Accountability and responsibility – Thrashers face defining games after ‘unacceptable’ loss

Unacceptable: (adj.) Not Acceptable. Unsatisfactory.  – “The Atlanta Thrashers’ effort during the 4-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres was ‘unacceptable’”.

There really weren’t a lot of positives to take from Wednesday night’s “effort” against the Buffalo Sabres. And to a man, everyone seemed willing to accept their fair share of the blame for the 4-1 loss, one in which they were outshot 42-18.

But if you’re like me and care little for excuses, then at least you appreciated the words that came out of the Atlanta locker room following the game. Starting with the man behind the bench on down to the players who were on the ice, none were offered up and only words of accountability were expressed.

Thrashers head coach Craig Ramsay was able to get the team's attention after Ondrej Pavelec was carted off the ice on opening night. They rallied for a 4-2 win against the Capitals. But he needs to get them focused and ready this weekend following Wednesday's "unacceptable" effort (AJC Photo/Curtis Compton)

Thrashers head coach Craig Ramsay was able to get the team's attention after Ondrej Pavelec was carted off the ice on opening night. They rallied for a 4-2 win against the Capitals. But he needs to get them focused and ready this weekend following Wednesday's "unacceptable" effort (AJC Photo/Curtis Compton)

“We turned over pucks in the neutral zone. We gave up odd-man rushes. Our changes were horrendous”, head coach Craig Ramsay said following the lackluster performance. “It’s one of those games you want to throw away, you have to deal with, and it wasn’t fun after the way we played with a high pace against the teams out west. To come home and play at a slow pace was unacceptable”.

“We were just too darn sloppy. They picked us apart”.

Ron Hainsey has seen his share of stink bombs dropped by these Thrashers. And he wasn’t applying any sugar to the coat this one. “[The neutral zone] was a problem, but we were not good in most areas, except for goaltending,” the Thrashers defenseman said.

“It was an issue. We had turnovers in the neutral zone. That was a problem, turnovers in the neutral zone, but we were bad in most areas. It was one of those games where we weren’t that good”.

Hainsey even compared Wednesday B-slapping to on-ice failures of previous seasons, saying it was “sort of a flash back” to flush-worthy games of years gone by. Hmmm, I wonder if he ever wakes up in the middle of the night drenched by a cold sweat after his subconscious painted nocturnal visuals of the 8-1 drubbing by the Capitals last winter.

…shudders…

And don’t look for any whining about the travel to, around and from the west coast last week. “That’s a typical excuse you can use,” goalie Chris Mason said. “The travel in this league, everyone has to do it. There is no reason. Maybe the first couple of shifts, but there is no reason to have a whole game like that”.

That sentiment is very reminiscent of former coach Bob Hartley’s “If they are ‘tired’ from the travel, let them install windshields for a while” comment several years back.

Missing from any post-game comments, however …anything that had to do with “bad bounces”, “bad luck” or “a break, a break there” kind of tripe. They were flat out outplayed, flat out beat and, if nothing else, it’s refreshing to hear those responsible for the debacle man-up and hold themselves accountable for their part in it.

Accountability: (n.) The state of being accountable; liability to be called on to render an account; the obligation to bear the consequences for failure to perform as expected; accountableness – “The Thrashers players have expressed words of ‘accountability’ for their play”.

Now, if you are looking for any silver lining in the cloud that still emanates from the steaming pile of FAIL that the Thrashers dropped on the ice of Philips Arena Wednesday night, it’s that no team has ever been eliminated from the postseason after a loss in the sixth game of the season. As bad as it was…and it was bad…there are still 76 still to be played in season.

Thomas Vanek, Drew Stafford and the rest of the Buffalo Sabres had themselves a brutally good time in Thrasherville Wednesday night. They won 4-1 and outshot Atlanta 11-2 in the first period (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Thomas Vanek, Drew Stafford and the rest of the Buffalo Sabres had themselves a brutally good time in Thrasherville Wednesday night. They won 4-1 and outshot Atlanta 11-2 in the first period (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

The first of those will occur tonight when the 4-1-1 Tampa Bay Lightning make their first of three trips to Thrasherville. The Bolts arrive in Thrasherville following last night’s video review-delayed overtime loss to the Islanders.

