20 games in, what are your thoughts?

The Thrashers are now 20 games into the season – at the quarter mark. They stand 10-7-3 and are right in the playoff mix. Just a point behind Boston for eighth in the conference.

A couple of very bright spots and a couple of, well, not-so-bright spots so far this season.

Since there is no practice today, I’m putting together a look at the first quarter of the season. That will be for today/Tuesday and then I will finish the Pavel Kubina story for Tuesday/Wednesday. With the Thrashers on the road Wednesday and Friday we can catch our breath a bit.

Some of the good:

Three of the bright spots – as we have discussed - has been the play of the offseason acquisitions. Max Afinogenov has nine goals, Nik Antropov has 19 assists and Pavel Kubina has helped the defense. More goals from Antropov would help.

The goalies have been outstanding. Hard to fault them in most of the losses. In fact, if not for Johan Hedberg and Ondrej Pavelec I suspect the Thrashers wouldn’t have eight of their 10 losses by just a goal.

Ilya Kovalchuk has started very strong. He leads the team in goals and is second in points despite missing six games with a broken bone in his foot. His contract situation remains up in  the air as we approach the holidays.

Rich Peverley leads the team with 24 points (8 goals, 16 assists). He hasn’t scored a goal in five games.

Zach Bogosian has shown a willingness to jump into offensive plays and has eight goals already. That’s tops among all NHL defensemen.

Can’t argue with what rookie Evander Kane has done. The 18-year old has seven goals. His speed and skills are evident.

Special teams play has been much improved.

Some of the not-so-good:

There has been a lack of production from some of the forwards. Slava Kozlov (2), Bryan Little (2) and Antropov (1) were counted on for more scoring. Colby Armstrong (3) and Todd White (3) are each behind their pace of 22 goals last season.

There has been a disturbing trend of falling behind early. Opponents have scored the first goal of the game 13 times. That’s 65 percent of the time. The Thrashers are 3-7-3 in those game. Yes, they have comeback in many of those games to make it close. But use Tampa Bay as an example. They have one less win than the Thrashers, but four more overtime losses. Coach John Anderson is concerned that playing from behind so much could have adverse effects down the line. Strong words from Anderson after the last two losses.

The Thrasher have to play better at home. They are just 4-5-2 at Philips Arena. Some tough teams have come through – Washington twice – but playoff teams are not under .500 on home ice. It’s never happened.

Those are a couple of my thoughts. Let me know what you guys think are the good and bad of the first quarter of the season.

45 comments Add your comment

J-man

November 23rd, 2009
9:19 am

Getting behind early is a losing strategy. There just seems to be a real lack of effort early in the games at home. I think coach Anderson has done all he can about this. The players have to take responsibility.

I am not worried that Kovalchuk wants to play for another NHL team, but I am a little concerned that he may want to go to the KHL for 1 or 2 seasons for a big paycheck. Personally I think that would be very foolish as he did not exactly set the KHL on fire when he played there during the lockout. The longer he remains unsigned, the less likely it is that he will sign here. At some point, whether that is December or January, Don Waddell is going to have to give up and he’ll have to trade Kovalchuk so as to not lose him for nothing. The season will be over at that point. I hope that doesn’t happen and that sometime soon that I read about Kovy being re-signed, but I can’t yet rule out a worst case scenario of him wanting to go back to Russia.

I am greatly concerned about Little. He slumped badly at the end of last season but it was hidden by his great start. I am really starting to wonder if last season was a peak year for him and if he’ll ever even be a 20 goal man again. It’s too early to give up on him, but he just really does not have his act together and he’s not very useful at present. White looks like he’s going to alternate good/bad years here and we’ve got him in a “bad” cycle now.

On the plus side, the defensemen are the best we’ve ever had here and it’s really been fun to see a bunch of dependable guys back there.

Get The Puck Out

November 23rd, 2009
9:32 am

TOO many SOG’s, NO production in the first two periods, TOO many losses at home,TOO many players with little or no production. (no pun intended) If the Thrash do not start in the First period instead of the third, the result will be more of the same. They can win, but confidence has to be there that they can win. For the first time in a long time i think the goalies are the least of our worries.

