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Original Issue

Positive Signs After a Tragedy Atlanta's Surprising Start

In the wake of the automobile accident that killed center Dan
Snyder and seriously injured star right wing Dany Heatley during
training camp, no one expected the Thrashers to play well at the
outset of the season. But with a 7-2 victory over the Blackhawks
last Saturday, Atlanta improved to 3-0-2-0 for its best start in
the five-year history of the franchise. Goalie Pasi Nurminen had
been brilliant (1.55 goals-against average), and left wing Ilya
Kovalchuk led the league with five goals.

Sure, the Thrashers have benefited from a soft schedule (the five
teams they had played were a combined 7-13-4-0), but coach Bob
Hartley deserves credit for holding an anguished team together.
"My goal is to get this team to the playoffs," says Hartley.
"Whether people think it's realistic or not, it's up to us to
prove it."

Says a rival general manager, "The accident is an unfortunate
reason, but sometimes these things make a team closer."