Getting ready for a big game in Tampa

There are worse things I could be doing. Here in Tampa, beautiful sunny day, about 70 degrees, not a cloud in the sky. I’m sitting by the channel watching the activity on the water. Although I’m sitting by a little outdoor bar (note to management, I’m just having a Coke), it’s hard to believe there is a key hockey game in a few hours.

Enough of that.

As I reported yesterday, Johan Hedberg will be back in goal tonight. No surprise that he will be facing Antero Niittymaki, owner of a 16-0 record against the Thrashers. Could this be the night that streak ends?

Here are some pre-game thoughts from the locker room:

Hedberg: “It’s a team that has played tough against us all year. They are patient and play well defensively against us. We know they have a lot of firepower. We have to play a complete game, limit our turnovers and mistakes and don’t shoot ourselves in the foot.

“They are a team in a [five-game]  losing streak, you know they are going to snap out of it sooner or later. They are going to be hungry. They still have a chance to make the playoffs so they are going to be fired up.”

Chris Thorburn: “It’s a little cliché, but it’s a four-point game. It’s the last time we play them, we want to sure we spread ourselves out [in the standings] a little bit more and give ourselves a fair shot and control our own destiny.

“We are just playing the right way right now. Everyone is playing the system and playing for each other. When you have that, everyone going as a unit, it’s pretty hard to beat. E have to keep the same mindset, don’t get too high or too low.”

John Anderson: “Every game is the biggest game of the year for us right now. It’s big for both teams – for Tampa to keep pace and for us to put a nail in their coffin, tonight is the night.

“They are certainly a dog backed up against a corner. We have to be ready tonight. We’ve got to keep our chances against down and they’ve been having trouble keeping goals out. If we keep them out of our zone, we should have a good chance tonight.”

Looks like the lineup is the same. Anderson told me yesterday he did not anticipate any lineup changes.

38 comments Add your comment

DowntownATL

March 6th, 2010
2:22 pm

The Nitty curse left town with Kari.

Puckhead

March 6th, 2010
2:27 pm

The curse left town with The Trade

Lee

March 6th, 2010
2:40 pm

C’mon Thrashers, feed Nittymonkey some bannanas!

Bergfors and MacArthur and Artyukin are playing great! Keep it up! GO THRASHERS!

ex-STH

March 6th, 2010
2:55 pm

The THRASHERS are finally playing as a TEAM. I’m so glad its no longer the “Kovy lead Atlanta Thrashers”. But I have a question….what are they going to do with Kozlov, White and Boulton from here on out??? It shouldn’t have to be pointed out that since the Kovy trade, we gave up only 2 starters (Kovy and Samella) and got 4 starters in these past trades. Thursday night’s lineup should stay the same the rest of the season with the only change bringing Chelios up to play next to Bogo instead of the poor decision making, high penalty risk in Schubert. I like Shubert but I think he is just trying a little too hard right now and Bogo could possibly use a little of that Hall of Fame defensive experience (remember how Bogo grew as a player when paired with Schnieder?).

Brendan

March 6th, 2010
3:44 pm

Maybe it was just Kovy who couldn’t score on Niittymaki? Well, whichever it was, Kovy or Kari, neither is there. Let’s see if THEY were the problem … or … that it was just a “statistical anomaly” all along. Either way, we will win. Here’s why.

1. Law of averages says Niittmaki is due for a loss to Atlanta.
2. Moose is playing great.
3. Atlanta is playing as a team.
4. For road games, the players are much more ‘together’ than they are for home games, where they leave the wife and kids to trapse off to the arena.
5. These guys are playing with a lot to prove, such as, for contracts (UFA’s, anyone? RFAs, too!,) and for ice time, and for team identity. And let’s not forget, the PLAYOFFS!!
6. This game is essential. TB and Atlanta will be neck and neck from now on. So, it’s only not important to win, but to pull off the “4-point swing.”
7. Atlanta’s on a six game point streak, whereas TB is in the midst of a 5-game losing streak.

There’s probably I could say, but Atlanta should win this game. And it’s important that they do. If they do lose, they must at least come away with that “pity” point.

kracker

March 6th, 2010
3:53 pm

If we waive Slava and he’s claimed, he’s half-salary for each team? Or is there perhaps some prohibition against waiver claims that after the TD?

Buzz

March 6th, 2010
5:20 pm

Not half-salary, but a pro-rated amount based on how many days are left in the season.

