Updated: Oh, those Thrashers’ scoring woes

The numbers are ugly.

The Thrashers’ scoring woes have become a point of frustration for management, players and fans as the team’s playoff chances are slipping away.

Despite out-shooting the opposition in the past 10 games, including surpassing 40 shots in each of the past five, the Thrashers have a 2-7-1 record. A two-month long drought with has them 11th in the Eastern Conference, seven points behind the New York Rangers for the eighth and final playoff spot with 17 games remaining.

Time is running out.

“It’s not like we aren’t getting any chances,” Bryan Little said. “If that was the case I think we would be a bit worried. It’s just a matter of just relaxing. The games mean so much right now we might be squeezing the sticks too tight. If we keep getting those chances, we are bound to have a big night. Hopefully it’s sooner rather than later.”

Consider the following statistics:

* The Thrashers have scored one goal in four of the past five games, despite having more than 40 shots on goal in each.

* Their shooting percentage in the past five games is 3.2 percent (7-for-214). Their shooting percentage in the past 10 games, all while out-shooting the opposition, is 5.6 percent (22-for-393).

* The Thrashers are 7-17-6 in past 30 games, having scored 63 goals. They scored 114 in the first 35 games of the season while compiling a 19-11-5 mark.

* They have been held to one or zero goals four times in first 35 games and 10 times in the past 30 games.

* The Thrashers, without back-to-back wins since Jan. 2 and 5, have not won a game by two or more goals since Dec. 20, a 6-3 win over Toronto.

Shots on goal are one thing, quality scoring chances are what really matter. In Thursday’s 3-1 loss to Ottawa, holder of the worst record in the Eastern Conference, the Thrashers had many prime opportunities.

Turning the shots into scoring chances means “not shooting right into the middle of the goalies belly,” Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay said. It also means using screens and traffic to make it difficult for the opposing goal to see and catch the puck.

“We are working hard to get those chances, we just have to put the puck in the net,” Thrashers captain Andrew Ladd said. “If you are throwing pucks at the net, that’s great, but you have to have bodies in front of the net. You’ve got to have one guy in front of the net and everybody else storming to pick up the rebounds, pick up the garbage.

“If our D-men are shooting the puck and we have two guys standing on the side of the net, that doesn’t do too much. You’ve got to have a screen. … We can make it more difficult on goalies.”

On an individual basis, the Thrashers’ top scorers are failing to deliver. Consider the following numbers:

* Chris Thorburn and Little have one goal in the past 17 games.

* Evander Kane and Anthony Stewart have one goal in the past eight games.

* Alexander Burmistrov hadn’t scored in 27 games before missing the past eight games with a broken foot.

* Dustin Byfuglien’s goal Thursday against Ottawa was his second in the past 23 games, which included a 13-game pointless streak.

* Tobias Enstrom hasn’t scored in 15 games.

Ramsay said he sees several differences between the first 35 and the last 30 games.

“We are not scoring on the rebounds like we were,” Ramsay said. “Our defensemen aren’t scoring as much but they are trying to get involved. … There are too many times when we are not holding the puck long enough to open up our points. We are not getting quite the screening. We are standing to the side of the net. I don’t want everybody standing in the crease. I’ve made that quite clear but I need somebody standing in front of the goalie. We are not always getting a good enough screen.”

58 comments Add your comment

Will L

March 4th, 2011
10:35 am

Offensive stats is right.

jeff97

March 4th, 2011
10:36 am

jeff97

March 4th, 2011
10:37 am

whoops…….guess i am second

jeff97

March 4th, 2011
10:39 am

I have noticed that this team simply does not get many rebounds and a lot of the shots are from far out. I would rather seen them crash the net more.

Last night, they simply did not bury the chances that they had in the second period. 2 breakaways and Little was all alone for a 3 count in front short handed and failed to score. Good teams bury those chances. bad teams dont

Sage of Bluesland

March 4th, 2011
10:43 am

According to some, “all we have to do” is put big-Puff in front of the net…and fire the coach…and thus everything is solved!

