Thump! Thrashers fall out of playoff berth

That big thump you heard coming from Raleigh, North Carolina was the Atlanta Thrashers falling out of their playoff berth. We’ve seen it coming for some time now, like a train wreck playing out in slow motion…but the sound of it when it actually happens is still rather sickening.

On December 20, the Thrashers beat the Maple Leafs in Toronto 6-3. The win gave them a 19-11-5 record, which at the time was good enough for first place in the Southeast Division and second seed in the Eastern Conference.

That was the high water mark of the season so far.

After the 4-3 overtime loss in Carolina, the Thrashers have now gone 5-10-5 since that time, with only two of those wins coming in regulation. Seven of the 10 regulation losses have been by 3 or more goals, one was by 5 goals and two were debacles in which Atlanta was outscored by 6. In fact, the Thrashers have not even held a two-goal lead in any game since that win in Toronto.

Saturday night, the fall from the top was completed.

As a result of the disappointing outcome Saturday night, Atlanta finds itself in a position they’ve not been since the beginning of the season…out of a playoff spot. The Thrashers and Canes each have 58 points, but they have two more wins and two games in hand. Thus, Carolina has evicted the Thrashers from the eighth and final playoff spot in the conference and has relegated them to the highest non-playoff spot.

Nic Bergfors scores a first periiod goal to give the Thrashers a 1-0 lead, an advantage they failed to hold. They aslo have failed to hold on to their playoff spot as the 4-3 OT loss to Carolina drops themm to ninth place in the Eatsern Conference (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)

Nic Bergfors scores a first periiod goal to give the Thrashers a 1-0 lead... an advantage they failed to hold. They aslo failed to hold on to their playoff spot as the 4-3 OT loss in Carolina drops them to ninth place in the Eastern Conference (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)

Much like Thursday night against the Flames, they played a good game for the most part. They got another strong start from Ondrej Pavelec between the pipes as he stopped 33 of Carolina’s 37 shots. Atlanta also got a pair of very big goals from blueliners in the third period as Brent Sopel and Zach Bogosian each tied the score in that period with blasts from the point. And the penalty kill unit even came up huge in killing of 5 of the 6 Hurricanes power plays, including a two-minute long 5 on 3 that was wrapped around the second intermission.

But once again…the hard work comes up just short.

If you were a neutral-party observer tuning into the game in hopes of watching a very entertaining match, you were not disappointed. It was a close, hard-fought game with the outcome in doubt until the end. But for residents of Thrasherville…this was just the latest in what has been a very frustrating six weeks.

All this underscores the need for the organization to make some sort of move prior to the trade deadline at the end of the month. And the way things are going, it needs to be sooner rather than later. This team needs a strong left wing to take Fredrik Modin’s ice time away from him and add a spark to this offence.

They also, in my opinion, need a veteran defenseman to help this team shut down opponents. But then again…we’ve been saying that every winter for how many years now?

Getting Toby and Slater back onto the ice again will obviously been of benefit. However, this squad is still going to need some help from the front office or this season is in serious danger of going the way every other one has save the spring of 2007.

Trying to close out on a positive note…I was very happy to see Nic Bergfors’ good work of late pay off with a goal. It was only his second goal since the last time the Thrashers played in Carolina a month ago but his play recently has been very encouraging.

Unfortunately for Bergie, the game-winner scored by the flames Thursday came via his miscue in the defensive zone. Too many times in a close game like that, one bad play can mean al the difference and will negate the hard work and effort otherwise put forward.

But in a rare moment of candor in professional sports, he manned up and took full responsibility for it afterwards. “Terrible play by me,” Bergfors said of the play. “I tried to chip it out in the middle because I knew their guy was at the wall. I have to look up there and make sure someone is there if I don’t get it out. It was my point”.

“That was a brutal play by me. I have to look up. If nobody is there, I have to eat that puck”.

I’m always appreciative of a young man understanding the importance of owning up to his mistake and making no bones about where responsibility lays. It’s a sign he understands what he’s supposed to be doing and knows what is expected of him.

It also speaks well of his maturation process.

Also worth noting here is the play by Arturs Kulda. Not surprisingly, he put in a strong game on defense filing in for Freddy Meyer. He seems to always be in good position and provides the coach with quality third line defensive minutes.

By: Bill Tiller – AJC.com Thrashers Fan Blog

143 comments Add your comment

Not Blind

February 6th, 2011
10:37 am

Jake, shots allowed means just that. Shots the D ‘allow’ as opposed to shots the D keep from occurring by taking the body of the puck carrier. Hate to say it, but this team is made up of a bunch of sissies. The talent level is also very low and the committment level is lower than that.

I also think that Dudley has messed up big time. He has too much emotional investment in too many of his hiring choices which makes it difficult to pull the trigger. It has become obvious that changes need to be made but the almost ‘family’ aspect of Ramsey will make it hard for Dudley to make the needed change.

And I would waive Modin right now. The guy is a joke.

moriler

February 6th, 2011
10:37 am

Be pissed, sure. Be pissed at the owners who have screwed this team over up to the point that Winnpiglets are slobbering over the thought that they may get a team back. It’ll be another hard disappointment for them, I fear; it’ll take a bigger bulldozer to move the Thrashers over Bettman than it would the Coyotes, and we see how it’s happening for _them_. In some ways it’s good to be a huge TV market… we represent the future of the sport, and it’s in cities like Atlanta that it will be made to grow… not in frozen cities north of the Arctic Circle where hockey is the only game in town, so it’s “show up or go snowmobiling.”

