Mason throws goose egg at hockey’s Grim Reaper as Thrashers blank Flyers

He stands silently in the chilly, damp mist that has blanketed Thrasherville for the past several days. In his hand, he holds a hockey stick with a sharply curved blade instead of a scythe.

Robed in black, he makes his way through the NHL’s landscape to gather up 14 of the league’s poor unfortunate souls. One by one, as they are mathematically eliminated from postseason contention and their playoff aspirations expire, he gathers them up and takes them away.

He is hockey’s Grim Reaper…the angel of the dark light that the Atlanta Thrashers have become very well acquainted over the past eleven NHL seasons.

Thursday night, the Reaper traveled to Philadelphia knowing that a loss to the Flyers would cause the Thrashers playoff hopes to finally flat-line and be declared officially, if not mercifully, dead. Oh, their fate has been known and accepted for some time now and the team’s fans have gathered around the deathbed awaiting the inevitable.

But on this night, death would be cheated as Chris Mason and his 43 saves blanked the Flyers. It was the 21st shutout of Mason’s NHL career and his first as a Thrasher.

Nik Antropov’s third period goal proved to be all the offense the Thrashers would require in the 1-0 win allowing the Thrashers frail playoff chances to cling desperately to life…even if for just one more game. It was goal number 15 of the season for Antropov, who also scored the only goal scored the team’s only goal during Tuesday’s loss in Montreal.

In defeating Philly, Atlanta wrapped up the four game season series with the Eastern Conference’s top team. The Thrashers took three of them…twice beating them in extra time and then Thursday night’s victory.

Saturday afternoon they’ll take on the Northeast Division leading Bruins in Boston. The Thrashers are 2-1 against the Bs this season, winning both games in Atlanta and losing 4-1 up there just before Christmas.

In fact, if you consider the 4-1-1 record against the Southeast Division leading Washington Capitals, they are 9-3-1 so far against the three division leaders and top seeds in the east. Pittsburgh, whom the Thrashers are yet to beat this season, does hold the third highest point total in the conference, but given they trail Philly by four points in the Atlantic Division they are the fourth seed at this time.

Atlanta is 2-1 against the top three out west as they knocked off San Jose 4-2 back on October 16, beat the Big Red Borg 5-1 on Thanksgiving Eve before losing to Vancouver last Friday.

That would leave them with a mark of 11-4-1 against the six division leaders going into this weekend’s bout in Beantown.

Make no mistake… the Atlanta Thrashers will officially and mathematically be eliminated from the playoff race sometime in the coming days. Hockey’s Grim Reaper has time and the odds on his side. All it will take is one more loss or a win by the Rangers and Sabres.

On this night however, as he stood waiting for them next to the Zamboni, they stared back at him and laughed in the face of death.

In defiance, Chris Mason even tossed at goose egg at him.

100 comments Add your comment

Joe McGrath

April 1st, 2011
5:10 pm

nevermind. i hear it now–uga on 680 next year.

Brendan

April 1st, 2011
5:18 pm

UGGGH! That was the big news??? I’ll never tune into the UGA games on 680. I barely tune into the Thrashers games on 680. I’m glad they’ve got an FM equivalent now, but still … gotta give us programming that we actually want.

Tom Lysiak

April 1st, 2011
5:44 pm

GS29 – Even though my brain knew better, my heart really wanted to believe.

Puckhead

April 1st, 2011
6:35 pm

Kincade tweeted earlier today about people saying one thing and doing another especially in business. I think the Balkan has backed out or never was.

AtlFlamesFan

April 1st, 2011
10:28 pm

@GS – You will never be forgiven!

Dee Dubya

April 1st, 2011
11:44 pm

John Kincade is a bigger fraud than I am.

Dee Dubya

April 2nd, 2011
12:00 am

Is there a better day to celebrate my accomplishments as a GM? I think not.

Several years back, I stated the Thrashers were ahead of the Flyers in rebuilding, and as proof, the Thrashers beat the Flyers 3 out of 4 times this season.