KLS1

November 23rd, 2009
9:46 am

Good to see the team never gives up and feels that they are never out of a game. However, it feels very unsustainable at this point. Need to clean it up and play 60 minutes with a uniform strategey and effort. One thing for sure, Thrashers can play desperation pond hockey with the best of them.

Chris Vivlamore

November 23rd, 2009
10:11 am

Thrashers are dead last in the NHL in shots allowed per game (35.4). They have been outshot in 16 of their 20 games.

Bravos33

November 23rd, 2009
10:32 am

We just have to keep plugging along. No one here expected us to challenge for top spots in the East this year, but the 6, 7, or 8 spots are available and we should be fine if we can find a way to get more consistent play early in games. I really believe this team can get into the playoffs. We just have to find a way to have a more consistent level of play.

DanTheMan

November 23rd, 2009
10:49 am

I think the shots on goal has a direct correlation with Anderson’s system which pushes the defensemen to chip in more often in the offensive zone.

While it helped us offensively with all the goals scored by defensemen, i believe it gives a lot of 2 on 1 and 3 on 2. When you are outnumbered like that, it often leads to more than one shot on goal on the same sequence. Is it a bad system? I don’t think so. It’s just not perfect. We’ve seen times when the execution was perfect and when both the forwards and defensemen where in sync but other times when 4 guys get trapped across the blue line on a turnover.

I thought the streaky Thrashers were a thing of the past with the roster we had this year. I prefer a team that wins 2 out of 3 and the loses 1, then wins another 2 instead of a team that wins 4 in a row and then loses 4 in a row. Those streaks can be wayyy too dangerous if you happen to get them at the end of the season… especially a losing streak.

Darkhorse

November 23rd, 2009
10:52 am

Consistant effort is my biggest issue with the Thrashers to this point. I think we all agree that playing a full 60min is one of the bigger perverbial elephants in the room for this team. Their play at home is pathetic. Every home game could have been won so far if they just showed up and played hard the majority of the game. They need a major ass-chewing from the coaching staff, if it hasn’t happened already, and some not so fun practice drills for a few days to reward them for the effort they put forth in front of the home crowd this past week. Like it or not, people in this town won’t fill that building up if they continue to lose at home. The Thrashers could have the best road record in the league, but it will continue to be crickets at home until they play better and win.

Another sour note with me is the combo of Hainsey and Bogosian. They coughed up the game winner yesterday, but to me they don’t flow all the well together. Maybe the style each want to play is too similar. They both overcommit to jumping in the play and quite often the opposition has a breakaway because of it. I really wish we had one more “shutdown” type dman in the top four that had just enough offense to satisfy Anderson. I would not shed a tear if Hainsey was demoted to fifth or sixth or traded alltogether for a better option. Can you tell I’m not a big Hainsey fan?

On a happy note at this point in the season-Kane’s play, Kubina’s steadiness, Kovy’s solid goal start despite being out six games, both goalies overall good play to keep us in games, Max’s recent contributions, special teams turnaround, Pev’s emergence as a legit top line producer(even though he’s still being shuffled around), Bogosian’s offensive abilities, team’s overall record, and I know there are more.

Toby

November 23rd, 2009
11:23 am

So far…we’re in the playoffs…we’re fine.

Dwayne

November 23rd, 2009
11:26 am

Could the scoreboard person put a “3″ in the period slot to start the game?????

Long time Fan

November 23rd, 2009
11:29 am

Teams do not fear us as when they play us at home they expect to win. I read and hear how everyone says our D is much better. Look at the shots on Goal. Our D is still soft and do not Bang the Bodies on a continuous basis. Toby E. he plays so many minutes he to small to Bang Bodies with Bigger Centers and Forwards. Because of this they have no fear of coming down the boards if any thing they will get a stick check (wow I am impressed). We never wear them down the better teams are much more physical. There are more problems besides the D. I want the Thrashers to win and be a good team but I can’t see it working under Anderson or DW. The Kovy situation is looming to long. Sign him or Trade him now! Enough already do you want to play for the Thrashers or not. The time is now make up your mind and get on with business. Send Little down to Chicago shake him up a bit. Get tough with this team and make them play or sit.

Wannago

November 23rd, 2009
11:51 am

Work in progress…

Katee

November 23rd, 2009
11:57 am

Remember during Hossa’s contract year here when he clearly started skating with the intent to avoid injury?

