Thrashers not giving up hope for the playoffs

The Thrashers face an uphill battle to make the playoffs. That is their simple reality.

However, coach and players who have been in this position before say the journey is not impossible.

The Thrashers (27-28-11, 65 points) are 11th in the Eastern Conference and seven points behind Buffalo, the team that currently sits in the eighth and final playoff spot. With 16 games remaining, including Wednesday’s game against ninth place Carolina, there is little margin for error.

“We’ve lost so many games, we’re lucky to still be within reach,” goaltender Chris Mason said. “We need to be desperate. Every night should have a playoff mentality. If we don’t, we are going to be out. We need that desperation.”

Two seasons ago, Mason and St. Louis were 15th in the Western Conference at one point. Mason started the final 38 games, compiling a 24-8-6 record including five shutouts, and the Blues earned a playoff spot.

“Bottom line is we have to win,” said Mason, who also fought for his playoff life while in Nashville. “Every team has good players. … If you get outworked, you are not going to win.”

Last season Stanley Cup runner-up Philadelphia and Montreal finished with 88 points for the final two playoff spots in the East. The Thrashers would have to earn 23 of their remaining 32 points to finish with a similar mark – say an 11-4-1 finish.

Carolina (71 points) and Toronto (67 points) must be surpassed and red-hot New Jersey (64 points) held off down the stretch.

Newly acquired Radek Dvorak, a veteran of 15 NHL seasons, played for Edmonton in 2005-06 when the Oilers need a win, and some help, in their final two games to make the playoffs as the eighth seed. Two months later the Oilers were playing in the Stanley Cup finals.

“Every game is on the edge for us,” Dvorak said. “There is pressure to win. It’s good for the playoffs because you know how to play under the pressure.

“Here, we have to believe in each other. We have a great team, a lot of skill and character on this team. We have to focus on our game, every one of us, and go game by game, period by period, shift by shift. We are doing a lot of good things. If we continue, it will pay off.”

Several times this season, coach Craig Ramsay related the story of when he was an assistant in Ottawa in 1996-97. The Senators had to win their final three games, including one in Detroit, to make the playoffs. They finished as the seventh seed and took Buffalo to seven games. Ramsay said he also was in a similar situation down the stretch as an assistant in Boston.

There are similarities between those teams and his current squad, the coach said.

“We had a lot of players that put their hand up and said ‘I want to be that guy. I’ll take that shot,’” Ramsay said. “We had goaltenders that said ‘I’ll make that big save.’ We had people that were really committed to it.

“I can’t say that we haven’t had anything but that kind of commitment from our team. … They are trying and that’s what it takes to do it. Every player has to realize it’s not up to the other guy, it’s up to me.  They have to continue to trust that what they are doing is correct. You don’t get 46 shots in one game without trying. The effort is there, but they have to understand each game that it isn’t up to the other guy.”

The Thrashers play 10 of their final 16 games on the road, where they have 29 points this season. Aiding the Thrashers is the fact they play eight games against teams near them in the standings – including two against Carolina and New Jersey and contests with Buffalo, Montreal, Boston and the New York Rangers.

21 comments Add your comment

Smoothie

March 7th, 2011
3:47 pm

Good luck with that.

Hope

March 7th, 2011
3:50 pm

Thrasher fans deserve a Miracle

Buff-n-stuff

March 7th, 2011
5:06 pm

Yes HOPE – we do….The “MIRACLE” of No-More ASG !!!!

Brendan

March 7th, 2011
6:37 pm

There will not be playoffs in Atlanta, for the Thrashers. But that doesn’t mean that can’t ruin things for Carolina, Philadelphia, Boston, the Rangers, and Buffalo. They can even throw a monkey-wrench into the first overall pick for Ottawa, Edmonton, and the NY Islanders.

JT from Columbus

March 7th, 2011
7:40 pm

Enter your comments here

JT from Columbus

March 7th, 2011
7:41 pm

C-Viv any new news on Ladd’s contract negotiations and the new owner situation?

harris42

March 7th, 2011
8:58 pm

I read that the Coyotes are very, very close to moving to Winnepeg. Just throwin’ it out there.

