Thrashers blown away by Leafs

I missed the first two periods of Monday night’s Thrashers game in Toronto…the Divine Mrs. R and I attended the monthly JROTC Booster Club meeting, seeing how we are members and all and we go to support our tax-exemption cadet. I was planning on missing the third period as well…on purpose… and watch it on the replay without knowledge of the outcome. But I did that last Thursday when the Islanders were in town…and stayed up until the wee hours of the morning witnessing that debacle.

After the first period, however, I did sneak a peek at the score on my PDA…the one Smoothie’s girlfriend teases me about because it has a stylus…and saw it was 0-0 at the break. “Good”, I thought to myself. “I haven’t missed much”.

We hung around after the meeting for just a few minutes to get some questioned answered regarding our cadet tax-exemption, did some social “blah-blahs”…then made our way home. Upon arrival, I unloaded a few Christmas presents from the car that had been purchased earlier in the day, clicked on the TV…looked at the score…

WHISKEY – TANGO – FOXTROT!?!?!?!

Matt Stajan celebrates scoring one of Toronto's five goals in the second period (AP Photo/the Canadian Press,Chris Young)

Matt Stajan celebrates scoring one of Toronto's five goals in the second period (AP Photo/the Canadian Press,Chris Young)

Five to zip Leafs? Are you freakin’ kidding me? The 8-13-7 Maple Leafs…the 2-7-3 at home Maple Leafs…are putting that kinda beat-down on the Thrashers?

Uh-huh…yup they were.

The Toronto Maple Leafs came out of the locker room after the first break and commenced to score on the Thrashers early and often…starting at the 2:49 mark with Lee Stempniak’s seventh of the season. They didn’t get done wearing out Ondrej Pavelec and the Thrashers until Alexei Ponikarovsky netted two just before the second intermission…his first with 96 seconds remaining before the break, the second one with just 68 seconds left. In between Matt Stajan and Mikhail Grabovski scored for Toronto as well.

After stopping all ten shots he faced in the first period, Opie got beat five time on twelve shots in the second. He gave way to Hedberg for the final 20 minutes and Moose was able to turn away six shots as Bryan Little and Marty Reasoner performed a small bit of cosmetic surgery on the scoreboard with a pair of goals 35 seconds apart. Little’s coming while Stajan was serving time in the box for a tripping penalty.

Cosmetic surgery or not…losing like that to the Leafs is still ugly. Butt ugly.

In a way…I’m glad I missed the aesthetically-challenged second period. I’m happier still that I didn’t opt to watch it happen at around 0-dark-thirty.

81 comments Add your comment

NASCAR Dave

December 8th, 2009
1:50 pm

HAINSEY, POPOVIC, and ARMSTRONG looked like crap last night!!! Time to dump these clowns along with SLATER and WHITE and get some players WHO WANT TO TRY!!!

mr. mike

December 8th, 2009
1:51 pm

Brendan; nice observations & thanks for the “welcome”. Maybe we’ll agree-to-disagree about #20; maybe it’s me; each year one Thrasher seems to crawl up under my skin like a chigger(Tamer, Hnlicka, DeVries, Exelby; now it’s #20. Oh, well).
Essentially; I concur with the Burke “model”; I assume most readers here do as well?
I guess that’s partially our problem.
Let’s look at(realistically) how the Thrash stack up in the Burke model:
Netminding: Um, not so much(though I’m certainly willing to give Pavs some more development time).
Top 6 winger: Kovalchuk, Max, Kane, Pevs.
Antro? On the cusp.
Kozlov? Not any more.
Little? Not this year.
White? Um, no.
Top 4 blueliner: Bogo, Kubina.
Hainsey? On the cusp.
Enstrom? Maybe, just maybe, possibly barely..
Looks to me like we’re about 2 wingers, 2 d-men & 1 goalie short. Doesn’t mean I can’t/don’t appreciate a work in progress; hope it just means I won’t watch this through rose-colored glasses.

Midfield

December 8th, 2009
2:08 pm

“I want him to be the reason Atlanta puts a SC champion banner at Philips. But what I want him to do and what he actually does are two different things.”

Roll over, Beethoven…I mean, Don Waddell. We have yet another genius who knows how to run a hockey franchise. Never lacking in this department. Makes you wonder why indeed the team does not win SC Division every year.

