Thrashers set to face first big test of season

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?

  • Zero: They're gonna lay a big goose egg! (1%, 1 Votes)
  • 1 - 3: Looks like a very un-good trip (4%, 4 Votes)
  • 4-6: Something in the mushy middle (49%, 51 Votes)
  • 7-9: Very nice roadie on tap for LeThrash! (40%, 42 Votes)
  • 10: That's right, you heard me... all TEN Ba-BEEEeeee!!! (6%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 105

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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.

142 comments Add your comment

Sara

October 8th, 2009
12:22 pm

“That said, people incorrectly refer to me as a Yankee, and I’m from Detroit. Figure that one out.”

North of Mason-Dixon = Yankee = You :)

Brendan

October 8th, 2009
12:23 pm

Here’s something you don’t see everyday. Detroit and NJ at the bottom of the league. http://www.nhl.com/ice/standings.htm?season=20092010&type=LEA They’d be battling it out for the 1st overall pick in the draft, if the season ended today. Chuckling.

And if the season ended today, Atlanta would be #6 and would play #3 Montreal in the opening round of the playoffs. Isn’t this time of year, fun?? I’m just waiting for the Coyotes to win another game for some newspaper to project them as a 115-point team, seeded 1st overall, and winning the President’s Trophy.

J.B.

October 8th, 2009
12:23 pm

oooh damn. did not mean to open up a can of worms with the ‘yankee’ thing y’all. Bill – post another blog quick!

World Be Free

October 8th, 2009
12:27 pm

Up north, I was referred to as a Pollack.
Down south, I am referred to as a Yankee.

Why can’t I just be me? I feel like one of those cavemen in the Geico commercials.

Thrashers27

October 8th, 2009
12:36 pm

Wow! Chellios is a Chicago Wolf…wonder what the likelyhppd of seeing him in Thrashers blue is. Prob. not very, but interesting.

Smoothie

October 8th, 2009
12:36 pm

WBF – that’s pretty funny stuff. I actually LIKE being called a Yankee. And I rather prefer being called a “damn Yankee”, which was common during my collegiate days on a Southern school’s campus . I think we all start out as “damn Yankees” but then graduate to just plain ‘ol Yankee upon acceptance here in the South. As for having my “fingers on the pulse”, I surely hope my predictions make it seem that way when 10/22 rolls around and we’re talking about the 4-1-1 start!

R. Stroz

October 8th, 2009
12:39 pm

LaVallee was just traded to the CBJs.

Smoothie

October 8th, 2009
12:39 pm

http://www.bluelandblog.com/

Boris had the surgery performed already. Colby set to rock the Scot-trade Center tonite!! Hopefully he’ll get the boys really geeked and amped to play some ice puckey!

R. Stroz

October 8th, 2009
12:40 pm

WBF – At least you don’t look like Bobby Holik.

Alan R.

October 8th, 2009
12:43 pm

North of Mason-Dixon = Yankee = You

Broad brushes paint with broad strokes. :P

World Be Free

October 8th, 2009
12:47 pm

Smooth one–The key to acceptance in the south is finding out which college football team each person cheers for. This allows you to befriend them by cheering for their team. If you don’t like the person, cheer for the team they hate! Everybody has a favorite team AND a team they hate.

It’s even more interesting for our kids, who were both born up north and grew up in the south. Seems like most of us have assimilated pretty well, we have hockey as a common denominator.

ranallo10 (in AT)

October 8th, 2009
12:51 pm

I’m from Los Angeles, what does that make me?

Stroz — Too bad, I always pictured him as a decent (at best) third line wing. Any word on what Atlanta receives in return?

Smoothie

October 8th, 2009
12:52 pm

Hockey can definitely bring people together and be a unifying force here in the South. Case in point: Stewart Cink, born and raised in the SE, has two sons that are playing youth hockey. Cink could wind up being one of the best ambassadors of the sport here in the South too. The ASG should really jump on board and use Stewy to promote hockey.

