Rocky road ahead for Thrashers even after big win over Panthers

One of the nice things about Saturday night’s thrilling overtime win is that it gets to linger in our thoughts for several days. Following the 4-3 overtime win over the Florida Panthers Saturday night the Thrashers don’t play again until they travel to Carolina Wednesday night to take on the Hurricanes.

But even so, the truth of the matter is this team needed a much better showing than the 2-2-1 record the played to over this recent all-important five game home stretch. It’s not just that they only procured 5 of a possible 10 points in the standing when they really needed more, but they played the role of gracious hosts far too well by allowing 8 total points to leave town with visiting teams…all of whom were Eastern Conference teams.

So for those of you who may have held out hope that a good showing in those games would possibly catapult them back into the playoff race…needless to say it didn’t pan out that way. Now what you’re looking at is the team needing to go something like 10-3-3 during the final segment of the schedule and pray that 88 points is good enough to somehow squeak in.

Making that mountain even steeper to climb is the fact that ten of those sixteen games will be played on hostile ice away from Thrasherville, including a five-game roadie between March 12 and April 7.

How many of the remaining 32 points will the Thrashers get?

  • 8 or less: Next stop - Lotterypickville (18%, 38 Votes)
  • 9-16: The second-half slide continues (44%, 91 Votes)
  • 17-24: They'll make a nice run but fall just short (31%, 65 Votes)
  • 25 or over: Playoffs here we come! (7%, 15 Votes)

Total Voters: 209

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To put it mildly, the road has been quite inhospitable place for this team lately. They went winless during their most recent three-game road trip…losing in Phoenix, Edmonton and Buffalo without even the consolation of an overtime loser point…and have gone 0-5-1 in their lat six away games.

The last time they were able to come away two points on the road was back on January 23 when they netted a pair of late third period goals on their way to a 3-2 shootout win in Florida. And since the 6-3 win in Toronto back on December 20…a.k.a. “The High Water Mark of the Season”…they have played to a record of 3-9-2 away from Philips Arena.

Only one of those wins, the 3-2 win against the Panthers on January 5, came in regulation.

Assuming they can take care of business at home by going 6-0 from here on out…yeah, I know. I know…they would still need to go 4-3-3 in the road games to reach the 88 mark. That’s a pretty tall order when you see two games in Philadelphia and one each in Boston, Montreal, Carolina, Nashville, New Jersey, Nashville and Buffalo in the slate. There is also a trip to Long Island remaining on the schedule against a team that has played better of late.

Even before we see our team in action again Wednesday night, the lanes on the Thrashers road may become tighter and narrower still. Following yesterday’s action in which the Devils beat the Islanders in a shootout, Buffalo beat Minnesota in OT and Florida earned yet another overtime consolation point, Atlanta is not only chasing three teams for a possible playoff spot but they now have three more hot on their tails.

The Devils are now only a point behind us Florida trails by four points and the Islanders are but five in back of the Thrashers. All three of those teams play at home Tuesday night and if they come out victorious, Atlanta would be sitting in 12th place in the conference with 14th place not too far behind.

Therefore, the rough road ahead of us could lead to a playoff berth, another trip to Lotterypickville…or possibly somewhere in between.

166 comments Add your comment

World Be Free

March 7th, 2011
9:43 am

Look to next season-little or no chance for playoffs. Better start scouting juniors or trade the pick for veteran help at the draft.

Stan Drulia

March 7th, 2011
9:47 am

I have to take the win Saturday (which I didn’t even get to see on TV) as the big positive here that I can enjoy…not as a sign for the playoffs. Seems there is no way that we will go on a big tear right now when we can just barely pull a win out of lowly Florida. I wan’t to get excited and start pulling for the playoffs again… I just have been taught too well by this team.

BLUELANDbeliever

March 7th, 2011
9:52 am

Im sorry but my heart is with the team. We can do this yall. Stop being negative, for the teams sake.

Russian

March 7th, 2011
10:06 am

88 points will not be enough to get in Play Offs. I will say that 91 points is Play Offs spot. We have 65 points and 16 games. If Thrashers like to reach 91 points, they must go as 13-3. Is it possible? Yes. Theoretically is possible. But if we reviewed game at Saturday one more time we can see that 13-3 is not easy to get it. We have 3-1 score and blew it for 3.5 minutes. We played a team who traded lot of good players. I cannot believe that we can win 3 times on Philly, one time on Boston and beat Vancouver and plus win any games against red hot NJ.
My vote is drop this season and move to Lottery pick. Send Scouts now to Europe and Juniors and watch young players.

moriler

March 7th, 2011
10:06 am

Mindset for the fans should be the same as for the Thrashers right now: Win the next game. It’s no longer possible to set expectations based on the standings — so just win the next game. If you win the next game enough times, you might find yourself in a place where you _can_ set expectations… and then start thinking about that.

