Despite 0-4 preseason start some Thrashers making it tough to be cut

The Thrashers offense finally showed some signs of life Wednesday night, scoring as many times in the first two periods as they had in the previous three games. However, it still wasn’t good enough to notch their first win of the exhibition season. They are now 0-4 with two more dates on the preseason schedule and have yet to even hold a lead.

You ask me if I’m worried about that…Nope, not at all. As long as these games don’t count, the outcome is academic.

Coach Craig Ramsay given instructions from the Thrashers bench. Although his team has yet to win in preseason, some players are trying to make it hard on him to cut them (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Coach Craig Ramsay given instructions from the Thrashers bench. Although his team has yet to win in preseason, some players are trying to make it hard on him to cut them (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Oh don’t get me wrong, I’d much rather see them win…but that isn’t what the preseason is really about. Craig Ramsay and his coaching staff are getting to see how certain players perform during game-like situations, new players are learning the tendencies of their teammates and line formations are being tried out.

To that point, there are a couple of guys who are working hard to make it difficult for Ramsay to trim them from the roster.

First off there’s Fredrik Pettersson. He’s been one of the few consistently good players during the four games. The kid has great wheels, is good with the puck and is all out hustle all the time. I particularly like the little move he’s got where he chips the puck into the zone off the boards then zips around the defenseman and wins it on the other side. It’s kind of a solo dump-and-chase routine.

Freddy-P makes the squad or there needs to be an investigation.

Nigel Dawes has continued his impressive work too. On this night his efforts paid off in a power play goal, getting his stick on a Johnny Oduya pass through the crease to tie the score at one apiece late in first period. He’s a pesky, scrappy little player or plays larger than his diminutive size.

Oduya finished with a pair of helpers during 17:22 TOI.

Anthony Stewart also keeps making a case to keep him around after this weekend. He finished the game a +2 during his 18:28 on the ice, the only player on either side to finish better than a +1. He’s aggressive, tough and gives you just about everything you might want in a fourth liner.

Given a choice between he and Eric Boulton right now, I might just have to say I’d have Bolts viewing from the press box. Stewie may also be playing Chris Rissmiller right off the roster too.

Then there’s Freddy Meyer, who had another good outing on the blueline. The 29-year old New Hampshire native certainly has performed like he’d much rather earn $600,000 in the NHL than $105,000 in the AHL. He finished with 20:39 worth of ice-time and blasted home a nice shot for his first preseason goal. It came just 16 seconds after Nashville’s Martin Erat’s power play goal put the Predators up 3-1 in the second.

As for Alexander Burmistrov, once again I left thinking that this kid is going to be something in the years to come…but just not now. He still is somewhat undersized and gets out-muscled. He may, however, get a few NHL games under his belt next month if Jim Slater’s mystery wrist ailment continues to keep him out for a while.

Ben Eager notched his second goal of the Preseason in the 4-3 loss to Nashville. He finished off a really nice play in which Zach Bogosian motored his way though center ice into the right side of the attacking zone. He then found Eager streaking across the opposite side and slipped the puck though to him for the one-timer.

Eager’s tally tied the score six minutes before the second intermission.

Having an uninspired preseason so far is one Mr. Ron Hainsey. He hasn’t looked sharp at all in the three games I’ve seen. I’m hoping it’s just a case of working out the kinks before October 8 rolls around.

Ron was a -1 tonight, but I believe he was on the ice for the two Preds power play goals too. For that matter, Brent Sopel was a -2 and I think he was on the ice during all four Nashville goals.

Nik Antropov played like you might expect one to in his first preseason game. The coaching staff limited him to but 12:44 worth of playing time as he looks to work his way back into playing condition.

Atlanta closes out the preseason this weekend with a game in Carolina Friday afternoon and one in Columbus Saturday evening. It’d be nice to discuss a win in at least one of those, but next week is when it really matters.