Example: if player X makes $1M a year

(1,000,000/186)*number of days remaining in season

kracker

March 6th, 2010
6:04 pm

Well, sure, Buzz but what I’m refering to is if a team were to claim Slava when the Thrash put him waivers, I believe they pay him half his salary (per game or week) and the Thrashers are responsible for the other half. Works out great for both teams. I don’t know if it’s the same in all cases: the initial waiver and/or goiong through recall waivers, if that applies. Or does the half-salary deal apply (or not) if the player is put on waivers for his unconditional release.

So, I’d like for some team to have a need for Slava and claim him off waivers so the Thrashers save one-half of his ramaining salary. And Slava gets to play somewhere. It’s good for everybody that way.

kracker

March 6th, 2010
6:07 pm

Thinking about it, the half-salary deal must apply if the player is put on waivers for his unconditional release. Else, there would be no purpose for doing a waiver at that point.

[...] antero niittymaki (6:45pm) is 16-0 in his lifetime vs the [...]

sisu

March 6th, 2010
7:18 pm

what ever the case with Slava DW blew it once again. If the he is not going to play why in the hell did the team keep him?

Brendan

March 6th, 2010
8:23 pm

Okay, it’s 3-1 Tampa, over one period. But it’s hardly OVER. I still say we win this game.

I think waivers works like this. If the player is assigned to the AHL, he must pass waivers to get there. If claimed, that gaining team is on the hook for the FULL REMAINDER of the contract. Now, granted, that’s prorated at this point. But FULL PRICE, nonetheless. That’s if he’s claimed AT THAT POINT. If he’s not claimed, and the Thrashers attempt to recall Kozlov, that’s called “re-entry” waivers. This where the HALF-PRICE formula into play. If claimed, the gaining team pays half, while Atlanta pays the other half. This is, to me, the more likely scenario, if Kozlov is claimed.

Brendan

March 6th, 2010
8:37 pm

Sisu, perhaps it’s to punish Kozlov? In many ways, when Waddell said things like, “our veteran leadership let us down,” he meant Kozlov. If Waddell’s shoes, and beeee honest, wouldn’t you be mad at Kozlov? I would be. Outside of the shootouts, he has not lived up to billing. Don Waddell is forever talking about “being on the right direction,” a direct quote from this very 1st period intermission. In it, by the way, Waddell said, “I think we’ll make a strong push for the playoffs this year. We woke up in 8th spot (this morning). We’re not chasing anybody. It’s up to us to hold down that 8th spot.”

Well, irrespective of whether you believe that’s just standard Waddell ‘bluster’ or ’self dilusion’ or you 100% complete AGREE with him … Waddell can’t be happy about being OUTSIDE of the playoffs in 2008 and 2009. And if Waddell needed to assign blame somewhere, Kozlov sort of is ‘fair game.’ I haven’t heard Wadell publicly blame Kovalchuk, however. And I suspect we won’t hear that from Waddell. At least, not until Kovalchuk is re-signed somewhere in July. Remember, folks, Atlanta isn’t officially out of the running in the Kovalchuk sweepstakes. At least, in Waddell’s mind. And if you asked Jay Grossman, he’d be the first one to say, “We’ll definitely consider Atlanta’s offers. My client continues to live in Atlanta, with no intention of leaving.” What he might really mean, however, is that Kovalchuk isn’t opposed to using Atlanta’s offers to create a ‘bidding war’ for his services elsewhere, Brian Campbell-style.

The funniest thing of all would be … if Kovy actually DID turn into a “rental.” As in, he returns next season, while we pocketed Oduya, Bergfors, Cormier, and a 1st round pick. If that actually happened, but it won’t, watch all the people bad-mouthing Kovalchuk and his ‘figure 8’s’ welcome him back with open arms. And suddenly, the CANCER would be back, and it’d be fine to have the CANCER back. It’d be a GREAT MOVE, and so forth.

stendek

March 6th, 2010
8:38 pm

Guess all this talk about the playoffs has upset the Thrashers. Talk about a completely disappointing opening period! Johan Moose Hedberg did everything right on first TB goal only to have braindead Thrasher slacker kick the thing into his own net. Not on Moose. Second and third goals WERE! This team can rarely overcome one marshmallow tally. LET ALONE TWO! Thrashers scored first then totally lost interest in the proceedings. Playing as if this is an exhibition bout not a must win matchup with potential playoff implications! Thought the new team attitude would be evident against TB. A team ready to curl up and die!Guess I was wrong. I cannot adequately express my utter disdain and disgust with the Thrashers after 20 minutes. Time now to throw caution to the wind. Two regulation points are required! Take chances. Storm the net! Fire the puck toward Nitwitki at every opportunity. No shots attempts result in no goals! Shoot the puck. Often! Hope the Thrashers of new reurn for second period. If old Thrashers are back then so are any possible playoff aspirations! Moose has to pitch a shutout from here on out. If not then bye bye post season! ++STENDEK++

