Thrashers prepare for final week of frustrating season

Over the course of the past several weeks, there have been many different words Thrashers fans have used to describe the way this 2010-11 season has turned out. Some have even been fit to print here. But Nik Antropov’s comments following Saturday’s 3-2 loss in Boston, one that officially eliminated them postseason play, seems to contain the word most appropriate.

“It’s frustrating, that’s the feeling right now”, the Thrashers forward said after the game. “Nothing else but frustration.”

The key word there would be frustrating…or frustration, take your pick.

Indeed Antropov’s words could accurately sum up the feeling after losing yet another close game. They led 2-1 early in the second period after Evander Kane’s 19th goal of the season. However, the Thrashers failed to convert their early success into a win.

Boston Bruins' Daniel Paille scores after intercepting a Zach Bogosian pass. The score tied the game in the second period. Another Bogosian turnover led to the Bruins' game winning goal in the third (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Boston Bruins' Daniel Paille scores after intercepting a Zach Bogosian pass. The score tied the game in the second period. Another Bogosian turnover led to the Bruins' game winning goal in the third (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

After intercepting a weak outlet pass from Zach Bogosian behind Ondrej Pavelec’s net, Danielle Paille knotted the score at two-all just under five minutes later. At the time Boston was killing off a delay of game penalty by former Thrasher Shane Hnidy.

Yeah…frustrating.

Then in the third, Bogosian once again gift wrapped the puck for the Bruins with another turnover and fellow defenseman Johnny Oduya had little option but to take down the charging Michael Ryder. However, he converted on the penalty shot and the Bruins had the 3-2 margin they would eventually win by.

Bogosian had an up close and personal vantage point for all three Boston goals and his –26plus/minus rating is “tops” on the team in that stat. Antropov is next on the current roster with a –14, (Rich Peverley was a –16 before being traded in February to Boston).

Yessir-ee, Zach has had a frustrating season to say the least.

But the “F” word could also sum up how the second half of this season has played out for the Thrashers. After playing to a 22-15-6 record and 50 points after 43 games played…and stop me if you’ve heard this one before… they failed to take advantage of that success and stumbled from that point on. Since the 3-2 win in south Florida on January 5, they have gone a disappointing 11-18-6 since with just 4 regulation wins in those 35 games.

The Thrashers will now prepare to finish off the remaining four games in this frustrating campaign. And although they themselves are now mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, all four remaining matchups will have some impact on others who remain in the thick of the playoff race. None more so than the two scheduled later this week. Thursday and Friday night they’ll face the New York Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes. Both are scratching and clawing to earn a spot in this spring’s great hunt for Lord Stanley’s Cup.

Following their shootout win in Philly, the Rangers have 89 points with 3 games left to play. Buffalo defeated Carolina in overtime, giving the Sabres 90 and the Canes 87.

As for Atlanta, no matter the outcome of this week’s games they’ll finish in fourth place in the Southeast Division. They can finish no higher than 10th in the conference and no lower than 12th. The most points they can achieve is 86 if they take all 8 available in the final four games.

Last season they were second in the southeast and tenth in the conference with an 83-point season.

Looking down the road, they’ll own a draft pick somewhere in the range of 6th to 8th overall in June’s NHL entry draft. After that, it’s free agent signing season beginning on July 1, then we wait for training camp and preseason in the fall.

One of those exhibition games will be against the Ottawa Senators in Conception Bay South, Newfoundland. The two will play there after that was named Kraft Hockeyville 2011. It’ll be the second time the Thrashers have participated one of these games. Prior to the 2007 season, they beat the New York Islanders 4-3 in overtime in North Bay, Ontario.

Until then, though, they’ll just be finishing out this frustrating season. But at least the Thrashers will have a chance to share some of that frustration with the Rangers and Hurricanes.

139 comments Add your comment

ManUp

April 4th, 2011
9:04 am

ManUp

April 4th, 2011
9:07 am

23rd best team in the NHL right now. Oh, well at least we are kind of consistent over the years.

