Thrashers Have Come A Long Way, Baby!

Last February 21st, a group of us gathered at TJs and watched as the Atlanta Thrashers dropped a 3-1 decision to the San Jose Sharks. Not too many of us were that upset about the loss seeing as it was the last game of a 4-game west coast road trip, the team played well against the mighty Sharks…the score was 0-0 after two…and the Thrashers ended up the roadie 2-1-1.

However, it was still a loss and it dropped Atlanta’s record to 21-33-6 for only 48 points after 60 games played. To place that into some perspective, after 60 games last year Atlanta was 29-27-4 for 62 points, (it was right after that thrilling 10-round shootout win in New Jeresey).

So, as you can see…that’s was a -14 in regards to total points after the same amount of games.

Brett Sterling Scores The Game-Winning Shootout Goal On Patrick Lalime

Brett Sterling Scores The Game-Winning Shootout Goal On Patrick Lalime (AP Photo)

Last night, I…along with about 26 or so other rabid Thrashers fans…made our way over to Tim Ecclestone’s place once again and watched as the Thrashers won a thrilling 4-3 shootout win. Atlanta overcame a 3-1 deficit with a pair of goals in the last six and a half minutes in that game…Todd White tying it up with but 3 and half seconds in regulation. Brett Sterling, just called up from Chicago to replace Kovy, then scored the only goal in the shootout to give Atlanta the win and deny Buffalo of a much-needed second point.

The win was Atlanta’s fifth in a row, sixth in their last seven and seventh in their last nine. It also eneded a perfect 3-0-0 road trip in which they won the last two without the services of their captain, Ilya Kovalchuk.

Are these the aliens…or are these really our Thrashers?

The victory also improved their record to 28-35-6 for 62 points after 69 games played. Compare that to last season when, after the same amount of games played, they were 30-32-7 for 67 points. That means the Atlanta Thrashers have gone from a -14 in the comparison of this season to last…to only a -5 in just nine games. In fact, 62 points in 69 games is a pace that would net them 74 points. While that’s not a points total to brag about…it sure beats the heck out of the 62 they were on pace for just two months ago. And, if they continue to play at the level they have over the past several week, it is entirely possible that they could finish with more points than the 76 they had last season.

Lottery ping-pong balls be damned!

Once again, the Thrashers helped make the road to the postseason just a little bit rougher for an opponent. Buffalo is currently just on the outside looking in regarding the playoffs, just a couple points shy of Florida and the Ranger who occupy the eighth and ninth spot in the conference standings. Like Edmonton on Thursday and Montreal the Friday before that, they were desperately in need of a two-point outing…but came up with less.

HA-ha! Good!

Monday night the Washington Capitals will pay Philips Arena a visit and, even though the Southeast Division title is all but a lock, they are currently battling New Jersey for the second seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. This is very important given that the second place team is guaranteed home-ice advantage in at least the first two rounds of the playoffs. Tuesday night, they travel to Pittsburgh to play a Penguins team that is playing very well of late…7-1-2 in their last ten…but currently are only two points above the playoff cut-off line. Then, Friday night…the Big, Red Borg rumble into town and those Red Wings are looking to tie down the top playoff spot in the Western Conference having recently overtaken San Jose. Next week, Montreal and the Rangers will be in the Thrashers crosshairs. The last week and a half of the season will bring Buffalo to Blueland and there will be a pair of games left with Florida and the Caps.

So, as you can see, there are still plenty of chances for the Thrashers to make life hell on others. And in doing so, they are making life better for themselves. They certainly have come a long way in turning what was an absolutely abysmal season into one that shows great promise for the future.

100 comments Add your comment

R. Stroz

March 15th, 2009
12:08 am

Am I seeing this right? I just arrived home from the Billy Joel/Elton John concert to find out the Thrashers beat Buffalo without Kovy, Charmin tied the game with 3.5 seconds left on the clock, and Sterling, who was just called up, won the game in the shootout.

LMAO at all Buffablow fans.

