Sh-Sh-Sh-SHARK!

Tell me if I’m alone in feeling this way…but last night when the Thrashers fell behind 3-1 to the Phoenix Coyotes in the second period, I kinda got the feeling that the O-fense was gonna find a way to come back and make a game of it. The way I figured things, they had scored a total of fourteen goals in the two previous games…fifteen if you count the gimmick shootout point…so I just felt at ease that they could find their way.

Indeed, they did as the new-look Little-White-Russian line, (same Little, same White, different Russian) kicked it in gear, scoring twice to tie the game in regulation and secure another point in the standings. The top line lit the lamp at the 12:16 mark of the second to pull within a goal…Ilya Kovalchuk worked his way up the right side and fed Bryan Little on the left side. In the third, Little returned the favor by assisting on Kaptain Kovy’s game-tying goal with but 53 seconds remaining on the clock. The play was made possible thanks to Todd White’s good play at the blueline which kept the puck in the attacking zone.

Kari Lehtonen, (37 saves/40 SOG), turned away all the six shots that he faced in overtime to get the game to a shootout. It took eight rounds before the Coyotes were able to lock down the extra point on Daniel Carcillo’s goal. Phoenix won the skills exhibition 2-1, Shane Doan tallied the other goal for the home team while the Slavinator was successful on Atlanta’s second attempt.

Now, I just have to be honest with you here…I thought the Thrashers should have been on the power play for that last half minute or so of regulation and, if need be, into the overtime session. Shortly after Kovy’s game-tying goal, Chris Thorburn was projected face-first into the baords via a cross check from behind courtesy of Ed Jovanovski. The refs chose not to hold the 6-2, 214 lb. defender accountable for the infraction…so a rather upset Thorney had to dish out some immediate retribution on his own, going toe-to-toe with the Coyotes defender.

This is an example, in my opinion, as to why fighting must still have it’s place in the NHL. When the refs choose to selectively enforce calls, then the player who could have been injured on such a player should be allowed to fill the enforcement-void vacated by the official and inflict immediate retribution on the player who committed the offense.

Atlanta won 37 of the 70 faceoffs in the game, (52.8%), including beating Phoenix in the faceoff circle 17-4 in the first period. On the one-and-only power play chance Atlanta was given, Erik Christensen converted it into a goal to give the Thrashers an early first period lead. The Thrashers killed off three of the Coyotes four man advantages.

Ron Hainsey and Rich Peverley each picked up an assist in the game.

We’re Going To Need A Bigger Boat

The Thrashers now depart the desert of Arizona to head back to the Pacific coast to do a little fishing. Nothing too big, mind you…just sh-sh-sh-SHARKS!

The San Jose Sharks are 39-8-9 overall and 25-2-3 at home this season following Thursday night’s win over the Los Angeles Kings. Yes, you read that correctly…the Sharks have lost a grand total of two games in regulation this season…a 3-2 loss to Cal-GARY on January 15 and a 4-2 decision to the Blackhawks on the 31st of that month as well.

That’s it!

The Sharks score goals at a 3.45 clip which is second only to Detroit’s 3.71. They allow only 2.41 goals per game, which is tied for third in the NHL with Chicago. Their 34.5 S/G is second best, again to the Red Wings, and San Jose allows teams a mere 27.3 S/G, which is tied with the Kings for the lowest in the league. When they Sharks go on the power play, they really smell blood in the water as they are a very impressive 23.9% effective on the man advantage and they kill their opponent’s penalties at a rate of 83.9 %, fourth best in the NHL.

This, my friends, is a very dangerous fishy.

While the Thrashers have already procured five points on this road trip…earning points six and seven are not exactly going to be a holiday trip to the beach. If they don’t bring their A++ game, are in the box too often and/or don’t give 110%, (100% of the time)…then it’s gonna be like taking a swim in the shark-infested waters of San Fransisco Bay while wearing chum underpants.

The game is set to start at 1:00pm California time on Saturday…just after lunch. Hmmm…I wonder if John Anderson could tell the refs, as mom always told us, that we’re not supposed to go into the water right after eating.