For now? Just win the next game. It’s all they need to do.

World Be Free

March 7th, 2011
10:06 am

believer-it’s not being negative, my assessment is the reality of the situation. The goal is not just making playoffs, it’s to go deep into the playoffs. This team is 2 players away from being able to make the post season and advance beyond the first round. Being swept 4-0 in 2005 was not a victory.

Chunk

March 7th, 2011
10:06 am

Rocky Road Ice Cream… mmmm…….

BTW, ice cream is much more refreshing in Atlanta than in Winnipeg.

However, I can do without ice cream or hockey as long as I never have to hear from (or directly do business with) Bruce Levenson or Michael Gearon ever again.

Happy Monday, Everyone! (Unless you are part of the Atlanta Spirit Group, of course.)

Rawhide

March 7th, 2011
10:06 am

Just a reminder here folks about the Thrashers Viewing Party Saturday at TJs Sports Bar & Grill located on Holcomb Bridge Road. Game time is 7:00 pm and remember to bring food items to help stock Atlanta area Food Banks.

It’s sure to be a good food and good times with great Thrashers fans!

moriler

March 7th, 2011
10:07 am

also, everyone please quit saying “Lottery pick” as though it was a goal. It’s physically impossible to get 97% of the players in this league to intentionally tank games. We’re not going to end up that far down; I’m figuring probably 10th in the conference.

Russian

March 7th, 2011
10:22 am

I am saynig about Lottery, because 1-4 picks are very talented young players:
1. RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS C 6′0 170 L Apr. 12/93 Red Deer WHL
2. GABRIEL LANDESKOG LW 6′0 207 L Nov. 23/92 Kitchener OHL
3. ADAM LARSSON D 6′3 200 R Nov. 12/92 Skelleftea SweE
4. JONATHAN HUBERDEAU C 6′1 168 L June 4/93 Saint John QMJHL

I really like Adams Larsson. Scouts said that he can be another Nik Lindstrom.

Smoothie

March 7th, 2011
10:27 am

How many games do we need to lose to at least have a shot at Gabriel Landeskog at #3 or #4 of the draft? 10 losses? 12? 14?

Not a lot of RW available in the top 20 of the draft, anyone know much about Joel Armia who is playing in Finland? Doesn’t sound like a Finnish name, interesting route to go if he’s from somewhere else.

moriler

March 7th, 2011
10:27 am

We are not going to be in the bottom 5 in the league this year. The lottery is meaningless to us.

moriler

March 7th, 2011
10:30 am

The bottom five will be the ones who are there right now: Ottawa, Edmonton, Islanders, Colorado, and the Panthers squeaking in at #26. St. Louis may collapse and join them, and while it’s perpetually spring in Toronto (”‘cos the Leafs are out”), I doubt they’ll fall much further. Simply put, even if we play horribly those six teams won’t pass us, and we could very easily go the other way.

World Be Free

March 7th, 2011
10:30 am

The Lottery Pick is our destiny.

Frosty the snowman

March 7th, 2011
10:35 am

We are always looking to next year.

Dwayne

March 7th, 2011
10:40 am

Maybe we play up to opponents and shock the world!!

moriler

March 7th, 2011
10:44 am

The sad part is, that does match our history… we routinely play up to strong opponents and down to weaker ones (cf. our performance against the Capitals and Islanders this year)

Smoothie

March 7th, 2011
10:45 am

I wouldn’t count on NYI on being a lock for the bottom 5. Watch out for St. Louis and your Atlanta Thrashers!!

Sage of Bluesland

March 7th, 2011
11:00 am

Don’t forget, Don Waddell told us a couple of years ago that we were relatively AHEAD of the Philadelphia Flyers at some point in our development.

How this incompetent buffoon still has a job with this organization never ceases to amaze me. There is no wonder why he never appears to the Atlanta media anymore.

Not another dollar of mine goes into his pocket. Period.

Rawhide

March 7th, 2011
11:11 am

We are always looking to next year.

Frosty – Problem is… next year never seems to come.

Don’t forget, Don Waddell told us a couple of years ago that we were relatively AHEAD of the Philadelphia Flyers at some point in our development.

Sage – Ya know, I was having a discussion with R. Stroz about just that thing not too long ago. DW made that comment after the 2008-09 season, if I’m not mistaken…that would be the first John Anderson campaign.

