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 re-read some of the things we were voicing concerns over regarding these players via the links I’ve provided.

Todd White: Last summer I questioned what type of role White might have in John Anderson’s system this season. Remember, of course, that at the time I wrote that piece his dissapointing 14 goal, 23 assist season was still fresh in our minds. But I wrapped up the post by stating, “…while it’s true that least season did not pan out exactly the way he would have liked, both in regards to his personal numbers and the team’s overall performance, this coming season does provide a new beginning. John Anderson’s O-fensive system could prove to be one he fits into better than the one he was operating in last…at least there will actually be a “system” for White to operate in. And that might be all the difference he needs”.

Indeed it looks like Todd White has found his place in the Thrashers’ lineup. Going into Tuesday night’s game in Montreal, (game number 74 for Atlanta), White has scored 20 goals and has 46 assists. His 66 points are a career best and he’s tied with Slava Kozlov for the second most overall points on the team behind Kovalchuk.

Whitey started off the season on the second line with Bryan Little and Kozlov. But in the past few weeks, Anderson has elevated White and Little up to play with Kovy…the second line now consisting of Kozlov, Rich Peverley and Colby Armstrong.

How has that worked out? Well, seeing that Atlanta has averaged 3.67 goals in the past seventeen games, I’d say the experiment has been working out just fine, thank you very much!

Marty Reasoner: Another pleasant surprise has come in the person of Marty Reasoner. He was brought in to fill the skates of Bobby Holik…departed to New Jersey via free-agency. Reasoner has 12 goals and 25 overall points and his +10 leads the team…not bad for playing on a team that is -26 in GF/GA differential. But the big bonus here has been his dependability on defense and the fact that he isn’t prone to amassing penalty minutes in a Holik-esque fashion. To date he has only 30 PIM compared to Holik’s 90 last season. Marty has also been a help in the faceoff circle, winning 52.2% there.

That he was not traded away at the deadline a few weeks back…and that it seems as though he’d like to remain with the organ-I-zation beyond this season…is very welcome news.

Slava Kozlov: Last year was not a memorable one for The Slavinator. As we had confirmed last summer, he played much of the year hurt and his numbers suffered for it. Coming into the season many wonder if the Kozlov of old could return again and put up numbers that we’re more accustomed to seeing from him.

Indeed he did just that.

Kozlov had produced 22 goals and 44 assists so far. 11 goals and 29 assists have come while the Thrashers were on the power play. The 40 points while on the man advantage are an NHL best going into Tuesday night’s action…one above some cat named Ovechkin. His strong start to the year while playing with Little and White continued after he was teamed up with Peverley and Armstrong. In fact, he is currently riding an eight-game points streak.

Nice to have our old Kozzy back!

Rich Peverley: Then there is Rich Peverley…The Peever…the Pevs Dispensor…the Peevinator. The waiver-wire pickup of the year as far as I’m concerned. Remember when he came on board in the middle of January? This team was D.R.T. at the time and he injected a spark that hasn’t faded since. In 30 games played in a Thrashers jersey he’s accounted for 10 goals, 15 assists and his +9 is second best on the team behind Reasoner. And, like Reasoner, he plays a very smart defensive game.

An added bonus here for Thrashers fans is the fact that he’s signed through next season. As has been discussed here before, Don Waddell should be looking to extend this man’s contract as soon as he can.

Now, this is in no way meant to be a slight to the outstanding service that has come from the likes of Zach Bogosian, Bryan Little and Kari Lehtonen…even Stuart and Crabb when they have been in the lineup. Certainly these guys and others could be spotlighted for their work this season.

But to me, given the questions surrounding White, Reasoner, Kozlov and Peverley when they began play this year, (in Pevs’ case, in mid-January), these are the four biggest…and most pleasant…surprises that have emerged during the season.

52 comments Add your comment

kracker

March 23rd, 2009
11:28 pm

kracker

March 23rd, 2009
11:47 pm

Nice summary, Mr. RH. I suppose you could add the explosion of Little to the list, although only the surprise for him is that he has progressed more than most of us thought he would this season.

I’s probably write more but I have to shut it down. This internet seems to want me to never sleep.

