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

J.B.

March 12th, 2010
1:09 pm

Grant Lewis wasn’t traded. He was loaned. Still Thrashers/Wolves property. Sole purpose was to get him increased ice time. No worries.

puckhead

March 12th, 2010
1:13 pm

WstuckinALA – I have to go – must be drawn to train wrecks – besides I can win the 50-50 raffle again. It’s easy with small crowds.

Savannah Blueland Fan

March 12th, 2010
1:14 pm

“We play well when our backs are against the wall” — a quote from JA after last night’s game. Really? What team is he referring to? Our backs have been against the wall for months. And how refreshing was it to have Chelios come out and score the first goal? The power play sucked, Todd White was useless at the net, they couldn’t enter the zone, all shots on goal were one-timers that were scooped up by the CBJ goalie like a mother catching her toddler while taking its first steps—-typical typical Thrashers. Just another day.

I’ll skip all the fire DWad, dump JA, etc. because it gets said plenty. However, if Antropov doesn’t emerge next year will a C on his sweater, then I really will be pissed. Last night, he alone played with fire. Gotta love that!

Bob

March 12th, 2010
1:55 pm

“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.”

I hear that and mabye I am confusing you guys with the use of “tank”. I don’t want them to, and don’t think that the players would “go in the tank” and intentionally lose. What I mean is my/your expectations? I mean, would you prefer as a fan they try their hardest and win more games and just miss the playoffs or would you prefer they try just as hard yet lose those same games? I prefer the losing now as if we’re not in the playoffs, I’d at least like a better draft position.

moriler

March 12th, 2010
1:59 pm

as mentioned above, being closer to the bottom makes it harder to sign free agents. players don’t view free agency as their chance to sign with a bottom-dweller, they want to go somewhere they have a chance to win. teams that are barely out of the playoffs and fighting for it look like they need just one more piece, and that caters to a player’s ego (”I could be what pushes them over the top!”). Teams like Edmonton, well… let’s just say I don’t see them making any big splash in the offseason.

Rawhide

March 12th, 2010
2:14 pm

well… let’s just say I don’t see them making any big splash in the offseason.

OK…”I don’t see them making any big splash in the offseason”. :cool:

R. Stroz

March 12th, 2010
2:17 pm

Bob – Yes, that was me with the BULLHORN in Section 222 on Sunday. Hopefully, I provided Section 122 with some form of entertainment as the Thrashers failed to do so.

As my AT&T DSL and land line have been out since SUNDAY and were only restored this morning, I haven’t been able to blog lately.

If Don Waddell loses his job with the ASG, he would fit in well with the new AT&T.

rob

March 12th, 2010
2:25 pm

moriler,
I agree and it might make the younger guys that much more hungry and play harder next year.

On another note, if Kane makes it back for any games, I would like to see him play with Pevs and Arty. Might make for some interesting hockey. Anyone else think Armstrong looks a little lost like he did through the middle of the season previous to being put with Slater/Kane? I’ve seen him on odd man rushes twice where he turned it over and we didn’t even get a shot let alone a scoring chance.

Red Light

March 12th, 2010
2:30 pm

Ben Tweets: “Looks like cratches tonight will be Marty Reasoner, Slava Kozlov and Mark Popovic. It sounds like Johan Hedberg will be in goal again as the Thrashers try to grab some desperately needed points from the Rangers.”

Chelios will visit with Buck and Kincade at 4:40 pm. Just so you know, he might be a little late getting to the phone, similar to the failed pinch last night.

Rawhide

March 12th, 2010
2:33 pm

I like putting Moose back in the net…especially given that 2 of the 3 games played against the Rangers this season have gone to a shootout. Like Kozlov being out too…

But if Reasoner is an HS, then that means Anderson is …ahem…waiving the White flag again tonight.

moriler

March 12th, 2010
2:35 pm

I don’t think Reasoner is an “H” part at all of “HS”. :) Good to see Kozzie getting the foot in favor of R2 again though; the guy is just ridiculous when playing along the boards. I keep thinking he’s going to get a penalty called on him for boarding, and then I realize he just pushed the guy with one arm.

moriler

March 12th, 2010
2:36 pm

(”I see what you did there.”)

