Change Comes To Washington…Between The Pipes

Change has come to D.C. …and I ain’t talkin’ about the Barack Obama kinda change here. Nope…I’m talkin’ about the change that’s been made over the course of the last week in Washington’s goal.

After the 4-3 opening game loss to the New York Rangers, Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau made a change ‘tween the pipes for game 2…turning to young Simeon Varlamov who had all of 6 regular season games and only 5 starts to his name. However, in those games he played well, compiling a record of 4-0-1 with a .918 SV% and 2.37 GAA.

Getting a puck past Varlamov has been as tough to do for the Rangers than getting a balanced budget passed in Congress (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Getting a puck past Varlamov has been as tough to do for the Rangers as getting a balanced budget passed in Congress (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Thrashers fans may remember this youngster…who was the 23rd overall pick in 2006 and turns 21 on Monday…from his outstanding game in Atlanta during the last week of the season. Washington won that game 4-2 behind Varlamov’s 29 saves on 31 shots performance.

Game two didn’t produce the outcome Boudreau had hoped for on the scoreboard, a 1-0 loss, but he saw enough from Varlamov to know he needed to stick with the young-un. Turns out to have been a good call.

In the third game of the series, played in Madison Square Garden, Varlamaov stopped all of the 33 shots he faced in Washington’s 4-0 shutout win. In game four he turned away all but two of the Rangers’ 21 attempts…but the Capitals fell 2-1 and sank into a three games to one deficit.

Young Varlamov had lost 2 of the 3 starts he had made in the playoffs going into Friday’s must-win game 5…but he had stopped 75 of the 78 shots he’d faced, (.962 SV%) and was sporting a 1.01 GAA in the post-season. The Caps weren’t facing a round-one upset because of him, that’s for sure.

However, thanks in great part to him, the Caps are still alive and heading back to Gotham for another must-win type of game. Varlamov turned aside 20 SOG in Washington’s 4-0 spanking of the Rangers. That’s right…the kid has two playoff shutouts in just four games and is sporting a nifty .969 SV%.

If Atlanta opens the season next fall against the Capitals…and if they do, it will be for the third straight year…we’ll see young Simeon Varlamov again ‘tween the pipes, just as we did the last time we faced the them. Because no matter what happens for the rest of the way against the Rangers…or later in the playoffs possibly…this kid has earned the job in D.C.

Holy %&#@!…Did You See That?

Speaking of Washington’s game-5 win Friday night…did you see the goal Alex Ovechkin scored just before the second intermission to make it 4-0 Caps at the break? “WOW” just doesn’t seem to pay it justice.

Ovie took the puck in center ice along the left boards…crosses the blueline…weaves between two defenders, passing the puck to himself between the legs of one Ranger…then beats Lundqvist with the backhand, while Aaron Voros is driving him to the ice while draped across his back.

Amaz-zing-zing!

What’s That You Say, Erik?

I missed this interview on XM the other day…but the Falconer is reporting that Erik Christensen made some sort of comment about how his poor showing in Thrasher-blue had to do mostly because of the ownership here. Reportedly, Christensen said that Atlanta was “a very difficult place to play due to the problems with ownership.”

Uh-huh…I guess that’s just a helluva lot more easy to say than, “I simply couldn’t find a way to take a nice pass and put it in the net on a regular basis”.

The Man With The Plan

TSN’s Scott Cullen has posted his off-season game plan for the Thrashers. Not surprisingly, job number one for Don Waddell is re-signing Kovy before the season starts.

Cullen writes, “General manager Don Waddell is also under pressure since he’s been presiding over this franchise since its inception and it would be a p.r. disaster to lose your franchise player because he’s not impressed with the supporting cast provided to him”.

Indeed.

Funny…I Don’t Feel Canadian

Hey, did you know that you just might be a Canadian citizen right now and not even know it? Yup…it’s true!

Now I’m Steamed!

It is with great sadness and a deep sense of regret that I have to report the loss of an Atlanta sports franchise. As I have learned recently from my good friend Mortimer Peacock of The Blueland Chronicle…the Atlanta Steam of the Lingerie Footbal League has shipped off to Charlotte, North Carolina…stripping from us their talent.

For those of you that chose to boycott the team in hopes that the Steam would get a new general manager…I hope you are all quite happy with yourselves!

