Perfect ending to Thrashers 2009-10 season

While it may only serve to ease the fact that the Thrashers once again will be ending their season after only 82 games played, Sunday 1-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins to close out the 2009-10 campaign was a perfect way wrap things up.

Well…as “perfect” as it can be, I suppose, without a trip to the post-season.

First, the win itself gave Atlanta a 35-34-13 record for 83 points…which in the NHL world is considered a “winning” season. It is third-highest point total in franchise history…2005-06 they had 90 and the next season they won the Southeast Division with 97. In the Southeast Division they end up as the second place team, albeit 37 points behind Washington, who still have one game against Boston today.

Johan Hedberg makes one of his 33 saves against Pittsburgh Saturday night (AJC photo)

Johan Hedberg makes one of his 33 saves against Pittsburgh Saturday night (Hyosub Shin, hshin/AJC)

Two players that may have played their final game in Thrasher blue came up big in this finale. Johan Hedberg kicked out 33 Penguins shots for his third shutout of the season…his career fourteenth. Moose finishes the year with a 21-16-6 record, .915 SV% and 2.62 GAA. And Slava Kozlov helped set up Bryan Little’s game winner in the second period. It was Kozzy’s shot from the left side that was batted around in front of Marc-Andre Fleury’s goal that was eventually but into the net. It was Kozlov’s 18th assist of the year and he finished up with 8 goals and 26 overall points.

“Even though we are disappointed [in not making the playoffs], I think we did a lot of things better this year than last, Hedberg remarked afterwards. “You have to keep building…Rome wasn’t built in a day”.

Not to be overlooked here is Evander Kane’s right cross that put Matt Cooke on the ice in a flash. Cooke had elbowed the rookie early on in the second …possibly taking exception to Kane’s audacity to actually play physical hockey with Sidney Crosby…and offered to take a dance with Kane.

Evander obliged.

“He challenged me and asked me to fight, and I was not going to back down”, Kane said. “It’s part of the game”.

Coach John Anderson address the fight and what lead up to it may saying, “If they take exception to who gets hit out there, does that mean you are supposed to start a fight?”. Continuing he added, “I don’t get it…Crosby is so great for the game, but when you are always around the puck, you’re going to get hit a little bit. Every time he gets body checked, does that mean somebody is going to get attacked”?

“Cooke came around an 18-year old. What goes around comes around. That’s all I can tell you”.

Matt Cooke is helped off the ice after Evander Kane's right cross put him there (AP/John Amis)

Matt Cooke is helped off the ice after Evander Kane's right cross put him there (AP/John Amis)

I guess coach was alluding to Cooke’s blind-side elbow of Marc Savard last month. And while I happy to see Cooke make his way from the ice on his own power…I also hope Savy has gotten a chance to enjoy the replay.

Karma and all that, ya know….

With the loss, combined with New Jersey’s 7-1 pounding of the Islanders, the Penguins will finish behind the Devils in the Atlantic Division, fourth in the Eastern Conference and will face Ottawa in the first round of the playoffs. New Jersey leads Buffalo by one point going into today’s final day of play in the regular season…both they and the Sabres have games to determine the second and third seeds in the east.

But to me…the best part of the festivities that took place on the ice of Philips Arena came shortly after the game when the Benning’s…a.k.a. The Kiss Cam couple…was presented with the 7th Fan Award. This was made even that much better when Mrs. Benning was able to walk out with her husband to receive the award fro Darren Eliot and Nik Antropov, who earlier was named the team’s MVP.

Mrs. Benning asked for the #4 jersey off of Zach Bogosian’s back…but she also quick to let Antropov know she liked him too.

Last month, we discussed the Kiss Cam couple and the possibility of seeing them named as 7th Fan. Immediately I began to hear from so many of you in your comments, e-mails and discussion in person at the games at how you too would like to see this happen. You wrote your letters and sent in your email and saw that it happened.

You should reach around and give yourselves a nice pat on the back because it helped make for a perfect ending to this Thrashers 2009-10 season.

125 comments Add your comment

R. Stroz

April 11th, 2010
11:44 am

R. Stroz

April 11th, 2010
11:49 am

BTW, that’s three FIRSTs in a row, it took me all season, but now, I officially pulled a TURKEY, for those of you who appreciate bowling terms.

