Whoa…Did Somebody Step On A Duck?

To answer Rodney Dangerfield’s memorable query in the classic comedy “Caddyshack”…yes indeed somebody did step on a duck.

His name is Ilya Kovalchuk…and don’t wait for a polite “pardon me” for what was left behind.

Powered by Kaptain Kovy’s hat trick and a 43 shots on goal O-fensive performance, the Atlanta Thrashers skated away from Anaheim 8-4 winners on Sunday. That’s a pretty darn nice way to start off a week-long 4-game raod trip!

That’s right, the same team that had scored only 12 goals in the first 8 games after the All Star break…two of those being shutout losses…was able to build a snowman on the Ducks’ pond. Anaheim came into the game tied with the Rangers and and Sabres with the NHL’s 9th lowest GAA…2.74.

Apparently, after visiting with friends and relatives in Roswell, New Mexico, the aliens have returned and they decided to catch up with the Thrashers out west. We can only hope that they continue to stick around for a while.

In a very nice reversal of fortunes, the Thrashers were the team that jumped all over their opposition early on…taking 19 shots on goal in the first period. Rich Peverley and Bryan Little scored on two of those shots, giving the Thrashers a 2-1 lead going into the first break.

The way shots were coming in on J.S. Giguere in the first 20 minutes, he must have felt like he was on a hunting trip with former Vice President Dick Cheney.

A one-goal lead wasn’t the only thing Atlanta took into the first break. They also took a 5 on 3 power play opportunity into the locker room with them and, when play resumed in the second period, Kovy made the Ducks pay. His power play goal at 1:23 was only the beginning…before the period ended, Kovalchuk’s duck hunting trip had netted him a hat trick along with a 6-2 Thrashers lead.

Kovy’s second goal ended Giguere’s night after allowing 5 goals on 25 shots. 37 seconds into Johan Hiller’s call to duty, Kovy greeted the Swiss keeper with a very timely laser blast from the left side to complete the hat trick.

After outshooting the Ducks 35-17 through two, Anaheim tried to make a game of it in the third. They scored twice on 18 shots, but those were offset by Colin Stuart’s second of the season…both of the short-handed variety…and former Duck Nic Havlid’s nifty shorthanded, empty-net job that he launched from behind Atlanta’s goal. Havelid whipped the puck around the boards and it coasted it’s way the length of the ice for Atlanta’s 8th goal. Havelid finished with that goal and a +1.

Mathieu Schneider, another former Duck, assisted on The Peever’s goal to open the scoring. Schneids took 5 shots on goal, was a +2 for the night and played a very solid defense in front of his former home crowd.

Proud Papa Producing Points

Since the birth of his son Philipp a week ago, Kaptain Kovy has scored in all four games played…6 in total as well as a pair of assists.

Duck Hunting Comes With A Price

Thrashers blueliner Ron Hainsey left Sunday’s game about halfway through the third period with what was described as a “lower body” injury. Hainsey finished the game with 2 assists, 4 shots on goal and an EVEN +/- rating.

Penguins Throw Out Therrien

A year ago Michel Therrien was coaching the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Stanley Cup Finals. Saturday, he was shown the door. Dan Bylsma, who had been behind the bench for the Pens’ AHL affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, was inserted as Pittsburgh’s interum coach for the remaining 25 games.

36 comments Add your comment

LAC

February 15th, 2009
11:59 pm

I am stunned at this one… An OUTSTANDING Game. Who would ever have thought this…. NOT ME ! I lose on the Rawhide points on the trip meter…

I watched the Anaheim announcers… Before the game it was lowly,bottom feeders,we should beat teams like this and so on… Then it was “Well J.S. should have done this and should have done that, Now there WILL be a goalie change.” It was fun to listen to all THEIR excuses…

On the Anaheim site this post summed it up !

8:17 – ATLANTA GOAL – ILYA KOVALCHUK – Kovalchuk races to pick up the puck at center ice and has only Hedican in front of him as he lets go of a wrist shot from the left wing circle that eludes Hiller on the far side. Hat trick for Kovalchuk. If I were a paying customer, I’d head for the exit. This is awful.

