Go West, Young Thrashers

The Thrashers head out west on a week long roadie that will take them Duck hunting, over to La-La land, out to the desert then swimming with the Sharks. And I’ll tell ya kids…none of these four teams they’ll be playing are cream-puffs.

Things start off Sunday evening in Anaheim versus the 28-24-5 Ducks. Their 61 points ties them with Dallas for the 5th and 6th spots in the Western Conference…however, it’s only 3 points removed from 10th place Edmonton.

Then, the Thrashers will make their way to the other side of the greater Los Angeles area for a Monday night match-up with the Kings…and given traffic in that area, 24 hours should just about enough time to cruise between the two arenas. The Kings are 24-22-7, including 7-2-1 in their previous ten games.

After that its off to the nation’s 48th state, Arizona, for a date Thursday night with the Coyotes. Arizona is currently 25-26-5…but those 55 points are only 4 shy of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference at this time.

Finally, there is a Saturday matinee performance with the San Jose Sharks..only the best team the west has to offer. Folks, San Jose has lost a grand total of 2 regulation games at home this season. Heck…we can do that in a week!

As for Atlanta…they travel to the left coast with a record of 19-32-5 and have dropped seven of the last ten games played.  43 points after 56 games puts the team on a path for about 63 points. That would be by far the lowest point total for this team in the post-lockout era. But, if you wanna make a true comparison as to just how this year’s version of the Thrashers ranks in comparison to those of years past…remove the 2 gimmick points gained by way of the pair of shootout wins they have so far this season, and they would have a record of 17-32-5-2 for 41 points. That would be on pace for a 60 point season.

The Thrashers finished their second ever season in the NHL with exactly 60 points.

Anywhooo… here is today’s poll question. Of the possible 8 points available in these four games, how many do you think the Thrashers will return home with?

A. ZERO: The ice ain’t the only thing that’ll be cold on this trip.

B. 1-3: About par for the season.

C. 4-7: They might just surprise some people.

D. All freakin’ 8 of ‘em!

29 comments Add your comment

sisu

February 14th, 2009
10:45 am

So I guess the main question is will the owners make money off the circus to help off set some of the losses? ;)

I think this road trip will help show character of some of the players since they will be traveling together. I am hoping for 5 to 6 points so C

Get The Puck Out

February 14th, 2009
10:51 am

They will get pushed around in Duck country and lose miserably, close game in L.A., but also a loss, Coyotes are their only chance, close, could go either way, and the Sharks will feast on Thrasher meat. I bet Kari is looking foward to all those shots he’ll have to stand on his head to stop. Just wonderin which Thrasher’s gonna be on a playoff team before the trade deadline? Love the format R.H.

Buzzeng

February 14th, 2009
11:10 am

As much as I hate to say it, I’m picking “A” – zero points. I was in Phoenix for the Coyotes-Sabres game a week ago Saturday. That was some serious fun hockey. I had almost forgotten how fun hockey can be to watch. Solid hits, crisp passing, good defense, good puck movement – a complete hockey performance for both teams. I couldn’t help think that the Thrash wouldn’t fare well against the Coyotes at all. If GTPO is right, and the Coyotes are the only chance, the Thrashers won’t get a point out west.

Spud Webb

February 14th, 2009
11:30 am

ZERO.

Rawhide, check this link out. It’s a blog about us. Good to know that people are feeling our (Fans) pain. WOW
http://www.fromtherink.com/2009/2/14/759058/thrashers-lawsuit-holds-fa

Sage of Bluesland

February 14th, 2009
11:54 am

Someone predicting 5-6 points on this west-coast trip?! Is that GaVaSheep in drag?!

Unfounded optimism is nice, but delusion is a completely different thing. It’s ridiculous and asinine.

But, then again, it’s par for the course in the figurate JOKE otherwise known as “Blueland”.