The friggin game isn’t being replayed on SportsSouth: CRAP!

ben

March 15th, 2009
12:53 am

stendec

March 15th, 2009
12:56 am

This was the Falcon rally past the Bears all over again! A game the Thrashers had no business winning. BUT THEY WON! A 3-1 deficit with (realistically) 20 minutes remaining. Several weeks ago the final would have been 4-1 or worse! What happened down stretch? An unlikely shorthanded goal makes it 3-2. A frantic push in goal ties things up with three full seconds plus a few microseconds left. The goaltender who allowed three questionable tallies a period earlier becomes a mixture of Patrick Roy and Bernie Parent! He virtually WILLS pucks out of the net. That same netminder is untouchable in overtime and during the shootout. He turns aside shot after shot until his guys put one between the pipes. BRAVO! I gave up on Falcons against Bears. I gave up on Thrashers against Sabres. Glad I was way off base in both instances! Man, does it feel super good right now. Any outside chance the streak CAN continue? Sure would be nice! Good morning all. Now everyone can get some shuteye!

Brendan

March 15th, 2009
1:05 am

A franchise record is available … for the establishing. I’m sure Brett Sterling is very excited about being called up today, then winning the game.

Hockeyfan

March 15th, 2009
6:45 am

Nice to meet you last night. How quiet was the slug fan when the Thrash tied it at 3.5 seconds?

Smitty

March 15th, 2009
7:40 am

Young defense is only going to get better. Mistakes will happen especially if the pairings change. I thought Salmela looked pretty good. Carried the puck in deep several times. Looks like an Anderson type of defenseman. Would like to see him on power play. As for the TC elbow to Slater, Slater has to come in with his hands higher. Slater was intiating the contact and TC got his elbow up to protect himself and Slater ran right into it. Hate to see anyone get hurt but you have to learn to protect yourself. Penalty, yes. deserving of a fine, no.

N/A

March 15th, 2009
8:53 am

That was an awesome game! This week is going to be tough for them but hopefully pride is more powerful than playoff points. I’m going to the Detroit game on Friday with my family and my dad’s a HUGE Redwings fan so all this week my mom and I have been teasing with the possibility that his beloved Redwings might loose to Atlanta! Go Thrashers!

10 yr plan

March 15th, 2009
8:57 am

Rawhide, great to see you and the crew last night. What a game! It’s been since the Tkachuk era that I’ve seen the team play with a passion/grit that’s been missing over the last year and a half. Now we can all hold our breath for Kovy to sign July 1st. At least the team is giving him a reason to stay.

Injun Joe

March 15th, 2009
9:54 am

Boy, talk about a rollercoaster of emotions during the game. After 1, Thrashers up 1-0. Defense playing great and O-ffense just clicking fantastic. Then after 2, Thrashers down 3-1. I think earlier in the season it ends with that score. Not tonight! Nobody gives up in the third! The defense holds strong, Kari becomes a brick wall (and was most of the night) and the team starts picking through a tough opponent that had the momentum just minutes before. They score bringing it to a 1 point difference.
Anderson pulls Kari with a minute or so left. Correct me if i’m wrong but I dont think Buffalo gets the puck past center ice for the rest of the game. Nobody gives up, and with a mere 3.5 seconds, White ties the game. The aliens have landed, and Im ok with them being here. A great game and a great team victory. I dont think anybody saw this happening just a few weeks ago.
Rawhide, it was great to be there last night watching the game with so many Thrashers fans. I had a great time meeting so many people, like Hockey Biltong and the lovely Mrs H! Looking forward the the possiblity of going agian.

Glovesave29

March 15th, 2009
11:03 am

Sorry I couldn’t make it last night…had a game of my own. Saw the post game show on the NHL network…damn, missed a great one!

Who’d have ever thought that Todd White would be on the cusp of the top 30 scorers in the league?

What I wouldn’t give to see boys go 10-3 down the stretch and pull to .500!

smoothie

March 15th, 2009
11:08 am

Im not sure u can fault Kari for any of those goals. Perhaps he could have gotten the 3rd one if he had read the play a bit better. But Hainsey and Boris effed him on those 2nd two. Kari was spectacular all nite and particularly in the 3rd and OT. He even channeled Moose and the ghost of Hasek on the breakaway, perhaps the most amazing save of his short career. He was indeed a brick wall in the shootout.

