Thrashers waive bye-bye to Boris – prepare for Duck and Sharks

When you are the Atlanta Thrashers, there is no such thing as a “cream puff” on the schedule. There really has never been a time in their previous ten seasons when they could look at the schedule and say to themselves, “Well, we can go into this team’s building…get our two points, and then see what we can do against this other better team the next night”.

In fact…for most of the past decade, the Thrashers have been that first team.

But tonight might…might…be the exception to the rule as the Thrashers go up against an Anaheim Ducks team that has, shall we say, struggled to take flight so far in this still-young NHL season. In their first four games, the Duck have given up 16 goals while netting but six of their own. In doing so, their defense have given up an average of…are you sitting down for this…an average of 46 shots on goal per game.

That is shocking…even by Thrashers standards.

The area around Jonas Hiller's goal has been the gathering place for several celebrations so far this season (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

The area around Jonas Hiller's goal has been the gathering place for several celebrations so far this season (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

How bad is the Ducks defense? Well…their defense is so suspect, that many who frequent this online forum have suggested Anaheim might have been tempted to trade anything of value for Boris Valabik…that is, before he was placed on waivers today.

Duck netminder Jonas Hiller has started all four games and has already seen 165 shots launched on him and his goal. Fifteen have made it by, giving him a 4.17 GAA and .909 SV%. But truth be told, it looks as though he could file suit against the skaters in front of him for lack of support.

Given all of that, it would be understandable if Thrashers forwards arrive early at the rink tonight, licking their chops to get out there against the Ducks’ defense. Players like Rich Peverley, Nik Antropov, Bryan Little and rookie Alex Burmistrov are yet to tickle the twine yet and I’m sure will be gunning to get off Schnied Island sometime tonight.

Same so Nic Bergfors, if he starts.

But while some may see tonight’s matchup as a blessing from the schedule making department of the hockey gods, I would warn against looking past this game forward to tomorrow evening’s appointment in the shark tank.

Why? Well, like I said above…this team cannot afford to look past any team. The Thrashers’ defense themselves are still allowing 30+ shots per game themselves, and the power play unit has looked completely disorganized so far. Don’t think for a second that Anaheim understands this and will come out playing a chippy game, unafraid to take penalties by playing physical.

That being said, if you’re on the Thrashers bench tonight, you have to think this is the kind of team to face if your power play unit is going to click…at all…against anybody.

This could also be a great chance for coach Ramsay to possibly try out that crazy, wacky, far-fetched, off-the-wall, zany idea of using Byfuglien on the power play.

Heck, could the addition of Big Buff up in front of Hiller while on the man advantage net any worse results than the previous fourteen or so power play chances? I think not.

Lastly, it appears Craig Ramsay will be looking to play Chris Mason both nights during this back-to-back set. Two points tonight will go a long way to taking the edge off of tomorrow’s game. Really, ya don’t wanna be in a position where you’re looking to a game in San Jose to salvage any points on a four-game road trip.

This is the main reason we brought Mr. Mason into the Thrasherville fold in the first place…to give us quality starts night in and night out. Even if that means being skated out between the pipes on two consecutive nights. A good goalie is going to steal you a game or ten over the course of the season…one or two this weekend would be just dandy.

No local TV tonight, same too in San Jose. But those of us with Comcast will view it on the Center Ice free preview.

Bye-Bye Boris

Chris Vivlamore reported today that the Thrashers have waived defensemen Boris Valabik. The 6’-7” Slovakian had not seen any action in the first three games this season. In fact, he hasn’t seen ice time in any game since the first preseason match last month.

The move made way for forward Jim Slater to return to the lineup after nursing a sore wrist.

In 80 career starts at the NHL level over the last three seasons, Valabik was a –14 with seven assists. He has yet to notch his first career goal. He also amassed 210 penalty minutes, 132 in 2008-09 when he played in 50 games.

Boris Valabik earns five of his 210 career PIM in this fight with Ottawa's Shean Donovan last winter (AP Photo/John Amis)

Boris Valabik earns five of his 210 career PIM in this fight with Ottawa's Shean Donovan last winter (AP Photo/John Amis)

Assuming he’s claimed off waivers, I think the Thrashers are basically doing with him the same thing they did with Kari Lehtonen last winter…cut bait and move on. The 6’-7” Valabik was their 10th overall pick in 2004, but he was slow to develop and injuries hampered his 2009-10 season.

In the one preseason game versus Columbus, Boris played very poorly, ending a –3. That he didn’t start any more after that…and Freddy Meyer did…made it clear to me that his days here were numbered. And the move made today makes it clear Meyer’s performance during the exhibition season earned him a permanent spot on the Thrashers 7-man defensive corps.

If Valabik does clear waivers, then he’ll report to Chicago to play with the AHL Wolves.

