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”???
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.