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

Matt

December 6th, 2010
5:01 pm

You know, as much as I despised the Waddell regime, he’s got to be given major props for picking up the Pevs-Dispenser from Nashville. That might qualify as the greatest waiver wire pickup EVER.

Sam

December 6th, 2010
6:05 pm

Team is doing great but still people at the arena would have dedicated seat for both hands. So looking forward to people to realize that they have now winning bandwagon to jump in.

BlueSpark

December 6th, 2010
6:17 pm

Peverly hat trick tonight!!1

Paminski

December 6th, 2010
6:19 pm

I got my tickets for 204 on Friday!

BlueSpark

December 6th, 2010
6:29 pm

Man I wish I could go Friday, but I’m having my sack operated upon.

TMI?

Cornbread

December 6th, 2010
6:57 pm

Glovesave, that’s why I like Nike, they fit my foot. I’ve always been a Bauer fan. I had a pair of CCM Mustangs once when I was a kid. I had a pair of Bauer 2000 when I first started skating again about 13 years ago. A good traditional skate but they broke-down on me after a couple of years. I bought a pair of the top of the line Nike Quest 1 when they came out. No break-in required and probably the best skate I’ve owned. I’ve been skating in a Bauer Supreme 8090 for the pas 2 1/2 years which I got from an NHLer who will remain nameless. It was the last of the “traditional” skates from Bauer. It’s a very good skate but I’ve been threatening to go back to the modern “One” skates from Bauer since I’ve been in them. I tried on the One90 a couple of years ago which is way too much skate unless you skate every day. I couldn’t even flex it forward. (This years top skates are the TotalOne and One100.) The One80 – next step down – Is probably plenty for a twice a week beer leaguer like myself. Still a pretty narrow boot though. The Vapor line offers that more traditional and roomier fit.

I like the concept of Mario’s MLX skates, the skate Big Buff is in. They are more custom fit almost like high performance ski boots. Also, they are pretty free flexing back a forth without a lot of lateral movement. Interesting that Mario also used to skate in Nike Quests.

Time to lace ‘em up and watch the pros do it in their $700-$800 skates. Let’s go Thrashers!

lola

December 6th, 2010
7:37 pm

Ticket for Friday just arrived! Woo-Hoo! And my T-shirt! THANKS BlogMaster & Karin!

Smitty

December 6th, 2010
8:14 pm

I hate to sound old but $700-$800 for a pair of skates is crazy. How much does a stick cost? You have got to be kidding me. Anyway GO Thrash!!!!

Dandylions

December 6th, 2010
9:40 pm

Zach planned that flip – too funny – love this team.

Matt

December 6th, 2010
9:51 pm

Excellent come from behind win tonight. Nice to Slater putting it in again and Bogo as well.

Joe Friday

December 6th, 2010
9:51 pm

Pavs is playing awfully Hasek like, uncoventional and the glove is getting everything. Even pulled the Hasek snow angel out tonight. He is en fuego. Bogosian was having another awful night, so good to see him pull the game winner out. How was the crowd? Looked halfway decent?

iamtheratio

December 6th, 2010
9:54 pm

I scared everyone tonight during Trivia at my local Mexican restaurant when I yelled “YES!” and threw both hands in the air when we tied the game in the 3rd. LOVE IT. AND Yes, I got them to turn off the Jets/Patriots game for Hockey. The customer is always right. :D :D

SomaAtl95

December 6th, 2010
9:55 pm

The old Thrashers would have NEVER seen the puck in the Neutral Zone, much less won the game from paying attention and striking at the perfect time. Great come from behind victory! A team with “Hockey IQ”. Nice to see, isn’t it fellow Thrasher fans?

goose

December 6th, 2010
9:57 pm

Matt- The Pevs pick up was Anderson not Wadell. Anderson had just finished coaching the wolves against Pev’s team in the AHL Calder Cup Finals.

Nate

December 6th, 2010
9:57 pm

http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/news/story?id=5893012

Ugh. I loathe Scott Burnside. He was a giant bag of douche when he wrote for this local establishment and nothing has changed since he went national.

glovesave29

December 6th, 2010
10:10 pm

Smitty – my goal sticks alone are $135

SomaAtl95

December 6th, 2010
10:14 pm

Its cool Nate – I posted this last season. Completely false but I figured if rumors were going to fly… why the heck not?
http://makeitfour.blogspot.com/2010/03/maple-leafs-are-moving.html

Nate

December 6th, 2010
10:28 pm

Soma – Nice. I needed that. The article pi$$ed me off so much I had to post a comment on ESPN about it. Fans will show up after football season ends. Maybe as early as this Friday. I know I’ll be there.