However, there’s a numbers game there too. If a defenseman were to be needed for an emergency call-up later in the season, I would think Arturs Kulda gets the nod first before Valabik. Kulda has played well in his few games here last winter, plus he had a decent preseason and training camp showing.

As for my immediate reaction, I would say the right call was made here. Although Valabik has improved on his propensity to take the untimely penalty, he’s slow and his skating skills have only improved slightly since his first appearance in Atlanta three years ago.

If he makes it onto the roster of another team… good luck to him.

168 comments Add your comment

buzz

October 15th, 2010
2:19 pm

The Thrashers are the worst drafting team in all of pro sports, perhaps.

Other than Kovalchuk and Heatly (even a blind man could have picked those two), who have the Thrashers drafted that was even AVERAGE?

Lehtonen? But even HE was a gimme pick. YEESH.

Hockey Biltong

October 15th, 2010
2:40 pm

Sage of Bluesland

October 15th, 2010
2:54 pm

“…The 6’-7” Valabik was their 10th overall pick in 2004…”

Thanks Don. Great pick. Yet another “Legend of Blueland”.

I don’t ever wonder why this organization is precisely where it it; it’s been well-earned and deserved.

Enjoy what you subsidize, lambchops!

Hockey Biltong

October 15th, 2010
2:58 pm

Anything else deep and meaningful to add?

The Real Thrash

October 15th, 2010
2:59 pm

Sage of Bluesland- You’re right another wasted pick!

J(Z)

October 15th, 2010
3:00 pm

So, if Bogey can’t play and Hainsey doesn’t make it back in time…who is our 6th Dman? Maybe it would’ve made sense to wait til tomorrow to do this???? Let Slater sit out one more day

RS

October 15th, 2010
3:05 pm

Meanwhile according to Ben, this year’s pick was sitting on the bench in Anaheim this morning waiting for the zamboni to get the ice ready. So far he’s been too good to be true….

http://twitpic.com/2xu72a

Mikey

October 15th, 2010
3:06 pm

Lets see. Since Dudly joined the Thrashers front office in June 2009 we have witnessed….

Garnet Exelby – gone

Kari Lehtonen – gone

Ilya Kovalchuk – gone

Todd White – gone

Boris Valabik – gone

Yup, looks like the housecleaning left by Waddell is just about done. Now he can move forward with a team not built by DW. I like it.

sisu

October 15th, 2010
3:13 pm

Kind of mixed feelings but maybe the ankle never healed, or maybe he never learned to skate.
Bygones! Need a win tonight.

frenchy

October 15th, 2010
3:48 pm

LOVE to see Burmistrov not having enough hockey and almost kicking the Zamboni off the ice! We need more guys like him!

Tears for Beers

October 15th, 2010
3:51 pm

Smoothie

October 15th, 2010
4:09 pm

Great preview and write-up Bill! One of your best, which is saying something considering how much material you crank out on a regular basis. You’re like fine wine, buddy! :cool:

Dwayne

October 15th, 2010
4:15 pm

Another great post by the SOB. So glad Doris is gone, if only the Octotards will sell and the new OWNER will fire Donnie Boy.

Flagstaff

October 15th, 2010
4:25 pm

Mmm… lambchops…

Hopefully, though, there will be Duck on the menu tonight.

Smoothie

October 15th, 2010
4:46 pm

Flagstaff — LOL, well played sir, well played. Go T-birds!

R. Stroz

October 15th, 2010
5:51 pm

This is just another example of poor scouting combined with an AHL franchise that puts the Haydars and Krogs in front of Thrasher player development.

What a bleeping waste of high first round draft picks.

Is Mike Milbury the role model for the Thrashers organization?

kracker

October 15th, 2010
5:52 pm

tweet – NHLSourcesSay Antti Niemi will start for the Sharks in their home opener vs. the Thrashers tomorrow.

Oh no!! We are facing another team in their home opener!! I’m telling ya, the NHL schedulers have the Thrash set up to be Saturday night road kill this season. We have 12 Saturday road games and only 5 at home.

Sooo…cross them up and win them!

BlueSpark

October 15th, 2010
6:17 pm

I think someone picks up Boris. Maybe even Anaheim.

Where is this Comcast Center Ice preview? Every time I try it, I get that “This channel will be available shortly” message. Comcast’s definition of shortly is apparently “never”.

Thrashers27

October 15th, 2010
6:47 pm

Kracker,

I can’t believe they’re not starting Nittymaki against us.

alex

October 15th, 2010
6:54 pm

deadly combination don drafting stypinity and asg cheapest liers equals worst franchize in nhl for last decade. going to drink all atlanta vodka supply if this gang be forced out. check what happened with another weasels hicks ahd gillett after similar job in england soccer liverpool’s team.

Dwayne

October 15th, 2010
7:05 pm

Alex, great post, i think, can someone translate for me?

