Thrashers playoff hopes on life support after overtime loss in Pittsburgh

If the Thrashers slim playoff hopes were in serious condition coming into the game in Pittsburgh Saturday afternoon…they are now on life support after blowing a lead late in the third and then losing 4-3 to the Penguins in overtime.

The Thrashers had lead 3-2 late in the game and help 1-goal leads three times in the game…1-0 , 2-1 and 3-2.

 With the score 3-2, Jimmy Slater was whistled for a holding call with 2:27 left and the Penguins capitalized on Sergei Gonchar’s power play goal with just 1:14 left before the period ended. The Thrashers then watched the much-needed second point skate away with the Penguins as Jordan Leopold scored 2:50 into the extra time…Sidney Crosby set up the goal with his 3rd assists on the day.

Maxim Afinogenov opened the scoring with 48 second remaining in the first period. It was his 24th of the year, setting a new career mark for goals scored. That’s right…24 goals from a player so “hurting” to sign with a team last summer that he came here for a measly $800,000.

Nicely done, Max!

After Evgeni Malkin tied the score at the 12:05 mark of the second, Tim Stapleton scored his second goal for the Thrashers…just two days after scoring his first. Pittsburgh struck again early in the third on Tyler Kennedy’s 12th of the season, but Rich Peverley put Atlanta up 3-2 just 1:04 later. It was number 22 for the Pevs Dispenser.

Johan Hedberg stopped 31 of the 35 shots he faced and his record is now 10-15-6 on the season.

Two of the Penguins goals came with a Thrasher sitting in the sin-bin, snapping Atlanta’s steak of nine games without surrendering a power play goal…they were 23 for 23 during those games and coming into today’s game had killed off 25 straight since last allowing a power play goal in the first period of their 4-3 win over Buffalo back on March 16.

Going into the today’s game, the Pens and Devils were ties for the Atlantic Division lead with identical 4-26-7 records. The Devils will play tonight against the Hurricanes in an attempt to equal Pittsburgh’s result this afternoon and remain deadlocked with the Pens. The two will not play each other in the remaining four games left on the schedule.

With the consolation overtime loser point, the Thrashers now have 81 for the season. This means the most they can amass is 87…and that’s only if they win all three of the remaining games on the schedule starting Tuesday when the New Jersey Devils and Ilya Kovalchuk come to town. But by that time, it could be all but over for the Thrashers ever-fading playoff aspirations.

The Canadiens have 84 going into tonight’s game against the Sabres and win there would give them 86. They will then travel to Long Island on Tuesday. Three points earned in those two games would mathematically eliminate the Thrashers from being able to finish as high as 6th in the conference.

Boston has 82 points with two games before Tuesday night…Toronto tonight and Washington on Monday. And the Flyers go into tomorrow afternoon’s game with the Red Wings also with 82 points…they will play in Toronto on Tuesday evening.

And then the Rangers will play in Florida tonight. New York will look to take over sole possession of ninth place with a win against the Panthers…moving the Thrashers to tenth in the Eastern Conference.

Going into tonight’s action…Montreal and Philly have four more games while Boston and the Rangers have five. Atlanta has three.

So…the Thrashers aren’t officially “dead” yet…but they are on life support, in serious need of help, the family has been called to the room, a priest has been called and the bugler stands by to play taps.

172 comments Add your comment

Brendan

April 3rd, 2010
11:27 pm

R.Stroz, I can agree with you on the Lehtonen trade to an extent. I’ll agree that … Atlanta took all the risk with Lehtonen, and didn’t get the reward. For that, they look “dumb.” If Lehtonen flourishes elsewhere, be that in Dallas or anywhere else, they can thank the Atlanta Thrashers for years in Chicago (AHL) and NHL getting him ready for THEIR club. But, here’s where I disagree with you on the “Coburn for Zhitnik” front. Coburn was not a certified “bust.” Coburn played 5-6 minutes a game. Coburn was never given a proper opportunity here. The same cannot be said of Lehtonen. Lehtonen was given “every opportunity” here. Kari kept having injury issues. Kari kept having “mental meltdowns.” Coburn, at times, looked “lost.” For sure. But he wasn’t developed in Atlanta’s system. I don’t even think Coburn knew what Atlanta’s system was. In the case of the Coburn for Zhitnik trade, the goal was shortterm gain to make the playoffs. It did work on that front. Zhitnik stabilized the power play unit. He logged the top minutes. Etc. Now, a 35-year old for a 22-year old, on paper, is a pretty bad move. I forget what he got for Lehtonen. I think it was some defenseman prospect. If that blueliner turns into something decent, then the Kari trade made some sense. I don’t have a problem with Kari being traded. I have a problem with the decision to make Moose, a 37-year old career backup, the #1 goalie, instead of moving him for whatever the market would bear, plus picking up Roloson or Biron. Bygones.

