Little positive found in Thrashers lost season

Instead of typing out words that could properly describe last night’s heaping, steaming pile of FAIL that the Thrashers left on the ice of Philips Arena, I wanted to try and find something positive to write about. And one “positive” that came to mind was Bryan Little…specifically speaking, his team-leading plus/minus stat.

Now, like many of you I always take the +/- numbers with a healthy dose of salt. It’s a stat that can sometimes be misleading as it doesn’t factor in such things as if the individual is playing top-line minutes against top-line opponents and if a defenseman is being paired with another who might be weighing him down.

However, sometimes a player’s +/- rating is indeed well deserved. For instance, take Zach Bogosian and his -25 for the season. I don’t think you’ll find too many Thrashers fans who’ve been paying attention that would argue he doesn’t deserve that negative stat hanging around his neck.

Bryan Little scores one of his 18 goals this season against Roberto Luongo of the Vancouver Canucks. Little leads the team with a +12 rating this season (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Bryan Little scores one of his 18 goals this season against Roberto Luongo of the Vancouver Canucks. Little leads the team with a +12 rating this season (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

On the opposite end of that spectrum, Little’s +12 for the season can also be described as well deserved.. In a season that has spiraled into the ground since New Years, Little has been one of the few positives to be found.

Take last night’s craptastic 6-1 beating dished out by the Carolina Hurricanes for instance. Bryan Little’s goal in the last minute of play was the only thing that denied Cam Ward of his fifth shutout of the year. Even though it made…ahem…little difference in the outcome of the game, it did allow Little to finish with a +1 rating. He and Andrew Ladd were the only two Thrashers who were on the positive side of that stat on this losing night.

When he scored, I couldn’t help but think that f there was one player in red that deserved to score the lone goal registered by the home team, Little was that one.

His +12 far and away leads the rest of this Thrashers squad. Among those remaining on the roster, the next highest is the +4 held by defenseman Ron Hainsey. Brent Sopel was a +7 before being dealt to Montreal in February.

In fact, last night’s +1 pulls Little’s career +/- to EVEN in this his fourth season with Atlanta. That’s quite an accomplishment for anyone who has played so many games with this team over the last four years.

As stated above, a player’s +/- stat doesn’t always tell the whole story and it’s not good to try and judge there worth solely on those numbers. But given that this team has given up 43 more goals than they have scored this season, Little’s positive showing here really does stick out given he’s averaging 18:26 TOI. To me, it’s indicative of the solid effort he puts in night in and night out and how he works his butt off every shift.

His 47 overall points is second among forwards on the team and his 29 are a career high. His 18 goals scored are well off his career high of 31 set two years ago, but it hasn’t been due to any lack of hustle or drive. If anything, this kid could win this year’s Snake-Bit Award as he’s pinged the post and been stymied by great saves time and time again.

But even though he’s been frustrated at times in the offense zone, Little hasn’t let it affect his play in the defensive zone. That’s a telling sign of a maturing young star.

Next fall, Little will begin his fifth season in a Thrashers uniform and he’ll no doubt be one of the players looked upon most if the team is going to finally put together a positive record and earn a spot in the playoffs after four straight years on the outside looking in.

123 comments Add your comment

Joe Friday

April 9th, 2011
8:28 am

You ranallo’d me on the other blog, so I’ll repost it here as your comment on Little is on point, he’s about the only bright spot and he returned to form of 2 years ago, it’s not like Ramsay coached him up this year:

Find out last night that they’ve fired two more of the bartenders in the clubs, for a ridiculous reason, then two more have quit in frustration. We need new owners so badly . . .

Good thing Ramsay called timeout there or it could have been 7-0!

Let’s review Ramsay’s job this year and see if he warrants a second chance this year:

I pegged this lineup at 79 pts last fall, we’re at 80 and might get 82 if the Pens lay down tomorrow. Did he coach this roster up? Nope.

Pavs has regressed this season, started out very strong, but last night showed the level of his frustration. Why has Ramsay been playing Mason so much lately? Obviously Pavs is frustrated by the situation here. Did we develop our franchise goalie this season? Nope.

Is the system implemented by Ramsay a successful one that will lead to this core group jelling into a Stanley Cup contender? Nope.

