Three games in four days gives Thrashers chance to clear the air of last Saturday’s smell

Even after more than four days, the stench from that big, heaping, steaming pile of FAIL that the Thrashers dropped on the ice Saturday still seems to linger in the air. Given that there has been so many days off after the 8-2 loss in Buffalo, they haven’t been able to try and freshen the air with a win…or even just a well-played game.

Tonight, however, they’ll have an opportunity to do just that if they can somehow muster a win on Long Island. But as was the case with the New Jersey Devils a couple weeks ago, seeing the Thrashers take on the Islanders again provides a comparison of two teams that have taken different paths since the last time they met.

Back on February 1 they faced off in Philips Arena for the first game following the All Star break. The Thrashers were coming off a thrilling 1-0 win over the Washington Capitals and held a record of 24-19-9. They had struggled a bit in January, going 1-4-3 prior to shutting out the Caps, but their 57 points were still good enough to cling on to the eighth and last playoff spot.

The Isles came in with a record of 15-27-7, were lingering at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, had lost three straight, five of their previous six and were coming off a 4-8-1 month of January. Once again it seemed as though their season was circling the drain before the league even entered into the post All Star game portion of the schedule.

By all accounts this seemed like the perfect set up for Atlanta to restart the season…a “softie” on the schedule to get things moving again after a few days off.

Islanders refuse to play the role of ‘softie’

The Islanders came to play that night…the Thrashers, not so much. And the lack-luster effort displayed in the 4-1 defeat had some wondering if we were witnessing the bottom dropping out on the team’s playoff aspirations. The gravity of the situation and the alarmingly tepid play of the team did not escape Ondrej Pavelec.

The view for Mark Stuart and the Atlanta Thrashers hasn't been the best lately. They'll kick off a 3 games in 4 days stretch tonight at the New York Islanders (AP Photo/David Duprey)

The view for Mark Stuart and the Atlanta Thrashers hasn't exactly been the best lately. They'll kick off a 3 games in 4 days stretch tonight in New York versus the Islanders (AP Photo/David Duprey)

“We have to realize that few more games like that and we’re done”, the goalie said afterwards, “We didn’t fight like we wanted to get into the playoffs”.

Then there were these words by coach Craig Ramsay. “We lost so many battles in the offensive zone. And that allowed them to keep coming back up the ice. Our work ethic, our commitment, is lacking”.

Both statements were spot on. Unfortunately though, Ramsay has been unable to properly remedy the failings of that night and variations of both sets of quotes have been used far too often to describe the team’s play since that time.

Including that game, the Thrashers have slumped to a record of 6-11-3, winning only once in regulation. Meanwhile the Islanders have gone 14-6-5, including a 6-1-3 mark in the last ten played. If it weren’t for the story that has been the Devils miraculous second half recovery, these Islanders might just be talked about as the bounce-back team of the season.

If you think it stinks bad now…

As foul as things have gotten since early January, a loss on the island tonight is certain to make things just that much worse…to the point where even striking a match in the room won’t help.

With a regulation win tonight, the Islanders would move even with the Thrashers at 72 points…although Atlanta will have two more games left on the schedule…and leave the Thrashers only 4 points ahead of 14th place Florida. The Thrashers, Islanders and Devils would also be tied for the 5th lowest point total in the NHL.

Then tomorrow night the Vancouver Canucks, a.k.a the best team in the west, will be paying Thrasherville a visit. Following the 2-1 win in Detroit last night, they are now 48-17-9, have already locked up the Northwest Division and are on course for the Presidents Trophy. Prior to the 3-1 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes last Friday, they had rattled off seven consecutive victories.

Even with the loss of Manny Malhotra and his 11 goals, 19 assists and +9 rating for the rest of the season, this team looks poised for a serious run at the Stanley Cup this spring.

After that, the last place in the east Ottawa Senators come to call for a Sunday afternoon matinee. But if your thinking that represents another “softie” on the schedule, you might want to think again.