Ha-Ha-Ha… Nice to see. Another plus Dave Reid, who hates us, had GLOWING comments and IK Was their Star of thenight !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But what I really liked was they left the post game on Center-Ice longer than normal. Prime Ticket interviewed IK and he was asked about becoming a UFA, His response, was I like Atlanta, I started here and want to win here… That made the night complete… Now if somehow Arthur Blank would buy the team… Happy Days Are Here Again !

five_hole

February 16th, 2009
7:32 am

**Bill** How long have you been sitting on that title, waiting for a chance to use it?

It was nice to see the aliens back playing for us last night. Maybe we should redesign their helmets to accomodate antenea? Whatevea.

Wish I could stay up & watch tonight’s game vs the Kings. Unfortunately, it will be past my bedtime. Hope they left something in the tank.

ThrashDawg

February 16th, 2009
9:09 am

LAC we agree on Arthur Blank can some of you activist start a petition?

Smoothie

February 16th, 2009
9:49 am

What a great display of hockey last night!! Wait, did I just say that in reference to a Thrashers game?? Yikes, that felt weird. Anyway, it was great to see the team play with such jump and energy…they were certainly the faster team and it clearly showed. I haven’t seen a Thrasher team get to so many loose pucks and win so many puck battles in a game that wasn’t played against the Crapleleafs.

Several players played like they were definitely cognizant of the multitudes of scouts in the arena. Schneider played like he was trying to convince his old team of taking him back. He was much better than that douche Chris Pronger and played about as well as I’ve seen him play all year. So that’s why he has a contract paying him almost $6 M / year??! Unfortunately, with the way Havelid, Reasoner and Armstrong played, several scouts will be calling DWad seeking out their services at the deadline.

I hate to lose Reasoner as he is such a sound and disciplined player. Looks like JA knew what he was doing as Peverley looked like the Pever “of old” playing on the wing with Marty and Slava. That line seemed to have some good chemistry and Pevs seemed completely dominant on the puck knowing that Marty “had his back” defensively.

Also really good to see Little play an entire game with Kovy. He seemed to be skating with a renewed sense of determination and pride. He had some good chances as well and was stronger with the puck down low near the crease than he has been recently. That power move on the PPG was “Hossa-esque”. By the way, did you notice how effective that PP was BECAUSE Kovy was moving around with the puck and drawing the D away from Little and the weak side. Movement with and without the puck is the key! And they had it on at least 3 of the 6 opportunities.

Hockey Biltong

February 16th, 2009
9:58 am

That was an awesome display of passing and shooting. Best outcome this year.
I’ll say this; these guys will be sore today. Anaheim was dishing out the hits…

Rawhide

February 16th, 2009
10:06 am

Five_Hole – How long have I been sitting on that title waiting to use it?

Since I saw the game on the schedule last summer…I could not have been more happy with last night’s outcome! :-)

Bob

February 16th, 2009
10:09 am

lol, look at what motivation the boys have with all those scouts in the house. I couldn’t believe my eyes when my phone got the score texted to it at the end of the 2nd. You know what’s sad though, I’ve become so apathetic, I didn’t watch but a couple minutes then of the third. Sad.

Midfield

February 16th, 2009
10:13 am

It was a spectator game for sure, but not the best quality hockey even for the Thrashers – as a team. Kovy let it rip, of course, good for him. However, they almost let the game slip away in the late second and the third. Lehtonen in particular let in two bad softies – one on a short side wrister, and the other one by giving away a juicy rebound and sliding away from the paint. Also, the penalty taken by Enstrom late in the game was completely unacceptable.

Alan

February 16th, 2009
10:42 am

First, I have to say this is the first time I’ve noticed the new blog format. It’s interesting, to say the least. Change is inevitable, so it will undoubtedly grow on me.

I didn’t watch the game last night. I figured, “West coast road swing? We’re not winning a single game.” Looks like I missed one hell of a game. I’m going to have to catch a replay of it.

Maybe the aliens will be with us tonight in Los Angeles? I’m going to try to stay up and catch some of the game (at least) tonight, so we’ll see.

Sage of Bluesland

February 16th, 2009
11:02 am

Well, they’ve earned two more points than I thought they would…I didn’t bother, either–I figured the spreadsheet-set would fill me in on how the corner has finally been turned…

Maybe it has? OK, I’ll stop before it gets too ridiculous in here…

Thrashy Thrashy

February 16th, 2009
12:17 pm

The “spreadsheet-set”?

That’s like, what, a couple of people?

