60 is the magic number for John Anderson

Shortly after John Anderson was hired as the new bench boss of the Thrashers, I had the opportunity to chat with him regarding the team he had just inherited to coach. One of the questions I put to him was what he thought the number one challenge was that he faced in order to get the team from where it was…at the time it was in shambles following the 2007-08 debacle of a season…to being a team that could compete and win in this league.

“I know exactly what it is”, he almost jumped out of his chair responding. “It’s getting them to believe in themselves again”.

Saturday morning I was able to revisit that question with coach Anderson. Given the way the team played in the second half of last season and how it has started off this fall, he does indeed think that the team has a sense of confidence in themselves and the way they go about playing the game.

Given that, I posed the same question to him Saturday morning after the team’s morning skate…at this time what is it that he needs to address primarily to get this team from where it is now to one that could compete for a playoff position?

His response…”Playing 60 minutes”

The coach went on to explain how he appreciates the fact that the players have shown a great deal of resiliency on the ice as they are able to overcome falling behind early in some games and fight back, but they have to start playing the entire game with the same intensity they show after the opposition puts them in a hole.

“It’s great that they fight back…but it would be nice if we could put the other team behind the eight ball for a change”.

To the coach’s point…in the eight games played so far this season, Atlanta has scored the first goal of a game but twice. In the 4-2 loss to Ottawa they fell behind 2-0 early but rallied to tie the game before the first intermission. Tuesday they fell behind 1-0 in the first hung in their before Colby Armstrong was able to get an equalizing goal in the third…gaining a point in the 2-1 shootout loss. In St. Louis they fell behind early, but were able to overcome it in route to a 4-2 win. Same song, different verse in the 4-2 New Jersey, watching the Devils go up 1-0 before scoring the next three.

Returning the favor: Like Hedberg did Thursday for him, Pavelec shut down the Sharks after relieving Moose (AP/Gregory Smith)

Returning the favor: Like Hedberg did Thursday for him, Pavelec shut down the Sharks after relieving Moose (AP/Gregory Smith)

Thursday against Washington they were able overcome 1-0 and 2-1 deficits…and fell just short of coming back from trailing 5-2 after two periods of play. Then there is last night’s 4-3 loss to the Sharks in which the Thrashers put themselves in a position to have to climb out of a 3-0 hole…allowing the first goal 45 seconds into the game and the third one just 55 seconds after the puck dropped to begin the second period.

Todd White began the comeback bid with an unassisted blast from the right side, but the Sharks countered with Patrick Marleau’s ninth goal of the young season just over five minutes later while on the power play. 4-1 became 4-2 before the second intermission thanks to a power play goal of our own off the stick of Rich Peverley and Evander Kane’s third goal at the 40-second mark of the third pulled the Thrashers to with one with almost a full period left to play.

But like Thursday night against the Caps, the mountain was too high to climb. Of course, having to play two and a half periods without Ilya Kovalchuk didn’t help matters. The captain left the game in the first period after taking a puck to the foot and did not return.

Wasted in the effort was the fact that they outshot San Jose 27-24, the first time all year that stat fell in Atlanta’s favor.

John Anderson first primary mission of a year ago…getting the players to believe in themselves again…was achieved and winning hockey has been the result of it. Hopefully his new primary directive of playing a full game at the same intense level shown once falling behind will be just as successful.

The Wheels On The Bus Go ‘Round And ‘Round

Much thanks to all those who joined me on the Party Bus from TJ’s down to the game. I had a blast! Our own Five_Hole, Paminski, GoalieBrian, Kracker and Dandylions joined several others on the trip to Philips Arena and back. A good time, indeed.

I hope you’ll all join me again at TJ’s on Nov. 7 when the Thrashers travel to Lonnnnn-Gisland for a Saturday night game that’s not televised locally.

Thanks To Rob, Lee, Ben and Julie

I’d like to thank Rob Koch, Lee Wilson and Ben Wright for allowing myself and other bloggers to attend Saturday’s morning skate at Philips Arena and to have some time with coach Anderson and Chris Thorburn afterwards. During our time there we were also able to chat with Matt McConnell, Darin Elliot and Dan Kamal…always good to talk Thrashers hockey with those fine folks. We were also treating with a visit by Julie Robenhymer of Hockeybuzz.com who shared much of her experiences with us.

