Anthony Stewart’s surprising season

Saturday morning outside of the Thrashers’ locker room at Philips Arena, I informed Anthony Stewart about the little cyber-wager we on this online forum…the one we had prior to the start of the season in which we tried to guess what Thrasher would notch the first hat trick this season. I told him that such players as Evander Kane, Andrew Ladd and Bryan Little were the most common guesses. But oddly, no one had picked him.

Stewart raised an eyebrow, grinned and quipped jokingly, “That’s surprising. I think I had four goals in my whole career…”

Yeah…indeed. Why did we overlook Stewey?

Jonas Gustavsson stopped this Anthony Stewart shot, but not the third period blast from between the circles. Stewart now has 22 points on the season  Canadian Press, Nathan Denette)

Jonas Gustavsson stopped this Anthony Stewart shot, but not the third period blast from between the circles. Stewart now has 22 points on the season (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette)

Not too many people are overlooking him now, though as the 2003 23rd overall pick by the Florida Panthers has more than doubled his NHL career scoring totals. His third period goal Monday gave him 10 for the season and the assists 1 minute and 15 second later on Toby Enstrom’s second of the night gave him 12 assists on the year as well.

All in all, he now has 22 points and is a +3 while suiting up for all 35 games for Atlanta this season.

That’s pretty impressive for someone who so many were writing off as nothing more than a depth player…probably spending another year in the AHL with the Chicago Wolves. Last year in while there, he netted 13 goals and dished out 18 helpers in 77 games and had 9 goals and 3 assists during 13 playoff games.

In the 105 total NHL games with the Panthers prior to that, Stewart had just 4 goals, 8 assists for them and was a –4.

So, where does Stewart place credit his sudden…if not surprising…success here this season? Well, just like so many others surrounding this Thrashers organization, he points to the coaching staff behind the bench…specifically, the head coach.

“Craig Ramsay”, Stewart quickly responded when I asked him who has been the biggest influence on his game of late. “I used to be a seven or eight minute player. And to be playing in the minors last year to step in and play fifteen to sixteen minutes this year just says a lot… that he believed in me. And when you have a coach that believes in you just makes you want to play a little harder to prove him right and the doubters wrong”.

“[Ramsay] has been great”, Stewart continued. But he was also quick to add, “He hasn’t been shy to put me in my place a couple of times. But he’s definitely been the best coach I’ve had”.

Stewart’s has spent his entire career battling to make himself a fixture in an NHL lineup, he said, “But now I’m getting my chance.”

Stewart opened the scoring with this blast on October 15 in the game in Anaheim. He would add two more as the Thrashers beat the Ducks in a shootout (AP Photo/Lori Shepler)

Stewart opened the scoring with this blast on October 15 in the game in Anaheim. He would add two more as the Thrashers beat the Ducks in a shootout (AP Photo/Lori Shepler)

Yes, he’s getting his big break…and he’s making the best of it, playing a vital role in this new-look Atlanta Thrashers team. It’s a much more balanced attack that he and his teammates bring to the ice each and every game, one that sees a new hero every other game. Last night he scored once while Toby Enstrom and Fredrik Modin each had a pair. Last weekend it was Eric Boulton with a hat trick…yeah, that still makes me dizzy just to type…on Long Island it was Johnny Oduya and Bryan Little. You get the point.

Stewart’s big game came earlier in the year, as mentioned above, when his three goals helped power Atlanta to a shootout win in Anaheim. But a nice as the individual achievement was for the LaSalle, Quebec native, he was just happy it helped net the two points for his team.

“We were down in the game and for us to [get the win] was big”, he told me looking back on it. “It was nice to be able to come back in that game and then win it in the shootout.”

But on a team such as the one we are witnessing this year, hearing a player speak of team success first over individual accomplishments isn’t really all that surprising. And that may be the only thing we’re not surprised about in regards to Anthony Stewart this year.

152 comments Add your comment

Dwayne

December 21st, 2010
11:00 am

Dwayne

December 21st, 2010
11:00 am

Yes!!! Just like the Thrashers!!!!

injunjoe

December 21st, 2010
11:03 am

Looking forward to tonights game and the Thrashers continuing their winning ways. Hoping the place will be rocking.

Red Light

December 21st, 2010
11:04 am

Yup, as I feared…

Red Light

December 21st, 2010
11:02 am

I fear another Ranallo warning, but I have been doing a bit of research this morning and thought you might be mildly interested in my findings.

