The agonizing saga continues in Atlanta for the Thrashers in their search for a last-minute hunt for a local buyer for the team. While one name that has come up was investor J.B. Smith it was found out that Smith has some financial troubles of his own that would make him a less-than optimal candidate to try and keep hockey in Atlanta.
One name that has surfaced as a person of interest given his ties to the city and overwhelming support and fandom for all things based in Atlanta is none other than rapper Lil’ John. If you don’t know who Lil’ John is, chances are you’ve seen Dave Chappelle do a killer impersonation of him on his old Comedy Central show. Lil’ John is colorful, boisterous, and engaging and after a successful rap career and follow up beverage distribution side job he’s got a little bit of money.
But would he help invest in the Thrashers to help keep the team in town? Well… Not exactly as Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal Constitution discovered.
“I love the Thrashers, but I’m not investing in them. The one good thing about that rumor is that it’s stirring up a lot of people talking and saying we gotta keep them here, it brings awareness to it. But I’m not investing. That’s a lot of money to buy a professional hockey team! I’ll help then out with some awareness, though.”
Yes, that is a lot of money to plunk down to keep a team in town and sadly for Thrashers fans there’s a lot of other Atlanta-based interests saying the same thing as Lil’ John. The team’s been a continual financial loser in the city and fan interest in the team isn’t exactly sky high. While the same can be said of all the other pro sports teams in Atlanta at one point or another during the season, the Thrashers aren’t exactly giving fans reasons to go to the games either.
Meanwhile, the main interest to buy the team remains Mark Chipman and David Thomson’s True North group out of Winnipeg. I don’t suppose there are any entertaining rappers in the River City that we could count on to spice things up in Manitoba are there? Just a thought. After all, the idea of getting crunk in Winnipeg sounds like it’d be ideal.
Another day, another University of North Dakota player deciding to enter the professional hockey ranks.
This time, it was 21-year-old forward Luke Johnson who turned pro following his junior year, as he signed a three-year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks, the team that selected him in the fifth round of the 2013 NHL Draft.
In 43 games with the NCAA champions this season, Johnson scored 11 goals and 21 points, three off his college career high set the previous year.
Johnson will forgo his senior year at North Dakota, bumping the number of players from that program’s junior class to turn pro to four since the end of the season. Keaton Thompson signed with the Anaheim Ducks, Troy Stecher inked with the Vancouver Canucks and Paul LaDue signed with the L.A. Kings.
Senior forward Drake Caggiula, now a free agent, has reportedly narrowed down his list of NHL suitors to six teams.
Brock Boeser, a 2015 first-round pick and coming off an impressive freshman year, will return to North Dakota for his sophomore year, as per Canucks general manager Jim Benning earlier this month.
Perhaps it’s an ominous sign of bad luck to come, but for which team?
Prior to puck drop between the host San Jose Sharks and Nashville Predators in Game 1 on Friday, a black cat hit the ice at SAP Center, taking a nervous stroll along the boards.
Not sure exactly where it came from, although it’s possible someone was feeling extra superstitious before the start of this series.
Official update on the really important story of the evening:
The Dallas Stars scored a late winner, held on in the final minute and eventually struck first in their best-of-seven second-round series with the St. Louis Blues.
Once again, it was the speed and skill of the Stars that proved to be the difference in the end. Radek Faksa scored with less than five minutes remaining in the third period, breaking the deadlock and giving Dallas a 2-1 victory and 1-0 series lead over their Central Division foes on Friday.
As he entered the zone on the rush, Faksa dished off to a flying Ales Hemsky, who was denied by Brian Elliott in alone. But Faksa followed up, jamming in the rebound to give the Stars the lead, as both St. Louis defensemen Jay Bouwmeester and Alex Pietrangelo were caught by the speed of the Dallas forwards on the rush.
The Stars held on from there, as the Blues made a late push to tie the game.
Kari Lehtonen stopped 31 of 32 shots for Dallas, while Elliott was busy throughout the night, stopping 40 of 42 shots.
Elliott was furious after the Stars opened the scoring in the second period, as Antoine Roussel tallied on a rebound after yet another nice Dallas passing play in the offensive zone.
Stars forward Patrick Eaves left the game early in the third period and didn’t play another shift after being hit in the lower part of his leg with the puck from a point shot.
The Dallas Stars grabbed the all-important first goal in Game 1 against the St. Louis Blues on Friday. And it was agitating forward Antoine Roussel who capitalized in the second period.
Roussel buried a rebound at the end of a pretty passing play from the Stars. Blues goalie Brian Elliott was furious, as defenseman Jay Bouwmeester slid into the crease in an attempt to block the shot.