Smoothie

April 4th, 2011
9:24 am

R/L – Zach can’t spend any time in the minors unless he clears waivers right? Hasn’t he played too many games at the NHL level to get sent down without an injury exemption? If Bogosian doesn’t spend some serious time working on some things (not bulking up in the weight room all summer) this off-season and elevate his game to where he isn’t a fairly consistent liability, we will be right back where we started this past season of lost potential and dashed dreams. Personally, I think he should be trade bait. I may even go out on a limb and predict that Duds will trade him. Depending on how Duds views the developmental progress of both Kulda and Postma (along with Johnny O’s potential trade value), Bogosian’s future in ATL is somewhat murky IMO.

Smoothie

April 4th, 2011
9:29 am

Good news!! Bogosian doesn’t have the worst +/- in the league! He’s only 4th from best! Three Ottawa D-men are worse (Phillips, Karlsson and Kuba are a combined -92). Golden boy Cam Fowler is 5th worst with a -25 slightly better than Z-Bo’s -26. The only difference is Fowler is just finishing his first campaign.

World Be Free

April 4th, 2011
9:29 am

Hey, I am not frustrated-and why? I had no dilussions or high expectations-so I have no letdown.

Matt

April 4th, 2011
9:47 am

is it just me, or did this whole season take a nosedive as soon as it was revealed that ownership had been trying to sell the team since the day they bought it?

Matt

April 4th, 2011
9:52 am

and also… without a true #1 scoring line, we’ll never go anywhere. We’ve assembled a good core of ancillary scoring, but we don’t have anything that resembles a true #1 line. Perhaps some of our guys will develop into that top line, but as of right now (and probably next season), it’s just not there yet.

SomaAtl95

April 4th, 2011
9:59 am

While it is frustrating to see the Thrashers season end so early there is a word I would use here that I would not in years past – hopeful. We saw how good the team can be the first half of the season. My hope for the off season is that the A$G listens to the Eagles (Take the money and run) and that we have committed ownership that isn’t afraid of going above the cap floor. The first half of the season was a preview of what we can expect when all the stars align and we have all the correct parts for success.
Something tells me that once new ownership takes hold old DW will be gone. Maybe he can go back to the Red Wings (don’t curse me Alan R for saying that).
Like any true fan says – Next season will be the one that we surprise people October – April and beyond.
I am hopeful.

Michael B. Shapiro

April 4th, 2011
10:09 am

Bill
I know that Buff got his 20th of the year the other day, and that Kane is at 19, but before that only Ladd had 20 or more goals. Any other teams in the league with such a figure (only one 20-goal scorer)? As others have posted, we’re sorely missing offense (something we all saw in pre-season, but were lulled into forgetting during those heady days of November). With the loss of Kovy and Max’s firepower, it showed as the season progressed.
Any predictions of who will be voted off Frustration Island during the off season? I put my first vote in for Anthony Stewart.

james c.

April 4th, 2011
10:10 am

It is encouraging to see a 2011-2012 pre-season game scheduled with the Thrashers listed as well as season tickets for next year on sale now.Hope to hear some positive news soon about the whole ownership picture.

LAC

April 4th, 2011
10:14 am

If the team is here next season, zach bogosian MUST BE GONE. This guy $UCKS, he was responsible for ALL three Boston goals and how many others this season.

He is ECHL quality at the VERY BEST and I would take a 7th rounder for him at this point, He needs to SIT the last four games and NEVR NEVER NEVER be allowed to put an Atlanta jersey on every again.

GO AWAY zach, You ARE THE Worst defenseman in The NHL !!!!

World Be Free

April 4th, 2011
10:15 am

Smoothie-I saw that about Cam Fowler, shows he should have gone back to juniors this year.

World Be Free

April 4th, 2011
10:18 am

Matt-what would this team be with 1/2 of the guys who have taken the train out of town?
Hossa, Heatley, Kovy, Savard, Kinitz and others.

Hossa is a horse in Chicago these days, playing 24 minutes/game, killing penalties, power play and then some.

Bluestreak

April 4th, 2011
10:19 am

I was at the game where the Thrashers took first place after shellacking the Devils, so I am disappointed. They have a lot to answer for in regards to their play and coaching. Frustration and disappointment are the marks left from this season.

Rawhide

April 4th, 2011
10:22 am

Any predictions of who will be voted off Frustration Island during the off season? I put my first vote in for Anthony Stewart.