:!: Playoff Viewing At TJ’s :!:

This past season, as you know,  we held a few Thrashers Viewing Parties at TJ”s Bar & Grill and they were a big success. Mark and Tim are excellent hosts and ask me during the last one to make sure we return for the playoffs. Well, I spoke with Mark the other day and we are gonna shoot for next Sunday afternoon May 3rd. Don’t know who’ll be playing just yet as it’ll be the first weekend of the second round…but whoever it’ll be, I’m sure we’ll have a good time. It’ll be perfect if you’re suffering from any withdrawl symptoms since the season eneded!

As always, you can RSVP with Trixie if you plan on attending. Hope to see ya’ll there!

40 comments Add your comment

Brendan

April 24th, 2009
11:08 pm

I never PURPOSEFULLY ABSTAINED from the Lingerie Football League. I blame poor marketing.

Brendan

April 24th, 2009
11:12 pm

Rawhide, I saw Ovechkin’s goal on the replays. Wow, indeed. Also, Varlamov has been terrific in net. So, let me ask you … “What becomes of Jose Theodore?” Do the Caps go looking for a netminder in free agency? Or, are they really and truly set with Varlamov next season, with Theodore as the backup? Is it true that Bryzgalov wants out of Phoenix? If so, could this be where Washington looks?

Let’s see what GM McPhee does at the draft.

Brendan

April 24th, 2009
11:27 pm

I just discovered that the Atlanta Steam don’t have any playoff wins–and still have the same GM since inception. Maybe the fans had CAUSE not to attend? Hey, I always say it should be about “accountability.”

Rawhide

April 24th, 2009
11:30 pm

BrendanDo the Caps go looking for a netminder in free agency? Or, are they really and truly set with Varlamov next season, with Theodore as the backup?

Good question Professor… my first guess is that the keep Theodore as a backup. He went 32-17-5 last season, (including 8-3-1 in last 12), with a .900 SV% and 2.87 GAA… so it isn’t like he stunck the place up.

The Joker

April 24th, 2009
11:51 pm

Do you know the problem Christy had with ownership?

Levenson must have taken him out drinking before the games so Christy kept seeing two pucks when he whiffed on the shot. A few more drinks and maybe there would have been three pucks and Christy could have swung his stick at the middle one.

Midfield

April 25th, 2009
8:07 am

I also have a plan for Don Waddell. Line item number 1 of the plan says, “Resign as Atlanta Thrashers GM due to consistent underperformance.” Line item number 2 syas, “See line item number 1.”

Alan

April 25th, 2009
11:17 am

While it’s true that Atlanta has an ownership problem, it appears that Anaheim is using him less and less. While he did score twice and add seven assists during his time in Anaheim, there was also a few games where he was used less than ten minutes. One such game had him on the ice for only slightly north of the six minute mark.

Ownership isn’t the reason you couldn’t cut it here. The reason is you have stone hands. Even Thorburn scored the same number of goals as you, Christensen. Is that the fault of ownership, too?

Tony C.

April 25th, 2009
12:11 pm

Betcha Christensen started that “I need top line minutes” crap and Pronger stuffed him in a trashcan.

Obama's Teleprompter

April 25th, 2009
1:50 pm

Christensen is nothing but a coward. It’s easy to blame someone else because he sucked here. Colby Armstrong came in the same trade and has played reasonably well. Christensen sounds like a classic front runner to me. It shows a hell of a lot more character to play well on a bad team than to play well on a potentially great team.

Brendan

April 25th, 2009
2:53 pm

If it weren’t for the shootouts, would Christensen be an NHL player? Maybe. Many teams aren’t picky about their 4th line guys.

Shifting gears, we’re moments away from the puck drop on what ‘could’ be the final game of the Flyers season. Likewise, the San Jose Sharks are facing elmination. It would be an IMPROBABLE end to the San Jose Sharks President’s Tropy-winning season. If the Sharks lose, the speculation will start about Todd McLellan, Head Coach, and whether or not Ron Wilson should have ever been sent packing. Truthfully, I would view a 1st round exit as something of a grandios failure on the part of the Sharks organization. But I wouldn’t fire Todd McLellan. I supported the Sharks in their decision to move in a different direction, away from Wilson. Don’t cry for Wilson, he’s one of the most successful coaches in the NHL. The only issue there, with Wilson, is the lack of a Cup ring. And if he gets that done, ESPECIALLY with Toronto, he’ll be a 1st ballot HOF inductee. Even after Toronto, Wilson will be offered another Head Coaching position.