What young players have shown marked improvement in their play this year under Ramsay’s tutelege? Bogosian? Nope. Kane? Has shown some signs the last quarter of the season, but not a marked improvement. Litlle? Back to the form he showed two years ago. Stewart? Nope. Ladd is Ladd. Enstrom is Enstrom. Buf has regressed. Burmistrov? Nope. Has Ramsay elevated anyone’s game on this roster? Nope.

He hasn’t elevated any of our player’s game and his system isn’t a winning one. His in game decision making is puzzling and his line changes are confounding, it shows in the incredible amount of back to back (and to back again sometimes) goals we give up.

Can anyone make a case showing that Ramsay has been effective this year?

Move Buf up front to top line RW and if we can get a new owner by July 1st then mabye we can sign Bieksa and a top 6 forward and bring in a new coach and compete next year.

Jamie Fehr

April 9th, 2011
8:32 am

Great article, you sir are bang on. I was reading some forum comments the other day and everybody was just ripping him, makes no sense, anyway any idea if he will be getting a invite from to the world hockey championships, or if he has interest to go?

Matt from MN

April 9th, 2011
8:38 am

Way to lie down and die like dogs, you hacks! Ramsay must GO now.

Always Hoping

April 9th, 2011
8:52 am

Bieksa is an injury waiting to happen…go research his games lost due to injury. He plays a tough physical game but it leaves him unable to play a good deal of the time.

hockeygoon79

April 9th, 2011
8:53 am

Bryan Little has been one of my favorites for some time now. He’s always given 100% out there and it’s much appreciated by this fan.

Last night’s latest Turd on Ice by this team was about the worst I’ve seen since the 9-3 thumping by Toronto last January. If Nik Antropov can still say he has never seen this team quit this season then he just isn’t really paying attention.

Ramsay cannot be shown the door fast enough. Maybe we’ll be blessed sometime next week to read he has voluntarily stepped down due to health concerns but has decided to stay on in an advisery role. Then elevate Ramsay to head coach.

Oh yeah, and Atlanta Spirit, you SUCK!

Always Hoping

April 9th, 2011
8:55 am

….and one more thing. Please Mr. Kincade please stop with your “Balkan” mystery. Either give us details or remain silent. I’m hoping the Thrashers take you along to Winnipeg.

R. Stroz

April 9th, 2011
8:56 am

Decided to stay home last night and watch the game from the couch.

Some might refer to that decision as a WINNER.

ejimbo

April 9th, 2011
9:07 am

You are right, Rawhide, the boys left a pile of crap on the ice last night. I had the glasses on the Hockey Whisperer. Is the guy even alive? He scans the crowd after goals. Probably looking for either help or an electrician to turn out the lights. He’s a beaut!

Brett

April 9th, 2011
9:15 am

What a game! I brought a couple of first-timers to the game last night. Needless to say, they won’t be coming back anytime soon!!! What an embarrassing game!

As far as Little is concerned, he has continued to mature and it shows in his consistent play night in and night out! Thanks for the effort Brian!!!!

Stylez

April 9th, 2011
9:20 am

We are an ahl team

R. Stroz

April 9th, 2011
9:21 am

Hartley is looking better and better as a coach as each year passes.

Sage of Bluesland

April 9th, 2011
9:27 am

I don’t know why some expected different results….I guess some aren’t too swift when it comes to the ownership/management effect on the entire organization. I’m actually surprised they have done as “well” as they have. They have exceeded their payroll and care-given by the top of the structure.

I wonder if the coach will get any credit in taking these utterly inferior ingredients and making something better than when we had better talent across the board…and even less excuses?

Nah–it’s easier to be a Joe-Bob-Friday-Revionist-Historian and blame the coach for all that ills…and to change the story years later, having “known it all along”, of course…

Stop the disillusion–and blace the blame for this mess where it belongs….and for Heaven’s sake stop putting dollars in their undeserving pockets…if you want the behavior to change, you will cut the funds. All is Joe-Fridayesque.

