Thrasherville already receiving plenty of nice gifts this season

In case you’ve been stuck in a cave somewhere, you no doubt have noticed that the holiday season is once again upon us. The Thanksgiving turkey has long since been devoured…including the leftover turkey casseroles, turkey sandwiches, turkey tetrazzini, turkey pot pie, etc. We’ve made it through Black Friday, Cyber Monday, the weather has turned a tad chilly of late and the traditional animated Christmas shows have made their way to our television sets…now in the crystal clear images that Hi-Def offers.

Local traffic around malls are a nightmare to navigate, shoppers are pushing and shoving one another in line at Macy’s, fruitcakes that will never be consumed are being mailed to distant nephews and nieces and fist fights are breaking out in the toy aisles of Walmart.

Ah, yes folks…it’s the most wonderful time of the year!

While our tax exemptions count down the days until they can rumble down the steps and begin shredding away the pretty wrapping paper to expose their much sought after presents, the good people of Thrasherville have already begun to receive their gifts. They are gifts coming in the form of some great overall play by their on-ice combatants, the Atlanta Thrashers.

Now, it isn’t as though the Thrashers have been exactly Scrooge-like in years past. In fact, they have been all-too generous and giving in their ways in recent seasons… especially on defense. The only problem was that it was normally the opposing team that benefited from their charity.

Too many times they played the role of Santa Claus by gift-wrapping games and handing them over to the other team. Pucks would be given away in the Thrashers defensive zone…goals were handed out like holiday candy…and leads were returned quicker than the aftershave in a bottle shaped like a race car that came from the mother-in-law…and all Thrashers fans were left with was a lump of coal. Indeed there were three words that described the Thrashers of those seasons.

Stink…stank…stunk!

But these Thrashers seemed to have been transformed anew this season…a transformation almost the equal to the one experienced by the famous miser in Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’. They are now in the midst of a seven wins in eight games stretch that began the Friday prior to Thanksgiving, taking what was a 7-9-3 record to 14-10-3. They have scored 27 goals during that period while allowing only 9. And they have surprised us all with the best hockey we’ve seen around here in a very long time… a gift none of us were expecting from this team, not at this point in the season at least.

And these are presents no one in Thrasherville will be looking to re-gift. Nope…these are keepers.

Saturday night the Thrasher continued their winning ways as they wrapped up a three game road trip with a very solid 3-1 win over the Washington Capitals. Atlanta is now 3-1-1 against the Southeast leading Caps, have scored 19 goals in those five games and have accounted for 3 of the their 8 regulation losses on the season.

Ya know…it almost seems like a shame that we’ll only get to face the Capitals one more time this season.

“It’s a huge win for us” head coach Craig Ramsay said after the 3-1 win of the Capitals Saturday night. “This is just another big step, but it’s a step against one of the best teams in hockey”.

“You have to like that. You have to enjoy it. You have to savor the moment.”

Yes, savor it. Much like that cup of hot chocolate served up on a cold night while you sit in front of a warm fireplace where the stocking are hung with care. Especially if said cup of cocoa has been topped off with a little bit of some sort of adult beverage.

Mmmmmmmmmmmm…good.

If there has been one player on this squad who has been somewhat Grinch-like in his ways, however, it’s Ondrej Pavelec. But it isn’t Christmas being stolen from the good people of Whoville here…it’s been would-be goals off the sticks of opposing skaters.

Pavelec has been a major factor in the Thrashers recent success. In stopping 45 of 46 shots Saturday in the nation’s capital he has upped is overall numbers to 8-5-2 with a 1.70 GAA, .948 SV% and a pair of shutouts. Opie has done a great job in fine-tuning his game, is controlling his rebounds better, has improved his pipe-to-pipe movement and is staying vertical more… instead of falling down like Charley Brown’s Christmas tree when an ornament is place on it.

But the Thrashers goalie is also quick to credit the players in front of him. “Our guys did a great job”, Pavelec insists. “I always saw the first shot and they cleared the rebound, so it was a great team effort”.