The last three times the Thrashers have faced a conference bottom feeder, they’ve failed to procure even an overtime pity-point. There was that loss to the Islanders last month, the 5-3 third period collapse in Edmonton and then the 3-1 loss to the Sens the last time they were in town three weeks ago.

So let’s just hope that they’ve cleared out of their system whatever it was that caused them to drop that on-ice stink bomb in Buffalo last Saturday and they can find a way to procure two points on the Island tonight. If not, then this epic second-half collapse could land the Thrashers on the outskirts of Lotterypickville before the weekend is over.

While some feel that would be a good thing given how this season has played out, I still think it stinks when my team finishes up that far down in the standings.

82 comments Add your comment

Red Light

March 24th, 2011
8:00 am

OK, Bill, two can play that game…

A nice slate this evening with the Bruins vs Habs, Ducks vs Preds, Flyers vs Pens and Sharks vs Kings, but the Avs vs Leafs has allure because Toronto can pull within three points of Buffalo and tie the Canes for 9th, although both teams will have two games in hand on Ron Wilson’s club.

The Isles can tie the Thrashers and Devils in points tonight with a win, and wouldn’t that be something for a team that fired its coach Nov. 14?

When the Thrashers beat the Isles 5-4 on Dec. 11, the Isles were 5-17-5 while the Thrashers were 16-11-3. What was once a 20-point lead for Atlanta, is now two.

The Isles haven’t had Mark Streit all season, Trent Hunter played in just 17 games, Doug Weight only played in 18, Kyle Osposo just 30, they dealt James Wisniewski after 32 games, and Roloson just after New Years.

Add to that the fact that trades and injuries have forced the Isles to use six goalies and the team leader in wins is Al Montoya, who is 8-3-4 since being acquired from Phoenix.

This has been quite a coaching job by Jack Capuano, and he deserves a lot of mention for the Jack Adams Award. And, now GM Garth Snow looks like he knew what he was doing when he plucked his leading scorer, Grabner, off the waiver wire Oct. 5. They could have five 20-goal scorers by the end of the season, and only a handful of teams will be able to make that claim.

Really a great story.

Brendan, too many things will change before the end of the regular season to start looking too closely at match-ups. But, there are a ton of teams getting hot at the right time.

R. Stroz

March 24th, 2011
8:04 am

SILVER = UNGOLD

moriler

March 24th, 2011
8:11 am

All moot, I’m afraid. Buffalo has 81 points, we have 72 with only one game in hand, making it 74 at best.

The loss to Buffalo sank our season not because of anything ‘mental’ — but from simple math. Switch it around and it’s us looking at making it 76 while Buffalo is at only 79 — quite possible to overcome in 9 games. But making up 7 points in 9 games requires the lead team to flop like a Penguins superstar, and I don’t think that’s likely to happen. The Canes are the only ones left who can simply blow past and overtake Buffalo, right now, but I think Buffalo can lock it up just by playing .500 hockey in their last 9 — that would put them at 90, well out of reasonable reach of everyone but Carolina.

DWTOO

March 24th, 2011
8:17 am

We’ve become the “softie” on the schedule.

Buzzeng

March 24th, 2011
8:28 am

Epic History – Atlanta is and has been a team that does not get hot at the right time of the season. Not even the “Flames” could do it. Maybe we can refuse to play the role of “softie” tonight.

World Be Free

March 24th, 2011
8:31 am

Capuano is the story on Long Island, along with a bunch of players that put put fpr 60 minutes.

The talk from here forward needs to be about next season, auditions for who really wants to play in the National Hockey League and who cannot be bothered to put forth the effort. The Buffalo game should be the start of the measuring stick for who is here and who is gone. Dudley will use year two to really put his stamp on the team, regardless of who the owner is.

