‘Embarrassing’ losses like the one to Islanders could leave Thrashers playoff hopes circling the drain

If the Atlanta Thrashers experience any more on-ice flops like last night’s 4-1 loss to the New York Islanders, any and all hopes for the postseason will go the way of too many other seasons…flushed right down the drain. Simply put, there just isn’t enough time left on the schedule to drop stink bombs like that, especially when conference bottom-feeders are in town.

But don’t just take my word for it. Take into consideration what goalie Ondrej Pavelec said after the latest debacle in Blueland.

“We have to realize a few more games like this and we’re done…we didn’t fight like we wanted to get in the playoffs”.

Yes…very true.

Whenever you find yourselves at this point in the season…clinging to the final playoff spot…with a team like the Islanders in town and the Carolina Hurricanes breathing down your neck…you simply cannot allow the two points to leave town with the visiting team without a fight or a struggle…or, heck, even as much as a sense of passing interest in the outcome.

Pavelec has been doing his best to keep his team in games. And as defenseman Zach Bogosian puts it, “If it wasn’t for Pav, it would probably be a lot worse”.

Spot on, Zach.

But then, who better to speak so glowingly of Opie then the players who has far-too-many times had a view of Opie’s heroics from the best vantage point in the house…about 3 feet away from his goal.

Thrasher goalie Ondrej Pavelec said his team, "we didn’t fight like we wanted to get in the playoffs" (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Thrashers goalie Ondrej Pavelec voiced his feelings about his team's effort Tuesday night saying, "we didn’t fight like we wanted to get in the playoffs" (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

There are a few who could be called out on this team, but I’m going to use Bogosian here as just one example. To be brutally honest, he’s been nothing short of a disaster on the blueline for much of this season. Simply saying he looks “lost” out there is being kind.

To use New York’s final goal as an example… Michael Grabner simply moved untouched past the third overall pick in the 2008 draft and was allowed to make the type of pass over to Kyle Okposo that you’d expect to see during a practice drill. And it’s the kind of play we’ve seen too many times from #4.

Bogosian was on the ice for two Islanders even-strength goals, is a –9 in his last 11 games played and is a –14 in 42 games played this season.

No, he’s not 100% responsible for the current “Gloom, despair and agony on me. Deep dark depression, excessive misery” atmosphere that permeates through Thrasherville this morning…and I’m not quite ready to jump on the “Zach Bogosian Must Just So Go Soon” bandwagon. But given how lost he is out there, someone simply needs give him some direction.

Some directions, that is, straight to the press box.

Taking his minutes should be Arturs Kulda, IMHO…at least while Toby Enstrom is on the mend. Not that I think he’d be the magic silver bullet to cure this team of his ills, but I can’t imagine he’d be worse.

Speaking of Toby…his name came up in the Islanders locker room after the game. My good friend Red Light tells me that. Zenon Kenopka, their 4th line center, commented that its clear Enstrom is the glue that holds this Thrashers roster together. And having him out of the lineup with the injury just kills Atlanta.

Given the Thrashers have been outscored 11-3 in the three games Toby’s missed, Kenopka’s comments are clearly on the mark.

After the loss…one that was described as “embarrassing” by Nik Antropov…Chris Vivlamore reported a number of players held an impromptu meeting with coach Ramsay. They demanding certain players should be held accountable for their lack of effort. That’s all well and good of course…and there are several who should be called out. But it seems like we’ve been seeing that “A” word tossed about in the Thrashers locker for quite a while now, and with the possible exception of one Mr. Ben Eager, I don’t really recall any big-name player being held accountable for his actions…or in this case, his inactions out there on the ice.

I’ll close with this from head coach Craig Ramsay. “We lost so many battles in the offensive zone, and that allowed them to keep coming back up the ice. Our work ethic, our commitment, is lacking”.

Bingo.

However, coach Ramsay’s lament about his players “work ethic” has been coming about a frequently as former coach John Anderson”, “A bounce here, a bounce there”, excuses. There comes a time when the actions have to follow the words…a time when the “accounting” that is being demanded is followed up with…well…holding players “accountable”.

Unfortunately for Rammer, if everyone on this team that deserved to sit for a few games actually did, there’d be quite the long line at the press box buffet. But you have to start somewhere.

