Archive for December, 2010

2010 Thrashers review and 2011 predictions

First off, allow me to wish each and every one of you a very happy New Year. It’s my sincere hope that the coming year brings much joy and prosperity and that you are all have a great timing ringing in 2011.

I’m a day or so early with those well-wishes because this will be the last blog entry of 2010 for me.  Later today I’ll be zipping my way down I-75 to the Sunshine State with the Divine Mrs. R and the tax exemptions. It has become something of a tradition now that we spend New Years down in Florida. We’ll be at mom-in-laws house in Jacksonville as we install a wireless internet system…her Christmas present. So, unlike when we stay at the lake house down there, I will at least be able to make contact with the cyber-civilized world.

With that said, let’s take a quick look back on the year that was…then peer into the future for some predictions and prognostications for 2011.

I’ll begin with a quick recap of the action here on this little online Thrashers …

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What…me worry about these Thrashers? Maybe, but only just a little

Just a week ago the Atlanta Thrashers were sitting atop the Southeast Division and held the second spot in the Eastern Conference. They were riding a 12-2-2 hot streak and had just come off impressive victories over the New Jersey Devils and Toronto Maple Leafs by a combined score of 13-4.

It all started out well enough Tuesday night as Evander Kane put the Thrashers up 1-0 early in the first period (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

It all started out well enough Tuesday night as Evander Kane put the Thrashers up 1-0 early in the first period (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Oh what a difference a week can make.

Since that time, they’ve have gone 0-3-1, been outscored 17-8…two of those losses coming against Tampa Bay and Boston, teams Atlanta has been jockeying for position in the standings with. Their play of late has been, in a word…un-good.

Tuesday night, Pittsburgh was the scene of their latest unsuccessful venture. After coming out strong against the Pens, taking 1-0 and 2-1 leads, the game slowly spiraled out of control…slowly at first, then at a dizzying pace. Once Sidney Crosby leveled the score twice in the …

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Teachable moment found in Thrashers OT loss to Lightning

If there is one thing we’ve heard consistently from coach Ramsay since he came here last summer, it’s that he wants to “teach” these Thrashers how to be “smart” hockey players. That means he wants in instill in them the ability to react when game conditions change…to be able to read the way things are developing and adapt accordingly…and to not make silly mistakes.

This lesson has been taken to heart for the most part of the initial half of the 2010-11 season…and the winning record reflects that. But every once in a while, there comes a moment where one play from one player can dramatically alter the course of the game. Such a moment came late in Sunday’s matchup against the division rivals Tampa Bay Lightning.

Atlanta had not played particularly its best game of the season to say the least. Some of that had to do with those wearing the home blue uniforms…a lot of it had to do with the way the Bolts play against us. However, thanks in part to a rebound …

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After Christmas day snow, Thrasherville prepares for Lightning

Good morning gang. Whether it was Christmas, Hanukkah…or even the “Festivus for the Rest of Us“…I sincerely hope that you’ve been having a great holiday season. For those of us in the metro Atlanta area, it was a white Christmas as the city was blanked by a layer of the flaky white frozen precipitation all day. Here at the Rawhide Ranch near Acworth, there was just shy of 2 inches atop the back deck railing. Certainly made for quite the picturesque scene, indeed.

However, in the words of the team’s marketing department, it’s time to WAKE UP ATLANTA…time to awake from our brief holiday respite and jump back into action.

That’s right kids, it’s the 26th of December. To some, that’s Boxing Day. To many, many others however, it’s the Great Christmas Gift Return and Exchange Day. In that spirit, the Thrashers have set up their Brutal Bad Gift Exchange for you to ditch those flashy neckties, holiday sweaters, tacky scarves and other assorted presents we …

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‘Twas the day before the night before Christmas in Thrasherville

Thursday afternoon as I was meandering about the mall with my two tax exemptions, I happened upon the center court area where Santa Claus was holding audience for all the little crumb-crunchers of Thrasherville. You know the routine…mommies, daddies, grandmas and grandpas dress up the little tykes in their finest then go stand in line for hours so that their Christmas wish lists might be delivered properly.

Now, I had already completed my holiday shopping and was just killing some time while my boys snooped around the video game store. However, I found myself there watching jolly old Saint Nick go about his duties. His eyes, how they twinkled…his dimples, how merry. But I couldn’t help but notice he still dresses like…Don Cherry.

And while I stood there observing the annual holiday ritual take place, into my head popped just what it was exactly that I really, really…I mean REALLY…wanted for Christmas this year. Therefore, I decided to pay the old bearded man a …

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Bergfors learning Ramsay finds press box acoustics perfect for delivering message

There’s this hockey player that seems to have gone missing around Thrasherville. He’s Swedish…about 5’-11”, 190-pounds-ish…was drafted by the New Jersey Devils in the first round of the 2005 draft…came to the Thrashers last February along with Johnny Oduya and Patrice Cormier in exchange for Anssi Salmela and…and…snapping fingers…oh yeah, Ilya Kovalchuk.