This next game, and the one that follows, will show just as much about who and what this team is than the events of two nights ago…if not more. While they won’t push them on the brink of playoff elimination if lost, the way the conduct themselves will show a lot about what kind of pride these Thrashers take in themselves and their team.

It”ll be a defining moment, if you will, in this still-young season.

If the coaches and players were truly embarrassed at the way the they were beaten…and they should be…then the way the come out versus these division rivals will say a lot about how they worked, how they practiced and how the committed themselves to insure the past does not repeat itself. This is even made all the more so given they were beaten in Tampa Bay 5-3 on the opening weekend of the season.

As we’ve taught our children…it’s one thing to simply acknowledge accountability and express remorse for being responsible for what took place. It’s another to hold one’s self accountable and responsible to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

By some accounts I have heard from people close to the organization, during a team meeting yesterday that it was made very clear by Ramsay and Co. that no player was exempt from being held accountable and responsible for their actions. No player…from the highest paid to the lowest…was above having to answer to their teammates and coaches for “unacceptable” play and no job was “safe”.

To that measure, Nigel Dawes, found himself riding the waver wire by the end of the day. If he clears waivers at noon today he’ll find himself playing in the AHL along with Boris Valabik, who himself was thrown to the Wolves last week. Dawes had no points and was a –6 in six games played. His game-winning shootout goal in Anaheim Friday was one of his few highlights.

But I would not at all be surprised if others find themselves on the “outs” if either game this weekend come close to fouling the air as badly as the last one did.

Responsibility: (n.) 1. The state, quality, or fact of being responsible. 2.Something for which one is responsible; a duty, obligation, or burden. – “Coach Ramsay will make it clear that the ‘responibility’ rests with every man on the team when it comes to their on-ice performance”.

Who could find themselves in danger of being tossed into Ramsay’s doghouse? Well, dare I suggest one Mr. Bryan Little? He has three assists and is a +2, but after six games has yet to crinkle the twine. This alone wouldn’t be all that troubling if not for the fact he is coming off a disappointing 13 goal just a season ago.

I mean, not to sound cynical, but just how long is Little going to be able to merit the “but he scored 31 for us in 2008-09” defense before his lack of scoring over the past season-plus starts to become a serious concern? The twelfth overall pick in ’06 needs illuminate the lamp.

Nigel Dawes scored the shootout winner against the Anaheim Ducks last Friday night. However, he had no points, was a -6 and was placed on waivers Thursday (AP Photo/Lori Shepler)

Nigel Dawes scored the shootout winner against the Anaheim Ducks last Friday night. However, he had no points, was a -6 and was placed on waivers Thursday (AP Photo/Lori Shepler)

Rich Peverley, the waver-wire steal of two seasons ago, has scored just as many goals this season as Little has…or you or I have, for that matter. Pevs has but 2 assists and is a –2.

Both are leading candidates to find their images on my Todd White Honorary Milk Carton this fall.

Then there’s Freddy Modin, who has been barely visible on the ice with one goal and a –4 in 5 games played. I honestly expected a little more from the veteran.

Are the above-mentioned three, or any other player… including Nigel Dawes… solely responsible for the beat-down at the hands of Buffalo or the atrociously high amount of shots taken on our goal? Nope. But these are top-line performers who are looked upon this season to perform as such.

Excuses need not apply here.

And while I don’t see Little or Peverley being sent packing, I don’t think it’s outside the realm of possibility that their ice time could be reduced in favor of those who are getting the job done.

Simply put, coach Ramsay doesn’t strike me as the type who places “player potential” or “past performances” higher in value than “on-ice effort” and “scoreboard results”.

Accountability and responsibility: Two virtues the players had better hold themselves to this weekend. If not, the Thrashers now have a coach who will indeed do just that… hold them accountable and responsible for their actions.

249 comments Add your comment

DWTOO

October 22nd, 2010
7:54 am

Upon further reflection perhaps we were too harsh with the criticism after the Buffalo debacle. However, all the off season talk from the “organ-I-zation” has been about accountability, teamwork, etc. and then drop a steaming pile on the ice in the second home game made many long time followers roll their eyes and think here we go again. And there was much venting.