127 comments Add your comment

Tom

September 29th, 2010
11:42 pm

Hokie P. Clisters

September 29th, 2010
11:47 pm

Sopel is stinking it up also but Hainsey has a more consistent stink…..

Smoothie

September 30th, 2010
12:02 am

Hey Bill, I actually thought Burmie played better than Freddy P tonite. Seemed like Pettersson had a huge target on his back and he was getting pushed around a lot, but he works his tail off and he forces the other team to compensate. Plus, he drew that key penalty leading to the PP goal. But considering Thorbs had a less than stellar game, Alex had to overcome a lack of chemistry on his line to get a couple of self-created chances. Although he did get beaten badly on the PK when Erat squeezed off his shot before Burmie could get his stick in the way. As for Ron Hainsey, he was awful. I’m getting very concerned about him as he doesn’t seem to have the strength a D-man should have. Even Freddy Meyer has stronger wrists and hands. Ron needs to spend less time combing his hair and more time doing forearm wrist curls.

Derrick

September 30th, 2010
12:05 am

I repeat my comment from the last blog. Make Hainsey our 7th d-man and play either Meyer or Kulda with the top 6. They’ve definitely played like they wanted spots on the team and I think they deserve them.

jeff97

September 30th, 2010
12:06 am

So far the best chemistry i have seen is between Eager and Thorburn. Having Burmistrov playing on that line was interesting tonight. But we still have not seen all that much chemistry with any of the top offensive players. I thought tonights effort was not as consistant as it was last Saturday. There was more offense, but defensively, we gave Nashville a lot more scoring chances.

Our biggest challenge right now is determining who plays on the top 2 lines and the power play and establishing that chemistry. hopefully we can find some of that in the last two pre-season games, but I dont think we will really start seeing that until the team hits the road.

Derrick

September 30th, 2010
12:07 am

Smoothie – Ron needs to spend less time combing his hair and more time doing forearm wrist curls. Hahaha thats classic.

Hockey Biltong

September 30th, 2010
12:29 am

JLH

September 30th, 2010
12:35 am

Bill, I agree with all your observations about tonight’s game. I believe Dawes, Stewart, and Meyer are making Ramsay’s roster decisions very tough. Meyer’s goal tonight was just icing on the cake. He was consistently making the right decisions and executing them well. What do we make of Boris’ absence? I think both he and Kulda will be in Chicago. Hainsey & Sopel were awful, and Ramsay referred to the “tough night our veteran defensemen had” at the presser. Sopel may block shots, but he looks like a 7th defenseman to me. I’ve been a Hainsey supporter the last couple of years, but the bloom is fading fast. After the 3rd goal (2nd PP) Hainsey turned and looked at Mason, shook his head and mumbled a few words. At that moment he reminded me of John Anderson. I can’t see Hainsey with the “C” playing the way he has this pre-season.

litz

September 30th, 2010
12:58 am

“I particularly like the little move he’s got where he chips the puck into the zone off the boards then zips around the defenseman and wins it on the other side. It’s kind of a solo dump-and-chase routine.”

Man, all I can say is, every time I see him do that, I go “how’d he manage THAT?”. That is a really nifty move.

As for the team in general … the thing that has me kinda worried is our really really rough passing. If it leaves the stick held by a guy wearing a blue shirt, it’s gotta GO TO A GUY IN A BLUE SHIRT!

The scoring opportunities will come, but we have to get the puck there first, in a controlled manner, before we can actually manage to shoot it …

- litz

Brendan

September 30th, 2010
2:17 am

It’s still preseason for the refs, too. Let’s not forget that. Last week, in Toronto vs. Philly, they missed a call that should have resulted in a Phil Kessel OT winner for the Leafs. Instead, the Flyers won in a shootout. While I’m sure fans who paid to see that game wanted the outcome be correct, it’s still preseason for the refs. This is the time for them to stink it up, too. These games don’t matter, in terms of who wins and loses. It’s about evaluating talent. From what I can gather, from R.Stroz, the referees are still in preseason mode, as well.