Atlanta has three players already with 20 or more points…Dustin Byfuglien with 10 goals and 18 assists, Andrew Ladd with 9 goals and 18 assists as well as Toby Enstrom who has 3 goals and 18 assists.

Right behind them is Rich Peverley with 7 goals and 11 assists for 18 points…Nic Bergfors with 6 goals and 11 assists for 17 points…Evander Kane with 9 goals and 7 assists for 16 points…Anthony Stewart with 7 goals and 8 assists for 15 points and Nik Antropov with 7 goals and 7 assists for 14 points.

That is what we were looking for when it comes to the balanced scoring concept offensive play.

Combine that type of offense with adequate…sometimes even very good…defensive play and solid, dependable goaltending and what you have is the recipe for winning hockey. And that’s just what we’ve been seeing from this Thrashers team during this holiday season so far.

If they can continue this on a consistent basis… and there’s no reason to believe they can’t… then the Thrashers just may be able to give their fans the gift they’ve been wanting for so many years now.

And that Christmas wish is to be able to watch this great play and winning hockey beyond game number 82 next spring.

144 comments Add your comment

Tom

December 5th, 2010
8:09 pm

Thrasherzgirl

December 5th, 2010
8:19 pm

Matt

December 5th, 2010
8:24 pm

All I want for Christmas is for the Thrash and the Falcons to continue their winning ways!! This has been the greatest period of solid, 60 full minutes of fundamental hockey I can ever remember this team playing in a long, long, LONG time. Love it.

Zoomo

December 5th, 2010
8:24 pm

I think it was Nate on the prior blog that said last night’s win was huge because Thrasher teams in the past would’ve started a long losing streak after the Pens game . So true. I think last night”s win was the biggest of the year simply because it showed that we were capable of keeping the great play going after a tough loss. Gift of the season to date.

SomaAtl95

December 5th, 2010
8:25 pm

Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus for our Thrashers, Thank you Saint Duds for the gift that keeps on giving, now and all season long.
Great post Rawhide – when the wife and I can get to a game I can’t wait to shale your hand :)
Aside from the Don Cherry night in the gulch (going to be out of town) are there any clothing/food drives that the Thrashers are doing for the holidays? The wife and I have winter clothes, coats and blankets that we want to donate to people that can use them and were hoping that the Thrashers were accepting donations so that there can be community involvement. Once our boys get more media coverage about being in the community I see the Thrashers becoming really popular with the “casual” sports fans around town.

SomaAtl95

December 5th, 2010
8:27 pm

shale = shake

Mr. Heat Miser

December 5th, 2010
8:28 pm

Outstanding! Great time to be an ATL sports fan!

Hockey Biltong

December 5th, 2010
8:32 pm

Geaux Le Thrash!!!!!!!!!

Alan R.

December 5th, 2010
8:33 pm

Tom Lysiak

December 5th, 2010
9:08 pm

Can’t wait to….what is it “The Grinch” calls it again???? Oh yeah, “subsidize the incompetence” tomorrow and Friday.

Go Thrashers!!!

sisu

December 5th, 2010
9:09 pm

very nice write as usual, the team is coming together nicely and had a bounce back from a minor set back. The Pens game was winnable but at the end it did not go the teams way. So nice to see us a few games over .500 at this point.

Grinch

December 5th, 2010
9:19 pm

Just look at them…..all those thrashers down in thrasherville shouting and waving their arms. They just keep winning and winning – but what gets me most of all…..they will all come to Phillips (the big and the small) with their jerseys, their drums, and their horns, hooting and blowing, druming and shouting….and the noise, the noise, the awful noise………

Donny

December 5th, 2010
9:21 pm

Now if only they can get more fans in the seats to support this hard working team? What does it take for them to get the fans back? Clearly this team is better and has a different identity than when Kovalchuk was here… the fans should realize that and get behind the team.

thebighairybeast

December 5th, 2010
9:49 pm

I completely agree Rawhide. For the first time in forever, I actually feel like we have a “real” hockey team. The way they battle on the boards, actually defend and get turnovers in the neutral zone, and the effort they are giving is amazing.