My perspective is I don’t expect to win every game – that’s not going to happen – and every team has off nights – but I do expect to see the team at least hustle and play hard. That was sorely lacking the other night. That’s my complaint.

Let’s hope they bounce back with a big game against Tampa Bay.

World Be Free

October 22nd, 2010
7:57 am

Tonight’s game has to be better-Buffalo was horrible before they came into Atlanta so they got their rebound game. Time for us to have one too, TB played last night so they may be tired.

BlueSpark

October 22nd, 2010
7:58 am

You can’t waive everyone. Also, how close are they to the salary FLOOR? Bringing up kids from Chicago would drop even more.

I still think the top 3 lines are all wrong. I just don’t know what the right lines are. Deja vu…

BlueSpark

October 22nd, 2010
7:59 am

Forgot to mention – where is the “hard to play against” team with the strong defense? I saw it in person opening night. Don’t think I’ve seen it since (although I missed the SJ game).

HonkyTonkHero

October 22nd, 2010
8:03 am

Looking forward to a great night of hockey here in Atlanta. I think our boys are ready to forge that new identity and move far away from the craptacular night they had against Buffablow.

In regards to Modin’s performance. I expect more from him, but he has at least gotten some shots on goal in his limited ice time (at least it seems limited to me… haven’t looked at stats). Some of the other guys look afraid to shoot. Re: Peverly….I hate to say it but he looks like his polish has been washed off. He faded quite a bit at the end of last season and looks like the trend is continuing. I hope the dispenser of old can come back and be a force to be reckoned with. Re: Little….he is hustling and shows lots of energy. I’m confident coach Ramsay can work with him and tweak his game. I think he gets off the island very soon.

That said…Go Thrashers!!!

Russian

October 22nd, 2010
8:12 am

We MUST win today. No execuse for today. Tampa played yesturday and travel here. It is a big Plus for Thrasher. If we will loose today that next Friday only Buffalo fans will present on Philips Arena. It is very important game. Get two points.
I am wondering if Bogus will play today.

World Be Free

October 22nd, 2010
8:17 am

Could be worse folks-we could be San Jose mired in 15th place in the West. Makes our win in San Jose a little less special knowing everybody is beating da Sharks right now.

So the question is-has Dany Heatley demanded a trade to a “winner”? Answer-”winners” (like Detroit) have no room for losers.

Flames

October 22nd, 2010
8:27 am

You hit the nail on the head… Accountability! I was upset that we passed the puck to much looking for that perfect shot. Just shoot the puck towards the net and good things will happen. Plus we weren’t very physical on the boards. I want to watch some smash mouth, crush your a$$ in the boards hockey.

Flagstaff

October 22nd, 2010
8:38 am

WBF– imagine, someday, that the Thrashers are regular contenders… and Heatley asking to be traded here! (Yeah, it’ll never happen, I know… but it is fun to think about.)

GaVaHokie

October 22nd, 2010
8:41 am

It’s pretty bad when you’re advertised as a ‘brutal’ team and then you let the Buffalo mini-mites walk all over you. Byfuglien probably has craps bigger than Gerbe and Ennis.

Really hoping to see Boulton in the line-up tonight to ramp up the physical, hard checking play… guys tend to follow suit.

Alan R.

October 22nd, 2010
8:44 am

You said it, Flames! If were going to lose, at least go out with a bang!

That said, I am damn glad accountability and responsibility was addressed yesterday. Hope Dawes can find his game in Chitown, cause he.wasn’t finding it here.

Flames

October 22nd, 2010
8:46 am

Hokie- Boulton is expected to play this weekend..Not sure if it is tonight or Saturday against Washington. I’m hoping that Bogosian is in the line-up this weekend as well.

lola

October 22nd, 2010
8:53 am

GaVAHokie & Flames: It’s about time!!! No one wants to see #36 on the ice more than I do! Sure hope that I am able to be there to cheer and shout! He always gets an A for effort.

World Be Free

October 22nd, 2010
9:01 am

Flagstaff-I am cheering for Heatley to be in last place the rest of his loser life. No bigger dirt bag in hockey, maybe in all of sports.

World Be Free

October 22nd, 2010
9:02 am

A lola sighting! I knew the mention of ‘ol number thirty six would bring her around!

