Doing the little things consistently contribute to big Thrashers wins

Ding-dong, the streak is dead.

Before Sunday night, Atlanta had not beaten these Bruins since December 29, 2007 when Kari Lehtonen shut them out 5-0. Since then, they have lost ten straight to the Big Bad Bruins.

But behind another stellar performance by goalie Ondrej Pavelec as well as goals by Evander Kane, Dustin Byfuglien, Jimmy Slater and Nic Bergfors, Boston became just the latest victim to fall to the Atlanta Thrashers.

Byfuglien also contributed with 3 assists on the night.

Jim Slaters scores in the first period of Sunday night's game against the Boston Bruins. He was quick to credit Dustin Byfuglien for setting up the play (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)

Jim Slaters scores in the first period of Sunday night's game against the Boston Bruins. He was quick to credit Dustin Byfuglien for setting up the play (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)

But there are other factors contributing to the Thrashers success besides quality goaltending and highlight reel goals…things that head coach Craig Ramsay wants to make sure do not go unnoticed.

Just as the post-game press conference was wrapping up Sunday night, Ramsay wouldn’t let the reporters assembled leave without making one final point. Obviously the focus of most of the questions circled around the continued great play of Pavelec and Byfuglien…but the coach wanted to make sure that other important contributions got their fair share of attention too.

Plays like Chris Thorburns blocked shot early on in the game as well as the one by Rich Peverley late when the Bruins were on the power play…as shot that came from defenseman Zdeno Chara. Ramsay’s always been one to point out these are the small things that are necessary to win individual games. Doing them consistently, as the Thrashers have, and individual wins turn into five game win streaks.

Ramsay’s players have certainly taken note as well. As Rich Peverley told me before the game, “We’re doing the little things right and that’s going to be the most important thing [as we continue throughout the season]”.

“We’re playing a full 60 minutes…we’re really playing together as a team, as a unit. We are playing with a lot of confidence right now and you can see it in our game. No matter who we’re playing against we seem to have some offense”.

Offense indeed. During this current five game run, the Thrashers have outscored their opponents to the tune of 19-3. Three of the teams kicked to the curb by this up-and-coming Thrashers juggernaut have been division leaders and a Boston team that came into the game with a 12-7-2 record.

The Thrashers attack has found not only potency, but balance as well. Tonight it was Evander Kane, Dustin Byfuglien, Jimmy Slater and Nic Bergfors twisting the twine. Friday night it was Peverley twice and Toby Enstrom and the game before that it was Thorburn, Andrew Ladd, Bryan Little, Anthony Stewart and Byfuglien.

You get the picture.

And these Thrashers players understand that it’s the little things coming from their teammates that are contributing to the recent success. The gritty play along the boards, the ability to keep pucks in the zone, the battles in mid-ice and the blueline that disrupt the opposition’s breaks…these are the small items that teams do throughout the course of a game that make them winners.

Rich Peverley, seen here racing past Boston's Matt Hunwick, feels the Thrashers success has been due to attention to the little details during games (Michelle Rivers)

Rich Peverley, seen here racing past Boston's Matt Hunwick, feels the Thrashers success has been due to attention to the little details during games (Michelle Rivers)

And like their coach, they are quick to point out the smart plays by their linemates that lead to their successes.

Such was the case when Jim Slater discussed his goal after the game, making sure credit was given to Byfuglien for making the right choice on how to play the puck. “It was a good play by Buff”, he told me. “Instead of just dumping it into the corner he found me streaking through the middle.

“I think they were on the line change and that’s how I got open”, Slater continued. “Once I saw the open ice I just tried to turn on the speed, pulled it to my forehand and beat him up high”.

Right now, this is a team playing as if they have totally sold themselves out to the kind of play their coaching staff has been teaching and preaching. And just as Ramsay likes to highlight his players achievements and work ethic, they too seem to have a great deal of respect for the men behind the bench.

Of course, it helps when those men come to the team with a track record of success themselves.

As Peverley put it when discussing the influence Ramsay and John Torchetti have had on the team, “Well, obviously the pedigree they have…they’ve both won Stanley Cups…they’ve been around the league for a while and know what it takes to get the job done”.

