Desperate times in Dixie
After losing to Carolina on Saturday, Atlanta GM Don Waddell wasted no time in making two significant deals, bringing in centre Keith Tkachuk and defenceman Alexei Zhitnik.
This isn't about winning a Cup, necessarily. This is about just making the playoffs, a surprising state of affairs for a team that once owned a 16-point lead on the Tampa Bay Lightning but could experience a total housecleaning if the Thrashers don't qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in team history.
Tkachuk's a better winger than a centre, but Atlanta wants him to play in the middle. He also has no record of playoff success.
Zhitnik, meanwhile, forced Waddell to cough up defence prospect Braydon Coburn to the Philadephia Flyers, who now have Coburn, Ryan Parent, Joni Pitkanen and others to build a nice blueline around.
In Coburn and the bushel of draft picks they gave St. Louis for Tkachuk, the Thrashers have made an enormous sacrifice just to try to get into the playoffs. Waddell, having been involved in U.S. international hockey effects, knows just how big a risk the volatile Tkachuk can be.
And on a completely unrelated point. . .
I know its almost a complete waste of time to try to reason and talk logic with those who adore fighting in hockey.
They may be the minority, but they sure scream louder than the majority. Most of their arguments either accuse those who think differently of being homosexual or suggest that those who don't believe in hockey pugilism should watch figure skating.
But most of the cavemen also fervently believe - or say they do - that the mere presence of an enforcer in a team's lineup serves as deterrent and protects the skill players.
Sadly, even those who should know better are using this argument to push the notion that the Pittsburgh Penguins need to get a goon to ride shotgun for Sidney Crosby before the trade deadline.
Well, for those who believe this myth, answer this:
If goons really are a deterrent and keep the skill players safe, why oh why, with Andrew Peters in the Buffalo lineup, was Chris Drury knocked silly by Chris Neil?