What will have me concerned, however, is if this team only wins 2-3 games in October. I think the organization really needs to take its best step forward, as it attempts to win back fans … with Dudley as the named GM and Ramsay and Torchetti as the Head Coach and Associate Coach. The Thrashers, simply put, need to make a statement, EARLY ON, that this isn’t just going to be “Year Four” of the building project. We’ve been there, done that. To really win back fans, and bring in new ones, the team has to win. I hope that, by Thanksgiving, the Thrashers can be the buzz talk in Atlanta.

Barry

September 30th, 2010
4:10 am

Ya I agree Hainsey has not looked good this preseason. Only Boris has looked worse. I think Sopel has played pretty well but having him and Hainsey paried together was a distaster apparently. I wouldn’t mind seeing Hainsey on 3rd D pairing but not with Sopel. I’d say have a Sopel-Buff paired together since they know each other well from their Chicago days. Perhaps an Oduya-Enstrom and Hainsey-Bogosian pairings. I was glad to see the boys start to gel offensively more but giving up 4 goals and 2 PP goals was uncharactersitic of how they played the previous two games. Hopefully these last two preseason games the team can put the good defense along with the starting to click offense together and put two W’s before the season starts. They need to at least get one W this weekend because it would be on their minds for sure still craving that first win as a new team and new system and against Washington just would add to the pressure.

Tony C

September 30th, 2010
5:06 am

When are they going to make fat@ss play forward? If he refuses, do you think we can break even on what we spent for him? (1st round pick)?

Also been heavily disappointed by Hainsey’s play. Maybe we can package him and fat@ss for a legit top-6 forward and a D-man who isn’t afraid to go after the puck in the corner.

My apologies for being so gloomy but wow, color me unimpressed. Ramsay’s just now admitting that scoring’s an issue? How on earth did nobody see that coming?

Tony C

September 30th, 2010
5:08 am

All that being said, Petersson’s been a pleasant revelation.

The Real Thrash

September 30th, 2010
6:45 am

Reason we have the non-winning teams we have in Atlanta:
No expectation of winning. Not in pre-season or regular season.
Do winning teams not care about winning whenever any games are played. Of course. But not in Atlanta!
You are indeed Alfred E. Newman.

BlueSpark

September 30th, 2010
7:39 am

I don’t have the data, but I bet there’s very little correlation between winning in the pre-season and the regular season.

Everybody buckle up: October is not a nice schedule for Les Thrashers. I think it’s going to be ugly early on.

R. Stroz

September 30th, 2010
7:57 am

Put Hainsey on the milk carton!

Cliff Fletcher

September 30th, 2010
7:58 am

Hey Rawhide, nice picture of Sage.

Tolduso

September 30th, 2010
8:07 am

Same as it ever was (?). . . at least we can be thankful for not having Kovalchuk skating around the ice doing nothing but wanting to score goals.

Cliff Fletcher

September 30th, 2010
8:09 am

I did not see the game last night, so I have no opinion of who did or did not play well. I am not happy about being 0-4 in the preseason, though I’d be more upset if we are talking about 0-4 during the regular season. This team is still evaluating who s going to make the last spots.

I still have Pevs as our team captain.

Hainsey the Metrosexual

September 30th, 2010
8:17 am

Smoothie – I combed my hair before the game. During the game, I was working on my manicure and pedicure.

Besides, I didn’t feel well yesterday, having my back waxed was very painful.

Dwayne

September 30th, 2010
8:26 am

Hainsey is missing Doris “pretty” bad.

jen

September 30th, 2010
8:27 am

Was at the game last night. Iltz I think made a comment about the passing, which goes to the heart of the chemistry issue. I think its imperative they get the top two lines figured out asap, because the passes were going to the spots, the players just weren’t there.