His broken foot now healed, that is how our Captain was skating in the games Saturday and Sunday.

Sam

November 23rd, 2009
12:07 pm

The Good: Ilya. Great leadership. Great numbers in goals and assists. He’s even been in plus numbers (tho yesterday’s -3 might have messed with that).

Kubina, Antropov and Afinogenov have been excellent off-season signings. Peverley’s play has been exceptional. Kane has done well, but is tiring. His energy level has dropped off significantly, IMO. Doesn’t mean he’s not a great pick-up…may mean he was promoted too quickly. This is the big league and it requires a lot more effort and stamina. Wears on a body more.

Goaltending has been solid the majority of games.Pavelec has exceeded my expectations based on the few games he played for us in the past. Moose has stepped in and stepped up when called upon. He’s in the top 10 in save percentage in the league.

The Bad: Kovalchuk’s not signed. That’s really the one that matters.

We’ve got more talent and depth than we’ve ever had as a franchise and we’re struggling to “fire on all cylinders”? We’re a year and a half into Anderson’s system and he admits the players still haven’t gotten it?

Here’s where I respectfully disagree with Dan…IMO, the system IS at fault. We’re scoring goals. Our special teams are working. Our goaltenders are performing well. We actually have 4 NHL-level top defensemen. Kubina’s really made a difference there.

But we are allowing more SOG than any team in the league. We allow way too many odd-man rushes.We’re not beating teams in the East…the ones that matter. This is a league where defense wins games, especially in the post-season. There are far too many players with speed in this league to play roulette with your D-men pinching. Its gambling, pure and simple. And it wears on the D-men and the goaltenders.

Check out Hainsey’s frustration in Chris’ post-game interview from Sunday’s loss. The man knows what he’s talking about.

A Mouthful of AWESOME !!

November 23rd, 2009
12:11 pm

Kovy skating “scared?” Well, he certainly has not been the same player (or leader) post-fracture that he was before.

DanTheMan

November 23rd, 2009
12:57 pm

Sam, we were still getting our butts kicked back when we had a “defensive style” system. I still prefer this system to the old dump and chase system we used to have.

I don’t know how we could either change the coach and/or the system after 20 games and perform well enough to keep our playoff hopes alive. The thing is, when everything clicks, the system is awesome. Now what makes the system “Not click” on some nights is what they have to find out. Is it because some teams prepare against the system? Is it because the defensemen hesitate too much? Is it because the forwards don’t backup the D-Men going deep?

We all (well most people) asked for Hartley’s head thinking it’s system was bad and his head rolled… just to find out that it wasn’t that much better with Waddell behind the bench and Anderson behind the bench last year. So i agree to some extent with Anderson that the players are going to have to take it on their shoulders a bit for the lack of effort and stop blaming the system, coach, GM, owners or fans

Dwayne

November 23rd, 2009
1:06 pm

What the hell are yall smoking???? Kovy was supposed to miss 12 games, he missed 6, He played well against Boston, well against the Pen-Gwens(he got robbed by marc-anrdea flower) picked the fight that got Atlanta back in that game, and altho i could not see or hear the Bolt game, i would guess that everyone played bad till the 3rd period. I think another blogger that was at the bulb Sunday said Kovy looked slow and unintrested….well, everyone, even superstars in all sports have bad games. Maybe the lovely Mrs. K got on his arse about not taking the trash out.

Dwayne

November 23rd, 2009
1:11 pm

Kovy’s got 21 pts in 14 games, stretch those numbers out 76 games and tell me what you got.

Brendan

November 23rd, 2009
1:41 pm

I’m not worried about Kovy. In fact, I’m delighted with Kovy. His production is incredible, as Dwayne points out. I’m pleased by Antropov’s 19 helpers in 20 games. He’s a “point-a-game” player so far. So, how can I really be anything other than pleased with that? Okay, fine. 10 goals and 10 helpers is more balanced than 1G, and 19 assists. I hear ya.

Speaking of a “point-a-game” players, and “balanced production,” Max Afinogenov has 9G and 11A for 20-points in 20 games. How many of us thought THAT, coming into the season? Not me. I might have said, “10-points,” without too much hesitation. But not twenty. Not twenty.

Okay, what about Johan Hedberg’s .921 save percentage and 4-2 record? Not to mention that he’s been excellent when called upon to relieve Ondrej Pavelec. Moose has had a very good year.

