How long will Thrashers wait on Pavelec?

Sunday afternoon, as the Thrashers were in the process of dropping that giant steamer on the ice surface of Philips Arena, I had the pleasure of sitting on the end of the arena that Carolina defended twice. Normally I would call that the Thrashers’ “attack twice” side…but…sigh

Regardless, the position I took up allowed me to view the proceedings from behind the net Manny Legace was protecting for 2/3 of his 27-save shutout performance. As such, I couldn’t help but sarcastically utter to Smoothie and the Blueland Chronicle boys, “Gee, wouldn’t it be nice to have a goalie like him in a Thrashers uniform”.

Of course my tongue-in-cheek remark alludes back to last summer when Atlanta did indeed have the veteran Legace… who turn 37-years of age last month…in camp on a professional tryout. However, he was sent on his way in favor of Ondrej Pavelec, the Thrashers next “goalie of the future”, whom it was thought could handle the load while Kari Lehtonen was nursed back to health. Start Pavs for the bulk of the games for a month or so…was the thought…then allow Kari to slide in much the same way he did a year ago when he performed so well in the second half of the season.

Things started off well enough after the brain trust of Waddell-Dudley-Anderson chose this path…Opie got off to a very strong start and Legace signed with Carolina after Cam Ward went down with a nasty cut to the groin area. He cost the Canes all of $500,000.

But round about the same time Manny began suiting up for the Canes, Opie’s performance started to drop off. More and more the team found themselves having to turn to another veteran in goal, Johan Hedberg…which was something I advocated earlier on…and by the time the Olympic break rolled around, it was clear this team’s chances for post-season play rested squarely on the back of the Moose.

Ondrej pavelec is 0-4-1 and has a .879 SV% in his last five starts (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)

In his last five starts, Ondrej Pavelec is 0-4-1 and has a .879 SV% allowing 18 goals (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)

In his last five starts, dating back to the 5-2 loss to Carolina on January 21, Opie is 0-4-1 and has allowed 18 goals on 149 shots, (.879 SV%). This has dropped his season record to 12-16-5 with a 3.47 GAA and .901 SV%.

Conversely, in Manny Legace’s last five starts, he is 5-0-0 and has allowed only 8 goals on 136 shots, (.941 SV%). During that stretch of games, he’s beaten such teams as Buffalo…twice by the score of 4-3…Florida and Ottawa 4-1…and of course most recently, your Atlanta Thrashers 4-0.

The season numbers… Legacy is now 9-5-2 with a 2.65 GAA and .909SV%. Pavelec is 12-16-5 with a .3.47 GAA and .901 SV%.

As for waiting for Kari Lehtonen to heal up and come to the rescue, well he did not return in October. Nor did he in November…or December…or January. Finally, Waddudleyson grew tired of waiting for the current “goalie of the future” to finally be the “goalie of the present”, decided to finally cut bait seven and a half years after using a second overall draft pick on him… and he’s now Dallas’ concern.

Obviously hindsight is 20-20…and one can argue for why Waddudlyson opted to cut lose a soon-to-be 37-year old goalie over sending Opie back to Chicago. However, ask yourself this question…right now going into a playoff drive during the last few weeks of the season…stop laughing…would you rather have seen a goalie tandem of Hedberg/Pavelec or Hedberg/Legace? I think the numbers support the latter of the two options.

But directing our attention to a more forward outlook now, I would then pose this question you those of you in the blogosphere…

With the Thrashers’ decision to finally cutting bait with Lehtonen still fresh in their minds… just how long is this organization willing to be patient with Ondrej Pavelec?

Another year?

Two seasons?

Three…?

As long as it takes?

Sure, Pavs isn’t injury-prone like Kari, but I just can’t see the Thrashers waiting around for several more years waiting for him to come around like they did the last “goalie of the future”.

As you ponder your response, consider this…if given as much time to develop as Kari, that would mean Opie has another three years before the GM…whomever that may be… runs out of patience. You willing to stick around and wait for that?

I’ll answer that question right now…no.

How long should the Thrashers continue to wait for Pavelec to finally become the team's #1 starter?

  • Another 3 years, if necessary (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Two more years, but no more (15%, 20 Votes)
  • End of next season, tops (47%, 63 Votes)
  • End of this year, then move to someone else (10%, 14 Votes)
  • His time is up already...bring in Mannino (27%, 36 Votes)

Total Voters: 134

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Now, maybe that’s because I, like so many of you, are still jaded from the past several years of living through the Kari Lehtonen experiment. But as I see it right now, if sometime in the future the Thrashers find themselves completely out of the playoff picture…and if last weekend is any indication of things to come, that could be as early as Sunday…I’d rather see Peter Mannino be called up from the Wolves and be given his first shot an NHL play. Never too soon to get a look at the next “goalie of the future”, ya know.

Like Pavelec, he’s scheduled to be an RFA this summer. So why not get a sneak peek at what his worth could be before deciding how much to pony up for him.

Besides, if 21-3-0 with a 2.14 GAA and .926 SV% doesn’t earn a keeper a good look-see, what does?