Brendan

March 24th, 2009
1:11 am

Nicely done, Rawhide. I want to add something regarding Kozlov. For me, and this is just for meeeee, but a “return of Kozlov” would mean 27-30 goals. But hey, I’m not complaining about Kozlov’s season. It’s been far better than last year. And he’s older.

In my listing of offseason priorities in the previous blog, I did forget to mention that Peverley is eligible for a “proactive” RFA contract on July 1. I wouldn’t mind seeing that get done, too. But, for mee, Kovalchuk has got to be #1. And for meeee, Bryan Little needs to be priority #2. If he has another year like this one, the price will just SKYROCKET on his next contract. Hopefully, Waddell won’t look at the Enstrom deal, his “one and only” proactive contract during his Administration, and get squeamish about making more.

Rawhide, when Marty Reasoner was signed last summer, my reaction was, “I like the guy. Always have. But he doesn’t fill a vacancy here in Atlanta.” My thinking was … don’t we have enough 3rd line players? I hope Reasoner is re-signed, “responsibly.” He indicated he’d like to return. Waddell hints that he’d like to have Reasoner return. And yet, there … is … no contract re-signed. If they’ve signed it, it hasn’t been announced. Let’s put it that way.

Todd White has had a terrific year. A career best, I believe. He’s got two-years left on his deal. At $2.3 million, or thereabouts, he’s been “great value” for the organization. Hossa wasn’t a fan of his signing, but it’s apparent, to me, that for a cash-strapped organization like Atlanta, this is the precisely the type of contract signing that the 7 Dwarves ask and expect Don Waddell to make. If a logical argument for Waddell’s retention can be made, I’m sure Bruce Levensen will cite the Todd White deal among the “exhibits” in the Defense Trial of Don Waddell. AJC writer Jeff Schultz would be quick to point out, “Yeah, you got White at the expense of the loss of Hossa. Real great job, Don.” And Schultz would have a point there. Who would we rather have, Hossa or White? There’s plenty of room for arguments all the way around. My thoughts turn to my original sentiments when I heard Heatley had been traded for Hossa and deVries. I thought, “Hossa’s gone in 3 years. No way he re-signs here.” As time went by, I hoped for the possibility that Hossa might enjoy it here. But, he had his own agenda. And I congratulate him for landing in Detroit, which is what he wanted all along. And he’s even talking “big pay cut” to stay. And I believe he will take whatever Detroit’s offer is, just to stay.

In the preseason, we wondered if Bogosian would return to Juniors or stay the year. Waddell indicated that Zach would stay. Then he broke a bone and had to rehab it. And he returned even better than before. This is an excellent draft pick. I hope Waddell does as well this summer, where Atlanta might draft 4th or 5th.

Also, I speculated that Pavelec might be a prospect who gets developed here in Atlanta. That didn’t really happen. Pavelec got in a few games. But he didn’t show himself to be NHL-ready just yet. But fear not, he’s only 21!!! He was just drafted in 2005. Goalies take 5 years, generally-speaking. Some longer than that.

I just hope this offseason can be a productive and future-shaping one, that gives the organization a leap forward in its evolution. The mystery over Kovalchuk’s future will be known in just over three (3) months.

five_hole

March 24th, 2009
7:43 am

I would like to remind people that back in September, when Brendan was collecting our predictions of point totals & placement, that I also predicted Brian Little would have a 30 goal season.

However, as good as Brian has played, this season turned around when we picked up Rich Peverley. Can we give Don Waddell credit for a brilliant acquisition? The kid has game. He’s basically been a point-per-game player, plays on the penalty kill as well as the power play, and saved us from having the likes of Jason Williams & Eric Christensen in our top-6. Just imagine what another legitimate top-6 player would do for us.

And consider the play, poise and moxie of the 18 year old Bogosian, who is already without question the #1 defenseman on this team. Imagine what our defense would look like if we could add another defenseman of this caliber? We might even get back to .500.