Have you seen the Legends of Blueland? I have…on other teams…not just any GM can do that.

And once again I have succeeded in guaranteeing a playoff berth……for nearly every team but the Thrashers.

And have you seen our excremental progress this season…oops I meant incremental progress.

Besides, I did my job so well, I was promoted to Team President.

Now who’s the fool? I’m drawing a nice paycheck on the day that celebrates my accomplishments in life.

ZAvalanche

April 2nd, 2011
9:02 am

Rawhide – Adrian Dater (who in my book is way lower on the awesomeness list than you) is channeling his inner “Rawhide”. This post, http://blogs.denverpost.com/avs/2011/04/02/postgame-avs-coyotes-boods-hits-the-c-note/6841/ , sounds like something you would write. And that is a big props to AD.

On another note, Brendan, you were right, Johnson is a flipping workhorse. Nearly 30 minutes…..again. And a +2. Cannon for a shot and even the “accoutrement” pick up in the trade scored. And “The Factor” (as he is known by his teammates), Ryan O’Reilly killed it. Phoenix has a darn good team and I am sure they are not pleased to lose a big game at home. It is a shame they have $$ issues as they putting out a good product.

I must be bad luck. All of my teams play only to the level of their opponents. The teams should crush beat us and the teams that should crush us we play tight. Anybody know why that is?

Dee Dubya

April 2nd, 2011
9:25 am

You know, it’s April, and as team president, I have the Thrashers uniquely positioned to possibly make the playoffs or be eligible for the top draft pick this summer.

Not just any team president, or GM for that matter, can do that……year after year after year

Red Light

April 2nd, 2011
11:28 am

ZAvs

It’s a tell-tale sign of inexperience. Pure and simply, both teams are still rather young and even the leaders (Ladd and Duchesne) are young. It’s learned behavior to show up and compete against teams you should beat, no matter what the circumstance.

Which team has the best record down the stretch so far this season? Vancouver and they could have coasted to the finish if they had wanted with such a big lead.

ZAvalanche

April 2nd, 2011
12:49 pm

Absolutely RL, both teams are of the youngest in the league. Duchesne or Liles will be Captain next year after Foote retires. Ladd is going to be a hell of a play, as is Wheeler and Eric Johnson. They can all play well, but they haven’t “learned” how to win. My Vancouver friends were saying the same thing about the Sedins several years ago and look at them now. I will say though that I still cannot believe we gave Stastny 6.6 mill a year. That makes him basically un-tradeable. Hopefully he turns it around.

Z-Bo the Doo Doo

April 2nd, 2011
3:20 pm

Forrest Gump is my hero.

Brendan

April 2nd, 2011
3:21 pm

ZAvalanche, I still say we must give that trade 3 years before we declare any winners and losers. I think three years from now, Colorado will be very happy to have the former 1st overall pick anchoring its blueline. And if you think about it, finding players that can play 25-30 minutes a game, at the Tier I level, is a pretty limited commodity. The Avs did well to acquire Johnson.

It’s 2-2, in the 3rd period, in Beantown. I think BC won the Beanpot over Northeastern this year, in a crazy 7-6 OT win.

Anyone who wants to know why the season, that was once 19-12-5 on December 21, 2010, is in the can … need look no further than the 7-16-6 stretch of 29 games from December 22 to March 3, 2011. http://www.cbssports.com/nhl/teams/schedule/ATL/. That’s 7-22 out of 29 contests, straight-up. Can’t make the playoffs like that, folks. Gotta have way more 3-4 game winning streaks throughout the year.

This Thrashers team went 14-20-7 from December 21st on. At least they answered the 7-16-6 stretch with a 7-4-1 mark.

Brendan

April 2nd, 2011
3:23 pm

Michal Ryder scores, it’s 3-2, Boston. Playoff are now swirling, but not yet officially flushed.

glovesave29

April 2nd, 2011
3:31 pm

NOW officially flushed

Hockey Biltong

April 2nd, 2011
3:34 pm

flusssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

R. Stroz

April 2nd, 2011
3:35 pm

Did Bogosian get the first star for the Bruins?