Our PK and PP units are both better than last year. Let’s keep it going. It’s the shots against that is still somewhat troubling. What is bailing us out … is our youth and speed in the 3rd period, where we seem to be doing the lion’s share of our production, lately. That’s exciting to watch. But it’s also a dangerous way to operate. The first 40 minutes of a game aren’t supposed to be a “feel out process.” It’s okay to score 1 goal per period and win 3-2. Or 4-3, in overtime. Fine by me.

Kovy’s contract isn’t something I want to continue to harp on. On January 24, 2010, if he’s still un-signed, there should be a “sit down” meeting, even if it has to take place in Jay Grossman’s New York City office. And, at that time, “cause and effect” relationships will be hammered out. And Waddell would be well within his rights to say, “We’re going to start shopping him, if an agreement is not reached within ‘x’ amount of time. And your client can wind up spending the rest of this season in the frozen tundra of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, if that’s the best offer I get.” Hopefully, the dialogue never turns that sour.

Jimbo

November 23rd, 2009
1:41 pm

Falling poorly in the first quarter is very troubling. I have had season tickets in a number of NHL cities over the years and almost all of the other home teams that I have watched tried to set the tone for home games by coming out strong in the first period. For many years, that was the expected norm in the NHL. While the players have to take some responsibility for not putting forth a maximum effort in the first period, Anderson has to provide a stronger leadership and insist that their play in the first period be more energetic and physical. We’re not only gettin outshot at home in the first period, we’re getting pushed around. If a line does not hustle and hit– it sits- pure and simple.

Darkhorse

November 23rd, 2009
1:52 pm

Agreed Jimbo. It’s up to Anderson to find a way to get the energy level going at the start of games.

DanTheMan

November 23rd, 2009
1:58 pm

Also, you get to pick your lines last when you’re at home so you can really mix and match your lines the way you want against your opponent. So yes, some responsibility falls on the coaching staff

Sam

November 23rd, 2009
2:13 pm

Dan, I actually think we have to change coaches to keep our playoff hopes alive, re-sign Kovy and get past the first round. Who wants to just squeak by with the 8th spot and then immediately sink again? I think Waddell’s getting down to the line, though. he does have to make that decision if its the way he’s going to go. And something’s got to give. Ilya was clearly disgusted yesterday. He doesn’t want to leave, IMO, but he’s got to be given a reason to stay and believe that he’s not signing his career into oblivion with a team that’s going nowhere.

There are more options than Hartley’s system or Anderson’s system. We can utilize our offensive power and still play solid team defense. Detroit does it with Datsyk and Zetterberg.

We’ve got the talent to succeed, finally. A year and a half into coaching, Anderson’s system should be producing better results, IMO. And the forwards should know their roles….the D-men should know when to pinch or not. These guys we have are not stupid, nor negligent in how the game is played. What if they don’t believe in the system? What is Anderson’s lost the ear of the team? It happens. In which case, changing coaches is the easiest, fastest option.

Barry

November 23rd, 2009
2:21 pm

I think the goaltending has been a surprise. I wasn’t sure how we would do having to lean on Pavelec to take most of the load. Afineginov has been a surprise as well. I’m really pleased with the play of our D for the most part. A few of them have had a couple of gaffes but Kubina is a stud and I really have liked the play by Schubert to be honest. Ya he’s taken a couple of over physical penalties but also some of those penalties I thought were bad ref calls. Also, I was one of the doubters that didn’t think Kane could be able to hold his ground against bigger NHL players but he definately made me eat crow as he just continues to play very strongly on both ends of the ice.

Really concerned about the lack of production from the Kozlov-White-Little line. Last year they would keep us in game and win us some games when other teams shut Kovy down. Now this year they are playing like the Little Ghost of Russian past. The last two games they seemed to have taken Anderson’s message to heart as they have been more aggressive and worked harder, so maybe that’s a start to turn things around. Also really concerned with the consistent slow starts, especially at home. They know about it. The coach knows about it and trying all he can to get them to come out on fire, but yet they still keep having bad starts to games as if they are not ready to play. It’s like it has been defined “to keep doing the same thing over and over and expect a different outcome is insanity”. This team needs to play more physical. At the beginning of the year they played the body more and was more stingy in the neutral zone and caused turn overs. When they played like that they were successful. Thrashers have gotten away from that style of play and are becoming a softer team. They gotta step it up and be more aggressive in all 3 zones.

