Give My Regards To Broadway

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

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

How many does that make this season? Let’s see…there was the Islander game back in November, the one against Vancouver just after New Years, then again when Toronto was in town two weeks later, Carolina last month, Edmonton and Buffalo earlier this month…now this one. If I’m not mistaken, there was also a game in Montreal earlier in the season where the Thrashers scored three quick goals at the end of the game to fall just short in that one.

Maybe next year’s third jersey could sport the face of an alien?

They overcame this perticular 3-goal deficit thanks to goals by Ilya Kovalchuk, Colby Armstrong and Todd White…who also scored the only shootout goal during the six rounds. Slava Kozlov notched Atlanta’s first goal of the game, which tied it at one-each at the beginning of the second period.

Make no doubt…these were two points the Ranger deperately needed and wanted. They had them both in their grubby mits too…but the Thrashers yanked ‘em away, allowing them to skank away with but one, then gave ‘em the back of their hand, kicked ‘em out the door saying, “Give my regards to old Broadway…ya bums”.

There must have been something in the penalty boxes that the players were very interested in seeing because in the first five minutes or so of the contest players were going out of their way to get over there. It stated with the Rangers’ Paul Mara who put a high-stick on Colby Artmstrong at the 2:19 mark, then 31 seconds later Bryan Little took a tripping call. 56 seconds into the ensuing 4 on 4 Ilya Kovalchuk interfered with a Ranger…16 seconds later, at 4:02 of the first, Ron Hainsey lifted the puck over the glass…by the way, can we just call that perticular play “Ron Hainsey-ing the puck”?… The great parade to the box wasn’t quite over yet as New York just couldn’t handle the man-advantage prosperity and placed too many men on the ice 23 seconds after the Atlanta placed the third player into the box.

Five individual penalties between the two teams in the first 4:25 of the game…all coming within a span of two minutes and six seconds.

Maybe the penalty box judges had the upcoming issue of Playboy featuring Miss April?

Anyway…27 seconds after Markus Naslund entered into the sin-bin to serve the Rangers’ bench minor, it appeared as though his team had taken an early lead. However…upon further review…it was correctly determined that Chris Drury had played the puck with a high stick before then knocking it into the goal.

But the fun didn’t stop there…in the second, the Thrashers accumulated no less than four 2-minute minors as well as a 4-minute high sticking call on Marty Reasoner. New York took a pair of minors themselves.

However, the third period only saw two calls…both on the Thrashers…and this is where the game made it’s biggest turn. Thirty-five seconds after Army had pulled Atlanta to within a single goal, Kovy drew a high-sticking call…retaliating against Sean Avery’s knee job. With forty-five seconds remaining in that minor, Jimmy Slater was sent off for the same infraction. Atlanta was able to kill off the ensuing 5 on 3 and then the 1:15 that was left on Slater’s penalty. Keeping the score at 4-3 New York set up White’s heroics with 6:50 remaining in the third.

Meanwhile…back on defense…Moose was only having to face four shots during the third period, stopping them all. For the game, New York was limited to only 24 SOG in during regulation, 17 at even-strength, and took 3 in overtime.

Atlanta finished the season series with the Rangers on an up-note…going 2-1-1 against the Broadway Bums, winning two shootout affairs.

Now, with the win, the Thrashers move to 31-38-6 for the season. The 68 points after 75 games is only 2 points less than the 70 they had after the same amount of games last season. A win Saturday night against the Senators would match the 70 they had after 76 games. As I’ve said before…that may not seem like a lot to get excited about, but this team was on track for 62 points at the beginning of the calendar year so this is quite an achievement.

The victory also gives Atlanta a record of 8-4-0 in March with one more remaining in the month. If you’re looking for some definition of “incremental progress”, simply go back to the month of December and look at the the improvement made month-by-month since that time.

Also, the win still keeps the possibility alive that they can finish with a .500 record. If…IF…IF…they were to win the last seven games, they would finish with a record of 38-38-6. Think about THAT for just a second.

