St. Patrick and St. Kari

St. Patrick’s Day came a day early for the Thrashers, who did their Irish-themed celebration for Monday night’s game against the Capitals. And I was thinking, if St. Patrick chased the snakes out of Ireland, did St. Kari keep the puck out of the net Monday night? I mean, 49 saves, against Washington? Ten against Alex Ovechkin?

The Thrashers auctioned off green  uniform sweaters and raised more than $18,000 for the Thrashers foundation. No. 1 money-earner: Zach Bogosian’s sweater, at $2,000. Ilya Kovalchuk’s went for $1,600, Tobias Enstrom $1,100 and Rich Peverley $1,000.

Anssi Salmela had an added incentive to score his first NHL goal Monday night. His older brother, Tuomas, came in last night from Finland.

It will be interesting to see what the Thrashers do for defensive pairings without Hainsey. You’ve got to keep Zach Bogosian and Tobias Enstrom together, but do you put Salmela with Garnet Exelby and put Nathan Oystrick with Boris Valabik? That’s probably what I would do.

69 comments Add your comment

LAC

March 16th, 2009
11:38 pm

From the AP…. Just GREAT to see this guy get his due for once here in Atlanta !!!!!

ATLANTA (AP) -After Kari Lehtonen stopped all 10 of Alex Ovechkin’s shot, the reigning NHL MVP was so furious that he refused to speak with reporters.

Let’s make Cindy Crotchby cry Tuesday night too !!!!!!!!!

kracker

March 16th, 2009
11:42 pm

uh oh…What’s the injury to Ron? Or are they just saying upper/lower? How long? Hope it’s not serious.

kracker

March 16th, 2009
11:44 pm

Oh, yeah, Boris owes Cindy a whack or two. To bad Cindy’s untouchable per orders from the league office.

mknobler

March 16th, 2009
11:50 pm

On Hainsey, they’re saying day to day, lower body.

Supes

March 17th, 2009
12:20 am

Waiting on stendec to come in here and BLAST Kari for failing to stop that 1 shot tonight:)

What a game. Great effort by Kari, and the team in general. Washington is a high powered offense, they hit the post at least 2 times early on (but luck is a by product of playng well, and the Thrashers have been doing just that).

Hope that Kovy returns soon, we need our star and captain on the ice!

Keep this going, it’ll be great to finish on strong and build on for next season. Also, good crowd at Phillips tonight, not sure how many but they were loud, supporting and into it. Thrashers are playing hard and nice to see the fans there recognizing it.

kracker

March 17th, 2009
12:28 am

So Kovy’s sweater wasn’t top dollar tonight, eh? He’d better get back soon to reclaim his spot in the line up :) He’s probably thinking “Эй! Эти ребята не должны быть победы без меня!”

kracker

March 17th, 2009
12:29 am

Oh, it made a smiley but it’s in the wrong place.

Brendan

March 17th, 2009
12:30 am

Oystrick with Valabik. What other choice is there? Can’t put Salmela with big Boris. Is “XLB” with Boris any better?

Is it true, Ovechkin refused to speak with media after the game? What if he was just really mad at the officiating? Or, simply put, that they’d just lost to the 27th team in the league, while trying to pad a lead on the New Jersey Devils?

No matter, I suppose. It’s a NEW FRANCHISE RECORD!!! Six (6) wins, in-a-row. Accomplished largely without Kovalchuk, amazingly. And, on the road, for a good bit of it. That’s 12-6-1 in their last 19 games.

Are these the ‘aliens?’ Or, is this finally a team whose average age is closer to 20 than it is to 40? Hmmn. Anyone miss Holik? Or Schneider? I liked Recchi and Mellanby, but … that’s hardly a ‘youth movement.’ Klee and Larsen are long gone. Letting the kids know … “the job is THEIRS, if they EARN it” WORKS as a strategy. This ISSSS the NHL. It’s what they always wanted and dreamed of as children. And it pays WAY BETTER than the AHL.

I love it. I’m watching the “On the Fly” recap of the Caps-Thrash game. They called it, “too little, too late, to be sure for the Thrashers, but it’s all coming together now, with a sixth straight victory.” That’s not so bad. It’s accurate. They didn’t “slam” us.

Are Hedberg and Kozlov the oldest guys on the team now?

