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

Curly

October 15th, 2010
11:03 pm

I noticed Comcast replays the games the next day all day long…. Which is Nice! (Dish never did that.)

Curly

October 15th, 2010
11:07 pm

Derrick – The beach was nice today too. (The surf not so good though).

JF – I have Comcast in Florida and it is on, as I am watching right now.

Tom

October 15th, 2010
11:07 pm

That is 2 penalties that were really soft against the Thrashers. Little’s one did not do much to their hands and the one against Pevs is Perry just lost an edge.

BG33Brown

October 15th, 2010
11:11 pm

So what’s the answer regarding Direct TV? Is Comcast broadcasting this on Center ice? to say that I have spent an hour with incompetent people at Direct TV is an UNDERSTATEMENT. Please let me know what is going on with Comcast b/c I will switch over this crap. Versus was one thing, this is another.

Joe Friday

October 15th, 2010
11:12 pm

So is anyone here on Comcast and blacked out in Atlanta? Or is this a DirectTV screwup, just like they do every year early in the CenterIce season?

five_hole

October 15th, 2010
11:13 pm

What rocket scientist makes the television decisions on what Thrasher games to play?

Best of luck to Boris. The kid was never a great skater, and the knee injury slowed him even more.

And Anaheim just scored. Nothing seems to change for us.

Joe Friday

October 15th, 2010
11:14 pm

does Modin look this useless in every game? He had a perfect set up to him there, muffs it, and bam, goal the other way . . . I never did trust in Dudley or whatever glue was being sniffed, but this lineup has little to no cohesion . . .

BG33Brown

October 15th, 2010
11:15 pm

Also, thanks for the link!!!

iamtheratio

October 15th, 2010
11:16 pm

What’s the deal with these refs?

BG33Brown

October 15th, 2010
11:16 pm

Nice job by Buff just watching the paint dry again…..he is looking really good at D.

Derrick

October 15th, 2010
11:17 pm

I have DirectTV. Not sure about Comcast.

Tom

October 15th, 2010
11:22 pm

Powerplay Goal. Thorburn off of a Buf shot. Funny how good things happen when dmen shoot.

Joe Friday

October 15th, 2010
11:22 pm

Nice tip, Thorburn on the PP? woot.

What up with Hiller’s Darth Vader mask?

Derrick

October 15th, 2010
11:23 pm

Buff finally gets one of his power play shots on goal and it leads to a goal. Good things happen when you dont shoot it 5 feet over the net as he has been doing.

Curly

October 15th, 2010
11:24 pm

Great Hustle by Kane to draw a penalty while on the penalty kill. He is the real deal.

Thorburn tips a great shot/feed rocket by Buff! Can’t believe Thorburn is our leading scorer.

Derrick

October 15th, 2010
11:24 pm

Funny how it worked out as far as Thorburn being on the power play. He was in the box and stayed on the ice when his penalty was over or else I doubt he would have been on there on the pp to score the goal.

Derrick

October 15th, 2010
11:30 pm

Another penalty, what a shocker.

Joe Friday

October 15th, 2010
11:30 pm

“Can’t believe Thorburn is our leading scorer.”

You can only hope to contain him!

iamtheratio

October 15th, 2010
11:35 pm

This super undisciplined hockey is killing us. KILLING us.

Tom

October 15th, 2010
11:35 pm

Thrashers outshot in 2nd period 19-7. Ouch.

Curly

October 15th, 2010
11:36 pm

The Thrashers look tired (Except for Kane).

Rawhide

October 15th, 2010
11:37 pm

Ramsay to Thrashers during 2nd intermission, “Selanne has a goal and assist on EIGHT shots on goal through 2 periods. Might wanna keep an eye on him during the third boys?

Joe Friday

October 15th, 2010
11:39 pm

“Thrashers outshot in 2nd period 19-7. Ouch.”

I thought I read the Ducks are the club giving up 48 shots per game? Good golly, Thrasher hockey, gotta love it. The more things change, the more they stay the same, we’re lucky to be down just 3-2, we need to come out strong in the 3rd.

Derrick

October 15th, 2010
11:39 pm

Antropov has looked pretty bad so far this year. I know he’s coming back from an injury but if he can’t play better than this then he shouldn’t be out there.

Joe Friday

October 15th, 2010
11:41 pm

“Antropov has looked pretty bad so far this year.”

Look who coach has been skating him with, it’s brutal seeing little to no cohesion on these lines. Someone please get the word to him:

Bergfors – Little – Buf
Kane – Antropov – Ladd

and watch the goals come . . .

Rawhide

October 15th, 2010
11:45 pm

Ramsay and Co. have to find a way to get these boys to come out in the third period like their pants are on FI-YAHHHhhhh!!!

Tom

October 16th, 2010
12:03 am

8 of 9 offensive zone power play face off wins. Then a goal. Good night kids…

iamtheratio

October 16th, 2010
12:03 am

That’s it for me tonight, turned the game off. UGH. Hopefully they’ll play like a team against the sharks…..

Flagstaff

October 16th, 2010
12:03 am

Curly

October 16th, 2010
12:04 am

Ducks are making the power play look very easy. Third power play goal of the night.

iamtheratio

October 16th, 2010
12:06 am

Yeah, the Ducks PP is making us look like Minor Leaguers

Flagstaff

October 16th, 2010
12:09 am

…At least it’s interesting again. I refuse to get excited until they tie it, though.

Derrick

October 16th, 2010
12:13 am

Just can’t take any more penalties and we have a shot.

Curly

October 16th, 2010
12:13 am

Hard working play by Eager and Thorburn create a high stick penalty on Burmistrov.

Peverly feeds puck across the crease for tip in by Stewart into open net. Stewart equals his yearly NHL goal total in one game. I guess he won’t be going back to Chicago anytime soon.

Flagstaff

October 16th, 2010
12:17 am

“Wake up the neighbors! We’re tied!”

Flagstaff

October 16th, 2010
12:17 am

Derrick

October 16th, 2010
12:18 am

Doesn’t look good.

Tom

October 16th, 2010
12:18 am

Interesting review. Stewart may have gotten the hat trick.

Flagstaff

October 16th, 2010
12:19 am

Derrick, are you watching on a TV?

Joe Friday

October 16th, 2010
12:19 am

Stewart gets the hattie, who had him in Red Light’s goal (you know that goal is good, the first hit is a high stick but Stewart then knocked it in)

Flagstaff

October 16th, 2010
12:19 am

HELLLLLLLLLL YEAH! We’re all WRONG on the hat trick contest!

Derrick

October 16th, 2010
12:19 am

Wow Stewart with a hat trick. Who woulda thunk it.

Cornbread

October 16th, 2010
12:19 am

Anyone want to waive Stewart now?

Curly

October 16th, 2010
12:20 am

Looks Like a Hat trick for Stewart!

Brendan – who won the Hat trick contest? Anyone pick Stewart?

Thrashers27

October 16th, 2010
12:20 am

Stewie with the hat trick. That screws up the hattie prediction contest. Woohoo!

Anybody else notice that thorburn was playing on the PP? What’s up with that?

BG33Brown

October 16th, 2010
12:20 am

Adam

October 16th, 2010
12:20 am

I bet no one guessed Stewart would get the hat, especially in the 4th game of the season…

Tom

October 16th, 2010
12:20 am

We tie it up and then give up a power play. Exhausting team to watch…

Flagstaff

October 16th, 2010
12:21 am

…Really, refs?

Derrick

October 16th, 2010
12:21 am

Grrrrrrr not another penalty!! It’s gonna be a short lived tie.