Smoothie

October 22nd, 2010
9:15 am

Good article Bill! Tonite will be a big litmust test indeed. We need a big game from the Little/Ladd line and hopefully the ABC line can continue to exploit Tampa’s weaker lower lines.

WBF – good to see you posting somewhat regularly again. We’ll have to rendez-vous at a game soon to chat things up. You going next FRI to the Slugs game?

Flames – could not have said it better! Hit everything that moves! Including French midgets!!

Red Light

October 22nd, 2010
9:19 am

Brendan…

Taormina played at Lou’s former stomping grounds-Providence College- and played a handful of games for the Binghamton Senators after his college season ended. He was then signed by Lowell of the AHL, played 75 games and scored 10 goals and added 40 points. second only to Subban by d-men last season in the AHL. He was rewarded with a two-year entry level deal last Feb. The 5-foot-10, 185-pounder from Washington Township, Mich. is said to be a decent skater and obviously a puck mover.

JB

October 22nd, 2010
9:21 am

i know espn’s coverage of hockey is sub-par and that’s being nice, but i thought i would mention this since alot of us including myself are still of the mindset that another offensive weapon would be nice…

their insider rumors site thingy indicates ottawa is shopping spezza; ive often thought his problem was as simple as a change of scenery. also, ryder hears trade chatter in boston. what do y’all think about those possibilities? (If anyone has a subscription to that, please feel free to post the entire blurbs)

Alan R.

October 22nd, 2010
9:33 am

I’m no “insider” subscriber or anything, but if OTT is shopping Spezza, I wouldn’t mind biting on that. We need to do everything we can to win now, and I think adding a guy like Spezza would also help add some scoring punch.

Everyone here acknowledges that we need scoring. Depending on the asking price, it could be worth it, short term and long.

LAC

October 22nd, 2010
9:36 am

This time it is not the coach, it is ownership…CHEAP and players who are here who are, well not too good. The team is bad and 8,820 shows the fans have little faith in improvement… I hope not, but I see two more losses this weekend… Oh Well !

Red Light

October 22nd, 2010
9:39 am

Tampa Bay is 8-4-1 in the second of back-to-back games during the past two seasons, including 1-0 this year. The Bolts also have won the last six meetings against the Thrashers and the last two in Atlanta. While Niittymaki resides in San Jose now, Mike Smith is 3-4 vs. the Thrashers since coming over from Dallas in 2007-08 and Dan Ellis is 2-1 all time vs. Atlanta.

And beware of St. Louis!

Career stats vs. Atlanta
Downie 4g 5a +6 in 10 games
Gagne 19g, 11a +11 in 35 games
Lecavalier 27g, 33a -3 in 61 games
St. Louis 21g, 43a +8 in 57 games
Stamkos 9g, 8a +2 in 13 games

Mikey

October 22nd, 2010
9:40 am

“pile of FAIL that the Thrashers dropped on the ice of Philips Arena Wednesday night”

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA…..hahaha….HA!

Nice sermon on accountability and responsibility there RH. I bet your boys can tell stories regarding your “dad lectures”. LOL!

Zombie Steve

October 22nd, 2010
9:49 am

Great read, Rawhide!! Tonight’s game will be a pivotal moment in this team’s search for an identity. What kind of character will we see?

Russian

October 22nd, 2010
9:56 am

Why everybody wants to see Bolt on ice???
What does he do???
Did he score goals? – NO
Did he make good pass? – NO
Did he fight good? – I did not see his fight seen last season around February
Who will sit if Bolts will play???? – Eager, Thrombon, Slater, Modin
If you want to see Bolt only for his fight, we are going to loose a game.
We have lot players that they can punch somebody on face. We need a speed, good pass, cover Middle of ice and Defence.
Bolt CANNOT do it. Keep him in press box, he is a good guy, but we have to win a game.