Looking even further down the road…when July rolls around, I would like to see Waddudlyson have a look around at some of the goalies swimming around in the UFA pool. There’s a few out there to pick and choose from…not the least of which is Thrasher-killer Antero Niittymaki.

Hey, you know what they say…if ya can’t beat ‘em, pay him to join ya.

Regardless, I’m just not prepared to wait around several more years to wait on Opie to develop…at least not at this level. Let him season a while longer in Chicago, or do what you did with Lehtonen and end the experiment…only much sooner than they did with Kari.

This Thrashers organization simply doesn’t have the time to wait for a “goalie of the future” to develop into the “goalie of today” anymore.

110 comments Add your comment

Nikita

March 8th, 2010
2:40 pm

um, First?

Pavelec is very young. So I don’t think the org. should cut bait. I do, however, think they should have someone else at the ready — his technique is poor and he’s not performing as well as we should expect at this point.

DB

March 8th, 2010
2:41 pm

I wonder if Opie had been left in several games earlier this year after he gave-up four if he would be different now? Moose can give-up a ton of goals and not have to worry about the hook. This is an area I really don’t agree with JA’s moves to yank Opie when he gives up goals.

Bob

March 8th, 2010
2:46 pm

Yeah, Pavelec is less than inspiring. He needs more seasoning and that should be done in Chicago.

I would like to see him be given another year in Chicago (next season) and then bring him back up. If he can’t cut it when he comes back up, then cut ties with him. So I guess I’d give him 2 more years to make it.

Yes, if we fall out of it over the next couple weeks, then bring Mannino up now to get a taste and to see if he can handle the NHL speed.

I completely agree with you re. Legace, but Moose is going to get all the starts for the rest of the month (mabye even that back to backer at the end of the month).

And go to the UFA market and sign a Nittymaki or other proven goaler for our starter for next year and keep Moose as the backup.

Smoothie

March 8th, 2010
2:58 pm

I would give Opie two more years, max. Mannino, perhaps Hedberg, and a UFA goalie should be in camp this year to push Pavelec and give the staff as many options as possible should Ondrej not rise to the occasion. Obviously he needs a lot more coaching on his fundamentals. In his defense, he did look better last night on post to post moves. Perhaps Weeksie has been working on that since the Olympics ended. Or perhaps Ondrej’s been spending a lot more time with strength and conditioning coach Ray Bear while Moose gets all the starts.

Also, please keep in mind that Moose didn’t get the quick hook most of the year because it hasn’t really been necessary. Moose was pulled after the 1st period debacle vs San Jose. Oddly enough, that was the very next game after Ondrej had been yanked the first time. Pavs got yanked twice more before December 10th. But it’s because JA had no other choice really.

Just a little perspective as I wrap up. Starting the year, Pavelec was “the” guy. He got all but 2 of the first 13 starts. At times he was brilliant, at others he was dreadful. But he was often lucky to be as effective as he was due to his positioning problems. In thos 13 GS, Pavs was an enigmatic 5 – 5 – 1 with a .909 SV % and a 3.14 GAA. As we know, the kid faced way too many shots. But I think teams quickly realized what a flopper he is and just started throwing rubber on the net to crash the crease and catch him out of position. It worked.

Barry

March 8th, 2010
3:10 pm

Ya I was thinking after last night’s game that Waddell needs to seriously consider signing a real NHL starting goalie. Pavelec started the year good but the second half of the season he hasn’t been all that good.

Brendan

March 8th, 2010
3:22 pm

Ya know, folks. This season isn’t exactly over. But, let’s pretend, hypothetically, that it is. Still with me?

I want to ask a serious question, Henny Youngman jokes aside. This organization is forever saying, “We’re headed in the right direction.” Or “We’re on the right path now.” When, out of curiosity, did they ever say, “Ya now what, AJC writers and AJC bloggers, I gotta be straight up honest with you. We’ve been on the wrong path, and in the wrong direction. But we just don’t know how to correct it.”

For as much as many of you would laugh, and laugh heartily hearing that from Levenson, Gearon, or Pescowitz, or Beau Turner, I’d stand up and applaud. For it would mean that they think what they’re doing, including their business model, might be flawed. I come from the school of thought that says, “pencils have erasers, precisely because corrections will need to be made.” I’m also the sort who says, “If you went to Vegas, got addicted to gambling, you can get help for that.” If you partied too hearty in high school or college, became a drunk, there’s help for that. If you live your life like a graduate of the Clinton/Roethlisberger school of womanizing, again, I think there’s HELP for that sort of thing. But what if, what ails you, is an inability to recognize failure and missteps? Then what? I suppose, the answer is, “someone has to politely tell you … that you’re NOT on the right path.”

Why mention this, at all? Well, if this team misses the playoffs. Even by a point or two. It still missed. And that would make nine out of ten (9/10) years. And there’s a matter of Waddell’s contract to renew, come April, as well. I’m just saying … that … perhaps … what is indefensible remains indefensible. Missing the playoffs nine times in ten seasons … isn’t a good track record, for an organization moving in the right direction. By definition, they must have been moving in the wrong direction for a lot of that time.