Brendan

March 17th, 2009
12:34 am

Happy St. Pattie’s Day!

Jason

March 17th, 2009
12:58 am

Oh….this was a quite amusing post by Ovechkin on his blog before the game. Guess he was convinced about scoring his 50th on us, especially without 60% of our team in Kovy not playing. Whatever………

Credit to the poster on the Thrasher website board for the link.

http://alexovetjkin.blogspot.com/2009/03/ovechkin-we-need-fedorov-for-playoffs.html

mknobler

March 17th, 2009
1:06 am

Brendan Kozlov is 36, Hedberg 35, Perrin and White 33. They are what passes for old on this team.

Alan

March 17th, 2009
1:39 am

Jason – He was convinced he would score because he always stood back when Atlanta had the puck in their offensive zone. He was sitting back, cherry-picking, hoping for a loose puck to squirt out to him so he could get out on a breakaway.

Didn’t happen.

Then he tried just asking for the puck on power plays and constantly one-timing it.

That didn’t work, either.

If his shots weren’t saved by Lehtonen, they were blocked or they went wide. He never really had any good looks, besides his one shot that was kicked out by Mr. Post.

He scored his milestone against us last year (I remember it because I was at that game). He can score it this year against Florida… assuming he’s got enough energy in him after spending 25m10s on the ice this evening.

I’m impressed with this team right now. Big tests left this week against Pittsburgh tomorrow and Detroit on Friday. Go Thrashers!

Jason

March 17th, 2009
1:54 am

Alan-I noticed also that he was hanging out in the neutral zone a lot tonight, along with begging for the puck. I could be wrong, but that doesn’t seem to be a worthwhile quality to be associated with heading into the playoffs.

I know, I know….Kovys done it once or twice too. ;)

[...] -Thrashers defenseman Anssi Salmela, acquired from New Jersey before the trade deadline, scored his first NHL goal last night. [...]

Jimbo

March 17th, 2009
8:05 am

Way to go Blue! Like most of the other kids called up Sterling is hustling his tail off. And, Stuart continues to impress with his speed, size and hustle. Salmela is really shifty. There might be a future for this team after all.

EA

March 17th, 2009
8:31 am

Mike, any chance you get could get Zach Bogo’s reaction on claiming the most money for the jersey aution? Pretty good for an 18 year old!

Rockem Sockem Thrasher

March 17th, 2009
9:12 am

I love Coach Anderson’s system! The Thrash are all over the puck, the defense looks more organized and everyone is involved. Samela is getting better with each game. Considering J.A.’s ability to identify talent, I think Samela will be fine.

TSN has posted its Draft predictions. They have us getting the 5th pick and a player named C Brayden Schenn. He looks like a hard hitting center. Consider that Angelo Esposito should be in the AHL next year.

I like the idea of keeping the AHL team stocked with talent, keeps us from relying on the free agent market.

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/feature/?id=7027&lid=sublink05&lpos=topRelated_nhl

http://www.hockeysfuture.com/prospects/brayden_schenn

Trasher

March 17th, 2009
9:18 am

A few comments on Boris. . . being a rookie and all he has much to learn and needs to adjust to playing NHL hockey. He will need to work very hard over the summer if he is to continue and I am not convinced that he is ready to be playing top-level hockey. His limit may be as an AHL defenseman only. Not everyone makes it in the big game. Time will tell.

The lack of mobility is his greatest weakness and due to this he is out of position and gives up the puck too many times. Half of the time Boris does not seem comfortable or confident out on the ice as if the game is moving too fast. Possibly with more time and a different defensive partner is what is needed. I do like that he clears out anyone near the crease in close quarters and for his toughness which the Thrashers have lacked all season.

I do like what I’ve seen from Oystrick and believe he can earn a spot on the team. It will be interesting to see more of Salmela in the next couple of games and to see what he can offer. Also would like to see Grant Lewis given another chance.

Boris the blade

March 17th, 2009
9:26 am

This team is fun to watch, they battle and they buzz the net. We are an actual team, not a one man show. It’s an absolute thrill to see them learn how to win, even without our best player.