Smoothie

October 22nd, 2010
10:06 am

Russian – Boults can provide a physical element to the game we need right now. Nothing wrong with a bit of intimidation. But I see your point. Can he really be effective playing the 12-14 mins that Burmy and company are getting? And considering how good the “ABC” line was in Tampa, I would be afraid to break them up. However…

…Modin is a bit slow of foot thus far and Tampa possesses good speed. And Antropov has been struggling due to his hip. We can’t afford anymore of the Modin-Antro-(insert RW) experiment against Tampa. They are hardly a shut-down line. And if Bergie really is in the doghouse, and Rammer decideds to bench him again in favor of Boults, then what do you do? How about taking some pressure off Antro and letting him play RW on the Ladd/Little line as those two have the speed and tenacity to make up for Antro’s hip. Put Kaner back with Pevs & Stewie and then Slater can center his old buddy Boults with Modin on the other side for some scoring touch. Each line has sandpaper and grit with hopefully some scoring touch to boot.

Kaner – Pevs – Stewie

Ladd – Little – Antro

Modin – Slates – Boults

Eager – Burma – Thorbs

I say why not? We’ve tried just about everything else save for Pevs centering Kaner and Little.

five_hole

October 22nd, 2010
10:06 am

Is there any forward in Chicago producing points that we could promote? If not, we play the team we have.

The question is, why was Pev such a great producer 2 years ago versus now? I don’t recall an injury slowing him down. Could it be his linemates make him look better?

The question about Spezza is, what would Ottawa want for him? I bet they want more than Valabik.

JB

October 22nd, 2010
10:12 am

fortunately we have more to give than valabik :-)

Smoothie

October 22nd, 2010
10:14 am

Pevs will get it going soon I think. He is close. I thought he played pretty well on Wed, one of the few. He’s bouncing back and forth between the pivot and wing. I wish Rammer would give up the Antro at C thing until at least his hip is better than 90%.

When we first got Pevs, he settled into a line with Slava and Army with whom he had good chemistry (Army and Pevs roomed on the road too). Slava’s smarts and cerebral approach to the game worked really well with Pevs and Rich’s speed made that line work. Last year, Slava faded and Slater emerged. As it turned out, Army was taken from Pevs because he gelled so well with Kaner and Slates. Pevs was the human hockey “pin ball” bouncing from linemate to linemate and he always got stuck with either White, Slava or Max, all of whom were defensive liabilities. They need to keep Pevs and Kane together no matter what and let their chemistry continue to evolve and develop, IMO.

Hockey Biltong

October 22nd, 2010
10:19 am

I, too, would like to hear why we sit on Bergfors. Is he trade bait? How badly did he piss off the coach?
Trade him to Ottawa with Valabik.

Smoothie

October 22nd, 2010
10:23 am

Bergy, Corms and Boris for Spezza and a draft pick?

JB

October 22nd, 2010
10:23 am

Eklund’s post about Spezza possibly being shopped mentions a large number of teams interested in acquiring him. We aren’t mentioned, so that tells me our chances are excellent.

Alan R.

October 22nd, 2010
10:25 am

Bergy, Corms and Boris for Spezza and a draft pick?

Take out Cormier and the draft pick, and I do it in a heartbeat. Dudley will not move Cormier for Spezza, because Dudley is really high on the kid.

Russian

October 22nd, 2010
10:28 am

*to Smoothie*
Ok. I see what you try to say. But Berg is much better than Bolt. He can score.
Also we were phisically enough against Buffalo. We got more hits than they did.
I like to see 3-d line like that:
Modin-Antro-Berg

Russian

October 22nd, 2010
10:30 am

I heard that Rumor also about Spezza, but last time I checked Atlanta was not on the list. I like to get him, but our chanse is Minimum.

World Be Free

October 22nd, 2010
10:38 am

Smoothie-back and rock-in, between businss, vacation and bing under the weather it has been a busy time. We will catch up at the Sabres’ game.

JB-rumors are about thre only thing ESPN can do; kind of like predicting the weather. I wish ESPN would go back to journalism!

Red Light-on cue with your useful information as usual. Let’s hope we have more fans and a better game tonight. Looks like crowds are down in a number of cities this season, so far at least. What was the crowd like opening night.

I think the team should make all the “end zone” seats $15.00/game for the rest of the season, no acceptions. Even some of the higher side seats should go for $15.00 in advance of the game. We need people in the arena.

Mr. Obvious

October 22nd, 2010
10:40 am

ACCOUNTABILITY ?!?!?

Wow.

I don’t think my cheating, dishonest & hypocritical ex-girlfriend would enjoy playing for Coach Rammer.