Buzzeng

March 24th, 2009
8:14 am

I give credit for the Peverley pickup to John Anderson, with some credit to Don for listening to JA and actually getting the guy. JA seems to be a better judge of AHL talent than DW, but as long as DW listens to JA (instead of other GMs trying to unload) I’m hopeful we can get some other surprise players like Pevs. Nice topic, RH! Too bad there’s only nine games left – remember how dismal last summer was with no Thrasher hockey? I’m not looking forward to that again…

Russian

March 24th, 2009
9:38 am

I like all comments about our players. Pever, White, Reasoner and Slava were doing a good job. Don has to talk to Reasoner and Pever agents to get new contract to them. I want to make some comments about Kovy’s contract. I will be very surprise and happy if Kovy will sign contract at July 2 2009. But it will not be happend. Kovy will wait probably couple months (october, november) and see how team will play. May be he will sing contract after Christmas. It will be Christmas present for Don and Atlanta Spirits. But I do not think that he put his signutare at July 2009.

BlueLand Billy

March 24th, 2009
10:00 am

Speaking of Schultz or for that matter, Bradley, Moore or Bisher, how come no Thrash articles while they have been playing so well lately?

ranallo10 (in AT)

March 24th, 2009
10:21 am

Can we give Don Waddell credit for a brilliant acquisition?

Obviously, this works two ways. You can give him credit so long as you accept he’s made mistakes too. It’s not just all bad or all good, so this would go in the bin for trade/acquisition “wins” for Waddell.

The problem I have around these parts is that many people don’t seem to understand that there are two sides to every opinion. So yes, I’d say Waddell won on that acquisition. As Buzzeng pointed out, it was likely due to him listening to his coach’s opinion. As a manager you are supposed to surround yourself with the best talent to enable you to be the best manager possible…listening to your advisers and taking other opinions into consideration for your ultimate decision, is integral to being a good manager.

So, I credit Waddell for listening to Anderson (and whoever else might have said Peverley was worth acquiring). Others will give all credit to Anderson in an attempt to deflect praise from Waddelll…but I feel this one instance is a perfect example of him doing his job as expected. He took advice and made a decision with it in mind, and this time it worked.

Sometimes such decisions fail, but hopefully if we’re going to see a few more years of Waddell as manager, we’ll see a decline in such failures and an increase in “joint” decisions for personnel acquisitions.

Jimbo

March 24th, 2009
10:28 am

Thanks Rawhide for a good analysis. I’d throw Oystrick into the mix. He got shortchanged with Schneider and Havelid around but the guy is definitly an NHL defenseman. He skates, hits and plays a solid game. Valabik remains a guestion mark but Salmela is another solid find who would appear on your tally sheet if we had acquired him earlier in the year. Now, if Esposito and possibly tough guy scorer, Dan Paquette is ready, we could improve even more next year. At least, we’ll end the summer with an optimism that the current team can move forward without needing many FA additions. And, don’t forget the hustling, leadership that Kovy supplied once he got the “C”. That is leadership by example.

Don Waddell

March 24th, 2009
12:15 pm

Zhitnik is my choice for surprise performer of the year. Zhitnik’s performance this year was far superior to his performance last year. This year, his defensive mistakes have been nearly invisible. In addition, Alexei’s contribution to the salary cap insured the Thrashers met the salary cap floor after trading off several players. I knew Zhitnik would be a big part of the team’s plans this season.

Bruce Levenson

March 24th, 2009
12:16 pm

Don, you’re a genius.

Alan

March 24th, 2009
12:19 pm

Jimbo, I don’t think Espo is going to be ready. He’s spent the latter half of the season out with an injury. Paquette is a good question, though, and I imagine he’s going to get a good look during camp.

I’m willing to give Valabik more time. He’s big, you know, so he needs quite a bit of time to fully get accustomed to the NHL.

Alexei Zhitnik

March 24th, 2009
12:32 pm

Hey! At least I finished “even” in the +/- column this year, so bite me!

Jarkko Ruutu

March 24th, 2009
12:36 pm

Sounds good Alexei, I’ll be joining you for dinner.

five_hole

March 24th, 2009
12:55 pm

ranallo10 (in AT) I agree with you about Waddell. When he trades Coburn for Zhitnik, he’s evil, but when he acquires Peves, that credit belongs to someone else. I am not trying to cover for the guy, and I do believe Waddell should be canned, for a variety of reasons (primarily the inability to recognize NHL talent in the draft below the 10th pick of the draft). I simply felt that if someone does something well, they deserve credit.

