Oh No Sweet Caroline…You May NOT Have Those Two Points!

It was one of those games where…for much of the game… the Thrashers just couldn’t seem to get it going.

The Carolina Hurricanes had blown into town with many fans in tow and took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission, outshooting the home team 12-6. I had asked Taylor-Bill what she thought the problem was and she surmised that the Thrashers’ passing was not what it should be. Very astute young lady.

During that break, as I was heading out to procure some popcorn and a soda for my youngest tax exemption, I ran into Jamey. He asked me if I thought the Thrashers had it in them to come back from the two-goal hole that they had dug for themselves after 20 minutes of play. I kinda shrugged my shoulders and told him I hoped they could do so…after all, just two nights prior they had done so in Washington before falling short later in the game. They erased a two-goal deficit in Phoenix to gain a point during their west coast road trip. Of course, who could forget the “Alien Abduction”, come-from-behind thriller last month against Toronto.

So…it isn’t like this team is without a history of making a game of it after falling behind…and Jamey was convinced they would.

Late in the second, it wasn’t looking too much better. The Thrashers still trailed by a deuce, were being outshot 23-16 and Cam Ward was turning away pucks with aggravating regularity.

It seemed we would getting nothing…and LIKE IT!

But Ilya Kovalchuk gave Atlanta hope on the 17th Thrashers shot of the game…bringing the score to within one with just 34 second remaining before the second intermission. However, Carolina got it right back on Anton Babchuk’s power play goal only 101 seconds into the third. 

Then, the clock went ticktickticktick…down to about halfway through that final period. As time wore on, The “Let’s Go Canes” chant began to get a little bit louder from the throng of Hurricane supporters that made their way down to Blueland. Carolina is battling Buffalo, Florida, Pittsburgh and the Rangers for playoff positions and the much-needed two points in the standing was all but in their hands…and the Caniacs could just taste ‘em!

But that’s when the Thrashers open a big ‘ol can of Southern Fried Whoop-Ass on the Canes…scoring four times in less than 101 minutes on their final seven shots of the game …silencing the Hurricane faithful and sending them away from Blueland with nothing to show for their time here but very fond memories. In the standings, they got zilch!

See ya…buh-bye! Have a nice trip home…hope you enjoyed your stay, drive safely and thank you for patronizing our hotels and restaurants! You may have those coveted two points sometime later…but you cannot have them now. Not here… not tonight at least!

Much like a mother who caught her sweet little daughter in the forbidden cookie jar…snatching away the object of her with an, “Oh no you don’t Sweet Caroline…you may NOT have these”, then swatting her little bum and sender her up to her room…the Thrashers snatch back the two points and sent the vocal Caniacs home with…NOTHING!

Rich Peverley netted a pair during the Thrashers’ O-fensive explosion, including the game-winner with but a buck-twenty eight left in the game. Todd White had tied the game 4 minutes and 35 seconds earlier and Kovy sealed the deal withan empty-netter with less than three seconds remaining.

Kaptain Kovy factored in on all five Thrashers goals. He had two goals and also assisted on the other three. Since being named team captain during the Thrashers Casino Night, he’s netted a whopping 18 goals and 10 points. Those 28 points in 20 games is a pace that would earn him 115 points over an 82 game schedule.

Lead on Captain…lead on.

The victory gave the Thrashers  a winning record in the month of February, their only one all season so far. Atlanta went 6-5-1 in the 12 games played in the month.

Leave It To Peever

Rich Peverley played a big role in Atlanta’s come-from-behind win Saturday night…actually, make that, a HUGE role! He had two goals on five shots and finish +2 during his 17:07 TOI. As a Thrasher, Peeves has 8 goals, 13 assists and is a +7 in 20 games played. Stretched out over an 82 game season, that would be something like 32 goals and 85 points and a +28. Not bad, eh?

The Thrashers are 9-10-1 since snatching him off the waiver wire…they were 14-12-5 prior to his acquisition. He’s signed through next season, but maybe…just maybe…do ya think the Thrashers should work on extending that contract this summer? I do.

After Peverley’s game-winner, Jackie Blue looked over to me and said …actually, she had to yell becuae the crowd was going nuts…that she believes the Peever is the Thrashers’ MVP this season. I said, “Whoa…hang on a sec there Jackie, that’s quite a declaration for a player that has been with the team for only 20 of the 63 games played”.

Personally, I still think that honor… if voted upon today… would be Ilya Kovalchuck. But to her point, take a look at the stats I cited for Kovy earlier in this post and the one’s I just cited for Peverley. What’s the common factor in the two?

