On second thought … practice

It appears the Thrashers’ 8-1 loss to Washington prompted the coaching staff to cancel the team’s planned off day on Sunday. The Thrashers held an 11 a.m. practice before the evening’s Casino Night fund raiser. I’m afraid I was unable to attend the practice as I was at church when word came down.

I’m told there were no injuries to report, but I will work to get further details.

I think John Anderson made several interesting comments after Saturday’s game.

It’s the first he admitted that the “high” in “high-scoring” was lacking from his team.

We’ve talked several times this season about players that are not scoring as they did last season – Todd White, Slava Kozlov, Colby Armstrong, Bryan Little. etc. – but Anderson put an emphasis on the lack of secondary scoring after the game.

Anderson put an onus on the team’s defense for allowing too many point-blank shots on the goaltenders.

The coach was careful not to say the team quit but he made it clear they took shots to their “constitution” and “felt sorry” for themselves.

Tuesday’s game against Ottawa is critical. That can’t be understated. I know it’s only one game out of 82. However, where this team is now, and coming off Saturday’s loss, how they respond will be an indicator of their ability to turn the season around and get back in the playoff race.

Let’s see if I can get to a few questions from the last blog:

CJ Dawg: I am not familiar with the event but I suspect it might have something to do with calling a practice, but that’s speculation on my part. I will try to find out.

LAC: Not sure of what you speak. I certainly was there for the entire game and post-game interviews. Perhaps a running version of the story inadvertently got posted online. I will check on that, just for you. Hey wait, you said you wouldn’t post here any more and still you do. I know, I know, I’m irresistible.

Sage: I’m neither part of the problem nor part of the solution. I just report on both.

rob: I’m sure, at some point, there will be accountability. Just not sure how and when. Stay tuned. It’s all part of the season-long drama.

45 comments Add your comment

Jeremy H

January 10th, 2010
2:07 pm

Why in the world don’t we try putting Little back at center? That’s what we drafted him to play right? So he had a solid season last year on the RW… that’s clearly not the case this season.

How ’bout trying Kovalchuk – Little – Antropov? Both Little AND Antropov return to their original positions. While we’re at it, let’s put Kane on the second line, centered by Peverly, with Afinegenov on the other wing.

These are the kinds of things I can’t help but wonder about, and can’t help but blame Anderson for.

Jeremy H

January 10th, 2010
2:12 pm

If I were coach for a game, I’d give this a shot:

Kovalchuk – Little – Antropov
Kane – Peverley – Afinegenov
Kozlov – Slater – Armstrong
Boulton – Reasoner – Thorburn

Kubina – Enstrom
Bogosian – Schubert
Hainsey – Salmela

Put Vivlamore in net

January 10th, 2010
2:18 pm

The Capital players noticed we quit. Go ask Brian Pothier. The Atlanta team quit in front of a rare good crowd, there is no way around it. Anderson at least was angry during the game. This season is shaping up to be a disaster. No fight in this team, they tuck tail and give up. Capitals didn’t quit, they were still trying to score when it was a snowman for them. BOOland. Give us our money back or put Vivs in net.

Telfo

January 10th, 2010
2:35 pm

it was sad to see that performance in front of an almost full bulb last night. that is the kind of game that keeps people away sadly

Brendan

January 10th, 2010
2:40 pm

This city tries it’s VERY BEST to get out and support this team. And it gets rewarded by a thorough b!tchslapping. To the very point where, on the car ride home, you find yourself having to DEFEND THE PURCHASE of the tickets. As in, “Couldn’t we have spent the $60 to $240 we did TONIGHT on something else?” It’d cost less than $240 to drive the family to Disney World, round-trip. Twice. How many pairs of shoes could you buy the family for $240? Gazing at the weather forecast, how much is a triple FAT goosedown jacket? I bet you get one, or two, for that price.

To me, the best post I’ve seen in a quite a while came off of Rawhide’s blog, by a poster named B.Thenet. Here’s the link: http://blogs.ajc.com/iceman-thrashers-blog/2010/01/10/capitals-build-snowman-in-atlanta/#comment-17651

Stevo

January 10th, 2010
2:52 pm

As much as it pains me to say this, maybe Kari will provide a spark for the team when he gets back. Earlier in the year I was ready to ship him off to anybody that needed a netminder, but now I think he gets a shot to prove himself. He had a very good second half last year and if he can get rolling then maybe this team can get hot again. God knows, Moose and Pavs are not firing on all cylinders right now.

Mary Ann Hossa

January 10th, 2010
3:21 pm

The Good News: the caps are a very good team so it’s not a surprise we lost. The Bad News: we can’t compete with the big boys.