Zoomo

April 11th, 2010
11:53 am

A nice night all around. Pre-game with Rawhide, Kane’s KO, hushing the Pen’s fans, a final game for Slava, a gem by Hedberg, and the post game festivities.

Here’s to hoping we can build around the young core. With the cap space we have now, that should be relatively easy if we can convince some talent to come here. But, as we all know, nothing’s been easy here the past ten years.

Anyone see Kovy’s comments in the paper re Slava not playing? What a bunch of nonsense. I was a big Slava fan, but come on, he looked like crap most of the year.

Courtesy of Fan Fred Johnson's Camera Work

April 11th, 2010
12:00 pm

Brendan

April 11th, 2010
12:02 pm

The Perfect Ending to this season includes a Press Conference announcing that Don Waddell will not be occupying the GM chair next season.

Rawhide

April 11th, 2010
12:03 pm

Zoomo – pleasure spending time with you, Mrs. Zoomo and the the little man. Thanks for sharing a table w/ me.

Brendan – Touche…

KovyPleaseStayorNot

April 11th, 2010
12:14 pm

I think Kane’s new nickname should be “K.O.”

Brendan

April 11th, 2010
12:14 pm

Before this gets too far along, I also want to thank Rawhide for another great year as the fan blogger. I hope that the blog will continue all through the playoffs and through the June Draft, and free agent FRENZY in July.

Waddell said that he didn’t expect to sign any of the team’s pending UFA’s, unless those players felt like they didn’t want to test the waters in July. My guess is … those UFA players who “might” be willing re-sign are (1) Johan Hedberg, (2) Eric Boulton, and (3) Jim Slater. I can’t remember if Artyukhin is restricted or unrestricted. I think he’s a UFA, though.

Waddell also said that all the pending RFA’s: Little, Pavelec, Bergfors, and Clarke MacArthur, would be re-signed before next season.

J(Z)

April 11th, 2010
12:15 pm

Great job by the cbc recap people – poor Moose:

http://www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/story/2010/04/10/sp-atl-pit.html

Johan Hedberg made 33 saves for the shutout in Atlanta’s final game of the season. The veteran Finnish goalie earned his 14th career shutout.

Alan R.

April 11th, 2010
12:22 pm

This was a beautiful punch thrown by Kane. You can really tell that his father, a boxer, taught him well. Although I’d love to see Kane score more next season, I’m happy with him finishing this season with the punch seen ’round the NHL.

He’s also got a lot of new fans, too. Even if those people don’t like the Thrashers, they love Kane for his tremendous public service. Cooke couldn’t turtle out of that one.

Kbatch

April 11th, 2010
12:23 pm

Sigh… Was in section 312 last night… I’m horse and my throat is killing me… I attempted all game long to get a “Fire Wadell” chant going… All I got was an occasional sporadic hand clap accompaniment.

Smoothie

April 11th, 2010
12:30 pm

Saturday evening’s game and festivities were certainly the definition of “bittersweet”, but just like Stroz said last night, the memory of Kane decking the trucculent Cooke will be etched on my grey matter for years to come. In fact, it is the perfect prelude to the launching of a new marketing campaign featuring the new face of the franchise, Evander “Sweet Daddy” Kane. I would officially like to petition the ASG’s marketing dept to make “Warm It Up Kane”, performed by the irrepressible Big Daddy Kane, the official new anthem of your Atlanta Thrashers. Although they may need to do some creative editing to clean up a few lyrics.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5gj3lMoq0M&feature=related

If that doesn’t fly, how about Kane’s “I Get the Job Done”??

http://www.spike.com/video/big-daddy-kane-i-get/2790520

Remember how much fun it was to have Lil’ John in the building when the Thrashers were doin’ their thang in 2007? Well, it’s time to take the game from the ice to the streets! ;-)

Kane: “I work, I get the job done.”

And that’s all you need to know son.