Maybe you’ve heard of him…dude goes by the name Niclas Bergfors.

Rumor has it he still is on the Thrashers roster, however his presence on the ice has been quite scarce of late. Since the 4-2 loss to the Avalanche back on December 10th, he’s suited up for all of one game in the past seven played. But in the one game he was allowed to participate in…the 3-2 shootout loss to Carolina…he spent all but 7:40 with his backside affixed to the bench and was limited to only a couple of his 11 shifts late in the game.

For the season, he’d been averaging over 14 minutes TOI and just under 19 shifts per …

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Anthony Stewart’s surprising season

Saturday morning outside of the Thrashers’ locker room at Philips Arena, I informed Anthony Stewart about the little cyber-wager we on this online forum…the one we had prior to the start of the season in which we tried to guess what Thrasher would notch the first hat trick this season. I told him that such players as Evander Kane, Andrew Ladd and Bryan Little were the most common guesses. But oddly, no one had picked him.

Stewart raised an eyebrow, grinned and quipped jokingly, “That’s surprising. I think I had four goals in my whole career…”

Yeah…indeed. Why did we overlook Stewey?

Jonas Gustavsson stopped this Anthony Stewart shot, but not the third period blast from between the circles. Stewart now has 22 points on the season  Canadian Press, Nathan Denette)

Jonas Gustavsson stopped this Anthony Stewart shot, but not the third period blast from between the circles. Stewart now has 22 points on the season (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette)

Not too many people are overlooking him now, though as the 2003 23rd overall pick by the Florida Panthers has more than doubled his NHL career scoring totals. His third period goal Monday gave …

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Andrew Ladd is ‘true captain’ for this Thrashers team

On November 18 the Atlanta Thrashers found themselves with a record of 7-9-3. They had just come off a very disappointing 2-1 loss to the Florida Panthers the night before, had lost three straight and six of the last seven games played. Atlanta was also looking at upcoming games against such teams as the Washington Capitals, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadians and Boston Bruins, among others.

Times were tough and the waters ahead looked rough. Needless to say, there was much grumbling, griping, wailing and gnashing of teeth going on throughout Thrasherville at that time.

But that morning, the Thrashers also named Andrew Ladd as their team captain.

The Thrashers are 11-2-2 after naming Andrew Ladd team captain. But he's quick topoint out that has little to do with the recent run of success...rather it's the coaching staff and the team's chemistry (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

The Thrashers are 11-2-2 after naming Andrew Ladd team captain. But he's quick topoint out that has little to do with the recent run of success…rather it's the coaching staff and the team's chemistry (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

The next night the Thrashers went out and beat the division leading Caps 5-0, beginning the current 11-2-2 …

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Devils left out in the cold as Thrashers win 7-1

Saturday night as I was driving up Marietta Street on my way home from the game, I noticed a Salvation Army truck motoring down the road. As it passed by, I thought to myself that it was probably an emergency shipment of sweaters and coats being rushed down to Satan and his band of demons…because Hell has officially frozen over.

Why do I say this? Well…where do I begin?

First of all, there was this 7-1 beat-down of the New Jersey Devils that had just taken place down at Philips Arena. The Thrashers had jumped all over them like the visiting in-laws would your holiday dessert tray. And much like those tasty Christmas treats, when they were through all that remained were crumbs thrown all about the place.

It was as if they’d ripped the number 17 off an old Ilya Kovalchuk jersey left over in the supply closet and tossed it up on the scoreboard…backwards.

But that’s really not all that bizarre mind you. I mean, a good team is supposed to take care of business at home …

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To boo Kovalchuk or not to boo – That is the question for you, Thrasherville

To boo or not to boo, that is the question. Whether ‘tis nobler to make known a fan’s anger and frustration towards one player’s actions of a year ago with audible sounds of displeasure…or to cheer loudly for him to convey appreciation for his services when here…or to simply sit quietly as said player toils in futility as he currently plays for a once-proud franchise now mired in a troubled season.

Tomorrow night, Ilya Kovalchuk returns to Philips Arena as the Thrashers take on the New Jersey Devils. It will be the second return appearance for Kovy since last winter’s big trade. Last spring, Kovy and his new team made their way to Atlanta and the first overall pick by the Thrashers in 2001 then suffered the slings and arrows of a feisty crowd…most of whom were bent on letting the Russian forward just what they thought about how things went down two months prior.

While most booed Kovalchuk, some did cheer for him when he popped out of the visiting locker …

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