Bettman’s a turd about a lot of things, but you can’t deny one: he has an aggressive vision for the NHL’s growth. There’s gonna be some stumbles, sure, but when we get some decent owners and hockey finally succeeds in Atlanta, it (like Carolina and Tampa) will be part of the blueprint for other “non-traditional hockey markets”. After all, the NFL, NBA, and MLB all had to expand the same way once…

So be pissed. But also be realistic — paying inflated prices for low-grade players (cough Zhitnik cough) is how we got into this mess. Oh, and for the fools who are saying “why won’t Bettman do something” — No chance of the NHL directly getting involved for at least another couple years, at a minimum. After all, one premise of the ASG suit is true — the Belkin legal fight _did_, in fact, help prevent them from selling the team. I’m sure Bettman will wait and see what happens now that the title is clear, so to speak.

Buff-n-stuff

February 6th, 2011
10:37 am

Cup Guy – Sorry, but Pavs what NOT “Game On”……he gave up 3 questionable high wrist shots and that was the difference. Yeah Yeah, he made his usual flopping, crawling, scrathcing saves, but so did cam Ward. Goalies are supposed to do that when they are “Game On”….they are however not to give up “3″ relatively weak goals, one maybe, but not 3, all coming down the ice on the same side, with speed…its the same problem Pavs has with shootouts…..he needs to work way harder on that part of his game….Now, that being said, he is the glue that often times keeps us in the game. The busted play by Modin put Pavs in a tough situation, Modin “HAS TO GO”….I’d rather see Spencer M out there than that slug. Modin is another one of those “cheap, past his prime” examples of how the ASG chooses to spend their NHL food stamps.

Marcus – Most of us here on the blog and in Blueland “Have not given up” on the boys, what we have given up on is the “Spirit-less” ASG, and Don the Wad….we have faith in Ramsay and Dudley….only question is, have the ASG and Don tied their hands so much that they cannot really do anything to resurrect what we once had in Nov and Dec.

If a trade is to be made, it will likely come between now, and Monday, after the Toronto game. The boys do not play agin until Friday, which gives ample time for “anyone new” to get a few practices under the belt, to get ramped up quickly to Torch and Rammer’s systems, and develop at least a little chemistry with who “remains” after said trades.

I pray that the boys “Rise UP’ (like the Falcons motto) and finish out the string on a roll. Remember, the teams that are “Hot” and “Rolling” the last few weeks of the season, generally do far better than the teams that were great all year, but coasted down the stretch (ala Caps and Sharks of the past few seasons and Philly coming out of nowhere last year)

Go Thrashers !!

Rightshot

February 6th, 2011
10:39 am

Someone, anyone, please explain to my things suddenly changed for the team. Why are we suddenly looking like the black hole of the NHL, again!

Mooseberg

February 6th, 2011
10:47 am

Welcome to the 9th place Atlanta Candy@sses

moriler

February 6th, 2011
10:56 am

ok, who let the Ottawa fan in?

Cliff Fletcher

February 6th, 2011
11:03 am

buff-n-stuff//

I agree that if a trade is going to be made it will come after the toronot game. not optimistic that dudley will be able to swing a deal for a top 6 forward unless someone from the current roster of value goes the other way, someone making less money than the player we are taking on. dudley also has the financial restrictions placed on him by ownership and that’s not his fault. if rick dudley is at fault for anything right now it was taking this job knowing he would have such deep financial restrictions. being so close the bottom of the salary cap is the biggest reason he has not been able to improve the thrashers.

John

February 6th, 2011
11:05 am

And even after obtaining star players from the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Thrashers still choke. Just another season in Atlanta sports…

So, I heard the Hawks are doing well and the Braves are set to play in two months

thrashersaddict

February 6th, 2011
11:07 am

I say again….watching a losing Thrashers team in Atlanta beats watching a winning NBA, NFL, team ANYWHERE!!! I will be there win or lose because hockey is the greatest sport on earth and I want it to stay in Atlanta. It is great to back a winning team but I would prefer to back a losing hockey team than back the teams in the Superbowl tonight. This is a hockey town! See you guys at Phillips on Friday night!

Iron League 13

February 6th, 2011
11:13 am

Let’s face it guys and gals nothing spectacluar is gonna happen by the deadline, NO-THING. As Smoothie said,”put a fork in it”. No point in hoping a trade will save us, at this point it’s NOT one or two solid guys needed, but four or five (IMPOSSIBLE). Remember we don’t have a month for Toby and Slates to get healthy and we’re brimming with inexperience and lack off manly testosterone producing gear, so it’s done. The best thing that can happen is that we get new owner before next year or you might as well expect the same old craptastic mediocrity.

Anyways, the credits are about to role on this tragic tale…

Fin

Smoothie

February 6th, 2011
11:27 am

The losing and consolation-point OT losses must stop. A win is what this team needs and the longer it takes, the steeper the hill becomes to climb. In your heart of hearts, do you really think the team,as currently constructed, can go 16-8-3 or even 15-8-4?? Had they beaten the Isles or CGY, perhaps I’d feel a little better. Will I stop watching? No. But I reserve the right to piss and moan all I want about a team I’ve supported whoeheartedly for the last 6 years. So suck an egg Cup Guy.