Sherry Taylor

April 11th, 2010
12:33 pm

I remember 18, and I remember 18 year old boys, and that’s what they were–boys. But, watching Evander Kane this year he has impressed me as a young man who is not afraid to stand up for himself and his team mates and play like a man. I was glad that Cooke walked off the ice under his own steam, but I was shouting right along with everyone else about the right hook that Evander clocked him with (or maybe it was a left). He and several others bring me great hope and encouragement about the future of this team. I certainly hope Waddell gets Slater signed and put him on the same line with Kane, they brought the team to life there in a late stretch the team needed it. I know Pavelec is the goalie of the future, but I would love for Moose to be signed, at least for one year, to come back, he certainly has earned it with his season. I don’t look for Armstrong to come back, let him test the waters, and sign Stapleton, who showed good promise. If we had to choose between Boulton and Arty, I vote for Arty. I’m sorry to see Kozlov go, this guy was pretty much smuggled into the country to play and had a tremendous career, but I think it is clear that his time here in ATL is over. I hope he and his family, wherever they go, love a great life and I will forever appreciate his contribution to the team.
Many are still weeping and wailing over the trade of Kovalchuk, but what this team showed us after that trade is that they can play without him,. When the team is not programed around one player everyone gets a chance at the sun, and that should give us all hope. Let’s all cross our fingers they figure out how to do that on a consistent basis next season.

the Captain

April 11th, 2010
12:52 pm

Hedberg remarked afterwards. “You have to keep building…Rome wasn’t built in a day”.

Well no it wasn’t. Rome’s a big city. However the individual buildings, such as the Coliseum (9 years) Trajans forum (6 years), the Pantheon (5-8 years) where built quicker than the Thrashers organization has yet to win a playoff game.

Matt

April 11th, 2010
1:04 pm

Rawhide, Mega Kudos to you for all of your hard work during this season. Look forward to seeing your work in the offseason as we “build” yet again for a potential playoff team.

HookyBob

April 11th, 2010
1:06 pm

If Kane doesn’t get at least a player of the week out last night,…well it goes to tell you how out of touch the NHL mgmt is with their own game. I know hockey fans everywhere appreciate what this young Thrasher has done for the grand old game. I hope he gets cheered everywhere he goes next season. Shanahan, Iginla, and Hollyfield would all applaud Mr Kane.

Back when Phanueff was traded to the Leafs I composed, but didn’t post, a blog about a “new sheriff in the east” In the composition was a list of bad guys: 1) Cooke, 2) Carcillo, 3)Routu (jarko) and 4)Clarkson… Good thing I didn’t post it because now I find out the “sheriff” is on our on own Atlanta Thrashers.

Kane is indeed our brightest light going forward.

Cornbread

April 11th, 2010
1:22 pm

In the final game of the season that saw the Atlanta Thrashers lose the face of their franchise, 18 year old Evander Kane stepped up and became the new face of the franchise. It’s a new team and I like this one better than the old one.

Eileen

April 11th, 2010
1:25 pm

Kane is the man of the hour. I will relish that punch for years to come. Matt Cooke had it coming. I am glad he is alright. Kane provides the energy and excitement that we have been missing for a while. What a night! Hockey fans are starving for success in Atlanta. The crowd was so energized. Perhaps a good well wish for next season. Despite all of the negatives of this season and the previous ones, last night was a gem. Great to see you Rawhide. Thanks for another great blog this season.

Mr. Heat Miser

April 11th, 2010
2:19 pm

I’m sorry but when Kane KO’d Cooke, I know that whatever else took place during the game was icing on the cake. If we would have lost the game it would have been fine with me. But it was great to to hear the great silence during the 3rd period from the legions of Crosbybots in attendance. They left the bulb tails tucked and running for mama.

Brendan

April 11th, 2010
2:29 pm

The Caps and Bruins are in overtime, 3-3. Looks like it’s headed to the shootout. Can’t wait to see Chicago vs. Detroit, Buffalo vs. NJ, and NYR vs. Philly. Can someone clear up this point. Can Philly be the #7 seed, if they win over the Rangers?

Brendan

April 11th, 2010
2:32 pm

I want an L.A. win over Colorado, too. That game starts at 3PM, on Channel 783 on Comcast’s Center Ice Package. Detroit vs. Chicago is # 784. Buffalo vs. NJ will be # 782. And those wanting to suffer through TB vs. Florida, to see if Stamkos gets # 51, it will air at 5PM on 781. Edmonton vs. Anaheim is the late game, on 784, at 8PM.

Brendan

April 11th, 2010
2:34 pm

Bruins vs. Caps is in the shootout now.

Brendan

April 11th, 2010
2:40 pm

Bruins win, 4-3. Boston scores two in the shootout, while Tim Thomas held the fort versus the two Washington shooters.

