Distance between Thrashers and Lotterypickville getting shorter

Last night the Atlanta Thrashers were spared the indignity of dropping yet another rung on the NHL standings ladder. Had the New Jersey Devils continued their winning ways against the Ottawa Senator they would have jumped over the Thrashers and moved them down to 12th place in the Eastern Conference. It would have also left them with the 6th fewest points in the NHL standing…just one position out of being a lottery pick team in this summers draft.

Instead, the last place Senators edged the Devils 2-1 and the Thrashers remain in 11th place in the east and just two clicks north of Lotterypickville’s city limits. It’s a distance that has continued to shrink over the last few weeks as we’ve traveled down the road that is the second half of this NHL season.

Going into tonight’s game in Carolina, Atlanta remains seven points out of a possible playoff spot. And while some still cling to the ever-fading hopes that a playoff run is possible, the sad fact here is that there is a much greater chance that they’ll have the team’s logo affixed to one of the ping-pong balls to determine the exact order of the first five picks in this June’s draft.

Dustin Byfulgien, seen here in action against Jeff Skinner and the Hurricanes last February 13, will not play tonight in Carolina. It will be the first game he's missed all season (AJC photo/Curtis Compton)

Dustin Byfulgien, seen here in action against the Hurricanes Jeff Skinner last February 13, will not play tonight in Carolina. It will be the first game he's missed all season (AJC photo/Curtis Compton)

That’s because the Florida Panthers pulled to within two points of the Thrashers Tuesday night by snapping the Chicago Blackhawks eight-game winning streak with a 3-2 win. At the same time, the New York Islanders were knocking off the Toronto Maple Leafs in overtime.

New York now is but three points behind Atlanta, however they have played two more games.

Had the Colorado Avalanche found a way to knock off the Minnesota Wild last night, instead of losing 5-2,then we’d be looking at only being just three points ahead of the 28th place team in the league. Or, as some would say, three points away from having at least a chance at winning the number-one overall pick.

All this means is that unless they can find a way to pull some points from tonight’s tilt with the Hurricanes, the NHL standings floor could continue to creep up a little closer. Yes, only seven points separates the Thrashers from a playoff position… but seven points in the opposite direction is a spot in the bottom three and a chance for the #1 overall pick in the draft.

The Canes go into tonight’s matchup only one point south of the eighth place Buffalo Sabres and three north of the tenth place Leafs, so they’re fighting to keep their place in the list of teams still legitimately in the race. They haven’t played since losing 5-2 to the Hawks Friday night.

The Thrashers will go into the game without defenseman Dustin Byfuglien for the first time this season. He didn’t even make the trip to Raleigh with the team yesterday and is listed with a “lower body injury” and is day to day. Buff took a shot during Saturday night’s overtime win over the Panthers and seemed to be in a serious amount of pain on the bench afterwards, although he was bale to continue.

That was a good thing too, because he tallied assists on three of the team’s four goals Saturday night, including setting up Andrew Ladd’s winner in overtime. He also had the primary assists on both of Blake Wheelers goals and finished the game with a +2 rating with 9 shots on goal.

Byfuglien remains second on the team in overall scoring. His 19 goals and 30 assists for 49 points is just one behind Ladd, who has 25 goals and 25 assists.

Having Buff out of the lineup certainly doesn’t help. But the rest of the lineup will have to find a way to deal with it…or the buffer between them and Lotterpickville will continue to erode away.

108 comments Add your comment

Tom Lysiak

March 9th, 2011
12:03 pm

GOLD!!!

Go Thrashers!!!

R. Stroz

March 9th, 2011
12:11 pm

World Be Free

March 9th, 2011
12:12 pm

Carry over-
Some may believe I am being hypocritical of Chara because I favor the physical game. But players also have to be held accountable; that’s all I am calling for. Chara knew what he is doing and he shouldn’t be let off the hook by old-schoolers who claim it’s “part of the game”. Clean hits are part of the game, taking your man out – but not what Chara and other players are doing in the league today. He weighs 260# and knows one of his hit’s is going to carry more “weight” than a hit by a smaller man. Judge the intent of the hit, don’t excuse the size of the man.

Stroz is right-there’s a big carpet at the league office that has alotta dirt under it-the aftermath of Chara’s check will be swept under the rug by the end of the day-that will be that.

