Thrashers look to go from Rags to riches this weekend

Just a quick couple of comments here before I shove off to Alabama for the second time in three weekends. The younger tax exemption qualified for the Navy National Rifle Championship and left yesterday morning for check-in, registration and practice rounds. He’ll compete for two days and then we’ll make our way back Sunday morning. I’ll join you that afternoon to watch the Thrashers take on the Carolina Hurricanes, but you’ll have to hold down the fort tonight.

I’m counting on ya, Thrasherville.

Given all that, this blog entry will probably serve as your weekend discussion thread…barring some major breaking news that tears me away from my son’s competition. News like, oh I don’t know, an actual trade to help address some of the Thrashers weaknesses.

Anyway…

I don’t know if there are ways to elaborate on the fact that the Thrashers really, really…I mean REALLY…need a win tonight any more than has already been said since Monday’s loss in Toronto. We’ll take ‘em any which way we can these days, but one in regulation tonight would be especially nice. The same can be said of Sunday’s game as well.

During their current 5-11-5 winter hibernation, opponents have skated away from games with either one or two points in 19 of those 21 games. The only two times the Thrashers have denied anyone the courtesy of a win or at least an overtime loser point since December 20 was when they beat Florida 3-2 and Washington 1-0 last month.

Yes, it seems as though this season’s March from the Playoffs came a little earlier than last year’s, and this morning, Thrasherville awakes to find their team sitting in ninth place in the east, just once point ahead of the Buffalo Sabres. They knocked off the Panthers last night 3-2 in OT last night.

But while the Thrashers have indeed fallen on tough times, the schedule gods may have provided a great opportunity for them to seriously get things turned around in a hurry. Turned around, that is, if they can finally put together 60 minutes of solid hockey free of any ill-timed turnovers, unforced errors or any other on-ice brain cramps that have plagued this team of late.

Tonight, it’s the Rangers paying us a call. New York is just four points ahead of us and currently sit in the sixth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Unlike seemingly almost every other team in the NHL, they haven’t played fewer games that Atlanta has. The Rangers have 56 under their belts, same number as the Thrashers do.

The Blue Shirts hobble into town losers of their last five, only gaining an overtime loser point in that time by at least dragging the Penguins to a shootout at the beginning of the month. They last played in Detroit on Monday and dropped a 3-2 decision to the Wings. So maybe we’re catching these guys a just the right time.

Netting a pair tonight would also set the stage for another big showdown with Southeast Division foes Carolina Sunday afternoon. Fresh off their loss in Philly Thursday night, Carolina remains just a point north of Atlanta. They’ll be taking the long route to Atlanta by way of Tampa for a battle with the Bolts Saturday night before making their way here the next day.

So, if all goes according to plan, two Thrashers wins coupled with a Canes loss in Tampa and a Rangers loss in Pittsburgh Sunday would see Atlanta even with New York at 62 points…three ahead of the Hurricanes. That’s kind of like going from…ahem…”Rags” to riches but moving from being on the outside in to once more holding on to one of the valued playoff spots.

Helping matters tremendously would be the return of defenseman Toby Enstrom, (DUH5). C-Viv reports that he went through a full-contact practice yesterday and could be a game-time decision tonight. Things look good, though, for his return Sunday if he’s not able to go against the Rangers.

Since the team’s leader in assists went down with a broken finger the last time the Rangers were in town on January 22, the Thrashers have gone 1-4-1 and have been outscored 24-12.

And finally…if you haven’t yet procured your seats for this Sunday’s game against the Canes, you can still take advantage of the “tickets and a jersey” deal. For $26 you can get a seat in section 203 or 204 and also receive a free replica Thrashers jersey.

For more details, simply call Karin at 404-878-3781 by noon today.

By: Bill Tiller – AJC.com Thrashers Fan Blog

165 comments Add your comment

Smoothie

February 11th, 2011
2:24 pm

DWTOO – I agree completely, makes me jealous too, but you’re right, they just had a change in ownership last spring I believe it was. The feuding pair of crooks who did own them were forced to sell and then all the positive changes (Yzerman, Boucher etc etc) were implemented prior to this season. And now they have new unis on the horizon.

