Thrashers moving forward after loss to Sabres

The Thrashers insist there are lessons to be learned in Saturday’s embarrassing 8-2 loss to Buffalo that likely cost them a playoff berth.

That doesn’t make the bitter loss any easier to swallow.

“It doesn’t make it easy,” captain Andrew Ladd said. “It doesn’t make it right. It doesn’t make it acceptable. That’s what we have to learn in this room. It’s not acceptable to not be ready to play in a game like that. We need better effort. We’ll chalk it up to another learning lesson but we have to move on.”

The Thrashers held their first on-ice workout since the defeat Tuesday. A victory against the Sabres would have pulled the Thrashers to within two points of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Instead, they are now 12th and seven points out heading into Tuesday’s NHL schedule. They could fall further behind with Buffalo, Carolina, Toronto and New Jersey – all ahead in the standings – in action.

“That was definitely a game to set us up and see where we stand if we want to make a playoff run,” alternate captain Dustin Byfuglien said. “We are a young team and a lot of guys don’t have experience in big, tight games like that. It just goes to show. We weren’t playing as a team in all aspects.”

The Thrashers allowed a goal 24 seconds into Saturday’s game. After tying the game, they allowed two more first-period goals to fall behind 3-1. After pulling within a goal early in the second period, the flood gates opened. The Sabres scored five unanswered goals. Two goals came 1:50 apart and another two :28 apart marking the 22nd and 23rd times this season the Thrashers have allowed an opponent back-to-back goals in less than two minutes.

With 10 games remaining in the regular season, the Thrashers (30-30-12, 72 points) will likely need to win nine of those game. That would put them at 90 points. It took 88 points to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference last season. The teams ahead of the Thrashers hold tiebreaker advantages. Even when playing their best hockey earlier this season, the Thrashers longest win streak was six games.

It’s a tall task.

It starts Thursday when the Thrashers travel to New York to play the Islanders. They host Western Conference leader Vancouver on Friday.

“All we can do is play,” Ladd said. “… We have to finish the year [playing with desperation]. That’s all we can focus on. We can’t control anything else the other teams are doing, whether they are winning or losing. We go out and win our games and give ourselves a shot.”

Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay had harsh words for his team following Saturday’s game and again on Monday after an off-ice workout. Ramsay said his team did not compete, adding they “collapsed” and “panicked” against the Sabres.

The coach also said he was disappointed with players taking bad penalties and lacking the courage to block shots.

“It’s a strong message and a strong challenge to everyone in that room to be more desperate and put your body on the line to make things happen,” Ladd said. “Come playoff time, that’s the way you need to play. Rammer understands that. He’s been there. He was one of those guys. You have to take that to heart and use it the right way. You have to get [ticked] off to accept that challenge.”

22 comments Add your comment

Michael B. Shapiro

March 22nd, 2011
2:27 pm

First, but so what?

Nine?

March 22nd, 2011
2:32 pm

They need to win 9 games in the next 2 weeks?! Did they even win 9 in the last 3 months?

steve brown

March 22nd, 2011
2:51 pm

Who cares at this point. The owners want out, the coach called the players cowards, the media calls Atlanta a bad sports town. I say we are a smart sports town because we know the Hawks aren’t going to win a thing and the Thrashers are done. The fans deserve better and only then should we turn out. We don’t have to prove ourselves. The call for a Thrasher sellout to impress potential new owners was nothing new. I would be impressed by a total boycott, that would show me that these fans were truly passionate and were sick of being sold BS for years on end.

BRUCE LEVINSON

March 22nd, 2011
3:12 pm

DEAL WITH IT. Next year’s ticket prices are going up and you will like it.

Bbbb

March 22nd, 2011
3:16 pm

Forget about playoff, concentrate on picks

Jim

March 22nd, 2011
4:02 pm

Chris is there ANY positive news on the ownership/sale issue? All the rumors and activity (signing of non-disclosures, etc.) of a week+ ago seem to have died. Anything?

kent

March 22nd, 2011
4:07 pm

Bring back Nigel Dawes

Jimbo

March 22nd, 2011
5:45 pm

Lessons learned?? They have to be kidding! Are they really serious? C’mon guys, you’ve laid down on the ice the second half of the season but please don’t try to lay a load of crap on us. We see through you SOFTIES. Go back to mailing in the rest of the season and clean the clubs for the summer.

Brendan

March 22nd, 2011
6:27 pm

Whenever I hear ELO’s “Don’t Bring Me Down,” I think of Bruce Levenson. It’s his official theme song.

JSR

March 22nd, 2011
6:41 pm

Not only have we not heaard anything about the new ownership, what about Ladd’s new contract. The way everyone was talking it was a done deal, with Ladd saying all the club needed was a few players to comit??????????

Jimbo

March 22nd, 2011
7:51 pm

Watching the Caps and Flyers on Versus. Good to be reminded how exciting a game can be when both teams are into it.

Puck Like A Porn Star

March 22nd, 2011
7:53 pm

Bruce Levinson? You’ve got a lot of nerve showing up here!

Michael Gearon

March 22nd, 2011
11:47 pm

What’s up with this Yankee flatball junk?

Same

March 23rd, 2011
12:09 am

Same ole story……bad ownership….bad management….don’t blame the fans

thrashered

March 23rd, 2011
6:23 am

I guess we can all define ‘moving forward’ differently.

KLS1

March 23rd, 2011
8:54 am

I agree with Ladd and he has a right to take a mulligan on that game and move on. Unfortunately he hasnt been here for the last ten years as us fans have always heard wait til next year, we are a young team, yada, yada, yada.

All we can hope for is something on the new owner front…now with this phx deal going thru I am nervous we could lose our team again.

WOW

March 23rd, 2011
9:55 am

Thrashers move forward: they can’t move backwards as there is a 10ft brick wall behind them after that pitiful display of ice dancing

Deb

March 23rd, 2011
10:31 am

what is happening with the possible sale of the thrashers? Are they being purchased? That could be also why the team plays poorly if you heard that your team or job was being sold year after year I would not work that hard either.

Sage of Bluesland

March 23rd, 2011
1:12 pm

Don’t worry folks, Don Waddell is still in a senior management role with this organization. His work to date surely inspires confidence from some….

He’ll get it right with this next “Five-Year Plan”….

Why the worries?

beerfan

March 23rd, 2011
1:20 pm

Another year over – time to sweep stuff under the rug, quickly forget, and as of last 10 years – come up with some great promises for the next year. What a disgrace..

[...] a waste of time discussing their playoff hopes at this point, but I bring you this line from the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s, Chris [...]

Brendan

March 23rd, 2011
2:56 pm

Sage, my post in lost in SPAM filters. Maybe Chris Vivlamore will rescue it?