Bogosian not stressing over season, rift with Torchetti

To say that Thrashers defenseman Zach Bogosian had a down year would be quite the understatement. In his third NHL season he seemed to have slumped in almost all aspects of his game.

Offensively he scored only 5 goals, down from the 10 of last year despite duplicating the same 155 shots on goal total. His 17 overall points were 2 fewer than what he put up in his rookie campaign even though he played in 24 more games now as opposed to then.

But it was on the defensive end of the ice where his game seemed to take an even greater step backwards from his first two NHL seasons. Bogosian finished the year with a –27 rating, which continues his downward tend in that category. In his rookie campaign he posted a +11 then followed it up with a –18 last season.

Zach Bogosian looks to put this past season behind him, as well as the rift between he and associate coach John Torchetti. Bogosian scored 5 goals, 12 assists and was a –27 in the 2010-11 season (Photo/Michelle Rivers)

Zach Bogosian looks to put this past season behind him, as well as the rift between himself and associate coach John Torchetti. Bogosian scored 5 goals, 12 assists and was a –27 in the 2010-11 season (Photo/Michelle Rivers)

Of the 891 players who suited up for games this year, only four posted worse +/- numbers. Of those four, only Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson averaged more time on ice than Bogosian’s 22:24 TOI.

All this, even though he did go eight consecutive games last fall where he did not record a negative rating.

One positive for Bogosian is that he found a way to stay out of the sin-bin this time around. After accruing 47 and 61 PIM during his first two seasons, he only spent 29 minutes in the box last year. There were 12 minor penalties whistled against him and he participated in one fight.

The exact cause of his off year has been the topic of many discussions here in the Thrasherville blogosphere. One theory has been the apparent conflict between Bogosian and associate coach John Torchetti, the man responsible for the team’s defensemen. And the inability to meet Torchetti’s expectations led to a string of three games where he watched the game from the comfort of the press box.

In this February article posted by ESPN.com’s Scott Burnside, head coach Craig Ramsay admitted Bogosian was experiencing some growing pains and indeed he was having a tough time living up to the coaching staff’s standards. But he doesn’t feel Bogosian was being treated unfairly.

“I don’t think that John is mean to him”, Ramsay explained. “I don’t think he’s overly vocal with him. I think John is just trying to do what he thinks is best for Zach and for everyone.”

“I trust John to pass on the appropriate information in the appropriate way. I think misunderstandings occurred that have been dealt with and I see nothing but good things”.

As for the relationship between player and coach, Bogosian was asked recently during the end-of-season media gathering if the problems with Torchetti could have had anything to do with his performance. In his response, the 6’-3” native of Massena, New York did not dismiss the friction between the two. But he also wasn’t quite ready to blame it all on the clash of personalities either.

”Yeah, it was a different feeling obviously”, Bogosian replied. “I had never had that done to me since at least juniors [but] it’s part of the game”.

”It’s tough to pinpoint exactly what that was”, he continued. “I mean there is a lot of things you could say about it, but it’s not something that I shoved into the closet and didn’t think about. But, it’s not something that I stressed over a lot either”.

“It was something that was there in your mind, but you try not to worry about it too much.”

Whatever problems he might be experiencing with Torchetti, Bogosian said he simply had to try and apply the lessons to his game and move forward. He said, “You just can’t look too much into it, work hard every day and hope for the best. That’s what I did and fortunately it worked out for the best during the last half of the year”.

“I think the second half of the year I skated a lot better than I have in the last couple of years. I definitely felt I had a good stride out there and used it to my advantage”.

But what’s done is done, and Bogosian knows there nothing that can be done about the season that’s now in the review mirror. Instead, he’s looking forward to the new campaign this fall and understands he needs to work on his game during the summer to prepare for it.

”I am just looking at going into the summer with the approach of being a better player. I want to be the best player that I can possibly be next year.”

Looking to improve upon this past season would do more than just put him back on track regarding his development, but can also affect his bank account. As well as celebrating his 22nd birthday next summer, Bogosian will also be looking to work out a new contract with the Thrashers as he’s scheduled to become a restricted free agent at that time.

115 comments Add your comment

Alan R.

April 14th, 2011
12:08 pm

Here’s to hoping he can put together a better season next year than the one he had the past couple years. I hate seeing him not succeed, or not play to his potential.

He needs to be better. We need him to be better.

World Be Free

April 14th, 2011
12:09 pm

From the previous blog-
Red Light-the interesting thing about Poile is that he did his research and made a decision on his long term coach long before his team hit the ice. He found a coach with no NHL experience that played the style the Predators wanted to play and stuck with the same coach since Day One. Trotz’s longevity in Nashville is of great significance than Lindy Ruff’s stay in Buffalo, an established NHL team. The Predators lose players to free agency every season and never miss a beat. Poile rarely makes the same mistake twice.