R.Stroz, if Kari flourishes elsewhere … it will make Atlanta look rather foolish. Personally, I think the Lehtonen trade was made in anger. Waddell hung his hat on this kid. And he laid an egg, time and time again. Game Three of the NY Rangers vs. the Thrashers saw Kari lose, 7-0. For all I know, Waddell attempted to trade Kari right then, finding no suitors. Shrugs. I don’t know.

LAC

April 3rd, 2010
11:56 pm

Well sisu… You know NOTHING about what is going on in KC.

The Independence Arena, a NEW facility, SEATS, now get this sisu, The arena SEATS 7,500.

That is THE total seating of the arena for hockey… They DO NOT play in the Sprint Center and they are in the Low Central Hockey League.

So know what YOU are talking about sisu, you looked really really STUPID on my first comment !

I bet they move to KC….

Brendan

April 3rd, 2010
11:58 pm

I’ve always said there are certain teams we must compare ourselves with. Columbus, Phoenix, Buffalo, Nashville, Los Angeles, Carolina, Tampa Bay, etc. Columbus took a big step backwards this year. Phoenix came outta nowhere. Buffalo got back into the playoffs. L.A.’s longterm (8-year plan) will result in playoffs this year, more than likely. Carolina … believe it or not, can still catch Atlanta. But this is an injury-plagued year. We saw what the ‘Canes could do, when healthy. Florida missed the playoffs again, and could, theoretically, finish 15th in the East. And finally, I want to discuss Tampa Bay.

At #15 is Toronto. But it very well could be Tampa Bay who finished last in the East. Toronto and Carolina continue to play well. The NY Islanders keep winning. So, what does this say about the Bolts? Stop. In 2008, TB picked 1st overall. They took Stamkos. Atlanta picked 3rd overall. We picked Bogosian. In 2009, Tampa Bay picked 2nd overall. They picked Viktor Hedman. Atlanta picked 4th overall, we took Evander Kane.

Atlanta is 10th. Tampa Bay is 14th. Who is winning? Actually, we are. Believe it or not. If Tampa Bay gets back into the lottery draft, they could add another significant piece.

LAC

April 3rd, 2010
11:59 pm

Oh sisu, They had 25 sellouts out of like 35 games… Not bad I’d say !!!!

There has never been anything about the Chief’s moving… What gave YOU that CRAZY notion ?!!!!

John A.

April 4th, 2010
12:14 am

“I offered that #6 would be Philly, #7 would be Boston, and #8 would the NY Rangers. And that Montreal would finish 9th and Atlanta 10th. Well, swap Philly with Montreal, and I woulda nailed it.”

So Brendan, when did the season end? Aren’t you congratulating yourself for your semi-prowess a little prematurely?

stendek or stendec or stenDICK or however you’re spelling it today: In a world as complicated and unforgiving as the one we find ourselves in today, I find it hard, even impossible, to believe that nobody has ever told you to go fyourself or just flat-out Steven Seagal punched you right square between the eyes. You have that unique quality about you.

R. Stroz

April 4th, 2010
12:20 am

Brendan – My points on the Lehtonen trade being a potentialy “bigger brainfart” than the Coburn trade are as follows:

1) Kari has the talent to be a star in the NHL whereas Coburn, at best, will be a better than average, not a great, defensemen.

2) Kari may have finally overcome his physical woes with his back that would allow him to train properly.

3) Kari never had a real goalie coach. If you’re going to draft a young goalie based on talent, you better have the staff to develop the rest of his game.