Buff-n-stuff

February 6th, 2011
11:27 am

Everyone is certainly entitled to their opinions, I do subscribe to the theory that thsi week will see a “major shake up” in terms of personel….I am willing to go on a limb and say that a minimum of 3 current starters on our team from last night, will “NOT” be on the team after the trade deadline, if not even this week. The money paid to these “players-to-be-gone” will be matched, and exceeded by what is brought in….the incoming players will be younger (that is the movement) and they will have a mix of “years left” on their contracts, some will be locked in for 2 years + RFA (if apllicable), some will simply expire at the end of the season.

Even the ASG knows that if they spend a little more $$$, and make it to the playoffs, a couple of home playoff games, and even a series win that produces a couple of more playoff games at home, will at least break them even. And we all know what happens in Atlanta when “ANY” of our teams that haven’t been to the playoffs in a long time finally make it back….the FAIR WEATHER FANS come out….and we sell out stadiums…..even if they don’t know BOO about hockey.

Here’s to hoping that the above comes to fruition.

Buff-n-stuff

February 6th, 2011
11:28 am

Agreed Smoothie – But we need to string together some wins, and starting with “1″ Win, in regulation would point us in the right direction !!!

Brendan

February 6th, 2011
11:34 am

Red Light, your 9:40 AM post (http://blogs.ajc.com/iceman-thrashers-blog/2011/02/05/thump-hurricanes-knock-thrashers-out-of-their-playoff-birth/?cp=1#comment-49712) was fantastic. That’s the kind of depth and research we’ve been spoiled by, on your part. I’ve been wanting to say, for a while now, that I think Florida is banking points at a great clip than we have since New Year’s Day. Now I see … that it’s true!!

I do wonder what is happening with the Washington Capitals, last year’s President’s Trophy winner. Remember? They finished with 54 wins and 121-points, both franchise records for the Washington Capitals. What kind of point total are they on pace for this year?? They may not even win the Southeast Division. I’m starting to seriously think that Tampa Bay will win it. I remember, back in preseason, the prevailing mood of this blog was that the Bolts lack of goaltending would sink them into 9th or 10th place. TB is lookin’ like a playoff team, to me.

Back in preseason, I thought Montreal (currently 6th in the East) had a longshot of making the playoffs. Carey Price is doing better than I thought. He was voted into the All-Star Game. I know. I know. That’s based off “stuffed ballot boxes” by Montreal fans. But honestly, I think he came to earn that honor. Where are the Blues, and Jaroslav Halak? (13th place, Western Conference.) I guess we just never know what will happen. That’s why the play the games.

Sage of Bluesland … well … I can’t say that each win is putting us farther and farther away from a better draft pick. Not yet, anyway. We’re still too close to 8th spot to commence “Operation Tank It.” When there’s 20 games left, instead of 27, we’ll revisit the topic.

World Be Free

February 6th, 2011
11:36 am

Buff-I too agree with what you have stated here.

The best crowd in terms of numbers and enthusiasm from last season was the one I witnessed after the Kovy trade. It was a late win over MIami on a goal by the newly-acquired Bergfors-like a weight was removed from the fanbase and the team. The current weight is the free-fall the team has experienced over the past 6 weeeks.

This regression has rekindled past failues (so many to count) to the surface. The curious Atlantan that was starting to buy hockey tickets no longer has interest. The type of deal you have described is the one that is needed to shake this team up and hope the enthusiasm lasts long enough for Mr. Bettman to see what he has here. Again, I am not being Mr. Pollyanna here.

moriler

February 6th, 2011
11:36 am

Buff: Who do you think is even available to be brought in? I don’t see anyone I particularly like out there that isn’t overpriced as all hell right now. Rumor has it that Edmonton wants someone’s left nut for Penner and Hemsky, Versteeg has his own issues (big minus player right now), and Ottawa only has a center realistically available, I think?

Too many teams are too close — we need things to break up a bit in the next couple weeks so sellers finally realize they’re actually sellers. And we need someone to be willing to take mediocre prospects, third- and fourth-liners, and late-round picks in exchange for whoever they’re selling.

Making a deal right now is tough sailin’, even though we have all the cap space in the world.

R. Stroz

February 6th, 2011
11:37 am

Although I realize this will be a rather unpopular assessment: Here it goes.

1) Unless this team is 100% healthy, which most teams never are, the Thrashers don’t have a playoff worthy roster.

2) So, a pragmatic approach would be go into all out SELL mode while the market is more favorable for the selling teams versus the buying teams.

3) Trade as many older players as possible for draft round picks, think Sopel.

4) Send Stapleton back to Chicago as he has NO upside.

5) Bring up Esposito, Machecek, and Postma to see what they can do at the NHL level.

6) Over the summer, use the accumulated draft picks as RFA offer sheet collateral and make RFA offer sheets pointed at the salary cap troubled teams.

7) Use the rookie call-ups, such as Esposito, Machecek, Kulda, and Postma as low cost trade bait to salary cap troubled teams over the summer.

It’s time to put the screws to the Wolves by pulling out as many possible NHL players as possible. It’s also time to put the screws to the other GMs that have painted themselves into a salary cap corner.

Things may be uglier for a few months, but then again as Thrashers fans, we are used to ugly.

And last, for the love of hockey, get Modin out of the line-up and put Boults back in.

