Malarchuk asked, Thrashers delivered

PHILADELPHIA — Craig Ramsay had no words.

Clint Malarchuk had something to say. For that, the former goaltender gets an assist on what could be the Thrashers’ biggest win of the season.

Atlanta rallied for a 5-4 overtime victory over Philadelphia, the top team in the Eastern Conference, Saturday night after entering the final period down by three goals. Ron Hainsey scored the game-winner after the Thrashers totaled four third-period goals.

Ramsay said he decided not to speak to his players at the second intermission even as they trailed 3-0. What else could the coach say? The Thrashers played a strong game and were still losing. It has been all too reminiscent of their recent struggles.

Their playoff hopes were about to take another hit.

Malarchuk, the team’s goaltending consultant, had just announced that Chris Mason would enter the game to start the third period in relief of Ondrej Pavelec. Then he turned and addressed the rest of the team.

“We had to change the tide,” Malarchuk said. “Then I kind of got a little irritated. It’s not my place to do this, [to] talk to the forwards or defensemen or the team. My job is the goalies. This is a bad deal for me to say ‘You’re out, you’re in.’ I turned around and said ‘You guys got to understand this [stuff]. These guys play every night. Can we not just gut it up and do it for teammates? We are a family and we have to understand that when one guy is down you fight, you push. We are family. Let’s do it for family.’”

They did.

The Thrashers got goals from Evander Kane, Zach Bogosian, Tobias Enstrom and Andrew Ladd. The game-tying goal came with 46 seconds remaining and the Thrashers’ goal empty.

Entering Sunday’s NHL schedule the Thrashers were tied for 10th in the conference with Toronto at 70 points. They were four points behind Buffalo (74) for the eighth and final playoff spot and two points behind ninth-place Carolina (72). Buffalo, with a game in hand, hosted Ottawa Sunday.

“They guys responded,” said Mason, who stopped 11-of-12 shots. “Clint is a very honest guy, very respected. He comes in and speaks from the heart. Guys recognize that and they responded to that. They answered the call.

“It might be the game. This is a game that brings everybody together and gives everybody that belief that we came in, against the top team in the Eastern Conference, and knocked them off. It was unbelievable.”

The Thrashers have points in their past four games going 3-0-1. All three wins have come in overtime, adding a flair for the dramatic in their playoff push with 13 games remaining. Next up is New Jersey on Tuesday. It was the Devils who twice rallied from one-goal deficits to defeat the Thrashers in overtime three days ago.

An uphill battle for the playoffs remains. The Thrashers need to jump three teams in the standings with nine road games left. If the Thrashers make the postseason for just the second time in franchise history, they will certainly point to Saturday’s victory as a key – not only to the season but perhaps beyond.

“This is a game that you don’t forget,” Ramsay said. “This game was special. We’ve have so many wonderful games this season where we played so well, so hard. This is one where we got rewarded for all that hard work. There was such desperation on the faces of each player. Each player that came off [the ice] was exhausted but within seconds they were looking at me to go back out.”

27 comments Add your comment

Hockey Biltong

March 13th, 2011
3:20 pm

Do it. Just do it.


March 13th, 2011
3:37 pm

“It’s not my place to do this, [to] talk to the forwards or defensemen or the team. My job is the goalies”.

Good job Malarchuk, someone can at least coach in this organization, someone isn’t passive and afraid of ruffling some feathers. I have zero faith in John Anderson II.

Hoof Arted

March 13th, 2011
3:50 pm

Gee, I wish he would have delivered that message about 3 or 4 weeks ago.

Glad to see someone on this coaching staff knows how to motivate players.


March 13th, 2011
3:59 pm

Love the desire the team had last night! Let’s go Thrashers!

Blow this "team" up

March 13th, 2011
4:15 pm

Why would Ramsey not say anything. He doesn’t need to be scared.


March 13th, 2011
4:18 pm

Did Craig Ramsay just use the word, “wonderful” again? Well I, for one, am shocked. (Sarcasm detector flailing wildly.) Good for Clint Malachuck. Don’t expect the same thing to happen again if the Thrashers find themselves down 3-0 in the next game. There are only so many times a team can rally from that kind of deficit. Especially when it has trouble scoring two goals a game.

Go Thrashers!

The Real Thrash

March 13th, 2011
4:42 pm

Maybe he should speak more often!

The Real Thrash

March 13th, 2011
4:44 pm

You know at some point people need to stop wailing on Ramsey.
First year coach and first year in the system for the players.
I guess you want a revolving head coah door?

Hoof Arted

March 13th, 2011
8:13 pm

Yeah, I hear ya Real Thrash. I’m sure Devils fans are happy they allowed their new first year coach and first year system to stick around.

Wait, what? Oh yeah, never mind.

Come on dude, we’ve just learned here that Rammer has lost the team’s attention. It now takes the goalie coach to fire them up. It doesn’t take a year or two to figure out when something doesn’t work.

