Advice for Thrashers ailing offense comes at right Price

Allow me to take you back in time a month or so ago. Like the other 29 NHL teams, the Atlanta Thrashers were coming off the All Star Game break and preparing to begin the latter stages of the current hockey campaign. At the time the Thrashers were 24-19-9, coming off a 1-0 win over the Capitals prior to the break and sitting comfortably in a playoff position.

There were troubling signs, however, for the team. As has been the case for so many years they were giving up far more shots then they were taking themselves and this imbalance was pointed to by many as a major cause for concern.

Now with all that in mind, if I were to have told you back then that Thrashers would go on to outshoot their opponents by a combined margin of +91 SOG over the course of the next 12 games…an average of 36.4 S/G to 28.8 SA/G…what would you think the their record would be during those games?

Montreal goalie Carey Price saves a shot from Thrashers defenseman Dustin Byfuglien. It was one of 40 saves made by Price in the 3-1 win over Atlanta...most of which came from a distance that made life easy for him (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Montreal goalie Carey Price saves a shot from Thrashers defenseman Dustin Byfuglien. It was one of 40 saves made by Price in the 3-1 win over Atlanta...most of which came from a distance that made life easy for him (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

10-1-1?

8-4-0?

7-3-2?

Maybe 6-5-1?

Nope…try 2-8-2.

Even though they have found a way to play better overall defense, move the attack forward and out-shooting the opposition by a total of 437-346, they have been outscored by a total of 41-27 over the last dozen games… 42-27 if you count the gimmick shootout point awarded to Florida last Friday.

In the last four games alone they have taken 171 shots and have exactly 6 goals to show for it. Three came in the overtime win over Toronto last Sunday.

So, what’s the cause of the Thrashers scoring woes even though they seem to be getting pucks on net? Well, maybe Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price may just have an answer to that question.

“It was busy out there, but it wasn’t a lot of hard shots”, Carey said after stopping 40 of 41 SOG during the Habs 3-1 win in Philips Arena Tuesday night. “We kept most of the shots outside”.

“It’s not hard to stop 40 shots when they are from the outside.”

It’s not often a team can get a little free advice from an opponent, and this little piece of 411 came at the right…ahem…price for the Thrashers brain trust. Free. So I’m thinking that maybe the equipment manager can tape Price’s quote up in each player’s locker at the practice facility in Duluth as well as down at Philips.

Heck, maybe even affix it to the wall nearest coach Ramsay’s desk.

A Big ‘Thank You’ From Me to You

I received an e-mail from my online editor last night informing me of the heavy traffic that happened on this little blog-thingy last month. It seems we set an all-time high for page views in February, breaking the recent high mark by right at a 40% increase. The previous high-water mark was set just last December.

One of the main reasons why we continue to see such increasing numbers around here has to do with the great conversation and debate that goes on in the comment section below. I’ve always said that the main reason people hit this site has hard and frequent as Rosie O’Donnell does an open buffet has more to do with what happens down there then it does anything I opine about up here.

And because of that, I can only say thank you very much from the bottom of my heart for making this online forum what it is. So reach around and give yourselves a big pat on the back today.

Thrashers Viewing Party At TJs

To show my appreciation for your patronage here, I’d like to invite you all out to TJs Bar & Grill in Alpharetta for a viewing party on Saturday night March 12th. The Thrashers will be in Philadelphia that night to take on the Flyers and the puck drops at 7:00 pm.

Tim Ecclestone…former Atlanta Flame forward and owner of TJs…has been asking me for quite some time to do this and, given the personal schedule I’ve been keeping with my family, this is really the only time I’ll have all year to do it.

The Thrashers ticket and marketing department will also be supplying me with a few signed Thrashers items…including a full size stick autographed by Dustin Byfuglien, a mini-helmet signed by Andrew Ladd as well pucks signed by Toby Enstrom and Alex Burmistrov.

Also, my friends at the Atlanta Thrashers Fan Club will be out there as well and John Mikalonis of the Fan Club told me this week that they will hold raffles during each intermission.

In addition to that, John informed me that they will be accepting donations that night to help stock the shelves of Atlanta area food banks. The Fan Club has been involved with many charitable events throughout Thrasherville and many people have benefited from their efforts. Those bringing 5 food items will be given a special raffle ticket for a prize to be determined later. There is no limit, so the more items you bring, the more tickets you’ll receive and the better your chances of winning.

“In these hard economic times, many children and families are going hungry”, John told me earlier this week. “The food banks are running extremely low and cannot help the daily amount of people who are truly in need of food to feed their families.”

“After the holidays many of these food banks run on the bare minimum and many are turned away. Every little bit helps.”