Fan from Carolina

April 9th, 2011
9:27 am

He hasn’t posted yet but I’ll do it for him to save the energy. “I though the Thrashers played a good game. Most of those 6 goals were lucky. The Thrashers would match up well against the Canes in the playoffs.” :-)

Supes

April 9th, 2011
9:33 am

This marks the first season in 5 years where I didn’t go to a single Thrashers game. I refuse to support this ownership “mess” and this so called “rebuilding project” is looking like a failure at this point. I was considering going to one of the last 2 games, but I’ll save my money and go to a Braves game or two instead.

When and IF a new ownership group comes in, they need to CLEAN house…just like Arthur Blank did with the Falcons…new GM, new Coach(staff), and SHOW RESULTS…get this team in the playoffs for crying out loud….1 time in 11 years….simple won’t do gentlemen.

Frosty the snowman

April 9th, 2011
9:42 am

We will be here again next year talking about the same dissapointment like we are every year. The thrashers will sign some more ahl talent in the summer.
Yeah Supes I went to one game this year because I got free tix, I refuse to pay. Last year I didnt go to any games.
Everything from top to bottom has needed to change 5 years ago. The Organization needs a complete overhaul, total liquidation blowout!

R. Stroz

April 9th, 2011
9:45 am

The Thrashers organization needs a colonoscopy.

Big and Little

April 9th, 2011
9:51 am

Even though we have completely sucked the last half of the season, there was real hope the first half. If we can spend some money, develop some depth and not have to worry about injuries, we will be contenders. To those riding the coach, I say leave him alone. He has hockey knowledge and ability. I like his demeanor and I think he just lacks a couple of key players. The move to acquire Wheeler and Stuart was brilliant by Dudley, and I’m sure Rammer had a big part in that. We need to put this year behind us, and start preparing for next year.

One thing this team needs to work on, in my opinion, is conditioning. It is pretty apparent that we struggle on the second night of back to backs. More so than other teams. Part of this I believe is due to the youth of the team. Endurance in men peaks in the late 20’s and early 30’s (look at Lance Armstrong). We need to concentrate on fitness, strength, and nutrition. Put all of these ingredients together and I think we contend next year.

Get The Puck Out

April 9th, 2011
9:54 am

I guess Jonesy was right when he said that the Canes would dominate the Thrashers. I can’t think of any other word for it. Even dimwits can follow directions if you tell them what to do. Seems they aren’t following directions or the one giving directions is not doing a very good job in giving them. What a bummer.

World Be Free

April 9th, 2011
10:56 am

One thing we talked about in October was the need for NHL depth. We were very good the first 2 mos of the season, then fell back on December to ultimately land in our current position. Several teams have vaulted past the Thrashers since December. Look at the the other teams and you see NHL depth in the organizations. Buffalo has taken our spot in the playoffs; the Sabres have brought up NHL caliber forwards, defenseman and goaltending from their farm team. What contributions hve been made by the Chicago Wolves to the Atlanta Thrashers during this season? Very little from what I see. Last night’s game was one of 82 so I m not losing myh mind over it. The results are the symptom of greater problems.

The Chicago situation is the biggest issue Dudley must solve in the off season. You cannot expect your top 23 players to carry the team through 82 games and the playoffs. Fix the farm and alotta other issues will fix themselves. Current Thrahsers will be forced to play better because they know there re hungry young players on the farm ready to take their spots. I know there are other issues, but this is a hockey issue that needs repair. Other low budget teams have heathy farm systems.

2 positives last night-Burmie’s hits and Zubarov’s overall play. “Zubie” was Atlanta’s best defenseman last night.

sisu

April 9th, 2011
10:58 am

What a mess of a game, the team for the most part quit. Sad really unless they made a deal to lose to the Canes (Sarcasm)
Only positive was Little, scoring a goal at the last minute to prevent a shutout. I was shocked that there was a timeout called but maybe it is like the rec leagues around here? If a team is losing bad they still paid for the ice time so might as make it last and practice stuff during a game…

World Be Free

April 9th, 2011
11:12 am

We can complain about the past and the current sitution, but where do we go from here? This was a good team early on, then faded and fell back to where we were last season. You take some positives out of the first 2 mos and learn from what has happened since December. I am not taking a “rosie” approach to the Atlanta Thrashers, but it is what it is. How does this team move forweard in Atlanta?

