Armstrong calls Eager “meat head;” Eager calls Armstrong “phony”

Here is my game story, with quotes, from the Thrashers loss to Toronto Friday for those who would like to comment:

On Friday night, Philips Arena was Black and Blue Land.

It was the Thrashers who were worse for wear.

Toronto scored six second-period goals — causing the Thrashers to switch goaltenders three times — in a 9-3 pummeling of the Thrashers.

The details of the second period were ugly.

* Four goals came in a span of five shots.

* Three goals were scored in less than two minutes during a five-minute match penalty on Ben Eager after he punched former Thrashers Colby Armstrong. The Maple Leafs added a fourth goal on the same penalty 1:32 into the third period.

* Three goals were scored 3:09 apart. Two others were scored 35 seconds apart.

* Chris Mason relieved Ondrej Pavelec after the fourth Maple Leafs goal. Mason allowed three goals on four shots. Pavelec returned and gave up another with 11 seconds left in the period. Mason started the third period for the third goaltender change of the night.

* The six goals in the second period were a franchise record for goals allowed in the middle period.

Armstrong, who had his right eye completely bandaged after the game, called Eager a “meat head.”

“[Armstrong’s] one of the biggest phonies in the league,” Eager said. “He’s done his fair share of dirty stuff in the league and he’ll never answer the bell. What goes around, comes around. I’m sure some day someone will catch him with his head down.”

Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay said he did not condone Eager’s actions. The forward could face a league suspension for the match penalty.

“We don’t condone anything,” Ramsay said. “We want our players to play hard. We want them to play physical with body checks and fight for the puck. We can’t condone that.”

Mikhail Grabovski, Nikolai Kulemin and Clarke MacArthur each scored two goals for the Maple Leafs.

The Thrashers (22-16-6, 50 points) suffered their worst loss of the season and had a two-game win streak snapped. They missed a chance to tie Washington and pull within a point of division-leader Tampa Bay.

The Maple Leafs led 2-1 after one period when Kris Versteeg and Grabovski answered Tobias Enstrom’s goal 2:36 into the game. Grabovski’s goal was a power-play goal with Eager serving a double-minor for roughing and cross checking.

Armstrong and Kulemin scored 1:19 apart in the second period to chase Pavelec.

“Everything went wrong,” Pavelec said. “It couldn’t have been worse.”

Grabovski scored on Mason at the 15:15 mark on the first shot he faced.

“We are all pretty embarrassed by this,” Mason said. “I can speak for myself, I wasn’t ready to play tonight. I was terrible when I was in there.”

At the 17:05 mark of the second period, Dustin Byfuglien was called for roughing on a hit to Darryl Boyce. In the melee that followed, Eager received a match penalty for intent to injury when he punched Armstrong. The Maple Leafs scored three times in the final two minutes of the period on the major power play.

The Maple Leafs scored again early in the final period on the penalty for a total of four goals. It was also the fifth power-play goal with Eager in the penalty box.

“The first two penalties I got, I didn’t even know they were penalties,” Eager said. “I guess the league is getting pretty soft. I hardly touched the guy. The match penalty I got hit first and I hit him back.”

The Maple Leafs power play, 20th in the NHL, finished with five goals on three chances.

Patrice Cormier scored his first NHL goal at the 15:09 mark of the third period for the Thrashers.

“The fact is we’ve been winning some games we shouldn’t have because our goalies have been really good,” Ramsay said. “… I expected them sooner or later, [the team is] going to have a game that you don’t understand. I hope that they use it as a wake-up call. We are pretty good when we compete, when all four lines play and are supportive of each other, we are pretty good. We’ve got to understand that our work ethic has to be there every game. We can not play when we feel like it.”

51 comments Add your comment

East Point Bob

January 7th, 2011
11:01 pm

When will a TRADE take place ? This was worse than you might expect…

Tony C.

January 7th, 2011
11:01 pm

Colby is a whiny b!trch. But we all knew that already.


January 7th, 2011
11:02 pm

Wow!!! Not the Thrashers best night! Has Eager played his way out of favor with Ramsey?


January 7th, 2011
11:11 pm

That, my friends, may have been the worst “professional” (and I use that term loosely in this case) game I have EVER attended. This coming from a guy who grew up watching horrid Minnesota North Star hockey in the 70’s.

