Thrashers get goals, but not a win

The Thrashers matched their exhibition season goal total Wednesday but remained winless after a 4-3 loss to Nashville at Philips Arena. After scoring just three goals in three games, the Thrashers surrendered a third-period goal to drop to 0-4 in the preseason.

“I truly believe that defensively we will be fine,” Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay said. “I can teach that. We have good people who can play. But scoring goals was an obvious problem and tonight we looked better. We are looking at how our people play and how they learn our system. We want to win every game but it hasn’t happened. We’ve been in them.”

The Thrashers have allowed the first goal in each exhibition game and have been outscored 12-6. They lost to Nashville 2-1 on Monday.

Nashville broke the tie when David Legwand knocked in a loose puck in front of the Thrashers goal for the game-winner at the 8:12 mark. Thrashers goaltender Chris Mason, who stopped 26 shots, said the goal was another instance of his trouble adjusting to traffic in front of the net.

“I had trouble with the traffic tonight,” Mason said. “I had trouble, even with the ones I saved. With traffic I didn’t have as much control as I would have liked. That’s the hardest thing that I have when you first come back is dealing with that. …

“It hit something in front and went to their guy. It took me an extra split second to find it and I was reaching instead of being right there. Instead of hitting me in the body I had to reach for it and it hit my arm and went in.”

Nashville opened the scoring with the first of two goals by Martin Erat, a tally at the 10:12 mark of the first period. The Thrashers answered on a power-play goal by Nigel Dawes with 19 seconds left in the period. Dawes knocked in a rebound of a Johnny Oduya shot from the point. The Thrashers converted on their lone power-play opportunity, the only one two preseason games against Nashville.

The Predators took a 3-1 lead with two power-play goals of their own in the second period as Ryan Suter and Erat converted man-advantages.

“Our attention is to be the most disciplined team in hockey,” Ramsay said. “We had one power-play opportunity in the last two games. While [Nashville] is disciplined, I think we are as well. We fully expect to get more power plays, to score on our power play like we did and not to take so many. The referees are going to understand that our team is not allowed to hook, hold, clutch and grab and we expect that we don’t do that and our discipline will really pay off.”

The Thrashers tied the game at 3-3 with a second-period goals by Freddy Meyer and Ben Eager 2:52 apart. Meyer blasted a shot from the point and Eager converted a great individual effort from Zach Bogosian. The defenseman took control of the puck, skated nearly the length of the ice and slid a perfect pass to Eager, who beat Nashville goaltender Anders Lindback.

“It was a great play,” Eager said. “Bogo had his head up the whole time and used his speed to the outside. I just went to the net and he found me there. Pretty much an open net. We’ll take those.”

It was Eager’s second goal of the preseason. While he was encouraged by the Thrashers’ comeback, he still sees work to be done.

“It’s never fun to get behind, but we responded well and battled back to tie it up,” Eager said. “A bit of a sloppy goal at the end and it cost us a game. We have to tighten up a few things. We can’t be losing games in the third period like that.”

The Thrashers insist that the winless start of the exhibition season is not cause for alarm. The most important thing is learning a new system and new teammates.

“I hate even saying this, but right now the end result isn’t the big thing,” Mason said. “We are getting to know each other and learning as we go and we have shown some improvement in some areas and some areas we have to keep working on.

“If you ask anybody we’d rather be 4-0 but when these games are done they don’t count for anything. As long as we are learning things right now that’s the important thing. We want to win, you set out every game to win, but if we are learning from the coaches and all the new systems that’s what’s important. If we can take lessons out of these losses now, hopefully it nullifies it in the regular season.”

43 comments Add your comment

Brian

September 29th, 2010
11:47 pm

We’re getting closer…

Smoothie

September 30th, 2010
12:04 am

Great blog Viv! Thanks for all the juicy quotes! Love this bunch of guys. I think it will come together. And Ronnie H better look out or he’s gonna lose his job to Freddy Meyer.

Hockey Biltong

September 30th, 2010
12:23 am

I’ll bet Nik is sore…

sisu

September 30th, 2010
12:25 am

did not go to the game so thanks for the update! Instead went to a great show (Rush)…

Nite Owl

September 30th, 2010
1:01 am

Also went to Rush. They played the whole Moving Pictures album. The newer stuff is really heavy—they are not showing any signs of fading away, not by a long shot!

I kind of think Rush and hockey go together nicely. The Canadian connection, I guess.