The direction and mindset changed, I credit JA and DW. I don’t miss MS and I don’t miss Havelid. I remember the doomsayers calling for the apocalypse when we traded Havelid for this Salmela guy. Salmela just happens to be an NHL caliber D man who isn’t 900 years old and comfortable with losing. The best thing this team has ever done was go to the youth movement. It makes sense, for years the Wolves have been an elite AHL team, why we haven’t infused more of those guys into the roster earlier is beyond me. No more hanging onto underachieving EC types, No more Jason Williams types, no more Recchi’s in the twilight of their careers. I liked Havelid, but I’d much rather hop into the future with the youth we have, especially on D. I’ll spare my Hainsey sucks rant. Hainsey IMO is still the same work in progress that many of you view Boris as. I’m not glad he’s hurt, but welcome back Oyster.

RS

March 17th, 2009
9:28 am

I’m usually an Ovechkin fan, but he could have used a good beat-down last night, running players when the game was out of hand. I’ll give him credit though, the player he decided to take on was Valabik, the biggest one on the team. If that had been Crosby, he’d have probably gone after Perrin.

And Peverley’s jersey went for $1,000? He really has come up in the world…..

RJ

March 17th, 2009
9:42 am

Mike
Where are the positive artilces on Hockey’s hottest team from the likes of Schults and Moore? Does Bradley still think we should trade Kovy?
It has been a difficult road for the Thrashers but they will have their day, regardless of the doom and gloom crowd. $1,000. for Peverly’s sweater, things can not be too bad.
Go Thrashers

maali

March 17th, 2009
9:48 am

just fyi, it’s not a celebration of st patrick chasing the snakes from ireland, it’s celebrating the persecution and removal of the pagans from the emerald isle. SO HAVE A GREEN BEER! =D also i love when i’m right and people start hopping on my kari-lovin’ bandwagon.

Frosty the snowman

March 17th, 2009
10:03 am

RECENTLY THERE WAS DISCUSSION ABOUT DON WADELL OR OWNERS MAKING DECISION ABOUT COBURN FOR ZHITNIK. I REMEMBER DON SAYING HE CALLED KOZLOV IN HIS OFFICE TO ASK HIM ABOUT ZHITNIK, MAKES ME THINK IT WAS DON’S DECISION.
I AM GOING TO WAIT UNTIL NEXT SEASON BEFORE I GET FIRED UP ABOUT THIS TEAM. EVERY YEAR PEOPLE GET EXCITED ABOUT THE PROSPECT OF NEXT YEAR AND WE HEAR THE GM AND OWNERS TALK ABOUT ‘THE OFFSEASON AND WERE GONNA GET THE PIECES WE NEED’, AND WHAT HAPPENS WE DON’T GET THE FREE AGENTS AND WE END UP IN THE BOTTOM 3RD OF THE LEAGUE. I WANNA SOME RESULTS FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE SEASON UNTIL THE END OF THE SEASON. AND I’M NOT TALKING ABOUT BARELY GETTING INTO THE PLAYOFFS AND GETTING SWEPT, WHAT AN EMBARRASMENT!

JR

March 17th, 2009
10:14 am

Frosty and all others

Relax and enjoy hockey…Don’t be too emotional or too serious..just think about how Cub fans must feel but they still show up…its been a long time for the Leafs….the Patriots sucked for many years…it took the Redsox a long time…many more things to get worked up about…come to a game, have beer and boo all night long to get your anger out or just enjoy having the NHL here (which it will be for many years!!)…
The Thrashers are on the road to recovery….sorry doom and gloomers

GaVaHokie

March 17th, 2009
10:18 am

Not to beat a dead horse, but I thought of another reason why the team wouldn’t “dog it” for a good draft pick… players need to hit their bonus incentives.

Boris the bullet dodger

March 17th, 2009
10:53 am

Nice one Hokie. How many of the young players on this team are in a position to have bonuses? I don’t see any of the recent call ups fitting that description, let alone anyone on this team going forward with such a stupid philosophy, especially considering the Thrashers are a bottom in the overall standings type of team- and a lot of these guys more than likely realize if they can’t cut it here, they are not gonna have a JOB with plenty of other teams. Not to shoot holes into your asinine theory, but there you go. Sterling did reach an incentive last night. “draw 4 penalties in one game”.. advantage Sterling, he gets a bonus.