Bob

March 12th, 2010
2:50 pm

stroz, you had the guys in my section cracking up all game, it was the best entertainment that day. Let’s pray for a better effort tonight.

Is White really a better option than Kozlov? I’d rather have Kozlov for the mere possibility of getting into the shootout.

moriler

March 12th, 2010
3:01 pm

White knows his next stop is the waiver wire unless he shapes up. Kozlov has a full career already behind him. I’d bet on the former to put out more effort than the latter.

Tom

March 12th, 2010
3:14 pm

Kozlov also has the good will of the hockey community. He will land somewhere else after 73 points last season and the impression being stuck with the Thrashers. White on the other hand is known throughout the league as…

…Charmin.

rob

March 12th, 2010
3:14 pm

And Kozlov took that stupid slash after losing on the boards last night which negated what would have been a nice odd man rush led by Slater I believe. Glad to see Arty size back on the ice again, the guy is a monster…just gotta keep silly penalties which may in fact be due to the size and speed difference instead of actually being guilty?

J.B.

March 12th, 2010
3:19 pm

i was kinda p.o.’d artykhin was scratched last night. i really like him on this team so far. dude goes to the net when everyone keeps shooting from the circles or even the damned blueline. TAKE IT TO THE NET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tom

March 12th, 2010
3:28 pm

What scares me is that the Thrashers have the look of a team playing out the string…

There has to be a fire inside that drives these men to play their hearts out. Methinks the Thrashers comfort zone is what we have seen the last 4 games. They are proved that they could play without Ilya, now they are just playing within themselves.

As some have said, the team is full of players that have not played for winners. That heart, that fire, that motivation is lacking.

Nikita

March 12th, 2010
3:43 pm

Stroz, was it really necessary to be such a dick because I said White played “fine”? He did — he played fine in comparison to a number of people in the lineup ahead of him. He didn’t play “great” or “awesome,” nor was he supposed to be the great savior of the team. He played “fine.” Plus it’s not really accurate to say that White is why we’re losing — we’re losing because White isn’t a substitute for the people he replaced. But did you expect him to be?

As for Koz vs. White, I agree that Koz is needed in the shootout. But I think he’s being benched for a lot of reasons that also make sense. And White plays, I suspect, because his attitude is better, since the break he’s been break even or better, he pulls a few more minutes of ice time, and he helps the team during regulation on special teams and at the faceoff. I don’t see any reason to play either, though, if we’ve got enough depth to cover the positions.

…and that’s the problem: we don’t have the depth. A rookie with a smushed foot some guys off the lowest lines shouldn’t be affecting us so much. But they do, because we have so many injured players and were so tentatively competitive before the various players went down.

I don’t know why Artyukhin would be scratched. I’d definitely rather see him in the lineup than some others.

And thanks on the Grant Lewis — guess I’ll book a trip to Hershey.

J.B.

March 12th, 2010
3:49 pm

Midfield

March 12th, 2010
3:50 pm

Err, Rob, if Kozlov did not slash the guy at the boards, the puck would not slide over for the odd-man rush. Not that I think Kozlov should have taken the penalty. I’d prefer for him to lift the guy’s stick – but Kozlov as of now is not good at the boards anymore.

Lee

March 12th, 2010
4:23 pm

It’s kinda cloudy outside…no not just the weather, playoffs.

Brendan

March 12th, 2010
4:35 pm

Bob, I’ve got you down for “never” on the Waddell contract signing. Remember, the source of the information on Waddell’s contract expiring is Forbes Magazine. The team’s internal policy is to not divulge, nor discuss the contracts of the GM, Head Coach, Assistant Coaches, etc.

But just about every other team makes that information available at their websites. Some even include salary information. If I know Waddell, his contract DOES expire in April or even June, but if he isn’t removed from the position, an automatic renewal kicks in. As in, if not fired, the contract automatically extends itself.