Glovesave29

March 15th, 2009
11:47 am

Smoothie – doesn’t matter if Kari faced a 4-0 and got beaten by the eighth rebound…stendec would still blame him for the goal.

Rawhide

March 15th, 2009
12:56 pm

Wow! What a great time last night…great game & great gathering at TJs. Thanks Mark for being such a great host and by best to all the ladies that provided the wonderful service!

Now, a quick look at the standings reveal some very encouraging things. Here are the way things stack up at the bottom of the league:

25th place: OTT 66 pts. 68 games played, 6-3-1 last ten
26th place: COL 63 pts. 69 games played, 3-7-0 last ten
27th place: ATL 62 pts. 69 games played, 7-3-0 last ten
28th place: PHX 62 pts. 69 games played, 2-7-1 last ten
29th place: TBL 60 pts. 69 games played, 4-4-2 last ten
30th place: NYI 54 pts. 69 games played, 5-3-2 last ten

Atlanta is now tied with Phoenix for 27th after being second to last for weeks. Keep in mind the Cototes would hold a tie-breaker with us given their 4-3 SO win last month. Finishing in 25th means we aren’t a lottery team, (that equals a measure of success not thought possible a few short weeks ago).

We play Ottawa on the 28th…seven games from now. The quest for no ping-pong balls continues!

goose

March 15th, 2009
2:00 pm

I’ve been in Panama for the past ten days and what a great surprise to come back to five games straight and two of them shutouts. Hopefully we will never wake up from this amazing dream.

Thrashy Thrashy

March 15th, 2009
2:01 pm

The Thrashers have 126 points from defensemen this year.

Blueliners accounted for 91 all of last season.

I guess that’s reason for optimism, huh?

Thrashy Thrashy

March 15th, 2009
2:03 pm

Make that 116. I counted Oystrick twice.

Anyway, that’s still a nice upgrade over last season.

Tim

March 15th, 2009
2:13 pm

Rawhide, yoi are right. Because Coyottes beat us in S/O they would win the tie-breaker. Hence they would finish above us in terms of tie not below us like in ur table :P

five_hole

March 15th, 2009
2:50 pm

Would have loved to have been at TJ’s last night; maybe next time. That was a very exciting game. Nice to see the team step up without relying on Kovalchuk to do the scoring. Maybe this will teach some (Enstrom, White, are you listening) to shoot more.
Conrary to Smitty I was watching for Salmela but thought he played a mostly invisible game until the last part of the 3rd period. Maybe he got his confidence up, maybe he figured out his system, whatever, until that point, he was Claude Reins on the ice.

HookyBob

March 15th, 2009
3:03 pm

Deja vu, all over again (thanks Yogi). It is good to be a Thrashers fan,… again. What a game last night,..as it was Thur in Edmonton (glad I stayed up for it),..as it was Tues in Denver (again glad I stayed up),.., as it was Sunday at the Phillips (glad I was there, as it wasn’t on TV) ,…as it was …..well you get the point.

I still have to question where we would be today if Anderson had been named coach shortly after Hartley was “let go.” Would our record since Feb 1st of this season have been moved back,… to be our record since Oct-08? Bygones (credit Brendan).

As for last night’s game 3 things stand out: 1)Kari in the shootout… stoning Roy,…Stafford,…Connelly, and Vanek (repeat & Vanek). He stood all of 6′4″,… and pulled out the game,… by not blinking,..(also liked his stick work on break aways) 2)Ansi Salmella,..lots of attack..(but maybe weak on D,..I still hope that miss on pinching was a rare occurance.). Really think his puck handling, he’s hard to knock off the puck, could create a lot of good scoring chances. 3) Todd White (often accused of being soft),..has scored a couple of big goals lately by going right through heavy flak to the net. Smoothie noted this in an earlier blog,…I’m in lockstep with Smoothie.

