Who is your Thrashers first half of season MVP?

Happy New Year Thrasherville and welcome to the middle of the season. Hopefully everyone out there had a great time ringing in 2011 and I truly wish everyone the absolute best in the coming year. Today brings with it the hopes and possibilities of what can be…as well as college bowl games a-plenty and the NHL Winter Classic in Pittsburgh.

By the way, speaking of today’s much-anticipated matchup against the Pens and Caps…in case you haven’t heard, it has been moved back to 8:00 tonight because of weather issues.

What today also marks is the exact middle of the 2010-11 Thrashers campaign. Yesterday’s lackluster 3-1 loss to the worst team in the NHL was game number 41 of the season and tomorrow afternoon’s tilt in Montreal begins the first game of the final 41. So naturally, today is the perfect time to mark just where this Thrashers team is currently, what they have done so far and look ahead to the possibilities of the next three-plus months.

Much like he did on this play to New Jersey’s Rod Pelley, Thrashers defenseman Dustin Byfuglien has made quite an indelible impression on Atlanta hockey fans (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Much like he did on this play to New Jersey’s Rod Pelley, Thrashers defenseman Dustin Byfuglien has made quite an indelible impression on Atlanta hockey fans (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

We wake up this morning… possibly grabbing for a package of Alka-Seltzer and/or ice pack… to find the Thrashers with a record of 20-15-6. If they were simply to duplicate this effort in the second half of the season, they would wind up with 92 points and a playoff spot. All things considered, they are at or above where most of us though they would be and we can all be happy for that…despite their 1-4-1 record in the final six games of 2010.

However, as defenseman Ron Hainsey puts it, “It’s been a hard month, as hard as any I’ve seen since I became a pro. We battled through it and came out pretty well”.

“We’re pretty proud of what we’ve done so far”.

The Thrashers are in third place in the Southeast Division, three points behind both Tampa Bay and Washington. However, they have played three more games than the Lightning and two more than the Capitals. Atlanta is eighth points above fourth place Carolina, however the Canes have played but 36 games.

The Thrashers are in seventh place overall in the Eastern Conference, tied in points with the New York Rangers but having played three more games. The Montreal Canadians are a pair of points behind them and have two games in hand. So tomorrow’s game shapes up to be a pretty important one for both Le Thrash and Habs.

Atlanta has netted 127 goals so far this year. That is only one fewer that the Flyers’ and four fewer than Colorado and Detroit, who lead the NHL in goals scored. They still give up a concerning amount of goals, however…122 goals against so far is fewer than only the amount surrendered by the Avs and Edmonton.

The Thrashers are taking an average of 30.8 shots on goal per game and allowing 34.4, which are 14th and 28th in the league respectively. Atlanta has a 20.9% effective power play so far, (9th) and they are killing off 80.8% of the opposition’s man advantage situations, (18th).

Not a lot has gotten past Ondrej Pavelec this season. He is 13-8-4 with a .935 SV%, 2.11 GAA and 2 shoutouts (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Not a lot has gotten past Ondrej Pavelec this season. He is 13-8-4 with a .935 SV%, 2.11 GAA and 2 shoutouts (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Leading the way almost all season long has been defenseman Dustin Byfuglien. He leads the team in goals scored, 15, assists, 25 and overall points, 40. To top it off he’s also +6 and has played in all 41 games for the Thrashers. 5 of his goals have been game-winners, 5 have been of the power play variety, 12 assists have also come while on the man advantage and his 162 SOG also lead the Thrashers.

The Buffinator has quickly become the heart and soul of this new-look Thrashers squad and has endeared himself to the fans with his play. To me, he’s been the MVP of the first half of the season.

Right behind Big Buff in scoring is captain Andrew Ladd and fellow defenseman Toby Enstrom, both with 31 overall points. Ladd has done that with 12 goals and 19 assists while Toby has 7 goals and 24 helpers.

As for Ladd, the Thrashers are 13-6-3 since he was named team captain back on November 18. Is it just a coincidence that the team seamed to take off right after that announcement? I don’t think so.

Fresh off his first ever NHL career shootout victory, Ondrej Pavelec is now 13-8-4 for the year with a very tidy .935 SV% and 2.11 GAA. Given the amount of goals and shots allowed by this team, those numbers are even that much more impressive. Opie also has a pair of shutouts to his credit, both coming a week apart back in November against the Caps and Habs.

A win in Montreal tomorrow would equal his career best of 14 wins in a season set last year playing in 42 games, starting 40. He’s played in just 27 games this season and has started 25.

Opie would be my second choice as MVP, just a fraction of a hair behind Byfuglien. However, if he performs at the same level from here on out, don’t be stunned if he winds up as this team’s Most Valuable Player.

