Archive for March, 2009

Thrashers March Into April’s Final Six

March was a very good month for the Atlanta Thrashers…I’m almost sad to see it go. As you know, the team went a very impressive 9-4-0 in the thirteen games played and have given some hope to us fans for what could be come this fall. Here are some other stats that stand out from this past month.

Of the nine wins, five of them game against teams that currently hold…or held at the time played…playoff positions, (Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton, Washington and the New York Rangers).

The Thrashers scored 49 goals in the thirteen games. While three of those were “gimmick” goals created by shootout wins, still…that’s a goals per game of 3.77 for the month. I’ll take that anytime, anyway it can be had. The O-fensive production from the month has risen Atlanta’s overall G/G stat to 3.03, which is the ninth highest in the league. If maintained, it would be the team’s second best showing ever in that category. In 2005-06, the Thrashers scored goals on the average of 3.37 per game.

Atlanta …

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Blueland Is Funland Once Again

So, tell me the truth…just how much fun is to to be a Thrashers fan right now? Yeah, yeah…I know…no playoffs yet again. But the way this team has been playing over the past several weeks has brought an electric feeling back into Blueland that just hasn’t been around for many, many moons. It’s as if the hockey gods have decided to smile upon us once again.

It’s about time too…I’ve sent enough cases of Labatts and Molsons up to their Mountain-top Canadian palace as offers of appeasment! I was beginning to think they were being conviscated going through customs.

Marty Reasoner And The Thrashers Have Turn Blueland Into A Fun Place To Be Again (AP Photo)

Marty Reasoner And The Thrashers Have Turn Blueland Into A Fun Place To Be Again (AP Photo)

Assuming this fine play continues through the remainder of the last six games of this campaign, (and there is no real reason to believe it won’t), this will be the first time in five years that I have felt good about the team at the conclusion of the season.

This time last year the end of the season came almost as a relief, a …

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Give My Regards To Broadway

There is no way the Thrashers shoulda won this game. Nope…no way. They were down 4-1 with 22:01 remaining in the game…it seemed like they had spent just about the entire night with players in the penalty box… actually it was 10:38 of the game down a man, sometimes two…Kari Lehtonen had left the game due to an “upper body injury” just before the first intermission.

All that should have spelled disaster for the Thrashers, especially given the amount of time they spent in the box seeing as they came into the game with an NHL-low 75.2% penalty kill “efficiency”. But on this night, the Blue Shirt team that skated away with a pair of points was the one with the little brown bird on the front as once again they finished off another dramatic come-from-behind thriller.

How many does that make this season? Let’s see…there was the Islander game back in November, the one against Vancouver just after New Years, then again when Toronto was in town two weeks later, Carolina last month, …

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Loss To Habs Makes It Official

And…that’s it. It is finished. It’s official. The Atlanta Thrashers have been officially and mathematically eliminated from the playoffs this season. Thanks to the 6-3 loss in Montreal, Atlanta can now finish no higher than 82 points in the standings, which would be one less than the Habs have now, and they hold the eighth playoff position at this time.

As the Thrashers skated off the ice I could have sworn that I heard the slow, soft, melodic sound of taps being played somewhere in the distance.

Much like last Friday’s 6-3 loss to Detroit, this was a close game deep into the second period…Joey Crabb tied the score at one during the first period. Kovy tied it again early in the second after Glen Metropolit…remember him?… had put the Canadians up 2-1 just 32 seconds after the first intermission. So for a while, it looked like Atlanta was going to have a chance to slip another one into the win column.

How-EV-errrRRRrrrRRRRrrr…..

Zach Bogosian takes a hooking call at 8:20 of the …

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Surprise Performers Of The Year

This 2008-09 Thrashers season is entering into it’s closing act with but nine more games remaining on the schedule. Although our team won’t be playing any after our allotted 82 match-ups, there has been a sense of hope and promise that has crept into the mindset of Thrashers fans given their play of late. We can cite the performances of several players that have made an impact lately, specifically team captain Ilya Kovalchuk. But Kovy’s performance comes as no surprise as he’s one of the NHL’s premiere players.

However, there were three players that started off the season with certain questions surrounding them and one that joined halfway through the campaign that had fans questioning just who he was at the time. However, these four player’s performances have contributed mightily in this new sense of optimism… albeit guarded optimism… as we look forward to next fall and I would like to present them as my “2008-09 Surprise Performers of the Year”.

As you read, I invite you to …

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Back On The Winning Track

The Thrashers recovered very well from Friday night’s 6-3 loss to the Red Wings by heading south and scoring a 4-3 shootout win in Tampa. The victory ensures that Atlanta will have it’s second winning month of the season seeing that they are now 7-3-0 in March with only three games remaining. Last month they were 6-5-1.