Like Pavelec said, there’s just not a lot of games remaining on the schedule left for this team to get this thing turned around. And if we see even just a few more heaping, steaming pile of FAIL dumped on the ice…then the giant flushing sound you hear coming from Philips Arena will be the playoff hopes circling the drain.

By: Bill Tiller – AJC.com Thrashers Fan Blog

179 comments Add your comment

R. Stroz

February 3rd, 2011
3:35 pm

MODIN SUCKS and plays like a WUSS.

Boults plays like a man.

Ramsay needs to “man up.”

SomaAtl95

February 3rd, 2011
3:38 pm

Stan and Cliff – I feel your pain. The great thing about this blog (or any other) is that you just scroll past posts from people that you know aren’t adding to the conversation. After sage insinuated that I was from an “institution” and LAC kindly told me to STFU I decided to just skip past them. I’m pretty sure they don’t care about being civil and that is fine. Opinions are like A-holes. Everyone has them. It is just a shame that some folks resort to name calling and beating a dead horse. You can choose to stay here and ignore them or let them get your goat and insult you – rest assured that they aren’t going away. Don’t let their agenda mess with you. Life is toooooo short.

As far as the game tonight I agree that this will sum our season up. If we let the Flames win in our house than its obvious Coach being pissed doesn’t motivate this years squad, which is unfortunate. I really want this year to be different than years past. Ownership, Coach, Players, etc do not matter to me. I just want a winning Thrashers squad.

Flames

February 3rd, 2011
3:54 pm

Don’t give up! Don’t ever give up!

Broken Record

February 3rd, 2011
3:55 pm

A chicken or the egg question – do I sound like Sage or does Sage sound like me?

kracker

February 3rd, 2011
3:59 pm

Hey…I went to the Caps game expecting to lose 1-5 or so and the team played quite well for the win. My expectations for tonight are about the same as they were last Wednesday. Perhaps the results will be similar as well.

Badger Bob

February 3rd, 2011
4:03 pm

Here’s hope for tonight (perhaps posted earlier, but who could find it among 150+ comments!):
The only building in the NHL that the Flames have not won in is Phillips Arena (0-5-1 all time)

RL, I love your insights, and especially your steady outlook. I’m pretty sure in December you were trying to point out that past Thrasher teams have had hot streaks like our 12-2-2 stretch, so we shouldn’t all get too giddy. Now count on you to calm the Ramsey-is-worthless storm.

Lack of scoring depth accounts for better than 50% of our problems, and that is caused by simple refusal to pay.

ThrasherTim

February 3rd, 2011
5:00 pm

We need 2 points badly. When are we playing the Caps again?
:)

ThrasherTim

February 3rd, 2011
5:04 pm

I want to thank all the stat gurus who let Calgary know they have never won in ATL. Kind of like the Islanders hadn’t won a game all year when outshooting an opponent. Or how they were 4-25-4 (or something similar) when getting scored upon first. Oops.

ThrasherTim

February 3rd, 2011
5:08 pm

By the way Red Light – solid posts today.

Tom Lysiak

February 3rd, 2011
5:10 pm

Reading the story on TSN about Golisano passing on $70 million additional to keep the team in Buffalo. He is selling for $189 million and assuring the team stays put. He could have pocketed that extra $70 million by looking the other way and not caring about the fans. Gotta appreciate that.

I’m sure we can expect the same integrity and commitment to this city from the ASG when buyers come calling……

glovesave29

February 3rd, 2011
6:12 pm

I can’t agree that if we lose this game the season is over, or that they have tuned out Rammer. What’s to say both teams don’t come out and play great and we are on the short end of a 4-3 score? What if we out play them and a weird bounce dooms us to a loss? I guess I live in a world with more shades of gray, and not one that is black & white.

Soma – totally agree! I tuned him out when he admitted to not knowing much about the game. I’ve been on the ice for 36 of my 44 years. I’d like to think i’m pretty up on this game. Love to play and talk hockey – with those who are knowledgeable, or those who are new and genuinely want to learn more. I also like those who disagree, as it makes for a more interesting discourse. Name calling is what one does when they have been out smarted.