Who is the Thrashers MVP for the first half of the season?

  • Dustin Byfuglien (42%, 108 Votes)
  • Ondrej Pavelec (49%, 126 Votes)
  • Andrew Ladd (1%, 3 Votes)
  • Toby Enstrom (6%, 16 Votes)
  • Bryan Little (2%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 255

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The +/- leaders for this team are Bryan Little, +12, Brent Sopel, +10 and Eric Boulton who is a +7. Ron Hainsey, Chris Thorburn and Byfuglien are each a +6.

Brent Sopel has blocked 60 shots this year, Enstrom 85, Ron Hainsey and Johnny Oduya have both knocked down 82.

Your hits leaders are Evander Kane with 73, Buff with 69 and Jim Slater with 59.

As for the men behind the bench, it’s certainly clear that for the most part these Thrashers have taken what coach Craig Ramsay and associate coach John Torchetti have been teaching and applied to their games. These coaches deserve a great deal of credit for where this team finds itself. There is still much work to be done, mind you…see also the past week and a half or so of play…but when viewed in the context of the initial three months of this season, I don’t of too many that can be upset with what has gone on here.

And finally, I haven’t offered up any “report cards” per se on this Thrashers team this season. I figure this course will be determined solely on a “PASS/FAIL” basis. They either make the playoff or they don’t. Therefore, no letter grades are necessary this time around.

That being said, if I were to give them a mid-term evaluation…I would say they are well on their way to “PASS”.

79 comments Add your comment

Jason

January 1st, 2011
11:21 am

Curly

January 1st, 2011
11:28 am

Rawhide – I don’t think 92 points will be enough to earn a playoff spot. I would like to see the Thrashers with at least 94 points; meaning they will have to better their performance in the second half (which should be doable with a lighter schedule).

Tom

January 1st, 2011
11:33 am

Toby Enstrom. He is the guy that allows Buff to push up. He is the guy who makes the best breakout passes on the team. He is the foundation of the powerplay. He may not get the headlines but if the Thrashers had 1 player that other GM’s covet right now, my guess it will Toby.

Curly

January 1st, 2011
11:34 am

I have liked the play of Buff, Toby, O.P., and Bryan Little. Ladd started out well but seems to have faltered as of late. I hope he makes a good comeback in the second half of the season. I can’t believe Hainsey is a +6. He is normally a – player.

Overall, I’m with you. It’s a toss-up between O.P. and Buff for the mid-season MVP. I’ll have to give it to Buff due to his leadership. He seems to be the heart and soul of this team.

Curly

January 1st, 2011
11:37 am

Tom – Enstrom is a good choice too. Very solid defensively, with great puck handling skills, an awesome skater and a good shot (now that he shoots more!).

Ilya the K

January 1st, 2011
11:44 am

“How do you like me NOW?”

GRITS and Pucks

January 1st, 2011
11:46 am

Pavs as MVP for me, no question.

Buzzeng

January 1st, 2011
11:49 am

Hi Bill – Happy New Year to you and yours as well. Halfway through the season, I say you’ve earned an “A” for running the fan blog. Thanks for all you do. You’ve got my MVOIP award vote (Most Valuable Off Ice Player)!

As far as my MVP vote – I have to go with Ondrej. I think his play has kept us in a lot of games we would otherwise have lost. Factor in his recovery from the opening night all the way to top-5 goalie and I think he gets the nod as the MV player.

As far as the team MVP vote, I give that to Buff. From the first photos of him in a Thrasher jersey (remember your concerns about his Cup day wearing a Thrashers jersey?), he has been a player for the team, the fans and the city. I don’t recall seeing a player that seemed as sincerely proud to be a Thrasher, and he’s given us all a player we can rally around, we can cheer for and we can expect solid performances along with a routine highlight or two.

Let’s hope the schedule relief in 2011 (compared to December) gives us fresher legs and solid victories again. Further, let’s hope all the other teams wilt when their schedules pile up on them.

Thanks to the other bloggers for keeping this NC Thrasher Fan “in the loop”! Happy new year to all and GO THRASHERS!

nfieldr

January 1st, 2011
11:58 am

Voted for Buff, but couldn’t argue against Pavs either

Rawhide

January 1st, 2011
11:59 am

Rawhide – I don’t think 92 points will be enough to earn a playoff spot. I would like to see the Thrashers with at least 94 points; meaning they will have to better their performance in the second half (which should be doable with a lighter schedule).

Curly – You may be right…we’ll see. Last year three teams in the east got in with <90 points. 92 might be right at the cut off point this season.

Tom – Great observation about Enstrom.

Buzzeng – Thank you sir ver, very much. I appreciate that. Happiest of New Years to you and yours as well, my friend.

GRITS and Pucks – WHERE ARE MY GRITS THIS MORNING??!!! :lol:

the artist formerly known as razorneck13

January 1st, 2011
12:03 pm

Toby Enstrom, period end of story. Does what is required of his position and much more, my favorite defenseman on Earth at this point. I’m not an all-star guy per se, but if he doesn’t get there this time it’ll be criminal.

Red Light

January 1st, 2011
12:09 pm

Interesting question, but really there is only one choice. Were it not for Enstrom, Byfuglien wouldn’t be able to free-lance as much offensively, thus his impact wouldn’t be nearly as great as it has been so far.

Were it not for Ladd’s leadership, this team may never have gone on the run it did when it went 12-2-2 in November and December.

Little has played well but often disappears from sight (just less than half of the games so far he has been pointless) and has only one game winning goal.

For me, there is only one choice, and that’s Pavelec. Particularly in the light of the fact everyone doubted his abilities, except for perhaps Ramsay and Dudley, this guy has kept the Thrashers afloat. From Nov. 13 to Dec. 30, there were only two games in which he started that Atlanta didn’t have an opportunity to win (Dec. 23 at Boston and Dec. 28 at Pittsburgh). That’s 18 of 20 starts in which he played well. That’s pretty darn impressive. He’s 4-0 during that time when facing 40 shots or more. He has help the team earn 30 points in 25 starts, while Mason has earned 16 points in 16 starts.

Pav will equal his career season high with his next win. His save percentage and GAA is vastly improved over last year and he is a much more confident goalie. Other players like him and he gives the team all of the credit for his victories. The shoot-out win also should help his confidence in those situations.

If I had told you in late September that he would allow just 54 goals in his first 25 starts of the season, you would have all told me I was crazy.

No other choice…great job by Ondrej!

Hoof Arted

January 1st, 2011
12:29 pm

I have to go with Opie at this point, BlogMaster. But HR Buffinstuff would be a close #2. What I like most about this team is that a legitimate argument can be made for a handful of different players. Pavs, Buff, Toby, Ladd, even Lits.

A genuine team effort going on out there.

If the “P” in MVP stood for “person”, I think coach Ramsay could be considered as the MVP.

Get The Puck Out

January 1st, 2011
12:31 pm

OP. He gets pucks slapped at him from all over, and he keeps the team in the game almost always. More shots at him than shots at opposing team is reason i say OP.

ben

January 1st, 2011
12:59 pm

Coach Ramsay is amazing. If the Thrashers make the playoffs he is a leadpipe synch for coach of the year.

ben

January 1st, 2011
1:00 pm

op is amazingly the team mvp

T

January 1st, 2011
1:12 pm

I love Buff, but i gotta go with pavs

R. Stroz

January 1st, 2011
1:13 pm

R. Stroz

January 1st, 2011
1:19 pm

Merry New Year….Hah…Hah…….Hah…Hah

Beef Jerky?

Thrashers27

January 1st, 2011
1:26 pm

EA

January 1st, 2011
1:30 pm

PAVS! Then Toby and Buff.

Sherry Taylor

January 1st, 2011
2:00 pm

First of all, isn’t it nice to have a choice of players who are serious contenders for MVP? A conundrum we’ve not had before–a choice of effective, aggressive, spot on players. I agree with most, actually, I voted for Pavelek, because he has saved the night many a time, although Buff can’t be ruled out with his quiet confidence and feel for the game as it proceeds, and I agree with Toby, if he weren’t playing his best game ever then Buff couldn’t go forward as he does. Like I said, what a quandary who is best! I’ll take this problem any day!

Smoothie

January 1st, 2011
2:01 pm

1) Pavelectric, in a landslide. His stellar play has made his D-men better and more confident.

2) Rammer – this man has made this group of players believe they can win and he has helped instill in all of them that they can contribute offensively. Without these players buying in early and going after it in the first month, they never would have overcome Mason’s shaky goaltending while Pavs was “recuperating”.

3) Big Buff – he validated management’s belief in him that he could be not only a capable D-man, but do it as part of a top pairing in a fashion where he is a legitimate scoring weapon everytime he touches the puck. Obviously he isn’t as effective without Toby by his side but he is really the only player we have who can change a game with his booming shot and ability to freelance.

4) Dudley – for having the balls to let Big Buff play his “natural” position AFTER he was a gameIchanging force at forward on a Stanley Cup winning team. Also, just about every personnel move he’s made has paid dividends. However, in retrospect, I’d gladly give back Eager for Reasoner and wouldve overpaid Mad Max to play two more years on our top line. We could use his ability to create space and put a defense on their heels without being nearly as bad a defensive liability as Ilya Kovalchuk.

SomaAtl95

January 1st, 2011
2:55 pm

Honestly I can not pick one and I will tell you why – It took a lot to get here. #17 Shows his true colors after telling us he wanted to stay doing pretty much what was the best thing he ever did as a member of this team – he left it. I liked Anderson but new blood and fresh ideas were needed, it was time that a “Coaches Coach” was back at the helm as there was no one specific player to base a team around anymore. Anyone who listened during the playoffs last year heard me say I liked Chicago to go all the way – so bringing in a sizable amount of their championship team (as well as a coach too) brought a little of the “Western Conference Grit” that most teams in the East sorely need and don’t have. Colby and C-Mac must have thought they would miss going to the Waffle House so they ended up in Toronto where fresh waffles will literally fly their way.
We all had nervous excitement as this season has started. We saw a lot of new faces – and we wondered how long the holdovers from Thrashers Past (Kane, Bogey, Opie, Toby, etc) would take to adjust to yet another coaching style. Completely underwhelming pre-season is had.
Opening night Opie passes out and it looks to take the breath of the team away just seconds into their new season then something amazing happens – for the first time in a long time we see a team take our breath away! These past 41 games have shown that anyone can be the hero (Stewart and Boulton with hat tricks? Opie playing as if that knock to the head has him believing that he is now Neo and playing in “The Matrix” (as a side note did anyone ever think Mason would become the Backup Goalie??), Felix and Oscar, er Buff and Toby making other teams see something new from the Thrashers, a offense minded defense.
Its just too hard to pick.
If anyone is still reading then know that I am proud of all fans who are turning new faces on to the Thrashers – the Game against Boston was the only packed house I have been in since the first season where there were many many more Thrashers fans than the opposition. Just goes to show you – a TEAM effort has done for the Thrashers what it did for the Falcons. The Falcons may rise up but the Thrashers leave teams Black, Blue and taken advantage of. With a little bit of rest coming we should see them head back to what we know they can do and I hope to debate with you all who to pick for “Regular Season MVP” because I honestly think we will also be debating a “Playoff MVP” for the first time.
Hope you all have a wonderful New Year and a restful weekend. We’ve got outdoor hockey tonight!

arthur

January 1st, 2011
3:07 pm

RON HAINSEY! no one else comes close

Jason

January 1st, 2011
3:50 pm

Since my computer went bonkers before I could properly celebrate the first FIRST of 2011 and before I could give my MVP pick (grumblegrumblegrumble)….

I think Pavelec has to be the MBP of this team so far. As many games as he’s won/stolen for us this season, it’s also becoming painfully obvious that this team would be in much different shape if we were relying on Mason on a regular basis.

Buff would have to be a close second. A true offensive defenseman, I think Buff is what Bogosian wishes he could be.

Dwayne

January 1st, 2011
7:06 pm

It all starts in goal….Pavs=MVP

Cornbread

January 1st, 2011
7:49 pm

Though the MVP candidates are all great choices, I’m going to vote “Other” and go with a blue collar type. The non-skilled player who epitomizes the way Coach Ramsay would like for all his players to play – listening Bergfors? – is Chris Thorburn. I really liked what I saw last season and this year he has continued to grow and step up his game. Chris Thorburn is becoming one Hell of a Hockey Player.

Savannah Blueland Fan

January 1st, 2011
7:58 pm

OooooooooooooooPppppppppppppp!!!!!!!!!!!!

sisu

January 1st, 2011
10:42 pm

considering he has finally earned the right to wear #31 it has to be Pavs….

Brendan

January 2nd, 2011
12:52 am

From Game 42 on, the MVP of our team must be our “depth.” If Atlanta cannot maintain the “balancing act,” it won’t be successful. We cannot ask Pavelec to steal games, night after night. We cannot ask Toby Enstrom to log 24-26 minutes a game, without it taking its toll. We cannot expect Byfuglien to save the day, everytime we get to overtime.

Our team wins … when all four lines contribute and our blueline chips in. That’s our recipe for success, coupled with responsible defensive play in the neutral zone and our defensive zone.

But, you’ve asked to name someone, specifically, for the mid-season MVP. I’ll agree with the blogmaster … that Dustin Byfuglien has made the biggest impact. He might be the soul of our team. Or, at least the “glue” of it. Honorable mention to Captain Andrew Ladd, as my 2nd choice. I like Pavelec 3rd. And Enstrom 4th. But really, is there a ‘wrong’ answer, at this point? We’ve got good contenders for the honors.

Tony C.

January 2nd, 2011
4:38 am

Why is there even any discussion? It’s Pavelec all day every day-for all the evidence you need, look at the record while he was out and the record once he returned. Any lingering doubt? Watch the tape of our last win. Kid straight stole those two points.

Tony C.

January 2nd, 2011
4:42 am

I also like what Cornbread has to say about Thorburn-dude has been nothing short of inspirational-he gives every thing he’s got every shift he’s out there-if/when he gets better at elevating his shot dude’s gonna be a real asset. I like to think of him and Slater as our (potential) Maltby guys…

Midfield

January 2nd, 2011
9:49 am

I’ll go with Malarchuk. He is the unseen, unheard and unsung hero.

Fan from Carolina

January 2nd, 2011
10:08 am

I voted for Byfuglien and have forgiven him for that awful penalty against the Lightning. Pavelic a very close second. tough call as the Thrashers would be in horrible shape with either one out of the lineup.
On another note, when Rawhide asked if we were getting worried in a previous column, with the loss to NJ and the Canes much stronger play lately, yes, I’m getting worried. Even more so since Roloson just went to the Lightning. He has stolen some games for the Islanders this year, most recently against the Red Wings and the Lightning before that. Goalie problem solved in TB and they gave up nothing. Yzerman GM of the year so far.

Joe Friday

January 2nd, 2011
10:30 am

Pavs has played great, but your MVP can’t be a guy that has only played in 25 of your 41 games.

No brainer, it’s Buf. The club goes as he goes . . . Ladd is a close 2nd, the day he was named captain was the day this group turned into a team.

Red Light

January 2nd, 2011
10:37 am

Nope, if you vote for Buff, you’ve overlooked the guy who has made it all possible – Enstrom.

Smoothie

January 2nd, 2011
11:02 am

Tony C – I love Thorby’s work ethic too and he’s become one helluva defensive forward but if his shot was gonna improve it woulda happened by now. He’s what, 28 y/o?!

Its tough not to pick Big Buff but look at all of the 1-goal games we’ve been in. Yes, Buffy has 5 GW goals but he’s usually responsible for 1 or 2 others in a game due to his sloppy defensive play. Enstrom has saved his butt in transition countless times this year. I guess that leaves Andrew Ladd but he’s run out of gas over the last three weeks. Its time to split up he and Pevs. Go back to Ladd-Little-Bergie/Thorbs/Antro.

BTW, when Antro gets off IR, we’ll need him to be our 2nd half MVG. Most Valuable Giant.

Patrick

January 2nd, 2011
11:42 am

YOU DA MAN BIG BUFF

Joe Friday

January 2nd, 2011
12:55 pm

“Nope, if you vote for Buff, you’ve overlooked the guy who has made it all possible – Enstrom.”

Oh, of course you’re right, I forgot how good our d has been all the years that Enstrom has been making his d pairing mate a better player, silly me!

Joe Friday

January 2nd, 2011
12:56 pm

and of course that was Enstrom last year in the Stanley Cup finals making Buf the force he is, what was I thinking!

Jordan

January 2nd, 2011
12:58 pm

I would have said Buf as he won us many games, but that was the first quarter of the season it would have been Buf or Ladd. If you just did a mvp for the 2nd quarter I would say not Buf or Ladd forsure, Buf has lost us games and has not been good at all despite scoring some goals still, Ladd has been invisible. Pavs was great but has been a little shaky lately. I think Little does not get enough credit, he is are best defensive forward by FAR. One of the hardest workers, and made Kane and Stewart better when they played with him.

I would say in order the best choices…… Pavs, Buf, Little, Enstrom, Ladd.

R. Stroz

January 2nd, 2011
1:51 pm

I’m in favor of league expansion. The first players I’d like to see on the “Shriveling Diques” are Sweedee Slowdeenee and Charmin, that should test whether they truly support hockey.

Thrashers27

January 2nd, 2011
3:08 pm

Yep, Cormier can stay!

HookyBob

January 2nd, 2011
3:39 pm

Happy new year Roseau, MN,..Buf came through,……again.

Curly

January 2nd, 2011
4:53 pm

Let’s Compare a previous MVP with this season’s first half MVP.
Buff: Leads the NHL with 6 GWG (tied for first with Stamkos). Leads all defenseman in points and goals.
Kovy: League worst -28.
Remember that we traded New Jersey’s first rounder from the Kovalchuk trade to Chicago for Byfuglien.

Smoothie

January 2nd, 2011
5:01 pm

I see Enstrom attempted to validate Red Light’s comments on this blog. And validate he did. But Big Buff will get all the credit cuz he can wind up and hammer a puck 100 mph. Anyway, good to see Peverley respond to the line shake up. He set up Stewart about half a dozen times, but Stewy just doesn’t have any hands…sigh. Anyway, Pevs was very good today and he undressed Gill and Price on his goal. Guess who made the “give and go” go….yeah, that tiny Swede again. But he’s not any good. And hardly deserving of 26+ mins / game. Enstrom is really elevating his game this year. I give him a bit of a pass last year after getting his face rearranged by Martins Karsums blindside hit. Toby is playing without fear again and he should be credited with Ladd’s goal at the end of the 2nd. Yet Buffy gets the # 1 star for one shot. Figured the Montreal media would see that Pavelec was #1, then Enstrom (or vice versa) and then some Hab (Plekanec?). Anyway, big win that they can savor and build on while resting on the beach in Ft. Lauderdale. The boys do need some R&R and perhaps the extra day to rest will help vs FLA on Wed.

Dwayne

January 2nd, 2011
5:23 pm

Buff does not get those game winners if Pavs doesn’t do what he does….Atlantas Valuble Player====.AVP which ===== PAV.

Tony C.

January 2nd, 2011
5:42 pm

Great point Midfield-he[Marlachuk]’s clearly helped O-P reach another level, but still, it’s the kid executing-let’s not forget this is the 1st season we’ve even had someone on staff who’s sole responsibility is netminder development/coaching. Makes you wonder what could’ve been ….

Tony C.

January 2nd, 2011
6:10 pm

SmoothE-not necessarily talking about his shot, moreso his accuracy and shot placement. Specifically, the ability to lift the puck over the goalie from a close-range area.

He is who he is-a role player who can kill penalties and provide some energy while chipping in offensively from time to time.

I don’t believe he’s going to suddenly develop a laser-like slapper, but certainly he has shown (gradual) improvement in his decision making and overall play…the way Ramsay rewards effort with TOI, I don’t think it’s beyond belief that Thorburn will be able to gain the confidence to improve his in-close shot.

R. Stroz as Yogi Berra

January 2nd, 2011
7:26 pm

Scoring more than the other team is just as good as winning.

Get The Puck Out

January 2nd, 2011
8:04 pm

After this game i believe even more that OP is the MVP. He can steal games, so i guess that makes him a puckin thief!

Lee

January 2nd, 2011
8:34 pm

I think Pavs deserves the “MVP.” He’s been solid almost the whole season and is also probably the most improved player from last year to this one….He’s 2nd in the league in save percentage with .936 trailing only by the stellar Tim Thomas. He’s also 3rd in the league in goals against average with 2.14 trailing only Jonathan Quick and yes…Tim Thomas.

What a game for him to start off the New Year! We owe that one to him with 47 out of 50 saves.

How about that P.K. Subban? Have to admit, he was pretty impressive today. ;)

R. Stroz

January 2nd, 2011
8:54 pm

Does the P.K., in P.K. Subban, stand for PUNK?

LAC

January 2nd, 2011
9:27 pm

Great Goaltending won today, OP was FANTASTIC ! We Must cut the SA a lot, I whole lot.

Was SAD to see little zach out there LOST again and Again, he just stinks on defense,
out of position at least 80% of the time, Awful to have to keep watching this kid. Does he EVER Learn ????

Got help from Florida who beat NYR 3-0 to keep them just a point ahead. BUT… we have played 42 games this season so far and some teams like Carolina have 5 games in hand on us…

Need help from the bottom feeders, NJ/NYI/Tor and the West to assist us in any win they can.

Hope for a solid win Wednesday in Florida… Could be tough…

Lastly… If you have Not noticed… Atlanta is now THE Highest scoring team in the NHL, I am
Amazed at that feat, Outstanding, Ilya WHO ???? Hope he is having “fun” in NJ !!!!!!

Brendan

January 2nd, 2011
10:30 pm

Glad they won. The reply is on SPSO at 11PM. I might as well repeat my post from earlier this blog. We can’t expect Byfuglien to save the day every time we go to overtime. We can’t play Toby Enstrom 26 minutes-a-game, without its taking its toll. And asking Pavelec to make 40 or more saves, like today’s 47, is unreasonable. We’re jumping up and down … because he’s handling it well. What happens when he doesn’t?

We’re still a work in progress. We need to tighten up, defensively. But, I suppose, in the end … all that really matters … is winning. Which we did. We tossed a “pity” point to Habs, with that late goal, though. They play in our conference. We’re 2-4-1 in our last seven? I love OT and shootout wins, because they’re very exciting. But really, I’d rather close out in regulation time.

JLH

January 2nd, 2011
10:31 pm

LAC – I couldn’t agree with you more about Bogosian . I don’t believe he has the smarts to play defense at the NHL level and his offense is suffering because of it. I feel sorry for Oduya…… I believe covering for Zach’s mistakes is causing his game to suffer tremendously….. If Ramsay is going to sit Eager and Bergfors, I don’t see why he won’t sit Bogosian…. he is just not picking up the simple stuff, I wouldn’t be sad to see him packaged in a trade while his potential is still an asset. Petriangelo (picked just after Zach by St Louis) has flown past him after spending some time in the AHL…. the problem is, we don’t have a good system to develop talent at Chicago so Zach just struggles here.

Red Light

January 2nd, 2011
11:25 pm

I’m not saying Buff isn’t a dynamic offensive talent, with a huge, huge shot, and no doubt that without his offensive contributions and timely goals, the Thrashers wouldn’t be where they are right now (third place in the SE). But, 9 of his 16 goals so far were assisted by Enstrom, and Byfuglien doesn’t play on the penalty kill like Enstrom.

They both have benefited handsomely playing with the other – that’s all I’m saying. Buff will make the all-star team, but Enstrom and Pavelec are most worthy too.

LAC

January 2nd, 2011
11:37 pm

JLH, cofrect indeed. I have taken notice of some of the “looks” Oduya has had at him after plays, If
looks could kill so to speak. You also are correct, his play has slipped to that of an untested rookie.
He, really, looks lost at this level. His offense has been lackluster to say the very least and my
eight year old grandaughter could hit harder if she could skate. He is a creampuff out there.

But what bothers me most is his complete failure to read plays and react to them. He was standing around most of the game today, without a clue as to what to do. With ALL due respects…
Atlanta needs to trade him and get a solid player in return and I also agree, WHY do the coaches not SIT HIM, we are Better off with him in the pressbox than fumbling around the ice trying to be an NHL player.

Tom

January 2nd, 2011
11:55 pm

I think we are all in agreement with Bogo’s lack of defensive smarts. He is having a really rough time and is lost. Yet, he still has potential.

We may have the answer right in front of us though…

Big Buff was not able to cut it as a top 4 dman in Chicago so they through him and his big body up front. He was not setting the world on fire in Chicago as a forward until last years playoffs but then he exploded and now is a potential all star defenseman with the seasoning.

Could we tell Bogo, you are struggling, we need your salary for the cap and we do want you to develop, go and play forward for the rest of the season. With his big body he may do alright.

Then next year or the year after, after he regains his confidence and gets a little wiser we see if he is ready for the blue line.

Crazy talk I know, but so was asking Buff to play defense in July…

Brendan

January 3rd, 2011
12:08 am

Here’s your boxscore from NHL.com. http://www.nhl.com/ice/boxscore.htm?id=2010020573. Notice that Byfuglien was a +3 and Enstrom was a +2, while Bogosian was a -1.

Cornbread

January 3rd, 2011
12:31 am

8-6-3 in the very rough month of December and January 2nd! Who wouldn’t take that? They weathered the storm well and have set themselves up nicely for the playoffs and SE Division race. And, that is going to come down to the wire between ATL, TB, and DC.

Atlanta now faces the least amount of playoff contenders in the NHL at 23 – 11 at home. Carolina may be coming on strong but they still have 27 contenders to face. If they catch anyone it will be the NYR and MTL. The Rangers are in big trouble. They only play 11 non-contenders and face 31 contenders. So far they are 7-13-1 against playoff teams. The Thrashers are 13-11-6 against the big boys and still have 17 games to play against those with very little to no post season chance. MTL is 10-10-2 against playoff teams. They have 25 more to play against them and 16 against weaker teams. They will play 34 games against non-contenders – the most for those in the hunt – compared to ATL’s 29.

Lots has been said about the ridiculous December schedule. Get through it and things will be looking very good. Well, it wasn’t always pretty but they got through it. That’s what good teams do. Compare that 8-6-3 to the 4-10-3 (1-6-2 against playoff teams) exactly one year ago when their Kapitan quit on them. They also played 8 non-playoff teams during the same time frame last year compared to only 5 this year.

January is a much lighter and easier schedule that will give them plenty of time to rest and prepare. February could see them going on a huge run against all 11 teams who are either out of it or fighting for that last spot. March is busy with 14 games but well spaced and half the games are against non-contenders. April will be a good tune-up for the playoffs.

The Atlanta Thrashers are the real deal. They are all MVPs! Bring on the playoffs!

Cornbread

January 3rd, 2011
12:34 am

Oh Trixie… Posted some good stats at 12:30. At least I think they are worth a look. A little help please…

Hockey Biltong

January 3rd, 2011
1:06 am

Rammer is my MVP. He is the glue……

Alan R.

January 3rd, 2011
2:02 am

Byfuglien is a +2, Enstrom is a +3. Oduya was also a -1.

Smoothie

January 3rd, 2011
2:24 am

We need another RW who can score so why not try Bogosian? Bergy can’t get his act together, Modin is too old and slow to not be a liability on the backcheck and Stewart has hands of stone for reasons I’ll never understand — seriously some of these kids need to try a softer wooden stick. Anyway, Bogey has more speed than Bergy and Modin combined, has softer hands than Stewart for receiving passes, can skate better than any of them and his wrist-shot is well above-average. Why is he not playing forward? Make a trade for a guy like Beauchemin and solidify your top 4. Kulda is expendable now cuz he’ll never thrive in Rammer’s system so trade him to Burkie who loves big, strong D-men who can’t skate. Actually, I haven’t seen enough of Kulda to know what kind of a skater he really is but he seems like the yin to Bogey’s fast-skating yang. At any rate, we need another top 4 D-man and a scoring RW to make some real noise so let’s “git ‘er done Duds!”

Smoothie

January 3rd, 2011
2:28 am

Oh for crap’s sake I really need to stop posting from my BB!

Kulda and Bergy for Beauchemin and Boston’s #1 which will likely be outside the Top 16 (picks that is) and move Bogey to RW. Flip the #1 if Bogey doesn’t work out for a true scoring winger at the trade deadline and let’s go make some noise!!

Smoothie

January 3rd, 2011
2:33 am

Wooops! WTH am I talkin about? It was Boston who got Tronna’s picks!

Okay not-so-Smoothie, try and go to sleep before you say anything else that dumb.

World Be Free

January 3rd, 2011
7:50 am

Pavs is the MVP and Midfield brought up a good point about the man behind Pavs, Clint Malarchuk. Would Pavs have been this good with Willie Weeks as his coach? It all starts in goal folks, thought I give Buff and Toby big ups too.

How about dark horse MVPs?
Chris Thorburn. Kills penalties, block shots, challenges forwards and pointmen in the defensive zone instead of standing there and letting htem make plays.
Brent Sopel-blocks a ton of shots and is pretty sound in his defensive zone. Knows how to get the puck out of his zone without coughing it up to opposing forwards.

Old Time Hockey

January 3rd, 2011
9:00 am

Co-MVP’s…Big Buff and Pavs. Say what you want about Enstrom enabling Buff to do what he does…but he still has to do it and he has been finishing big. As far as Pavelec…I’ve said this a bunch…this team goes as the goaltending goes. He stands on his head and we win, he plays average and we don’t. So for the definition of most valuable player…we’d be no where without either one. But I still nominate Ramsay for Coach of the year, Dudley for GM of the year and Big Buff for Norris Trophy.

Larry E

January 3rd, 2011
9:02 am

Thrashers letting other teams spend way to much time in Thrasher zone. Shots on goal tell the story. Pavelec doing great job, but this will catch up sooner or later.

World Be Free

January 3rd, 2011
9:08 am

Larry E-totally agree, too much time and too many shots. The breakout plan needs to be revisited and revised.

Rawhide

January 3rd, 2011
9:32 am

G’Morning gang. Ya know…as I listened to yesterday’s game while driving through south Georgia, the one thing I couldn’t help but think of was the hypothetical MVP debate that we engaged in here over the weekend.

Buff with another game winner.

Opie with another awesome performance.

Toby with 3 more assists.

Hmmmm…as I opin here, it was as if each player given consideration for the first half of season MPV honors were doing their part to justify the support you guys threw their way.

Atlanta Needs "THE KIMMER" Back On-Air

January 3rd, 2011
9:40 am

If you voted for anyone other than Dustin Byfuglien or Ondrej Pavelec for the Thrashers First-Half MVP, you clearly haven’t been paying attention.

Zombie Steve

January 3rd, 2011
1:19 pm

My initial choice was Buff….but after additional analysis, I choose Pavs.

Zombie Steve

January 3rd, 2011
1:23 pm

WBF – Thorburn is an arguable case, Sopel…. not so much. His job doesn’t really go far beyond being a meat shield.

Thorburn, however, has transcended from a 4th line grinder into an impact player

ThrasherTim

January 3rd, 2011
2:31 pm

Great points here late on Thorburn. That guy does it all and has been winning a lot of board battles to start and continue cycles.

By the way, a weak game from Bergfors yesterday in Montreal. His time here has to be limited after 2-3 weeks of benching and not being able to change his ways.

R. Stroz

January 5th, 2011
10:22 pm

Rawhide

January 6th, 2011
11:15 am

R. Stroz – Nope.