Did anyone else notice how hilarious Petterson looked between Nik and Modin? He was like an oompa loompa between two giants.Not to completely belittle Petterson’s play – thought he did well out there, very speedy. was probably the only one who actually chased the dumps and got to them first last night.Burmistov is not ready for the NHL yet….definitely seeing good potential, but he’s just getting beat off the puck. I think if Cormier was healthy it wouldn’t be under discussion. I can see the need for someone with an A name who can pot 20 to re-unite the AK47 line. Kane and Pevs looked goot. Brian Little looked stronger and had some decent looks. They had opportunities in general, but gave up shots to pass too much (something that’s been an ongoing problem).

Flagstaff

September 30th, 2010
8:28 am

Cliff– don’t talk bad about ol’ Alfred like that. :)

rob

September 30th, 2010
8:48 am

It is nice to hear Mason talking about the games, he is honest about what is going on and very positive about this team. He hit it spot on. This is a feeling out process for everyone on the team. Too many things are being analyzed to worry about winning a preseason game. Would it be nice? Of course. Ramsey has to know how guys react to situations so he knows who he should play when. Guys are getting to play in situations they won’t play in once the season starts because everyone needs to see who works best in any given moment. The emphasis has to be on exposing everyone to as many variables as possible so the staff knows who to play when. Don’t expect miracles yet, and don’t be down on what is going to be a fun team to watch play this season. I wouldn’t be suprised if things weren’t settled and moving smoothly until the end of Oct. The early west trip will be good for them as it will give the team time together away from the distractions and pressure of home.

Buzilla in CT

September 30th, 2010
9:03 am

Hokie. Looks like I will be in town for the November 11th game against the Wild. Gorins Hat Trick. Don’t give me that “I have a baby now” BS

Smoothie

September 30th, 2010
9:36 am

rob – you are absolutely right. Ramsay is playing guys in situations they might not normally play, like that failed PK experiment with Modin and Antropov slogging around the ice trying to chase the puck. They couldn’t clear, Sopes made a bad attempt and they were pinned for a minute thirty. Eventually, Nashville connected on a backdoor feed to a streaking Suter. We WILL NOT see Antropov killing penalties in the regular season unless he becomes a F/O wizard. Modin neither. Hainsey has exposed himself the most and will likely get 3rd pairing minutes playing with Oduya, which is an injustice to Johnny who deserves 20-22 mins / game. But someone has to make Ron look as good as his hair!

J-man

September 30th, 2010
9:42 am

Consider me skeptical about Stewart. He hasn’t exactly made the most of his previous NHL opportunities and as a 4th liner, let’s be honest. He’s not likely to be a difference maker. It wouldn’t surprise me if he made the team and then 20-30 games into the season got banished to the Wolves, never to be seen again.

I predict that Thorburn will be cut. It may not happen until next week, but I think he’s gone.

Red Light

September 30th, 2010
9:58 am

“The distractions and pressures of home?” Exactly what are those rob?

They play in virtual anonymity here. There are about five media guys (one employed by the team) who regularly follow the team at home, and there is one on the road when C-Viv is actually allowed to attend. Not to be outdone, there wasn’t a single media person in the arena from Nashville last night.

The only distraction for the players is to try to follow the puck coming out of the empty blue seats in the arena, to get over the disappointment of looking up in the stands and seeing R. Stroz and 2,400 of his closest friends in the stands, and to learn a new system installed by the new staff.

Every team in the NHL now goes through a “feeling out process” due to the cap and juggling rosters every year. The Thrashers aren’t the only team with a lot of new faces in camp. Yes, road trips can often be beneficial to a team that needs to become more familiar with one another, but losing any game can be detrimental to this team’s psyche. Losing is easy. Any team can do it. This team has become too familiar with it, and while you can say, ‘this year will be different because of the guys from Chicago who won the Cup,’ lets not kid ourselves, each one of them have lost in the past too.