Atlanta got a nice jump out the gates against the Bolts, taking a 2-0 lead into the first intermission after outshooting Tampa 19-7 in the first. Slava Kozlov and Todd White each scored in that opening frame while Ilya Kovalchuk powered home a shot in the second after Tampa had tied it on a pair from Steven Stamkos. White’s and Kovy’s goals were while the Thrashers were on the power play.

Kozlov then scored the only goal in the shootout. He’s taken seven shootout attempts this season, missing only one…up in Buffalo last weekend.

Kozzy assisted on White’s goal, giving him 40 power play points on the season and that is tops in the NHL for that stat…one more than …

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Thrashers Fail Against Big Red Borg

There haven’t been too many times lately tha the Thrashers have just…well…stunk on ice. But Friday night’s 6-3 loss to The Big Red Borg could definately be classified as just that. Detroit just outplayed Atlanta…controlling the puck, taking advantage of the opportunities they created and just worked harder than the Thrashers.

Some of the low-lights include, but are not limited to…Henrik Zetterberg’s four-assist night…Marian Hossa’s 1-goal, 3-point night…six Wings goals by six different scorers…Detroit out-faceoffing Atlanta 44-26…ugh, I can’t go on anymore!

Nope, just not a lot of good things coming out of this game. However, some of the highlights did include Bryan Little continuing ability to score goals…#31 on the season. Plus, there was Slava Kozlov’s 1 goal, 2 point night. And who could forget the hit by Marty reasoner that de-helmeted Tomas Kopecky in the first. OW-ich!

All that, plus I did get to meet Paminski…that was good.

Kari Lehtonen had a less-than-stellar …

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Credit Where Kari Is Due

Back around the mid-point of the season, I gave Kari Lehtonen a failing grade on the Thrashers’ mid-season report card. At the time he was 5-11-2 with a .900 SV% and 3.41 GAA with one shutout on the season. He was also coming off of an injury that kept him on the shelf for 21 games.

A lot of you thought I was being quite harsh on him with my grade. However, I was judging him not only on the numbers but the overall performance of the job. Kari was not brought here to be a backup…or even to simply compete for the top job. He was selected with the second overall pick in 2002 to be “The Man” between the pipes.

That sorta job you either pass or fail in most cases.

Also, the reason for the “F” was because I felt if he was indeed playing for his future with the Thrashers…given last summer’s one-year contract…those numbers and yet another injury wasn’t going to get it done for him. He was failing in proving once and for all that the #1 job in the ATL would continue to be his.

So, I …

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Thrashers, Bogey Take Hit In Pittsburgh

Atlanta’s 6-game winning streak came to an ugly end in Pittsburgh as the Thrashers lost 6-2 to the Penguins. It was the first time since losing 5-1 to New Jersey back on February 6 that Atlanta simply had it’s butt handed to them on a platter. As for the game itself, the Thrashers just got beat by a very hot Penguin’s team that outplayed them. Period.

With the loss, the Thrashers will finish the season Oh-fer-Pennsylvania…having dropped all four games played against Philadelphia as well as the four versus Pittsburgh.

However, the loss…or losses… that concerns me most is that of star rookie defender Zach Bogosian, who left the game shortly after the Penguins’ Matt Cooke went knee-first into Bogey, and Boris Valabik who left holding his left shoulder after a multi-player scrum behind Pittsburgh’s net. The official team report on Zach is that he suffered a “lower body injury”. Like you, I can only hope that these minor and…in Bogey’s case… isn’t a re-aggravation of the broken …

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I Guess God Didn’t Get The Memo, Alex

I won’t lie. I wanted to score the 50th goal at home. But apparently, God wanted me to score it in the game against Atlanta” – Alex Ovechkin.

And somewhere in the heavens, when informed of Alex’s declaration, the Lord God exclaimed, “Oh no he did NOT just say that”!

Um…sorry there Alex, my boy. But it looks as though The Great Thunder-Maker In The Sky didn’t get the memo…didn’t he? Unless, of course, you meant the next game you’ll play in Atlanta three weeks from now!

Karis Impact In Goal Was Deep And Wide

Kari's Impact In Goal Was Deep And Wide (AP Photo)

Kari Lehtonen stopped 49 of the 50 shots that he faced in the Thrashers 5-1 smack-down of the Washington Capitals Monday night…a victory that was made all the much more sweet given that it was on national TV, being aired on the Versus Channel. Of course, you remember the last time the Thrashers were featured on Vs, don’t you? That was back on October 28th when the Flyers beat the pure holy stuffing out of us 7-0.

But these are not those Thrashers…not by a long …

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