Different Rangers await tonight

The Thrashers beat the Rangers in a shootout Feb. 3 in New York, but Atlanta faces a much different team tonight at Philips Arena.

The Rangers added Sean Avery, Derek Morris and Nik Antropov since then. “All three of them have made a difference for us right away,” said John Tortorella, who is also a new addition as coach. Tortorella said he will always be on Antropov to play a full 60 minutes, but, “That’s a big body with talent.” Avery, a hockey soap opera of a story, has eight points in 10 games with the Rangers since being signed on re-entry waivers. “Sean has been a very, very effective player for us,” Tortorella said. “It’s hopefully going to calm down around him.”

Another change for tonight. The Thrashers face New York’s backup goalie, Steve Valiquette. Valiquette has good stats (2.77 goals against average, .910 save percentage) but he’s not quite Henrik Lundqvist, and he hasn’t won a game since January. He allowed just two goals on 35 shots in his most recent start, a loss at Carolina March 9.

As you read yesterday, Jim Slater returns to the lineup tonight for the Thrashers. Joey Crabb was sent back to Chicago.

42 comments Add your comment

Tony C.

March 26th, 2009
12:22 pm

Yet another backup suits up against Le Thrash….

stendec's wife

March 26th, 2009
12:55 pm

Please forgive my Hubby, you see, he has a little winkie, it doesn’t work half the time, and when it does, its not very pleasurable for me. He doesn’t have any A$$ to back “the little fellow” up. He watches alot of hockey, so I know he has seen the Enzyte commercials. He just will not make that call.

Russian

March 26th, 2009
1:11 pm

Hey Mike,
What is lines for today?
Where is Perrin will play?
I like to see him in second line with Slava and Pever. Armi should move to 3-d line.

Smoothie

March 26th, 2009
1:40 pm

With Jimmy Slater back the Thrashers are poised and ready to reel off a franchise record-setting 8 wins in a row to guarantee a .500 season for Coach John Anderson!! Okay, I admit that is a bit of gross ambition and wishful thinking on my part, but how nice would it be to see them finish the season 8-0-0??

Russian, I reckon we’ll see Perrin back on the 3rd line, but you’re right, it would be interesting to see if he would have any chemistry with Slava and Peverlicious. Army is a 3rd liner and I think JA is trying to get him to 20 goals by keeping him on 2nd line.

Alan

March 26th, 2009
1:44 pm

Tony, does it really matter? If we win, is it because we faced a backup goalie or is it because we played sixty (or more) solid minutes on the ice and were defensively sound while potting goals?

Edmonton fans were despondent when we beat them recently. They were especially sad because we played Hedberg. “We got beat by a backup goalie” was their biggest comment. No, guys, your team got beat because you couldn’t pot the goals you had the chances for.

For us, it’s a chance to seriously injure Valiquette’s GAA and SV% while winning a game against a team who is heading for the playoffs for sure. For them, it’s a chance to rest Lundqvist while keeping Valiquette in shape. Why work Lundqvist against a team out of the playoffs, anyway?

LAC

March 26th, 2009
4:05 pm

Jim Slater or Joey Crabb… Joey Crabb anyday,I am sick of do nothing Jim Slater, he is one who needs to exit stage left asap.

GaVaHokie

March 26th, 2009
4:36 pm

All I know is, this headline makes me sick to my stomach…

http://tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=272742

Michael Shapiro

March 26th, 2009
7:45 pm

OK, I’m stuck proctoring an exam and all I saw was a goal attributed to Scotty Gomez on the Thrash website and then it was gone. Somebody please tell me what happened??!?!?

Michael Shapiro

March 26th, 2009
7:46 pm

Enter your comments here

Tony C.

March 26th, 2009
8:13 pm

Hokie-

So you would be ok with trading Lehtonen & a 2nd-rounder for Vermette and then letting Pavalec burn&learn @ the NHL level? Behind JA’s (admittedly) high-risk/offensive reward system?

stendec

March 26th, 2009
8:14 pm

Kari Letemin hurt? Out? Boo hoo. I guess there is some damn justice in sports sometimes. Every once in a miserable while. Must be a painful hangnail! Excuse me while I shed a tear. Too bad his exit did not occur prior to his allowing the only marshmallow goal of the evening. I know, apologists have a zillion reasons why it was freaking unstoppable! Hope Moose has a decent outing. He should have been between the pipes to begin with!

stendec

March 26th, 2009
8:38 pm

Moose Nuts picked up where Kari Letemin left off! Who is next in the goalie rotation? PUT EM IN! Secure a damn volunteer from the stands if necessary. Absolutely pitiful pi## poor uneffort tonight on home ice. Against the untalented Ranjerks! What else is new? How completely nauseating. (X) em all the betches! The Ranjerks have.

stendec

March 26th, 2009
8:53 pm

Toiletlids score to make it 4-2 after two periods. How many will home group have to tally to win? A half dozen? More? Sorry apologists, not that many goals in these quitters! Another loss to an extremely marginally talented team. ON HOME ICE! Truly sad and pathetic! All those Ranjerk jerseys in Atlanta arena look so sweet. Pardon me while I throw up!

