Thrashers not getting their kicks on Route 66

What a difference a week makes. Last Friday we in Thrasherville were riding a high…the team had just thumped the Islanders 6-3, they were sitting in eighth place in the east with 66 points and they had the playoffs within their grasp.

Keep the foot on the throttle, it was thought, and the playoffs are just around the corner.

Today…well, they are still stuck on Route 66 after dropping four consecutive games by the combined score of 14-4. As such, they now tied with the Tampa Bay Lightning for 10th/11th place in the conference…sitting only two points away from 13th.

If they continue traveling on Route 66, they will more than likely run smack dab into downtown Lotteryville by the time we fight Monday morning traffic.

Now, regarding last night’s latest Thrashers disappointment…once again, John Anderson’s O-fense looked completely disorganized and discombobulated. It was as if they had just met each other Thursday morning and were still in the process of getting to know each other. Really, the only player that could be excused for this maybe is Slava Kozlov, who was making his first appearance since February 6. For his efforts, he got an assist on Johnny Odya’s goal and was a +1 for the night.

But I think Nik Antropov summed it up best when he said, “I don’t think we were ready to play for the first period and a half”.

Really…I mean….seriously? “Were not ready to play”?

This was ONLY game number 66…there’s that number again…you’re playoff chances are in the process of circling the drain…the time to make up the difference is growing shorter and shorter by the day…and you’re playing one of the few teams left on the schedule with fewer points than do the Thrashers. But the team was “not ready to play”???

sigh…

Johan Hedberg got start number 32 last night against the CBJs and took the loss. He’s now 16-12-5 but his GAA was lowered to 2.63. In stopping 19 of 21 shots he now has a .914 SV%. Uh-huh, you saw that correctly…the Thrashers’ held an opponent to just 21 SOG. Anytime they do that, they should be expected to win.

Of the two goals Moose was beaten on…the first one was scored by R.J. “I would like to have an” Umberger as his shot took an unfortunate deflection off Chris Chelios’ stick. It happened while Nik Antropov sat in the box for interference. The second resulted after Chelios was unable to recover from being caught too far up on the pinch. Kristian Huselius notched number 18 on the season on that one.

And so, while others like Montreal and Boston seem to have successful programmed in the correct coordinates in their playoff GPS systems…and we in Thrasherville continue to watch the team spin in circles on Route 66 as the rest of the NHL traffic speeds by… one has to wonder if this year the Great Octocluster finally decides that they have seen this scenery for far too long and are tired of circling the same block over and over with the same driver at the wheel.

Maybe, just maybe, this will be the time that they tell Don Waddell to pull over at the next gas station and…while he is busy asking the attendant for direction…they pull out and leave him there.

155 comments Add your comment

moriler

March 12th, 2010
10:00 am

Mentioned this in the last one, but want to re-post it here (updated with last night’s games) for more useful commentary:

http://sporkhack.com/playoffs.html

This projection doesn’t paint any pretty pictures. The Thrashers are out of ‘inherent advantages’ — first we had games in hand over Montreal, and then we blew those. Then we had a bunch of home games, and those aren’t enough to save us anymore.

The only way to make the playoffs at this point is to take the one positive we have left (most home games) and try to ride it as hard as we can — and hope that Boston flounders with Savard out. That’s enough to get us into a first-round matchup vs. the Capitals.

That’s about it, really. We had the chance to play “as good as” everyone else and win — now we have to go on a tear.

Saddam Hussein

March 12th, 2010
10:01 am

If I can face down the Americans, surely the Thrashers can make the playoffs!

Flat Line

March 12th, 2010
10:02 am

Interesting to see if JA calls on Hedberg again tonight. With no morning skate, we probably won’t hear until just before game time. The reason I bring it up is that Moose is 6-0-2 in his last eight games vs. the Rangers. Could this be called an elimination game if it ends in regulation? I know neither team will make the playoffs, but the team that comes away with 2 points has a heart beat while the other will be Flat Lined!

Badger Bob

March 12th, 2010
10:09 am

“Chelios was unable to recover from being caught too far up on the pinch”. Unable? Don’t you mean unwilling? As I ranted on the previous blog, he failed to pick up the number 3 OR number 4 Blue Jacket on the break. The game winning goal scorer skated past him AFTER the Blue Jackets had their 2 on 1.

If JA’s aggresive system causes a wiley veteran to make bone-headed plays, then there certainly is cause for concern over whether his system can ever work in the NHL.

