As Atlanta freezes the Thrashers remain hot

OK, whoever left the door open up there in Canada…would you please mind shutting it? And while you’re at it, how about a new round of weather-stripping around the border, eh?

Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr……

Temperatures here in Atlanta area dropped into the single digits last night and early this morning with the wind chill factored in. The thermometer reported the frosty conditions as snow flurries flew about throughout Sunday afternoon and evening.

Last night it was so cold…how cold was it?… it was so cold, I actually considered letting the cats come back inside.

Almost.

But this is nothing compared to what’s going on up in the Upper midwest…I mean, did you see what happened to the Metrodome in Minn-EEE-So-TAH? Yikes.

Anyway, while we were bundled up in front of a cracking fireplaces, struggling for throw-blanket supremacy with our significant-others on the couch while watching TV last night, there was something going on in Manhattan that effects the residence of Thrasherville. The Rangers basically kicked the Washington Capitals square in their icicles, beating them 7-0. The loss extends the Caps losing streak to 6 and it keeps them only four points in front of the Thrashers.

What this means is that our Thrashers have the opportunity to climb back to within a pair of points of the Southeast Division leaders if they can effort out a win in Ottawa tonight. That’s big news, especially seeing that the Thrashers would have a game in hand with the Caps. It would also mean they would catapult over Boston and Tampa Bay in the standings, both of whom are idle tonight, and it would tie them with the Rangers at 37 points.

If I’m not mistaken, the last time this team found themselves within sniffing distance of the top spot in the division this far into a season was back in the winter of ’08 after 10-round shootout victory in New Jersey. They then went on to drop a steaming pile of fail against the Islanders the next night and…well, that’s old history now.

Atlanta’s 16-11-3 record is exactly the same as it was last December. But unlike that version of the Thrashers, this one is ascending in the standings. This time last year, they were dropping as fast as the mercury in our back porch thermometers over the weekend. Then, they were in the midst of a winter freeze that saw them play to an 8-14-5 record between Thanksgiving and late January, including a nine-game losing streak. Between the beginning of December and January 12 of last year, they went 20 consecutive games without mustering a single regulation win.

But now, these Thrashers join their neighbors in the Dome as just about the hottest thing in Atlanta. The Thrashers have won three of the last four and nine of the last eleven.

As for some cold hard stats…

Ondrej Pavelec, who should be back between the pipes tonight, is now 9-6-2 with a 1.79 GAA and .944 SV%. In is career versus the Senators, he’s 3-3-1 with a 2.35 GAA and .929 SV%. The last time he started a game in Ottawa, he kicked out 50 of 51 shots as the Thrashers won 3-1 back on Halloween of 2009. Last month he come on in relief of Chris Mason in the 5-2 loss in Ottawa and saved 10 of 11.

Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Ladd continue to lead the Thrashers in goals scored, both have 10. Buff has 20 assists to go with it while Ladd has 19.

Bryan Little has taken over as the team’s +/- leader as he is now +8. Brent Sopel is close behind with a +7 while Eric Boulton and Ben Eager are each a +6 for the season.

Since November 19, Anthony Stewart is a +5 and has contributed with 3 goals and 2 assists during in that time frame which spans 11 games.

The engine that runs the team’s offense hasn’t been affected at all by the colder weather. After potting five against the Islanders Saturday night, the Thrashers now have a goals per game average of 3.09, the seventh best in the NHL just behind Tampa Bay’s 3.10. The 1035 total shots taken on opposing goalies is the second most in the league, behind Anaheim’s 1135. The Ducks have played three more games than have the Thrashers, though.

Going oh-fer five on the power play, though, on Long Island has dropped them to fourth in the NHL in that statistical column. They are still converting 23.1% of their man-advantages though.

188 comments Add your comment

Red Light

December 13th, 2010
2:36 pm

Goalie isn’t the problem in DC, the defensive system or lack thereof is!

Joe Friday

December 13th, 2010
2:36 pm

“Nabokov- How convenient. For the Caps, maybe?”

Tampa. Their goaltending is horrendous and after Ellis pulled another debacle getting burned in the shootout and then throwing a hissy fit, he may be on his way out of there . . . let’s hope not though, we need them weak in goal.

Red Light

December 13th, 2010
2:38 pm

BTW: Brooks of NY Post says he believes that Nabby would have to clear waivers first. We’ll see.

