After dramatic win in Philly can we mention the ‘P’ word again in Thrasherville?

Last Wednesday night I was sitting in the Taco Mac on Highway 92 near King Road in Roswell. My friend Tom Ferda and I were viewing the game being played in Carolina that night on the HUGE TV screen located on the back wall…those who have been in that establishment know what I’m speaking of.

Anyway…as we were breaking bread together and preparing for the puck to drop, he commented that he truly felt this team still had a run in them. I came up from one of my hot wings long enough to respond, “Who…what? Which team are you talking about, the Thrashers or Canes?”

Tom insisted he was indeed referring to our Atlanta Thrashers.

“Look”, I said while picking up the last chicken wing. “The Thrashers playoff hopes are kinda like these plate of wings here”. I then gobbled it up and tossed the bone into the basket. “They’re finished.”

Wiping my hands on a napkin…or the back of a hoodie belonging to the kid sitting beside of us, I can’t remember which…I then continued, “The only ‘run’ that might be found in this Thrashers organization this season would be found on the back of one of the Blue Crew’s stockings.”

“However”, I added, “Seeing that they actually won last Saturday, if they can rattle off something like 5 or 6 points against the Hurricanes, Devils and Flyers these next three games…then come talk to me.”

OK… well I guess it’s time to talk.

Following Saturday night’s thrilling come-from-behind win in Philadelphia…one that saw the Thrashers overcome a 3-0 deficit after two periods, a 3-1 and 4-2 disadvantage deep into the third, only to then win it 5-4 in OT…they now find themselves only four points out of a playoff spot. It was their fourth overtime game in a row, but they have won three of them.

Ron Hainsey celebrates his overtime game-winning goal in Philadelphia Saturday night (AP Photo)

Ron Hainsey reacts after scoring the overtime game-winning goal in Philadelphia Saturday night (AP Photo)

For those who might be concerned about giving away yet another overtime consolation point to an Eastern Conference foe…don’t be. I mean, it’s not like we’re going to catch the Flyers anyway. All that matters is the all-important two points procured in the standing.

The way I’m looking at things now, if the Thrashers are going to qualify for this spring’s Great Hunt for Lord Stanley’s Cup…good Lord, I don’t believe I’m even saying this…Atlanta is going to do so only if they’re able to squeeze into one of the last couple of spots. Philly, Pittsburgh, Washington, Tampa Bay, Boston and Montreal should occupy spots one through six, mixed and matched in various possible orders. That leaves the bottom two spot, currently occupied by the Rangers and Buffalo, to be contested for.

To put it in a different light, no longer look at the Thrashers in the Southeast Division…instead view them as a part of the newly formed six-team “Squeeze-In” Division. The top two finishers in this division get into the playoffs.

Those in the “SID” are the New York Rangers, Buffalo, Carolina, Toronto the Thrashers and New Jersey.

After Toronto’s 4-3 win over Buffalo and the Rangers shootout win in San Jose, New York leads the SID with 76 points and the Sabres are second at 74. Carolina, who were knocked off by Columbus at home, remains at 72.

Then you find both the Thrashers and Maple Leafs sitting at 70 points apiece. After that with 68 points are the Devils, who Saturday night won again in overtime…this time on Long Island.

Buffalo takes Ottawa today and the Leafs will host Tampa Bay Monday. On Tuesday Atlanta is in New Jersey, the Rangers take on the Islanders while Carolina goes to Buffalo.

Atlanta has earned 7 of a possible 8 points in the last week to claw themselves back to this level, and with 13 games left on the schedule they’ll still need somewhat of a miracle finish if they are to play beyond the mandatory 82 on the schedule. Things won’t be getting any easier for the Thrashers either as they are looking at heading to New Jersey Tuesday night, welcoming in Philadelphia on Thursday before shuffling off to Buffalo on Saturday.

