Monday, February 06, 2006

Don's Guarantee

Yo Don,
How about a guarantee that the Thrash will start playing some **%#*&%#! DEFENSE?

Thrashers GM, Don Waddell, is quoted in the Atlanta Journal Constitution on Saturday guaranteeing the Thrashers will make the playoffs for the first time in the bird's history:

“If you want to write 'guarantee,' I have no problem with that.”
Well, at least he waited until the team's seven game losing skid ended. Don's a proud man, and he did a lot in the offseason to bring the top-notch players he thought would make the difference. Marian Hossa has been a stud. Peter "Brittle" Bondra is showing his age. Bobby Holik, a supposed stud defensive centerman and clubhouse leader, has been an expensive flame-out (16 pts and a -10).

As it stands now, the Thrash will have to put some distance between themselves, the Leafs, the Canadians, and the Bruins in order to lock up a playoff spot. Unfortunately, a number of things are working right now against the Thrash. The Bruins do, in fact, play defense. The Leafs have issues, but they play with a lot of heart (unless they are getting whacked by the Sens). Many nights the Thrash run out of heart early in the contest and quickly resort to tuggery.

Ilya Koval-Cheat will have to dig deep into his illegal stick reserve to score enough points to cover Atl's nightly defensive and discipline lapses. The Thrash are fourth from the bottom in goals allowed, and have only allowed three fewer goals this season than the lowly Pens. The Thrash also spend the third most time in the league killing penalties. Don's "guarantee" was no doubt designed to light a fire under his club. For Waddell and the Thrash to deliver on the guarantee, they'll need a quick and sustained infusion of heart and discipline. Now, who get's to tell Ilya for $6.5 mil/year, he might be expected to play a little defense?

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