Laughable, is it not.

also, everyone please quit saying “Lottery pick” as though it was a goal

moriler – Gotta agree with you there. As a fan, I want my team to win every time out. Even though I hold out little to no hope for the playoffs right now, when the puck drops I’m rooting for them to win that game.

Finishing as a lottery team is the ultimate in failure. It’s a disgrace. That’s made even worse by just how many times this team has finished in that position or just above it. All those high picks and what to show for it?

…sigh…

Besides, even though there is a nice crop of prospective talent to be drafted, I don’t see any “franchise savers” this summer.

Cliff Fletcher

March 7th, 2011
11:16 am

sage-I don’t remember that statement, but it would not surprise me one bit. major lapse of judgement to ever say we are better than philly in anything hockey-related.

Joe Friday

March 7th, 2011
11:23 am

New Jersey is catchable. We should blow by them this week. There’s always hope re. Florida, they may get hot, and Colorado has a game in hand, we may catch them as well, keep the faith!

Smoothie

March 7th, 2011
11:32 am

Right on Sage! Sh!t yeah! Wooo!

Smoothie

March 7th, 2011
11:34 am

Actually, I want to lose every game either 4-3 or 5-4…at least pad some stats and prove how miserable our defense really is. Bogosian’s a bust and the future is Kulda & Postma. Not that a lottery pick will help us because Waddell will screw everything up and force him to play too soon. That son of a biatch!

Greg

March 7th, 2011
11:35 am

I am actually pretty high on Matt Puempel too. He injured his hip, but he still put up 35 goals in 55 games, so that kid can really score. Accurate shot, fast, good hockey sense; seems like he’ll be a really good player. And don’t forget about Sean Couturier he’s supposed to be ahead of Huberdeau and Puempel. My point is that we don’t necessarily have to be in the top 5 to get a good pick. As long as we don’t pick a player like Saad or Biggs who are projected to be 3rd liners then I think we’ll be ok.

moriler

March 7th, 2011
11:42 am

“Bogosian’s a bust and the future is Kulda & Postma. Not that a lottery pick will help us because Waddell will screw everything up and force him to play too soon.”

*puzzled look* Do you follow the organization or watch the games at all? Because it seems you’re declaring that a second-year top pick who was thrown in too early is somehow a ‘bust’, and that Waddell is still the GM instead of Dudley.

Do you know why TSN and ESPN were reporting trade rumors for everyone trying to get Bogosian? Because he’s a huge talent, even if he’s having a crappy year. If he was a bust, he would be like Valabik; nobody claimed him even off waivers and he was a ‘warm body’ from the AHL in a trade deal finally.

Frosty the snowman

March 7th, 2011
11:45 am

*** Bogosian’s a bust and the future is Kulda & Postma.*** The same was said about Coburn, and look what happens when traded to a legitimate franchise. I am sure Bogo would be fine with a trade, then we would be laughed at once again for another blunder.

Smoothie

March 7th, 2011
11:47 am

Man y’all are gullible. Took the bait, hook line and sinker.

Thanks for playing!!

I joke around a lot on this here blog, but I guess y’all didn’t notice.

ThrasherTim

March 7th, 2011
11:48 am

Bogo is coming around. We’ll trade Oduya during the summer for a top 6 player and then bring in Kulda and/or Postma.

Deeno

March 7th, 2011
11:50 am

Simply put the Thrashers have no scoring ability. Our best scorers are defensmen. Until we get a 30 goal scorer we are toast.

Smoothie

March 7th, 2011
11:56 am

ThrasherTim – I reckon we will, but I doubt we’ll get a top 6 talent for Oduya. I wish we could, but they cost more than that I’m afraid.

If Antropov doesn’t fully recover from his hip and rebound with a 50+ point season and Bogosian doesn’t make serious strides next season, then we will be in pretty much the same situation we’re in right now when March 2012 rolls around.

World Be Free

March 7th, 2011
12:09 pm

Anybody that wants to know what’s wrong with this team just has to view the tape after the thrashers made it 3-1 Saturday night. The boys went up by 2 and crawled back into their cocoon, allowing a predominantly AHL team tie the game before winning in OT. You cannot play 30 minutes/game and expect to win on a regular basis in the NHL. I do like the fact that the Thrashers’ goals were scored close in, which means they are still going to the net.

LAC

March 7th, 2011
12:19 pm

Correct WBF, we just folded like a stack of cards. But in OT they drove back for the win.
On zach, I really hope we move him. He is never going to be more than an average defenseman, look at his decline since rookie season. He should be progressing, not declining.