Barry

March 12th, 2010
10:11 am

Go ahead and ask Anderson to stop by and get the team snacks while you’re at it and leave him behind as well. I’ve given Anderson every benefit of the doubt but two years and we are still fighting for winning the draft lottery. The fact that this team’s powerplay has been struggling since December also tells me it’s time for a new NHL head coach that knows how to get this team scoring on the powerplay. Thrashers really need an NHL coach that will get this team playing like an NHL team. Hartley was past his time and his old ideas didn’t work. Anderson is still thinking like an AHL coach but the NHL is a totally different game. Thrashers need a current NHL coach NOW! I just think it’s sad when a team that’s having aspirations to make the playoffs, but goes on a 4 game losing streak. What’s even worse is they have only scored 4 goals during that span. What has happened to the offense? Where is the net presence? I’m tired of the skate across the blueline and pull up play. Drive the damn net for crying out loud! This team is clueless right now of offense. They are getting back into old habits of perimeter shots with nobody in front of the crease, so it’s one and done. Thrashers aren’t making the playoffs unless they go like 13-4 or something ridiculous.

Brad "Beast" McCrimmon

March 12th, 2010
10:13 am

Even I can beat Chelios in a race from goal line to goal line!

j nes

March 12th, 2010
10:14 am

I am sick of hearing/reading excuses like “we aren’t getting the bounces” or “things aren’t going our way.” To quote NFL coach Dick Juron, “It the wind ain’t blowin, row!”

Thrashers Season Ticket Salesman

March 12th, 2010
10:16 am

How’d you like to have my job?

Dancing with the Stars

March 12th, 2010
10:18 am

Thinking of pairing Chelios with Gabourey Sidibe!

Bob

March 12th, 2010
10:39 am

“Maybe, just maybe, this will be the time that they tell Don Waddell to pull over at the next gas station and…while he is busy asking the attendant for direction…they pull out and leave him there.”

Rumor is that Waddell’s contract is up at the end of this year. So there’s that hope.

Brendan, put me down for never on your poll re. when Waddell is re-signed. Instead I see a April 12th press conference announcing he’s been let go as GM. That’s my pipedream and I’m stickin to it.

Rawhide

March 12th, 2010
10:42 am

Bob – We still gonna see ya at the club section bar at 7:15 tonight?

rob

March 12th, 2010
10:47 am

Ya’ll left me on the last blog while I was writing, now I know how Chelios felt last night!

Chelios showed the youngsters how to quit on a play. Wonderful planning, hope all those who thought this was a wonderful idea now see the utter futility there. Now he can’t even be taken seriously as a mentor after that game so we have killed 2 birds with 1 stone. WTF is wrong with these people and their BONE HEADED non hockey ideas!!!! You traded for Artyukin at 6-6 250 WITH speed, and Kozlov is your choice instead? Kane, you hardest working player at 18 years old is gone and you think Kozlov is the right choice? This team CAN play and CAN win, they have shown that I think. They lack direction, motivation, and a goalie. Taking a shot at the playoffs this year and DELIBERATELY TANKING it through mismanagement and incompetent personnel at the gm and coaching spot. The FANS thank you for this. Anderson should be fired NOW, not at the end of the season. They need to give Antropov the C, and find a way to win next season in the hopes of getting the young guys excited and thinking about staying here. F@#^ you DW and you too JA for this nonsense. No wonder no one wants to stay here you found a way to make us look bad even when we had a chance! Hey ASG LLC, does that stand for Another Season Gone Lacking Leadership and Commitment? Stupid A$$E$! I feel sorry for the players who are laboring here under the incompetence that runs this organization.

Scott

March 12th, 2010
10:47 am

I’m trying to stay positive, and I personally like John Anderson, and I freely admit that I m not a keen evaluator of NHL talent, but…
REALLY? – you sit Marty Reasoner and dress Todd White! How can that happen. What am I missing, why is #12 getting ice time? Even more baffling, why do I see him on the Power Play?

moriler

March 12th, 2010
10:49 am

I think Reasoner is not 100% and that’s why he sat.

Wannago

March 12th, 2010
10:50 am

The Trashers need to play with the urgency shown in the last 2 minutes and they must play that way the entire game.

Rawhide

March 12th, 2010
10:50 am

rob – Yeah…my bad. I gave absolutely no Ranallo Warning.

Scott – Reasoner out and White in? scratching head … no, you got me there.

J.B.