As for acceptance in the South, it was easy for me at Wake Forest where we all loved being the underdog and just about everyone there LOVED TO HATE THE TARHOLES!!! Probably the only reason I stopped watching hockey so religiously was because of my hot, sizzling love affair with ACC basketball in the early and mid 90’s. But nothing will ever measure up to Randolph Childress and Timmy D so I don’t care so much now.

Sara

October 8th, 2009
12:55 pm

ranallo – “future considerations”

I don’t get the point of the trade but “whatev” I suppose.

J.B.

October 8th, 2009
12:56 pm

I think I remember reading that he was unhappy with this organization earlier in the year. Couldn’t tell you where I saw that…

A little off topic- for any of you that follow thrashers news via twitter, are y’all having issues? I’m not seeing updates from anyone I follow. E.g., I missed the post from @BenThrashers re: LaVallee trade.

Can we just give the future considerations we got from CBJ to ANA for Steve McCarthy? I still don’t understand what that means…

Sara

October 8th, 2009
12:57 pm

“I’m from Los Angeles, what does that make me?”

Either fruity or a hippie – take your pick. ;)

“Broad brushes paint with broad strokes”

Duh … it’s the South – that’s how we roll dontcha know?

Sara

October 8th, 2009
12:58 pm

J.B. – I haven’t had a twitter update in hours – it’s bizarre

keith from winnipeg

October 8th, 2009
12:59 pm

has anyone heard the rumours for the thrashers relocating to winnipeg?

World Be Free

October 8th, 2009
1:02 pm

Stroz/Holik-like
My wife would divorce me for being so ugly.
California? Don’t know but are you a USC fan?

J.B.

October 8th, 2009
1:02 pm

Sara – just checked status.twitter.com; they’re looking into the problem now. It must be widespread. Per the site, “We are currently investigating a problem causing many users’ timelines to be delayed. We will update with status here shortly.”

Whenever they get their stuff fixed, feel free to follow @braggjc.

Buzilla in CT

October 8th, 2009
1:05 pm

As a Mets fan I prefer the term “Northerner” to “Yankee”. And “Canadian” was a term for well…Can’t let that one out of the bag on an Atlantian based website.

Sara

October 8th, 2009
1:07 pm

Keith we’ve heard them. They’re all a bunch of crap with zero basis in reality, but yeah, we’ve heard (and read) them.

FormerIslesFan

October 8th, 2009
1:08 pm

FWIW, here is the link to the CBJ site confirming the LaVallee trade for future considerations:

http://bluejackets.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=501474&navid=DL|CBJ|home

J.B.

October 8th, 2009
1:08 pm

Keith – As has been discussed here, on our beat writer’s blog, and on the Thrashers official message boards at great length. The thrashers ARE NOT moving to the ‘Peg. There are other teams that are more likely candidates given the position our owners are in in regards to the arrangement with Philips Arena. Even if they were to go to Winnepeg, it would not be for a number of years.

Smoothie

October 8th, 2009
1:09 pm

What is a “winnipeg”? Skate back to your frozen pond troll!

five_hole

October 8th, 2009
1:12 pm

When do I get to graduate from “damn yankee”?

keith from winnipeg

October 8th, 2009
1:13 pm

lol @ the frozen pond troll, i wasnt trying to stir things up, i just heard about on saturday, was wonding if it was just a manitoba papers attempt to sell papers here

Get The Puck Out

October 8th, 2009
1:13 pm

Chris Chellios signs with Chicago.

J.B.

October 8th, 2009
1:16 pm

that’s the likely motivation keith. winnipeg thrashers is not happening.

Albert the Alligator

October 8th, 2009
1:17 pm

My test for the Thrasher season is to see if I can hook-up with another member of the Blue Crew for the third year in a row. Go Thrashers! Go Blue Crew!

five_hole

October 8th, 2009
1:20 pm

I do want to see the name LaVallee-Smotherman on a jersey. My guess is it would extend from cuff to cuff. BTW, what’s with they hypenation? Did LaValee take his wife’s name?

