Still just preseason, but a Thrashers win this weekend would be nice

Since the preseason began last week I have stated many times here that I was not concerned at all that the Thrashers have failed to produce wins. These games don’t count in the standings, give players a chance to work out the offseason kinks and exist to provide the coaching staff a chance to look at players during pseudo-game like conditions. They then take that information to help them evaluate who should be on the final roster and which players should be paired up with each other.

Whether a team goes 0-4 or 4-0 matters little after this weekend when each team sets their meters back to 0-0-0 to start the regular season.

However, all that being said, I will admit that these last two games of the exhibition season will carry just a little more weight with me than the previous ones. True, they count just as much as the other four…zero…but I’ve always thought the last couple preseason games mean a little more than the first few.

Ben Eager reacts to scoring one of his two preseason goals in Nashville Monday night (AP Photo/Frederick Breedon)

Ben Eager reacts to scoring one of his two preseason goals in Nashville Monday night (AP Photo/Frederick Breedon)

My reasons are simple. Last week we saw many players on the ice that we know would not be around Thrasherville past last weekend. They were getting their time in during training camp but once Craig Ramsay and his coaching staff were satisfied with what they saw, off they went to the AHL Chicago Wolves or elsewhere.

But now, the team that’ll be iced this afternoon in Carolina and tomorrow evening in Columbus will resemble more of a regular season lineup than before. The roster has been paired down to the point where only a few players are competing for a couple of open spots. That, plus those remaining have played with each other before and certain amount of “gelling” should have taken place. As such, they need to find a way to work out a W or two as they set their sights on the opening of the 2010-11 NHL campaign.

Don’t get me wrong, no one is going to have to pull me back off a ledge if they don’t win at least one of the two games, but it sure would be nice to see this group show they can grind out a victory…preseason or not.

So what have we learned so far after two weeks of training camp and four make believe games? Well for one, it sure looks like Freddy “The Fly” Pettersson will be in Atlanta this time next week when the Thrashers open up against the Washington Capitals. And given what Ramsay had to say about last June’s first round draft pick, it seems like Alex Burmistrov could be as well. Even if it’s just for a few games until Jim Slater’s mystery wrist ailment heals.

Anthony Steward and Nigel Dawes have each performed well so far. They’ll be making their last push to make the final cut.

Of all the Chicago boys that came this way last summer, the one who has impressed me most in Ben Eager. He’s netted a pair of goals and is just plain nasty in front of the opponent’s net. Love having this guy on the team.

Personally, I’m not as concerned about Dustin Byfuglien playing defense as I was a few weeks back. He’s looked good on the blueline thus far and brings a brand of toughness that has been lacking in our defensive corps for some time now. Correct me if I’m wrong, but has a goal been scored on the Thrashers when he’s been on the ice? I don’t think so.

Ron Hainsey has looked in mid-season form…unfortunately its mid-PREseason form.

Boris Valabik hasn’t played in a game since the exhibition season opener, and that’s just fine with me. Honestly, there is too much talent on the blueline now…especially given the way Freddy Meyer has performed…for him to be on the ice opening night.

Speaking of the defense, I think it’s safe to assume it should be better than what we’ve witnessed here in many, many moons. The 30 shots on goal that were allowed last Wednesday were the most of the preseason. In the recent past, we’ve greeted 30 SA/G almost as a blessing.

That, plus there is a certain level of comfort that comes with having Chris Mason between the pipes. If he just has a “normal” Mason-type season and the defense allows 30 shots per game or less, I don’t think the playoffs are out of the question.

As for Ondrej Pavelec…well, he’s still Ondrej Pavelec. You could get a great game from him or you might get a very in-good one. Ya just don’t know. But I’m hoping that another year in the NHL without the pressure of being forced into the number-one role will do him a world of good. That plus having a goalie coach…er, uh, goalie consultant, I mean.

But then there’s the goal production worries about this team. This is what has most Thrashers fans feeling a little queasy at times. They’ll no longer have a 50+ goal scorer to rely upon to get them through. Instead this team will look to a number of players to consistently put the put in the net.

Dependable goaltending, respectable defensive play and a “cross your fingers” offense…all are certainly a different concept that what we’re used to here.