MBS – I’d say that’s a good guess. Disappointing too…like the Thrashers he started off well, then…..

Bluestreak – Then after that 7-1 win they went to Toronto and beat the Leafs 6-3. There record at that time was 19-11-5, they owned the top spot in the SE and second spot in the east.

Since that time they are 14-22-7.

Matt – To your point, the Thrashers are 10-15-5 since Gearon dropped that bombshell on Thrasherville, including a 2-8-4 run in the 14 games after he made the comments.

Russian

April 4th, 2011
10:36 am

TASKS must be done at this summer:
1. Figure out who will be OWNERS of Atlanta Thrashers (I do not care about Basketball)
2. Sign Ladd and Wheeler for 4-5 years.
3. Sign Bogus for 3 years (small price, not more than $1million). **Smoothie** I know you do not like him, but he will be OK.
4. Go to Draft and get GOOD Young Forward or Trade First Pick for 30-40 goals forward with 3-4 years contract.
5. Find and sign UFA for 1-2 lines.
6. No worry about Goalies. They are good and stable.

World Be Free

April 4th, 2011
10:42 am

Nice list Russian
Rawhide- bye, bye Anthony Stewart

ThrasherTim

April 4th, 2011
10:51 am

For all those bashing Zach this year…well…I have nothing to say after the game Saturday. Truly it was amazing to see such EGREGIOUS turnovers as the Thrashers were clearly establishing the tempo and style of the game. And the 2nd thing to note was that Pavlec did not make the big save. I mean, Paille scored on a perfect shot and the penalty shot was simply more of the same from Pavs in the skills competition. Pavs needs to work on two things really badly over the off-season: 1) shootouts 2) handling the puck behind the net.

As for Zach, I am not ready to give up on him yet, but at the same time, it won’t surprise me either if Duds trades him for a top 6 forward during the summer. Oduya seems to have found another gear playing with Stuart. But he too may be trade bait to get a top 6 forward.

I can’t remember if Boulton is signed for another year, but I see him disappearing if he;s not. He hasn’t done much and continually had trouble handling pucks and getting the puck out of the zone Saturday. I’d much rather see Maxwell in his spot.

Anthony Stewart had a dismal 2nd half and I am not sure how the coaching staff wasn’t able to spur him to use the body more. My only caveat here is that it was his 1st time playing a full season and perhaps he can improve in Year 2. Best case, I see him having to make the team during training camp and perhaps he is the 13th forward we keep on the team.

KLS1

April 4th, 2011
10:53 am

It makes me like Torch that he blasted Zach for his play and I’m sure he was the driver for putting him the press box. Lottery pick or not, you gotta play well to stay on the team.

Of course everyone felt bad for him and made excuses for his play, most of all Darren Eliot who blamed the short handed goal yesterday on Buff for not recieving the pass?

Bring in new announcers with new ownership…if you do color at least have an opinion, its all fluff.

Frosty the snowman

April 4th, 2011
10:56 am

I wouldnt sign Wheeler any longer than 2 years, he will flop like Bergfors and Peverly, next year we will be talking about trading him. Ladd I would sign for 4-5 years, he is a winner, 2 cups, but he needs to be a 2nd line player. As someone stated above we need a first line of forwards and defenders, this team still and always has never had a true top defense pair.

Rawhide

April 4th, 2011
10:56 am

ThrasherTim – Boulton is a UFA come July 1. If I had to venture a guess, I would say he won’t be returning next fall.

Russian

April 4th, 2011
10:59 am

I am not going to see Bolt next year. I think he will retire. He is a good guy, but we do not need him anymore.

Buff-n-stuff

April 4th, 2011
11:12 am

Boulton, Dvorak, Meyer, Stewart, are “ALL GONE” next year….likely to also be gone are Stapleton, and yes, Antropov. Antro will be traded for a 2nd rounder or a 3rd and a 4th rounder (to get rid of his salary, aging body and slow play). This team will go young, will sign a top 6 winger that is a “two-way player” and also happens to be a goal scorer. Two of the kids in Chicago will come up. One d-man, and one forward.

……..if we can only add new ownership to this list, we will at least be on the right path !!!