stendek

March 6th, 2010
9:14 pm

Bye bye playoffs! The new Thrashers were a mirage. These are the same heartless Thrashers! Any faint playoff hopes were extinguished when the netminder allowed that penalty shot. Looked real bad doing so too! Fully expect them to get waxed on home ice. Absolutely nothing positive to look forward to from here on out! So disappointed. Thought team had grown some kahunas. Sad to see how wrong I was! Does not matter if Moose keeps total at four goals. Damage already done. Thrashers are done! Pity. ++STENDEK++

lord stanley

March 6th, 2010
9:16 pm

I am glad the new tb owners can pay off the refs, that call was a load of !::’;””’/6666

kracker

March 6th, 2010
9:31 pm

The refs are indeed slanted tonight. May be the worst I’ve ever seen, especially on the penalty shotcall…plus, after that BS they rule TB back on the PP. Goota keep playing though.

Brendan

March 6th, 2010
9:32 pm

This game is hardly over. It’s only 4-2. Those guys wearing the shirts that say Bolts on them … they’re uhh … they’re not good. They might choke. It’s not over ’til the fat lady sings. And the playoff berth isn’t over, either. Not yet. The guys can’t afford a 4-point swing here, that’s for sure.

My prediction is, and always was, 10th in the East. But, it’s not up to me. It’s up to themmmmm, to make the playoffs a reality.

Brendan

March 6th, 2010
9:36 pm

Just as I was about to say, “Where’s Vinny Lecavalier?” Vinny scores. Pretty goal. Nothing Moose could do. It’s 5-2. And this one is going to wind up a regulation time loss, unfortunately. Barring a miracle.

stendek

March 6th, 2010
9:40 pm

Johan Moose Hedberg is not the answer! Five goals? Completely unacceptable. Powerless play. What a disgrace! Thrashers got their wish. Their vacations will begin at close of regular season! Totally heartless debacle. Not one of Thrashers competed with grit, intensity or intestional fortitude. So ashamed of entire team! On to America’s Most Wanted! Losing streak has begun. Where will it end? No one knows. Time for Pavs. Plus a transfusion of heart! Good night. ++STENDEK++

Always Hoping......

March 6th, 2010
9:42 pm

They were due for a letdown game. The way I see it assuming the Kings win is “no harm, no foul.” Sure it would have been nice to get some seperation but we’re still in the thick of it. Carolina got smoked tonight so they may be a step slow tomorrow. Now we just hope the injury to Kane is nothing serious.

waffleboy

March 6th, 2010
9:56 pm

Agree that we were due for a letdown game, just wish it hadn’t come to the Bolts and Nittymaki. I’m so sick of that guy. Can’t we get him some food poisoning or something?

Want My Floor Seats?

March 6th, 2010
10:57 pm

Stendek, you off your meds again? Nothing BAD to say about the Thrashers yesterday…Nothing GOOD to say about them tonight. No need to go all bipolar…It wasn’t a total loss (unless Kane is hurt bad). They weren’t going to go undefeated through the rest of the season.

TB played hard, real hard. They deserve some credit for not folding up. Once Kane went out and the officials got (too) involved, there was no rhythm. Anderson said he wanted extra guys to be ready in case of injury. Now he has something to work on…immediately.

One thing positive I can bring away from tonight is our Thrashers are not going to be bullied around the ice by anyone. As soon as Reasoner was clocked, 2 sec later I thought MacArthur killed St Louis. Well, at least he wasn’t dead…But he couldn’t focus, walk, skate, etc. MacArthur earned some points with the team tonight and I always like to see a new guy make the effort to join the pack. A goal in his first game and a vicious retaliation tonight. Arty also busted some arse tonight…I really like the new guys!

Would’ve loved to put away TB tonight, but Rangers, Carolina & Isles all lose & the Habs are tied…So we take a deep breath and show up tomorrow. Anyone else going EARLY to see the warmups? The Feb 6th game against FLA that started late got the crowd really going, mainly because everyone was there during warmups and got fired up!