I think they’ll be lucky to get 1-2 points. The only thing going for this abomination constructed by the blustering, bumbling idiot Don Waddell is that the other teams can possibly completely underestimate us, thinking it’s a walk in the park (which it usually is–if even three-quarters effort is given).

Why anyone continues to subsidize this utter and offensive incompetence baffles my mind. An empty arena will send a stronger message than any Alan-inspired ‘chant’, I can assure you. Economics is the only message the owners will listen to.

And if this joke of an organization moves, then so be it. Make them make their decision sooner rather than later.

B. Thenet

February 14th, 2009
12:55 pm

All someone has to do is HOPE for 5-6 points and the Sage of Bitterness has to unleash a tirade against them.

HOPE, Sage.

Like, I hope you just give up on the Thrashers as I think we ALL are sick to death of the exact same whining, griping, and moaning for the past 3 years.

I think we get a win, and maybe steal an OT point. Look, it is not secret the boys do not like playing at home….perhaps leaving town for a while will lift their spirits.

Brendan

February 14th, 2009
1:24 pm

I’m going to say “B.” I’ll go all the way up to 3-points. I’m thinking 0-1-3.

Brendan

February 14th, 2009
2:24 pm

Rawhide, you got me to thinking about the 2001 season. I wanted to share something with you and the bloggers. The 2000-01 team went (Win, Loss, Tie, Overtime Loss) 10-23-6-2 at home and 13-22-6-0 on the road, for a 23-45-12-2 record. Yes, that’s 60-points. (Yes, I am nudging Rawhide to tell us what the current Thrashers home and road records are, to this point, and to project where the home and road records might finish for the season.)

Okay, what about the stats that don’t lie? Ummn, I should clarify. Sometimes good teams lose leads late, wind up only with a bonus point, instead of two-points and the win. Sometimes bad teams manage to LOSE the guaranteed point in the final 10 seconds of regulation, and they come away with nothing at all. See, those are things that can be argued. “We ‘woulda, coulda, shoulda’ had more points,” etc.

But the Goals For and Goals Against categories paint a picture that CANNOT be disputed. They are … what they are. The 2001 Thrashers finished with 211 GF and 289 GA. The 211 GF was actually respectable. Not great. But who expected GREAT?, especially back then. The Goals Against was a whopping 289, but still better than the Inaugural season flop of 313.

If we are comparing the 2009 Thrashers with the 2001 (Sophomore Season) Thrashers, we do need to Flash Foward to 2002. That is, ‘Season Three.’ Pay attention, class. This is the year that the team took a backwards step in its evolution. How badly?

Well, the point totals only say six (6) points. But, again, let’s look at the stat that DON’T LIE. The Goals For went from 211 (in 2001) to a ‘franchise-worst’ 187, in 2002. The Goals Again didn’t fluctuate all that much. It went from 289 to 288. I’ll leave it to the people who at good at math to tell you what sort of ‘percentage improve’ that reflected. The 2002 season mercifully ended with a 19-47-11-5 record. And yes, it was last place in the division and put us into the lottery draft, where the Thrashers selected goaltender Kari Lehtonen.

Segue, let’s talk about the drafting, at that point. Who’s in our lineup, at the end of the 2002 season, that Waddell drafted? Ilya, of course. Dany Heatley, of course. Yes, Patrik Stefan is there, too. Of lesser known names, Darcy Hordichuk, LW, played 33 games. Luke Sellars played one game. Derek MacKenzie played one game. Pasi Nurminen played 9 games in net, in 2002.

But here are some of the names of players drafted between 1999-2001, that you might know. Michael Garnett, goaltender, Colin Stuart, Center, Ilya Nikulin, Defense, Libor Ustrunul, Defense, Brian Sipotz, Defense, Simon Gamache, Center, Stephen Baby, RW, Tommy Santala, RW, and Garnet EXELBY, Defense.

Okay … I know that draft picks do take time to develop … but what did Atlanta have to lose in dressing some of those players?? Instead of developing that talent, here’s what made it into our lineup. (Poster Bob, get ready!)