Funny if it weren’t so misguided…

MashaPlayer7

March 4th, 2011
10:48 am

This team just doesn’t have finish. Our terrible efforts on shootouts and breakaways already spoke to that. These recent games with 40 plus shots and one goal per game are confirmation. I have never walked away from any of these last 5 games thinking that the goalie stole it for the opposing team.
I do love the style of play, however. If we keep that up and get another goal scorer or two we will be fine. But it won’t be this season.

Rabnnod

March 4th, 2011
10:49 am

The Thrashers have scored 1, 1, 0, 1, and 1 goal against the starting goalie in the last five games. The only time they scored more then one goal was against a cold backup goalie in the Toronto game. Prior to Kane kneeing Reimer in the face the Thrashers were scoreless through 38 minutes of hockey on 18 shots. Just to clarify how completely offensive this teams performance has been.

Thrashered

March 4th, 2011
10:51 am

There have been a lot of good players (some all stars)come and go since 1999. Heatley, Hossa, Kovy (no rationalizations as to why they left, please. They’re gone and the Thrashers have nothing to show for it). The team has never had any direction or strategy beyond how it was going to try and secure the 8th and final play off spot on a season to season basis. Now, with all of the stars gone, it just a revolving door with third and fourth liners passing through and staying a year or two. There is no star or core of good players to build around. The current roster looks and plays like something you would be explaining to the media after an expansion draft.

sph9

March 4th, 2011
10:51 am

Simple fixes are needed to correct this drought but implementation of these fixes needs to be done IMMEDIATELY or the Thrashers are done….

Shot’s are not the problem as Chris has shown us by these ugly statistics. It’s a combination of shot selection and crashing the net. If I’m a goalie give me all the shots you can from 35-50 feet out.. I can handle those all day. But if you start delaying or faking your shots and come in below 35 ft and then a winger has a chance to drive the net and cause some traffic in front of me then I have problems. If you look at the players all listed above, skilled big bodied players all trying to make that perfect play or place the perfect shot every time. BOYS it doesn’t have to be pretty it has go in, that’s all… If you look back at the first 35 game of the season and look at the film I guarantee that a majority of the Thrashers goals were ugly ones. Since then with the games that I’ve had a chance to watch on GameCenter and on NHLLive highlights the Thrashers are trying to be too pretty.

Boy’s the time for pretty is passed… get GRITTY and let’s get to the playoff’s….. see you all in Boston in April….

hockeyfan

March 4th, 2011
10:52 am

How many goals off of turnovers? Who has highest +/- in the last 10, 20 and 30 games?

Jeff

March 4th, 2011
10:58 am

This train wreck will be Winnipeg’s problem next year.

THANK GOODNESS!

The money my wife and I spend on season tickets can be better wasted on other things.

moriler

March 4th, 2011
10:59 am

I’m inclined to agree with the people who are noting that we have too many shots that the goalie can see. However, what people are failing to appreciate is the positive signs we can take away.

1) When you have 40+ shots a game, you are spending _a lot_ of time in the opposition’s zone. That by itself is never bad.
2) When you spend a lot of time in the opposition’s zone, it means that your forecheck, your neutral zone play, and your breakouts are all performing well. Again, this by itself is never bad.
3) When you’re playing well in all three zones, you are going to tend to win more than you lose… EXCEPT for the single factor below.

The only thing I would say needs to be changed right now is that we have to change from a “lots of shots” team to a “lots of shots that finish” team. It’s fine to shoot from far out with no screen, but you have to keep the shot low to the ice, where it will force rebounds off the pads — if you go high you’re aiming for a tiny hole and if you miss you either hit him in the chest or the glove, and no rebound. And you have to go long side, not short side, so the rebound is more likely to go off the long-side pad and go to the side where the goalie isn’t.