Shark Attacks In Decline Worldwide

Speaking of sharks…according to George Burgess, an ichthyologist and director of the International Shark Attack File at the University of Florida’s Museum of Natural History, there were only 59 shark attacks recorded worldwide on 2008. This is down from 71 in 2007. Four such attacks were fatal.

Is the reduction in shark bites because the off-shore predators have lost their taste for humans? Hardly, as we were never really on their preferred menu. It probably has more to do with the fact that comercial fishing has reduced the population of sharks off the coast lines. That, and economic conditions have keep vacationers home rather than loading the family up into the SUVs and scurrying down to the beach. For this same reasons, Burgess expects another decline in attacks this year.

The number of attacks in the U.S. last year was only 41, down from 50 the previous year. 32 of those were in the state of Florida, where Valusia County retained it’s title of “Shark Bite Capital” with 22 run-ins between sharks and humans. Most of those were in the waters off New Smyrna Beach.

South Carolina and North Carolina had 3 each, Hawaii had two reported attacks and the state of California only had one.

Only one shark attack in California? Hmmm, I’d venture to guess that there are quite a few NHL teams that might disagree with that figure given San Jose’s home record this season. Let’s hope that there isn’t one more Saturday afternoon.

25 comments Add your comment

Buzilla in CT

February 20th, 2009
12:44 pm

Buzilla in CT

February 20th, 2009
12:48 pm

Ha HA! I haven’t gotten one on Big Willy Tilly’s blog in a long time.

Not that many of you probably care any more, but it looks like Hossa got in a fight yesterday with Suter. Apparently it wasn’t a great fight but I thought it was interesting

Mr. Heat Miser

February 20th, 2009
1:28 pm

Hope the Cheechoo Train gets derailed……

GaVaHokie

February 20th, 2009
1:41 pm

regarding the shark attacks… crazy that even sharks are feeling the pinch of the current economy. :)

Aaron

February 20th, 2009
1:45 pm

Cheechoo has been derailed all year — he’s been playing on the third line with Grier since returning from his injury, and that pair was recently joined by Captain Marleau when Tomas Plihal and Marcel Goc were injured.

Unless McLellan changes things up, here’s how lines will look:
Kaspar – Thornton – Setoguchi
Clowe – Pavelski – Michalek
Cheechoo – Marleau – Grier
McGinn – Lemieux – Staubitz

That said, rumors have it that Plihal and Roenick may be ready to return Saturday, which would likely leave the 4th line as:

Plihal – Roenick – Lemieux

Rumor is Lukowich could also be back on Saturday, but no word yet who might take a seat. All of the top-6 of our D has been playing well recently.

Blake – Vlasic
Murray – Boyle
Ehrhoff – Semenov

Semenov is most likely to sit if Luko is good to go.

Spud Webb

February 20th, 2009
2:09 pm

I only got to watch the 3rd period last night, that was AWESOME. I was p&ssed off watching Phoenix take shot after shot on our players, I mean a PHYSICAL team & pushed us around. I realize we were down one, but Little took an elbow to the jaw, the Thorburn boarding was RIDICULOUS, there were a lot of &ss’ and elbows out. Kudos to Thorburn, when he realized there was no call he went right to Jovanowski (bad spelling, I know)! I wish it wasnt the end of the shift, Thornsy was GASSED but the point was made. I guess my point is the same as it’s been all year. I’m SICK AND TIRED of giving up the blue line (whack a mole??) as easily as we do. And I’m sick and tired of being the sissies of the league. I mean Little is possibly our 2nd best player (I know, debatable) and we let guys take liberties like that?? I’m not saying take a stupid penalty, but really??? We are the nuns of the league. Why Thorburn had to stand up for himself, I don’t know. Someone else should’ve been on Eddie, QUICK, no questions asked. We do NOT stick up for one another or make me feel like it’s a real team. I HATE IT. That said, what a pretty goal the game tying goal was, Little and Kovy look good together.
**Rawhide** have you heard anything about the “great one” chirping at Slava after his shootout goal?? What was that about, Elliott mentioned something, then never brought it up again? Was Gretz mad? Didn’t look like Slava did anything wrong???

Georgia girl

February 20th, 2009
2:26 pm

Gretz was mad that Slava was celebrating after scoring his shootout goal. Which was a load of bull because Doan did more than Slava did in the celebration department.