Smoothie

December 13th, 2010
2:41 pm

Comparison of Eager and Antropov:

Eager (29 gms) – on ice for 9 GA, on ice for 15 GF (+6); 8 pts all ES
Antro (29 gms) – on ice for 21 GA, on ice for 11 GF (-10); only 7 ES pts

Unless Eager is jumping off the ice early to avoid goals that are about to be scored on his line, I fail to see how sitting Eager over Antro right now makes much sense. Antropov had a brief stretch where things were clicking with Burmy, but it seemed like Eager was essential to their success thru his hustle and ability to bang bodies so Nik doesn’t have to. I realize Eager has had some bad TO, but so has Antro, especially of late, both of which directly led to goals against NYI.

Joe McGrath

December 13th, 2010
2:55 pm

Eager and Bergfors for Richards also opens up a spot for Cormier, who IS Dud’s project boy and who WILL be up soon. A 2-for-1 puts one player on the out and methinks they’ll only use Modin when absolutley needed. Do I want to see it happen? Not really because I like Eager’s effort a lot and when Bergfors shows up, he’s dangerous (I think I predicted 30+ G from Bergfors this year and I still stand by that). But Richards has good pedigree as cup winner and Smyth winner for TB in 03. He’s a playmaking center we haven’t seen since Savard. He did play for Duds in TB, right? And Duds likes his homies, right?

Russian

December 13th, 2010
2:59 pm

**Joe McGrath**
“Richards has good pedigree as cup winner and Smyth winner for TB in 03. He’s a playmaking center we haven’t seen since Savard.”
Just only few PROBLEMS:
1. He cost $7.8 mil
2. He will be UFA after this season.

Stuck in NJ

December 13th, 2010
3:03 pm

Depends on when we get Richards how much he’ll cost of course.. But aren’t Comier and Richards both centers? I’m working from my memory which has been known to be shoddy. If they are both centers then I can’t see how bringing Richards would help Comier.

Spud Webb

December 13th, 2010
3:15 pm

Me and the lady are going down for Saturdays game. Gonna scalp some. I’ll shoot for right by the jersey tunnel, I love raising some heck and kovy will not be spared for sure. THe girl is hopeful we don’t get those tickets! I’m ready & JACKED.
Not sure where everyone meets now, but we will be next to gorins.

Russian

December 13th, 2010
3:15 pm

**Stuck in NJ**
It is good point. Cornier is center. Paverly is center also.

Spud Webb

December 13th, 2010
3:20 pm

Dude if he has to clear waivers RL, we should block Tampa if possible, claim him and just tell him to stay away w pay. Fine by me.

DWTOO

December 13th, 2010
3:21 pm

While on the subject of cats we have a cat that essentially resides in the great outdoors. Only comes in to eat and annoy the dogs. Problem is he can’t grasp the concept of it being warm in the house and cold outside. He’ll go to the door and whine to go out, once outside he realizes how cold it is and wants to come in. Ok – let him inside and five minutes later he’s at the door again.

Joe Friday

December 13th, 2010
3:23 pm

Eager and Bergfors as trade bait makes sense. Cormier replaces Eager and Bergfors’ contract is perfect to trade to a cap handicapped club. NJ is obviously in trouble and Sweet Lou isn’t afraid to shake things up and we know he liked Bergfors, who could we get back from NJ? Eager saying coaches haven’t talked to him about his play throws more fuel on that speculation.

World Be Free

December 13th, 2010
3:24 pm

Nabakov is the wildcard that could spell bad news for the Thrashers. Though I am not a huge fan of Nabakov, he would be an improvement for Washington and Tampa; Ellis has been bad so far, Smith not much better in TB. Both Tampa and Washington still have issues with their defensive corps as units.

glovesave29

December 13th, 2010
3:27 pm

Nabby has a reputation which precedes him…that he not exactly a “team” guy. It’s all about him. Not sure too many teams will take a chance on him (unless DIRT cheap) and risk losing the locker room.

Stuck in NJ

December 13th, 2010
3:35 pm

Who would we **want** from the Devils in exchange? Obviously Parise would be great, but I doubt it would happen. Don’t get confused by the handle, I don’t know much about the Devils

Red Light

December 13th, 2010
3:39 pm

Any one care to comment on how this St. Louis team has been able to stay afloat with this lineup and the injuries they’ve had?