SomaAtl95

December 6th, 2010
10:44 pm

Pierre “Frenchy” LeGrenouille = Pierre “Frenchy” The Frog. Slight dig @ Habs fans. Those fellas up north have no problem listing why they deserve more by taking from us. They took the Flames, maybe they can poach the Islanders or move their “less than stellar” teams to new cities and stop trying to screw us for a second time. With the winning comes the fans – they never paid attention that with the previous GM and his history of miserable decisions the fans never came because the winning never happened. Now that we finally have a product that can produce wins when needed we could go deep for a playoff run. Anyone who saw the Braves when they were AWFUL were no doubt amazed at how fast the city embraced them and their winning ways. If there are no fans after a few SUCCESSFUL seasons then I’m all for understanding why the team needs to go… but not now as the city finally gets to see some great team hockey for the first time in over 30 years! I have a feeling that the ASG may like playoff profits after a couple of seasons and all this “Move the team” crap will finally end…. until they suck again – which will hopefully be a long ways away. Nobody thinks bad football, baseball or basketball comes out of Atlanta anymore – and I’m proud to say that a lot of people are starting to say the same thing about our Thrashers! Finally!
GO THRASHERS!

R. Stroz

December 6th, 2010
10:51 pm

Joe Bob Friday – I had been ripping Bogosian all night for his indecisive play, when badda-bing, badda boom, he puts the biscuit in the net.

I was happy for the young man, but he still needs serious help “reading the game.”

The crowd was small and quiet until the third period.

The best news of the night, other than the win, the Bennings were in attendance for the first time in awhile.

Alan R.

December 6th, 2010
11:36 pm

The best news of the night, other than the win, the Bennings were in attendance for the first time in awhile.

I’m happy to hear thisI

Hanson Brothers

December 6th, 2010
11:59 pm

Is it just me or does anyone else think Ramsey called that timeout with a few minutes left to tell his team to play defensive hockey and get to overtime. Nashville had been taking it to us for several minutes and it was inevitable they would score if things stayed that way. With about six minutes left I was just hoping to get to OT where I think this team has a great advantage over most teams with our speed on all that open ice. Was glad to see Nashville cooperate that last 90 seconds and agree to the cross conference OT point. Great win.

Brendan

December 7th, 2010
12:32 am

What’s our team’s overtime record? It’s got to be fairly decent.

Michael "the abbreviation"

December 7th, 2010
1:01 am

Nice win tonight! Good job Bogo, even though you played like horse crap, you were the hero in the end..hope you turn things around in the end.. Oh and haha I loved his post gamer with Kincaide, hahaha ofcourse he asks him about the crowd.. Bogo says, “The ones who were here, were great .. you know, the more fans that come out, the better” His comments were fine, I doubt they were wholehearted but it was the right way to approach the question, my props go out to him and overall, HE IS RIGHT.. That crowd looked like the biggest joke ever, I mean come on guys (myself included) need to start going to these games to support them and stop typing on our computers! We need to get our lazy azzes down to phillips and quit with the excuses.. If we can get half the bloggers to go a few times (2-3, myself included) times a month than we will certainly look bigger and sound louder to the players and everyone watching on t.v… In this situation, it is the size that counts.

JLH

December 7th, 2010
1:05 am

Stroz – same here with Bogosian…… He is the hero tonight, but he is a major liability on the ice … I’ve been saying for 2 seasons that he doesn’t have the smarts to get a whole lot better … And remember, Ramsay’s priority/commitment when he came here was to have the “smartest team on the ice”

litz

December 7th, 2010
1:11 am

“The best news of the night, other than the win, the Bennings were in attendance for the first time in awhile.”

This is excellent news!

Michael "the abbreviation"

December 7th, 2010
1:15 am

whos the bennings

Cornbread

December 7th, 2010
2:17 am

The new Reebok 11K that Sidney Crosby uses lists for $290 but can be had for $210. It’s high tech equipment and one of the reasons why these guys are so good. Just like golf clubs it may help us play a little better but it ain’t going to turn us into Tiger Woods or Sid.

