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

Alan R.

December 6th, 2010
11:45 am

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

That might be our best chance at keeping ‘em here in town for the long haul. Regardless of what some third party member of AS. LLC says.

AtlFlamesFan

December 6th, 2010
11:51 am

….and what about Kane?

JT from Columbus

December 6th, 2010
11:53 am

Is This True?

December 6th, 2010
12:01 pm

“Some of that chatter will concern the Phoenix Coyotes. Prospective owner Matthew Hulsizer is expected to show up and explain his plans to the governors’ executive committee, although an official sale is still not in sight.

Also sure to be part of the unofficial discussions among the governors are the Atlanta Thrashers, St. Louis Blues, Dallas Stars, Carolina Hurricanes, Nashville Predators, Buffalo Sabres and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Thrashers are a candidate, along with the Coyotes, to move to either Winnipeg or Quebec. Bruce Levenson, Michael Gearon Sr., and Michael Gearon Jr., the main players in the ownership group, are not happy about all the money they are losing on the team.

Among those who populate the governors’ set, the talk is that the Thrashers are headed for Quebec City, if the former NHL town can pull in enough government and private money for a new arena. Winnipeg is also in the mix, though, and if Hulsizer really does buy the Coyotes, the western Canadian city could shoulder aside Quebec and land the Thrashers.

Word is that Levenson and the Gearons have mused in the past about applying to their fellow governors for permission to relocate. Even NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said publicly in recent days that the Thrashers could move.”

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/hockey/david-shoalts/nhl-salary-cap-expected-to-increase/article1825832/

Alan R.

December 6th, 2010
12:18 pm

Was the cross post really necessary? All of us here read Chris’ blog.

litz

December 6th, 2010
12:21 pm

Which, as has already been noted … is an article from a Canadian outfit interested in promoting hockey in Canada … not the southern US.

R. Stroz

December 6th, 2010
12:27 pm

Is Winnipeg a STD?

Rawhide

December 6th, 2010
12:27 pm

AtlFlamesFan – Per C-Viv’s latest blog entry…Kane plays tonight.

IsThisTruesigh….ya know, normally I don’t even respond to such…such…well, such “stuff”. I don’t put a heckuva lot of stock into these stories from our friends in Canada-land. But I’ll just remind people that this time last year there were reports coming from up north about how an announcement was going to be made sometime in March 2010 about the Thrashers moving to Winnipeg for the 2010-11 season,

Last I checked…the Thrashers are still playing their home games in Philips Arena.

As long as Atlanta remains below the Maxon-Dixon line, we are going to have to put up with this crap…so I just let it go in one ear and out the other.

World Be Free

December 6th, 2010
12:27 pm

Here we go, the moving chatter agin. Folks, please DO NOT waste your time with the idiots in the Canadian media. You might just catch what they are spewing.

Joe Friday

December 6th, 2010
12:31 pm

Great game the other night, what I caught of it. I loved seeing Slater jump right in and take care of that Cap and then the boys pot the quick goal. It’s so nice to finally have a real hockey club.

I don’t know about this chatter. I can discount the idle Canadian rag speculation, but didn’t Bill Daly just say something about Atlanta being in trouble? And we saw Waddell with the pathetic handwritten plea and he also said “we’re going to try to make it work here”. We know the ownership situation and that they’d love to sell. There’s a lot of smoke here, fellas.

Candace

December 6th, 2010
12:32 pm

Alan R,

Actually, I don’t read Chris’s blog, or the blog of anyone else who works directly for the left-wing AJC. Was you rudeness to others really necessary, Alan?

However, I do enjoy your insight on Blueland, Mr. Rawhide.

Thank you for your Thrashers coverage.

Alan R.

December 6th, 2010
12:36 pm

Oh, is this ever amusing.

Chris Vivlamore is the beat writer for the Thrashers. His blog is located here: http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-thrashers-blog/

Feel free to drop in sometime.

Meanwhile, when you live in a house made of glass, it’s wise to not throw stones. Especially when it’s cool and windy, like today.

jen

December 6th, 2010
12:37 pm

Why is it that when we have a little bit of success on the ice, we have to be distracted by all this relocation talk? Only made more punditable by Bill Daly’s efforts to pacify the Canadian market. (and also scarier that he made them in the first place, since he is a league spokesperson). ASG won’t commit in public to anything, except via DW mouthpiece and we all know how good his word is. Its this more than anything that hampers our ability to resign star players, regardless of how tied in the arena branding deal is and the prospect of empty dates at the Bulb. If you look at historical record, good hockey will draw fans in. I find it more shocking that the Hawks, in this market continue to have trouble drawing despite playoff appearances and winning records the last few years, especially considering the NBA demographic.