Some other thoughts. As much as I like him,..Boris, at -3, had another bad game last night. Maybe “Rocky” (aka Rocky Mountain,..credit Rawhide)should not have sat. None-the-less, I think our D has come together (Bogo is a stud,…and a very, very young one, of yeah!). The D coming together may be is the biggest factor in this win steak. I hope Jimmy S is OK,..as much as he hits, he didn’t deserve that high elbow. Peverly,..is almost as good as Datsuk once he gets the puck. I really like his work behind the net (and I’m not overlooking his defense). He has filled several gaps in this team.

Finally, I thought Perin had a good presence in the game. My thoughts on his earlier comments are that he stated a fact without being disparaging of the Thrashers. To their (Thrashers) credit, they (probably tried to trade him and found no interest) put him on waivers before the trade deadline. Effectively this gave any team with interest in him a free chance to get Perrin. No interest, so Eric is back with the Thrashers, knowing: 1)Thrashers mgmt gave him what he asked for, and no one was interested,..and 2)If he wants to stay in the NHL the Thrashers are his only option. You can count me as one of Eric Perrins’s fans.

Wish I could have met you folks at TJs last night,…but it is a long drive (w/o a designatd driver) afterwards.

Go Blue.

Dwayne

March 15th, 2009
3:09 pm

10-3 finish, plus the 5 they already got. it was at 18 games left that the question was asked, What will the Thrashers record be? Anyone say 15 – 3?

ranallo10 (in AT)

March 15th, 2009
3:13 pm

Usually it’s a good thing when a defender goes unnoticed…typically shows he’s not being in any situation he shouldn’t be (i.e. out of position). In the third I heard him mentioned several times, and I believe he hit the post in OT (at least that’s what Kamal said).

Brendan

March 15th, 2009
3:35 pm

I didn’t think Hainsey and Valabik, especially, had their best games, last night. But, all’s well that ends well. Wins make amends for everything, seemingly.

I’d like to call the ‘time of death’ of the Buffalo Sabres playoff hopes. Premature? Sure. You bet. But conceptually, you’re at home, at HSBC Arena, playing the then 28th place team in the league, needing only to kill off 3.5 seconds to gain 2-points on the Rangers, and 1-point on Carolina, Florida, and Pittsburgh. And they couldn’t do, despite once owning a 3-1 lead, after 2 periods. And the Thrashers were ENTIRELY WITHOUT Ilya Kovalchuk.

You know I pull for the smaller market teams in today’s NHL, but … Buffalo did this to themselves. They have no one else to blame. A month ago, Phoenix was the #5 seed in the West. Today, they’re #15. Accountability. No look, I’m hardly saying the Coyotes and Sabres are about to fire Gretzky and Lindy Ruff, but it must be noted that they their teams in playoff position 4-5 weeks ago.

Hanson Brothers

March 15th, 2009
4:00 pm

Another positive stat. Kari’s GAA is under 3.00 at 2.99 for the first time this season. While that is still an ungood number, it has to give him confidence not to have a 3 in front of the decimal points. To quote a famous author it is going “in the right direction.”

JLH

March 15th, 2009
4:17 pm

Hooky,

I think Valabik might have been the victim of being on the ice with Hainsey a couple of times last night, like Brendan is implying. I like Hainsey’s game generally, but he is starting to accumulate a number of unforced errors as the season progresses. I’m not sure what it is. At times he appears a little lazy/slow to react to or with the puck, either tired or just not thinking, especially behind the net. I hope it is something that a little more coaching and film can correct. I also wonder how he is dealing mentally with being replaced on the power play by Toby in the last month?

Sage of Bluesland

March 15th, 2009
4:39 pm

Are things looking up, finally, in that figurative joke otherwise known as “Blueland”?

Is our second attempt at building from scratch actually yielding results and a positive direction?

I cannot believe the team I am watching–and no longer think it is simply the opponent completely overlooking us combined with us lulling them to sleep.

Unbelievable.

R. Stroz

March 15th, 2009
5:36 pm

Sage – You may have to drop the s fairly soon. It’s nice to see the kids come together as a team.

HookyBob

March 15th, 2009
6:49 pm

JLH,

Agreed, especially on that 3rd goal. Hainsey seemed to whiff on passing the bisket behind the net.

I like Boris, but feel he is a bit picked on by the refs. Whether justified or not, it hurts.

I am also a “Rocky” fan. :) Question becomes “Who sits” on D.