I was hoping for playoffs this season, but I am not surprised at where the team is at in the standings or that they are all but out of the playoffs. The question is, where do we go from here and what steps are taken forward to improve this team. I noted in the last blog that Ramsay and Dudley are both proud men, quality players during their time. Neither was blessed with a ton a skill, but they used what they had to enjoy long careers; they know what it takes to play in the NHL. I am certain neither is happy with the current state of the team or the efforts out out by some of their players. That’s what it comes down to- effort.

moriler

March 24th, 2011
8:32 am

DWTOO: I wouldn’t tell the Canes or Flyers that.

Mr. Heat Miser

March 24th, 2011
9:18 am

I have some hope for tonight, but Friday we could see another steaming pile. Don’t even want to think about Sunday.

Hoof Arted

March 24th, 2011
9:21 am

It still amazes me just how far the Thrashers have fallen. I didn’t think they were as good as their record was during the first part of the season, I don’t think anyone thought they were a team heading towards 100 points. But I just can’t believe they are as bad of a team as the record shows since the beginning of ‘11.

If anyone would have told me they would only have 1 regulation win between the allstar game and late March, I would have said they were nuts.

Michael B. Shapiro

March 24th, 2011
9:35 am

TENTH (is that Talc or Paper?). Operation Tank to begin tonight. Work our way DOWN the standings to ensure a top (bottom) five position and thus a lottery slot. Don’t think we can make it as far down as the Oilers, but counting on the Devils, Isles and Panthers to eclipse our woeful efforts. Too bad that the Avs and Sens are so far back, or we’d have a shot at second (to last) in the League!

Bah. Supported this team for eleven seasons and one lockout. Wish they’d played as hard as I’ve tried to support them. Can not wait until the dysfunctional ASG signs all necessary papers to relinquish complete ownership, Donnie Brilliance is shown the door, and perhaps others at that level of management as well. As for Rammer….I have lost faith as the season has dwindled away from us. I do NOT believe you can excuse this pi$$ poor performance since early December on the calibre of players (although we all know about the payroll and that we have mostly 3rd and 4th line forwards) given that the team showed it could win when it wanted to, when it controlled center ice, and when the players put their bodies (checks, blocked shots, grit) on the line.

Very mixed feelings about tonight’s game. As a fan I’d love them to win. As a realist, this season is over, put a very large fork into it and the ASG.

Rawhide

March 24th, 2011
9:41 am

Red Light – Great work as usual, my friend. It does indeed illustrate just how different of paths these two teams have been on since the Islanders made that change in November.

Jack Capuano has done a great job and deserves a great deal of credit.

Smoothie

March 24th, 2011
10:06 am

Isles are hardly a bottom feeder when healthy…talk about a lot of homegrown talent and depth. Not to mention the best waiver wire “bank steal” since some guy named Richard “Ten Gallon Dick” Peverley (Grabner). Guess the Panthas saw Grabs as a Booth clone, only difference is that Grabs actually scores goals!! I bet the Nucks would love to have that to do over! And Montoya has been a revelation, but he actually has a scrappy defense in front of him now that they are mostly healthy. Just think how good they might have been had Streit not been felled with the freak shoulder injury and other key players like Okposo hadn’t missed so many games to injury. Isles could be lethal next year.

sisu

March 24th, 2011
10:17 am

As great as a lottery pick would be I have a serious issue with any team giving up and competing. If we suck so be it, but if any of these guys start to tank (which somehave) they should bring in new faces from the Wolves to have a 9 game tryout. If the team is hoping to get a scorer in the off season I think they will have to look over in Europe or Russia Leagues…

ZAvalanche

March 24th, 2011
10:40 am

The tilt with Vancouver is going to be ugly – that team pretty much has it all. As for the way forward, it definitely needs to start with a solid D man you can build around. As of today Thrashy is basically tied for 19th in goals scored with a total of 202. So you may say “hmmm Z, bottom third of the league isn’t very good.” But then I say “look at Montreal, LA and Nashville, all have scored less than Atl, have positive goal differentials and are making plans to play in late April.”

Has to be a big, talented, D core to build around.

hockeygoon79

March 24th, 2011
10:45 am

Somebody needs to strike a match on this whole season. What a wasted opportunity after a very fine start.

