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

BG33Brown

October 16th, 2010
12:21 am

Thors out there b/c he is making things happen. Man, i wish our top 3 lines played like thor-eager-burmy.

Curly

October 16th, 2010
12:22 am

Someone go wake up iamtheratio.

Flagstaff

October 16th, 2010
12:27 am

40 shots against?

Tom

October 16th, 2010
12:29 am

Got a point. Going to overtime.

Flagstaff

October 16th, 2010
12:29 am

I hope to God that this squad is better in OT than last year’s.

BG33Brown

October 16th, 2010
12:29 am

gotta be happy with a pt after that performance. hoping for more!

Curly

October 16th, 2010
12:30 am

Anyone think Stewart will be out there in OT?

Derrick

October 16th, 2010
12:30 am

What a job by Burmistrov on that last shift. First winning the faceoff then winning a puck battle on the boards and getting the puck cleared.

iamtheratio

October 16th, 2010
12:30 am

@curly: I’m here with my jaw wide open, haha we got a point, holy ***** !

Flagstaff

October 16th, 2010
12:31 am

Maybe it’s hockey deprivation syndrome, but I’m literally shaking right now.

Tom

October 16th, 2010
12:36 am

That was a heck of a move by Buff

Flagstaff

October 16th, 2010
12:38 am

Ugh. Shootout.

Tom

October 16th, 2010
12:38 am

What an end of the overtime…

Curly

October 16th, 2010
12:40 am

Stewart had a chance to win it on a break with 5 seconds left. Oh well, three goals is good.

Brendan

October 16th, 2010
12:43 am

Curly, we’ll have to ask Red Light. He was the one tracking that. As for mee, I’m trying to TRACK tonight’s game on the NHL Center Ice’s “mosaic channel.” I’m watching the shootout now.

Brendan

October 16th, 2010
12:44 am

Peverley just missed. Teemu Selanne up next.

iamtheratio

October 16th, 2010
12:47 am

OMG DID THAT JUST HAPPEN?!

Tom

October 16th, 2010
12:47 am

Dawes wins the game in the 4th round of the shootout… 2 points on the West Coast trip.

BG33Brown

October 16th, 2010
12:47 am

wow…..stewart and dawes win the game-who’d of thunk it.

Derrick

October 16th, 2010
12:47 am

Wooooo we win!!!

Joe Friday

October 16th, 2010
12:48 am

man, we were fortunate to get 1 pt, much less the 2 we got there, the 3rd Stewart goal was off the highest non call stick I’ve seen . . . Thorburn and Stewart and Dawes, our go to guys, hoo boy!

Flagstaff

October 16th, 2010
12:48 am

Curly

October 16th, 2010
12:48 am

Dawes wins it in the shoot-out with a snap shot. Mason was awesome with the stick.

Derrick

October 16th, 2010
12:49 am

Dawes would have been about my 12th choice in the shootout but heck shows what I know lol

Cornbread

October 16th, 2010
12:50 am

That’s a good hockey team there. They’ve been in every game including pre-season. Penalty trouble tonight, but Justin St. Pierre had a horribly called game just like when he was in the Coast.

Tom Lysiak

October 16th, 2010
12:50 am

Wonder how far down Big Buff was in the shootout order????

Rawhide

October 16th, 2010
12:51 am

Great comeback win for Thrashers. Nice for Dawes to get game winner and Mason was awesome allowing nothing in the shootout.

I have an early wakeup call as the youngest tax exemption is heading to Nashville for a rifle competition. He’s the captain of his school team and I’m looking for them to bring back some hardware from this trip.

Because of that, I’m heading to bed now.

Goodnight folks…

Thrashers27

October 16th, 2010
12:51 am

Stewart, Kane, Thorburn, Burmistrov, Mason and Little have certainly earned their place on this team. Any other players on this roster still ahve work to do.

Derrick

October 16th, 2010
12:53 am

Goodnight Bill and good luck to your tax exemption!

Brendan

October 16th, 2010
12:53 am

NHL Network is showing the shootout, in its entirety. Thrashers trailed, 4-2, when Anthony Stewart scored twice to force OT, to secure the point for Atlanta. That’s a hattie.

Perry, Getzlaf, Selanne, Koivu missed for the Ducks.

Kane, Peverley, Little,missed for the Thrashers. But then, Nigel Dawes scores it for the Thrashers!!

Woo, frekkin’ hoo!!! There’s the two-points I predicted for this road trip. That’s one way to make up for the lost point vs. the L.A. Kings, the other night, when Atlanta took a 1-0 lead into the 3rd period. The Thrashers African players came through tonight! Three goals by Anthony Stewart, one by Thorburn, his 3rd of the year, by the way, (he had 4 for ALL of last year’s 78 games, I believe,) and the shootout winner by Nigel Dawes.

kracker

October 16th, 2010
12:55 am

I have to figure that nobody (certainly not me!) picked Stewart as Red Light’s hat trick winner. Sort of fitting, don’t you think?? All of us blogging schemers figure all through the off season and…well…..we are thwarted by reality again!

