Pavelec shines, White gets off milk carton as Thrashers pound Ottawa

There are so many great things to discuss on this winning night…Ondrej Pavelec’s strong performance in goal…Eric Boulton’s first ever power play goal…lots of great work from all players on the ice…and even a real-life, honest-and-for-true regulation win for the Atlanta Thrashers, something that hasn’t happened since November 30.

But I simply have to start out with Todd White, who scored his first goal since October 29. That’s right, after 34 games without lighting the lamp…he netted a dandy of a goal 122 seconds into the second period, giving the Thrashers a 4-1 lead at the time. White finished with two points on one shot on goal and a +1.

The big moment came after Slava Kozlov fed him from the right corner…all alone, White then lifted the pick over the shoulder of Brian Elliot, who had just entered the game in relief of Pascal Leclaire.

And of course, the goal also officially gets him off the milk carton…which is great news indeed as most law enforcement agencies say that when someone goes missing for this long, it normally doesn’t turn out very well.

All joking aside though, congrats Todd…I hope it’s the first of many more the rest of the way.

Halfway through the first period though, it looked like White’s night might have been finished. He tweaked his right knee during a face off in the offensive zone and needed assistance off the ice. Fortunately, however, he was bale to return after the break.

Boris Valabik congratulates Ondrej Pavelec after the Thrashers 6-1 win over Ottawa (AP Photo/John Amis)

Boris Valabik congratulates Ondrej Pavelec after the Thrashers 6-1 win over Ottawa (AP Photo/John Amis)

But the Thrasher that shined above all others in this game was Ondrej Pavelec, who turned aside 30 of the 31 shots the Senators took…many of them of the outstanding variety. As this game went on, Opie started to look more and more like the player we saw in October and November…strong, confident and resilient…fantastic game out of the kid.

“It was special for me”, Pavelec said afterwards. “It was a big game. We needed the points”.

Counting the game played in Ottawa on Halloween, Pavs has turned aside 80 of 82 shots taken on him in the last two games against the Senators…a .976 SV% in those two matches.

Atlanta played 54:59 of this game with only five defensemen as Christoph Schubert was given a game misconduct for boarding Jonathan Cheechoo at the 5:01 mark of the first period. Schubert had seen just 37 seconds of playing time before being sent off. The team did a great job killing off the five-minute all-you-can-score Ottawa power play that resulted in the major penalty…it was cut short by an Alex Kovalev slashing call with 1:42 remaining in the Sens’ man advantage.

Atlanta was successful on both PK situations and scored once on their five power play chances.

Captain Ilya Kovalchuk scored his 26th goal of the season and tossed in a pair of assists as well, finishing the game a +3 with 5 SOG. Pavel Kubina and Toby Enstrom provided scores from the blueline while Bryan Little’s blast from the right circle gave him his sixth goal of the season.

Ron Hainsey was a +4 with an assists during 24:13 TOI.

And how about that bout between Eric Boulton and Chris Neil, eh? The two went skate to skate and exchanged blow after blow before Bolts eventually took him to the ice. One of the better scraps so far this season.

This was as near of a complete games as we’ve seen from these guys in quite a while. Coach John Anderson apparently got these guys attention during the unscheduled practice Sunday morning…one that wasn’t exactly a happy time for his players. Hopefully, he can keep his players this focused for quite some time.

Ottawa came into the game with several key players out…captain Daniel Alfredsson is nursing an injured shoulder, Filip Kuba missed his second game with an Upper body injury and Milan Michalek missed his third with the same. Jason Spezza and Jesse Winchester are both out long-term with knee injuries.

But Anderson wasn’t losing any sleep over any of that. “I’ve got my own struggles. I don’t worry about Ottawa”, Anderson said.. “They are not spending too much time worrying about us”.

Nope…and I would imagine the Northeast Division-leading Buffalo Sabres aren’t spending any time fretting over Anderson’s team either. They’ll be making their way to Thrasherville Thursday night.

114 comments Add your comment

Brendan

January 13th, 2010
12:31 am

Well, the Senators are out of control in the Nation’s Capital. No, I’m not referring to hockey team, I meant Canada’s Parliament. :)

Okay, I mean the Ottawa Senators hockey club. If you think a 5-game losing streak is bad, you haven’t seen anything yet. How much are the Senators in disarray? So much so … that they got b!tchslapped by the imploding Thrashers, who came into the game 1-7-3 in their last eleven (11) games, on the heels of an 8-1 thrashing by the Capitals. If the Sens cannot get a win here, they need to make changes. Lose to the Thrashers, and ‘the threat is real.’ Tomorrow’s Ottawa Sun or Ottawa Citizen very well may be calling for someone’s pink slip. Ottawa is fighting for a playoff spot. One of the teams they’re actually competing with for that spot … is Atlanta. Who just pulled off the ol’ “4-point swing.” And netminder Brian Elliot did very little to help mop up in relief. To make matters worse for them, FORMER Senator, Todd white, a second line forward who was goal-less in 35 games, and how many months?, scored against them. And to add insult to injury, Ondrej Pavelec got on the stat sheet. No, it wasn’t a goal. But still, it’s a goalie point against them. Atlanta’s PP unit came in at 10% over its last 11 games, but it got one tonight, in the form of Eric Boulton’s 1st period tally.

Anyway you slice and dice it, Ottawa’s 5-game losing streak is cause for concern for them. Conditions don’t get any BETTER than this, for Ottawa, to end their streak. They laid an egg. I can’t wait to read the morning paper in Ottawa. Should be GOOD! In Canada, they have this thing called, “accountability.”

Brendan

January 13th, 2010
12:37 am

Would it be fair to put Boris Valabik on the milk carton?

Tony C.

January 13th, 2010
12:38 am

Soooooooo.

Found this.

http://www.thefourthperiod.com/columnists/pagnotta100111.html

What jackasses. I understand you want to make your books look the best they can, but isn’t this the same group that boasted about having no significant debtload? One wonders if they’ve ever heard the phrase “penny-wise, pound-foolish” if this blog is any indication, this is messing with an already disgruntled fan-base.

I would like to see if we can get a “NHL HELP US-Atlanta Hockey Fans” Sign up against the glass on the broadcast???

