Is it time for a ‘White-Out’ in Thrasherville?

Monday night’s butt kicking aside…the Thrashers are in the midst of a pretty good season. Their 15-9-3 record gives them 33 points, which is good enough for the sixth position in the Eastern conference heading into Tuesday’s NHL action.

That, boys and girls, is known as a “playoff spot”.

The offense overall is playing as well as we’d hoped…although they’ve hit a soft patch in the last couple of weeks…the goalkeeping has been better than hoped and the penalty kill has been outstanding. However, there are some areas of concern.

Todd White last scored on October 29 and has only 3 goals all year (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Todd White last scored on October 29 and has only 3 goals all year (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

From my point of view, those areas of concern carry the names of Todd White, Bryan Little, Colby Armstrong, Christoph Schubert and Mark Popovic…some would even suggest Ron Hainsey as well. And I think it’s time one or two of them was shown the way to the buffet counter in the press box for a while.

After 27 games played, White has accrued a grand total of 3 goals and 9 assists. He also carries with him the distinction of having the team’s lowest plus\minus rating…a very un-good –9. The closest to him is the –4 that belong to Pops, Slava Kozlov and Jim Slater.

At this time last season, Whitey had 7 goals and 14 assists.

Todd last scored a goal way back on October 29 during the 4-3 loss to the Washington Capitals. To be fair, however, all 9 of his assists have come during and since that game. But White’s current rate of scoring has him on pace for 9 goals and 27 assists…a stat that, if realized, would be one point less than his forgettable first year with the Thrashers two seasons ago.

Coming off his career year last season of 22 goals and 51 assists, many of us thought he would certainly see somewhat of a production reduction. After all, there is a reason they call it a “career” year…but to be this much off? Yikes!

Honestly, I don’t think many thought we would see the return of the 2007-08 Todd White.

Offensive stats aside, White has not played well in the defensive side of the ice either…again playing the soft style of game that has earned him the nickname Charmin by some in these parts.

But White certainly isn’t alone in having a down year so far as the man playing off to his right on most nights isn’t exactly lighting it up either. Bryan Little had a remarkable breakout season in 2008-09, netting 31 goals and 51 overall points…but so far this season he has the exact same 3 goals and 9 assists White has…although Bryan is a +1 for the year.

Who most deserves a seat in the press box?

  • Colby Armstrong (9%, 10 Votes)
  • Ron Hainsey (7%, 8 Votes)
  • Bryan Little (7%, 8 Votes)
  • Mark Popovic (16%, 18 Votes)
  • Christoph Schubert (8%, 9 Votes)
  • Todd White (53%, 62 Votes)

Total Voters: 114

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Little’s first two goals came way of a deflection off his skate…thank you Rich Peverley…and a nicking of his stick by the puck on it’s way into the goal via a blast from Toby Enstrom. Since that time, however, he went twelve games without a goal…finally hitting twine during Monday’s 5-2 loss in Toronto. In the last month of play, Little has that one goal, 3 assists and is a –4. Two of those helpers came during the 6-4 comeback win in Carolina.

Tell me the truth now… if someone would have told you two months ago that the Thrashers would have a winning record at this time, holding a playoff spot even…while at the same time Little and White had a combined 6 goals and 18 assists between them… wouldn’t you have looked at them like they were from Mars?

I would have.

Then there is Colby Armstrong…he of 3 goals and 7 overall points in 26 games played. Not even playing alongside of Rich Peverley, (10 goals, 16 assists & +4) and rookie sensation Evander Kane, (8 goals, 5 assists and +6) has seemed to rub off on him yet. In his last eleven games played, Army has all of one entire point and is a –6.

Colby’s 28 penalty minutes are the most of any Thrasher not named Eric Boulton and Christoph Schubert…although 20 of those came during the Philly game a couple weeks back.

His overall stats give me reason to include him as a candidate to sit…but the toughness he brings to the game would give me pause to put him in the box over someone like a Todd White.

On defense…well, who you gonna single out on a blueline corps that surrenders an average of 34.5 shots on goal per game. And the fact of the matter is that that stat reflects an overall “team” defense…including forwards and the ability/inability to back check and move the puck out of the zone.

Regardless…with Boris Valabik back in the mix, it isn’t too much of a stretch to think that somebody who has seen some minutes will be hanging out in the press box some time soon.

Could that person be Christoph Schubert…who has played in 25 games and is a –3 with a goals and three points. Maybe, but I don’t think he’s played poorly and I really like that 6’-3” 230 pound mass out there for us.

Mark Popovic, while not playing terribly overall, has done little to impress me of late. He’s a –4 in 17 games played and has helped out on the attacking side with a pair of goals and an assist. He was a –3 in Toronto…has been a –5 in his last six games played and a –7 in his last 13 games dating back to October 22nd’s 5-4 loss to the Caps.