March 12th, 2010
10:52 am

Marty got clocked pretty bad the other night. I’m sure he’s recovering from that. It probably would have been an exhibit in the current headshot debate if it hadn’t been overshadowed by Cooke’s BLATANT headshot I think on the same night.

rob

March 12th, 2010
10:53 am

As much as I would like to see DW gone, can you see any other GM coming here and dealing with this group of idiots? If DW was any kind of man, he would be so embarrassed by this and the legacy he hasn’t created that he would quit now.
I still hold a slight hope that the guys can win but we will see if DW/JA find another way to keep it from happening again.
Anyone know if/how long Dudley is under contract?

Badger Bob

March 12th, 2010
10:54 am

Rawhide, in the words of Regina King “No, it’s not funny, but I’m going to keep drinking until it is”. I’ll be doing my pre-game warm up at the Club bar to make this all more tolerable…

Bob

March 12th, 2010
10:56 am

Rawhide, absotutely. Must get lubed up before watching another debacle (although we usually play the Blue Skirts well, so hopeful for a good game!)

moriler

March 12th, 2010
10:56 am

Oh, and this is probably speculation: White is a centerman and Arthyukin isn’t — someone had to take Reasoner’s place down the middle.

Red Light

March 12th, 2010
10:57 am

“My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives.” Hedley Lamarr

It’s time to re-stock the organization with former NHL players who know how to win.

General Manager
Lorne Henning is the Vice President of Player Personnel & Assistant General Manager for Vancouver. Henning first joined the Canucks organization as a Professional Scout bringing 28 years of professional playing and coaching experience at the NHL level and four Stanley Cup Championship rings. In his current role, Henning works closely with Mike Gillis on all player evaluations, trades and free agent signings. Additionally, he is responsible for the club’s professional scouting in North America and Europe and acts as the primary liaison between the Canucks minor league affiliates.

Assistant GM/Director of Player Personnel
Doug Risebrough, former GM with the Wild, currently a pro scout for the Rangers

Head Coaching Candidates
Joey Mullen, current assistant for Philadelphia
Scott Stevens, current assistant for New Jersey
Craig Ramsey, current assistant for Boston
Tom Renney, current assistant for Edmonton

Assistant Coaches
Kelly Buchberger
Gord Murphy

Goalie Coach
Curtis Joseph

Bob

March 12th, 2010
11:06 am

Red Light bringing the A game today, nice work, can you forward that to the Spirit Squad asap?

rob with the excellent rant above as well.

Good golly, you men have me fired up for a good ol Friday night hockey game. Think I’m going to be doing some clock watching all day.

moriler

March 12th, 2010
11:07 am

Don’t want any assistant coaches whose teams are on the bubble or where Edmonton is. That leaves Stevens, and good luck ever prying him away from the NJ organization, head coaching opportunity or not.

Badger Bob

March 12th, 2010
11:07 am

Red Light, that’s a good list except for Risebrough, for two reasons. One, the best part of our management, RD, already holds that job and should be the only one to remain. Two, Risebrough single-handedly turned the Flames from a powerhouse in the late eighties into a non-playoff team in the 90s. I don’t care what he’s done since – anyone who trades away Doug Gilmour, Jamie Macoun, Ric Nattress, Kent Manderville and Rick Wamsley for Gary Leeman, Alexander Godynyuk, Jeff Reese, Michel Petit and Craig Berube is FAR stupider than even DW.

Otherwise, YES, let’s purge this group NOW!

Matt

March 12th, 2010
11:13 am

Interest in this woebegone franchise is fading…fading…fading.

How in the world can the Thrashers annihilate the Isles, look so good passing the puck and playing with energy and hustle and then lay four straight eggs?

God, I am frustrated with this franchise. Will it ever change? A friend of mine in Minnesota talks about the discontent that’s emerging with the fans of that franchise, but I told him he has no clue how good he has it, recent Wild struggles aside.

Red Light

March 12th, 2010
11:18 am

You mean the same Dudley that brought us all the Euros during the past month? That’s why I have Risebrough as the assistant rather than the final decision maker. Bring me the North Americans, organizationally and on the ice!

rob

March 12th, 2010
11:24 am

Craig Ramsey would be an awesome choice, being he was such a complete 2way player for Buffalo for a long time. He would probably hold the forwards accountable for getting back and developing a good defensive philosophy. I like it. Means it won’t happen, but I like it non the less. Offensive minded coaching like JA might make for some excitement, but it is showing it won’t work, and for some reason he can’t get this team on the same page night after night. I take that to mean he doesn’t have the respect or attention of the players.

Get The Puck Out

March 12th, 2010
11:24 am

I’m not one to advocate losing, but if it would get DW fired let’s start losing tonight.