If they can net only eight more points they would match last year’s total of 76. Nine more points…say going 4-2-1…would allow them to improve on that total.

Lastly…the Thrashers already have bettered their O-fensive production from last year when they scored only 216 goals…this year they already have netted 231. However, if they can find a way to give up less than 13 goals in these last seven games, they would improve on last year’s 272 goals against. That’s a tall order, I know…less than 2 per game. But it sure would be something to see that happen… especially given just how bad the defense looked in the first half of the season.

66 comments Add your comment

LAC

March 26th, 2009
11:51 pm

Rawhide you are 100% correct, as you are 99% of the time !!!!

This team would have folded after the fourth goal and we would have seen a 6-1 type score…

This group needs about 3 scoring forwards and one shut down dman to really make a run next season, BUT… these owners need to commit to WINNING and no more of this low ball crap.

But the defense really needs to be better, it has been not very good since season ONE ! So what next ? We will see… But it does make me wonder what was going on the first half of the season… Why were so bad with the same compliment of players ?

R. Stroz

March 27th, 2009
12:05 am

Two Tickets to the Game…FREE

One Coca Cola…FREE

20 Home Depot Gift Cards…FREE

Screaming at Sean Avery and watching the Rangers lose…PRICELESS

LAC

March 27th, 2009
12:27 am

Hey Bill… Take note here please… We are now above Phoenix, Colorado, NYI and Tampa… in the draft… Could catch LA and even Ottawa, so looking less and less like a top 3 pick this season.

Would be funny… I mean sad to draft higher with fewer points than last season… would that be weird or what !

Tony C.

March 27th, 2009
12:29 am

Uh yeah.

We used to call it Hnidy’ing the puck. But I second the motion to call it Hainsey’ing the puck.

Brendan

March 27th, 2009
12:34 am

Fabulous blog entry, Rawhide. I was just looking at the Thrashers March record, which included a franchise-record setting six-straight victories, and it’s 8-4. That’s remarkable. Especially in a post-trade deadline environment.

The “On the Fly” boys have given Atlana a fair amount of credit tonight.

R. Stroz

March 27th, 2009
12:53 am

OMG, I could actually here myself screaming at Avery on the replay.

Avery…Avery…Avery…YOU SUCK

Alan

March 27th, 2009
1:37 am

At your service, Mr. Stroz:

From Montreal:
Referees: Greg Kimmerly, Brad Meier
Linesmen: Anthony Sericolo, Mark Shewchyk

From Tonight:
Referees: Chris Rooney, Kevin Pollock
Linesmen: Shane Heyer, Andy McElman

Oh, and I’d love to hear that replay, Stroz. I can’t seem to find a good one anywhere.

Alan

March 27th, 2009
2:47 am

On a completely unrelated note:

Wow. Just wow.

ranallo10 (in AT)

March 27th, 2009
6:39 am

Tony C. — I’d call it Holik’ing the puck, or pulling a Holik (which also means taking a costly penalty in the last 5 minutes of the game when the team is up or down by 1 point).

Alan — Cool story.

Stroz — Couldn’t hear you buddy, what replays were you watching? Link?

DWTOO

March 27th, 2009
7:37 am

Alan – That’s a great story. It’s good to see athelete’s who appreciate their talents and use their status to brighten someone’s life. The part about Chimera going to the house to watch the game goes above and beyond. Hard not to cheer for the Jackets now.

What would the Thrash look like if they played a full 60 minutes? Nice comeback, but, we need to stop putting ourselves in that position. And stay out of the box – not a good sign when you give up two power play goals and your kill percentage goes up.

Spud Webb

March 27th, 2009
7:51 am

AMAZING. Not sure what else to say. I have no idea what has gotten this team going, but I love it.

five_hole

March 27th, 2009
7:53 am

Exactly how big a sleeze is Avery, anyway? And why was he allowed back in the league, anyway?