Ramsay should only have these last 10 games left to be head coach. He lost the team and the team lost focus and then they lost too many games. He hasn’t had the best talent to work with thats for sure. But they are darn sure better than what we’ve seen for the past couple of months.

They won’t even match last year’s 83 points I fear.

What a disaster.

whaler888

March 24th, 2011
10:50 am

haven’t heard a word about patrice cormier in a long time anybody have any kind of update

JSR

March 24th, 2011
11:18 am

Ditto on Cormier, how about the contract extension for Ladd, and what about an update on the new Owners?

Smoothie

March 24th, 2011
11:21 am

Biggest difference between this year and last year is Max Afinogenov’s 24 goals. Defense was pretty much the same, but we are on pace for 4/5 more goals of offense from the back end. Is it worth it to let Big Buff play blueline rover for 20-25 goals / year when you need to cut the goals allowed by nearly twice that amount? We are on pace to give up 271 goals, which is one more than we gave up in JA’s first season. The defensive depth is in the system and it’s time we bring in some size and tenacity with Arturs Kulda ready to bash some bodies (say goodbye to Oduya; he’s a nice puck mover but we have too many of those). We should definitely be drafting a sniper type whom we can develop without rushing into the system. Trade Oduya and Stewart for some scoring help on the 2nd line and hope that one more year of development for Bogosian and Burmy gets them ready for a serious push in 2012-13. Ideally, we trade both Bogosian (for James van Riemsdyk; in my opinion the smartest, quickest way for offensive depth & scoring help) and Oduya to bring in a stay at home type, veteran D-man (think Morrisonn or Boynton type player) and let Postma fill the void left by Bogosian. I really don’t see much of a difference in them other than the fact Bogey likes to hit more, but Postma seems slightly more well-rounded IMO.

Rawhide

March 24th, 2011
11:21 am

Whaler888 – Cormier is still dealing with an “upper body” injury and will not play tonight. That’s all I’ve heard about him.

For what it’s worth…the Thrashers are 6-11-4 in games Cormier has played in. He has 1 goal 1 assist and is a –5. He’s dished out 31 hits, taken 27 SOG, blocked 15 and has 4 PIM.

Hockeygoon79 – To reach the 83 point total from last year the Thrashers would have to go something like 5-4-1 over the last ten games. That’s not out of the question…but still would be a tall order for a team that has won only 6 times since the All Star break 20 games ago.

Ramsay needs 4 points to match John Anderson’s 76 points achieved in his first year as coach, (and the 76 recorded in the 2007-08 debacle of a season).

He needs only 2 more points to match the 74 points achieved in Bob Hartley’s first full season as head coach. But Hartley did have a little more than half a year behind the bench here the season prior, and it was pre-lockout…so there was no shootout. That could have provided a couple more points one would think.

JSR – I have no update on the Ladd contract situation nor the possible new owners. C-Viv would be the source for news there.

Speaking of C-Viv…per his recent tweet, “Looks like Chris Mason in goal for #Thrashers vs Isles.”

TrueBlue

March 24th, 2011
11:45 am

Not if they go 0-4…. :/

Rob Schneider

March 24th, 2011
11:46 am

Oh no, we suck again!

Thrashers27

March 24th, 2011
11:52 am

You can do iiit!!!

Ben Stiller (Zav)

March 24th, 2011
11:55 am

You will go sleep or I will put you to sleep! Check out the name tag, you’re in my world now grandma…

ZAvalanche

March 24th, 2011
11:58 am

Smoothie, I like those thoughts from your last post. I would advocate moving Buffy up to center and filling the D with quality players.

Al

March 24th, 2011
12:00 pm

I still think Atlanta can make it – never give up until the bitter end. Atlanta vs.Vancouver for the Cup!
On a side note, congratulations on the birth of Daniel & Henriks baby on Tuesday.

Hoof Arted

March 24th, 2011
12:00 pm

This team needs a whole bottle of TurboLax to clean this mess out of their system.