If we consistently did the above on the unscreened shots *and* got someone in front more often for screens, without changing _anything else_ about our play, this team would turn into a late-season 900lb gorilla. Unfortunately I think we’ve had too many guys changed and nobody really has a sense of who “should” go to the net. It’ll always have to be a different forward because the scramble-forecheck means that we have different people down low each time on the puck battles. The guys just need to develop better hockey sense to know “I’m closest of all us 3, I need to go to the net” — and trust their linemates to win the puck battles without their help.

Chris Neil

March 4th, 2011
11:11 am

wait..you mean our ECHL’ers are having trouble scoring?!?!?! Really ?!?!?!?!

Chip

March 4th, 2011
11:13 am

Last night at the game, we were laughing that they need to start having two categories for Thrashers “shots”. They need to have one stat where they count how many times we feather the puck on net and let the goalie free the puck. The other category counts hard, quality shots that are buried into the logo on the goaltenders jersey. While for most teams this wouldnt be able to count all the shots, for the Thrashers, currently, it would be the perfect system.

Chip

March 4th, 2011
11:15 am

* free = freeze. Sorry.

Smoothie

March 4th, 2011
11:23 am

C-Viv – I’ll be here waiting for you when you get back and I’m expecting some quotes from the actual “leadership core” of this team. Time for Ladd, Buff & Enstrom to give us their take. I’m sick of hearing from Ramsay, Mason, Thorburn and Hainsey. As loyal fans of this hell on ice franchise, we deserve some accountability from our so-called leadership. Please ask the tough questions.

Supes

March 4th, 2011
11:38 am

Thats what happens when you’ve shipped out (for whatever reason I’m not blaming anyone just pointing out the facts) your top tier SCORING talents over the last 10 years.

Heatley, Hossa, Kovy and others.

Blow Up this "team"

March 4th, 2011
11:48 am

Not sure if these boys could hit the broad side of a barn. They must have vertigo or something. Insert Stevie Wonder joke ——-> Here.

Blow Up this "team"

March 4th, 2011
11:52 am

Someone last night was saying our sticks are too heavy. And blamed the scoring problem on the equipment manager.

Barry

March 4th, 2011
12:07 pm

This team needs to quit worrying about trying to get as many shots on goal as humanly possible that doesn’t have a real chance to go in and INSTEAD try to work the offensive zone, make plays, and set each other up for shots on goal that actually challenge the goalie. The reason they haven’t been scoring is they haven’t been working as a team consistently, and they are just throwing the puck on the net that the goalie can see in hopes it goes in. When they were winning games earlier in the year they were getting outshot. Outshooting an opponent doesn’t necessarily mean you will win the game. Thrashers need to be more patient, work the offensive zone, tire out the defenders some, get people to the net and create havoc for opposing goalies.

builder dawg

March 4th, 2011
12:17 pm

this hurts, I am a big fan,,,but they are done,stick a fork in em, just hope they stay in Atlanta.

Hand Ov Thrawn

March 4th, 2011
12:30 pm

After watching the last few games, we couldn’t even beat the Gwinnett Gladiators. At least they try and win and don’t quit.

Thrashered

March 4th, 2011
12:47 pm

To Barry and moriler:

Great coaching ideas. Plus, if we had a couple of defensemen who could carry the puck like Bobby Orr, a center or two with instincts around the net like Phil Esposito and maybe a sniper like Mike Bossy………..

Thrashy Thrashy

March 4th, 2011
12:58 pm

Right now, we’re kind of like COBRA in the GIJOE cartoons.

Thrashy Thrashy

March 4th, 2011
1:01 pm

There’s nothing wrong with flicking a wrister at the goalie from distance if there’s some traffic in front. However, if you’re the first guy in the zone and you’re taking a slapper, you’re wasting puck possession. There’s a happy medium somewhere, and that generally involves getting at least one guy down low.