4) Goalies are notorious for being “late bloomers.”

5) If Kari started playing well after adjusting his timing due to his injury time off, he could “win the team’s confidence in him.” This would be analogous to winning back fans by winning games.

6) I just think that given the amount of time the Thrashers had put into developing Kari, the Thrashers would have been better off using their remaining year of RFA status to see if he panned out once and for all.

7) Now, we are back to square one, developing a young goalie, Pavelec, without a real goalie coach and using a good career back up goalie as our number one goalie. At the end of the day, I don’t see how the goalie situation has been improved. In fact, it just seems like deja vu all over again.

What’s the definition of insanity again?

thrasherdawg

April 4th, 2010
1:00 am

The NHL has to do something about the officiating. They make a call on Slater with 2:27 to go, in a 1 goal game. The play was harmless…I actually thought they were calling interference on Pittsburg. As a fan, that spends alot of money on tickets every year, it is unacceptable that a referee can dictate the outcome of a game and in this situation maybe a season.

Crosby slew footed Bogs…nothing…moments later Bogs gets a penality for interference with the puck at his feet. Are you kidding me?

An example: 10 seconds after regulation in the Boston / Toronto game a Boston player flat out punches a Toronto player (in the face) with the referee stading two feet away, no call. The Boston annoucer politely states that there is no way a referee would give a penality, with the game going into overtime and with play-off implications. Slater is chancing a harmless loose puck and gets called for a penality.

And I thought the NHL wanted to keep teams in the southern market.

Can you imagine if we somehow tied with the Rangers or Philly for 8th and lose the tiebreaker? We would not be in the playoffs all because of a refs call.

Brendan

April 4th, 2010
1:01 am

John A., you got me. I didn’t add, “so far.” Or “as of now.” And, of course, the NY Rangers aren’t in yet. :oops:

Brendan

April 4th, 2010
1:28 am

Well, those are good points, R.Stroz. My favorite being #6. My argument for keeping Kari was that he still had value as a backup (playing 20-25 games or so). I cannot imagine that Hedberg is really going to be back next year. And, might I add, that I’m saying that as a fan of his. I like Hedberg. He’s one of my all-time favorite Thrashers. If we could keep 3 goalies again next year, thennnn yesssss, I’d like to keep him. But I saw Lehtonen-Pavelec as the “1-2″ punch, at least based on our draft history.

But, I must add that, I was fine with the Kari trade, provisionally. And the provision was … that we got an established #1 goalie in here. At a bare bones minimum for the playoff push. But we didn’t do that. I thought we would. Instead, we “rented” Moose.

On the Coburn front, I think he logs something like 20-22 minutes a game for Philly. He might be far from the league’s premier defensemen, but he certainly carries his weight. I think. But we had no idea Coburn was capable of that, when we traded him for Zhitnik. Some said, “He’s already a bust. Nice salvage job.” That wasn’t my view. I know that defensemen, like goaltenders, take a little longer to develop. I was surprised that we quit on the kid so soon.

And speaking of “dejavu all over again,” it brings me back to the point I harp on all the time. Why … did we draft … a goalie … with pick #2?? Knowing he’d take 5 years to develop?? It just didn’t add up. And the only explanation I can fathom … is that Waddell went to ownership asking to claim Cujo off waivers, when Hasek UN-retired in Detroit. Or to go after Arturs Irbe, or Nabakov, or Belfour, or Khabibulin out on the free agent market. But that ownership said, “No Don!! You want a goalie?? Go draft one!!” Well, if that were really the case, I can see Waddell’s hands being tied. But I don’t rightly know what the truth was. I suspect it was just the usual Waddell ineptness on display.

Remember, R.Stroz, I was “late” to the party … realizing that Don Waddell was not living up to his hype. I suspected something was wrong when Audette, Brunette, and Staios left. But I chalked it up, at the time, to the team trying to save its money for when Heatley and Kovalchuk were coming into their SuperStar status years. But even so, the Thrashers were playing a game of “zero sum” economics. What does that mean? It means … they’d lose a piece … to attempt to replace it. Well, even if you do accomplish that, you’re right back to where you started. When, I thought, the goal was to BUILD on the existing roster. In other words, we KEEP Audette, Brunette, Staios, Ferraro, Buzek, while adding Ilya Nikulin, Ilya Kovalchuk, Dany Heatley, Marc Savard, Nic Havelid, Libor Ustrunul, Michael Garnett, etc.