World Be Free

March 24th, 2011
12:05 pm

Great post Smoothie! We have not talked about Max in some time, but you wonder what his goals and his SPEED would have done for this lineup. He is the 2nd line right winger that we needed this season, they guy we should have signed instead of promoting Stewart. You wonder what it would take to get Max out of his KHL contract?

I don’t think the Thrashers will tank the season for the lottery pick, I just think the teams below us are playing better than we are, thus moving by us in the standings before end of season. The boobie prize for being so bad.

ZAvalanche

March 24th, 2011
12:07 pm

@ Al, I am with you on staying in till the bitter end, but I am skeptical. Will always keep rooting though. And I know it is a bit too early to pick winners but here is what I envision.

WCF – Detroit vs Vancouver, but I can see LA making some upsets.

ECF – NYR vs Boston, I think Washington and Philly will fold.

Keep in mind I am basing this on the possibility that standing could change.

For the final, and yes, this will make me look like a goat, NYR and DTRW.

World Be Free

March 24th, 2011
12:08 pm

Hoof-I am amazed at the decent as well.

But it makes sense if you consider this team canot forecheck, cannot kill penalties, cannot play 60 minutes, cannot protect a lead, cannot get the puck out of their zone, does not check/fight and is lousy on special teams. Put that all together and you have a lottery pick; at least the draft party will not be too long.

World Be Free

March 24th, 2011
12:09 pm

Z Avs-Washington is finally starting to play good team defense, that may get them to ECF.

World Be Free

March 24th, 2011
12:16 pm

Looks like the Thrashers should have picked up Brian Rolston when they had their 2 chances-he has had a nice 2nd half of the season, under LeMaire. Funny how going on waivers will “motivate” some players to get off their best intensions and get back in the game.

ZAvalanche

March 24th, 2011
12:16 pm

WBF – I haven’t seen many of their games but it is always possible. Lundquvist (sp) is killing it right now which is why I picked NYR over WASH. That is why I love this league, never know what is going to happen.

Smoothie

March 24th, 2011
12:16 pm

Z – Buff can play center too?? ;)

WBF – Our +/- as a team isn’t that different from last season, the only difference being the lack of Max’s 24 goals. While Max was no defensive stalwart, he was not nearly as bad as a certain Russian in his hey day. In fact, I recall several instances in which Crazy Legs swooped in from his wing to support the D, grabbed the puck and went coast to coast with it. Yeah, he made too many cross-ice passes, but when he has the ability to break ankles like he does, don’t you think a line of Kane-Little-Max could have been scary good? At least offensively. Just think of the Top 6 right now if they moved Buff to forward & “hired” Max back:

Ladd – Wheels – Buff // Kane – Lits – Max // Burmy – Antro – Dvorak

I guess if Max was adamant about 5 years, I see why you don’t sign him, but why not 3? Would he have really turned down 3 yrs / $9 M?? Afterall, we offered Kubina a little more than that for 3 years, so ostensibly we were willing to spend that extra $3 M this season.

ZAvalanche

March 24th, 2011
12:19 pm

WBF – I have some experience with watching Rolo and have mixed feelings on him. When he is on, he kills it, but is very streaky. I think there are better options.

ZAvalanche

March 24th, 2011
12:22 pm

@ Smoothie – Buffy has played pretty much every position. He is big, has strong skills = why not throw him in front of the goalie? Also, because of his defensive mind he would make a fantastic center. And you have to admit that there is a serious lack of forwards doing their part on defense. Replace him with a big D to clear out the crease and you just made your team way better.

Earth, Wind & Fire

March 24th, 2011
12:23 pm

“And after the mind games have been played
All our illusions were just a parade
And all the reasons start to fade”

Not Blind

March 24th, 2011
12:26 pm

This new Ramsey system generates enough turnovers at the opposing teams blueline as it is. Adding Max to the equation would only make it worse.

