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Friday Roundup/Gamenight: Thrashers @ Capitals

[Gameday Preview]

The Caps welcome Peter Bondra and the Thrashers to the MCI Center tonight (7:00, CSN/WTNT). For Bondra, this game is "nothing special." For Caps fans, the feelings are somewhat different and very much mixed. Personally, I would cheer the guy if he was announced pre-game (booing him is garbage), but once the puck dropped, I'd love to see him get laid out.

The WaPo's article is a snoozer, but does note that the Caps have sent Max Ouellet to Hershey. Ouellet will have to clear waivers first, though, so the rest of the League has until noon to claim him. Right now, I'm betting that he makes it through. Why so optimistic? Because Max couldn't even make the roster of a team full of prospects that has nothing but the future to play for - why would a team with legitimate aspirations want him when they could get a more proven guy like Mika Nornonen for next to nothing?

The WTimes' Dave Fay has an interesting piece on Alexander Ovechkin in which he says AO's "
movements seem predictable, giving opponents the opportunity to line him up for a blind-side hit. He usually comes in from the left side bent over with his head down, a style similar to Eric Lindros ... who has sustained several concussions." In one day the kid's gone from "sensational rookie" to Patrick Ramsey. Like I said: interesting. The Times gives us an extra helping of hockey coverage today, highlighting everyone's optimism about this year's attendance (and by everyone, I mean Ted Leonsis).

Elsewhere around the League:
  • In LA last night, Coach Gretz screwed up his lineup card and the Coyotes had to play the night a man short. In his defense, prior to last night he had no idea what a "scratch" was.
  • Ilya Kovalchuk may be heading back to Mother Russia. Is he bluffing? Will either side cave in? Unlike the lockout, ownership is over a barrel here and should fold by the end of the weekend. The sides are reportedly $6.5 million apart on the 5-year contract, and if Atlanta's ownership doesn't think that Kovalchuk can bring in $6.5 million over five years, they're crazy. $6.5 million over five years breaks down to $1.3 million per season, or $31,707.32 per home game. At an average ticket price of $41.68, that's 760 seats per game, to say nothing of concession sales, playoffs, etc. There's no doubt that Kovalchuk can sell a few hundred extra seats and more than a few beers and jerseys per night, to say nothing of how much money the team stands to lose by putting out a mediocre-at-best Ilya-less product. Thrashers general manager Don Waddell is "confident that [they]'re going to continue to negotiate and get a deal done." Does Atlanta really have a choice?
Daily Awards
* Yes, I know that Roach, at 32 years old, is not eligible for the actual Calder Trophy, but we can still show him some love here.

The Rink will likely not be updated until Monday, maybe Tuesday. Enjoy a hockey-filled weekend, and Happy Thanksgiving to our Canadian friends.