Uh-huh…the “20 games” part. The incredible run that the team captain is currently on coincides directly with the addition of the Peever in the lineup.

Cooincidence? I think not.

So, if #47 isn’t the MVP this season, he sure has had a big role in helping the player who, in my opinion, is the MVP. Actually, make that a HUGE role.

Hurricane Fans Blow Into Town…But They Don’t Suck

As I indicated above, there was a very impressive showing of Caniacs in Blueland Saturday. Those that made the jouney down here seemed to have had a good time…despite the outcome. While I was visiting at the Nasty Nest’s tailgate party that was held down in the gulch some even showed up and partook of the festivities.

Why, one even approached and embraced me once inside of Philips. He’d obviously been visiting the local taverns…a lot! And while that was nice, it made be feel…you know…funny. And not funny -”Ha-ha”.

Now, seeing how I took liberties with them regarding the way the game turned out…truth be told, these are pretty much a fantastic group of hockey fans. Like I said, they apparently had a great time and were able to root for their team without being obnoxious and in-your-face about it. “Mostley Classy” kinda crowd.

As far as visiting fans go…this bunch is not so bad. I mean, hey…I’ll take these guys over Philly or Buffalo fans any day of the week.

But, there is one Hurricane fan in particular that I want to give a shout-out to. Nine year old Thomas came into Blueland…face painted red and black, sporting a nifty light-up Canes cap…and cheered all night for his team. If the outcome was determined solely by his efforts, then it might have been a different outcome.

Well done, Thomas.

21 comments Add your comment

Hockey Biltong

March 1st, 2009
10:03 am

The Thrash prevailed in the third period as is most often the case. Pevs is the player model that should be followed for next year acquisitions. Balancing our attack, taking the load off of Kovy, so he can score even more….plus some fast moving beef on “D”.
The crowd was as loud as 11592 can be! I hope the team hears us and understands the dilema some fans are in[Should I stay or should I go...]

Hotrod

March 1st, 2009
10:04 am

That was just a great win. All the players are saying the right things in the post game interviews. Kovalchuks leadership quality’s are really shinning. He is without a doubt the right captain.

I guess my rest of the season goal is to finish in front of Tampa Bay.

Hockey Biltong

March 1st, 2009
10:05 am

DWTOO,
I have got to steer you to some incredible hand crafted American Micro-Brews. Coast to coast there some good beers out there.Allagash, Rougue and Avery to name a few.

Sara

March 1st, 2009
10:08 am

Several comments – last night’s game was great – at least the last 10 minutes of it. Nice to see “Blueland” (how I hate that compaign) come alive (helps when there’s a reason).

The Canes fans are by and large a great group. There’s a rapport between them and us – they are very hospitable when we travel up to Raleigh as well. And while good natured ribbing among rival fans is to be expected, there was a particular Thrasher fan who went WAY too far last night. Had to be the most inappropriate thing I’ve ever seen at a hockey game (or maybe anywhere) and I hope he gets a lifetime ban to Philips.

I want to make a couple of comments about Rawhide’s last blog (which was most excellent sir). No matter how I feel about issues like ownership or management, everyone is entitled to their opinion and their expression thereof in the bounds of good taste. Spirit’s attempt to silence the masses is beyond pathetic and like a despot ruler of old, it seems not to occur to them to perhaps correct the bad behaviour that has drawn ire. Makes you want to be even more vocal about the whole thing and get more creative and loud in one’s personal protest.

Problem for them though is that they cannot stop folks from simply talking. I had some choice words in the restroom last night about the sinks that did not work and our owners who are too cheap to fix them – which was resoundingly echoed by other ladies also attempting to use the faulty facilities. Bottomline is people are mad as heck and really frustrated and it’s eventually going to come to a boiling point whether Spirit likes it or not.

As to the continued assertion that the owners are deliberately trying to devalue the teams ahead of the buyout…folks this is as flat out false as a thing could be. I had a hunch on all this and called a friend of my boss who is also a CPA and who’s practice specializes in business valuation. The valuation used for the buyout, whenever that may come to pass, will be based on the value of the teams at the time the decision was made to part ways. Certainly that’s the most logical solution – Belkin should not have to take a (greater?) loss because the other seven guys are super idiots nor would he be entitled to a greater gain if the teams had increased in value during a time when he was not a participant in the business. So Spirit accomplishes nothing by devaluing the teams because it won’t help them in this matter.