LAC – I worked for Bill Clement back in HS. His is really one heckuva nice guy. Ran into him at the ASG and he remembered me. He loves it here, and always has nice things to say about Atlanta. He knew it was Cousins who failed us, not the fans. Unfortunately, we now have a similar lousy ownership situation.

Brendan

February 3rd, 2011
6:26 pm

Red Light always has solid posts. If I asked him to, I could list all 29 teams in the NHL to make a ‘mock trade’ with Atlanta … and he’d be able to come up with a plausible trade scenario for every single team. And it’d be fun to read and comment on. That’s the purpose of a blog. But, unfortunately, none of the blogger suggestion matter a bit to the people who run the Thrashers, who have the POWER and CONTROL to make those hypothetical trades a reality. WaDudley will do … WTF they want to do … the moment that it suits them. Including inaction. That’s just the reality of things. And they’d be the first ones to say, “Look people, if we took blogger suggestions seriously we’d be in LAST place FOREVER.” At least, that’s my opinion about how they view these message boards. Harry Neale used to say, “If the GM took the advice of the newspaper beatwriter, he’d soon be up in the pressbox with ‘im.” It’s both the arrogance and wisdom of the GM “mindset.”

I’ve always said that we don’t really know what happens behind the scenes. We see maybe 10-percent. If that. Only the FBI has the power to tap the phones at the Atlanta Spirit, LLC. And last time I checked with them, the receptionist said, “I’m sorry, but we need probable cause to believe a CRIME has been committed first.” And no amount of “But hasn’t the way the Thrashers been run … ‘CRIMINAL enough’ for you?” would suffice. They shook their heads and said, “Come back when you’ve got hard evidence of ‘Muder One,’ drug trafficking, gun-smuggling, fraud, weapons-brokering, money laundering, extortion … or at least some kind of tangible gang activity.” So, as you can see, it’s hopeless on that front.

My sarcasm detector machine is going haywire! This baby’s off the chart!

LAC

February 3rd, 2011
7:24 pm

Glovesleve29, I remember stopping at his doughnut shop in Sandy Springs in the early 1990’s, Good doughnuts and was great talking to him.

I am in FULL agreement with the ownership crap, same thing now or worse. Fans would be back in droves if we had a NEW OWNER, no group an owner. As long as these liars own the team, it will fail.

I feel yet another LOSS tonight, Stupid highstick, goal and I am glad Family Feud reruns are on.
This is going to be BAD and I hate to say it, tonight IS the night we fall out of 8th, on our way to the bottom of the NHL. I also have a bad feeling we will not have the Thrashers after this season, Where in the HELL is Gary Bettman ??????????????????

Brendan

February 3rd, 2011
9:14 pm

Flames score, lead 3-2, with 5 mins left in regulation.

Flagstaff

February 3rd, 2011
9:23 pm

They fought hard. Exciting game.

LAC

February 3rd, 2011
9:27 pm

Well how many of us think NOW this team will make playoff’s ? Let’s have a poll…

This was terrible tonight, letting them win, Awful, lame goal, terrible offense, spotty defense.

Just adding up to another disaster in Atlanta as USUAL. Every season this crap happens,
Heck, let’s bring back Bobby Holik we need SCORING !!!!!

If Anyone believes we will win in Raleigh and Toronto… FORGET IT. This team is 100% offically done for the season, We will be damn lucky not to finish in 30th place or close, Total Collapse,
TOTAL !

Tom

February 3rd, 2011
9:28 pm

Now I know why Berfors is in the dog house. The team is fighting hard, Buff is blowing up Inginlia, and forces the puck to the far boards. Berfors does not look, he has all the friggin space in the world, and turns the puck over at the Blue Line.

They score, we lose.

Guys, I have to say, this is getting painful to watch. I may have to give up the Thrashers…

Flagstaff

February 3rd, 2011
9:30 pm

BTW, Buff and Ladd have no cause to be telling the coach, their superior, to do his job. I don’t care how hard they claim to be working, they have both sucked for a long time. Perhaps it’s just a strain of bad luck for the both of them, but they need to get back to the way they were playing– as does the rest of this team.

Sage of Bluesland

February 3rd, 2011
9:41 pm

I’m actually not even angry anymore…I’m more sad and resigned to the malaise which permeates this abominable and sad franchise.

The league needs to step in and do something; anything.