Jimbo

December 8th, 2009
2:17 pm

The Leafs beat us up badly along the boards. Other teams are going to see that if you force our first and second lines to scrap for the puck along the boards that we can be pushed around. Not sure what the answer is, but when teams start playing for a playoff spot, we aren’t going to ready for the physical play. Horrible effort in that second period.

Christoph Schubert

December 8th, 2009
2:21 pm

Herr Anderson muss Mark Popovic in den Pressekasten zurzeit stellen!

Er spielt wie Scheiße!

R. Stroz

December 8th, 2009
2:27 pm

Although this idea will probably be met with disdain, I’d like to trade Armstrong for a good prospect. Even though Armstrong is a fun guy, he doesn’t have very good wheels or great hands

I’d prefer to have Colin Stuart back over Armstrong. Stuart has good wheels as well as a proclivity for scoring short handed goals and digging pucks out of the corners.

Smoothie

December 8th, 2009
2:31 pm

Thank goodness I’m lying on a beach sippin’ a beer here in SW Fla rather than trying to figure out what the hell is wrong with this team. Obviously the team’s bad habits and poor attention to detail is catching up to them. In the NHL, coaches WILL figure out a way to beat you unless you stay ahead of the curve.

But right now, coaching doesn’t seem to be the problem. It is the lack of effort, passion and thus the lack of execution that is killing us. I was at the game vs Fla and I saw some good things and while I was frustrated by the lack of scoring, I felt they would have a chance to come back if they found that extra gear in the third.

As for last nite, who knows? We can only hope it was a bad or off nite for a team that is going thru the motions during a long season. But regardless, JA would be wise to mix things up now. They have stuck to their guns since the DET game and it is getting us very little but stale efforts and scoring slumps.

Time to move someone onto Kovy’s line that will protect against his lousy D. As much as White has struggled, he is still a better skater than Antro and when playing well, a very effective 2-way player. I’m growing tired of the lazy passes by the Russian Roulette (how apt a name?) Line in the high slot and near the blueline.

At least LWR tries to get the puck deep, they just have a hard time keeping it there. But the key is match-ups. If you get a guy on each line who is willing to fore-check, then the ice might start to open up again.

For that reason, it is time to bring back the Koz-Pevs-Army line and promote Kaner to the 1st line while Kovy “rests” a couple of games. He IS NOT bigger than the team and if he is draggin a$$ then it’s time to give him more time to heal and think. I would like to see the following to get out of this slump (lines are not in any particular order, going by potential chemistry of combos):

Kozzy – Pevs – Army

Kane/Kovy – White – Antro (he’s not a true C and this will get him shooting the puck as well)

Lits/Kane – Reasy – Max

Greek gods

And while we’re at it let’s sit Hainsey a couple games and let Schubie play with Z-Bo on the 2nd pairing. Go with Salmela and Boris on the 3rd and pound the crap out of the other team at our blueline rather than theirs. Till the team is playing as one unit again, might be time for some trapping of our own to turn this around.

Cornbread

December 8th, 2009
2:47 pm

The Thrashers have been figured out.

Teams are exploiting their greatest weakness and that is the play in their own end. Teams are now heavily forechecking the Thrashers along the half-wall to keep the puck tied-up and themselves on the attack. This is because the Thrashers top-line especially tries to spread themselves out looking for the Hail Mary break-out instead of playing tight and supporting one another. The top-line and the Captain in particular have been absolutely horrible on D lately. They turn it over or cause one, can’t get it out of their own zone, and as a result never get to go on the attack. IF and when they do, they are again looking for a miracle pass instead of shooting. Teams are going to let them do that all day long.

The best all-around line in the past several games has been the Little White Russian Line followed closely by the hard working fourth line. Kane, Peverly, and Armstrong don’t look real bad but teams are paying more attention to them now and shutting them down they certainly look better than the top-line on the break-out. The top-line’s play in a word, inexcusable.

I have trouble placing blame on the D-men and goalies when they are getting very little support from the forwards. Anderson better get Kovy playing a more responsible game in his own end or the Thrashers are not going to be playing Spring Time hockey. Minus 1 is un-good for a player with his top of the world skills and is not in any way leading by example.

Kari's Dad

December 8th, 2009
2:59 pm

I agree with everyone about everything. Stendec, supper’s on the table, come home.