The issue, as it has always been, is that these guys simply cannot afford to pay for two franchises + an arena. Belkin is a 30% owner – which means he was personallly responsible for 30% of the funding of this enterprise and his 30% stopped coming a long time ago. That’s why everything has gone downhill since then – the Thrashers payroll, the repair and upkeep of the arena, etc etc. Obviously the remaining active owners can do nothing while the court case remains unsettled – they can’t sell, they can’t bring in another partner. But eventually they are going to have to, and devaluing the teams is going to make that a very tough sell for them either way. Who’s going to put money into a venture that has been so poorly mismanaged for years and lost money hand over fist? Who’s going to pay top dollar to buy a franchise in such disarray?

These guys have managed to defy all the business logic in the world over the past several years, at the expense of our hockey franchise and the fans. I want these guys out more than ever. As much as I know so many want Waddell fired, the problem is so much bigger than the GM position. These guys HAVE to be forced out. The more vocal unrest we can muster, the better. Ultimately it’s going to take getting Gary Bettman’s attention (sad as that might be) to likely affect real change here – Gary’s a tenacious pit bull (sans lipstick) when it comes to keeping his expansion franchises going in their intended markets. He’s fought for Nashville and for Pheonix – he needs to come fight for Atlanta next. Hockey can survive and thrive here – but not with these morons at the helm.

jason

March 1st, 2009
10:43 am

I don’t think the building has been louder this season than when we scored the 3rd and 4th goals to take the lead.

And now, all “17,000″ fans that were in the building are going to remember what an awesome time they had and are going to be a lot more willing to come back. See, it’s winning (or at the very least entertaining) hockey that puts butts every 16″, not Chick-fil-A family packs or parachute drops for the lower bowl or tremendously deep discounts on tickets.

I’d like to give a shout-out of my own to the two idiots on the front row of 318 who spent most of the game throwing stuff down from the upper bowl to people in the lower bowl. An usher (in 318! actually an usher!) came down and brought them up to the top and asked them to stop. No, they didn’t get thrown out. Yes, they got to keep their seats. I’m sure they really learned their lesson with that stern talking to.

It’s still nice to know that you’ll get ordered not to touch the glass if you sit on the front row, but feel free to throw stuff at people in the lower bowl – no real repercussions at all!

Rightshot

March 1st, 2009
11:04 am

Rawhide, I suggest we all get ready/organized for the town hall meeting by coming up with some questions to ask whoever is brave enough to actually attend. (I’m assuming they will be escorted with bodyguards too.) I am thinking something like “Mr. Belkin, The fans of Blueland are obviously upset about how things have been managed, especially recently, and have voiced a request for change. Given the pending lawsuit, can you, if you feel the need, make changes in players and/or management if you deemed it neccessary?”

I would love to hear other suggestions. I would think, given the recent crackdown on Freedom of Speech in the arena, questions should be of an indirect quality, as I have attempted to show above.

Jimbo

March 1st, 2009
11:41 am

What great excitement in the building last 10 minutes. Let’s hope that this late season “semi-rebirth” continues. At least, it does provide a glimmer of hope for next year. If we can play with most clubs with the current mediocre cast, a few additions/deletions next year and some hustle could get us back into the mainstream of the NHL. Peever is a good addition and so is Stuart. That guy can fly and is a hustler. Also gotta keep Reasoner. Fun to be there last night. Let’s hope for more of the same with our so-called new focus on defense. Way to go Thrash and new unies. Scrap the Blueland stuff as “bad karma”.

DWTOO

March 1st, 2009
12:10 pm

Thanks for the beer tips Hockey Biltong. Will have to check them out.

Rawhide – Thanks for stopping by the Nest tailgate. Don’t blame you passing on the chili and pigs in the balnket for a steak dinner with your “tax deduction”. Hoe you enjoyed. Next time bring a flask and some mixer along and have a cocktail with the group. You’re getting to become well known amongst the crowd.

The Caniacs that stopped by were all gracious before and after. Think they cleaned us up at Flip Cup tho. We’re really getting into a friendly rivalry with them. We both cheer for our team but know how to act respectfully with each other. The only thing wrong was they didn’t bring any barbeque this time.

Next we’ll have to try civility with the Buffalo fans. Nah, not worth the effort.

Great game – the team displayed the kind of effort that makes fans want to return.

“Leave it to Peaver”? Do you stay up nights thinking of these?

Rawhide

March 1st, 2009
12:25 pm

DWTOO – I had a blast there. Thanks to all the Nesters for being such great hosts to those events! I met a lot of the them yesterday, Sisu and all…and I normally like to acknowledge everyone I meet… but just couldn’t fit them all in the post there.

