Mark Stuart willing to fight for bright future in Atlanta

On February 18, Mark Stuart learned that he and teammate Blake Wheeler were being traded from the Boston Bruins to the Atlanta Thrashers. The two made their way out to the Canadian Rockies where their new team was preparing to play the Edmonton Oilers the next day.

The outcome of that particular game didn’t go the way Stuart and his new team had hoped as they lost to the last place Oilers. However, it didn’t take long for the Thrashers to understand just what they were getting with this 6’-2”, 215-pound defenseman from Rochester, Minnesota as he went toe-to-toe with 6’-4”, 217-pound Jean-Francois Jacques.

Stuart’s a fighter…and he’s not afraid to stick up for himself and his new teammates as well.

As Philadelphia’s Dan Carcillo can attest to, Mark Stuart isn’t one to shy away from a fight. The Thrashers defenseman has dropped the gloves 4 times in the 16 games he’s played since coming over from the Boston Bruins (Photo by Michelle Rivers)

As Philadelphia’s Dan Carcillo can attest to, Mark Stuart isn’t one to shy away from a fight. The Thrashers defenseman has dropped the gloves 4 times in the 16 games he’s played since coming over from the Boston Bruins (Photo by Michelle Rivers)

One other thing it didn’t take a great deal of time to discover about Stuart is that he’s also a joiner. Less than two weeks after coming over, he surprised most of us in Thrasherville by inking a 3-year contract extension. This came as somewhat of a surprise because…well, lets face it… the path isn’t exactly littered with quality defensemen who jump at a chance to re-up for an extended tour of duty here.

So just what was it that made him decide to stick around for more than just a couple months in Atlanta? Well, apparently he likes the direction the team is heading and he wants to be a part of it.

“I like it here a lot”, he told me. “Obviously, I haven’t been here long, but I think the team has a lot of potential going forward. That was definitely a part of it. I think it’s good group of guys, and a lot of young talent as well, so I think the future is bright.”

Since the trade, Stuart has quickly made himself popular with the Atlanta fan base. His solid, dependable, tough, gritty defense-first style of play has been sorely needed here for some time and he’s a welcome addition to this blueline corps.

He’s also been getting used to new defensive partners during his time here, but says that process has gone pretty smoothly.

“It can be hard sometimes [learning to play with new linemates], but I think as long as you’re communicating out on the ice, it definitely helps. And you get to know guys pretty quick. A couple games, and you’re pretty comfortable.”

However, there is one fellow defenseman that he seems to be very comfortable sharing ice time with, someone who himself was traded here a year prior from another team that was steaming into the postseason at the time.

“I’ve been playing with Johnny [Oduya] mostly. He’s a lot of fun to play with. He’s so good with the puck. I think we complement each other well. I’m more defense-first, and I think he’s more of a two-way guy, and moves the puck pretty well.”

“It’s been a lot of fun playing with him.”

While Stuart is very complementary of Oduya, it’s fair to say he’s complemented this defensive corps quite well himself. In the 16 games he’s played in a Thrashers jersey, the opposition has been held to 30 or fewer shots on goal 12 times, (75% of the time).

In the 59 games prior, that happened only 20 times, (34% of the time).

Those kind of defensive stats aren’t exactly a common thing in these parts. Then again neither is having a good D-man agree to sign a contract extension just days after being traded here.

118 comments Add your comment

P C

March 30th, 2011
12:13 pm

Now we just need new owners and we’ll be set!

drajax

March 30th, 2011
12:18 pm

two goals in 15 seconds, would a goalie coach help or a psychiatrist?

js

March 30th, 2011
12:37 pm

This team needs a voodoo doctor.

SportsFan

March 30th, 2011
12:45 pm

Isn’t the new owner going to be “The Balkan”…LOL….right.

Red Light

March 30th, 2011
12:52 pm

I like him, but the reason he signed an extension is quite possibly because he was on a one-year deal this season and the Thrashers offered him a three-year deal.

7/30/2005: Signed by the Boston Bruins to a three-year, entry-level contract.
6/24/2008: Re-signed by the Boston Bruins to a two-year contract extension. $1.1 million and $1.5 million
7/08/2010: Re-signed as a restricted free agent by the Boston Bruins to a one-year contract. $1.675 million
2/28/2011: Signed to a 3-year contract extension by the Thrashers. $1.6 million; $1.7 million and $1.8 million.