As indicated above, some would insist that Hainsey should lose some ice time. He’s played in 25 games thus far and is a -2, contributing 2 goals and 4 assists. Most recently he is EVEN in the last seven games played with no points…-5 with a goal and 4 assists in the 12 games before that.

Ron Hainsey isn’t going to blind anyone with flashes of brilliance, mind you…but I don’t think he’s the one to be sitting right now. If given a choice between the three defensemen…I’d sit Pops and give Boris a chance to see if he’s mastered the backward skating skills needed to play at this level.

However…considering all the options I’ve provided to sit either Todd White, Bryan Little, Colby Armstrong, Mark Popovic, Ron Hainsey or Christoph Schubert…I would opt for a “White out” scenario in Philips.

With that…I’d place Slater into the fourth line center position and move Reasoner to the second line between Kozlov and Little. I could see an argument made to place him between Kane and Armstrong, moving Peverley up to the second line…but I just like the chemistry that’s developing between Evander and the Pevs Dispenser.

Maybe Kane and Peverley could move up with Little…leaving Kozzy and Reasoner to line up with Army? That third line might not score much, but it might not get scored on too often either and maybe Little would benefit from the wheels attached to Kane and Peverley.

73 comments Add your comment

stendec

December 9th, 2009
11:27 pm

My Flames are looking good! Absolutely heartless 40 minutes for don’t give a damn Thrashers. Moose snoozed in second period long enough to surrender a pair of goals. One was a very Sori Leteminesque marshmallow ole whiff. Thrasher losing streak should be at two and counting after another period. Kapitan Ilya Kovalchuk is now officially in Maryann Hossa mode. Does not give a damn. Clear from his uninspired play at third speed. The no score offense of John Petrino is so much fun to watch. Totally embarrassing! Oh well. The freefall has begun! No less than Thrashers and no accountability fans deserve. GO FLAMES! ++STENDEC++ Apologists can kiss my a$$. In no mood for any of you losers tonight!

stendec

December 9th, 2009
11:49 pm

Two teams headed in opposite directions. Flames en route to playoffs! Thrashers on way to bottom of division. Flames contenders! Thrashers pretenders. Flames can score! Against religion of Thrashers to do so. Flames have top tier goaltending! Thrashers do not. There goes damn shutout! Oh well. Under review. Shutout OFFICIALLY gone! ++STENDEC++

Tom

December 10th, 2009
12:02 am

I have to say I hope Kovy is hurt because his effort has been severely lacking the past few games. There has been a lack of hustle and focus, not to mention an absolute distaste for playing defense.

It is obvious as number 17 goes we go, but he is going downhill fast.

stendec

December 10th, 2009
12:02 am

Another heartless effort by the gutless Thrashers! Second regulation choke job. Zero points! Kapitan Ilya Kovalchik has become unproductive liability. Why rush to sign this Maryann Hossa clone? It is obvious Russian wants nothing more to do with Atlanta. Trade his uncaring a$$! Screw all the quitters with chickens on their chests. Thanks for effort Flames. Well done fellows! ++STENDEC++

R. Stroz

December 10th, 2009
12:19 am

Send Charmin to the outhouse.

Brendan

December 10th, 2009
3:03 am

Cornbread, I enjoyed reading that post. (That’s how one goes about writing a dissenting opinion.) Especially the stats on our 4th line, who do surprisingly well, with the little ice time they receive. I’ve been somewhat of a Todd White defender. I see him as a “depth center” who is relatively inexpensive. I never had expectations of him being “the center that keeps Marian Hossa in Thrasher blue for the coming years.” White had a career best season last year. And, truthfully, I thought it would continue into this season. The numbers don’t bear that out, however. But would I “sit” Todd White? Hmmn. Maybe just to give him a jolt. When a player sits, sometimes it motivates him to play better. Sometimes, it just agitates him. When Don Waddell first signed Todd White, White’s quote in the morning paper was, “I really likes to play both sides. I like to think I excel defensively as a forward.” At the time … I thought, “Good, we need forwards who can backcheck. Maybe he should play with Kovalchuk?” I was having some fun, of course. But when I read Kovalchuk’s comment about the NEW Todd White acquisition (July 2007), it was all positive. I figured they might actually turn into linemates.

