Thrashers shuffle off to Buffalo in desperate need of a win

Tonight the Thrashers will take on the Sabres up in Buffalo and are in desperate need of coming out western New York with a pair of points. Break it down however you like, tonight’s matchup is just the latest verse in this seasons, “Thrashers Need A Win Real Bad” song.

To illustrate this point let’s turn our attention to the Eastern Conference standings, shall we…

Atlanta and Buffalo both find themselves sitting in the ninth and tenth position in the Eastern Conference. Each has 60 points but the Sabres have two games in hand. Right above them are Carolina and the New York Rangers with 65 and 68 points respectively. The Rangers are coming off a shootout win against the Canes last night. And after their 3-2 win in Vancouver last night, Montreal sits in sixth place with 71 points.

Lurking just below is Toronto, Florida and New Jersey. Thanks to a 2-1 win over the Islanders, the Leafs are but a single point behind the Thrashers while the Panthers have 57 points. The Devils are sitting now at 56 points after Johan Hedberg turned aside all 19 Stars shots faced during a 1-0 win in Dallas.

New Jersey is now an amazing 16-1-2 in their last 19 games.

While the Thrashers attempt to rattle the Sabres tonight, Florida will be in Ottawa to play the Senators. Toronto plays in Montreal tomorrow. On Friday, Carolina hosts Pittsburgh, the Rangers are in Washington and the Devils are in Tampa.

It’s Not Easy Being Green in Blueland

Normally when the Buffalo Sabres are our opponents, I find myself with a serious case of goalie envy. I’ve always been a big Ryan Miller fan and have wished we could have someone like that manning the Thrashers nets over the past several years. But today, as the two teams prepare to square off, I find myself turning green because that organization is preparing to begin a new era under the ownership of Terry Pegula.

It appears Sabres fans will have an owner who not only is a huge fan of the team and the sport, but it looks like he has an understanding of what it takes to run a franchise.

Speaking at HSBC Arena yesterday, Pegula stated, “Starting today, there will be no financial mandates on the Buffalo Sabres hockey department”. He later added, “Starting today, the Buffalo Sabres’ reason for existence will be to win a Stanley Cup”.

Wow…imagine that.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman had words of praise for the Sabres new owner adding that it was “a dream come true for the league because we know this franchise is in great hands”.

…sigh…

And Speaking of New Owners…

While is seems ownership issues will not be a problem up in Buffalo any time soon, we here in Thrasherville can still only hope for such a day. To help move that process forward, season ticket holder Chris Ciovacco is looking to get the attention of local elected officials in this video which he has asked me to share with you.

Ciovacco is the person who has started up the Keep The Thrashers movement and is planning a gathering at the Taco Mac next to Philips Arena Sunday afternoon. I’ll be there and hope to see you as well.

Where else I hope to see you is in the seats of Philips Arena come game time Friday and Sunday. Voicing concern is great and all that, and I support every fan’s efforts to show their support for the team. But nothing trumps butts in seats when it comes to showing any would-be investor that may be “kicking the tires” exactly what NHL hockey in this town can be again.

If you’re still looking to procure your tickets for this weekend and other upcoming games, again I invite you to click –>HERE<– and use the promo code RAWHIDE.

234 comments Add your comment

Joe Friday

February 23rd, 2011
11:13 am

checked Ticketmaster for Friday night’s game, no problem finding 20 seats together in Row E Section 208 downstairs and 20 seats together in Row K Section 304 upstairs. Just damn.

ZAvalanche

February 23rd, 2011
11:20 am

Early on in my growing love of sport – hockey, football etc. I thought that owners didn’t really do much to impact the team (young and dumb I guess). Maybe that is because when owners are running a smooth ship they are off the radar, as has been the modus operandi in CO sports for the past couple decades. Being a Thrashy fan now has really shown me how wrong I was to think such thoughts. Though Reagan-omics (trickle down) doesn’t really work for government that is how great sports franchises thrive. It all comes from the top.