“They are two smart individuals and we’re luck to have them”.

144 comments Add your comment

Brendan

November 28th, 2010
10:33 pm

Despite being outshot by about one and a half times, this was still a great win. Another PPG! Another upper echelon club was put away by your Atlanta Thrashers. This is one of the best winning streaks the franchise has ever had. Sure, we’ve had winning streaks of this length before, but this one has been SO DOMINANT, and the opposition has been of a very high calibre, aside from the NY Islanders. (No disrespect meant to the Islanders.) Let’s keep ‘er going!

SomaAtl95

November 28th, 2010
10:36 pm

Man, this has been some good Hockey we have seen our boys play. Anyone else catch Mike Millbury saying “This is the best Hockey the Thrashers have EVER played, not that that matters much…”

JackA$$.

Go Thrashers!!!! We may not win every game but if we play like this we will be under everyones radar long enough to make a difference this year! TSN.ca commenters are actually starting to notice and it seems strange to see so many good things about our team for once!

BLUELAND PRIDE!

ThrashFan80

November 28th, 2010
10:38 pm

Go Thrashers! Let’s make it 6 on Tuesday!

Rawhide

November 28th, 2010
10:40 pm

SomaAtl95 – I’ll love it when I here Millbury say something like…

“This is the first playoff series the Thrashers have EVER won, not that that matters much…”

Or…

“This is the first Stanley Cup the Thrashers have EVER won, not that that matters much…”

Whatev, Millbury…

Brendan

November 28th, 2010
10:44 pm

Rawhide, if the Thrashers keep getting this kind of “depth” production, this kind of success will continue in December. With Pavelec playing so well, I almost wonder when Mason’s next start might be.

Dwayne

November 28th, 2010
10:44 pm

Alan R.

November 28th, 2010
10:47 pm

Byfuglien now has a league-leading five GWGs. Now that’s what’s awesome!

Rawhide

November 28th, 2010
10:49 pm

Rawhide, if the Thrashers keep getting this kind of “depth” production, this kind of success will continue in December. With Pavelec playing so well, I almost wonder when Mason’s next start might be.

B-Man – Could be you see Mason again on Dec. 11 against the Islanders. That’s the tail end of a back to backer. The Thrashers have 4 in December.

English Teacher

November 28th, 2010
10:49 pm

Is it bad that I like to lurk on the blogs of teams we’ve beaten on this streak and revel in their misery? It’s almost as much fun as watching the game feed from the opposing team’s broadcast. It’s good to know that Darren Eliot isn’t the only homer out there calling games.

HonkyTonkHero

November 28th, 2010
10:51 pm

Wonderful home stand….not that long ago we were struggling to even put up an effort at home. The crowds seem to be growing a bit too. Was fun to watch the Bruins faithful depart the game early and have the organ guy lead us in a chant of “Hey Hey Hey…Goodbye!”. The Boston fans in my area went from boisterous to silent by the end of the 1st period. Love it!

I have never seen our team play with this tempo and skill. I said it after last game and I will say it again…the patience they have with the puck is amazing. The days of an Exelby clearing attempt seem to be a thing of the past. THis kind of hockey will energize the fan base and bring new fans in.

Love how Eager was all over the Bruins after they boarded Burmi. THere was no second thought…just Eager literally flying across the ice and jumping the offender and then the other boys getting involved as needed. Bolts and Kane both had some good fights. Kane’s baby face now has a new battle scar.

Good job boys! Keep it rolling!

Dwayne

November 28th, 2010
10:56 pm

Watching the walking dead mini series that was filmed in Atlanta, most of the zombies have boston, redwings, caps, canadiens and islander jerseys on

cousin Eddie

November 28th, 2010
10:59 pm

This is just me thinking hypothetically, but what if the Thrashers finished off the season with winning the Stanley Cup and we signed everyone back that was RFA or UFA. We have so much room in cap space that we can afford to keep these guys for the long haul and still compete for Lord Stanley for years to come. This is very different from most clubs, that are already maxed out in salary spending. Talk about the potential for years of domination. This could be the Islanders of the early 80’s or the Wings of the late 90’s. Holy cow, I’ve been levitating this whole time while typing this.