Wayne stuck in AL

April 9th, 2011
11:26 am

RAMSAY MUST GO!!!
RAMSAY MUST GO!!!
RAMSAY MUST GO!!!
RAMSAY MUST GO!!!
RAMSAY MUST GO!!!
RAMSAY MUST GO!!!
RAMSAY MUST GO!!!
RAMSAY MUST GO!!!
RAMSAY MUST GO!!!
RAMSAY MUST GO!!!

Jason

April 9th, 2011
11:33 am

On the bright side, it was fun booing Rutherford Seydel last night….

AudraM

April 9th, 2011
11:58 am

Hey Bill! … It’s about time I got on here to leave a comment huh? Took long enough :) …. Great article …. It’s never easy (or fun for that matter) to write after a game like last night, but this is a great example of how to focus on the postive :) I’m really glad you chose to do a story on Little. I have always liked him as a player, but this season, not only do I really like him as a player, but maybe even more as a person. He was one of the first players I interviewed this year. He was on quite a hot streak, and when I asked him about it, he attributed his success to his teammates. Class Act. I think most people would agree his numbers don’t do him justice, yet he still plays hard. He isn’t jaded by the number of times he has been “snake bitten,” instead he does what he can to help his team. Too often you see athletes catch a series of bad breaks or are too concerned with stats and they never recover. I think this season Bryan has showed a level of maturity that not everyone has…. and I respect that more than anything.

See you Sunday… and thanks again for the help last night… my secret project is coming along… I’ll keep you posted!

-AM

Hoof Arted

April 9th, 2011
12:00 pm

Jason, amen that. How can that fool show his face at Philips?

GoalieBrian

April 9th, 2011
12:52 pm

Thought the game was great last night for personal reasons. A) Won great seats via the twitter contest (Thanks Ben Wright!), B) Got picked to do the second intermission contest (was in the red shirt), C) Got to boo Seydel (in the words of Gary Busey, “Butthorn”). Sorry the team got trounced, but man, I had a blast last night spending $15 on beer and walking out with some sweet prizes.

Rawhide

April 9th, 2011
1:00 pm

AudraM – Yeah, it’s about time you finally posted here, chickie! :cool: Very honored to have you do so and thanks for your kind words.

I’m not at all surprised of what you have to say about Bryan. Indeed he seems like a class act and we’re lucky to have such a player in the organization.

Good luck on your “secret project”. I know it’s going to turn out great

Smoothie

April 9th, 2011
1:05 pm

Billy! Great choice of subject matter in the wake of that God-awful display of fatigue / lack of will and in some cases heart / utter incompetence and confusion. That game was less fun than a sweaty pair walking thru the ATL Zoo in the middle of July choking on elephant dung.

Anyway, good to see you last nite along with a few of the usual suspects in our tight-knit Thrashers family. And great to see Blue Spark as it’s been a while since we’ve had a chance to chat it up. And Audra, I must say, that was as good a first post as anyone could possibly write for this dynamic and knowledgeable blogging forum!! Kudos and I hope the Taco Bell removed the hurt! ;)

As for Little, he may be little, but he is fierce! He has a huge heart and a never-ending motor on the ice. The fact that he is a +12 on a team with a wretched -43 is rather remarkable. And had he hit the inside of several posts, we’d be talking about his 25 goals to go with his 30 assists. But anyway, hopefully we can get him, Ladd and Wheeler some veteran help to take some of the pressure off of that top unit. He still needs work in the F/O circle but he’s coming around. I think 20-25 G and 35 A would be a nice goal for Bryan to set for himself next year. We’re lucky to have a consummate pro like B-Litts on our hometown team.

LAC

April 9th, 2011
1:08 pm

I agree with Joe Friday, Ramsey needs to step aside. We need a coach, not a teacher.
Some of his comments this season have been, very odd to say the least.

How much LONGER are we going to keep zach b. here, get something for him and help the team, He sure as hell is not helping and I will be the first in line to say HE cost us the playoffs with his Stupid play, Lazy play and Total inalility to play the mental part of the defensive game, Plus he has turned into a Total MARSHMELLOW . I sincerely hope Sunday at 3pm is his last game EVER in an Atlanta uniform.

Time for a number of others to go. DUD dudley should, but won’t. He has ZERO credibility
in my book and this team “he” built, did Not Cut It !