World Be Free

March 24th, 2011
12:35 pm

Smootie- You know I was no fan of Max when we signed him, but he sure picked his game up as a Thrashers-before and after Kovy. For me, it’s all about speed and if you have a player that affects defenseman the way Max does, you get him and keep him. Your suggestion is right on-iIf he will play for 3 years / $9M I would sign him in a heartbeat. That’s a question that somebody needs to ask Dudley-does Max have an out clause?

Z Avs-I am not a Caps fan, but I am impressed on how they have reduced their goals against. Boudreau has these guys moving their feet again. Rolston has played alot better under LeMaire, the player knowing the coach and vice versa.

You never go wrong better in Lundquvist – I am sure Red Light would agree!

Big Wally

March 24th, 2011
12:39 pm

I wonder if we would have more points if we would have kept Anderson. I know most folks consider him just an AHL coach, but I think he got more out of his talent, than what Rammer seems to be getting from his. Bergfors, if I remember correctly was decent under Anderson’s system. Then he became useless under Rammer.

Smoothie

March 24th, 2011
12:53 pm

JA no doubt got a raw deal, but Duds was gonna hire “his guy” so whatchaa gonna do? He’s gonna have to find another guy to replace Rammer at some point whether it be after this season (health reasons) or during the middle of next year when he fails to adjust his game again (interesting how “hitting is overrated” for a team that is supposed to get after it on the F/C and pin the other team deep more consistently…uhh, okay!).

Just think how much better our PP would be with Max bringin the puck into the zone and forcing the defense to respect his speed at the blueline. Our zone entries on the PP have been pitiful most of the year and there’s no doubt he’d help with that. Max’s turnover problem wasn’t in the neutral zone last year, it was after he entered the zone and tried to make a cross-ice pass back towards the blueline. That is easily correctable in Rammer’s system where the 3rd man is supposed to stay high anyway. Max was far better on D last year than the following: White, Kozlov, Kovy and Pevs. As we now know, the 2nd line was a disaster for White & Kozzy and even Pevs more so than Max as Pevs had regressed mightily on the defensive end trying to do too much on O.

Red Light

March 24th, 2011
12:58 pm

While I would like to believe that “The King” could take the Rangers on a deep playoff run, I am concerned that they are a bit weak or inexperienced up-the-middle. Sound familiar?

I am thrilled with Anisimov’s play and Boyle is great in his role, but Stepan is too young and Christensen is well, Christensen. The strength of the Rangers is on the wing as Callahan and Dubinsky have had great years. Gabby is a disappearing act at times, Prospal is slowly regaining form, Wolski has played well at times, Prust is excellent in his role and Zuccarello has been very good on occasion. But, secondary scoring can be a problem and if Gabby isn’t properly engaged, then they will have problems.

On the backline, Girardi, Staal and Sauer have been magnificent. Gilroy, Eminger and McDonagh have had their moments and I like the addition of McCabe. Still, I can’t see this squad making it to the Conference Finals on their best day, unless of course, Henrik is better rested, which likely will be a problem down the stretch without the ability to insert Biron, who is still hurt.

Hoping they get to sixth, because if Washington gets the top spot in the conference, a first round matchup against Philly and their cast at the center position will be troublesome. A first round matchup against Boston or Montreal is my preference, as I believe the Rangers can beat either of those teams.

My prediction in October for the Eastern Conference Finals was Washington vs. Boston, and Los Angeles vs. Vancouver out West. I’ll stay with both for now.

Joe Friday

March 24th, 2011
1:05 pm

I quit reading at Michael B. Shapiro’s post at 9:35am. Ditto on every last word of it.

We can catch them tonight, let’s Go Isle!

WTF?

March 24th, 2011
1:06 pm

3 games in 4 days. I look for it to be at best 1-1-1. Vancouver will probably put an 8-2 type of beating on Atlanta at which point they may not recover from it and get beat by lowly Ottawa again!

Red Light

March 24th, 2011
1:09 pm

I think Atlanta has a better chance of beating Vancouver than they do either the Islanders or Senators. They play to the level of competition — a problem that defines many mediocre teams.