I feel sorry for the coach, as he’s playing with a woefully short deck. Uncaring ownership insults the fans time and again—and what do the fans do? They keep subsidizing the egregious incompetence shoveled down their throat.

“Deal with it.”

I wish some of you would respond to this type of treatment with the appropriate response. It is the ONLY way to change things for the better.

Have some self-respect.

Brendan

February 3rd, 2011
9:56 pm

Okay, it’s 16-9-3 from here on out. Right??

Flagstaff

February 3rd, 2011
10:02 pm

Sage: Good post. My sentiments exactly, minus the last part. Terrible hockey is better than no hockey (I think), and I do love the sport, and want this team to be successful. Whether or not that will happen, only time will tell.

Brendan: You know the saying, “If you’re running from a bear, you don’t have to be fast, you just can’t be slower than everyone else you’re with.” The Eastern conference is weak. They could have a middle-of-the-pack rest of the season and still nab a playoff berth… so long as every other team we’re fighting does the same.

Brendan

February 3rd, 2011
10:06 pm

Tom, we don’t quit on the Thrashers. We just realize that our team situation is lacking. They’re still our team. They just need new owners. I honestly thought, back in 2007, that the team would get sold to a local interest in 2011. Well, it’s 2011. It’s time. But no sale yet. Don’t say relocation. That’s not going to happen. I don’t care how much money someone might have. No one loses tens of millions of dollars to break a lease. It’s just BAD business to do so. Plus, the league would have to agree to move the franchise. None of that will happen. So, let’s just root for a sale and acquisition by someone who will properly care for the team.

At least tonight’s effort was BETTER than the Islander game. They were 5 minutes from atleast a “pity point.”

Flagstaff

February 3rd, 2011
10:08 pm

So… when does Duds pull the trigger?

glovesave29

February 3rd, 2011
10:12 pm

Ha! LAC – I worked at that shop you stopped into…Grandma Lee’s. When I interviewed, I cut him off mid-sentence when I noticed his Stanley Cup ring.

I thought tonight the team showed some heart. We keep playing with some grit and determination, the wins will come. Probably not enough to keep the playoff spot, but when you spend like #29, you shouldn’t really be in the top 16.

Flagstaff

February 3rd, 2011
10:15 pm

Well, that loss hurt. Big time. But, on the (tiny) bright side, at least Carolina lost too– to Toronto. They haven’t been too hot the last couple of games. There’s still no breathing room, but there’s a chance we could beat them this weekend, especially if we make a trade!

Cornbread

February 3rd, 2011
10:17 pm

Some people just love it when the Thrasers lose – LAC SOB.

“Total Collapse, TOTAL!” Really? Tonight’s game, the season, or both? Come on. Did you watch the game or family feud?

The total collapse was Tuesday not tonight. You really think the Thrashers are going to finish close to 30th? If so you know nothing of the game just like SOB admitted.

It was a good game. The Thrashers played well. Should they have won that game at home? Yes. It sucks but sometimes you are going to lose games like that. There was far more about that game to take away that was good to great than what went wrong or was bad. They keep playing like they did tonight and building off of it and they are quite capable of going on a 5-6 game win streak this month.

It starts Sunday in Carolina. Who, by the way, have also lost two in a row after getting shut out 3-0 to Toronto tonight. But folks who don’t know much about the game wouldn’t know that.

Sage of Bluesland

February 3rd, 2011
10:57 pm

I don’t “love it” when the Thrashers lose–far from it. I “hate it” when folks continue subsidizing the offensive and uncaring ownership.

I also hate it when folks (like yourself) try to blow sunshine up my backside.

Please join planet Earth when it comes to this abomination of an organization which is destined to do nothing but fail. Maybe you’re not a person who understands history?

Stop the peeing in my pocket and telling me it’s raining….You sound like the ownership and Don Waddell–and, frankly, it’s pretty embarrassing…

R. Stroz

February 3rd, 2011
11:03 pm

If this team wants a chance to win, put Bogosian, the Pink Flamingo, and Sweedee Modinee in the press box.

This team has too many ponies and not enough horses to win consistently.

Rawhide

February 3rd, 2011
11:05 pm

Here a quick blog post for you all to discuss tonight’s loss…and a real tough one it was at that.