People want to blame Heatley. People want to throw Kovalchuk under the bus. They want to blame Hossa. They want to blame Todd White. They want to blame Waddell. They want to blame ownership. But really, no matter WHERE you want to assign blame for bad decision-making, the entity most empowered to change things … is ownership. If, for example, Kovalchuk were a 10-year old boy. And Bob Hartley were his Dad. And Don Waddell were his Mom. And the Dad tried to be stern, benching the child as a form of discipline. But really, it was “Mom in charge” of the house. And Kovy (the child) controlled “Mom.” So much so, that Dad (Bob Hartley) eventually got kicked out of the house. So, the 10-year old boy wound in sleeping in his Mom’s bed the entire time, and running the house, too, never picking up his toys, forgetting to do homework and turning in assignments/projects, playing with his friends Slava, Max, and Antro, while deciding when and if Mom and her new boyfriend (John Anderson) would do something that day. Well … don’t blame the mortgage company for loan on the house/property. The mortgage company didn’t put that house in disarray. The parents did. That includes Waddell, as “Mom,” and Curt Fraser, Bob Hartley, John Anderson, and even Waddell,” as “Dad.”

Ownership has to regain control of this team (House). If they renew Waddell, it’s no different than letting an irresponsible mother … continue to let a child walk all over her, dictating terms and conditions of how the house is run. (”Shut up, Mom. Buy me TWO video games, ‘cuz I’m not sharing with Kaitlyn.”) I’m delighted that the Thrashers are playing more like a team (family), than an inmate asylum, led by a spoiled brat. But if Sgt. Schultz remains in charge of the prison camp, then Hogan is still the hero. If you follow.

With respect to Pavelec, he’s still 22. He’ll be 23 on August 31, 2010. He’s nowhere near finished in his development. But Moose, who turns 37 on May 5, 2010, is not the future. If this team were serious about the playoffs, it could have moved Moose for the highest offer, while picking up Biron or Rolosson for the stretch. Again, there’s that word again, “decision-making.” And “accountability” for decision-making. This offseason, someone has to replace Moose. Atlanta must target a goaltender in free agency. That doesn’t mean, push Pavelec out the door. It just means Pavelec isn’t entirely ready, at age 22 or 23, to be the #1 goalie in Atlanta. Let Dudley pick the next Thrasher goaltender. I’ve seen enough of Waddell decisions, in goal.

J.B.

March 8th, 2010
3:24 pm

All points about Pavelec both positive and negative are valid, and for the record I do think he’ll mature into a better goalie as he is still very young for the position, but I don’t think you could pin any of the four goals against yesterday on him; the fault for the Carolina steamer lies on pretty much each and every skater in front of him. I don’t recall seeing one Thrasher yesterday NOT making some sort of boneheaded play like a bad pass, over-skate, turnover, dropped puck, etc.

I would go sign Niitymaki in a heartbeat this summer and overpay for his @$$ too.

Rawhide

March 8th, 2010
3:31 pm

J.B. – If I’m not mistaken…Niittymaki only cost Tampa by $600,000 this season. If we paid him $1 million, it’s be $2 mil less than what Kari was taking from us the last few seasons.

J.B.

March 8th, 2010
3:41 pm

I’d offer him what we were paying Kari without reservation. We will without question have to overpay UFAs. Good thing I-liar Koastalsuck didn’t sign, so we have a ton of money to do so. I think he’d be a great UFA target with the added bonus of signing him means we don’t have to play against him any more…

MB

March 8th, 2010
3:43 pm

As Brendan mentioned, Pavs is just 22…way too early to give up on him. How about we give up on Steve Weeks instead? Seriously. We’ve basically had ten seasons of sub-par goalie play and Weeks has been around for seven of them.

Continue developing Pavs and Mannino and bring in a FA tender this summer…looks like there will plenty available with solid experience as starters. And yes, please have Dudley make this decision…thus far D-Wadd is 1 for 16…and that one is a gift just because I like Moose.

Brendan

March 8th, 2010
3:45 pm

My first choice for a UFA goaltender is Evgeny Nabokov. My 2nd choice is Chris Mason. My third choice is Marty Biron. If Montreal cannot or will not re-sign Halak and/or Carey Price, then I think, even as RFA’s, we should consider a trade. Forget the RFA offersheet. That won’t go over well in Montreal. I can see the newspaper headline, “Now, Atlanta attempts to poach Montreal property.” Speaking of former Canadiens, Jose Theodore is out there. I’d say, “pass” on him. Vesa Toskala is out there. He’d have no media pressure here, that’s for sure. In that regard, Carey Price might do better in Atlanta than Montreal. And Price was a 5th overall selection in the 2005 Entry Draft.

Brendan

March 8th, 2010
3:59 pm

MB, even as a Waddell critic, I do give him “some credit” for Pasi Nurminen, a former 6th round Thrasher draft pick. If only Pasi hadn’t blown out his knee in Finnish National camp, in September 05. Though, I doubt very seriously Pasi would have stayed much longer than that, had he been healthy.

