Thrashers win streak comes to an end but optimistic outlook remains

Three weeks ago I was making my way down for The Blueland Chronicle Perch after the 4-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. As I made my across the landing area between escalators, I noticed John Kincade preparing for the post-game show. I stopped by to chat with him about the hard-fought, but still disappointing 4-2 loss to the Pens.

“I’ll tell you something”, John told me. “If I wake up on Christmas morning and this Thrashers team is at or anywhere near .500…they’ll be just fine. Probably make the playoffs”.

Despite the 3-2 loss to Pittsburgh, Thrashers fans have been treated to some great hockey this fall. And there's no reason to think that will end along with the 6 game winning streak (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Despite the 3-2 loss to Pittsburgh, Thrashers fans have been treated to some great hockey this fall. And there's no reason to think that will end along with the 6 game winning streak (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Now at the time, the setback had left Atlanta with a record of 7-7-3 after 13 games played and had gone 1-3-1 in their previous five games played. It was still early November and the new players on the roster were still going through the beginning portions of their “getting to know you” phase of the season.

Given such, I didn’t think the statement made by Kincade was off base at all. However, since that time the Thrashers have played to a 6-3-0 mark, including the recent 6 game winning streak in which some of the best team-oriented hockey seen in these parts since…since…since, well, ever.

Unfortunately it came to a stop last night in, of all places, Pittsburgh as Sidney Crosby caused hats to fly. His trio of goals powered the Pens to a 3-2 win over the Thrashers. The third, and eventual game-winner, was a splendid individual effort as Crosby deflected in a knee-high shot from a very sharp angle. Not much Ondrej Pavelec could do about it.

Defenseman Ron Hainsey probably summed it up best in saying, “There are times where you are going to get beat. You can have everybody in position and have everyone there and get beat”.

For the most part Atlanta played well…but not well enough to overcome a powerful Pittsburgh team. The effort was there, but the opposition proved too much on this night.

However, given they way they have played since my discussion with Kincade as well as there current record of 13-10-3… despite the setback in Steeltown, I would be rather disappointed if this team is merely .500 come the time the good little boys and girls of Thrasherville rip open their gifts on Christmas morn.

The important thing after a loss that snaps a consecutive win streak is that the keep it at just that…one loss. Put it behind them and move on, as the cliché goes, and don’t allow it to become anything more than that. Focus must continue to be directed forward and not allow it to become the beginning of a 2 or 3 game slide or a 1-4-1 type of run. That would negate all that was accomplished over the last couple of weeks.

As Ondrej Pavelec put it, “We have to keep our heads up. They’re on a roll; we were on a roll. We just lost one game”.

Looking forward…it isn’t as though they have a bunch of “softies” on the slate either over the next few weeks. The Thrashers play in Washington tomorrow then welcome the likes of Nashville and Colorado next week. In fact, between now and New years, they not only have to take on those quality teams, but they draw Tampa Bay twice, Boston twice, Pittsburgh again as well as a St. Louis team that…despite their recent troubles…still have a winning record.

But given what the Thrashers have just come through and how they have performed, that schedule doesn’t look as daunting as it might have three weeks ago. And that’s to the their credit.

106 comments Add your comment

R. Stroz

December 3rd, 2010
12:13 pm

Thrasherzgirl

December 3rd, 2010
12:21 pm

Triple Gold! Moving onward and upward.

World Be Free

December 3rd, 2010
12:23 pm

Gotta get up early to beat Stroz-reposting something I just hit “enter” on the last blog-

Smoothie-Stevie Y has some sizeable problems ahead with salaries. Tampa is paying Lecavalier, Gagne, St. Louis and Ryan Malone a total of $22.7M this year. TB has Malone and St. Louis for 4 more years after this year and Vinny at $7.72M for 7 more years after this season. TB also has Mattias Ohlund for 5 more seasons after this year at $3.6M. None of these guys is getting any younger. Mike Smith is gone after this season, so Stevie will have to get a new #1 keeper.