Cheer up Stendek. We have a chance to put away Carolina tomorrow while the Isles seem to be putting themselves away. The fewer in the hunt the better! We still have a favorable schedule and it should be a RAGING CROWD at Philips….I for one can’t wait!! 8)

Farel

March 7th, 2010
10:24 am

This passing no shooting on the power play is killing me. After the game last night I tried taking a bath with the toaster. Either they have to start shooting on the power play or I need a longer cord for the toaster. AHHHH!!!!!! But, I did like to see the guys light up St. Louis after the cheap shot on our guy. We are still in this too and next year is looking really good. Go Thrashers!!!!

Lee

March 7th, 2010
1:54 pm

Very disapointed in the game we played last night, if that is, if you can call it a game. The “game” was very easy to tell that the game from the start was easily in tampa’s favor. It was in tampa, they had a stellar goalie, and I don’t know if it was just me, but the refs seemed to be on their side too. As for the thrashers, they played like a bunch of kovy’s. Bad defense, bad offense, and to my suprise, a bad goalie. WAKE UP MOOSE HUNTING SEASON IS ALMOST OVER!!!!

connor

March 7th, 2010
1:55 pm

the problem is very bad defence of thrashers! why coach staff used now injured schubert or bad played bogosyan, but not again recall kulda, who’s very strong dd and had very good played in his debut games??!

Argo

March 7th, 2010
2:05 pm

To connor:
Exactly, Kulda had played in his debute very good. He made strongest Atlanta’s defence line, and You’re absolutly right- Arturs (he’ve +38= fantastic good coef!) is batter than Schubert or Bogosyan!

Durocher

March 7th, 2010
3:51 pm

Let’s not worry about Tampa Bay. The Thrashers will not face them again this season, so they cannot lose any more points to the Lightning, and – with Tampa Bay’s terrible performance on the road – there is (surely) zero chance of their catching Atlanta.

The Thrashers will be jousting with Boston and Montreal and (maybe) the New York Rangers for one of the last two playoff positions. If the loss last night in Tampa Bay is one of the last we see between now and the end of the season, Atlanta should be able to move into and stay in the top eight.

The game this afternoon – against Carolina – will better tell us whether we should begin worrying.

erock

March 7th, 2010
5:54 pm

THRASHERS ARE ON DIRECT TV CHANNEL 774 TODAY VS CANES

Brendan

March 7th, 2010
7:35 pm

At 3-0, Atlanta sure coulda used a “cherry picker” to get us back in it. So, we’re 4-2-2 since the cherry picker trade. Let’s give it 12 games before we decide how good or bad we are as a TEAM.

Lee

March 7th, 2010
7:40 pm

Great game!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not…..they played like crap. The thrashers need a calendar. It is March 7, 2010! MARCH to the playoffs, obviously they’re not marching to the playoffs in March. They act like it is Septemeber. Go on, rely on the Lord to march you to the playoffs.

Hopefully WE’LL be the PREDATORS not the PREY. Predators @ Atlanta 7:00 Thurs.

Brendan

March 7th, 2010
8:10 pm

Montreal is in 8th place.

Brendan

March 7th, 2010
11:01 pm

Anaheim was up, 3-0. Then Montreal brought in Halak, who shut the door. The Ducks, up 3-2, miss the empty net. Montreal scores in the final seconds. But, the Ducks choke job doesn’t end there. They get up in the shootout. Selanne, the 3rd shootout, can make it, 2-0. He misses. The Montreal shooter scores an absolutely ‘flukey’ goal on Hiller, in their 3rd attempt. Anaheim fails to score with their 4th shot. Plekanec scored to win it for Montreal.

Folks, we can’t drop games to TB and Carolina, and expect the logjam of team around us to sit idly by.

Marc Savard suffered an appartenly serios concussion today, vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Brendan

March 7th, 2010
11:05 pm

Make that, apparently serious concussion. I just got new typing fingers today, and I’m still breaking them in.

Brendan

March 7th, 2010
11:11 pm

Cooke was the perp, on the Savard hit. And the book on Cooke is getting longer. If there is going to be disciplinary action, he may be in that “repeat offender, higher punishment” category.

Annette

March 8th, 2010
7:26 am

Ice hockey. Rugby on skates.

stendek

March 8th, 2010
7:46 am

Abominable! What comes after heartless? Welcome back Pavs Lehtonen! What a waste. The more things change…++STENDEK++ Worst giveup mail in debacle since a certain Russian was team captain! Believe? No way! Reason this post so late was because this one hurt SO bad. Skeptics right. No playoff bound team drops consecutive lossess to Tampa Bay and Carolina! Play out string guys. That is one thing all of you are good at!

woody

March 8th, 2010
8:16 am

Playoffs? We’re not talking Playoffs… Playoffs? Are you kidding me?

Story of the Thrash.