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?
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.