Billy Joel/Elton John

March 15th, 2009
10:01 pm

Wow, we didnt’t know hockey fans go to our concerts…

Hockey Biltong

March 15th, 2009
10:02 pm

short flight to TJs. Watch ‘em win in fine fashion.. and a short flight back to the city..no de-icing was needed….

Bob

March 16th, 2009
8:06 am

Salmela looked ok, pretty raw but he had good skills, I like what I saw out of him.

Look at what Lehtonen can do when properly motivated to keep his head in the game, give him another one year contract and keep the heat on him, he plays better when focused (I guess on money?).

The XM guys were talking recently about how late season surges don’t carry over to the next year, I agree, but I also think Rawhide may be onto something here about the improved play out of the core young guys leading Kovy to consider signing an extension.

I like Bogosian, a lot.

Rawhide

March 16th, 2009
8:28 am

Bob – I heard the XM guys chatting about that too the other day. For the most part, I agree with their poiont. However, I think the Thrashers’ situation is a bit different. Surges usually don’t carry over due to so many roster changes that take place during the summer…whatever chemistry was found in March/April then has to be re-found.

But looking at the current roster, I think that the lineup we see playing now, (of course with Kovy and Slater included)…outside of Eric Perrin, this is pretty much what we are going to be looking at to start next season.

So…all of this could very well carry over to next fall.

Plus, as you pointed out, I think it does nothing but help our chances at re-signing Kovy this summer.

Paminski

March 16th, 2009
8:36 am

Forget the Thrashers as aliens. I think an alien may have taken over Stendec. And Sage of Bluesland must publish under another name when they have nothing bad to say.

Lew 318

March 16th, 2009
8:56 am

I too left the Elton John Billy Joel concert and saw the score on the MARTA TV Screens. It is so good to see this team start to come together; albeit a bit late, but better late than ever.Maybe Anderson’s systems are starting to sink in and maybe we are now starting to get some right bounces. Either way I am going to enjoy the rest of this season and watch the off season very carefully.

As I sat through the “SOLD OUT” concert I couldn’t help but think how good it would be to have a sell-out for our guys.

GO THRASH BEAT WASHINGTON!!!!!

Nikita

March 16th, 2009
9:28 am

As to late-season surges…I don’t think that holds in this case. The recent surge is due to the team learning the system and shedding players who haven’t done so. That won’t change going forward — if anything, Anderson is likely to shed more marginal players and bring in more young players who already know and get the system.

Of course, all the teams have a lot of work to do over the end of this season, the draft, trades, etc. — and any work the Thrashers do only matters in comparison to others. But what I suspect is that we’ll see next year’s Thrashers look a lot like this year’s with a few key tradeups. Meanwhile, I don’t see any teams that are poised to make big changes, other than some of the losers — the Avs and Islanders, the Wild. None of those are big threats to us. So I think next year will be a better one.

As to particular Thrashers:

I’m super fond of Eric Perrin, and I’m enjoying his current play. I think he’s NHL material, in general, and I wish him luck over the summer.

I continue to think that Valabik is not quite league caliber. Hopefully he matures over the summer. Likewise, I’m not sure about Oystrick. And I have never and probably will never think Exelby is NHL material, but he seems to have naked photos of Don Waddell or something and I’d bet he’ll ultimately retire from this club. I’m also not thrilled with Hainsey’s consistency. So, while last year D was supposedly our top priority, I continue to think it should be our top priority in trades and training going forward. We also continue to need a little more weight and speed in the forward positions.

Alan

March 16th, 2009
9:35 am

As per Blueland Blog’s twitter, Spencer Machacek filling in for Slater tonight. He will be on the third line, while Perrin is centering the fourth.

Looks like those of us attending the game tonight is going to get a real treat. Hopefully this amounts to a win. Unfortunately, it looks like Kovalchuk is going to be out again.