“The problem I have around these parts is that many people don’t seem to understand that there are two sides to every opinion.” I certainly agree with that as well. It seems like there’s “my” opinion and the moron’s opinion. This is the price we pay for mild winters.

Bill please never delete Trixie’s corner or I’ll never be able to bold or italicize comments. Show of hands, how many here blog with 2 pages open, so they can copy/paste the commands?

Smitty

March 24th, 2009
12:56 pm

“Alan” I agree with you on Boris. I thought he made a big improvement The bigger guys usually take a little longer for the coordination to catch up. Ottawa gave up on Chara and look at him now.
As for Kozlov, quite a turn around from last year. Do you think he has another year left in the tank? Peverly and Reasoner have been nice additions at center. Both need to be signed ASAP.

We have a lot of young guys starting to come into their own. Little, Bogey, Colby(needs to hit the weights this summer), Stuart, Crabb, Toby, and even Boris and Salmela. And do not forget about Kari.

Is JA making DW look good? We still need more size up front. Watched Philly last night. Good size and speed. They look pretty tough if Biron holds up.

kracker

March 24th, 2009
1:13 pm

Some seriouis sports injuries require more than an offseason of rehab for the player to fully recover his strength and mobility, etc. Although the surgeon said Esposito should be ready for camp, do we know if Esposito, who suffered his severe ligaments damage on Feb. 11, will truly be 100%? I’m figuring if he had any shot at all of making the Thrash next season, it’s gone now, replaced by another year at Juniors.

Rawhide

March 24th, 2009
1:35 pm

Five_Hole – Glad to see “Trixie’s Corner” is being of service to you.

Alan

March 24th, 2009
1:37 pm

kracker, you mean in Chicago, right? He’s played his four years in Juniors already, so I’m pretty sure he’ll spend time in Chi-town, or worst case scenario, start off in Gwinnett.

kracker

March 24th, 2009
1:57 pm

Oh, that’s great, Alan, sooo much better!. Espo can get the knee 100%, work on the pro game for the Wolves against grown men, try to bulk up and then come on up if he is deemed ready.

Brett

March 24th, 2009
2:24 pm

KRACKER–
Esposito will be a question mark coming into camp. the knee sould be good to go( only one torn ligament, that still sucks major but its not a total blowout. it will be right at 6-6.5 months after surgery. FYI: Rod Brindamor came back in 6 months and he’s 40). he’ll get a good look in camp but might need some time in CHI to get his game back up to speed. its a toss up and only time will tell. if i had to guess now id saw he starts next season in chicago.

Glovesave29

March 24th, 2009
4:29 pm

Some nice props from the Hockey News…

Now, should Harding be given an opportunity to be a No. 1 goalie somewhere, he would definitely fall into the category of “Players I Can’t Wait To See Next Year.” And that list is growing by the day…In Atlanta, Bryan Little, Rich Peverley, and the incredible-to-watch-in-person Zach Bogosian.

Problem with giving Don credit for the Peverly acquisition is that we must also pat him on the back for having the worst record of all of the teams that put a waiver claim on him. So basically, all you can credit him for is that he out manouvered Garth Snow.

Frosty the snowman

March 24th, 2009
4:31 pm

Peverley may not be as good as he is playing next season. I don’t expect white to have as good a year next year either. At the end of every season people get their hopes up, and then its the same thing hen the new season starts, bogus free agent signings, same gm, terrible year, upset fans

kracker

March 24th, 2009
4:35 pm

I expect Frosty to me melting soon ;)

kracker

March 24th, 2009
4:39 pm

“be melting”, sorry

Glovesave29

March 24th, 2009
4:48 pm

I’ve heard of pessimism, but this is taking it to the next level…White indeed may not match the numbers he is posting, but how can you make this claim about Peever? There’s nothing to base it on. The league has many stories like this where a player wasn’t getting a chance to play in one city, and found another place more suitable to him…Marc Savard here with the Thrash comes to mind, as does Marty St. Louis in Tampa (think Calgary is kicking themselves about those two?)

polskidawg

March 24th, 2009
5:00 pm

Rawhide – well done review, yet again. I can’t really argue with your choices, though mine would be somewhat different.

1) White – you hit the nail on the head. I think he can be a reasonably good facsimile of a #1 center playing with two talents like Kovy and Little.