Goaltenders:  
• Jaroslav Halak
• Ty Conklin

Defense Pairings:  
• Eric Brewer and Ian Cole
• Barret Jackman and Alex Pietrangelo
• Carlo Colaiacovo and Erik Johnson

Lines:
• LW Vladimir Sobotka, C David Backes, RW Brad Boyes
• LW Brad Winchester, C Patrik Berglund, RW B.J. Crombeen
• LW Alex Steen, C Jay McClement, RW Matt D’Agostini
• LW Stefan Della Rovere, C Dave Scatchard, RW Cam Janssen

IR: Oshie, McDonald, Perron and Polak

Of note, is that they’re 7-1-1 vs. the East and 7-8-4 vs the West.

Tom

December 13th, 2010
3:42 pm

There is one more factor in the equation, the Thrashers are below the salary cap line. The league may have given them a waiver till Christmas and told them to pick up a salary then. The signing of Richards would fit that bill and create a great teacher for Comier for the rest of the season. We get him up to speed and next year we will be very strong up the middle with character players.

And it would send a message to the locker room. Bergfors has never been happy coming to ATL and he may be poison in the locker room for all we know.

World Be Free

December 13th, 2010
3:51 pm

Glovesave-alotta “non-team” guys in Washington right now-part of their problem. The captain is not a leader.

Red Light

December 13th, 2010
3:59 pm

Brad Richards can’t still be on the block with Dallas 3rd overall can he?
34 points in 29 games and he’s +8. They, too, have plenty of cap space and he’s a UFA this summer.

The closest thing Wash has to a leader is probably Knuble at this point, but for all their difficulties, they’re still second overall in the conference. That’s not a good sign for when they start clicking.

Modin Over/Under Watch
Per Brendan: 56 games/14 goals
Currently: 16 games/4 goals

A fight to the finish?

Cornbread

December 13th, 2010
4:06 pm

St. Louis = Davis Payne.

Joe Friday

December 13th, 2010
4:08 pm

“Any one care to comment on how this St. Louis team has been able to stay afloat with this lineup and the injuries they’ve had?”

Steroids. Or Viagra. Gotta be steroids and Viagra.

kracker

December 13th, 2010
4:12 pm

If Nabokov can’t put up better #s than he did in the inferior KHL (and for $6 million per w/ no tax) why would he improve back in the NHL? Are y’all thinking he found it too cold there so he just didn’t try? I think it is more likely he is playing to his age. He’s 35+, sometimes it goes fast. Or did he get injured, perhaps? However, it will suit me just fine if TBL burns up a few million of their cap for a few years. Pav already looks to be better (knoc wood).

World Be Free

December 13th, 2010
4:52 pm

Interesting-Viv has noted that Burmie has one fight and 235# Stewart has zero, zilch, na-da not one situation where he has dropped the gloves. Yet the 150# soaking wet 18 year-old kid already has about this year.

Ok-he doesn’t have to fight, how about throwing a decisive body check on somebody, anybody!

Smoothie

December 13th, 2010
4:53 pm

If a trade is brewin’ befor the holiday roster freeze, the only thing that makes any sense would be Blake Wheeler in Boston who is seriously underperforming in Beantown. But he’s Rammer’s and Dud’s kind of player. Fast, big, physical(?) with the potential to blossom (think Anthony Stewart but better!). The B’s have barely a few hundred thousand to spare under their cap with Savard in the line-up. By trading Wheeler’s $2.2 M salary for Bergie ($900k) and Eager ($965k) combined, they save another couple hundred thou. Actually with the pro-rated number of days that Savard has been out, it might be well over a $550k cushion needed for injury call-ups. I could see us throwing in a D-man prospect if we could pry a 1st rounder away from them cuz don’t they have theirs AND Toronto’s #1 pick (Kessel deal)?

I don’t expect a trade to go down this week, but if it were to happen, my money would be on Boston and Wheeler. Just think about it, makes sense especially if Cormier is ready to play.

Ladd – Pevs – Antro

Kane – Lits – Wheeler

Burmy – Corms – Stewie (Corms plays C to keep Burmy from wearing down)

Greek gods + Modin

I hate it for Bergfors, but he really doesn’t fit the system as a winger. It’s okay to be a little more finesse if you play the pivot, but Bergie refuses to use his body at all despite having good, quick hands along the boards.

kracker

December 13th, 2010
5:17 pm

Wheeler, yes – if he will play here. And I’m guessing that he would play for Rammer, Torch and Duds. I figure Dudley would know that. I only mention it because Wheeler re-entered the amateur draft rather than play for the Yotes.