Spud Webb

March 16th, 2009
9:59 am

Love it. I’m sure all of you who have followed the Thrashers know this. The Thrashers vs Sabres over the last 3 to 4 years have been some of the BEST games I see each year. WIDE open and for some reason no matter how bad either team may be, these games are awesome. As a slug fan, I miss that point, but realistically something is missing with the Sabres this year and after 60 games or so of watching, I cannot figure out what it is???
Thrashers, I LOVE it and just am amazed at how hard they are playing. I’ve never been prouder of them!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Missed TJ’s Saturday, but Rawhide, I’m thinking an end of they year “get together” somewhere????

Rawhide

March 16th, 2009
10:07 am

Spudster – I was discussing the next possible “Thrashers Viewing” at TJs over this past weekend. We were thinking of either Friday night April 3 when the Thrashers play in Florida or Sunday Afternoon April 5 in DC.

Are there any opinions/comments from everyone regarding those dates?

Smoothie

March 16th, 2009
10:45 am

Just to build on the thread about how late season surges don’t necessarily carry over into the following year, I have compiled some interesting stats in the A.P. era of Thrashers hockey (After Peverley). Anyone who follows this team closely has noticed a markedly different level of play since Rich “the Pevs Dispenser” Peverley has been inserted into the line-up. Also, with his addition to the top 2 lines, it has stabilized the bottom 2 lines giving Anderson consistency across the board.

Since Pever was acquired the Thrashers have played a total of 26 games so these numbers constitute a pretty good sample size (32% of a season). In that time the Thrashers have played 12 home games and 14 on the road including two proverbial “west coast swings” where success has been notoriously difficult to come by in Thrashers lore. To wit:

Thrashers overall record: 14 — 11 — 1
Goals Scored in that time: 82 (3.15)
Goals Allowed in that time: 75 (2.89)

For comparison’s sake, here are the same numbers for the Thrashers first 26 games of the season:

Thrashers overall record: 9 — 14 — 3
Goals Scored in that time: 75 (2.89)
Goals Allowed in that time: 93 (3.58)

Just to take this a step further to illustrate how well this team has gelled since Pevs has become a fixture in the lineup (notice how much more defensively responsible we’ve been since 2/1):

Record since February 1st: 11 — 6 — 1
Goals Scored since Feb 1st: 58 (3.22)
Goals Allowed since Feb 1st: 51 (2.83)

Also since Feb. 1st, this team has done the following:

** Won 5 of 7 games on back to back long road trips in which 6 of 7 games have been played west of the state of Texas.

** Beaten several teams either in the Top 8 of their respective conference or just outside the Top 8 vying for playoffs including NYR, AHM, LA, CAR, MTL, CGY, EDM & BUF…that’s 8 of their 11 wins since 2/1!

** Gone 7 – 2 – 1 in their last TEN ROAD GAMES; gone 4 – 1 – 0 in their last 5 home games where they have struggled most of the year.

While stats don’t always tell the whole story, I think you can see that the addition of Pever on the top 2 lines and the health of Bogosian combined with the departure of Schneider (and thus increased minutes for Enstrom, XLB, Valabik and Oystrick) has really paid off. Perhaps this team, with a tweak here and there, really IS the team of the future, which may very well challenge for a low playoff seed next year??

Rawhide

March 16th, 2009
11:08 am

Smoothinator – Very well done. Those numbers do tell a great deal about just how much this team has improved in the 2nd half of the season. I think the day we snagged Peverley off the waiver wire is indeed the time we can point to regarding any turnaround in this season.

Also, to play off your timeline when The Peever arrived, at the same time one Mr. jason Williams was departing. Now…this is in NO WAY meant to say that he and he alone was the cause of the team’s problems. But it was interesting watching “On The Fly” last night and he was in their crosshairs.

In the Columbus game vs. Detroit, they highlighted him as the cause of 2 Red Wings goals. One from a poor pass in the CBJs attacking end that led to a Detroit breakaway goal. The second was when he failed to backcheck properly leading to yet another.

Then there is the move that sent Christensen to Anaheim on trade-deadline day.

Defensively, there is the subtraction of Schneider and Havelid.

Again, not pinning blame on either Scheids, Havs, Crusher or Williams for the early-season woes. But, what are out numbers without them?

Uh-huh…see what I mean?

Alan

March 16th, 2009
11:16 am

Don’t forget, the day after we claimed Peverley is when Kovalchuk was named team captain. I’m sure that also has something to do with our improvement.