Hoping to see Toby and Kaner back on the ice tonight.Prospect of hockey without Toby is downright frightening. He’s such a stabilizing influence on the D

JT from Columbus

December 6th, 2010
12:41 pm

I, for one, have had it with this relocation rumor every single year! Either move the team or shut up!!
If the NHL lets the team move, then Gary Bettman would have one huge blackeye.

Paminski

December 6th, 2010
12:50 pm

Relocation? /ignore

Additional reason for the wins as of late? Ramsey is distracting the other teams with his dazzling ties.

Alan R.

December 6th, 2010
1:01 pm

Paminski – I thought it was the extra shine from his head ;)

EA

December 6th, 2010
1:07 pm

Our winning ways and rears in the seats are the best solution to putting the moving rumors to rest. Go Thrashers!

glovesave29

December 6th, 2010
1:23 pm

Metro Atlanta – population 5.5 million
Metro Quebec City – 750,000

Philips Arena – built 1999, capacity 18,545
Le Colisee – built 1949, capacity 15,176

Major Corporations based in Atlanta – Delta. Coke, Home Depot, UPS, Turner, Equifax, Holiday Inn, Georgia Pacific, SunTrust and Rubbermaid.

Major Corporations based in Quebec City – Quebecaire Express, Dupont Industries and Telops.

The Nordiques moved because a small city could not operate in the NHL back in 1995. Its only gotten more expensive since. Ticket sales may do well, but that is such a small part of the entire picture. A market of that size – even though they are passionate about their hockey – is best suited to the AHL.

Joe Friday

December 6th, 2010
1:27 pm

Over/under on attendance tonight? Not tickets distributed, but butts in the seats. I’d put it at 5,500 . . . what say you?

If this play continues, we’ll start to see 15k+ on weekends, but weeknights will continue to struggle due to the inane 7pm starts and the lousy location of the arena, but they’ll do better on weeknights in the 2nd half, mabye more like 10k on weeknights in the 2nd half.

Tony C.

December 6th, 2010
1:36 pm

Enstrom? anybody heard anything? ANybody goto practice?

Rawhide

December 6th, 2010
1:48 pm

Tony C. – My assumption is that he plays. He skated this morning and C-Viv reports that tonight’s scratches are Fredrik Modin, Tim Stapleton and defenseman Freddy Meyer.

DWTOO

December 6th, 2010
1:58 pm

Candace – Please take the political drivel somewhere else – Wingfield, Barr, Bookman, Tucker. We’re hockey fans on this blog and the only left-right thing we know is the wingers. And if you read this blog you’re still reading the AJC.

Alan R.

December 6th, 2010
2:11 pm

DWTOO – Amen to that! Go Thrashers!

Smoothie

December 6th, 2010
2:11 pm

In case y’all were wondering about Patrice, rehab (on-ice rehab that is)seems to be going well as he scored his first professional goal last nite in a 5 to 1 triumph over the Marrrrrrlies! Allez-vous Patrice!

Alan R.

December 6th, 2010
2:15 pm

Not tickets distributed, but butts in the seats. I’d put it at 5,500 . . . what say you?

Over. Nashville has a couple busloads of people coming, and there was a coupon in the sports section last week for tickets to this game.

I’ll put us at about 10k tonight.

Agree that the start times need to be changed to 7:30pm. That’ll solve the complaints about the arena location, too.

Smoothie

December 6th, 2010
2:19 pm

Anyone who lets themselves be panicked by relocation rumors, or worse yet, “sage” prognosticators of doom, it could be a lot worse, A LOT.

To wit, from Larry Brooks, the only reliable news source in the NY Post?

“Bettman always talks about the league’s commitment to its current markets except when he talks about the Islanders, and then he talks about the commitment to Wang. It’s troubling there is no sense of NHL commitment to Long Island, no sense of NHL commitment to the fan base Bettman himself was once a part of back in the glory days that have passed the franchise by.”

The league props up Phoenix, it’ll prop up Dallas and the league will stand behind franchises in Sunrise, Fla.; Tampa and Atlanta, but in this case the league seems to stand behind Wang and not the Islanders. Memo to Bettman: One should not be confused with the other.”

Just count your lucky stars you live in a place that is still growing and expanding its populace’s diversity. There are plenty more hockey fans here in ATL, we just need to lure them in or win them back.