During the game, we were also invited to the press box to enjoy the action.

Guys, we really do appreciate the access to the team and the entire experience was fantastic. Thank you very much, indeed.

And Finally…

I’d like to say hello to Zoe and Allie…two young ladies who were taking in Saturday night’s game in section 117. Eight-year old Zoe…whose dad you might have heard of, Matt McConnell…was entertaining her friend Abbie at her first ever hockey game.

I hope you both had a great time and it was pleasure to have met ya.

52 comments Add your comment

Mrs. DWTOO

October 25th, 2009
12:20 pm

First with gold!! Woo Hoo!

R. Stroz

October 25th, 2009
12:25 pm

Second, Silver, or the First Loser

Mrs. DWTOO

October 25th, 2009
12:27 pm

Coach has a point there with the team playing an entire 60 minutes. It seems the Thrashers are asleep at the switch (wheel?) in the first period or are reluctant to get possession of the puck versus the other team…

World Be Free

October 25th, 2009
12:30 pm

Alright folks, have we all now had enough of Max?

Max was Max last night, skating like the wind, passing to nobody, putting his linematres offside and clinging to the boards like a cheap advertisement.

Max is like a cotton candy machine-he just spins round and round, not doing much of anything else. Cotton candy is a nice snack for kids but you can’t live on it.

And yes, I said it – I’d even take Slater over Max.

Smoothie

October 25th, 2009
1:40 pm

After last nite’s disappointing loss to a tired Sharks team, I’m beginning to realize that Kozlov needs to be reunited with Peverley and Armstrong. There isn’t enough size on the Kahlua line to maintain puck possession and Kozzy doesn’t jibe well with Afinogenov because Finny likes to dominate the puck before passing or shooting.

And if Kozzy isn’t going to have the puck on his stick for the purpose of setting up other players then he is rendered rather ineffective. Moving him to the “third” line might get him going. And Kane showed last nite he can play with anyone due to his speed, reach and puck savvy.

Move Kaner up to the 2nd line and let he and Max terrorize teams with their speed and ability to get to the net. White is the perfect defensive complement for their risky tendencies. But Kane has demonstrated the ability to get back on D and break up plays / rushes with his superior back-checking.

This allows Little to move back to the top line where he needs to be handling ES face-offs. Also, playing up the middle would allow Little to get more opps to score from between the circles as Kovy and big Antro demand so much attention from the defense. Antro needs to shoot more and I don’t think if will at center where he feels the incessant need to set up Kovy.

If we don’t make adjustments like these to capitalize on the natural talents of our forwards, then puck possession, lack of scoring chances and poor transition D will continue to plague this team.

stendec

October 25th, 2009
1:51 pm

Nice job Bill. Losing streak now at three. Allowed nine goals in last two regulation defeats at Loseland. Idea. Since goalies totally ineffective when they start just pull whoever is starter after one goal. Replacements more focused? Have been thus far. Captain Ilya Kovalchuk about to tank on fans. Perhaps clueless Don Waddell had a feeling. Nah! Pay a superior caliber goalie big bucks then surround him with mid range salary players with heart and fire in their guts. No players on current Thrasher roster quality. No pride whatsoever! Embarrassment. Close losses will keep present fan base content. Right Sara? By the way, bite me! Are you the official team groupie or what? These are alleged professioinal athletes. They are paid handsomely not to lose close but to win! W-I-N. Other NHL teams consider Loseland as their home ice. That is totally unacceptable! As for all posters who attack me behind fanciful names: F#CK OFF! The losing streak will continue. Deal with it! Go Falcons. ++STENDEC++

five_hole

October 25th, 2009
2:15 pm

My wife & I had a great time meeting Mr. & Mrs. Paminski and Kracker. Nice to put faces to the pseudonyms. And it’s always good to see Bill again. The party bus was a great idea, although the ride down (and anticipation of the game) was better than the ride back (disillusionment and concern about Kovy).