Hoof Arted

February 11th, 2011
2:36 pm

Jason, That’s quite the Dear John letter to your rep. I’d be very curious to read whatever is replied back to you.

Jason

February 11th, 2011
2:38 pm

Smoothie – I changed reps at the start of the calendar year. Between him and the rep I had previously, I’ve never been given any sort of upgrades or comps or anything. The closest I got was the opportunity to buy tickets to the WWE show in April as opposed to a lot of people that I’ve heard from getting tix to concerts, etc. The only time I got a seat upgrade at a Thrashers game was after I filed a complaint because only 3 concession stands in the upper level were open one night last season when we played the Penguins.

Red Light

February 11th, 2011
3:10 pm

Senators GM Bryan Murray…

“There will be some deals,” Murray told reporters. “I don’t know how many, I don’t even pretend to know that, but there will be more deals. If we’re going to … follow our plan that we’ve outlined going forward, we have to make room for some people. We’re obviously going to acquire draft picks if we can and give ourselves a chance to pick as high as we can in this year’s draft and get good assets for the organization.”

Defenseman Chris Phillips to Chicago?
Looking for defense. Kopecky as trade bait now that the younger mirror-image Frolik is there?

Winger Daniel Alfredsson to Los Angeles (2 years left on current deal but while the cap hit for Ottawa is $4.875 million, it’s only $2.75 million for the acquiring team over the next two seasons).

Winger Alexei Kovalev to Phoenix?
Short-term rental to bolster PP unit, which is only clicking at 17.1 percent (19 overall)

Jason

February 11th, 2011
3:33 pm

As much as I’d love to see a deal, I doubt one will be made….

glovesave29

February 11th, 2011
4:12 pm

This will be the response from the team re: you STH cancellation…

glovesave29

February 11th, 2011
4:13 pm

Tampa – another example of the league stepping in to rid the team of lousy ownership. So where are they now for the good people of Atlanta?

LAC

February 11th, 2011
4:19 pm

glovesave29, I agree 100% on where is the NHL. Just a new owner by any name would boost attendence and OUR Sprit !

glovesave29

February 11th, 2011
4:24 pm

Here’s what I am hoping for tonight…I want Avery, the little punk to go after Enstrom and his recently broken finger. Then the balance of the boys in blue to go after him and a good, team-building, bench clearing brawl. I want to see the team starting to rally around each other and to show a little toughness.

Jason

February 11th, 2011
4:28 pm

GS29: Three hours in and you’re exactly right about the response to this point.

However, I don’t think this team has the heart to have a line fight with anyone. That’s why teams like Montreal and Boston are ahead of us. Closest we’ve come in a while was the pre-Thanksgiving battle with Washington a few years ago.

Smoothie

February 11th, 2011
4:31 pm

We had a line fight in Boston right after Savard returned. Dopey actually wanted to fight so Little beat his ass down. As the injuries started to stockpile, our fight and energy started to ebb. Like many have said, we don’t have the true depth of roster to sustain even a couple or a few key injuries like a Pens or Wings team.

BMF

February 11th, 2011
4:52 pm

Jason, I remember that game aginst the Caps that you’re referring to, think it was the 06-07 season, 5 fights in the last 10 seconds of that game. The Caps had Donald Brashear at the time and if memory serves me right he beat the absolute crap out of Vishnevisky (sp?). Metropolit and DeVries also fought in that one too, gloves and sticks littered the ice. Don’t recall seeing a game like that since, where the whole team collective decided to drop gloves and stick up for each other, or at least not to that extent. Speaking of fighting, seeing the penalty box in that BOS-MON game was hilarious. How many guys did they squeeze in there, 7 or 8? Looked like the old phone-booth drill.

glovesave29

February 11th, 2011
5:03 pm

Wasn’t that the game that lead to Glen Hanlons ouster as the Caps coach?

ZAvalanche

February 11th, 2011
6:19 pm

Good luck Thrashy! Any if any of you want some extra entertainment and have center ice, check out Avs-Blue Jackets. Forsberg makes his return tonight……….