Brendan

April 2nd, 2011
3:47 pm

It’s officially ten seasons out of eleven (10/11) with a Spring Vacation, starring Chevy Chase.

Here’s your boxscore. http://www.nhl.com/ice/boxscore.htm?id=2010021164. The D-minutes broke down like this:

1) Byfuglien: 27:30
2) Oduya: 24:02
3) Bogosian: 22:56
4) Hainsey: 20:42
5) M. Stuart: 20:35
6) Enstrom: 02:57

Mark Stuart was Atlanta’s only plus player, this afternoon, at +1. Bogosian was a -2. At -1 were Burmistrov, Ladd, Little, and Enstrom.

Now, we can officially start talking about the Draft. Ready, set … Go!

Brendan

April 2nd, 2011
3:49 pm

R.Stroz, Boston would develop Bogosian into a star.

Brendan

April 2nd, 2011
3:51 pm

Anyone with 87-88 points in the AJC.com contest is now officially eliminated. Those with 85-86 points are still alive. I believe Chippers Love Child, at 75-points, is now eliminated, at the bottom end of the contest spectrum. Jethro’s still hangin’ in there!!!

Brendan

April 2nd, 2011
3:52 pm

Rawhide, have the Thrashers officially clinched 4th place in the Southeast Division? It’s important, insofaras the tie-breakers are concerned.

Swede

April 2nd, 2011
4:30 pm

I almost hope bogosian gets traded so the team that gets him will develope him to his potential.
Btw doesnt anyone else see that he is too jacked?. Compared to previous seasons he seems much more slower than usual. But it all comes to training, how to do it properly etc. The organisation should see this??? trainers??. He gained like 15 lbs atleast on preseason training and that´s not normal. You should gain max 5 lbs each year. Detroit´s gm stated in an interview with swedish television the importance of the right training. He said you should gain max 5 lbs each year else you´ll loose technical skills.When I saw him in preseason he seriously looked like a guy that only focus about getting heavier, like a body builder. It´s a pretty big difference between sport people and body builders. But it all comes to the ORGANISATION. He´s a good skater but he isnt explosive as ive seen him before. i didnt watch the rookie season by him, but anone tell me how he was like then?.
On a pre-season interview he said to Ajc ” I haven´t lost a step”. That´s not whats its all about. you SHOULD gain steps each season, improving on all areas, even become faster and more explosive than he was before. You should always improve!.
I can only hope they will help him.
This is my point of view and it comes from a guy who has knowledge in training on a pretty high level.
PS sorry for bad english.

Brendan

April 2nd, 2011
5:27 pm

Swede, no problems about your English. A good post is one in which most people can understand your point at the first reading of the comment. I’m pretty sure most people caught the gist of what you had to say. Now it’s up to posters to agree or disagree with your viewpoint.

Brendan

April 2nd, 2011
5:32 pm

Swede, for the record, in the 2005-06 season, “groin” injuries ran rampant. Some people blamed the ice conditions at Philips Arena. Others blamed the conditioning coaches. Any way you slice and dice it, we had four goalies and a defensemen suffer groin injuries. I think the goalies were Steve Shields, Kari Lehtonen, Michael Garnett, and Mike Dunham. That’s a whole heckuva lot of coincidences. It led Jeff Schultz to opine, “Fire whoever’s in charge of groins” for the Atlanta Thrashers. This year, they got a strength coach named Brennan, I think, from the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Swede

April 2nd, 2011
5:34 pm

I really want him to success in this organisation of course, hes one of my favourite player.

Swede

April 2nd, 2011
5:38 pm

Wasn´t brennan kicked from Columbus? Someone said Columbus players was out of shape, then we get him. Training properly is such an important thing, their training shouldnt be questioned at this level of sports.