I truly have been a kid on Christmas! We have players that care. I absolutely loved a few games ago when Buff scored and pointed to the Atlanta written on his sleeve. These players, this coach . . . they truly care. WE HAVE A HOCKEY TEAM IN ATLANTA!

And yeah like the grinch whose heart grew til it burst, so is mine. Its been a long time coming.

RS

December 5th, 2010
9:52 pm

Don’t forget the perky little Russian gift that Santa Dudley got us last June.

Smoothie

December 5th, 2010
10:18 pm

litz

December 5th, 2010
10:22 pm

What’s interesting is the following …

Six games separate the #8 team from the #9 team … Seven games separate #8 from #1.

If this keeps up, the top 8 will continue to pull away from the rest of the conference.

jen

December 5th, 2010
11:14 pm

+1 to Zoomo, exactly what I was thinking and exactly the past MO of the Thrashers following a big win streak. Quick peak at the standings should illustrate this team is definitely a threat for the postseason, the east is not the pushover conference this year and our 31 points would qualify us in either conference. Also interesting as litz points out is the distance building between the current playoff position holders and the those on the outside looking in. Seems like feast or famine in the east this year.

thrashersfan

December 6th, 2010
12:16 am

litz, I think you mean points not games.

Cornbread

December 6th, 2010
2:38 am

One loss to Tampa in regulation separates the Thrashers and the Bolts. Win won of those two games in 60 minutes and that’s the difference between 6th and 8th. That’s how close it is in the East and that’s why wins against those in their conference are so important.

The Thrashers will leap ahead of the Bolts and their run and gun play soon enough. They are a better and deeper team than Tampa. The league’s better teams will be able to shut them down and take advantage of their weaknesses more easily than against the Thrashers. Big plus is the favorable schedule the Thrashers have against teams below them in the standings.

Hip Czech

December 6th, 2010
7:37 am

Interesting read from the NJ angle:

http://www.inlouwetrust.com/2010/12/5/1849933/defending-ilya-kovalchuk

Interesting point about the difference the Thrashers D-men made in Kovalchuk’s point totals (and the lack of NJ D-men to step up).

10 horrible years of losing

December 6th, 2010
7:47 am

Bill Daly will be on the NHL xm station 6pm Thursday.
This would be a good time to educate him on the real issues behind attendance. He has been convinced apparently that phoenix, with their arena built 45 mins away from their base, is a better place. Bill said Atlanta is a terrible sports market since know one goes to Braves games or Hawks games. First he needs to check his facts regarding braves and as it relates to Hawks, must I really have to explain. Keep in mind who benefits the most by us losing our team!!
Finally we have a real GM and coach along with players who actually think they can win it all!
Fight back !!!!!
Nice job on the column too

BobinBuford

December 6th, 2010
8:35 am

Rawhide:

First of all, we must learn the grammatical difference between “there” and “their”.

But in all seriousness, I noticed a difference in this team on Opening Night vs. the Caps. I saw more pressure in the offensive zone than I have ever seen from a Thrashers team. Instead of just backpedaling when the Caps had the puck in their zone, they were staying on the puck between the blue and red lines.

After seeing the Caps decimate the Bolts in DC last week, I am hoping for the same result for the Thrash the day after Xmas!!!

Dwayne

December 6th, 2010
8:44 am

Don’t forget about those Detroit Turkey Wings we devoured !!!

KLS1

December 6th, 2010
8:44 am

Another first for the Thrashers, there are actually teams out there that do not look forward to playing us.

ie…Capitals, Bruins, Montreal….now we just needt that list to include Tampa.

Flames

December 6th, 2010
8:52 am

People get off your A$$E$ and go and support this team!!!!! They are doing their part by playing inspired hockey, now as fans we need to go and do ours. Lets fill the BULB!