EM

November 23rd, 2009
2:22 pm

Perhaps the team is motivated by the big crowds on the road. However, that is not going to happen at Philips until the team plays 60 minutes and wins back the home crowd. They can do it. Pavs looks really good between the pipes.

[...] Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal Constitution takes a look at the Thrashers season so far as they have roughly reached the quarter mark and the team is in the playoff [...]

Tom

November 23rd, 2009
3:17 pm

Ho, hum. Just another franchise the NHL doesn’t need. One play off series in their history and it was a sweep. Bring back the IHL. It was a lot more fun than watching Tampa, Florida, Carolina and the Thrashers.

GaVaHokie

November 23rd, 2009
3:41 pm

Remember during Hossa’s contract year here when he clearly started skating with the intent to avoid injury?

His broken foot now healed, that is how our Captain was skating in the games Saturday and Sunday.

Now that’s plain stupid… he got a game misconduct for fighting Matt Cooke… why would someone avoiding injury start a fight?

Barry

November 23rd, 2009
4:09 pm

Speaking of, that rule that you get automatic instigator if you start a fight with a visor is plain retarded. That rule needs to be taken out. The league urges players to use visors for protection against pucks, yet they are not allowed to take a stand, start a fight to send a message? What does league expect players to do…take their helmets off? Pulease! Why would a player put themselves at a disadvantage before a fight starts?

Traci

November 23rd, 2009
4:46 pm

Only a hockey player looking to protect himself from getting hit would start a fight while still hearing a helmet and a visor.

Oh, wait! Isn’t that what Kovalchuk was doing on Saturday night?

Kovy = The New Jagr

Rockem Sockem Thrasher

November 23rd, 2009
5:22 pm

I agree, things could be improved. But let’s face it, this is still a very good start to the year.

Last year, after 20 games we were 8-10-2 – and had 18 pts. Right now we are 10-7-3 with 23 points. Last year we had several long losing streaks which we haven’t seen this year.

More importantly, I see things going in the right direction. Look, this is a long season. The numbers are trending in the right direction.

The Earl of Bud

November 23rd, 2009
5:27 pm

Dwayne & GaVaHokie – thank you for inserting the obvious. Since when does a top line superstar who picked a fight with a dirty player to get his team back in the game ever get accused of tanking it? Kovalchuk is a stud. All the top snipers in the league have visors but very few are willing to drop the gloves.

JA has to motivate these guys somehow but enough with the coaching merry-go-round.

The Earl of Bud

November 23rd, 2009
5:32 pm

23 points in 20 games is 92 points in 80 games. 93 is probably going to be the cutoff. If we are struggling and on pace for (yes I said it) 92 points what if we go on a run like in most years of this franchise? I am more than happy to squeak into the 8th spot or possibly the 6-7th spots. This team isn’t going to go from 0 to 60 without hitting 40 and 50 in between. Let’s become a playoff team and possibly win a series and then take the next step next year and compete seriously with a re-signed Kovalchuk.

LA Thrasher

November 23rd, 2009
7:49 pm

Home ice advantage begins with the fans, and we need to sell-out Philips and make some noise for our team. The Thrashers rank last in attendance. Come on, fans. Bring your friends. Invite your colleagues. Let’s pack Philips Arena!

Roscoe P. Coltrane

November 23rd, 2009
7:57 pm

Self-destroying prophecy is at work as far as Kovy re-signing: He won’t sign til he sees more fans, but fans won’t come out until he signs. Pursue THAT question Viv.

Tom

November 23rd, 2009
8:13 pm

Unfortunately for the Thrash (and the rest of the East for that matter) the Atlantic is so freakin good that there will only be 2, maybe even 1 playoff spot left. Thrash really need to step it up if they want one of those spots. Not that they’ve been awful, but, as has been mentioned often, the slow starts and high shots against totals must be fixed.