How in the world do you look so completely out of it to a team that played last night and then had to travel? Bogosian has never been my whipping boy, but nan, did he look lost out there. Horrible, horrible effort all around and to top it off, it was the first game I’ve taken my daughter too. I hope she’s not traumatized for life.


January 7th, 2011
11:20 pm

Horrible. There is no other way to describe it. In Eager’s defense, Armstrong took a really cheap shot on Peverly. Peverly looked stunned. The only thing to do with that game is to move on and never perform like that again.

Thrashy Thrashy

January 7th, 2011
11:24 pm

If you give up nine goals against the Leafs, then a lot of your guys are playing like horses***.

Just a miserable, orry-a**, pi$$ poor effort all around. Rammer is right, though. Games like this are wake-up calls, especially to teams that plan on competing for anything. I believe the Thrashers will be a playoff team. Of course, after the way they played tonight, you’d think they were trying to be contracted.


January 7th, 2011
11:25 pm

Brett, I definitely think Eager’s on Ramsay’s **** list after his double minor goal give away in the first and then the whole Armstrong thing. Damn debacle out there tonight.

Alan R.

January 7th, 2011
11:46 pm

Eager is directly responsible for five PPGA. Our PKers stunk, and Mason coming in cold and unprepared really didn’t help matters, but all of Toronto’s power play goals are because he took bad penalties he didn’t have to take.

It’s easy to throw Bogosian under the bus for some of his boneheaded plays tonight, but the game went from “potential comeback” to “we’re losing by a touchdown” because Eager thought he’d pad his PIM stat.


January 7th, 2011
11:47 pm

Matt, did you attend the 3-0 snoozefest that was the Columbus Blue Jackets visit to the Bulb, back in October? I think I would have preferred to be at this one. At least Atlanta scored, and had a lead, at some point. The CBJ game was like watching the paint dry.

I hope the league goes easy on Eager, in terms of the suspension. Or possible suspension. We’ve seen some inconsistency on the part of the league’s disciplinary committee, in that respect.

Friends, Ben Eager will not be next year, in my opinion. He wouldn’t go long with Atlanta last offseason, and he may be in Ramsay’s doghouse now. Perhaps, for the rest of the season. Ask Bergfors what it’s like. Right about now, Bergfors might be thinking, “Thank God! It’s someone ELSE’s turn.”

I had hoped the days of the team simply being unprepared to play … were long over. Those days have returned. I can excuse the loss to the 30th-place Devils, due to Jacques Lemaire relieving John MacLean behind the bench, and the lightning-like pace of the Thrashers schedule, at that point. But what’s the excuse this time? What’s our record in the past 9 games?

The best teams in the NHL pour it from this point forward. Is Toronto a “softie?,” in terms of the schedule? If you said, “yes,” we really blew a chance to bank points. Worse than that, though, is that this was a chance to make a statement before a Friday night crowd, on a home televised game. Oh well. Can’t dwell on it. It’s on to the Carolina game. Is that game going head-to-head with an NFL Playoff game?

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Carroll Thorpe. Carroll Thorpe said: RT @ajcthrashers: Armstrong calls Eager “meat head;” Eager calls Armstrong “phony” [...]

Marcus Valdes

January 7th, 2011
11:48 pm

Tonight was definitely not fun to watch. I’m surprised how many fans stayed til the end. I agree with the coach though. We have only won some of our recent games because of how fantastic the goalkeeping has been. We have got to do something if we want to take this thing all the way. But, in the end, if you lose by a goal, or if you lose by six goals, you still lose…..


January 7th, 2011
11:54 pm

Does anybody have a link to the “Family Guy” episode where store patron points to Peter Griffin and calls him, “A phony! A big, fat phony!” I think I’m going to link that scene in Family Guy to Ben Eager on Colby Armstrong, from this point forward.


January 7th, 2011
11:54 pm

agree with marcus, most fans showed loyalty until the end…


January 7th, 2011
11:55 pm

Eon Rodeo

January 8th, 2011
12:02 am

Even I didn’t enjoy this one. That was a pathetic effort from the Thrash. Glad the Leafs won, of course, but would have much preferred a close game.

