I think I should have seen Keith Tkachuk to Atlanta coming (login info.).
I haven’t watched a ton of the Thrashers this season, but one interesting thing I noticed is that Bob Hartley likes to put his offensive wingers on with defensive centers, especially in the defensive zone. Tkachuk is a nice upgrade over Bobby Holik and the injured Steve Rucchin. His game has a tad more offense, but he’s still gritty and will keep opposing lines honest.
Now was he worth all of the picks Atlanta gave up? I kind of doubt it. I don’t think the Thrashers have the goaltending to get far in the playoffs. In fact, I would have kicked the tires on San Jose goalie Evgeni Nabokov.
Also, the New York Times weighed in on the instigator debate:
But there is no evidence that the N.H.L.’s stars, under the current rule, are being forced to fight more to protect themselves, or that they are being roughed up more. Given the 35 percent drop in fighting penalties since 2003-4 — as well as the increase in penalties for all other kinds of infractions — it would seem that the stars are being physically abused less often under the current rule.
Isn’t the instigator issue that stars don’t usually fight to protect themselves? Isn’t that kind of why you need someone to instigate?