Where can I find the NY Rangers/Philadelphia game? Is it going to air on the NHL Network???

Brendan

April 11th, 2010
2:44 pm

Rawhide, you’re keeping the blog going all offseason long, correct?

World Be Free

April 11th, 2010
3:31 pm

Have the game on TiVo, will watch tonight. Hope DW gets to changing his mond about the UFAs. Max and Pavel played well for the Thrashers this season, as did Arty after the trade deadline. Most folks have touted MacArthur as a failure, but let’s not forget how well Arty played down the stretch. We gave up very little for a guy that has size, speed and good north-south tools, if used properly.

I just don’t think all the UFAs in the league this year are going to receive great windfalls. If I were a UFA, I would be looking for job security. Interesting comments from Kozlov after the game. Should be pretty interesting around here for the next few weeks.

Russian

April 11th, 2010
3:37 pm

It is great post by Chis V. with Slava Kozlov. Slava did answer very honestly. Good Read.

DWTOO

April 11th, 2010
3:48 pm

I may have heard Waddell a little different than Bendan – thought he doubted any of UFS’s would be signed by July 1st. Didn’t rule them out, but, he didn’t sound optomistic either.

Smoothie

April 11th, 2010
4:01 pm

Bill – can you free my post? There isn’t anything dirty really unless you don’t like a few classice rap songs!

A Fairy Penguin Tale by R. Stroz

April 11th, 2010
4:21 pm

Once upon a time, there were three types of Penguins:

One filthy penguin got knocked out

One crybaby penguin didn’t score

And the rest of the penguins went waaah waaah waaah all the way home.

Jameson

April 11th, 2010
4:35 pm

Let’s see… How to sum up this season? Well, it’s definitely been… a season.

LAC

April 11th, 2010
4:36 pm

Great game to finish the season. Too bad LOW BLOW Cindy Chrochby cannot take a check,
what game is it you are playing PUNK ? Shows he is a little wimp and NOT a man at all.

To me, he is still an above average player who I would NOT want on my team, I hate WHINERS !

Like Brenden said, Let’s hope the waddell FIRING comes SOON, That would head us in THE RIGHT DIRECTION for the First time EVER !

Jameson

April 11th, 2010
4:44 pm

Speaking of our 13 OT loses this season, many of you will probably point to Kozlov sitting as the reason, but the truth is he wasn’t much more help in OT than any other player unless it went to a shootout. I truely believe that the difference this year is the lack of Kari. He was almost as good as Moose in the shootout, and I think he’s played better in OT than any goalie in our history. I’m not sure if we’ll regret giving him up, or not, but now, I think we have no choice, but to replace him for at least one season through free agency.

Rightshot

April 11th, 2010
4:47 pm

First great to see the Bennings win the 7th man award

Nice to run into Former Ilses Fan and lilibrator (sorry about the spelling, but you know who you are) and lulu the lurker.

LOVED the KO on Cooke. I keep going back and watching the video. Greatest high light of the season.

It’s been an interesting season… yeah, I’ll leave it at that.

Hope to see everyone soon.

Savannah Blueland Fan

April 11th, 2010
4:53 pm

I said it on the last blog and it felt so good that I think I’ll say it again:

KAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANNE!!!!!!!!

R. Stroz

April 11th, 2010
4:54 pm

Rawhide – Maybe your next blog should be about A New Beginning, if you catch my drift, as Slava just stated what everyone thought top be true.

Kudos to Slava for spilling the beans.

Savannah Blueland Fan

April 11th, 2010
5:03 pm

I’ve never met the man personally, but Kozzie doesn’t strike me as someone that would say what he did just from sour grapes. Obviously a LOT of truth there.

Smoothie

April 11th, 2010
5:19 pm

Looks like Slava had a few scorching slappers left in that old body of his, in the form of a big, WTF, “I’m out the door”, honesty bomb. He may have just done us a huge favor with his parting shots, that is if the ASG dolts take them to heart.

Thanks Slava for your long tenure of faithful service, this year notwithstanding, and thank you for your stone cold honesty. Russian players don’t generally screw around and make comments they don’t mean or believe. I don’t see him lying here. He has no reason to.

lola

April 11th, 2010
5:32 pm

Rightshot: Nice to see you, too — I’m already going through withdrawals …. at least they televised the Bruins/Caps game today for another dose of hockey for me. And the Kane video is at the top of my favorites list!!!