It’ll be interesting to see, MB, what the Dallas Stars do with Lehtonen in the offseason. He is still an RFA. But if they don’t tender a qualifying offer, Kari becomes unrestricted. He’d probably beg the Thrashers to let him return. His ‘custom-made DREAM house’ is right here in Atlanta. I bet he’d come cheaply, too. But, I don’t think the organization wants Lehtonen anymore, even if his price were $1 million per season.

DWTOO

March 8th, 2010
4:04 pm

Now that Pav’s has been up here think that sending him back to Chicago would not help. Best choice is to bring in someone along the lines of Nabby who can start most of the games and split time with Pavs thus allowing him exposure with limited pressure.

As much as I like the Moose he’s not #1 material and a career backup. No disrespect as it’s still better than most.

The one goalie who intrigues me is Carey Price – perhaps a different enviroment than Montreal would be good for him. In that case I’d keep Hedburg and jettison Pavs.

Savannah Blueland Fan

March 8th, 2010
4:06 pm

Since I had the pleasure of driving 500 miles roundtrip Sunday to watch what I thought was to be hockey but instead turned out to be “Dancing on Ice”, allow me to remark that equal or more blame should go to the weak defense (that’s defenSe, Winnipeg!) that allows the puck into the zone. As far as pulling goaltenders, I would have pulled the Moose after the first period in Tampa Bay. I’m not saying Opie is perfect, but at the start of the season we couldn’t sing his praises loud enough; so let’s be consistant.

Midfield

March 8th, 2010
4:07 pm

Speaking about Lehtonen, back in August I had asked if there was any health screening done to any NHL player upon entering a contract. I’d still like to have an answer.

Red Light

March 8th, 2010
4:08 pm

Outside of Marty Brodeur and some of the NHL’s top goalies, few do much of anything until they are 25 or older. Look up the stats. That’s why you never draft a goalie in the first five rounds. Let some other team train them for six or seven years and then sign them as a free agent. It’s a simple solution to an age old problem. You don’t give up on a 22-year-old, you wait for him to gain valuable experience. Here’s a look at the top three goalies taken in each draft from 1997-2005, the year Pavelec was drafted as the 5th highest goalie selected. It’s not exactly laden with quick ascents.

1997
Roberto Luongo first meaningful NHL season 2000
Mika Noronen
JF Damphousse

1998
Patrick DesRochers
Matthieu Chouinard
Phillipe Sauve

1999
Brian Finley
Maxime Ouellet
Ari Ahonen

2000
Rick DiPietro first meaningful NHL season 2003-04
Brett Krahn
Ilya Bryzgalov first first meaningful NHL season 2005-06

2001
Pascal Leclaire first first meaningful NHL season 2007-08
Dan Blackburn
Jason Bacashihua

2002
Kari Lehtonen first first meaningful NHL season 2005-06
Cam Ward first first meaningful NHL season 2005-06
Hannu Toivonen

2003
Marc Andre Fleury first first meaningful NHL season 2005-06 (13-27-6)
Corey Crawford
Jim Howard first first meaningful NHL season 2009-10

2004
Al Montoya
Devan Dubnyk
Marek Schwarz

2005
Carey Price first first meaningful NHL season 2007-08 (where’s he right now?)
Tukka Rask first first meaningful NHL season 2009-10
Tyler Plante
Jeff Frazee
Ondrej Pavelec

Relax folks. Better shore up who’s playing in front of the goalies first before using them as scapegoats.

StateBird

March 8th, 2010
4:10 pm

I believe the fastest and easiest way to improve the goalie stats (goals against, save percentage) and shots on goal is to bring Chelios and Kulda up together.

I supported Pavs over Legace last fall and still do. Stats can be deceiving in this case. I, or C-Viv the Sieve, could have won the game in net for the Canes on Sunday. There simply wasn’t more than 4 quality shots on the goal the entire game. I imagine that Legace’s recent numbers against other teams are similar due to the defense that the Canes play. By comparison the majority of goals that Pavs allows, or Moose and Kari in the past, are the result of a pourous defense that allows continuos high quality shots from the slot, on odd-man rushes and on PPs.

Not saying that Pavs is a great goalie but I don’t think it really matters who you put in net right now. Likewise I wouldn’t be oppossed to giving Manino a shot and/or replacing Weeks but my expectations wouldn’t change until something changes with the defense.

On that front I understand JA is an offense first guy but I think better coaching on the back end could yield results. In that regard I would think bringing up Chelios as either player and/or coach could yield better results in lowering the goalie stats than simply replacing the goalie. Add Kulda and bring a pair with an astronomical +/- stat and I would be shocked if the numbers didn’t approve.

J(Z)

March 8th, 2010
4:11 pm

I’d like to point out that Kari just gave up a 6-spot in his first start with the Stars. Pavs is still learning, Moose has been a savior this year. But, for next year…I’d overpay for Nabokov and let Pavs learn from him. Oh, and pay Nitty whatever he wants, then trade him to the western conference.