R. Stroz

March 13th, 2011
8:26 pm

A few things can be surmised:

1) Ramsay has lost the room or has otherwise thrown in the towel in attempting to motivate the team.

2) Someone needed to step up and motivate the players: Malarchuk did.

3) The players aren’t too keen on busting their collective humps for an ownership group that could care less about hockey.


cousin Eddie

March 13th, 2011
9:10 pm

Wow, is the sky falling again? Rammer to be axed? Give the guy some skilled players and then watch a successful team. He basically has all third and forth line guys. What else is he supposed to say to get them motivated? How much can one conjure up to motivate a bunch non skilled scrubs! Firing the coach is not the answer. I believe in 80% of what Ramsay does and says and I understand why all the line combination changes.
This team needs new ownership with money to spend and keep the current coaching staff and GM. Not a revolving door that drives away fan base. I say again, Ramsay is not to blame. The players are to blame because of the lack of not top notch talent and the fact that they can not generate enough good scoring oppurtunities.


March 13th, 2011
10:02 pm

Ok, so it seems to me that the teams early season success went to everyone’s head. To me this was a rebuild year with a chance to sneak into the playoffs? I was hoping like everyone else that this team would make noise but as before not yet. As to getting rid of the coach? I do not agree, but who would you bring in? I would say that keep in mind the whole staff would be gone so who would the new coach be? Also consider this, the goalie consultant is not a coach since the owners won’t hire one due to money…

Big Game Thursday vs. Philly

March 13th, 2011
10:12 pm

Coach Ramsay is a good coach and he will be fine with three or four more players to help get this team over the hump. Nice win for all us fans and the players on Saturday night. It would be great if fans stepped up and came down to Philips on Thursday for a BIG HOME GAME. Hope to see you all there.


4 Jacks

March 14th, 2011
12:19 am

If it were not for the sorry, pathetic, idiot losers for owners of this team, it could have been special. The ASG should give the franchise to anyone willing to keep it in the Atl., and try to invest enough into ot to make it a contender. The ASG suck and can only try to sue to try and make some of their money back. What a bunch of total effing LOSERS the ASG is. Sell the teams and get out of Atlanta you sorry a.z.z losers. Hope you all go bankrupt and take a 100mph hockey puck to your groin. We sure don’t need losers and idiots like these guys reproducing.


March 14th, 2011
8:33 am

I don’t think Ramsay has lost the room, I get the sense that all the players love and respect him… but the motivation aspect I agree. This team has a room full of coaches and players capable of stepping up and winning the room. Malarchuk did what more people need to do in that locker room. Besides, these are grown men and professionals to boot… they shouldn’t need to be motivated.


March 14th, 2011
8:52 am

Some times the same message delivered from a different person has an impact. We can speculate all we want. It was a fun game to watch. If you watched the post game, there was no sense from Ramsay that he was upset. He asked Clint to make a goaltending decision. The speech must have followed from there.


March 14th, 2011
10:12 am

Some times the same message delivered from a different person has an impact.


Blow this "team" up

March 14th, 2011
10:16 am

Why do they need to be motivated – are they aware they make millions of dollars and trying to make the playoffs?


March 14th, 2011
11:06 am

Perhaps they need a pep talk from Patrik Stefan and Tomi Kallio… “this is what happens to your career when you don’t play hard.”


March 14th, 2011
11:24 am

It is clear that some players do respond to a motivational push. It is also apparent that the Hockey Whisperer has no apparent motivational ability or spark. Let Clint continue to pump up the boys and replace Clueless Craig in the off season.

Blow this "team" up

March 14th, 2011
11:49 am

What ever happened to Patrik Stefan? Is he still a viable prospect?


March 14th, 2011
11:59 am

wow, Tomi Kallio, that is a name from the past….


March 14th, 2011
12:09 pm

lets do it again Tuesday, Thursday and the rest of the season. Lets have that same level of play from EVERYONE the rest of the season and we WILL make it. Go Thrash GO!

Riddle me this

March 14th, 2011
12:15 pm

So the Goalie coach is a volunteer who does not get paid? And he’s calling the shots? LOL.


March 14th, 2011
12:29 pm

wow, Tomi Kallio, that is a name from the past….

Easily the most obscure player to ever get his own Bobble Head.

Sage of Bluesland

March 14th, 2011
1:29 pm

Speaking of obscure, I had to stifle my laughs when I saw (many years ago, mind you) a guy wearing a full-fledged (not a knock-off from Sports Authority) jersey with the numeral “2″ on it with the name “Buzek”….

He was our first “all-star” (if you can call it that) and wanted out badly after the first year.

I wonder if that particular sheep (who wanted to bewieve so badly to have that clown’s name on his back with all of those dollars spent) was actually Smoothie???

(It wouldn’t surprise me in the least)