Security means a lot to a player approaching his 27th birthday, particularly coming off a one-year deal.

I think the player knew he could get more ice time here during the next three seasons, gets a good contract commensurate to his track record and Dudley must feel Stuart is a competitively priced insurance policy two or three years down the road if Kulda and Postma don’t project into the lineup, and if Hainsey, Oduya and Enstrom don’t re-sign or aren’t offered a deal.

Good depth move by Dudley and good for the player to have security blanket for next three seasons.

World Be Free

March 30th, 2011
12:55 pm

Glovesave-I watched part of “Dancing” just to see that whacked-out whale Kirstie Alley waddle her butt across the stage. The chick is on another planet.

LAC-I am a huge fan of Fowler, can’t believe he lasted to #14 last draft when he was rated #3 on most boards. I am also a Burmie fan and believe he will round into a talented playmaker, but he’s only 18 and coming off a broken foot. Long season too, if you consider what the kids are accustom to at the lower levels.

Thanks for the nice piece on Mark Stuart Mr. Rawhide- I have become a huge fan. I think this Stuart will only get better here, as long as he stays healthly. Horrible giveaway last night though, almost cost us a goal – but he hits and fights! Anthony, are you watching?

Russian

March 30th, 2011
1:11 pm

I do not know what Plans Dudley has on summer, but He MUST bring good players to Atlanta.
We do not have strong 1-2 line. Also I do not know how Slater will play after concussion. He canbe scary to get contact again. I did not happy with Cormie play.
Stamp and Maxwell are AHL Product, they could call up from Chicago. Antro is slow and clamsy, he has to be buy out this summer. We do not need Bolt anymore. He is old and did not fight often.
Dvorak and Anthony Steward have to go also this summer. I like to buy out Oduya contract and good buy to Freddy Mayer.
At July 1 we should have roster like that:
Ladd-Little-Wheeler
Kane-Burmy-_____
Thorbon-Slater-_____
____ – Cormie – ____

Tobi-Bogus
Baff-Hainsi
Stuart-____

Pavs
_____

hockeygoon79

March 30th, 2011
1:13 pm

Good trade by Dudley. I hated to see Peverley go, (no so much Boris), but you got to give to get sometimes. Stuart and Wheeler could be a couple of key players to build around.

Mark is one of the few not afraid to come with the physical game. I wonder if Ramsay has informed him yet that hitting is overrated?

As for the game last night, really just more of the same by the Thrashers. Just good enough to fall short on most nights.

Looks like we’ll finish right about where we did last year. Is this progress?

Smoothie

March 30th, 2011
1:27 pm

I love Stuuuuu!

h

March 30th, 2011
1:29 pm

Russian, I hear ya on your lines, but I think Thorbs, Cormy and Slater need to all be 4th line guys. Antro isn’t going anywhere, so he has ot be on that 3rd line. I think Burmy goes there too as he has not shown he is ready for top 6 minutes yet. I think that leaves you with Kane on 2nd line and a need for 2 others. if we bring in 2 others for that 2nd line, I can live with either Stapes or Stewart filling that additional 3rd line spot OR bringing in another PK guy to fill that role. I think my suggested 4th line guys could all play the PK for us too. I think Johnny O is here next year too and I don’t mind him taking up 3rd line minutes. He can be replaced the following year. To fill the final 2 top 6 spots I am in favor of any type of move including trading our #1 this yera or next. We need NHL ready top 6 guys to fill those spots. JMHO.

sisu

March 30th, 2011
1:38 pm

I really do not see the team changing goalies, unless Pavs is traded since Mason is still on the books for another season Russian.

As to Stuart, he is a beast, he was hitting everything in sight last night. He has been a nice addition…

LAC

March 30th, 2011
1:56 pm

WBF, Right at this point Fowler would be a bigger asset than Burmistrov, no offense to the kid, he hustles and works hard, maybe an extra year in junior’s would have been a better option, but I feel dudley make a BIG mistake not taking Fowler. That would have freed up other defensemen to trade for scoring help. Plus only 4 goals from a 8th overall pick is, well not very promising.

