Loss in Pittsburgh extends Thrashers losing streak to nine

With Tuesday night’s 5-2 loss in Pittsburgh, the Thrashers losing streak now stands at nine straight…the last seven coming on the road. Since defeating the Dallas Stars 6-5 in overtime back when there was still seven shopping days left before Christmas, Atlanta has played to a 0-6-3 record…a level of play that has seen them go from an 18-12-3 record and sixth place in the conference to 18-18-6 and are now but a point away from 12th in the east.

With the win, Pittsburgh snapped a five-game losing skid of their own.

During the nine-game nightmare, the Thrashers have been outscored 19 to 41 despite the fact that the S/G to SA/G ratio has almost been even, Atlanta being outshot by an average 31.2 to 30.1.

Jim Slater accounted for all of Atlanta’s offense, scoring two goals…yes, I said Slater scored two goals. His first tied the game at one after taking a Chris Thorburn pass, broke through up the middle and beat Brent Johnson via the five hole. His second was unassisted and got the Thrashers back to within a goal after Pittsburgh scored twice after his first one.

The loss now brings to an end the seven-game holiday road trip for the Thrashers. The OH!-5-2 record nets them a grand total of 2 points out of a possible 14 available.

Un-good!

The Thrashers will look to avoid making the streak ten-consecutive losses Thursday night when the Ranger head to Thrasherville. Yeah I know…they are going to let ‘em play at home again. The 20-17-5 Rangers will be traveling from NYC after playing the Stars Wednesday night.

Opie Roughed Up…Again

In his first start since being pulled after one period of play last week in Boston… allowing 3 goals on 10 shots…Ondrej Pavelec looked sharp in the first period, stopping all 12 shots he face. But as the second period unfolded, the Penguins were able to capitalize on counterattacks and wide-open spaces in front of Pavelec’s goal.

For the game, Opie allowed the 5 Penguins’ goals on 37 shots and is now 9-12-3 on the season with a 3.58 GAA and .901 SV%.

While I can’t blame the loss solely on Pavelec, he again showed me that he just isn’t ready for prime time right now. I wish John Anderson would simply go with Hedberg on a nightly basis and start Opie only on back-to-back situation and/or spot starts. That’s not a guarantee for success, mind you…but right now Moose gives us the better chance for wins when in the nets, IMHO.

Oh…and the last time Pavs started a game and did not allow at least 3 goals?…The night before Thanksgiving.

And Speaking of Bad Streaks…

Todd White’s personal OH!-fer streak has now reached…hang on while I count the games…30 – 31 – 32…32 games!

That’s thirty-freakin’-two games without a goal from a “top-six” center, folks. He took nary a shot in Pittsburgh and was a –3…which brings him to –15 on the season, which I believe now is the worst rating on the team.

Todd White remains on the milk carton as his streak without a goal has now reached 32 games

Todd White remains on the milk carton as his streak without a goal has now reached 32 games

I just gotta be honest with ya here…I have no idea why John Anderson placed him on the front line between Kovy and Afinogenov when learning that Nik Antropov would be unable to go. I mean…Rich Peverley is still on the team, right? Heck…I’d even understand putting Slates there given the situation. But not Todd White.

I do believe White was the centerman on the ice while the Penguins were busy scoring their first two goal…goals that were scored while the center of the defensive zone was so wide open it could be used an auxiliary airport runway.

It time…past time…Todd White finds a permanent seat in the press box.

Congrats to Team USA!

Finally, some good news to discuss! Team USA defeated Canada 6-5 in overtime to grab the gold medal in the World Junior Championship played in Saskatoon. It was a rematch of the overtime thriller won by Canada on New Years Eve and was one of the most exciting, hard-fought games I’ve watched in a while.

What a thrill it must be for those youngsters…I’d love to see the USA Olympic team repeat their success in Vancouver next month.

Congratulations Team USA!!!!

84 comments Add your comment

POTF

January 6th, 2010
12:41 pm

Hey five_hole. Saw the 3-D tv’s. Not sure I want any off the mark passes or errant shots from the Thrashers seemingly coming toward my head. Especially while drinking. One other note, since we can’t fire the whole team, let’s start with Anderson. After this streak, I think we need a Pat Quinn to come in and kick all their arses.

five_hole

January 6th, 2010
12:51 pm

Hey POTF, if it was the Thrashers shooting, what makes you think they’d find the mark?