The team was flat from the 1st drop of the puck. They seemed to start actually playing midway through the 2nd, but at that point had dug themselves a huge hole. And to add monkey pucks to pond skippers, we allowed a self-inflicted goal (courtesy of Hainsey to Reasoner). As I said to Bill on the bus last night; can we go back on the road now? We seem to play much better there.

Thrashers27

October 25th, 2009
2:17 pm

It must be hard for you to carry on each day, Stendec. With the world being full of such gloom and doom.

We heard nothing from you for the first five games and now there are a few losses and you’re all over the blog. I’m not going to get into an internet pissing match with you, but lighten up Francis. Just keep reminding yourself that IT’S A GAME! Nothing to get that worked up over.

Thrashers27

October 25th, 2009
2:21 pm

Oh yeah…Although last night was a loss I will say that I was amazed at the play in the third. That was the first time ever that I remember seeing the Thrashers dominate and control the play. They held the puck in the offensive zone for much of the third. If not for Nabakov our boys would have stolen that one back for Moose.

Hockey Biltong

October 25th, 2009
2:29 pm

So if all players are paid handsomely, then everyone should win, right? What about the players compensated in a way that could be construed as less than beautific???

Hockey Biltong

October 25th, 2009
2:30 pm

“beautific” TM

Biscuit

October 25th, 2009
2:34 pm

Championship teams are built, not purchased. Just ask the Rangers. We have plenty of heart and integrity. I wish certain fans had some. The team works hard to bail out each other and the goalies and we seem to be bonding over these early trials rather than falling apart. But that’s just an impression. No team wins them all and we’re still a far cry better than last year. I just want to see them keep working and improving. Overall we’re fine and Anderson is making the small tweaks.

stendec

October 25th, 2009
2:40 pm

10 Atlanta Thrashers 8 4 3 1 9 28 24 4 3 1

OmniFan

October 25th, 2009
3:52 pm

WBF: Beg to differ re:Mad Max. The errant passes are reminiscent of early Kovy-thinking 2 steps ahead of his linemates. Hopefully, they’ll learn where he likes to drop off the puck and be there. His ability to maintain possession in the offensive zone, IMHO, offsets his relative lack of point production and SOG.

LAC

October 25th, 2009
4:51 pm

Beginning of the drop to the depths of the NHL once again.

Two games where we “should” have gotten a point at least and
the games are lost on street hockey goals, BAD goals.

Plus 9 GA in two games ???? Not good enough.

Where is this “best defense we have ever had in Atlanta” not here !!!!

Same old Thrashers, just a couple changes and we are headed South once again, It WAS noce while it lasted… Look for losses in the next three games I am afraid !

HookyBob

October 25th, 2009
5:22 pm

I thought that was a fine hockey game last night,…well upwards of 30 minutes of very fine hockey. As noted above we didn’t really get going until mid-game,…..at which time I was relieved to be down only 3 goals. Despite Kovy being on the sideline, the game had good passing, good rushes, quality chances and fine savesfrom both teams.

Did anyone think the puck came off the boards at an odd angle (back to the shooter after just missing on the inside post) just before the first goal? I don’t think our guys fully recovered from that before the puck was in the net. Add to that an unfortunate own goal and that’s the game. I like that our guys kept trying too.

I’m of the opinion that freaky goals even out over the course of a season and last night was not our night (nor was Thursday night). So now the law of averages should be back on our side.

Bill,..this team would be deadly with 60 minutes of great effort.

Rightshot

October 25th, 2009
5:43 pm

Despite the loss, I was impressed at how the team not only kept playing, but made it interesting. More importantly, they made a game of it without Kovy. Depth is a good thing.

After the last three games, I think the Thrashers are starting out slow to, perhaps, see what the other team will do before they make adjustments. Then they start playing their game, and thus making things difficult on themselves. What will it take before they start off playing Thrasher hockey. Score the first goal?

Hopefully, this will be an aberration. (See, I can use big words too,)

World Be Free

October 25th, 2009
8:06 pm

Rightshot-I agree, the effort is there.
We could have won both games if we had good goaltending. Both game winners the past 2 games were mistakes.

