Loss To Sharks Fin-ishes Road Trip

Raise your hand if you thought Atlanta was going to bring back with them five points out of a possible eight from last week’s four-game west coast swing. Uh, huh…not too many of you.

Dispite the 3-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks…the best team in the Western Conference…Atlanta returns home after one of their most successful road trips in quite a while.

As for the game in San Jose itself… really, I didn’t think the team played that poorly. Consider that the Sharks are 40-8-9 overall and 26-2-3 at home and we were knotted at 0-0 going into the third with them…not a bad showing. Granted, I don’t do moral victories here, but I do look for effort…and I saw that Saturday as I did for the entire trip.

Now the Boys of Blueland return back to the friendly confines of Philips Arena for a game Tuesday night with the Colorado Avalanche.

Or are they so “friendly”? Well, not as much as the road has been for the Thrashers.

After going 2-1-1 on this road trip, the Thrasher are 12-16-4 on the road this season. True, that’s a losing record…but that’s not exactly embarrassing either. Look where that stacks up against the rest of the the Eastern Conference team’s away records and compare it to the overal record of 21-33-6 for 48 points after 60 games, which is the second worst in the NHL.

Atlantic

  1. New Jersey: 19-9-2= 40 pnts.
  2. Philly: 14-9-6= 34 pnts.
  3. Pittsburgh: 13-13-4= 30 pnts.
  4. NY Rangers: 13-14-3= 29 pnts.
  5. NY Islanders: 6-22-2= 14 pnts.

Northeast

  1. Boston: 21-7-4= 46 pnts.
  2. Buffalo: 14-12-4= 32 pnts.
  3. Montreal: 13-16-3= 29 pnts.
  4. Toronto: 11-15-4= 25 pnts.
  5. Ottawa: 10-17-4= 24 pnts.

Southeast

  1. Carolina: 15-12-4= 34
  2. Washington: 14-12-4= 32 pnts.
  3. Florida: 13-13-3= 29 pnts.
  4. Atlanta: 12-16-4= 28 pnts.
  5. Tampa Bay: 9-16-4= 22 pnts.

Four teams have fewer road points than do the Thrashers.

Also, the Thrashers have procured more road points so far this year than eight Western Conference teams have. Dallas has 27 points away from home,…Nashville and Columbus have 26… L.A. has 25… St. Louis, Phoenix and Colorado have 23…Minnesota has 22.

Consider all 30 teams together…and the Thrashers have the 18th highest points total in the league.

That’s not too bad of an achievement on the road for Atlanta…not great, mind you…but certainly not too shabby.

However, all that now leads to…the record at home. The abysmal record at home, that is.

At 9-17-2 after 28 games played, their 20 points earned is by far the lowest on home ice. The teams one rung up the ladder tied for 29th place, Tampa Bay and Toronto, have a total of 28 points gained in their home barns. Tampa has done so in 30 home dates, Toronto in 29. In fact, the worst team in the league… the New York Islanders… have a fairly respectable 12-13-4 record on Long Island this year. Out west, there are no teams with sub-.500 home records at this time. The Kings have the poorest such home production at 13-13-8.

Look at it like this, the five points that Atlanta brings home off last week’s roadie in just four games equates to 25% of the entire 20 points earned at home all season long. It also almost matched the whopping 6 points that the Thrashers have gotten in the past 12 games played in Philips Arena dating back to the 6-2 loss to Toronto on December 22.

That’s six home points in two months…five away points in a week.

Wazzup-wid-dat?

Thanks Tim

I enjoyed Saturday’s game at TJs off Holcomb Bridge Road…Tim Ecclestone’s place. Ecclestone, as you know, played for our old Atlanta Flames between 1974 -’78. I had the pleasure of meeting him and his son Mark…as well as a few of the fine young ladies that help make the place rock! It was an honor to have had the chance to chat hockey with Tim and he could not have been a more gracious host.

I was joined by glovesave29, Five_Hole and the lovely Mrs. Five_Hole, DWTOO and the charming Mrs. DWTOO, RStroz and the darling Mrs. RStroz as well as Heat Miser and the enchanting Gretchelby.

Whew…thank God more wives didn’t show up…I was running out of complemetary adjectives.

Anyway…if you haven’t been to TJs, it’s a great place to watch a Thrashers game, have a drink or bite to eat. Then again, it still is all of that even if you have been there.

We’re planning another such gathering there on March 14 when the Thrashers travel to Buffal-blow to take on the Flying Banana Peels. Mark your calendars and plan accordingly.

