The Thrashers’ season will be at the exact midpoint after Saturday’s game againt the Islanders. At 39 games in, the Thrashers stand at 18-17-4. A six-game losing streak looms and it’s not the only thing that has changed (or remained unchanged in terms of the Ilya Kovalchuk contract) since the quarter mark.
The Thrashers were once at the top of the league in special teams. The penalty kill, once the best in the NHL, has slipped to No. 20. The power play has slipped to ninth.
While the goaltending has been strong, but it’s worth noting that Ondrej Pavelec has allowed three or more goals in his last nine starts. He’s been pulled from three of them.
The Thrashers continue to be outshot. The total is now up to 29 of their 39 games. Add the two games where the shots-on-goal totals were even and Atlanta has only held the advantage in eight contests.
We are still talking about the Kovalchuk contract negotiations. The offseason has come and gone as has training camp, the start of the season, 20 games into the season and Christmas, all points when the team hoped to have something done. Now the New Year is right upon us. GM Don Waddell has admitted to a “snag” in the talks. The longer the talks drag on, the more of a distraction they will become. If we get to the Olympic break, then the trade deadline looms. Waddell told me in the offseason he would not trade Kovalchuk under any circumstances. However, if negotiations reach more than a snag, that could well change.
I will be working on a Thrashers at the halfway point story, but would like to hear from you. What do you see as the good and bad so far? Highlights and lowlights?
I hope everyone has a happy and safe New Year’s eve and a great 2010.