CatThrashFever

February 11th, 2011
7:11 pm

Jason: you better get lower level seats for the remainder of the season, free concessions for rest of season and a REAL jersey with the player of your choice on it – to stay at STH! please let us know what AS does! :)

LAC

February 11th, 2011
9:33 pm

I’m glad Shirley Temple is on TCM tonight, Much better to watch than this wreched team, Just Sick !
This team’s Goose is cooked tonight…. Season Over. Be sellers, forget trying anymore this season !

CatThrashFever

February 11th, 2011
10:27 pm

LAC: fyi We won in REGULATION!! You missed a great game! :)

ZAvalanche

February 11th, 2011
10:33 pm

At least one of my teams won tonight……….. Nice game Kane, errr, clutch.

SomaAtl95

February 11th, 2011
10:58 pm

Nice to see a great game tonight. They played AT their skill level tonight and it showed. The best part? A win almost completely means a “Negative Nancy” – free weekend of conversation on this blog. A win on Sunday would make it a stretch of games minus the “Sourpuss Sallies”
A few streaks to end the season and a few playoff wins and you’ll see the “Pessimistic Pamelas” flee faster than Mubarek from Cairo.
Its nice to hope for that after a game like tonight!
Have a great Saturday folks! :)

LAC

February 11th, 2011
11:31 pm

I stand to be CORRECTED, Great comeback to get a critical win. Good Job !

Joe Friday

February 11th, 2011
11:38 pm

Keys to the game:
Coach. Huge positive from Ramsay. He changed up his power play, and I liked it, kinks to be worked out but that was so needed.
Enstrom: cog was missing, he’s back
Boultoun: I’m telling you, he’s a “glue” guy . . . lighting up the Blue Skirt lit up our whole team and they skated balls to the wall the whole first and you saw what happened.

WBF, please commence with your Stewart bashing. I’m done with him. The boys played balls out the whole first and his fat lazy butt takes an atrocious lazy backbreaking holding call 30 seconds into the first–kudos to the rest of the boys stepping it up to overcome that braindead play

Bergfors. Please trade him, does not fit it, always a step behind and it’s not because he doesn’t have the speed…no heart

Brendan

February 12th, 2011
12:38 am

Absolutely huuuuge win. That’s a four-point swing. As important as the win was, it was equally important to DENY the Rangers any points from this game. Down, 2-1, late in the 3rd period, the only team “lurking” for the ‘pity-point’ was Atlanta. Instead, we snuffed out the possibility of ANY points for the NYR.

Turning point? The amazing save Pavelec made on Gaborik’s penalty shot. Kane had a 3-point night, I believe. Kane was credited with an assist on the Anthony Stewart goal, after a review.

Atlanta is back in playoff position. But teams beneath have game-in-hand. The PP unit came up huuuge, late in the 3rd period.

R. Stroz

February 12th, 2011
12:49 am

Lots of COWBELL tonight.

CatThrashFever

February 12th, 2011
1:31 am

testing the BOLD and the italics features

Pinball34

February 12th, 2011
4:25 am

Anybody catch the Penguins massacre tonight? Couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch of A**holes…

Thrashers

February 12th, 2011
6:00 am

We are in 8th again dammit!!!!!

No Boycott - Support Team Now

February 12th, 2011
8:29 am

All you morons that have been saying the best thing a fan can do is boycott this team are about to see your foolish plan backfire. Wake up and smell the coffee – Atlanta is on verge of losing our team. Get your rear ends down to Phillips or you can pack the car for Nashville to go see the NHL. Your boycott has backfired. Support the Thrashers and the NHL NOW!

Dany Heatley

February 12th, 2011
8:30 am

For those folks who have written off this team, this year, you are excused permanently from this blog. Go back to the wide world of curling or whatever other mundane pastimes you regale yourself in.

Spud Webb

February 12th, 2011
8:48 am

Pinball34, I was flipping back and forth! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOo….isles gooning it up. The pens got straight WORKED. ahhahahha

Friday…Bergfors. Please trade him, does not fit it, always a step behind and it’s not because he doesn’t have the speed…no heart

AGREED 1000 percent. Bergie is NOT willing to pay the price. He is what he is, a 20 goal scorer, but too pretty for my taste. Get your nose dirty, quit being a women (no offense to anyone) and get the damn puck when its in the corners.