I tell you this. I think Waddell will be extended. I think they’ll offer a 2-year deal. I’ve never quite seen a situation in sports where the ownership feared losing its GM. The Spirit, LLC loves Waddell. He’s exactly what they want. I don’t know how the Spirit, LLC would HANDLE IT … if Waddell up and quit. I think they’d be scared to death to run a hockey franchise without him. And kudos to Waddell for thusly hoodwinking them, to keep his job. Other GM would love to attend the Waddell Seminar on how to keep your job without getting any real results. Don Waddell has the only civil service job in the NHL.

Forever Linked

March 12th, 2010
5:14 pm

For entertainment purposes only.

Tonight, it’s a meeting of the by-products of the great hockey minds tonight: Don Waddell vs. Glen Sather.

Lets take a look back at the history of the Broadway Bungler and the Peachtree Pinhead, two GMs linked together forever. Sather took the Rangers’ job, June 1, 2000, while Waddell took the reins in Atlanta June 24, 1998.

Both were on the job a few years before they became linked, but they made up for lost time.

The Trades
At the 2005 NHL Entry Lockout Draft in Ottawa, the Sharks acquired the 8th overall selection from the Atlanta Thrashers in exchange for the 12th overall selection, a second round selection (Chad Denny) and a seventh round selection (Myles Stoesz).

The Sharks drafted Devin Setogouchi and the Thrashers traded down again, swapping the 12th pick for the 16th and 41st picks with the Rangers. The Rangers drafted Marc Staal, while Atlanta drafted Alex Bourret and Ondrej Pavelec.

In 2007, Sather acquired Pascal Dupuis from Minnesota for Adam Hall on Feb. 9 and 18 days later swapped Dupuis and a third-round pick (later traded by Waddell to Pittsburgh for Chris Thorburn while the Pens selected Robert Bortuzzo) for Bourret. Sather then traded Bourret to Phoenix for a 3rd-round pick in in 2008 (Tomas Kundratek).

A year later, Waddell dealt Dupuis and Marian Hossa to Pittsburgh for Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen, Angelo Esposito and Daultan Leveille.

Christensen was subsequently dealt by Waddell to Anaheim in March 2009 for prospect Eric O’Dell.

The Claims
Sather claimed Christenson off waivers in Dec. 2009

Back to 2007, on Jan. 12, Sather claimed center Jason Krog off waivers from the Thrashers and waived him Feb. 26, 2007. Waddell re-claimed him off waivers the next day.

Free Agency
In the free agent market, Waddell didn’t learn from Sather’s questionable acumen.

In August 2005, Waddell signed former Rangers pirate Bobby Holik as an unrestricted free agent thus ending the wrath of Rangers fans everywhere who liked Holik’s style of play but not his hefty price tag. Despite resting in Wyoming during the lockout instead of playing in Europe, Waddell signed Holik for $4 million per year, three days after Sather exercised the buyout option on Holik’s contract.

Not to be outdone, one month later Waddell signed goaltender Mike Dunham, who had been with the Rangers. The following July (2006) Waddell also signed center Steve Rucchin, who had been with the New York Rangers. And, last season, Sather acquired Nik Antropov from Toronto, who at the time was making $2.15 million, and then lost the unrestricted free agent to Waddell, who signed Antropov for an average cap hit of $4.062 million for four seasons. So far, that makes Waddell 1-for-4 with Rangers’ free agent cast-offs.

Finally, both GMs have taken their turn behind the bench during their tenures. The Rangers have never finished higher than 3rd in its division, have surpassed 90 points four times (one season with 100) and have made the playoffs four times winning two series. The Thrashers have finished 1st once, 2nd once, 3rd once, 4th three times and 5th once. They have reached the 90-point mark twice.

Should be a great game!

Kate Gosselin

March 12th, 2010
5:43 pm

If I can raise eight great kids, have a wonderful marriage and dance with the stars, then SURELY the Thrashers can make the playoffs!

Brendan

March 12th, 2010
5:57 pm

Forever Linked, nice work!