Yzerman’s biggest problem is Steven Stamkos who’s is arguably having an MVP-caliber season. He is an RFA after this season with the potential of having a Brinks’ truck parked in his driveway; he will get $9-$10M for 8-10 years. Wonder what kind of distraction this will be for the Lightning after January 1? If Phil Kessel is worth 2-number 1’s and a number 2, how many picks is Stamkos good for? He will get an Ovechkin-type contract in his next deal-count on it.

Stupid long-terms signings and the need to lock up their superstar will keep Stevie busy for the foreseeable future.

Monkey

December 3rd, 2010
12:23 pm

I thought we played well last night…maybe a just bit on our heels, trying to prevent bad things from happening. We weren’t skating to loose pucks as much as gliding. You have to take that extra stride or two and beat them to the puck. We got beat to the puck all night long.

In our “big” games against Washington, Detroit and Montreal, we were taking the game to them. Bring that back and we are golden.

Russian

December 3rd, 2010
12:31 pm

We really missed Kane last nigth. Meyer was nothing. I did not see him at all. Why did we sing him? We can keep Kulda or Zubarev as 7-Dan.

Rawhide

December 3rd, 2010
12:53 pm

Woo-Hoo!!!! I got Thrasherzgirl to post on my blog finally!!!

Truly a red letter day!

georg

December 3rd, 2010
12:54 pm

Hi Russki! your right we missed Kane and without Meyer wev’e could have done better so lets get some more Russian players in there and get rid of that lazy skating Bogosian he is worthless in my opinion.

@not_CThorburn

December 3rd, 2010
12:57 pm

It was a good streak that showed lots of improvements in many areas. Folks are now willing to step in and block shots, willing to take hits to keep a play alive, willing to shave off their weak mustaches, etc.

I’m sure nobody will complain if we go on consistent 3+ game winning streaks with one loss in between.

KLS1

December 3rd, 2010
1:06 pm

I think it is a big mistake not to let guys from Chicago come up and play when starters are down. Could have got a spark from Stapleton or Frederickson last night…Meyer was out of sorts and frankly put in a bad position by Ramsay.

Let guys come up and challenge for a spot, I realize camp is over but there is still a lot of upgrades that can be made to this roster with internal moves. Its a looong season.

Joe Friday

December 3rd, 2010
1:07 pm

It was a pretty easy call to see that the Pens, Crosby, and Fluery were all hot and with Kane out we were going to struggle, I’m amazed they kept it that close and am heartened by the effort in the loss. Bring that game against the Caps tomorrow night and bank two more, if Kane is back in.

If they wanted to skate Meyer, they should have plugged him in at D and move Buf up to forward for a game.

Hip Czech

December 3rd, 2010
1:09 pm

definitely not quite as sharp last night…passes were just a bit off and were a half step slower than the previous 5 or 6 games. Don’t know if you can blame Buff on the 3rd goal (that was a heck of a deflection) but the replays make him look like he is just standing there rather than having a body on Crosby. Tough call, clearly they were trying to clog the middle but how can you leave Crosby untouched at the side of the net?

Too bad, could have pulled even with TB last night…but all in all, not a bad road game. Let’s hope they pull one out tomorrow.

I’m not quite ready to give up on Bogosian yet, but something has happened to him. OK, so he’s not providing the offense, that means he can be a physical presence…problem is he isn’t. OK, not going to provide the offense or be a physical presence, then at least he can play positionally and skate…problem is he doesn’t.

Brendan

December 3rd, 2010
1:09 pm

Thrasherzgirl: Don’t be a stranger. Post early. Post often.

T-birds didn’t lay an egg, last night. What I’m enjoying, lately, is that Ramsay’s team isn’t showing up “unprepared to play,” like they were earlier in the season. And that, friends, is a good thing. With a win in their next game, Atlanta would be 7-1-0, for 14 of a possible 16-points. And I think we can all live with that.

Go Thrashers!

Hoof Arted

December 3rd, 2010
1:10 pm

Losing to a team that had won 7 straight by one goal is not exactly “embarrassing”. Pittsburgh is a very good team and we were in their house. It is what it is.

