Archive for November, 2010

Thrashers fall to 3-5-1 at home with 2-1 loss to Panthers

Before we get into discussing Wednesday night’s game, allow me to apologize for seemingly shirking my blogging responsibilities of late. As many of you know, I’ve been away on a business trip to Miami and just got home tonight in time to watch the action at Philips Arena from the comfort of my couch. I’ve made several such trips during my 3+ years of hosting this online forum, but never before has one been so busy that it prevented me from getting some sort of blogs posted.

This trip, though…well, let’s just say I’m lad to finally be home.

Tomas Vokoun turns aside a shot from Evander Kane. It was one of the 38 saves he made in the 2-1 win over the Atlanta Thrashers (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Tomas Vokoun turns aside a shot from Evander Kane. It was one of the 38 saves he made in the 2-1 win over the Atlanta Thrashers (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Speaking of being home…that’s exactly where the Thrashers will be for the next couple of weeks. Beginning with tonight’s 2-1 loss, they’ll play six straight in Thrasherville. For the month of November 10 of 14 will be played in the friendly confines of Philips, and not …

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Thrashers and Penguins and Caps… Oh my!

Good morning Thrasherville! Here are just a couple quick notes and thoughts regarding the Thrashers, the loss to Pittsburgh and this afternoon’s matchup in Washington D.C.

First off…if you cast your vote for Brent Sopel to be the last Thrasher off of Schnide Island, pick again. His blast at 2:41 of the first period gave Atlanta an early 1-0 over the Penguins, and came just 20 ticks of the clock after Chris Thorburn and Michael Rupp were put in a 2-minute time out for not playing nicely with each other.

Shortly after Sopes slipped off The Schnide, Dustin Byfuglien came painfully close to putting the home team up 2-0, taking a Rich Peverley pass from the left wing and snapping off a shot from close in. But Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury made a great play moving to his left to get his skate out to block the shot. It was the first of several very good save he made to keep the Pens within one goal…including one against Andrew Ladd, who was able to find himself alone in …

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Thrashers return to winning ways by whipping Wild

Hmmm…apparently, the Thrashers have been lurking this blog.

In my previous online offering, we discussed the Thrashers potent power play as well as their troubles scoring while skating 5 on 5. But Thursday night they went right to work on improving that little problem, scoring four even-strength goals and chipping in a short-handed one as well in the 5-1 whipping of the Minnesota Wild.

Ben Eager celebrates his first period goal that gave Atlanta an early lead. It was a lead that, for the first time this season, they would not lose (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)

Ben Eager celebrates his first period goal that gave Atlanta an early lead. It was a lead that, for the first time this season, they would not lose (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)

The four-goal win marked the highest margin of victory on the season for the Thrashers and was the first time have beaten a team by that much since last March 27 when they blanked Carolina 4-0. It was also the first time this season that Atlanta won a game without having to come from behind after trailing at some point in the game. They came out of the locker room ready to play, took the lead early, made very few mistakes …

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Thrashers power play has been good, however…

Tuesday night in Ottawa, the Atlanta Thrashers netted a pair of power play goals…one by Andrew Ladd, the other by Anthony Stewart. They were the only two scored by Atlanta in the 5-2 loss. This follows Saturday night’s 5-4 shootout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in which three of the four goals potted by the Thrashers came while on the man advantage.

Overall the Thrashers have the NHL’s fourth-best power play, as they are successful 26.1% of the time they are afforded a man-advantage. In total, Atlanta has notched 18 power play goals on the season. Stewart, Nik Antropov and Dustin Byfuglien have each scored three while Ladd, Toby Enstrom and Rich Peverley each have two.

What’s to account for these fine numbers? Well, as the Ottawa TV announcers were quick to point out during the game, the Thrashers really don’t do anything fancy with the puck when they go a man up. They get it into the zone and then to the net…normally accompanied by three forwards. You know, …

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A statistical review of the Thrashers after fourteen games

“Figures often beguile me…especially when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force; ‘There are three kind of lies: lies, damn lies and statistics’” – Mark Twain from “Chapters of my Autobiography” as published in the North American Review, 1906.

Yes… for many, many moons now, people have understood that stats and stats alone cannot be the end all of end alls regarding certain issues…especially in sports. Indeed, they fail to tell the whole story behind how a team or individual player is performing. Worse still, there are times when stats can, whether intentional or not, can even be used to twist or contort the facts.

I know it, you know it…and the Thrasherville people know it.