DWTOO

April 4th, 2011
11:20 am

Need to take my share of the blame for not making the playoffs. In 2007 we were on vacation and missed the two home games. So…….when we started planning another spring vacation we decided to go in March so as the be around during playoff time. See how that turned out.

“Face it Flounder, you F’ed up. You trusted us.”

hockeymom92

April 4th, 2011
11:21 am

Back from Nationals and sorry to say our team went the way of the Thrashers and the stacked team from Maine won the medal. Am now in official hockeymom withdrawal.

Keeping my fingers crossed that one of the rumors I heard this week about possible new owners (person seemed to have quite a bit of knowledge about the situation) comes to pass – it would be awesome. Just not quite ready to name names – don’t want to jinx anything.

jimbo

April 4th, 2011
11:44 am

11-18-6 over the last 35 games is pathetic. We never made any major adjustments in strategy or personnel during that time. The dumb strategy of a wide open game only produced the 3rd most goals allowed and a predictable offense that other teams were able to clamp down on in clutch situations. Major blame- Dudley for bringing in his cronies- Ramsey and the supposed defensive genius- Torchetti. Get rid of the paternalism and get us a coach who can motivate and change strategies when needed!

World Be Free

April 4th, 2011
11:58 am

I still have a hunch Dvorak will be back next season-just a feeling.

hockeymom-once again, congratulations to you and your son – for both your efforts. I keep telling the kids that very little happens without parental commitment and involvement. You normally find “the best” parents around youth organizations, people committed to the kids. Our commitment is paid in something other than dollars-but I have always found it much more valuable.

Cliff Fletcher

April 4th, 2011
12:16 pm

the future depends on one thing and one thing alone//money

rick dudley will be the gm moving forward, that is a given. his ability to sign current players and improve the roster depends on his player budget. all dudley needs is to be able to spend 50 million dollars on players, no more. 50 mil (up from the current budget) will allow him to obtain at least 2 players to replace some of the current duds. if he gets the money he can do it.

our issues are on the ice, lack of talent and lack of quality depth. enough money in the right hands can cure those 2 issues. stewart on the second line proves that we do not have enough talent.

Brendan

April 4th, 2011
12:33 pm

I’m not frustrated with this season. I expected 74-points, and chose to be optimistic, with my projection of 81-points, during our AJC.com contest. The fact that this team could even match last year’s 83-points, after losing Kovy and Afinogenov, speaks to how well they’ve actually done, off a league minimun (actually below it) salary cap. I applaud the Thrashers not having 69-73 points, which is about the type of season they PAID for. Now, I’m not saying that everything’s super, with PollyAnna glasses on. It’s far, far from Super. First order of business is finding new owners. Then firing Jonah, I mean, Waddell, so our boat can sail safely into pleasant waters, free from the scurvy curse that haunts it.

WBF, I doubt Dvorak will be back. I’d think Boulton has a better shot at returning. Freddy Meyer, A. Stewart … I’m not too sure about.

Rawhide, what do you think of replacing Boulton with Pittsburgh’s Matt Cooke, currently suspended for the remainder of the season and 1st round of the playoffs? I actually kind of like that move. I like Cooke’s numbers and skill. I don’t like that he’s a repeat offender and big-time on the NHL’s radar as a “dirty” player, and that he’s 32. But still … I do believe Cooke to be an upgrade over Boulton. Cooke’s a hot potato, so … if we want him, I don’t think we’d get a big fight over his services.

I do agree with the voices on the blog that say Ramsay didn’t adjust his strategy while the team went 6-17-6 for 29 games, between December 21 and March 3rd. The team went into a funk, and didn’t come out of it until the Goaltending “consultant,” Clint Malarchuk, stepped up to bereate the team and announce a goalie change, between periods. Thanks Clint! Where were ya in December, for that?

Meanwhile, Nero was fiddling and Ramsay used the word “wonderful” ad nauseum, citing how we outshot our opposition (from the outer periphery).

Folks, let’s size up the Draft. It’s time. Who do we like? And if we don’t like anyone, who do we want to trade that pick for? Gotta be a player with 5 or more years left on his deal, otherwise, we’re flushing the pick, and are better off selecting someone.