So will the Thrashers actually make a run at the playoffs during the last month of the season? Eh…talk to me this time next week.

A great idea to honor an honorable man, T. R. Benning Jr

As you all have certainly heard by now, T. R. Benning Jr passed away last Thursday at the age of 89. Mr. Benning was the gentleman seen so many times on the Kiss Cam with his lovely wife Maria. The two were honored last spring with the Thrashers 7th Fan Award.

I was told last night while viewing the game at TJs Sports Bar & Grill that someone had come up with the idea to name the 7th Fan Award in honor of Mr. Benning…call it, maybe, “The T.J. Benning Jr Memorial 7th Fan Award”.

I don’t know who was the one who first thought of this, but I can think of no better way to honor a man who we all came to admire so much. It would also be a wonderful way to honor Mr. Benning for his service to this country during WWII.

Mr. Benning was a part of the 254th Engineer Combat Battalion stationed out of Newquay, Cornwall, England in the days and months leading up to the Normandy invasion. On 7-June, 1944, D-Day + 1, he commanded the 3rd Platoon Company B of that Battalion as they came ashore on the Beaches of Normandy, France. While on patrol, he was wounded and evacuated to an army hospital back in England. However, by November of that year he was back in action. He took over command of the 2nd platoon of Company B while in the Ardennes Mountains of Belgium and saw action during the Battle of the Bulge.

Mr. Benning came back from Europe with a purple heart and his first wife, Loretta Margaret Serey, whom he met while recovering from his wounds. She passed away many years ago.

The T.J. Benning Jr Memorial 7th Fan Award…a great idea that I would love see made happen by the Thrashers organization.

And finally…Thank yous and shout outs

I would like to thank each and every one of you who came out to TJs last night to watch the Thrashers beat Philadelphia. A double-special thank you as well for all of the food items that were brought out by you to help the Atlanta Thrashers Fan Club provide much needed help to keep Atlanta area food banks stocked for those less fortunate. John Mikalonis of the ATFC did a great job organizing this event and he’s to be commended for his work.

Well done, John!

In addition, a big, heart-felt shout out to Tim Ecclestone and his fantastic staff for doing their usual bang up job. Also, for those of you who attended a similar event at Rafferty’s in Kennesaw and donated there…thank you so very much as well.

I would also like to add just how much fun I had Friday night, despite the less-than-desirable results against the Devils. I had the pleasure of spending that game with my good friends and frequent contributors of this online forum World Be Free, his daughter, FormerIslesFan, Smoothy, Red Light and Badger Bob. We were honored by the presence of Ms. Audra Martin, and also joining us in section 107 was our friend Amy.

Oh, and Amy is going to have to chime in and share her thoughts on a new idea regarding overtime and penalties. Either that, or I’m just going to have to tell you all myself and claim the credit for it.

Lastly, as we all were gathering out in front of the will-call window of Philips Arena, we were joined in conversation by another frequenter of this blog, litz. It was indeed an honor to make his acquaintance as well.

151 comments Add your comment

GaVaHokie

March 14th, 2011
3:35 pm

Ouch, tough crowd… I meant no harm. And I promise, I was one of the first people to stand and applaud at their tribute the other night. And when people asked what it was all about, I explained it to everyone.

Alan R.

March 14th, 2011
3:36 pm

Bill – Not a half bad idea! ;)

moriler

March 14th, 2011
3:37 pm

What all the above noise means from a prediction standpoint:

* The Rangers have the easiest schedule, so don’t hope too much that they’ll fall out.
* The Sabres are the most volatile of all the teams as those ‘even’ matchups can go either way easily to create a bad or good streak.
* The three teams currently “out” are going to have to beat teams that are ‘better’ than them to get in — no way around it. The playoffs will look just like this unless one of those three teams gets hot. I didn’t analyze the Devils but they’re in similar shape — just too many points out.

