I was going through ‘my blogs’section in the upper left corner of this website, and saw ‘Birdwatcher’s Anonymous’ having 2 more fanposts and 4 more fanshots since I last visited the website. I couldn’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of grief. Before the Jets fans get riled up, I want to tell you that this is not about you. This is about me and the Thrashers.
I don’t know why it did not dawn on me until today that I wont get to watch the Atlanta Thrashers anymore. You see I don’t come from a hcokey family. In fact I did not know anything about ice hockey before coming over to Canada. Being a sports junkie that I am, coupled with the atmosphere regarding the Oilers going deep in the playoffs, got me very interested in this game. I wanted to know everything about it. Going through nhl.com really did not make any sense to me. So the smart guy that I am went and bought myself nhl05. I must have spent at least 1000 hours playing it as it was so much fun and so addicting. Making number of trades, trying to make an all star roster while trying to maximze the revenue gained. This is where I first fell in love with Thrashers. Atlanta was one of the few teams that started with 2 stars in the negotiation column and that made trading/negotiating deals much easier early on. Hence everytime I started a dynasty mode, it was always the Thrashers. I guess also it helped that Kovalchuk was the best player in the game at that time!
Since then I started following the Thrashers prelly closely. Of course not at the same level as Oilers, but it was close. When Oilers traded away Ryan Smyth in 2007, I had only one team to cheer for and they even made the playoffs! I was ecstatic. I was sure that they would be a force in the Nhl for years to come. Sadly, I was wrong on both counts. They got swept in the playoffs. Next season was terrible was well as they came out of the gate losing 6 in a row prompting Waddel to sack the head coach, John Anderson , I believe. I was still pretty bullish on the chances of their success only to be disappointed once again and yet again in 2009. Both my favorite teams – Oilers and Thrashers disappointing. It was that summer that I found out about Coppernblue and through here I visited Bird Watcher’s Anonymous. Two of my most visited sites of that summer.
At that time it was the ‘ Falconer’ who used to manage the website and he was a fantastic writer. His views regarding the Thrashers were just great and his thoughts put in simple and acessible manner. He did not strike me as a stats guy, but you could tell that he knew that the game was more than just the numbers posted on nhl.com. Even though he was much ahead of me, he too like me was trying to understand the game in its entirety. Even though I did not comment much, I was a fequent visitor on his site and read his work religiously. It was his work that kept me interested in the Thrashers despite them being a bad team run by a terrible GM, someone 10-15 times worse than Tambellini.
However, over the last yar, his posts became rarer and Thrashers continued to be mediocre to bad. Hence my interest kept waning.
I love hockey and I would like to see it expand and become a bigger deal than NFL or NBA, and so I root for the southern markets to do good. I think over the last year this became the sole reason I was cheering for the Thrashers to do well. I no longer felt that good about them; their victories did not give me the same kind of joy, or their losses the same sort of sadness. But I still liked them over other teams like Florida or TB, but…..
Maybe its because I am feeling nostalgic, or maybe it’s because only today I read the ‘Falconer’s’ heartfelt goodbye to Thrashers; but I feel sad about Thrashers leaving Atlanta. More I think about how every thrasher fan must be feeling, it griefs me even more. Even though I don’t live in Edmonton anymore, I don’t want to know how it would feel if the Oilers are ever relocated. I really hope that the Atlanta gets another franchise in near future, with a better management team; as I believe that fans deserve a good team there.