Brendan

March 26th, 2009
9:22 pm

Rangers 4, Thrashers 3, with half the 3rd period left. What a cheap “knee-to-knee” hit Sean Avery tried on Kovy. Avery got off “scott free,” while #17 sat for 2:00. Disgraceful officiating there. 9:30 left in regulation.

Go Thrashers!

JAmes_kovyboy

March 26th, 2009
9:32 pm

ohh its 4-4
Come on stendec
say something

Mikeyy

March 26th, 2009
9:39 pm

stendec where is your little betch as*s now after its tied up huh? does kovy still suck? how many points has he got tonight o and well what do you know another goal for him. stendec im sorry you cant get it up but do not take it out anymore on this site. peace betch.

JAmes_kovyboy

March 26th, 2009
9:54 pm

STOPPPEEEEDDD BY HEDBERGGGGGGGG
lalalalalala
We are too good
damn Moose was tight today

GO THRASHERSSS

Jared

March 26th, 2009
9:54 pm

I gave up on them when the score was 4-1 Rangers. Glad to be pleasantly suprised.

Brendan

March 26th, 2009
9:58 pm

Todd White, ladies and gentlemen. This is his “career year,” allright. The late goal, in the 3rd period. Then the shootout winner! NY Rangers have to blame themselves. They led, 4-1, and LOST.

Matt

March 26th, 2009
10:02 pm

Stendec? Stendec? Stendec?

That crow must have gotten stuck in your craw again, huh?

Loser.

Come on, say something now, it’s easy to be negative when things aren’t going well.

Your schtick is old and tired. Please go away.

stendec

March 26th, 2009
10:02 pm

The Thrashers swiped two points on home ice! A 4-1 deficit became 4-4. Moose was truly phenomenal in the shootout! Only negative is the point to Ranjerks. Do not consider Kari Letemin injury a negative! Ilya Kovalchuk carried this team on its back tonight. He absolutely refused to let this become a defeat. The turning point came on his goal with less than a minute to play in second period which trimmed huge 4-1 margin to 4-2. Team displayed some grit down stretch. Sure was nice to see. Been missing all season! Getting set to view late night replay. Especially third period, overtime and shootout. Nice character triumph. Congratulations to all the guys with birds on their uniforms except one. Good night everyone. God bless.

sisu

March 26th, 2009
10:15 pm

Stendec is off his meds again:) Bipolar poster child

stendec

March 26th, 2009
10:25 pm

Love all the hate directed towards me. Oh well. This is to all apologists after hearing John Petrino post game remarks. Carrie Letemin blew him off between first and second periods. Just told coach he would not be back. No reason why, no apology not even a kiss my a##. Just a quitter reframe from an immature crybaby! Do I sense a glass groin recurrence? Who cares? All I know is that if Moose had started as he should have it would have been 4-3 Thrashers in regulation. With no mercy point to Ranjerks! That is a fact not a fancy. How many goals would the blue haired wonder thug have allowed? Conservately, four. Realistically, six. Not even Ilya Kovalchuk could have overcome that!

Brendan

March 26th, 2009
10:47 pm

Kovy’s post game comments were laden. He called the Thrashers, “one of the worst teams in the NHL,” and he said, “We don’t have to the talent not to play a full-speed game.” “We have to play with more heart. We owe it to our home fans. Or next year we’ll have 2,000 fans in the stands.” Granted, he’s talking like a Captain. But words like, “worst teams in the NHL” don’t make for good ’soundbytes’ for a player the organization desperately needs to lock up in this very offseason.

Stop. Just knock it off, already, will ya? I know what ’some’ of you will say. “Ya know, Brendan, the organization technically has until July 1, 2010 to re-sign him.” Yeah, well … some people believe in the Tooth Fairy. If this organization does not re-sign Kovy by “Bastille Day,” July 14, 2009, it probably won’t. And it’s out of excuses as to “why not.” If we’re too stupid, as an organization, to see the need to offer a PROACTIVE contract to the “face of the franchise,” then Heaven Help Us. And if Kovy REFUSES contract negotiations, we HAVE OUR ANSWER. The speculation is OVER. It stops. It means Kovy’s leaving. For if Kovy wanted to re-sign, he’d entertain contract negotiations–and the dollars and cents portion of said negotiations would work itself out relatively quickly. The organization knows what it’ll cost. Answer: The moon and stars. Kovy’s a bonafide Tier I sniper. He has to get paid what a player of his caliber is worth. And they also know the ramifications for offering an INSULTING contract to #17. Also at issue will be DURATION of said contract. Two years? Three years? Six years? 10 or more years? The mystery will be over two weeks after the “Free Agent Frenzy” begins. By then, whatever free agents that are coming will be signed. And then, priority #1 has to be the Kovalchuk contract. Period, the end. The notion of “retaining him through to the Trade Deadline” of 2010 will have the same effect as Hossa did. Anyone want that?? Anyone?? Allright. Let’s see what FUBAS does. Maybe they’ll actually surprise us?

