Apparently wearing a little removable boot on his injured foot hasn’t held Kovalchuk back. Last night was his second multi-point game in as many days, as well as only his second game back up with the club. Two goals, two assists, and a +3 finish capped Kovy’s return to Philips Arena, with an announced crowd of north of 15,000. I guess word was out he might be thinking of showing up last night.
Of course, he's concerned that he's not playing at full blast, saying when asked if he needed to work a bit to get to 100%: "Oh yeah. Definitely. It's still going to take some time to heal all the way, then I'll be okay."
Holy crap. Players work their whole lives to be as good as Kovy is at 50%.
He’s not the only Thrasher who showed. Evander Kane had his first multi-goal game to go with his first multi-point game on Thursday, scoring twice (once shorthanded). Max Afinogenov had two goals as well, along with an assist, and Zach Bogosian (who is starting to look like my dad with that moustache - like I have said, we Armenians are Chia Pets) potted one. Ondrej Pavelec was good for his first career shutout, stopping 38 shots.
Yes, the Kings still managed to net 38 SOG to our 21. I realize that the team that scores the most wins, but we absolutely have got to do something about the SOG total every single game. I know I’ve never complained about this before (and neither have any other Thrashers bloggers, I’m sure), but we won’t get that lucky every night - Pavs and Moose have both been outstanding this year, but sometimes bad games happen. The more shots on goal allowed, the more likely the opposing team is to capitalize on that off game, and boom. There’s a loss. Yes, I realize that I just found something to whine about in a 7-0 curbstomping of a pretty good Kings team, but that needs to be worked on regardless.
BTW, I do believe that tonight’s result proves my theory of the fact that the guys PLAY BETTER WHEN PEOPLE SHOW UP. Hi, Atlanta. You have the best athlete in your city playing to about 18 people and the beer vendors (I’m unsure if my section actually has an usher, or else I’d throw them in there too) during the week. Come out and watch him. He’s a hell of a lot more fun than anyone who plays on the Falcons, Hawks, Jackets… hell, hockey’s a better sport than football and basketball anyway. Come on, guys. Join the cult.
One other thing - last night was the second town hall of the season, and by far the most positive town hall I’ve been to. You can tell people don’t have a lot to complain about when they start asking stupid questions about getting people to not scream “knight!” during the anthem. There were two bits of interesting news that Waddell said but didn’t really say. He’s happy that he didn’t trade one of the goalies at the trade deadline/draft, or else we’d be in a really bad situation - which means that Pavs was on the block, but Waddell’s glad he stayed put. He basically said, though, that when Kari feels up to playing he’s going to have to, because you can’t get anything for a hurt goalie. Every town hall he insinuates that Kari’s getting closer and closer to being an ex-Thrasher, which I find very unfortunate for someone who had so much promise. Of course, if said person would have had back surgery when he needed it…
Anywho, one more item of interest from the mouth of D-Wad: they’ve moved past the “does Kovy want to play here or not” stage in contract negotiations with his agent, and they’re now in the “how much money and how long” stage in negotiations. As Waddell put it (to paraphrase), “That’s a lot farther than we got a few years ago with some other guy.”
Basically, last night should have solidified two things for people: 1) the Thrashers do NOT suck this year, have a lot of great talent, and can save people from the hell that is Buffalo and 2) Kovalchuk WANTS to stay here, wants this team to do well, and will probably be here for many, many more years at potentially Ovie-levels of money. The guys on On the Fly last night kept going on and on about how they like what they’re seeing from the Thrashers. A few weeks ago on HNIC, the panel was praising Pavs. The world is topsy-turvy right now. I think I’m pretty ok with that, considering that Thrashers games were always the last shown and the least talked about (unless it was negative) on On the Fly last season.
I’m pretty damn thrilled that I have five more Thrashers home games to go to this month. I absolutely can’t wait for tomorrow’s game against the Oilers. I wanted the mercy rule to go in effect for the OTHER team last night. Yeah. Bizarro Land, next exit.