Rawhide

March 14th, 2011
3:57 pm

moriler – That’s a pretty good breakdown of the situation. Now, what I find interesting is your mark of 83 points for the Thrashers if that all breaks the way you outline. 83 points is exactly how many the Thrashers got last season…and John Anderson was fired after it because, as Dudley put it, they thought they had a team that should have been competing for a playoff spot.

Now, I guess the question I would have is…if the Thrashers finished with 83 points, would that be considered a “success”?

On the one hand, that’s simply treading water from last year, and to many it would be quite disappointing considering where the team was around the midpoint of the season…22-15-6 for 50 points after the 3-2 win in Florida on January 5.

On the other hand, to get to 83 points they would need to go something like 6-6-1 over the last 13 games of the season…9-7-1 over the last 17 games counting the last four. That in and of itself could be considered a minor miracle given the fact these Thrashers only won 4 times between games 44 and 65…a 22 game stretch…and only once since the All Star break have they won in regulation. That came over a month ago when they beat the Rangers 3-2 after Opie stopped a penalty shot and Kane scored twice after that in the third period.

Zombie Steve

March 14th, 2011
4:00 pm

I hope the boys are eager to dish out some payback to Kovy and the other minions of NJ.

moriler

March 14th, 2011
4:02 pm

Sadly, we threw away most of our ’soft’ games in the losing streak, or we’d be looking at a lot better scenario right now. But it is what it is — and as I’ve mentioned before, at least we know that we’ll come into the playoffs either on fire or not at all.

Something to keep in mind: They may be waiting ’til after the season to make a decision on Ramsay because there simply isn’t any point to doing so during this season. This is the first year of Dudley’s reign, and he’s had to undo a lot of damage. You don’t make plans for the playoffs in a “fix the problems” season — you just try to fix the problems, and whereever the team ends up, as long as it isn’t in the lottery, you work from there. Finishing anywhere above 8th would have been overachieving for the pre-trade deadline group of talent.

However, next season is a season we should certainly make a goal of ‘definitely’ getting into the playoffs with the capacity to do some damage, and I’d expect any offseason moves to reflect that. That would be the time I’d expect Ramsay to be moved — after all, we don’t have a Lemaire in our pocket the way the Devils did. It’s pretty easy to decide to sack your first-year coach when you’re replacing him with a guy like that… not so easy when you have to start the search anew.

GaVaHokie

March 14th, 2011
4:16 pm

Ramsay isn’t going anywhere… I don’t think Dudley expected this team to be contenders, and to match last years totals while getting younger would have to be a positive.

From a monetary perspective, the contract terms had to be pretty good for Torchetti to leave Chicago and take an Associate position in Atlanta. Gotta think the Head Coach was pretty lucrative as well. I’d say multiple years for both.

R. Stroz

March 14th, 2011
4:17 pm

GaVaHokie – Understood, Hall Pass granted.

Since my grandfather was a commander in the Pacific Theater during WWII, I’m VERY sensitive to the issue.

Sage of Bluesland

March 14th, 2011
4:18 pm

Don’t fret, folks….Remember that Don Waddell himself proclaimed we were ahead of the Flyers, development-wise, a couple of years ago….When they went from last to first….

(We’re only on our third “Five-Year Plan”…not that I’m counting or anything…)

How this incompetent buffoon still has a job with this organization, I’ll never understand….Yet, they expect me to pay his salary?

Not happening.

GaVaHokie

March 14th, 2011
4:39 pm

Stroz… my grandfather was a medic in the Pacific Theatre.

moriler

March 14th, 2011
5:04 pm

Heh. Funny ol’ world. My grandfather was an infantryman in Europe through the Bulge.

ThrasherTim

March 14th, 2011
5:26 pm

SOB – 2007 called. They want your post back.

ZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

Red Light

March 14th, 2011
5:33 pm

Thought that maybe some of you would find the following interesting as we keep an eye of the last 27 days of the regular season.