This run & Gun style has got to GO away ! Three years of it and nothing. Ramsey is NO different than John Anderson, except he has NO hair. We need to copy Washington and change styles of play. Total defense, Period. Look at the teams making the playoffs… Low GA. We sure don’t have that and the ONE season we did, we were much better = Playoffs.

Main off-season need, Top Flight NHL Goalies, Get rid of the two we have and get some Solid ones in here. And the mess in Chicago has got to END, it is Killing Us.

But as long as The Stupid Lying Group is in control, nothing will ever change, afterall, I still think there is a 50/50 chance there will be NO Atlanta Thrashers next season… But a new OWNER has to top the priorty list !

World Be Free

April 9th, 2011
4:26 pm

I knew we would get a LAC/Zach post for the ages today after the first 2 goals went in. Can’t say I disagree with you either.

Brendan

April 9th, 2011
4:38 pm

Red Light, NYR posted a very big and convincing win, 5-2, this afternood against the Devils. I think it forces the Carolina Hurricanes to win in regulation time or overtime, no? Or would a shootout win do, as well? This is a nail-biter. Noticed that the Rangers did the “Shirts off their backs” with their fans. Niiiiice.

I still want that 1st round pick traded for a legitimate player. Otherwise, I’ll have to sit through post after post about how the draftee isn’t living up to expectations or developing fast enough. Defensemen take 4 years. Goalies take 5 years. Forwards take 1-3 years. The Thrashers rush their draft picks into the lineup, ruining their development. I wish the practice would stop. I wish posters would give goalies and blueliners their requisite time to develop. Trading that pick, and pick # 38 or so, for another NHL-ready player, ends all that player development/our scouting sucks talk that permeates these boards.

Buzzeng

April 9th, 2011
9:27 pm

I have to ask, but isn’t there one thing we’ve learned this season – “don’t start Pavs in back-to-back games”…? Maybe Ramsay was trying to teach him to be a No.1 goalie (i.e. the No.1 goalie needs to be able to post two wins in back-to-back games). I can’t think of any other reason to start him last night, despite his performance the night before.

HillMan

April 9th, 2011
9:36 pm

As a day one STH who has renewed for next year, I too am disappointed with ownership, Ramsay and overall finish. However, like most preseason power ranking, I figured the Thrash would finish some where between 10-12 overall. They hit that range. We saw Little rebound, we saw Pavs get 4 shutouts and the team had 5 or 6 overall.

This season truly was a building year that will have payoffs next year – we had a forward learn how to play D, good offense from Buff – needs to work on his positioning and not backhanding pucks on D. We added 2-3 pieces (Wheeler, Stuart and Dovark) that will improve our PK next year. We developed a Russia, that many said needed to bulk up at the beginning of the season to make the team to make an impact – next year he will have more bulk and make a larger impact.

And while we had some huge disappointments with Zach and Pavs, each is young and will take this season and learn from it and come back stronger next year. They are professionals, they know they played poorly and will bounce back next year. We have one solid top two line (Ladd-Little-Wheeler) for next year and another top 6 forward in Kane. Two more top 6 guys and we will have to solid lines, and our other two llines will be solid as guy can more down from our top 6 to their rightful on the 3rd or 4th line.

kovyoverrated

April 9th, 2011
9:52 pm

My HOPE is that Bogosian has seen the writing on the perverbial wall, with a little “inside information from Duds”, and did not re-sign a 1yr lease on his apartment.
BYEBYE BOGO!

I would trade his sorry a@# for a coupon for a free “Frosty” from Wendy’s and a $50 gift card from Bass Pro Shops. Then I could refresh my trout fishing tackle, go get knee-deep in a N.GA stream and forget about this abortion of a season.
I could then stop on the way back in Cornelia and get a free Frosty for the ride home.
Good Thoughts.

EA

April 9th, 2011
10:28 pm

I just saw Henrik L. interviewed. Asked if he was disappointed that the Rangers did not clinch the 8th spot the other night against the Thrashers, he said “they are a good team, consistency is the their problem and the reason they are not in the playoffs”. The same words spoken by Brian Boucher.