Not Blind

January 10th, 2010
3:28 pm

I’d put Slater on the first line. Maybe he would inspire the wingers.

Mary Ann Hossa

January 10th, 2010
3:30 pm

LOL Slater deserves the “C”

Sage of Bluesland

January 10th, 2010
3:34 pm

Thanks for the response, Vivs. Keep up the good work.

NHL Ready

January 10th, 2010
5:25 pm

Reading these blogs we all are all on the same page. I think DW’s time has come and we will see no more of him. Thrashers need a good NHL coach JA is not NHL material and either is Pav’s. I say send both of their butts back to the AHL or worse yet ECHL (they probably lose there also). We need coaching and goaltending. These are two things we never really had and it shows. Don’t count on Kari to save us he is a wash. The Kovy deal is a problem that is why I did not buy season tickets this year. I had a feeling this team would run into this problem. Look at the no shows at the games what a mess. I hate to say it but another year wasted but at least I saved some money.

It won’t matter what lines you put on the Ice. JA has lost the respect from the players. His system will not work in the NHL. Just look at the shots on goal every game against the Thrashers. No hustle from the team and no hitting. I blame the coach not DW on that factor of the game. We have some good players unfortunately they are just players not much of that team spirt flying around these days.

One more thing. I always liked Jimbo (Slates) he always skates hard and gives it his all. I agree not the most talented guy on the ice but shows heart. I enjoy the fourth line more so than any other line. Continue to give him the chance to play so far he is the hottest player we have along with Max.

I hope DW and JA get their walking papers sooner than later. Kovy has gave us some good years and sorry to see him go. I hope not but I think so.

Hang in there Thrasher fans some day we will have a team that is NHL ready.

mutton

January 10th, 2010
5:33 pm

Hey Chris, I think you should do a blog post on yourself/your progress as the Thrashers’ beat writer. I think it’d be interesting to see what some of your thoughts and concerns coming into this gig were compared to how you feel about them now. I say this because it’s become pretty obvious that you’re much more confident in yourself and less tentative now than you were at the start of the season.

Midfield

January 10th, 2010
5:37 pm

NHL Ready, I agree with you – apart from Pavelec that is. I’m with Brendan on this, meaning it will take a few years for him to develop as a steady NHL goalie – perhaps even number one goalie. But Waddell and Anderson should not continue in an organization allegedly aiming to be the winning one. Organizations known for their culture of unaccountability never win.

CJ Dawg

January 10th, 2010
5:46 pm

Thanks for acknowledging Chris… YEs the even was supposed to be from 8 – 9 AM Sunday morning at Phillips arena, with the game between Peachtree Ridge Lions and Team Quebec (H.S. teams) then at 9:10 I believe there was to be another game with Walton Raiders and Team Quebec.

Even with an 11 AM practice, there is plenty of time to cut the ice, so I have a hard time believing that they would cancel our event for that…

Please do find out and let us know?

Thanks again and I am a new fan of your Blog! :~)
-CJ

Brendan

January 10th, 2010
5:53 pm

If you MISSED IT the 1st time around, the OVERTIME of the IIHF World Juniors between the USA vs. Canada, for the Gold medal, is on the NHL Network RIGHT NOW!!!

Jameson

January 10th, 2010
6:06 pm

NHL Ready- Re: Anderson and Pavelec losing at the ECHL level: I’m pretty sure Anderson won a Calder Cup (AHL championship) in 2008 with Pavelec as his starting goalie. I think they’d be more than fine in the ECHL.

Sage of Bluesland

January 10th, 2010
6:28 pm

Well, we’ll see on that, Chris (i.e. more the problem or the solution)…Sounds more like a weak excuse to me. When you run articles like Donny’s daughter in the paper as opposed to asking questions the FANS demand to ask (even in a ‘diplomatic’ way), then I consider it case-closed. In that case, you’re taking the course of least-resistance–which is fine and your perogative, but it’s also coasting and being just as heartless as the players to the people who subsidize their endeavors.

Another thing–Can you stop that pathetic imposter who keeps using my name? How pitiful and sad. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s one of the biggest sheep on here, but is too gutless to post under their own name. You have the (alleged) email. Mine is legit…Feel free to send me the little child’s…

Cheers. There comes a time when you must make a decision on what you stand for–and being in the media, it’s much different than shlubs here ranting and raving (like myself). With the honor, comes the responsibility. Keep that in mind.