How the Eastern Conference playoff contenders stack up (category % leaders)

Total number of games allowing two goals or fewer
NYR 35 √
NJD 35 √
BUF 32
TOR 29
CAR 25
ATL 25

Total number of games allowing three goals or fewer
NYR 56 √
NJD 52
CAR 51
BUF 46
TOR 43
ATL 41

Team Records when allowing two goals or fewer
NYR 29-5-1 59 of 70 points
NJD 29-6-0 58 of 70 points
BUF 25-5-2 52 of 64 points
ATL 19-1-5 43 of 50 points √
CAR 19-2-4 42 of 50 points
TOR 18-6-5 41 of 58 points

Team Records when allowing three goals
CAR 9-14-3 21 of 52 points
TOR 7-6-1 15 of 28 points √
ATL 6-7-3 15 of 32 points
BUF 5-6-3 13 of 28 points
NYR 6-13-2 14 of 42 points
NJD 3-13-1 7 of 34 points

Team Records when allowing three goals or less
NYR 35-18-3 73 of 112 points
NJD 32-19-1 65 of 104 points
BUF 30-11-5 65 of 92 points √
CAR 28-16-7 63 of 102 points
TOR 25-12-6 56 of 86 points
ATL 25-8-8 48 of 82 points

Team Records when allowing four goals or more
TOR 5-17-4 14 of 52 points √
ATL 4-20-4 12 of 56 points
BUF 4-16-3 11 of 46 points
CAR 3-12-3 9 of 36 points
NYR 1-12-1 3 of 28 points
NJD 0-13-3 3 of 32 points

R. Stroz

March 14th, 2011
5:35 pm

GaVaHokie – Then you fully understand why I hold these gentlemen in such high reverence.

Red Light

March 14th, 2011
5:47 pm

Noah Welch has been recalled from Chicago.

Red Light

March 14th, 2011
5:57 pm

ZAvalanche

March 14th, 2011
6:29 pm

Hartley gets a hall pass from me for the rest of his life.

Cornbread

March 14th, 2011
6:35 pm

moriler that is interesting analysis and you are correct in the Thrashers missing their opportunity during the soft February schedule. They needed 9-10 more points that they should have had that month and things would be very different. Now it just got a lot harder.

The Rangers are where I predicted them to be after their hard schedule of the past couple of months. The only thing I did not think would be going on is that they would still be in the playoffs thanks to the Thrashers and Canes not getting it done. Also, Buffalo? Give me a break. They are winning on emotion right now.

As far as the Thrashers current play goes, you gotta like what we have been seeing. They have not quit. They also are not playing any different then how they did back in February. The difference is finally getting some wins that they deserved in many of their losses. The Thrashers need hot goaltending and timely goal scoring if they are going to have a chance. The rest of their game is capable of playing with anyone.

Brendan

March 14th, 2011
6:39 pm

I saw that Hartley landed a job in Switzerland. Good for him.

Sage of Bluesland, Don Waddell may have kept his job because he knew of the Spirit’s plan to try to sell the team, almost from the point of acquisition, and kept his mouth shut about it in exchange for the paycheck, that lasted 5 more seasons. If you’re looking for a good blackmail story, that’s probably about as good as it’s gonna get. Imagine fans KNOWING about the plan to sell … since 2005! It’d be a LOT harder to sell tickets during that span of years, while the Spirit was tied up in litigation.

LAC

March 14th, 2011
7:27 pm

Correct as ALWAYS Mr.Sage !!!!! I agree 110% with your comments !

Cliff Fletcher

March 14th, 2011
9:07 pm

just when you thought it was safe to come back to the blog again…..

i haven’t been here for a few weeks, as soon as i click on there is sage of redundancy once again “buffoon, incompetent, five year plan, still employed”. thanks for the good comedy and tell us sometime why you still come back? you must have been a water boy in high school.

captain of the obvious

glovesave29

March 14th, 2011
9:12 pm

Sage = Col. Klink…know NOTHINK!