But all the talk was … as fueled by John Kincade at the time, “Atlanta’s got the best Under 25 talent in the NHL, per the Hockey News.” Callers to 680TheFan tried to point out to the host, “They just mean Heatley, Kovalchuk, and Lehtonen.” Then Heatley was traded. Then Lehtonen’s groin was torn. And those early draft picks didn’t bear fruit (Stefan). In some cases, they never even reported. (Nikulin.)

Brendan

April 4th, 2010
1:42 am

Tony C., no answer to the question, “What is Thrashers Hockey?” speaks to the GM position. He had a decade to implement some sort of “vision.” As near as I can tell it was … “let’s just play defense-optional hockey, trying to flood the net with pucks. Goals are what make hockey exciting, to the fan. We’ll always be in the upper third of the league for goal production.” Well, I think we’ve seen the results of that. If that was Waddell’s “vision,” his vision was flawed from inception. That he didn’t read and adjust it … is mind-boggling.

Hotrod

April 4th, 2010
8:06 am

URM…. Now thats funny! an RIP to a remote control….nice

jimbo

April 4th, 2010
8:13 am

Brendan- RIGHT ON MAN. For the decade, Donnie Brilliance has called defensive, trap oriented hockey “boring”. But, what are all of us railing for in our posts “WINS, WINS, WINS”. All his bonehead moves have produced in 10 years are a few flashes of brilliance and many, many years of frustration. Someone ought to write a book about his ability to last for 10 years in such a high profile position with NO VISION, NO STRATEGY, NO MEASURABLE RESULTS. Absolutely unbelievable!!!!!

Red Light

April 4th, 2010
8:24 am

Come on guys, Lehtonen’s potential to be a top-flight NHL goaltender was hindered by injuries, and/or his unwillingness to dedicate himself to being in sound physical condition. Injuries happen, and while talented DiPietro and Lehtonen have missed too many games to be considered top-flight goalies. And, as a result both the Isles and the Thrashers overpaid for their services. Bygones.

1/24/2010 Assigned to Chicago (AHL) on a conditioning assignment.
9/16/2009 Back surgery, sidelined indefinitely.
4/11/2009 Missed 6 games (upper body injury).
12/20/2008 Missed 21 games (back injury).
11/26/2007 Missed 16 games (groin) and assigned to Chicago (AHL).
4/18/2006 Missed the last 6 games of the regular season (sprained ankle).
12/26/2005 Missed 35 games (groin)

Rhodes, Hnilicka, Tabaracci, Dafoe, Dunham, Nurminen, Lehtonen, Pavelec, Maracle, Shields, Garnett, Langkow, Fankhouser, Cassivi, Berkhoel, Hedberg and Pavelec all played 1 or more games in Atlanta.

The constant presence during the entire time of those 17 goalies? Don Waddell and Steve Weeks. Lets just leave it at that!

Kovy's Agent

April 4th, 2010
8:29 am

Waddell wanted to emulate the offensive-finesse system they had in Detroit but alas one needs talent, and top-tier at that, to make that system work. I remember DW saying before year one that the Thrashers would be an offensive-oriented team, not the dull defensive-oriented stye that populated much of hockey back then. Well, easier said than done. And as Brendan mentioned, DW never wavered from that emphasis. Imagine if they had gone to a bruising, we may not be the most talented team but we’ll punish you physically, brand of hockey it would have played much better to the football-focused south patron instead of this finesse oriented, European-style of play.

dandylions

April 4th, 2010
8:56 am

I never win anything

World Be Free

April 4th, 2010
9:13 am

Heat Miser and five_hole-I hate to say the refs played a significant role, but that Crosby non-call and a few others are typical of the refs this season. It was similar in the Detroit-Nashville game. It will get worse next year, with a group of new officials come ito the league. The new refs barely remember when a bad call did not play a crucial role in a game. A better way of saying it-refs, let the players play and call the obvious infractions. These new rules need to be tweaked.