Alan R.

March 9th, 2011
12:13 pm

Oh, sweet! We’re vacationing in Lotteryville again this year! That’s my FAVORITE vacation destination!

World Be Free

March 9th, 2011
12:14 pm

I am getting excited about another lottery pick, another player taken high that will be rushed to the NHL too early. So much excitement!

My Bills picking 3rd in the NFL draft, maybe the Thrashers in the 33 spot too!?

Hockey Biltong

March 9th, 2011
12:21 pm

Unobtainium!!!

hip czech

March 9th, 2011
12:30 pm

Yep, Chara will get off lightly. The NHL suspends a 4th line winger getting 5 minutes a game (see Gillies) over a questionable hit to prove how tough they now are on these things.

Chara should get at least 10 games, probably 20 if you compare it to Gillies hit…but the NHL probably won’t even suspend him because he is a star and the Bruins are jockeying for playoff position.

Hockey Biltong

March 9th, 2011
12:31 pm

I’d like to see Postma have a good game…

World Be Free

March 9th, 2011
12:34 pm

Hey Biltong, you wearing your Kovy jersey Friday night?
Taped or not taped?

ZAvalanche

March 9th, 2011
12:35 pm

RH, thanks for reminding me of my team’s demise. Avs owned that game for 2.5 periods, and well, you know the outcome. Only good thing I took from that was the hilarity of seeing Budaj fight at the end. As an NHL.com poster said, “Stephen Hawking called, he wants to fight Peter Budaj.” LOL! Thrash has a chance, but as for the Avs, see you at the lottery pick….

Alan R.

March 9th, 2011
12:39 pm

http://canadiens.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=555483

Pacioretty has a “severe concussion,” as well as a fractured fourth cervical vertebrae.

World Be Free

March 9th, 2011
12:44 pm

Alan R-Chara should be proud, Milbury will probably say “hey, that’s hockey”.

HockeyGoon79

March 9th, 2011
12:58 pm

Chara should get a minimum of five games. He knew what he was doing and where they were on the ice when he hit him. Did he mean to hurt him or send him into the dividing wall? Maybe not, but you have to be responsible for what you do out ther.

polskidawg

March 9th, 2011
1:17 pm

AHL-level talent (with a few exceptions)
ECHL-level or less ownership

Lotteryville it is.

Rawhide

March 9th, 2011
1:30 pm

Per C-Viv, here are the forward lineups and defensive pairings:

Ladd-Little-Wheeler
Kane-Schremp-Stapleton
Thorburn-Antropov-Stewart
Boulton-Burmistrov-Dvorak

Enstrom-Bogosian
Hainsey-Stuart
Oduya-Postma

Also, Pavelec will start in goal.

Stan Drulia

March 9th, 2011
1:38 pm

I don’t think that Chara intentionally put him into that partition. He is not known as a dirty player… aggressive and tough, yes, but not dirty. I think he meant to give the guy an extra little shove into the boards and it just happened to be at the wrong spot. I do think he should get a 2 to 4 game suspension… just to put out the message that if you are going to play that aggressively, you may have to pay the price. Just my two cents.

I will be watching tonite… but with a defeated attitude. go thrash.

Russian

March 9th, 2011
1:39 pm

Wow! WHY???
Kane-Shrimp-Staple????
What’s that????
I do not understand this line at all. :-(

Uncle Milty

March 9th, 2011
1:45 pm

“Distance between Thrashers and Lotterypickville getting shorter”

The distance between the Thrasher franchise and and a move to Winnipeg is narrowing by the day however. You guys may indeed luck out though if the Coyotes collapse first.

Alan R.

March 9th, 2011
1:48 pm

And somewhere in Winnipeg, a bridge is missing its troll.

DB

March 9th, 2011
1:49 pm

The distance between Unlce Milty and knowledge continues to increase.

Smoothie

March 9th, 2011
2:02 pm

Great retorts to Uncle Troll!