Smoothie

March 17th, 2009
11:16 am

**RS** — I believe Ovechbitch also took a run at Marty Reasoner and perhaps one other player. He lost his mind and Boris should have helped him find it…in the cloudy “knocked” the eff out realm of consciousness!!

Damn I wanted blood when he started doing that crap. One minute we’re cheering him for being so classy and self-deprecating on the Kiss Cam and then he completely betrays our acknowledgement of his stardom with his boorish and hot-tempered shenanigans. If not for the injury to Ronsey, I think Boris would have at least roughed him up a bit but we could not afford to go down to 4 defensemen for any length of time.

Speaking of Boris, the potential is there, but like Darin says, he needs to move north – south more readily before making outlet passes and not be afraid to hold the puck longer. And I disagree with the “Boris the Blade” guy who says Ron H isn’t even marginally better than Boris…are you kidding me? Look who he’s gotten to play with, both XLB and Boris. You try having a + rating playing with those two stay-at-home defensemen. But in X’s defense, he has been much, much better since returning from the broken leg.

Russ

March 17th, 2009
11:24 am

Smoothie – I assume you are the reason Peverley’s jersey went for $1000, right?

Alan

March 17th, 2009
11:34 am

We may have caught some teams trying to look past the Thrashers and to their next games, but the Penguins tonight are having none of that.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09076/956178-61.stm

Play hard, play strong, and let’s win our 7th, eh?

Frosty the snowman

March 17th, 2009
11:36 am

**come to a game, have beer and boo all night long to get your anger out or just enjoy having the NHL here (which it will be for many years!!)…
The only way I am going to a thrashers game is if I get free tix! I have been going to games since 99 and I refuse to spend money on the team until serious changes are made!

Boris the bullet dodger

March 17th, 2009
11:45 am

+/- is the most overrated stat there is. save that for the bunnies on the thrash official board who think players are good because they’re cute. Can you honestly remember the last time Hainsey actually scored ? Can you count in a game where he actually hit someone with more than a marginal bump? Only recently has he done that. and try not to put words in my mouth, because where do i say Hainsey is marginally better than Boris ? I clearly said Boris is a project, I am not calling the guy the next Chara. A poor mans version – I certainly hope so. I merely pointed out the obvious. We have rokm for mistakes, some of you act like the Thrashers are trying to get into the playoffs because of the recent success. Do you even look at where we are ? These games are for players like B O R I S. So he can develop and get better. He can’t do that w/o making mistakes and learning from it.

I pointed out Hainsey has stunk with everyone he has played with, and as was noted in the Buffalo game, Hainsey was at fault along with Boris. You don’t pass to the other team when Valabik is doing the right thing by going behind the net to come out with the expected pass to get it out of our zone. Hainsey passes to Afinogenov..who obviously doesn’t play for the Thrashers. Again..like I said.. that isn’t Valabik’s fault for actually being in the right spot anticipating the correct play in which the veteran screwed up. I’m not kidding you, Hainsey has been at fault just as much as Boris, it’s an awful pairing and Hainsey wasn’t good with X , either. X isn’t playing with him and by golly..look how well he is playing. Go figure.

Michael

March 17th, 2009
11:47 am

Does anyone know if they are still running JA’s system in Chicago? I have seen that a lot of people over the last few weeks basically saying, “See..we should have brought up these young guys sooner. Look how good they are doing.” I think it can not be ignored that if they kept his system in Chicago, these guys are being infused into a familiar situation when called up and that is allowing them to contribute right away. No longer are they being forced to learn a style via video in attempt to fit in.

Smoothie

March 17th, 2009
12:01 pm

**Russ** — you would think that it was indeed me that won the Peverley jersey, but my paltry “gubment” salary won’t allow an expensive jersey as part of my discretionary spending! Go Pevs, he was unstoppable in the first period and the coast to coast rush he made setting up the first goal was stellar to say the least.

**Boris whatever your name is ** — I realize + / – is not a perfect stat, but you do realize that Mr. Hainsey has 35 points right? Ron’s role has been a bit different from your boy Valabik’s all along. Problem is that Boris’ expected role is a simpler one and he is not executing it with efficiency enough of the time. A lot of Hainsey’s problems have been the result of a deficient pairing mate on the other side. The + / – rating is an indicator of this in my humble opinion. Also, Hainsey was playing 24- 26 mins / game when Bogey was hurt and we were relying on him to play more top line mins.