Great win last night, wow….relentless!

World Be Free

February 12th, 2011
9:03 am

Joe Friday, I think we all have to remember Stewart was avauilable to every NHL team and the Thrashers were the only team to take a chance on him. He has size and decent speed but lacks the fire. He has company on this team.

But Kane and Thorburn surely do not lack fire. I am waiting for Thorburn to take a shift off because I can’t remember him doing it. Kane should hold lessons for the rest of the team on how you ATTACK the opposition on the rush. No wonder he gets hurt. A very good win against a struggling Rangers team.

To quote Frank Gorshin – “Riddle me this Batman!”
Why was Sopel out on the power play playing the oppositie point?
And why would anybody drop a pass to Sopel when he was the last line of defense with Gaborik on the ice? End rest, breakaway, penalty shot and Pavs to the rescue, again.

Pavs is saving the season so far.

World Be Free

February 12th, 2011
9:07 am

You gotta love Bots, the worst place to be is in his cross hairs after he has sat for a few games. Easy to see the 2 words he hates the most are “healthy scratch”.
Boulton’s house-penalty box
Boulton’s prison-press box

Great fight to start the game. Looks like Old Time Hockey has returned the NHL. Man do I love brawls, as long as I am not in them.

World Be Free

February 12th, 2011
9:08 am

That’s Bolts

Sage of Bluesland

February 12th, 2011
9:14 am

Caught the tail-end of the game last night…from home, of course…Suited me just fine, too, knowing the ASG didn’t get a ‘direct’ subsidy from the Sage household.

Not another dollar for incompetence, despite the blind squirrel finding a nut.

Cheers–and finally a regulation win.

World Be Free

February 12th, 2011
9:25 am

Burmiustov finally awake from his slumber. Nice check and pass, good to see Burmie back.

h

February 12th, 2011
9:58 am

WBF, right on. That Burmy hit totally set up the first goal. I thought he played really well last night. Kane and Stewart were all over the place last night too. Good forechecking by Ladd and I hate to say this, but I thought hainsey played another very solid game.

World Be Free

February 12th, 2011
10:05 am

h, let’s hope the Kane, Thorburn and Burmie hustle will restart this team on the ice. Still too much standing around in our own end when the opposition has the puck. 5 on 5 situations look more like a power play for the opposing team, often turning into a goal.

This team struggles to score and I say it is time to move Buff to forward. many of you have stated this before and now I agree. It’s not like he has been a premier defenseman the past 2 months. Move him to forward, power forward. Who can handle him other than maybe Chara?

Spud Webb

February 12th, 2011
10:08 am

Thorburn has impressed me all season long. The kid plays hard & has some skills. Great, GREAT job by him to keep improving.

Alan R.

February 12th, 2011
11:30 am

WBF – I said it back in October… I said it back in December… and I’m sayin’ it now. Don’t count on Byfuglien to get moved back to forward. Ramsay is more than willing to give the man time at D.

Joe Friday

February 12th, 2011
11:31 am

Moving Buf up front is what ignited the ‘Hawks Cup run … If Dudley can get a top 2 dman, do it

World Be Free

February 12th, 2011
11:49 am

Joe Friday-maybe get Chris Phillips from Ottawa? Then maybe the folks in Ottawa will boycott Home Depot or UPS the way Senators’ fans are boycotting Carrie Underwood for taking Mike Fisher. That’s how silly some fans can get.

Alan R-I agree with you to a point, Buff gets more minutes on the backline. My issue with Buff now is that he is playing like an average defenseman. So what do we need more, an average defenseman or a power forward? Let me say that again, a power forward. Strike fear in the opposing defenses, make them cough up the puck, you know, a turnover. I wouldn’y want a 250# + forward barrelling down on me that’s for sure. I got crushed into the end boards a few times the memories kinda stick with you.

R. Stroz

February 12th, 2011
12:01 pm

Has anyone heard from Hooky Bob lately?

R. Stroz

February 12th, 2011
12:03 pm

After watching Bogosian last night, and this is not a knock against him, I think he should be converted to a forward ASAP.

alex

February 12th, 2011
12:34 pm

not good already ESPN talking about Atlanta to Quebec, watch hockey night Canada discussing, armageddon close asg almost accomplished mission now. and everybody in American and Canadian media going to blame Atlanta for not supporting this team. wrong with dw and asg no city can survive we been cursed with this morons.