(I’d almost like a estimate on the next “woe-is-Donny” article like that daughter laugher we had to suffer through…)

Think about it. We get what we pay for, in the end…

Roscoe P. Coltrane

January 10th, 2010
6:48 pm

Disgusted that we are going to have to go thru the whole season with DW, JA, and a disillusioned Kovy. Ilya bought in to the fact that the owners were willing to move forward. Poor kid. DW will sit and spin with a thumb up his ass and keep his job til the end of the year. He knows the deal….sign Kovy or go. He’s going to let this dead fruit wither on the vine as long as he can because as soon as it’s over, he’s out. By playing phone tag with Grossman, he keeps his job.

This franchise is worse than any soap opera on TV and it’s run for 11 years so far. Too bad we can’t change the channel. Until Waddell goes and takes all of his tiny forwards with him, AND “coach” Weeks too, the fans are left with the crap that continues to be Hockey the Thrashers Way.

Anyone else amazed with what Scott Gordon has done with the Islanders? You can tell they have been “coached up” and they show heart and effort every shift.

Stuart

January 10th, 2010
7:03 pm

Don Waddell seems like one heckuva nice guy but how does a General Manager get away with this nonsense year after year?? Made 1 playoff in 10 years and still has a job?? Is this a joke? The guy is eternally rebuilding and this team never amounts to anything. Don Waddell is the poster child for “The Peter Principle”.

sisu

January 10th, 2010
7:09 pm

Here is the latest on the saga of Kovy…looks like he might be going soon.

http://tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=305432

sisu

January 10th, 2010
7:11 pm

Sage of Bluesland you should contact CBS and their department of “we ask the tough questions” :)

Sage of Bluesland

January 10th, 2010
7:20 pm

We’re never going to get back to the playoffs with “leadership” like this.

The entire organization is dogging it, and no one’s being held accountable!

Please just beat the Sens and right the ship already.

Roscoe P. Coltrane

January 10th, 2010
7:33 pm

Rebuild 2010 includes the fact that only these guys are definitely signed to return:
Antro
Kane
Peverley
Reasoner
Thorburn
White (big yip)

Hainsey
Enstrom
Bogo
Salmela
Boris

RFA’s include:
Little
Pavs
Lehtonen

So we will suffer through a giant melting pot next fall AGAIN and the excuses will be based on “SO MANY NEW FACES” AGAIN. And on and on it goes. As the stomach churns.

LAC

January 10th, 2010
7:52 pm

No chris, you are as irresistible as having terminal cancer, and my offer still stands, $10,000 against you asking waddell the tough questions, which you NEVER do. So how about punk, man up or shut up, don’t hide !

rob

January 10th, 2010
8:54 pm

Chris,
My question of accountability here can’t wait. This effort shows that. Too wait further costs the fans the season. WE pay the money to support their playing a game, so in the end I belive we deserve answers. Not running and hiding and playing all is well when clearly all is not well. This team needs someone to stand up and say enough is enough, both on the ice (players)and off the ice (ownership). Too long this has been an unproductive team.

Krust

January 10th, 2010
8:54 pm

Well, I say you wait till after Tuesdays Game against Ottawa if Thrashers get crushed. Fire Anderson and hire Bob Hartley back. He is still in town. If you look at our roster we should be winning games. If I was the GM Tuesday’s game would be my breaking point. Plus after watching last nights game and Kovy public skating I would love to have Hartley order him down to the end of the bench and bench him. Some on this blog have to remember Hartley doing just that in a game about 4 yeas or so ago. Kovy pitched a fit and broke his stick and pouted like a little child. One of the best quotes from Kovy when Hartley was coach. “Coach and I have lot of conversations, but he makes me a better player” I think we need the hard ass back behind the bench. Remember Coach Scotty Bowman had know problem benching Federov. In fact Bowman had issues with his defensive play so what does Bowman do makes Federov play left defensmen. I think our man Kovy needs the same lesson. I would love to see Coach Anderson start Kovy at right defense and say sink or drown it’s up to you. That would be real comedy but I would love to see it.

Krust

January 10th, 2010
8:55 pm

Thats sink or swim to many beers.

Go Caps

January 10th, 2010
8:55 pm

Some thoughts from a long-time Caps fan:

1. As much as I enjoy watching the Thrashers lose, I sympathize with this town. The ownership stinks, and I know how poor or disinterested ownership affects a franchise. Witness the late Abe Pollin, founder of the Caps. He handcuffed then-GM David Poile from making the transactions necessary to turn a perennial playoff team into a Stanley Cup contender in the mid-80’s to early 90’s. Frustrating times for us fans. More recently, witness one Daniel Snyder, whose egocentric management has driven a once-proud Redskins franchise into the ground. Poor ownership undermines everything, and I’m afraid that until it’s resolved for the Thrashers, it will be more of the same no matter who is in the front office or behind the bench.