Hainsey is not a top pairing defensemen and I’ll be the first to admit that. He does play soft far too often, but his role is to move the puck first and foremost and by and large his outlet passing is above average and certainly leaps and bounds ahead of your boy Valabik. Look, I realize Hainsey was at fault on that Afinegenov goal, but the ice was horrible and players were falling down left and right. But indeed it wasn’t one of Ron’s better nights. But who played the role of Sun Eclipser on the Roy goal? Yep, your boy Valabik. He needs to stop screening his goalie on long shots from the blueline. His lack of footspeed is hurting him especially on broken plays like that one where he errs on the side of standing in front of the goalie instead of finding a body on the post and destroying it when and if there is a rebound.

Ideally I think we’ll find that Hainsey is better suited to playing with XLB as long as X isn’t sacrificing position for the big hit too often. I see Boris as a career 3rd pairing guy with the potential to play 2nd pair minutes if he improves his footwork and lateral quickness. Salmella might be the best thing to ever happen to Boris as he can be the enforcer who protects Salmella when he’s creating highlight reel plays in the offensive zone.

AGTFan

March 17th, 2009
12:29 pm

I won’t argue with any of you more knowlegable hockey fans, but I do have a question. Who are these guys and where have they hidden the Thrashers?

Smoothie

March 17th, 2009
12:35 pm

BTW, Kari was awarded the Burger King “King of the Night” award on Sportscenter for what it’s worth. ESPN is hardly a friend of hockey so I was shocked to see Kari on the screen when I was flipping channels last night. Too bad ESPN sucks karrpa wang these days.

TC Curtis

March 17th, 2009
12:43 pm

Anyone know the status of Kovi? Any chance he’ll play in Pittsburgh tonight??

Smoothie

March 17th, 2009
1:30 pm

Neither Kovy, Slater nor Hainsey off the Chainsey made the trip to PITT.

If we win this one without those three key components, then we will win 10 in a row! Tonite will be the toughest yet. Get that early lead in the first with the carry-over back-to-back games first period jump (i.e. catch PIT napping out of the tunnel) and hope Karrpa makes another stellar appearance betwixt the pipes!

ranallo10 (in AT)

March 17th, 2009
1:36 pm

“Do you keep an eye on the KHL playoffs?
For sure. I root for Dynamo and for my friends from other clubs, for Nikulin and Stepanov from Ak Bars.”

Maybe Ovechkin can help Kovalchuk convince Nikulin to make the jump this season (if the KHL will let him).

mknobler

March 17th, 2009
1:53 pm

No update from the morning skate. My flight for Pittsburgh landed at Canton-Akron because of fog. I drove over to Pittsburgh but missed the skate.

kracker

March 17th, 2009
1:54 pm

RE Losing for draft position: I think only the legitimate bottom team might actually play for the draft by making sure they remain the worst team, perhaps the 2nd worst team may do it as well late in the season.

Did anybody notice that as soon as the Thrashers went on a tear, the Islanders are 6-2-2 in the last 10 games? Is that just a coincidence? Now the Isles just have to make sure they don’t pass the Lightning.

Russian

March 17th, 2009
2:10 pm

Yes I follow KHL playoffs. Nikulin played very lately. I want to see him in Atlanta, but I think it is not happening. He got good money in Russia and no reason to change life stile, lauguage and etc. But I saw last 10 games we got good D-men. They are not perfect, but they are not too bad.

Alan

March 17th, 2009
2:33 pm

Russian, I’m sure the economy in Russia is weighing heavily on the minds of players in the KHL. Many teams (Atlant being the first to come to my mind) are talking about salary contraction for next year because the oil barons didn’t pull in enough cash.

Nikulin and others might have been well paid this year, but next season is another story.

ranallo10 (in AT)

March 17th, 2009
2:41 pm

“I want to see him in Atlanta, but I think it is not happening.”

I definitely agree with you there Russian.

GaVaHokie

March 17th, 2009
2:43 pm

“Nice one Hokie. How many of the young players on this team are in a position to have bonuses?”

Boris… huh? Really? How about the majority of them… I’m pretty sure if you play a certain amount of games, you’re due the NHL minimum salary. So, how about playing well enough to stick with the team the rest of the year?… Colin Stuart.