I feel zach needs to go and I have confidence in Postma and Kulda, that they can preform at the NHL level. zach just does not understand the game and plays soft, whereas he was considered a hitter and strong when drafted.

Lastly, WBF… Do you feel we need a complete set of new NHL quality goalies. I am not one bit comfortable with either. You have zero idea what you are going to get with Pav’s and I cringe when a shot goes to the net with Mason in there.

Thrashers27

March 30th, 2011
2:03 pm

Russian, D corps are set for next season. None of our blueliners are leaving and I believe all are under contract through next season, unless you want to count Bogo who is a RFA. He will get a contract done and I am very pleased with our defense as it stands. Especially considering that Postma will be waiting in the wings and is NHL ready and willing.

As far as the forward lines go, as long as Anthony Stewart is gone and we bring in a couple of high quality top six forwards, I’d be happy. Hopefully, new ownership will be in place and they will greenlight the funds to construct a true contender.

I’m not totally sold on a couple of the other guys we have either. I know Stapelton has had a good showing of late, but I still have my doubts as to whether he can sustain a full season at that kind of intensity. Same with Schremp. I’m hoping Antro just had an off year and can return to form next season, but I’m doubtful.

We do have a logjam of third and fourth line centers. If Slates comes back we have him, Cormier, Burmistrov, Shremp and not to mention a bevy of similiarly skilled guys down in Chicago.

On my wishlist I have:
Brad Richards
Matt Moulson
David Jones
Ville Leino

I personally think we need another goalie too.

Jimmy Howard (Although, I think he may have signed an extension already.)
Bryzgalov
Vokoun

If I had any say in it next year’s lines might look like this:

Ladd Little Wheeler (The tricycle line)

Kane Richards David Jones

Matt Moulson Burmistrov Antro

Thorburn Cormier Slater

h

March 30th, 2011
2:10 pm

Moulson signed a 3 year extension. He’s not going anywhere. I also don’t see us paying our Richards $$ and having enough to pay Ladd and take care of upcoming needed extensions, but you never know.

Hoof Arted

March 30th, 2011
2:11 pm

Stuey is a BAD MAN!!! He’ll introduce your arse to the ice in a heartbeat. I love having that kind of player on our blueline.

DWTOO

March 30th, 2011
2:14 pm

WBF – Your one mistake was admitting you watched DWTS over hockey. We all have our guilty pleasures – just never admit them in public.

Signing Stuart and Buff, along with projecting Ladd’s re-signing, is a good start and with some improvement and new ownership Atlanta can become a desired destination. Think we’re making small steps, but, it’s a start.

Atlanta

March 30th, 2011
2:17 pm

Stopped watching the games this season once the losing steak hit. Just can’t take this team anymore… Coaches with no experience over and over, sub par talent, and a team that is going nowhere. I’ve been watching since day 1 and they’ve finally lost me.

Thrashers27

March 30th, 2011
2:31 pm

I forgot that Moulson had re-upped. I can’t see how they couldn’t afford Richards though. Now what ownership is willing to pony up and the salary cap are two different things. I’m going into next season with a little wishful thinking that the new ownership will be willing to shell out the dough needed to ice a contender.

World Be Free

March 30th, 2011
2:33 pm

LAC-you should have seen me at the draft party when I heard Carolina took Skinner-I was sitting next to Rawhide, jumped up and yelled FOWLER! I thought we should have taken Cam, but we took Burmie who should have been left in jujiors at least one more year. But he was forced up, just like recent number ones. This is a wait and see, but I think Burmie has the right stuff to make plays. Tough injury to come back from when you are a speed guy; he fell off at mid season, right around the time that his junior season would have ended. You need playmakers so I am confident that he will be a #2 center in the next 2 seasons. Tough position to transition to from juniors.

As for goalies, Pavs won me over this year, but he is a kid that needs an injection of confidence and that’s up to the coaching staff. Mason was a fall back option-not sure if this is an area that will be addressed in the summer. UFA crop of goalies is mighty thin and if you want one you have to pay alotta $$$.

Zach may be that asset Dudley uses to make a big deal this summer; should he choose to go that route. Russian-Oduya is a tradeable asset, listen to all the teams that called Dudley at the trade deadline inquiring about Johnny. Maybe the price will be right in the off season.

DTWOO-I switched back to hockey after Kirstie the Whale waddled across the dance floor. I bectha she sweated like a you know what…..