Suggested items to be donated are canned meats including tuna, beef, stews, chicken, chili, Spam, peanut butter and jelly, canned fruits, canned soups, canned vegetables, juice, dry pasta, rice, or beans, cereal, baby food/formula, and any non-perishable item. But no glass containers please.

So if you plan on attending, please load up with as much as you can to help those families in our community that are in need.

I’m looking forward to seeing many of you there.

139 comments Add your comment

Smoothie

March 3rd, 2011
4:07 pm

“But, tonight you must pull for Carolina because Buffalo has two games in hand (you have to catch Buffalo and Toronto before worrying about Carolina”

R/L – I would agree with this statement if not for the fact that we play Carolina after we dispose of OTT and FLA in succession. Assuming they lose to Buffalo and Chicago, then we’re tied with CAR again having played the same number of games. I think the 7 game road trip will catch up with BUF in time as they still play CAR, PHIL, MINN, PITT, BOS & TOR. That’s a pretty brutal stretch. And the Philly/Minny double is a back to backer, fun! We can pull for CAR over BUFF win they meet again after Buffalo’s road trip! :cool:

Don Waddell

March 3rd, 2011
4:08 pm

If you want to discuss tripe, I have alot to add to the conversation.

Tom Lysiak

March 3rd, 2011
4:09 pm

Here is what I don’t get about all those problem areas. If they review video of every game, why aren’t these things obvious to the staff? Are you not believing what you are seeing, too stupid to see it, or just too stubborn to make adjustments to the adjustments other teams make? I thought that was how scouting and game tape reviews were supposed to work.

Smoothie

March 3rd, 2011
4:12 pm

Thrasher Tim – we scored our first 27 PPG in the first 28 games. Since then, we only have 18 PPG in 36 games. I’d say that’s just a hair above lousy in the production category. Don’t forget, we had the #1 ranked PP after the Nashville game on December 6th. We’ve had droughts of 4 games, 3 gms, 6 games and now we’ve failed to score a PPG in 4 of our last 8, all of which we lost. And essentially, all 4 of those losses were 1-goal games which could have been much different had our PP not sucked you know what! Sorry, but our PP has been far from good for quite some time now, with or without Toby.

Iron League 13

March 3rd, 2011
4:13 pm

Smoothie still what 40% of Buff goals (shrugs)? Sorry, not wanting to do that math, but that’s close enough. Brilliant statistical analysis on your part. Thanks.

Hoof Arted

March 3rd, 2011
4:22 pm

I’m sensing another “trap” game here. The last couple of times we faced a team sitting at the bottom of the conference standings we got beat bad. First it was the Islanders right out of the all star game when we got smacked 4-1. That seemed to be the beginning of the end for this team. Then it was blowing a 3-1 lead in Edmonton to lose 5-3. I remember thinking after that lose we wouldn’t recover form that loss. Seems I was right.

Now we have a must win situation against a team residing in the cellar, losers of 3 of their last 10, I hope I’m wrong but this has got disaster written all over it.

Please let me be wrong.

Smoothie

March 3rd, 2011
4:32 pm

Yeah, Tobes was on the ice for all but 1 of Buff’s 7 PPG and I think he was on the ice for 8 of 11 ESG by Buff.

More importantly, when our PP was good, we were getting contributions from a lot more than just Buff & Toby. Between Buff’s 3rd PPG and his 4th, we scored 12 PPG in 13 games with the following goal scorers:

PP-Antropov (1)
PP-Bergfors (2)
PP-Peverley (1)
PP-Antropov (2)
PP-Antropov (3)
PP-Kane, E. (7)
PP-Peverley (2)
PP-Ladd, A. (5)
PP-Stewart, A.(5)
PP-Peverley (3)
PP-Antropov (6)
PP-Stewart, A.(6)

A bigger problem may be the lack of contribution from one Nik Antropov, especially on the PP when his hip isn’t as much of an issue. As you can see, since the DET game, Nik has only scored a PPG. He has 5 assists on the PP, but that’s not nearly enough. Anthony Stewart has also cooled off considerably on the man-advantage with only 1 PPG since DET, assisted by Nik Antropov strangely enough. Andrew Ladd has our last 3 PPG and has stepped it up considerably as he tries to maximize his contract value before signing the dotted line. To take the pressure off of Ladd & Buff, we need Enstrom, Antro and somebody else (Kane??) to step and score some damn goals with the extra man.

Smoothie

March 3rd, 2011
4:38 pm

Nik has only scored a PPG*

*one time, and that was agains the Isles at home when we won in OT.

