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.
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