Outside of the good stretch in the second period, this team was outplayed last night. The middle of the defensive zone was wide open for much of the night and the hell-bent for leather forecheck we’re supposed to see yielded 1:42 of power play time and few offensive end takeaways.

And, Pettersson had one shot from center ice all night, Stewart had two shots and three hits, and Hainsey led the team with five blocked shots.

Of course, it’s only preseason, so why worry about it!

J-Man: there is no way Thorburn gets cut.

Rawhide

September 30th, 2010
10:17 am

I don’t have the data, but I bet there’s very little correlation between winning in the pre-season and the regular season.

BlueSpark – Really, there isn’t.

The early west trip will be good for them as it will give the team time together away from the distractions and pressure of home

rob – There is a certain logic to that. They can get out on the road and, for lack of a better word, bond together as a team. The same thinking has applied also in baseball for some time.

Did anyone else notice how hilarious Petterson looked between Nik and Modin? He was like an oompa loompa between two giants.

Jen – It was kind like watching PE in middle school…you know, where some kids still look like they are in the 3rd grade and others need to shave twice a day.

I predict that Thorburn will be cut. It may not happen until next week, but I think he’s gone.

J-Man – Ooooo, I don’t know about that one. But hey, you’re on the record and can say “you heard it here first” if it does happen.

The Real Thrash – You convinced me….three straight 1 goal losses in preseason is indeed a clear sign that the season is lost.

We’re doomed. :roll:

GaVaHokie

September 30th, 2010
10:20 am

Hokie. Looks like I will be in town for the November 11th game against the Wild. Gorins Hat Trick. Don’t give me that “I have a baby now” BS

I think that game is sold out already. There are a ton of Lattendresse and Miettinen fans in Atlanta. ;)

Cliff Fletcher

September 30th, 2010
10:36 am

Flagstaff-just trying to add some “lightness” to all those fans that have already written off the season becuase of preseaosn losses. Gimme a break!

R. Stroz

September 30th, 2010
10:45 am

Red Light – The players fear THE BULLHORN.

Rawhide

September 30th, 2010
11:06 am

and Hainsey led the team with five blocked shots

Red Light – Although I had not seen that stat, I do recall him getting in the way of a few. Good for him.

Adam

September 30th, 2010
11:11 am

The schedule for October is a very strange one, but one that could be very helpful. Including preseason there are 13 games, 10 are back to back & 9 on the road. I suspect most Sundays will be days off for the team but there are a lot of week days for them to practice with the set squad.

I will be happy if they’re 1-4 after the 1st 5 games of the season and at the end of the month I see them at 2-9 or 3-8, something in the area of 5-8pts. Anything better would be a bonus. I just want to see them in every game and not getting blown out. Many people will be crying in their beer or calling people out but in the end having 8 or less points after 11 games isn’t the end of the world. What is important is that by the end of the month there is real improvement. View October as extended preseason, I know most of those games “count” but if they are really doing well by then I think all will be good.

November is key for this team. 14 games and only 2 back to back, with only 4 within the division. There are 10 at home, 6 of them straight starting mid month. They will need to be within 2-5pts of .500 or 20-23pts going into December and still have playoff hopes. There will still be 57 games left at that point. If they can win at a .625 percentage over those games that’s 71pts. This would put them at 91-94 at the end of the season.

I think that’s pretty realistic, no?

Phil Foley - Atlanta Thrashers Examiner

September 30th, 2010
11:24 am

I think this roster is pretty much set at this point, it’s just a matter of whether Burmistrov gets his cup of coffee or a longer look on the big club before possibly going to juniors.

With Lisin getting released, the Thrash’s roster is down to 29. Odds are Slater (wrist) finds his way onto IR and Kozek (hernia surgery) either gets shelved on Injured Reserve or sent to Chicago (depending on his health at the start of the year). That gets you to 27.