But I want to take a little ‘informal poll,’ about whether we bloggers think the Flyers and Sharks are done tonight. I’ll go out on a limb and say both survive to fight another day. Game Five, between Calgary and Chicago, is on Center Ice, Comcast channel #774 tonight at 9PM. The Ducks-Sharks game is on Versus, at 10PM.

This 3PM game between the Penguins and Flyers is on NBC. It’s easy to forget, but this WASthe Conference Finals matchup last season, which the Penguins won, 4-1. Perhaps swept under the carpet a bit is this FACT: The Philadelphia Flyers, since 2003, have advanced to the 2nd round of the playoffs every year they qualified for the playoffs, except for 2006, where they lost to Buffalo, 4-2. Of course, the Flyers finished DEAD LAST in the NHL in 2007. Seems like a distant memory now, doesn’t it? Right about now, perhaps the Flyers wish they still had R.J. Umberger. You’ll recall that Umberger was dished at the draft to Columbus, with a 4th round pick, for a 1st and 3rd round pick in 2008. I believe the Flyers took Luca Sbisa at #19 and March-Andre Bourdon at #67.

Alan

April 25th, 2009
3:04 pm

If the Sharks lose, the speculation will start about Todd McLellan

What?

No, “speculation” will not start about a first year head coach. What will happen is the Sharks would have solidified their position as playoff chokers. The Sharks would also become only the third team since the Presidents’ Trophy was created to bow out of the playoffs in the first round.

To insinuate McLellan’s position is on the line is, for lack of a better word, silly. Doug Wilson, on the other hand, is very likely fair game. After all, San Jose’s playoff record has regressed since he became the GM. Bowing out in the first round would be the cherry on top of the three second round defeats, and the conference finals defeat in 2004.

Brendan

April 25th, 2009
3:40 pm

Alan, Alan, Alan. For clarity purposes, I’m not suggesting that McLellan would be fired. On the contrary, “speculation” is referencing “talk” whether the Sharks NEEEEEEDED to make a change at the Head Coaching position. I don’t think he’s getting fired. I even said so. Okay, I said I wouldn’t fire him. The Sharks will do whatever they jolly well want with their Head Coaching position. Alan, do you really think there’ll be NO SPECULATION, … AT ALLLLL … about what San Jose did with their Head Coach, if the team is eliminated in the 1st round. None … WHATSOEVER???

Alan

April 25th, 2009
4:08 pm

On the contrary, “speculation” is referencing “talk” whether the Sharks NEEEEEEDED to make a change at the Head Coaching position.

And I’m saying any such talk – even the suggestion – is ludicrous. I never said there wouldn’t be, I’m saying there shouldn’t be.

Any talk that should occur should be directed towards the GM. The head coach should be more than safe.

Tony C.

April 25th, 2009
4:33 pm

McClellan will be fine but Wilson may have to find a new address…

ranallo10 (in AT)

April 25th, 2009
5:12 pm

What could Wilson have done differently? Tell me where he has failed his team, please.

Rawhide

April 25th, 2009
5:39 pm

Hey guys…I just updated the above post to announce a Playoff Viewing Party at TJ’s next weekend. Once the second round matchups are known and the schedule is announced, we’ll know who’ll be playing…but Mark Ecclestone and I are shooting for Sunday afternoon, May 3.

This will be a great cure for any withdrawl symptoms you’ve experienced since the end of the Thrashers season! Hope to see ya there!

Brendan

April 25th, 2009
6:15 pm

Alan, I can appreciate that you think there’s “shouldn’t be” any talk about it. But, I’m going to watch and see what gets published out there. From my perspective, whenever a #1 team is knocked off by a #8, in ANY sport, there’ll be “talk,” or “speculation” about the what the Head Coach did/tried. I’m not saying, “talk about firing,” but rather, talk about what went wrong for the #1 seed that was eliminated. How on EARTH does the Head Coach not even get MENTIONED in such a scenario??? He’s just “totally blameless, totally insulated” for a PEEP of criticism? I’ll be looking forward to that day. As I don’t think it’s ever existed. If the Head Coach of the #1 seed gets eliminated in the 1st round, and ABSOLUTELY NO ONE criticizes him, my jaw will drop.