Other than the 2nd line, this team has talent all over the place. We all thought so back in October; I still think so now. Little is struggling because he’s trying to do it all by himself. White just blows and Slava’s age has caught up with him.

I believe Yogi Berra said that 90% of the game is 50% mental. And I think in this case, he’s right. Maybe it’s because of Ilya’s contract negotiations. Maybe it just started with a letdown and now everyone’s pressing too hard. Maybe it’s because of a secret plot to win in Afghanistan. I don’t know, but I do know who’s job it is to keep the team in line, and he doesn’t seem to be doing a very good job at it.

Even if it isn’t Anderson’s fault, instead of firing the whole team, you fire the coach to make a point with the players. I don’t know who would be available right now, but I say “bring ‘em in”.

LAC

January 6th, 2010
12:53 pm

The first to be traded should be zach B. He has turned into the worst defensman in the entire NHL. Never hits, Always out of position, never shoots the puck, can’t pass worth 2 cents and is slow and a creampuff, I have seen ALL I ever want to see from him in an Atlanta uniform, TRADE HIS A$$.

Waive, white/kozlov/little. little is nothing more than a one year wonder who will NEVER be a solid NHL player.

Get rid of anderson, he has lost ALL control of the team, his so called
“system” is the worst in the league and he refuses to sit players who need sitting…

Where are the little boy owners ? Remember opening night 2007, when the SE banner was raised ? Remember that lying suck face rutherford snydel LYING to everyone by saying… Now get this… “We are going to do EVERYTHING possible to win the Stanley Cup.” Remember ? I do, watching that little punk lie to everyone, how did a dumb A$$ like rutherford STUPIDNEL ever, ever get the $ to be involved in this ? How, He is one of the dumbiest person’s I ever saw, Deer on the Interstate have more sense than That LIAR snydel… where are these owners, where is beau turner, off DRUNK someplace ? Mr.Pottymouth, is he hiding in the men’s room again ? What the F is going on ?

Where is Gary Bettman ? Why is the NHL not threating to remove these wimps as owners and take over the team… They did in Phoenix, oh yes, they have like 60 points now !!!!! They made changes and look what they are doing !!!! Why can that not happen here ? Where is another Arthur Blank when you need one bad ?

HookyBob

January 6th, 2010
1:11 pm

CONGRATULATIONS USA Hockey ! ! !

It’ll be interesting to see how our D fares tomorrow night. Torts is known to send two forwards in deep to pressure. My guess is a lot of pucks almost make it to our blueline before a Blueshirt intercepts it. I hope our forwards come back to help outlet. BTW, are the 3rd jerseys on for Thursday evening?

I hope Moose gets the start. I’ve really come to admire his mental toughness. Look what basket cases our defense has made out otherwise fine and talented goalies.

Bob:…..I’m not sure your concern about the Thrashers starting at 7:00, instead of 7:30 is valid. Most the time, if you were in your seat by 7:30 you’d be there when our Boys in Blue started playing. Sadly, that is not to say the that the puck doesn’t drop, and other team starts at 7:00 however.

So, what are the chances Waddell and Kovy have a handshake on a 10+ year deal for $9M +/yr but aren’t letting on (deal to be signed after free-agency starts)? That way Kovy could be traded for some value, play for a play-off team, and come back for the big $s and warm weather. At the same time Thrashers pick-up some talent.

Go Blue.

Nikita

January 6th, 2010
1:13 pm

Hooo boy.

Detroit in fact employs the same system we do. The players simply have the responsibility and honor to do what they’re supposed to and distinguish between “joining the rush” and “abandoning all attempts at defense.”

*TRADE HIS A$$.*

Er, no. No. No. Trade the #2 draft pick, who played great last year, and is barely legal? No. Recondition him and put him with better talent.

*little is nothing more than a one year wonder who will NEVER be a solid NHL player.*

You’re high. And I’d like to point out Braydon Coburn. Ridding ourselves of him really worked out, didn’t it?

*Get rid of anderson, he has lost ALL control of the team, his so called
“system” is the worst in the league and he refuses to sit players who need sitting…*

I’ll agree with point three. That’s it. Also, I don’t seem to recall you asking for his head when his “terrible” system resulted in wins. It’s not the system — it’s the players, including some very expensive, lazy, cherished albatrosses bringing the entire team down.