Please those of you who have seats close to that, let’s make that happen.

please

hoosier_hoser

January 13th, 2010
12:53 am

John Anderson — Genius, sheer genius! Moving Eric Bolton to the 2nd line! Playing Bolts on the power play! That’s why JW gets the big bucks and posters on boards like this get paid what their collective opinion is worth? What’s with the refs conspiring to deny Bolts the opportunity to get his Gordie Howe hat trick?

The Thrashers need to reshuffle their lines pairing White with Slater and Bolton so that we can realize the chemistry and scoring power of our hottest players.

Somaatl95

January 13th, 2010
1:00 am

So I get really pissed and want nothing to do with tonights game. Figures the Fall 2009 version of the team decides to show up. Hopefully they stay awhile and try to make up for that really pathetic December we just suffered through – was about to ask if the team from the comeback against the Canes could be on the milk carton. You agree Brendan? :) Go Thrashers! Lets make it 2, Then talk about a trend after 3 – then maybe a streak of 4 or more. Then a few of you will be glad that I might STFU about wanting DW and the ASG to pay for their “Let them eat cake” attitude towards the fans.

Tony C.

January 13th, 2010
1:13 am

hoosier-good point about the line-juggle.

When I heard that Thorburn was riding shotgun with #17 & Pevs, I thought to myself “niiiice reward… I bet Kovy gets more time in the slot than he has in weeks

Also-Boulton’s 1st-ever PPG? = Sweet!

Springtime hockey is all about puck possession and being able to sustain zone presence. A hard forecheck is essential to this, just slightly below winning the faceoff IMHO. Remember when PGH was on such a tear earlier in the season? Their forecheck was relentless!
Coach gave each line balance- Boulton providing much-needed ass to the White/Slavamatic combo.

Ideally, we’d have a wee bit more skill to go along with the sandpaper, but I hope the work ethic of the 4th-liners is infectious.

Brendan

January 13th, 2010
1:34 am

Truthfully, Somaatl95, I don’t like comebacks. It means something WENT WRONG in the first place. No team should get down to the this year’s ‘Canes, 4-0. If I recall correctly, the Thrashers won that game, 6-4.

Switching gears, I’m going to refrain from calling John Anderson a “genius” when the team is only one game over .500 past the midway point of the season. If Boulton has caught fire playing on a different line, GREAT! That’s fabulous, zip-zup-zabulous. But wouldn’t a “genius” have hatched this plan back at Thanksgiving? What? That’s not a fair question to ask of a “genius?” Allright, then. Cheerfully withdrawn.

So, Kari Lehtonen is being interviewed by Natalie Taylor. Chris Thorburn is being interviewed by Natalie Taylor. Toby Enstrom is being interviewed by Natalie Taylor. Ondrej Pavelec is being interviewed by Natalie Taylor. What do they all have in common? Don’t answer, “A pretty blonde holding a microphone.” The correct answer is, the words, “I don’t know,” escape their lips, in response to her questions. Then John Anderson gives a press conference, and he lets an “I don’t know” answer out.

Shouldn’t there be a meeting about that? Constantly saying, “I don’t know” comes off as, “because we’re clueless.” And that’s not really the impression I think this organization wants to reinforce. By the way, Natalie Taylor is getting better. She’s developing a more professional demeanor. She wasn’t giddily clueless. Maybe they’re changing her “role” on the broadcasts? Maybe our efforts to “free Natalie Taylor” were heard? Someone once replied, “Free Natalie Taylor? Okay, I’ll take her!”

Dwayne

January 13th, 2010
6:04 am

Thrashers have won 2 out of 3, do that for the rest of the year and we win the CUP !!!! AHHHHHHH, what a nice dream.
Did Kari look like a fat kid who’s been eating cup cakes for the last 3 or 4 months?

Riceowls8891

January 13th, 2010
7:19 am

No changing seats for you the rest of the season. :)

Russian

January 13th, 2010
8:13 am

It was a good game. Good Victory. I like to see game at Thursday against Buffalo. If we will beat Buffalo, that willbe Great Victory. Ottawa was very weak team. They got AHL players from farm, but Buffalo will be good test for us.
White was score goal. Finnaly. But I like to see line back to normal, if Antro come back. This is my lines for Thursday:
Kovy-Pever-Max
Kane-Slater-Little
Slava-Antro-Armi
Bolt-Rizon-Thrombon
White should take a sit.
If Antro is not ready I will put White back to line and should be like that:
Kovy-Pever-Max (this line will work good)
Kane-Slater-Little (I want to see them together one more game)
Armi-Rizon-Thrombon
Bolt-White-Slava (I hope they found a chemistry):-)
We are still on 11 spot. Tampa have a same points as we do. I hope we will get to win at lease 5 games.

Zoomo

January 13th, 2010
8:25 am

I heard that Whitey exclaimed “Take that Rawhide!” after his goal.

GaVaHokie

January 13th, 2010
8:26 am

We got a good chance to win 5 out of the next 6 games.

Get The Puck Out

January 13th, 2010
8:33 am

Maybe they need to replay the beatdown they got by Washington before every game in the locker room.

Mike

January 13th, 2010
8:38 am

Great game last night. I agree with Hokie that can win several of the next few games.

While the lines didn’t look like they made sense, they seemed to work. Yes..it was against the Senators and maybe anything would have worked, but mentally it had to be a good thing for the guys.

I would still like to see Little center Kovy’s line. Anyone else see the no look behind the back pass he made in the neutral zone to Kovy. It seems he knows where Kovy is all the time.

On Kovy, I want him to stay, but I don’t want to handicap the franchise by paying him too much. There is no guarantees that the franchise will win consistently with him or without him, and we know that winning is the only thing that will fill the seats. It takes two to tango, so I will put the blame on this not being done yet on both the ASG (including DW) and Kovy.

Rawhide

January 13th, 2010
8:40 am

No changing seats for you the rest of the season.

Riceowls8891 – HA! You may be right. For those of you not in the know….what he’s talking about is that I spent last night up in the Blueland Chronicle perch in the front row of 317. The last time I did so was on Nov. 30…which, of course, was the last time the Thrashers won in regulation before last night. So…I guess we’ve found the magic formula, eh?

I heard that Whitey exclaimed “Take that Rawhide!” after his goal.

Zoomo – Maybe…but it’d be just fine with me if he has the chance to “curse” me under his breath 20-25 more times this season.

GaVaHokie

January 13th, 2010
8:42 am

Looking at the teams ahead of us… Ottawa has an absolutely brutal schedule the next few weeks. Coupled with injuries, I’d say they’re free-falling.