Badger Bob

March 14th, 2011
10:10 pm

Bravo, TTim.

Recall that about this time last year we were at the bottom of the division of four or five striving for the last two spots. The “division” winners for slots 7 and 8? Montreal (who went on to slay the President’s trophy winners) and Philly (who went to the finals, of course). That should be motivation to try to squeak past this crowd.

Excellent analyses, moriler and R/L. Then again you can go nuts trying to analyze “hard” and “soft” games in this league. The Thrashers homestand that got us believing was very hard. February was very soft. Points earned did not reflect the level of competition.

Two or three of the six teams will get hot despite their schedule – let’s just hope we’re one of ‘em.

Badger Bob

March 14th, 2011
10:17 pm

Oh, and thanks Tampa!

Badger Bob

March 14th, 2011
10:38 pm

Some final fun facts for the night:

The three contests between NJ and ATL have involved 49 different skaters. The number one scorer out of those 49? Ilya Kovalchuk, with 4 points. The worst +/- out of those 49 players? Ilya Kovalchuk, at -4. That about sums up Blueland’s experience with Kovy…

The Devils hold a modern-day NHL record of not allowing a first-period goal to 16 straight opponents. That ends in about 21 hours…

R. Stroz

March 15th, 2011
2:13 am

Could Cousins Properties about to make amends for something that happened 30 years ago?

http://www.ajc.com/business/cousins-leads-team-picked-872155.html

One of the interested purchasing parties wanted to redevelop the “gulch.”

Eon Rodeo

March 15th, 2011
3:07 am

Thrashers fans are delusional. The Leafs aren’t likely to make the playoffs, I know that, but I still expect them to finish ahead of the Thrash!

Go Leafs Go!

Cliff Fletcher

March 15th, 2011
7:57 am

Eon
yet another troll – another real classy leafs polluting our site.

there’s a real why the leafs are the most hated team in the nhl

moriler

March 15th, 2011
8:06 am

He had to come say something after the Make Believes folded like a cheap napkin against the Lightning last night.

Cliff Fletcher

March 15th, 2011
8:09 am

i hope the leafs are bought and moved to san diego

World Be Free

March 15th, 2011
8:38 am

Leafs’ season was Saturday night, coming back to beat a team in the 3rd period that was playing the last game of a 7 game road trip. Giguere and Dion were the 2 big pickups of last season, both been booed at home this season by the “Leaf Faithful” whatever that means!

Yeah, go Leafs go!

Hoof Arted

March 15th, 2011
9:24 am

“i hope the leafs are bought and moved to san diego”

Cliff, San Diego is far too nice of a city for the likes of them. I’d say move them to some place like Birmingham, Alabama. At least that way we have another NHL town to drive to for away Thrashers games.

Smoothie

March 15th, 2011
9:44 am

Leafs have been blown to the curb. It’s now a 4 horse race with the Rangers leading by a couple of lengths at the far turn. As they approach the 1/8 pole, will the Canes be able to mount a final run. Can the Thrashers, who are 5 lengths back, find enough will and fortitude to ignite one final charge. And will the Devils, whose late kick has moved them from 30 lengths back into contention, have enough left in the tank to catch the Rangers at the wire?

AND DOWN THE STRETCH THEY COME!!!

Tom

March 15th, 2011
9:47 am

Is it ironic or pathetic that the Leafs fans measure their success based on how they do in the standings compared to the Thrashers?

I am starting to think that irregardless of the fact that we have had a decade of futility our prospects and our history is still better than the Leafs during the same period.

SomaAtl95

March 15th, 2011
9:51 am

Hey Eon, 1967 called – they want your cockiness back. The leafs haven’t won a championship in the near entire length that ANY pro-sports (even the teams that were stolen) have been in Atlanta.
Aside from the Blue Jays back to back world series wins (in a sport that Americans don’t mind sharing with the rest of the world) in the 1990’s, has Toronto won anything?
And no, I’m not going to count the award for Canada’s douchiest fans – thats assumed to go to the “Leaf Faithful” every year.