ZAvalanche

February 23rd, 2011
11:23 am

Alan R. I don’t know if you read my last post right after Blog Master announced the new material, but here it is and directed toward you.

“Alan, could you send me that article? I don’t care for any of the Denver Post writers – Krieger, Dater, Kiszla. I do kind of like Woody Paige though, cracks me up.”

Alan R.

February 23rd, 2011
11:27 am

I did. I responded:

“ZAvs – I’ll go poking around for it when I have some extra time. All I remember about it, is it was written in November, and it called for the Thrashers to be contracted or moved, along with a couple others.”

Joe Friday

February 23rd, 2011
11:30 am

Good video from Chris, at least if they move he’ll be able to sleep at night knowing he did his part to try to keep them here.

I know a guy on the Board of the Chamber and emailed the link to him to make sure this is on the radar of Sam Williams and the Atlanta Sport Council, I’ll let you guys know what I hear back from the Chamber.

Smoothie

February 23rd, 2011
11:32 am

“…Chris Ciovacco is looking to get the attention of local elected in…”

Hey Bill, just wanted to point out there is a missing word here: official I reckon? As in “local elected officials”. Just a little helpful housecleaning so the important message doesn’t get lost.

I can’t find people to go to the game with me Friday, but I may buy 3 or 4 cheap tkts just to up the attendance…not like you can see the last few rows of the upper deck on TV! ;)

Smitty

February 23rd, 2011
11:33 am

I read where Pegula’s wife, since their main residence is in Florida, asked Terry Pegula if he would be interested in buying a southern team. Unfortunately for Atlanta his only interest was for the Sabres. Too bad, he could have gotten us for a lot less than 189 million.

Athrasherfan13

February 23rd, 2011
11:34 am

Can you say David Dickey?

ZAvalanche

February 23rd, 2011
11:37 am

Thanks Alan, I will look as well.

ZAvalanche

February 23rd, 2011
11:56 am

What is the league fine if a team comes in under the low end of the cap? And can you pick up a player on waivers after the trade deadline? Dumb questions, I know.

Alan R.

February 23rd, 2011
12:15 pm

ZAvs – Found it. He doesn’t say Atlanta should be contracted or relocated, but does say it was a mistake to put a franchise here. He manages to say this more than one way throughout his blurb on the Thrashers

http://www.versus.com/blogs/nhl-expert-opinions/five-flunking-nhl-franchises/

3. Atlanta Thrashers – From the minute this city got another franchise in the Great Expansion of the late 1990s, everybody knew this would be a disaster – and it’s been all that and more.

Atlanta just is not a pro sports city. Just ask management from the Braves and Hawks. It especially is not a hockey city. They simply don’t care in Atlanta. Never have, never will.

Remember how getting a team in Atlanta was supposed to be part of some great plan to increase TV exposure of the sport in America, with Ted Turner and Time Warner leading the way? That worked well. Nobody in America knows the Atlanta Thrashers exist.

Aside from their inaugural season of 1999-2000 – when they finished 13th overall – the Thrashers have been among the bottom 10 teams in attendance every single year.

It’s literally depressing going to a Thrashers game. It feels like being in a chain restaurant by yourself on a holiday.

His post is disingenuous, in that he doesn’t bother to touch on the reasons why Atlanta hasn’t done well. Meanwhile, he exonerates Phoenix, and shows mercy to the Islanders.

Red Light

February 23rd, 2011
12:19 pm

Slightly ironic too, in that Dater says the move to the suburbs by Florida and Phoenix were idiotic but most here in Atlanta clamor for a move to the suburbs, although that’s not going to happen within the next decade, if ever.

World Be Free

February 23rd, 2011
12:20 pm

Sabres’ fans heard similar promises from the Rigas family and Golisano, maybe Pegula has more enthusiasm. The only way to win a Stanley Cup is through drafting and devlopment. Sabres are in the middle of the pack as far as what they have on the farm. They will make one splash on July 1, Kaberle or Richards maybe, we will see where it goes from there. I think they will trade Ryan Miller to the Red Wings in the next 2 years and give Enroth the #1 goalie’s position.