The thing that always sticks out in my mind about Todd White is this. When the wheels fell off this franchise, and they were swept out by the Rangers, and Bob Hartley had lost the room … Todd White said, “I want in. I want to try to help the Atlanta Thrashers.” He was, after all, an UNRESTRICTED free agent. He could have signed anywhere that would take him. Waddell offered, more than likely, the best offer Todd White was apt to get, 4-years for $9.5 million. Nobody lodged a double-barelled, sawed off shotgun into his short ribs to sign that deal. There was no mobster standing behind him saying, “Todd, either your signature or your brains go on that contract.” So, I tend to go “easy” on Todd White. If John Anderson sits him, it might do him some good.

I can hear the detractors already. “Shoulda traded him in the offseason while his VALUE was so high.” Well, how could anyone know if he wouldn’t continue that career season? From the GM perspective, you’ve got a low cap hit guy making decent contributions. That’s one of the goals a GM sets for himself. Todd White is not now, nor has ever been, a Tier I center. He’s a depth player. Every team, in an era of salary cap, needs an inexpensive yet able to contribute, depth player. He is that guy for Atlanta. I’m sorry he’s not on pace for last season’s totals. But there’s also more than half the season remaining. I always cringe when people say, “Brendan, in hockey, the games don’t even matter until New Year’s Day anyway.” Sigh. Well, supposing that assertion is true for the very moment, Todd White still has ample time to do something noteworthy to turn his season around … and into one that more closely resembles last year’s output.

Tough loss, tonight. The shots against were, once again, over thirty (32). Armstrong got the goal, his 4th. He also got in a fight. I’d actually give the nod to Curtis Glencross in the bout. Peverley got his 17th assist on the year. Pretty nice stat, there. Here’s a “not-so-nice” stat: Finny was a -2. On our blueline, Enstrom, Bogosian, and Hainsey were all -1.

And finally, every team in the Southeast division lost tonight. Caps and Cats got shutout. Tampa Bay fell, post-regulation time. Carolina lost to NJ. And we lost to Calgary. Only the Bolts banked a point in the standings, for the whole division. In other news, the Detroit Red Wings had yet another 40+ shot effort WASTED in a shutout. St. Louis’ Ty Conklin made 42 saves in a 1-0 Blues victory.

Dwayne

December 10th, 2009
8:47 am

Need a win bad…understatement of the year.

Dwayne

December 10th, 2009
8:51 am

Another heartless effort by the gutless Stendec! Every blog choke job. Zero class! Kapitan Stendec has become unproductive liability. Why rush to sign this Richard Simmons clone? It is obvious Stendecn wants nothing more to do with common sense and decency. Block his uncaring a$$ from blogging! Screw all the Stendecs with chickens on their chests. Thanks for your support.

Bob

December 10th, 2009
9:05 am

Good to see Valabik has improved…what a waste of a pick that guy was.

Those line combinations last night were a disaster. Who scored the only goal last night? Armstrong, when Peverley’s shot went in off his skate on the rebound. Peverly the catalyst again.

There’s one move that needs to be made. Sit White and skate Peverley in between Kozlov and Little and watch that line take off. Put the top line back together and move Reasoner to center the 3rd line.

This one move of centers fixes the problems:

Kovy-Antro-Max
Kozlov-Peverley-Little
Kane-Reasoner-Armstrong
Boulton-Slater-Thorburn

White is the broken cog in this wheel, take him out and put Peverly on the 2nd line where he belongs and watch the offense take off.

World Be Free

December 10th, 2009
9:07 am

Forgive me for not trashing the Thrashers in general like some of the idiots that “contribute” to this blog.

I have been communicating a concern for some time. This concern resurfaced last night on the first goal. We do not cover the points in our defensive zone. I have no idea why the forwards collapse to the faceoff circles. Last night on the first goal, the left point was wide open, long enough to make a play (not just shoot). Nigel Dawes, a “pipe fitter” at best, had enough time to make a decent deflection for the first goal.

Cover the points guys!

Spud Webb

December 10th, 2009
9:51 am

Son of a b7tch…Glencross with a BEATDOWN on colby. OUCH, that had to hurt…our number 1 line better get responsible, VERY QUICKLY.

Spud Webb

December 10th, 2009
9:53 am

WBF, you’re correct. These same people will be telling us next week to sign Max to an extension, telling us how great DW is, blah, blah, blah!! Bash em when we lose and jump on the wagon when we win!! Classic.

R. Stroz

December 10th, 2009
10:25 am

Little needs to be de-coupled from White. I don’t understand the reluctance of the coaching staff to “Give Little a Chance”. As I’ve stated before, I’d like to see a line of Peverely-Little-Kane. These guys are the future of the team.

Concerning Kovy, if he is still injured to the point the injury is effecting his play, Kovy needs to sit a few games. If Kovy is “fine”, Coach Anderson needs to give him a motivational talk.

