Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Toby Enstrom injured in Switzerland

For those of you who don't know the IIHF World Championships are going on in Switzerland and there are a few Thrashers who are competing in them. One of them is Toby Enstrom. Well yesterday he took a hit that looks like the hockey equivalent to being ''curbed" by Martins Karsums (Tampa Bay). Reports of the extent of his injury seem to be conflicting but it seems he may require surgery. I wish him a speedy recovery and hope that he is back on the ice soon. Here is a video of it if you like seeing someone get his clock cleaned so bad that just watching the video will give you a headache...


Just read this on the blueland blog:

Apparently Enstrom lost some teeth as a result of his collision with the boards and has a facial fracture below his orbital bone which is being surgically repaired today. He is expected to make a full recovery. All of this is from Kevin Allen at USAToday.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Brayden Schenn

To complete (for now) our focus on the possible picks for the Thrashers in the 2009 entry draft I'm going to talk about Brayden Schenn.

Most people know by now that he is the little brother of the young Maple Leafs stand out Luke Schenn. He plays an aggressive style game much like his brother. I have heard people compare him to being like Thornton and Cheechoo. He describes himself as a 2 way forward and he was named WHL rookie of the year in the 07-8 season. Schenn also led his team in points this year, was 7th in the WHL, with 88 points (32 goals, 56 assists).

I think he would be great on our team and add some much needed toughness in our top 6. I could see him playing on any line from our top line all the way to the 4th. Personally, I would love to have a kid like this on the Thrashers. He can put the biscuit in the basket and on top of that he hits like a freight train. If you don't believe me watch the videos below.

Showing more of his scoring and passing ability

Duchene, Paajarvi-Svensson or Cowen?

I decided to do a little write up on 3 possible picks for the Thrashers. I'll do them in order of who I would like to see us get.

First up is Matt Duchene.

This kid has great hands and possesses one of the best shots in the OHL, with a very quick release. He's labeled as a pure sniper. One of the best skaters in the 2009 draft he has the ability to accelerate and change gears instantly ala Kovalchuk and Ovechkin. Speed like that can back off defenders and create a lot of problems. Can you imagine Kovy and Duchene racing down the ice together? Although rumored to be a decent passer he has the ability to be a game breaker with his offensive talent. Offense aside he's said to be a solid 2 way defender. Something Atlanta poorly needs. At 5'11" and 198 and only 18 this kid could still get above 6' and around 210 easy. That's some pretty decent size to go along with that speed. His downside seems to be that he needs to learn to use his size to shield the puck a little better, especially along the walls. That's something that can be worked on and corrected over time. Personally I would love to see this kid Centering a line with Kovy and say Little on the wing.

Next up is Jared Cowen

Here's what I like about this kid. SIZE, SIZE and SIZE. At 6'5" and 218 pounds this kid is a beast and he's only 18. He's a very fluid skater and has an impressive wingspan that he uses to immobilize forwards. Aside from his stature his strong suit is his positioning and discipline. When a defenseman has good positioning they usually don't take a lot of penalties and it shows by his 45 PIM this year. Cowen likes to jump up into the play so he would fit nicely into our system. He isn't going to bring the same kind of offensive production that bogosian does but he's a big kid who plays very physical in front of the net. Often used to shut down the oppositions strongest player he could eat up a lot of ice time as well. This year he placed 3rd in hardest shot at the skills competition. That could bode well for playing the point on our PP. The down side is he's coming off of a knee injury and that could scare some scouts. Prior to the injury he had never missed a game due to being hurt and was often talked about as the number 3 pick in the draft. A good video can be seen here. www.whl.ca/whl-player-profile---jared-cowen-p126885/t-webTV

Last but not least. Magnus Svensson-Paajarvi

Magnus is an extremely fast and fluid skater. He's 6'1" and 200 pounds. He likes to use his size to attack the net and back up forwards. He has great hands and his offensive upside has been compared to Markus Naslund and Matts Sundin. Magnus has managed to work his way into a potential top 5 pick this year. Good on the breakaway and a tremendous playmaker he could be a great set up guy for Kovy. Downfalls are that he apparently shy's away from physical play and his defensive game needs some work. I'm not sure if we need another guy who can score but can't play in his own zone.

Evander Kane & the #4 Pick

Last night in the 2009 NHL draft lottery none of the top 5 teams moved positions. That means that the Thrashers have the 4th pick in the draft slated for late June. We at The Word On The Bird are going to assume that by then both of the assumed top 2 draft picks (Tavares and Hedman) will be gone. So we are going to bring you some of our half assed analysis of some of the best players who could possibly be available to select at that time. Don't worry Thrashers fans, there will still be plenty of talent left over when its their turn to pick. In this post I'm going to talk about a player and then Meek is going to give his thoughts on others. Hope you enjoy them...