Omnifan-Max has alotta speed, I’ll give you that. With all that speed Max should be DRIVING THE NET. Instead, he ALWAYS goes to the outside and nearly runs into the corner boards. Everybody in the league knows it.

Early days of Kovy – is it because Max is inexperienced? He’s been in the league for 10 years. He should know his way around the rink by now.

Bench Max- Bring back Jimmy!!!!!

MFA

October 25th, 2009
8:59 pm

LAC, is your glass ever half FULL!!! You and Stendac need to have a beer together.

Brendan

October 25th, 2009
9:56 pm

WBF, now you WANT Slater?

Brendan

October 25th, 2009
9:57 pm

Rawhide, way to go scoring an interview with the Thrashers Head Coach. I don’t recall that happening with the Ice Princess.

So, was Julie cute?

R. Stroz

October 25th, 2009
10:16 pm

WBF – You’re prejudice against Mad Max is equal to my prejudice towards White. I actually enjoy watching Mad Max.

Brendan – Julie was Miss New Jersey…which exit?

JLH

October 25th, 2009
11:28 pm

WBF – We must have watched 2 different games. The Afinigenov I saw was everywhere & effective. His energy should embarass anybody on the team not named Kane or Peverley. I saw a player who forechecked all night, not just when it suited him, was extremely effective as a stick handler and in gaining the zone along with maintaining possession, usually drawing 2 players to him. How can you ignore the high traffic pass he made to Kane for the 3rd goal? There is no doubt in my mind that we are a significantly better team with him on the ice. Kovalchuk turns the puck over twice as much as Max, especially on the Power Play.

Brendan

October 25th, 2009
11:37 pm

Brendan

October 25th, 2009
11:40 pm

A Garden State Princess?

Hanson Brothers

October 26th, 2009
12:41 am

I love what I have seen from Max. Nobody on the team, and I mean nobody, had as much energy as he did in the furious last five minutes of the game. When everyone else was gassed, he displayed a remarkable energy to keep the puck in the zone, scramble for loose pucks and give us a chance to tie the game on the end. I think once he gets more used to his linemates, we will see great results. Remember, he’s had less time with this team than anyone.

LAC

October 26th, 2009
12:59 am

Just watching On The Fly and they are running an interview with that punk heatley. Watching that SOB makes you want to THROW UP.

He could care less about anyone or anything except himself, I just hope somebody somewhere, some day, plants his Punk A$$ and cripples him for life, I would be so damn happy to see him with blood gushing from his arrogrant mouth !

So odd he is living the HIGH life and in Atlanta things are returning to normal with the Thrashers sinking like the Titanic back to the depths
of the NHL celler.

LAC

October 26th, 2009
1:01 am

mfa, Shut The Hell up, these last two games speak for themselves…
What do YOU need a seeing eye dog ?

Hockey Biltong

October 26th, 2009
1:18 am

lmao…..mark.mark……

World Be Free

October 26th, 2009
6:14 am

Folks, if you like speed, Max will give you plenty of that. It’s great that he burns all over the ice, but he needs to accomplish something with his speed. He’s so fast he should be more effective.

And he needs to use that speed to go to the net. Have any of you folks that disagree with me seen him go around the defense right to the net?
No, he hasn’t in 10 years and he never will. He doesn’t have the guts.

JHL-if he has so much energy (speed) why isn’t he a better backchecker?
You should want this guy on the penalty kill.

Brendan-I’ll take Slater over Max, that’s how much I dislike Max.

hip czech

October 26th, 2009
8:05 am

oh my, a three game losing streak, games in which we got one point (MTL) and lost two one goal games…the sky is indeed falling. Look out Maple Leafs, look out Islanders here we come.

I don’t buy the ’same old Thrashers’ line…this team has competed each night and has had a chance to win each night. Could we say that the last two years? Didn’t think so.

If Kovalchuk is out for an extended period we’ll really see what this team is made of. Didn’t get a chance to follow the game Saturday, how did the lines shake out after Kovy left?

Is there any doubt Kane is here for the long haul?