Brendan

April 9th, 2011
11:24 pm

Congratulations to the University of Minnesota-Duluth for winning the NCAA Men’s Divion I National Championship over Michigan tonight, in overtime. It’s AMAZING just how often these National Championship games do come down to “next goal for all the marbles.” There have been some great overtimes to settle the title, through the year. I believe a player from Miami of Ohio, Miele (Sp?), won the Hobey Baker Award. Miami flopped in the tournament, however.

The “Beanpot” came down to overtime, this year, as well. It was BC over Northeastern, 7-6, I think.

Congratulations to the New York Rangers for making the playoffs. They lost control of their own destiny, but then did what they had to do, defeating the Devils, then got help from the Lightning, in the form of a 6-2 drubbing of the ‘Canes, to eliminate Carolina. :eek: , :sad: , :shock:

Hoof Arted

April 9th, 2011
11:51 pm

AudraM = Audra Martin?

Secret project? BlogMaster is in on it?

This should be interesting.

R. Stroz

April 9th, 2011
11:58 pm

Hoof Arted – You nailed that one.

After the last few renditions of the National Anthem, I wish they would let Audra sing more often.

Brendan

April 9th, 2011
11:59 pm

Okay, we have our Eastern pairings finalized:

# 1 Washington vs. # 8 NY Rangers – Two ex-Patrick Division rivals, who still know each other very well. A “train” series, from Union Station to Penn Station. These clubs have met five (5) times previously, with Washington holding a 3-2 series edge. In 2009, the two met in the 1st round, and the NY Rangers blew a 3-1 series lead, to lose, 4-3.

Note: “Did You Know?” … that since the Lockout, the NY Rangers have now made the playoffs five of the past six (5/6) seasons. The year they missed, 2010, they lost Game 82 in a shootout, to Philly. Amazing what introducing a cap for the Rangers out-of-control spending has done for the club.

# 2 Philadelphia vs. # 7 Buffalo – Two teams who seems to play each other a lot in the playoffs. Speaking of teams that have been in the playoffs five of the past six (5/6) seasons under the salary cap, here are the Philadelphia Flyers! Ken Hitchcock, John Stevens, and Peter Laviolette, Philly’s last three Head Coaches, have actually made money for the Flyers’ ownership. What a concept! And sandwiched inbetween all that was a DEAD LAST in the NHL finish, in 2007. They used the 2nd overall pick to select James van Riemsdyk. Sabres have played the Flyers eight times (8x) since 1975. The Flyers own a 5-3 mark in those series. Both the Flyers and the Sabres have reach the CF twice under this CBA. These teams last met in the first round in 2006, when Buffalo was enroute to the CF, and won the series, 4-2. For Buffalo, this is their fourth playoff berth under the salary cap. Darcy Regier deserves some credit for that, on a limited budget.

The # 3 vs. # 6 match-up has NOT CHANGED since February! So, it’s of very little surprise to either the Habs or Bruins that they’d meet again in the playoffs. Guess how many times the Bruins have played the Canadiens in the playoffs? The answer is: 32. Montreal owns a WHOPPING 24-8 mark in those series. Montreal is another club that, five years of out six, (5/6), has been in the postseason dance. They only missed in 2007. In 2008, the top-seeded Habs beat the Bruins, 4-3, in what was nearly a UTTER collapse. Montreal held a 3-1 series edge, but the Bruins forced Game Seven. Habs won, 5-0. In 2009, the top-seeded Bruins got their revenge, SERVED COLD, via a 4-0 SWEEP. Both these clubs have been the # 1 seed in the East, in this CBA. Neither won the Cup or reached the CF when they did. For Boston, this is their fourth trip to the dance under the current CBA.

# 4 Pittsburgh vs. # 5 Tampa Bay. Pittsburgh is YET ANOTHER team to make the playoffs five times out of the six years (5/6) of the current CBA. They missed only in 2006. Tampa and Pittsburgh have NEVER MET in the playoffs before. If there’s to be an upset, this Lightning have a shot at it, with no Crosby, no Malkin, etc. But this is not the 2004 Bolts team. What TB needs to take away from this series … is the experience of it. For Stamkos and Hedman, this is the first step towards a multi-year window for TB to win the Cup. Pittsburgh’s got the experience. And we saw what they did … missing two of their major horses, in the second half of the season. Is Dwayne Roloson back in 2006 form? Fleury’s got his credentials, but the Pens are smarting from last year’s major upset by Montreal, in the 2nd round.