And yeah, the fans stayed, but too many demonstrated a real lack of class by heckling their own goaltender and judging by the comments around me I wouldn’t count on that loyalty going too far if this turns out not to be just a blip on the screen.

Go Leafs Go!


January 8th, 2011
12:22 am

Nobody whistles past a ‘train-wreck.’ You stop to take it all in, in wonderment.

ATL FAN, Thanks!

By the way, the replay of the loss is on SPSO right now. It’s 4-1, Leafs, at this point, with plenty of time still left in the 2nd period.


January 8th, 2011
12:45 am

I have been saying all season that Eager was not going to make it through the season. He has been in Ramsey’s doghouse all season. Not only has he been a regular scratch with Bergie, but the one chance he has on the ice to prove himself he wastes with penalties. I am personally glad he got a max penalty because he was more helpful off the ice than on.

I would enjoy seeing a possible Modin+Eager trade for someone worth something. Modin looked terrible on the ice tonight and you could tell his teammates did not want to pass him the puck.

Glad the kid got his first goal. I have been really impressed with his play, and even in this debacle he still worked really hard and got his goal.

Players who I would not mind seeing go are:


Players who deserve more credit than they get


We have a great team and some amazing talent, but we need to get a superstar here to not only bring fans in, but to have some strong skill to focus our other talent around.

oh look

January 8th, 2011
12:59 am

it’s brendan with more quality posts of things we all already know. do you teach first graders, nerd?


January 8th, 2011
1:09 am

I like Meyer…at least he hits…better than Hainsey who is paid WAY TOO much and Oduya who stands there and takes the occassional hit……

Gwinnett Fred

January 8th, 2011
1:54 am

Eager stinks. Hasn’t impressed at all this year and the one that got me more than anything was his 2nd penalty in the first period when during the delayed penalty in progress, he cross checks the Toronto player in the back. That’s bush league.

Think we could trade Mason to Jersey for Moose so we would have a competent backup??

I’ll be honest, the Hurricanes scare me. Basically, they are the only thing between us and a playoff spot in all liklihood, and now with games in hand, they are realistically even or possibly ahead of us standings wise. If we don’t beat them Sunday, thenthey will only trail us for the final playoff spot by 4 points but have 4 games in hand. Thus, Sunday’s game all of a sudden is the biggest of the year to date for the Thrash!


January 8th, 2011
2:58 am

I left after the 5th goal and I’ve never left early even when it was hopeless we wasn’t going to win that particular game. I agree with Ramsay that hopefully this will be a wake up call to the guys to bring it every shift every period. Bogosian is attrocious. He doesn’t seem to have a clue out there. If he has the puck on his stick and he’s getting the least amount of pressure he panics and he either sits there and loses the puck, or just blindly pass the puck somewhere most often to the other team. His butt needs to sit in the press box for a few games and get refocused and get some mental help. I’ve been disappointed in Mason. I thought he was a good solid goalie for other teams, but this year he’s been all over the place. He’ll either play good and give up like 3 somewhat soft goals or just get lit up for 4-5 goals. I agree that Eager needs to go. I also think we could do better with someone else over Modin. What about that Pettersson guy that lit it up in preseason? I know it was only preseason but he brings much needed energy and work eithic this team needs.


January 8th, 2011
4:39 am

it is bush’s fault, ask nancy


January 8th, 2011
5:23 am

The game was already over, it was one of those nights, I’m glad Eager nailed Armstrong. The call on it was horrible, no way was that a 5 min PP, match penalty. Armstrong does dirty plays and NEVER backs it up, it was his night to be on the recieving end of it. The game was already over, Eager didn’t dismantle us..but he’ll be benched, no excuses. No excuses for Mason and our penalty killers either, cold or not..I have never seen a goalie be so lost and have all of our players just stand there..wait I have seen that. I’m not defending Eager but that should have been no more than a 2 minute roughing..and it’s about time someone on our team got tired of all tyhe cheapshots taken against us. Did you people happen to see Orr attempt to decapitate Enstrom? To me that’s the same thing as it happening, that was an attempt to injure based on what was called on Eager, penalty. Orr tried to literally knock Enstrom’s head off and Toby didn’t havet he puck. Had he connected, no more Enstrom.