Case in point. If one simply went with a statistical review of the Thrashers netminders, it could be argued the best goalie they’ve skated out between the pipes this fall is Peter …

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Blackhawks down Thrashers in 5-4 shootout win

I have to be honest with you up front here. Saturday night’s Blackhawks-Thrashers game is exactly the kind of game I hate seeing settled by way of a shootout. The way these two went at each other for 65 minutes, launching a total of 77 shots on goal between them…I simply would have loved to have seen at least five more minutes on overtime to see if the eventual winner could be settled during actual team-vs-team play.

I bet it would have at least been as entertaining as the rest of the game.

The Thrashers played very well for the most part, coming out with a heckuva lot more jump and passion than they did last Thursday against the Blue Jackets. But in this reunion of Blackhawks playing at Philips Arena, it was the defending Stanley Cup champions that skated away with the second point in the 5-4 shootout victory…leaving the Thrashers having to settle for the one consolation point for their efforts.

As for the former-Blackhawks that now reside in Thrasherville…Ben Eager …

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What is it about Atlanta that brings out the best in Mathieu Garon?

Mathieu Garon must really love Atlanta.

Maybe it’s Varsity chilly dogs…maybe it’s the great weather…maybe it’s just the good old-fashioned southern hospitality. But for whatever reason, Thrasherville just seems to bring out the best in Garon.

The Columbus Blue Jacket netminder came into Thursday night’s game with a career 4-0-0 record against the Thrashers with a 1.00 GAA, .965 SV% and 2 shutouts. Of the 113 shots Atlanta teams had managed to put on his goal, Garon has kicked out 109. He then continued his magic spell over this team by stopping all 25 shots he faced this go around as Columbus blanked Atlanta 3-0, improving his record to 5-0-0 against the Thrashers.

In Philips Arena alone, Garon is now 4-0-0 with three shutouts.

“I don’t know what it is about this building,” the netminder remarked after game. “There’s always teams that for some reason—I’m not saying it’s easier—you have more wins against.”

Just has he was on all of Atlanta's 25 shots on goal, Mathieu Garin was all over this Evander Kane shot (AP Photo/David Goldman)

As was the case on all of Atlanta's 25 …

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Mason stops 52 of 55 shots as Thrashers scratch out 4-3 win over Panthers

Last summer the Atlanta Thrashers signed goalie Chris Mason to a 2-year contract that pays an average of $1.85 mil per season. Given the amount of shots he has faced so far this season…a league-high 394 in 11 games played…they certainly are getting a lot of work out of him for their money.

Wednesday night alone in south Florida, Mason was called upon 55 times to stop the puck. He was successful 52 times. That was just enough to allow his skaters the time to get four past Panthers goalie Tomas Vokoun to escape with a 4-3 win.

Thrashers goalie Chris Mason petitions the hockey gods for a little relief Wednesday night. He stopped 52 of the 55 shots taken against him in the 4-3 win over the Panthers (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

Thrashers goalie Chris Mason seemingly petitions the hockey gods for a little relief Wednesday night. He stopped 52 of the 55 shots taken against him in the 4-3 win over the Panthers (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

Yes, you heard me right. I said fifty-five…five-freakin’-five…shots allowed on goal.

That, my friends, is just a pant-load of shots to face in one night, and coach Craig Ramsay was almost apologetic about what Mason was forced to deal with. …

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Valabik departure could mean another ‘Face of the Future’ becoming part of the past

When I saw the news today that the Thrashers had placed defenseman Boris Valabik on re-entry waivers, my first thought was that the 6’-7” Slovak was heading back to Atlanta…possibly because Freddy Meyer’s mid-body injury was going to keep him out for a longer period of time. But it seems as though Valabik’s placement on waivers has nothing to do with his return but instead looks as if the move was made to give him a chance to be picked up by another team.

Boris Valabik, seen here slugging it out with Shean Donovan last January, may be the latest first round draft pick to depart Thrasherville (AP Photo/John Amis)

Boris Valabik, seen here slugging it out with Shean Donovan last January, may be the latest first round draft pick to depart Thrasherville (AP Photo/John Amis)

I guess Rick Dudley tried but could find no takers in a trade and is simply clearing the field a bit for other defensive prospects such as Arturs Kulda, Paul Postma, Andrei Zubarev, etc.

Valabik, drafted in the first round in 2004, would leave after playing in a grand total of 80 games at the NHL level… scoring no goals, 7 assists, collecting 210 PIM to go …

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