Adam Burt, Todd Reirden, Petr Buzek, Brett Clark (maybe shoulda kept him,) Jiri Slegr, Frank Kaberle, Daniel Tjarnqvist, Mike Weaver, Brian Pothier (should have kept him, he played 33 games that year, too,) Chris Tamer, David Harlock, Yannick Tremblay, Andy Sutton, Luke Sellars, Kirill Safronov, and Francis Lessard would all dress for the Thrashers blueline, in some capacity, in 2002.

The goalies were Damian Rhodes (15), Milan Hnilicka (60), Pasi Nurminen (9), Frederic Cassivi (6), Norm Maracle (1), and Scott Fankhouser (0, dressed as a backup goalie, but did not play).

The non-drafted forwards of 2002 included Shawn MacEachern, Slava Kozlov, Ray Ferraro (Captain), Brad Tapper, Tomi Kallio, Bob Corkum, Tony Hrkac, Shean Donovan (maybe shoulda held on to him,) Hnat Domenichelli, Jeff Odgers, Per Svartvadet, Pascal Rheaume, Lubos Bartecko, Jeff Cowan (mayba should have held on to him, too.) Andreas Karsson, J.P. Vigier, Dan Synder, Yuri Butsayev, Kamil Piros, Ben Simon, and Mark Hartigan all played for Atlanta in 2002.

That’s a lot of non-drafted players. Several of whom were waiver claims, plucked from the AHL, and signed as free agents.

The 2002 Draft brought future Thrashers Kari Lehtonen, Jim Slater, and Nathan Oystick. It’s 2009 now.

Yeah, it’s 2009 now. So, what went wrong that we’re right back here … without anything hanging from the rafters but a 2007 Southeast Division title banner?

Sage of Bluesland

February 14th, 2009
3:04 pm

Heck, I’ll “hope” for a sweep of this upcoming trip…But, then there’s this annoying thing called “reality” to deal with…I’ve noticed that some simply cannot–and they continue to wave the wittle bwue fwag…More power to you as you continue subsidizing the incompetence.

Be PROUD–you KNOW who you are out there! However, I DO enjoy laughing at you!

Where’s that all-inspiring and all-knowing, Don Waddell-saving, spreadsheet when we need it most?

five_hole

February 14th, 2009
4:10 pm

I’ll take “B” and I just hope we don’t get pounded too badly out there. The west plays a much more physical style of game.

Not much else to add; just that I’ve been very disappointed in this season.

Brandon took me back through a lot of names I’d rather forget. Especially those first few years, we were stocked with players that didn’t belong in the league.

While this new format is easy to read, we have lost the ability to post links to other sites.

Barry

February 14th, 2009
4:26 pm

I’m going to say Thrashers go on a 1-2-1 trip. Anaheim is winnable as from what I have gathered the Ducks don’t have a whole lot of offense. Phoenix and Kings might play into Thrashers favor of they like to play an up and down game also. Sharks…puleeeaaasse…I’m afraid to even turn on the TV for that one. Thrashers will be like minnows…eaten with one gulp.

Russian

February 14th, 2009
4:54 pm

I like to see 8 points. It will be awsome. 4 game winning strike. How cool is that??? :-) Valentine Day is today. I got too much LOVE from my Russian Wife. :-)

LAC

February 14th, 2009
5:50 pm

I see ONE point in Phoneix, that’s it.
We will be out played and out classed by teams who and want to WIN, something we simply are NOT interested in.

McCellen will see why he did the right thing and go to SJ and avoid the waddell/sprit debacle that IS The Atlanta Thrashers.

I have to again ask, why are we NOT much better than we are at this time
in out history. Brenden puts so well. Terrible drafts,outside the name players who any team would have taken. We are headed to the WORST record this team has ever had since the expansion year, that is understandable… This crap this season is NOT one damn bit acceptable.