Have to bounce back though tomorrow night in DC.

Fortunately Toronto, Ottawa, Washington and Florida all lost to Western Conference teams last night so we lost no ground to them. The Lightning got crushed by Boston too.

Bill, I call Karin yesterday about the ticket deal for next Friday. I’m either gonna make that or the one on 1/14. Great deal, thanks.

Brendan

December 3rd, 2010
1:12 pm

By the way, how many of you would bet six mortgage payments that the Penguins won’t win the Stanley Cup this year?

Rawhide

December 3rd, 2010
1:18 pm

Dwayne – To answer your question from the previous blog…Ovechkin hasn’t scored a goal in 9 straight games. The last won came against Atlanta on Nov. 14. He does, however, have 8 assists and is a +4 during that time though.

Smoothie

December 3rd, 2010
1:32 pm

Great 8 will be frothing at the mouth to score a goal against us. He is long overdue, not only in general, but against us. I’m sure he feels he should have several more goals against ATL. Here’s hoping his frustration continues and Kaner comes back with fire in his belly…and two good wheels. Why did we sign Stapleton again? Guess Modin is ready.

h

December 3rd, 2010
1:36 pm

WBF-I don’t think there is a chance in heck that TB ever trades Stamkos. If they do it will be worse than any move DW ever made…..ANY move…..my guess is that they find a way to dump Vinny and probably end up giving up the farm to do it in order to get someone to take his stupid contract. The only other possibility is to sign Stamkos to very short term deals until he gets into that last RFA and then you try to figure something out OR somehow get Stamkos to agree to a long term deal for a “hometown” discount. Whichever way it goes, that team is screwed for signing Vinny to a long term deal (see Devils). I’d like to lock up our young guys to, but hopefully we stick to 4-6 year deals so we don’t end up like TB. It will be VERY interesting to see what ownership does with Bergy, Ladd, Buff, and Bogey this year.

Brendan

December 3rd, 2010
1:36 pm

We need Evander “the Capital Slayer” Kane to be ready to play vs. Washington tonight. Lord, hear our prayer!

Brendan

December 3rd, 2010
1:40 pm

In TB, they’ve got to realize that Stamkos and Hedman are their future. Vinny and Marty St. Louis seem to have a pact that they must play together. Trading that tandem might fetch a nice return, but I doubt the Bolts want to do that, any time soon. If/when they do, they’ll need a goalie to be a centerpiece of the trade. How many GM’s want to part with their # 1 netminder? Are they going to keep Simon Gagner? What’s that gonna cost!

Smoothie

December 3rd, 2010
1:50 pm

Hate to do this to Thorbs and Boulton, but these two particular greek gods have not been on the ice for a goal allowed at ES in 13 games, count ‘em, 13 games! Nice work fellas.

They seemed to more good jump last nite but didn’t get as many opportunties due to match-ups dictated by Bylsma. But that’s life on the road. We had a hard time with the Crosby line no matter what last nite, but when Pascal Dupuis is one of his wingers, you MUST key on Crosby and keep a body on him at all times!

glovesave29

December 3rd, 2010
1:52 pm

HA – dead on. We just lost to the only team hotter than us, on the road, that has 3 superstars, and even then only by a single goal. It took their best effort to put us down. I am not one for “moral victories”, but I can see positive in this loss. The passing out of the defensive zone is so far superior to any previous Thrasher team. We gain the offensive zone so much more effectively than even the teams with Kovy, Heater and Savvy leading the rush. Speed is everywhere. Rebound control cannot even be compared to efforts in the past. And all this against one of the elite teams in the league. I am sure both the Pens and their fans left the arena last night thinking that the Atlanta team is not going to go away and are a team on the rise. So they felt a bid of adversity last night. Thats not always a bad thing. The truest test is how the team responds now. Do they start another winning streak? Play with a chip on their shoulders? Lets hope so! GO THRASHERS!

Alan R.