Rawhide

March 12th, 2010
11:27 am

GTPU – Not to pick at nits with ya…but if lack of success was a criteria for the Great Octocluster to fire Waddell, wouldn’t he have been fired by now?

Get The Puck Out

March 12th, 2010
11:29 am

Wishful thinking i guess.

Rightshot

March 12th, 2010
11:29 am

Going into a commercial during the third period last nigh, Matt McConnell said, “The Thrashers are down and need a pair.”

Truer words have never been said.

LAC

March 12th, 2010
11:41 am

What happened to ” We are moving in the Right directgion” or Darrin’s favorite…

“MOVING FORWARD” One thing to beat a dead horse with those wornout phrases,
another to do it, we are sinking and moving forward should not be in the Atlanta Thrashers
vocabulary !

puckhead

March 12th, 2010
11:52 am

Player wise only – I don’t see how this team changes enough to beat tampa and carolina for second in the division next year. I would rather learn my wife wants a divorce than what is happening to the Thrash.

R. Stroz

March 12th, 2010
11:56 am

Don Waddell doesn’t know the difference between incremental progress and EXCREMENTAL PROGRESS.

How many more years of EXCREMENTAL PROGRESS can the fans endure?

rob

March 12th, 2010
11:56 am

Rawhide,
If you had to stay up late and rewatch that game I don’t blame you for no warning, and even if you had given it I was so irritated and long winded I probably would have missed it anyway! LOL Can’t believe how upset this has me, thank god I am not a STH or I believe I would have stroked out by this point! Thinking I will find one of those places that make bumper stickers and get ASG=NO HOCKEY and put it next to my Thrashers sticker. How those of you who have been here since the beginning get through this has got me. I mean, seriously. The only people who have to be left are the SERIOUS hockey die hards. I am not sad I have become a fan of the team, I enjoyed every game I went to this season and may take in a couple more and cheer for the guys as loud as I can, but this organization needs a serious enema to clean it out. It is a clear embarrassment to the NHL and not what they want people to think of when they come to see their 1st hockey game or give serious hockey fans who pay a lot of money and take a large time commitment to support.

Kevin

March 12th, 2010
11:58 am

The reality here Thrasher fans is that this team is NOT a playoff team. As much as you wanted Kovy gone, you got it and now you have a young team with no identity who cant score. Kovy was not going to be an answer past this year, but you cant win if you cant score. Defensively this team is still a sieve. Reality check, this team may lose the next 10 games, all against quality teams fighting for playoff spots. At that point we are back in the hunt for a top three pick that will bolt after his contract is up. Sound familiar? Time to fire everyone and start over. At least there would be hope in that.

Sage of Bluesland

March 12th, 2010
12:06 pm

But, remember folks, good ol’ Donny is a “classy” guy…

(Pardon me, but I just vomited in my mouth just a little bit).

Here’s to what I’ve prayed for since the early signs of the ruination of his first “Five-Year Plan”: the final month of his employment leading the hockey team I care about and somewhat follow (now).

He’s nothing but a bumbling, blustering fraud. That’s all he has EVER been. To even think otherwise is delusional.

rob

March 12th, 2010
12:07 pm

puckhead,
I have to hope that they sign a real #1 goalie in the off season. Take that into consideration with all of our 1 goal losses and it has to amount to more wins. Get rid of the distractions Kovy brought, and the ones Kozlov continues to bring, get a real commitment to a player stepping up as the CAPTAIN ( I think Antropov continues to be the one they need there) and I like what could happen next year. I just can’t wrap my head around the chance that they have/had this year that they pissed away.

Bob

March 12th, 2010
12:20 pm

Rawhide, we had this discussion last year, but what about this year? Do you want to the guys to finish strong, yet out of the playoffs, or would you prefer to see them continue circling the drain here so we can have a greater hope of the Spirit waking up and bringing in a quality GM and so we have a better draft pick as a reward? This club is going to have to blown up anyway, might as well tank, get rid of DW, get a top 5 prospect and let the new GM spend all that money come July 1st to build us a nice club for next year.

There’s some nice pieces in place here, guys. The right GM could come in and spend that $15m or so in free agency and make us competitive next year. Quality UFA goalie, quality 2nd line center, and quality top line LW, re-sign Kubina, and this club could compete next year. $15m should be enough to fill those 4 spots, no?

Don Waddell

March 12th, 2010
12:29 pm

I’m a big fan of excremental progress that’s why I signed Charmin.

Nikita

March 12th, 2010
12:31 pm

I’m getting a little annoyed by all the naysaying. Yep, we’re in a bad situation here. But how do we plan to end this season, and what kind of fans are we?