Buff-n-stuff

March 7th, 2011
9:13 pm

let’s all hope that the Coyotes go to Canada 1st

Barry

March 7th, 2011
9:18 pm

It’s nice they still believe but reality says we won’t make it. Thrashers basically need to go on a 5 game winning streak and hope Carolina and Buffalo lose at least 1 game just to get back to that 8th spot. This team hasn’t shown it can win 2 games in a row for 2 months now, so doubtful they can win 5 in a row. Also, let’s not forget Devils are on our heels to as they are only ONE POINT behind us!!! Can you believe that? The Devils that were at the bottom of the league are ONE POINT behind us at 12th!!! YIKES!!!

KLS1

March 7th, 2011
9:31 pm

This collapse has been absolutely monumental. Squeaking out an overtime win against FL doesn’t have me believing just yet.

Go win, just win…

lordstan57

March 8th, 2011
8:08 am

Oh the absurdity!!! MONUMENTAL!!!!
???????

New to sport are ye???

NJ’s surge just goes to prove that there ARE NO SOFTIES IN THE NHL.
Way too much talent there for them to have been that bad early on.
As far as competing, battling, down the stretch?
MOST of our guys will be back together next year….. we will see the other guys next year also…
PRIDE!! WE play for PRIDE,and RESPECT!!!! Come what may.

We’re building a damn good team… pieces are in place. Add two bona-fide snipers, and
we’re going to be a force!

Suggestion: Let’s all plan on attending the final game in April. It’s a Sun Matinee Vs Pitt.
Want to send a message? make a statement? Let the plyrs, and
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN!!!
WE LOVE THIS GAME!
THIS IS OUR TEAM!!
WE’RE READY FOR A NEW BEGINNING, A NEW ATTITUDE!!

Wear your colours, bring your cowbells, your signs of support, hats, scarves, WHATEVER!
PLAN FOR IT NOW!!!

Whatever happens in regards to the 2nd season…. MAKE THAT LAST GAME!

“Live Hockey, Love Thrashers!”.

ManUp

March 8th, 2011
8:19 am

Lordy, Lord. . . trying not to be ultra-critical but can ya’ll tone it down with your schoolgirl gushings. I think we “get it” where you stand and the levels of your emoting need not the shouting appeal to get over your point (over & over again). Just sayin. . .over & out

Big Daddy Dave

March 8th, 2011
8:42 am

You can’t get 23 out of32 points when you only win 7 times out of every 30 games and you have the highest SA stat in the league.

Joe McGrath

March 8th, 2011
9:25 am

I think Mason has already used up all the “luck/carma” he ever had. Without a hot goalie, we won’t see post season. ANy word on Pavs? Slater?

Hockey Biltong

March 8th, 2011
11:02 am

+ 1 Lord Stan..might as well be hopefull, rather than dour.

Hockey Biltong

March 8th, 2011
11:03 am

When hockey season ends, then I will be having withdrawals….

Brendan

March 8th, 2011
11:22 am

If anyone can ill afford to quit, it’s the players.

Sage of Bluesland

March 8th, 2011
12:13 pm

Don Waddell thinks we are relatively ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers in our development….But, then again, it fits nicely with the first of his “Five-Year Plans”….

Get real, folks. Stop being a part of the problem and become part of the solution.

Not another dollar of mine subsidizes incompetence.

Old School Odgers

March 8th, 2011
12:58 pm

I, for one, and more than happy to subsidize incompetence if its in my best interests. I took my three year old to his first ever hockey game against the Leafs recently (a great game, by the way)..bought him a little jersey, got him a pretzel, the whole ball of wax…and while I completely and utterly detest the ASG…I somehow don’t remotely regret attending that game or spending that money. In fact, we enjoyed it so much that we’re going back again before the season is over. I’m sure as heck not going to miss out on a great time like that just to make some inane point to a bunch of ASG clownboats. Life is too short folks….

Sage of Bluesland

March 8th, 2011
1:16 pm

Don Waddell thanks you for your support. He’s an allegedly nice guy, after all.

lordstan57

March 8th, 2011
3:37 pm

‘Emote’ this.

Newsflash for you sour, bitter dung-heaps.
AS,LLC ARE GONE!!!!

Copy that???
Is that a 10-4?
Roger that????

Obviously YOU don’t ‘get it’.

And…. What’s w/ the ‘we’ biz EH?
Or the gender slap???

No need to apologize.
Just go to that last game….

GO THRASHERS!!!

GO THRASHERS!!!