If what we’re seeing now transitions to next season, we should be playoff bound, sneaking in at 7th or 8th seed. Though, I must say, I’m not expecting it.

Jason

March 16th, 2009
11:26 am

Did you guys hear what Larry Murphy on NHL on the Fly had to say about our recent win streak and success? Host Brian Duff gave us a suprised complement, saying maybe things were starting to come together with the team and young guys finally, while previewing the Caps game tonight as one to watch. He asked Murphy if he agreed. He said to host Brian Duff that basically the only reason we’re winning is that the pressure is off us, we still a bad team, and not to fool yourself, this team is still in real trouble.

Murphy always dogs this team, and while he may be correct at times, I get the feeling the only Thrasher’s games he has watched this year is the one we played his Red Wings and the highlights on tv. He just says it so smug with his tool-looking colored hair. Maybe we still stink, but my wife and I have watched about every game this year. At the very least, this team looks much improved since around the time Peverley came on board. Maybe the pressure is off, but I can identify many positives heading into next season. Although, I still would love to see them with a top two pick when it’s over in a few weeks.

I’ll be at the game tonight cheering the Kovy-less guys on. Hopefully, we’ll somehow see a franchise record win streak recorded.

Smoothie

March 16th, 2009
11:30 am

Very interesting Rawhide about Willy plaguing the Columbus D…go figure. He wasn’t exactly defensively sound when he played here with Kovy and gang. I think his depature was DEFINITELY addition by subtraction. Same thing with Schneidy although we must give him credit for his mentoring of young Bogosian. We just seem like a more fluid team without MS and our PP is better with Bogey & Enstrom logging more minutes there.

Also, I goofed up on the GF / GA in the 26 games since we acquired Peverley. I forgot to add in the Ottawa game that we lost 3 – 2. So we have scored 82 (3.15) and given up 75, not 72, for an avg of 2.89.

But man, when you consider we were giving up an average of 3.65 goals / game in the first 43 games (14 – 24 – 5 / 33 pts) and now we are only giving up 2.9 over our last 26, you can easily see why we have earned almost as many points (29) over the last 26 as we did in the first 43.

And we haven’t had to sacrifice offense in doing so. In fact, we were only scoring at a clip of 2.84 (122 goals) over the first 43. Since Peverley came aboard, we’ve scored 82 goals (minus shootout goals) in just 26 games. Let’s hope we can beat those caps 3.2 to 2.8!!

Nikita

March 16th, 2009
11:34 am

Come on, Alan. Dream a little.

Rawhide, either date looks fine to me.

Re: the changes, Anderson/Waddell did more or less what we all came to a consensus about having done. We knew Schneider was a placeholder, but the other subtractions were glaringly obvious. IMO, Anderson know what he wants and the team will only get better as Waddell makes it happen staffwise. Hopefully that means that in the offseason we see major improvement from our younger and less seasoned D, we shed a few more older and/or not entirely with the system players, and we continue to build a youth movement.

As to who we sent off: Havelid wasn’t the future and never entirely transitioned to the JA system. Christensen wasn’t mentally steady and suffered from injuries, while Williams was lazy and flukey. Schneider wasn’t consistent and was only a temporary fill-in, anyway.

I’d like to see an established and impressive player on D as our top summer priority. I’d also like to see a solid RW or C.

Alan

March 16th, 2009
11:44 am

There’s a difference between dreaming and reality.

In dreamland, Atlanta is the cup champions. This year.

In reality. we’re good for somewhere between 7th and 10th in the conference next season — assuming we keep all the players we currently have. Factoring in FAs could make the team better (4th? 5th?) or worse (12th? lottery??). It’s a crap shoot, and I’m not going to get ahead of myself until I see what our offseason looks like.

Meanwhile, all I can say is “go Thrashers” and hope for a win tonight.