December 3rd, 2010
2:01 pm

We need Evander “the Capital Slayer” Kane to be ready to play vs. Washington tonight

Tomorrow.

Alan R.

December 3rd, 2010
2:06 pm

I am sure both the Pens and their fans left the arena last night thinking that the Atlanta team is not going to go away and are a team on the rise.

I’ve got friends in Atlanta and elsewhere who cheer on the Pens. All of them have messaged, phoned, or emailed me telling me how impressive they felt Atlanta played. We didn’t quit last night, unlike a lot of Thrashers teams from the past.

People believe we’re going to finally make it this year. While I’m not sold on that yet (Battered Fan Syndrome), I am excited about this team and it’s chances.

Zoomo

December 3rd, 2010
2:16 pm

I thought the Pens played better D against us than they have in the past year or so. Their gaps were super tight and they were swarming the neutral zone. They were on their game last night and we still hung tough. Not too many good looks in the 3rd or we might have gotten the tying goal.

Brendan

December 3rd, 2010
2:17 pm

Zombie Steve

December 3rd, 2010
2:36 pm

Joe Friday – you were right about Kane….I underestimated the impact it would have on us w/o him.

Joe Friday

December 3rd, 2010
3:13 pm

“I’m not quite ready to give up on Bogosian yet, but something has happened to him. OK, so he’s not providing the offense, that means he can be a physical presence…problem is he isn’t. OK, not going to provide the offense or be a physical presence, then at least he can play positionally and skate…problem is he doesn’t.”

This. I sat there watching last night’s game and although thankful for the comic relief that Waddell provided (lol) in between periods, I was frustrated watching Bogosian. He was simply awful. He was standing around a lot, it’s like he has no idea where the puck is going to go or which man to take. He takes the Chris Tamer patented blind slap around the board that inevitably gets intercepted. I’m not giving up on him, but I am giving up on him ever becoming a #1/2 guy. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know all about dmen taking forever to develop, but this kid doesn’t have basic hockey instincts, some of youse were talking about his intelligence earlier this year, and now I can see it (and not just in interviews). I had high hopes for him coming around this year, oh well. At least Buf is wildly exceeding my expectations at d, so that’s a win.

Red Light

December 3rd, 2010
3:29 pm

Why is it that every time this team loses that someone here needs a scapegoat? Meyer hadn’t played since Oct. 23 in any game and he’s a defenseman. You were expecting what? Yvan Cournoyer? Stapleton is a career minor leaguer with 10 NHL games.

Players get hurt. It happens and no one in the organization can replace Kane’s speed and up-ice abilities. Not Meyer. Not Stapleton. Not Machacek. Not Pettersson. Nobody!

The best sign is that after a loss you can point out things that could have turned the loss into a win. Other than the fact that I have never seen anyone re-direct a puck seven feet behind him (like Crosby did last night), there should be no finger pointing today.

I do agree that Bogo looks lost at times.

swede

December 3rd, 2010
3:31 pm

Bogosian weighs too much. He only thinks about adding weight, instead of focusing on other things. Now he weighs like 215 lb. I remember first season when his weight was like 200 and he was much quicker? Weight isn´t the most important thing…

Smoothie

December 3rd, 2010
3:35 pm

Just to play devil’s advocate, and to dovetail what Red Light is saying, Bogey has been much better of late. I think all of our D-men were tired last nite as they had to really put it on the line the other nite in the mountains against Colorado. I’m not trying to give them excuses but considering how sharp they’ve been over the last 6 games or so, I think they must’ve been tired. They weren’t jumping into the play and they looked hesitant all nite. Now the Pens had a lot to do with that and their gaps were air tight all night. But our team did not look as sure of itself last nite. Admittedly they fought hard in the 3rd but they were not up to the challenge on this particular nite.

Anyway, for what it’s worth, Bogey has not been on the ice for an ESG for 7 games. Not bad for a guy who was on the ice for 15 of them in his first 13. While he may never be a true #1 or # 2, he’ll be okay. I see him being a very solid 2nd pairing D-man for years to come with offensive upside. He’s still young enough to add some tricks to his repetoire.