Flagstaff

October 16th, 2010
12:55 am

Captain of the rifle team, eh? Not only does that sound like it would be a lot of fun, it’s also a badge of manliness. Good luck to him!

Brendan

October 16th, 2010
12:56 am

“On The Fly” had kind things to say about the Thrashers’ comeback abilities.

Derrick

October 16th, 2010
12:56 am

Umm Brendan, are you including Thorburn in your African players? lol

Flagstaff

October 16th, 2010
1:02 am

Derrick, you could make the argument that Thorburn has the wild hair of a tribal king.

Brendan

October 16th, 2010
1:04 am

Goodnight, Rawhide. We’ll put the bow on this one, from here.

The Ducks have struggled a bit, this season. Anaheim wasn’t a playoff team last year. And it’ll be another struggle for them to get back in, this year.

Joe Friday, the Maple Leafs are off to a 4-0-0 start. Can you believe it? Is this ‘for real?,’ or are the Leafs just defeating teams early, before they get their ’sea legs’ under them? GM Brian Burke was brought in two years ago, to “cultivate a winning environment.” Granted, the NY Rangers top line center is Erik Christensen, with Todd White, his replacement. But a win’s a win! Right? Every game is worth … two points for the victor. If the Leafs make the playoffs this year, a lot of experts will have egg on their faces. Toronto, factually, has not yet been a playoff team, since the implementation of the current CBA. Statistically speaking, the Maple Leafs are more than due for a return to the playoffs. Will this be the year???

Derrick

October 16th, 2010
1:06 am

Yeah and who scored again tonight for the Leafs? None other than former Thrasher Clark MacArthur. His 5th of the season so far.

Brendan

October 16th, 2010
1:09 am

NY Rangers lost Gaborik and Drury to injury, in this OT loss the Maple Leafs. I didn”t know that, until just now. Drury’s gone for six weeks, with a broken finger. He was injured on a hit by Toronto’s Colby Armstrong. Clark MacArthur now has 5 goals in 4 games for Toronto. I still wouldn’t put a nickel on MacArthur Park scoring 25 goals this year.

BlueSpark

October 16th, 2010
1:11 am

While I didn’t agree with the arbitrator, I didn’t like losing MacArthur. I figured him in for 20+ goals.

I don’t like Bergfors not playing either.

Brendan

October 16th, 2010
1:12 am

Pittsburgh finally got a win in their new arena. It was an OT win over the NY Islanders, with Rick DiPietro, under contract until he’s 40, in net for the Islanders.

Brendan

October 16th, 2010
1:25 am

World Be Free, Buffalo’s scoring woes continue. It’s a one (1) goal outing for the Sabres, who earlier lost to NJ, this week, 1-0, in overtime. This time around, it’s a 2-1 loss to Montreal. I think it was Derek Roy with the tally, for Buffalo. But I should double-check that.

Red Light is on record that the Sabres wouldn’t repeat atop the Northeast Division this year. Maybe it will be Boston that wins that division. Tonight, it was a special ceremony to open up the season, for Buffalo. Longtime Sabres TV and radio announcer Ric Jeanerret was honored, along with some other Sabre legends, and a Montreal player, as they honor “40 Years of Sabres Hockey” in Buffalo.

A-hem. Let’s keep that in mind. We’re 10 seasons in. Atlanta has nothing to show for it, but a division title. But, Sabres fans endured 30 more seasons that we have, with no Cup. Two Finals appearances, but no Cup. If those were the results in Atlanta, how HAPPY would we be? I’m thinking, “not very.” Which is why I still say, to this very day, “You grab your championships when they come.” If, during the course of a random decade, your team has a losing season 8 of those 10 years, but the other two were Cup-winning years, “that’s a FANTASTIC decade.” Two Cups. Nobody ever asks how many losing seasons a team has. They ask, “How many championships?” The losing years are part of the rebuilding for the Championship years. Those of us who wish to be, perennially, the 15th best team in the NHL, push the bile to the tip of my throat. Where did they ever learn … to champion mediocrity, like that????

Brendan

October 16th, 2010
2:49 am

Derrick, that wasn’t my intent. But I can see the confusion. I’ll end with, “If Bill Clinton can be ‘The First Black President’ … as he once dubbed himself, then Chris Thorburn can claim WHATEVER LINEAGE he wants.” Come to think of it, didn’t the movie, “Boyz-N-The Hood” begin with the statement that “all human life began in Africa; that means we’re all Africans.”