Anyway, I see we’re finally icing a winning line-up tonite! ;) But seriously, if we’re not going to give Schremp top 6 minutes, then what was the point of the waiver acquisition. He obviously has far more skill and natural talent than Anthony Stewart. I think the only reason Stapes is on this line is because a) he’s right-handed b) speedy and c) more defensively sound than Stewart and Antropov combined. I think Rammer may be trying to confuse Maurice who loved exploiting our 2nd and 3rd lines at RBC. Now he may not know how to match up. Too bad Postma will be lucky to get his fanny off the pine for more than 8 mins.

World Be Free

March 9th, 2011
2:15 pm

Stan-I am on the fence as to whether Chara is marginally dirty or not, though he’s not alone. In contrast, you see a kid like Luke Schenn in Tronna doling out clean, honest hits every night and you want to feed the marginal guys a tape to show them how it’s done right. Schenn leads the legaue in hits-he was hard on the Thrashers last time the Loafs were in town.

Zombie Steve

March 9th, 2011
2:15 pm

man we need the W tonight

TS Garp

March 9th, 2011
2:17 pm

Ah, Milty the Moron is back to bother the good people of Atlanta. Do you not realize this team is not moving? If one does, we get it here in Quebec City, not out there in the frozen plains of Manitoba. Keep wishing lil Milty….

Tom Lysiak

March 9th, 2011
2:18 pm

Schremp – Little – Stapleton

Now that is the Shrimp line.

SomaAtl95

March 9th, 2011
2:28 pm

We’re gonna have to start charging trolls. I say $1 (US) for every schmuck who comes here from A TOWN WITH NO PRO NHL TEAM and makes their nasty comments. Uncle Milty needs to stay on TSN.ca and troll there.
The fine is doubled to $2 for trolls who have been in a city that has had problems with ownership etc in the past decade and dealt with tons of bogus “the team is moving rumors” – they should know better.
Finally it is increased to $10 for anyone who drops by here with a sense of entitlement, saying that it is their “Birthright”. Being that much of a jackhole to a bunch of people they have never met and a city that they have never visited deserves a higher amount.
We are American, we snubbed the crown centuries ago and even though there are crazies here who assert again and again that our President “isn’t a natural citizen” I have NEVER heard a single American ever say “Baseball belongs in America ONLY. Its out birthright!” Hence the spread of baseball around the world… if it were up to Canada then Hockey would be as famous as curling.

God knows that curling is soooooo exciting – only in Canada would someone think sweeping in front of a rock sliding on ice is fun.

Pretty sure if we fined each troll that came along here in the space of any given year then Rawhides Rowdies (known as RR, LLC) would be able to buy everything from A$G without an issue.

Remember Canada, be sure to pay your fines in AMERICAN dollars. This crappy global economy will depress your dollar soon enough against the American dollar and your town of Winnipeg will lose their team again – and instead of the good folks in Atlanta feeling your pain we will all gladly remind you that you deserved it – Karma is a beyatch! We didn’t take a team from Canada. Right now Canada wants to take a SECOND team from us. Why not go beat up on the Islanders?
Does the NYC area NEED 3 teams?

glovesave29

March 9th, 2011
2:34 pm

Soma – if hockey can only be in Canada, then let us remember that the car is German, the airplane and artificial ice are American, Beer is from Mesopotamia (ancient Iraq)…shall I go on? Wanna try and run a league without those four items? I for one like that ideas and products spread all over the world.

SomaAtl95

March 9th, 2011
2:36 pm

I dream of a Jamaican Hockey Team that beats Canada in the olympics. That’d really put sand in their shorts.
I don’t want hockey to be in Canada only, the people who troll here keep saying that it is “Their sport” and belongs up there before it belongs in Atlanta.
People are evil about Atlanta in the Canadian press!

glovesave29

March 9th, 2011
2:43 pm

Soma – I understand what your saying…just adding my 2 cents as to how silly their argument is.

Canada has a history of this in hockey. For decades they sent a mens league team to the olympics so that they had an excuse when the Soviets or Czechs would beat them…”we never send our best” kinda thing. What cracks me up more is this faux patriotism…who cares in Cape Breton if a team from Phoenix moves to Winnipeg? It’s 2000 miles away. I didnt get jacked up because the USA got a team from Canada when the Jets moved for the very same reason.

@ Uncle Milty

March 9th, 2011
2:50 pm

Thrashers are staying right here – so keep dreaming and put on a jacket:

http://www.ajc.com/sports/atlanta-thrashers/two-groups-show-interest-853027.html?cxtype=rss_news

Good Day.