From Dec. 9, 2005 to Jan. 18, 2006, the Atlanta Thrashers (13-2-3) earned a total of 29 points out of a possible 36. In the first 18 games of the 2006-07 season, the Atlanta Thrashers earned 27 out of a possible 36 points. The team also was 13-5 from Feb. 24 to April 3, 2009, including five wins in the shoot-out/OT, for a possible 26 of 36 points.

So, the Thrashers can establish a new mark for wins and points during any 18-game stretch in its history with two wins in its next two games.

The team record for wins in the month of December is 10, which was established in the Thrashers second season, when they posted a 10-5 record. Currently: 6, with 6 games left.

The team record for wins through the month of December is 23 in 2006-07 when the Thrashers were 23-11-6 in their first 40 games. Currently: 19-11-5 with 6 games left.

The team record for home wins in a season is 24 and the record for points earned in 41 home games is 52. Currently: 10/22 with 23 home games remaining.

The team record for road wins in a season is 20 and the record for points earned in 41 away games is 45. Currently: 9/21 with 24 road games remaining.

Every team in Thrashers history has had a losing streak of at least five games at some point during the season. Current longest: 3 games.

The team record for wins Jan. 1 and after was established in the 2005-06 season, when the Thrashers concluded the season with a record of 25-16-2 in its last 43 games. They were just 20-17-5 after Jan. 1 in the 2006-07 season.

And, even with the overall production, no one has gotten close to this record yet this season: In 2006-07, Marian Hossa had points in 11 consecutive games (Feb. 17-March 12, when he had 7 goals and 11 assists.

See you tonight?

Red Light

December 21st, 2010
11:06 am

Stew is definitely a product of Ramsay’s system, which you can now say about nearly everyone on this team. Nice, huh?

Smoothie

December 21st, 2010
11:10 am

Ahhh, you would have to post that picture of Stewy fanning on the wide open net that would have given us a 3-love lead out of the box. But I guess he got it back. Stewy is quite the story in perseverance eh? I’m so happy for this kid and he seems to be a great fit for the room. Did y’all see the “coversation in pictures” between him and Kaner over on “Getting Pucks Deep”? Worth a look!

Badger Bob – good to see you as a frequent poster once again. We’ll need to meet up at a game soon. We can make fun of WBF for still being a Buffalo Bills fan! ;-) Anyway, I finally had some time to answer your thought-provoking question over at HI. Hope I don’t put you to sleep with the longwinded response!

Rawhide – I don’t know how you keep churning out all this material, but the ajc needs to give you full press access for whenever you want to do a player piece like this. It’s GREAT FOR THE TEAM and SPREADING THE WORD TO THE MASSES WHO LURK HERE. Kudos once again man.

Smoothie

December 21st, 2010
11:13 am

I’m sorry, I meant the ajc needs to press the forces that be to grant you full access to be used at yours and the ajc’s discretion.

Zoomo

December 21st, 2010
11:16 am

I mentioned a few weeks ago, that I thought Stewart had a few flashes of brilliance, but was lacking consistency shift over shift. I think we are getting that consistency now. The Kane, Little, Stewart line has really started to percolate since the Avs game.

Cornbread was the first here to point out how much better Stewart was this year than what most of us percevied and were posting about him. He’s fast, big, and seems like a hard working kid. I hope he has continued success. I like that line right now.

Joe Friday

December 21st, 2010
11:22 am

WBF you wanted Dan Ellis, called out Pavelec as a bum, then Stewart. I think we need you to start predicting empty houses every night so we can get the place filled!

I think Ramsay could teach me how to go out there and pot a hattie, the man has the touch, as does Duds.

Rawhide

December 21st, 2010
11:25 am

I understand that they’re expecting a pretty good crowd for a Tuesday night at Philps Arena tonight….but there’s still time to get good seats at a good price to see the Blues as well as other upcoming games.

Just click –>HERE<-- and use promo code RAWHIDE to score ya some Sa-WEET tickets.

Tim

December 21st, 2010
11:32 am

Hum… remember when Rawhide position was held by… Ice Girl? Seems so long time ago! :D

Buzzeng

December 21st, 2010
11:33 am

Looking forward to tonight! I, too, have been carefully checking my optimism with the history of losing “big” games or losing games we should win. Hopefully, The Blues will bring out the best in Our Blues tonight! I will be there (202, Row A) with the Mrs. (Habs fan wearing a Thrashers jersey tonight) and a friend. Go Thrashers!!