Cornbread

April 2nd, 2011
5:52 pm

Kind of fitting that the playoff hopes ended on a turnover, fluky bounce over the stick, and a penalty shot. Kind of the way it went most of the year.

As glaring as the turnovers were that led to goals, the biggest reason the Thrashers lost today was in the face off circle. It’s been a weakness all year for them, especially without Slater, and today it really showed how this under-rated stat has hurt them. Winning 32% of the draws was just plane ugly. They won 7 of 21 draws in the offensive zone and an unacceptable 3 of 19, or 16%, in their end. If it looked to you that Boston spent some time in the Thrashers end, there’s your reason why. That makes it pretty tough on everybody especially on your D-men who were playing a man short – their best puck mover. Of those who took the most draws in their end, Burmistrov and Schremp were both winless going 0-4 each. Little was 1-7. Kudos to Thorburn for winning both of his face-offs he took in the D-zone.

This is an area the Thrashers must improve upon next year. That top tier playmaking two way centerman that’s been missing forever would go along way.

Cornbread

April 2nd, 2011
6:21 pm

Swede I disagree about trading Bogosian. I don’t disagree entirely with your assessment of Bogosian putting on 15 pounds in the off-season.

He’s young and will grow into that weight which was all muscle. He’s always been a big kid but could have used some of that muscle in his first year – like when he broke his leg. I think the weight may have effected him a bit but not to any great extent. He is still one of the fastest D-puckmovers up the ice. That is only going to get better. Big boys like Bogo, Buff, and Stewart take a lot of heat for being slow. They are not. The problem is getting them going or getting them stopped. I think that was witnessed a couple of times today. Foot speed is also something all of them will get better at in the coming years, particularly Bogo.

I train with a lot of D-men during the off-season and most of them put on a lot of upper body weight, especially those that play a physical game. Most of them end up losing it by the end of the season anyway. Too much upper body certainly can effect skill and I think that is a valid argument regarding Bogo but like I said earlier, at 20, he will grow into it improving in all areas. That added muscle will certainly be a huge benefit 3-5 years down the road when he’s a monster on the blue line.

Cornbread

April 2nd, 2011
6:34 pm

Time to sit some of the ailing players and bring up/back some Wolves for another look. I think Enstrom and Dvorak are likely done.

Swede

April 2nd, 2011
7:28 pm

Hope some players will train with gary roberts during off season, especially the young ones if they are allowed ofcourse.

Swede

April 2nd, 2011
7:30 pm

It´s still sad to se he´s regressed on his 3rd nhl season. He should have improved from his rookie season. rushed? yes, think so

LAC

April 3rd, 2011
12:46 am

zach seaked hus fate tiday, He is the worst Dman on the team and the faster he is gone, the better off the entire franchise will be for it, He simply has no head for the game and is as clumsey as a 85 year old woman. See Ya zach, don’t get hit by the Zamboni on the way OUT ! Today was the LAST Straw !

Thrashers27

April 3rd, 2011
12:47 am

Another season is done and I still love my Thrashers! Please….next year, please…

Red Light

April 3rd, 2011
9:07 am

The Thrashers will end the season 4th in the division and can finish no higher than 10th in the conference, and no lower than 12th. Two more points by the Leafs means 11th or 12th with the Devils. The Isles, Panthers and Ottawa will battle for 13th, 14th and 15th, so that means Atlanta will definitely not be in the draft lottery. More salt in the wound!

A total of 10 teams have been eliminated from playoff consideration. Florida, Atlanta, the NY Islanders and Edmonton (and perhaps Toronto) are the only teams in the NHL to have missed the playoffs in each of the last four seasons. Only Ottawa was outside the bottom six in salaries this season.