LAC

March 9th, 2011
3:08 pm

Just terrible how this team has played out, and nothing looks like it will change anytime soon.

Jason

March 9th, 2011
3:26 pm

As a Thrasher fan who happens to be Canadian (I live in Vancouver), I get really disappointed by all the anti-Canada comments that fly around here. I come here to see what local fans of the team have to say, as they are closer to the action (I’ve never been to a game in ATL) and generally have more incite into the Thrasher goings on. If I wanted patriotism and political rhetoric, I’d go somewhere else. I understand the frustration one must feel when having to listen to people in the media speculate about the Thrashers relocating but please remember that not all Canadians believe what the trolls and media say. Some of those Canadian even cheer for the Thrashers. Please don’t paint us all with the same giant brush.

I hope what I am saying will not flame the Anti-Canada talk. I want to continue to come here and read what people have to say about our Thrashers.

Cornbread

March 9th, 2011
3:33 pm

Trevor Gillies is/was expendable by the league for them to make an example of. Chara and Lucic are not. A dirty and ugly double standard from the NHL. That is far worse than any of the “dirty hits” that may or may not have occured.

Full disclosure: I know Gillies. He is a great team guy and would stick up for anyone on his team. He saw an injustice happen right in front of him and he did what needed to be done. That is old time hockey like it or not but his hit on Clutterbuck was far less dirty than what Chara or Lucic did. Gillies is 6′3″ 235 pounds of pure animal picking on guys his own size. Not so with Chara and Lucic.

As for the Thrashers’ lottery pick, like the NHL making an example of its stars, not gonna happen.

R. Stroz

March 9th, 2011
3:34 pm

Jason – You’re good. We just get tired of the trolls, the majority of which are Canadian douchebags.

It’s too bad that a few douchebags are giving Canadians a bad name.

Alan R.

March 9th, 2011
3:35 pm

No punishment for Chara. Wow. Just wow.

Joe Friday

March 9th, 2011
3:44 pm

No suspension for Chara? The NHL continues to circle the toilet bowl into the Mickey Mouse leage farce that it has become. What. A. Joke.

I’m looking forward to Bogosian having a huge night tonight now that he’ll finally be paired with Toby Enstrom!

Hoof Arted

March 9th, 2011
3:49 pm

So if I understand this right, if Zach Bogosian runs Cole into the glass, breaks a vertebrae and gives him a severe concussion…..then that’s OK.

Good to know.

SomaAtl95

March 9th, 2011
3:53 pm

Jason – No disrespect intended. I’ve been to Canada several times and only break out being a jerk to the people who treat us like garbage when it comes to hockey. If I offended you, I apologize. Its assumed when I am ticked off at Canada my insults are to those who come here insulting us first. Aside from the aforementioned hockey fans that I do not like Canada is a wonderful country.
Your fellow countrymen have no problem telling us we don’t deserve a team, that we are too stupid to understand hockey, and make generalizations about us. Nothing more than a defense mechanism.
Two rights don’t make a wrong, and I know that, I don’t go to blogs of teams I don’t support and talk garbage, it irritates almost all of us Thrashers fans when people from up north do that to us.
We will take every fan we can get! Thank you!

World Be Free

March 9th, 2011
4:02 pm

Jason-I grew up on the Canadian / U.S. border and listened the endless flow of bashing on America by Canadian media, specifically the CBC and every major newspaper in Canada. We are not bashing Canadians; our blog is continually invaded by people that either are or pretend to be Canadian, telling what we know or do not know about hockey AND that we don’t deserve a team. If such invasions never took place, we would never say a bad thing about Canadians. We have a number of Canadians n this blog-they are our hockey brothers. I have Canadian relatives and friends, I hold them very near and dear to my heart.

You are welcome to continue to come here and talk hockey on the best hockey blog in either country, all of North America. And why? Cuz we know our hockey.

FYI-glad to have yet another Thrasher fan in the great Canadian Northwest.

hip czech

March 9th, 2011
4:19 pm

Cornbread, I wasn’t saying GIllies’ hit was wrong…on the contrary, it was a perfectly clean, legal shoulder-to-shoulder hit. The league just decided to make an example out of him because he’s a ‘nobody’ playing on Long Island.

