October has come and gone…as has 10 games of the 2009-10 Thrashers campaign. So here are my “good, un-good and ugly” of the season so far. As you’ll see, there are far more “good” than “un-good” this time around.
Which is, of course, a “good” thing.
Well, let’s just start with the 5-4-1 start. Not that this is a blistering pace, mind you, but a winning record after the tax exemptions have perused the neighborhood to extort candy on Halloween is something we haven’t seen in these parts since the fall of 2006 when their record in October was 8-2-3. If memory serves…that’s the season they played more than 82 games.
A 4-1-1 road record is also very nice indeed.
The offense is popping in goals at a rate of 3.40 per game…which is tied with San Jose for 5th highest in the NHL. While this doesn’t come as a big surprise to me…it’s still “good” nonetheless.
Leading the O-fensive charge was Ilya Kovalchuk’s 9 goals and10 overall points before his injury sidelined him for about a month. But now the leading scorer is Rich Peverley with 6 goals and 13 points. Four of those goals and one assists have been on the power play.
Remember, too…even though he’s recently signed a new contract, The Peever is the lowest paid forward on the ice right now.
Speaking of the power play…Atlanta’s 27.8% effectiveness while on the man-advantage is tied with Cal-GARY for 2nd in the league, just behind Toronto’s 28.0%. That’s very, very good.
The penalty kill has been a pleasant surprise…even though it has slipped a bit from its 88.0% of just a few games ago. Still, the Thrashers killing opponent’s power plays 82.2% of the time…which is 9th best…will land it in the “good” column for me.
Even though the Thrashers only take 26.2 SOG on the average, they havenetted 34 goals. That means they are scoring once every 7.7 shots on goal. Very impressive.
Evander Kane proving that he is indeed ready for prime-time has been goodgreat news. After 10 games played he has scored his first 3 goals and 2 assists and is a +4. This kid just seems to be pulled toward the net and his speed and aggressivestyle make him hard to defend. Kane’s 22 shots on goal tie him with Peverley for 4th highest on the Thrashers.
Ondrej Pavelec’s .920 SV% and 2.60 SV% has eased the fears of a lot of us who were nervous about him starting in place of the injured Kari Lehtonen…yours truly included. His performance in Ottawa Saturday afternoon was nothing short of spectacular. He stole a game for us when we really…and I mean, really…need it.
Nik Antropov has yet to score his first goal as an Atlanta Thrasher…which certainly is not “good”…but his team leading 10 assists and +3 definitely is. I could point out that Antropov only has 7 SOG so far, though….but that may just be a bit …ahem…Nik-picky.
Zach Bogosian is fighting hard to avoid any sophomore slump…5 goals and1 assists is a good way to do so, even though he’s a -2. This kid is just a monstrous figure handling the puck out of the defensive zone and through center ice.
With Kovy out of the line up…the third-highest point total on the team is 7. Maxim Afinogenov’s 3 goals and 4 assists, as well as Toby Enstrom’s 7 assists place them both at that level.
Gotta give some props to the fourth-liners…Boulton, Thorburn and Slater/Reasoner. They have provided a lot of pop and energy when called upon and Reasoner’s PK efforts have been what we’ve come to expect of him. The four players that have combined to make up that fourth line have a total of 2 goals and 6 assists.
And Pavel Kubina rounds out my “good” column. His +6 leads the team, he only has 8 PIM and has chipped in with 5 assists. He’s been solid and dependable on the blueline…not a heckuva lot of mistakes.
If anyone wasn’t sold that Atlanta got the better end of that deal on July first…compare Kubina’s numbers with that of Garnet Exelby while in a Maple Leafs jersey…0 goals, 0 assists, -5 and 13 PIM in 8 games played.
The prospect of facing a dozen or so games without Kovalchukis definately “un-good”. But if the tean can continue to score three or so goals per game in his absence, then I will be able to put this situation in the “good” column the next time we do a G,U & U.
Shots on goal…way too many. For the year so far they are averaging 34.6 shots faced per game…only the Ducks 35.5 and Florida’s 36.4 are higher. Maybe this is just a by-product of John Anderson’s “system”…but let’s be honest, if not for the stellar performance in goal this season, we wouldn’t be looking at a winning record right now. Gotta play better team defense…and I’m calling on the forwards here as much as the blueliners.
Oh, and the two times we did in fact hold teams to below 30 shots in the game…we lost. Go figure.
1-3-0 at home is an “un-good” record…even if the three losses have been by 1 goal to San Jose and Washington twice.
Todd White had a slow start. In the first four games he had zero points and was a -4. However, he’s had 3 goals and an assists to go with a -1 since. But that -5 still leads the team and the numbers are still off from where they need to be….on pace for only 33 points for the season.
Afinogenov is right behind White with a -4 for the season, which is not good. Oh, and that play on Ovechkin’s second goal last Thursday…very un-good. Max can be somewhat maddening, as a few have pointed out…and he’s displayed as much on several occasions. My main concern with placing him on the top line a while back was the liability he poses in the defensive zone. But still, if he nets anywhere north of 50 points for Atlanta this season…and he’s on pace for 57… then I will consider the $800,000 Don Waddell signed him for as money well spent.
But, yeah…he will probably make me pull out what little I have left of my hair in doing so.
And then there is Slava Kozlov, who has just looked slow during these 10 games. No goals and 4 assists are well off the level of expectations for him.
And The Ugly
Here I have a tie…
First, there was that 185 foot… thing… that made its way to and through Ondrej Pavelec during the 5-4 loss to the Caps back on 22nd. It’s one thing to allow that to happen…but it’s made worse even when you lose by that one goal.
Which was uglier?
Total Voters: 107
Gotta say though…given the overall performance of Opie so far this year, I hate putting anything that about him in the “ugly” column of this entry.
Unless it’s something like this next one…
Ugly option number 2…the 51 shots taken on Pavelec last weekend by the Ottawa Senators. That’s not just ugly…that’s butt-ugly. Every single skater on the ice for the Thrashers should pick up his dinner tab for the rest of the year given the fact that he saved their bacon Saturday afternoon.
So, I’ll let you decide. What was uglier. The 185 foot thing…or the 51 shots?