Smoothie

October 22nd, 2010
10:43 am

Ben Wright is reporting from the morning skate that Burmy is centering Kaner and Thorbs while Eager will go with Pevs and Antro. Interesting. Talk about your brusing physical lines. Oh, and Stewie stays with Ladd and Little. Final line is Modin-Slater-Boults…no confirmation if Bergie is healthy scratch or if Bogey is going tonite.

Joe Friday

October 22nd, 2010
10:46 am

I expect a much better effort tonight, but I’d like to see Bergfors in and Modin out. And I’d like to see them get Buf up front and open up space for Bergfors and Little. That one move, moving Buf up front, opens up three new offensive weapons for us. And get Cormier up here as soon as he is healthy.

Here’s the lines that will make it work with the bodies we have:

Bergfors – Little – Buf
Kane – Peverly- Ladd
Cormier – Antropov – Stewart
Eager – Burmistrov – Thorburn

waive Modin, Slater fills in where needed, get Kulda up here

Joe Friday

October 22nd, 2010
10:49 am

“I think the team should make all the “end zone” seats $15.00/game for the rest of the season, no acceptions. Even some of the higher side seats should go for $15.00 in advance of the game. We need people in the arena.”

I tried to put together one of those pick 6 or 7 packs before the season. Now, I picked Sat. and Friday night games and Hawks and Pens etc., but you know what they quoted me for end zone seats in 119? Over $100 per ticket? I lol’d and said, ok, I’ll pick them up from Tyrone before the game and sit in the clubs for less than 1/2 that . . .

Red Light

October 22nd, 2010
10:54 am

World Be Free:

The crowd on opening night was very good, 15,596 announced, except for the fact they gave away a ton of free seats to some season ticket holders. They’re doing the same for the Hawks opener on the 30th.

Get The Puck Out

October 22nd, 2010
11:01 am

I was watching the today show this morning and they had a small college football team on that was unbeaten and instead of names on the back of their jersey they had words like PRIDE, ACCOUNTABILITY, FAMILY, and CHARACTER on the back of their jerseys. I think that’s a great idea and maybe the Thrasher’s would remember just exactly why they are on the ice in the first place. That being said, this team is at the bottom of the cap, so talent is at a minium. But that still is no excuse for not playing without HEART.

george

October 22nd, 2010
11:04 am

Hard to get players motivated when they are playing in front of 8,000 fans. Move this team now!

bill

October 22nd, 2010
11:07 am

Players do have to start shooting the puck more instead of looking for the perfect play. Change the Little line, only line they have kept together and WHY?? I agree put him with Antro. Too early to give up on this team or it’s players yet, people have to relax!

Red Light

October 22nd, 2010
11:11 am

Also hard to get some players motivated when they’re making $24,390.24 ($1.2 million divided by 82 games) to $52,878 per game ($4.5 million divided by 82 games) and the check clears regardless of how well they have played. That’s the problem with no bonus structure for games won.

sam

October 22nd, 2010
11:12 am

Bergfors needs to be back in the lineup. Don’t understand this move at all! He is young and the game he was put back in for he looked energized. Put him with Anto and Little. Nobody looked good Wed night except maybe Mason.

sam

October 22nd, 2010
11:14 am

Coach has to be held accountable too. I find myself shaking my head a lot during a game wondering what the h*ll he is thinking.

Red Light

October 22nd, 2010
11:20 am

Kamal tweets that Bergfors is sitting again tonight, as is Bogo.

litz

October 22nd, 2010
11:28 am

This season ticket holder didn’t get any free opening night tickets … had to buy additionals at STH pricing … then the team cut the public price to half that, and was kind enough to refund the difference back into the STH account (note … no actual refund, just back into the ‘pool’ …) … which was nice, as in previous years, the attitude was “well, ya already paid for ‘em …”

Dwayne

October 22nd, 2010
11:40 am

Stroznadumus….Do you see a big points night for the 4rth line???

Hoof Arted

October 22nd, 2010
11:43 am

Little will be OK. But then again I have been saying that for some time now.

Need a big effort tonight against TB. Hopefully that skink-a-roo was a one game deal, done a flushed, and it’s out of their system.