Who has THIS KIND OF POWER????? Not even Scotty Bowman would get such a pass from the media. And I wouldn’t fire Bowman, either. I realize that these things happen. Especially in a sport as unpredictable as hockey. Bowman’s Red Wings, in 1996, won 62 games in the regular season. They only lost 13 games, ALLLL YEAAAAR LONNNNG. And yet, they did not win the Stanley Cup in 1996, Colorado did. Detroit dropped nine (9) games in the playoffs. Did Bowman get a PASS from the media?? No. Did he get fired? Certainly not. And the Wings won the Cup the very next season.

When I look at Doug Wilson’s move, I don’t see GLARING ERRORS. He brought in Thornton, and even re-signed him. He brought in Boyle, (and Brad Lukowich,) at the expense of Matt Carle, Ty Wishart, a 1st round pick in 2009 (could be as late as pick #30, if the Sharks win the Cup,) and a throw away 4th-rounder. He re-signed Marleau. He re-signed Pavelski. He re-signed Christian Ehrhoff and Marcel Goc. I forgot what he did at the deadline this year. I think he tried to move Kyle McLaren, but he failed a physical, and the deal was annuled. He did make some kind of deal with Anaheim. But it escapes me right now. He picked up Jeremy Roenick last year in free agency, and it worked out, so much so that he re-signed him. He picked up some experience in Rob Blake. There’s some “miss” in it, but a lot of “hits,” too. Where I agree with you, Alan, is that the results just haven’t been there, since 2004. And it’s results-oriented business.

If it were me, as the owner of the Sharks, I don’t think I’d fire either one just yet. The roster still looks good. Many players are returning. I’d, “try, try again” with the same group of players, with a tweak here and there. But if I don’t like the offseason moves, that’s different. As a good owner, it’s my job to fork over the money, get out of the way, and let my GM “manage.” If I don’t like what I see, then I take appropriate action. I wouldn’t say it’s “hopeless, hopeless, utterly hopeless” for the Sharks next year. Shoot, it’s not even over yet, this year.

Brendan

April 25th, 2009
8:25 pm

Well, the Flyers blew a 3-0 lead, AT HOME, in a game where their very survival was on the line. Ouch. I really did think they would win this game, especially when Briere scored that 3rd goal. I think Pittsburgh tied it up before the end of the 2nd period. That’s great for the Penguins. They avoid the Game Seven, earn a little bit more rest time.

Brendan

April 26th, 2009
1:12 am

Still alive! Still alive! At 6:02 of overtime, Patrick Marleau extends the series for San Jose. It’s another win for McLellan. But San Jose did have a 2-0 lead, after two periods, and couldn’t hold it in regulation time. This is going to be a very intriguing Game Six at Honda Center.

World Be Free

April 26th, 2009
8:38 am

Thrash need to take advantage of their cap space. there be some good teams dropping good talent off to get under the cap, with the hope of signing free agents. Briere would be an excellent compliment for Kovy. Philly is cap stressed.

The Joker

April 26th, 2009
10:47 am

What excuse will Erik Christensen serve up for seeing less ice time on the Ducks?

He can’t master the flying wing or knunkle puck.

The Joker

April 26th, 2009
10:51 am

What did Cindy Crotchby say after the Penquins beat the Flyers?

We are on our way to winning the Boris Cup.

Tony C.

April 26th, 2009
12:04 pm

ranallo- Nothing. I just get the feeling that San Jose pretty much has “Stanley Cup or Bust” written up one side and down the other.

Doug Wilson’s done a MAGNIFICENT job building that team, but you just get the feeling that if they don’t make it to the finals the whole works are going to be suspect.If they don’t get past the Ducks, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them blow the team up.

Might be dumb, but that’s the vibe I get.

However, it seems that big Joe Thornton has finally found his “playoff switch”. I read an article by Bill Simmons a few years ago (back when he wrote about sports and not “The Hills” WTF is up with that anyway?-sorry totally different rant), that basically pointed out Joe and Kevin Garnett specifically as guys who are great players, but just don’t have the “extra gear” needed to achieve post-season success.