Hockey Biltong

November 28th, 2010
11:01 pm

Very good win!!!

cousin Eddie

November 28th, 2010
11:02 pm

Gotta give props to Hainsey. He has gone unnoticed for awhile now and that is a good thing. Bruins commentator said Hainsey used to be sort of a wild mustang and now Ramsay has him tamed.

Taylor

November 28th, 2010
11:02 pm

@Rawhide Can u PLEASE! find a way to get the Thrashers mentioned on the AJC front page! We are playing amazing and we deserve to be there!

Until we start getting a lot of media attention we will keep on having a low attendance at the games :(

Rawhide

November 28th, 2010
11:06 pm

Taylor – Don’t know about the “front” front page…but they are atop the sports front page right now.

How’s that? :cool:

Taylor

November 28th, 2010
11:08 pm

@Rawhide Better than nothing!!! :)

thrashersfan

November 28th, 2010
11:09 pm

Whoa, you guys are getting “way” too ahead of yourselves. Believe me I am loving this, but considering I’ve had season tickets since day one, we’ve seen this before! Yes, it’s different this time and the team’s confidence is off the charts, but they play 82 games and we’re only 24 in! So, let’s just relax, enjoy the ride for the moment, or better said the last five games, and hope/expect their effort continues.

Nuts for Boults

November 28th, 2010
11:09 pm

We got media attention tonight. Thrasher were third on the list of upcoming sports. 5 games streak (Falcons), 3 game streak (Hawks), 5 game streak, but… (Thrashers). When they finally decided to mention the Thrashers it was they have a 5 game winning streak but are 38th in the NHL in tickets distributed. Someone on a radio station in Canada discussed it today and if there was not improvement, the league would have see if the franchise would stay in Atlanta. Thanks for the support Fox5.

HonkyTonkHero

November 28th, 2010
11:11 pm

@Cousin Eddie….Had the same thoughts about Hainey tonight. Ramsay seems to have almost everyone accepting their roles and playing the system.

Nuts for Boults

November 28th, 2010
11:12 pm

@Rawhide–I don’t think paying for space counts. We want in color, above the fold…..

Thrashy Thrashy

November 28th, 2010
11:16 pm

It’s easy to get excited about the recent play we’ve seen from the Thrashers. The good thing is that we have good coaching, a good system, and some players who don’t mind selling out to win. I don’t expect to see these guys follow up this homestand with four or five clunkers. If they do that, we can get mad. If not, maybe we’ve really turned a corner.

jcwhitingjr

November 28th, 2010
11:27 pm

Bill, any word on Burmistrov’s condition? After that hit into the boards he started the 3rd but I noticed about halfway through that he was no longer on the Thrashers’ bench.

As for the play of this team, the consistent level of play is something that we have not seen from a Thrashers team, ever. Sure, they’d put up wins but they’d always seem to fall apart. The key to that was one player. When he was hot, the team soared. When he was cold, the team suffered. The problem was that teams figured out this and focused on shutting him down. The team couldn’t really respond to that and lost more often than not when it happened. Now, teams can’t focus on one player to shut down. As you pointed out in your blog, 10 different Thrashers with goals in the past 3 games alone. We have a team now that opponents don’t know how to play against allowing the Thrashers to play their game and take advantage of their opponents indecision, taking payment in goals and wins.

It’s early but if this type of play from the Thrashers continues, we’ll win more than we’ll lose.

Nate

November 28th, 2010
11:28 pm

I was at the game today. Fan support was pretty could for a Sunday game post-Falcons. And the team played great again to start. Maybe a little fatigue set in midway through the second into the third. Overall, awesome home stand. Couldn’t be happier with the Thrashers right now. And I’m eating my crow and then some for saying Byfuglien shouldn’t be used as a defenseman. Oops.

cousin Eddie

November 28th, 2010
11:30 pm

thrashersfan- I’m not saying plan the parade. I’m saying we are set up for years of domination if this continues and we sign all the RFA’s. This time is different, in that we have a reason for the losses early on (Rammer not teaching defense for first month) and now we have a roster full of players designed for the system that is in place. The teams we beat on this win streak are no bottom feeders. The coach is one of the best coaches to ever coach and teach the game. He has the respect of every single player and he respects every single one them. I dont think Im getting ahead hear, I think I am trusting what this team is doing and having faith in there development as a team. Every game since the start of season has been a learning process for these players and each game has been an improvement over the one before. For once since 2001, I have faith that this team will come out every game and make every team question whether they have what it takes to hang with these Thrashers.