34 comments Add your comment

Buzzeng

February 22nd, 2009
10:38 am

I’ll admit – I predicted 0 points on the road trip. I’ve never been so happy to be so wrong! Go Thrashers!

B. Thenet

February 22nd, 2009
10:42 am

The home record is a very troubling problem.

I have a 13 game pack(All Star Plan), and unless I am mistaken they have managed to win 2 of the 9 or 10 games I have gone to this year…and one of those wins was on opening night.

It is going to be very difficult for the Thrashers to meet or exceed their ticket sales quotas for next year due to the putrid home performance this year.

Puckwench (aka Mrs. DWTOO)

February 22nd, 2009
10:44 am

Wow! You really did go home and do your homework, Rawhide! Great presentation of statistics. I, too, wonder what’s up with the dismal home ice win-loss record? If the Thrasher did as well at home as they have done on the road this season, who knows – could they have been in the mix for the playoffs?

Jimbo

February 22nd, 2009
11:00 am

The past few games the Thrash have pulled four and sometimes five guys into the neutral zone to make it tougher on the opposing team to get into the attack zone. Why in the world has it taken so long for the light to flash on that playing decent defense keeps you in the game? And, Lavallee and Stuart have been hitters have added a little grit to the team. Reasoner continues to hustle but Christensen cruises. Gotta split up Enstrm and Havelid. Other teams are muscling them behind the net and on the boards on the PP. I think that both could benefit with a stronger partner. Put Valabik with Enstrom and Oystrick with Havelid. Hainsey and Bogosian are a good combo. For a former D-man, it’s a mystery why Anderson’s system (whatever it is) didn’t have a stronger defense element to it.

Gretchelby

February 22nd, 2009
11:07 am

Loved Tim’s Place…and Tim was most gracious to us hockey fans. It was a fun night, and the Thrasher’s look good together on this trip. We are playing much better since XLB’s been back. Woo Hoo. Thanks Ice Man for the invite, and we will see you there on the 14th!
The “Enchanting” Gretchelby Hee hee!

GTthrashfan

February 22nd, 2009
11:36 am

I’m still dissapointed by the refs last night. On the Sharks 3rd goal it was obvious goaltender interference. Even though it was probably accidental since whoever was falling over, he still kept Kari from shifting left to right to attempt to stop the puck. At the least we should’ve had that goal waived off. Who didn’t want to see those 2 teams within one goal of each other all the way to the buzzer? Entertaining game until then…

Rawhide

February 22nd, 2009
12:14 pm

Puckwench:
Well, if they simply had as many points from their home games as they did away games…the Thrashers would have 56 points. That would place them in 11th pace in the conference, 10 behind 1oth place Pittsburgh and 12 out of the 8th and final playoff spot.

Gretchelby:
I look forward to it! Oh, and X does seem to be playing much better than prior to the injury.

Jimbo:
Good observation. It seems to be working too as the opposition is having to actually work there way into our zone. That, and they don’t seem to be taking up camp there for minutes at a time as well.

kracker

February 22nd, 2009
2:06 pm

The Thrash have a chance to improve their home vs road records over the next couple of weeks where we play 5 at home and 1 on the road.

One of the home games is next Saturday (the 28th) at 7PM vs the Canes. I’d like to invite all the readers here to come on down to the Gulch next to Philips before the game for some tailgateing fun. We owe them some payback for beating us on the monster road trip last month.

There’s lots of Thrash/hockey fanatics, loud music, ummm…beer and plenty of food to eat. Heat Miser is also a Grill Master cooking up something tasty. Lots of Thrashers’ attire, flags and signs are on display and games of ladder ball, corn hole and flip cup are seriously contested.

Come on down! Stay a while or just swing by on your way into Philips. From about 2PM until game time.

five_hole

February 22nd, 2009
3:10 pm

Rawhide, the wife and I both had a great time at T.J’s (apart from the losing thing). It was a pleasure to meet the other bloggers in person.

Brendan

February 22nd, 2009
3:21 pm

I commend Rawhide, as always, for continuing to tackle things like Thrasher stats and trends. I think I gave up tracking stats on this team after Thanksgiving.

The NY Islanders blanked the Devils, 4-0, last night. We’ve seen this from the Devils before. Remember when the Atlanta played their best game of the year, in a shutout of New Jersey? Anyone else notice that the NY Rangers have slipped all the way into 8th place? Pittsburgh lost, again, today. It was a 5-2 decision to the Capitals. Carolina is playing the 15th seeded Avalanche, out west. If Carolina loses that game, at home, they may turn into sellers at the trade deadline. The ‘Canes are losing, 1-0, as we speak, in the 1st period.