Theory was they play @ the top 5% of human ability all the time-but when the other players ratchet their 80% up to say 87-95%, Thornton & Garnett couldn’t make a similar “adjustment”-they’re already playing at their full potential.

Anyway, I bring that up because (as was noted by the VS guys) last night was the first time I’ve ever seen Joe Thornton fired up-as the commentator said “The skill’s always been there, looks like Big Joe finally found the emotional tap-now the will is there too.”

Looking forward to Monday night’s game.

ranallo10 (in AT)

April 26th, 2009
1:36 pm

I hear you Tony. I’d say there’s little justification in firing the GM (or coach for that matter) that leads your team to a President’s Trophy. However, I could see how something drastic like that could inspire the ere of change that is needed, if they were to fail again.

It must be frustrating for SJ fans to see the teams assembled and know they’ve got little to show for it.

Rawhide

April 26th, 2009
2:33 pm

I’d like to take this time to wish a very happy birthday to a couple of wonderful gals…

My wife, The Divine Mrs. R, is celebrating the anniversary of her birth today…as is the lovely Mrs. RStroz!!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LADIES!!

Brendan

April 26th, 2009
5:01 pm

Capitals win again! It’s a 5-3 win, at the Gahden, with a suspended Head Coach John Tortorella watching on. Jim Schoenfeld held the fort for the Rangers. Tortorella will be back behind the bench for Game Seven. You’ll recall the that Capitals trailed the Flyers, 3-1, last year. But the Capitals rallied to force Game Seven at the Verizon Center. Trouble was, they lost it. In overtime. In my view, those Flyers were a better team than these Rangers. So, I did definitely think they could get back to Game Seven. But, the job isn’t done yet. Washington must not choke Game Seven away. I did pick Washington to win the East and be in the Cup Finals, against San Jose, so … I’m holding my breath for these picks just to survive the 1st round. Varlamov has been effective in relief of Jose Theodore. He holds two (2) shutouts in this series already. He’s also had a 1 goal outing, in a loss. If the Capitals can manage to score 3 (or more) goals … and Varlamov plays like he has, Washington has a serious shot at winning Game Seven. Hey, I like Bruce Boudreau. I’m hoping he gets it done.

Bruin fans are waiting and watching. What Boston fans probably want … is an extended series, where the Rangers win. Well, they got HALF of that equasion. The series will go seven. If Washington wins, they’ll host the next series. They just don’t know who their opponent will be. Could be Pittsburgh. Could be New Jersey. If New Jersey wins tonight, they advance. If the Capitals win Game Seven, and the Devils beat the ‘Canes, Washington (2) would host (3) New Jersey, while Pittsburgh (4) travels to Boston (1).

In the East, it’s not really common to see all the top seeded teams advance. Commissioner Bettmen probably wouldn’t be upset about Boston (1) vs. NY (7) in the next round, and the TV-ratings that might produce.

Midfield

April 26th, 2009
6:12 pm

Brendan,

about Varlamov. Think about: you can count on him playing against Atlanta in the division series for a while now. Forget Theodore, who as I remember handed the Thrashers their home opener of this very season. Seems like it was years ago now.

Brendan

April 26th, 2009
9:24 pm

I wouldn’t bet against it, Midfield. The playoffs is the season that matters the most. And who’s playing in the Capitals net? Not Theodore. Still, it might not be a horrible idea for the Caps to retain Theodore as the backup. He did put up some decent regular season numbers, as Rawhide mentioned above.

Brendan

April 26th, 2009
10:43 pm

This NJ-Carolina series is the 2nd series to go seven games. I picked New Jersey to win this series, but I am secretly rooting for Carolina. They are the south’s only team left. Nashville didn’t make it in. And I don’t count Washington as “southern,” despite the name of the division. Florida missed the dance by a “hair.” In hindsight, I think Florida would have presented a much stronger opponent than Montreal was for Boston. Anywho… my thoughts are strangely turned towards the 2004 CF and SCF for Tampa Bay, when I view this Carolina-NJ series. Let me explain.