Chicago needs a penalty killing defenseman-how about trading Sopel back to Chicago to Jeremy Morin?

I am not concerned aboout the new owner positibilities-if it happens, it happens.

Hoof Arted

February 23rd, 2011
12:21 pm

What the current collection of owners has done to the NHL fan base in this city has been nothing short of a disaster. Do you all remember what the games were like back just a few years ago? The place was packed on weekends and good crowds on weeknights.

Coming out of the lockout we were so pumped by this team. Bob Hartley behind the bench and a very solid team on the ice. But the Atlanta Spirit has all but choked all of that life right out of us. I only hope and pray there is someone who’ll understand that it can all be that way again given the right leadership. That type of leadership must come from the ownership right on down. Certainly hasn’t come from the octocluster.

Show up this weekend fans and give anyone who might be “kicking the tires” all the more reason to be interested.

As for the game tonight, while I truly believe the loss in Edmonton was a season killer, every new game brings new hope. But these players have to show a little “give a damn” out there because they don’t have much more time to turn it around. They can’t allow one or two plays that might go against them to get to them.

Fight to the end Thrashers, for once.

Alan R.

February 23rd, 2011
12:25 pm

As per @TSNBobMcKenzie:

CGY puts Ales Kotalik on re-entry waivers, BUF puts Craig Rivet on waivers, PHI puts Nik Zherdev on waivers, NSH puts on Marek Svatos.

Alan R.

February 23rd, 2011
12:40 pm

Again, per McKenzie:

Forgot to include NYI Jeremy Colliton on the waiver wire.

World Be Free

February 23rd, 2011
12:42 pm

Hoof-I think potential owners know how we got to this point, at least I hope they do. Guys with their own money normally do their homework before they take a dive-normally.

Alan R-looks like the wheels are starting to turn, the next few days will be very interesting. None of the players mentioned are worth going for.

Puckhead

February 23rd, 2011
12:47 pm

Joe Friday – the team has done NOTHING to draw people to the games this weekend. No dollar hotdog and coke offers no cheap tickets just an owner whining. You would think we would see $10 upper and $25 lower ticket offers. Tampa has $10 upper for college student walkups.

How about advertising Trash will be sacrificed if we lose?

DWTOO

February 23rd, 2011
1:13 pm

What’s the opinion on Zherdev? Know WBF doesn’t think much of him, but, when Philly signed him beginning of the season there was some rumbling about him being here. On a one year contract he might not be a bad pick up for a tryout to end of the year. Couldn’t be worse than Modin. Besides, might be another Max.

GaVaHokie

February 23rd, 2011
1:17 pm

You’ll never be able to convince me that Atlanta is a good sports town… sorry. Maybe you all hang out in a circle of friends that love sports and talk about it all the time. But in the grand scheme, I really have to agree with the critics.

I think people go to Braves, Thrashers and Hawks games in the same fashion that they would ‘go out for ice cream’… it’s just a mood that hits them without any real care.

How many times have you heard this phrase? “I love going to the Thrashers/Hawks/Braves games, but I don’t really follow it on TV”.

R. Stroz

February 23rd, 2011
1:17 pm

How about sacrificing one of the owners, then again is that a sacrifice?

JB

February 23rd, 2011
1:17 pm

I would pick up Zherdev off waivers right now in a heartbeat.

Rawhide

February 23rd, 2011
1:19 pm

Alan R. - Someone told me you may be in attendance Friday night. If so, look me up.

I vaguely recall something about owing you a hotdog….

World Be Free

February 23rd, 2011
1:20 pm

Zherdev – he would just take up a roster spot. Even Stapleton is better

Smoothie

February 23rd, 2011
1:22 pm

Speaking of “kicking the tires”, why not experiment with Nikky Zherdev in the line-up. There is a dearth of RW talent in the NHL and Bergie & Stewart aren’t getting it done. I think it would be worth the $550K gamble to see what NZ can do with linemates of Kaner & Wheeler. And wouldn’t it be that much sweeter to take out the Rangers for the 8 seed using Zherdev and Antropov to beat them?