PensFan

December 3rd, 2010
3:36 pm

I know it’s small consolation. But you guys at least scored on the PP where Pittsburgh has been unbeatable in the last 10 games. Other teams were not even able to setup in the pittsburgh zone on the PP. It’s an 80 game season. No need to wail about one loss that was close . Pittsburgh has had worse games and Atlanta too. Now, as a Pens fan, i have to worry about Phillips Arena tickets not being as cheap to get on craigslist with the Thrashers playing well. Heh heh.

I gotta say I am still happy to see DuPuis in a Pens uniform. He actually didn’t show his best last night but he has been just great in most games, especially on the penalty kill. I didnt like losing Colby at the time but I think DuPuis is of more help to the Pens right now.

What is the deal with Esposito? Just chronic injuries? Is he a bust?

I know as a Pens fan, I am getting a little impatient with Malkin. Right now, while he is no Kovulchuck(be happy he didnt sign that 100M contract), he needs to look at Crosby and improve his game in many areas. He used to be a better goal scorer than Crosby and now Crosby has surpassed him in that area. His faceoffs are still awful while Crosby is getting better each year. Malkin at this point has dropped from the elite player level and should not be discussed in that area considering he is having way too many uninspired stretches. Ovechkin is in a big goal scoring slump and he is still outproducing Malkin big time. . Pittsburgh only has one superstar at this point.

English Teacher

December 3rd, 2010
3:40 pm

Are all the Rawhide’s Rowdies seats gone? They’re not available through the normal means of online ticket buying.

If so, I’m going to sit with the Bosnians at another game. I hear they’re loud.

Red Light

December 3rd, 2010
3:44 pm

PensFan: We’ll take Malkin off your hands any time!

PensFan

December 3rd, 2010
3:50 pm

RedLight, only if Waddell reinstates himself before deciding who to give up to the Pens in return for Malkin!!!

World Be Free

December 3rd, 2010
3:51 pm

h-if the Bolts don’t sign Stamkos to a deal by July 1 he is open to an offer sheet, with draft picks being compensation. You are correct, they will not trade him but they have to sign him.

Brendan-who is going to take Vinny at $7.727M over 7 more years and St. Louis at 5.625M for another 4 years after the current season? People get on Chicago about the Campbell contract, but those deals are pretty tough too. Martin is a great player, but he is a little guy that has taken his fair share of hits. Neither are trade-able with those contracts and age.

Red Light

December 3rd, 2010
3:58 pm

The Lightning need help at the AHL level. Vinny will be waived, sent down, sign with the KHL team and the owner that still owes him money from the lockout year.

You heard it here first WBF!

LAC

December 3rd, 2010
3:58 pm

I agree with you Bill, If we continue to play as we have, we will go on another winning streak.

And last night we were NOT embarassed, Like Tampa and Toronto and New Jersey.

Heck Tampa has lost, 6-0 to Florida and D.C. and now 8-1.

Carolina has been blasted, heck even Washington lost twice 5-0.
We have NOT been drilled by anyone and last night was not a “bad” game in most respects.

We will see what unfolds in D.C. Saturday evening.

Cheers !

KLS1

December 3rd, 2010
3:59 pm

I’ll take Marty St. Louis for 4 more years…he doesn’t have to be great, he makes those around him better.

Andy Sutton is still having nightmares of the little man besting him time and time again.

Hip Czech

December 3rd, 2010
4:00 pm

PensFan…hopefully there’s not much wailing going on. To use the catch phrase ‘it is what it is’ – one loss to a very, very, good team. I know I was hoping the Thrashers would set a new franchise record with 7 in a row just so they could get some good, positive press in this town (hey, the Thrashers did have the subject line of the last THREE AJC newsletter emails, which has to be a first).

Dupuis was good here, great work ethic and a great role player. He hit the jackpot landing on Crosby’s line, that’s for sure.