I have one question-where the heck was the winger on Gonchar’s goal? That was a prime shot to the net, uncontested with less than 2 minutes to go. I won’t argue the rest of the game cause it is what it is.

The “factor” with Kovalchuk-we would be in this position if Kovy would have been a man at the beginning of the season and told the Thrashers he was not going to resign under any circumstances. Then we could have made a deal that would have positively impacted this team for an entire season. Kovalchuk was a distraction for 2/3 of the season.

Pittsburgh Pirate Fan

April 4th, 2010
9:25 am

More talk about the Thrashers moving to that great Canadian metropolis-Winnipeg. The drunk was on Hockey Night in Canada last night chirping about Winnipeg again last night.

Folks, the Thrashers at this point have no reason to move from Atlanta. Does ASG want to give up 41 dates in Philips? I doubt it. Most of what you see in the North American media is unsubstantiated rumors. Talking about it now is just a waste of time. Let’s talk about the draft choices that we will blow in the June draft.

Red Light

April 4th, 2010
9:35 am

World Be Free:

I’m pretty sure Kovy let everyone know he wasn’t going to re-sign long before any of the spin manifested itself in the media before the deadline. All the other BS was just smoke and mirrors, trying to save face, etc., in my opinion. In fact, I’ll bet Waddell was aware of it before Dec. 1.

R. Stroz

April 4th, 2010
10:00 am

Red Light – I know DW was aware of it.

The source is an interesting one though. One of the employees at the Team Store told my son that they had stopped making any new Kovalchuk related items around December 1st.

In poker, that’s what we call a tell.

Red Light

April 4th, 2010
10:11 am

R. Stroz: What’s more interesting than the tell is that it took two more months to come up with the right deal. When the Thrashers went on that disastrous streak in December, maybe that was fall-out from all of the other players recognizing that their franchise couldn’t keep the star yet again?

Happy Easter Everyone! Time to go hunt for eggs.

oh no!

April 4th, 2010
10:14 am

what else is new. the thrash always say games like these are important but they don’t play like its important! Half of the team is filled with slackers. When the good players like max and antropov and kane try to shine the slackers ruin the game for the whole team. Look at the score 3-2. I blame this game on the moose. That was a very very very soft OTgoal he gave up. It at LEAST should have gone to So where the thrashers always have a good chance to win! Dammit thrashers you guys suck!

oh no!

April 4th, 2010
10:16 am

Why are you guys not blaming MOOSE! the soft goal he GAVE UP is the reason our team lost. A goalie ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS has to be alert! Terrible goal given up by a terrible goalie!

HookyBob

April 4th, 2010
11:04 am

Promise, potential, just have patience,…please!!!! There’s always next year (at least so far). We are building,….. we have immense young talent in the system,…. and we have lots of money to spend on critical free agents. That thought is another favor my memory provides as I grow older (no such thing as deja vu here). It is similar to the fact that now, I can also hide my own Easter eggs.

Makes me think the ASG octocluster all have similar memory issues.

Fans, however, have good memories,…and, thanks to Rawhide and his brain trust (you folks), most of it is in writing. I’m thinking this is where the collective opinions/direction of the ASG and the fans diverge.

Where do we, as fans, go from here? In the short term,… I’m looking for a team to follow in the 2nd season. Right now it is the Yotes and Preds,….but any suggestions are welcomed.

HookyBob

April 4th, 2010
11:08 am

Uff,..da. Aproof reader I am not.

Bloggers,..please substitute the word “why” for “where” in the last sentance of my 3rd paragraph.

One true Thrasher fan

April 4th, 2010
11:25 am

How could you watch the playoffs without the Thrashers in it. Shame on all of you.

thrasherdawg

April 4th, 2010
11:33 am

R. Stroz…you may understand poker but you obviously have no understanding of business.

Producing Kovy related items WITHOUT A CONTRACT would be like buying a house you can’t afford because you’re going to get a higher paying job any day now.

Oh, not to mention the basis of your information is from a store clerk? Who heard it from someone, who heard it from someone.