The Rangers have a vital game at Philly at 12:30 and Buffalo and Carolina battle today at 5 pm. Anaheim hosts Dallas at 8 pm in another crucial WC game.

ben

April 3rd, 2011
11:27 am

I love Le Thrash, but I’m glad they’re out. They need a good pick more than they need a 1-and-done trip to the playoffs. Before this season started I knew it was going to be bad. The hot start really fooled me. Did we see what this team could do? Was it a case of Ramsay not being a good coach? Is Jim Slater actually a huge cog in the machine, and his absence got the team in a bad way? I’ve no idea. I think that the fall starting with the ASG settlement is very odd, and might not be a coincidence. Remember that the majority of these guys are young men, some merely boys really, with no college education. Ergo, they would be in a more vulnerable position to believe the Winnipeg / Quebec City / wherever TSN feels like exciting this week. And despite Atlanta’s problems which are many, it can be a very nice place to live. And they might not want to move, despite what they tell the Canadian media.

I feel that the lawsuit being settled, when coupled with the rumors, had a lot to do with the fall of this team in the standings. This Canadian relocation is a problem for the whole league and the only to remedy it is to give the Toronto-based media a good Toronto-based team to write about. I suggest moving the Islanders to Toronto and giving the media a cup caliber team to write about. I bet 80 percent of these rumors go away and the whole league gets better.

Brendan

April 3rd, 2011
11:43 am

As Red Light points out, the Thrashers have clinched 4th place in the Southeast Division. That’s important for our AJC.com points totals contest, as division rank is the 1st set of tie-breaker criteria. Anyone who had the T-birds 3rd or 5th is now on the outside, looking in, if they wind up tied with someone at the same point total.

http://www.nhl.com/ice/standings.htm?type=con#&navid=nav-stn-conf

Sabres need a win, at Carolina. Same dealie with the NY Rangers and Philadelphia. Are the Dallas Stars eliminated yet, out West? Believe it or not, Toronto is still alive, in terms of a playoff berth. Wins today by the Ragers and Sabres probably end that talk.

LAC

April 3rd, 2011
11:45 am

Just watchesd the highlights on “On The Fly” of the game yesterday.

zach is to blame for ALL THREE GOALS. Him with his LAZY play, he looked so out of place
it was like watching some local scrimmage team. What is the living HELL do the GM/Coach see in
this guy ? He is LAZY, always out of position, does not handle the puck well and gets beat every night, game after game after game.

He should sit the rest of the season and NEVER allowed to put on an Atlanta jersey ever again, He MUST be traded, waived anything, just get him out of town ASAP. As for those of you expressing the notion he is only 20, look at Drew Doughty, he is the same age and IS a complete defenseman
of the same age & draft, he is Light Years ahead of Pitiful zach.

There are guys on local scrimmage teams who could play better than zach. I hope DUD dudley gets at least a fifth rounder for him, before it is all said and done !

Red Light

April 3rd, 2011
11:45 am

Dallas is not eliminated yet because they have five games left, but they’ll be out soon. Same with Calgary barring an unlikely Blackhawks collapse.

Red Light

April 3rd, 2011
12:48 pm

LAC: I respect your and others opinions about Zach. It seems like a big digression but Tyler Myers, last year’s Calder Trophy winner looked lost and confused for the first half of the season before turning it around. The off season, getting away from the rink and not having to worry about making mistakes for a few months couldn’t hurt. The Torchetti tiff might have been worse than we knew and there is no doubt Zach has had many moments where he was totally lost, and yesterday was a fine example of that. However, you can’t teach the size, speed and skill he has, he just needs to refine it.

Now, if Atlanta and Chicago divorce, I think the best thing for Zach would be to spend a few months on the farm, re-learning the game and getting his confidence back. Same thing happened to Del Zotto in New York, and I still think both can be fine players in this league.

I wouldn’t be adverse to advocating a change of scenery for both Zach and Del Zotto, but it’s simply way too early to give up on either. A fifth rounder for him? Nope (for Anthony Stewart maybe), but you might very well be able to get a young forward with the skills to be a top-6 one day.

Just my opinion, but it was a very frustrating year to watch Zach not realize half of his potential.

HillMan

April 3rd, 2011
5:02 pm

I’d like to see Bogo and Buff on the second line for the rest of the season. Let’s bring back up Kulda and Postma on D and take a look at these guys up front. I believe these guys could be the killer Bs upfront.