I believe in what our Thrashers are doing. Can’t wait for the regular season!

James

September 30th, 2010
1:20 am

I realize that it’s only the preseason, but Oduya’s been, imo, the team’s best d-man through the 1st 4 games and not only has he appeared in only half of them, he’s only getting 3rd-pairing/6th D minutes, averaging a little over 18 per. I don’t get it, he should be playing a lot more. He’s solid positionally, skates very well, makes good decisions with the puck, plays the PP & PK and is easily this team’s 3rd best d-man at least. I don’t think he should be slotted where he evidently is right now on the depth chart, he should be getting in the neighborhood of 22-23 minutes a game.

Tony C

September 30th, 2010
5:00 am

Wow. This suddenly Ramsay realizes we need to score. I hate to be pessimistic, but even I have realized scoring was going to be an issue with 70-something goals leaving via UFA/trade and the guy we spent(wasted) a 1st-round pick on deciding he’d rather play defense…but wow. 7 goals in 3 games-one of which was against Columbus? Somebody better get us a scorer or three. If fat@ss has his heart set on playing D, let’s trade him. We’ve got D, now (for once) we don’t have anybody that can light the lamp regularly.

Super.

Can’t loose if they don’t score, but you can’t win if you don’t score.

Anybody find it ironic that it didn’t rain until the concert was over?

Ryan

September 30th, 2010
6:16 am

Thrashers for best scoring must move back Byfaglien on offence, becouse he was very, very good in SC playoffs for Blackhawks. Roenick says true- as forward Dustin is more better than as d-men.

Rhythmpenguin

September 30th, 2010
6:40 am

James: I also heard that Oduya has been our best D-man (I wasn’t at the game). Ramsey already knows that he is a solid, talented D-man, so he plays the guys he is not familiar more with so he can get a better idea of how they play and who best for our team.

Flames

September 30th, 2010
7:45 am

I’m just praying that the team starts off the season fast. It might be hard with the early west coast trip. We need to put our lines in place for the next two games and lets get them working together. If this team starts off fast we could see more fans in the stands with both GT and Georgia struggling this year in Football.

AndyS

September 30th, 2010
8:17 am

I think CViv is getting into regular season form as well, this post is a practice article! Good stuff, looking forward to the regular season.

4 jacks

September 30th, 2010
8:26 am

yeah, and it will be worse when the real season starts. but don’t blame the coaches or players or lack thereof. It is the sorry effing ownership that has just screwed Atlanta with the way they have handled the Thrashers and the Hawks. These guys coulcn’t manage a wet dream, and although I wish we could keep the teams in Atlanta under new and better ownership I will not go back period. I only attend about 8 or 9 Thrasher games per year and maybe 5 or 6 Hawk games, but I will not be the Atlanta Spirits chump anymore. If this is the best they can do then move them and give Atlanta a bad rap as a sports town again that it does not deserve. I wish Gearon and the other fools would just leave, I mean please leave, the ownership of these teams sucks, I mean just plain sucks.

Brendan

September 30th, 2010
8:29 am

4 Jacks, you never know. The ownership could change at season’s end. I think Waddell’s contract is up at that point, as well. Lest they renewed him, quietly, this offseason.

cousin Eddie

September 30th, 2010
9:17 am

Is the sky fallin? No. Your the same people ravaging the grocery stores when there is chance of snow in the ATL. It’s preseason and the coaches are trying new things with every player, every game. The coaches are looking at all possible pairings and seeing who plays good and plays bad. Petterson played awesome the other night with whomever he was paired with. Would you continue playing him with that player for the rest of the preseason or would you rather see if he also has chemistry with anyone else on the roster. I like the second option. These coaches know what the are doing. They are teachers of the game. All of the interviews that Ramsay has done so far, shows us what kind of person he is and how he deals with adversity. I truly could watch interviews of him all day. When is the last time a coach has sat with media and talked about how he wants the hockey game to go, the specifics, spacing, positional duties. Most interviews with 85% of coaches are so vague, you never get an understanding of what is going on with players and coaches and what they are trying to do. Ramsay explains everything! He loves spreading knowledge and making each individual a better person and player. I can not wait to see the results of labor. He has a hard task in front of him with a roster that has NEVER played together but, is stocked full of YOUNG(18-25 year olds) talented hockey players. Give it some time, be patient. Remember, it’s just a little snow flurries that won’t stick to the ground!