But I enjoyed meeting them all.

“Leave It To Peever”…didn’t have to stay up long for that…it popped into my mind after his 2nd goal. I even kicked around the idea of making it today’s title.

Oh…and in the words of Peewee Herman…”IT’S SNOWING”!!!!

sisu

March 1st, 2009
2:49 pm

Great win, helps build confidence in the team:) What a blast hanging out with all the new friends from Carolina…everyone had a great time.

My feeling is to keep the team as is unless someone is willing to over pay greatly for any of our players.

sisu

March 1st, 2009
2:57 pm

another thing I was surprised to see was Jokinen playing for the Canes, wonder why Atlanta was not interested in picking him up?

LAC

March 1st, 2009
3:23 pm

Glad to see the WINNING month ! Iwent for thefirst time this season with friends from Brevard,N.C. and KC,Mo. They had agood time and the crowd was nice to be a part of.

If only the Thrashers would play a game in KC,my friend said… Well
that was a thought provoking idea… But it is LA/NYI there next season in preseason…

Good Game Good Month,are we moving forward yet don ?

Jason

March 1st, 2009
4:33 pm

Based on Rawhide’s topic from his last blog, did anyone partake in, or see any fans protesting at the game last night…..i.e. “fire ASG/Waddell” chants, signs, bags on ye heads? Just curious…….It was a great comeback win with a good crowd. Glad to see that at least.

Tony C.

March 1st, 2009
7:02 pm

We stopped chanting “fire-waddel” at about 12:30 of the 3rd.

Hard to cheer the boys on and be negative.

Fantastic finish-I hope we can con Marty to re-sign in summer if we deal him (and we should deal him).

EA

March 1st, 2009
7:08 pm

Last night was really fun. I had not been to a game in several weeks. Initially, I felt great just being able to attend a game. Then the reality of the Thrashers losing set in. The come back was so unexpected as well as exciting. It is so bittersweet because all one thinks about is how great it could be if the owners cared about this team at all. As far as I could see, there were no signs or bags. We deserve so much more. Kovy (after receiving 1st star) graciously thanked the fans and stated that he wants the fans to be proud of the team.

Deke-Opotamus

March 1st, 2009
8:11 pm

Nice recap Rawhide! Thanks for the shout-out to 9 year old Canes fan Thomas…made his day.

Rawhide

March 1st, 2009
8:52 pm

Deke-Opotamus: I’m happy to hear that. It was a pleasure to have met you both last night.

LAC

March 1st, 2009
9:45 pm

Gee kobler says waddell want no players in their LATE THIRTIES…
Hummm, Reasoner,Perrin and so on !

He wants small waiver wire players because his owners want nothing to do with this team.

Just stinks every season knowing you will be OUT of the playoff hunt by Halloween !

boristhafinkasauras

March 2nd, 2009
8:25 am

“perhaps” the team should think about extending the center’s contract? Perhaps? Are you kidding me? If you do not lock down Pevs and Little long term after seeing what they can do this season we do not deserve a team. Period.

Brendan

March 2nd, 2009
11:58 am

The Atlanta Thrashers organization runs its player contracts like children whacking blindly at a pinata. Except that, the pinata party is better planned. And is more DELIBERATE.

The following RFA’s are eligible for PROACTIVE contracts on July 1, 2009. How many of them will actually get them … sound like the topic of another AJC Blog contest! Here are the names: Bryan Little, Ondrej Pavelec, Brett Sterling, and Chad Denny.

The pending RFA’s are: Colby Armstrong, Jim Slater, Erik Christensen, Joey Crabb, Chris Thorburn, Boris Valabik, Nathan Oystrick and Kari Lehtonen.

The pending UFA’s, assuming they survive the March 4th trade deadline, are: Marty Reasoner, Eric Perrin, Mike Hoffman, and Nic Havelid.

And, in case you’re real, really curious. These are the UFA’s that are eligible for a PROACTIVE contract on July 1, 2009: Ilya Kovalchuk, Slava Kozlov, Eric Boulton, Colin Stuart, Garnet Exelby, Johan Hedberg and Rich Peverley.

Let the contest guesses, begin! Please specify who you think will get re-signed and, for tie-breaker purposes, how many years and the “cap hit” for the contract. This ought to be fun!

Alan

March 2nd, 2009
12:37 pm

I received an email today with the subject line “What goals would motivate you?” My first thought was exciting goals! Goals by Kovalchuk and Ovechkin and Malkin!

…Then I realized the email was more political in nature.

My heart sank.