Brendan

October 16th, 2010
3:27 am

Here’s your boxscore: http://www.nhl.com/ice/boxscore.htm?id=2010020053

Some interesting tidbits from last night’s win … at -1 were Dawes, Modin, Slater, and Oduya. At +1 were Little, Ladd, Stewart, and Enstrom. With 5 shots, was Anthony Stewart. He scored on 3 of them. Bryan Little had 4 shots. With 3 shots, were Ladd, Eager, Peverley, Enstrom, and Oduya.

Here’s how the D-men minutes distribution went:

1. Oduya: 28:42, -1, 3 shots
2. Enstrom: 27:47, 2A, +1, 3 shots
3. Byfuglien: 22:51, 2A, “even”
4. F. Meyer: 18:43, “even”
5. Sopel: 17:25, “even”
6. Hainsey: 14:32, “even”

Some interesting Ducks notes … the 12th overall selection of the 2010 Draft, Cam Fowler, perhaps only on a 9-game audition, played a whopping 22:02, was “even,” with 1 shot on goal. They might just keep him all year. He was a “prize” of the 1st round, to be sitting there, at # 12. L. Vishnovsky led all players in ice time, last night, at 29:34. Of course, Selanne can still do it. 3-points on the night. He is seemingly “timeless” in the aging process. A lot of other players would have called it a career, by now. There was talk, after the 2007 season, with a cup ring now on his resume, that Selanne would retire. He’s still viable. Forgot what his salary is. He wouldn’t have entertained the thought of coming here, anyway. Waddell tried, ONCE, back in 2005, to get him here. He got Bondra and Holik to come, but Selanne said, “no.”

Brendan

October 16th, 2010
3:40 am

Believe it or not, our statistical leader, in goals, points, and plus-minus, is … (drumroll, please) Chris Thorburn. Yes, Thorby. I see the doubt. Truly, I do. Here’s your link. http://www.nhl.com/ice/playerstats.htm?fetchKey=20112ATLAASAll&sort=plusMinus&viewName=summary

Three goals, three points, and +4 make him … YOUR TEAM LEADER. Look at Antropov. He’s a minus guy, with one (1) point. It’s a slow start. Antropov took a long time, last season, to get his first goal. But then, he took off like a rocket. Hopefully, it’s just a slow start, and not lingering problems from offseason surgery. Also, like we talked about during the offseason, we need Rich to be “Peverywhere.” (Copyright, Paminsky, all rights reserved.) So far, “not so much.” Peverley is a key cog to the Thrashers success this season. He can’t wind up on the Milk Carton, as the new Todd White of this team. I like Enstrom, so far. I hope he can keep it up.

Dwayne

October 16th, 2010
6:56 am

I am ok with a 2 – 2 record, are yall? One player seems to be pouting, one is out of position, players we need to produce, aren’t producing. Our race car triver gets the hattie?? Thorburn?? really?? leading the team. If we trust in Duds, we better trust in Freddy Krueger to slice up the lines and find some chemistry soon.

World Be Free

October 16th, 2010
7:30 am

Clarke MacArthur would still be here had his agent not been stupid enough to overvalue his worth; he took a sizaeble discount to sign in Tronna. Good for him and the rest of the Leafs. Rawhide was right about the Leafs’ potential this season, they may indeed make playoffs but it’s a long season. Thrashers were warm out of the gate last season too, it did not mean much at the end.

Cam Fowler-alotta teams are going to wish they did not pass on the man expected to go #3 in last summer’s draft, only to fall to #14.

Brendan-Same old Sabres; the “core” is a bunch of 3rd liners. Lindy and Darcy trot out the same team (or so it seems) every season and still keep their jobs. And you think we have it tough in ATL.

We all knew Boris/Doris was on the way out after the first preseason game. He was a defensive train wreck in the pre-opener, had most of us at the game shaking our heads. I guess the scouts were sold on his size and not his playing abilities. Congrats to Stewart, a guy a few of us wanted to keep when the team was pared down for the season. Take advantage of your opportunities dude.

Putting On The Foil

October 16th, 2010
8:20 am

Thanks to all thoses that called for Stewart’s head yeaterday after 3 games. Maybe these guys do read the blogs. If we could only steal one tonight on short rest. Now it’s time for me to get ready for the Dawgs on short rest.

Rhythmpenguin

October 16th, 2010
8:36 am

If anybody wants to watch games online, try http://www.myp2p.eu/competition.php?competitionid=&part=sports&discipline=icehockey.
It is ironic that #22 scored a hat trick on my 22nd birthday? =)

DWTOO

October 16th, 2010
8:46 am

Now I know why I’m not the GM – I would’ve sent down both Stewart and Dawes in favor of FP. Shows what I know. Nice comeback win, but, there’s still much room for improvement. Too many shots in particular and the third period comeback smacks of previous years. We need to be carryinf leads into the third and bottling up the opponents.

Dwayne

October 16th, 2010
9:11 am

Is there an over\under on Buff moving back to forward?