The Islanders have a pretty rough schedule as well… so if all goes well, I’d say Atlanta and Montreal are battling for the 8th spot over the next two weeks.

Nikita

January 13th, 2010
8:53 am

Last night’s game was a good one. All my dudes played well.

General thoughts:

1. Valabik has been maturing decently. Of course, at the moment his restraint is nice, but I hope it turns into class, sophistication, hard hits, and scoring.

2. Yay, Todd White! Yay, Chris Thorburn! Yay, Kozzie! Yay, Enstrom!

3. Yay, Eric Boulton! And incidentally, he didn’t get a Gordie Howe hat trick, but he did exceed the Jeff Odgers record for penalty minutes. He now is the all-time champion of PIM for the Thrashers.

4. Poor Kari. The dude’s still a horrible interview, with his extremely limited english proficiency. And he does have a bit of butter face at the moment.

Which reminds me…can you trade someone on the IR?

jt

January 13th, 2010
8:56 am

I like our chances of putting together a decent winning streak over the next few weeks. I will be there next Thrs. against the Canes. Hope tosee a repeat of last night.

Ice Daddy

January 13th, 2010
8:57 am

Lost in all of the giddiness is the fact that the refs actually called a very good game last night. I can usually find something to blame the refs for, but not last night. Schubert isn’t a dirty player and I’m sure he just meant to check Cheechoo, but sending him off with the misconduct was the right thing to do. It keeps the game from descending into a chippy wrestling match because you know Ottawa would have come after him if he stayed in the game. Same thing with sending Bolts and Neil off at the end. It wasn’t really warranted based on the infractions, but from a ref game management standpoint, it was perfect. Especially nice to see after the whole Alex Burrows incident.

I would like to see Kane get on a hot streak. As I watch him in games, he’s got everything going except results. I have a feeling that once he gets a few in the net, he will start rolling.

Great win. The Sabres will be a real test.

FormerIslesFan

January 13th, 2010
9:21 am

RH,

Great to see you and the BC Boys last night. Redlight, nice to meet you as well and put a face with a name.

Before the game, two extra tickets fell into my lap. Belive it or not, I couldn’t GIVE them away last night (and believe me, I spent about ten minutes outside the box office before the game looking for someone to give them too). Not sure how that bodes for us…

Now…onto the good…

We’ve pretty much covered everything here. A few other points I have not seen above:

The defense FINALLY remembered the one HUGE thing that has been missing for the past many games. When your goalie gives up a rebound, fight like hell to get it out of the slot. For some reason, we have been giving tons of second chances lately. Last night, I saw people hustling and diving out there to make sure that there were no real second chance opportunities. I think I noticed maybe two times were there was a shot-rebound-shot combination against us.

People were drving the net!!! Finally!! I saw at least three different three on two rushes where there was a drop pass at the blue line to the D-man and then the two forwards drove the net to either screen the goalie or pounce on a rebound. This was confirmed by Bolts in the post-game show on 680 where he said that was something that JA had drilled them on in the practice on Sunday. Good to see, believe me!

Toby

January 13th, 2010
9:27 am

Three words… Crash the net!!

If they do this on both ends of the ice, it’ll be a lot tougher to lose.

Midfield

January 13th, 2010
9:34 am

Schubert had an easy enough game.

Paminski

January 13th, 2010
9:39 am

Keep perspective here. It’s one win against a struggling team. I still believe they CAN win more games. However, I’m not at all convinced Atlanta is committed to winning. I’ll keep cheering regardless.

jwizzle

January 13th, 2010
9:40 am

I am so happy to see White off the milk carton! I had a thought though…can we put Kovy on there for his overall absconded effort or enthusiasm? Maybe that would be a juice carton…where the hell is Kovy’s juice?

I will say though our team was incredibly focused from the start. Perhaps the pounding we received from the caps (I winced hard the entire last two periods) was a fire starter? I don’t know how long it can last if the coaching leadership doesn’t remain focused as well.

Great game last night and excellent company in 317!

J.B.

January 13th, 2010
9:43 am

i really enjoyed the fight between boults & neil last night as well. it went on for quite a while and was pretty evenly matched in my opinion. if i had to pick a winner, i’d give the edge to boulton; he landed some good ones.

Rawhide

January 13th, 2010
9:44 am

FIF – Great to see you an Lilibeter as well. Sorry I could not join you in your “far more closer to the ice” seats…but there was some “mojo” going on and we didn’t wanna mess woth Kharma.

Toby – Three words…You Are Correct!

Midfield – Ooooh…that was cold! :lol:

jwizzle - Indeed…good times in 317. Nice to see ya again.

Red Light – Great to meet you in person last night.

sisu

January 13th, 2010
9:51 am

Nice game all around, I am going to enjoy this until tomorrow

Hockey Biltong

January 13th, 2010
9:56 am

RH, Boults and Neil fell to the ice, but Neil was riding cowgirl!I’m guessing Eric wanted to stay up longer, but was unable to do so.
NHL on the Fly pretty much said that Ottawa lost a game to Atlanta that they shouldn’t have. They said we were a mess, which is pretty accurate.

Mr. Heat Miser

January 13th, 2010
10:12 am

They split up the bangers, so each line had someone that would actually backcheck. Backchecking – what a novel idea……

TommyT4

January 13th, 2010
10:26 am

From the glass “half full” department: 1) This was a much needed win after the Caps debacle, and against a team near us in the standings. 2) despite that abysmal road trip, we still have games worth attending/watching 3) favorable schedule coming up against lower tier teams and many, many home dates in March 4) Kovy could still end up staying in Atlanta. Go Blue!

Somaatl95

January 13th, 2010
10:45 am

Not a reflection on last nights game, but since I have been pointing out the un-good of Atlanta sports history I will bring up comebacks that had us all shocked, surprised and extremely happy, if only in the short term. 10/14/1992, NCLS Game 7 – Sid Bream slides his was into Atlanta Sports History and the Braves go to the World Series.1/17/99, NFC Championship Game – Terance Mathis ties with less than a minute to go in regulation and in OT Morten “The Great Dane” Andersen kicks the Falcons into their very first (and only so far) Super Bowl. And who could forget the Hawks forcing the “Best” team in basketball, The Celtics, to a game 7 a couple of seasons ago? 3 Comebacks that any long suffering Atlanta Sports Fan will remember in their hearts and minds till the day they die. This city loves a “comeback kid” and if the Thrashers manage to turn it around in grand fashion maybe this can be the year that they make our hearts race in the post season and give us yet another reason to say that we believe :)
As I said before, I don’t hate. Just passionate. And I want our boys in blue to become a force to be reckoned with, not laughed at, and staging big comebacks are sometimes just as fun to watch as last nights blowout of the Sens was.
And a question for anyone who goes to TSN.ca and reads their coverage of the Thrashers. You ever notice how all those people who comment after the stories do nothing but tear other Canadian cities apart between talking trash about the Thrash? No sense of sportsmanship or pride, just utter nastiness.