2) Little – I hoped he would stick all season and hoped he would provide 15-20G and 30-35A as a center. Never saw him as a sniping RW. To me, that’s a bigger surprise that a savvy pro like Kozzy rebounding from a sub-par season.

3) Peverly – no doubt he has been a true “find” and possibly a long-term #2 two-way center. His play have FAR exceeded my expectations.

4) Stuart – it took 6-7 years, but Stuart looks like the Thrashers version of a young Madden, with speed, defensive skill and enough offensive skill to be dangerous on the PK and line #3. My personal view is that his recall, along with Peverly’s acquisition and Bogosian’s move to more minutes are the keys in the teams improved play since early February.

Reasoner hasn’t been a surprise for me, other than the boost in offensive. I expected him the perform well on line #3.

Keep up the great work!

R. Stroz

March 24th, 2009
5:14 pm

This blog has been lacking some true insight lately, such as

FIRE WADDELL

Brendan

March 24th, 2009
5:23 pm

If anyone is seriously interested in Mike Cammalleri, of the Calgary Flames, the NHL Network panel thinks that he may be the odd man out in Calgary. But, they base that on the Flames making a serious pitch for D-man Jay Bouwmeester in the offseason.

I’ve always liked Cammalleri. I liked him with the Kings. I like him with Calgary. Every so often a random blogger pops in twice a year to hammer why Cammalleri is too slow for Kovalchuk, or something along these lines. And yet… and YETTTTT, Cammalleri manages to keep putting up decent numbers as an NHL player.

Wellll, which is it? Does he “suck,” and he’s a waste of time? Or, is it that he’s actually a pretty capable player, and we’d do well to acquire him. Trouble is, as the panel speculates, Cammalleri’s agent seems to think he’s worth $6 million or more. Well, he’s got 35-36 goals … to me, that situates him a little closer to $5 million than $6.0. It’s not 40+ goals that he’s notching. But heyyyy, it’s his agent’s job to squeeze the market for every nickel.

Cammalleri had similar trouble with Los Angeles, as they did not think he was worth the then $5 million, that he agent did, and they wound up in arbitration. Arbitration isn’t a good thing. The only ‘good thing’ about it … is that it guarantees the player for 1 year. But it’s a “hurt feelings” type of year.

If a player tells the GM, “I want to go to arbitration,” I think the GM should reply, “Do you want out? Or is this about money?” And if he wants out, then the GM should trade him, and keep the players desires’ close to his vest. If it’s about money, the two sides should split the difference in half, then re-sign. It may take 2-3 rounds of “splitting the difference,” but eventually, a mutually satisfactory number will be reached.

For the record, I’m gonna say we have absolutely no shot at Cammalleri. Nor should we try. We should ‘TRY’ to lock up Kovalchuk, Little, Lehtonen, Valabik, Pavelec, Crabb, Armstrong, etc.

Glovesave29

March 24th, 2009
5:58 pm

Brendan…totally agree. Been saying for a while that Camalierri was the one to target. So much is up in the air…we wont know anything until the new cap is set.

Tony C.

March 24th, 2009
6:56 pm

What about #17’s pivot from the Rus. nat’l team??? Sergei Zinoviev? Any chance that he would come back to the NHL to play alongside the “Sportsman of the Year”??? RUSSIAN: Do you feel this would be unlikely???

kracker

March 24th, 2009
6:58 pm

Cammalleri would be another small fwd we’d have but he has put up .8 pts/game over 350+ NHL games so far, I guess ya can’t argue too much with that. He shoots left, can he play RW? But if it’s a $6M salary he will command, isn’t that considerably too much for this team? Altho the cap should lower a lot of salary demands if it goes down. If no one signs him as a FA and July drags on, who knows?

R. Stroz

March 24th, 2009
7:28 pm

If given the following choices and you can only choose one, which would you take?

1) Antropov @ 4.75 million for 4 years

2) Cammalleri @ 5.75 for 4 years

3) Afinogenov @ 3.75 for 4 years

Darren

March 24th, 2009
7:35 pm

70 points from Kozlov works for me. As far as I’m concerned, he becomes the smartest player on the ice whenever he takes a shift.