Kovy is about Kovy…he lied, period. All he cared about was being the highest paid player in history. Read the New Jersey Devils blog…the fans can’t stand him. If you didn’t see…he turned the puck over and gave up the winning goal against Boston the other night.

Getting rid of Kovy is the best thing that ever happened to this franchise.

thrasherdawg

April 4th, 2010
11:43 am

Red Light, Kovy a star? Your kidding, right? The New Jersey fans think he’s a liability.

Since the trade Bergfors has 8 goals and Kovy has 9 and Kovy is their key man on the power play. Not to mention Kovy plays on a much better team.

What a deal…almost the same exact production for 6 million dollars less per year. This doesn’t even take into account the other players the Thrashers got.

LAC

April 4th, 2010
12:15 pm

This from the Kansas City NBC outlet KSHB website…

Posted by: Justin Unell
Email: unell@nbcactionnews.com
Last Update: 4/03 11:28 pm

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – We’ve heard this before. But new developments have surfaced concerning Kansas City’s chances of landing an NHL team.

Usually, NHL preseason games are announced by now for next fall. The Sprint Center has announced an NBA preseason game between Miami and Oklahoma City on Oct. 8.

But arena officials are putting three dates in September and October on hold for NHL exhibition games. The dates are Friday, Sept. 24, Friday, Oct. 1 and Saturday, Oct. 2.

“Obviously, teams aren’t going to commit to coming to Kansas City if there is a bigger fish to fry if you will out there as far as an NHL team who might need a runway to land on,” NHL 21 President Paul McGannon said.

McGannon is optimistic that an NHL team could relocate to the metro as soon as next season. The top candidates are the Phoenix Coyotes, New York Islanders and Atlanta Thrashers.

The NHL currently owns the Coyotes. The league is looking to sell the team. That new owner could take the team out of Arizona if the Coyotes’ arena doesn’t have a new lease by June 30.

The Islanders have an outdated arena. The Thrashers are battling unstable ownership.

McGannon leads the local group who’s trying to bring an NHL team to the metro. NBC Action Sports interviewed McGannon about the latest news. To see the interview, just click on the video player.

They are GONE Folks !

Midfield

April 4th, 2010
12:26 pm

“New Jersey fans think that Kovy is a liability.” Although I can’t read minds of the New Jersey fans, last time I checked – about 5 minutes ago – Kovy is a plus player since the trade. Apparently, his advertised unwillingness to play defense could be managed quite well – by the able team management.

R. Stroz

April 4th, 2010
12:27 pm

R. Stroz…you may understand poker but you obviously have no understanding of business.

Wrong.

The Thrashers knew he wasn’t staying much longer and shut down inventory production. The Thrashers knew negotations were kaput.

If you’re mad at Kovy, I can understand your frustration. However, who recruited the top scoring players for the Thrashers this season? Was it Kovy or Waddell?

I think I would point my rage at the GM who hasn’t EVER been able to re-sign a top tier UFA.

BTW, poker and business share a common trait, cost/benefit analysis.

Jameson

April 4th, 2010
12:50 pm

Kovalchuk, Ovechkin, and then Crosby. We’ve got this in the bag.

HookyBob

April 4th, 2010
12:54 pm

Thrashdawg: I like your posts and insight but ,..I have yet to find an instance when poker knowledge does not apply directly to business. I’m fully in step with Stroz’s “tell.”

“Producing Kovy items w/o a contract,…” At the time there was a contract,…through June. In December the ordering of “no more Kovy jersey’s” was, indeed, a leading that indicator of mgmt’s view was that there was no (would be) contract after June. I encourage you to correct my logic failures on this. Keep in mind your corrections must also overcome the fact that Kovy is gone.

Thrashers27

April 4th, 2010
1:11 pm

LAC,

It’s just a press release. Doesn’t mean anything. Anybody can write anything they want and put it into a press release.

The fact still remains that there are too many obstacles to clear and too great of a cost to remove the team from Atlanta, that I can’t imagine it being worth anyone’s while to even try to move the Thrashers.

They will stay.

J-man

April 4th, 2010
1:18 pm

To borrow the Monty Python example used a few days ago, the Thrashers are now “on the cart” and just waiting for the driver to finish them off.