Darkhorse

January 13th, 2010
11:10 am

Hopefully, the good play last night will carry over. This paticular team for some reason seems to need extra motivation and “atta boys” almost every game.

As Get The Puck Out suggested, a motivating reminder of how bad they can be and how great they can be should be played before each game. If this team needs a motivational wake-up call every time, then Anderson & Co need to be creative and give them just that.

Maybe he should take the team to a Hypnotist. My wife has a friend that just went for personal and family issues, and supposedly she says it really helped her relax and refocus. I’m not joking either. Nothing else seems to be doing it consistantly with this team’s effort. Didn’t a couple of the Braves, Smoltz and a few others, get hypnotized in the early to mid-ninties to assit with their pitching woes at the time? Maybe Steve Avery was another?

Smoothie

January 13th, 2010
11:51 am

All the boys needed was a little bit of reinforcement and encouragement from me and “10 Spot” at Casino Night! My sweetie gave a “hug” to 4 of the 6 goal scorers Sunday night including Mr. Boulton who seemed quite smitten with her. And we gave extra special encouragement to Bryan Little and Todd White, whom I told was robbed the other night when they took the goal away and gave it to Max.

Nikita

January 13th, 2010
12:13 pm

I’m kind of smitten with Boulton, myself. Some of you may recall the Fire on Ice campaign, which was my personal quest to make the Thrashers capitalize on some of the hotness of the on-ice talent other than the lovely ice girls. I haven’t given up.

Boults isn’t my physical type with his stupid flavor saver and country music obsession, but I do find his chippiness, affability, humor, and diehard work ethic pretty sexy. And, um, he’s pretty frightening up close, with biceps the size of my head.

Adding to the “hot” list: Schubert, Hainsey (now that’s discovered regular hair cuts and cut back on the gel), Toby (who’s adorable…plus I find his defensive play totally hot), Valentine Valabik (the smoldering attitude is kinda hot…and maybe for his birthday he’ll get a few goals?), Chris Thorburn (blue is his color. Rrrowr.), Ondrej Pavelec (really nice-looking), the Moose, Kane (good-looking kid), Youngblood, and…I’m sure I’m forgetting someone. Oh, some people find Kaptain Kiltwearer kind of hot.

Bogosian might make the list if he’d lay off the mafia-boss jewelry.

World Be Free

January 13th, 2010
12:24 pm

Since everyone is feeling so good, is it ok if I say ZHITNIK! I knew that would make everyone’s day.

See, I didn’t talk about Kovy’s contract.

World Be Free

January 13th, 2010
12:35 pm

…..And with everything we have gone through, it could be worse.
We could be U of T football supporters that just got hood-winked by Lane Kiffen. My father would have slapped me if I did what he did. In this case, Kiffen and Dad are doing this dastardly act together.
“Thanks for your support, Dad”

This makes the Vols gangster recruits look not so bad.

J.B.

January 13th, 2010
12:35 pm

i’m a kovy fan but those pics of him in the kilt look ridicuolous. LMAO every time I see one of ‘em.

Nikita

January 13th, 2010
12:43 pm

Yep. I’m not sure what he was thinking. Oh, wait, he was probably thinking “kilt like so drives the russian girls wild.”

TableHockey

January 13th, 2010
12:58 pm

Woohoo – we’re a coach killer – the Senators fired goalie coach Eli Wilson this morning: http://senators.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=513454

Hockey Biltong

January 13th, 2010
1:07 pm

WBF-Afinagenov,Afinagenov, Afinagenov… kind of like Beetlejuice!!!

Rawhide

January 13th, 2010
1:10 pm

Woohoo – we’re a coach killer – the Senators fired goalie coach Eli Wilson this morning:

TableHockey – Wow! Talk about “accountability”…Todd White scores a goal on ya and the goalie coach gets axed!

GaVaHokie

January 13th, 2010
1:34 pm

Here’s some interesting reading for you today… 29 proposals for Kovalchuk, by Buccigross… most of these are terrible and unrealistic, but still…

http://espn.go.com/nhl/notebook/_/page/buccigross_100112/ilya-kovalchuk-trade-talk-29-proposals-atlanta

World Be Free

January 13th, 2010
1:37 pm

Biltong! Where have you been?
Max has earned my respect, with some reservation.
I’ll leave it at that-you at the game tomorrow?
Paminski-Where are you sitting?

Will we ever meet LAC and Stendec at the games? Hope so

DWTOO

January 13th, 2010
1:50 pm

LAC/Stendec actually sit in the ASG suite.

Bob

January 13th, 2010
2:08 pm

I saw none of the game, did we look good or did the Sens just blow? I like the line juggling, way to shake things up, Coach. I like Kozlov on the 4th line. It’ll be interesting to see if they bring it tomorrow against Buff-a-blow

Smoothie

January 13th, 2010
2:12 pm

Now that we’ve won 2 out of three, here are some good trends from the last 10 games (excluding Washington) to make note of:

Avg shots on goal FOR: 30.5
Avg shots on goal AGT: 30.1

Yes, you read that right. We are out-shooting our opponents. Even if you include the WSH game, we have 6 more shots on goal than given up.

Shooting % For: 9.51% (down from our season avg of 10.64%)
Shooting % Agt: 11.96% (avg GAA of 3.60 over those 10 games)

If we continue to reduce the number of shots we allow or stay right around an average of 30-32 AND the shooting % gets back up to around 10% or even 10.25%, we stand a very good chance of winning the majority of our games going forward.

Save percentage against: .913 (I included the WSH game for this)
Save percentage for ATL: .866 (includes the 8 to 1 whitewashing)

Obviously, for the above statement to be true, our goalies must start playing like they did vs Ottawa and NYR. They don’t necessarily need to hold the opponent to 1 goal, but an avg of 2.8 goals against would probably suffice. The 4% difference in our save percentage makes all the difference. If the goalies can get back up to around .905 CONSISTENTLY, then this team will have a shot at making the playoffs.