Realistically, it’s between Meyer and Valabik for that final defense spot as the kids (Kulda and Zubarev) are better suited to spend time in Chicago to develop and play every day as opposed to watching a good part of this season from the press box. Boris hasn’t played since the first preseason game. You do the math there. That gets you to 24.

Then it basically comes down to either Burmistrov or Rismiller to get down to the max of 23. If you want to start with just an extra forward and defenseman, you cut both of them. If Slater can go, you either cut Burmistrov and Rismiller or cut one of them and Stewart.

That would give Atlanta the following Opening Night roster (barring a last minute trade).

Forward (14): Nik Antropov, Niclas Bergfors, Eric Boulton, Alex Burmistrov (or Rismiller), Nigel Dawes, Ben Eager, Evander Kane, Andrew Ladd, Bryan Little, Spencer Machacek, Fredrik Modin, Fredrik Pettersson, Rich Peverley, Anthony Stewart, Chris Thorburn

Defensemen (7): Zach Bogosian, Dustin Byfuglien, Tobias Enstrom, Ron Hainsey, Freddy Meyer (or Valabik), Johnny Oduya, Brent Sopel

Goaltenders (2): Chris Mason, Ondrej Pavelec

GaVaHokie

September 30th, 2010
11:25 am

October is ‘brutal’… this team could be in an 0-5 hole very quickly. Too much time off coupled with a Week 2 West Coast swing… ugly.

rob

September 30th, 2010
11:25 am

R/L,
maybe mis spoke that. I meant being able to be out on the road, probably spending more time as a team than if they were at home. Obviously the media and fans don’t put pressure on them yet…. Anyway, I understand all teams go through this, only there really is more to it here as the entire coaching staff is new and they are trying to evaluate, coach, and find cohesion with a team that is all over the map right now. Trying to give those who were already here a new mindset and get the newcomers to want to be here has to be a lot to ask…. That is all I am saying, and I will give them the benefit of the doubt until it becomes apparent to me that this is a failure.
For those saying we need a strong start to make the playoffs….I don’t see a strong start happening. I see the team getting better as they go along and gel with each other, adopt Ramsey’s scheme, and find their roles. None of that has happened yet, but it will, and the team will have some success when it does IMO.

TableHockey

September 30th, 2010
11:33 am

From the web – Todd White and Erik Christensen are expected to be scratches for the Rangers on opening night

Zombie Steve

September 30th, 2010
11:37 am

new coaches, new systems, new team(basically). Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Red Light

September 30th, 2010
11:37 am

rob, fair enough. I agree that there are going to be some growing pains with this team but I do believe they need wins and points to establish confidence. Close losses, even with improvement, won’t cut it.

hip czech

September 30th, 2010
12:18 pm

That would give Atlanta the following Opening Night roster (barring a last minute trade).

Forward (14): Nik Antropov, Niclas Bergfors, Eric Boulton, Alex Burmistrov (or Rismiller), Nigel Dawes, Ben Eager, Evander Kane, Andrew Ladd, Bryan Little, Spencer Machacek, Fredrik Modin, Fredrik Pettersson, Rich Peverley, Anthony Stewart, Chris Thorburn

Defensemen (7): Zach Bogosian, Dustin Byfuglien, Tobias Enstrom, Ron Hainsey, Freddy Meyer (or Valabik), Johnny Oduya, Brent Sopel

Meyer please!

Has Machacek shown anything to deserve to stick?

R. Stroz

September 30th, 2010
12:29 pm

Machacek was reassigned to Chicago last week.

Smoothie

September 30th, 2010
12:30 pm

Machacek has already been sent down. Meyer earned his spot last nite. He was excellent.

GaVaHokie

September 30th, 2010
12:35 pm

Ben Wright said that a Blackhawks scout has been at the last two Thrashers preseason games… let the speculation begin… nnnn-now!

I agree… Meyer makes the final roster.