HookyBob

October 8th, 2009
1:22 pm

I expect I’m from as far north as any US blogger on this site and I make a distinction on being from “up North” and being a “Yankee.” This subtle, but significant, difference comes from the in-laws. My bride is last of many generations whose lineage traces back to forefathers in the Confederate army.

The difference,in my mind is that “Yankee” has a conotation not too different from carpetbagger. In the in-laws eyes I was “Yankee” until we were married. This distinction sorta fits with the baseball world too, doesn’t it?

So in trying to project how the Thrashers season will go I am attempting to narrow down the variables in my equation. With the season being so new there are lots of variables to quantify. I see the biggest variable tonight as how Pavlec does. Right now that is such a wildcard.(After watching him Satuday night it is hard to believe he stopped 36 of 39 shots.) Next is our defence and special teams. Finally comes the other teams strengths and weaknesses,…of which I know very little.

Go Blue,..lets hope that big variable comes out in our favor.

Tony C.

October 8th, 2009
1:23 pm

If they don’t serve grits @ breakfast, if you have to sweeten your own tea-then you come from yankeeland.

duh

Frostbacks come from the 51st state-Canada.

five_hole

October 8th, 2009
1:27 pm

Tony C. If the words “well” “damn” or “here” are polysylabic words, you’re from the south.

GaVaHokie

October 8th, 2009
1:29 pm

Legace and now Chelios… Chicago Wolves are the official Red Wings retirement home.

Alan R.

October 8th, 2009
1:33 pm

Tony, that’s practically everywhere outside of the southeast. Hell, most places in Tennessee that I’ve been to didn’t have pre-sweetened tea. Lazy bums. :P

Keith, the rumor was started by Al Strachan. Well, he was the first person to “report” it, anyway.

I hope Winnipeg gets another shot at the NHL. Just not with the Thrashers.

Tom

October 8th, 2009
1:33 pm

When I first moved down here from New York I had a 70-ish year old (very southern) lady come up to me in the deli I owned and asked me a simple question:

“Do you know the difference between a Yankee and a Damn Yankee?”

I answered as politely as I knew how, “no, M’am”

She looked me dead in the eye and said:

“Yankees go home.”

I still tell this story.

GaVaHokie

October 8th, 2009
1:37 pm

according to Dan Kamal on Twitter… Schubert’s immigration issue got resolved and he’ll play tonight with Salmela.

GaVaHokie

October 8th, 2009
1:37 pm

…also, Popovic and Slater are the scratches.

GaVaHokie

October 8th, 2009
1:39 pm

So… I would wager the lines are as follows.

Kovy Antro Little
Kozy White Max
Kane Pevs Army
Boulton Reasoner Thorburn

Hainsey Kubina
Bogo Toby
Salmela Schubert

Darren

October 8th, 2009
1:42 pm

As per Dan Kamal’s twitter, Schubert WILL play tonight, and Slater and Popovic will sit.

J.B.

October 8th, 2009
1:43 pm

apparently hokie’s twitter is working… i’m still un the dark at the moment.

Smoothie

October 8th, 2009
1:44 pm

Oh snappity snap! Schubert DIPS in for the start vs St. Louis. I reckon JA wants as much beef on the blueline as possible against the Blues. Schubie is 6′3 230 lbs right?

Does anyone know if there has been any other confirmation of Legace signing with the Wolves? The team website says nothing about it and I have not seen his 25 day PTO contract reported anywhere else, twitter included.

Tom – I reckon (yup, I said it!) you are right. You are more likely to go from Yankee to Damn Yankee if you stay!!

Rawhide

October 8th, 2009
1:54 pm

lol @ the frozen pond troll, i wasnt trying to stir things up, i just heard about on saturday, was wonding if it was just a manitoba papers attempt to sell papers here

keith from winnipeg – No worries…we here just have to put up with that type of stuff constantly. tends to get under people’s skins. Unfortunately it’s stuff we’ll have to deal with for as long as Atlanta is south of the Mason-Dixon line.