In the 2004 CF, Tampa Bay won games 1, 3, 5 and 7. And in the Stanley Cup Finals, they won games 2, 4, 6 and 7. Well, NJ is trying to replicate the 1, 3, 5, 7 formula while Carolina is gunning for the 2, 4, 6 and 7 series win. Has Carolina-NJ been the best series, of the 1st round? My first thoughts are “yes,” but I’ve also been drawn to the Calgary-Chicago series, which has been a “home ice advantage” type of series. Also, the Rangers-Caps series has just become very intriguing. I think 20 or so teams have overcome the 3-1 series deficit to win. The Caps might be next. I am hoping that San Jose can also add to those teams that overcame the 3-1 series deficit.

Biggest disappointment of the 2009 playoffs? I’m not even going to say Montreal. I think it’s Columbus. They gave up 4 goals in the first three games, then six in Game Four, which was their only real chance at earning a win. Hockey fans in Ohio waited a long, long time to make the playoffs … and what they got wasn’t exactly awe-inspiring. R.J. Umberger didn’t disappoint, however. Rick Nash didn’t score until Game Four, if I recall correctly. Some of you will say, “What about St. Louis being swept?” Yeah, that was surprising, given their 2nd half finish, and quasi-miracle run to 6th position. There was plenty of “talk” about St. Louis winning that series. I don’t recall anyone predicting a Vancouver sweep. St. Louis hasn’t won a playoff series since 2002, 4-1, over Chicago.

B. Hussein Obama

April 27th, 2009
9:29 am

Let’s turn to our own 21 year old netminder. Sure he played bad at the beginning of the year but so did everyone else. If he had been behind the team that had a winning record when it didn’t matter if it was Lehtonen or Hedberg between the pipes he would’ve done just as well.

B. Hussein Obama

April 27th, 2009
9:33 am

I also see Washington and Carolina both winning the game 7 matches tomorrow. With the Hurricanes being the lowest seed they will play Boston. Then that will lead to the most possibly overhyped matchup of Crosby vs Ovechkin I for the middle seeds.

B. Hussein Obama

April 27th, 2009
10:52 am

Ryan Jankowski, the assistant GM and director of amateur scouting for the New York Islanders, was in the Brampton getting an up-close look at Matt Duchene. If they don’t win the next away game to close out the series, Charles Wang will be in attendance for the next home game. I don’t know why links don’t work here anymore (or bolding or italics) so I can’t get the link to work. Either way, looks like the Islanders are not sold on Tavares.

Jason(Darkhorse)

April 27th, 2009
11:57 am

Just some early speculation on Kari from the forthperiod. We keep reading about him being shopped at the trade deadline. I assume things will start to happen around the draft one way or another. I hope DW doesn’t do something like send him to Philly for injury-prone Briere and his remaining six year at 6+ mil per. Talk about a big possible handycap for a franchise. Philly’s about to be in one if the cap shrinks.

http://www.thefourthperiod.com/news/atl090427.html

Spud Webb

April 27th, 2009
12:07 pm

A little early but thats why the caps only signed Theodore to a 2 year deal. They expected this kid to be their goalie, again probably a littler earlier than expected.
Great to see Christison cry like the bi&tch that he is. What a baby, BYE. Love watching all these games, the philly game was an instant classic, what a MELTDOWN. I called the bro up in philly, he was speechless and said “perfect ending for this team” ahhahhaahahaha. I hate both of those teams and hate to say this…I hope the bruins PUNISH cindy and the pens!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

World be Free

April 27th, 2009
12:48 pm

Thrash will keep both Kari and Kovy. Philly is trying to dump salary. Thrash can use their salart cap advantage and get some help this summer.

Alan

April 27th, 2009
1:22 pm

Remember, Brendan, that Columbus was playing Detroit. That was a match-up made in hell, as far as first playoffs are concerned. Columbus was destined to lose that series. Detroit notched up the pressure quite a bit, and Columbus collapsed under it.

That said, Columbus sure waited long enough to ramp up their own intensity, but made a very costly mistake with the sixth man on the ice in Game 4. And I’m torn, as far as that is concerned. As a fan of Detroit, I hoped to see them excel. But I also wanted to see Columbus win a couple games — especially their games at home.

ranallo10 (in AT)

April 27th, 2009
2:06 pm

I feel bad for the Columbus fans but deep down I’m happy because it’s one less excuse people can use to scorn the Thrashers. I can understand why some people would be excited about saying “Atlanta is the only NHL team without a single game won in the playoffs”, but as a fan of the team I hope that sentence can never be said.