Glovesave29

March 16th, 2009
11:52 am

Getting Peverly – important

Naming Kovy Captain – important

Jettison of Williams – important

The return of Bogsian – MOST IMPORTANT. We had a major problem with the team, they could not transition from defense to offense. We were a linear team, just moving straight up the ice and eventually trying a dump-and-chase (which doesn’t work to well with a smaller team). We would skate right into the teeth of the defense and forget about any cycling to open up the ice. Eric moves laterally better than any other d-man we have, and he is more creative in his breakouts. He has brought back the creativity to Toby too. Kari gets to see the puck better and face more long range shots instead of the 8 footers that find the corner that no one can stop. Bogo’s a stud. Nice to finally have one on the back line.

Smoothie

March 16th, 2009
11:53 am

More on Peverley…can’t help myself as I have a man-crush on Rich.

In his 26 games as a Thrasher he has done the following:

** Scored 10 goals

** Dispensed 14 assists

** Netted a +10 (E the first 12 games)

** Averaged 19:30 of ice time

First 12 games, he had 3 goals (including the GW against TOR in OT) and 10 assists playing mostly with Kovy and Little. Over the last 14 games however on the 2nd line, he has 7 goals and only 4 assists, but is a +10 playing mostly with Slava and Army. However, there have been times when he’s earned a + by playing SH minutes with either Reasoner, Whitey or even Kovy at the end of a game. Very interesting stats.

I’d say he’s our 2nd line RW of the future since Whitey is probably more of a 2nd line C who specializes on the PK and PP. Get that top line C for Kovy and Little and look the hell out!

Kovy — F/A or trade — Litts (not many availble but how ’bout Franzen?)

Kozzy — White — Pevs

Stuart — Marty — Army (what a shutdown line this could be!!)

Boults — Slater — Crabb / Thor / Machacek

Bogey & Enstrom-boli

Hainsey & XLB

Salmella & Nikulin (a guy can dream right?) or Valabik

Oyster…personally I think this guy is a very adequate 3rd line guy
Kulda

Rawhide

March 16th, 2009
12:03 pm

Smoothie – That does it… I’m going to instruct Trixie to limit your coffee intake to 7 or less per day!

Alan – Yeah…go on a dream a little. See, all the Thrashers have to do is win all of the remaining games left on the schedule…finish with 88 points…then have one of the following happen: Flyers get only 3 or less points the rest of the way, Pittsburgh only get no more than 5 more the rest of the way, Montreal or NYR only get 7 or less more, or Carolina only get 8 or less….then, Florida, Buffalo, Toronto and Ottawa continue on their pace to finish out of the post-season and…POOF…we are in!

Then…once there, we become the 2006 Edmonton Oilers…only we win that one more game in the Stanley Cup Finals and…BADDA-BOOM-BADDA-BING! There ya go!

looking around at the blog-room at everyone looking at me in disbelief

OK…maybe I’ll have Trixie limit MY cafine intake!

Smoothie

March 16th, 2009
12:09 pm

Yeah, I’m on a bit of a roll today, but it isn’t so much caffeine as it is boredom at work. I’ve been compiling some of these stats for a while now, but the 5 game winning streak has given me even better “support” documentation for my argument that Peverley has helped to change the chemistry of this team for the better and hopefully for ever more!

Does anyone think we have a shot at signing Franzen? I think he plays RW and C so he might be a nice fit in the middle between Kovy and Litts. Personally I really like Kovy — Pevs — Litts, but I doubt Franzen would even give Waddell the time of day unless he’s promised a chance to play with Kovalchuk. Although Kozzy — White — Franzen looks pretty good on paper too!

Russian

March 16th, 2009
12:21 pm

**to Smoothie**
I am thinking a same way.
First line keep as: Kovy – Pever -Little
Second line will be nice as: Slava – White – Franzen nice or SOMEBODY who can put 30-40 goals to the net.
We need second line winger.

Spud Webb

March 16th, 2009
12:31 pm

Smoothie & GloveSave, excellent posts and points.
Transation is spot on Glove.
Jason, Larry Murphy is a complete tool. When he is on “on the fly” I MUTE. NOT kidding!!!!!
Another note, the team just simply plays with more heart. I’m not sure what the corelation (spelling?) is. The vets are gone??? Coaching??? Not sure, interesting for sure. Certainly if Williams was dogging it wouldn’t someone (bolts??) say something? Who knows, I love it though.