That’s one PPG in 43 games for Nik Antropov…stellar.

Brendan

March 3rd, 2011
4:51 pm

I like “Big Buff” and I cannot lie. But Geez Louise, the guy needs to score. Period.

And like Red Light said, and I just posted on Viv’s blog, if we don’t bank 4-points vs. Ottawa and Florida, then we’re headed to the lottery draft. Those two clubs are in a dual for the 1st overall pick in the draft, or positioning within the lottery draft. Operation “tank it,” for Ottawa and Florida, is in full effect. They dismantled at the trade deadline. There just CANNOT be any excuses tonight.

Go Blue!!

Iron League 13

March 3rd, 2011
5:45 pm

Smoothie, you’re a stats monster, I love it. Best bet for stepping up would be Kane or Wheeler, which brings me to….

Kane – Thorbs – Wheeler

ROLL THAT, RAMMER!!! Nothing to lose and nearly all the most harnessed aggro we can muster on ONE LINE.

Brendan, I regret to say this and I hope I’m as surprised as I was in November and December, but it truly looks like it’s headed there.

Hockey Biltong

March 3rd, 2011
6:03 pm

See you all at the bulb…

F-5

March 3rd, 2011
8:57 pm

As a season ticket holder since the start, I simply cannot pay to watch this team anylonger.
Gave tickets away for tonight and am glad I did, this is simply awful to watch. If you bought sour milk for the same store over and over and it never got better, would you still shop there ? I would not and will not renew, unless they make playoffs in the future. This franchise is terrible and I really see no way the team will improve anytime soon. After this season, I really don’t care if they move, after 11 years I am tired of all the losing with no hope this team has.

Fat Lady

March 3rd, 2011
8:58 pm

La…La…La…La…La…Lottery….Ah….Ah….Ah….Again

Sage of Bluesland

March 3rd, 2011
9:13 pm

Joe-Bob-Friday-Knew-All-Along can blame the coach all he wants–but the talent and heart on this team is beyond pitiful.

I don’t care what anyone says.

Jumble and fantasize about all the line-combinations you want—in the end, it’s nothing but pure fantasy. The ONLY easy fix for this club is a serious infusion of talent…and of real leadership.

Cornbread and his/her ilk can bluster about ‘great play’…he/she also talked about how “easy” our February schedule was….For someone who blusters about knowing “so much about the game”, I guess the bigger they talk, the harder they fall (but, it’s funny, they have a tendency to disappear instead of admitting they were dead wrong on so many things).

This display is pitiful. No progression. No real leadership. Nothing.

R. Stroztradamus

March 3rd, 2011
9:23 pm

The Thrashers will FAIL to make the playoffs AGAIN.

R. Stroz

March 3rd, 2011
9:24 pm

BENCH ANTROPOV

Tom

March 3rd, 2011
9:33 pm

The second half of the Thrasher’s season was a big old bucket of fail.

Again.

How do we lose to a team that traded away most of it’s talent and is fighting for the #1 pick.

Sage of Bluesland

March 3rd, 2011
9:56 pm

I see numerous opportunities to score–but nothing. Nothing. Nothing but wasted opportunities.

That’s talent, folks.

Blame the coach or the Easter Bunny all you want….but, at this rate with the collection, get the revolving door ready for the coach’s office…

Cliff Fletcher

March 3rd, 2011
10:16 pm

always nice to see the sage of whatever stick his head out of the sand to report the obvious. stash says you keep us grounded sage, i guess stan and sage deserve each other. waiting for your buddy lac to chime in too so we can repeat the obivous again and again.

B. Thenet

March 3rd, 2011
10:17 pm

We had more talent on the ice that the Senators did tonight, no question about that.

It is one thing to lose with a talentless team that is coached well. This is a moderately talented team that is coached poorly, that repeatedly makes poor decisions with the puck, that is coached to take shots from absurdly low percentage places on the ice, that is coached to not be physical, that is coached to not get in front of the net and fight for space in front of the goalie.

Craig Ramsay must be fired, and he must be fired before the end of the season. We cannot head into the next season with this man and his gutless wimp brand of hockey.

HillMan

March 3rd, 2011
10:28 pm

We have 63 goals in last 30 games. Right around 2 per game. If we added up all the average goals scored by our opening day roster, we would have scored 205 goals, slightly over 2.5 goals a game and we had little or no depth in our organization beyond our NHL roster.

As a STH since day one, I got what I expected. What I would say, is this team does have more work ethic then several teams we have had. Just not enough talent, never did from day one this year.