As for next year from Peverley, I think expecting an 80 point season is just setting up for a letdown. I think it’s reasonable to expect 60-70 points next year. He clearly has skill and speed, and I don’t think he’s going to wake up thinking he’s Jimmy Slater, unable to score for 40 games at a time.

It certainly wouldn’t hurt to get a true top-line RW to pair with, either. As much as I love Armstrong, I don’t know that trying to play him on the top line all year makes the most sense.

I really don’t see Atlanta Spirit dropping 6 million on somebody not named Kovalchuk, but you never know.

Tony C.

March 24th, 2009
8:08 pm

Gimme Antropov; he’s bigger, younger (and unless he scores a ton for NYR, he’ll be cheaper than that) and the extra bonus of it taking more than a tap to knock him off the puck.

stendec

March 24th, 2009
8:37 pm

Kari Letemin. Damn! Less than a minute into second period? Damn. Just damn! Hope the Thrashers has five goals in them tonight. Will probably take every one of them. Less than a minute? Sigh.

stendec

March 24th, 2009
8:50 pm

Come on Habs. Put 10 in against that sorry son of a betch Finn Kari Letemin! Untalented piece of commode residue. Damn. Team is playing well except for one gutless player. Damn! Hate to lose to these pansies. Thanks Golden Boy scumball!

stendec

March 24th, 2009
9:05 pm

Hey John Petrino! What the Hell are you waiting on? Four (now five) soft goals are not enough for you? Are you as brainless a son of a betch as Kari “Four Goals And Counting” Letemin? Against a pitiful Hab team? Damn! To Hell with all you quitters. Excuse me. Five…And Counting! On how many damn shots? Ten! Let that sorry Finn stay in Canada! Who needs the oxygen waste? Not a damn soul!

Michael Shapiro

March 24th, 2009
9:17 pm

Gotta vote with Stendec tonight (egad). Am stuck proctoring an exam at the University, so all I can go on is stats, times and the fact that Kari let in 5 goals on a whopping 14 shots. What gives? Bad timing on penalties by Bogo and Little obviously, but a game that was 2-2 went south to 5-2 in a hurry. That sucks. Why does JA stick with Kari when he’s having such a bad night? Isn’t that what a backup goalie is for? Do we have 3 or more goals in us for the final 20 minutes? I sure hope so. Go Blue, kick them Habs like the Leafs did.

Bruce Levenson

March 24th, 2009
9:29 pm

GO STENDEC GO

stendec

March 24th, 2009
9:36 pm

How many seconds into third period before yet another marshmallow goal apologists? Damn all of them. John Petrino is as brainless as John Petrino! Kari Letemin is as talentless as DeAngelo Hall! I see that 10 Hab goals are certainly within reach. How is that mother (X) save percentage now guys? Not too damn impressive! Lock the son of a betch Finn in. Pay him zillions of dollars to stay in Atlanta! The rest of the NHL teams will be damn grateful. Tell me how great this untalented sieve is! There is still plenty of room in Milledgeville. To the Habs? Damn it to Hell!

stendec

March 24th, 2009
9:52 pm

Guess bank accounts of both Kari Letemin and John Petrino are heftier after this one. What a crock of shet!

Brendan

March 24th, 2009
10:03 pm

R.Stroz, as a “fan,” I’d take option #2, Mike Cammalleri, irrespective of the cost. Why? There’s no way Kovalchuk and Cammalleri would fail. No chance. And, above all, it’s not my money. As a fan, I just want to see exciting hockey, preferably resulting in wins.

Ahem. But, putting on a “GM hat,” I can’t do any of these deals if I’m Atlanta. Let’s say I do want Cammalleri. He probably won’t take anything less than $6.0 from a contending market, and for Atlanta, he’d probably demand $7.0 million. I don’t especially want Max Afinagenov. I just don’t see the appeal. He’s had two very mediocre seasons with Buffalo, who couldn’t “give him away” at the trade deadline. I don’t like that trend. Maybe it’s true that all Max really needs is a “fresh start.” But I’m not filled with encouragement. Antropov may not be worth that kind of money. I see upside to his game. Truly, I do. If Mike Cammalleri actually EXPRESSED A VALID INTEREST in coming to Atlanta, I’d sit down to meet his agent in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, if that’s the location he desired. I’d book the next flight.

