Still Too Many Goals Being Allowed

Not to dampen the enthusiasm that comes with the Thrashers returning home after a fairly successful road trip, but there is this little bug-a-boo regarding the amount of goals being allowed by the team. Despite the 2-1-1 record, the opposition still managed to score 16 goals in the four games. Last Sunday in Anaheim, the Thrasher allowed 4 goals on 35 shots. The next night in L.A. it was a whopping six goals on 45 shots. Thursday in Phoenix saw 3 goals scored by the Coyotes on 33 shots and Saturday in San Jose the Sharks were able to get 3 of their 31 shots into the net.

The games in Los Angeles and Phoenix went to shootouts, but that still is an average of 4 goals and 36 shots during the four-game roadie. Kari Lehtonen was in goal for all but the game against the L.A. Kings.

The Thrasher’s season GA/A is 3.50 going into Tuesday night’s game against Colorado, a stat that is better only than Toronto’s 3.53. Atlanta is allowing 32.9 shots on goal per night…28th in the league and their penalty kill “efficiency” is only 74.7…only Toronto’s 74.0 is worse.

In the past eight games, Atlanta has held the opposition to fewer than 3 goals only once… the 3-1 in Tampa.

Now, when the O-fense clicks and can net 4-6 goals, it’s easy to sweep the issue aside…be happy with the win and move along, right? Uh, not really… if it’s gonna take that many goals to win on a regular basis, you’re in a heap-o-trouble, (DUH5).

Coaching Carrousel Goes Round And Round

Tom Renney became the sixth NHL head coach to be given the boot this season. Monday the New York Rangers handed him his pink slip and replaced him with former Tampa Bay Lightning coach John Tortorella. Before being employed in Tampa, Tortorella was an assistant coach with…well, the Rangers. In fact, Torts went 10-4 as interim head coach for the Rangers during the end of the 1999-’00 season after the firing of John Muckler.

Also relived of his duties was assistant coach Perry Pearn.

New York is currently 31-23-7 and their 69 points place them in third place in the Atlantic Division, 10 points behind first place New Jersey, and sixth place in the Eastern Conference. However, they are also only 2 points away from falling out of a playoff birth and have been sliding of late…winning only twice in the past ten games.

69 points in late February and fighting for a playoff spot? Oh, if only the Thrashers had it so bad.

In an odd twist of fate, Tortorella will coach more games in the NHL this season than will Barry Melrose…the man who replaced him in Tampa to begin the season. The Rangers have 21 games left in the season while The Mullet lasted only 16 games behind the Lightning bench.

European Vacation Jinx?

With the firing of Tom Renney, all four head coaches that began this NHL campaign with their teams playing in Europe have failed to make it through the season. As mentioned above, Melrose was shown the door in Tampa on November 14…Craig Hartsburg was let go in Ottawa on February 1 after a 17-24-7 start…Michel Therrien was given the ax on February 15 after guiding the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Stanley Cup Finals just last spring…and now Renney’s release rounds out the four.

18 comments Add your comment

Mr. Heat Miser

February 23rd, 2009
11:35 pm

Havelid and Enstrom have got to quit allowing opposing forwards to skate up between the circles and to the crease. Seen it happen way too many times this season, especially on the PK.

Brendan

February 24th, 2009
1:30 am

Well, who are the four (4) coaches scheduled to compete in the European tour next year? And is there still time to get out of it?

I agree with Glovesave29, I don’t really think it was Tom Renney’s fault. But it’s easier to fire him, than to replace 4-8 players and reestablish chemistry on the Rangers bench, with just over 20 games left on the schedule. Hey, I’ve got to say it. I remember when the Rangers had an $88 million payroll … and MISSED THE PLAYOFFS year after year. It was the sort of thing that just boggled the mind. Gretzky retired in 1999. But the Rangers still had some big names from 1996 to 2004, when they missed the playoffs for seven straight years. Their greatest success with Gretzky was the 1997 Eastern Conference Finals, which they lost to Philadelphia, 4-1.

Glen Sather took over from Neil Smith as GM of the Rangers in 2000. Sather hired Ron Low as Head Coach, but dispatched him in 2001. Then Bryan Trottier and Sather shared Head Coaching duties for a while. Then Sather brought in Renney and they shared bench-boss duties. By 2004, the job was all Renney’s. And, let’s face it, Renney got results where the others had failed.

After that 1997 season, where the Broadway Blueshirts advanced to the CF, and finished with 86-points, they didn’t get back to 86 or better points until 2006, in the post-lockout (100-points). Admittedly, that was a rough playoffs for the Rangers. Number One, they lost to the Devils, one of their biggest rivals. Number Two, NJ outscored them 17-4. Ouch. That was even worse than the 17-6 drubbing that the Rangers put on Atlanta, in 2007. The Rangers had a “decent” series with Buffalo, but lost, 4-2, in the 2nd round in 2007. Last year, they defeated NJ, 4-1, but lost to the eventual Conference Champion, Pittsburgh, 4-1, in the 2nd round. Hardly “unforgiveable” results. Renney was 2-3 in 5 playoff series for New York. And chances are, the Rangers were/are still going to make the playoffs this year.