Jake

March 4th, 2011
1:02 pm

You didn’t count the goal Buff scored Ottawa the other night. Which was just the latest reminder that, given his other defensive liabilities, the experiment with him at defenseman is a failure. He ought to be moved up front where, ideally, he can cause some confusion around the goal and put some hard shots on net the way he did with the Blackhawks.

MattinAtlanta

March 4th, 2011
1:02 pm

After watching the last few games all I have to look forward to is the iPad 2 on March 11th

Blow Up this "team"

March 4th, 2011
1:48 pm

Rammer said at the end of season he was going evaluate and give everyone a grade including himself. I give him F for the 2nd Semester.

mark

March 4th, 2011
1:49 pm

Definitely frustrating, but I think we’ve got to keep things in perspective. We’ve got a very young team, one with a core group that’s probably the most solid it’s ever been. Ladd, Buff, Toby, Kane, Little, Burmy, Cormier, Pavelec, Bogosian, Wheeler, Stewart, Stuart. All young with huge upside. Another year some and healed injuries, plus hopefully adding a sniper in the offseason and I think we’ll have the breakthrough season that we’ve been looking for. I think there’s finally light at the end of the long, dark tunnel, especially if the ASG finally is out of the picture. Have a little patience and keep the faith!

Thrashered

March 4th, 2011
1:51 pm

Some of y’all need a drug test.

jf

March 4th, 2011
1:58 pm

Did people really say we have no star or core to build around? I guess with the drought of goals they must of forgotten we have 2 all star defensemen, and 3 future great players in Kane, Bogosian (who hate or not has played MUCH improved lately), and burmistrov (who is good but still young and small). We definitely have a core to build around, we just need a year or two to have them grow in chemistry and have their skills enhance with experience.

Blow Up this "team"

March 4th, 2011
2:02 pm

jf: some of us have been waiting around for 11 yrs. Not sure if I have much time left.

jf

March 4th, 2011
2:02 pm

Also I think we should keep Buff on defense for those talking about it. We don’t have any other defensemen right now that can shoot 104 mph with good accuracy from the outside. The “experiment” worked great at the beginning of the year, but we have no threats in front of the goal yet that put attention away from buff, and teams know that. It’s not easy to put a quality shot on goal from the outside when you have 2 people in your lane because they don’t have to move over to help defend other threats.

jf

March 4th, 2011
2:04 pm

and blow up – I understand that completely. I’ve only been into sports for about 3-4 years now and definitely have not had to put up with a decade of frustrations.

Thrashy Thrashy

March 4th, 2011
2:06 pm

mark,

If we’re gonna have that many younger players on the squad, we’ve got to add some real veteran talent to lead it. That’s the main problem here. Throughout franchise history, the Thrashers have not had 4-6 veterans who can play the game at a high level and steer the ship. As terrible as Waddell was as GM (and as insane as it is that he’s still part of the organization), the Thrashers have never spent the money necessary to win on a consistent basis.

mark

March 4th, 2011
2:16 pm

Thrashy,

I agree with you. Seems we’ve either had the vets or too many young guys. I’d love to think about what this group might do with a Mellanby, Hossa, Reasoner, etc., to add that leadership. Let’s hope Dudley can add a couple of those type guys to the mix. Still I remain optimistic.

Cornbread

March 4th, 2011
2:16 pm

moriler you are correct in your observations. You understand the game and see it at a micro level. Most fans – especially Atlanta Thrasher fans – only see it at a macro level of wins and losses. Win you are “the best team ever”, lose and “you suck.”

Hidden to those with that simple black and white view is the minutia and intricacies of the game that are the systems and actual play of the team. The Atlanta Thrashers are playing good team hockey right now. Even in these losses they are in every game and outplaying their opponents for the majority of the game. They are doing the little things that it takes to win games repeatedly that many fans can not see. What they do see is that they are not scoring and not winning. In their defence, that is afterall the bottom line. But, that they suck, are the worst team ever, could get beat by an ECHL or CHL team, lack talent, lack skil, lack heart, lack coaching and every other reason given for not winning is not fair nor accurate analysis.