Joe F, guess you nailed it…I’m not giving up on Bogosian, just giving up on him becoming a top 2 (but hope I’m wrong on that).

Strike 2

December 3rd, 2010
4:12 pm

How much longer until the Thrashers move to Winnipeg?

Rawhide

December 3rd, 2010
4:12 pm

PensFan – Nice comments…thanks for chimin’ in. As for Espo, he’s in Chicago with the AHL Wolves. He’s coming off to ACL injuries in as many years but physically looks like he’s good to go.

English Teacher – Still some seats available for section 204 Friday night. Call Karin at (404) 878-3781 or e-mail her at Karin.Beckman@atlantaspirit.com and tell her you wanna sit with us.

And circle Jan. 14 on your calendat too. Got something going for that game too.

msg

December 3rd, 2010
4:55 pm

Did you watch that interview with DW? Him begging for ticket purchases? Well – DW you will be reaping trash for a while due to your “managerial” skills. You deserve that…

SomaAtl95

December 3rd, 2010
5:03 pm

Strike 2 – They AINT going to the Peg. Our Bozo of a President pointed that out before debuting his homegrown advertising for tickets last night… Besides the popular team to talk relocation about right now is the Oilers. Plus its nice for Thrasher fans to see that 4 of the 6 teams in Canada are not doing well. At all. Maybe US based fans should spread rumors about those 4 teams moving to PoDunk USA. Will show you JUST HOW OLD THIS IS GETTING. Our Thrashers are better than a lot of the hockey loving community will attest to.

waffleboy

December 3rd, 2010
5:04 pm

Bogosian has been playing much better since the loss in Florida. Anyone who’s ready to bail on him now is foolish. Buff is the perfect example of what happens when you give up on a d-man too early. Part of the reason he switched to forward was because they didn’t believe he could play the position. Now, at 25, he looks legit. Bogosian will be a number 1 d-man in this league.

Brendan

December 3rd, 2010
5:54 pm

WBF, seemingly every year … there’s some market that just CANNOT attract players to their market. If such a market has cap room … and St. Louis and Lecavalier would make such a hypothetical team better … why not do it? Now, here’s my answer: I suspect Lecavalier and St. Louis anticipated just such a thing, and decided that, ‘they don’t feel like playing for Phoenix or Florida,’ and put a no trade clause in their contracts.

WBF, pretend for the moment, that ‘NTC’s’ weren’t part of the problem. Now, pretend you’re Edmonton or Phoenix or Florida, or even Atlanta, circa 2001-2002, in terms of where your franchise is. Wouldn’t you take St. Louis and Lecavalier, just out of desperation? And Campbell, too, budget permitting? All these overpriced players would make a PATHETIC organization better. Even Wade Redden? I know, let’s not go nuts! But, if you’re options were Yannic Tremblay and Chris Tamer or Wade Redden, who would you pick, if budget isn’t an issue? And the league MANDATED that you at least be at the FLOOR of the cap.

English Teacher

December 3rd, 2010
11:19 pm

Thanks, Bill!

Michael "the abbreviation"

December 4th, 2010
6:56 am

All im gonna say is.. we have had several 5 and 6 game win streaks in the past, and where did we end up at the end of the season!?!?!??? Thats right, on the golf course, so please forgive my hesitance to crowning this team as contenders just yet..

Dwayne

December 4th, 2010
9:16 am

Dmen take longer to develope…still waiting on Doris to “develope” I hate flat chested…errrr, I mean flat footed dmen.

Get The Puck Out

December 4th, 2010
9:17 am

This team IS NOT like teams of the past. They have a coach that has a strategy and they are playing to their ability. If they play to their coach’s teaching and give effort and play smart, they will make the playoffs. As long as they play inspired they will win fans over and really that’s all i ask is that they play inspired, playoffs or not. We just need someone to step up in the hockey community to take a chance and buy this team. Go Thrashers!

Get The Puck Out

December 4th, 2010
9:19 am

What kinda chance would you give the Thrash against the pens in a five game series right now?