Smoothie

March 8th, 2010
4:15 pm

Dream scenario = Nabakov signing here

1) Dan Ellis
2) Chris Mason
3) Antero Nitty
4) Ty Conklin
5) Marty Biron

The most telling stat for me w/r/t Pavelec is the avg shots against when he’s between the pipes. Over the first 3 months of the season, teams averaged 36.3 (roughly) SOG against. The SOG numbers for Moose are much closer to 30 (right around 30.4). 6 SOGA is a huge number over the course of 40 games. If Moose & Pavs are splitting time and he’s facing 240 more shots per game, then roughly 24 more goals are going in the net over half a season! Most of them rebound putbacks most certainly.

Pavs doesn’t know how to handle the puck and thus he’s a liability every time he comes out of the net. Moose knows not only how to handle the puck, but when to take that chance (with a few exceptions here and there). Moose is also better at steering shots into the corner or absorbing close range shots to avoid rebounds and extra chances. Until Pavs improves in those three areas (including his lateral movement), we cannot count on him to win games for us…last night notwithstanding.

Smoothie

March 8th, 2010
4:21 pm

“I believe the fastest and easiest way to improve the goalie stats (goals against, save percentage) and shots on goal is to bring Chelios and Kulda up together.”

StateBird – AMEN brother! What do we have to lose? Schubert, Pops & Bogosian, without some sage veteran leadership, are not the answer.

But with respect to Pavelec, I must disagree a bit based on the numbers I’ve provided. There is no doubt that Moose gives this team a better chance to win more often than not. Once in awhile Pavs will stand on his head, but he can’t sustain it. Not to mention he got worn out facing between 35 – 40 shots per game for the first 3 months. But you have to admit that several aspects of his game are flawed. Give Moose his size and he’d be a Vezina Trophy candidate…well, on another team.

Ashe

March 8th, 2010
4:23 pm

6 Goals back? In your first NHL hockey game against the Pens? You dont say? In over a year? No way.

Nabby has sh#t the bed since Team Russia, He’s only getting older, and will want a 4 year deal.

Our best options, Are Nitty, Biron, Or Trade.

Trade for the Rights to Halak(He is better then carey price, and Carey wont get traded)

I would prefer Having Hedberg back as the Goalie Coach, with NItty/Halak up in the big leagues.

If anyone here says a .867 save percentage is good. Think again. Kari was putting up .915’s with this team on a worse calibur of defense and two way players. Pav’s needs to go to the AHL and fix himself. There is no excuse for being as bad as he has been. He is a Goalie like Kari. Except Kari at his age, was better. In every single aspect. His reaction, His sprawling, His glove, His pads.

World Be Free

March 8th, 2010
4:28 pm

Only Ellis is a proven UFA starter. Others are good backups.

Last night wasn’t Pavs fault, the defense played poorly at best.
But he never came up with the “big” save that would have inspired his team. Those guys were out of it last night.

He has some functional flaws that require a good goalie coach.

Rawhide

March 8th, 2010
4:30 pm

Savannah Blueland Fan, Red Light and StateBird – I agree 100% in regards to the play in from of Opie. yesterday’s loss cannot be put totally on his shoulders. The defensive play of late is a topic we could go off on all day, too.

However, that being said…I just have to wonder how long the the team will be patient with any goalie given how the Kari Lehtonen ordeal played out.

I agree with those who state this team should have…and should now…have looked to bring in a proven keeper with a solid track record to build in front of. Also, as I stated above, I do not want to see the organization held back for 2 or 3 more years waiting for anothe “goalie of the future” to develop.

Old Time Hockey

March 8th, 2010
4:37 pm

You can’t compare Legace’s stats with Pavelec because of the teams they play on. Look at the chances Carolina had yesterday. Anyone playing goal on a team that gives up chances like those is going to have crap stats. But as I’ve said many times, as the goaltending goes so goes this team. The team developed some confidence in Pavelec early on and it showed. As the confidence in him eroded so did their play in front of him. He seems to have the tools and just needs confidence. But confidence is hard to build when the team in front of you plays like a dog and you give up a couple early. Tough situation for the team. I’d definitely give Mannino a look. Nabokov would be a good one, but I’d stay away from Biron. He’s already had a couple of shots at starting and didn’t impress. He’s a younger version of Hedberg.

MB

March 8th, 2010
4:40 pm

Brendan, funny you mention Pasi…I almost gave Donny an extra half point for Pasi, who is my favorite Thrashers goalie. At the very least, you knew he was going to battle.

Dallas is in an interesting situation. They currently sit in 11th place, six points out of 8th. I believe Turco is an UFA at the end of this season, and is 35 years old, and my take is that they don’t plan on keeping him around…might be wrong about that. They bring in Kari and waive Alex Auld, who gets picked up by the Rags, and presumably this is Kari’s tryout with the Dallas organization. Thus far, it’d be fair to say he has underwhelmed. Once one of the most promising young goalies in the league, Kari’s career may be slowly circling the drain unless he can turn things around. Sad, really.

Tony C.

March 8th, 2010
4:58 pm

Yall really think nabakov would sign here after the #17 drama?

really?

If he did, it’d be for waaaay too much. Although I feel he’s an excellent keeper and if they’d limit his starts to something around 50-55 during the regular season, the sharks would’ve gotten themselves a ring sometime in the past three campaigns… Nabakov plays like 65+ starts a season, and is worn down once the playoffs are underway.