To dress yourself from head to toe like today’s pros could cost you $1,500 in equipment and more. Goalies? Don’t even think about it. The top of the line sticks and skates are great but only pros and high level amateurs need them. Most competitive beer leaguers and serious midget level players are fine with a step or two below. Beginners and rec leaguers can get by with most entry level equipment or a step above. Decent $150-$200 skates are a must and a minimum for anyone who is going to play the game.

Great win by the Thrashers tonight in their top of the line gear. It paid off. I’d love to get a shopping spree in their equipment room. The greatest hockey pro shop in the world! Which brings me to something you don’t see much of anymore, the old face wash. Why? Because these guys use new and fresh gloves all the time. The stench is gone.

HookyBob

December 7th, 2010
7:15 am

I thought I’d do a bit of scouting last night and got tickets in section 204 (where Mr Tiller’s Friday night group will be). We were in the middle of row C. I’m sure those of you in attendence last night noted a section of loud, cheering Preds fans. That would be section 204. We had them to our left, right and all behind us. Great fans. Almost feel bad they had such a long ride home,…well not almost. I do wish Nashville was in our division though.

After the 2nd Preds goal I was asking myself if we were in for a “clunker” tonight. Silly me. Great job “Boys in blue.”

Bring on the Aves.

DWTOO

December 7th, 2010
7:26 am

Brendan – As heard on the post game show per John K – four OT wins and one shootout win. And of course the three losses.

Was happy for Bogey (as he likes to be called again per the post game show)he pretty much had a bruttal bad game. He was beat on the first goal. He needed the game winner as a bit or redemption. Maybe he heard the encouragement from the bullhorn in Section 222. We were in the club seats last night taking advantage of a partial STH promo and heard those kind words directed at Zach several times.

If you get into the club seats be sure to have the steak sandwhich at Chops.

C/B – picked up a good pair of skates online in the bargain bin. They were a prior year model. Good ankle support, which I promptly parlayed into a stress facture rigth above the ankle.

Cliff Fletcher

December 7th, 2010
7:53 am

People better start showing up for these games.

R. Stroz

December 7th, 2010
8:15 am

DWTOO – Yes, those were kind words compared to what I was actually thinking.

Although, Mrs. R. Stroz told me to stop calling him “Big Dummy.”

Flagstaff

December 7th, 2010
8:38 am

Brendan: they’re 5-3 now in OT.

Alan R.

December 7th, 2010
9:16 am

I’m sure those of you in attendence last night noted a section of loud, cheering Preds fans.

I heard them on TV.

BlueSpark

December 7th, 2010
9:19 am

Here are some interesting numbers on attendance AND television ratings:

http://cdn3.sbnation.com/imported_assets/435996/combined_ratings___attendance.png

Things to note: while our attendance was down 7% from 08-09 to 09-10, ratings were up 43.5%. That’s still a paltry 7820 households tuning in, but shows a good increase. Hopefully this year ratings trend continues and the attendance trend reverses, which could maybe happen if they make a playoff push.

BlueSpark

December 7th, 2010
9:20 am

Rawhide

December 7th, 2010
10:06 am

G’Morning gang…the Thrashers are playing the kind of hockey these days that have us expecting good things to happen.

Midfield

December 7th, 2010
10:16 am

In all honesty, Preds outworked Atlanta. Everybody should be taking Pavs out to a lavish meal for saving the game. I like Ramsey’s blantness too.

Ray

December 7th, 2010
11:05 am

I don’t think they outworked Atlanta. The first period they did, but Atlanta outplayed them the rest of the game. Nashville’s a good team.

Zombie Steve

December 7th, 2010
11:09 am

I use Bauer stuff – love the One90 gloves.

Just an fyi to all you guys that play(or have kids that play): a good friend and teammate of mine is about to open a brand new hockey shop across from the Duluth Ice Forum called Inside Edge Hockey. He’s going to have a lot of great deals for last min. X-mas shoppers. Drop in and say Hi if you’re in the area!

Brendan

December 7th, 2010
12:28 pm

Thanks! 5-3 in OT, I’ll take it!

Zombie Steve

December 7th, 2010
1:45 pm

Bluespark – that ratings data is great news; it’s a start!

Ownership had better realize that most fans won’t come back until a playoff birth. Thankfully, this is looking like it’s in reach this year.

R. Stroz

December 10th, 2010
3:40 pm

Rawhide

December 12th, 2010
8:13 am

R. Stroz – Nope