Smoothie

September 30th, 2010
9:43 am

cousin eddie – I concur wholeheartedly. We are in good hands with Craig Ramsay. He is laying it out there so we can understand the paradigm shift that is occuring in that room. There are bound to be some growing pains, but Ramsay’s got 35+ years of hockey experience on bad and good teams, even championship teams. Also, I wonder if Ramsay is more accessible than ever since he’s been unfairly scape-goated twice as an iterim HC? Perhaps he was more secretive before and now realizes that if he’s completely honest about things that the onus shifts more heavily to the players, who are / aren’t executing the strategies.

Zombie Steve

September 30th, 2010
10:07 am

Byfaglien?? lol You better hope Buff doesn’t read your post, Ryan!

GaVaHokie

September 30th, 2010
10:16 am

Enver Lisin has been released.

Harriet

September 30th, 2010
10:28 am

Even if the Thrashers don’t score a regular-season goal all year, at least we won’t have to watch Kovalchuk passively mope around in the defensive and neutral zones anymore while collecting welfare in the form on an NHL paycheck from Atlanta Spirit.

By the way, Barry Trotz is still the most underrated coach in the NHL.

Zombie Steve

September 30th, 2010
10:48 am

Don’t see why there’s so much Kovie hatin’ going on….he’s the greatest player to ever put on a Thrasher jersey.

Chris Vivlamore

September 30th, 2010
10:55 am

Just pulling into Thrashers practice. As I tweeted a couple hours ago, Enver Lisin has been released. It will be announced later today.

sisu, NiteOwl: Good call. When I get writer’s block, a little Limelight usually does the trick.

Harriet

September 30th, 2010
10:58 am

Zombie Steve –

Kovy is the greatest OFFENSIVE player to ever put on a Thrashers jersey.

Despite his occasional inspired defensive play, frankly, his *typical* defensive effort was certainly OFFENSIVE to me as a paying customer.

Greatest All-Around Thrasher?

Eh, not so much. (IMHO – For what little my non-expert opinion may be worth)

Smoothie

September 30th, 2010
11:27 am

Like it or not, Marian Hossa was the best player to ever come through these parts. He was the straw that stirred the drink during the “golden” years. I remember tons of Hossa, Hossa, Hossa chants and not too many Kovy, Kovy, Kovy chants during that time of sell-outs, fan frenzy and quality two-way play…even Kovy was a -2 in ‘06-’07.

James Brown

September 30th, 2010
11:29 am

The waiver wire may produce some interesting players that could be picked up this last week of pre-season……………I am hoping Duds can find us a little more scoring punch.

James Brown

September 30th, 2010
11:32 am

Agree Smoothie…Hossa was a beast……………..The `05-`06 team that just missed the playoffs were a fun team to watch………………Great on the offensive side……Oh for that kind of scoring and playmaking to go with the defense we have now.

gretschdrum

September 30th, 2010
11:50 am

Hossa was the best all around Thrasher, period. Kovy was all offense, all finesse, all the time. He was responsible for a LOT of goals scored against us. Hossa is more power, more puck possession and a VERY good defender.

Joe Friday

September 30th, 2010
1:08 pm

“Instead went to a great show (Rush)…”

What a show, wow. Got that one checked off on the bucket list last nite . . . be cool or be cast out! Talk about a sausage fest though, I think Mara Davis was one of the 13 females in attendance, never been to an event that had a guys bathroom line and no girls line (we reversed it on them last nite and crashed the ladies room)

Let’s pray there’s a move to be made here to bring in some scoring, we’re gonna need it.

Jimbo

September 30th, 2010
2:06 pm

Saw the game last night. Team looks OK but we seem to have the same third period problems as last year. Too much running around and not staying in position. Also need D-buff in front of the net. Only Eager seems to plant himself there.

Stewart

September 30th, 2010
2:21 pm

My proposition for Thrashers:
1) Buff must play as forward;
2) Kulda must be a sixth D-men;
3) Valabik & Meyer must trade out for good scorer.

Dudley & Ramsey!
Thrashers fans wants fighting for SC, not only for playoffs. ;)

GaVaHokie

September 30th, 2010
2:27 pm

Joe Friday/Sisu… Yeah, I heard the Rush show was great last night… wish I had gone, but I don’t do a lot of weeknight shows anymore.

GaVaHokie

September 30th, 2010
2:35 pm

I saw Rush on the Vapor Trails tour, which I can’t believe was back in 2002… sheesh… time flies.