Capt Ladd, Lt. Big Buff, Brigadier Genl Ramsay and Major Genl Dudley will see to it the latter half of that equation is executed. As for the former part, oh dear heavens…perhaps they’ll hire Alan (;-)) and get us on our merry way!!

Ray

December 6th, 2010
2:24 pm

I”ll be there tonight, but will likely be disappointed with a sparse crowd. A Monday game vs. Pittsburgh, Buffalo, or Detroit would equate to >10k, I’m not sure about Nashville, though. Though I’m a season tix holder, I’d still prefer ASG give away tickets to get butts in the seats rather than sit in an empty arena.

Alan R.

December 6th, 2010
2:26 pm

They ought to. I could use a better job, and the Thrashers could actually use someone who gives a damn about the team to market ‘em. It’s win-win!

Smoothie

December 6th, 2010
2:28 pm

Oh yeah, Larry Brooks also took this little shot at you know who!!

“Can we just make it perfectly clear that despite all the excuses in the world being there for Ilya Kovalchuk within the Devils’ suddenly dysfunctional operation, there is no excuse in the world for his performance thus far, none whatsoever?”

Smoothie

December 6th, 2010
2:32 pm

Amen brotha! As long as your first hire is “this guy” (points at self in gratuitous, goofy fashion)!!

Cliff Fletcher

December 6th, 2010
2:34 pm

I gave up listening to most of the national sports media outlets a long time ago. They are looking to sell advertising space folks and they will do anything to get you to listen and/or buy their publications. That’s not just abut hockey folks, it is about ever sport, business, national or international news story.

Joe Friday

December 6th, 2010
2:34 pm

Smoothie, unfortunately Larry Brooks is the American equivalent of Bruce Garrioch. If he says something, you can pretty much bet on the opposite being the actual case.

Hoof Arted

December 6th, 2010
2:37 pm

Looking for another great effort tonight as the Thrashers pound the Preds 5-2. I know it’s the first game back from a road trip and it’s almost a Thrashers tradition to do poorly, but I think they come out of the locker room jumping and put some Nashville players into the boards.

Establish a strong physical presence early guys, then do your thing.

Oh yeah, and the Thrashers are going nowhere but Playoff City. So take those bogus stories and hit the road.

Alan R.

December 6th, 2010
2:41 pm

No worries, Smoothie! You can be my right hand man! Together, we will make the Thrashers a household name in not just this city, but this state and adjacent states! A baby born to a migrant couple in the middle of Jackson, MS will utter his first words: Atlanta Thrashers.

Glorious days ahead!

kracker

December 6th, 2010
2:46 pm

Instead of y’all wasting your time complainig about the empty seats in Philips, get on ticket master, buy a ticket or two and get down there and support the team! Or call Karin as Rawhide suggests, I bet he doesn’t even get a kickback. So stop making excuses why you supposedly can’t go. I’m ready for a frosty 40 ouncer!

Just do it! Does Nike make ice skates?

Rawhide

December 6th, 2010
2:51 pm

Just do it! Does Nike make ice skates?

kracker – Yes they do.

And as for “kickbacks” no I don’t get anything…monitary or otherwise…for these little events and announcements. I buy my own tickets to our little outings for myself and the family.

But if I am entitle to anything…then somebody owes me BIG!!! :lol:

kracker

December 6th, 2010
2:53 pm

Ray: “Though I’m a season tix holder, I’d still prefer ASG give away tickets to get butts in the seats rather than sit in an empty arena.”

Me, too and I agree, Ray.

kracker

December 6th, 2010
2:59 pm

Hoof: “I know it’s the first game back from a road trip and it’s almost a Thrashers tradition to do poorly, but I think they come out of the locker room jumping and put some Nashville players into the boards…”

Nashville always plays us hard. Let us hope this new Ramsay-directed Ladd-led group breaks w/ tradition and matches or betters the Preds effort.

kracker

December 6th, 2010
3:01 pm

Rawhide, if I see you with an empty hand in the food court, I’ll fill it with a brew of your choice.

glovesave29

December 6th, 2010
3:33 pm

C’mon y’all – we got a newbie. No sense in attacking if she doesn’t know the protocol here yet.
The first time I jumped on Brian jumped down my throat for something dumb (that was his MO) – let’s cut some slack and give her the benefit of the doubt. If she ends up being a POI ala Sage or Stendec, I’ll lead the charge.

Go Thrashers.

Sara – AWESOME link on FB. Sa-WEEET move!