kracker

March 26th, 2009
11:30 pm

Was it as bad as Kovy said?? #1 goalie injured…SOG about even after 2 periods…Rangers scored in the 2nd on some 1 & 2 man advantages…Thrash battled back to tie and then win. So…I didn’t see the game, was it that bad of an effort by the Thrashers?? We did take 5 penalties in the second…Rangers had less for the game and no penalties called on them in the 3rd. Looks like a pretty good fight-back win, on paper.

Tony C.

March 27th, 2009
12:36 am

kracker
Yeah. The first half of the game they looked pretty craptacular.

If that’s KL’s response-wow I wish they had pulled the trigger on a deal for Vermette.

Tony C.

March 27th, 2009
12:37 am

poop.

Ok ‘polly=geez for the bold

Alan

March 27th, 2009
1:39 am

The first 30 minutes looked horrible. Absolutely horrific.

Tech Grad 1958

March 27th, 2009
1:41 am

Not too worried about the latest game. It’s all good. Had some good streaks during the season and we’re getting what we pay for.

Alan

March 27th, 2009
5:07 am

But words like, “worst teams in the NHL” don’t make for good ’soundbytes’ for a player the organization desperately needs to lock up in this very offseason.

Is it just a soundbyte, or is it the truth as it stands today? Neither team played their best hockey tonight, but we played better in the third, and bested them in the shootout. That’s simply not the play of a team if they have the mentality and mindset displayed in Kovalchuk’s comment, assuming you’re taking the comment as a raw interpretation.

We have a nice young core of players currently, and there’s no sense in panicking about Kovalchuk holding out quite yet. Waddell has probably been talking to Kovalchuk’s agent since 1 January 2009. He’s probably trying to get a feel for certain expectations Kovalchuk has related to his agent, and vice versa.

Regardless of how loud many of us have yelled this year, I think it’s safe to say D-Wad isn’t going to get flushed anytime soon. Therefore, it’s safe to say D-Wad is going to pull the trigger on trades, drafts, and *cringe* free agency. Ahem… “free” (or as little cost as possible) agency. Yep yep.

The direction of the team is looking up. Kovalchuk is on fire, even tonight, where he finished with three points. Little is a 30 goal scorer in his first full year. Bogosian looks poised to be an exceptional two-way D-man. Enstrom is only getting better, in this his second full season. Valabik looks a LOT better now than he did at the start of the season. Stuart is speedy and a shorthanded goal scoring machine. Not to mention the guys we’ve had here from Chicago this year; kids who may earn roster spots next year.

We’ve hit rock bottom, here and now. We may not contend next year, but we will not be schedule fodder either. We stunned the Rangers and their fans tonight and showed them exactly that. We’ve stunned other teams along the way, whose fans are always surprised that they’ve just been handed a loss by “the lowly Thrashers.” It’s a bitter pill to swallow.

Last season, we won only five games after the trade deadline. Five. Out of 19 games. This year, we’ve done remarkably better, winning eight out of 11 since the deadline, with seven left on the year. We also have a winning record since January.

We’re playing better hockey overall. The players recognize that, the coaches recognize that, and many of us recognize that. The other 29 teams? They’ll soon recognize it, if they don’t already.

If we played like this from day one, we would probably be fighting with Florida, Montreal, and NY Rangers for a playoff spot instead of fighting TB, NY Islanders, Colorado, and Phoenix for the lottery pick. Bygones.

oldref

March 27th, 2009
5:32 am

Kari, the doctor called and said your vajay jay is ready.

Alan

March 27th, 2009
6:00 am

Yeah, oldref, those things are on the upper body nowadays, aren’t they?

Know what you’re talking about before you spout off nonsense.

oldref

March 27th, 2009
6:39 am

Alan, hahaha, u sure are touchy. The point was and sorry that u missed it, is that Kari is such a puss.

DWTOO

March 27th, 2009
7:45 am

Brendan – Kovy’s whole quote is in Knobler’s article – it refers to effort. More along the line of when we hustle we’re one of the best, when we don’t we’re the worst. I didn’t see it as a reflection on his wanting to be here.

Hoping he’s looking at Ovechkin and how he’s lead a resurgent Caps team who ws languishing only a couple of years ago – and now the talent they added is starting to click. We can be there too.