I think Renney will get another chance one day. It’ll be interesting to see what the Rangers do if Torts doesn’t get the Blueshirts into the playoffs this season. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Rangers acquire Mark Recchi from Tampa Bay for the stretch run. At Recchi’s pro-rated salary, he’d just fit under the Rangers’ cap.

Hip Czech

February 24th, 2009
7:51 am

From a couple different sources it seems the Thrashers might be going to fire sale mode this trading deadline. Yesterday there was a report about Lehtonen, today there is a report in the Calgary papers that the Thrashers are shopping both Havelid and Hainsey (I know, never trust Canadian sources).

If D-DUB does move those three I think we pretty much will hit rock bottom. Not that moving them is necessarily bad (IF the return is GOOD), but those moves would signal an admission of two things:

1) bad drafting in the case of Lehtonen
2) bad FA signings in the case of Hainsey

Let’s see, I think the job description for a GM probably includes such things as managing draft strategies and also responsibility for FA signings. In both cases, Mr. Waddell would seem to be lacking.

Though finally giving some youngsters a chance and recognizing a plan to be committed to playing the youngsters may be admirable, it is hardly where this franchise ought to be after 9+ years.

Glovesave29

February 24th, 2009
9:01 am

Sure Brendan…I agree. I just get peeved when these GM’s put together a mess of a team and back off and let the coach take the blame for the lack of success. Renney was a good coach and instantly improved the team upon his arrival. I did not think it was possible, but with the addition of Torts, I now have ANOTHER reason to despise the Rangers.

Spud Webb

February 24th, 2009
10:45 am

I’d love to have Renney here, any day. Hip, I personally dont think Hainsey was a bad signing. I just think it’s not enough!! Yes we overpaid, but lets face it, we had to.
If anyone wants to watch a h&ll of a game tonight, watch the Ducks at Buffalo. I’m working my second job tonight, so I WONT BE ABLE TO, ugh.
But the ducks took a LOT of liberties in Anahiem about a month ago and even the duck announcers were pointing out that Buffalo dressed a “big” lineup. There were 3 good fights and LOTS of great hits. Pronger wouldn’t drop the gloves with Guasted, but at one point there was almost a full 5 on 5. At the end of the second period, neither team would leave the ice. My point is, these two teams stick up for each other and won’t back down from anybody, no matter what the score or their records. I hope and wish one day the Thrashers do this!!!!!! Not necessarily fighting, but at least STICK up for each other.
I’ll be interested to see if the ducks have the same rocks on the road as they did at home. Look for Peters and Kaleta (especially) to run some folks tonight!!!
My brother in Philly heard the same trade rumors about Kari, he’s suprised that Philly was talking about the Van ryna guy & lupol or upshaw. He said he’d be shocked if it actually went down, he said along with all the folks around the Flyers orginazation. They don’t know if there is much difference between Biron, Nittamaki & kari.

Buzilla in CT

February 24th, 2009
10:53 am

Hip Czech

February 24th, 2009
12:07 pm

Spud, I agree on Hainsey, not a bad signing…I was trying to use Lehtonen as the poster boy for Waddell’s abysmal drafts, Hainsey was probably not a good one to try and point out his Free Agent foibles, but the fact that we are even thinking about moving him is not good.

Havelid makes sense to move…Lehtonen sort of makes sense (and the Flyers make sense as a destination, they need to shed salary to get Briere back and they can send Biron somewhere else), Hainsey not so much sense except maybe just as an economic casualty.

IF those three go, we are left with Kovalchuk as the only bona fide player from Waddell’s 10 years of drafting (Little is fast approaching bona fide though), with the only notable FA signings on this roster (forgive me if Kozlov was a FA signing, I don’t remember) being White and Reasoner.

Ouch.

Frosty the snowman

February 24th, 2009
12:54 pm

I am not impressed with Hainsey, he is a defensive liability. Not worth the contract he was given.

Alan

February 24th, 2009
1:00 pm

Hip: I would say that Klee would be a worse signing than Hainsey. Far worse. Hainsey at least has potential.

Kozlov was traded to Atlanta during the 2002 off-season (I’m assuming that trade was exclusive negotiating rights), and signed here about a month after free agency started. So I guess you could call it either way.

No matter how you slice and dice the facts, Waddell’s tenure here has been a complete failure. No need to name examples, because all you have to do is look at the team.

Alan

February 24th, 2009
1:47 pm

http://blogs.denverpost.com/avs/2009/02/24/its-a-circus-here-in-atlanta-ice-not-ready-yet/

“Hello from the ATL, where the Avalanche was supposed to go through its normal paces this morning with a skate-around at the Philips Arena. But there will be no morning skate today.

