Not to be too obsessed with Atlanta and their constant goalie-swapping, but John Dellapina had a great tidbit in his blog — one that I hadn’t heard before:
While Hartley’s first goalie switch — from a shaky Lehtonen to a more-experienced Hedberg — hinted of panic, I found out that there were reasons beyond Lehtonen’s jittery Game 1 performance. Several Atlanta veterans were not pleased that Lehtonen showed up for practice the day before the series with his hair dyed blue and white and cut in a mohawk. When they were looking for resolve from their young netminder, they saw a lack of understanding of the seriousness of the situation.
I hadn’t heard or read anything about the hair or the mohawk, but it was actually in an AP dispatch from April 11:
Holik didn’t want to talk about goaltender Kari Lehtonen’s hair after Lehtonen’s grand entrance into the team’s locker room following Wednesday’s practice.
“You have to ignore the situation,” Holik said, shaking his head sadly and looking away so he wouldn’t have to see Lehtonen’s new playoff look: a bright blue spiked mohawk streak down the middle of his hair, flanked on both sides by platinum blonde.
Lehtonen had company. Defenseman Andy Sutton joined Lehtonen and came back with an all-blue look.
“They went to get a paint job,” joked Thrashers coach Bob Hartley. “They put a big smile on the players’ faces when they came in this morning. It’s all about fun.”
I’m not sure if anyone on the Thrashers is still having fun. Last night’s loss to the Rangers was brutal.
Maybe the Thrashers need more dye.
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Greg Logan is a well-respected New York sportswriter, having covered the Knicks before taking over the Isles beat for Newsday. He’s not a big opinion guy. He covers the Isles the same way you would cover the cops beat, or the courts. He doesn’t use his work to coach or to even comment much. He’s known as a fair, impartial guy. That’s why I was so shocked to read his latest piece on the impact of Ryan Smyth in the Islanders’ locker room. He takes some hard shots at Alexei Yashin. And if Logan is taking shots, you know it must be a horrible situation:
Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff, who was captain of the Sabres for several years, said he got so upset when coach Ted Sator took away his “C” in the 1988-89 season that he forced an immediate trade to the Rangers. “If I look back on it now and I review the way I was playing, maybe they should have benched me a couple weeks sooner,” Ruff said. “You always think ‘I’m playing good.’ But my time was up.
“That’s a hard decision for a coach. I was done as a player. Now I realize it, but then, I would have fought anybody about it.”
If Yashin had that much passion about his leadership role, maybe it wouldn’t be in question.
If Yashin doesn’t respond to that, he’s never going to respond to anything. Luckily, he still has like 22 years left on his contract.
Speaking of Smyth, Stan Fischler says the Islanders, Rangers, Avs, and Leafs are the teams expected to push hard for him.
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National playoff ratings are down so far. The big reason they’re down on NBC is that they really don’t seem to advertise the games. At least not in any way that I’ve seen. Maybe they do a quick tease, but you have to sell the rivalry. Show Jarome Iginla going hard to the net. Show Dominik Hasek scrambling in the crease. Show Chris Chelios checking Sid Abel. Sell the game a little bit.