Again, no surprise here. Just some false hope after a great early season start. Over 82 games we will probably end up at that 200 goal range and therefore get what we all probably expected opening day. Let’s all take a deep breath and hope that Rick and our new owners truly add the top 6 forwards they have been promising to add for the last 5 years.

HockeyGoon79

March 3rd, 2011
10:39 pm

I was one of those who thought Bill was wrong for calling for Ramsay to be fired last week. I even told him that to his face Saturday night. Turns out I was wrong.

This is a total disaster.

Smoothie

March 3rd, 2011
10:53 pm

Better luck next year…time of death was roughly 9:10 pm this evening.

Time to call up all the young guys you can and screw over the Wolves since they’ve been screwing us over for the last decade. Rosters have expanded so just give Postma, Kulda, Machacek and ???? some serious minutes and let them get some on the job training.

BTW, Dustin Byfuglien is NOT a defenseman. End the experiment after this year please.

EA

March 3rd, 2011
10:54 pm

The effort is there. The talent is not enough. Anderson, like Price, played very well. The defensive break down on the 3rd goal was bad. The zone was not cleared for over a minute. Mason was just o.k.

B. Thenet

March 3rd, 2011
10:57 pm

Call up our prospects, and send down Stapleton. I have seen enough of him to know that I do not ever want to see him in a Thrashers uniform again.

Making a difference once every 20 games is just not enough.

Brendan

March 4th, 2011
1:29 am

Rawhide, I was wrong. With more talent than the Senators possess, with benefit of the final line change at home, we lost to LAST PLACE TEAM in the Conference in a ‘must win’ game. Are we playing ‘meaningful games in March?’ No. And we’re not … because we’ve won just seven times in the past thirty (7/30) games.

At a .333 clip over 30 games, that’s more than just a trend. That’s heaping pile of FAIL, as we seem to say on these blogs. A record of 7-17-6 reflects an inability to get results, during a critical stretch of games, with benefit of a slower paced schedule and lower echelon opponents.

It seems to me, Rawhide, that an inability to get results … means there’s something wrong. The 1st line manager is the Head Coach, Craig Ramsay. Ramsay has oversight over the players, the Associate Heach Coach, and the trainers, and the equipment manager. Many of the players on the roster today … were here on Opening Night. They were good enough to win games in October and November, but not good enough in January and February. So, either they overachieved in the early portion of the season, or our strategy was solved by other teams, and insufficient adjustments were made to correct it. Or, this teams just, flatout, doesn’t have the horses to be a playoff team.

We can’t fire 22 players. So, it’s easier to fire a Coach. I can see that. This Coach was hired by the GM, who just got a 4-year contract extension (Dudley). This GM … was ‘hand-picked’ by the previous GM (Waddell). Only in Thrasherville does the outgoing GM name his successor. And the entity responsible for hiring a GM and Team President … is the HeptaCluster, lead on the hockey side, by Bruce Levenson.

This team cannot get sold fast enough to Coca-Cola or whomever.

Tom

March 4th, 2011
6:52 am

Watched Rammer’s press conference. Pretty lame.

Low energy and the take away quote is maybe we would be better off with only 25 shots a game.

Dude, you have been preaching to the boys to take shots from everywhere. Now you want to change it up?

I think Rammer has lost his confidence…

World Be Free

March 4th, 2011
7:25 am

I think some of us called this in early January, when we suggested the team get a top 6 forward maybe a right winger with hands to play 2nd line. Again, I use the term “plumbers” when describing our team’s scoring skills. Not that I have anything against the plumbing trade, but plumbers use their hands in a brutal trade. This team lacks the softness needed around the net. Dudley’s number one priority over the summer is to get a player, like Versteeg in here.

Off subject, you have to give full marks to the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Loafs have 1-2 players I would want on my team (Kessel and Phanuef) yet they are playing great hockey. What’s the difference between Tronna and Atlanta? The Leafs play 60 minutes, if you don’t want to play all out then you don’t play for Ron Wilson. That’s not the case here, some of the Thrashers have been sleepwalking for weeks. Sure the players like Rammer, but who doesn’t like the country club atmosphere? Stop with the “there’s not enough fans here” BS. Give them something to play for, like let’s have a fight or 2 so we can be sure there’s a pulse in the locker room.

Red Light

March 4th, 2011
7:27 am

The lyrics of truth come from one of my favorite musicians, Gregg Allman, this morning!

Just one morning, I had to wake up with the blues, 
Pulled myself out of bed, yeah
Put on my walkin’ shoes
Went up on a mountain, 
To see what I could see
The whole world was fallin’,
Right down in front of me, 

Cause I’m hung up on the dreams, I’ll never see, yeah baby, 
Ahh help me baby, or this surely will be the end of me!