Here’s my strategy for the next game with him (regardless of which team he’s on): as soon as he’s on the ice, Valabik challenges him and fights him. When they come back, Boulton challenges him and fights him. When they come back, Thorburn challenges . . . . well, you get the idea.

I’d rather play 4-on-4 than allow him ice time to take cheap shots at our players.

Glovesave29

March 27th, 2009
8:27 am

The CBJ story is just reason number 1,346,298 why this is the greatest game on earth. Hockey players (for the most part), just GET IT.

Tom

March 27th, 2009
8:36 am

Hey, this victory can be laid to rest at Avery’s feet. Even JP on the SportsSouth feed wondered if Ilya had the flu on how poorly he was playing in the 1st and 2nd periods.

Then Avery went knee on knee on Ilya, and got our captain to take the penalty. But when he came out of the box, he was on fire the rest of the way. He played with an Ovechkin intensity.

And guess what, he fired up his team that had previously been moribund and we had a come from behind victory. If I was Coach Anderson, I would tape a picture of Sean Avery in Captain Kolvachuk’s locker and have it yap at him 2 minutes before he leaves the locker room every game.

(In no way is this implying that Avery wasn’t a scum sucking dirtbag with the cheap hit, but it did cost his team a point in the standings, and I hope every player in the Ranger locker room recognizes that fact.)

R. Stroz

March 27th, 2009
8:42 am

SAVE THE WORLD

Exterminate Avery!

Well at least save the gene pool.

Zoomo

March 27th, 2009
8:54 am

Kovy was a man on a mission after Avery fired him up. Great wrap around goal, and an even better pass to set up White. Watching Kovy play like that is worth the price of admission – every time!

Hockey Biltong

March 27th, 2009
8:58 am

Seeing Ilya take down that sukka-perpetrator ‘avery’ was the highlight of the game last night. I’m just sorry it wasn’t a stronger head bonk on the ice….On another note, Hainsey has probably been called for delay of game 10+ times this season. He has to be mortified with this situation.
We have the cardiac kids to thank for this third period comeback….Fred Sanford would be calling for Elizabeth the whole time.

Smoothie

March 27th, 2009
9:15 am

Very true Tom about Kaptain Kovy being a man possessed, but he sparked the team as early as the end of the 2nd period. Without that late goal, the comeback never happens.

The NHL needs to change the delay of game rule so that it only is a penalty when you lift the puck over the glass from below the circles. Obviously Hainsey didn’t do that on purpose and it’s not as though he was about to turn the puck over due to extreme pressure. If the other team can’t regain control of the biscuit before it gets above the circles, that is too bad. Too often I have seen an accidental “Hainsey-ing” of the puck cost a team and it is just plain silly.

Hockey Biltong

March 27th, 2009
9:21 am

Rawhide, where did you view the game from, last night??? I did not get a clear view of avery because of the boards from my posi. I saw him blast in…. but that was all I could see.

FormerIslesFan

March 27th, 2009
9:28 am

Wow. That about covers it, I think. As a “FormerIslesFan” you can understand that I especially relish any time that the Thrashers (or anyone else for that matter) take out the Ranger$. This is especially true when playoff points are so vital.

Alan: Great article. I’ll second Glovesave29’s statement: Hockey players just get it. We’ve seen this time and time again and it never, ever gets old.

Did I hear JP correctly during the third period when he said that the Blue Shirts were held to five even strength shots after the first period and only had two shots (that actually hit the net) in the third period?

Jimbo

March 27th, 2009
9:36 am

Way to go guys. Way to stand up. Salmela and Oystrick are really comming on. What in the world game were the refs watching last night? Getting to be fun to go to games again.

Midfield

March 27th, 2009
9:55 am

I think it’s a good rule. It used to be that any flip over the glass could be a penalty at the ref’s discretion, and it led to a lot of controversy. If you allow more of those, well, you will invite a lot of “accidental” flips from the trapped defensemen. I say, leave it alone. Ron Hainsey must figure out how to play better in his own zone – that’s all.