Lee

November 23rd, 2009
8:17 pm

Finally!!! Chris!!! The Question I have been waiting for! here are my pros:
- The Thrashers have been pretty solid, yes they have had their moments and I think they could’ve done better, but overall not a bad 20 games.
-They are over .500 so that’s something to celebrate.
- The division is reakky tight, in fact, the conference is really tight, so thatgot a fair chance for playoffs.
-Ondrej (did I spell that right?) Pavelec has been pretty good. I mean, he’s sill young and all, but I think he has a great future and at the moment is a great backup while Kari Lehtonen is injured.
-New faces! Pavel Kubina and Nik Antropov. Always a pleasure to see them on the team!
-MAD MAX! Whooo doggie has max been HOT! Getting the chances, getting the puck, getting the ice time, making the passes, he’s everything you could imagine!
-Zach Bogosian has gotten the chances and made the goals. Great to see such a good guy get out there and score some goals.
Now, here are my cons:
-Home advantage has not been so hot. Ecspecially when we were waaaay better on the road than at home in the beggining of the season. Now, not so bad, but it could be better. Yeah guys, do what LA Thrashers says!
-Slava Kozlov. Man, I wish I could just turn around and see him with the puck, but I’m not seeing that!
-Kari Lehtonen, his injury has had a big impact on our team, hopefully he’ll recover soon.
-What’s up with John Anderson’s mustache???!!!
So ya… lot’s of stuff, hopefully the bad things will get stronger and the good things even stronger. Look for a great year!

LAC

November 23rd, 2009
8:23 pm

Not going to make playoffs.

Must rid team of little/white, They HAVE TO GO. They are killing the team.

Hainsey is not very good either.

Changes MUST be made and made before mid-December or it’s all over.

The contract mess has become just like hossa, a MESS. Typical DUMB don waddell… #17 is gone, so let’s get something before trade deadline and improve the team !

Dwayne

November 23rd, 2009
8:38 pm

I have not heard that Kovy wont resign because of low attendance. That’s a new one on me. I will be driving up from Brooklet Ga. on Dec 21st, little town next to Statesboro, 60 miles from Savannah to watch us kick the crap out of the Canadiens. I am bringing my youngest daughter, (my last tax exemption) and my 2 oldest Grandsons(6 and 7, grandsons 1st hockey game) Would like to come up more, but Christmas for wife, 3 daughters, 2 step sons, Mom and 6 grandsons put a dent in the wallet.

Brendan

November 24th, 2009
12:41 am

One of the things that always irked me was hearing casual hockey fans say, “Brendan, I don’t even watch hockey until after New Year’s Day and the Bowl games end. That’s when the hockey season TRULY starts.”

:roll:

And yet, shaking my head, there’s plenty of evidence to point to teams that reached the Finals, or won the Cup, who were well outside the playoff picture at Christmas. On New Year’s Day, 2006, the New Jersey Devils were 17-points of out 1st place in the Atlantic Division. The Devils won their division in the final hours, of the final day of the regular season.

So? So, we’re not one of those teams who had the best, or second best, second-half of the season records. It’s still possible to become a team like that. But until then, we’ve done well to bank points. It prevents us from having the finish the final 20 games of the season with a 17-2-1 record. Probably our best second-half of a season was 2006. I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but once Kari came back from his groin injury, where he missed 38 games, Atlanta was red-hot. It was an Olympic Year. And Kari didn’t go, opting to rest and focus on the playoffs rather than risk further injury in Torino, Italy.

Well, it’s once again an Olympic Year (2010 Vancouver). Chuckling, I’d wager that Kari probably won’t be going again (for Finland), and who only knows how Kari’s second-half of the season might go. But if the Thrashers can just keep their heads 5-6 games over .500 by the Olympic break, they’ll have a “fair opportunity” to compete for a playoff berth. Ninety-two (92) points is 10 games over .500. I’ve been using 94-points as my line in sand. If we get there, I think we’re in. That’d be 12 games over .500, “NHL-style.” Straight up, Atlanta is 10-10. “NHL-style,” they’re 10-7-3. People don’t like to hear the words, “stay the course.” But that’s precisely what we’ve got to do. We can’t have any prolonged losing streaks. Those points in October count as much as they do in March. And we’ll need every single one of them. The key is to finish strong. Every team should want to be playing their best hockey of the year in late March and early April.