Brendan

April 27th, 2009
5:38 pm

Alan, I completely agree with you, there. I really, genuinely thought Columbus would win a few games. They did play Detroit fairly well over the past two seasons. But I had no illusions of a Columbus upset. Columbus should be PROUD that they did take a “1st step” in the evolution of their franchise. I’d think that the Blue Jackets should be able to get back to the playoffs, if they don’t make any serious missteps between now and “Opening Night.” I think they do have to re-sign Rick Nash (proactively) in this offseason. And they need to be “responsible” about it. These are the challenges of a GM, as you know.

But, as for whether the Thrashers are the ONLY team left without a playoff win, I just don’t see it as being all that important. For all we know, there will eventually be another expansion team … and it might go 7-8 seasons without making the playoffs, and well … those are concerned about “only NHL teams without a victory” can have something about which to be gleeful. I’d wager that in the next DECADE or so, the Thrashers will get a playoff win. They ought to be able to achieve that much, just by annual lottery drafts and waiver claims, as a bottom feeder team.

For meeeee, the whole issue of playoff futility stems NOT about one (1) measely playoff win, but RATHER, about not advancing the team PAST the 2nd round of the playoffs, given that it has had so many lottery picks (Five going into 2009, six if you want to starting including 2009) and Top 10 draft positions (8 coming into 2009, nine (9) if you want to start adding it) from which to build the franchise. For meeee, I just can’t understand why the team hasn’t been better, in terms of number of playoff appearances, and success therein. Okay, I do understand it. I’m just disappointed by it. It doesn’t stop me from loving the Thrashers, but it does cause me to have ample concern over how the organization is run. Personally, I think the dedicated hockey fans of this city have deserved BETTER. But it is what it is. “If, at first, you don’t succeed. Try, try again.” I’m a fan who realizes that there are “peaks and valleys” in the evolution of a team, and that my team simply CANNOT win the Stanley Cup, year in and year out. And I further think fans in Montreal who hold this viewpoint are being wholly unrealistic in their expectations. There’s a salary cap in effect. The purpose of that cap, in addition to fiscal responsibility, is to create parity, and prevent dynasties. At least in theory. It would work, if the NHL’s accountants weren’t setting them off “projected revenues” instead of ACTUAL ones. If the NHL set the cap limit off the actual revenues, cities like Edmonton, Phoenix, Raleigh, Buffalo and Atlanta would actually have a fair and equal chance at winning Stanley Cups. But that’s another topic.

Brendan

April 27th, 2009
5:58 pm

B. Hussein Obama, perhaps the Islanders are hoping to land Tavares ANNND Duchene this year? Maybe the Isles would like to make a pitch to Colorado, who sits at #3, or Los Angeles, who picks 5th, or Phoenix, with picks 6th? If the Islanders promised their 2010 first round pick in their proposal, I think these teams would at least “listen” to the pitch. An Islander 1st round pick can very well turn out to be a lottery draft pick next year. Also, Toronto’s Brian Burke went public, a few weeks ago now at TSN, that he’d like to trade up in the draft, ideally landing Tavares. (So would many OTHER GM’s.) Burke went so far as to say no player, not even Luc Schenn, would be “off the table” in the hypothetical trade. I can’t remember where Toronto is drafting. Perhaps 7th?? But I’d tell you that I doubt Duchene would still be there at #7, if the Islanders wanted to swap draft positions with Toronto. And Toronto would have to give up a LOT to make that happen with the Islanders. The Leafs promising the Isles Toronto’s 1st round pick in 2010 won’t cut it. John Tavares broke some of Gretzky’s records. I don’t think it’d be worth taking the risk of losing Tavares, pretty much no matter WHAT some other team offers. Where would Toronto draft NEXT YEAR, if they got Tavares THIS YEAR? It wouldn’t be worth it. When you own the #1 overall pick, you should select your player and control his rights for 7-8 years. But heyyy, these are the Islanders. Who knows what “vodoo drafting scenario” they’ll cook up this year.

World be Free

April 29th, 2009
12:36 pm

Toronto is at #7. They do not have the assets on their current roster or farm system to move up. Duchene will go no later than 3-4.

Maybe the Thrashers can pickup Daymond Langkow from Calgary.