WM

December 8th, 2009
3:00 pm

Thanks Midfield for no answernig my (well your own) question. I’m not DW and don’t care to be. But If I were him, while I smoke out Kovy, I’d resign both Kubina and Max to longer term deals. And at this point, as a fan, I honestly don’t care whether Kovy is resigned. If he really wanted to play in Atlanta next season he would have come to the table with his terms and DW would have fulfilled them and all this would be behind us. But alas, Kovy Contract Talks ‘09 continue on for another day all while the Thrashers play games of brillance and then play games that even a pee-wee hockey player would be ashamed of.

Smoothie

December 8th, 2009
3:10 pm

Bill, would u mind freeing my essay from purgatory? As u can imagine, I don’t plan on posting much from the beach!

Alan R.

December 8th, 2009
3:18 pm

Christoph Schubert

I agree.

Spud Webb

December 8th, 2009
3:19 pm

Some good points WM. I’m fairly certain Opie was none to happy to allow 5 goals on 12 shots over a 20 minute period. Agreed, if he wants to be a number 1, then play like it. I’ll say it again, he’s a kid and even if you don’t like it WM, kids have UPS & DOWNS, especially goalies. It’s a fact. To completely blame him for the train wreck that occured last night is ignorant. He had a bad game, a lot of Thrashers did.
My point about 1 game is this…we can all cry the sky is falling or take a realistic look at this team. One game, the Thrashers aren’t the most talented team in the league, the east or even in their own division. They must play full tilt every single game. At this point they don’t. Wipe it, didn’t get 2 points, it’s also only December 8th.

Trixie (Rawhide's Secretary)

December 8th, 2009
3:20 pm

Mr. Smoothieahem As you can see, I have already procured your post from blog purgatory.

You are welcome. Enjoy your time with…her…down on the beach in Florida.

World Be Free

December 8th, 2009
3:34 pm

Toronto’s style is to put alotta pressure on the defense and opposing forwards whenever they have the puck in the team’s zone. Not sure every team is going to change their style to accomodate our team weaknesses becuase the weakness ahs been there all year.

Also, Colby, more than any other player has done nothing this year. Not a good year (UFA year) to lay an egg. At least hit somebody and drop the gloves.

goose

December 8th, 2009
4:05 pm

anybody think it might be time to try Antro out as a right wing and have peverly and center antro and kovy

Alan R.

December 8th, 2009
4:46 pm

Oh, snap! Smoothie just got told! Sounds like you’re in deep crap, dude. :(

BlueSpark

December 8th, 2009
5:10 pm

My $.02USD: that’s 3 bad games in a row. I know they won against FL in the SO, but I thought they played pretty badly.

Waddell should probably trade Armstrong. I don’t think he wants to play here, and he probably still has some value.

jerry

December 8th, 2009
5:14 pm

The Thrashers play when they damn well please. You don’t like it? GFY

BlueSpark

December 8th, 2009
5:16 pm

Ah, R. Stroz beat me to it on the “trade Armstrong” comment.

LAC

December 8th, 2009
5:24 pm

Well let’s see, we need a SPARK… We are in a shacky position, we could rebound or sprial downward…

Answer… Now is the time for a BIG trade…

Let’s try this one, Another team floundering is Anaheim, Let’s see they have Getzlaf, he would be nice to have nere, maybe Ryan too, lets see…
Little, Slater, Boris, Nathan O, and say Brett Sterling for him.

He is an impact player for a team who needs another, he is tough and
plays a tough game.

Or maybe O’Sullivan & Penner from Edmonton, for the same group, and throw White as well and meybe Armstrong.

It is time to replace some parts of the tean and change NOW.

But will worthless waddell do what needs to be done, doubtful !

The Toronto TV guys said the deal is done with #17…. But wondered why no signing. One guy said this, “He is waiting to see if the team commits to winning or not.” Gee have we heard this before ??????????????

12345

December 8th, 2009
5:25 pm

In the last three games 4 GF and 10 GA… UNGOOD !

stendec

December 8th, 2009
5:32 pm

If I asked really nice suppose Calgary would send the Flames back for the Thrashers? Did not think so! Sigh. Suppose Kapitan Ilya Kovalchuk will be in a Calgary uniform next season? Certainly appears he has gone into Maryann Hossa mode this season. No broken fingernails until he reaches his next destination. I do wish him well. Really. No hate on for him like everyone knows who. Suppose the Flames can reach double figures in goals? Possible. ++STENDEC++

stendec

December 8th, 2009
5:41 pm

Challenged my own call. Threw red bag. I have reviewed the tape. In fairness to Pavs I can only truly regard three of the five second period goals as marshamallows. However, considering the final score, they were more than enough to ensure defeat. Moose deserves plaudits even though the Loafs did skate at third speed in final period after the victory was locked up. Nothing wrong with that! Like taking a knee in football to run clock out. ++STENDEC++