And for the record, one of my favorite playoffs seeds is the #6 spot. Lots of times, from #6, you can catch a weak division champion. The actual difference in points, over an 82 game season, might be 4-5, or fewer. It’s a winnable series. And every year since 1995, except twice, some Conference’s #7 has knocked off a #2 seed. That means the second round gets re-seeded #7 vs. #1, #6 vs. the winner of #4 vs. #5. Again, what’s the points differential? Two? Three? Four? It’s yet A-NO-THER winnable series for the #6 seed. Just recently, in 2008, in the Eastern Conference, Philadelphia reached the CF from the #6 slot. Last year, Carolina was a #6 seed that reached the CF. In 2007, the NY Rangers swept us as a #6 seed. In the West, Anaheim was a #6 seed that reached the CF in 2006. Back in 2003, Minnesota was a #6 seed that reached the CF.

If Atlanta can pour it on down the stretch, and on the final day, squeak into #6, at say, 96-points, what a world of possibility it might open up. We might just draw the Northeast Division Champion. How do you like Atlanta’s odds against: Buffalo, Boston, Montreal or Ottawa? If we happened to draw a Southeast Division opponent, at least we’d be very familiar with them. But I don’t like our chances against the Capitals in a playoff series. Nor do I like them against Carolina, for if the Hurricanes made it in, it meants they FIXED what was wrong. Look at the ‘Canes playoff record since the Lockout. Yikes. If it’s Tampa, I’d be very surprised, but I’d welcome that series!

Justin

November 24th, 2009
12:48 am

Anderson needs to switch up the lines. Kozlov does not deserve 2nd line minutes. The same can be said of White. Hainsey needs to be traded. He’s terrible. Our 4th line looks like a solid AHL line. We need a serious upgrade on our fourth lone. Boulton and Thorburn are useless. Bring up Crabb or Machacek for energy. Move Little back to center where is more natural. Peverley needs to be the top center to win face-offs more consistently. Move Antropov back to RW. He might shoot more from the wing.

My new line-up
Kovalchuk – Peverley – Afinogenov
Kane – Little – Antropov
Kozlov – White – Armstrong
Slater – Reasoner – Machacek

Bogosian – Enstrom
Schubert – Kubina
Valabik – Popovic
Salmela

Pavelec – Hedberg

Dwayne

November 24th, 2009
6:44 am

No Valabik…No Valabik…No Valabik

jerry

November 24th, 2009
7:34 am

They suck, as usual.

stendec

November 24th, 2009
8:10 am

Happy Thanksgiving all! That said. No playoffs for these untalented heartless quitters! Loseland required fumigation after that shetty giveup job against Tampa Bay. Thrashers have only themselves to blame for horrendous home attendance totals! Who in Hell wants to watch that uninspired bullshet? Nobody with half a brain! Pavs is becoming a whining excuse maker like Sori Letemin. Wah wah wah! Man up you piece of commode residue. No one feels sorry for your uncaring a$$! Least of all me. I will say this for John Petrino, he is in the same motivational class as Mark Bicht. Nuff said! See nothing to look forward to from here on out. Same gutless and ball-less Thrashers from past seasons! Kaptain Ilya Kovalchuk will soon be gone. Hey, Kari Lehtonen will be back for a few games until he breaks a nail! Losing streak rocks on. Likely to for quite a while! Hope Thrashers enjoy Canada. Losers! ++STENDEC++

stendec

November 24th, 2009
8:13 am

If Atlanta can pour it on down the stretch, and on the final day, squeak into #6, at say, 96-points, what a world of possibility it might open up. We might just draw the Northeast Division Champion. How do you like Atlanta’s odds against: Buffalo, Boston, Montreal or Ottawa? If we happened to draw a Southeast Division opponent, at least we’d be very familiar with them. But I don’t like our chances against the Capitals in a playoff series. Nor do I like them against Carolina, for if the Hurricanes made it in, it meants they FIXED what was wrong. Look at the ‘Canes playoff record since the Lockout. Yikes. If it’s Tampa, I’d be very surprised, but I’d welcome that series! (???????)

Sigh.

Dwayne

November 24th, 2009
9:25 am

Stendec, I’m glad you are coming to your senses and agreeing with Brendan. He is very knowledgeable. Your 8:13 am post is spot on. Next time I am in Atlanta we can take in a Thrasher game. Maybe in January, when your favorite goal tender, Kari “the stone wall” Lehtonen is between the pipes.