Or he folds under pressure (see olympic debacle-the only thing about that is that he played SO poorly, I wouldn’t be surprised to find out he was paid to “drop” that game-Russian gangsters are pretty convincing)- either way, I’m not convinced Nabakov would be the best move. I am however, all for signing Nittymaaki. Should’ve done that THIS summer.

Again, the problem is more abot how hard our keepers have to work. Whenever people poke holes at Brodeur it’s because of the excellent support he’s enjoyed from his defenders in front of him in NJ… Likewise, I feel that Lehtonen will excel in Dallas provided he stays healthy because of their commitment to team defense as an organization. It’s tough to be in the “upper echelon” of netminders when you face 10-15 more SOG/per game than the rest of the league.

Also, anybody able to figure out why on earth White was out their Sunday? I would’ve scrathed him, dressed Boults and moved R2 “up” a line.

Nikita

March 8th, 2010
5:51 pm

You think other russians don’t know Kovy’s a whiny beeatch?

Tony C.

March 8th, 2010
6:06 pm

Not really Nikita-he seems to be held in pretty high regard by his countrymen-GT & GW goals in world champ. last season wins “sportsman of the year”; finally able to get Malkin & Ovechkin to bury the hatchet etc., etc. all this while “wasting away with Atlanta Woodpeckers” (that was lifted from a translation of sovsport.ru article)…

But more to the point, (and this is a generality yall so please let’s not get bogged down by exceptions that prove the rule) russian players pretty much demand top pay, and top billing. While #17, was given one and offered the other, his reaction to us (and who knows how badly the front office steped on their crank back in the beginning of the season when everything pointed towards the deal being done) can’t be a positive factor for other russian players that have the option to sign here.

Nikita

March 8th, 2010
6:12 pm

They may not have known previously, but surely they’ll know after he sinks the Devils’ playoff hopes. Seriously, Atlanta was willing to accommodate, but the Devils can’t handle a player who only plays offense. It’s a credit to their relatively string system that they haven’t done worse.

Barry

March 8th, 2010
6:31 pm

What I think is Waddell needs to go after a real solid #1 starting goalie next season via FA and let Pavelec back up and still continue to grow and learn at the NHL level. I really don’t think Pavelec can really benefit from being in games at the AHL level. To learn how to play at the NHL level and handle NHL players and shots…he needs to actually playing at said NHL level.

biscuit

March 8th, 2010
7:19 pm

We don’t need a new goalie. We need a new goalie coach, maybe 2 of them. And a solid goalie development system like San Jose has – starting from the Wolves or maybe even the Glads all the way up.

Dwayne

March 8th, 2010
7:22 pm

Did Atlanta ever have a goalie coach? If the answer is yes, what happened to him? If the answer is no, Rick Dudley better find us one for next year. Save a horse, RIDE THE MOOSE.

Putting On The Foil

March 8th, 2010
7:50 pm

Saw Manino in your poll and also Sunday against Lake Erie in the Wolves game. Definitely not ready from what I saw in that game.

Get The Puck Out

March 8th, 2010
8:57 pm

What about Tim Thomas?

LAC

March 8th, 2010
9:12 pm

I agree get Nitty here, so we cannot lose to him at least for a couple years… We DO need
a Quality Goalie, our defense is not the best, some games they play like Cup Champs and others like Point fodder for playoff teams, more of the latter than the former.

But a QUALITY Goalie is needed.

Also when WILL this franchise move in the right direction ? It is Always running around in circles like a dog chasing it’s tail, it always ends up where it started. Would ANY other NHL team out there tolorate another season of worthless waddell ? HELL NO !

That is still the biggest obsticile to winning here, don waddell, if we could only get rid of him, the team would have, at least, a new outlook, not the same stale odor we all know so very very well coming from waddell, dead fish smell better than he does !

Brendan

March 8th, 2010
9:14 pm

Rawhide, I begged and pleaded for Moose to be traded, qualifying it with, “even though he’s one of my all-time favorite Thrashers.” I love Moose. If everrrrr, anyone who played here … could make any serious claim to being “Thrashers to the core,” it’s Hedberg. When Moose’s playing days are done, he could, and should, be given some kind of token job for the club. But, for me, Moose’s trade value would never be higher than what it was at the Trade Deadline in 2010.

Now, I hear ya, whoever just screamed, “But Brendan, we ‘rented’ Moose, for OUR OWN playoff berth.” Again, this speaks to judgement. If we were out there, gunning for Biron, Rolosson, Turco, or others, we’d have a more serious chance at a playoff berth. “But Brendan, weren’t you the one who said the Thrashers aren’t going to make the playoffs; they’ll finish 10th, trade Kubina, Army, Moose, Max, etc.” Yeah, I was on record with that. My comments were as popular as fly in your soup. But I always speak from the heart. I think Florida correctly assessed their situation, whereas Atlanta did not. That said, the Thrashers ‘could’ still make the playoffs. But they cannot come away with zero (0) points from games against Tampa Bay and Carolina, at this stage of the season. Wins over the Isles and Pathers are fine, but those teams aren’t exactly San Jose and Washington. Any moment now, Jeff Schultz will write an article stating, “outscored 10-2 by the Bolts and ‘Canes” is how some of you assess a BETTER TEAM, now that Kovalchuk is gone.”

