Unlike the last couple of seasons, when game number two followed right behind game number one the very next night, we are being forced to endure five days in between Saturdays 6-3 romp over the Bolts and Thursday’s game in St. Louis. And I don’t know about you…but it just seems like it’s taking an eternity to get from there to here.
Of course, it’ll take even longer before we get to head back down to Philips Arena for the second home game of the year. After playing the Blues, the Thrashers make their way to Ottawa for a date with the Senators, then we wait again for next weekends games in New Jersey and Buffalo on Friday and Saturday nights.
Lot’s-o-gaps in the schedule early on, eh?
Then there is a return trip to Canada the week following…Montreal will be the destination this time…before finally welcoming the Washington Capitals to town on Thursday the 22nd.
Yup…nothing like a nice five-game roadie toward the beginning of the season to provide a nice test for the team. A lot of people gasped at the sight of such when the schedule came out last summer…as well as the seven-game roadie around the holidays…but personally I think this affords a fantastic opportunity for the Thrashers to further gel and bond as a unit.
How many points will the Thrashers earn during this road trip?
Total Voters: 105
As an example, let’s travel back to last February when the team headed out west for a four game excursion. At the time the Thrashers were long-since removed from any playoff contention and they were facing some teams that were in the thick of the postseason hunt. Anaheim and San Jose eventually made it in while Los Angeles faded away…but at the time the Kings were riding a 7-2-1 streak when the Thrashers made their way to SoCal.
In short, there weren’t too many in Thrasherville that expected much from the team on that trip.
But we remember what happened, don’t we? On a Sunday evening they stepped on the Ducks 6-3…the very next night they found it was good to beat the Kings, 7-6 in a shootout…and wound up the roadie with a 2-1-1 record and played some pretty darn good hockey throughout it.
That was about the time a lot of fans here started to realize something good was happening with this team…and the solid, more consistent play continued for the remainder of the season.
Fast-forwarding back to present day…there is much we can learn regarding the makeup and character of this year’s edition of the Thrashers team early on as three of the teams they’ll face on the road trip qualified for the postseason last year…and Buffalo and Ottawa are not exactly pushovers either.
As for Thursday’s opponents…the Blues should be over any jetlag experienced from returning home from their opening pair of games in Sweden. Of course, being able to come home with two wins against the Big Red Borg certainly makes getting re-acclimated to the central time zone just that much easier for St. Louis. Last weekend they beat Detroit 4-3 and 5-3, though they were outshot by the Wings by a total of 72-55.
For the hometown ice combatants… given that Boris Valabik is out with an ankle injury, the defensive pairing should be the same as against Tampa Bay. However, Colby Armstrong’s possible return could mean changes in the front lines. If the way coach Anderson divided them up during practice is any indication, Marty Reasoner would slide to the fourth line to center Eric Boulton and, possibly, Jimmy Slater. Army would play on the right side of the third line while Evander Kane remains on the left…Peverley would then provide the pivot between the pair.
This would leave Chris Thorburn to man the snack buffet in the pres box.
As for an extra defender for the trip, that would have been newcomer Christoph Schubert…but per C-Viv, Anderson indicated he was having “immigration issues”. Let’s hope that gets dealt with soon.