This is why some of us are going to start a rumor that goes something like …”Wealthy peanut farmer is middle Georgia looking to buy the Toronto Maple Leafs and move them to Macon”. :lol:

Now…speaking of “Yankees” and the “Mason-Dixon line”…I was born just outside of Washington D.C. in Fairfax County, VA. My father and mother became officers in The Salvation Army and came to Atlanta when I was two. By the time I finished the 9th grade I had lived in Virginia… Maryland… Georgia… Arkansas… three cities in Oklahoma,…St. Pete, Florida…South Carolina and then back to the metro Atlanta area in 1980. In ‘89 I moved to Tampa, FL where the Divine Mrs. R and I were wed… and then back to Atlanta, (Cobb County), in 1991 where we have remained since.

So…in the words of Ranallous-Maximus…what does that make me?

Glovesave29

October 8th, 2009
1:55 pm

StL scares me because not only are they fast, talented and young, but they have that tough, lunch-pail type mentality that always translates well in hockey. I can see them hosting a playoff round this season.

Tony C – I got a snotty waitress in St. Johnsbury, VT a few years back get on “us Southerners” because we like sweeet tea, and not merely add sugar to the unsweetened tea at the table. She was completely confused once I explained to her that it’s not the same as sugar does not dissolve into a cold liquid. Sugar should be added immediately after brewing.

Keith – I wont trash the ‘Peg. I played there in a tourney as a kid, and actually had a good time there. No way Bettman will allow the city the size of Atlanta to lose 2 teams. Winnipeg doesn’t have the population or the corporate support to draw on to support today’s NHL. You’d lose a team soon thereafter and you too would be a two time loser. The AHL is the perfect size for a city of your size.

Smoothie – c’mon, Ottawa is not a province, its a city. They still dislike us here in Atlanta because the maple leaf was accidentally upside down at the Jays / Braves world series game. Pleeeeease don’t give them another reason (sarcasm alert).

If they truly love the game up there in Canadia (mis sp on purpose), why do they want to keep it for themselves? Shouldn’t you want to export it everywhere so others can share your passion? How is the league lessened because there are successful teams in non-traditional markets? Carolina was roasted when they left Hartford (sorry Buzilla) and now they are considered a model franchise. Give us time to make the team a part of the city…

Darren

October 8th, 2009
1:55 pm

Smoothie, buried in this story is a line of how Legace was signed for a 25 game tryout with the Wolves.

http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=327212

Since it’s not from Hockey Buzz, I can believe it.

Smoothie

October 8th, 2009
2:09 pm

Glovesave – did I type province? Ooops, I slipped up big time there. I don’t know what I was thinking…Ontario, Ottawa, screw it! They both start with ‘O’…close enough!

I too have nothing against the ‘peggers and their love of hockey / desire to have an NHL team. But I’m sick of hearing this crap. We have our ownership issues for sure, but we are not even close to being on the brink of failure and we are a Top 20 media market in North America.

Why would Bettman want to move us to another city? Like you said, the Canes needed time to put down solid roots and I think we can at the very least rival their fan support eventually. This season could be key, but even if they fall on their faces, we are NOT getting sold or moved anywhere. Take that crap to Phoenix or Tampa!

3stripes

October 8th, 2009
2:17 pm

Rawhide: “So…in the words of Ranallous-Maximus…what does that make me?”

A vagabond.

R. Stroz

October 8th, 2009
2:31 pm

Rawhide – That makes you a hybrid.

As a native Atlantan, I could write a book on the differences between those north and south of the Mason Dixon line.

For those of you from up north, many old money southerners like to live a simple life under the radar. In other words, don’t judge a book by its cover, the guy driving an old car and wearing plain clothes could very well qualify for MENSA and have sizable net worth.

R. Stroz

October 8th, 2009
2:32 pm