Florida is crusing right along. They’re looking like a playoff team, and playing like one. Although, there is still the Jay Bouwmeester matter for them to address, by the deadline.

Also, I saw Buffalo’s Ryan Miller, goaltender, go off the ice with some sort of leg, kneee or ankle injury. They say he’s out “indefinitely,” on “On the Fly.” Wonder where Buffalo will turn, to find a goaltender, if Miller cannot return? Of course, they just may go with Lalime (in the coconut). Relax, Kari won’t be traded to Buffalo. The Sabres seem to have a surplus of defensmen, now that their injured players are back. Buffalo still hasn’t unloaded Afinagenov yet.

Hockey Biltong

February 22nd, 2009
8:47 pm

OTP for Hockey and Booze??? Perhaps there is a charter I could grab from PDK.

Adam

February 23rd, 2009
10:59 am

As honest as it was you have to admit this just doesn’t sound to complementary “and the lovely Mrs. Five_Hole” ;)

Puckwench (aka Mrs. DWTOO)

February 23rd, 2009
11:12 am

Hahahaha, Biltong! Yes, OTP for hockey and booze. OTP-ers often come ITP for hockey and booze, so why not ITP-ers coming a little OTP to do the same? Contrary to popular belief, there are more hocky fans OTP than one thinks….

kracker

February 23rd, 2009
11:32 am

hahaha, I finally got it, duh… After I moved OTP 2 1/2 years ago, I pretty much only go ITP for hockey and the tailgates. I can’t think of any other reason to go ITP, except visiting someone.

Glovesave29

February 23rd, 2009
12:41 pm

Great meeting everyone and placing faces with the names. I think a good time was had by all, and some interesting info was dispensed by Tim. To think what we could have if what he told us would have happened here…sigh.

Sage…knew ya wouldn’t show. Cutting and pasting the same posting for the past 2+ years doesn’t work face-to-face, does it?

GaVaHokie posted a link on Knoblers blog that we are shopping Hainsey. Ha! The Canadian media is hysterical. Kovy’s an Oiler or Canadien, Lehtonen is a Flyer…or just read the Toronto papers and all of them are heading to the Leafs for a conditional 6th rounder in 2018.

The Rangers just fired Renney. Looks like the Thrashers North. Renney is a heckuva coach…Sather is the problem.

ThrasherFan

February 23rd, 2009
12:50 pm

We have a lousy home record because nobody shows up for the games. How hard is it to get pumped as a player when the crowd noise is akin to a scrimmage?

Been to many games this year and the lack of crowd and noise must hamper the home team. Opening night was loud and full – we scored 7 goals. I was at the Philly blowout and there was nobody there to even boo.

This town sucks.

Rawhide

February 23rd, 2009
1:11 pm

ThrasherFan – See…now that really is a “chicken or egg” scenario, isn’t it?

Is the team bad because there are 10,000 empty seats…or are there 10,000 empty seats because the team is bad?

Personally, I’m going with the latter.

Nix

February 23rd, 2009
1:21 pm

I’m planning on heading over to the Ice Forum to watch the team practice on Wednesday. Any helpful hints for a newbie on what time I should be there (schedule says practice starts at 10:30 – should I be there early?) and what the protocol is for getting my jersey signed (I’m still missing a few)? Anyone else planning on being there on Wednesday?

Brendan

February 23rd, 2009
1:24 pm

Wow. Rangers fired Renney. I never really thought Renney was the problem. I think that’s a bit of an overreaction, to fire him. I wonder who will take over? Wouldn’t it be hilarious if it’s Bob Hartley? Renney defeated Hartley in the 2007 playoffs.

Michel Therrien is out of work. As is Barry Melrose. And a few others. The Thrashers are still paying Hartley his $1.2 million for this season, unless someone hires him. Hartley, you’ll recall, interviewed for the Islanders job during the offseason. He didn’t get the position, and instead had the FAR BETTER reality of spending this year with his family, on the Thrashers’ dime. I always thought Hartley would find a better situation than that of the Islanders. The Rangers gig wouldn’t be too much out of the way, by comparison to Long Island, and is an infinitely better assignment than being the Isles Head Coach.

I hope Hartley gets another shot, somewhere in the league.

ThrasherFan

February 23rd, 2009
2:02 pm

Rawhide,

I am totally with you in the fact that the team is bad, therefore there are empty seats. I can also go back to the playoff year and being approached to buy season tix for the following year at higher prices. I always stuck to the “I can get the cheaper” rationale and didn’t buy. Obviously, we know how last year went and the season tix boycott this year.