There’s a guy over on the Braves blog (he calls himself “Robert”) who does nothing but complain about one thing: Bobby Cox. That’s kind of who Sage reminds me of. I don’t know about anyone else here, but I don’t see too many bloggers talking about how Waddell’s doing anything other than an absolutely miserable job. If a blogger derives some modicum of joy out of a win, that’s perfectly fine, Sage. Such “joy” does not mean that that blogger is going to suddenly sing the praises of our insipidly pathetic failure-meal of a general manager.

Thrasher Ryan

February 16th, 2009
12:28 pm

Rawhide, last night I found the Thrashers on an FM feed. I think it was 88.9 or something like that, but it was real clear in the Downtown area.

NavyThrasher

February 16th, 2009
12:39 pm

Wow. 20 SOG in the first period? Giguere must have felt like…Kari? Seems like the aliens have returned, Rawhide. Let’s hope they decide to extend their stay this time, instead of packing it up early and trying to beat the traffic home like they did last go ’round…

Alan

February 16th, 2009
1:01 pm

Kovalchuk was named the NHL’s third star of last week:

*Kovalchuk led NHL goal-scorers last week with five as the Thrashers recorded two victories in three starts. He notched one goal in a 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning Feb. 10, recorded the Thrashers’ lone tally in a 3-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks Feb. 11 and ended the week by tallying his 11th career hat trick and one assist in an 8-4 win over the Anaheim Ducks Feb. 15. Kovalchuk’s three-goal outburst came in a 6:51 span of the second period and extended his goal-scoring streak to four games. The Thrashers captain leads his club in scoring with 58 points (27 goals, 31 assists) in 57 games.*

B. Thenet

February 16th, 2009
1:14 pm

Well that was a very entertaining game to watch.

Colin Stuart is perhaps the best PKer we have, but you have to give some credit to Granato down in Chicago(AHL) for really driving defensive awareness into our prospects down there. It seems like every F who comes up from Chicago helps us out on the PK, and the improved PK seems to coincide with the start of the 2nd half Chicago callups. Granto in Chicago plus Anderson in Atlanta might be a pretty good 1-2 punch as far as organizational coaching moving forward.

No lead feels safe with this bunch though, and I am probably not the only one who felt a little nervous late in the 3rd.

Jimbo

February 16th, 2009
2:36 pm

In an interview before the game, Anderson said that he was now asking the team to focus on “defense” if a scoring opportunity was not close at hand. Well John, we’re 2/3rds of the way through the season and the “light now flashes on”. He also talked about clogging up the neutral zone so that teams don’t fly into our zone at will. Where is the world has this guy been? Every day someone posts suggestions or observations about the lack of backchecking/clogging the neutral zone. Is this guy really that slow?

Bob

February 16th, 2009
2:45 pm

*Is this guy really that slow?*

Apparently so. It was obvious to me after just a few games that Coach’s system (all offense all the time) was leading to far too many odd man rushes the other way and just wasn’t going to work in the NHL.

Bob

February 16th, 2009
2:51 pm

so we get a 2nd and 3rd rounder from the Habs for Schneider? Not bad return. It’ll be more meaningful if we get a real GM and a new set of scouts to use those picks wisely. Makes sense to trade him early, Oystrick and Valabik sitting was doing them no good

exSTH

February 16th, 2009
3:33 pm

Thats not bad for the Ole (as in Old) Schnides. But does anyone know how the Thrashers can operate UNDER the salary cap floor? Don’t they need to pick up a player with about a $2.55M salary?…if my math is right?

Rawhide

February 16th, 2009
3:46 pm

Yup…Schneids to Montreal for picks. I guess he was auditioning last night. I like getting the picks for him…

Good for Schneider, too. I wish him the best.

exSTH – The way I understand it, since the season is about 3/4 of the way through, we are only losing 1/4 of his salary hit…appx. $1.4 million.

five_hole

February 16th, 2009
4:34 pm

I’m glad we got the picks. Mathieu, best of luck back with the Habs.

LAC

February 16th, 2009
4:38 pm

If Auther Blank DID buy the team, you would most likely see a complete 180*. He would do like with the Falcons after the vick mess… He brought in a new coach & GM and they were a completely different team…

He would expect he’d do the same with the Thrashers too.
IE… GOOD-BYE don ! Good-Bye scouts and hello much needed change and direction !