Smoothie

March 27th, 2009
10:01 am

BTW, was anyone else shocked that Kovy finally faked the forehand wrister in favor of going backhand in the shootout? So good to see, but it’s a shame the attempt rattled off the post.

Sean Avery

March 27th, 2009
10:12 am

I’m the poster child for Trojans and planned parenthood.

Rawhide

March 27th, 2009
10:15 am

Alan – great link…thanks!!

LAC – Only right 99% of the time? I guess I should try harder!

Hockey Biltong – My vantage point was from home watching the wide-screen digital TV in the upstairs office above the garage. I had an HOA meeting to preside over Thursday evening…but was able to make it him to watch the game.

i.e. The Rawhide Temple Of Hockey Viewing

FIFAccording to the NHL stat sheet, the Rangers took 7 shots on goal in the first period while the teams skated 5 on 5 and 1 SOG 4 on 4. They had 4 SOG while at 5 on 5 in the second and one during 4 on 4 play. In the third, New York was limited to just 2 shots on goal while at even strength.

In OT…while skating 4 on 4, the Rangers outshot Atlanta 3-1.

In total, Atlanta outshot New York 26-18 while at even strength.

Glovesave29

March 27th, 2009
10:19 am

Sean just doesn’t want to qualify for the playoffs, so that he can get back to Vogue Magazine a few weeks earlier.

Ron stands up pretty straight, perhaps that is part of the problem. I once read an article about Gretzky, where the interviewer watched him shave 1/3″ off the top of his stick…Wayne thought he was standing up to straight and getting too much air under his shots. As for the rule…Midfield is dead on. After the officiating fiasco of the past two games, do we really want to give the zebras MORE discretion?

Smoothie

March 27th, 2009
10:20 am

Just to play devil’s advocate Midfield, all penalty calls are technically at the discretion of the officials…just like the Kneeing call they CHOSE not to call on Avery when he took a run at a superstar.

If rules enforcement were easy, there would never be controversey. Look how long it took them to overturn the Drury deflection. The fact that it may be too open to referee discretion does not change the fact that the rule is somewhat silly in its absolute-ness (for lack of a better word).

Was the Interference call levied against Avery on Lehtonen an absolute given? I didn’t think the obstruction was egregious, but the refs saw it differently. There will always be varying degrees of interpretation so I don’t understand why the Delay of Game penalty isn’t more open to interpretation.

Midfield

March 27th, 2009
10:29 am

Smoothie,
about the only controversy for the “delay of game” calls you can have now is when it’s not clear if the puck was deflected out, or if it was close enough to the blue line to be certain about the call. If you loosen the rule, you will get enough controversy to pay for Don Cherry’s luxury ice breaker yacht. I think he can do without, personally.

Alan

March 27th, 2009
10:31 am

I saw the article last night and had to share it with everyone. My uncle passed away of cancer in 2000, so the topic of cancer itself hits home for me. But what struck me as really classy is how the players and GM really worked with this kid, even “signing” him to a contract, even including a “signing bonus.” Meager as it was, he still got to attend a game, and will very likely get to attend a playoff game. His dream will come true, and I hope that game he attends sees the Blue Jackets come out with a win.

Chimera watching games with the kid at his home is probably the most awesome part of the story. That takes some serious heart, class, and dedication. Hockey players just get it, but it never ceases to amaze me.

Biltong, here’s the TSN recap. The hit is at the 0:38 mark of the video, as well as Kovalchuk’s response coming at 0:42.

B. Thenet

March 27th, 2009
10:35 am

Moose was a beast in the OT again.

Great comeback by the team.

jackie blue

March 27th, 2009
10:37 am

Sean Avery has mental and emotional issues and is simply a thug. Why do you think Dallas did much better after getting rid of him this season? He is a cancer to any team he plays with.

