Thrashers updates: Press conference to come soon, realignment might wait until 2012


Again, it seems like it’s just a matter of time until the Atlanta Thrashers will relocate to Winnipeg. Still, there are some details to hash out. Here are some hazy updates about the situation from Tuesday’s round of news.

  • There are differing viewpoints regarding the date for an official announcement about the relocation.

On one hand, Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz said that an announcement should come before the end of this week. Meanwhile, The Globe & Mail – aka the Canadian newspaper that originally indicated an announcement would be made today – indicated that an announcement might not be made until Memorial Day (Monday, May 30). It might seem like a formality, but scheduling reasons add urgency to the proceedings.

  • Speaking of which, SB Nation Atlanta indicates that the NHL might not realign its divisions until the 2012-13 season. That might make sense if it takes a while to hash out the smaller details of the Thrashers-to-Winnipeg deal, but it might also make it a tough season for the “Winnipeg Thrashers” and the rest of the Southeast Division.

Dirk Hoag of On the Forecheck compared the combined travel distance teams went through during the 2010-11 season versus what it would have been like if Atlanta’s games were played in Winnipeg instead. Hoag found that the “Winnipeg Thrashers” would have traveled about 66,300 miles instead of 44,000 in the same schedule, which would be 10,000 more than any team went through in the previous three seasons.

While the NHL’s schedule makers will likely attempt to ease some of their traveling burden for the 2011-12 season, the relocated Thrashers team could have the deck stacked against them in a serious way. One could imagine some lengthy road trips through the Southeast Division to at least limit the amount of times they need to make those big trips.

If you want to read more on the subject of realignment, check out PHT’s take along with which team our readers think might find themselves in a new division once realignment takes place.


Naturally, we’ll keep you up to date regarding all the pertinent issues surrounding the likely relocation of the Atlanta Thrashers. Stay tuned.

PHT Morning Skate: Beat writers survey predicts Ducks will win Cup

Corey Perry, Frederik Andersen
AP Photo
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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

In a survey of 29 beat writers, the Anaheim Ducks emerged as the clear favorite to win the Stanley Cup. If you’ll recall, they have that in common with the EA Sports simulation. (Boston Globe)

Alex Ovechkin would pick an Olympic hit against Jaromir Jagr as the biggest check of his life. (Russian Machine Never Breaks)

Here are the highlights from Minnesota’s 5-4 victory over Colorado:

The Montreal Canadiens seem committed to using Alex Galchenyuk as a center throughout the 2015-16 campaign. (The Canadian Press)

The NHL recently enlisted its players to read off some not so mean tweets. (USA Today)

Bills coach Rex Ryan talked about the Sabres in Thursday’s press conference. (

Frederik Andersen may have the Anaheim Ducks’ starting job for now, but with John Gibson still a big part of their plans, Andersen has to keep proving himself. (Orange County Register)

Niemi blanks Pens, notches two assists in Stars debut

Antti Niemi, Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist

DALLAS (AP) — Antti Niemi recorded his 33rd career shutout and assisted on two goals in his Dallas debut, as the Stars beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 on Thursday night in the season opener for both.

Ales Hemsky had a power-play goal and an assist.

Rookie Matthias Janmark scored on his first shot on his first shift in an NHL game to make it 1-0. The Stars acquired Niemi and Janmark in trades earlier this year.

Dallas scored on two of five power plays. Jamie Benn, the NHL’s leading scorer last season, had a power-play goal in the third period.

Niemi made 37 saves to improve his career record against the Penguins to 5-1-1. He withstood a flurry in the final minute after Pittsburgh pulled goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for an extra skater.

Fleury had 21 saves.

The Stars are 4-0-1 in their last five home games against Pittsburgh, and have won three in a row overall.

Janmark skated down the slot, took a pass from Hemsky and shot between Fleury’s legs at 1:39 of the first.

The Penguins dominated the latter half of the period, but couldn’t score. Niemi’s best stop was a reaching glove save of Rod Scuderi’s drive from the blue line with less than 3 minutes remaining. Pittsburgh outshot the Stars 10-4 in the first.

Hemsky scored at 5:42 of the second on Dallas’ first power play. His shot from the top of the right faceoff circle went in over Fleury’s right shoulder.

The Penguins again had an advantage in shots, 13-11. Pittsburgh had chances in close, but Niemi turned those away. Midway through the second, John Klingberg cleared away a loose puck from in front of the net.

Seven seconds into the Stars’ fourth power play of the third period, Jamie Benn tipped in Jason Spezza‘s shot from the right point.

NOTES: Dallas acquired Janmark as part of a March trade that sent Erik Cole to Detroit. The rookie had been playing in the Swedish Hockey League. . San Jose traded Niemi’s rights to the Stars in June for a seventh-round draft pick. Also making their Dallas debuts were LW Patrick Sharp and D Johnny Oduya, teammates with Chicago’s Stanley Cup champions last season. . In his first game for the Penguins, Phil Kessel played in his 447th straight game. . Pittsburgh was 0 for 3 on the power play.