Sara

October 26th, 2009
8:14 am

hip czech, it took a few shifts to even out the rotation, but ultimately Kane ended up the LW with Antro and Max. While I didn’t mind that per se, obviously it comes at the expense of the Kane-Peverley-Armstrong line, which has been the most productive overall line so far this season.

I’ll be curious to see how coach handles this if Kovy does in fact miss some games. Given the continuity we’ve seen from even strength lines to special teams play, will that put Kaner on the PP and off the PK?

As for Kane sticking … well, it’s Kane in the line-up or Slater … which would *you* go with? ;)

hip czech

October 26th, 2009
8:42 am

I’m waffling on Max…he obviously has some positives, if he can click with Kovalchuk then that would be some dynamite. Poor Antropov though, he has no chance hanging with those two. I guess that’s why they came up with the offsides rule, otherwise tell Nik just to camp out in front of the other team’s net. To me, Kozlov is the bigger concern, he can move around all he wants to find good linemates but ultimately he just needs to start producing.

Getting back to this ‘losing streak’…we take one point out of Montreal, lose to arguably the best team in the East on a fluke goal (a REALLY bad fluke goal) and a flustered goalie, and lose to one of the top 3 teams in the west while playing without Kovalchuk.

I hate excuses, but at the same time I don’t think it’s time to panic.

Rawhide

October 26th, 2009
8:50 am

Rawhide, way to go scoring an interview with the Thrashers Head Coach. I don’t recall that happening with the Ice Princess.

So, was Julie cute?

Brendan – It was very nice of the Thrashers organization to allow some of us local blogger the access Saturday. Hopefully we will get more chances as the season progresses.

As for Julie…Yes, very “cute” young lady….was Miss New jersey a few years back.

She also knows a lot about the sport and was very willing to share her thoughts and experiences with us. All in all it was avery nice day at Philips.

World Be Free

October 26th, 2009
9:04 am

hip czech-the guys came back twice on saturday without Kovy, they never quit.

On Max-remember Glenn Anderson from the Oilers? Max and Glenn had the same type of speed. Anderson drove goaltenders and defensemen crazy cause he used his speed to reck havoc on d-men and goalies. Max should should sit down and watch old tapes of Glenn Anderson or Rick Dudley for that matter.

Go to the net Max-Pat LaFontaine could do it, why can’t you?

Dwayne

October 26th, 2009
9:09 am

WBF–And he needs to use that speed to go to the net. Have any of you folks that disagree with me seen him go around the defense right to the net? He turned someone inside out and scored, I think it was the 4th goal of one of those 4-2 wins. Sorry I can’t remember which one.

Smoothie

October 26th, 2009
9:11 am

I think Kane should play with Max. Lethal combo of speed and skill. And Kane is not afraid to go to the net. Kid will be a monster when he adds another 10-15 lbs.

The question is who do you put at center between the two? I say Whitey since Slava needs Army and Pevs. That way you have a nice blend of speed, skill and toughness on each line from top to bottom.

MFA

October 26th, 2009
10:09 am

LAC, it was a joke! Your comment about Dany Healty speaks for itself.

World Be Free

October 26th, 2009
10:23 am

Dwayne-Max turned Tyler Myers of the Sabres totally around. It’s Myers’ only dark spot on his short career.

Would be nice to see Max as “net motivated” against all teams, as he was against his former team – Buffalo.

I don’t hate Max-he needs to change his game so he can be a real difference maker.

Smoothie

October 26th, 2009
11:11 am

Testes, testes, 1, 2, three?

Cup Guy

October 26th, 2009
11:36 am

Well that was another game off to a slow start, but what is becoming Thrasher play by hustling and out playing the opponent. We almost came back. Now you people that say ALMOST only counts in Horse Shoes and hand grenades, almost shows improvement. Almost shows they played to come back. Almost shows that they are working together and hard to come back and win. Its a hell of a lot better then they just tanked the whole game.

Max is amazing. I know you guys hate his puck handling, which sometimes is bad, but his speed kills opponents. They dont know what to do. If we could only train him to drive the net at an angle, with his speed he would get lots of goals.