Just seems not to have good hockey sense. What would he be worth ? We will see…

World Be Free

March 7th, 2011
12:27 pm

LAC-I just wish the team would have left Bogo in juniors and not rushed him to the NHL. Look at Andrej Sekera, young Sabres’ defenseman. The kid is finally making an impact at the NHL level, it has taken years for him to shed the nickname “Suck-era”; alotta other examples across the league too. If we are going to trade him, it will be to a team that allows him to slip into the 3-4 d-man role with veteran partner. My gut feel is it will be Philly that steps up with an offer.

Smoothie

March 7th, 2011
12:35 pm

WBF – Philly needs to shed salary, I would not be surprised in the least if they dangle JvR in front of Dudley’s nose. At least with that swap, it’s #3 overall pick for #2 overall pick. But since Duds is in a position of leverage, he might be able to pry a little bit more for Bogosian should he choose to go in that direction. Remember folks, Dudley didn’t draft Bogosian so anything is possible when it comes to his maverick ways. We’re talking about someone who traded Pavel Bure and wanted to trade Vinny Lecavalier. Do I want to trade Bogey? Not sure, if the price is right and JvR might be the right price. All I’m saying is it would not surprise me if Dudley did so as he ostensibly has his stud offensive D-man in Mr. Buff and Puff, who will blow your goal down with 6-9 shots per game!

World Be Free

March 7th, 2011
12:35 pm

LAC-I can’t handle this laying back and letting the opposing team do what they want in our zone. These guys don’t even have to pay the price for scoring. And Stewart stands around like a cigar store indian.

World Be Free

March 7th, 2011
12:48 pm

Smoothie-wow, I mentioned JVR as a possible just yesterday. What about JVR and Coburn for Bogo and our 3rd round pick? Bogo is an RFA this year, so we may need to make a move.

Russian

March 7th, 2011
12:48 pm

**to WBF**
“Stewart stands around like a cigar store indian”
LOL :-)
I love it.

Russian

March 7th, 2011
12:52 pm

Where can I see UFA list for summer 2011???
I checked NHLnumbers.com but they got for last year. 4-th period is not showing anything. Please let me know.

Alan R.

March 7th, 2011
12:56 pm

Russian – http://www.mynhltraderumors.com/2010/06/01/2011-unrestricted-nhl-free-agents/

Be warned, this pool is about as deep as a poetry reading by Paris Hilton.

Smoothie

March 7th, 2011
1:00 pm

Alan – thanks Alan, that pool is shockingly shallow. Everyone wants to hold onto Bogey, but the market may dictate that he’s used as trade bait because there is a paucity of UFA scoring talent available this summer. Unless y’all are willing to wait another 2 years for the playoffs, we may have not choice but to trade Bogosian to get something of value (assuming Kulda is ready to play 15-16 NHL minutes next year).

Smoothie

March 7th, 2011
1:01 pm

WBF – that would be hilarious if we got Coburn back. At least that might get folks to stop mentioning that trade ever again! ‘Cha right!

World Be Free

March 7th, 2011
1:05 pm

Russian-at least the cigar store indian gives out cigars.
Maybe the best Seinfeld episode is the one with the cigar store indian.

World Be Free

March 7th, 2011
1:06 pm

Smoothie-such a trade would make the dead rest easier.

World Be Free

March 7th, 2011
1:15 pm

UFA’s-Steve Montador is going to cash in this summer, he has had a good eyar with the Sabres.
Oddly enough, the other player on this list that I like is Fredrik Sjostrom. He plays hard every night, did in NY and with the Loafs.

Smoothie

March 7th, 2011
1:20 pm

WBF – man we think alike, I was thinking Sjostrom as well for depth if we can’t re-sign Dvorak. And I’m not even sure we should re-sign the aged Czech. Might as well go with the speedy 27 y/o and perhaps make Stewart expendable in a trade (sell high!!).

Greg

March 7th, 2011
1:35 pm

I’d also look towards Glencross and Leino.

World Be Free

March 7th, 2011
1:50 pm

Smoothie – we sure do!
Greg-agreed, I was thinking of UFAs and our usual budget.
Leino will resign in Philly, Glencross was let go Edmonton and played his way onto the Flames’ roster. I think he’s going to get a 3-4 year deal at about $4M, too rich for us.

2 good playes though

Rawhide

March 7th, 2011
1:54 pm

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Greg

March 7th, 2011
2:02 pm

WBF-yeah but if you read the comments of the flyers fans after getting versteeg they’re worried about cap space, especially for leino