Atlanta often gets criticized for not being a hockey town. I often defend that with my Canadian and Northern friends that they are passionate and want to support a winner. They counter that Canadians and Northerners are passionate about the game itself and will go to their losing team’s games to out of an appreciation for the play on the ice as much as loyalty to the team. That does not happen in Atlanta. There are many reasons why it does not but the biggest is a lack of exposure to the game and a deep understanding of the game.

I was fortunate to grow up playing the game in PA. I learned to skate at 4. I never advanced further than the Midget/High School level. After a stint in the Army and college I took up playing the game again. I have played travelling adult tournament hockey, coached kids, reffed, off-ice officiated pro games, and played the game at a high adult level with ex-NHLers, minor pros, junior and college players for the past 15 years. I have learned a lot about the game from many who have been involved at the highest levels all their lives.

One thing I know from watching this Atlanta Thrashers team all season is that they do not suck. They are playing the game better than their record shows or what they deserve. That’s what sucks. They are young, fast, skilled, and inexperienced. They are every bit as good or better than the Leafs, Rangers, Sabres, Canes, Habs, and yes the Bolts. They are only missing a couple of pieces that will make them consistant winners. Unfortunately, I’m afraid most fans can not see that.

And no I don’t work for the Thrashers. I don’t even live in Atlanta. I travel more than 2 hours to get to the many games I do attend. I enjoy following this team as much as I do following my truly elite Broad Street Bullies and most importantly the game itself.

Gwinnett Fred

March 4th, 2011
2:23 pm

Updating what I believe to be a VERY TELLING stat that I first posted a few days ago:

FACT: You play 20 minutes, then make adjustments. You play another 20 minutes & make adjustments.

FACT: In the last 30 games, the Thrashers have scored only SIX goals in the first 4 1/2 minutes of the 2nd & 3rd periods – when it’s time to put the adjustments to work.

That’s 6 goals in 270 minutes or a whole game (60 minuite) average of 1.33

This coaching staff has no clue how to make the necessary adjustments.

Oh yea – opponents have scored 22 goals in the same span, so recapping, the Thrashers have been outscored 22-6 in the last 30 games in the opening minutes of the 2nd & 3rd periods – when adjustments are supposed to be carried out!

Jay

March 4th, 2011
2:24 pm

Barry hit the nail on the head. This team rarely establishes any zone presence. It is usually one shot and done for the Thrashers. If this is Ramsey’s system then it is a loser. They need to set up in the offensive zone, cycle the puck and make the other team play defense. You just never see that happen with the Thrashers. Obviously, if they have an odd man rush, which is rare, then you go to the net.
It seems like the identity of this team is similar to Ramsey’s style as a player…a scrappy , defensive, forward who did not score much. That is what the Thrashers look like today. Every team needs those kind of players but to win, you need scores who can finish and a system that emphasizes offensive zone presence.

[...] At least our one goal last night was actually scored by Byfuglien. The Atlanta Thrashers and Philips Arena did a ‘Big Buff Night” $33 tickets with unlimited popcorn, etc in honor of the contract extension for Dustin Byfuglien. While, just a few months ago, Dustin Byfuglien scored the overtime goal to win the game against the Ottawa Senators, last night, unfortunately, played very different. Starting the game with a deflection off Byfuglien’s skate, the Ottawa Senators took the lead. I keep trying to figure out who put the jynx on us and what we can do to remove it, but I can’t seem to figure it out. In trying to find some stats on the recent woes of the Thrasher team, I stumbled across Vivlamore’s latest here [...]