Cliff Fletcher

April 3rd, 2011
6:56 pm

too late to send bogo to the minores-it would be a clear demotion and his first step out the door, which he may be after yesterday’s game anyhow.

Brendan

April 3rd, 2011
9:07 pm

Big wins for the Rangers, in the shootout, over the Flyers, and the Sabres, in overtime, over the Hurricanes.

World Be Free

April 4th, 2011
7:40 am

Flyers will go out earlier in this year’s playoffs-there is no magic on this team for the playoff run.

World Be Free

April 4th, 2011
8:01 am

I do not see a “Beast in the East”, none of these teams really excites me at all.
Does anybody have a “feel” that one of the eastern teams can rise above the rest?
Red Light predicted some surprises in the Eastern Conference come playoff time; I agree with his assessment.

World Be Free

April 4th, 2011
8:11 am

I thought everyone would get a kick out of this quote about Sabres’ fanes from the Raleigh papers-
According to some Hurricanes fans, they are a little too vocal.
—————–
A column in Sunday’s Raleigh News & Observer told of how some Hurricanes season-ticket holders refuse to attend games when the Sabres are in town.

“I find every Buffalo game unpleasant,” Chuck Wright, who skipped the Hurricanes’ first home game against the Sabres, told the newspaper. “There are a lot of Buffalo people who live here now for jobs and the lifestyle, and they’re big Sabres fans and big Bills fans, and that’s fine.

“But some of the behavior is just — I don’t want my kids exposed to it, the F-bombs and over-the-top type behavior. It’s like they’re trying to prove something because they’re on enemy turf.”

——————————

There’s more, but I think we all get the picture.

Red Light

April 4th, 2011
8:42 am

The Eastern Conference hasn’t a single team that looks “best” at this particular time. In fact, I still believe the Bruins are the team to beat, particularly if they get strong play from Thomas or Rask, but they too seem to have a few holes. But, they are the favorites in my mind, but can be taken down in the first round by a lower seed.

There is some talk, including a rant by Don Cherry the other night on HNIC, that Crosby should not play again this year. Even without him, they are capable of winning a series or two.

All teams can win one series, but which teams can win more than one?
Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay

Best chance for a deep run by a low seed
NY Rangers

Best chance for one and done by a high seed
Philadelphia

All that being said, the West looks formidable again, and I’m not sure any Eastern team can go head-to-head with Vancouver, San Jose, Detroit, or even LA at this point. Will all four of those teams win their first round series? No.

Phoenix, Chicago, Nashville and Anaheim are dangerous. Without Hiller, however, the Ducks need lots of goals to advance. Phoenix has a good chance to advance and if Rinne plays well in the first round, the Preds may actually win a series for the first time. I think they can clinch a playoff spot tomorrow night with a win over the Thrashers and a Dallas loss.

Chicago is dangerous too, despite the roster changeover, and are getting good play from Crawford in goal. But, I think the Coyotes are very dangerous with Bryzgalov in goal and a lot of nice pieces throughout their lineup. I wouldn’t want to play them in the first round despite their history of little playoff success.

World Be Free

April 4th, 2011
8:53 am

I agree with those that say Crosby should shut it down for the balance of the season.

I like Boston’s defense, team defense from goaltenders, to defenseman and forwards but I worry about their goal scoring. I also agree with you on the Rangers, especially with Torts pushing the buttons behind the bench. Always nice to have a guy with a ring making decisions, knowing how to motivate players during playoffs. I am extremely impressed with Marc Staal right now.

Rawhide

April 4th, 2011
9:03 am

Gooooooooooooood Morning, Thrasherville!!!

OK, here’s a new blog for you all as the Thrashers prepare to close out this very frustrating 2010-11 campaign.

R. Stroz

April 7th, 2011
8:44 am

Rawhide

April 8th, 2011
9:12 am

R. Stroz – Nope.