Cliff Fletcher

April 4th, 2011
12:45 pm

brendan and others///

this team lacks the talent needed to win in the nhl on a consistent basis. reshuffling and changing players in and out does not help if you don’t have the talent to endure a full nhl season. the core elevated this team for the first few mos of the season, but they could not sustain the effort. we asked too much of our top 6 forwards and top 4 defenseman. goaltending was superb early on, then fell back to where it should have been as the year went on.

i am not giving ramsay a pass, he was poor at adjusting in-game. but some players had good season, especially pavs. shouldn’t we give ramsay some credit for getting more out of some of these guys than others could?

dudley deserves credit for getting wheeler and stuart, especially if we can resign wheeler for a few more seasons. again, it all comes down to money. we could have had macarthur on 2nd line this year had we been willing to pay him before we went to arbitration and lost him for zero. you have to be willing to pay players.

Brendan

April 4th, 2011
12:57 pm

**AJC.com Point Totals Update** – We have new eliminees with the news that the most the Thrashers can get this year is 86-points. Therefore, anyone who took 87 and 88 points are now eliminated. Those posters are: Darkhorse, Flagstaff, Tablehockey, Rawhide, HookyBob, Thrashdawg, Smoothie and 3stripes. At the bottom end, two posters are now eliminated: Badger Bob, at 77-points and Chippers Love Child at 76-points.

On the cusp of elimination, at 85 and 86 points, are the following posters: StateBird and Jen have 86-points. At 85-points are: Adam, Mikey, Sisu and Jimbo.

At 78-points, hanging on, are: Jethro and Nate.

At 79-points are: Zoomo, Joe Friday, and Curly.

At 80-points are: Red Light, WBF, Ex-STH, and J-Man.

At 81-points are: dwayne, polskidawg and Brendan.

At 82-points is: No one !!! (We’ll use tie-breakers for 81 and 83 points, if the team finishes at .500.) Remember, Thrashers are locked into 4th place. Conference rank is yet to be determined.

At 83-points is: BuzzEng.

At 84-points are: J(Z), R.Stroz, and Russ.

Someone listed above … will be this year’s winner, joining Don, (via tie-breaker over Glovesave29) and Pam On Weck, as previous winners of the contest, throughout the years. Good luck to all.

The Deadline for the 2011-12 season, for making a point total guess, will be “puck drop” of Opening Night, sometime next October. Thanks to all that played this year, and good luck next year, and to those still actively in the hunt.

Rawhide

April 4th, 2011
12:59 pm

WBF – Let’s see…since the trade, Dvorak has 0 goals, 1 assists and an EVEN +/- rating in 13 games played for the Thrashers. This is compared with Bergfors’ 1 goal, 7 assist and +2 for the Panthers in 17 games.

Dvorak also just turned 34 years of age.

Pass.

Red Light

April 4th, 2011
1:05 pm

Way too much to say on the subject, so I posted my commentary. But, I am closely aligned to World Be Free’s take on the subject. A prelude to the commentary, the Thrashers had three of its own draft picks called up this season from Chicago, who played a total of 13 games for the club thus far.

http://sportssoutheast.com/index.php/red-light-report/59-nhl/252-no-easy-fix-for-the-thrashers

Brendan

April 4th, 2011
1:06 pm

Rawhide, Red Light, Russ, etc., … do we have a list of all the RFA, arbitration-eligible Thrashers? I ask because Cliff Fletcher reminded me about Clark MacArthur last year. He was an RFA, and I figured he was TRAPPED here, only to discover that he held arbitration rights. The Arbitrator awarded $2.4 million for MacArthur Park, and the Thrashers walked away. Clark MacArthur actually had a decent season with the Leafs. So, who’s got the list handy? Again, we’re looking for “Arbitration eligible” RFA’s. Is Wheeler one of them?? Is Ladd one of them??? Just because someone is an RFA, doesn’t guarantee that they’re TRAPPED here until they reach UFA status. They could elect arbitration … and force us to walk away from the award.

Let’s get crackin’ on this.

Rawhide, I’m going to assume this blog is staying active all throughout the playoff and during the offseason, through the June Draft, and into the Frenzy in July?