GaVaHokie

September 30th, 2010
12:37 pm

Forward (14): Nik Antropov, Niclas Bergfors, Eric Boulton, Alex Burmistrov (or Rismiller), Nigel Dawes, Ben Eager, Evander Kane, Andrew Ladd, Bryan Little, Spencer Machacek, Fredrik Modin, Fredrik Pettersson, Rich Peverley, Anthony Stewart, Chris Thorburn

Ummm… you might want to count that again.

Sage of Bluesland

September 30th, 2010
12:43 pm

Not to fear, folks–we’re just getting started with our third “Five-Year Plan”…The new GM is blustering about making the playoffs–bluster which is sounding familiar to the statements issued by his alleged predecessor.

The more things change in the figurative joke otherwise known as “Blueland”, the more they stay the same….losses, incompetent ownership, inept leadership, listless product, dreaming sheep,…Yep, everything is present and accounted for!

(You couldn’t make this stuff up, I swear…)

Joe Friday

September 30th, 2010
12:56 pm

“So far the best chemistry i have seen is between Eager and Thorburn.”

I have not seen a game, but if this is true, our offense is going to be worse than I feared.

Rawhide, if you’re not worried about wins and losses and the lack of offense, you’re whistling through the graveyard, brother. I would not get my hopes up for this year, unless they make some kind of big move here to bring in some scoring.

Rawhide

September 30th, 2010
12:59 pm

Rawhide, if you’re not worried about wins and losses and the lack of offense, you’re whistling through the graveyard, brother.

Joe Friday – I would be worried if the last 3 games looked more like the first one. I just honestly don’t put too much stock in preseason records.

Jake

September 30th, 2010
12:59 pm

I don’t recall ever seeing Hainsey have a good game. He’s the Todd White of blueliners. I’d encourage him to seek employment elsewhere.

Athrasherfan13

September 30th, 2010
1:03 pm

Have lived in the ATL area for the past 4 years and love it. What I don’t love is the bandwagon mentality of the sports fans here. Come on people. If you were a true fan, be it of the Thrashers, Braves, Falcons, whatever, you would attend the games for the sake of the games. Instead, if the team is not performing well, all interest is lost.

Sure, we all like to be associated with winners, but that can’t always happen. Instead, fair-weather fans come onto blogs like this and piss and moan about how bad the team is or how badly it is being coached, or how badly the players are playing or how much money the owners aren’t spending on the team. Well, here a news flash for all of us: None of us are on the team or any pro-level team and probably never will; None of us have coached at the pro level and probably never will; if we were on a team, all of us would suck; and finally, none of us have invested millions in a pro team of any kind…and probably never will.

What we can be good at is being a fan of the game. That means learning the game. Supporting the game and the team. True fans are there in good times and in bad. I had a lot of years invested in the Red Sox and the Patriots when they were less than stellar. Things finally turned around….as they always do.

We have a responsibility as a fan. To support our team. If you are not going to support them, don’t comment about it…simply ignore them and/or the game completely. I’m sure the players and coaches don’t read this stuff, and if they do, they take it with a grain of salt. Do you think THEY like playing in front of an empty house?

And I’m not putting responsibility of fan loyalty only on us as fans. The team and players and coaches also have a responsibility to to the fans also. Recognize them, especially the few that actually show up for the games. The Rangers are a perfect example when they salute their fans after each game in the Garden. Respect has to be 2-way.

Bottom line is: Be a fan of the game. Be a fan of the team. They can’t win everything…especially this year with new coaches and a turned over team. Dump the gloom and doom. Expect an awful October, a better November and fighters in December and thereafter. Give them time to know and learn each others tendencies and get their timing down. We’re only a little over 2 weeks into the preseason and the camps, with a new system and new personnel.

Give this team a chance. I know you have heard it before, but remember…..you or I an any of those positions, would not make a difference in the world. But as true fans, supporting this team, we can help make a difference.

Peace. Out.