Kane – Wheels – Z // Ladd – Lits – Bergie // Antro – Stapes – Thor

@ Joe Friday - Keep the Thrashers in Atlanta

February 23rd, 2011
1:23 pm

Thank you for the forward to the Chamber – this is exactly what we need – MUCH APPRECIATED!
Also, we agree 100% that the most important thing is butts in the seats. We need people at the games first, and foremost. Let’s keep fighting the good fight!

Please forward video to anyone who can make a phone call – we need leaders to network and shake the tress to find a buyer. Appreciate all the support and help from everyone, including Bill.

Smoothie

February 23rd, 2011
1:24 pm

Oh snap! Forgot Stewy! Put him on 3rd line with Stapes & Antro.

R. Stroz

February 23rd, 2011
1:25 pm

Grab Zherdev, he can finish.

I’ll take Zherdev over Stapleton and Modin.

GaVaHokie

February 23rd, 2011
1:25 pm

Zherdev couldn’t possibly be a Ramsay kind of player. I’d be shocked if we claimed him. It’s a completely different scenario than last years interest, in my opinion… we looked at him last year as part of the “make Kovy happy with a contingent of Russian players” campaign…

The plus side would be his familiarity playing with Antropov in NYR. Those two had good success together.

Mr. Heat Miser

February 23rd, 2011
1:27 pm

Gearon and Levenson in a carnival style dunking booth. I can dream, can’t I?

R. Stroz

February 23rd, 2011
1:27 pm

WBF – Remember, you weren’t in favor of Afinogenov either.

GaVaHokie

February 23rd, 2011
1:28 pm

I’ll take Zherdev over Stapleton and Modin.

… on the other hand, this is true.

Tony C

February 23rd, 2011
1:28 pm

get me Svatos

Alan R.

February 23rd, 2011
1:29 pm

We have no reason to pass on Zherdev. “Ramsay player” or not.

mar1jdh

February 23rd, 2011
1:29 pm

Its time for management to treat fans to something to get them back in the seats. Blues did a great job of reinvigorating their fan base in 2006-7 when attendnace began to slump there…

“When the St. Louis Blues host the Los Angeles Kings at 1 p.m. on Saturday, January 13th, all fans in attendance will be treated to complimentary food and beverage. The promotion, designed to introduce new Head Coach Andy Murray and the resurgent St. Louis Blues to the area sports fans and families, will provide hot dogs, chicken fingers, chips, popcorn, peanuts, soft drinks and water — all for free — from the moment the gates open at 12 p.m. until the end of the second intermission.

“We believe that this is the first time a professional sports franchise has ever attempted an everybody eats for free promotion,” said Peter McLoughlin, CEO of Blues Enterprises. “The excitement in and around the Blues and the Scottrade Center has been building since Andy Murray joined our organization and we really want St. Louis families to be a part of the revival of Blues hockey.”

Promotion worked, sold out game, Blues won and support began to increase again. (Plus I’m sure they sold enough beer to offset the cost of the free food.)

Smoothie

February 23rd, 2011
1:37 pm

“We have no reason to pass on Zherdev. “Ramsay player” or not.”

Other than money!

Alan’s right, what is the harm in giving the guy an audition?? You’re likely going to miss the playoffs unless you add scoring and I doubt you’re going to get the ideal fit at RW through a trade unless you give up the farm to trade Ales Hemsky. Then again, what farm do we have? Don’t even think Postma & Kulda + our 1st would be enough to entice Tambellini. He knows he has the most sought after asset and will milk it for all it’s worth come Monday, the 28th.

DWTOO

February 23rd, 2011
1:38 pm

How about Seven Suckjobs over a dunk tank of battery acid or pirhanas? Three tosses for a buck.

R. Stroz

February 23rd, 2011
1:39 pm

Heat Miser – How about five minutes in the baptism tank. That should take care of them.