If I have any issues with the system, it’s that it fails at both ends. You can play offense-heavy if your offense is effective and displays the proper amount of two-way and crash and bang. You can play defense if you play a permnent full-court press (which to my knowledge only Columbus and NJD do). But we play half of each, and both poorly.

Also, I really get sick of hearing about how we need to crucify middle-aged, cheap, 2nd- or 3rd-line players (what did you expect for $2-4 million?) when someone who reportedly is asking for the sky (a.k.a. MORE than for, say, Rick Nash) as well as demanding and getting the right to pick his equally flashy and irresponsible linemates is not stepping up.

And that reminds me…effing Rick Nash. That’s a decent example of what I wish our Kaptain was. Rick Nash makes things happen. He plays offense and defense and takes responsibility for stoking his team’s success. Oh, and he costs about half of what Kovy wants. WEP.

*Mr.Pottymouth, is he hiding in the men’s room again ? What the F is going on ?*

Stop being such a pussy about small-time off-color language, especially when you use or imply plenty of it yourself. What, you’re the only whiny crybaby that gets to cuss around here?

*Why is the NHL not threating to remove these wimps as owners and take over the team…*

Because if they did that to every team that’s not run ideally, they’d have 10 teams on their hands.

R. Stroz

January 6th, 2010
1:15 pm

Smoothie – There’s plenty of shame to go around. Therefore, I don’t see it as scapegoating White. At this point White, and Kozlov, are filling roster spots, which should be filled with young hungry prospects. White, to me, is what Vigier was to Ranallo, an aging vet, past his prime, stunting the develpoment of a young prospect.

White is done. Kozlov is done.

Cherrychuk just wants to score goals and save himself for the Olympics.

And, I don’t think Cherrychuk is the only player on the team saving themselves for the Olympics.

I do, however, like the solution suggested above:

a) fire Waddell
b) promote Dudley to GM
c) fire Anderson
d) promote Cunneyworth as interim
e) trade the hell out of Kovy, then Max and possibly Kubina
f) promote some Wolves and put the fear of God in the vets

That works for me.

Smoothie

January 6th, 2010
1:50 pm

Stroz – I think we agree but you just have more disdain for White at this present time. I used to be with you on the squeeze the Charmin bandwagon, but he showed me some good things last year and I figured he’d be able to continue some of them. Not that there is any excused for his slow trigger and inability to put stronger shots on net. But it doesn’t matter. The 3rd month of the season has revealed this team for what it is…a collective bunch of charlatan underachievers. And on top of that, there is some youthful inexperience compounding things with the occasional (or not so occasional) brain cramp, rookie mistake etc.

Glad you like my checklist of what needs to happen. Now if we could just get Levenson and Gearon convinced of this, we would have something to look forward to other than a 10-15 win second half.

Alan R.

January 6th, 2010
1:53 pm

Before Anderson ever gets fired, it’s about damn time we fired that Steve Weeks guy.

Tom

January 6th, 2010
1:57 pm

Thank God for Team USA, it got me off the hook for watching the Thrashers. :)

I have a question, is it possible to start picketing the practices. Make up signs like “No Figure 8’s” and such and hold them up by the glass?

If the coaches can not get through to the players, maybe the fans can. Just a thought…

R. Stroz

January 6th, 2010
2:26 pm

Tom – Here’s a sign for practice “Hockey, it’s played on both ends of the ice.”

Wayne stuck in AL

January 6th, 2010
2:36 pm

I would just LOVE for Kovy to traded to Columbus (that’s Ohio, not Georgia) just to see him try to play defense for Ken Hitchcock (but not necessary for anything the Jackets could give us in trade).

J.B.

January 6th, 2010
2:42 pm

How about a sign quoting the official NHL rules & regulations “… a contest shall consist of three (3) twenty (20) minute periods of play…” Not sure most of our players are aware of that little tidbit.

J.B.

January 6th, 2010
3:07 pm

I love, Love, LOVE Mike Milbury’s blog comments re: kovy today…

http://www.cbc.ca/sports/blogs/2010/01/is_kovalchuk_worth_the_money_a.html

Ilya Kovalchuk: Gifted indeed. Is he worth the dough? Maybe. Probably not. Definitely not. Most definitely not. That’s my answer and I am sticking with it. Atlanta has made the playoffs once while Kovalchuk has been with the team. He gets his goals and what else? He backchecks occasionally? Oh, thank you. Reports are that Kovalchuk has been offered about $10 million US per season for about the rest of his playing life and he still can’t accept. OK … fair enough. He likes Atlanta but not the Thrashers’ chances of success and he has the right to go free agent. No problem, but can’t he give some relief to the franchise that has been more than fair to him for about a decade?