R. Stroz – the odds of Lehtonen consistently staying healthy are quite low. While you may be right, you also run a bigger chance of being wrong than you think. Outside of Atlanta some of the hockey press think that Atlanta stands a chance of winning that trade big time. In another year or two we’ll know.

Thrashers27

April 4th, 2010
1:33 pm

LET’S GO WINGS!!!

World Be Free

April 4th, 2010
2:02 pm

Red Light-I tend to agree with you. But I contend that the cards were on the table before the season. The bar was set when Nash re-upped with Columbus. “We’ felt that he was gone before opening night. This was the time that his value was highest.

Kari-I think Kari’s biggest problems are between his ears, his injuries only intensified the situation. He is a horrible trainer, not commited to getting in shape and staying in shape.

Hey Biltong, how much for the Kovy 3rd jersey?

World Be Free

April 4th, 2010
2:09 pm

Last game of the season for myself and Ms. WBF Tuesday-anyone else going?

R. Stroz

April 4th, 2010
2:09 pm

In another year or two we’ll know.

True, in the meantime, we can only watch and see how things turn out.

However, is our goalie situation any better now than it was at the beginning of the season, or have we just hit the reset button waiting to see how Pavelec develops over the next few seasons?

To me, it just seems like another way to pull out the “wait till next season sign.” We’ve seen that sign for ten years now, going on eleven.

R. Stroz

April 4th, 2010
2:10 pm

WBF – I’ll be in “The Perch.”

Brendan

April 4th, 2010
2:13 pm

So, any Nashville or Phoenix Coyotes fans in the house? Well, if there are, you can rejoice in that Philly is up, 4-2, after two periods vs. Detroit. I do prefer a Coyotes-Predators series to a Yotes-Red Wings series. Detroit has not one, but TWO games-in-hand on Nashville, while only trailing the Preds by 2-points.

Now, as for Thrasher fans … this isn’t good. If Philly holds on for this win, Atlanta’s failure to hang on to that lead against Pittsburgh is essentially the death knell for this season.

This offseason, like every offseason, is another critical opportunity for this franchise to take STEP #1 towards legitimacy, by firing Waddell. My guess of April 1, 2010, has passed for Waddell’s contract. YungJBfrom MTL is next on the clock, at April 15, 2010. And if Anderson has to join Waddell, then so be it. The next GM will want to name his own Head Coach anyway.

Brendan

April 4th, 2010
2:16 pm

R.Stroz is right … we began the year waiting on Lehtonen. We endured the criticism of those who said, “You can’t carry three goalies.” Moose and Pavelec were SUPPOSED to be temporary stopgap to the goaltending situation. The reality was … they were the tandem all year long! Oh, yes, the organization flirted with Manny Legace, but he wound up in Carolina.

This offseason, we must go find a #1 goalie. That has to be on the shopping list. If we have to get one via trade, then I suppose that’s the last resort.

Brendan

April 4th, 2010
2:25 pm

dandylions, you’re a winner just for trying. There’ll be another contest next year. And the votes won’t be due until “puck drop” in October 2010. Good luck to you, sir. Keep an eye out on the offseason moves, then make your best guess.

Jameson

April 4th, 2010
2:31 pm

Datsyuk scores!!! I think this is the first game I’ve ever rooted for the Red Wings to win.

Jameson

April 4th, 2010
2:35 pm

It looks like if we’re going to pluck a #1 from free agency our best bets will go with either Nabokov or Mason. Are there any teams with two potential #1s signed through next season?

Brendan

April 4th, 2010
2:59 pm

It’s 4-3 now, still in favor of Philly over Detroit.

Switching gears, I accept that Kovalchuk is gone. But if Kovy actually expressed interest in re-signing here, and in a responsible way, I’d think we’d be foolish not to consider it. He is a six time 40-goal scorer. The issue with Kovy, professionally, is his defense. If we get a Coach and GM that will force him to play defense … or be benched or traded, then everything might turn up roses.