Although, extra detergent may have to be used afterward.

DWTOO

February 23rd, 2011
1:39 pm

Forget the pirhanas – they would probably pass as a professional courtesy.

Smoothie

February 23rd, 2011
1:41 pm

mar1jdh – great idea but that would entail hiring more staff by the A$G and that WILL NOT happen. The best thing would be for them to offer up a 4th tkt for buying 3 or a promo by which you get F&B credit at the Arena for the lousy concessions they do have. Perhaps they’re real motivation is putting butts in the seats, but they’re too cheap to do it the right way. I really think Gearon is delusional enough to think that if he whines in the paper he’ll get more fannies in the seats. Wishful thinking. If we sellout any of these games, it will be because we have great fans who see through this charade and realize that we’ve reached critical mass for the effort to impress potential new owners.

Joe McGrath

February 23rd, 2011
1:41 pm

And we know that in all things Atlanta, hockey works for the good of those who love it and for those who have been called according to their purpose.
Therefore go and make disciples of all Atlantans, baptizing them in the name of the Thrashers who are now awaiting the Buffalo.
For it is written that a son of Atlanta would awaken a fearsome Eagle in the end of days. The wrath of the Eagle would be felt throughout the lands who shun the Thrashers and lo, while some of the people tremble in despair, still more rejoice; for the wrath of the Eagle cleansed the lands; and there was peace.

Tony C

February 23rd, 2011
1:41 pm

Re: Zherdev-I don’t know of many players that can flat-out dangle the way he can…but seeing as how we rarely make guys pay for running us (that crap with Stempniak springs to mind), I don’t think he’s a viable option for this season. Plus, word is he’s kind of a selfish prick-we definitely don’t need any more of that.

That’s something I would like to see more of-Thrashers making the other guys pay a price. Too many times we see guys just gliding into the slot unmolested, or someone runs our goalie and he gets a tap on the shins…I’m ok with us loosing the game so long as the other guys hard to fight to earn the two points as opposed to where too often Le Thrash seem to be more than happy to hand them over.

Clearly all this ownership crap is effecting the team-I don’t know about yall, but if I’m concerned my next paycheck is going to bounce, I’d be more than a little preoccupied. I hope it gets resolved positively and soon. See yall @ the pep-rally.

Alan R.

February 23rd, 2011
1:43 pm

Tony C

February 23rd, 2011
1:46 pm

Also, if Dudley could get Morin for Sopel-which I would put very close to the “not a chance” side of the meter, I’d be OK with letting Sopel go.

Smoothie

February 23rd, 2011
1:59 pm

“Too many times we see guys just gliding into the slot unmolested, or someone runs our goalie and he gets a tap on the shins”

Hammer, nail, head! That’s the point! Our defense already sucks! We’ve given up an average of 3.65 GA since December 20th. Getting Stuart and his nasty SOB-ness will help, but as long as Bogo, Oduya and Buff get so many minutes, we’re going to give up some goals. Might as well try to get to 4 before the other team does and hope to hell Pavelec can pull some miracles out of his Czech butt!

Tom Lysiak

February 23rd, 2011
2:00 pm

Amazing that the Buffalo paper scoops the Dudley extension.

kracker

February 23rd, 2011
2:01 pm

Excellent news on Dudley. Now get Ladd extended, too. And another scorer, somehow. And….

kracker

February 23rd, 2011
2:01 pm

ooops. And some new owners.

Alan R.

February 23rd, 2011
2:04 pm

Atlanta Spirit, LLC: “We’re broke! We just paid a bunch of lawyers! We need $200 MILLION from King & Spalding!”

Meanwhile…

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/24/AR2010102402119.html

Stan Drulia

February 23rd, 2011
2:10 pm

I had Zherdev on my fantasy team (due to a horrible trade at the beginning of the sesaon for Kari) and dude is extremely unimpressive. He has had a couple of streaks… and by a couple I mean like two. And those were just a couple of games long. I think is fourth line material at best.