Regardless, these next couple of days is all that’s left to work out whatever needs to be worked out to prepare for next Friday. And while they will count just as much, or little, when preseason is over…it’s be nice to see if they can iron out the “how to win a game” kink before they do start counting.

195 comments Add your comment

Russian

October 1st, 2010
1:51 pm

Come on score PP goal.

R. Stroz

October 1st, 2010
1:54 pm

Welcome back LAC. Hope you’re feeling better.

Russian

October 1st, 2010
1:54 pm

they have to win today. Carolina roster is not strong.

Russian

October 1st, 2010
1:55 pm

Kulda in Box. Damn!

Derrick

October 1st, 2010
1:56 pm

Penalty on Kulda for tripping

TrueBlue

October 1st, 2010
1:56 pm

Why is Pettersson not playing?

Rawhide

October 1st, 2010
2:04 pm

Why is Pettersson not playing?

TrueBlue – If I had to offer up a guess it may be because Pettersson has made the team and they are now letting Dawes, Burmistrov and Stewart duke it out for the few remaining spots.

Zombie Steve

October 1st, 2010
2:09 pm

Hope you are right, ‘Hide. This kid is quickly becoming my favorite player to watch.

Tim

October 1st, 2010
2:18 pm

On a side note, wish we still have Kari. It just pre-season games but
2 Games played, winning both game. Look extremely sharp and solid. Only 2 goals allowed on almost 60 shots on goal. Rock solid. I don’t think Dallas is a better team than the Thrashers. Anyway, gotta move on!

If Burmy made the team this season, it will be the 3rd season in a row that Thrashers see their 1st overall pick stick with the team. Has that happened before in the history of the Franchise?

Smoothie

October 1st, 2010
2:24 pm

Well I got pulled away from my desk and missed the last 2/3 of the period. Guess we didn’t really dictate much as the Canes outshot us 12 – 10 (20 – 17 in Corsi). Did Kulda’s PEN negate the PP or was it after?

Rawhide

October 1st, 2010
2:30 pm

Smoothie – It came about a minute after the Canes 2nd PP.

&%$#!, Kulda just took another penalty at the beginning of the period.

TrueBlue

October 1st, 2010
2:31 pm

So….is Kulda just trying too hard out there and taking dumb penalties? No good.

Smoothie

October 1st, 2010
2:35 pm

Seems like we’re getting very little extended cycle time in the OZ (a couple of one and dones) and Pavelec seems awfully busy in the 2nd period…sigh.

Russian

October 1st, 2010
2:36 pm

We stopped shot a puck. 1-6 shots to Carolina.

swede

October 1st, 2010
2:37 pm

Bergfors doesnt seem to get any playing time at all. Guess he´s playing on the 4th line, dno why though…

Russian

October 1st, 2010
2:38 pm

One more PP. Are we going to score????

hip czech

October 1st, 2010
2:39 pm

Meyer (the 4th as the Carolina guy is quick to point out) is having a good game…seems like all the scoring chances are coming with Freddy the 4th on the ice.

Smoothie

October 1st, 2010
2:39 pm

PP needs to get things going here as we have 0 as in nil, none, nada shots on goal this period in a little over 8 mins…jeebus! C’mon!

Smoothie

October 1st, 2010
2:46 pm

Getting crushed in the F/O circle, but other than that they seem to be throwing the body with 15 hits to 9 for the Canes. Just very little chemistry on offense. Is Maurice gonna have them trap all year? Seemed like the NZ was very clogged up all game long last Saturday nite.

Russian

October 1st, 2010
2:49 pm

PK. Antro in box.

Russian

October 1st, 2010
2:51 pm

Burma is in PK unit.

Russian

October 1st, 2010
2:53 pm

Damn!!! 0-1 PP goal.

swede

October 1st, 2010
2:53 pm

carolina just scored

Smoothie

October 1st, 2010
2:54 pm

Bad penalty, and a failed clear attempt by Sopel allowed the PP pressure to continue…and eventually it costs them. Sounds familiar.

iamtheratio

October 1st, 2010
2:57 pm

We must.. MUST.. take less penalties. It sounded like Antropov couldn’t keep up with the rookie Skinner and just held him. We must play more disciplined hockey.

five hole

October 1st, 2010
3:00 pm

Wasn’t the reason we wanted Sopel was that he was a PP specialist? And he couldn’t clear the puck?