If Kovy is re-signed, I’d like to see Max re-signed. If Kovy isn’t re-signed, let Max go. Kovy and Max work well together. However, Max without Kovy will not work. As one of few actually in favor of the Max signing, even I have been pleasantly surprised so far. However, as many of you saw last night, when Max isn’t paired with Kovy, Max goes back to his old style of play.

As an aside, Slater really played well last night. I’m sure WBF wondered who stole Slater’s jersey before the game.

Russian

December 10th, 2009
10:26 am

**to Spud Webb**
No No No. Don and Dadly were doing very good job at summer. I like the team and they combined very nice players. It is not a problem with GM. I see the problem with Coach now. “His system”, honestly I do not understand his system, is not working at all. Team did not shoot a puck, team did not score lot of goals. They lost lot of games at home. What is he doing? Where is a Magic System?

Russian

December 10th, 2009
10:30 am

*to Stroz**
Good Point about Kovy. If he still injure, sit in pressbox. Team will go with out him. If Kovy is fine, why we did not see 100% play from him. I heard a rumor, that his contract is not doing very well. Owners put on hold big contract for Kovy. May be he upset.
Yes we have to combine together Kane-Pever-Little and keep them 5-7 games as a second line.

jared

December 10th, 2009
10:30 am

Spudd Webb
I agree with you in that this is a bandwagon blog, but something does have to be said about the lack of scoring on out team. We need to get our 3.46 GF average again. I liked that….ya i liked that stat a lot.
I say rotate sitting Little, white and Hainsey…1 game each is all they need if JA gives a press conference about how poorly we have played of late. It will get their attention. As for trading white…..That accomplishes nothing. We could MAYBE get an Armstrong or Christensen style player for white.

Bob

December 10th, 2009
10:51 am

“I’d like to see a line of Peverely-Little-Kane”

I hear you on the future of the team, but Kane isn’t ready for the 2nd line. He’s quick and defensively responsible, remember he’s only 18. He needs to be on the checking line, Kozlov would be a waste on the checking line.

I really think all they need to do is keep the top line intact, put Peverly in between Kozlov and Little, and move Reasoner to the third line. Kane-Reasoner-Armstrong is a good checking line and can pop some goals in. White is the broken piece that does not fit on this club.

Spud Webb

December 10th, 2009
10:53 am

Agreed Jared, I’m a bit concerned also w/ the lack of scoring. Stroz and Russian, yea, if Kovy is hurt, sit him for a week. Let’s get him healthy.
And Stroz, I thought the same thing about Slats. I thought Slats was drinking w/me last night, I was Jacked UP!! He played a great game. Thought he was gonna go towards the end, ref got in the middle right before the face off!! Dang it.

World Be Free

December 10th, 2009
11:18 am

Spud-sometimes you just wonder what to do with these folks.

I think some of us have pointed out things about Anderson’s system that trouble us. I am confident that these guys will work it out. Some guys just aren’t playing very well.

Rawhide

December 10th, 2009
11:19 am

:!: RANALLO WARNING!! :!:

This is your official 10-minute Ranallo Warning!

Oh, and speaking of Ranallo…where have you been lately, young man?

Dwayne

December 10th, 2009
1:16 pm

Its a blog, so, if people want to bandwagon jump, they can. Do you(to whom it may concern) want everyone to sing in peace and harmony? Fact is, the Thrashers are sucking right now. Having said that, if they win tonight, they go 2-2 on the raod trip. Thats good, but the way they play at home, 3-1 was needed. I do not watch any other teams except the Thrashers? Does every other team changes lines every night? How about the teams in the top 4 of each conference. Aint the Thrashers in 6th place still in our conference? That’s what I thought. Relax?? Not if you don’t want to. My boy Valabik had an assist last night, wish I could have seen it, I fell asleep on my couch after the first minute. How did Slater do?? Kovy still doing piro-wets (spelling) around the blue line? He would look great skating with Chaz Micheal Micheals.

bucky

December 11th, 2009
2:28 pm

Pops is as good as he can be when is playing with a broken foot in the two games he had a -3 and -2. Especially when he is playing with a wannabe defender in schubert who is a freaking pylon! Just watch Pops..he is a solid skater and smart defencemen. he is never out of position unlike Christoph who is either always out of position or in the bloody penalty box. take is easy on Pops..we are lucky we got him back…he is one of the few thrash that actually gives a crap about the team, winning and its fans…its never about the money with him…he just wants to play. he has the potential of being a top 4 defenceman if he gets playing time…and dont get me started on how crap Tobias is…anyone can get points if they play as much as him…and trust me its not about his talent…its because the powers that be dont want to look stupid on their decision on him…he coughs up the puck more than anyone on the squad.

Jameson

December 12th, 2009
5:39 pm

I think he should sit Kovalchuk for at least a period.