Brendan

April 10th, 2011
12:01 am

Trixie, help!!

Balkan

April 10th, 2011
2:07 am

HOLY MANbearPIG!

KLS1

April 10th, 2011
8:17 am

Kovyoverated…the price you are asking bogo is too high.

World Be Free

April 10th, 2011
8:54 am

Congrats to Red Light and the Rangers for making playoffs, especially after the bummer of being out of the post season as a result of a shootout last year. Deja vu for the Canes; 24 hours earlier they witnessed the Thrashers go on the tank, Canes dove into the Georgia Aqarium last night too. Funny how bd they looked Saturday after looking so good Friday. Just like the Thrashers being great on Thursday and horrible on Friday. Back to back games at the end of a long regular season.

Red Light

April 10th, 2011
10:15 am

Thanks WBF, but I don’t think the euphoria will last too long without Callahan. Even though they played well against the Caps in the regular season, this is a tall task, although I can see the series going to six or seven. You can’t use the word choke referring to either the Canes or Rangers, they both played well down the stretch except for one or two games. Shows how tough mentally the Lightning are, winning on the road with nothing to gain from the victory.

Interesting day today. A Thrashers win means they “lose ground” to 22nd overall in the league and likely would pick 8th rather than 6th (a Thrashers loss and a Devils win).

For those of you complaining about the Thrashers head coach, be mindful that they improved from 16th last year to 5th in blocked shots this season with a total of 210 more this season, and were outshot in the fewest number of games in franchise history this season (43 of 81 so far).

World Be Free

April 10th, 2011
10:30 am

R/L, the coach will be back; he also needs more pieces and depth in the system to sustain this team for an entire season.

Playing the Caps knowing that the disaster of last season’s first round exit is still on their minds. Washington is much better defensively as a team from last seaosn, but the “failure” experiences are still there. Caps may be grippingtheir sticks too tight, an early Rangers’ win in this series will bring panic to the Washington faithful. Should be interesting.

Tom Lysiak

April 10th, 2011
10:49 am

Yes, incremental progress in blocked shots and being outshot is a good thing. However, it is apparent to me that another thing you mentioned RL, “mental toughness”, would have actually served this team more. What is the source of the mental toughness of the Lightning? Do all 23 of their players just naturally possess it? Did Ladd and Buff have it in Chicago last year and suddenly lose it when they got off the plane down here? How then is it taught/delivered/imparted on the masses? Some might say it is the job of the head coach and the organization. I think a head coach has to realize when that mental toughness is missing and take measures to fix it. Mental toughness helps you survive a goal and not give up another one within 15-30 seconds, repeatedly. Mental toughness keeps you from going on huge losing streaks. To me, even above the lack of overall talent on the team, the lack of mental toughness was the X-factor this year. Just my 2 cents.

VOLinATL

April 10th, 2011
11:13 am

Get rid of the red sweaters for next year!!!!! Seriously what is our record in them??

R. Stroz

April 10th, 2011
11:24 am

Trust me, the red sweaters are gone.

Red Light

April 10th, 2011
1:52 pm

Tom Lysiak: I think it is learned behavior, and it is a great point you made. Leadership isn’t a one man, captain only thing in the NHL. You have to have belief in many players and the coaching staff to get you past rough spots, bad performances, adversity. From day one, I believe Vinik, Yzerman, Boucher, Lecavalier, St. Louis, etc. mandated mental toughness from everyone in the organization. After the long home stand they had, which didn’t turn out as easily for them as they had hoped, they re-grouped and won key games down the stretch. Even after losing the division lead to Washington, they still finished strong by winning 6-of-7.

Remember, Vinny missed 17 games, Gagne 19 games, Malone missed 28, Downie 25, and they had Brewer and Bergeron for only 22-23 games.

The difference is that when their depth was compromised, the owner and GM went out and got key pieces for them. Must be nice to be able to add salary rather than playing it on the cheap like ASG did. Tough spot for Dudley to be in, and the biggest difference between the Lightning and Thrashers, the 1st and 3rd lines.

Flagstaff

April 10th, 2011
3:08 pm

Can anyone at the game post here for the Snyder Award, Player’s Player Award, and MVP results?