Is it me or should Kane be moved to the PP? I mean damn that kid is hot! He has speed and strength and great puck handling. Oh did i mention he is only 18? This kid will stay and if he doesn’t well that is just another Don screw up.

Kozy is starting way to slow. Same with white. I say put Kozy with Pev and Army. Move Kane up with white, and Max for some fast a** speed and move little back to line 1. Makes sense to me. Can’t wait for next game.

In Dallas now and got to go to the new stadium and watch the Cowboys beat the crap out of the Falcons. It was great!

See ya soon Thrasherville!

Spud Webb

October 26th, 2009
11:47 am

3 in a row, time to show what we’re made of. Slow starts are killing us, but we are showing some heart by making it a “game”. That said, we aren’t an expansion team (insert joke here) & moral victories do NOTHING for me at this point!!! Our D has been playing better, less shots on goal, but we now have a goal tending issue (again insert joke). We need better play in the net, bottom line.
WBF, I agree 1000% about max. always have, years of watching him in Buffalo will do that to you!!!

R. Dudley

October 26th, 2009
11:54 am

Now where did I put Legace’s phone number?

World Be Free

October 26th, 2009
12:26 pm

Anyone know when Kari is going to be back? Do we have ANY timetable?

Spud-glad to see that there’s someone else out there that’s not mesmerized by Max’s speed. All this Max love is making me sick!

Max was available for months before the Thrashers signed him for 1 year / $800K. Can anyone tell why he sat out on the open market for so long?

stendec

October 26th, 2009
12:30 pm

Expect El Kapitan Ilya Kovalchuk to be out for quite a while! Worry not faithful Thrasher sheep. He and Sori Letemin will be lounging beside some pool surrounded by babes in bikinis as the Thrashers continue their freefall into complete obscurity. Both will continue to collect hefty paychecks for doing well, uh, absolutely nothing. Finn and Russian must adore American capitalism! Captain will never be same after injury. Letemin was never worth a damn anyway! Never will be. Sorry apologists. Just a fact. Savor return of LaLa Land boy until chapped lips knock him out of lineup. Painful stuff! Kovalchuk will probably never skate for Thrashers again. Cannot really blame him for that. I wish him well elsewhere. I sort of like the guy. F#ck KL! Another nauseating season outside playoffs looking in. Embrace those close defeats. Moral losses build character! For losers. Have a great day. WORLD B FREE – Letemin is in no rush to return so why should you be? ++STENDEC++ Forgive reality check but I am still pi$$ed about watching Falcons get routed by a semi pro football squad in Texas!

Alan R.

October 26th, 2009
12:54 pm

Anyone know when Kari is going to be back?

“Be back” or “get a new back?”

I’m not confident either one will happen.

hip czech

October 26th, 2009
1:01 pm

Why all the knock on the D? A 2.85 GAA and a .913 save % wouldn’t seem to justify the scorn some are placing on the D.

The 2.85 GAA is less than historically strong defensive teams Detroit, Anaheim, Minnesota, Columbus, Boston and Montreal (among others)…the .913 save % is tied for 6th in the league.

If the D can maintain those kind of numbers and Little and Kozlov can get going those close L’s will start turning into W’s.

World Be Free

October 26th, 2009
1:02 pm

Good points Alan

Smoothie

October 26th, 2009
1:23 pm

WBF – to be fair, Max hasn’t been as reckless as u r making him out to be. Sure, he’s had some bad T/O but so has Kovy and just about everyone else. U must see that he’s been one of our most aggressive and consistently effective forechecker.

Now I realize he doesn’t always shoot when that’s the better percentage play but I think he’s been playing on the wrong line thus far. Not sure about him with Kovy cuz they both dominate the puck, but Kane seems like a good complement and either Pevs or Antro can anchor the line.
If White is to be on a top two line, I think he’d be better off with Little and Kovy due to familiarity and synergy from last season.

Kovy – White – Lits

Kane – Pevs – Finny

Kozz – Reasy – Antro

World Be Free

October 26th, 2009
2:03 pm

I am admittedly jaded about Max. I just see what’s coming down the road having been there before. He needs to go to the net once or twice and prove me wrong.