Rawhide

March 30th, 2011
2:45 pm

Glovesave-I watched part of “Dancing” just to see that whacked-out whale Kirstie Alley waddle her butt across the stage. The chick is on another planet.

WBF & GS29 – Actually…some might say she IS her own planet. :lol:

LAC-you should have seen me at the draft party when I heard Carolina took Skinner-I was sitting next to Rawhide, jumped up and yelled FOWLER!

LAC – Indeed WBF did do exactly that…only he left out the part about sqealing like a little girl and spilling is drink all over my Hawaiian print shirt.

World Be Free

March 30th, 2011
2:56 pm

R/H- good laugh for the afternoon//she is orbitting a planet, far, far away

glovesave29

March 30th, 2011
2:59 pm

Sorry WBF…still a major transgression. Not backing down. Penalty is a beer…a good one. If you watch again, then you are treating all blog regulars to wings prior to the final game against Pissburgh – and not cheap ones from Kroger, piping hot ones from Taco Mac…Three Mile Island or hotter!

Pavs is just tired. Played too many games. But look at the type of goals given up this season vs. previous years. He’s obviously listening to Malarchuck. His side to side movement was a MAJOR improvement this year. He squares to the shooter much better too. The days where he’d end up on his stomach 10 times a game are also long gone. The kid’s got a .915 SP for his second year as a starter behind a team not known for stellar defensive play. THAT, is moving in the right direction. This team has plenty of holes, the net is not one of them.

R. Stroz

March 30th, 2011
3:11 pm

Stuart plays Atlanta Flames style hockey versus Atlanta Thrashers style hockey.

R. Stroz

March 30th, 2011
3:17 pm

WBF – Did your spouse at least “reward” you for watching DWTS.

You know guys, in a trade, you have to give something to get something.

LAC

March 30th, 2011
3:43 pm

Great point Stroz !!!!!!!!!! Amen !

Cornbread

March 30th, 2011
3:53 pm

Oduya’s physical play picked up since being paired with Stuart. Nice to see him adapt to a different role like Byfuglien, Hainsey, and Bogosian also did this year. Stuart is the only D first guy on the team and is the number 6 with the least amount of minutes so I don’t believe that is the sole reason shots against have been down the second half. Team play overall has contributed to this including shot blocking. When the D system was first implemented the Thrashers could not score. As of late, goaltending has been the let down.

The Thrashers look good on the blue line. I think they have one too many puck movers and could benefit from another physical stay at home guy that can make a good first pass and play with Buff. Oduya is the likely man out in that area.

Unless the Thrashers got a proven point producing super star centerman in return, trading Bogosian would be the biggest mistake the Thrashers have ever made. Bigger than the Coburn debacle. The kid is good and over the next 5 years is going to become a beast on the blue line.

World Be Free

March 30th, 2011
3:53 pm

Stroz/LAC/Glovesave-I would hate to say I actually enjoy DWTS because I would never hear the end of it. Brooke Burke?
Stroz-just trying to make up for being a bad boy for a couple of decades

Hoof Arted

March 30th, 2011
4:10 pm

THIS-> “Stuart plays Atlanta Flames style hockey versus Atlanta Thrashers style hockey”

R. Stroz is spot on with that comment. Other teams didn’t even want to get off the plane to play the Falmes back in the 70s. We need to make teams feel like that today.

Blogmaster, LOL about Kirstie Alley being her own planet. She’s HUGE! Too bad because she was a hottie back in the 90s.

It’s also good to know that even with this season winding down with no hopes for the playoffs(again)this blog keeps churning out good material and great blog comments from the readers.

Others have just turned to posting links from around the league. I guess the Thrashers aren’t the only ones tanking down the stretch.

james c.

March 30th, 2011
4:15 pm

The Atlanta Thrashers vs Montreal Canadiens game was shown on a huge screen and drew 14,000 spectators to the old arena (Le Colisee) in Quebec City last night.The local and provincial governments there have announced funding for a $400 million hockey arena to be ready for 2015.