For me, I think the Kovy issue was all about not wanting to waste his prime years in Atlanta, with Waddell and Spirit running things. But stop to imagine if THAT obstacle were no longer there? Let’s say Arthur Blank owns the team, and he puts Steve Yzerman in as GM, and Guy Carbonneau to coach it. Well, doesn’t that change things? Yes, yes it would. Different ownership. Different management. Different Coach. New “winning” environment over that of a “losing status quo,” saturated with indifference. Kovy owns a house here. Correctly, he owns a palace/mansion here. And, apparently, his plan is to live here for the rest of his days. Ask him if he’d like to play in the city where he lives, Kovy would probably say, “Yes.” But he can’t do that. Not, as it stands now, with the Great Octocluster and their lameduck GM.

I would credit Kovy will getting Max Afinogenov and Nik Antropov to sign here. I never quite looked into Nikki Zherdev’s KHL numbers this year. But if he’s interested in returning to the NHL, I wonder what Antro and Max would have to say about recruiting him. Although, that’s not a defensive acquisition. That’s another defensive liability.

When a team’s identity is most closely tied to being on the lottery draft stage, like Atlanta’s is, it’s tough to land unrestricted Tier I free agents. The Tier II free agents have to sign where their offers come. See “Ron Hainsey.” They get paid, but they aren’t, necessarily, where they want to be. They’re just getting paid better. For me, as I ponder the offseason moves, I’m only and exclusively looking at Tier II free agents. When Atlanta targets a Tier I, they use our bid to drive up the cost of their intended destination. See Brian Campbell in Chicago. I’m done playing that game. Let’s just look at the Tier II guys, then see what makes sense. And if nothing makes sense, let’s see what Chicago (AHL) can fill?

Are any of these guys capable of making the leap, next year? Kulda, Kaip, Machacek, Grant Lewis, Peter Mannino, Sterling, Krog, Stapleton, Eric O’Dell, Angelo Esposito, Daultan Leveille, Noah Welch, Paul Postma, Scott Lehman, Tomas Pospisil, Riley Holzapfel, Josh Gratton, Michael Forney, Joey Crabb, etc. If they are, it makes more sense to bring these guys up than to drastically overpay some “middling” player for the same stats. I’m all in favor of the youth movement.

I still see this … as a PROCESS. Former beatwriter Craig Custance said, after the NY Rangers sweep, “This loss has set the organization back by five years.” What he meant was, “It’ll take 5 years to get back into being a playoff team, with the possibility of winning a round.” In 2007, Atlanta did have Tkachuk, Sim, Kovalchuk, Hossa, Belanger, Kozlov, Holik, White, Slater, Mellanby, Havelid, Zhitnik, Sutton, Moose and Lehtonen, etc. In short, on paper, there was “some shot” at winning a round of playoffs. That is, if you live by “name recognition.” Holik, Mellanby, Kozlov … were surviving more on reputation than actual playing ability. I repeat, I still see this as a process. Not a “quick fix” opportunity. It’s more important to do this thing right, than it is to simply make the playoffs, and be throttled. We have the potential to become the youngest, fastest, most highly skilled team in the NHL, if we don’t do anything rash and foolish in free agency and at the trade deadlines. Look at Los Angeles. Look at Nashville. Look at Phoenix. Look at Colorado. Look at Buffalo. These are all teams who missed the playoffs last year, and most missed in the years before that.

It’s a Final: Philadelphia 4, Detroit 3, in regulation time!

Brendan

April 4th, 2010
3:01 pm

Trixie, can you save my post?

Brendan

April 4th, 2010
3:02 pm

I’d be shocked if Nabakov signed with ATlanta. He’d be the most coveted UFA out there, although Roloson and Biron will also be on the free agent market for goalies.

World Be Free

April 4th, 2010
3:02 pm

Jameson, don’t know but I do know that teams that need a number 1 (like Philly) need to shed alotta salary to afford either of these guys.

Stroz-see you Tuesday. Smoothie?

Brendan

April 4th, 2010
3:04 pm

Twenty-four eggs were found at my house! It was a fun hunt!

Trixie (Rawhide's Secretary)

April 4th, 2010
3:06 pm

Mr. Brendan – Your 2:59 pm post has been freed from Blog Purgatory.