AtlFlamesFan

February 6th, 2011
11:45 am

Gotta agree with thoses posts about Opie. At least 2, maybe 3 softies. Coulda, shoulda won.

Smoothie

February 6th, 2011
11:47 am

And by the way folks, in case you have been living in Dawsonville or in a forest somewhere without the internet, Atlanta is a FAIRWEATHER SPORTS TOWN!! It’s great that we have probably 10 k to 15 k passionate hockey fans who really love the sport and champion its growth. Now half of them have been driven away by a piss–poor ownership group that doesn’t know a hockey puck from a turd in their toilet. But for folks to come on here and lecture fans about being negative when the team has nearly completed yet ANOTHER January & February free-fall into mediocrity, who the hell do you think you are?? You should be happy that there are any fans at all for this sorry sack of crap we call a franchise?? If this were a Bojangles, it would have been boarded up 2 years ago from lack of patronage. I want this team to win with all the fiber of my being so we can stick it to the cretins in Winnpeg, Hamilton and anywhere else that thinks ATL doesn’t deserve hockey. But you know what? This city didn’t deserve Mike Vick, a convicted dog-killer, Bobby Petrino, years of pitiful ownership for the Falcons, Billy Knight as a GM who didn’t think Chris Paul was worthy of the 3rd pick, so on and so forth.

Perhaps the decade of unfulfilled dreams and expectations by the Buffalo Braves, I mean the Atlanta Vikings, has this city completely and utterly gun shy of supporting any team that doesn’t pass the sniff test of being a winner. The Hawks have obvious holes, the Falcons were eeking out wins without a pass rush or a complete secondary and a washed-up coordinator who doesn’t know how to get more out of Matt Ryan and the passing game. The Braves are getting close and we can be thrilled at that prospect, but the sting of losing to the Braves of the West Coast will take a World Series appearance to ease that lingering pain. As for the Thrashers, we’re screwed. Plain and simple and the light at the end of the tunnel may very well be a freight train.

moriler

February 6th, 2011
11:48 am

R. Stroz: I would wait for a week or two to do that (with everyone else charging body parts, the market will stay sellers’ this season) but overall that is a workable plan.

Here’s the only problem I see with it: it’ll throw attendance into the ditch at exactly the wrong time. The fans aren’t going to be willing to be patient with another “rebuilding” year, I’m afraid, and we’ve already seen what happens when you draft someone solid and sling ‘em in too early: Bogosian. I like throwing RFA offer sheets around, for sure, but we have to actually be able to get the players from those sheets — and I suspect other GMs will prefer to re-sign their RFAs and let their free agents go right now.

Buff-n-stuff

February 6th, 2011
11:57 am

Stroz – I said it earlier, I’d prefer to see Spencer M (a responsible, defense minded forward…and we NEED defense more than we need offense), we have Kulda up, so heck, why not bring the likes of Postma and maybe Espo or Holzapfel up….how much “worse could it be” than the likes of Modin, Peverley, Stapleton ???? Really ???

I also agree that we should stick it to the wolves….but until we get new ownership that understands you need your “OWN” farm team, we are screwed there.

World Be – Did you see the shootout highlight from the other night where Koval-choke had the puck on his stick, in the shootout, needing to score in order to continue the shootout (against the Sabres) and he came on net, and the puck went off his stick halfway down the ice and he never even got a shot off? That was how the game ended !!! I am Soooooooooooo glad we do not have him on this team….and yes, to your point about a defining moment and the situation w/ Bergie last year, we need more of that, just like when Keith Tkachuk was brought in a few years back….it gave the fans light, and the team energy, and it worked….

Can you say continued youth movement???

World Be Free

February 6th, 2011
11:57 am

Stroz-you make some strong points, as usual and no attempt at humor in your recent post. This is a position some franchises can take, but not this one. To let go the season right will deteriorate an already small fanbase. Unless you have a strong, verbal GM that go to the puiblic with a master plan for making this team a winner. I know we are envoking the famour “Five Year Plan” as outlines 200 times by a current blogger, but it may be the best position to take. Columbus has already hinted they are going to do the same.

Sopel has had a good year and he plays playoff hockey with his one on one coverage and shot blocking., What would Sopel bring? Can we assume Postma will take his place int he lineup making htis a win-win? Reverse the field-nobody has commented on the prospect of trading our #1 pick this yeaqr for immediate improvement.

Smoothie-by Buffalo Braves, I assume that you are refering to the Atlanta Braves resembling the Buffalo Bills. I was a HUGE Buffalo Braves basketball fan in the 70’s! They too could not get over the top, or to be specific get past the Boston Celtics. Braves’ owner abandoned the team and city as well–ironic. We also need to come to the realiziation that most cities are fair weather sports towns. How many pro sports teams maintain their fan and ticket buying bases regardless of how the team is doing? Think about it-this team, with its history should be lucky to have ANY fans.

R. Stroz

February 6th, 2011
12:08 pm

The Spirit Clowns already threw attendence into the ditch with the contents of the lawsuit.

So since, attendence has already been thrown into the ditch by FUBAS, why not make the best out of a bad situation and implement a “SELL NOW” strategy?

Move Sopel, Antropov, ….add name of veteran player on the downside of his career, for high round draft picks.

I’d drown from tears of joy if some team took Modin for a third rounder.

World Be Free

February 6th, 2011
12:09 pm

Something scary just happened-I read a post by Eklund that I was thinking just yesterday. How scary-to think like Eklund.