Tony C

October 15th, 2010
8:27 pm

kracker

October 15th, 2010
8:30 pm

Does anyone have a good streaming site for NHL games? A site showing tonight’s Thrash/Ducks game of course. It is listed on Center Ice so Duck TV must be airing it.

J-man

October 15th, 2010
9:15 pm

kracker – hockeystreams.com, but I have never used them myself so I am not responsible for any problems you have. And they are NOT free.

If you want free streams, you are out of luck.

Tom

October 15th, 2010
9:32 pm

Budder

October 15th, 2010
9:45 pm

Tom said…www.channelsurfing.net

Seconded. This site was recommended for the Kings Thrashers the other night, and it was good quality.

Go Thrash!

Reed Cassidy

October 15th, 2010
9:57 pm

Here’s a link for live game streaming for the ducks game tonight! GO THRAHSERS!

http://www.alpha2zulu.net/a2z_channel_2.html

kracker

October 15th, 2010
9:58 pm

Thanks, guys!

iamtheratio

October 15th, 2010
10:00 pm

I have DirecTV and was able to watch the Kings game, but this Ducks game says “Channel Not Purchased” – I wonder why it’s saying that when Center Ice is free for the month, even other games are working. Hrmm…

iamtheratio

October 15th, 2010
10:02 pm

Nevermind now it’s saying it’s blacked out, which is retarded since there’s no game covered locally. Gotta love it.

Tom

October 15th, 2010
10:09 pm

Does anyone else get the feeling that the NHL not want us to get excited about our team? They are making it very hard to watch the team.

1-0 Thrashers Anthony Stewart rips a goal early 1st period.

Tom

October 15th, 2010
10:10 pm

Hainsey made it back for the game.

kracker

October 15th, 2010
10:12 pm

WOW Stewart ripped it!!!

Tom

October 15th, 2010
10:15 pm

Early observation, Thrashers have lots of space to work with.

Joe Friday

October 15th, 2010
10:20 pm

did anyone else call DirectTV? It should not be blacked out here, I’ve called, if 3 or 4 more of you do they’ll probably fix their mistake and get it on . . .

Tom

October 15th, 2010
10:23 pm

Vishnovsky (sp) scores for Anaheim. Could be a Perry deflection. 1-1 11 minute mark

Tom

October 15th, 2010
10:25 pm

Joe, last year they had the same issue. I took it up the food chain and the answer I got was the broadcasting channel can block the game in the other market.

Sucks and kind of does not make me thrilled about the money I am spending on the Center Ice Package just for this reason.

Russian

October 15th, 2010
10:29 pm

Game is black out. Damn. I am watching online.

Rawhide

October 15th, 2010
10:30 pm

Well…I guess we won’t be watching the game on Center Ice. Even though the game IS on Center Ice, it’s blacked out in Atlanta.

A game in California…on Center Ice…is blacked out in Atlanta.

Asinine.

Thanks for the links though, Tom and Reed Cassidy

Joe Friday

October 15th, 2010
10:34 pm

is it blacked out on Comcast also? There’s no reason for the Anaheim feed to be blacked out here, this happens every year at least one time early in the season with CenterIce and calling them has gotten them to fix it in the past.

Derrick

October 15th, 2010
10:41 pm

What a bs penalty call on Little

Joe Friday

October 15th, 2010
10:42 pm

who did Thorburn go with and get an instigator? Why did he get after him?

Derrick

October 15th, 2010
10:45 pm

He went with Parros because Parros was going after Buff and Thorburn just stepped in.

Derrick

October 15th, 2010
10:46 pm

I thought the call on Thorburn was bs too because it was obvious that Parros was the one instigating with Buff.

Curly

October 15th, 2010
10:55 pm

That’s why I went to my house in Florida this weekend… so I can watch the Thrashers on Center Ice Friday and Saturday. Go figure.

Curly

October 15th, 2010
10:58 pm

The Ducks’ announcers are very complimentary about Buff’s play this evening. (One reason Parros may have been going after him – to get him off the ice).

LAC

October 15th, 2010
11:00 pm

Is Bergfours having a “I wish I was playing somewhere else except Atlanta” Episode ?

Why is there so much dislike for playing here ? I know these owners are THE WORST in pro sports, but gee whiz… Then I realize the owners again and it is clear, cheap and not caring about winning, a damn SHAME !

Derrick

October 15th, 2010
11:00 pm

Wish i had a house in Florida to go to lol. Sure would beat having to watch it online.

Joe Friday

October 15th, 2010
11:01 pm

Well, Thorburn should be careful going after Parros, I hear all those porn stars on the left coast were exposed to the AIDS . . .

Joe Friday

October 15th, 2010
11:02 pm

So Curly, is it blacked out in Florida as well? Are you on DirectTV or Comcast? WTF is with that?