Savannah Blueland Fan

April 11th, 2010
5:55 pm

Flyers win in SO. I bet it hurts right now to be a Ranger fan. I take pleasure in the pain of others.

Smoothie

April 11th, 2010
5:58 pm

Hooray Flyers! Enjoy getting swept.

Brendan

April 11th, 2010
5:59 pm

Los Angeles won in OT vs. Colorado. I cheered like crazy, ‘cuz I thought they just locked up the #5 seed. LA gets the #6 seed, because Detroit beat Chicago in overtime. So, Chicago will be the # 2 seed, with San Jose being # 1. Unfortunately, this means Nashville, despite more win than Los Angeles, has fewer points, and will go in as # 7, and have to face Chicago.

Here’s your Western matchups:

# 1 SJ vs. # 8 Colorado
# 2 Chicago vs. # 7 Nashville
# 3 Vancouver vs. # 6 Los Angeles
# 4 Phoenix vs. # 5 Detroit (Dang, Dang, Dang!!!)

I think seeds 1, 2, 3, and 5 advance.

In the East, you just saw it. Brian Boucher prevails over Ollie Jokinen for the final shot in the shootout between the Rangers and Flyers.

Here were the shooters and the results. Briere shot first for Philly, and he scored. Christensen shot for the Rangers, and was stopped. Mike Richards shot for Philly, and was stopped. Parenteau shot for the Rangers, and he scored. 1-1. Then Giroux shot for Philly and scored on Lundqvist. That forced Jokinen to score on Boucher. But Boucher made the save. So, the Flyers win and claim the 7th seed. Poor Montreal, they’ll be 8th. Here’s your East.

# 1 Washington vs. # 8 Montreal
# 2 NJ/Buffalo vs. # 7 Philly
# 3 NJ/Buffalo vs. # 6 Boston
# 4 Pittsburgh vs. # 5 Ottawa

Buffalo leads New Jersey, 1-0, with 10:00 left in the 2nd period.

Brendan

April 11th, 2010
6:00 pm

Smoothie, any team that gets swept by the Atlanta Thrashers doesn’t deserve to make the playoffs.

Savannah Blueland Fan

April 11th, 2010
6:03 pm

Brendan, any team the sweeps the Thrashers IN the playoffs doesn’t deserve to return. I have a loooong memory and I am very loyal. HAHA

Brendan

April 11th, 2010
6:04 pm

DWTOO, that’s correct. Waddell said he DID NOT THINK any UFAs would be re-signed before July 1. But then I added the speculation to the Waddell coment qualifier, “unless they felt real, real comfortable here,” (That is a direct Waddell quote) and add my speculation that Slater, Hedberg and Boulton would be players who might feel comfortable enough to forgo testing the waters of unrestricted free agency.

Smoothie

April 11th, 2010
6:04 pm

Ur just peeved cuz NY didn’t get in. Tough noogies. Both Philly and Montreal will prolly be lucky to win 1 or 2 gms.

Rawhide

April 11th, 2010
6:39 pm

For those of you who have asked…yes, we will continue doing what we do around here throughout the summer, just like what we’ve done over the past two offseasons.

We’ll begin this week with turning this into a playoff discussion blog…as well as Thrashers related things as they come along. Then we’ll move into the draft…then UFA signing season. Then we will continue the discussion through the dog days of summer and right into training camp & the beginning of the 2010-11 season.

As far as what Slava said…just damn. Talk about dropping a bomb on the way out the door.

Smoothie

April 11th, 2010
6:57 pm

Bill – an atom bomb.

Alan R.

April 11th, 2010
7:23 pm

As far as what Slava said…just damn. Talk about dropping a bomb on the way out the door.

The aftermath is what I’m looking for, not just the dropped bomb. Of course, we all had to know that Kozlov was going to let his honesty shine through.

World Be Free

April 11th, 2010
7:38 pm

LAC-problem with teams like Pittsburgh and washington is the “favorable” officiating the league fave teams receive. Washington game today was a farce-the Caps getting awy with whatever they wanted to. These refs today seem afraid to call penalties on the NBC Network favorite teams.

Putting On The Foil

April 11th, 2010
7:38 pm

Slava tells it like it is. Right on Kozzy.