There are all sorts of articles talking about the Thrashers being one of two teams (Coyotes being the other one) in play for possible relocation.I hope there is news soon about new local owners commited to rebuilding the Thrashers brand in Atlanta.Regardless of how the team finishes it would be nice to see Atlanta hockey fans come out and support the Thrashers for their remaining couple of home games.I think of places like Chicago,St.Louis,Nashville and Boston where only a few short years ago the crowds were small and the teams were almost forgotten by the locals.Maybe Atlanta can be a renaissance city for hockey and within a few short years the Thrashers can become Cup contenders playing to crowds of 18,000 every night.It would be great to see!

Harry Zanus

March 30th, 2011
4:50 pm

Sage, not only did Wadell say we are ahead of the Flyers a few seasons ago, but now Cornbread says we are as good as the flyers and penguins. It must be true. That reasoning certainly explains the losses and our place in the standings

Red Light

March 30th, 2011
4:54 pm

Seems like Mrs. R. Stroz is giving up way too much in the trade with you R. Stroz!

R. Stroz

March 30th, 2011
4:59 pm

Red Light – I’ll just keep her in the dark on the value of the trade.

Dwayne

March 30th, 2011
5:07 pm

Kirstie is one big hot planet…sizzzzzling baby!!!!

glovesave29

March 30th, 2011
6:05 pm

Canadian gov’t REJECTED funding for the arena. Only money they have is naming rights from Quebecor.

Notice how the ticket prices are no where to be found in article. Not hard to fill an arena once for $5 tickets to show off for the media and raise some $$$ for charity. Paying several thousand for season tickets is a whole different matter. But its ALL ABOUT THE SYMBOLISM here, facts dont matter…

Brendan

March 30th, 2011
6:31 pm

Red Light, given the huge jump in Horcoff’s plus-minus (+/-) rating this season, would he be one of the “bad contracts” that GM’s needing to take on salary, and in need of filling out a roster, should entertain? Generally-speaking, I like Shawn Horcoff. Is he overpaid? Certainly. Does he make the Thrashers better, if he came here?

Same question on Brian Campbell. Is he overpaid? Yes. Would he make the Thrashers a better team? Yes.

Sage of Bluesland

March 30th, 2011
7:08 pm

“…but now Cornbread says we are as good as the flyers and penguins. It must be true. That reasoning certainly explains the losses and our place in the standings”

Hahahaha!!! I’m just hoping the spweadsheet-preparer makes an appearance and shares her, umm, “wisdom”….

Cornbread

March 30th, 2011
7:11 pm

Harry Zanus is FOS. Not only have I never said what he repeatedly and wrongly claims, but two days ago I corrected him. So not only is he FOS, worse, he’s a liar.

Cornbread

March 30th, 2011
7:15 pm

And SOB I’m not surprised you would follow another know nothing who has admitted to “soccer” being more his game. Don Waddel has forgotten more about the game than the two of you combined will ever know.

glovesave29

March 30th, 2011
7:41 pm

Cornbread…not a fan at all of DW as a GM. He’s been an unmitigated failure.

As a person and a hockey fan…he’s a heckuva nice guy and a walking hockey encyclopedia. I’ve enjoyed a few conversations with the guy and he’s quite generous with his time and candid too…

No trashing soccer…it’s not as great as hockey, but a solid third place, after football.

ZAvalanche

March 30th, 2011
7:44 pm

I think the trade was good. Stu plays hard, always.

LAC – I think ditching Bogo at this point in his career is a BIG mistake.

Hokie P. Clisters

March 30th, 2011
9:56 pm

Hey – yall leave Mr. Cornbread alone. I’ve always liked the cornbread. Pour some grease on the top of that iron skillet and you have perfection. Now that I think of it – Stapleton kinda reminds me of a pinto bean. All we need now is a little more chow chow and we’ll be in the playoffs – according to my magical spreadsheet. Wished we would have won more during February – but it shall be only remembered as the Winter of our Discontent or A Tale of Two Snowmen. Take your pick.

R. Stroz

March 30th, 2011
10:12 pm

Cornbread – Please don’t tell us you think Waddell was an effective GM.