Hockey Biltong

March 27th, 2009
9:17 am

Good post Alan. My sentiments precisely concerning this team. JA has done a good job. The team is playing way differently from this time last year. Overanalysing game by game is not a true indicator of the character building this team is experiencing.
DWTOO – spot on.Kovy is just taking responsibility. He is calling it as he sees it.

Alan

March 27th, 2009
10:02 am

Real original, oldref. I’m not touchy, I just don’t like the ceaseless nonsense that is posted around here. Our goalie goes down on injury and you come here and refer to him in vulgar terms? Real classy.

Biltong, that’s really how I feel. Overanalysis of anything can set a bad mood. The what-ifs and all that. What really kills me is how many people here (in the city) are asking “what if Kovalchuk doesn’t re-sign?” Well, is that a question that really deserves answering at this point? What’s the point in worrying about it now, when that question is answered maybe a full year down the road from now? I’m not worried, and I’m not letting a few bitter folks ruin it.

The team is building character, and more importantly, learning to play with each other no matter what the lines are. Slotting in our pieces for next year, with the chemistry being formed now, should be much simpler. Anderson had to edit his system this year for it to work with this team, but how would his “original” system work if he had all the pieces he requires? We might very well find out, as soon as next year, but more likely within the next two or three.

Random thought: Wouldn’t it be amusing to see Waddell fired and replaced by Bob Hartley?

oldref

March 27th, 2009
10:26 am

I blow Avery and enjoy it.

Hockey Biltong

March 27th, 2009
10:26 am

I don’t know Hartley well enough to know what he’d be like as a GM. I’m trying to guess what his dynamic would be with JA….I know he has a great sense of humour off-ice.Of course he’s been seen following the Habs around the last couple of weeks….

Alan

March 27th, 2009
10:44 am

He was at the game last night, Biltong. If that wasn’t him, the man had to be his doppelgänger.

And really, the “amusing” factor I’m thinking of doesn’t really take much thought. It should be pretty obvious ;)

GaVaHokie

March 27th, 2009
10:53 am

Tony… regarding a Kari for Vermette swap… I suppose not… sigh.

That was a lot to pay for Vermette but Columbus already knows what they have in Steve Mason. We don’t know what we have in Pavelec yet. Maybe we have a similar trade coming to us down the road.

Supes

March 27th, 2009
11:54 am

I’d say our friend stendec’s blog entires always good for a laugh, so let the man blog away. You can’t reason with him, so yeah (it’s been tried before, best to let it go). Hey, at least he has passion, I’ll give him that much.

I thought the Thrashers showed a lot of grit last night, determination and worked hard, esp. near the end of the 2nd and through the 3rd, OT period.

The “RanJerks” are one of the most hated teams on my list, simply b/c the one time I was at a Rangers/Thrashers game at Phillips, they had some of the most obnoxious NY fans I’ve ever seen, even as bad as Yankee fans (without the winning track record for their team). Plus the fact that the punk Sean Avery is on their team, automatically puts them on the list of hated teams. My only wish that Kovy didn’t get to land a good right cross right across his smirking face last night (at some point) in the game without getting a penalty.

Kari’s injury (hit) didn’t look as bad on TV, but you never know. Should reserve judgement until we know more, it could be serious head trauma (can’t even joke about that).

Oh, and props to MOOSE for locking it down during the SO…again. He stoned walled the Sabres (recently) and now the Rangers. They weren’t even close to scoring on him. Meanwhile, I still can’t believe Slava missed the shot in the SO, he never misses! Well, White picking him up, that’s what counts.

Great come from behind team win, and also a pretty good crowd at Phillips last night (at least it looked this way on SS)

RanJerks fans had to go away with the 1 point, boo fraking who!

MB

March 27th, 2009
12:45 pm

There has been much debate on here over the past year, really, about whether or not Kovy had it in him to be the captain. Seeing him turn things around last night, both individually and for the team, just helped confirm what we’ve been seeing the past couple of months, and hopefully quiets those who doubt his ability to captain the team.

He was having a terrible game through the first thirty minutes…bad decisions, giveaways…like the rest of the team, he was out of synch. Kovy was frustrated, and we all know what has happened in the past when he’s gotten frustrated…usually bad things.

Well, not last night. Instead, he scores a much-needed goal just before the second intermission…critical for heading into what would surely have been a despondent locker room.

Then that s.o.b. Avery takes a run at him with a knee-on-knee hit, and Kovy smacks him in the shot and takes him to the ice (Avery, naturally, turtles). Yes, he gets two minutes for the effort, but in my mind, that was a good penalty to take. It basically said to the team, “we’re not taking this b.s. anymore.”

The Thrashers pick up the play in the third, Kovy assists in the next two goals, and all of a sudden we’re into free hockey, and come away with two points.

An ugly, poorly-played game that we had no business winning, yet our captain guided us to victory. An ultimately satisfying night at Philips.