Chris Mason-let’s say Mason’s stink in Atlanta has not been a successful one so far, largely because iof the emergence of Pavs. What about trading Mason and his reasonable contract to a contender and maybe signing Ray Emery? Just a thought

World Be Free

February 6th, 2011
12:10 pm

That’s stint not stink

Sage of Bluesland

February 6th, 2011
12:17 pm

“…As for the Thrashers, we’re screwed. Plain and simple and the light at the end of the tunnel may very well be a freight train.”

Heaven be praised! Smoothie finally–finally–gets it.

I hope you have enjoyed your purchase(s), too….Don Waddell thanks you from the bottom of his ‘good’ heart….

(Nice analogy to a ‘real’ business; i.e. boarded-up/condemned Bojangles…Too bad I’ve used that for years, to much derision from the sheep…Oh well, it is what it is…Better late than never and all…)

It’s slow progress I make…I don’t have much to work with here, admittedly…

Get The Puck Out

February 6th, 2011
12:26 pm

Bon Jovi wants to buy a 15% share of the falcons. THE FALCONS. For $150 million. That would buy the Thrashers and we would have a owner that would probably try to make a winner out of this mess. Also heard that Jay-z is opening a sports bar at the airport. Another possibility? Just grabbin at straws, but i can dream dammit!!!

Iron League 13

February 6th, 2011
12:32 pm

WBF – I am 100% in faor of trading our picks away, yes that was plural as in ALL OF THEM for all I care. The way I see it is SCREW OUR PICKS. Picks basicallly translate to, affordable gamble in something like 9/10 of em and we all know the ASG loves that affordable bit, so…they force them to play FAR FAR TOO EARLY. Let’s face it, Burmi’s not ready, Cormier’s not ready, Stapleton’s never going to be ready, Bogo’s not ready, etc., etc., etc. That’s NOT how any team should be built. In summation, BET THE FREAKIN’ FARM NOW!!! Force free agent signings in the offseason. People can look at me sideways all they like for saying that, but out of the playoffs is out of the playoffs in this market whether or not that’s 9th or last.

Iron League 13

February 6th, 2011
12:36 pm

Get The Puck Out – You took the words outta my mouth on that one. No kidding, rumor has it I’m somehow related (not a point of pride), but maybe I should find out and give him the “Hey cuz, bit” For my Thrashers…anything.

Smoothie

February 6th, 2011
12:36 pm

WBF – no I think you had it right with “stink”, ha! Freudian slips (or typos) are the best! Not sure Mason has much value right now, but I’d be fine with getting something for him as his best days are past. He’s a great team guy for sure, and should he get traded, I’ll wish him well. It’s too bad really as listening to him talk about his 4,000 mile drive from Red Deer, AB to get to ATL because he was so excited to get here and get working had me pumped for a new direction and a season of hope and promise.

Dudley did some fantastic things, but you can only do so much with miserly owners. We all knew this in the back of our minds, but as fans, you try to focus on the players, their potential and hope for the best. I do think there is a enough talent here to form a very good core for years to come. But mistakes like Modin, trading Eager rather than addressing the true issue that lay at the heart of the matter, not giving a fair shake to Kulda and Machacek, relying too heavily on Byfuglien as your top scorer, and not spending closer to $45-6 M to shore up the top 6, and you’re left with the crushing blow of the falling weight of youthful promise that is often unfulfilled.

Injuries caught up with the boys because they’re just that, boys. Rammer had them playing with zest and vigor early on and they were taking it to good teams, night in and night out, playing the game the RIGHT WAY. But the talent pool was way too shallow, as we know all too well, and now we’re stuck in a massive rut that not even a trade will likely pull us out of at this point. I think Dudley may have no choice but to do what Strozier suggests as the market is terrible with too many teams bumping up against the cap, not enough separation b/w haves and haves not, not to mention several GM’s who are twice bitten, now shy from making bad signings and committing to guys who never should have gotten huge deals (think Drury, Gomez and that ilk) to begin with. If the NHL wasn’t such a victim of its own success, I think Dudley would have no problem wheeling and dealing like in years past. However, the prospect of an expiring CBA and the uncertainty that it comes with, has a lot of GM’s standing pat and hoping their team can earn a top-8 spot knowing that it’s not easy to move assets right now. We may be stuck for more reasons than the ones Sage loves to bloviate about.

Iron League 13

February 6th, 2011
12:44 pm

Smoothie – Kudos on the word, blo-vi-ate. That’s gotta be word of the day or the secret word a la Pee-Wee’s Playhouse. Now excuse me while I figure out what it means.

Barry

February 6th, 2011
1:01 pm

I think the main reason this team is struggling to score goals is the powerplay is DOA basically. I think it’s scored like what..1 goal in it’s past 20 attempts or something? What carried this team early in the season was it was dangerous on the powerplay. At one point they had the top PP in the entire league. I know Enstrom is out with injury but that should not make or break a powerplay. Thrashers had a 5 on 3 and I didn’t see anyone really take any shots. They were all passing it around being static and trying to find that perfect shot. You gotta make quick passes, shoot the puck asap, and crash the net. I mean you out number their guys 5 to 3 for crying out loud!!!

Rob

February 6th, 2011
1:02 pm

Unfortunantly the roster is playing to its ability right now. When you’re 28th in payroll, it requires either a rookie phenom on an entry level contract or a completely healthy team to perform at the middle of the pack.