Brendan

December 21st, 2010
11:37 am

I’m glad Red Light reposted that post. That was a GREAT research post. http://blogs.ajc.com/iceman-thrashers-blog/2010/12/20/andrew-ladd-is-true-captain-for-this-thrashers-team/?cp=3#comment-45974.

I remember that December, under Head Coach Curt Fraser, where the T-birds went 10-5. Unfortunately, it would be an anomaly for that season. Back in those days, everyone was forgiving of a poor product and pathetic budget, as it was UNDERSTOOD where the team was … and where we ALL THOUGHT it was headed (to more robust budgets, accountability over results after the team was stacked with lottery draft talent, and big splashes in free agency to fill the gaps).

Well, let’s get after that record!!

Brendan

December 21st, 2010
11:38 am

Chris Mason will start versus his former mates, right?

Joe Friday

December 21st, 2010
11:41 am

Plan was Mason for tonight, Blues played as well last night so let’s hope it’s the goalie who has the advantage over knowing his old shooters, instead of visa versa.

Rawhide

December 21st, 2010
11:44 am

Chris Mason will start versus his former mates, right?

Brendan – That is what I understand to be so…yes.

Adam

December 21st, 2010
12:00 pm

For the point total pool I went in low betting with my brain not my heart. But I stated at the end of September that if the month of November ended with the team having 20-23 points they’d still have a shot at post season. Well they were 6pts ahead of that and if they continue scoring points at a rate of .700 so far this month they will finish December with around 51pts, which is also the half way point of the season. Not too shabby.

To hear every interview having the same TEAM tone speaks volumes as to what this coaching staff has accomplished. I can’t remember the last time a player said “ME, MY or I”

With the results we’ve seen so far it really makes one wonder how Craig Ramsay hasn’t been given a full time bench boss job prior to this. For our sake I’m glad it has worked out the way it has. I wish him good health and the desire to continue for some time to come even if it’s just working under Torchetti after a couple of seasons.

R. Stroz

December 21st, 2010
12:02 pm

I don’t know how you keep churning out all this material, but the ajc needs to give you full press access for whenever you want to do a player piece like this. It’s GREAT FOR THE TEAM and SPREADING THE WORD TO THE MASSES WHO LURK HERE. Kudos once again man.

Smoothie – Someone needs to tell them:

RAWHIDE HAS EARNED THE RIGHT TO BE THERE

Flames

December 21st, 2010
12:03 pm

We really need these two points at home. I’m hoping that the team plays a full 60 minutes of bone crushing get after your a$$ hockey. You win and they will come..

glovesave29

December 21st, 2010
12:12 pm

Took advantage of the “Rawhide” deal..we’ll be in 119 J…come by and say hi

Gwinnett Fred

December 21st, 2010
12:13 pm

I was surprised that we’ve had quite a number of hot streaks in the past that rival the one we are currently on.

However, I think the difference between then and now is that we are accomplishing this hot streak as a TEAM. Not only that, but a TEAM that has had instilled in it the right way to play as a TEAM.

We haven’t had that before. Always a combination of a hot superstar and “decent” play by everyone else.

Bottom line – a finely meshed TEAM will have more success over the long haul than a squad with a couple studs leading the way every time.

Can’t be there tonight, but Section 204 awaits my whole family of 6 come Sunday!!!!

Red Light

December 21st, 2010
12:17 pm

Adam: “With the results we’ve seen so far it really makes one wonder how Craig Ramsay hasn’t been given a full time bench boss job prior to this.”

He was! After taking over for the ill Roger Neilson in the 1999-2000 season, he began the 2000-01 season as the Flyers’ head coach before being relieved after 28 games (12-12-4) by Bill Barber. Totally agree that someone should have given him a head coaching position between then and now, but good things happen to those who wait.

Matt

December 21st, 2010
12:31 pm

I’ve been really surprised at how hard Stewart appears to be able to shoot the puck. Last nights goals was a wicked, quick shot. Kid clearly has talent to have been a first round pick.

FormerIslesFan

December 21st, 2010
12:31 pm

Note to Brendan: With Modin’s two goals last night, and the continued dog-house residence of Bergfors, I started thinking that the “Over” bet that I optimistically made may not be so out-of-reach afterall. Can you please remind me what were the numbers in question for the Over/Under bet?