Alan R.

November 28th, 2010
11:30 pm

Whoa, you guys are getting “way” too ahead of yourselves.

No one is getting ahead of anything. Reading is fundamental.

Thrashers27

November 28th, 2010
11:34 pm

Good call Thrashy. Sure, there’s a long season ahead, but this coach and the new blood on the team make it a completely different situation.

Milbury is a tool. Can’t believe how the NESN guys couldn’t give credit where due.

Brendan, I noticed in the previous blog you mentioned the announcer team complimenting the move of Buff to “D”. I got the feeling that was more in homage to Ramsay, not respect for the Thrashers as a team. It’s pretty crappy when hockey people can’t appreciate good hockey and good hockey culture.

For the second period and some of the third our boys reverted to their panicky habits from earlier in the season. It’s good to see they can have a bad period and still come away with two points.

Doesn’t it feel good to be a PROUD Thrasher fan!!!

Rawhide

November 28th, 2010
11:38 pm

Bill, any word on Burmistrov’s condition? After that hit into the boards he started the 3rd but I noticed about halfway through that he was no longer on the Thrashers’ bench.

jcwhitingjr – I haven’t heard anything official, but Ramsay said in the presser he had the infamous “lower body injury”. He added that until he hears anyting further, he assumes he can play Tuesday.

Burmistrov was walking with a very slight limp on the way out of the building…but he was smiling.

sisu

November 28th, 2010
11:45 pm

I love it, no negative posts from some that are here most of the time. Great win streak…

LAC

November 28th, 2010
11:57 pm

It’s ALL ATLANTA on NHL.com and “On The Fly” Amazing !!!!!!

Another Great win, but it appeared we did not maintain the intensety, as in other games, we gave them the 2nd period.

Now three TOUGH road games. But great to see ATLANTA getting the press ahead of Washington and Detroit tonight.

Lastly, the NESN announcers are AWFUL ! and mike milbury… well how he keeps his job in the game of hockey is a lot like don waddell, he brings NOTHING, says NOTHING and Knows very very little about the game itself, because instead of prasing Atlanta, it was an Atlanta win because of Boston mistakes…

Good Evening !

Yes sisu. when we play near perfect games and WIN, there is little negative to say !!!

Sara

November 29th, 2010
12:11 am

Actually the two NESN broadcasters doing the game gave a lot of credit to the Thrashers – Milbury was the only one being a tool. Those in fairness to him as well, that quote of his, while snarky, was actually more of a “that’s not saying much” thing – as in this team has performed so poorly over the years the bench was set pretty low.

What I want to know was why the hell every employee of Atlanta Spirit wasn’t standing outside the Georgia Dome at 4:05pm handing out free tickets to the Thrashers game. It’s not like they were going to be sold anyway and that was some prime marketing opportunity there.

By the way, that latest story out of Canada has some legs to it – since the damning quotes came right out of Bill Daly’s mouth. Puck Daddy has a blog posting about it on Yahoo.

Thrashers27

November 29th, 2010
12:26 am

Holy Crap, people!!!

If this isn’t cause for a pat on the back for our boys at this point in the season, I don’t know what is. Check out the latest TSN.com power rankings!!!

Our boys in blue are #4!!!

http://tsn.ca/fantasy_news/rankings/nhl/

kreedham

November 29th, 2010
12:31 am

To Sara…the Thrashers did try to lure the Falcons fans in….they passed out fliers offering them reduced price tickets and quite a number of them took advantage of the deal.

cousin Eddie

November 29th, 2010
12:39 am

Holy Shenannagans! 4th Some GT student must of hacked the TSN website. I have never seen us that high.