Smoothie

December 6th, 2010
3:43 pm

This game tonite will not be easy. I fully expect Nashville’s forwards to aggressively attack out D-men at the point and try to disrupt our offense, especially Big Buff. It is imperative that our forwards are willing to pay a price down low to win battles in the corners and along the boards to create chances. It’s a good thing Kane is back and our lines are intact again for total effectiveness. Assuming we aren’t sluggish and come out with lots of “jam”, I see us winning 3 to 2 or 4 to 2 with an EN. :-)

Alan – love it. Blueland Babies from here to the Mississip!! :cool:

Red Light

December 6th, 2010
3:50 pm

Tonight is a very difficult night for the Thrashers for several reasons, IMO.

1) Thrashers are coming off two games against “top-flight” Eastern Conference squads, and a “big” win over Washington

2) There is no anger, animosity or much history between the two teams, except for those former Blackhawks who played against the Preds 12 times last season in the reg. season and playoffs, and that might serve as ammunition on the other side?

3) As several have pointed out, it’s a Monday night game and the crowd likely will be “light”. Historically, Monday night has never been a hockey night in Atlanta (I know, what weeknight has?), and Atlanta had just 4 home games on non-holiday Mondays since 2007-08 season. Average distribution: 12,600.

4) When Nashville is riding a three-game win streak, and attempting to extend it to four, they are 18-10-5 since the beginning of the 2005-06 season, although just 5-9-5 in the last 19 situations. I guess that means: expect a battle from them tonight.

Cornbread

December 6th, 2010
3:55 pm

Kracker and Rawhide, Nike used to make hockey skates, very good ones even. They purchased Bauer years back but divested themselves from that venture over a year ago. The Nike name and American company was not taken to kindly by are Canadian friends infringing upon the Canadian Bauer brand even though they were separate at the beginning. When the Nike hockey brand was not moving as well as liked they merged the two names Nike Bauer. This is the first year that you now see only Bauer on hockey equipment. Nike brought a ton of know-how to equipment development which can be seen in the gorgeous Bauer One90 skates And, $800 expensive.

Funny that our Canadian friends have not been as dismissive about European owned Reebok purchasing CCM, Koho, Heaton, and Jofa.

Rawhide

December 6th, 2010
4:08 pm

Cornbread – Very interesting. I knew the two had joined forces, but didn’t know the rest of the story until now. Thanks.

My youngest son’s first skates were Nike…they both now skate with CCM.

Cave Dweller

December 6th, 2010
4:15 pm

When did the Flames leave town?

Flames

December 6th, 2010
4:34 pm

Cave- The Flames were here from 1972-1980. They went to Calgary for the start of the 1980-1981 season.

Matt

December 6th, 2010
4:37 pm

Say…what ever happened to “Sheeple Boy”?? It’s been awfully, awfully quiet from the “nattering nabob of negativism” on this site for several weeks. It’s a beautiful thing when the trolls have got to eat crow isn’t it?

As for tonight, I agree that this is a potential trap game. I hope to see the same energy and solid hockey that we’ve seen on the road trip.

glovesave29

December 6th, 2010
4:49 pm

Cornbread – never was a fan of the Nike skate. They have the same “one size fits all” mentality that permeates their shoe line. The boot is too thin, not enough instep support and the heel sits way too high. I’ll gladly keep nursing every last second out of my 6 year old Bauer Supreme 2000’s.

glovesave29

December 6th, 2010
4:52 pm

Not sure why there seems to be so much derision over the Preds…a team that had 47 wins and 100 points last year.

ThrasherTim

December 6th, 2010
4:53 pm

Matt – You stole my thunder. It’s so pleasant on the blog without the antagonism for such a Debbie Downer (caught that SNL skit a couple weeks back and my wife and I were rolling…but I digress). I guess it’s simply too hard to come up with original material versus just executing the copy/paste function over and over.

Dwayne – I 2nd the notion of VH’s “Black and Blue”. Reminds me of some great times back in the day…

Great news to see Kane and Enstrom back in the lineup. And while I agree that the Preds will be a difficult game, they all are. Even the Islanders almost stole one yesterday from the Flyers….the Oilers have won 4 in a row.

Also, I think we need to recognize that Rich Peverly might just be the most improved player on the ice over the last 10 games (excluding Pavlec). I don’t know what the pep talk from the staff was, but message received. I don’t remember Rich battling so hard in the corners earlier in the year and it’s direcly translated into production on the score sheet too. He’s Peverly-where again during this run. Great to see.