I like the RFA offer sheet suggestion. They need to sign Ladd and Buff to extentions sooner rather than later.

Brendan

February 6th, 2011
1:02 pm

Ya know, overpriced players are an albatross on most markets trying to win. They’d do just about anything to ditch them. Right now, the Rangers have $6 mllion-a-year Wade Redden in the AHL. Chicago loaned Cristobal Huet, $5 million-a-year, to Europe. I’ve forgotten what’s happened to Brian Campbell, etc. What are Edmonton’s plans with Ethan Moreau and Shawn Horcoff? Every team has bad contracts. You can call up some GM’s to ask them … what would you realistically accept to be FREE of these lemons? What if they said, “future considerations?” What if they said, “A 7th round pick?”

There might be a time … when taking on a BAD contract is the BEST WAY to improve your roster. You have to ask youself, would this “horrible contract” player make our roster BETTER? Yes or no? And are they locked up?? If the truthful answer is … that a bad contract actually makes the roster better … and there’s room on the payroll for the player … doesn’t it make some sense to consider it?

So, Brendan, you’d really take Wade Redden!??? Heck no. The player actually has to IMPROVE the roster. Wade Redden’s game is frightful. Yes or no, would Brian Campbell improve our roster? Honesty counts, now! Take the political spin off your answer. Yes … or no? Are we going to draft a Brian Campbell anytime soon into our lineup? Yes … or no? Here it comes … we could do that, IFFFFFFFFFFFFF we had owners willing to spend above the floor to acquire these BADLY overpaid players. And we don’t. And so goes these arguments. The more years left on these atrocious contracts, the most desperate the GM’s would be to ditch them. In the end, you can probably land a bad contract for a song. You just have to have the cap room and ownership willing to foot that EGREGIOUS bill.

RFA offersheets are intriguing. But by their very essence, they’re designed to make the POACHING team pay dearly for what they are doing to the other club. We can attempt to POACH … because we have the cap room. But, can we afford the cost of that draft pick compensation? At first glance, and knee-jerk reaction is a resounding “No!”

But yet … let’s look our history of lottery draft picks: Stefan, 1st overall. It happens. Move it along, counselor. Heatley, 2nd overall. Swapped for Hossa, who just like Heatley would have, BOLTED at the first chance out of town. Limited return, then. Coburn wasn’t a lottery pick, but he was a high-end 1st rounder … who never was developed by the Atlanta Thrashers into anything. Credit the Flyers for the Coburn ascendency. Bogosian, 3rd overall, is a work in progress. Has he been properly developed by Atlanta?? C’mon now. Beeee honest. And then there’s Kane, 4th overall. Tons of upside. But will he be a 40 goal scorer? A 30-goal scorer? I ask because … if there’s a FANTASTICALLY OVERPRICED 30-40 goal scorer out there … at some point … that SOME GM wants to ditch … don’t we have to think about it? Especially, if we have cap room? I repeat, look … at … our … track … record. As Red Light says, “Nobody develops talent like the Atlanta Thrashers Hockey Club,” with the sarcasm detector going off the chart.

Okay, what’s left of the Thrashers draft history to discuss? Jim Slater? Fine. He’s been here a while. But that was a 30th overall pick. Toby Enstrom? A shot-in-the-dark 7th rounder that hit the mark. Pavelec? Okay, let’s talk Pavelec. That’s a fine pick at # 49, who took the requisite 5 years to develop, and right where a GM should select a prospective goalie of the future. But we gave up pick # 12 to get it. And at # 12, better overall talent was available. (Tuukka Rask was still ont he board, too.) Truthfully, we owned the # 8 pick that year (2005 – Setoguchi selected by San Jose, but we could have taken a Marc Staal or an Anze Kopitar there, etc.). What about Bryan Little, a 12th overall selection? I’ve mostly liked this pick. I felt Little went precisely he should have in his Draft Year. We’ve seen that he CAN score 30 goals. It’s possible, for him.

Okay. Are finally done yet? Oh yes, Alex Bourret. Next. In the aggregate, what are draft picks WORTH in the hands of Head Scout Dan Marr, and the War TEAM of Ric Dudley and Don Waddell? Maybe the most famous RFA offersheet was the Thomas Vanek offer, back in 2006 or so, by Edmonton to Buffalo. Let me ask the Sabre fans of the blog … if they thought Vanek was worth the $7.12 cap hit, lo these many years? It might be a mixed reaction. We’ll see.

I’d like to ask an Oilers fan if Dustin Penner, at $4.25 million, or whatever it was, was worth it, to poach off of Anaheim? I haven’t looked in ages, but the last time I did, any player salaried about $5 million by your offersheet results in the loss of four (4) first round draft picks. As pathetic as the Thrashers are at drafting and developing talent, even I’m a bit hesitant to give up THAT many picks for one player. And what if the player were merely playing a dangerous game of ‘chicken’ with his current team, having exactly ZERO intentions of playing in Atlanta? Well, we’re both STUCK, in that case. The player is trapped here, demoralized that his ex-team didn’t match the offer.