May I suggest focusing attentions on Nashville? Blake Geoffrion picked up his second goal last night and led the Preds to a 3-0 win in Vancouver?

World Be Free

March 4th, 2011
7:57 am

Red Light-I liked Molly Hatchet’s version of the “Dreams I’ll Never See” as well.

Atl_Bruin_Fan

March 4th, 2011
8:03 am

The beat goes on for the Thrashers. They are one of the softest teams around. And btw if you think Wheeler is going to help or get in front of the net think again. He’s a creampuff. There’s a nice article about Peverly’s success w/ the Bruins in the Bostoin Globe.

World Be Free

March 4th, 2011
8:25 am

Looks like Johnny Oduya was a popular subject at the trading deadline. I would not be too surprised to see him moved this summer with Stuart resigned and Kulda waiting in the wings.

DWTOO

March 4th, 2011
8:36 am

With one minute remaining in the third period:

Matt McConnell:”The Thrashers need a pair.” Goals or Testicles – take your pick.

World Be Free

March 4th, 2011
9:10 am

DWTOO-good one, don’t know why I never caught that one before.

Another team to watch is Carolina, they have a number of guys who can score when needed. Thrashers outshot and outplayed the Canes a few weeks ago in Philips, lost in the last 2 minutes. Sabres outplayed Carolina last night for a good portion of the game, but could not put the biscuit in the basket when it counted. Canes could, gotta like teams that can make plays.

Red Light

March 4th, 2011
9:57 am

Thrashers by the Numbers…

Overall record since Hossa trade: 101-113-34
Home record since Hossa trade: 54-56-15
Number of home crowds in excess of 15,000: 47 of 125 (37.6%)

Overall record since Kovalchuk trade: 37-39-16
Home record since Kovalchuk trade: 21-20-8
Number of home crowds in excess of 15,000: 15 of 49 (30.6%)

Thrashers record this season in which the announced crowd was more than 15,000: 5-2-2

Thrashers record this season announced crowd was 11,176 or less: 5-7-1

Thrashers record since Michael Gearon’s revelation about his group’s plight: 1-5-1

Time for another contract extension I guess!

Red Light

March 4th, 2011
10:17 am

More salt for the wounds!

Thrashers record in games decided by one goal since the Hossa trade: 49-34-34 (132 of 234 possible points)

Thrashers record in games decided by one goal during Hossa’s 222-game career in Atlanta: 54-21-23 (131 of 196 possible points)

Having a hard time caring any more

March 4th, 2011
10:48 am

Im a longtime hockey fan in Atlanta..prob went to 50 Flames games in their 8 yrs here..and went to about 6 or 8 Thrashers games a yr til this yr..but Ive had it..this team sucks in every way,

lets face it Its over.. the season and the team in Atlanta. This team has no real stars, no face of the franchise since Kovy left (and who could blame him). No playoff history, anonymous coaches, bad ownership. no toughness, Dead as hell arena. Nothing at all to make fans want to be a part of it. The few fans that are there (I used to be one) are either quiet or rooting for the other team. It is so depressing.

I find myself thinking “so what?” even if they had made the playoffs if they are going to end up leaving.. It feels like the Flames in their last couple of years…a lost cause not worth wasting a whole lot of energy or passion on. (Then they move to Calgary and win the cup in 88. Still makes me sick) The Winnepeg Thrashers will prob win the 2014 cup.

For a real contrast to the Thrashers, Try watching the Canes replay on FSSO at 11.pm .Ck out the players and the fans. They actually act like they want to be there;

I may get blasted for not being a “real” fan. And that may be right. I am from Ga and never played the game. But I enjoy it and have paid for many tickets..The point is that a hockey team in this town needs fans like me. This isnt baseball or football where even if the Braves or Falcons suck, fans know the sport’s nuances and can appreciate them.. and they know something about the opposition..same thing with the Hawks, you can always go to see the stars on the other team.. But we dont have the fan experience or little league/HS playing experience for that to happen here in hockey. Most of the true hard core fans here have their loyalties with their hometown team. To get local fans, wins and identifiable players are what is needed. without that, you get attendance like this year, where every announced figure is twice as large as the real crowd. but its too late now. Its frustrating as hell.

World Be Free

March 4th, 2011
10:50 am

“Having a hard time” – looks like you have company
Red Light-your numbers do tell the story

Changes are needed, big changes.

Rawhide

March 4th, 2011
11:22 am

:!: RANALLO WARNING!! :!:

This is your official 10-minute Ranallo Warning. New blog to be posted in 10 minutes.

And be prepared…we’re going to play some fun games today.