ZAvalanche

March 30th, 2011
10:24 pm

Lol, sounds like a marriage argument :)

Brendan

March 30th, 2011
11:22 pm

Folks, it’s wide-open for posters who want to take pot shots at the Thrashers and their history. Look at the track record. You just can’t let it bother you so much. As fans, we’ve been short-changed and ripped off, not to mention misled and outright lied to, in the past. By ownership. By management, too. (Though, primarily Waddell, not Dudley.) For me, and this is where I take my lumps, too, I don’t have any other team. My team is the Atlanta Thrashers, and I’m stuck with them. That’s it. I’ll watch the entirety of the playoffs, every year, because I’m a puckhead. I’ll follow, with interest, several clubs in the postseason. I look at the whole league. I try to give credit where credit is due, to teams OTHER than the Thrashers. I look at trends and patterns and the construction of other teams, throughout NHL history.

Look at the Vancouver Canucks, for the very moment. When Vancouver’s ownership announced the canning of GM David Nonis, in 2008, after three (3) winning seasons, simply because he didn’t advance the Canucks into the CF, I scoffed … and laughed HEARTILY when it was then announced that Mike Gillis, a former PLAYER’S AGENT … would be assuming GM duties. That’s right. I laughed. And I laughed. And I laughed. For now, Gillis have to argue that the PLAYERS are overpaid. But he handled the difficult Sedin Twin negotiations, when it was very much in doubt whether the Swedes might actually hit the open market. He signed Dan Hamhuis, Manny Malhotra, and Jeff Tambellini during the “Free Agency Frenzy.” The only real oversight on his part, maybe, was trading away Michael Grabner, to Florida. But, as Panthers clearly don’t know how to run a franchise, as evidenced by their last playoff berth in 2000, Grabner wound up on waivers, claimed by the Islanders’ GM, Garth Snow. The “centerpiece” of the Grabner trade was Panther blueliner Keith Ballard.

I think Nonis has been named to Team USA’s efforts at the World Championships this year, I believe. But don’t quote me. Maybe it was Canada? I don’t know. But I do this, Nonis’ Canucks once had a 105-point season, which was then a franchise record, including a franchise-best 49 wins. Those records are being broken with each subsequent win and point the Canucks get this season. Good for them! Nonis’ Canucks won the Northwest Division in 2007, but lost to the eventual Stanley Cup Champions, Anaheim, in the 2nd round, in five games. It was the 17-point slide from 105-points down to 88, and missing the playoffs, that ultimately got him canned. What would we give for an 88-point season in Blueland? In our entire history, the Thrashers have only managed 88-points TWICE, in 2006 and 2007. I wish the President’s Trophy winning Vancouver Canucks the very best of luck in the 2011 Western Conference Playoffs. It’s Vancouver’s 1st-ever President’s Trophy.

LAC

March 31st, 2011
12:05 am

Brenden, I have said my fill of Worthless waddell, and The Atlanta STUPID Group, I believe 90% feel the same, get all of the out of town once and for all. Enough said on that point !

I sincerely hope a new owner will support the team and FANS ! Look at the Positive changes in Tampa & Buffalo. Buffalo started playing great hockey about the time they were sold, kinda
hard to believe !

We need to make a LOT of changes, and I mean a lot. there is not much here, despite what some players say… Unless 1/3 of the roster is turned and several UFA/RFA’s are signed, we will likely be saying and watching the same type season we have witnessed this year, all I can say to that is NUTS !

Red Light

March 31st, 2011
12:23 am

Brendan: My definition of a bad contract is one where the player was paid a rate of pay higher than his value based upon signing the deal after posting a career year or b) any one issued by Glen Sather.

Horcoff was signed to a six-year extension in July 2008 for a cap hit of $5.5 million. He was two years removed from his career high season when he posted 73 points and had 7 goals and 12 assists in the Oilers run to the Stanley Cup Finals. That must have played a part in him getting a big deal. He has never had more than the 22 goals and the 51 assists he had that year. Not even close.

That’s what makes it a bad deal. If you have to pay $5.5 million for a guy with a career high of 22 goals. something’s wrong with the deal. He might make the Thrashers better, but how much better?

One more point by the Sabres or Rangers and it will officially be time to start Draft Day Extravaganza 2011. Ah, the drafting of 18 year olds? What special days are those. New Jersey is a point away from dropping Atlanta to the 6th spot in the NHL Entry Draft. One outside of the lottery. Go figure.