When does the holiday roster freeze begin and end?

goose

December 13th, 2010
5:20 pm

If we were to trade for Richards I would have to think it would look more like Peverly and Bergfors for Richards and I’m pretty sure Dud’s wouldn’t do that unless Richards was going sign an extension here

kracker

December 13th, 2010
5:21 pm

I should have said if Wheeler will play hard here. He is older now and under contract, though only for this season.

Tom Lysiak

December 13th, 2010
5:24 pm

kracker – I believe it is Dec 19-27.

Red Light

December 13th, 2010
5:27 pm

Smoothie:

Are you at the Ouija Board again?

Wheeler is the classic underachiever. One multiple-point game this year; seven multiple-point games last year; and 11 in 2008-09. Has scored 2 goals or more in just three of his 191 NHL games. That’s the same total as Bergfors has in 75 fewer games and Bergey has seven game winning goals in his career, while Wheeler has six.

I can’t see how Wheeler is Ramsay’s kind of player. He doesn’t shoot often enough, he had fewer hits than 42-year-old Recchi. I also prefer to get a guy with a contract for next season without having to negotiate one. So, while agree it might be time to cut bait on Bergfors, I’ll pass on Wheeler. IMO, he’s the type of guy who will come here, go on a tear for two weeks and never to be heard from again.

kracker

December 13th, 2010
5:52 pm

Referring to Red Light’s comments, I figure Dudley/Rammer would know if Wheeler would fare well on a Ramsay-led team, which is to say, fit in and play hard. One could say the same about acquiring Bergfors but moving Kovalchuk at the TD was a different kind of deal and a deal done under the pressure of moving your superstar for what looks at the time to be a pretty good return.

We are kicking around trade ideas because Bergy has been set down a couple of times after somewhat holding out this summer before signing an RFA contract that many (and me) thought was less than he was worth. Plus, the coach made comments regarding Bergfors play, along w/ comments about some other players. This may all be, as stated, simply an effort by the coaches to reinforce the ‘play hard or you don’t play’ message. It’s just that when two players are held out for multiple games for reasons that are not obviously justified…well bloggers start thinking lol

Spud Webb

December 13th, 2010
6:03 pm

I want Carcillo from Philly, ahahahah, could be had for nothign or not much. I love that punk.

AtlFlamesFan

December 13th, 2010
6:22 pm

I am not ready to give up on Bergie. Yeah, he held out, and might have pouted, but did you see his reaction after his goal against the Avs? He genuinly looked excited; not the reaction of someone who (still) has a bad attitude.

Smitty

December 13th, 2010
6:31 pm

I was listening to Hockey Central from Toronto this afternoon on Sirius. They were talking about how every game from here on in is like a playoff game. If a team loses a game and a conference team or two wins, the losing team could drop up to two or three places in the standing. All the more reason why you cannot take a game off. Doug Maclean thought the only other league that compared to that type of season long pressure was the SEC in football. Thought that was a pretty good analogy.

Brendan

December 13th, 2010
6:38 pm

I’m inclined to agree with Red Light. TB’s achilles heel is goaltending. If the price is right, he could wind up on the Gulf Coast of Florida.

Brendan

December 13th, 2010
7:01 pm

Before the Penguins went on their tear, they were headed to the lottery draft. Performance prior to New Year’s Day counts, but perhaps not as much as one might think. You all know the cliche about points in October and November. But the truth I know and believe says, “After New Year’s Day, the best teams just take over.” One year, I think it was 2006, the NJ Devils were 17-points out of 1st place in the Atlantic. In the final hours of the season, they won their division. I repeat, “17-pts out of 1st on New Year’s Day.” Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay, in the years they won the Cup, were like 13th in the Conference at Christmas time. What’s the point? Well, the point is that the Bolts and Penguins had good teams that were underachieving. If you’re a bad team, there’s just no way to hide that, down the stretch. If you’re a bad team, you just hope the points you potentially banked in October, November, and December are enough to keep you in the hunt in March and April, and possibly to an 8th place finish. But if you’re a good team, and the Devils players think they are, well … good teams put the previous 90-days behind them and start winning on a pretty advanced clip. It’ll be interesting to see how all 30 teams do in January, one of the most pivotal months of the season. A good January sets up the trade deadline moves. And sometimes, though not all the time, a team can really alter its contendership by finding the right pieces. I remember back in 2006, Edmonton’s goaltending was really struggling. At the deadline, they picked up Dwayne Roloson, then creeped into the playoffs at # 8, then upset # 1 Detroit, # 5 San Jose, and #6 Anaheim, en route to the Stanley Cup Finals, where they were bested by Carolina, by two goals, in Game Seven. Did the Roloson acquisition help them? Uh-huh. Did anyone think the 2006 Edmonton Oilers reflected Stanley Cup contendership, during the season? Put your hands down. Some of you thought the Oilers “might” give the Red Wings a tough series, but that was about it. Teams that have a strong January and a decent February cause their GM’s to think about buying at that trade deadline. In our case, I hope Waddell doesn’t meddle. Let Dudley handle it. Dudley won’t give away a 1st, 2nd and 3rd round pick for Tkachuk, plus a throw away center (Metropolit).