Kaner #9

January 8th, 2011
6:49 am

I literally had to turn that chit off.

Ganja Warrior

January 8th, 2011
7:23 am

If you asked Gunnery SGT Hartman from the movie Full Metal Jacket he would say that the Thrashers play defense like old people %$#@ !

C’mon ! Year in and year out the same thing. AHHHHHHH !

Ganja Warrior

January 8th, 2011
7:30 am

Bogosian, Eager, Sopel, Bogosian, Mason, Hainsey. Oh and Bogosian. One way ticket out of here !


January 8th, 2011
8:47 am

Well, if you’re going to not show up, at least everyone not showed up at once… :/ The best thing about this is that it’s the same 0 points as a 2-1 loss in regulation with the game-winner scored off someone’s butt.

East Point Bob

January 8th, 2011
8:48 am

Yes, Bogosian has got to go and never play another game for Atlanta !


January 8th, 2011
8:55 am

Yeah, last night was a stinker. Probably the worst in some time, but, the sun is out today and we have a chance to redeem tomorrow. Disappointed that it was the Leafs and MacC and Arm bothed scored along with fact there was a decent crowd.

Eager – Meathead
Armstrong – Phony

They’re both right

Fan from Carolina

January 8th, 2011
9:00 am

Ummmm, Thrashers, playing and keeping pace with the Lightning is a good thing, but don’t follow the Bolts 8-1 bashing by the Pens with one of your own, especially against the Leafs. Toronto??? How?? What the heck happened? Especially after such a nice road win against Vokoun & company.


January 8th, 2011
9:13 am

At least nobody on Toronto got a hat trick.
Eager should not play for the Thrashers any more. At least until he learns to control himself. When he gets riled up he can’t control himself and self control is essential to playing in the NHL. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him playing in Europe sometime soon.


January 8th, 2011
9:27 am

The whole game changed on the double minor on the Thrashers earlier in the 2nd Period….after that, the Leafs were allowed to hit….the Thrashers were basically told that they couldn’t….the Buff and Eager deal with weak-Army and Capt. Dion was simply frustration….

The forwards did not play D like they have for most of the season….and being short handed and not hustling on back on D was the reason for the goals….not OP….

This happens….it has happened to all of the great teams….the Red Wings, the Pens…all of them….THE KEY is how the Thrashers bounce back!


January 8th, 2011
9:34 am

We were simply not ready to play 60 minutes. We came out strong in the first 5 but started cruising. And, Eager obviously does not use his head in the heat of battle. And, Mason doesn’t appear to be ready to play either. Horrible period. We left at 6-1 and so did many in our section. Let’s see how we come out tomorrow. Put Eager on the rails and bring up Machachek.


January 8th, 2011
9:49 am

Just send bogosion and bergfores to the minors [chicago] for a month and bring up a top defesnemen and Fredrik Petterson.

Trade Eager, Mason, and Oduya.

If Bergfores and Bogosions were in the minors for half a season they’d be a lot better in the future.

Next off season if I Duddley I’d get a defence men that can work well with Bogosion, just like Entrom and Byfulgien, who are both putting up higher number than their previous seasons.


January 8th, 2011
10:02 am

Eager is done, he’s been in the doghouse since the beginning of the season. The only reason he was playing is injuries to others, this will get him removed very quickly.


January 8th, 2011
10:03 am

Bergfors produce point for us and is deadly in the offensive zone. I like the kid. 3 points in his last 3 games.


January 8th, 2011
11:35 am

Ouch. First time I have left a game early. Need to just move on, like the Bolts did after they were destroyed by Penguins.

Here’s a link to the Eager match penalty. Not a smart play, but I do not think it was a worth 5 minutes. I agree that Eager was in part retaliating for the no-call kneeing of Armstrong against Peverly in the first period. I Also thought the double-minor was uncalled for, especially when the refs gave the leaves only 1 penalty when they committed 2 blatent seperate hooks on the same play.

Just gotta take care of business against the ‘Canes.

P. Bull Terrier

January 8th, 2011
11:37 am

I’ll admit that I stopped watching the Thrashers after last season and didn’t see any of the game in question, but I do still glance at the scores. This one has me a little curious.