Red Light

December 21st, 2010
12:32 pm

FIF: 14 goals and 56 games

Kyle Clifford of the LA Kings, Alex Pietrangelo and Stefan Della Rovere of the St. Louis Blues, T.J. Brodie (3 games with the Flames this year) and Burmistrov all played for the Barrie Colts last season. No wonder they went 57-9-2 during the regular season!

FormerIslesFan

December 21st, 2010
12:33 pm

Alas, I have to pass on tonight’s game as well (simply too Real Life stuff to do this evening). However, I plan on being at the ‘ning game on Sunday and all of the January home games if I can swing it (some with and without the tax deductions and possibly even wearing my Isles’ Peca sweater to the Ranger$ game just to piss the Blueshirts fans off). Have fun tonight and do some screaming for me!

FormerIslesFan

December 21st, 2010
12:34 pm

Thanks for the reminder, Red Light.

Rawhide, have you told Modin about that bet since you told Stewie about the Hat Trick bet?

World Be Free

December 21st, 2010
12:36 pm

J/F-I called some right, called some wrong. If I listed all the “rights” I would be here for awhile. Merry Christmas

Stewart WAS a bum until he started reading this blog (I hope) and he started listening to Rammer. I still think the coaches need to keep the pedal on him.

Smoothie-yeah still holding hope for the Bills until the Old Man dies and they move to L.A. It is a forgone conclusion.

Adam

December 21st, 2010
12:41 pm

Thanks for the info Red Light. I knew he had been an Interim Head Coach in the past but I didn’t know he ran a training camp and started a season.

Red Light

December 21st, 2010
12:44 pm

Does Ralph Wilson or Wild Bill Cody own the Bills?

Red Light

December 21st, 2010
12:44 pm

Glad to help Adam!

Hockey Biltong

December 21st, 2010
12:48 pm

WBF, you are Stubborn!

Hockey Biltong

December 21st, 2010
12:49 pm

Stroz??? you there tonight???
Rawhide??? You??? If so, I’ll bring that article for you…

JB

December 21st, 2010
12:51 pm

sounds like sunday will be highly attended as well. i’m bringing 5 semi newbies and have spoken to a number of people who’ll be there as well.

World Be Free

December 21st, 2010
12:55 pm

Red Light-Ralph Wilson and Wild Bill are about the same age.
Biltong-right sometimes, wrong others. If I were better at this I’d be on the payroll.

Thrashers27

December 21st, 2010
12:55 pm

I really wish the Bergie and/or Eager issue would come to a head soon. Of course no trades now, but it just seems like such a waste of resources to have those two sitting on the bench. I’d really like to know what the issues are.

Anyhoo, I’ll be there tonight. Two more points would be awesome!

Smitty

December 21st, 2010
1:01 pm

WBF Here’s hoping Pegula buys the Bills!!! If he does not get the Sabres, maybe Levinson should give him a call.

Hoof Arted

December 21st, 2010
1:05 pm

I had Stewart pegged for 2 goals, 4 assists, a -5 and a quick trip to Chi-town. Shows you what I know.

So happy for him, though. He’s been a big part of the team’s success.

moriler

December 21st, 2010
1:07 pm

LAC

December 21st, 2010
1:08 pm

I still can’t believe those STUPID Toronto fans throwing WAFFLES !!! How Stupid was That ?

And “those” people always bad mouth Atlanta and The Southeast ??? Stick it canada fans,
you don’t own the game of hockey and you act like, well I can’t write it here you BUMS !

Rawhide

December 21st, 2010
1:10 pm

Took advantage of the “Rawhide” deal..we’ll be in 119 J…come by and say hi

glovesave29 – That’ll put you right behind Hockey Biltong. That should be an interesting section.

Look for him. He’ll be the one all…ahem…lit up. :cool:

Rawhide, have you told Modin about that bet since you told Stewie about the Hat Trick bet?

FIF – No…but I’ll make it a point to do so. Like how he played last night…big presence in front of the net.

Stroz??? you there tonight???Rawhide??? You??? If so, I’ll bring that article for you…

Hockey Biltong – I’ll be in 204…make it a point to hook up w/ me if ya can. Maybe I’ll come see you where you normally sit.

BTW…R. Stroz should be in is normal place, the “Stroz Cove at Cowbell Corner”.