So, are the RFA offersheets really the way to go? I suppose it really does come down to what our offer is, how many picks we’ll give up, and the mindset of the player potentially being poached. But in the case of the OVERPAID player that the GM merely wants to ditch, so he can sign his better functioning cylinders … the cost might just be THE MONEY rather than any tangible assets the organization might have.

kovyoverrated

February 6th, 2011
1:03 pm

Based on performance every single season, even when we won the Southeast because everbody else sucked, I fear that this team is in a freefall that it will not be able to recover from. You can come on this blog and make a plea for all ” True Thrasher Fans” to go to Philips and support the team. Well, we have done that for 10 years, only to realize that this franchise has no vision, no “business plan”, no direction. The first 2 years, there were many packed houses in Philips, so that proves that this can be a hockey city. But if we keep getting served chopped liver when we request at least a good hamburger, what are we supposed to do? Keep spending money and putting support behind what we all know is sub-par? My entire family watches every game on tv, we go to practices, we go to Philips. So yes, we would love to see and support a good product. I don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.
We will finish last in the SE, and only be ahead of Ottowa and the Isles in the EC.

Get The Puck Out

February 6th, 2011
1:19 pm

Iron League 13– CALL HIM NOW.

EA

February 6th, 2011
1:27 pm

If you want a dose of optimism, check on Dan Kamal’s tweet after the game last night. Go Thrash!

kj

February 6th, 2011
1:27 pm

Just want to make three quick points about my “heart-ripping out” Thrashers:

1) The loss of Slater breaking up the Greek Gods line is a bigger blow than most think. The HEART that line shows has been missing in the rest of the team since.
2) Buff is tired. He knows he can’t give te max effort every night, knowing that the team needs that from him. He’s just not a max effort night in and night out guy. He showed that last night standing around and not knocking ANYONE on their ass. BTW, when’s the last time he did knock someone on their ass? I can’t remember either.
3) Bogo’s hockey I.Q. is low and that’s what separates him from some of the other young defensemen in the league that have similar skills but much more “upstairs”. To me, his future in the league may be better off at a power forward position where he doesn’t have to think much.

A couple of trades and Slater’s return can turn things around but let’s face it, some players on this team not willing to sign contracts beyond this year will start thinking about getting out of ATL ASAP and that will sink the morale of this team – and there are too many of those guys to trade.

World Be Free

February 6th, 2011
1:31 pm

Smoothie-looks like you fed the weasel with one of your recent posts. we got yet another taste of what we already know.

Brendan-your broight up a great subject concerning bad contracts. Remember when our number one goal was to get rid of Todd White and his contract? When White was traded it was like winning the Stanley Cup, in a way

Iron League- I am torn between Stroz’s suggestion of tanking the season for prospects and not draft picks and looking towards the future OR the thought of giving our #1 away for an immediate impact palyer. If I am giving it up, it is for Chris Versteeg. I have always liked his game and he is younger than Penner or Hemsky. Not that I am looking to help Tronna but I think we do need to make the deal and bring in yet another Chicago piece.

alex

February 6th, 2011
1:40 pm

“mission accomplished” DON said staying in front off adoring asg and Canadian crowd on aircraft carrier desk.. ours tremendous outstanding 11 years effort to ruin this franchise to the ground finally get through. now blame the red neck Atlanta residents for rejecting this sport, they just don’t get it. by the way, we are still couple levels higher than philly. i said this 3 years ago and nothing changed. see you in Winnipeg with Stanley cup. everybody including Mr. gearon and Mr. levenson in noise round of applaud. and now please be silent for “o Canada”

kj

February 6th, 2011
1:53 pm

Alex, thanks to the good people of the USA, the French word “douche” now is a homograph (you’ll have to look that up I’m sure), the second meaning being people like YOU.

LAC

February 6th, 2011
2:04 pm

Just wonder where dudley is and where is Gary Bettman ????? Both are Mr.Do Nothings concerning this franchise. dudley for his complete failure to make proper moves after the first two weeks of this collaspe and Bettman for simply turning his head and ignoring the Thrashers and the MESS this franchise is in. Just what does it take dudley ???? You have to be taking cues from your longtime buddy, Worthless waddell. Collect a Big Fat Paycheck and not do one damn thing to address the problems.

Modin, get rid of period.
Zach B. Trade ASAP !
Stapleton Back to Chicago.
Find a more suitable backup goalie ASAP.
Lastly, dudley, Quit being a QUITTER. Get rid of these three, they are KILLING US.
Ramsey, Establish a SOLID FORECHECK !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Right now we have none.
Watch other teams, they have TWO on either side of the goal waiting to attack the puckcarrier,
the earliest you see an Atlanta player is when he makes a feeble pass at about thier blueline and then the puck is in our zone.

We are playing about 100% like a John Anderson team. I really see little difference that last year.
Can Ramsey get it through his head PLAY DEFENSE FIRST !!!! Look at it. We are 29th in Goals Allowed, We have no real defense. I could care less it we win 2-1/3-2 etc… WE will win with DEFENSE.

SO do something dudley, if you don’t, please don’t waste out time anymore, because you are now proving you CANNOT do the job any better than your Worthless buddy. Eager for a 5th rounder,
that is yet another Terrible trade, 5th rounder, Great dudley, Just great. You need GM 101 book REAL BAD !

Sage of Bluesland

February 6th, 2011
2:25 pm

“…Dudley did some fantastic things, but you can only do so much with miserly owners. We all knew this in the back of our minds, but as fans, you try to focus on the players, their potential and hope for the best….”