Evander Kane

This season he was the 4th leading scorer in the WHL league with 96 points (48 goals, 48 assists). He is currently ranked 6th by the International Scouting Service and is expected to go anywhere between 3rd and 7th in the draft. Like the nearly undisputed first choice of the draft, Tavares, Kane has a great shot and great puck handling skills. But he is also a solid two way player and plays with an edge that the Thrashers sorely need. He will score, he will pass, he will hit, and he will fight. What more can you ask for? Evander has been compared to Iginla and that's not bad company. He likes to go into the corners and battle for possession and knows its his job to score. Not only does he know its his job but he wants the puck when the game is on the line. You gotta like that.

On top of all this it should be mentioned that he is African-Canadian (yeah funny word for us Americans to hear). Yeah, that's right, he's black. It's pretty obvious that could be a big deal considering the sizeable black population here in Atlanta is a giant untapped market by the Thrashers and hockey in general. He has even already interviewed with the Thrashers. Want to hear what he had to say about being a draw for the black community here?

“I did speak with Atlanta. And I suppose going to the United States, of course there are a lot of African Americans. But I would be happy to play anywhere in the NHL. If it were Atlanta, well yes, you’re correct on that note and I guess that’s all part of the job and I would be very happy doing it.”

With all the positives that I've written about him here you might wonder what his downside is? It seems to be size. Some sources have him listed as small as 5 foot 11 and 160 lbs. Others, which I assume are more up to date, have him listed as 6' 1'' and 185. Either way, he would have to put on some size to be able to continue to play the same game he has in the WHL. If we end up with him I hope he is ready to play next year because the Thrashers could use more grit in their top 6. On top of all this he is named after fellow Atlantan, Evander Hollyfield, which is hilarious.

Here is a highlight video of Evander Kane:

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Pavelec to have surgery?

There is a rumor floating around that the Thrashers young goalie prospect is going to have surgery in the off season. Supposedly he was not diagnosed properly months ago and it is going to require surgery to repair his knee. With that being said, he must have been playing hurt for a while. This could explain his poor play nearing the end of the season. Looks like we are going to have to put a hold on our having 3 goalies situation a little bit longer...

Playing the lottery

Fans of the Atlanta Thrashers will get a good idea about what player they will probably end up drafting tonight. As I mentioned in my last post they have a 10.7% chance of ending up with the first pick in the draft tonight. This could be the first glimpse into what the Thrashers could be next season. Are they lucky enough to get that first pick? We will find out at 8pm tonight on the VS. network! Check back in the next few days because we will be giving our half-assed analysis of the possible choices for the Thrashers once we find out the draft order.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Thrashers lose, Kovy/Bogosian put on a show

I will choose to ignore the fact that the Thrashers have lost their last 3 in a row and instead focus on 4 things in this post.

1. Kovalchuk - so far he has proved to be exactly what this team needed this year (and hopefully for years to come) as far as a captain goes. I know it is still up in the air what he does when his contract comes up for renewal this year but I'm holding my breath that he will re-sign with the team. He was presented the "Heineken 3 stars award" last night, for player who was picked for the most 3 stars of the game honors this season. He scores, he can pass the puck, and apparently after watching last night he can fight. I love watching him wave on the crowd afterward. So he is not only a Captain but a man who likes to put on a show.

2. Bogosian - Anyone who reads this blog will know that I have a massive semi-romantic man boner for Bogosian. He continues to impress. Last night was no different, the sombitch had 2 goals! It really is awesome to watch him play. He seems to get better every game and I notice every player on the ice looking to pass to him when its time for a shot. Even more so than most of the forwards on the team.

3. Players Player Award - This year the award went to Marty Reasoner. This season he put up a career best for goals scored and played his ass off every shift. Sounds like the kind of guy that you want coming back next season doesn't it?

4. Draft Lottery - With the loss last night, the Thrashers have solidified their position with the 4th position in the draft lottery. Anyone who was worried about their late run in the season possibly changing where they end up drafting does not have to worry anymore. They still have the outside chance of ending up with the 1st overall pick if the lottery goes their way. Thats right, the Thrashers have a 10.7% chance of getting the #1 pick in the draft. For those scoring at home, that is a 8.5% better chance than TripleLindy has of getting laid in 2009.

We should know what pick they end up with by about 8:30pm on April 14th. Cross your fingers!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Take it easy Bruce...