AtlFlamesFan

December 6th, 2010
8:56 am

When Mr. Daley is on the XM radio show, we should ask him if a few years ago, did we miss his interview when he discussed the possible relocation to Winnipeg of the Boston Bruins. Since he openly discussed the possibility of the Thrashers moving, shouldn’t he have discussed the chances of the B’s moving when only a few short years ago, the Thrash was outdrawing the B’s?
The NHL has got to understand the attendance problem here in Atlanta is not due to the lack of hockey fans, but instead, a backlash against the ownership. Philips was almost always packed for Thrasher games. Just 3 years ago, the crowds for hockey were huge, compared to the sparsely attended NBA Hawks game. But after years of disappointment, many hockey fans gave up.
I am so encouraged by Dudley, Ramsey, and this team. I expect that they will bring back the fans, in spite of ASG.

jimbo

December 6th, 2010
9:23 am

Am I the only one who thinks that Burmistrov will become a superstar? He flys, handles the puck great, and back checks with the best. He’ll get stronger as he gets older. OTHERS????

AtlFlamesFan

December 6th, 2010
9:29 am

Jimbo, Nope; I love Burmi. Hopefully his shot will improve. And if he is ever teamed with a sniper, the points will stack up. Meanwhile, his incredible hustle combined with his skill; what a package.

Bruce L.

December 6th, 2010
9:32 am

10 Horrible Years of Losing- Maybe to you Waddell did a terrible job, but to me he is outstanding. he implemented my plan to perfection. We have driven away fans and now have convinced the NHL that the ATL is a horrible hockey and sports town. We will be able to sell to Canada and I will make millions and millions. My buddy Waddell is in line for a multi million dollar bonus.

FormerIslesFan

December 6th, 2010
9:43 am

Barring a setback, I will be amongst those at the Bulb tonight cheering on the Sons of Blueland. Big win against the Caps; not just because they are one of the better teams in the league and in our division, but also because of the need to look at the loss in Pittsburgh as just a bump in the road. The Thrashers went back to work and obtained a hard-fought 2 points.

It’s strange, but it’s getting to the point where if I can’t watch a game and need to check the score of a Thrashers game in progress on my phone, I’m no longer surprised to see that the Thrashers are leading well into the second period.

I could get used to being spoiled by this team.

Hip Czech

December 6th, 2010
9:59 am

What’s the word on Kane and Enstrom? Sorry if I missed an update over the weekend but I haven’t been able to find one.

Rawhide

December 6th, 2010
10:00 am

Thrasherzgirl – Becoming a regular poster, I see.

Exxxxxxxxxxxxxx-cellent!

SomaAtl95 – Looking forward to shaking your hand, my friend…or “shaling” it. Matters not to me :cool:

RS – Yes…Burmistrov was a great Christmas in June kinda present.

BobinBuford – I saw the same things too on opening night…but I questioned whether it could be maintained on a consistent basis. It took a little time, but it looks like it will be.

Oh, and I looked back and found one instance that I botched the “there” vs. “their” thingie. Thanks.

KLS1 – Teams not wanting to face us is good…and also well deserved. They seemly fear no one. When I have spoken with former Flames Tim Ecclestone that is the main thing he’s indicated this team was lacking…a reputation. You simply must make teams fear coming off the plane in Atlanta to play here. Certain, at the least, make them stop looking past games with us on the schedule.

FormerIsleFan – Spoiled indeed…but in a good way!

Tom Lysiak – Subsidize it out the wazoo! This team with worth coming out to see…IF you actually like hockey, that is.

For those looking to subsidize, but at a reduced rate for this Friday…remember to call Karin at 404-878-3781 for a great deal on tickets for section 204. $30 gets ya in the door…sitting with us….and a Thrashers tee shirt.

AuburnZ

December 6th, 2010
10:01 am

Great article as usual, Rawhide! I think you have found your calling.

The team is doing well…love seeing hustle for the full game.

Mr. Potter

December 6th, 2010
10:13 am

I’ll loan Sage some money at a very reasonable interest rate if he’ll go to a game.

Alan R.

December 6th, 2010
10:15 am

Fun fact for the day: Atlanta’s power play is now first in the league, converting at a rate of 24.8% entering tonight’s contest at Philips. GAA is down to 19th, allowing an average of 2.8 G/G, and our PK is 22nd at 81.1%.

These numbers are vast improvements over one month ago.

