Archive for December, 2009

Thrashers loss to Bruins was as bad as it sounded

Greetings from sunny Florida. Well…actually where I am, it’s actually kinda gray and cloudy with rain expected…but it’s still Florida. I’m spending time down here at the lake house with the family for New Years. We’ve recently upgraded this place to circa 1990s technology and so I’m able to come to you by way of a dialed up internet.

Slowwwwwwwww….

I do, however, have modern-day techno-gadgets in the new vehicle and thus I was able to listen to last night’s beat-down in Beantown via satellite radio. XM provided the Bruins radio feed, so I was able to get their prospective of things…which is always interesting.

I’m sorry that I cannot recall the pairs names as they did do a very fine job of calling the game.

As I was “enjoying” the game while cruising through south Georgia and north Florida on I-75, I couldn’t help but think to myself, “I wonder if this game is really as bad as it sounds…or if this game seems so one-sided given the fact that these guys are just focusing on the …

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Thrasherville 2009 reflections and looking ahead to 2010’s possibilities

Well Thrasherville, calendar year 2009 is all but a memory now and CY2010 is upon us. When the Thrashers take to the ice in Boston’s TD Garden tonight…the second time during this seven-game road trip…it will be the 80th and last game played by the team in CY2009.

Rich Peveley found a home in Atlanta in 2009 (AP/Gregory Smith)

Rich Peveley found a home in Atlanta in 2009 (AP/Gregory Smith)

As you may recall, it all began with a thrilling 4-3 shootout win against the Vancouver Canucks on January 2 in front of a raucous and rowdy Friday night crowd in Philips Arena. Unfortunately, that was then followed up two days later by an abysmal 4-1 loss to Tampa Bay.

Since that time, Ilya Kovalchuk was named team captain… we parted ways with the likes of Jason Williams, Nic Havelid, Erik Christensen, Mathieu Schnider…we stole Rich Peverley off the waiver wire from Nashville…played to a winning record in the second half of last season…watched the Penguins hoist the Cup…brought in Rick Dudley to be associate GM…had a very good draft in June, highlighted …

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Yet another one-goal loss extends Thrashers losing streak

For the second straight game, the Atlanta Thrashers failed to capitalize on scoring the first goal of the night and dropped yet another one-goal game. This time it was 3-2 to the Devils in New Jersey.

On this night, however, the Thrashers were not grossly outshot…in fact, both teams took 26 shots each on goal. Johan Hedberg turned away 23 while Martin Brodeur saved 24.

Zach Parise score the Devils first goal as...in what is becoming avery common occurrence...Ron Hainsey trails behind the play (AP Photo/Rich Schultz)

Zach Parise scores the Devils first goal as…in what is becoming a very common occurrence…Ron Hainsey trails behind the play (AP Photo/Rich Schultz)

The losing streak for the Thrashers now stands at five straight, three consecutive in regulation. They are 1-5-1 in the last seven games and 4-9-1 in the month of December with one left to play.

Atlanta is also 2-8-0 in their last ten road games. Both of those wins were of the shootout variety.

Five of the last six losses have been by one-goal margins. The lone exception was last week’s 6-4 loss in Boston…and then the two-goal difference came by way of an …

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Thrashers Desperately Seeking Sixty

Last November I asked John Anderson what he thought was the one main issue concerning the Thrashers…the one that most needed to be addressed if the Thrashers were going to make a serious run for the playoffs.

Without hesitation he said that the team needed to find a way to play a full 60 minutes on a regular basis. Sure, sure…it’s great that they usually find a way to fight back late in the game, but until they are able to play hard from the first drop of the puck to the last horn…they are going to have a difficult time of it.

“It’s great that they fight back”, the coach said of his team two months ago. “But it would be nice if we could put the other team behind the eight ball for a change”.

Nik Antropov is congratulated by Maxim Afinogenov after scoring against Tampa Bay (AP Photo/Steve Nesius)

Nik Antropov is congratulated by Maxim Afinogenov after scoring against Tampa Bay (AP Photo/Steve Nesius)

Well, it’s late December…Christmas is gone and New Years is a few days away… and the Atlanta Thrashers are still desperately seeking 60 full minutes of play on a consistent basis. And …

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Merry Christmas Thrasherville

As the Thrashers, along with the rest of the NHL, settle in for the brief Christmas break, we find our team with a record of 18-14-4 for 40 points and sitting in the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference. Ottawa has 40 pints as well, but have played one more game than has Atlanta. The Rangers, Montreal and Florida occupy the eighth through tenth spots with 39 points.

So as you can see, things are packed in about as tight as Santa Claus making his way down through a chimney with a sack crammed full of toys.

The Thrashers .556 points winning percentage is 15th best in the NHL…sixth best in the East. Their 3.22 G/G average is second in the league behind Washington’s 3.57. Atlanta’s power play produces goals a sixth-highest 22.2% of the time while the penalty kill unit denies the opposition 80.0% of the time…a figure that has fallen to 17th in the NHL. And they are now allowing goals at an average of 3.11 per game…26th in the league.