Smoothie

March 4th, 2011
2:39 pm

“Bryan Little and Chris Thorburn have one goal each in the past 17 games”

C’mon Chris, not fair to put those two in the same sentence! I love Thorbs but he hasn’t even been on the ice for a goal in 15 games!! At least Bryan has been on the ice for a goal in 9 of those 15 games. Most of them of course scored by Andrew Ladd. I hate it for Thorbs cuz he works his tail off but hardly ever gets rewarded with a goal. But that my friends is the Thrashers in a nutshell. There is a lot of parity in pro sports nowadays, especially pro hockey where trapping and defensive schemes can keep mediocre teams in games. The Thrashers for all their effort can’t score a $5 harlet with a $20 bill. Alas, scoring clutch goals is what separates good teams from mediocre teams. And when you only win 7 of your last 28 scoring 60 goals in the process, well then you pretty much suck. So sayeth the numbers.

Fed Up

March 4th, 2011
2:52 pm

Im done. The Thrashers suck…. yet again. year after year after year after year after…… same story. They either start out hot and completely collapse and fail to make the playoffs or they start out sucking, get hot and make a really good run to try and make the playoffs and just barely miss it. (Except for the one year they made it and had that pathetic 0-4 blowout) Either way it’s the same story for the last 11 years. Gotta say it’s getting a little old.

Jack

March 4th, 2011
3:29 pm

I wonder if the team has quit on the coach and the fans?

Smoothie

March 4th, 2011
4:03 pm

Thanks for the quote from Ladd!! I’m sure he’s as frusrated as anyone but at least he has the solace of knowing that he has driven the price of his next contract way up with his 23 goals and counting. Leading the Thrashers in scoring will probably net him $4M / year. Too much?

Sage of Bluesland

March 4th, 2011
4:16 pm

Wow, I guess if I stated, “Score more goals than the other team equals winning” then my hockey-acumen and intelligence would go up, in some eyes….

I never knew how complex this sport truly was!

The fraud perpetrated and foisted down the throats of Atlanta by this ownership/management is egregious. I’m simply amazed that there are even ‘thousands’ at these games.

Kovy's Agent

March 4th, 2011
4:50 pm

During the course of the Thrashers decade plus of existence, we have watched the Bolts grab a Cup, sink to the bottom and reinvent themselves into potential contenders again this year. We’ve seen the Canes do essentially the same thing. We’ve seen the Caps go from pathetic also-rans to perennial Cup contenders. Yet, we suffer through yet another season of ineptitude, and incompetence from the owners suite on down. We cling to the shred of hope that we might somehow back into the final playoff spot. And even that meager dream is eventually quashed in early March by the sorry on-ice performance. I don’t wonder why we only have 10k or so at games, the better question may be why those 10k continue to support such a pathetic product?

Cornbread

March 4th, 2011
4:53 pm

No SOB your hockey intelligence would not go up because that is all you know about the game, which is very very little.

Sage of Bluesland

March 4th, 2011
5:12 pm

The boundaries of insults to the intelligence has been stretched beyond reason at times.

(But, I’m not one to make countless pitiful excuses–and expect folks to actually believe them…)

I’m sure if I were GM of this team, I could have just as many playoff-wins in a decade as Don Waddell has….

(Did my hockey-intellect and “cred” go up just then? I felt a tremor in CornSheep’s force, as it were…)

Bluelander

March 4th, 2011
6:35 pm

To all the naysayers who are staying home and questioning why people are still supporting the team….because it is exactly the thing you should be doing if you love the sport and want to continue to be able to watch the best in the world compete without getting on a plane or in a car for 5 hours. Forget the playoffs and come down to support hockey. Otherwise I hate to say it but those Canadiens are right. We don’t deserve a team. When the going gets tough…..

Big Daddy Dave

March 4th, 2011
6:35 pm

This team is playing below .250 Does anyone really think they can make the playoffs? Do those who think they can make it think they can make it out of the first round? The Thrahers are beyond pathetic. I wish this nightmare was over, one way or another.