The point I was trying to make was that it’s very difficult to play to a quiet arena. I play a certain sport in town and when there are 10 fans on the sideline going crazy it makes me hustle just that little bit more. And when the opposition has 20 fans going crazy, it makes me hustle even more than that just to shut them up.

This is a tough sports town – if you win, you pack the place. If you lose, forget it.

DWTOO

February 23rd, 2009
2:51 pm

Nix – Be there on time. Practice start times are usually prompt. As for getting your jersey signed – just about all players are co-operative about signing (great thing about hockey players), what you want to do is position yourself at the rink exit towards the end of practice. Players will sign on their way to the locker room. Since school is in session you probably won’t have much competition. And it always helps to have your own Sharpie.

Alan

February 23rd, 2009
3:11 pm

Don’t look now, but the Rangers are interested in Torts.

http://tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=268369&lid=headline&lpos=topStory_nhl

(Say, Rawhide, when will we learn what all new snazzy posting features are in this new blog? Bolds, italics, posting links?)

Spud Webb

February 23rd, 2009
4:01 pm

Hey, Rawhide, the “buffalblow” comment, Unnecessary!!!!! We’re having a tough enough time up there with Miller out for a while!!
I will be there on the 14th, no punches though, I’ll have a Sabres jersey on!!!

Hip Czech

February 23rd, 2009
4:14 pm

This will make STENDEC a Flyers fan for sure…

“A trade rumor reported by the Burlington County Times says the Flyers are interested in Atlanta goalie Kari Lehtonen (11-18-3, 3.15 GAA, 36 percent), and the price tag could be prospect James vanRiemsdyk. Any fantasy owner of Lehtonen would be thrilled to see him land in Philadelphia, and here’s an odd stat reported by the paper: Lehtonen is 0-12 (NHL and AHL) in his career against Antero Niittymaki, the Flyers’ backup goalie and Finnish countryman. …”

Tony C.

February 23rd, 2009
4:20 pm

Billitong-

Yeah and the OTP bar stays open til 0400 just like ITP USED to.

Rawhide

February 23rd, 2009
4:31 pm

Spudster – You’re a brave, brave man!

I look forward to seeing ya out there, though.

five_hole

February 23rd, 2009
4:54 pm

Adam, I’m sure that Rawhide was being completely above-board and complimentary to my wife, and not taking aim at the wife. However, perhaps I should encourage her to get her own pseudonym for the blog. I know she reads them.

Glovesave29

February 23rd, 2009
5:57 pm

Nix – You can also wait out in the parking lot at the end of the fence that separates the Thrashers parking lot from the public one. Most players will stop and sign there too if you don’t get it inside.

Brendan – Renney got jobbed. Especially since he has shown the ability to take them to the playoffs when there were more talented teams out there. It’s the GM Sather. He loves to hold on to that “young genius” tag he got when he was coaching the Oil. We all know how difficult it must have been to eek out a winner when all you have on the bench is Gretzky, Messier, Anderson, Fuhr, Coffey, et al. He’s put a team together up there with absolutely no chemistry. And where were ya on Sunday…figured you’d be there for sure.

Nix

February 23rd, 2009
7:35 pm

Thanks, DWTOO and Glovesave29. One other question – how long do the practices generally last?

Glovesave29

February 23rd, 2009
8:59 pm

Usually about 90 minutes…a lot can depend on how they play Colorado the night before.

Alan

February 23rd, 2009
11:08 pm

JoyEl

February 24th, 2009
5:36 am

Great job on the blog Rawhide. It was nice meeting you guys at TJs Saturday. Any time you wanna come back, I promise to have as many games on as possible! And, like the spudster, I too will be at the Buffalo game in a Sabres jersey. Sorry. And Miller being out is gonna make our playoff push incredibly hard. I think we are calling Enroth from the Pirates up as our backup til Miller gets better.

So, I’ll make you some great cocktails any other game…and talk sharks and marine biology all night long! See you all again soon.

Rawhide

February 24th, 2009
8:51 am

JoyEl – The pleasure was all mine, I’m sure! OK…you’ll now be my official “favorite” Buffalo Sabres fan! (No offense, Spundster).

Enjoyed the chat with you about sharks … it was a very biting discussion.

:roll: (oh brother…sorry)

ThrasherFan

February 24th, 2009
2:16 pm

Thrashers center Todd White said the team notices when the arena is sold out and that the number of sellouts is down.

Maybe Todd White proved my point!