy Sutton tripping his teammates, Shane Hnidy's unfortunate facial hair. I like fifth or sixth defensemen-- one of my favorite players is one-- but not more than, you know, two of them on a team. Aside from Greg de Vries and Niclas Havelid (who both might be a #2 guy on other teams), the other d-men all are of the type that shouldn't be playing more than a few minutes a game. When Frankie Kaberle was let loose, it barely caused a whimper in the space-time continuum, but man, we could use him now.

And due to the aforementioned cap issues, there's no help to be had any time soon, unless Braydon Coburn suddenly realizes all his potential. So what's to be done? Who knows? I just complain about it, I don't offer solutions. My head hurts and I need coffee.

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