2. I truly hope that the NHL stays in Atlanta. Obviously I want to be in attendance when the Caps come to town, but I am also an NHL fan and would like to think that I can come watch any game without having to travel out of town.

3. It was not that long ago that the Caps were the doormat of the NHL while the Thrashers were vying for a playoff spot. They draft a transcendent player, draft pieces like Backstrom and Green, and all of a sudden, they’re among the NHL elite. The Thrashers, meanwhile, already had a franchise player in Kovy. They could have followed a similar blueprint, but evidently DW did not enjoy similar success in his picks. Although current ownership will always limit the success of this franchise, a new, competent GM might at least be able to put together a perennial playoff team.

4. When I first moved to Atlanta in 2004, the Caps had recently drafted Ovechkin. The NHL came back in 2005, and I attended the games here. I like to gather at the visiting players bench before the games to wish my team well. At the time, there were very few fans around the bench. Last night, it looked like there were more “Caps” fans at the bench than there were at the home bench. As much as I relish in the new-found popularity of my team, I wonder where these people were during the lean years…and where these people will be when Ovechkin retires or, God forbid, leave the Caps.

Bruinsfan17

January 10th, 2010
9:15 pm

So Whats The deal in ATL Is there any news on Kovy Being Shiped to boston anytime soon and if so what r u thinkin it would take like I propose

To ATL – Ryder
Wideman
Joe Colborne
Bos 1st round in 2010
TB 2nd round in 2010

To Bos – Kovy

So hows that for a start

B. Thenet

January 10th, 2010
9:36 pm

If you are going to give us garbage like Ryder and Wideman, you had better include the Toronto 1st for 2010.

Brendan

January 10th, 2010
9:59 pm

I’m hesitant to even jump in here, guys, but the funny thing is … every time I ever talk to a Thrashers ticket rep all they do is bemoan the fact that “the AJC is SO HARD ON THE THRASHERS.”

I kid you not. I’ve heard that from three (3) different reps. “We’re fighting this uphill battle against the newspaper.” “They slam us at the most inopportune times, like right AFTER we hosted the All-Star Game.” And so forth. “And don’t get me started on Jeff Schultz. That guy has it out for us.”

When the truth I believe is this one. Jeff Schultz, or any other AJC writer, would write more positive articles if there were ACTUALLY something more positive to say. What are they supposed to do? Say that Bruce Levenson is a genius, and we’re in very capable hands?” Are they supposed to write that, “if it hand’t been for that tornado that ripped through downtown Atlanta last year, that we’d be in the Conference Finals by now?” The truth is … there is so much more than just one playoff berth with no playoff wins. It’s about a team that’s never had any kind of identity. It’s never had a specific strategy. It’s tried everything! From being utterly GERIATRIC. To becoming a teenage/young 20’s club. It’s been a hodge podge of ‘Tweeners and also rans. I’d love to corner Don Waddell and ask him, “What the HECK has been your PLAN, from Day One?” What were you trying to do?

For all the flack Brian Burke takes on these boards, you could wake him up from a sound sleep at 3AM, and he’d tell you the strategy. Whether for the Ducks or the Leafs. You can disagree with Burke’s strategy. Or you could say, “that wouldn’t work here.” But you CANNOT take away from him that he, at least, HAS A STRATEGY!! I’ve followed this team since the day the NHL announced the franchise’s existence. The first move Waddell made, his first contract, was Damian Rhodes, a guy Waddell thought would be his ROCK in net. In Waddell’s defense, who knew that he’d be so perpetually injured. Who knew that Kari Lehtonen would be so perpetually injured. Who knew that groin injuries would so plague this team, in net. (Dunham, Shields, Garnett, Lehtonen, etc.) Some things … really were just “bad luck.” But so many others … were just bad judgement. Let’s not review the list. You know what the list is. And ownership can only be blamed for so much of it. Ownership makes budgetary decisions. Ownership doesn’t say who to draft, who to trade, or even who to sign. They authorize a budget. Then they leave it to the GM’s discretion to go field a roster, with that budget. And, I can only hope, they expect the GM to put the team into the playoffs with consistency. Even if we look at our favorite example of ownership’s folly, the Coburn for Zhitnik trade, no member of the ownership could positively identify Alexei Zhitnik in a police lineup, in 2007. All they said was, “The product is failing. Consumer confidence is faltering. Go get a defensemen to quarterback the PP and stabilize our blueline.” Waddell got Zhitnik. And in the eyes of ownership, “Mission Accomplished!” The team’s season was salvaged, they won the division, and they HOSTED a playoff series. In short, ownership was DELIGHTED with the move(s). Ownership didn’t know anything about Zhitnik. I doubt they even knew he was 35 at the time. All I suspect they knew was this: “He had two years remaining on his contract at $3.5 million apiece.” See, ‘cuz money is PART of BUDGETARY decisions. The “business aspect” of running a team. These owners aren’t “hockey savvy.” The only one who could even make a claim about hockey knowledge, is Bruce Levenson. And you’ve seen the effects of his vast hockey judgement. No, Waddell is the brains of the organization. And there it is. Until ownership has some reason, in THEIR minds, to fire him, nothing will change. Nothing. We just have to hope that Waddell continues to learn and grow in his position as GM, to make better decisions and judgement calls.