That’s because the ice is not fit for skating. Ther circus was in town recently, at Philips, and has rendered ice conditions unfit. Despite being told by Thrashers personnel that the ice would be ready by this morning, it was not.”

Pardon me, Adrian, but I do believe Don Waddell is still employed here. Therefore, it appears that the circus is still in town.

Glovesave29

February 24th, 2009
2:28 pm

Buzilla – Brian Posehn, damn funny guy, and after Tom Hanks and Joan Lunden, probably my alma mater’s most well known alumnus. Go Hornets!

Getting rid of Hainsey would be a terrible move. Sure, his play has slumped off of late, but we are NEVER going to have any continuity on the blue line if we sell off what we have every spring.

I would like to see Kari moved to Philly for one reason…so he can reach his potential. The trade for his sake…for with a decent defense in front of him, he will turn in the type of season we all know he is capable of.

ranallo10 (in AT)

February 24th, 2009
2:39 pm

[Irony?](http://tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=268465&lid=headline&lpos=secStory_nhl)

Hockey Biltong

February 24th, 2009
2:57 pm

Ok Puckwench and Kracker, maybe I will travel outside the donut for hockey amongst comrades. But Tony C., I will not be carousing until last call… The cab ride would be almost $80 bucks I’m sure. And Thrasher Fan, I’m curious, what sport do you play?? I, too, have always played to about 20 spectators when I used to play my favorite sport;Rugby.

Tony C.

February 24th, 2009
4:09 pm

Billitong: fair enough; I just mourn being able to go and do stuff in ATL when I get off work (work nights).

Shocker about the ice conditions huh? Yall know that Le Thrash passed on having the guys who do the outdoor ice for the Winter Classic be “our” ice guy right? ALAN is right; DW is still here, that means the circus is still in town (or at least the clowns are).

I don’t think Hainsey should be moved unless he is asking to be moved; as was pointed out, we need the continuity, and I think he’ll do fine with a more stable linemate/role.

Things I’d like to see from tonight’s game:

Enstrom shooting more (really, that’s all the time thing I’d like to see more of), as well as anybody not named Ilya shooting from the point. Neither Budaj or Raycroft have shown that they handle the longer-range shots well this year, and if we put a body in front, the chances (obviously) go up. Also, Raycroft’s glove isn’t nearly as fast as I remember it being in Boston-I’d have our guys go there until he proves otherwise.

#2: only one guy going in deep-it worked really well when we went to the 1-1-3 in Anaheim, and the Avalanche play a similar O-ffense.

#3: more physical play in front of OUR net. Both KL & Moose have shown that they’ll stop the puck if they can see it/get to it without carrying an opposing forward on their back.

#4: Christensen to stop sulking and continue to play the way we started to see in LA and PHX. That line of Christensen, Army & Reasoner looked really strong to me.

#5: Hainsey to start running the PP again. Slava does a great job, but it seemslike sometimes only he Little and #17 know what the plan is. Hainsey did a good job the first month & a half running it this season-why not let him run the #2 PP unit?

GO BLUE !!!

FIRE WADDELL

Rockem Sockem Thrasher

February 24th, 2009
5:12 pm

Just spotted this article in which Slava is mentioned as a player the Oilers might go after.

(Slava possible trade)[http://www.edmontonjournal.com/sports/hockey/edmonton-oilers/Oilers+nothing+trying+time+hire+rented/1323080/story.html]

Alan

February 24th, 2009
6:07 pm

Three little letters.

N. M. C.

Kozlov is going nowhere.

stendec

February 24th, 2009
8:37 pm

The Toiletlids gave son of a betch Finn Kari Letemin a 3-0 lead. Late whoopsy (monkey puck?) goal made it 3-1. That was followed by a second period marshmallow whiff (sun in his eyes?). Now a single goal lead. Doubt very seriously the team will be able to overcome the untalented piece of shet between the pipes. How many goals do they have to net for this worthless oxygen waste mother (X)? Damn! Now 4-2. Will it take another six or more goals to secure a rare as Yeti sighting home victory?

Glovesave29

February 24th, 2009
10:38 pm

I liked it better when you went away stendec. You are a broken record. You don’t like Kari…we get it already.

DVR WARNING!!!! DVR WARNING!!!! DVR WARNING!!!! Tomorrow morning at 9:10 AM the Starz Network’s Drama Channel (channel 345 on Dish Network) will be airing the original “Miracle on Ice” with Andrew Stevens as Mike Eruzione and Karl Malden as Coach Brooks. Its a bit cheesy, but all the on ice scenes are actual game play (not re-created like in “Miracle). I will definately record it, and I will try to get my high-tech brother to transfer it on to DVD if anyone is interested. Can’t promise it will be done, but we will give it a whirl.