I know Boris has a bonus-laden contract… just off the top of my head.

FormerIslesFan

March 17th, 2009
3:13 pm

Okay, so here is something to consider. Which of the free agents Scott Cullen lists here, if any, do you think the Thrashers should target this summer? I don’t see a lot of top line center availability…

http://www.tsn.ca/columnists/scott_cullen/?ID=271061

Boris the bullet dodger

March 17th, 2009
3:36 pm

Boris was told buy a house, i think consitutes as he isn’t an AHL player anymore. that was my point, and the overall point being that our players are not busting their tails because they want a bonus. That should be obvious, most of them want to be told to set up shop here. And we all agree, some of them have pretty good chances at doing that like Stuart.

I don’t see how anyone can defend any player here on D, while we are still the second worst defensive team in all of hockey. With Hainsey and ..without him. Like I said..not all big Boris’ fault.
I like the winning, but some of you have Havelid syndrome, everyone thought the sky was going to fall when he shipped out. It didn’t, and Hainsey still sucks.

Jeremy H

March 17th, 2009
3:44 pm

Frosty – “Until serious changes are made” – what do you think has happened this season? This team is dramatically different than it was even this time last year. We’re playing competitive hockey. We’ve come together as a TEAM. We stay in the game until the last 3.5 seconds. We’re ON FIRE right now, setting team records and breaking them. What do you want? This team has finally embraced a youth movement, we’re making smart roster decisions, and Anderson has established one hell of a system. I’m not sure what more we can do at this stage.

If you’re just bitter and want DW fired, just say so. Though the days of calling for his head seem a distant memory when we’re sitting on top of a 6 game winning streak, and the team is actually playing successfully.

Russian

March 17th, 2009
3:56 pm

**to FormerIslesFan**
Thank you for the list.
First of all I like to bring back Hossa. I know everybody said that I am crazy. Don Just pick up the phone and call his agent.
Second one, I am really thinking about Sweden Twins. They are asking $6 for each of them. Why not? WE have money. It will be First line already or Second line.
Kovy – White – Little
Slava – Twin 1 – Twin 2
If Slava will not play very well second line will be
Pever – Twin 1 – Twin 2

Sara

March 17th, 2009
4:09 pm

FIF HOSSA!!! *sigh* I really miss him.

In all seriousness however, I’m not sure I’d pursue any of the names on that list. Reason(s) being:

1 – anybody on that list good enough to be top-two-line talent, even assuming they buy into the whole “we’re *really* headed in the right direction this time *honest*” pitch) is going to cost us a lot of money. Given the number of our *own* players we need to sign over the next couple of off-seasons and the fact that there is no way to know if the court case will be resolved by then and a new partner will come in with mo’ money … I don’t think it’s worth the risk of signing a contract that will bite us in the rear down the road. IMO no one on that list is really worth sacrificing Little or Bogosian or Army for.

2 – everybody else isn’t good enough to replace what we currently have and/or might have if we just promote more players from within. I’d rather keep taking our chances with our own young players at the moment, without bringing in marginal 3rd or 4th liners when we already have those, or more old farts, when Waddell’s done such a good job of purging them off of our roster.

They have to do this right this time. No more old players who take away ice time from our youngsters. I don’t care how bad Valabik may be in a game, he needs to keep on playing until he gets it right (and he eventually will).

The only caveat might be to replace Perrin – depends on what he chooses to do in the off-season (and if anyone else offers him a contract). But there again, I think we could be just as well served bringing up LaVallee or someone else than picking up an FA.

Caveat number two – where in the heck are we in relation to next year’s cap floor? If we have to pull another “Schneider” I suppose all FA bets are off.

Sara

March 17th, 2009
4:16 pm

Russian and I are thinking in the same direction.

But as I read through his post, I feel compelled to point out something …

do not confuse CAP space with the ABILITY to pay. Sure in terms of cap space we can afford all kinds of additions….except nothing has changed yet for the owners. They’re still broke until they get Belkin out of the picture…so cap max ain’t happening next season. They might, *might* spend a bit more money next season (we’ll see if Levenson walks the walk), but I wouldn’t anticipate a significant increase. They just do not have the cash flows for that.

So think small upgrades….kinda like changing the hardware and painting the walls instead of gutting the entire kitchen.