How about this, Jay Grossman. You’re gonna get your agent fee anyway whether he signs in the NHL or the KHL so why don’t you and your client man up? Meet with Don Waddell and tell him thanks for the memories but you’re on your way out of town. Give the GM, who has been more than fair to you and your client, a list of teams you would be willing to go to. Let him make a deal contingent on your completing a contract with whatever sucker thinks Kovy will turn the franchise around. Too much to ask? Apparently. These are the negotiations that make your stomach turn. Kovy is no Crosby. Kovy is more Kovalev.

Tom

January 6th, 2010
3:16 pm

Great find J.B.

“Apparently. These are the negotiations that make your stomach turn. Kovy is no Crosby. Kovy is more Kovalev.”

I am getting over it very quickly…

J.B.

January 6th, 2010
3:21 pm

thanks. I’m probably one of the biggest Ilya Kovalchuk fans there is but I’m starting to like the idea of trading him for a a good package including a more defensive minded LW. Probably will score half the goals of kovy but would likely prevent more as well. I just want to know and have it over with…

Tom

January 6th, 2010
3:26 pm

USA Juniors Coach on how he built the Gold Medal Winning Team –

*”I didn’t want a bunch of fancy-dancers on my team. I think we showed a lot of grit, we blocked a lot of shots and we back-checked hard.”*

Waddell should be holding his head in shame.

Matt

January 6th, 2010
3:29 pm

Trade Kovy and then fire Waddell. This is a broken record.

What’s that you say? Fire Don Waddell. The team is in 9 game losing streak and multi-generational rebuilding plan? Fire Don Waddell. Your home lacks head and you can play hockey in your living room? Fire Waddell.

Firing Don Waddell is the cure for what ails ya! BTW, Fire Don Waddell.

P.S. Fire Waddell. Then send the ASG on a goodwill tour to Yemen or Afghanistan.

P.P.S. Please, for the love of God and all that is Holy, FIRE DON WADDELL!!

(too subtle?)

Bob

January 6th, 2010
3:55 pm

Matt, one thing, They need to fire Waddell, then trade Kovy. Waddell gets nothing right. Nothing. Nada. The marketing for the club stinks. The uniforms stink. The season ticket holder base has been decimated by him. He can’t draft, he can’t sign, he can’t trade. Apparently his daughter likes him and I like him, as a man, but as a GM, see ya.

We do not want Waddell in charge of the Kovy trade. Dudley can do it.

Anderson and Waddell should be summarily fired today. Do it before tomorrow’s practice. Put Dudley in charge as GM and Cunneyworth in as coach. Let Dudley talk to the agent and work out a sign and trade to a team of his choice. Milbury is right, it would be the decent thing for Kovy to do.

Anyone else getting the idea that Kovy’s facade is crumbling before us just like Hossa’s? Same modus operandi “I like it here, we talk for contract” but meanwhile his play, as we’ve seen for months, regardless of what the Sara’s of the world couldn’t see, has been showing us that he’s on his way out, just like Hossa’s last year here.

For the love of all that is holy, do not let Waddell orchestrate this trade. Someone grab this bull by the horns and do what needs to be done.

Nikita

January 6th, 2010
4:04 pm

I have previously said I’d like to see Kovalchuk gone. I then tempered that by saying that I’d like to see him kept for the right price or the wrong price for a short duration.

But there’s an important issue with regard to Kovalchuk, and that’s that his cost is higher than whatever he’s asking for, which by the way reportedly is the maximum amount he can get. The cost includes the cost of keeping him happy and productive, and it’s not cheap. Reportedly this year that price has been the contracts of three players, the drama of having your captain and by extension his agent made privy to your trading, and the ever-present necessity of maintaining various players on the roster to compensate for his shortcomings. And that’s before we even get into the costs of building a strategy around someone who won’t always at least attempt to implement it or the effect upon the morale of everyone else on that roster. In other words, keeping Kovy means giving up a lot of things.