ZAvalanche

March 24th, 2011
1:14 pm

RL, you may have a point there. The Avs blow and gave Vancouver a darn good game, indicative of bad teams.

LAC

March 24th, 2011
1:17 pm

Smoothie is thorwing out solid ideas tody. I agree, I am willing to give zach another year here, BUT if his play next season is like this season, Good-Bye !

Any scoring help is welcome, we have to get more going. If we DO get a top ten pick, and it does appear at this time we will, Get someone who is BIG, Tough and can score. No offense to Bermistrov, But 4 goals from a first rounder is just not very good.

Don’t know, but have a feeling we will BEAT Vancouver, I bet they are looking at us as a bottomfeeder, which we are, and take us lightly. Doubt we will see Luongo and bet we see a big letdown from them, at least beating them and Detroit would give us something to be happy about, another loss to NYI will NOT !

Smoothie

March 24th, 2011
1:18 pm

Another key difference b/w this season and last: 3rd line production and stability. Last season, Kane, Army and Slater made up the 3rd most of the season and they scored 40 goals in just about 205 games (every 5th game) with a combined +/- rating of +9 for roughly 75% of the season (Slater didn’t get off the pine till game 15 or so).

This year, our 3rd line has been a revolving door disaster with very little to no stability. First we had Eager-Burmy-Thor, which started out pretty good. Then Rammer had to get silly and start working in Modin cuz he thought he had earned the minutes. Modin never really clicked with anyone but you had permutations of Eager-Burmy-Modin (when Little was out thus making it necc for Antro to go up a line), Eager-Burmy-Antro, which actually worked pretty well during the stretch in which we won 6 straight (they were on the ice for 7 of the 21 ESG we scored b/w the infamous FLA loss at home and the Nashville OT game.

In December, Bergie was losing favor and Rammer started tinkering, and we kept winning, but only till Slater went down. The Greek gods were on fire in DEC with essentially 9 of 29 ESG getting scored while they were on the ice. Slater went down and all hell broke loose. Cormier had a couple of decent games, but then the Tronna tragedy befell this team and Eager fell out of favor.

The 3rd line then became a tragic mess with several bad experiments like Dawes-Stapes-Bergy // Dawes-Stapes-Antro // Modin-Burmy-Antro // Modin-Burmy-Stewy and the losing continued well into February. Dawes even played better than Modin, but Modin continued to get time every time he was deemed “healthy” (what a load of crap) and meanwhile, playoff hopes were truly dashed when we lost 7 of 9 games after the All-Star Break.

Rammer even screwed up the second line tinkering with Kane & Little by using Bergie as the RW and then moving Antro b/w Kane & Stewy (ugggh!). Kane and Little never should have been broken up and now Rammer is in love with Little on the 1st line. Unfortunately, he’s the best C we got and his plus/minus is taking a beating trying to protect Ladd’s slow butt while Wheeler takes all of the shots (avging over 4 per game!!).

Of course, some of the defensive woes for our top line are more a byproduct of having to take chances late in games against better competition, but any and all chemistry we may have had through late December was shot to hell. Burmy has been lost in the shuffle since his return from injury while Thorburn has been the only steady presence on the 3rd line for weeks, but he needs help! Antro has been puzzling to say the least and you might as well let him play some C with Ladd & Wheeler at this point to see what he has left; if nothing, bench him and let Burmy & Schremp get a ton of mins down the stretch to assess what we have for next season. As for the 3rd line, who the hell knows?

R. Stroz

March 24th, 2011
2:29 pm

Smoothie – To summarize your comment, Coach Ramsay should be playing with Tinker Toys instead of hockey lines.

Zombie Steve

March 24th, 2011
2:37 pm

Anderson’s offensive style was much more potent and aggressive than Rammers… the trade off with Ram was supposed to be more defensive accountability…. we see how well that has worked.

Zombie Steve

March 24th, 2011
2:37 pm

I wonder what Torch’s style would bring?