Spud Webb

February 20th, 2009
3:14 pm

Yea, thats what I thought Georgia Girl, I mean Slava wound his fist up, but was just checking if I missed something or what?? Didn’t look like much of a celebration??

Jimbo

February 20th, 2009
3:19 pm

Why didn’t JA use Little or Christensen in the shootout? Both have had good success and are better at it than White, Perrin and Armstrong.

Rawhide

February 20th, 2009
3:25 pm

Jimbo – Little took Atlanta’s first shootout try and Crusher went in the 4th round. Both had their attempts saved by Tellqvest.

Stan Drulia

February 20th, 2009
3:29 pm

They both went in the shootout. Little first and then Christensen tried the same move he has made for every shootout this season… you could tell that the goalie had seen it before.

Tony C.

February 20th, 2009
4:01 pm

JIMBO: Little was the first shooter and went deke-to-backhand= save Tellqvist. Christensen went 4th with his patented double-deke and Tellqvist was looking for it all the way made a nice pad save.

I would’ve put Enstrom out next if Carcillo hadn’t scored-I think KL got fooled by Carcillo-credit to him for showing softer hands than he’s known for.

And of course, last night made a big liar out of me Havelid was sucked out of position on their 2nd goal-oh well. I think that both Reasoner and Perrin are playing for the scouts, but you cannot complain with the result of that motivation; I thought each had a really solid game last night.

Both Little & #17’s goals are showing just how good they can be together….Although putting Whitey in the middle works, I’d like us to pick up somebody with a little bit more sandpaper to work their pivot. Almost makes me wish we could clone a young Lindros. I thought Lavallee looked pretty good in the 2nd but could have had a better 1st.

I really liked the Christensen line all night-thought they had a good game.

I notice stendec hasn’t been belching his vitirol lately-and with good reason Lehtonen has been playing lights-out.

Glovesave29

February 20th, 2009
8:55 pm

Looking forward to meeting at TJ’s tomorrow to watch the game. I’d like to see some of our more negative posters show up. It’s easy to fire away at people over a blog. i’m guessing you can’t be that way in person. Stendec, Sage…I’m talking about you. TJ’s is owned by a former Flame (Tim Ecclestone), not giving money to the A$G…two of you issues right there. Ranallo, I am expecting you to charter a jet from Austria to be here…not implying you are negative, just thought I’d issue a challenge to you. See y’all tomorrow!

Tony C.

February 20th, 2009
9:18 pm

man, I’d love to be @ TJ’s but tomorrow is a very big day for my family. I’d like to just go ahead and say that any weekend away game= meet @ TJ’s. The food’s good and Joyelle pours a mean Gin&Tonic!

Midfield

February 20th, 2009
9:40 pm

I can’t believe that Gretzky was serious when he hollered at Kozzy. And if he was, he needs professional help. He was the Great One when he played, and now he is just a coach of a mediocre team, which is not entitled to friendly officiating and special ethiquette, excu-u-u-se me.

Jameson

February 20th, 2009
11:31 pm

So TJ’s is going down? I’m definitely considering going, then. I won’t get home from work until almost 3am, though, so we’ll have to see if I get up in time.

Brendan

February 20th, 2009
11:57 pm

It seems like just three weeks or so ago that Phoenix was the #5 seed in the West. And it was looking very good that the Coyotes would be a playoff team. Since then, the wheels fell off. They spiraled downward pretty fast, and no one can get away with that, at this stage of the season, in this tight of a race.

I do hope Columbus can finally get in. It’d be great for their fans, for Scott Howson, the GM, and for the league. Here’s a 2000 expansion team that had tremendous attendance, even when the village idiot, Doug MacLean, ran them from 2001 to 2007. I don’t blame the fans who gave up their seats when they could no longer stomach the way in which the team was being run.