But, by setting THAT line (10 games for a very questionable call) they should hold others to the same bar. Which we now know ain’t gonna happen.

R. Stroz

March 9th, 2011
4:25 pm

Colin Campbell strikes again. I’m looking forward to his son being laid out on the ice after the next Bruins and Canadians game.

Smoothie

March 9th, 2011
4:28 pm

Colin Campbell and his office’s wheel of justice is a freakin’ pathetic insult to the integrity of the league as well as its fans. It’s hard enough for hockey fans to get the respect of other sports fans because of this notion that hockey players are mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging idiots when it’s anything but. While hockey players are not exactly Rhodes Scholars, for the most part they are good kids who play hard every night and with passion. I’m not sure what needs to happen in order for the league to convince players to respect each other more, but when the punishments fluctuate so wildly, how are we to expect that any of the punishments will truly deter players from doing the same in future actions and behavior. Will someone need to die before the NHL really gets serious about enforcing rules and creating an atmosphere of respect and honor among its players?

Smoothie

March 9th, 2011
4:35 pm

Stroz – if I was Greg Campbell, I’d be very afraid next time I played the Habs. He better watch out for Ryan White or Hal Gill’s elbow!

Alan R.

March 9th, 2011
4:37 pm

But, by setting THAT line (10 games for a very questionable call) they should hold others to the same bar. Which we now know ain’t gonna happen.

I daresay we’ve known for a long time that some teams and players are more immortal than others. ;)

SomaAtl95

March 9th, 2011
4:47 pm

If it were someone like Bogey who registered that hit most of the Atlanta hating hockey world would be calling for a suspension for the rest of the season, hell if Chara were on, say the Panthers we would be hearing how “actions such as these must NOT be tolerated”. People complain about the salary cap era and parity but looking at punishments any fool can see that there is no parity in discipline.
For every player like Giles who is made an example of there are your Matt Cooke types who only get proper justice from players like Evander Kane.
Chara had no intent to injure, but he could have killed the other player. A fractured C4 is a VERY bad thing (my wife has had repeat spinal surgery in her neck)

Tom Lysiak

March 9th, 2011
4:47 pm

“It’s hard enough for hockey fans to get the respect of other sports fans because of this notion that hockey players are mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging idiots when it’s anything but. While hockey players are not exactly Rhodes Scholars…..”

Smoothie – It always amazes me to consider the case of one George Parros of the Anaheim Ducks. He is (at least, one of) their enforcer. Here is a guy who played at Princeton for four years, was team captain his senior year, who majored in Economics. His senior thesis was on a longshoreman’s labor dispute. Wikipedia says he was recently named the 4th smartest professional athlete.

KLS1

March 9th, 2011
4:49 pm

Gotta win tonight…and every night quite frankly. Wish I could see Postma play but in CHI.

Does anyone have the internet link to watch the game?

Buzzeng

March 9th, 2011
4:59 pm

Getting back to tonight’s game, I think the real difference between ATL and CAR will be on full display. CAR will come out and play hard – looking like a team that knows this is a must-win game and will play to that level. ATL, I’m afraid, will again show little concern about their predicament and come out flat, play 20 minutes of good hockey at some point during the game, but spend the other 40 minutes in their own zone trying to clear the puck. This time of year, good teams will beat teams with fewer points because they are getting prepared for the playoffs. Sadly, it’s been months since we’ve seen that from the Thrashers. Still, I hope I’m wrong because I want the win!

GO THRASHERS!!

Smoothie

March 9th, 2011
5:08 pm

TomLysiak – interesting, so George Parros is not only a well-groomed pugilist, he IS damn near a Rhodes Scholar! Come to think of it, I don’t recall George ever being involved in an incident such as this where the line between intent and accident was so blurry. He seems like an honorable guy much like Eric Boulton who only fights when the code is observed and invitations are extended.

Tom

March 9th, 2011
5:11 pm

You know the system is corrupt when we all expected Chara to skate.

Campbell’s actions, his obvious interference with ref’s in his son’s games, and his arrogance has made it obvious that he can not do his job anymore.

The madness of recusing himself from his son’s teams and then having a direct subordinate make the decision is madness. This is the frickin NHL folks, not the local rec league.