Brendan

March 31st, 2011
1:10 am

Red Light, I’m cool with the Thrashers being inside the lottery draft, caught by the Devils and even Islanders. I just want that pick to either be traded from something substantive, under contract for 5 or more years, to used to draft a quality player. But, our track record says … that player won’t be properly developed. And even if he is, he’s bound to be traded out of town, either in a move of desperation to make the playoff (Coburn) or to salvage what we can get before he hits the open market (Hossa, Kovalchuk), or traded because he simply failed to live up to expectations (Stefan, Lehtonen, Valabik).

Brendan

March 31st, 2011
1:37 am

LAC, I’ve always said that we must compare ourselves to other teams in our situation. Looking back to 2007, those teams were Phoenix, Tampa Bay, Columbus, Florida, maybe even Edmonton, too. Tampa has certainly faired very well. Adding Stamkos (2008) and Hedman (2009) have helped them. Maybe even Brett Connolly, too?

Adding Steve Yzerman as GM, and dumping pathetic owners Len Barrie and Oren Koules, the ones who forced Dan Boyle out of town, just weeks after inking him to a 6-year contract, has made all the difference. TB re-signed Marty St. Louis, landed Simon Gagner in a trade with the Flyers, and got Pavel Kubina in free agency. Later on, after Dan Ellis didn’t work out so well, they landed Dwayne Roloson in net, for the playoffs. And yes, I did say playoffs. Currently, I believe the Bolts are 5th. They have not yet clinched a spot, but I can’t believe they could fall to 9th at this point, no matter how well the Sabres and Hurricanes might be playing right now.

By the way, in the playoffs, the Tampa Bay Lightning have played nine (9) playoff series. Their record is 5-4, including a Stanley Cup win in 2004.

Other teams to watch, Nashville, Los Angeles, Anaheim, and Phoenix. For the Kings, the last time they won a playoff series was 2001, a major, STUNNING UPSET of the Detroit Red Wings, 4-2. Due for a win?? Nashville, sadly, is 0-5 in their playoff series history. They’ve lost twice to the Red Wings and twice to the Sharks, and last year, they were eliminated by the Stanley Cup Champion Blackhawks. In 2008, the Preds were eliminated by the Stanley Cup Champion Red Wings. I’ll give those kinds of losses a “pass.” At 0-5, it looks bad. But really, Nashville’s playoff series have, on balance, all been competitive series. The Predators have never been swept.

Phoenix is a lamentable 2-17 in their 19 series playoff history. I am praying for a 1st round opponent of Los Angeles or Nashville for them. Someone would have to win! Those are my favorite types of series. Then there’s Anaheim. Wanna guess what the Ducks lifetime playoff record is? Gotta be a loser, right? They came into the league in 1993-94. As an expansion team, they surely must have taken their lumps? In sixteen (16) completed season, this being Season Seventeen for Anaheim, the Ducks have made the playoffs seven (7) times. If the Ducks hold on for spot # 8, this will be eight times in seventeen (8/17) seasons. Folks, that’s roughly 50-percent!! Not too shabby for an expansion club. By the way, their playoff series record is … wait for it … 11-6. I repeat, 11-6, in 17 series. The Ducks have been to the CF twice, with a record of 1-1, and they do have one Stanley Cup in their history (2007). They won a playoff series in 2009, in a big upset of San Jose. Then they lost Game Seven of the CSF, 4-3, on a very late 3rd period goal (3 minutes left in regulation time), to the Red Wings.

11-6. Thud.

Cliff Fletcher

March 31st, 2011
6:43 am

so glad to hear of all the enthusiasm in winnipeg and quebec city for new teams. where was this enthusiasm when they had their old teams? both cities lost their teams fair and square. it is just like negleting a girl when she’s your girlfriend, then wanting her back after she has finally left you and gone out with someone else.

the “save the nordiques” rally had 50 people at it.
winnipeg had YEARS to get its house staright before the team was finally moevd to phoenix.I am not saying this cities are not good hockey towns, but look at what we have had to deal with for 11 years and we are still here-I think that says alot.

14K in Le Colisee – BFD

hockeymom92

March 31st, 2011
7:39 am

Off current topic, but wanted to say greetings from O-hi-o where the son is playing in the U18 Nationals. I really wish there was good news to report, only we got a “thrashing” by a team from Maine put together just for this tournament. Hopefully today will be better as we play Montana.Ya’ll keep your fingers crossed for us please.

Okay now back to regular programming.