Ilya Kovalchuk #17 of the Atlanta Thrashers celebrates his goal against the Ottawa Senators with Rich Peverley #47, Zach Bogosian #4 and Chris Thorburn #27 at Philips Arena on January 12, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.
(January 11, 2010 - Source: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images North America)

Winnipeg inherited a franchise that never got going


In order for a franchise to be financially successful, it typically needs to enjoy at least some degree of on-ice success. That’s something the Atlanta Thrashers never had going for it.

From the day they were created to the day the franchise moved to Winnipeg, they never won a single postseason game. They only ever finished a season with more than 90 points once despite selecting Dany Heatley and Ilya Kovalchuk in the 2000 and 2001 NHL Entry Drafts respectively.

Perhaps most telling is that during the 2009-10 campaign, when Kovalchuk’s contract was nearing it’s expiration, the Thrashers offered him a deal worth $101 million over 12 years and a separate $70 million, seven-year deal.

Kovalchuk was in his eighth season as the member of the Atlanta Thrashers and he wanted out. It wasn’t that the Thrashers couldn’t afford to keep him, it’s that the superstar wanted to go elsewhere. So, after trying to help the Thrashers get out of their endless rebuilding process since just a couple of seasons after their inception, the Atlanta Thrashers traded him to the New Jersey Devils. They ended up playing just one season without Kovalchuk before the entire team moved north.

That’s the sad story of the Atlanta Thrashers, summed up in a handful of paragraphs. A team that never got going. It now falls to the new ownership in Winnipeg to reverse the franchise’s fortunes.

Measure of revenge? Red Wings bottle Lightning

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In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.

For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.

Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.

Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.

They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.

Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.

Hands of gold: Connor McDavid scores his first NHL goal


Taking three games to score your first NHL goal isn’t a big deal, unless you’re someone like Connor McDavid.

The mega-hyped wunderkind must feel relieved to finally find the net, as he tied tonight’s Edmonton Oilers – Dallas Stars skirmish with a 2-2 deflection goal, which you can watch above this post’s headline.

To no surprise, there were plenty of reactions, including Pierre LeBrun’s tweet (which inspired part of this headline).

Of course, there were the inevitable Wayne Gretzky comparisons:

Interesting thing you might not consider: Stars fans will have to stomach this one even more frequently than that time Patrik Stefan biffed that empty-netter (also against the Oilers):

McDavid may have also delivered his first questionable check, too: