OT win in Montreal helps to highlight online MVP debate

Saturday morning I asked you to tell us who you thought the Thrashers MVP was for the first part of the season. After offering up Dustin Byfuglien as my choice, the debate was on. Some agreed with me…however, most opined that it was goalie Ondrej Pavelec who was the team’s top performer over the first 41 games.

The discussion so far has been lively, to say the least…both in the blogosphere and in the twitterverse. Shortly after posting the piece, Thrasher TV contributor and 680 The Fan’s John Kincade tweeted to me his feelings on the matter.

“Is that REALLY a question? Buff is great but OP is the MVP, without him they are not in a playoff position!”

Evander Kane manages to get the puck past Montreal goaltender Carey Price despite being knocked to the ice by Candiens defensemen (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson)

Evander Kane manages to get the puck past Montreal goaltender Carey Price despite being knocked to the ice by Candiens defensemen (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson)

As I stated earlier, there were many like Kincade who cast their vote for Opie. And those who posted comments in support of the netminder did so with very, very compelling arguments. And while I still stand by my choice of Byfuglien for MVP over the initial 41 games, no one can dispute the fact that Opie’s play between the pipes has been nothing but MVP-esque.

And like I stated in the previous blog, “…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.”

There were also some who pointed out that Toby Enstrom should get some MVP love from Thrasherville as well. “He is the guy that allows Buff to push up”, frequent blog contributor Tom pointed out. “He is the guy who makes the best breakout passes on the team. He is the foundation of the power play”.

Cornbread even offered up a “none of the above” vote for a hard working forward who may not get the headlines but works his butt off night after night when he wrote, “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”, Cornbread continued. “Chris Thorburn is becoming one Hell of a Hockey Player.”

Our good buddy World be Free agreed and added, “[Thorburn] kills penalties, block shots, challenges forwards and pointmen in the defensive zone instead of standing there and letting them make plays.”

Captain Andrew Ladd got some MPV consideration, as did Bryan Little. But most votes when to Opie, Buff and Toby…in that order.

Now, the reason for this review of the hypothetical first half MVP from the previous blog is because of how Sunday afternoon’s game in Montreal played out. During the 4-3 overtime win over the Habs, it seemed like all the players we considered for the honors were doing their part to justify why they deserved to be a part of the debate.

Evander Kane celebrates with his two teammates that set up his second period goal, Chris Thorburn and Patrice Cormier. For Cormier, it was his first NHL point (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson)

Evander Kane celebrates with his two teammates that set up his second period goal, Chris Thorburn and Patrice Cormier. For Cormier, it was his first NHL point (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson)

First, there is The Buffinator scoring yet another game winning goal in overtime. That’s the third time he’s done so in the extra period and the sixth time he’s played the hero by notching a game-winner. It was also his sixth power play goal of the season.

If he continues on this pace, he is going to wind up with about 30 goals and 82 points. That, plus he’s a +8 after 42 games.

Then there’s Toby Enstrom who dished out, not one…not two…but three assists in the win. The first one came on a nice give-n-go play with Rich Peverley on his first period goal. Toby paid the price for the pass as he simply got rocked at the blueline just after dishing it back to Pevs. The last one, of course, was on Byfuglien’s game-winning blast in overtime. And as Tom would remind us, it came while on the power play.

Enstrom is currently on pace for 50+ assists on the year.

Not to be overlooked here is Captain Ladd’s goal with just second remaining in the second period gave the Thrashers a 3-2 lead heading into the second intermission. Late period goals are among the timeliest and, as things turned out, it was the goal that allowed them to get to overtime one period later.

Prior to Ladd’s goal, Thorburn’ work behind the net drew the attention of an extra defenseman which led to Evander Kane’s…scored as butt was in contact with the ice. Thorburn’s effort proved to be just enough for Patrice Cormier and Kane in front of the goal to get the job done.

For Cormier, earning the primary assist on the goal was his first-ever NHL point.

However…

None of this would have mattered one hill of beans if not for the continued amazing play of Pavelec, who was called upon 50 times he was called upon to turn aside a Canadiens’ shot…and 47 times he did so. He was assaulted with 16 SOG in the first and third periods, 17 in the second. Time and time again he denied Montreal the chance to take the lead and gave his skaters the chance to ultimately steal two points from a game they very easily could have lost.

Opie tied his career season win mark at 14 with the victory and he now has a .936 SV% and 2.14 GAA.

Ondrej Pavelec knocks aside one of the 50 Montreal shots he faced. The 47 saves made helped the Thrashers to their 21st win of the season and equaled his personal career mark in wins of 14 (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson)

Ondrej Pavelec knocks aside one of the 50 Montreal shots he faced. The 47 saves made helped the Thrashers to their 21st win of the season and equaled his personal career mark in wins of 14 (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson)

“[Pavelec’s] great every night”, Byfuglien said of his teammate. “He’s been stopping pucks for us all year long and that’s what we need. He gets the first one and we get the second one for him”.

“Our team’s all about having fun, working hard and playing together”, Buff added. “We’ve been doing all right this year”.

So, while we may continue to debate just who might or might not be the Thrashers first half of the season MVP, the same cast of characters have already begun to make their case for the second half and overall season MVP.

But one thing that cannot be debated is this: If Pavelec continues to kick out pucks to the degree he’s been doing… and Byfuglien continues to score big goals…. and Enstrom, Ladd, Thorburn, Little and [fill in any Thrashers player’s name here] continues to contribute their parts as well…we’ll be able to not only continue this debate for another three months and into April, but we’ll be able to argue which one was “most valuable” in getting this team into the playoffs.

Not a bad debate to have amongst friends, is it?

120 comments Add your comment

Zoomo

January 3rd, 2011
9:41 am

At this point of the season, Pavelec is the MVP. Stellar performance yesterday.

I sure hope the team starts to play better once they get some rest. Right now they look tired and unable to sustain any offensive pressure. Offensive zone puck position has been poor of late. Happy to win 2 of 3, but both wins were pretty ugly.

T

January 3rd, 2011
9:49 am

iamtheratio

January 3rd, 2011
9:59 am

I thought the Thrash hustled pretty well yesterday considering how fatigued everyone must be. However, the D must tighten up a bit and start only allowing 30 or less shots each game. This 50 shot crap needs to be corrected ASAP. It was still a BIG win but Pavs wont be able to stop that much rubber every night for the rest of the 40 or so games this season. AND we all know Mason can’t.

I was kinda of bummed yesterday when Corms didn’t get that goal and it was Kane. Even though it was a ridiculous play by Kane to score on his stomach. I really wanted Corms to get that first NHL goal.

Here’s hoping these few days off in Miami will be good for them. This Panthers team has been kinda decent lately (Last 10 games: 5-3-2) and Vokoun just shutout the Rangers 3-0.

World Be Free

January 3rd, 2011
10:02 am

Flash back to January 2010-all we were talking about was Kovy, “would he or wouldn’t he?”. Now the conversations are focused on the team, key players and coaches. So many different MVP candidates and contributors. And the fans are starting to show up again, less conversdation about the guy most fans want to run out of town. January 2011 is so much better, but we also have alotta work to do. Chris Versteeg maybe? Another Chicago boy with a heavy hand (Stanley Cup ring) would not hurt us.

Matt

January 3rd, 2011
10:03 am

OP is a GOD. Not THE God, but A god. That is exactly the kind of game this tired and struggling team needed. Can I switch my vote to Opie at this point for MVP?

Joe McGrath

January 3rd, 2011
10:22 am

Cornbread and WBF are on to something with Thor which leads me to wish Thor and Bogo could swap positions for the rest of the season–I’d feel much more comfortable.

Red Light

January 3rd, 2011
10:25 am

Enstrom about Pavelec…

“He has been playing really good for us every night. We haven’t been really helping him out much lately, but tonight (vs. Boston) he gave us a chance to win and we took it. It feels good to be back in the win column.

“The strong part about Pavelec, is that (even after allowing six goals in Pittsburgh) he comes back and plays hard. He wants to show everybody that he is among the the top goalies in the league.”

Will L

January 3rd, 2011
10:26 am

I initially was going to vote for Buff as first half mvp but when I thought about it for a second I had to go with Pavs. Buff has played Norris caliber so far but even more than that Pavs has been a ROCK, steady and consistent all season since he returned from the concussion. How many times have we been able to say that about a Thrashers goalie??

:)

January 3rd, 2011
10:43 am

Yeah, Buff’s been good but Pavelec’s been really amazing. If Tim Thomas wasn’t having such a crazy season, Pavelec would be the best goalie in the league. That’s just incredible.

Thrashers27

January 3rd, 2011
10:47 am

As I stated before, I cast my vote for OP. I also think OP should be a candidate for the All Star Game, but it’s not looking like he’ll get there. Which is ridiculous, considering that the only other goalie who has numbers even close to his is Tim Thomas….hopefully, he’ll be a “captain’s choice” under the new format.

ZAvalanche

January 3rd, 2011
10:54 am

The most important player on any team has to be the goalie and OP has been stellar. OP has been the #1 P.K. player and deserves the MVP. Buffy is fantastic and I can see why he is getting nods and as I have stated before, he is a brilliant acquisition.

However there is a problem with this latest win; there is NO reason that the 5 skating out of the net should ever allow 50 shots on goal. If that is a trend that continues, OP, as any other keeper in the league, is going to struggle. The D needs to tighten up and block more shots. Montreal is a good team but not great and there is no reason OP has to get that much rubber. He was lights-out AWESOME in that game! Definitely the MVP to this point.

Tom

January 3rd, 2011
10:54 am

I wonder if Dud’s is having trouble getting a dance partner for a trade. After he fleeced Chicago and New Jersey other GM’s must be wary of looking stupid on the other end of a Dudley/Thrasher trade.

That being said, I agree with World Be Free and am enjoying this January so much more than last January.

Here is hoping the boys are sitting on a nice warm beach in Florida nursing their hangovers and enjoying their days off. They definitely deserve it after the November and December they have gone through.

Zim

January 3rd, 2011
11:05 am

MVP is just fun fan fodder in my book. There have been some articulate and compelling arguments, but truth of the matter is that hockey (especially the hockey the Thrashers are playing) is a team game.

Without Pavelec’s goal-saving heroics, Byfuglien doesn’t get a chance to make a game-winning play. Without Byfuglien and company’s offensive success and help clearing the crease, then Ondrej cannot be giant in net.

The current focus of sports media in our age (looking at you ESPN) is to individualize the game; any game, really. As sports fans, we are funneled into a narrow scope of endless individualistic promotion.

Hockey is one of the few sports that held tradition to the representation of a team longer into electronic age than any other mainstream sport. Now, with sadness, I fear the individualistic branding of Sid vs. Ovi is replacing the more traditional draw of… say… Detroit vs. Colorado or Boston vs. Montreal.

The Thrashers have a had a different MVP each and every night. Many times it has been Pavelec, on other nights Dustin Byfuglien… Or how about Eric Boulton vs. New Jersey? Mason during the first stretch of games this season? Sopel and Hainsey as the best third pairing in the league? Anthony Stewart’s explosion offensively? Kane’s young leadership and grit? Peverley, Slater, Bogosian, Oduya, even Bergfors… I can think of games in which every Thrashers has stepped up and been a shifts most valuable player.

A fair argument can be made for Pavs and for Buff and for Toby, but my MVP is the Thrasher that steps up on Wednesday and creates an opportunity for two points in the standings.

Tom Lysiak

January 3rd, 2011
11:21 am

Let’s hope we hear something REALLY SOON on the long-term deals for Ladd and Buff. Jan 1st has come and gone, now let’s get this done.

On the fence about MVP. I voted for Buff and it seems the team goes as he goes. I love his attitude about playing in ATL also. But, I couldn’t argue that OP has been our rock either. Great argument to have….

Adam

January 3rd, 2011
11:28 am

While I do agree that OP & Buff have been playing at an MVP caliber level I cast my vote to Ladd. The reason being that I believe that his leadership since being name captain has been the catalyst for the results the team is seeing.

That being said I think the D needs a shake up. Either through line changes, call ups or a trade/signing. The D line of Johnny O & Bogo needs to be split ASAP. I’d like to see Hainsey moved up to the second pairing and move Bogo down to the 3rd.

Every team in the conference has games in hand on us and 6 of the next 10 are division games. They really need points in all 6 of those.

Red Light

January 3rd, 2011
11:34 am

BRAVO ZIM! You have articulated what I have felt along, that the NHL is trying to sell individuals!

“The current focus of sports media in our age (looking at you ESPN) is to individualize the game; any game, really. As sports fans, we are funneled into a narrow scope of endless individualistic promotion.

Hockey is one of the few sports that held tradition to the representation of a team longer into electronic age than any other mainstream sport. Now, with sadness, I fear the individualistic branding of Sid vs. Ovi is replacing the more traditional draw of… say… Detroit vs. Colorado or Boston vs. Montreal.”

In fact, that’s my biggest problem with the whole idea of bastardizing the Winter Classic as the “showcase” game for the NHL. It does nothing more than create a circus for one regular season game. That much focus on one game is ridiculous, as is not mentioning one of the best young players in the game — Nicklas Backstrom — during the entire telecast.

To a person, the players and coaches, all spouted the company line about the game. The telecast and camera angles were brutal, and if I hear Emrick scream about a 60-foot shot that has no chance of going in one more time this season, I am going to throw up.

One of my favorite discussions came last year with Nashville’s Jerred Smithson, who said the following…

““You watch the sport, and it’s always Ovechkin vs. Crosby this Sunday [on the TV promos]. With us, it’s the Nashville Predators take on Sidney Crosby. We don’t have those star guys. We’ve got some good players and some great young players that probably will be stars and maybe one day might get those huge pay days, but right now it’s just 20 guys that work hard. In our locker room it doesn’t matter who’s making what, or who gets the credit, and I think that’s a huge thing.

“I’ve played on teams before where some guys were selfish and wanted the goals, the money and all of the attention. Our team is the exact opposite. We’ve got 20 great guys in the room and it makes life a lot easier. There are no cliques and we have a tight-knit group here and I think it’s definitely paying off,” the Vernon, B.C., native said.

“Nashville’s a blue-collar city and I guess you could say we are a blue-collar team. We do make a lot of money and are very fortunate to have that opportunity, but in the big picture compared to other teams we’re fairly low on the totem pole when it comes to salaries,” Smithson related. “I know the fans appreciate our work ethic and we appreciate their support. They are always behind us 100 percent whether we’re losing 5-0 or up 5-0.”

Red Light

January 3rd, 2011
11:36 am

Got a floater Trixie, with a big pat on the back for Zim’s fabulous post!

Zoomo

January 3rd, 2011
11:41 am

I don’t disagree that Bogo / Oduya need a switch. That pairing has a high combined +/. But at this point I’d rather see us give Kulda or Postma a shot with Johnny O. Bogo is playing very tentatively. Maybe sit him for a bit. Meyer hasn’t looked like a good fill in to date.

Whatever we do, don’t break up Hainsey/Sopel. Sopel has been the perfect partner for Hainsey.

Trixie (Rawhide's Secretary)

January 3rd, 2011
11:43 am

Mr. Red Light – Your lengthy yet quite articulate 11:34 am post has been freed from Blog Pergatory.

And please be careful when using the term “floater”. I had no idea whether you needed a comment freed up or a plunger sent to the men’s room.

Zoomo

January 3rd, 2011
11:43 am

>>The telecast and camera angles were brutal
Total agreement. I could hardly follow the puck. The cameras were too far away.

Dwayne

January 3rd, 2011
11:44 am

As I posted last year(2010) the games in hand are a concern, but still a lot of hockey to play and it depends on what the other teams do with the games in hand.
Dont blame Bogo for Giontas goal, Gionta MUSCLED him out of the way….haha.
you cant spell mVP with out PaV!!!!

World Be Free

January 3rd, 2011
11:47 am

Tom-I forgot to mention that we do not have Todd White in our conversations this year as well. I will never forget the hairy eyeball Todd threw at Rawhide last year after White was the blog subject of his own futility.

Back to Chris Versteeg-he is on play now, Tronna needs younger, cheaper players. Versteeg is 24 years old and makes some good money. What would this team be with another guy who can open space? My issue-he will cost alot, probably a number 1 pick and I am loathe to give up number ones, unless we are clearly in the hunt for the Cup.

Rawhide

January 3rd, 2011
11:56 am

OK gang…as promised, the Thrashers are once again extending to us great deals on all 5 games in January.

Just like last time, click –>HERE<-- and enter promo code RAWHIDE.

See ya'll Friday night!

ZAvalanche

January 3rd, 2011
12:05 pm

@Zim – Well said and I agree. As an Avs fan (Thrashers too) I LOVED the older Colorado-Detroit matches, even if it were the regular season it felt like game 7 of the finals every time. But you have to remember that even in the 80’s the Gretzky-Dionne rivalry was billed as two players VS each other and not just the teams. But you are right about the individualization of the sport and I hope it is kept to a minimum. On the other hand – any press the NHL can get to have people pay attention to it is good press. Hands down the best game on tv any night.

iamtheratio

January 3rd, 2011
12:05 pm

Rawhide, they might need to work a few kinks out of those offers. I keep getting the message You have reached your ticket limit for this event. each time I try to find tickets.

World Be Free

January 3rd, 2011
12:08 pm

Cormier could very well end up being my favorite Thrasher before too long.

Joe Friday

January 3rd, 2011
12:12 pm

“Hockey is one of the few sports that held tradition to the representation of a team longer into electronic age than any other mainstream sport. Now, with sadness, I fear the individualistic branding of Sid vs. Ovi is replacing the more traditional draw of… say… Detroit vs. Colorado or Boston vs. Montreal.”

“Cormier could very well end up being my favorite Thrasher before too long.”

Buf and Ladd are going to be my favs for a long time (hopefully) but I am with you on Cormier, he is going to be a player and it’s easy to see why Dudley was so high on him. He was the prize in the Kovy deal.
Bingo. Always cheer for the crest on the front, not the name on the back. The players will come and go, we should be more in tune with this right now than most seeing how we have a team now, instead of that one name individual we had in the past.

Rawhide

January 3rd, 2011
12:13 pm

iamtheratio – I will forward that issue to them right away. Thanks.

Zim – Excellent points, my friend. As a whole I 100% agree with your comments about hockey being a team sport and the league focusing too much on certain individuals and individual matchups…cough…Crosby…cough…Ovechkin…
Saturday night I, my wife and a few others were making that comment while watching the Winter Classic held in Pittsburgh. There are really some great young & exciting teams out there that the NHL could very easily be promoting as well. Seems they think the average sports fan can’t get past a select few teams/players.

However, in holding this little online debate between Opie or Buff or Ladd or Toby being a theroectical first half MVP, the discussions themselves highlight that very point…that it has been a team effort involved so far because it tough to pick one clear “winner” to many. Thus, the real reason for the conversation.

Thrashers27

January 3rd, 2011
12:20 pm

Right on, Zim! That’s why I love this game, because it is about “TEAM”. Basketball, football are totally about individuals, even baseball to a degree spends too much time focused on individuals.

Hockey Rules!

bartdunwoody

January 3rd, 2011
12:30 pm

MVPerson would have to be Duds for putting all of this together.From the Kovy trade until now it is quite a remarkable job well done.

World Be Free

January 3rd, 2011
12:54 pm

Cormier was real good on faceoffs in the Bruins’ game. He is the full package as long as he can start scoring.

I normally don’t go for MVPs, but to me, this team won’t be anywhere with Pavs. Hockey goaltending is the hardest position in all of team sports and when you have a great goalie, you have the difference. Look at Buffalo, last season Miller was lights out and the Sabres were in first place. This year, Miller has been good but not lights out and the Sabres have fallen. If Buff played 30 minutes a game like Chara, I would nominate Buff-but he doesn’t. Sat behind the goal for the Broones game; Pavs performance removed any doubt that I may have had that he is our MVP, so far.

If he keeps this up, be will become like other elite goaltenders-he will start to get inside the heads of the opposing players; just like Hasek did.

Hollywould

January 3rd, 2011
12:57 pm

Pavelec is the man. Considering he is playing behind Sopel, Bogo, O’duya, and doing what he has done is incredible. Make a move Dudley/going nowhere with these guys on defense.

tommyt4

January 3rd, 2011
1:06 pm

Speaking of Todd White, I received a text from a bud back home in Hartford who has season tix to the Connecticut Whale (Rangers affiliate). Charmin has been sent down by NY and was replaced by Mats Zuccarello, who some of you may remember was quite exciting to watch during the olympics. Turns out being on Bill’s milk carton may not have been the low point for Mr. White…

Brendan

January 3rd, 2011
1:20 pm

Gotta keep on winning, as teams around us start to make up those games-in-hand.

iamtheratio

January 3rd, 2011
1:21 pm

Hollywould, I wouldn’t knock on Sopel or O’duya as much as Bogey. Both Sopes and O’duya have been pretty sound back there, especially with the amount of shots Sopel will get in front of. I even remember him diving down on Kovy’s one-timed PPG during the NJ game at Philips. If that thing would have hit him in the face he probably would have died. Yet, the puck was maybe 1 inch away from his face as he tries to block it.

You definitely need guys in this league that will do everything they can to block shots and make the right play. Have they made mistakes? Oh of course they have, everyone on this team has made a mistake or more, but they usually make the high percentage/safe play.

Bogey however is a bit of a different story, I’ll let you have that one. :)

World Be Free

January 3rd, 2011
1:40 pm

Time to contact the Islanders about what it would take to get Matt Moulson.

Mike W

January 3rd, 2011
1:42 pm

Not sure what hollywould has been watching with that comment about Sopel. He’s one of the hardest working D Men we’ve ever had. Just because he doesn’t put points up doesn’t mean he’s not contributing

KLS1

January 3rd, 2011
1:49 pm

We all better hope that Pavs is the MVP of this team if we get in the playoffs.

We could go pretty far riding a hot goalie!

kreedham

January 3rd, 2011
1:49 pm

How about Atlanta-Calgary in the Winter Classic?

Thrashers27

January 3rd, 2011
1:53 pm

Leighton on waivers according to Eklund. I say grab him and trade Mason.

Zombie Steve

January 3rd, 2011
1:56 pm

Pavs. I’m still rubbing my eyes to make sure that’s the same kid from last year!

cousin Eddie

January 3rd, 2011
2:08 pm

I’m a big fan of the whole Thrashers team being MVPs. No more individuals for this franchise. That is what killed this team in the first place. The Thrasher players and the coaches are my MVPs.

Not a big fan of Versteeg. I like his skill, but I question his impact on the locker room. I already think E.Kane is cocky enough, just imagine adding Versteeg to that. I like Matt Moulson. The kid has earned every good thing said about him.

As far a defense goes, I think it wouldn’t hurt to bring up Kulda to give Bogo some rest and time to learn from high above. I say Kulda because Bogo has more or less turned into a stay-at-home defensemen and Oduya has my trust as an offensive minded dman. So, I think Kulda would be the best fit and not interrupt anything in Ramsay’s system.

SomaAtl95

January 3rd, 2011
2:17 pm

“How about Atlanta-Calgary in the Winter Classic?”
Great idea kreedham, they could combine the Winter Classic and Heritage Classic to the same game, since it would be 2 Atlanta teams playing each other. Calgary can say what they want, they stole our first team and I hope we beat them for years to come.

AtlFlamesFan

January 3rd, 2011
2:19 pm

OP is the current MVP. Hopefully the D will tighten and he will not be called upon so often.

>>The telecast and camera angles were brutal
I too was getting nauseous watching the game. I was trying to figure out who to call at NBC to bitch about it. The NHL is using that game as a showcase, and if serious hockey fans cannot follow the game, how the hell can novices? The live game should only be shown via center ice camera. All those other angles should be reserved for replays only. I noticed they quit using that overhead camera in the 3rd period. Maybe they fired the director after the 2nd period.

7:30 tonight on the NHL Network is USA vs Canada in the semifinals of the World Junior Championships. USA…USA…USA….

Thrashers Fan

January 3rd, 2011
2:21 pm

GO Thrashers, Come oooooooooooooooooooooooooon. Keep up with a good work. This is going to be an exciting year.

litz

January 3rd, 2011
2:26 pm

kreedham – now THAT would be interesting …

Cornbread

January 3rd, 2011
2:36 pm

Good stuff folks and thanks for the plug Rawhide. Very nice Zim. But at the same time, I’ve heard from a lot of non-hockey fans that 24/7 and the Winter Classic have opened their eyes to hockey being the last professional true team sport. I agree about Ovie/Sid and think that’s why so many pull against them. Kinda like Tiger Woods, you don’t have to like him or be a fan of theirs but you gotta respect them if your a fan of the game. The constant individual hype gets old to those of us that follow the game, but, for those who don’t, I think it attracts increased interest.

That is also one reason why I hope the NHL stays on Versus. It is their marquee sports package and they have become very good at it. Put it on ESPN and it gets less dedication or buried or fluffed-up or hyped into the latest soap opera of Kovalchuk. Don’t get me wrong, I’d like to see hockey on ESPN because I think it will help the sport grow, but only a game or two a week and as a secondary outlet.

Thankfully the Winter Classic is only once a year. It attracts great interest from fans and non-fans alike which can only help the sport grow and keep all of those Southern franchises from moving back to Canada. You know it will have succeeded when the Thrashers play the Habs in the GA Dome. Hell will truly have frozen over. But as a true hockey fan I have found the hockey in all four events to be less than NHL caliber. It’s slow and gimmicky but maybe that helps with the non-fan learning this very fast game.

As for the MVP, I think all the Thrashers are worthy candidates. They have all bought into the team concept before Coach Ramsay got a hold of them in training camp – think Big Buff hoisting the Stanley Cup in a Thrashers’ jersey before he even set foot in the ATL. I like Chris Thorburn because he is that ultimate team guy. He is out there every night giving 110% and doing whatever it takes to get the team win and often goes unrecognized for his effort, unlike some flashy individual goal scorers of the past.

The Coach made some great points yesterday in his two-part interview with Darrin Elliot. He commented on where the team is – ahead of where he expected – and what needs to be done to get them to the next level. Of note was broadening individual roles to benefit the team on special teams and working on neutral zone play to keep the puck from getting in the Thashers’ zone as easily and often.

I like this team’s D-zone play and breakout. I truly believe it is the best I have ever seen from the Thrashers despite the high shots and goals against. Pavs is going to stop the first one and – sometimes spectacularly – the second and third, but the D and forwards, the team, have been there “fronting” all year to clear out much of the garbage. They have options on the breakout and it is becoming a thing of beauty to watch. The problem is they have been doing all of it too much. Increase the time and puck possession in the other end and make the other team turn it over in the neutral zone. Do that and you will cut down on the shots against and scoring chances dramatically.

Who wouldn’t like to see that? It’s the difference between good and great teams. Play good defence before the puck gets in your zone. It’s not a trap or a lock but smart and confident team play… quick pressure on the puck carrier from all, third man high, pinching D down the wall, hold the blue lines, gap control, sticks in lanes… Pressure off of a too young but highly skilled Zach Bogosian in his own zone anyone? It all starts with the team’s play away from their end.

This Coach knows that and he knows how to get it done from everyone. What’s more important is this team will listen to him – no more crying about rolling four lines. They now have the time to work on their game and get back to Atlanta Thrashers’ hockey, unlike the ridiculous schedule of the past month that took not only a physical toll but also caused them to get away from all those “little things” and revert back to bad habits. The schedule is now in their favor. They have the least amount of playoff contenders to face in the league at 23, which they have fared very well against going 13-11-6, and still get to play 17 softies – 9 at home.

The Atlanta Thrashers are a very good hockey team. They are going to the playoffs this year. And, if they can put it all together at the right time, they may just find themselves as the South East Division Champions again. They have set themselves up nicely for it in the first half with solid team play. I expect they will only get better and more importantly I believe the players and coaches not only expect it but know it too.

Cornbread

January 3rd, 2011
2:39 pm

NOOO! Why is this happening to me!? Uh, Trixie, Rawhide… a lttle help again please at 2:37…

Hollywould

January 3rd, 2011
3:04 pm

Mike W, Sopel is so slow it drives me nuts. There are plenty of “hard-working” players in the league but that does not equal out to production. What bothers me is he cannot get the puck out of our end
and neither can O’duya.

Thrashers27

January 3rd, 2011
3:14 pm

Bogosian is the worst at getting it out of the defensive zone. I cringe everytime he is trying to clear the puck. Gotta say he looked a tad better in Montreal though.

Joe McGrath

January 3rd, 2011
3:18 pm

How about the Anti-MVP? For me it’s 1. Bogosian–he is becoming more and more a liability every shift of every stinking game, he’s just plain lazy. I think he simply doesn’t process information too fast.
2. Mason–he’s soft. 3. Tie betwen Modin & Antropov–however its not all Antro’s fault, I think he returned too early from his injury. Modin is currently doing a good job deflecting and occasionally scores, but it’s agonizing to watch him play. I’m not hating, really. I am simply looking at the liabilities and these guys seem to need some attention, and maybe some shake-up. I think the idea of swapping Hainey and Bogo is a good idea. Ufortunatley, we’re stuck with Mason, and if OP goes down–the ship sinks. There’s 3 months left in this thing and we need to beat Flyers, Lightning, Caps and Pens, not just Leafs, Sens and Isles.

Hollywould

January 3rd, 2011
3:25 pm

Joe, I laughed on ” I think he simply doesn’t process information too fast.” He has to pick it up
and fast. You are right. He is a liability.

Smoothie

January 3rd, 2011
3:37 pm

Speaking of Calgary, eventhough they’ve been winning of late, I could see them being a potential trade partner if they start to falter again. Two guys I wouldn’t mind having would be Cory Sarich (D) and Curtis Glencross, who would help us alleviate our scoring depth problem on the 3rd line. Although he isn’t a RW, he is a solid two-way forward with good size, respectable speed and the ability to score 15-20 goals on an aggressive, more offensively geared team.

Don’t laugh. Dudley once traded with Buffalo to get Sarich in Tampa and he helped them win a Cup as part of their 2nd pairing I believe. He’s a right-handed shot which we’d need if we’re gonna carry 8 d-men as Meyer is a lefty. But Sarich is a very solid stay-at-home guy who can add some bulk and toughness in front of the net. Bogosian doesn’t seem to use leverage in his lower body very well to move bodies from the crease and I’d like to see a guy like Sarich to free up Oduya from having to do so much heavy lifting. Bogey should honestly get some games at forward for reasons I mentioned on the previous blog.

We’ve got some prospects Cgy might be intrigued by and unless Feaster is going to be a complete dick to Dudley (as he has already crapped on him in the press), I think there might be some room for a deal to help both teams. The salaries aren’t ridiculous and Sarich has another year left on his deal. Make the deal in the next couple of weeks and the ASG would only be on the hook for roughly 1/2 the $5 M in salary they make combined. Our line-up might look like this (oh yeah, bring up Spencer Machacek and say goodbye to Stapleton for good).

Ladd-Little-Antro

Glencross-Pevs-Stewy

Kaner-Cormier-Thorbs/Bogey

Boults-Burmy/Slates-Modin/Thorbs

Co-MVP’s not named Pavs

Oduya & Sarich

Hains & Sopes

Also, this allows you lots of flexibility in giving Sopel, Sarich and even Hainsey some nights off when there are 3 games in 4 or 5 days. Bogey can play some D and some forward as well as Meyer who hasn’t really been that effective. Then again, perhaps Meyer should go back in the trade with Cgy for their depth.

Jake

January 3rd, 2011
4:22 pm

I’m still shocked at the number of shots the Thrashers are allowing. They are habitually outshot, and over a full season that has to hurt their prospects for the playoffs. Obviously Ramsey’s got a plan offensively, but who’s minding the store on defense? If it keeps up at this rate, Pavelec will have to be treated for Post Traumatic Shock Syndrome.

Alan R.

January 3rd, 2011
4:25 pm

a. I noticed a little funny business with the shot clock in MTL yesterday. We somehow only registered five shots in the first, and four in the third. Now, MTL had quite a bit of zone time, but we certainly had more than nine shots in those two periods.

b. I completely understand picking at Bogosian, but picking the Montreal game to do it is bad timing. Bogosian made some good plays yesterday breaking up a couple odd-man rushes that could have found their way into the back of our net. I’m not saying Bogosian is a hero in this game, mind you. He had problems. But picking this game to rag on Bogosian makes the arguments look rather silly, at best.

Rawhide

January 3rd, 2011
4:57 pm

Cornbread – Your Brendan-esque novel just got freed from Blog Purgatory. :lol:

iamtheratio – Try the RAWHIDE ticket offer link now. Looks like they got the kinks worked out. Thanks again for the tipoff on that.

Joe McGrath

January 3rd, 2011
5:14 pm

@Alan R., not picking on Bogo cuz of his play yesterday, I didn’t see the game. I’m simply amazed at some of the things he just doesn’t do, like take a body moving ion on net. He has flashes of briliance. But one thing is a constant, that in nearly every game, he WILL miss the trailer and as that trailer scores, Bogo is usually standing there, alone and usually about eight feet away from the goal, looking at the shiney red light.

Joe McGrath

January 3rd, 2011
5:31 pm

@Smoothie, absolutely, but I don’t think we need Glencross–we just need Bergfors to do whatever the heck it is Rammer wants him to do. Just Sarich would be enough to make me happy. Sarich instead of Bogo might even solve the Mason problem. FOr now, I’d be happy with calling up Kulda and sitting Bogo for a 3-4 game stint (just to see what happens). And for all you who think “dumb arse with another 30 year old D for our young D guy.” Let me tell you that the day I found out we shipped Coburn to Philly made me vomit. That move was simply tragic. Imagine if we had Coburn right now–just imagine. But I digress. Bogo is OK as a D, a 3rd pairing D man, but he’s ok and he’s got several years to develop and hopefully he will. I just think our D needs tightening. We ARE taking WAAAAAAy to many shots. Fact.

Red Light

January 3rd, 2011
5:50 pm

Smoothie:

World Be Free and I discussed Sarich at length in the distant past and you’re right on target with him. Glencross not so much! His offensive production continues to slip during the past three seasons as has his propensity to hit.

And just so I go on record with my thoughts about Enstrom (and to infuriate Joe Friday a bit more) I just posted “Six NHL Players That Deserve All-Star Recognition”

http://sportssoutheast.com/index.php/red-light-report/59-nhl/240-six-nhl-players-that-deserve-all-star-recognition

Lastly, the Rangers sent down d-man Michael Del Zotto today and recalled Ryan McDonagh. What will they think of next?

Cornbread

January 3rd, 2011
6:59 pm

Thanks Rawhide. Whew! That was a long one. So that is why posts get sent to time-out?

There’s lots of talk today about D-men and high number of shots against. Buried in that novel, I posted some very insightful information from Coach Ramsay on cutting down shots and scoring chances. Yes, playing D has a lot to do when the puck is in your zone but just as if not more important is keeping the puck out. Elite teams and defensive oriented teams do this quite well with three and four guys clogging lanes in the neutral zone. They cause turnovers and go back on the attack. The Thrashers never have and right now, mainly do to fatigue and lack of practice on their system, they are letting the puck in far too often and easily. This not only puts pressure on the goalies and D-men but it tires out the forwards who can’t go back on the attack.

The D men certainly play a role in keeping the puck out by holding the blue line and keeping the gaps tight in the NZ but it takes support from all of the forwards. They have to have the jump to get back. The third man needs to be high so he can cut-off the the break-out on the half wall or cover for a pinching D-man going down the wall on the forecheck. The weak side wing needs to be in position to get ahead or pressure from the side once they do break-out into the NZ. When did you ever see Kovy do any of this?

Fatigue causes guys to collapse and getting too low makes the D-men back out early and allow the opposition space and speed through the NZ. Then the fowards have to race to the other end of the ice behind the play and often don’t have the energy to gain the red line when they do get possesion. Shots and scoring chances pile up. Fatigue is a viscious cycle. The best way to prevent it when you are tired and broken like the Thrashers have been is to play D in the other two zones besides your own.

Coach Ramsay is aware of this and it is just the next step in making this team better. Thankfully they will now have the time needed to rest, work on their structure, and adjust by implementing new systems. Let’s hope it’s soon because as an old D-man, I’m getting tired of all the D bashing. Bogo will benefit the most from this. Trade Sopel? Please.

Alan R.

January 3rd, 2011
7:15 pm

McGrath, my comment wasn’t necessarily directed towards you. I was just pointing out that last game, he actually looked better than he has.

It’s not enough, but it’s a start.

Rawhide

January 3rd, 2011
7:15 pm

So that is why posts get sent to time-out?

Cornbreadshrugs…Gee, I wish I knew. No swearing, no inappropiate context…you haven’t been blacklisted for foul and/or abusive context.

It was rather long, but the again, Brendan’s get through…pow-ZING!. I kid, I kid, B-Man.

It has caught a nuber of what we refer to as faux-posts. Those are automated posts that are designed to link to advertisement. They go something like, “I like your post. You are saying very interesting facts. I will fllow more. You may read more here [and then there's a link to some sight in a far off land soliciting God knows what].

The spam filter picks that kinda crap up pretty good. But sometimes it also gets “normal” and appropriate posts too on occations.

Joe McGrath

January 3rd, 2011
8:04 pm

Alan R., didn’t take it directly. I really like him and wish him the best of luck, but he’s been so disappointing. Now with the advent of DVR, me and McGrath jr. scope out who is ultimately at fault for GAs. Sometimes the opposition just out hustles. But we’ve noticed lately (this season really) that he just doesn’t play the body–he approaches a step slow then attempts a stick check. I guess I always thought he’d develop into a Scott Stevens style D man, but he just doesn’t seem to have that killer instinct. Eff it. I’m done bashing on ZB. I pray to my Hockey God that he comes into his own this next half, and that OP stays healthy.

Hokie P. Clisters

January 3rd, 2011
9:41 pm

Rammer stated that one of his biggest concerns was not getting enough rest for Ladd, Peverly, etc. Said these guys were playing too much. Injuries (Antro) and other things have hampered his plans. Coach was certainly upfront with his assessment. Not sure if this means that Bergie, Eager and/or Meyer will play more or that the schedule just slows down somewhat in January from Nov/Dec’s hectic pace. Will be interesting to see how it unfolds. Rammer doesn’t seem to have alot of confidence in playing the above three guys (they usually only play now out of dire neccessity). Bogo could give Buff a break on more PP. Buff looks totally gassed out there at times. Bogo has the shot and has performed there fairly well in the past. I’m sure Rammer is concerned with Burmy playing a full NHL schedule. Cormier can give us a lift plus more minutes if he continues to progress. I believe that Thorburn will get more minutes. Unfortunately there is no option available to rest Toby….Coach would have to drag him off the ice anyway.

Nate

January 3rd, 2011
9:55 pm

Evander Kane on NHL LIve tomorrow on NHL network at noon. Just a heads up.

Hokie P. Clisters

January 3rd, 2011
10:05 pm

OP is the current MVP. Pavs has always proved to be durable (except for your isolated faintng spell) but hopefully Malarchuk is watching him like a hawk. Got to ride a hot goalie but would be nice if Mason warmed up.

Smoothie

January 3rd, 2011
10:37 pm

“This Coach knows that and he knows how to get it done from everyone. What’s more important is this team will listen to him – no more crying about rolling four lines. They now have the time to work on their game and get back to Atlanta Thrashers’ hockey, unlike the ridiculous schedule of the past month that took not only a physical toll but also caused them to get away from all those “little things” and revert back to bad habits.”

Cornbread – very astute comments for sure. I watched the 2nd part of the DVR’ed interview with Rammer and it was reassuring to hear his comments. As someone above pointed out, he mentioned how Pevs, Ladd and Little have had to play too much. There is no doubt about that. You just know Laddy and Buff are gassed after playing what amounts to another 1/2 season after April 12th and they carried our butts to 1st place (albeit briefly) with their play.

Another reason I want to get defensive depth — aside from losing confidence in ZBo — is that Sopel can’t keep going without losing his effectiveness I’m afraid. He looked very tired in the Montreal game and that was the worst I’ve seen Hainsey & Sopes look in quite awhile. What’s frustrating the most about Bogosian is that he is getting pigeon-holed as the “stay at home” guy because Oduya is the better stick-handler and a very good skater. Zach skating is better than average but he doesn’t have the elusiveness unless at top speed of a JO or a TE. It’s no wonder that his best play was alongside that tiny Swede who gets tiny credit too much of the time.

Byfuglien has been amazing, no doubt about that. But if you watch your DVR’d games — what? you don’t watch them two and three times like me!! ;) — and just iso Toby, you’ll see that he rarely makes a boneheaded play, the wrong pass, coughs up the puck, misses a check, misses a stick etc. He’s almost always doing his job at a high level. The only time he gets abused is on the PK when he has to be stationary for long periods and gets outmuscled in front (he can’t help that), but he more than holds his own with his stick-work, extremely strong legs and quickness. I’m always amazed at how physical he is in the corners and how well he separates the puck carrier from the puck. Bogey, Hainsey and even Big Buff at times need to learn to do this better if we want to be more than just a “playoff appearance” team.

R/L & WBF — glad you intelligent fellas agree with my take on Sarich. May be a bit pricey for the ASG though. Is there a guy out there like him or a Beauchemin who makes less than $3 M / year? BTW, I think Glencross has some good hockey in him but he’s had no reason to play with extended periods of passion for how long now? Since CGY got bounced by CHI two years ago in the playoffs, they’ve been pretty much awful. I bet he’s sick of playing for conservative, play-not-to-lose teams like CBJ’s and CGY. I think the change of scenery could help him a la Jason Chimera. We need his size and speed. He’s more skilled than Eager and 10 goals for the 2nd half would be a nice obtainable stretch goal playing with Pevs and/or Little.

Smoothie

January 3rd, 2011
10:43 pm

Bill, your spam monster is HOOOONGRAY!! Good Lord I lose every post it seems. Alas, it was as long as one of Brendan’s! ;-)

R/L — looks like Moulson is auditioning for us in CGY tonite with 2 goals already. He was only signed for one year, correct? I don’t think they could come to terms on a LT deal, imagine that? Wang Chung tonite.

PS — just think of how good our team could be if Duds could’ve gotten a Dennis Seidenberg or someone of his ilk to play with Oduya on the 2nd pairing. But we’ve got too much invested in Bogosian and it’s time for him to elevate his game. I said at the beginning of the year that we could be a playoff team if he could play more like a bonafide top 4 guy and not a developing rookie. We see flashes and glimpses, but as Mike del Zotto would tell you, learning this blueline business ain’t easy as such a young whippersnapper!!

Red Light

January 3rd, 2011
11:18 pm

Moulson is a finisher more than a playmaker, like a left-handed Bergey with a bit more gumption. But, at $2.45 million for one year and a late blooming 9th-rounder to boot, I’m just not certain what the upside is. I like the kid but wonder what his ceiling might be? Last year’s 30-goal campaign. I gotta go back to wanting a bonafide playmaker, like I have said before.

If Buffalo doesn’t improve its standing in the next month, I’d say it’s high time to go after Montador. Only 31 and $1.55 million!!!

He’s World Be Free Approved.

Red Light

January 3rd, 2011
11:19 pm

BTW, Moulson is 27

hockeyguru

January 4th, 2011
6:05 am

Tie between Pavelec and Byfuglien–the goaltending to give us the chance to win, and the scoring/leadership/toughness to produce the win. Both players have been absolutely essential to us in the first half of the season–and will be crucial in the second half.

World Be Free

January 4th, 2011
8:57 am

Hey guys, Montador was the defenseman Buff undressed on the OT goal against the Sabres. Buffalo is looking to deal a defenseman, especially if they continue to slide. Sabres have a knack of not making a move to improve when they need to. Roy leaves a big hole at center, especially since Connolly is once again coming off injury.

Cory Sarich-now there is a defenseman, good hitter and physical all around. Overpaid (a bit) in Calgary, as the Flames have a tendency to do. Hated when the Sabres traded Cory and he would be a fine addition here. But we have to subtract to make space for him.

Matt Moulson would be a rental, great to think of him long term. We have to see if the boys with the money pony up for Ladd and Buff. Get Moulson, if for his name if nothing else.

Smoothie

January 4th, 2011
10:15 am

If there is a defenseman named Labatt, I’m all in for Moulson and Labatt!

Moulson would be a fine rental, but NYI would probably want our #1. Don’t know how the 2011 draft class stacks up but I haven’t read where anyone says it’s deeper than 2010. It might be worth the risk to trade for Moulson at the deadline if we are still top 8. His hands would be real nice complement to Pevs’ passing and Stewy’s speed.

Ladd — Little — Antro

Moulson — Pevs — Stewy

Kaner — Cormier — Thorbs

Boults — Burmy — Slates/Modin

Problem is, in Ramsay’s system where he prefers having 4 lefties and 4 righties to play on the wings, we would need a RW and Moulson is left-handed right? Hard commodity to come by. Oh wait, what about this Bergfors fella? He did seem to play better when reunited with Ladd and Little.

Tom

January 4th, 2011
10:42 am

A letter to the Thrasher’s fan went out today from the Atlanta Spirit Group:

My response concerning the Thrashers is, if you want us to come to the games and your goal is the Stanley Cup, you have the start making the financial investment into the team and not be the 30th team in payroll. Sign Buff and Laddy and the core long term and see if you can land a free agent.

You do this Phillips will be full all season long:

The letter:

As we begin 2011, we wanted to take time to express our appreciation for your support of the Hawks and the Thrashers, and to look forward to what the future can have in store for us.

We are fortunate to have had your support during a very unique set of circumstances and we thank you for sticking with our teams through it all.

The Hawks are the only current team in the NBA that has improved five years in a row and we’re excited about how the team has performed under Coach Drew’s new offense. We reshaped the Thrashers over the last year with a new, aggressive, gritty style of hockey, and we are proud of Coach Ramsay and our young team which is receiving recognition throughout the NHL for their success on the ice.

As we look to the second halves of the 2010-2011 NBA and NHL seasons, our goals remain the same as when we bought these teams: to bring Stanley Cups and NBA Championships to the fans in Atlanta. We dream of being a part of the crowd and the city that rallies with pride around the excitement that comes with being a part of the hometown team.

The players say that nothing gets them going more than the roar of the crowd, the crowd that so many of you have been a part of with us. So we cheer. And shout. And roar. Come roar with us. Come be part of the dream.

We hope your holidays were joyous and that you have a great New Year.

Bruce and Michael

Joe Friday

January 4th, 2011
11:13 am

I liked the letter. Kind of a fresh start from them, a softer and more positive tone. I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and remain optimistic that some more salary will be brought on at the trade deadline time. Over the next few months I still look for a new investor for the Thrash or an outright sale of the team with the stipulation that they’re kept in Philips.

I look for the boys to come out flying tomorrow and take it to the Panthers. It’s a big game to set up our next run. Ramsay’s go, go, go system coupled with all those games in a compressed time took their legs away. This club has to go and skate hard to make the system work, and when their legs went, the system broke down and that’s what we saw over the past few games. That stretch is over, I expect the boys to be back playing at the level we saw in games 15 through 35 or so through the rest of the season.

Tom

January 4th, 2011
11:29 am

Joe, I liked the letter too, don’t get me wrong. It is great ownership is coming out of their bunker.

The ownership group needs butts in the seats to attract investors and keep the team here. We all understand that.

But it is not a one way street. They have to get rid of the shoestring mentality if they are going to tell us that their goal is the Stanley Cup, not tell us that we owe them patronage to the team.

Step up, invest in the personnel, prove to us that you will not let this group dissolve with penny pinching payroll tactics, and you will see a whole new wave of fans arrive and stay. I don’t expect ownership to spend to the cap, that probably will never work in Atlanta. But staying at the minimum is not the recipe for the Cup no matter how great the coaching is.

So Bruce and Michael, the players have stepped up, the coaching has stepped up, and management has stepped up, and the fans are stepping up looking at attendance the past few weeks. It is time for you to step up and invest in your ATLANTA THRASHERS to show your commitment to the team and the city.

That is all I ask of ownership.

Dwayne

January 4th, 2011
11:43 am

To Bruce and Michael,
Fire Wadell and Sage will buy a ticket.
Thank You

World Be Free

January 4th, 2011
12:03 pm

Moulson is left handed-I was hoping he would be the left wing for Burmie and Antropov.

Time to use the excess cap room this season for pick up the missing piece. I am not into playoff rentals at the trade deadline. Look at the renatls that changed hands at the deadline last season, few of them had enough time to make an impact on their new teams. You have the make the move in January to allow the players time to get accustom to each other.

The longer the season progresses, the more a player’s salary is paid making it easier for cap stressed teams to make moves. The cap stressed teams are not in a position today to acquire players-we are. Butch Goring maybe?

Joe Friday

January 4th, 2011
12:11 pm

“But it is not a one way street. They have to get rid of the shoestring mentality if they are going to tell us that their goal is the Stanley Cup, not tell us that we owe them patronage to the team.”

I hear you and completely agree, they need to show us the money. I have a feeling there’s already money available to Dudley to be spent and Dudley is keeping it in reserve to use to add a key piece, keep in mind he’s also trying to sign Ladd and probably Buf as well (although I hold less hope for a long term deal for Buf).

“You have the make the move in January to allow the players time to get accustom to each other.”

Agreed and Brendan has long pointed out that Rutherford in Carolina is very good at doing precisely that.

Smoothie

January 4th, 2011
12:13 pm

“You have the make the move in January to allow the players time to get accustom to each other.”

WBF – yup! Make the move before January 15th so it can pay greater dividends. It’s only 42-45% of the player’s salary so why not go after a guy who makes as much as $5 M / year unless the contract is a LT albatross longer than 2 years remaining.

Red Light

January 4th, 2011
12:57 pm

SportSouth will be adding the Atlanta Thrashers’ January 7 game vs. Toronto to its TV schedule while dropping the April 5 game at Nashville.

Red Light

January 4th, 2011
12:58 pm

They must be expecting a good crowd Friday night!

World Be Free

January 4th, 2011
1:05 pm

Smoothie-the other thing to consider here are the caps-stressed teams that want to move players now so they can be a “player” at the trade deadline. There are so few teams that are out of the hunt by the deadline that the booth is crowded with teams that want in on a specific player. Lou didn’t wait until the deadline to get Kovy last year. Could we have fetched more for ovalchuk by waiting until the deadline?

I think the deal we make will come out of nowhere.

Tom

January 4th, 2011
1:20 pm

Smoothie, here is a dumb question.

The Thrashers having played 42 games this season trade for a player on Edmonton who has played 37 games. Are they liable for 40 games worth of pay or 45 games of pay?

Zombie Steve

January 4th, 2011
1:38 pm

LOL at the OctoDouches for calling their feud that nearly brought down 2 franchises: “a very unique set of circumstances.”

Smoothie

January 4th, 2011
1:40 pm

Tom, I’m pretty sure they go by the number of days left in the season so they’d be on the hook for 186 days – X number of days elapsed * pro-rated salary amount.

Are you thinking about a certain guy whose name starts with D and ends in R? We could use another Dustin in the lineup!

World Be Free

January 4th, 2011
1:45 pm

More than 82 games in one season-that happened in the 80’s when Brad Marsh was traded in the middle of the season. Back then it was an 80 game season and Marsh played 84 games because the team he was traded to had played less games that season.

Tom

January 4th, 2011
1:47 pm

That would be nice. Some grit and skill. Edmonton is building around youth and low salaries, even though they are a Canadian team that will support hockey in their bones, just like Quebec and Hamilton and Winnipeg. Trading a high salary for a couple of young guys that could crack their lineup from the Wolves and maybe Bergy would be a win win.

Tom

January 4th, 2011
1:49 pm

WBF, I wonder what that would do if the person won the scoring race by 1 goal and played 85 games. Would it be an asterisk situation?

The only guarantee is if the loser was Cindy Crosby he would whine about it. http://nhl-red-light.si.com/2011/01/04/crosbys-whine-is-hard-to-swallow/?utm_source=bleacherreport.com

World Be Free

January 4th, 2011
2:00 pm

Tom-Bergie would fit Edmonton’s payroll and their offensive style. Don’t think it would be an asterisk situation, since the situation wasn’t the players doing.

LAC

January 4th, 2011
2:35 pm

I cannot believe how we get ignored time and time again by this versus channel and other national outlets. The team has played very well and are in excellent position to make the playoffs. I just
wish the national outlets would give us more press as I for one am so SICK AND TIRED of having
that cindy Crotchby crammed down our throats every time I see a game or ad. If is SICKING !

These IS more to the NHL than that little clown. We deserve more credit than we are getting and
it’s time for the NHL network and versus to MAN UP and show Atlanta more thn they do.

Lastly, I read the so called “letter” from those two GOOFS. What a COMPLETE JOKE !
They look like idiots in the photo’s, and it is STILL a damn shame these LOSERS in life have control of the team. Maybe if I win mega millions I will buy the team and fire waddell and really turn it around… But what a WISH that is !!!!!

Atl 3 Fl 2 in OT Wednesday night.

Red Light

January 4th, 2011
3:28 pm

When the schedule went to 84 games, Jimmy Carson and Bob Kudelski played in 86 games each. Carson in 92-93 and Kudelski in 93-94. More recently, the following players have played in more than 82 games. Just here to help!

1997-98 Mike Keane 83
1998-99 Robert Reichel 83
1999-00 Claude Lemieux 83  
2000-01 Bill Guerin 85
2001-02 Sandis Ozolinsh 83
2002-03 Rem Murray 85
2003-04 Marcus Nilsson, Derek Morris 83
2005-06 Niklas Hagman 84, Mark Recchi 83
2006-07 Sean Avery 84
2007-08 Brian Campbell, Jeff Halpern 83
2008-09 Jordan Leopold 83
2009-10 Ian White 83

Red Light

January 4th, 2011
3:31 pm

That means that one players has played in 83 games or more in 12 straight seasons. But, the record of 86 games could be tough to break unless things fall correctly.

AtlFlamesFan

January 4th, 2011
3:37 pm

Let’s all agree that if any of us win the lottery tonight, we will rescue the Thrashers from ASG.

Red Light

January 4th, 2011
3:48 pm

The better business move, and less expensive, would be to buy Winnipeg the city!

Rawhide

January 4th, 2011
4:21 pm

AtlFlamesFan – I’ve already informed the Divine Mrs. R that when I win that loot tonight, the Octocluster is history.

World Be Free

January 4th, 2011
4:22 pm

Leighton is gone, looks like Philly is preparing the ground for a move. Not a Flyers fan, but I sure do respect their constant desire to get better.

Red Light is like ask and you shall receive-great numbers.

LAC-VErsus is allot like all the networks, especially ESPN, higjlights and games from the teams that will give them numbers. they are selling Crosby and Ovechkin, or the Rangers, Flyers or Black Hawks.

Dwayne

January 4th, 2011
4:22 pm

330 million, get maybe 175 million, spend 60 million for part ownership of Thrashers, fire wadell and hire some of yall to market the team.

Dwayne

January 4th, 2011
4:23 pm

Stroznadamus, what are the winner numbers to the Mega millions lottery tonight??????

litz

January 4th, 2011
4:27 pm

Don’t forget … Uncle Sam gets its 50% of whatever you win …

Matt

January 4th, 2011
4:44 pm

Can someone please explain to me how in the World Pavs is not among the top TWENTY SEVEN vote getters for goalie in the All-Star game? What a joke. And Enstrom got royally hosed as well for the D-Men.

Spud Webb

January 4th, 2011
4:57 pm

Montador is solid, love that guy and Morrison. Low key, bring the wood and would be AWESOME here in the ATL. WBF & Redlight you both know, the sabres will start dealing & soon. It’s not going to turn around up there. With or without pretty boy roy, that ship has sailed. Miller will play his contract out and then go to a contender. Serious issues up there in buffalo. So there are a few players that can be picked from them, do NOT go for stafford, pominville. Hecht is a heck of a two way player.

Tom Lysiak

January 4th, 2011
7:44 pm

After winning the lottery tonight AND purchasing the Thrashers, I will make one promise to everyone here.

Like Waddell, I will not answer emails from the SOB. The rest of you are golden.

World Be Free

January 4th, 2011
7:47 pm

Spud, here’s hoping the new owner will fire Darcy first day, Larry the second day and bring in a hockey man. I agree with you on Miller, 2 years tops unless the new owner has a desire to win. Golisano needs to head to FLA and stay there. Not sure if they are going to deal or not but Montidor will the odd defenseman out, 2nd year of a 2 year deal.

Tampa has made 2 deals, you know others in the division will start doing the same real soon. Bergeron will help TB’s power play, but he is a liability on the back line. Which goalie is the odd man out in Tampa?

R. Stroztradamus

January 4th, 2011
8:05 pm

Dwayne – My prediction will occur around 11:05 tonight.

ThrashHead

January 4th, 2011
8:49 pm

Pierre LeBrun indicating that the Thrashers are kicking tires on Kris Versteeg. Hmmmm, another Hawks addition that RD is familiar with? Perhaps Bergfors may be the trade bait?

razorneck13

January 4th, 2011
9:58 pm

Since the Winter Classic got brought up…

Yeah it’s gimmicky, way too gimmicky. First off it should NOT be hosted in any market that’s nontraditional. No, Pittsburgh is not a traditional market and most NHL markets aren’t.

It should be hosted in Northeast division towns, Calgary, Edmonton, Detroit, Minnesota, you know places where water freezes naturally and people play hockey on it for a few months. I’ll even throw em a bone and say Chicago is acceptable, but it’s silly to romanticize the games outdoor roots in Pittsburgh when it’s raining.

It’s also a much better sport than the NHL’s sales guys might realize…Crosby and Ovechkin don’t necessarily make a game anymore entertaining than one without them. I’m frankly sick to death of watching their respective teams and it’ll be a disgrace to the games history to pull another ill advised Winter Classic like this last one.

Smoothie

January 4th, 2011
10:48 pm

Not sure why TOR would want Bergy over Versteeg but perhaps they like the affordability of NB and the fact he is 3 – 4 yrs younger right. Is Versteeg a UFA at the end of this year or only 1 year left as a RFA.

If there is legit interest on both sides, and ASG is willing to pony up, I’d love to see us get KV and Beauchemin for Kulda (Postma is the future), Aliu and our #1 since it will in theory be a higher 1st in the 15 -26 range. We’re in a great position assuming new deals are close w/ Buff and Laddy. Surely Versteeg wood give us serious L/T consideration as well if things were to work out.

It’s nice to daydream eh? :-)

R. Stroztradamus

January 4th, 2011
11:02 pm

4-8-15-25-47 and 42

Red Light

January 5th, 2011
8:08 am

Don’t forget Rivet. He couldn’t even find a place on the ice for two months in Buffalo. Not sure he brings anything in return though. 6th round pick maybe? Don’t want him here, but he’s another of the odd men out in Buffalo. Waivers?

World Be Free

January 5th, 2011
8:09 am

Smoothie-I think Versteeg has one more RFA year. That would mean we are getting ready to commit alotta $$$ to Versteeg, Ladd, Buff and a few others. I don’t think Bergie is a Brian Burke kinda guy. Burke is looking to win now, which begs the question-why would the Loafs shop Versteeg in the first place?

GaVaHokie

January 5th, 2011
8:16 am

Bad night for Kovalchuk… two turnovers, one leads to a goal on Hedberg… Kovy also scored on his own net on a mid-ice deflection that caught Moose out of the net.

Kovalchuk a league worst -29.

GaVaHokie

January 5th, 2011
8:19 am

In All Star news… EJ Hradek (per twitter) seems to think Pavalec will get selected. Not sure I agree personally… not that he doesn’t deserve it, but with so many Penguins selected and every team needing to be represented, I think only one player makes the team. I would say that player is Buff.

Alan R.

January 5th, 2011
9:06 am

-29 takes hard work and dedication.

Red Light

January 5th, 2011
9:36 am

WBF: I agree that the Versteeg trade talks make no sense after having just signed him to a two-year deal and RFA rights remaining. I guess since the Toronto media hasn’t been able to talk about another deal for Kaberle for the 587,000th time, that they are now focusing on another player. 10 goals, 15 assists and 28 blocked shots isn’t too bad at this juncture of the season and at little more than $3 million per year, what’s the downside of keeping him if you’re Toronto?

I think Beauchemin is a more likely target at $3.8 million. A 30 year-old defenseman and former Cup winner who blocks shots, hits and moves the puck could bring a nice return for Burke. He’s got $11 million being freed up after this season with Giguere, Sjostrom and Kaberle, and subtracting Beauchemin gets him to almost $15 million in Cap space.

If Phaneuf, Komisarek, Schenn and Kessel constitutes the Leafs core — each are signed through 2013-14 — then few of the rest on the current roster will remain during the next few seasons, but I’d be a bit surprised if Versteeg is indeed shopped, unless the return is too good to pass up.

Rawhide

January 5th, 2011
9:36 am

Well, once again…R. Stroztradamus failed to provide the necessary info in time. So here I am at work again today.

…sigh…

Oh well, at least we can still discuss the Thrasher’s catfight in SoFLA tonight.

Red Light

January 5th, 2011
9:37 am

Ranallo’ed again!

Joseph Durocher

January 5th, 2011
12:07 pm

Bill, the Thrashers are fortunate that they have two players – Byfuglien and Pavelec – who are playing so well. In fact – if we’re honest – we’ll admit that their play has been better than was (and could have been) expected. It takes precisely that – overwhelming performances by key players – in order to enjoy team success. Those two guys are the big reason the team remains in the top-8.

Despite the best efforts of the dynamic duo, the Thrashers are allowing far too many goals. While Dusty has been able to pick up points and remain on the right side of the plus/minus score, guys like Oduya (-10), Peverley (-10), Bogosian (-9), Ladd (-7), Antropov (-7), Dawes (-6 in six games) and Meyer (-5 in eight games) are hurting the team. Mason – with his 3.66 GA and .896 SP – may have to spend a lot of time on the bench in the second half. Imagine if he had been in net in Montreal. If they are not significantly stronger in their own end – for the rest of the season – the Thrashers will not last long in the postseason, assuming they make it that far.

R. Stroz

January 5th, 2011
10:23 pm

Rawhide

January 8th, 2011
11:16 am

R. Stroz – Nope.