Lastly good trade, butrememberWE haveto send them a pick after the season to even this trade… So why did don do this with a pick to them ?

Lastly they are all crying in Anaheim today little whiners, should read some of this stuff… and THOSE Canada fans are at it again.

Listen people, if YOU want everything Canada, fine. Then you have 6 teams, make it the Canada Hockey League and play your heads off…
I could care less about Vancouver or Edmonton, talk about a wasteland !

Bob

February 16th, 2009
4:39 pm

yep, looks like we only got a 3rd rounder for him in 2010 and then we moved up one, two or three rounds this summer. I thought we could get more for him, oh well.

five_hole

February 16th, 2009
4:52 pm

I’d like to point out, Don Waddell turned Ken Klee and Brad Larsen (plus some minor leaguer) into a 2nd in 2009 and a 3rd in 2010. That’s a pretty good return on our investment. Of course, we can count on Don to use the picks on a one-legged skater and a almost-coulda-been.

Algonquin J. Calhoun

February 16th, 2009
5:02 pm

I just read an article that says ice puckey is on its way out in Atlanta. Jeepers, i sure hope that’s incorrect. What would we do?

sisu

February 16th, 2009
5:33 pm

Great win, Kovy was lights out! Catch a special on him at 10 pm tonight on Sport South

Brendan

February 16th, 2009
8:30 pm

This steak’s still got marks where the jockey was hittin’ it. Tell the cook this food is low-grade dog food. And you guys (in the band,) take some more lessons!! (Throwing money at them.)

How about Don Waddell, huh? I actually like this Schneider trade. The two 3rd round picks are something of a wash, so we net a 2nd rounder. The way Schneider has played, that’s not doing too badly. Of course, we must root for Montreal in the playoffs, as the farther they go, the less we have to give back to them. If the Habs advance to the CF, all we owe them in a “throw away” 5th rounder. If they miss the playoffs or crash and burn, they get our 3rd. And really, when the 3rd round of the draft arrives … whose pick would you rather have? Montreal’s (somewhere between #75-#85) or Atlanta’s (somewhere between #61 to #63).

Expectations were high in Montreal last season, being the #1 seed. They struggled mightily against Boston in a seven game series in the opening round, then got eliminated by Philadelphia in what was nearly a “sweep.” Montreal “stole” Game 1, with some late heroics.

I respect Bob Gainey. He was a Selke like player. Multiple Stanley Cup winner, etc. But when he move Cristobal Huet for only a 2nd round draft pick, leaving the rookie Carey Price, and Jaro Halak in net, I questioned that move. Right now, Carey Price’s confidence is suffering. He’s been giving up 5 goals a game, lately. Softies. I tell you, I’m not filled with confidence that the Habs are moving out of the 1st round of the playoffs. Their “would-be” 1st round opponents include New Jersey, Philadelphia, and the NY Rangers. If the Florida Panthers keep on winning, they’ve got some shot at the #5 slot. If the Habs fall far enough back, I guess they could face Washington. But beeee honest, do you think this year’s Habs are better than last year’s, that was eliminated so handily in the Conference Semi-Finals?

Rawhide

February 16th, 2009
9:41 pm

I’m really curious to see what Thrashers team comes out tonight in LA. For as well as they played, the Ducks really tried to put a poinding on them.

Plus, this team runs so hot and cold…

Tony C.

February 16th, 2009
9:54 pm

I’m excited to see a whole game of Doughty vs. Bogosian, regardless the outcome.

Brendan

February 16th, 2009
11:00 pm

A goal by Little, then two PPG’s by Kovalchuk and Todd White, and Atlanta is up, 3-0, on the Kings. There’s still 8 minutes left to play int he 1st. What a start! Quick has been chased from the L.A. net.

Brendan

February 16th, 2009
11:03 pm

Don’t forget, Don Waddell is the 2nd period intermission guest. We can only imagine what he might say next. Maybe, he’ll say “we’re close, real close” to putting another streak together, and are driving towards the #8 playoff spot.

Hey, Ottawa’s a bad team this year. They won, 2-0, tonight at Nashville. That’s, say it with me, “5 wins in-a-row.” And per Waddell, “bad teams don’t win 5-in-a-row in this league.”