Section 210, Row H

January 10th, 2010
10:01 pm

For sale: The rest of my season tickets.

8-1. Pitiful. 10 years of this is enough. I’m sick of them.

pissed off fan

January 11th, 2010
12:26 am

We need someone to become president the same way Bill Parcells became president for the Dolphins. Someone with a great hockey mind, just give him the keys and he can do what he wants, i.e a GM he hired, a coach, and try to rebuild the roster from ther There was Scotty Bowman a few years back, but we can’t live in the past.

Tank

January 11th, 2010
7:29 am

We need a hockey man – like burke or gainey to run the show. Time is up for Waddell….Time to clean house and rebuilt again. One playoff appearance in 10 years in not acceptable…..

Jimbo

January 11th, 2010
8:00 am

I can’t believe Chris that you are calling the next game “critical or crucial”. That was the last game and the Thrash clearly quit in the 4th quarter. This is a team that has no PRIDE, NO GRIT, and right now- no goaltending. We’ve got a “C” who seems to “give a s—-” only when he’s got a look at the net. None of the so called bruisers are stepping up to try to inject energy by fighting. WHY? Because they know that it won’t produce anything. This is a team without a pulse. Pronounce them DOA and let’s wait for spring.

joedaiceman

January 11th, 2010
8:17 am

The Thrash lose 8-1 and Anderson blames the lack of secondary scoring?!? Maybe a little emphasis on defense and skating would be more in line. Except for 2 shifts, they were not skating at all against the Caps.

GaVaHokie

January 11th, 2010
9:55 am

God, I hope the rumors are true that Dean Lombardi is in town along with Jay Grossman… I hope that means they are discussing a sign and trade with the Kings!! That should get us a HUGE return… I’ll speculate that it will get us Dustin Brown, Frolov and Brayden Schenn… maybe more.

Thrashers27

January 11th, 2010
10:09 am

I was at Casino Night last night and it was awesome. Nobody was talking about the “big red elephant” in the room. (Kovy’s contract status.) I did however notice that Kovy was noteably absent from the event. He worked his table early on, but disappeared earlier than most of the other players and wasn’t around for the auctions as most of the rest of the players were. Take that for what you will, but I think it says a little something.

j nes

January 11th, 2010
10:26 am

do any of the (reportedly) interested teams have a solid goalie they might be willing to part with? I would gladly send Pavelec or Lehtonen with Kovalchuk for a forward, a first round pick, and a reliable goalie.

GaVaHokie

January 11th, 2010
10:31 am

Thrashers27… maybe he got tired of being asked by fans. :) I would think it’s becoming more of a nuisance than a distraction. He’s gotta be tired of hearing about it from all angles… media, agents, GM’s, players and now a room full of fans.

Casino Night is a great time, hope you enjoyed it… I went two years ago and played at Recchi’s table most of the night. I recall Kovy being away from his table a lot, but he was good about taking pictures and signing autographs.

DWTOO

January 11th, 2010
10:38 am

Think Kovy wondered off to the VIP floor. He is very good about pictures.

Chris Vivlamore

January 11th, 2010
10:53 am

Nik Antropov is on the ice for practice Monday morning.

GaVaHokie

January 11th, 2010
11:08 am

j nes… the Kings could probably part with Jonathan Bernier, but I would rather make a separate trade for Halak (not involving Kovy).

j nes

January 11th, 2010
11:17 am

Halak would be good, but Price is 10-15 this year. I doubt the habs would do it.

George

January 11th, 2010
1:36 pm

thrashers 27, have not heard much about casino night. What were the players baskets like this yr. and how much did some of them go for? What was the attendance like? thanks