HonkyTonkHero

November 29th, 2010
12:42 am

I saw a good handful of Falcons fans in my section. They were getting into it and really enjoyed the fights. Wish more of em had come though. With all this talk about the Thrash being moved to the arctic circle I just want to see our team continue to do well, gets buts in seats and hush the nay sayers.

Alan R.

November 29th, 2010
12:58 am

Our boys in blue are #4!!!

I’m actually amazed. I’ve never seen the Thrashers appear that high on any power rankings chart. Ever. I hope the boys can keep it up!

Wish more of em had come though. With all this talk about the Thrash being moved to the arctic circle I just want to see our team continue to do well, gets buts in seats and hush the nay sayers.

It’s all about marketing. Atlanta is huge. Market the team everywhere, not just to the northern suburbs.

I know, broken record, I say it all the time. Still, you can’t expect to get all 5+ million in the metro area excited about a team if you’re only marketing to 1.5m-2.5m of ‘em.

injunjoe

November 29th, 2010
1:46 am

Sara is correct. The NESN commentators were complementing the Thrashers and lamenting the Bruins poor playing as well. But one of them actually said that the hit Burmistrov took was a clean one and the boarding foul called on Paille was a bad call?!??!!! Unbelievable! Kudos to Eager for having Burmi’s back……even though he was half way across the ice at the time. These games lately have been fun to watch. Even more so when they dominate top tier teams like they have been. Winning is just gravy on the cake!!!!

Pinball34

November 29th, 2010
3:08 am

Jack Edwards of NESN is horrible! He sounds like a mix of auctioneer and cheerleader. I don’t remember him being that bad at ESPN..

Wayne stuck in AL

November 29th, 2010
5:26 am

It should be pointed out the Bruins, along with the Red Sox, own NESN.

I wish we had regional sports channels that good.

World Be Free

November 29th, 2010
5:36 am

Pinball, I dislike Edwards too, but he can never be as bad as Fred Cusick the old Bruins announcer. Cusick was the ultimate homer.

Hey folks, what a GREAT homestand. Any notice that nobody is complaining about Ron Hainsey these days? Rammer has found a home for Hainsey, in a place where Ron can contribute-he is playing to his capabilities right now and very comfortable. Good for the coach and the player. That’s what good/great coaches do with the players they have on their roster.

Evander Kane pounded Matt Hunwick. Wonder when apposing players are going to stop messin’ with The Real Deal?

Can’t resist saying RIP Leslie Nielsen – and “don’t call me Shirley”.

World Be Free

November 29th, 2010
5:39 am

Milbury was horrible as a player, he was a Bruin cuz he was a total hack.
He was horrible as a coach and a total nightmare as a general manager.
Why is this guy still in hockey? What has be done positive in 30+ years in the NHL?

Networks hire him because he is the new Don Cherry-as if we needed a replacement for the current version.

Sara

November 29th, 2010
6:47 am

injun joe – Rammer defended Paille too and made the exact same observation the NESN guys did which is that Burmi turned at the last second and put himself in the vulnerable position. It was more just an unfortunate bit of luck and timing.

As to the Falcons fans … I’d be curious to know how many were regular Thrasher fans that just came over after the Falcons game and how many were potentially new fans. I’ll give them some cred for the flyers but quite frankly I think free tickets would have been a better choice and would have gotten them more response (duh5). Atlanta Spirit is going to have to be more aggressive in getting word out about how solid this team is. The AJC, while giving us quality coverage with Rawhide and Viv, still isn’t giving much quantity … ie nothing on the home page about the 5 game winning streak. Kincade and Shaffee are the only two that I know on the radio waves that talk Thrashers hockey and it’s hit or miss on local TV coverage.

If you walk around the Atlanta area and go up to most people and say “Thrashers” they likely are going to still reply with, “the hockey team? yeah man they suck.” That’s what everyone assumes and until they are told different, they won’t know. And all talk of relocation aside, the guys on the ice more than deserve the support of this city with the kind of effort they’ve been bringing.

Alan R.