Atlanta is allowing a league-worst 34.5 shots …

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Afinogenov is right at home in the big city

After bringing in Nik Antropov to join Ilya Kovalchuk on the front line, resigning Marty Reasoner to keep stability lower down in the lineup and cutting a deal with Colby Armstrong…the Atlanta Thrashers were looking around for that one last little piece to complete the makeup of their offense.

To that measure, in September they extended an offer to Maxim Afinogenov…who had spent all of his nine NHL seasons with the Buffalo Sabres…to join their training camp on a professional tryout. It didn’t take long to see that the 30-year Moscow native was going to fit right in with this club and he was signed to a one-year $800,000 contract to play in Atlanta.

Upon joining the team, Max said that John Anderson just wanted him to play his game… to simply utilize his skating skills to help the Thrashers score goals.

“He told me to just be myself”, Max said of his new coach.

He’s certainly done that so far…and he’s brought a very entertaining style of play to Thrasherville, often sprinkling …

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Hockey gods did not smile upon frustrated Thrasherville

There are sometimes your team comes away with the consolation point for losing in overtime and you feel fortunate to get it. Then there are nights like Monday when the point gained is more of a disappointment than anything else.

Leads of 1-0 and 3-2 late were not protected…the opposition was on its heels most night…but in the end it wasn’t put away and I watched as the Habs skated away with that all-important second point in the standings, feeling much like I did in the 11th grade after trying attempting failingonce again to get Debbie Hesslafielder to go out on a date with me.

Rejected, frustrated, turned away and denied…again.

In a complete reversal from last Saturday night’s 5-4 loss to New Jersey, the Thrashers came out Monday night and controlled most of the game versus the Montreal Canadiens, outshooting them 50-23 for the game…18-3 in the first period alone.

Montreal's Marc-Andre Bergeron scores the game winner in overtime past Johan Hedberg (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)

Montreal's Marc-Andre Bergeron scores the game winner in overtime past Johan Hedberg (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)

I …

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Tough finding right words to describe Thrashers loss to Devils

I am finding hard to come up with the right word to truly describe Saturday night’s 5-4 loss to the New Jersey Devils…and un-good doesn’t seem to do it justice.

Frustrating comes to mind. So does aggravating…and maddening…and puzzling…infuriating, maybe? Bedeviling…I suppose that word could be considered appropriate.

I do, certainly, have some other words that could be used…but I do try to keep things at least a PG-13 level around here.

Things started out in a manner that one could say was fortunate for residents of Thrasherville. The home team somehow found themselves leading 3-1 after one period of play despite being completely outplayed. Their first goal came from Ron Hainsey, who just seconds prior was sprung from the penalty box. Assisting on the play was Christoph Schubert and Pavel Kubina…two defenders assisting on a goal by a third defenseman.

But the main reason they found themselves is such good shape was due to Ondrej Pavelec turning away 23 shots face out of 24 …

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Buckle up for the Thrasherville Thriller ride

The Thrashers need to post one of those roller coaster warning signs outside of Philips Arena or as a disclaimer on the TV screen prior to each telecast. You know… the kind that informs those with heart conditions or expectant mothers that this might not be the ride for you.

Just like those thrill rides at Six Flags, this team takes its fans on a series of ups & downs, ins & outs and thrills & chills almost every game…most of the time at very high speeds.

Rich Peverley celebrates game-winner with his teammates (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)

Rich Peverley celebrates game-winner with his teammates (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)

Thursday night’s recent Thrasherville Thriller just adds to the recent string of games that kept us all on the edge of our seats. The 6-5 win over the Dallas Stars was the fourth win in the month of December and, just like the prior three, Atlanta needed to work the overtime to get the job done.

There were five power play goals in this game to go with two shorthanded tallies…and a game tying, late period goal by Dallas that deflected in off Loui …

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Ilya Kovalchuk and Thrasherville’s 5,000-pound reindeer

As Thrashervillians hustle to and fro getting their holiday shopping wrapped up…while at the same time enjoying their team’s 17-11-3 record thus far…there still is this one subject looming over our heads. It is the topic of discussion that has been with us for quite a while, mind you…stirring about in the background of our conversations as spring turned to summer and the summer gave way to fall…through Halloween, into Thanksgiving weekend…and now as we prepare for our annual winter holidays.

That subject is, of course, the ongoing contract talks between the Thrashers’ organization and their captain Ilya Kovalchuk. Now, as fall cedes to winter, Hanukah has begun and Christmas rapidly approaches…it remains with us still. And while much has already been said in the topic…the time is rapidly approaching where chatter must give way to action.

Could John Anderson soon have to deal with a Thrashers squad minus Kovalchuk? (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck)

Could John Anderson soon have to deal with a Thrashers squad minus Kovalchuk? (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck)

Up ‘til this time, …

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