Brendan

December 8th, 2009
6:13 pm

mr. mike, please post more often, if you can. If Colby Armstrong gets moved at the trade deadline for a prospect, or a draft pick, or both, I won’t cry about it. Even if Army walks out the door for nothing in free agency, which isn’t exactly an ideal situation, I’ll let it slide. Likewise, if Army winds up back here next season, I won’t have an aneurysm. Atlanta always needs an inexpensive depth forward. But I suspect that Colby wants to be some team’s Top Six forward and he may not get that chance here in Atlanta, with roster spots occupied by Kane, Kovalchuk, Peverley, Max/Kozlov, White, and Little. In this respect, I don’t blame Armstrong for seeing what the market will bear for his services. It can be said that every player is playing for their next contract. I do think that GM’s will pursue Colby Armstrong in free agency. How much they’re willing to pay for him may be another matter. If Colby actually wants to remain in Atlanta, I’m sure Waddell can write another 1-year deal, or even a 2-year deal, appealing enough for Mr. Armstrong. I certainly won’t boo the guy if he leaves. He was TRADED here, honored his contract, and even AGREED to sign his RFA contract with us. He put up 20 goals last season. That’s not so horrible. He’s struggling this year. But there are still plenty of games left. And really, Colby Armstrong doesn’t get paid to fill the net with pucks. The organization really looks to Kovalchuk, Peverley, Little and Antropov, along with Max, White, Kane and Kozlov for that. Colby’s more of a role player, who is capable of chipping in where he can. But you won’t hear me saying, “C’mon Waddell. Get that contract signing pen out!! Colby might walk for nothing!!” I’ll save those comments for Kovalchuk’s deal, if not reached, on or about January 24, 2010.

R. Stroz

December 8th, 2009
6:18 pm

I’m for trading Armstrong to Detroit for Landon Ferraro if Detroit is willing to part with Ferraro.

Miami Screaming Eagle

December 8th, 2009
8:32 pm

Nobody else will sign until Kovy signs. The other Thrashers are looking for a commitment too. I think their recent efforts may reflect the mood of many of our bloggers when it comes to the future of the franchise.

If the deal is done, get him signed. If not, get it done soon!

Brendan

December 8th, 2009
9:46 pm

I want to target the Chicago Blackhawks, since they will surely have cap issues. But they’ll survive this season. The time to pounce on Chicago will be at the draft. Think about it. They just inked Kane, Toews, and Duncan Keith to longterm contracts. Add that to Hossa’s 12 year deal, and Brian “Soupy” Campbell’s ridiculous deal, plus Huet, and that’s a lot of payroll tied up in very few players. So, I am interested in Cam Barker. I like Seabrook. If Chicago looks to shop Campbell, I’d bet they look at us. We did try very hard to land Campbell in free agency. He’s overpaid without question. With what, five years left on his deal? Waddell would probably try to send some salary the other way. Players like Schubert, Popovic, Thorburn, and Salmela are expendable as sweeteners. It’s fun to speculate with no basis of reality. :grin:

Brendan

December 8th, 2009
9:49 pm

R.Stoz, I miss Colin Stuart, too. Not that he ever set the world on fire. But I’d rather have him in the organization than not. Where the heck is the guy these days? Toronto, then Calgary, now ???

Hockey Biltong

December 9th, 2009
12:56 am

My beer tasting was completely ruined by that game, and like the beer being gone ,so is the game…so bring on the Flamers. We might just get bowed up enough to win.

Not Blind

December 10th, 2009
8:36 am

Hey Daculafan, one more game before you start to worry or was the Calgary game enough to open your eyes ? KK aka”Kaptain Kovalchuk’s” effort against Bourque was pathetic. If Kotton Kandy had taken the body on Bourque then the other point man could have had a chance to retrieve the puck. Instead KK tried to dash over to the bench and jump off the ice so his +- wouldn’t take another hit. He didn’t even put enough effort into that and got hit with a minus anyway.

Kotton Kandy is a joke, DW needs to trade him off and get some people with some self respect.

On the Armstrong goal I think it could just have easily have been off the D mans skate. Probably should be Peverly’s goal. Speaking of Peverly I think he would be a better ‘franchise player’ than Kotton Kandy.