The schedule ahead is very favorable with the combined records of our next 6 opponents (including Anaheim) just a game above .500. Take away the Sabres, and that record is a whopping 16 games under .500. Even with a distracted Kovalchuk, this team has the chance to win 5, realistically, of the next 7 games.

Let’s say they do just that: win 5 games and earn an OTL point as well. That would give them a record of 25 – 20 – 7 for 57 points after 53 games. Their points earned pace would be on track for 88 points with a very favorable home schedule in March. The management will be faced with a very difficult decision at that point w/r/t Kovalchuk.

Should that scenario present itself, would you or wouldn’t you be okay with holding Kovy for a playoff run (a la Florida last year with J-Bo) and coming away with nothing but a couple draft picks by the end of June? Basically, would you be okay with getting nothing in return for Kovy other than a *chance* at the playoffs and some picks?

LAC

January 13th, 2010
2:15 pm

WBF NO, I was a STH until three years ago, then I got fed up with the scheme of things with this franchise and have not been back since. Have seen games in Nashville/St.Louis/Chicago/Carolina and MSG… But
until, at the very very least waddell is terminated, I will not return, the people who own the team so NO interest in the team OR the fans and
I will show no interest, in person, until changes take place.

For a loser like dwtoo, I would not sit with those dummies for free every game from now on.

Smoothie

January 13th, 2010
2:17 pm

Oooops! Make that 57 points in 52 games…a pts earned % of 1.096 or a pace to earn 90 points for the season. Essentially, right in the picture for the 8 seed and a sweep, probably, at the hands of Wash?

TableHockey

January 13th, 2010
2:21 pm

Hey Rawhide – just saw on Twitter via Chris Viv that White got injured last night and is having his knee looked at by the docs today. No word on whether or not he will be a scratch for Thursday.

Red Light

January 13th, 2010
2:34 pm

Former Isles Fan, Bill, et al.
I enjoyed meeting y’all too. It’s incredible to meet the passionate hockey fans in our fair city. Although it might be a small number (and dwindling?), performances like last night certainly will keep it interesting, particularly if the Thrashers can build some momentum. While that isn’t a given, I’ll keep attending and hope to meet more great Atlanta hockey fans during the rest of the season – with or without Kovy!

DWTOO

January 13th, 2010
2:45 pm

Hey LAC – want to see a loser – look in the mirror. F YOU!

Red Light

January 13th, 2010
2:48 pm

Brendan: Between periods the suddenly improving Nat Taylor said to Enstrom, and I am paraphrasing, “Your line has been playing well, tell us about your goal.”

Should Enstrom reply: “I’m a defenseman and we have pairings, not lines” or “I don’t know…”

Brendan

January 13th, 2010
3:06 pm

Tablehockey, did I call it, or what?

Brendan

January 13th, 2010
3:08 pm

Red Light, I did miss that part. I think we know what Natalie meant. She’s still a work in progress, but progres is the operative word.

Stefan

January 13th, 2010
3:17 pm

Rawhide:
Here’s the link to the Boulton destruction of that trashbag Neil:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6f6Np82Io3I

Reliable Source

January 13th, 2010
3:26 pm

I believe I saw our blog host Rawhide sitting with Natalie Taylor in CNN Center a few hours before last night’s game. I wonder what that was all about.

TableHockey

January 13th, 2010
3:40 pm

Yes you did Brendan – that is “accountability”. Poor guy is packing his bags from New York!

Nikita

January 13th, 2010
3:57 pm

Natalie Taylor is generally competent. Particularly since she comes from the NCAA sports and spends most of her year covering them.

I think that’s the first interview I’ve seen with Toby since his face got rearranged. His english is still very, very poor, but he does get his point across.

Bob, IMO, we looked pretty good. We were definitely fired up, and most of those goals were earned. The only one I’d consider soft would be Enstrom’s, and only because it was hard but straightforward — if the goalie wasn’t screened, he should have gotten it.

Rawhide

January 13th, 2010
4:16 pm

Now that we’ve won 2 out of three, here are some good trends from the last 10 games (excluding Washington) to make note of:
Avg shots on goal FOR: 30.5
Avg shots on goal AGT: 30.1

Smoothie – If you go back over the past 11 games, we have taken an average of 31.2 shots and allowed 30.6. Indeed, that trend is looking up.

Good to spend time with you and Miss-10 up in the Blueland Chronicle Perch last night.

Hey Rawhide – just saw on Twitter via Chris Viv that White got injured last night and is having his knee looked at by the docs today. No word on whether or not he will be a scratch for Thursday.

TableHockey – Yeah…I saw that. It’s a bit surprising because he skated well after he returned. Hmmm….maybe he should tweak his knee before every game?

On second thought, maybe that’s not a good idea.

I saw none of the game, did we look good or did the Sens just blow?

Bob - Actually, I thought it was one of the better played games of the season for the Thrashers. Of course, we were playing a depleted Senators squad…but like JA said, that’s not our concern.

Stefan – Thanks for the linkage.

Reliable Source – I can neither confirm nor deny that rumor :cool:

Bravos33

January 13th, 2010
4:21 pm

Rawhide,

I am an avid reader of this blog, but I rarely comment on these things. I love seeing the varied opinions of everyone on the Thrashers blogs, both yours and Viv’s. While I am an ATL native, I now live in DC. I splurged (I basically have eaten out 3 times in two months) to pay for the Center Ice this season. Needless to say, I am a fan. i did get to go the Philly game over Thanksgiving, and the MTL game prior to Christmas, but I will likely not get to see our boys until they FINALLY make it to DC in early Feb. I am actually dreading it though because we have performed so pitifully against the Caps.

My question to you and other people on here is this: I know you (Rawhide) have predicted us to just miss out on the playoffs, but my question has to do with if we were to make the playoffs. If we were to make the postseason, but were to get swept (again), would that be better or worse than being on the outside looking in? I know, the obvious answer is that of course making the playoffs is better than missing, but would the embarassment of another sweep be worse for potential fan support and/or morale than just missing? That being said, you never know what the future holds, so obviously I would much prefer to make the playoffs, and worry then about what will happen in the playoffs. If it were to happen though, my first priority will not be for us to win a series, but to get of the postseason snide island for good!
Go Thrashers!