Simply put,these owners are complete jerks at running this team and they have the Capitan ofthe Titanic as GM, a man who knows not one darn thing about professional hockey at any level… and IS a career
LOSER.

I hope and pray this lawsuit gets resolved, they sell the team to a LOCAL OWNER who will be commited to: The Fans, The Team and WINNING Hockey on a nightly basis. I wish WE could say we have only 2 regulation loses this season at home… WOW ! Would that be fun or what !

Just having a NEW owner would lift this cloud of LOSING and create excitement and hope for the future of the team, more of this $HIT we have seen this season and NHL hockey will be in very very serious trouble here. Lastly I ask, “Are we moving FORWARD don ?, Is this five year plan 3 or 4 ?” Just how this Village Idiot keeps his position as GM has to be the most mind boggling aspect of all of this !

Rawhide

February 14th, 2009
5:51 pm

Brendan – Since you asked…

Currently, the Thrashers have played 28 games at home and 28 games away. At Philips Arena, they are 9-17-2 for 20 points. Away from home, the record is 10-15-3 for 23 points.

So, if they continue at that pace…they will finish with a home record of 13-25-3 for 29 points and an away record of 15-22-4 for 34 points.

That would make for a total of 63 points for the season…as I projected above.

Brendan

February 14th, 2009
10:38 pm

Muchas Gracias, Senior Rawhide. It’s a bit perplexing to think that, in Season Nine, we’re only on a ‘projected pace’ of 63-points. Said another way, that we’re only 3-frekkin’ points ahead of our sophomore season. How did we regress this badly?

Wait. I know what someone will say. “Well, Brendan, Philadelphia ‘regressed’ to 57-points, three WORSE than the 2001 Thrashers (60-points).” Well, there’d ALMOST be a point there, except that Philadelphia didn’t ‘regress’ that season, so much as the “wheels fell off.” The Flyers, if I recall correctly, were part of the ‘67 Expansion. Simply put, people don’t compare them today, back to those years. And if they did, they’d like what they saw! The Flyers made faster progress than any other Expansion team, winning a Cup in just their 7th season. Now, St. Louis Blues fans will now come to take exception, citing their three (3) trips to the Cup Finals in ‘68, ‘69, and ‘70. But bear in mind, in those days, it was the NHL teams in one division and the expansion teams in the other, and the Cup Finals was largely a mismatch. As you might expect. That’s why the league abandoned the concept.

I don’t know how you bloggers feel, but for me … the worst part of it … is that we had the horses to make it work. Heatley, Kovalchuk, Brunette, Audette, Staios, Stefan, Cowan, Pothier, Donovan, Savard, Kaberle, Brett Clarke. Throw in healthy Pasi Nurminen, and two decent seasons of Hnilicka, and it wouldn’t have even mattered if Damian Rhodes was a flop. Between 2002 and 2003, these free agent goalies became available: Cujo, Nabokov, Khabibulin, Hasek, Ed Belfour, Arturs Irbe, etc. With an impressive team skating in front of them, Tier I goalies would have returned Atlanta’s phone calls. And … a GM wouldn’t have necessarily needed to draft a goalie in 2002. Instead, he could have taken whichever of Bouwmeester or Nash that wasn’t selected by Florida. I’ll say it again. “Heatley, Nash, and Kovalchuk” would have scared the pants off anyone.”

Bygones.

Elvis

February 14th, 2009
10:42 pm

Let Arthur Blank buy this team.It would be better for the fans and this city

Rawhide

February 14th, 2009
11:22 pm

“Said another way, that we’re only 3-frekkin’ points ahead of our sophomore season”?

Actually Brendan, as I stated above, comparing apples to apples, since there was no gimmick points being given out in the 2000-01 season by way of shootouts…THIS year’s Thrashers would be on pace for 60 again if the same rules applied as the rules back then.

You are very correct in pointing out that one could ice an All Star squad with the talents that has passed through here.

The Spirit Clowns and Don Waddell have successfully taken this team to the level of a second-year franchise.