Thrashers27

March 12th, 2010
6:11 pm

Anyone else think it’s silly to keep Pavelec here if coach has no faith in him? At least bring up oen of the kids in Chicago to see if they have any success.

Nikita

March 12th, 2010
6:27 pm

Yes, I think that. I think Pavs may be a great goalie some day — and that day is not today, or this year.

rob

March 12th, 2010
6:52 pm

Midfield, guess I missed it, thought the puck had already squirted up the boards and the slash was retaliatory for being bumped off the puck, so Errr, thanks. Stupid penalty non the less I believe

MB

March 12th, 2010
7:10 pm

Brendan, I believe you were of the opinion that we’d have a better gauge of the effects of the Kovalchuk trade after 12 games or so. If that’s the case, I think tonight marks the 12th game.

To me, it’s hard to say whether we’re better or worse…both before and after, I think it’s fair to say we are/were an incomplete team, though one with some nice pieces upon which to build. I hated to lose Kovy and even Salmela (meaning we now have nothing from the Havelid trade), but Bergfors has been terrific and Oduya solid.

The team played well in the games immediately following the trade, possibly the effect of adrenaline/show ‘em what ya got enthusiasm, and has since spit the bit in its quest for the playoffs. Kane’s absence tilted the fragile balance of the team towards the negative and in recent games they look lost without a go-to player, and their overall lack of talent/experience has been evident.

Moving forward, we’re closer to being in the bottom 5 for the draft lottery than we are to securing a playoff spot. Whether you advocate “tanking” or not, a fairly tough schedule, a 37-year-old backup goalie, and lack of inspired play all point to a downward trend. If that transpires, then we potentially would have a top 5 pick (yet again), a nice core of young, talented players, and a whole lot of cap space entering free agency (though there aren’t too many saviors there this year…and unless significant changes are made in management, who would want to come here?). Despite my disappointment in how things have gone this year, I think there are reasons to be optimistic for the future…but only if certain things change to alter the perception (and reality) of this organization (and I think you know what I’m talking about).

Tony C.

March 12th, 2010
7:16 pm

eh. I’m going to work. At least Kamal will make it seem like a hockey game is being played.

P.S. I don’t know what O-P did to p!ss everybody off, but I seriously doubt the whole “ride the Moose” plan-the man just hits a wall every 5th game. No knock on him, but it happens.

kracker

March 12th, 2010
7:51 pm

gag! Moose simply has to stop that one! Saw it all the way but his glove is too slow.

kracker

March 12th, 2010
7:52 pm

Just as I hit ’submit’ Gaborik scores to make it 0-2 :(

Tom

March 12th, 2010
8:03 pm

The Fat Lady is Singing…

Tom

March 12th, 2010
8:04 pm

Hey, Rawhide, Failblog is calling and want the Thrashers to be their official team…

stendek

March 12th, 2010
8:17 pm

Players don’t tank, ever, so don’t bother there…Moriler.

Hey Moriler. You watching the game? The Thrashers are officially in the tank! Trailing Ranjerks 3-0 after one period. On Loseland ice! In front of the one remaining Thrasher fan! Would call these quitters heartless but that would be too much of a compliment. Not even fit to be referred to as commode residue! Johan Lehtonen has also gone into the tank with his fellow uncaring losers. Cannot say that I blame him. Tough being the only one that cares loss after loss after loss. Speaking of losses. This is about to be the fifth in a row. Five! So much for that March To Playoffs baloney. Like Hike To Hamilton promo much better! Sad. Truly want Thrashers to relocate. Until they do Atlanta will never have a winning hockey team! Will not miss them. Not one tiny bit! That is the truly tragic part. ++STENDEK++ Who is this Todd Nelson? He is an idiot too!

Joyaman

March 12th, 2010
8:27 pm

If I see another glass-half-full post I’m going to puke. This team is playing to level of its talent. Sure this roster shouldn’t be going on skids like they are right now, but niether should we expect that this team of below-average talent sprinkled with prospects here and there is capable of ripping off five or six wins in a row either.