Marty St. Louis just scored for Tampa Bay, in overtime, to defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets. Columbus, at least, salvages a point for their playoff race. But the Bolts will gain 2-points on the Thrashers in the NHL standings. Meanwhile, Montreal will gain 2-points in their quest for the playoffs.

Uhh, we’re supposed to cheer these things, right? I mean, we “want” Montreal to reach the CF, to lessen the draft pick compensation. And if Tampa Bay finishes AHEAD of Atlanta, the T-birds get more ping pong balls. Habs 6, Thrashers 3.

Midfield

March 24th, 2009
10:10 pm

I guess, surprise performer of the year White decided that enough’s enough – speaking of surprises. Only Lehtonen, Hainsey, Salmela and Enstrom sucked more than he did tonight. And what was Boulton doing all night? I could not find him anywhere near the action either.

Brendan

March 24th, 2009
10:18 pm

Five_hole, Congrats on nailing the Bryan Little goal prediction. I was thinking 20 goals, with some hope of 25, in preseason. Technically, he’s got “some shot” at 40. I list re-signing Bryan Little, PROACTIVELY, as priority #2 in the offseason goals/objectives for the organization. Yes, even AHEAD of re-signing Kari, which is ALSO something that must be done.

Question: What if there were an RFA offersheet for Kari Lehtonen? (There won’t be, but stay with me.) And the offer were 5-years/$25 million. Would you match it? Or, would you take the two 1st round draft pics, the 2nd rounder, and the 3rd rounder compensation?

Okay, I suppose what that question is really asking is this: Do you want to quit on Kari and hang your hopes on young Pavelec? See, from my perspective, I don’t want to lose either one of these goalies. But I also don’t especially want to OVERPAY for Kari. Or necessarily over-commit years on the deal. But I do want Lehtonen-Pavelec as the 1-2 tandem for the future. It matters not, to me, which one is the #1 goalie and which one is the backup. Let competition make the best product.

Rutherford Snydel

March 24th, 2009
10:19 pm

Lame as hell effort tonight, #32 looking more like the goalie of the PAST not the future. While he has been very very good at times,I now feel he is way too inconstant to keep… His last two efforts have been , well Really Bad.

Team looked horrible and we had Mtl ripe for the picking, but we have reverted to playing like in October/November and three out ofthe last four, REAL stinkers !

stendec

March 24th, 2009
10:22 pm

How truly precious. The Habs celebrated like they actually beat somebody worth a damn. They did not! Another mail-in loss. Always knew Kari Letemin was a fraud. Allowed benefit of doubt for John Petrino. No longer! He forfeited all credibility tonight. Six marshmallow goals? Coincidence? Hardly! Make the quitters walk to Hamilton. Damn quitting bestards! Captain For Not Much Longer Ilya Kovalchuk cost the team at least three goals with terrible misfires on wide open shots. True superstars BURY those opportunities! This group deserves to be buried. Literally!

LAC

March 25th, 2009
2:39 am

Poor effort all around last night. There needs to be a two goalie rotation next season, #32 and Pavs. Play one, sit one. Then lets see who is better at season’s end next season.

#32 deserves nothing but the same contract he got this season, he has been very inconsistant and Hedburg needs to be moved.

Good-Bye to Perrin, Thorburn and Exelby.

We need more scoring and BETTER DEFENSE,another HORRIBLE year this season ! Hainsey ineffective on defense and Enstrom not much better, watch closely and see how ofter HE is beaten to the outside, they blow right around him everytime !

Last… A NEW GM who can lead us out of the NHL wasteland!!!

WW5

March 25th, 2009
7:38 am

this is a team that has to score at least 4 goals per game to have a small chance to win. fix that and you will have the cup in atlanta.

Old Time Hockey

March 25th, 2009
4:13 pm

Brendan, are you kidding? There is no question that if some really desperate team makes an offer for Kari and we can get those draft choices. I would trade him tonight for the two 1st round draft pics, the 2nd rounder, and the 3rd rounder compensation. I’d trade him in the middle of the period for that now. I just don’t see the guy playing 65-70 games per year at the level this team needs. He plays great, we win. He plays lousy, we lose. We sign him and he gets injured, were screwed.