November 29th, 2010
7:05 am

Kincade and Shaffee are the only two that I know on the radio waves that talk Thrashers hockey and it’s hit or miss on local TV coverage.

And sometimes, getting Kinkade to talk about them for more than 10 minutes a week takes an act of congress.

EA

November 29th, 2010
7:12 am

So much fun at Philips yesterday. This team is a treat to watch lately. Keep it up boys! Buff is a blast to watch. I hope Burmie is doing well today. What a cheap shot on a great kid. I watched the Boston delayed broadcast when I got home. They “did not like” the hit. The Thrashers did him justice by not only coming to his defense, but also scoring a PP goal. What a team effort all the way around. Pavs–unbelievable!

World Be Free

November 29th, 2010
7:28 am

We keep forgetting how the house was fun in the early years, before so many fans got turned off and turned away. Every game you see out-of-town fans that live here that need to come out to more games. we have said before, there are 5mil people in Atlanta, alotta transplants that grew up with hockey. There’s no difference between hockey, football, baseball and basketball fans that are from other cities-put a winner out there and people will come.

glovesave29

November 29th, 2010
7:51 am

Totally agree Sara…freebies would have been the way to go. Think that’s another issue Alan and I put out there months ago. The team is playing fantastic and the timing was perfect to bring over a few converts. Damn…opportunity lost.

Tom

November 29th, 2010
7:53 am

Remember when the Falcon’s could not sell out their home games? Then Arthur Blank bought the team from Rankin Smith and focused first on marketing the team. He just about gave away tickets the first year, but the effect was to create demand going forward and make the Dome the place to be on Sunday afternoons. He created a ticket base where there was none for a number of years.

The present Thrasher’s ownership group is a great deal like Rankin Smith. Good ol’ connected boys that have no real idea how to market a sports team. When a hustler that is motivated and understands marketing buys the team we may start to see sell outs again.

Red Light

November 29th, 2010
8:08 am

World Be Free

I actually thought the smaller Hunwick, much shorter reach, gave a good account of himself against Kane. Obviously, Kane was the winner, but that kid showed a lot of heart in that fight. Tapping stick on ice for both combatants.

You can thank our own R. Stroz and Co. for the “Hey, hey, good bye” chants last night!

You know things are going well for Buff when he fans on a shot and it goes right to Bergfors stick for the fourth goal of the night, and the big man gets another assist. If he’s not the player of the month in the NHL then no one is paying attention. This guy is the real deal.

R. Stroz

November 29th, 2010
8:12 am

Ladies and Gentlemen, you just witnessed the best week of “team hockey” this city has seen since the Flames played in this town.

Pavelec has proven me incorrect. Pavelec doesn’t suck. A tip of the hat to Red Light for nailing that call correctly.

You know if this team would have had a “goalie consultant” for the past ten years instead of the GMs former college dormroom broomball goalie buddy as the goalie coach, just imagine where this franchise would have been years ago.

If Buff keeps up the current pace, he’ll be looking for a really BIG contract extension. Hopefully, Dudley will get this guy signed as soon as possible.

Also, for the first time I remember, the Thrashers literally attacked a player who took a rather questionable hit on one of our players. The “team attack” after the hit on Burmie shows this team is no longer made up of a bunch of powderpuffs.

On a side note, nice to meet you “Lurker Travis” at the game Friday night. He recognized me by the BULLHORN in the bag. Travis wade in the pool and post. YOU CAN DO IT.

After years of pain as a Thrashers fan, this past week tastes SOOO GOOOOOD.

The Real Thrash

November 29th, 2010
8:14 am

Free tickets!? How would you feel of you spent serious money for season tickets and heard the team was giving away tickets? That’s not what Blank did. He LOWERD the price of season tickets in the worst sight areas to 100.00 per seat. That began to fill the seats and caused a waiting list for season tickets. The Falcons had several spots at the games Sunday for signing up for a season tickets waiting list. Those 100.00 tickets are gone now.
You don’t help the brand by lowering its value to zero. You place a winning team on the ice, offer great deals and watch the fans come in. Of course you have to have fans that like the sport.