My guess Bergfors is on the 4th line is he’s made the club. The coach wants to give extended time to someone “on the bubble”.

d

October 1st, 2010
3:01 pm

too bad the cane’s have the best goalie in the division.

Smoothie

October 1st, 2010
3:06 pm

five hole – you’re probably right, but has Bergfors been on a “top” line all pre-season? I’m pretty sure he played with the 4th line last Mon nite as well although he may have had Boulton and someone else as a LW in more offensive situations. He certainly hasn’t done much of anything this pre-season and he seemed real sluggish last Sat nite.

Red Light

October 1st, 2010
3:07 pm

100 straight minutes of being shut out by Cam Ward and the team picked 4th or 5th in the division, but it’s only preseason.

five hole

October 1st, 2010
3:13 pm

Thanks Smoothie. I haven’t been able to see any preseason action. Maybe my choice of Bergfors in Red Light’s pool was a bad choice.

USA Today has been doing their reviews, and had some nice things to say about the Thrashers. One thing I remember was that the addition of Chris Mason should be worth 10 pts to us.

five hole

October 1st, 2010
3:14 pm

Nuts. Left my ending string off.

Nate

October 1st, 2010
3:18 pm

Don’t know if anyone has seen this, but apparently Jeremy Morin has made a good impression with the ‘Hawks. He’s lining up tonight with Kane and Sharp for his shot at sticking with the big club into the regular season. And yet, we still have Buff on D in spite of the offensive woes. And Sopel failing to clear the puck that leads to a goal for the second straight game. Yeah…

Smoothie

October 1st, 2010
3:32 pm

Sounds like Kaner is getting his share of choice looks and point-blank chances; he needs to stop gripping the stick to tightly and bury one of these to tie it up! 8 shots directed at the net and 5 on goal.

Smoothie

October 1st, 2010
3:33 pm

Make it 6, stoned again. Damn.

Anyone wanna talk crap about Pavelec? He must be awful today giving up that deflected PP goal. ;-)

Rainman

October 1st, 2010
3:34 pm

Pavelec Sucks.

Trixie (Rawhide's Secretary)

October 1st, 2010
3:34 pm

Mr. Five Hole – Fixed it. How does that look to you?

iamtheratio

October 1st, 2010
3:35 pm

Smoothie, I was thinking the same thing. Pavs is having a pretty good game, the only problem with that is Cam Ward is having a better one.

five hole

October 1st, 2010
3:42 pm

Thank you Trixie. Much better.

And (just to make Smoothie feel better, Pavelic sucks.

Smoothie

October 1st, 2010
3:44 pm

Yeah! Atta boy Antro!! Tie game!

hip czech

October 1st, 2010
3:44 pm

Yeah, Nikolai An-TROP-ov!

Derrick

October 1st, 2010
3:44 pm

Wooohooooo!! Finally score!!

Smoothie

October 1st, 2010
3:44 pm

Keep sucking a$$ Pavs!!

Derrick

October 1st, 2010
3:45 pm

Now I see our problem, we just need to play with 6 attackers all the time and we’ll be unstoppable :P

hip czech

October 1st, 2010
3:45 pm

all the Bergfors playing time questions are answered….I think Bergfors was on the ice 80% of the last 5 minutes

Smoothie

October 1st, 2010
3:46 pm

The Big Nik-lipse covers the crease and crams home the biscuit! Good work by Thorburn to either keep the play alive or set up An-TROP-ov!

Luv ya Chuck!!

Jeff97

October 1st, 2010
3:47 pm

shots on goal even after regulation at 29. Good to see it under 30 again.
hits are 23-12 if my count is correct, our advantage, that is definitely good to see.
maybe we can sneak one out here in OT.

Zombie Steve

October 1st, 2010
3:49 pm

c’mon Thrashers!

Jeff97

October 1st, 2010
3:49 pm

well, maybe not….Booooooooooo!
Sutter Brutter beats us twice.

Derrick

October 1st, 2010
3:49 pm

I see Kane scoring the game winner. He’s had so many chances that the odds are one of them finally have to go in.

mikey da mug

October 1st, 2010
3:49 pm