Also, I remain fine with Anderson. He has now coached roughly one season, and with a ragtag squad that is only partially of his choosing. Fire him, fine, but who are you going to get into this sitaution who’s better equipped to deal with it?

As to other comments above:

1. White played because Reasoner’s banged up. And he did o.k.
2. Goaltending will sink us. All other things aside, and there are plenty of things I’m not thrilled about, Moose has been subpar for the last few games and Pavelec has been subpar for the entire season.
3. I wasn’t thrilled to see Bogosian moved up in his pairings yesterday, but he showed some signs of playing like he used to. Here’s hoping he keeps it up.
4. Nice banging last night. Too bad it wasn’t enough.

moriler

March 12th, 2010
12:31 pm

Players don’t tank, ever, so don’t bother there. Clubs that finish circling the drain don’t get the option to sign free agents. We already have enough problems; we need to show that the players we have now are “almost” enough and we only need a few pieces.

If Don was going to be fired due to lack of results, it would’ve happened long ago. I’m not worried about Don right now — it’s obvious Rick Dudley is calling the shots as far as player acquisition/etc. is concerned now. I’m more worried about what it’s going to take to get the players themselves playing.

If it wasn’t obvious, we have enough talent to have beaten the last 4 teams we played. But we came out and shat on ourselves without any significant effort. Motivating players is Anderson’s job, but the players themselves must share the responsibility and actually TRY. When our guys try, we blow out the teams we’re supposed to beat. When they loaf, we don’t. I see a lot of guys who are basically solid players making poor decisions on the ice at exactly the wrong time. Don’t know how to fix that.

That’s the problem right now. And just like last time I brought this up, I can’t see in the locker room; I can’t see the morning skates and practices. I don’t know who’s got a clue and who’s just scraping by.

Midield

March 12th, 2010
12:34 pm

“Get rid of the distractions Kovy brought” What’s this about? The only people who bring up Kovy’s distractions are the ones who try to distract everybody from the real problem: the owners and the GM. Bring up this and bring up that and make him the Captain and make them Assistent Captains – this is all beating the dead horse – I mean, literally. Get a grip, people.

Nikita

March 12th, 2010
12:37 pm

P.S.

I want to see a lot of call-ups, and preferably one of them would be Spencer Machacek.

And in a related note: we traded Grant Lewis? I know he doesn’t fit the system, but dammit, he was a good player. I’d like to see him, right now, as our 7th. But I can’t because he belongs to the freakin’ Hershey Bears.

rob

March 12th, 2010
12:41 pm

I would like to see the team finish with some pride, I think it is important for a team this young with the talent they have to try even though I believe the playoffs are gone. Maybe by some freak chance we still make it there who knows. I don’t want to see them just give up though because that goes to character and we desperately need that more than yet another high draft.

Wayne stuck in AL

March 12th, 2010
12:49 pm

Know what this is like?

Remember when the Braves were a couple of games out of a post-season position with 6 games to go, and then they lose the remainder of their games to a mediocre Florida team and a woebegone Washington team? Deja vu.

As much as the Bitter Queens of the Toronto Hockey Media love to pick on our attendance (or lack thereof), I seriously hope NO ONE shows up tonight, just to make a statement to ASG/Waddell/Anderson/the players.

R. Stroz

March 12th, 2010
12:49 pm

Nikita – Can you not see the difference between the Thrashers that were winning post Kovalchuk and losing post Kovalchuk?

Let me help you.

White in the pressbox equals goals and wins.

White replaces Kane due to injury and BINGO, few goals and consecutive loses. WHITE SUCKS. PERIOD. GET THE TPS REPORT.

rob

March 12th, 2010
12:51 pm

Midfield,
Read the other posts before the “distractions” one. We know ASG/WD/JA are the problem, but there is even more than just that that needs to happen.
Nikita,
I have to think that JA is the motivator here, and if he can’t get the team to perform to their potential, he needs to go. As you stated they have shown they can play, so now the question is why aren’t they? JA needs to go and if someone else comes in and it still happens, it is time for all the callups as a wake up to the players.

Rawhide

March 12th, 2010
1:04 pm

Bob – That we even have to AGAIN have the conversation about “finishing strong vs. getting a higher lottery draft pick” in and of itself pretty damning of where this team is after 10 seasons of play.

As for the question itself…I always want the team to play well every single game, play to win. I do not care where they are in standings, I want them to play to win.

Besides, look how many lottery picks DW has been blessed with in the decade-plus he’s been on the job. I would ask you…what has that gotten us in the long run?