I’m finding Smoothie’s blather is becoming comedy-gold lately….My, my, my how the wool has turned for that one! It’s becoming more than humorous to read his recently-discovered ‘doom-and-gloom’, his discovery of what some have known all along….this pesky little thing called ‘reality.’

Soon, he’ll be saying that he “knew it all along”. Uh-huh. That’s the one thing about history–it keeps repeating itself.

Welcome to reality, Smoothie. Unfortunately, it comes with a price. Once you start making sense, I’ll have less to laugh at. Shame, that.

Smoothie

February 6th, 2011
2:31 pm

You’re hilarious Sage….just stop drawing conclusions about people you don’t even know. You’re such a delusional SOB.

Brendan

February 6th, 2011
2:39 pm

Re: Eager, I understand the motives behind the move. I’m not saying that I agree with the trade, but I do understand why it was made. Namely, that Ben Eager wasn’t going to re-sign here anyway, plus he became a target on the NHL’s radar, and he broke the team rule about ‘not criticizing the league offices.’ Add it all up, and it translated into “Why wait ’til the deadline?, let’s move him now, for whatever we can get.” I understand that. I see it plain as day. The alternative was to hold on to Eager, hoping he didn’t commit any more infractions, didn’t put the refereees on alert for each and every Thrashers game, and hope he can contribute something for the stretch run, for he surely would be lost in free agency. Eager didn’t want to sign longer than a 1-year deal with Atlanta. So, we saw ‘how he felt’ about the trade and his future in Atlanta.

I hear ya. Some of you would rather keep Eager for all the time that he’s OWED to us, contractually. I see your point. But I see Ramsay’s and Dudley’s, too. I don’t especially think it was some ’secret’ that Ben Eager wanted to leave, and truthfully, never wanted to be here. I cannot rightly tell you what Ben Eager would have fetched at the trade deadline. Maybe a 3rd rounder??? And that’s being optimistic. So what are talking about, in terms of something tangible? I guess 60 picks in the “shot-in-the-dark” portion of the draft?, where you’re just as apt to find someone by throwing darts against the list of undrafted players. Really, the argument is over Eager’s retention value for the rest of the season versus his loss.

Mr. Heat Miser

February 6th, 2011
2:43 pm

Every time I go to RBC Center it reminds me of how good BBQ and non watered down local beer is. Great fans up there too.Not enjoying the ride back with just one point.

Brendan

February 6th, 2011
2:53 pm

I’m always amazed at how much Sage of Bluesland posts infuriate this blog. There’s very good reason why Sage says the things he does. Very little has changed, over all these years. So, the tune is the always the same. If the Thrashers actually got sold to someone who CARED about them, I’d wager that Sage’s posts would all be about ‘Aren’t you GLAD the stench of the Waddell Administration has finally be removed from the hallowed halls of Thrasherville?” And then, everyone would get mad at him, for constantly reminding us about how TERRIBLE it was on the Watch of Turner, TIME-WARNER, and FUBAS. But, I do think his posts would be about how REFRESHING the change in Administration has been. To the point where people would say, “Sage, is it really YOU???”

And, you’d see this GEM: “Subsidize the Competence. Get thee out to thy games!” Sage would turn into quite the advocate. But if the Administration falters, post FUBAS, he’ll light them up, too. Really, Sage is just out for accountability. I can see that. What fan doesn’t want the ownership of his team to be accountable over how the team is run? The day we say, “Who CARES who owns the team, or what they TRY, in terms of a strategy, is a sad, sad day.”

Segue, and therein lies the attendance problem. The players of the Atlanta Thrashers are probably confused as to why the stands are so empty, for these ‘playoff’ games. When the Braves used to play Expos in Montreal, and there were … maybe six thousand to eight thousand fans in the stands, I used to watch WTBS thinking, “Does this game count for the standings?” Seems like merely an exhibition. The players must feel some sense of frustration over the lack of fan support for these ‘essential’ games. But, on some level, the players must KNOW that the fans feel the same way about this ownership as their AGENTS do about them. When I look at Ladd and Byfuglien … I don’t think we’re going to get any of their UFA years.

Midfield

February 6th, 2011
3:10 pm

Brendan, I remember you calling the current regime a “depth strategy.” I have to say that the depth strategy apparently does not work when you only have 3rd and 4th liners talent-wise. Pavelec has stolen a few games for the team, but it looks like he’s been re-scouted: blocker side upstares is his weak spot.

Cornbread

February 6th, 2011
3:32 pm

Lots of folks wondering why Buff was not on the ice at the end of regulation last night and Bogo was. It’s simple really, Buff has been stuck on 41 points for over one month or 13 games.

Still, Buff’s getting his chances with 62 shots in that time! And that does not include missed shots and blocked shots. So I don’t buy the line that “other teams are shutting him down”. Keying on him yes but he is still making things happen out there. Bergfors goal, that he did not get an assist on, was all set up because of him. No one can knock him off the puck. The problem is that he is snakebit right now in scoring goals and so are his team mates who can’t knock in his rebounds.

So, cue up Bogo. Right call by Coach Ramsay and it paid off. Zach Bogosian played a great hockey game last night. Nice to see him make the most of the opportunity he was given.

Cornbread

February 6th, 2011
3:35 pm

Saw you on the TV a couple of times Mr. Heat Miser. Nice showing by Thrasher fans. And, nice to hear some boos from the Canes fans that came about from the Thrashers’ solid play.