Brendan

February 14th, 2009
11:54 pm

I must revise my comment. “Said another way, we’re zero frekkin’ points ahead of our sophomore season.” Thank you for the correction, Rawhide.

I’ll listen to people who want to say, “See, it’s the cheap owners fault. Waddell got the talent here. But the owners wouldn’t spend to keep it.” I didn’t say I’d agree with it. Just that I’d listen to it.

I think players left for more than just ONE (1) reason. I don’t think they had confidence in Waddell’s decision-making. And when you couple that with ‘cheap ownership,’ it was a situation that the players couldn’t ignore. So, they left. Or finagled a trade out of it.

Giving Waddell a Max Cap budget probably wouldn’t fix things. Bad decisions are bad decision. And when they’re ‘high dollar’ bad decisions, in an era of salary cap, there’s nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide. They hurt you for years and years and years, even if you choose to buy out the player(s).

Sage of Bluesland

February 15th, 2009
9:36 am

Bad decisions are indeed bad decisions–and our bumbling, blustering fraud of a GM has proven time and again that he cannot build anything on the NHL-level.

Exhibit A to the prosecution: Bobby Holik.

Yet there are some who continue to defend the indefensible. I know, it’s hard to believe, isn’t it?

The Real Fan

February 15th, 2009
11:47 am

Below is the gist of an article about our Thrashers. It’s good to see what the rest of the league thinks about us.
WHEN ARE THE FANS OF ATLANTA GOING TO WAKE UP?

ATLANTA

This could be a blueprint of how not to operate an expansion franchise. General manager Don Waddell is by all accounts a lovely man but he has become the Inspector Clouseau of the NHL. Despite having prime draft picks every year the Thrashers rank even below the much-maligned Maple Leafs in player development.

The Hockey News recently ranked the Thrashers 23rd in prospects. And, when they did get a solid player, Waddell has lost him. In eight seasons, the team still is looking for its first playoff game victory.

The team’s fan base has eroded. Attendance dropped another 7.9% the first half of this season — second biggest drop in the NHL. It has cash flow problems which hasn’t been helped by a collective agreement that forces it to spend at least $41-million.

Nobody really knows if Atlanta would support an NHL team because, in all honesty, it never has had one of NHL calibre.

If the NHL bought out the owners and folded the team it would be considered a mercy killing. Or, if a less desperate solution is more to Bettman’s liking: Keep the team; fold Waddell.

Tincup9

February 15th, 2009
1:52 pm

Rawhide et al,
What can we expect (or hope to expect) depending on the various possible outcomes of the ASG litigation this week? Is there a best case scenario? At a minimum, would the cloud of uncertainty be lifted? Maybe even have the ownership situation settle enough to get a qualified GM willing to come to Atlanta?

Brendan

February 15th, 2009
2:40 pm

Heavy sigh. Well, if the AJC and Tim Tucker have been correct, no matter WHAT this court decision brings, an appeal process can continue until 2011. In my view, that’s the worst case scenaro, for it will surely bring repeats of the 2008 & 2009 seasons. Well, think about it.

Think HARDER. Pay attention to the FLOOR of the salary cap. ATlanta will be a little bit north of that on “Opening Night” in October. Oh, I’m sure some “incremental progress” can be made, by following this recipe. But the bottom line is … how are they going to sell tickets, with Waddell still in charge, the budget staying where it is, and Free Agents avoiding us like the plague? And traded players … will be plotting ‘exit strategies’ during the flight into Hartsfield Airport. Unless you trade for a player with 5-years left on a contract.

Now, obviously, a re-signed Kovalchuk would do a world of P.R. salvaging, but even that move doesn’t fix this team. What fixes the team is an owner or ownership group committed to annual spending to the cap limit, and to bring in a top notch GM to take the team to the next level, then up over the threshhold to the Stanley Cup.

