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

Smoothie

October 8th, 2009
2:45 pm

If Rawhide were to have a theme song it should be Metallica’s “Wherever I May Roam”…goodess gracious dude! That’s a lot of roaming!

Darren – thanks for the link. Perhaps Chelios can play with his kid as a Wolf someday. I love the idea of Postma learning to play the NHL game from a legend like CC. Just think, Bogey’s got a Ray Bourque influenced game and Postma, Lewis and Oystrick could end up with some Chelios in them…never a bad thing!

Darren

October 8th, 2009
2:49 pm

Great point about Chelios being a good influence on Postma. I’ve got high hopes for him. A defense with him, Enstrom, and Bogosian has great promise. Since Kubina’s only got a one year deal, they might even spring that for next season.

I also think Lewis has potential, although he appears to be more of a defensive-minded player. Unlike Lehman, Lewis looked like he belonged in his one-game call-up last season.

Alan R.

October 8th, 2009
2:51 pm

For those of you from up north, many old money southerners like to live a simple life under the radar

They also like to sit on county boards and deny money for projects, such as installing traffic signals at a local hospital (See: Henry County). The hospital had to pay for their own traffic signal, and installation.

But that’s way off topic ;)

Rawhide

October 8th, 2009
2:53 pm

3stripe & RStroz – I prefer to think of myself as a “semi-native”.

Smoothie

October 8th, 2009
3:16 pm

Schubert’s got a year left on his RFA and assuming Kubina wants to come back another year, there may not be much room at the inn for big Boris if Postma is able to make the jump. What depth we could end up having on the blueline! Did I just type that?

hip czech

October 8th, 2009
3:57 pm

maybe someone hired the Tonya Harding camp to come and whack Boris across the ankle (they tried for the knee but he’s too darn tall).

Good timing to open a roster spot up for Schubert…

Toby

October 8th, 2009
4:03 pm

Slater sits tonight?? We finally have depth!!!

/wipes tear from eye

Darren

October 8th, 2009
4:16 pm

Smoothie, you did, and I’m presuming you did so with a straight face, too. You could make an honest, legitimate case for Bogosian, Enstrom, and soon Postma as being top-4 defensemen for virtually any team in the NHL. Even a few years ago, you could not say that about a single Thrasher defenseman in good conscience.

Now if we could get some consistent goaltending…

ranallo10 (in AT)

October 8th, 2009
4:16 pm

I’m guessing a few people (like LAC, WBF, etc) just had an eyegasm when they read Slater was sitting for tonight’s game. Enjoy your moment!

World Be Free

October 8th, 2009
4:47 pm

kEITH-Here’s hoping Winnipeg gets a team someday, cause you guys deserve one. As long as it’s not the Thrashers, we’ll be happy! We have had enough of the media idiots in Ontario constantly thrashing us!

Winnipeg is a deja vu for me, being from Buffalo. You may not remember, but the old Buffalo Bisons Triple A baseball team left Buffalo after 95 years to move to Winnipeg in 1970. I do not believe the Winnipeg Whips last too many years in Manitoba!

Ranallo-yes, long overdue fir Jimmy but I wasn’t going to say anything!

Brendan

October 8th, 2009
4:59 pm

If the Phoenix Coyotes do relocate, I hope it is back to Winnipeg. At least they won a few playoff series in Manitoba. It’s been a goose egg in Arizona.

Nikita

October 8th, 2009
5:52 pm

Slater’s sitting? That makes my day.

Looking forward to the game tonight. Where’s our prayer?

Brendan

October 8th, 2009
6:02 pm

Dear Lord, let the Thrashers play with the brand of truculence that Brian Burke advocates. Guide their sticks toward the puck in a skillful manner, and give poor Pavelec a break. A-men.

Hockey Biltong

October 8th, 2009
6:32 pm

Worked in Pittsburgh last night and caught the last bit of the can of whip-ass the Coyotes opened up on the Pens!Woohoo!
Canada – snowbirds
California – fruits and nuts
Rawhide – Biltong stalker

Hockey Biltong

October 8th, 2009
6:32 pm

Easy Bill, just joshing!!!!

World Be Free

October 8th, 2009
6:32 pm

Hip Czech-you seen Tonya these days? She’s a monster.
Wonder when she’s going to get a reality show.

Smoothie

October 8th, 2009
6:52 pm

WBF, perhaps Tonya can stuff her fat self between the pipes as the Thrashers goalie if Pavelec doesn’t work out on the roadie!

Smitty

October 8th, 2009
7:02 pm

Moved to Atl in 1986. Live south of the airport and would have been adopted by one of my southern friends but they said I had a speech impediment.

Rawhide

October 8th, 2009
7:27 pm

Watch it, Biltong! :evil:

Sara

October 8th, 2009
7:47 pm

Watching Wings-Hawks until the Thrashers game starts. It’s amazing how crappy the Wings PK has gotten over the course of the last season+. About as bad as the Thrashers have looked. Gee, I can’t imagine that would have anything to do with the coach they hired a season ago …

Smoothie

October 8th, 2009
8:04 pm

Why do these SS hosers always eff up when it comes to the Thrashers? Tennis on Ch 848!! R u serious?

goose

October 8th, 2009
8:34 pm

Kovy just scored his 300th goal.

Chris

October 8th, 2009
9:01 pm

Smoothie- It’s on 884. It says off-air on the channel guide, but it’s there.