R. Stroz

December 13th, 2010
7:09 pm

Red Light – I picked the over/under numbers on Modin.

Brendan is keeping up with each bloggers pick. He does a great job keeping those types of databases.

BTW, I failed to mention something today:

MODIN SUCKS!

Stuck in NJ

December 13th, 2010
7:17 pm

Of course its all just idle speculation, but if I’m Rammer and Duds, and its apparent to me that I don’t want Bergfors on my team or that he won’t resign, then I start thinking when his trade value is the highest. Is that now, before other teams realize he has attitude problems and the Duds can put the right spin on the trade? Or is it close to trade deadline when the Thrashers’ needs are more apparent? Who knows what injuries might occur. Its my opinion, that if Bergfors isn’t here for the long haul (~3 yrs) then he should be dealt early next year at the latest.

Do ya’ll think that Sweet Lou knew something and the Wad got had (as usual)?

AngryRedMarsWoman

December 13th, 2010
7:37 pm

Cover of THe Hockey News in my mailbox todays asks “Is Hockey Dying in Canada?”

LET’S GO THRASHERS!!!!!!

kracker

December 13th, 2010
8:23 pm

Great first period! Pavs weathered the storm early and then the skaters tilted the ice a little bit in the 2nd half of the 1st. Two hard working goals! One off a faceoff win by Slater who goes to the net and gets a deflection off his boot in the net. And how about Buff?? He looked like Hossa stick handling from right point behind the net to the left point and gets a sweet pass across ice to Thorbs for a slapshot that Bryan knocks back in! 2-0!! Thorburn w/ 2 assists.

Matt

December 13th, 2010
8:29 pm

OK, I like the effort in the first period, but HOW do you get a “too many men” in the first MINUTE of a game? *face palm*

rob

December 13th, 2010
8:49 pm

This place is dead. No noise, no passion right now. Sounds like our house at times…..only somehow even less organ/music trying to get the fans going!

Tom

December 13th, 2010
8:52 pm

I think that the Quebec City fans should be lobbying to get the Senators to move. It looks pretty empty in the arena…

Smoothie

December 13th, 2010
8:55 pm

Don’t listen to Red Light, he simply argues with me because it’s in his contract. R/L NEVER takes a shift off! ;-)

I’ve seen Wheeler play like the kind of player Duds covets, but whether or not he truly possesses the requisite motivation to be a consistent performer is beyond me.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen the Thrashers play a more passive offensive period as they have in the 2nd period against Ottawaaaaa. What happened to “safe is death”?? Ladies and gents, your Atlanta Trapping Thrashers!!!!

Smoothie

December 13th, 2010
8:57 pm

Puck is most definitely bouncing our way tonite, now 3 to 0 on a Buff stick back. Pretty feed by Antro to Pevs on the rush. As McConnel says, they paid it off. Time to go back into offensive hibernation.

iamtheratio

December 13th, 2010
9:04 pm

Puck was going crazy at the end of that period. I feel bad for Pavs, I thought he was going to have an easy shut out tonight. Oh well, a win is a win. We got this! GO Thrash!

Rawhide

December 13th, 2010
9:05 pm

If you ever whan to know what some of us on this blog refer to as an e-GREEEE-gious turnover…look no further than that play behind Opie that led to the Sens goal.

iamtheratio

December 13th, 2010
9:08 pm

On a side note, every time I see this commercial I laugh uncontrollably.

I just had to spread some holiday cheer; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEQCMPLatwA

R. Stroz

December 13th, 2010
9:12 pm

Did Hainsey get an assist on the Sens goal?

Never, never, never “clear the puck” in front of your own net.

Tom

December 13th, 2010
9:12 pm

Damn Rawhide, that was amazingly bad. First Sopel puts the puck on a platter. After the Senator misses the shot, Hainsey says try again with a pass up the middle.

Those 2 owe Pavs a beer.

Hockey Biltong

December 13th, 2010
9:27 pm

meh… second goal fer Sens…