The last time I watched hockey, fighting at some point during a game was almost as common as wrecks in NASCAR. The two guys punched each other until they got tired, then the officials pulled them apart and sent them to the penalty box for two minutes. The article doesn’t really describe what happened to make this such a major penalty – other than saying Eager was penalized for “intent to injury.” I always thought the whole purpose of fighting with someone was to injure them.

Did the NHL outlaw fighting while I was busy watching football, or do they now require a kinder, gentler approach to fighting than they used to, or was something about this fight different than all of the other NHL fights I’ve seen over the years? Just wondering and hoping someone who regularly watches hockey can fill in the details.


January 8th, 2011
11:39 am

[...] in his Atlanta Thrasher Examiner recap of the game and Chris Vivlamore’s perspective on the AJC Blog includes some more quotas from the team as well. If you really need to see the video, check out Puck [...]

P. Bull Terrier

January 8th, 2011
11:55 am

Thanks AtlFlamesFan – I get it now. That did look like Eager surprised Armstrong with a sucker punch and a bit of a choke hold while Armstrong wasn’t even looking his way. I would call it a cheap shot and wouldn’t argue with the extra penalty minutes.


January 8th, 2011
11:55 am

Fighting is when 2 players engage in a fight with each other. Eager did not challenge Colby. He just sucker punched him in the face with no warning, so the difference. It was a cheap shot, but I still don’t know if it deserved a match. I guess because the “victim” was Armstrong, a known cheap-shot artist himself, I might be a little prejudiced.

Considering that last week when Lucic sucker-punched Freddy Meyer while an official was holding him, and that resulted in no suspension, I am curious what the league will do about this one.


January 8th, 2011
12:07 pm

Always love to read these “homer” comments after games. As a Leaf fan I have suffered through some atrocious players and games but…. When Armstrong played for you he could do no wrong and no one in Atlanta claimed he was soft or dirty. Colby is a pest and he does his job well but he does not go out to intentionally injure someone. He brings so much to any team. as the STATS show:
As of Dec 16th: with Colby playing: 9-4-1 .643 winning percentage
:with just Colby injured: 0-3-0 .000 winning percentage
Eager should be suspended by the league for that punch on Armstrong. It was one of the most idiotic self serving and vicious things I have seen without the use of a stick. It is funny he did not try any of that Chit when Orr was on the ice. If Eager played for the Leafs, I would still say “suspend the dumb (_I_)” There is no place for that in the NHL.


January 8th, 2011
12:11 pm

Sorry that was with just Colby injured: 0-3-2 .000 winning percentage


January 8th, 2011
12:44 pm

Good on ya!!!
Atlanta Thrashers forward Ben Eager has been suspended for four games and will forfeit $20,752.68 in salary for delivering a blow to the head with a punch to Toronto Maple Leafs forward Colby Armstrong.

hey crazy8

January 8th, 2011
1:31 pm

please go lay in the snow, nerd

Moth Balled Jersey

January 8th, 2011
2:05 pm

So sorry crazy8, but most fans hated Armstrong and his sulking no-hustle crap when he was here. Have fun trying to get out of a lottery pick position for Boston with him on your lovely team.


January 8th, 2011
8:26 pm

Crazy-8…. you’re a typical Canadian ASS.

We got hosed. Plain and simple. Those Officials lost control early, and it turned into a farce.
Maybe they were trying real hard to earn their penis ring from Ol’ burkie EH? Yea, he was in the Bidg.
Armstrong’s an Angel… no baggage there huh? (bet that big female sex organ plays the next game without the patch…HAR HAR!) And what was the call when Orr cut Buff????

So much for the highly touted Canadian “respect for the game” EH?
You guys are really full of it. Big talk, all mouth.


Nahhh, take your weak-azz mumbo jumbo

Eon Rodeo

January 9th, 2011
1:07 am

Man, what a bunch of whiners. Take a cue from the coach and move on! You can bet the Thrashers are already putting the loss and Eager behind them and worrying about rebounding this afternoon against the Hurricanes. Fans need to follow suit.

Oh yeah … Go Leafs Go!


January 9th, 2011
1:41 am

Take this cue.