Brendan

February 16th, 2009
11:58 pm

Whoops, he did it again. He’s William Hung. Okay, let’s start at the beginning. First thing Waddell did was breakdown the Schneider trade. After that, Darren Eliot asked him if he had been taking calls on other trades. Waddell admitted that he had, but that he wasn’t in any great rush to make any deals, “since the team is playing so well right now.” In other words, Waddell didn’t want to interrupt the “chemistry” of this squad and how it’s performing. He specifically said that he wanted to get more ice time in for Bogosian, Valabik and Oystrick. Then, Waddell added, “We really do want to win as many games as possible.”

Hey, at least he stopped short of saying that we’re still gunning for the playoffs. Darren Eliot said, “The team may be a little behind the learning curve, with a new coach and a new system, but things are starting to come around.” Waddell agreed. I know. Shocker there!! Waddell said that in his 29 years as a player, coach and manager, he’s never been more frustrated than this season at the downward spiral that the team took this year. Then he said, “as quickly as it spiraled down, it could spiral right back up.” Then Waddell said that he was very disappointed in the losses in the close games earlier this year. But there’s just no way to get them back. Darren Eliot prodded him further, “I don’t think you’re as far away as the record may indicate. You were just scouting in Sweden, is that the sense you get? That you’re pretty darned close?” Waddell repeated, “I think we’re real close. Our best players are our young players. Little, Bogosian, Kovalchuk’s only 25, our goaltending. We’ve got a lot of great pieces here. We’ve got to try to win every game. And try to learn from each and every game as we move forward. I truly believe that we are a lot closer than what our record is right now.” Darren, straight faced, said, “And the way the team’s playing right now, certainly indicates that. Thanks for your time, Don.” Waddell replied, “The pleasure would be mine.”

Well, folks. I promise you. I promise you. I promise you. I didn’t fabricate a bit of this. Not a word. For those of you who are recording the game, chime in!! If I’m lying, the INTERNET and BLOGOSPHERE will take all of 25 seconds to refute my post. That’s the power of the web. Unless SportSouth is beaming a unique transmission to my cable box that the rest of you aren’t receiving, then I been truthful about the comments of the Executive Vice President and General Manager of your Atlanta Thrashers. As well as the comments by Darren Eliot.

William Hung has nothing on Don Waddell. Or vice versa.

Your thoughts???

By the way, the 3-0 lead that Atlanta enjoyed has now dwindled to a 4-3 advantage. Boulton just missed on a short-handed breakaway.

Thrashy Thrashy

February 17th, 2009
1:23 am

I saw the interview, Brendan. That was absolutely pathetic. Probably the most insipid intermission interview I’ve heard in my life.

Well, since the last one with Waddell.

Brendan

February 17th, 2009
1:54 am

Well, at least the Thrashers won tonight, Thrashy Thrashy. :) The PP Unit had two goals, and C. Stuart had a shorty. And looky, looky. That makes 4-points for the Western road trip. How many of us thought that would happen? I had three-points, tops. And zero wins. (0-1-3)

Ladies and gentlemen, I do, perhaps, have to apologize for whipping dead Waddell horse. But … I ask for that indulgence because … I think it’s important to quote the man who is responsible for steering the SS Thrashers. Who ELSE, but the GM, is responsible for oversight and direction of the team? And to actually see and hear him speak … those words … is a window into his mindset. Nevermind. The horse is dead. I don’t want P.E.T.A. to start sending me threatening notes.

Tony C.

February 17th, 2009
2:02 am

DW’s right guys-we are only a couple of pieces away. Their names are Chara and Marleau.

I liked what I saw out of Reasoner tonight…of course you’ve got to know it’s because he knows the scouts are watching… wait that’s not fair. Marty has played well for us all season=but he was en fuego tonight.

Really saw the boys run out of gas tonight, but you’ve got to be pleased with this Bogosian kid. He’s gonna be nasty. Nice to see **X** remember he can make non open-ice hits (or rather stop trying to ONLY make open-ice hits). Oystrick was a pleasant surprise as well.

I don’t know what Coach said or what it was but it’s so nice to see our guys actually work along the boards on BOTH sides of the puck.

So it seems like DW’s plan is to poach off a bigger-budget team this summer eh? Looks like it. We get only picks for reasoner and you can bet that’s what it is.

Mercifully I missed the DW interview.

Hockey Biltong

February 17th, 2009
11:40 am

Dons’ interview looked lame. His eye contact could be best decribed as ‘wildly roaming’, and it was unsettling to watch.