I don’t blame the Thrashers for trading Kovalchuk. I blame them for not realizing the situation back in July. September, at the very latest. It’s the GM’s job to assess the situation. And if the Thrashers miss the playoffs, did the GM correctly assess the situation in goal, on defense, on the PP, etc., if the Thrashers are not playoff-bound? The answer should be rather self-evident.

MB, I was watching the USA vs. Switzerland game today on Comcast. It’s available, along with any other men’s Olympic hockey game, until March 12, 2010, “on demand.” If any bloggers want to immortalize these Vancouver Games on DVD, the clock is ticking. But I digress. As I was watching some of the Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey, I also saw the USA vs. Finland. It got me to thinking … that back in 2002, when Kari Lehtonen was drafted, that Finland probably EXPECTED Kari to be the starting goalie in that game, rather than the 33.3 year old Kiprusoff. I admit it. I feel bad for Kari Lehtonen. Much was expected of him, both here and abroad. It hasn’t happened for him. Oh sure, he’s gotten PAID. I think he’s made roughly $15 million tending net in the NHL. He shouldn’t need any more money. At this point, his career is really about just trying to remain viable in the NHL. Then again, maybe Kari wants to play in the Finnish Elite League or the KHL, or some other European league? I wish him well, MB.

DWTOO

March 8th, 2010
11:28 pm

In respect to KL he was the Top Prospect in the NHL for two seasons during his AHL tenure according the The It’s a shame his talent has gone to waste due to back issues and his work ethic. Another one of those might have beens. IMHO his days are about over – once you have a bcak issue in sports they are tough to overcome. It’d be fine if he proved me wrong, but, don’t seeit.

Rawhide – Good to see you and the tax exemption at the tailgate yesterday. Great to enjoy some hockey talk before the game. Can do the yard work saturday.

World Be Free

March 9th, 2010
5:51 am

Turco played well last night against Washington and he’s available after the season.
Niiti might be a good option too cause TB has some cap issues.
Carolina played a great road game Sunday, Manny didn’t have much to do.

Kari is paying the price for never truly being commited to being a 12 month athelete.
He never was commited, his body can’t take the punishment. He keeps this going he’ll be out of the league in 3 seasons. Or he could turn it around.

Kari needs a “heart” transplant.

Alan R.

March 9th, 2010
7:00 am

Dwayne, here’s what the bio page for Steve Weeks says:

In addition to his regular duties as an assistant coach, Weeks serves as a goaltending specialist for the club, working closely with Kari Lehtonen, Johan Hedberg and the team’s other goaltenders on a daily basis.

There’s something wrong with that sentence, whether or not you like the guy.

And believe me, hardly any of us do. I’m of the opinion that Lehtonen could have succeeded here, had we actually had a real goalie coach. Instead, we have this guy. He is a “goaltending specialist,” and yet where’s the on-ice results? Maddeningly, he’s been with the organization for this long, and yet we’ve always had problems in goal.

Maybe Lehtonen was a problem here, and he is better served playing elsewhere. However, no one can deny they wonder if Lehtonen could have panned out for us if we had a real goalie coach.

… and here we are, faced with Pavelec. Will he make it? Or… will he eventually go the way of Lehtonen? Time will obviously tell, but Pavelec has a better chance of success under a real goal coach.

World Be Free

March 9th, 2010
8:20 am

It doesn’t matter if the position is goalie or any other spot on the roster. The individual player has to be committed to being the best.

Kari was not, do believe Pavs is committed? He’s been beat out for the #1 goalie spot in Atlanta by a 36 year old career backup and he seems to be taking it well. Does that mean he is not committed to truly being a #1? I understand people are talking about him being young. But the former #1 is gone, the spot is there for the taking. I don’t see Olie jumping on the opportunity to be a big time #1 goalie in the NHL. He has not so far, and will he ever? Seize the moment, as Richard Nixon once wrote.

By the way, I give Jimmy Slater full credit for seizing the moment, raising his game to the point that I would support resigning him. He has made the most of his opportunity. You can quote me on that.

Rockem Sockem Thrasher

March 9th, 2010
8:24 am

I just looked at Kari’s Dallas Stars stats. In 2 games he’s allowed 8 goals on 50 shots.

Anyone remember that goalie the Thrash signed last summer, Peter Mannino? He’s having a pretty good year in Chicago. He has a 21 wins, 3 losses.

http://theahl.com/stats/player.php?lang_code=en&id=2489

DWTOO

March 9th, 2010
8:42 am

Nice article in the AJC about Bolts, Pops, and Colby’s wives. But why not Hannrahan’s wife?

J-man

March 9th, 2010
8:49 am

Nittymaki is a rather ordinary goalie. That’s why Philly didn’t keep him. He owns the Thrashers, but take away his stats in those games and I don’t think he’d be the answer here.

Rockem Sockem Thrasher – did you not read the article? Calling up Mannino was specifically mentioned.