SomaAtl95

March 15th, 2011
9:54 am

Trixie, can you release my most recent post? Looks like it got caught! Thank you!

Trixie (Rawhide's Secretary)

March 15th, 2011
10:00 am

Mr. SomaAtl95 – Your 9:51 am post has been freed from Blog Purgatory.

BLUELANDbeliever

March 15th, 2011
10:11 am

I really think that if somehow, the Thrashers we saw in the 3rd period and in OT on Saturday decide to stick around that we have a legit run at a playoff spot. Lets do this boys!!

Also, 7th man award should= TR Benning Award

Don Waddell

March 15th, 2011
10:22 am

Mr. Bluesland, check your spam filter.

Midfield

March 15th, 2011
10:59 am

Brendan, I wonder if Thrashers fan club can hire a lwayer – preferably from King and Spalding – and file a class action lawsuit against SAG for misrepresentation and fraud.

Thomas Magnum

March 15th, 2011
11:14 am

I like the idea of the the 7th man award being the TR Benning award.

Eon Rodeo

March 15th, 2011
11:21 am

Toronto Maple Leafs — undefeated in the playoffs since 2006!
Go Leafs Go!

BTW Tom, “irregardless” isn’t a word.

moriler

March 15th, 2011
11:24 am

“How do you know it’s spring in Canada?”
“The Leafs are out.”

SomaAtl95

March 15th, 2011
11:45 am

No Leafs No! It must really annoy some people that the US has held the cup hostage since 1993 – the players may not be from the US but the teams those players work for most certainly are.
Only thing better than keeping the cup out of its homeland is the fact that the Leafs will go yet another year without any hope of winning anything aside from “The Burke Waffle Cone Futility Award”

BLUELANDbeliever

March 15th, 2011
11:49 am

Rodeo, i think you mean BLOW LEAFS BLOW! I hope you like waffles cuz i see a few dozen plates of em coming yalls way, EH.

Rawhide

March 15th, 2011
12:07 pm

OK gang…here’s a new blog for you to discuss tonight’s game in New Jersey. Both the Devils and Thrashers will be looking to remain in the playoff conversation.

Cliff Fletcher

March 15th, 2011
12:11 pm

hoof–

greater insult, move the leafs to buffalo so ny state would have 4 teams an ontario would have 1.

dave keon swore off the leafs 30 yeras ago, hasn’t been back since. first class organization in tonroto that’s for sure, just what loafs’ fans deserve. a billion dollars for a team that never wins-only in canada.

kracker

March 15th, 2011
1:08 pm

Yo, Old Rodeo, Miriam-Webster sez this about the word irregardless:

“Irregardless originated in dialectal American speech in the early 20th century. Its fairly widespread use in speech called it to the attention of usage commentators as early as 1927. The most frequently repeated remark about it is that “there is no such word.” There is such a word, however. It is still used primarily in speech, although it can be found from time to time in edited prose. Its reputation has not risen over the years, and it is still a long way from general acceptance.”

Go have some fun over at twitter searching for references to #leafssince1967. There are thousands of them.

Brendan

March 15th, 2011
2:37 pm

People say “irregardless” a lot in common speech. I think they generally speaking meant “regardless.” But if they simply must use “ir” … the correct word is “irrespective.” But I’m not a grammar Nazi. To me, a post that makes sense upon its first reading … reflects successful communication. Posts that don’t have any punctuation … where you don’t know where a thought begins and ends … or even the point it’s trying to convey …. reflects a bad post. And for some folks, English isn’t their first language. I give them a “pass” on grammar.

Midfield, that would be hilarious!!

R. Stroz

March 17th, 2011
10:30 am