The ‘best case scenario,’ in terms of the court decision, would be any situation where an actual buyout occurs. That, at least, gets us out of ‘limbo.’ I would love it if the Judge would just step in and say, “Look, children. The ’spirit’ of this contract was that majority owners wanted to buy out an estranged partner. I’m striking out the “or Belkin can buy you out AT COST” portion, since I’m convinced that it was written with the intention that there wouldn’t be any sizeable delays in the buyout process. That the DEADLINE wasn’t met exactly on time, hardly seems reason enough to clog the court system for half a generation. So, I’m appointing three appraisers. I will take the AVERAGE of those appraisals, and the majority ownership group shall buy out Mr. Belkin at his percentage of initial investment for what the AVERAGE of the three appraisals say the Arena, and two pro sports teams are worth. And the case will be closed within 45 days, or all parties will be hauled back into court and fined back to the STONE AGE.” That’s what I’d do. But, uhh … I’m not a judge.

And perhaps, thank Goodness for that. As it might be better for Mr. Belkin to own the teams. For Belkin will fire Waddell. I’m not nearly as confident of that, with Daddy and Daddy-in-law remaining in Charge. And if Belkin doesn’t immediately sell the team, he’ll at least find a decent GM to handle matters from here. Truthfully, I don’t want Belkin or this current ownership group to run the Thrashers. I think it needs a fresh, new start, with an owner who will give the team some love, and still have the good sense to realize … that it’s his job to FINANCE the team, not to run it. That’s why you hire a GM. Write the checks and then GET OUT OF THE WAY! Now, that’s a good owner.

If Mr. Blank would agree to do that, and not hold press conferences every 15-minutes to declare how wealthy and successful he is, I’d be fine with that. I said, “if.”

sisu

February 15th, 2009
5:29 pm

Sage of Bluesland your act is wearing thin, to constantly keep attacking a good friend of mine is really just a worn out act on your part. As I have said before, let’s stop the personal attacks and focus on the team struggles. I am not defending DW, just saying that to keep bringing something up from months ago is crazy. I think that there are great discussions here about the struggles of the organization! I am just as frustrated as you but I rather focus my attention to the make up of the team. I personally cannot wait for the trade deadline so that a couple of d men will be traded for better or worse. My hope is that at the bare minimum there will be a first or second round picks involved for the upcoming draft.

I think this week will go a long way to show where this team will be in the near future. Perhaps the courts will be merciful and finally put an end to this drama and finally decide who owns what and what the settlement will be. I am afraid until that happens the product on the ice will remain the same….

Tom

February 15th, 2009
8:25 pm

Anyone else having the feed of the game on SportsSouth going to black screen every 30 seconds or so?

thrashyou

February 15th, 2009
9:32 pm

WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?????????

Tony C.

February 15th, 2009
9:45 pm

I dunno who they are, but I’d like to see them come back to Atlanta.

yes **Tom** SPSO is having the blank-screen feed. Betcha it remains clear the rest of the way here…seems like they got their replay sync’d back up.

My vote, if I’m in Toronto-is Selanne’s 2nd was hit in with the high stick. Homey-call.

Brendan

February 15th, 2009
10:33 pm

How many goals now for Ilya on the season? If #17 makes it to 40 goals, given this roster, he’s really achieved something this year, despite the ‘naysayers.’ Rich Peverley has been a noticeable help to Ilya’s production, whether as a linemate or as a secondary line scorer, forcing the other team to adjust its “Just Stop Kovalchuk” game plan.

Brendan

February 15th, 2009
10:38 pm

Thrashers get a goal from HAVENOT, Russ! Can ya believe it? It’s an 8-4, final score. My guess of 3-points is looking better, for this road trip. Even though I technically didn’t award a single win. The San Jose Sharks … lost … AGAIN. Now might be the time to play them. You know San Jose is going to be looking past us, and pencilling in 2-points.

Hockey Biltong

February 16th, 2009
9:53 am

SPSO could not keep high def feed. Must have been tech. difficulties from the source.