Glovesave29

March 27th, 2009
10:51 am

Alan…I hear ya. I lost my sister and father to cancer. So it’s a pretty emotional subject for me too. When my sister got sick, I contacted a bunch of players to see if they would send letters of encouragement to keep up the good fight. Mario Lemiuex and Saku Koivu both sent really nice notes telling her to fight and to keep a positive spirit. Of the 10 or so letters I sent out, those were the only two hockey players, and the only two that responded. Hockey players just get it.

Smoothie

March 27th, 2009
11:00 am

Midfield, why are you telling me what I already know? You’re completely ignoring my point which is a convenient way of trying to make the argument against seem like the only one. All I’m saying is that if all calls are open to discretion or interpretation (as refs certainly don’t call everything nor do they get every call correct), what is so bad about having one more?

And I’m not trying to defend Hainsey just for the sake of defending Hainsey…he needs to do a better job of not clutching his stick too tightly. It just seems like the rule is too narrow in its scope and personally think it would be better to let the refs have some discretion with it. But I guess I like controversy in sports.

Smoothie

March 27th, 2009
11:03 am

Glovesave, that is really great to hear about Mario and Saku. Wish the NHL did a better job of marketing their talent and showing the world what unselfish and wonderful people (on the whole) hockey players are. Obvs there are always exceptions to the rule (cough Avery cough), but it seems like the majority of hockey players are very generous with their time and quite gracious in their actions.

Frosty the snowman

March 27th, 2009
11:04 am

Hainsey is a liability, not worth his contract.

Midfield

March 27th, 2009
11:14 am

Smoothie,

I apologize if I gave you any impression that I doubt your profound knowledge of hockey. And if you want more controversy in hockey, well, ok then. I just really could not imagine that anyone watching NHL games lately would ask for more controversy, especially in Atlanta.

Smoothie

March 27th, 2009
11:44 am

No big deal Midfield, just looking for some lively debate, but it seems like too often the only thing debated on this blog is Don Waddell’s acumen or Kari’s durability / softness / ability.

Rawhide

March 27th, 2009
12:47 pm

Anyone check out the standings lately? Specifically speaking, the Central Division….

Four of the five teams currenty hold playoff spots. St. Louis…the fifth team…currently is 1 point out with a record of 35-30-9. It’s entirely possible that all 5 teams could qualify for the post-season from that division.

Nikita

March 27th, 2009
2:21 pm

On the standings…craziness.

I happen to like Sean Avery. Well, I like his Hulk-Hogan-meets-Liberace take on celebrity. He certainly makes the game more interesting. For the record, I don’t think his kneeing was deliberate — he was trying to hit Kovy, and Kovy managed to only partially evade him. Though Kovy was completely right to crush him afterward.

re: Hainsey…meh. Whatever. I’m not terrifically impressed with him this season. I think he’s a good guy to have playing defense, and we needed him desperately this season, but I hope that ultimately we’ll be able to trade him because we have sufficient well-developed, younger players who are more consistent. He’s out of position occasionally, and in general just is not quite as studly as originally assumed.

Speaking of younger defensemen…last night was not Zach Bogosian’s night. The kid is young and still transitioning, and sometimes that’s painfully obvious. Thank god he’s paired with Toby, who has now gotten his sea legs and plays well against a player of similar physical ability, if not strategic comprehension. Also, I know Ex will be retiring from Atlanta, but he needs to go. He dropped some weight, and it has helped him react better to rapidly-changing conditions, but he’s still fairly bad at reading the play. His work on the PK last night was inexcusable.

Also, about last night:

WTF was up with the officiating? I thought roughly 1/4th of the calls were just flat-out overzealous or wrong.

