According to my friend LocalMouse13 over on the Chicken, Erik Christensen was asked about his season on XM radio this morning and said that Atlanta was "a very difficult place to play due to the problems with ownership."
EDIT: (here's a transcription)
Q: Going from Pittsburgh to Atlanta to Anaheim, Erik how has the transition been for you going to Anaheim CA, adapting to a new situation on and off the ice?
EC: "Well it hasn't been that big. I've been through this situation before a few times, coming through two different teams but I've been pretty fortunate this time--to come to a team that's really well coach, that has a lot of great players and has a history of winning and knows what it takes to win. It feels a lot like it does when I was in Pittsburgh--Atlanta it's a tough spot, it's a tough spot to play with the owners over there fighting. It makes it tough for that organization to just focus on hockey and work on improving and getting better. Getting traded was surprising but in the end it's worked out well for me."
Is that really true? When Christensen was standing in the high slot and received a great pass from Ilya Kovalchuk and fired it wide of the net--was he distracted by Bruce Levenson? When Erik Christensen allowed his man to skate past him and score without delivering a body check was it because he saw Rutherford Seydel sitting in the stands? I'm calling bullshit on this.
Is ownership a problem for the Thrashers franchise? Absolutely yes. Is ownership a valid excuse for a player failing to shoot or bodycheck? Give me a break. In this rough economy how many Americans or Canadians go to work every day worried about their jobs or their company's survival? Millions. Is that worry an excuse for a poor workplace performance at your job? Probably not.
Isn't Atlanta the franchise that gave him career highs in Power Play ice time? Isn't Atlanta the city where he had a regular shift with a super star. Didn't Atlanta hand him a giant opportunity on a silver platter? And yet, he completely failed to grasp a hold of that chance to make himself a rich man with a steady top six NHL job.
Erik Christensen needs to look in the mirror, because he is just another NHL talent tease--always has been and likely always will be. He shows you a few flashy moves about once every five or ten games but does nothing the rest of the time. He is making good money because of his "potential". My own belief is that there are guys in the AHL right now who are more deserving a NHL roster spot than this guy.
So if Atlanta is such a hard place to play why is that Erik Christensen's numbers in Atlanta look a whole lot like his numbers in other years?
Points per Game by EC
.53 in 17 GP in ANA (08-09)
.40 in 47 GP in ATL (08-09)
.41 in 49 GP in PIT (07-08)
.54 in 61 GP In PIT (06-07)
.39 in 33 GP in PIT (05-06)
.45 in 217 GP in NHL career
The data show that Christensen just isn't a very good offensive player--regardless of where he played. His career PPG average of .45 puts him on pace for 36 points in a full 82 games season. Those are 3rd line point totals.