Rawhide

January 13th, 2010
4:33 pm

Bravos33 – Thanks for being out there, and please chime in more often. Yes, I still do believe we will fall short of post-season play. I’d love to be wrong, mind you…but I’m stickin’ with that.

As for your question…I guess I would go with making the playoffs. I know there are those here who would disagree with that hypothetical question…but that’s how I feel. It’s more games at Philips, albeit but just two. Plus, as for the fanbase…I think after the last two years, not making the playoffs would be seen as a bigger failure than the other option. Plus, simply making the playoffs would bring a lot of media attention around here and that’s good.

As for possibly doing with Kovy what FLA did with J-Bo last season…no. Simply cannot run the risk of letting him walk for nothing in return.

Bob

January 13th, 2010
4:34 pm

thanks for update on our play, guys and gal! What the heck, all we can do is root this guys on and play like the 3 monkeys (see nothing, hear nothing, say nothing) and let it all play out with Kovy and the Spirit/Waddell mess. And I like the takes some of you have on our games upcoming, a club that get hot at this time of year is dangerous, but you need the keeper hot also (Kari? what the heck, he’s always hot as balls the 1st 5 games of each year, mabye we put him in the pipes whenever our next rough patch of opponents is coming up and mabye he stays healthy/focused for longer this time).

“Should that scenario present itself, would you or wouldn’t you be okay with holding Kovy for a playoff run (a la Florida last year with J-Bo) and coming away with nothing but a couple draft picks by the end of June? Basically, would you be okay with getting nothing in return for Kovy other than a *chance* at the playoffs and some picks?”

No way, no how. Can’t do that. Have to move him, however, seeing on the other blog about Grossman’s smarmy answer to J.B. which seemed to be “call up the owners and tell them you want him” mabye there is one giant game of chicken going on between Waddell and Grossman, who gonna blink first? Not Grossman, remember what he did with the Bulin Wall?

Paminski

January 13th, 2010
7:35 pm

WBF – section 307, row C, seat 3 or 4…look for the “Paminski” jersey

LAC

January 13th, 2010
7:55 pm

Boy what a WIMP this dwtoo, F me huh ? Well I would love to see you try you FOOL, just name a location and I will make sure to meet you…
We’ll see if your punch is as big as your Pottymouth !

World Be Free

January 13th, 2010
9:30 pm

Paminski-I look forward to meeting you tomorrow night, sharing our Buffalo memories. The Sabres come in well-rested, too well rested when you consider how many games have to be jammed into a small calendar this time of year. Can’t wait to see Tyler Myers in person for the first time.

LAC-thanks for your explanation and reasons for not attending games this season; fair enough. I understand and respect your feelings. As for your dispute with DWTOO, I sure ya’ll will work it out.

Jimbo

January 13th, 2010
9:50 pm

How about that? A little show of grit and crashing the net actually work. Who wudda thunk it?

Jimbo

January 13th, 2010
10:41 pm

Buccigross has an interesting observation in his hypothetical 29 trade scenario. Namely, that Kovy is saving himself physically for the “big deal” and may have “fire in his belly” that will appear with a decent team in the playoffs. He also points out that with his speed and size, that he should be delivering the thunderous type of hits that the Great O delivers. Combined with his lack of frustration about the slow negotiating process, we are better off without his half-hearted leadership.

Brendan

January 13th, 2010
11:30 pm

Bob, the Senators goaltending really let them down last night. It snowballed out of control. At 3-1, they still had a shot. They brought in Brian Elliot to try to change their fortune, but he surrenders two more in the 2nd period, then the Little goal just seconds into the 3rd period, to make it, 6-1. Remember, this is a team in the midst of a losing streak, so their confidence was a bit low. Look at the GF/GA differential for Ottawa. Paints a picture, doesn’t it? The good news for the Senators? Someone got held accountable. The goalie coach got fired. And it doesn’t get any better, one of those goalies will be gone.

Answering truthfully, before the season began, I had Ottawa pegged for 28th or 29th in the league. Then they pulled off the Heatley trade for Michalek, Cheechoo and a 2nd round pick from the Sharks. To see Ottawa even in the playoff field … is great for them. I actually feel like I could root for Ottawa, again, now that Heatley’s gone, Pothier’s gone, etc.

Brendan

January 13th, 2010
11:37 pm

I hope Trixie doesn’t get upset about Rawhide’s ‘casual encounter.’ Err. Uhh. Ummn, I meant a ‘chance meeting.’ with Natalie Taylor. I wouldn’t read too much into it, Trix, don’t get mad and go away, we’d miss you here, Trixie.

Moving right along, the Penguins and Flames are midway through the 3rd period, with Pittsburgh owning a 2-1 lead over Calgary.

LAC

January 14th, 2010
7:13 am

Thanks WBF, Funny how others like to start things, Neither myself or Stendec said anything about this guy, but he can only make an attack on the blog and nothing else, makes you wonder who he really is ?

Big behing the computer, Not so tough when it counts !

World Be Free

January 14th, 2010
8:25 am

LAC, I understand how you feel and I appreciate the $$$ investment you have made in the club in the past. I did the same with the Buffalo Bills for many years and feel the same way about the Bills as you do about the Thrashers. I am just trying to take this situation less seriously than I do the Bills.

Good game tonight.

TableHockey

January 14th, 2010
8:35 am

Off topic but I am looking to pick up a few different NHL team pucks. Does anyone know a local business that sells these? Thanks!

Red Light

January 14th, 2010
9:05 am

TableHockey: Try JT Sports Collectibles
1050 E. Piedmont Road, Piedmont Commons, Shopping Center, Marietta (770) 977-0001‎

DWTOO

January 14th, 2010
9:26 am

Know what LAC – I shouldn’t have made the crack about you and Stendec. My bad. Since I don’t know either of you my attempt at humor was inappropriate. Doubt that you, Mr. Stendec and I will ever meet or really want to meet. Will keep posts to hockey only.

World Be Free

January 14th, 2010
9:40 am

I actually went on a hockey web site this morning, with no mention of Kovy, the negotiations or a possible trade of our star player. Is a signature on a contract in our future?

Red Light

January 14th, 2010
9:45 am

Since Lindy Ruff was named Buffalo’s head coach on July 21, 1997, there have been 150 coaching changes in the NHL!