Ice Daddy

February 12th, 2011
12:43 pm

First off, welcome back Toby. You didn’t do anything spectacular. You never do. You just play great solid defense and are always in the right position. Your presence seemed to bring the entire D up a few levels.

Secondly, great turnout last night. I know Fridays are usually decent crowds but with the recent woes, I figured some would stay away. Usually when we get a big crowd like that, it means half of them have the other team’s sweater on. Not last night and y’all were LOUD!!

What a great game. The work of Kane’s line and Thorburn’s line stood out. Nice save on the penalty shot Pavs and a great all-around game. Ladd was solid as always and I loved the hit that Burmy laid on somebody. Who knew?

Last night, for some reason, something told me to pull out my Danny Snyder number 37 pin and put it on my sweater before leaving. I hadn’t worn it in over a year. I miss that guy. Any way, I’ll be there on Sunday and Snydes is coming with me again. Time to get on a roll.

I see they were filming “Slapshot 3″ on Long Island last night. An instant classic. I just wish Crosby was back from maternity leave so he could have been pounded a few times. Or maybe he would have just got two teammates to hold an Islander so he could “Valabik” him??

Everyone, please come out on Sunday and bring a friend. This team can win and it seems like they step up when the barn is full.

Red Light

February 12th, 2011
1:02 pm

Interesting conversation last night. Few Thrashers seem willing to take the body and finish checks. Discussed Byfuglien at length. Only three total hits in last three games. Thinking back to the playoffs last year, the Big Man had everyone looking over their shoulder. He banged and made life miserable, not only for the Flyers, but also the Canucks. I know he’s playing a different position, but that doesn’t mean he can’t use his size to intimidate opponents. He’s 28th of all defensemen in hits, but I think he would be much more effective if he threw the body around a bit more often.

Anyone else think so?

Red Light

February 12th, 2011
1:03 pm

Islanders now have three forwards with 20 or more goals. The truly amazing story of the fastest skater, Michael Grabner, continues. He has 12 goals and 5 assists since Jan. 15. Included in last June’s trade from Vancouver to Florida, (Florida Panthers traded Keith Ballard and Victor Oreskovich to the Vancouver Canucks for Steve Bernier, Michael Grabner and a 1st round selection (Quinton Howden) in 2010), he was inexplicably waived by the Panthers and grabbed by the Islanders. The former 1st-round pick (14th overall) joins Tavares and Moulson in the 20-goal club with two last night.

It’s interesting that the Isles and the Stars are the only two teams in the NHL with three 20-goal scorers heading into today’s games.

Spud Webb

February 12th, 2011
1:05 pm

Dude yea RL, I’d love to see him reeking some havoc, under control like in the playoffs last year.
Your point about taking hits and giving them and our (thrashers) lack of commitment WILL & does catch up with us. Any rounds of the playoffs requires banging and taking a bang, we don’t do either very well. We appear to have the bodies to do so, but again not willing to pay the price.

Smoothie

February 12th, 2011
1:08 pm

Yes, Toby is rarely flashly and he sometimes goes unnoticed, but what is special are his compete level, ability to read a play and anticipate, and finally his outlet passes. He makes so many great passes to forwards on the tape and in stride that most of our D-men can’t or don’t make. His ability to move the puck decisively and precisely is what makes him an All-Star and our most valuable player.

Red Light

February 12th, 2011
1:09 pm

The Rangers problem, like many middle-rung teams, is that they are very weak at center. When Christensen is your top-line center, Drury out of the year, and Stepan is in his first season, you’re challenged up the middle. They need a quarterback on the PP and a top-line center. Anisimov is OK and Boyle is a third-line type, and that’s not going to help them going forward. We may have seen the last of the Blueshirts over the next few weeks, barring a move.

If not for Lundqvist and their top d-pair, they’d already be finished.

Red Light

February 12th, 2011
1:10 pm

There is not one team in the NHL who wouldn’t want Enstrom, particularly as the No. 3 and the PP QB. Period. End of debate!