Red Light

April 4th, 2011
1:08 pm

But, Andrey Zubarev was just recalled, so we’ll see what the 24-year-old Russian can do in four games.

Russian

April 4th, 2011
1:24 pm

**to Red Light**
It is good call. I was waiting Zubarev all year. He can be very good help for next year.

Rawhide

April 4th, 2011
1:30 pm

Rawhide, I’m going to assume this blog is staying active all throughout the playoff and during the offseason, through the June Draft, and into the Frenzy in July?

Brendan – Affirmative. As for the RFA/Arbitaration Eligible players, I don’t have that off the top of my head but do plan on posting such a blog in future.

Red Light

April 4th, 2011
1:36 pm

I will look forward to seeing him play Russian. Have not seen him play at all.

World Be Free

April 4th, 2011
1:42 pm

Rawhide on Dvorak-I just have a feeling he might be back. The numbers don’t support it, but…

Spud Webb

April 4th, 2011
1:52 pm

Bogo could be gone, I hope he’s not. He’s a baby…I’m not ready to give up yet on him. Stewart…gone…Nik will be here. The guy has played hurt all year. It hasn’t really been talked about, but he’s never healed from the surgery. I fully expect a giant bounce back next season. I’m going to lean towards optimistic for next season. I like the makeup of this team. A player here and there & I will love this team.

Bart

April 4th, 2011
2:01 pm

We’re currently in 24th place with the 29th payroll. Ownership must be very proud of the 5-spot overachievement.

Red Light

April 4th, 2011
2:03 pm

Dvorak’s numbers won’t ever wow you. He is not a stats producer, and never has been. But, he can play a role, and you need role players. Of course, this team needs more than just role players, but Dvorak is worth a one-year deal.

sisu

April 4th, 2011
2:24 pm

Great write up Red Light, many good point on depth of the organization. I think if there is a strong point it is the d men in the system, there is room to make a trade with one on the current roster or in the system. I look for Burmi to get more minutes and put up more points in his second season when he is not stuck on the 4th line.

I am disappointed so far with Cormier this season, perhaps next season he will be better or is he another Esposito???
My prediction of 85 points was high in hindsight but I felt the team would come up short on playoffs once again.

Midfield

April 4th, 2011
2:29 pm

Brendan, Cooke has been getting away with so much dirt ONLY for playing on the “Crosby” team. And even there he pushed his luck one time too many. If he puts on Thrashers uniform, he’ll be a perminent distraction and the penalty box feature, in my opinion. Bolts is at least respected across the league.

Old Time Hockey

April 4th, 2011
2:51 pm

As for the idea to sign a 30-40 goal scorer…as of right now there are all of 22 of them in the entire league. That’s why it’s so important for Little, Kane and Wheeler to step up.

Tom

April 4th, 2011
3:17 pm

I am not sure if anyone has brought this up, I have been away for a while, but the Thrasher’s being named to play this exhibition game fortells doom in my eyes…

http://www.thetelegram.com/Sports/2011-04-04/article-2397986/C.B.S.-reigns-supreme-as-Hockeyville-winner/1

Why would they choose the Thrashers to play an exhibition game celebrating CANADIAN Hockeyville? It is not to celebrate the long history of the team in Atlanta.

But it could be a most excellent way to showcase Canada’s newest team during a nationally televised preseason game.

Thoughts?

Red Light

April 4th, 2011
3:22 pm

OTH

397 players have scored 30 goals or more in a season since the 1997-98 season. Obviously, some have done it more than once.

For digestion purposes, since the Thrashers inaugural season in 99-00, only Audette, Kovalchuk, Heatley, Hossa and Little have scored 30 or more goals in a season. Ladd needs three more tallies to join the list.

Red Light

April 4th, 2011
3:23 pm

Tom: Perhaps no other team wanted to play in Newfoundland?

Rawhide

April 4th, 2011
3:29 pm

Tom – I think you may been reading way too much into this. As stated in the blog post, the Thrashers and Islanders played in this game back in ‘07. Last year, the Senators and Sabres were the featured teams.

Tom

April 4th, 2011
3:30 pm

Red Light, it very well could be, but I have to be honest this just screams done deal to me… And I truly hope it is not the case.