The first home game after Kovy’s trade was almost a sell out. The town hall after the game was filled with kool aid drinkers who turned it into a love fest. DW and the owners were basically told to keep doing what they were doing. The fans spoke. It’s kind of late now to act surprised by all of this.

kracker

March 9th, 2010
8:51 am

Don’t most goalies usually take until their mid to late 20s to mature into a dependable keeper? Heck, Lehtonen was still young as far as goalies go. If, and that’s a BIG IF, the surgeries had finally cured his chronic back pain, I would have kept him to at least see if he was now healthy and ready to be a #1. If yes, he looks good to go, great. If yes but the players don’t want to play for him then you trade him in the off season for a better return. But, as far as Pavs goes, it’s way too early to dump him. This season should have told him he needs another year or two in Chicago. Hopefully he will willingly go down next season after camp. And the Thrash can go goalie shopping this summer.

Not Blind

March 9th, 2010
8:55 am

Until the skaters on this team start competing it won’t matter who you have in goal. Nittymaki isn’t beating the Thrashers by himself. The Thrashers just don’t have a chance against a quick, hustling team. Against such teams [ TB and Car ] the Thrashers are on their heels on every square inch of the ice. It’s pathetic.

On Kovalpuke; I’m pretty sure the Thrashers record without him is better than NJ’s record with him.

World Be Free

March 9th, 2010
9:22 am

DWTOO-Slap Shot references are always welcome. Wish we could quote Paul Newman on this blog as to what he said to get under Hannrahan’s skin.

I am not in favor of dumping Pavs, I am in favor of challenging him. He needs to steal of game or challenge his defensemen for me to be convinced he wants to be an NHL goalie.

Alan R.

March 9th, 2010
9:32 am

Wish we could quote Paul Newman on this blog as to what he said to get under Hannrahan’s skin.

What, you mean “Hey Hanrahan, your wife is a barrier used to contain the flow of water!”

;)

Brendan

March 9th, 2010
9:37 am

Hey Hanrahan! I know! I know!!! Suzanne …. “Geez Reg, what’dja say to him?” “No, his wife really is.”

Enough of that, Alan R. and WBF have very good points about a capable goaltending coach and a goalie truly willing to step forward to claim his spot. With Kari, and maybe I’m wrong, but I think there was this sense of entitlement. As in, “no organization would be stupid enough to draft me 2nd overall, then go shopping for a Tier I UFA in July.” Three years later, in 2005, Waddell coughed up the 12th overall pick in the draft to nab Pavelec in the 2nd round, sliding back to 16th, to draft Alex Bourret, while passing on Marc Staal.

Can we say that Pavelec feels the same sense of entitlement? I’m inclined to say, “no.” Pavelec knows the organization sacrificed a lot to get him, but being picked 41st overall is still being picked 41st overall. If some team makes him an RFA offersheet, I’ll be stunned. I think he got on the NHL’s radar with that 50 or so save performance in Ottawa, early on this season. But, with goaltending, it’s about consistency.

For well over half of the HOF-bound Martin Brodeur’s career, his critics dogged him over ‘how great is he, really?’ comments. They said, “Well, he benefits from a system.” It’s Tom Brady argument, in football. But after 109 shutouts, 3 Stanley Cups, Vezina Trophies, most minutes played by a goalie, darn dear 600 wins, having the most wins ever in a season (48), and holding the mark for most consecutive and most total 40 win seasons in a career, Marty Brodeur finally shut those critics up. And gee, that’s ALLLLL he had to do to silence them. Luckily, he wasn’t charged with curing cancer, and colonizing Mars for human habitation.

In Atlanta, we have someone named Darren Eliot. He’s a TV commentator. But he’s also a potential goalie coach. Maybe Moose, once retired, will become a goalie coach. In the very early stages of this franchise, there was a goalie named Milan Hnilicka. He never exactly set the world on fire. But he tended net during arguably the franchise’s worst corps of defensemen, and managed remarkably, given the totality of circumstances. In that offseason, it got a 2-year deal extension, and faltered badly on the heels of that. So much so, that Waddell paid the Los Angeles Kings $750,000 just for him to play there, instead of here.

I don’t have the answers in net. I think Pavelec could become a very good goaltender. But again, here we are, trying to rush a prospect. If we can snare Nabokov, that’d be tremendous. Chris Mason isn’t a bad option. Heck, even Carey Price, if Montreal has seen enough, is worth kicking the tires. Obviously, Price wouldn’t have been drafted so high and rated so highly by NHL Central Scouting, without a reason. Halak is also good. They’d be anonymous in Atlanta.

Bob

March 9th, 2010
9:47 am

“Kari needs a “heart” transplant.”

Yep. Or another way to say it is he’s got a Million dollar body and $.10 brain.

Goaltending is 3/4’s mental and the other 1/2 physical (or so Yogi would say)

World Be Free

March 9th, 2010
9:53 am

Bad work day so far, so reverting to Slap Shot quotes is a great escape. Toss in Blazing Saddles and Airplane while you are at it.

One more S-S quote – “Does that make him a que–?”

Tim Thomas-if Boston will trade him in the Eastern division.

Only the Braves are dumb enough to do that!