Segue, I see a very intriguing potential 1st round matchup out West. Stay with me. Chicago’s last playoff berth was in 2002. It was nothing to write home about. It was a fairly lobsided 4-1 series defeat, at the hands of the St. Louis Blues, where the Blackhawks were outscored 13-5. Chicago is in a very good position to be the #4 seed out West, and HOST a playoff series. If Columbus is that 1st round opponent, it’d be good for the league. For it will mean that some “long suffering” market will advance into the 2nd round of the playoffs. Is there a Blackhawks fan up in this house? Yeah, well … 1997 was the last year that the Blackhawks experienced consecutive playoff berths. So, that’s two playoff appearances for Chicago in the past 11 years. Look at the Blackhawks Goals Against, and you’ll see that they’re ready to go deeper into the playoffs than they’ve been in quite a while. Their last series win was a sweep of Calgary in 1996. In 1995, Chicago was in the CF against Detroit in a very “spirited,” but nonetheless losing effort. Vancouver vs. Chicago would be another compelling matchup.

Okay, back to your regularly scheduled chummed up, Shark-feeding frenzy. By the way, the Sharks haven’t been playing their best hockey lately. This might be the best time to be facing them.

Dixie (rstroz's secretary)

February 20th, 2009
11:57 pm

Excuse me Mr. Stroz, You have an urgent email. Will you please check in with the office at your earliest convenience.

Tony C.

February 21st, 2009
5:32 pm

>>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<PLEASE put up a new blog RAWHIDE!!! Buzzilla was ” 1st! ” on this blog. You know what happens when he’s ” 1st! ” (on this blog-no known effects on Knobes’ blog)!!!! Also, might just be able to see yall @ TJ’s.

Tony C.

February 21st, 2009
5:48 pm

OOOH. I meant to say “Please launch a new blog just in case Buzzilla’s jinx is still in effect”

Thrashy Thrashy

February 21st, 2009
6:30 pm

No shame in this loss today. For a team as crappy as the Thrashers, taking five points on a four-game West Coast trip is something you’d expect from an Eastern Conference playoff team. At least they showed some guts. That has been sorely lacking, but we’ll see more of that the rest of the way. Guys want to keep their jobs or showcase themselves, including the young guys looking to establish themselves.

Brendan

February 21st, 2009
6:57 pm

2-1-1 on the road trip is far better than I expected. Atlanta kept San Jose scoreless through 2 periods. They came into the 3rd staring squarely at one-point in the standings. That’s impressive, given this roster.

Now, obviously, San Jose held a strategy session during the 2nd period intermission. They waltzed out the door and popped into two quick ones to give themselves the win. Little and Bogosian continue to impress. And really, that’s the whole point of this season. Valabik seems off-balance during his fight. Kovalchuk had some good looks, including a great chance right at the end of the game, on a nice feed from Bogosian.

My “man crush,” Dan Boyle, had an assist. That’s 14 goals, 29 helpers, for 43-points, in 52 games, for Dan Boyle. And oh yes, he’s +15 on the year, including 7 PPG’s. How “lucky” is San Jose, huh?

Stop for a minute. Boston “insists” on trading Joe Thornton, and they ship him to SJ. The Tampa Bay Lightning “insist” on trading Dan Boyle, and they choose to move him to San Jose. When no one would Jeremy Roenick, San Jose got him on a “sweetheart” contract.

Why can’t WEEEEE, the Atlanta Thrashers, be the beneficiaries of such good fortune?

stendec

February 21st, 2009
7:32 pm

Well Kari Letemin sucked big time. Again! Worthless son of a betch! A trio of marshallow goals a high school hockey netminder could have stopped. So much for the damn successful road trip. Untalented oxygen waste Finn bestard! Ilya Kovalchuk still could not hit the damn ice on a faceoff drop. Uncaring piece of commode scum! Oh well. Back to the cellar. Where all of these gutless quitters belong! Enjoy another loss apologists. Tell me once more how wonderful these ball-less eunichs are! Completeless useless. Exile to Hamilton cannot come soon enough!

Thrashy Thrashy

February 21st, 2009
7:35 pm

Headline of the AP recap of the Thrashers/Sharks game:

“Thrashers let late lead slip vs. Sharks”

Nope. Never led that one, AP.

Alan

February 21st, 2009
10:00 pm

Pretty good showing for these kids. I didn’t think they’d win a game on their west coast swing, and they instead managed to pull in five out of eight points.

They shouldn’t feel too bad. The Sharks, after all, haven’t lost double digit games yet this season. They’re going to be one team to definitely watch come playoff time.