Somaatl95

January 14th, 2010
9:51 am

Gotta give the Sens a little credit. They held someone accountable for their showing the other night. Sucks that someone lost their job but maybe JA can start doing the same and send under performing NHL’ers to the AHL… since we all know that D-”Its not a hairpiece, its just made that way”Wad will not be held accountable for keeping the Thrash as a 10 year expansion team.

Hockey Biltong

January 14th, 2010
9:59 am

Bravos33- I’m curious how many of the Thrashers games on Center Ice you get to view in High Defintion???? Cause in Atlanta we definately get boned by Fox….

Hockey Biltong

January 14th, 2010
10:02 am

WBF- our tix are generally weekdays. So Tues and Thurs seem to be the most often we are at the Bulb. Come on down if you see us, there is usually space!

stendec

January 14th, 2010
10:39 am

I have no doubt that Thrasher El Kapitan Ilya “Only Money Counts” Kovalchuk is a liar. No, make that a DAMN liar! Do not believe a word of his carefully thought out with the aid of agent responses. Once the Russian is locked into a decade long contract which makes him local hockey tsar (Soviet spelling) the losing will start in earnest. No accountabilty now? Just wait! His uncaring play will worsen with more figure eights than ever. Will take even more of a who gives a damn attitude with a Stanley Cup out of realm of possibility. More of the tiresome me-me-me bullshet. MUCH MORE! I have come to believe this team can never move forward being a supposed one man team. Cut losses now! IK for 10 more years? No. Hell no. HELL NO! Crucify me apologists. I simply speak the truth. ++STENDEC++ Yes, I would not hesitate to call IK a liar to his face. Just as I did not hesitate returning a single finger salute to Falcon Chris Miller! That was quite a few years ago. Sen win was sweet. As Josey Wales once remarked…I got no complaints.

World Be Free

January 14th, 2010
10:53 am

Biltong-are you in club tonight?

World Be Free

January 14th, 2010
10:55 am

Stendec-Josey Wales? Could quote William Money (Unforgiven) and Dirty Harry as well. Clint is quotable in any decade.

I reckon so…..

Rawhide

January 14th, 2010
11:23 am

:!: RAWHIDE BLOG PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT :!:

Ladies and gentlemen… In keeping with my desire to maintain a fun, entertaining and even informative blog/comment thread format, I would respectfully request that we refrain from persoanal attacks on fellow commenters. If someone expresses a thought or observation that you disagree with and you wish to engage then in a type of cyber-debate or banter, please keep it somewhat respectful.

Or…just ignore them.

I try to allow a great deal of latitude to certain comments posted…erroring on the side of free and open speech and all that. But I feel the need to step in and insist that “threats” and “challenges” be refrained from. I will also say that referrences to a certain “criminal” eliment that was associated with another Atlanta professional sports team isn’t appreciated by your blog host either.

In short, if you want to “curse” out players, coaches and/or management of the Atlanta Thrashers…knock yourselves out. Part of this site allows for and encourages “venting” of a certain level. All I ask is that we keep it close to a PG-13 level as possible and we keep the focus on the team, please.

Thank you

Dwayne

January 14th, 2010
11:38 am

Rawhide, I know what you look like, if you ban me, I’m coming after you, better yet, I’ll let my two Grandson’s handle take care of you.

Dwayne

January 14th, 2010
11:38 am

take out the “handle”…I cant even make a threat without messing it up.

Somaatl95

January 14th, 2010
12:00 pm

Can’t we all just get along?

World Be Free

January 14th, 2010
12:15 pm

Marek Svatos is available from the Avs? He’s a UFA July 1, how about trading Colby for Svatos?

TableHockey

January 14th, 2010
12:40 pm

Thanks Red Light – I’ll check JT’s out

Bob

January 14th, 2010
12:52 pm

I’m good as long as no one calls me, Francis. Call me Francis and I’ll kick all your asses.

Now let’s go win a hockey game.

stendec

January 14th, 2010
1:03 pm

Thanks Bill. ++STENDEC++

jerry

January 14th, 2010
1:17 pm

Still bums. Stay tuned, more lousy efforts? on the way/

Smoothie

January 14th, 2010
1:50 pm

Pavelec getting back to back starts…look out! History shows that Pavelec has yet to follow up a stellar performance (2 or less goals) with anything more than a mediocre performance (3 or more goals). In fact the best he has done in back to back starts is giving up only 2 goals to St. Louis after the 6 – 3 Opening Night win vs Tampa.

But I’m optimistic…I have no idea why. I think Pavs is ready to turn the corner. He looked very determined against Ottawa and he battled his butt off rarely getting too far our of position or falling down into a helpless position. Let’s hope his teammates rally around him and try to get him back to back wins to the tune of 4 – 2 or 4 – 3.

My prediction: 4 to 3 good guys…in OT of course! Pevs with the GWG from Kovalchuk.

TableHockey

January 14th, 2010
1:52 pm

I’ll be there tonight – either in 101 or the nose bleeds. Just depends on how my luck runs this afternoon.

LAC

January 14th, 2010
1:59 pm

dwtoo, you know that is the best thing to do here. You can disagree with anyone’s stance on a given aspect of our team and that is what Rawhide’s blog is for. I have a point of view a number of folks do not agree with, I respect that. I, also, disagree with a number of posts that come up from time to time as well.

While you may be on the “other side of the fence” on a given issue, remember, Nobody is attacking you, they are commenting on the team and everyone connected with it is FAIR game for whatever the reason.

Your stance is likely different from mine & Mr.Stendec’s, but in NO way are we knocking you, I respect your comments, but the personal stuff, just because we disagree, well that is uncalled for.

I agree, stick to hockey and let’s hope we ALL have more and more favorable comments in the near future !

R. Stroz

January 14th, 2010
2:01 pm

Cowbell Corner, otherwise known as Section 222, will be rocking tonight.

World Be Free

January 14th, 2010
2:02 pm

Smoothie, Good guys Sabres or Thrashers? The term could go both ways with some of us, as you know. Hoping for a great game.

Bob

January 14th, 2010
2:09 pm

“But I’m optimistic…I have no idea why. I think Pavs is ready to turn the corner.”

I feel the same way, and no idea why I feel that way, but I think Pavs is ready to be a difference maker tonight and steal a win for us. Mabye it’s the Kari shadow he might see looming or what, but I think he pulls one out for us tonight and grabs the #1 back from Moose.

