The Atlanta Thrashers are no more. By this time next year, the franchise will be in Winnipeg, perhaps playing in the colors and logo of the Peggers' beloved Jets, and Canada will at last have more NHL teams than the Confederacy.
Kotaku reader osopequeno decided this week to give the Thrashers a glorious sendoff, courtesy of NHL 11. Thing is, like Atlanta, osopequeno is also terrible at hockey (the Trashers were the penultimate finisher in the NHL's SEC). So this going-away party required some divergence from reality.
"I'm just awful at these games," he writes. "I buy them every year, have since NHL 95, but I just never develop a feel for them." His goal, he writes, was simply to get Atlanta to the NHL playoffs (which in reality concluded on Wednesday with Boston winning the Stanley Cup and rioters pillaging Vancouver).
Sensing the team was "young, tough and fast," and he could play to those strengths, osopequeno's only roster move was to trade for Dallas center Brad Richards, who finished 10th in the NHL in points.
"Regular season went okay, a little over .500," osopequeno writes. "Rotated goalies every five games or so, until about halfway thru the season when (Chris) Mason was the clear choice for starter. Went into the last day of the season tied with Buffalo, needing a point against Pittsburgh to sneak into the playoffs. Mase didn't disappoint, and I won 3-0."
Facing the No. 1 seed Capitals in the first round of the playoffs, the Thrashers lost the first two games and then rebounded to sweep the next four. Atlanta did the same thing against Pittsburgh, then disposed of Tampa Bay in five to reach the Stanley Cup final against the Chicago Blackhawks.
osopequeno is a Chicagoan so this matchup "was tough to swallow," nonetheless he dispatched his childhood love in four games, winning 7-1 in the last.
Moreover, he writes that playing 103 games in NHL 11 (in two weeks, no less) has made him a better gamer. "I developed that feel for the game I hear others talk about. Saw plays come together, knew what my opponents were trying to set up," he says. "I look forward to my next project — franchise mode with the Winnipeg Jets!"
Remember, all you have to do to get yourself featured in Box Scores' Game of the Week is take a picture of whatever sports video game been playing - crappy cell picture will do - write up a couple sentences about why it was so compelling, and email it to me, owenATkotakuDOTcom, with "Box Scores" in the subject header. I will star all submitters, regardless of whether they are published. So be sure to include include your commenter page URL so I can properly credit the entry.
Now the Kotaku Sports open thread commences with the sports TV highlights for today and tomorrow. All times are U.S. Eastern.
The U.S. Open's third and fourth rounds are today and tomorrow on NBC at 2 p.m and 1:30! Ireland's Rory McIlroy had a six-shot lead heading into today. His tee shot probably just hit a house in Augusta, however.
The College World Series is underway; at 2 today it's Vanderbilt vs. Carolina, followed by Texas vs. Florida at 7. Tomorrow California-Virginia is on ESPN at 2, followed by Texas A&m vs.
Carolina USC South Carolina at 7, on ESPN2.
Major League Baseball
Fox offers a choice of two games today, Yankees at Cubs or Rangers at Braves, 4 p.m. check local listings. WGN has the White Sox at Diamondbacks at 8. Tomorrow, the Brewers and Red Sox do it up on TBS at 1:30, with the Cubs-Yanks on ESPN at 8.
Something called the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 is on TNT at 1 p.m. Sunday, that's a NASCAR race. The Milwaukee 225, so named because it's 45 percent as exciting as the Indy 500, is on ABC at 3:30 on Sunday. With no hockey, Versus has to air something, and will showcase the world's finest blood dopers in the Tour de Suisse at 7 today and tomorrow. Showtime supplies your USRDA of sweaty dickpunching with the Strikeforce World Grand Prix Heavyweight Tournament at 10 p.m. tonight.
Remember, you may send your sports Game of the Week nominations to owenATkotakuDOTcom, and flag it "Box Scores" in the subject header. Please include your commenter handle for proper credit.
(Top photo by Al Bello | Getty)