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 bone that was suffered last October. I’m sure we’ll learn more about it later.
Was the hit against Bogosian inflicted by Cooke with the intent to injure? Well, you all can hack that out if you wish. As for me, it certainly looked that way. Now…I’m I viewing that through blue-tinted glasses? Am I just being sensitive to the fact that Bogey may have been seriously hurt again?
Or is it the history Atlanta has had regarding hits from the Pens of late?
Cases in point…
Shorty after the All-Star break last season, in a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Jarkku Ruutu took a run at the Thrashers’ Ilya Kovalchuk along the boards. Even though Ilya was able to duck out of the way to avoid the high elbow…Ruutu struck Kovy knee-to-knee. To me, and many others, the intent was to injure Atlanta’s star scorer…and it succeeded, putting Kovalchuk on the bench for a few games.
The NHL took no action against Ruutu.
Last December 18th, the Penguin’s Sidney Crosby was the third man into a fight involving Boris Valabik. While the Thrashers’ defender was bent over, being held by his Penguin combatant, Crosby took multiple swings at the back of his head and then his groin in less-than-classy display.
There was no disciplinary action taken against Crosby for either being the third man into a fight or the punches being thrown in such a manner. He is, after all, the league’s poster-child for post-lockout recovery….thus, the Chosen One is untouchable.
And while we’re on the subject of Crosby…you know, just once I’d like to see Cindy go to the box after being called for a minor penalty without cryin’ and slobberin’ like a spoiled rotted 5-year old girl who just got told that she wasn’t getting a pony for Christmas. Just once.
Valabik thought there was more to the hit on Bogosian than a simple tripping call. “I just don’t understand how that is tripping,” Valabik said. “He’s an 18-year-old future superstar, and if people are calling to protect superstars in this league, that was a knee in my book and anybody’s book. The question to me: Is that the same trip as if you trip somebody that slips on your stick”?
“Make your own opinion. I don’t know. I saw what happened just like you guys.”
Anyway…for some odd reason, when it comes to hits on Thrashers by Penguins, the league has a habit of simply looking the other way.
But, moving forward…regardless of whether or not you might feel the hit on Bogosian was nasty or not, the Thrashers’ locker room is starting to resemble a M*A*S*H unit. Last week, Kovy went down with a “lower body” injury and has missed the better part of four games now. Slater took an elbow to the head in Buffalo last weekend and then Ron Hainsey missed his first game of the season after being hurt in Monday’s 5-1 win against the Caps. Now… Bogosian and Boris.
Good Lord…the way things are going, Friday night’s game in Philips could look more like the Detroit Red Wings vs. the Chicago Wolves.
Not To Be Overlooked Though…
Lost in Tuesday’s mess was the fact that Bryan Little scored his 30th goal of the season. It came with just 34 seconds ticked off in the game and gave Atlanta an early lead. Todd White assisted on Little’s goal giving him 63 overall points on the season. Prior to this year, White’s highest point total was 60 while playing for Ottawa in 2002-03.
Marty The Magnificent
New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur notched career win number 552 wto pass the great Patrick Roy as the NHL’s all-time winningest goalie. Brodeur made 30 saves in the Devils’ 3-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Marty set the mark in his 987th career game…Roy’s 551 came in 1,029 starts.
After the game, Brodeur took a pair of scissors and cut the nets off the pipes to take home with him.
What’s next for Brodeur? Well, he’s only three shy of the all-time shutout record and 600 wins is only 48 away… that’s but one average season for him. So, keep your scissors close at hand, Marty.