LAC

December 21st, 2010
1:11 pm

Yes moriler, but that pierre LaBUM is just that a bum, and does not give a DAMN about us in a positive way. Just another canada hack who I NEVER read, because he knows nothing about the game !

Always Hoping

December 21st, 2010
1:21 pm

I see where he Flyers head out west for three games after Christmas. Now that we’ve gained the top spot in the division why not dream bigger and go for the top spot in the conference? As long as the Flyers and Penguins keep battling it out we can slip right on in there.

Smoothie

December 21st, 2010
1:23 pm

“[Ramsay] has been great”, Stewart continued. But he was also quick to add, “He hasn’t been shy to put me in my place a couple of times. But he’s definitely been the best coach I’ve had”.

Therein lies the rub. Ramsay is a true coach in every sense of the word. Calm, composed and savvy. Able to light a fire in someone’s belly with a strong admonishing / tongue lashing but also supportive like an uncle always there with a dry quip or words of encouragement to boost a kid’s ego. At this point, I have NO REASON to believe Bergfors when he says the coaches haven’t told him why he’s sitting. They’ve been telling you son every practice and every time you’re in a game! If Anthony Stewart, ANTHONY STEWART, can be on a pace for 20+ goals, then you should be able to score 30-35 with some hard work son. Get your head right Berg-foops!

DWTOO

December 21st, 2010
1:26 pm

Stroz in his “normal” place. Highly doubtful since nothing about the Strozer is “normal”.

This team is starting to create a buzz. Lunch regularly with a friend of African heritage. Our usual lunch talk is about Falcons football. Today he was very interested in the fact that the Thrashers have several players that look like him and now he wants to come to a game. He remarked that the Thrashers should be using their diverse nature to promote the team to the community. Just laughed and told him that the bloggers are way ahead of the team.

Tincup9

December 21st, 2010
1:26 pm

Not sure if this has been posted before, but some better Thrasher coverage on ESPN…
http://espn.go.com/nhl/powerrankings

I wonder if the HBO special on the caps is negatively impacting their team. Having camera crews around the team all the time. Let’s hope so…

Jeff

December 21st, 2010
1:27 pm

I’ll be in 119 as well…not sure the row but will have my blue jersey and Blueland Santa hat on!

Smoothie

December 21st, 2010
1:31 pm

Always hoping – I like it, I LIKE IT A LOT. Why not? The sked is brutal for everyone right now and the Flyers might get complacent. Plus, I’m still not sold on Bob.

New Thrashers marketing campaign to be unveiled right here, right now!

Thrashers fans, as we stand here before you, with hat in hand, and request of you your earnest support, we pledge to do whatever we can to ensure that this run continues and that our fans are treated with the best possible in-game experience and ticket promotions possible. And in so doing, we come here to the base of this curtain, to let you know that this curtain shall hang nevermore; and we pledge to see to it that all of Atlanta will soon know the words:

THRASHERS HOCKEY — TEARING DOWN DOUBT, ONE GAME AT A TIME!!

World Be Free

December 21st, 2010
1:41 pm

LAC-the more we look at Tronna, the more we see they are not the great hockey fans we were once lead to believe. We complain about 10 years of losing in Atlanta, could you imagine what it must be like to be a Leafs’ fan the last 30 years? At least 23 of those 30 years have been painfully bad. Leafs fans are as bad as their hockey tradition of the past full generation. It was alot different in the area when I was a kid, when the Leafs were only a few years removed by multiple Stanley Cups. And it all started when the Leafs fired Punch Imlach.

Smitty-I don’t think Pegula has the coin to buy the Bills, beside the league wants the team in LA anyhow. I think Kelly and company would get blocked too somehow. Bills’ fans would have to rely on Senator Clinton to help them, she is too busy going after the people of Arizona for protecting their rights.

Smoothie

December 21st, 2010
1:53 pm

Okay, we’ve spent enough time talking about Tronna and their worthless, waffle-tossing fans, can we move on and talk about how we’re gonna convince the ASG to use Big Buff and Toby for a “Rob and Big” type marekting campaign?? Remember when the idea surfaced a few weeks ago and all of the great ideas that were offered up.

Bill – if you don’t mind sifting through the blogs to pick out the marketing discussion stuff, then I’d be more than happy to pen a thoughtful letter to the Thrashers and their marketing staff to give them the best and brightest ideas the POM-POM Brigade has to offer!