Rawhide

January 14th, 2010
2:29 pm

Smoothie & Bob – The only time this season Opie has followed up a game in which he allowed fewer than 3 goals with another such “quality” start…was back in October. On the 16th of that month the Thrashers won in New Jersey 4-2…Pavs saved 28 of 30 SOG. Four days later, he started in Montreal and stopped 34 of 35 in the 2-1 shootout loss there.

It’s been a while…but like many of you, I to am experiencing the “Opie Optimism”…I think he follows up Tuesday night’s gem with another one tonight.

fingers crossed

I’ll be in “Room 222″ tonight…for those of you old enough to remember that TV show

Ray

January 14th, 2010
2:31 pm

I’ll be in 111 again.

Smoothie

January 14th, 2010
2:50 pm

Rawhide, thanks for pointing that out. In both cases though, he had more than a couple of days rest in between I think. Too lazy to look it up now. Regardless, he NEEDS this vote of confidence and I have a feeling he will seize. If I’m wrong, I get to drunk tonite anyway.

WBF – I love my father and I generally like the folks from Western NY, but I freakin’ love to hate the Sabres when they come to town. So many drunk obnoxious blowhards who have to go home disappointed. Well, at least since 2006! So in this case, there is only one “good guys” as far as I’m concerned. But once the Olympics roll around, I am Ryan Miller’s new biggest fan! USA! USA! USA!

It will be weird seeing us take the ice vs the Slugs wearing maroon, or burgundy or whatever the hell that is supposed to be.

Spud Webb

January 14th, 2010
2:53 pm

Good luck tonight> I believe I’ll be in 114!!!
Always a GREAT game with these 2 teams!!!!!

Smoothie

January 14th, 2010
2:54 pm

Oh snap, sorry Opie! Didn’t mean to write “he will seize” like he’ll freeze up and let in 4 goals in the first period. I meant he will seize the opportunity. Typing too fast thinking about the bourbon and not having to work tomorrow!

Bob

January 14th, 2010
3:25 pm

Opie Optimism, I like it. I also have this sketchy case of Kovy Konfidence after seeing some of Grossman’s tweets yesterday, I think we really are getting the straight story from Waddell, for once, and it’s really just about money and not about Kovy just wanting out. If that’s all it is, they’ll cut a deal and there’s just a lot brinksmanship going on (albeit screwing over the team mojo in the process).

Room 222, there’s a blast from the past, used to love that show as a kid, I feel old now, thanks for nuthin, Rawhide!

I’ll be in my man cave cheering on Opie, most likely on DVR after the kids hit the bed. I may join Smoothie in the bourbon, though.

Smoothie

January 14th, 2010
3:39 pm

Good man Bob! That’s the only way to drink at games if you ask me! Hell, they even have refills on sodas now! Or did they always do that and I just didn’t notice. Anyways, drinking for $10 is a heckuva lot better than drinking 3 or 4 beers for $25 with tips.

Opie is a nice young man and I want to see him do great. I really do think he has a long future even with Lehts’ imminent return. I want both goalies to make DWad’s decision as hard as possible if and when we have to make a trade of an asset.

But let’s hope everyone (well, almost everyone) re-signs and we can keep this thing rolling in the “right direction” as the young whipper-snappers like Kane, Little, Bogo and Ondrej evolve into savvy vets. We just need more sandpaper and replacements for aging vets (you know who you are!). But deep down I believe this team has another good stretch of hockey in them. Now is the time to show everyone else including Kovy. March COULD be a lot of fun down at Blueland but we must take care of business between now and February 6.

Hockey Biltong

January 14th, 2010
3:44 pm

WBF I am working tonight. Usually we are in 120.
GEAUX LE TRASHIERE..

Rawhide

January 14th, 2010
3:56 pm

Nikita – Hey…I was just thinking of something. In the spirit of other regulars here who have moved away from the metro Atlanta area, shouldn’t you now post under the name “Nikita (in PA)“?

You know…like ranallo10 (in AT) and Buzilla (in CT).

Just sayin’…

World Be Free

January 14th, 2010
4:05 pm

Biltong-we’ll hoist one for you tonight.

Smoothie-I am more a Thrashers fan than Sabres and I never thought I’d say that. But the Thrash boys need our support more than the Sabres do, so I am a Thrashers fan.

My buddies in Buffalo tell me that Buffalo Bills games are so bad these days, because of the drunks. This is a new breed of drunk, 20-30 year olds. It was never like that when we had season tickets, except for the end zones of course. Like my brother sez, in Buffalo, everything evolves around alcohol.

World Be Free

January 14th, 2010
4:07 pm

Hey smoothie, I HATE the Slug jersye. That must have been Darcy Regier’s idea, looks like something he would like. I always liked the black jerseys, best design. Sabres have played like wimps since they went to thise jersey.

They need to bring back the jersey with the bottle cap from the old Buffalo Bisons AHL days. Now that’s a jersey!

HookyBob

January 14th, 2010
9:37 pm

Call me delusion if you will,…but I’m with Bob in that I’m feeling a bit more hopeful that Kovy stays in thrasher blue.

Buffalo OT goal,…bummer

Nikita (in PA)

January 14th, 2010
9:37 pm

If you say so.

What’s the AT for? Is ranallo hiking the Appalachian Trail?

LAC

January 14th, 2010
9:40 pm

Well if there is ANYONE out there who now does NOT think this zach b. clown should either be in the minors or traded PLEASE speak up.

He is THE worst defenseman in the entire NHL, Always OUT OF POSITION, SLOW, his inability to HUSTLE on what would have been ICING cost US the game, I say trade him for anything or waive him, HE STINKS and has all season, Who cares if he is 19, other 19 year olds are making it.

Please go away zach before you cost us MORE games you are TERRIBLE !

Brendan

January 14th, 2010
11:03 pm

Not a bad game at all, tonight. We played a better team. We came away with a point. A win would have been better. But hey … at least it wasn’t a disasterous loss.

Brendan

January 14th, 2010
11:04 pm

Nikita, Ranallo10 is in Austria, I believe. I’m starting to wonder if he got married and it now setting the record for the longest honeymoon?

R. Stroz

January 14th, 2010
11:32 pm

The difference in the game tonight was Ryan Miller. Miller’s rebound control and positioning were phenomenal.

The Thrashers actually played better than the Sabres, however, ill timed stupid penalties made the difference. A team can’t play most of the overtime period on the penalty kill and expect to win.