Darkhorse

December 6th, 2010
10:16 am

I couldn’t figure out why the ownership has failed to drum up any new ads talking up the improved team and recent winning ways. I don’t think they want the city to care.

I think it’s obvious the owners would love to see the team sold to a Canadian ownership(who would want to move the team of course). They probably see those interested parties as the ones who will pay the most for the Thrashers, and stand to make back a good bit of lost $$ over the past few years. Whereas finding new(maybe local) ownership that will keep the team in Atl for the longterm isn’t likely to happen or net them as much $$. Just my two cents.

At this point, as much as the ASG suck, it is time to start showing more fan support at the bulb and prove we are a worthy city to have a winning NHL franchise.

Good luck tonight against the Preds. We owe them for beating us the past few.

Jimbo-I get the all-star player type vibe with Burmistrov, not superstar. Would love to be wrong after a few years though.

10 horrible years of losing

December 6th, 2010
10:24 am

Bruce L is a creep

Darkhorse: good points and we all need to show up and fight the madness

Long live the thrash

cousin Eddie

December 6th, 2010
10:37 am

I think I just read everyone was at morning skate! WooHOO!

cousin Eddie

December 6th, 2010
10:40 am

http://twitter.com/ajcthrashers—-I don’t know how to do the linky thing. My helmet is too tight and causes brain farts.

cousin Eddie

December 6th, 2010
10:41 am

Apparently my helmet wasn’t too tight.

Rawhide

December 6th, 2010
10:44 am

Tom Lysiak – Actually, your comments earlier got me thinking. Everyone coming out to Philips to see a Thrashers game now…whether it’s with our group in section 204 or anyone else returning after quite a while…can be known as fans who are taking part in “Operation Subsidize the COMPETENCE”!!!

Flames

December 6th, 2010
10:49 am

I really haven’t been this excited about our hockey team since the Flames were still here. Rawhide-I will try and look you up tonight at the game. This team is only going to get better. It is always a good thing when someone is a healthy scratch or they are injured that they have a hard time trying to work themselves back into the everyday line-up. I really hope Cormier recovers fully from his foot injury and gets called up soon and starts pushing players for ice time.

Kane & Enstrom?

Mikey

December 6th, 2010
11:16 am

Yes. Everyone get on board “Operation Subsidize the COMPETENCE”!!!

This team is awesome! Even if they lose they are playing hard and battling. Can’t ask for anything more than what they are giving each night on the ice!

GO THRASHERS!

Dwayne

December 6th, 2010
11:18 am

Lets hope the naming Ladd Captain will keep Atlanta focused on the lesser teams. Remember that 2-1 loss to Florida?
I worry about the Thrash playing down to the talents, or lack there of an opponite.

litz

December 6th, 2010
11:19 am

Heh … points … yeah …

I’m really not sure what to take on all the rumor things … on one hand, it’s the canadian media.

They HATE the southern US teams with a passion, and would like nothing more than to bring as many NHL teams “home” to the “motherland” as possible.

On the other hand … this was a senior NHL official making those comments …

So, I dunno.

All we can do is support the team, and try and make a case for keeping them HERE and SUCCESSFUL.

Maybe we’ll get lucky and Mr. Blank will decide to add frozen water to his fake grass.

Dwayne

December 6th, 2010
11:27 am

Has the music gotten any better at the bulb?
Here is a vote for Van Halens “Black and Blue”

Grammar & Spelling Police

December 6th, 2010
11:30 am

Toy Isles at Wal-Mart?

ISLES??

Really?

thebighairybeast

December 6th, 2010
11:35 am

I loved Burmi’s interview during the second period Saturday night. You could tell he was still a kid. When asked about his break away and OV chasing him down you could sense the child like awe he had talking about it!

Really fun to listen to. The kid is living a dream.

Rawhide

December 6th, 2010
11:37 am

Per C-Viv tweet: “For those still asking, Tobias Enstrom is fine and will play tonight.”

Grammar & Spelling Police – Yeah…it’s a hockey blog, so “Isles” not “aisles” :lol:

OK… sticking out hands to be cuffed…guilty. Take me away.