And what a goal for Kovy to get to 300. That was beautiful!

Sara

October 8th, 2009
9:35 pm

YAY KANE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And Salmela deserves a major kudos for that play at the blueline

Smoothie

October 8th, 2009
9:50 pm

Congrats kid on ur first NHL goal!! Surely the first of many for Kane.

That oughta really piss off the Blues after they dominated us for 15 str8 mins. Kubina’s been huge on the def end and Kane’s goal gives us some breathing room.
Third line looks great and needs to get the majority of mins in the 3rd.

Paminski

October 8th, 2009
9:50 pm

Pevs is everywhere. Peverywhere?

Smitty

October 8th, 2009
9:57 pm

Pavs needs a new glove

Smoothie

October 8th, 2009
10:10 pm

Like right THERE!! Oh darn, I bet he wants that one back

Sara

October 8th, 2009
10:18 pm

Kane nose to nose with Oshie – nice! I love this kid

jared

October 8th, 2009
10:19 pm

is it me or is the kane pevs army line taking every shot and playing every minute with kane on the receiveing end of every hit

jared

October 8th, 2009
10:19 pm

i never exaggerate

jared

October 8th, 2009
10:20 pm

oh and time flies and bulava soars
every commercial break

Smoothie

October 8th, 2009
10:34 pm

Ugly shift (lazy) by Kovy and Antro leading to Blues goal. But Kovy attones with some hard work and earns the EN. Thrash win!

World Be Free

October 8th, 2009
10:41 pm

Very nice, gonna be hard to send “The Real Deal” back to Vancouver. I believe he’s here to stay. Kane is going to take some hits as a rookie. But I think he’ll be taking some numbers too.

St. Louis came out pump, but the Thrasher let the air out of their balloon real quick and never let up. This looks like a very hungry team.

OK Kovy, will you sign now?

R. Stroz

October 8th, 2009
10:41 pm

Is it just me, or does our third line look like our best line?

jared

October 8th, 2009
10:42 pm

jared

October 8th, 2009
10:43 pm

whoa could they become the AMEN line?

LAC

October 8th, 2009
10:44 pm

rannallo, who brings NOTHING to this or other blogs, cannot handle
the chance to get on others, when he has ZERO to say.

Great game, all around, under 30 SOG, that was key. Very structured game by us, and against a team that has been mentioned in the same breath as The Stanley Cup… WE WIN !

Congrats to Evander, Nice goal, excellent passing !

Rawhide

October 8th, 2009
10:47 pm

Great win!!! Let’s discuss it on the new blog.

Brendan

October 8th, 2009
10:52 pm

You’ve heard of E-Trade? Well now, we have E-Kane, the Game Winning Goal (GWG) scorer. Congrats to Kane on his 1st ever NHL goal. That’s one goal, one assist on the season.

It was our own Tony C. who predicted Kovalchuk would win the Rocket Richard trophy for most goals scored this year. Kaptain Kovalchuk now has four (4) tallies in two games. He’s on pace for 164! Kidding.

How about that 4th line??? I didn’t check their TOI, but in the last game, they had just over 5 minutes and I think Slater had six, yet that line was a +1 vs. the Bolts, and Thorburn and Boulton got on the stat sheet. Well, tonight, Boulton got a goal! Not a misprint. Chris Thorburn got his second assist of the year.

What about the D? No goals, but Enstrom picked up his 3rd assist for the season and Salmela had a helper, too. And just a few moments ago, Kubina was awarded an assist on the Kovalchuk empty-netter. Colby Armstrong got his first point of the year, with an assist. Peverley, who had two goals vs. Tampa Bay, picked up an assist tonight, his 2nd on the year. And Marty Reasoner had an assist.

This is impressive. They didn’t just win and get two-points; they played well. They played ‘controlled.’ This is a very good road game. Pavelec still had his shaky moments. But he made a big save last in the third, before St. Louis got their 2nd goal.

Pavelec is now among NHL leaders for wins. Kovalchuk is high on the leader board for goals in this young season. Toby Enstrom’s off to a good start. Anssi Salmela may be putting Boris Valabik out of a job. I can’t see them sitting Salmela anytime soon.

I notice the Blues were trying to go out of their way to hit young Kane. Whenever and wherever possible. I think … that THEY think … they could wear the kid down.

Slava Kozlov wasn’t invisible tonight. That was good. I didn’t catch the final stats. But I want to say it was like 31-22?? In favor of St. Louis. That’s better. Wait, here’s the box score link.

http://www.nhl.com/ice/boxscore.htm?id=2009020042

Marty Reasoner lead the Thrashers with a +2 for the evening. Bryan Little picked up his 3rd assist on the season.

ranallo10 (in AT)

October 9th, 2009
11:58 am

I was being supportive of you, LAC, because I’m sure you just felt the same level of ecstasy I felt the moment I realized Vigier would no longer be a Thrasher. Relax bud, it’s just a blog.

George

October 9th, 2009
12:10 pm

My thoughts after St. Louis win
Schubert looked great! Bogo not his best game, Kane looked good especially on the PK, Antro big and slow??, Pavs looked good although scared me with some of the rebounds he let out, Enstrom looks a little timid after being injured in the off-season. I think you have to give it a few more games and if the top 2 lines don’t start connecting some changes have to be made to them. I am however very happy with the start to the season!