Among other things, I would suspect that keeping Kovy means that Anderson’s system can never work. That system, which capitalizes on the talents of the coaching staff in recognizing and cultivating young talent, should ideally result in four more or less equal lines. But it never will as long as someone or someones are permitted to be more equal than others. Obviously you pay your top talent more and everyone has a role in the scoring hierarchy. But if you want to have a system where everyone can play well together, and where you get a lot of secondary scoring, then you can’t afford to have a prima donna and his handmaidens taking up half of your roster based only on their scoring ability rather based on what they bring to the team as a whole. You can’t have people who should be contributing secondary scoring instead dishing the puck to a guy who, let’s face it, ought to be good enough to create his own chances for the money he’s being paid.

So…keep Kovy or trade him, whatever. But be aware that as much as Kovy might be Atlanta’s future, it’s going to be a very expensive one and it’s probably going to cost the coaching staff and every developing player attempting to come up through this system.

Schroeder

January 6th, 2010
4:15 pm

I would just like to ask when the last time we got slammed with two or three quick goals in the first period,that somebody dropped the gloves in an effort to try to fire the team up,God knows JA isn’t gonna do anything other than smirk and shrug his shoulders.I don’t give a plump rodents arse about this system or that system at this point.I see NO heart NO grit,that was there in October and November.Back in the 70’s the Flames did not have near the talent this team has,but you let 2 goals get by Myre or Bouchard and I promise you somebody was going to have to deal w/Plett,Mulhern or Vail.Yea those teams sucked a$$ but they didn’t have toe-stops on their skates as these guys have. I wish a vet in the locker room would man-up to #17 and call him out in front of the entire team. I am ashamed to call myself a Thrasher fan!!!!!

GaVaHokie

January 6th, 2010
4:20 pm

I can think of several ways to trade Kovy and set this team up for better days…

Chicago… P. Sharp, C. Barker and Jack Skille
Los Angeles… Frolov, Dustin Brown and Oscar Moller
Phoenix… Yandle, Mueller and a 1st round pick
Montreal… Halak, both Kostitsyns and a 1st round pick

Rawhide

January 6th, 2010
4:23 pm

Matt, one thing, They need to fire Waddell, then trade Kovy. Waddell gets nothing right. Nothing. Nada

Bob – 100% correct. If the team has to be forced to trade Ilya, then they have to fire DW first. I do not want him being in charge of such a trade.

thrasherdawg

January 6th, 2010
4:26 pm

I agree with J.B.

Long ago when we were looking for a coach I stated that the perfect coach for this job was Pat Quinn. Former Atlanta Flame etc. Pat Quinn doesn’t ask for accountability he requires accountability. He’d be in Don’s office begging for a Kovy trade.

Pat Quinn coached teams have finished either 1st or 2nd in the conference 10 out of 19 years. Let me say it again 1st or 2nd in the conference 10 out of 19 years. Even further he has never finished worse than fifth…and we didn’t even talk to him.

Why did we not hire him when we had the chance is beyond me. For me, this is the worst decision this franchise has made in a long time.

Furthermore, let’s trade Kovy (NOW) in a deal with Pavlec…how about to the Ducks for J.S Giguere, Getlaf, and another player. The Ducks are coming to Phillips soon..Kovy can get on the plane with them when they leave.

Kovy is like a smokin red hot chic…it’s fun at first but the brain damage is never worth it.

One last thing…FIRE THE COACH…i’ll coach for free, i may not know what i’m doing but i promise you, when things go wrong, you’ll know i’m passionate about it…and so will the players.

Schroeder

January 6th, 2010
4:59 pm

RAWHIDE,I bow to you sir,LARGE juevos to say that you would not want Mr Fraudell to work a deal.You know that if he hears this he might not give you any straight inside info.(yuk,yuk,yuk) You are now my idol,a beat blogger that shoots from the heart.

Bob

January 6th, 2010
5:00 pm

“I can think of several ways to trade Kovy and set this team up for better days…”

“Chicago… P. Sharp, C. Barker and Jack Skille
Los Angeles… Frolov, Dustin Brown and Oscar Moller
Phoenix… Yandle, Mueller and a 1st round pick
Montreal… Halak, both Kostitsyns and a 1st round pick”

Hokie, unless you forgot to write that first Waddell manages to sign him to a 7year $49m contract, you need to put the bong down. There is no way in h e double hockey sticks that we get anywhere near that return for an unsigned impending UFA playoff rental. Could we have gotten that return a year ago? Mabye. No way we get anywhere near that today, no way.