The Thrashers had a hilarious video during a break in play yesterday that took some jabs at Ovechkin. I thought it was pretty damn funny and Ovechkin could be seen laughing too. This is what Bruce Boudreau had to say about it:

"I wasn't a big fan of that. If they want to mock their own players, fine -- go ahead and mock their own players like that. But people pay a lot of money for these commercials, and I didn't think it was in very good taste when they did the stuff with Alex."

Come on Brucey, stop being such a douche...

Here is the video in case you have yet to see it.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Looking for revenge tomorrow night...

The Thrashers lost 6 to 3 yesterday to the Crapitals. Not without giving a valiant effort though. It was nice to see Colby Armstrong notch his 20th goal of the season. A career high for him that also gives the Thrashers 5 players with 20 or more goals on the season. If someone would have told me at the beginning of the season that the Thrashers would have 5 players with 20 goals I would never have believed them.

They get the chance to avenge their loss tomorrow night and possibly put a damper on Washington's hopes for finishing 2nd in the Conference. They are leading the Devils by only 2 points and it sure would be great if they could screw that up for them.

One point about yesterday's game.... It was interesting to see how effective the Capitals forechecking was in the beginning of the 3rd period. They completely shut the Thrashers offense down and in turn created some good scoring chances. It was also kind of shocking that the Captials scored 6 goals and none of them were from Ovechkin (he did however have 2 assists). 11 shots and not a single goal. Obviously it wasn't from a lack of trying.

With Washington being one of the best power play teams in the league, the Thrashers penalty kill is going to have to be better to stop the Crapitals from dumping on them again tomorrow night.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

MISSING!! Have you seen this man?

For the month of March Hainsey has 0 goals, 4 assists and 0 PP points. That's ZERO PP points. For someone logging so much ice time I would expect a little more. The man I heard many proclaim should be our Captain because of his strong play early in the season has dropped off as of late. Now what's to attribute to this you ask? I honestly wish I knew. Could it be that Bogosian has really stepped up so much that we don't notice Hainsey like we used to? Could he just be going through a funk right now? Who's to say other than Hainsey himself. I'm glad to see that the team is winning without him performing up to par. I liked the addition of Hainsey and I hope he can be a solid contributor next season. Let's pick it up a little Ron!!

I Am Happy To Be A Thrasher's Fan Again.

That's right.. I said it. I am happy to follow this team again now that we actually look like we give a shit about the game. Great game all around last night. Bogosian stole the show with his great first period goal and at least 5 amazing hits all over the ice. Kovy looked good for the entire game and ended with the OT game winner and and an assist on Bogo's goal.

I just read the re-cap of the game on AJC.com and it quotes Kovy as saying that J. Anderson has proven that the can take the team to the playoffs next year. He says something else in defense of J.A.'s rough first half of the season and sounds pretty content overall... dare I say that it sounds like we actually have a chance of Kovy re-signing over the summer??? If that happens I will parade around the streets naked. Seriously.

You're welcome Sabres Fans!

I do not have any problem playing spoiler to the Sabres playoff hopes. Great game last night! It was aggressive with neither team backing down and its great to see the 'boys in blue' (or sometimes ehhh maroon) building some pride in getting the win that will hopefully carry over into next season. After all, assuming that we are able to re-sign both Reasoner and Armstrong, we will probably be looking at a very similar roster come October.

I watched the game last night with JimLongo and we were both blown away by Bogosian's presence on the ice. To think that the kid is only 18 and playing like that is unbelievable. His offensive awareness and grit are that of a seasoned veteran in the league. He seems confident and ready to accept his role on the first D pairing. He is willing to protect his teammates and use his strength to intimidate the opposing team in front of the net. It's gonna be great seeing him get even more confident as the years go on.

With that being said, what is the deal with Hainsey lately? He just seems not in sync with the rest of the team. I recall a couple passes he made last night that were so far off target he could have been attempting to get a beer vendors attention.

Also have to mention that Kovalchuk is on fire the last half of the season. He is on a 6 game point streak and now has a point in 18 of his last 20 games. Anyone looking for a reason as to why the Thrashers have been hot lately can chalk that up as a big help. Anderson is quoted as saying "when he does well, our team does well". What does Kovy have to say about his coach? “It’s his first year in the NHL. It’s tough to be the coach in the NHL,” Kovalchuk said. “He’s shown everybody he’s the guy who’s going to take us to the playoffs next year.”

I'm gonna be crossing my fingers that the Thrash are able to get their hands on another forward this off season through either free agency or in the draft that can be just as important to the teams success as Kovalchuk. Even though the team is playing well on their current streak, its a long season. I think they are going to need a little more talent in the top 6 in order to make that run for the playoffs that the fans here in Atlanta are sorely needing.

PS. If we ever meet the Sabres in the playoffs there is gonna be a riot in Phillips.