Joe Friday

September 30th, 2010
2:36 pm

“but I don’t do a lot of weeknight shows anymore”

I am paying for it today, in spades. But well worth it, it was simply awesome, I could not believe how great they sounded, and loud as could be, Alpharetta is still shaking . . .

GaVaHokie

September 30th, 2010
2:52 pm

Yeah, I can’t enjoy the weeknight shows like I want to. :)

Same with weeknight hockey… glad to see we have a lot of good Weekend games this year like Chicago, Pitt and Jersey.

Eugene

September 30th, 2010
3:04 pm

The Thrashers played with more effort last night but they really need a second skilled center and a defenseman with a booming hard shot. They could get Souray for half of his salary off the waiver wire and sign Brendan Morrison on the cheap. If they can do that, it would give time for Bogosian and Kane to develop while also getting the team to the playoffs.

Sage of Bluesland

September 30th, 2010
3:15 pm

I was at the Rush concert, as well, last night. Despite being an avid fan since the mid1980s, it was the first time I’ve ever seen them live. I’m thankful I did, too…and thankful I took off of work today to recuperate properly. Always has been the best lyrics–likely always will, too.

Oh, as for the Thrashers? Well, at least we’re on our third “Five Year Plan”…I almost feel sorry for the coach, considering the incompetent and uncaring ownership…

Oh well, I won’t let that ruin what is otherwise a good feeling basking in the glow of such great music…

Hockey Biltong

September 30th, 2010
3:16 pm

Cuz Eddie – you hit the nail on the head. patience , grasshopper is what the fans need.
And HOSSA was the BEST player ever in a THRASHERS UNI!!!! Kovy wishes he was that good…he set up everyone and anyone to score. I wish he’d comeback and train these young’uns…..

CA Thrashers Fan

September 30th, 2010
3:18 pm

Souray is a malcontent in Edmonton (when he actually plays), why would that be expected to change in Atlanta? Morrison is not an upgrade over Little, Peverley or Antropov. This team needs time to gel and get acclimated to each other and the system more than anything else right now. Half the roster turned over and a new coaching staff, there’s going to be a learning curve, which is exactly what we’re seeing on the ice right now.

Zombie Steve

September 30th, 2010
4:09 pm

Agree to disagree folks: Kovie > Hossa

MeLoveSlava

September 30th, 2010
4:11 pm

THE SLAVA is the greatest Thrasher ever and has held The Cup more times than ATL-Hater Hossa and “Gimme the Puck” Kovalchuk combined.

Old Time Hockey

September 30th, 2010
4:16 pm

I wouldn’t put too much into anything Roenick says. He’s one of those guys who will say anything to get some press. I believe the term is blowhard.

James

September 30th, 2010
6:33 pm

Good point, Rhythmpenguin, that’s very plausible and may very well be the case. I guess we’ll find out for sure once we get to the regular season, hopefully that’s all it is.

eugene

September 30th, 2010
11:38 pm

CA Thrashers Fan: One team’s malcontent is another team’s treasure. Souray definitely could help the blueline and the powerplay. As for Morrison, he’s a better passer than Antropov, Little, and Peverly, plus he plays with a lot of heart, unlike Antropov. With Buff on the line with Morrison, I can envision a West Coast Express II.

FormerIslesFan

October 1st, 2010
9:26 am

I taunted Rawhide on his blog because he opted to go to the Exhibition game rather than join us at the Rush concert (this was number 23 for me…been seeing them since I was 12 and went to Signals). I had no idea that that many of us hockey fans were also Rush fans (but, it figures). By my count, it is me (and Lilibeter), Sisu, Nite Owl, C-Viv, Rawhide, Joe Friday, Hokie and Sage (Wow, we’ve finally found common ground!).

BTW, in case you hadn’t seen it, here is link to the Neil Peart re-write of the “Hockey Night in Canda” theme: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buhcMQ_gxjU

As for the Thrashers, I’m still not in a panic (yet). Let’s see what happens when the REAL whistle drops and the lines are set.

Kovy's Agent

October 2nd, 2010
8:24 am

Chemistry. Haven’t seen that word, or the phrase, ” just need time to gel” in this thread like we usually see after a Thrasher loss. Folks, we’ve been waiting 10 years for chemistry to develop and still it’s not enough “time to gel.” Face it, trying to bump guys up a line or two from where they really belong hasn’t worked for this franchise in 10 long years and it won’t work this year. Another long, miserable season awaits.