Don Waddell put this leaderless squad together with numerous unrelated, non-congruent moves and draft picks that might only look like good when viewed in isolation. Why should we be shocked when they go limp as they are right now? In order to win, this team needs to show up for 60 minutes EVERY night. Even then, the talent level will not support consistent winning, let alone regular playoff appearances.

When will this town, this ownership and the frigging sheep that keep subsidizing this farce of a franchise wake up and realize that the man at the controls, Don Waddell, needs to be removed? I’m a life-long hockey fan, who worked with 11 different NHL teams over a 13-year span. If it wasn’t for Center Ice, I’d be taking valium right now. This is not an NHL-caliber hockey team and it never will be with Waddell in control.

stendek

March 12th, 2010
8:45 pm

Sign the Hanson brothers! At least teams that whip Thrasher butt will have discomfort with bumps, bruises, black eyes and black and blue marks. Think team uniforms should be pink. Match way these sissies play. If play is indeed the proper word to use here! ++STENDEK++

Sage of Bluesland

March 12th, 2010
8:46 pm

That was spot-on, Joyaman. Spot-on. Too bad they don’t listen–and learn.

LAC

March 12th, 2010
9:01 pm

Boy, ACC Basketball is really good, Thrashers are going drown the drain as USUAL.

Another NON-playoff year, more LIES from Stupid waddell and people continue to support this
team, No Heart, No Grit and NO Hope at all.

Just everyone watch, I bet Edmonton might just catch us and we will be LAST yet again in the NHL !

Boy, how much longer can this franchise & Fans put up with waddell and his BS… People it has to STOP, Some way…. Some How !

Great season “don” are we moving “forward” yet ? More like down the toilet, After ten years, we are not one bit better than when we were an expansion team, Just Unreal to say the least and the Master of Disaster is STILL here to Destroy NHL hockey here once again.
Go To Hell waddell and BURN !!!!!!!

Tom Lysiak

March 12th, 2010
9:17 pm

Sage and Joyaman, I stayed home tonight rather than subsidizing the franchise. I know the ASG missed me. Just curious, should I expect Waddell to be fired tonight or will it be tomorrow morning?

Joyaman

March 12th, 2010
9:21 pm

lol. wonder what the actual paid attendance is this year? has to under 10K.

Joyaman

March 12th, 2010
9:22 pm

Sunday’s game was really sad. All those kids in the building and they e-mailed it in.

stendek

March 12th, 2010
9:27 pm

What John Petrino will say in a few minutes:

“Disappointing loss. Played real hard in second period. Goaltender had some bad bounces. Thought team did some things well. Tough to lose points. Have to get off to better start. Cannot get behind early then expect to come back. Never gave up. Have to start playing better. Need to start collecting points.”

Or words to that effect!

++STENDEK++

Tom Lysiak

March 12th, 2010
9:27 pm

Could not agree more about Sunday’s game.

Sage of Bluesland

March 12th, 2010
9:28 pm

Congratulations, Tom Lysiak–you’ve taken your first step away from being a pathetic, forlorn–and shorn, sheep!!!

I’ll tell ya’ what–you get enough of your friends to follow suit and I’ll GUARANTEE (in my best blustering/sniveling Waddell-impersonation you can imagin) that DW will be fired…

I GUARANTEE it!!!

Deal?

Joyaman

March 12th, 2010
9:36 pm

I wonder who taught the Thrash Morse Code? They’re so good at telegraphing their shots.

Midfield

March 12th, 2010
9:44 pm

I may have been wrong. Kovalchuk ist still a distraction: 1 goal, 2 assists, +2 for a win by NJ. I have an idea: let’s renew Don Waddell’s contract – make it a life contract. That’ll show him.

Joyaman

March 12th, 2010
9:53 pm

It’s amazing how much Eliot and McConnell are such homers. Anytime something goes right, no matter what the score, they start their conjecture and what-ifs? Do they realize that it’s Lundquist in goal?

Joyaman

March 12th, 2010
9:54 pm

Hey Sage, I guess you could call them the Shepherds, eh?