I’m developing a fairly massive crush on Todd White and Slava Kozlov. White, for his fairly humorous and blunt comments regarding acting as spoilers for other teams and Koz for virtually high-fiving the crowd. And, you know, I had a crush on them anyway for just kicking ass all season, working hard, and doing great work regardless of how it shook out. Ditto Bryan Little, whose play last night unfortunately was not reflected in his numbers.

Brendan

March 27th, 2009
3:37 pm

Don’t forget, today at 3PM, it’s Air Force vs. #4 Michigan. At 6:30PM, it’s Vermont vs. Yale. And at 9PM, it’s Minn-Duluth vs. Princeton. But my focus will be on Miami of Ohio taking on #3 ranked Denver University, in Round I of the NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament. I don’t know what TV coverage there will be. But I’ll be scouring the 200’s (Sports & Entertainment package) of Comcast to see which games they’re carrying, if any.

Saturday’s action features North Dakota vs. New Hampshire at 2PM, Northeastern vs. Cornell at 4PM, #1 ranked Boston University vs. Ohio St., and finally, Bemidji St. vs. #2 ranked Notre Dame, at 7:30 PM.

Also on Saturday, the winners of Yale/Vermont and Air Force/Michigan will meet at 6:30 PM, at Bridgeport Arena, in Bridgeport, CT, on ESPNU for a 2nd round matchup. The Minn-Duluth/Princeton winner will meet the Miami (OH)/Denver Univ winner at 9PM on ESPNU, at Mariucci Arena, in Minneapolis, MN.

On Sunday, the 29th of March, the Boston Univ/Ohio St. winner meets the North Dakota/New Hampshire winner at 5:30PM on ESPNU, at the Verizon Wireless Arena, in Machester, NH. At 8PM, the Northeastern/Cornell winner meets the Bemidji St./Notre Dame winner on ESPNU, at Van Andel Arena, in Grand Rapids, MI.

ranallo10 (in AT)

March 27th, 2009
3:42 pm

http://tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=272836

Would anybody be surprised to see this happen in Atlanta when Lehtonen is re-signed?

Hockey Biltong

March 27th, 2009
3:47 pm

Thanks Alan.
Nice blog Nikita! avery will end up getting what he gives….lol.

R. Stroz

March 27th, 2009
4:16 pm

ranallo10 – Are you refering to stendec making calls?

stendec may blow off steam; but, I don’t think he is completely insane.

Tony C.

March 27th, 2009
4:38 pm

Where do they have us drafting at now???

If we miss Tavares (and it looks like we will), perhaps Evander Kane would be a good choice? 96 pts and 89 PIM in 61 games, standing @ 6′1″ going 185lbs born in 1991.

http://whl.ca/stats/player.php?id=24816

His stock has risen consistently since 2K7, seems to have a lot of intangibles. I was thinking of the younger Schenn, but this Kane kid could be an even better option.

Tony C.

March 27th, 2009
4:38 pm

Dammit. still can’t get the bold right

ranallo10 (in AT)

March 27th, 2009
4:43 pm

Stroz — I’m sure the guy calling in was also just “blowing off steam”.

Tony C. — Schenn, Kane, Paajarvi, Schroeder…there are a lot of 1b options out there, and I’ll be happy with any one of them. It doesn’t bother me to enjoy Tavares’ skills while he’s wallowing in Phoenix or New York (though, I think Phoenix would be scary talented with him in the fold).

kracker

March 27th, 2009
5:16 pm

bold 1 bold 2

kracker

March 27th, 2009
5:21 pm

haha Let’s not give our excitable fan friend stendec any ideas about using more forceful methods of complaining about that %#&@$ goaltender.

Trixie (Rawhide's Secretary)

March 27th, 2009
5:38 pm

Mr. Tony C. – Go back and review the formula…I believe you are failing to place the necessary items at the end of the text you wish to enhance with bold letters.

However, I did fix the post to reflect how I believed you wanted to have it shown.

HookyBob

March 27th, 2009
5:50 pm

Brenden: Try ESPN2 for the NCAA hockey.