Matt

January 6th, 2010
5:14 pm

Guys/Gals- I guess I was trying to be too cute with my post the essence of which was, and is, FIRE DON WADDELL. I agree that I would want that to happen first and THEN the inevitable trade of Kovy. With all the figure eights Kovy has carved into the ice in the last month he is sure to get the figure skating medal in Vancouver next month.

Nikita

January 6th, 2010
5:19 pm

Hell, why bother trading Kovy? Why not just let him play when he feels like playing well? I bet he’d love sitting in the press box for the end of the season. And we’d still get a good return on our investment in the form of no more prima donnaing, no more posturing, and no requirement to pay him $10+ mill.

Vindictive, yes, but that’s a choice we have.

Incidentally, all the ranting about everyone else neglects a key fact — that Kovalchuk has pulled this poor play on, what, three coaches now?

NASCAR Dave

January 6th, 2010
5:31 pm

FIRE WADDELL !!!

Goodbye

January 6th, 2010
5:33 pm

You guys can kiss the Thrashers goodbye when Kovy leaves. And you can take Pat Quinn back too, he is in 29th place now with the Oil and his best years were before the lockout – that is the 1994 lockout.

LAC

January 6th, 2010
7:16 pm

There goes nikita doing ONLY what she can do right now, rag on another blogger for telling THE TRUTH.

Do you have a BRAIN nikita ? Do you remember Mr.Pottymouth CUSSING at
STH at a meeting ? Do you REMEMBER that ???? When an owner does that and it was not nice, what would YOU call it ? You’d make an excuse,
as you always do despite the record and as they say… The proof is in the pudding !

Sage & Stendec love your worthless comments !

LAC

January 6th, 2010
7:18 pm

Oh I forgot nikita, zach b. is HORRIBLE at best, who cares about where he was picked, He NEEDS TO GO !

Rawhide

January 6th, 2010
7:21 pm

Schroeder – You are too kind…and I promise you that DW gives me NO inside info…straight or otherwise.

Anyway, if you appreciated that…I’m sure you’ll get a kick out of this.

Miami Screaming Eagle

January 6th, 2010
8:48 pm

Nikita-I think the Kovy situation has come down to the fact that it seems to be too late to save his Thrasher career. I still think the entire Kovy charade is the basic cause the extended Thrasher funk. Anderson and his system is OK, just no on-ice leadership. Scoring, defence and goaltending are all falling apart. I appreciate your post.

Oh and LAC, I still think Mike Leach got screwed, Bet that will send you on another rant.

Brendan

January 6th, 2010
11:34 pm

Well … I can listen to an argument that says, in the strictest of terms, that it’s the GM’s job to draft and sign the best available players, while it’s the coach’s job to develop those players.

Fine. Fair enough.

But, at some point, doesn’t a GM have to answer for who his coach is?, what system/strategy is tried, and the overall direction/oversight of the franchise? Humming the theme to Jeopardy now… “do,doo, do-do, doo-doo-doo. Bum, bah-dum-pump-bah-dah-dum.” Allllrighteeee then. Isn’t it a fair statement to say, “The MOST IMPORTANT THING that a GM does … is hire a coach?” Yes, yes it is. For the coach is charged with getting the most out of the players on the team. A great coach can be stifled by a terribly assembled roster. But likewise, a sure-fire winning roster can be messed up by a Coach. Either way, the person who ANSWERS for wins and losses, over a body of time, is the GM. The GM hires the coach. And in some cases, like Atlanta’s, the GM has SERVED AS COACH, during Ilya’s “minus WHAT???” career. The fact is, ladies and gentlemen, that Ilya Kovalchuk has not been properly developed. What he is … is the greatest pure sniper in the NHL today. He has the best raw skills that, maybe, I’ve ever seen. The one-timer. The wrister. The skating. The passing. His breakaways. It’s just one-big WOW. Notice how I didn’t say, “And his ability to excel defensively.” For his does not do that. He circles up the ice, while the puck is in his own zone, and not in possession of his own team. He’s a cherry picker. He’s constantly thinking, “OFFENSE.” That is NOT … being a COMPLETE player. Ergo, Ilya Kovalchuk has NOT been properly developed by the coaching staffs of the Atlanta Thrashers, since 2001. Bob Hartley TRIED with Ilya. He’d bench him. He’d constantly tell him, “Ilya, you’d be the best player in the NHL if you learned how to play a more committed two-way game.” And Ilya sat there thinking, “Yeah right. I’m already the best winger in the NHL.”