Occasional ownership instability has had little effect on the on-ice product.
This is a franchise that thrives in a non-traditional hockey market. It can be done here.

SomaAtl95

April 14th, 2011
12:14 pm

Part of me thinks he wants a trade, however its hard to trade a player with diminished value, unless we want another 7th round draft pick.

Smoothie

April 14th, 2011
12:18 pm

Who cares about his skating stride? When is he gonna learn how to play defense in the slot / crease area? That’s all that should matter going forward. To hell with the offensive side of the game, kid has a sawed-off shotgun for a slapshot and I’d rather him not worry about offense outside of keeping the puck in the zone on the PP and supporting the rush every once in awhile.

Smoothie

April 14th, 2011
12:18 pm

Oh yeah, excellent piece Bill!!

Sage of Bluesland

April 14th, 2011
12:20 pm

I’m going to be a Joe-Bob-Friday-Revisionist-Historian and call for the head of Torchetti….It’s HIS fault our defense is so bad….FIRE THE ASSISTANT COACH and just you watch our defense improve!

We’ll make the playoffs once we fire Torch…I knew it all along….

(snicker)

World Be Free

April 14th, 2011
12:21 pm

It amazes me that a rift between coach and player can fester so long and not be addressed by the head coach. Especially when Bogosian’s play so clearly regressed as the season progressed.

I keep referring to plans and visions, both on and off the ice. So what is the plan to get Zach Bogosian’s play back to the level of a top 4 NHL defenseman, which is where it should be? Forget the fact that the kid was rushed to the NHL, he is here and his progress needs to be planned or it will never happen.

Do you limit his offensive chances and have him focus on learning defense? No more rushing the puck, use the boards and concentrate on breakout passes to the blueline and beyond. This is what should have been done 2 years ago.

Or do the Thrashers go out and get a veteran defenseman that can stay at home and compensate for Bogosian’s defensive lapses, allowing Zach to still move up and contribute to the offense? There are other options, but there has to be a plan not just sit back and hope the situation gets better.

Thomas Magnum

April 14th, 2011
12:37 pm

If Bogosian doesn’t get it together next season we are going to have look into trading him. The guy couldn’t have been much worse this year.

World Be Free

April 14th, 2011
12:52 pm

Let him watch tapes of Luke Schenn-
Schenn is the same age Bogo is, drafted behind him and clearly ahead of where Bogosian is in progressing as an NHL defenseman. He sticks with the basics, which is where Bogo needs to be.

Sorry to repeat what I have said before, but it is what it is.

ZAvalanche

April 14th, 2011
12:53 pm

Every player goes through rough stretches and doesn’t always get along with coaches. I don’t know how Torch treated ZBo off the ice, but it is obvious that his system of running offensive-coached defense men didn’t work. Same problem in CO. There is a reason you are a defense man – you PLAY DEFENSE. Scoring should not be your goal (no pun intended). It should be +/- and minutes played per game.

I think ZBo will eventually turn out, and as many have posted, it takes at least 4 years for a D man to mature into the game. Maybe the problem is Torch, I don’t know. I still think Buffy needs to be a center and that Thrashy needs to have more of a hand in their minor affiliates. Draft some D, hell, trade up for a chance at Larsson.

I also think Thrashy is missing a solid PF. One with skills and speed. Ummmm, Buffy? He is right there, he is big, has great hands, quick. Why not put him in as a PF? Thoughts?

GaVaHokie

April 14th, 2011
12:56 pm

The reason it dragged out, and probably why it was never addressed by Ramsay was the Coaching staff kept telling Zach the same thing over and over again, but it wasn’t sinking in… one thing inparticular that Darren Elliot pointed out not too long ago was Zach never turning to the inside of the ice to cut down a player who was beating him to the outside like you’re supposed to… it was little things like that. I don’t think it was anything grandeous in regards to joining the rush, or staying back more.

GaVaHokie

April 14th, 2011
12:58 pm

To finish my thought… I could see Ramsay being the type of Coach to let Torchetti yell at him ‘until he gets it’.

Joe Friday

April 14th, 2011
1:21 pm

“but it wasn’t sinking in”

Hokie has it here. And I can’t remember who was onto it at the start of this season, but Bogo’s problem is that the boy just isn’t bright. You have to have situational awareness and good anticipation in the league, especially as a dman, and he just doesn’t have it. You can’t teach smart.

Big Wally

April 14th, 2011
1:28 pm

Bogo is a turnover waiting to happen. The Thrashers could have put a lounge chair on the ice and had a better defense than with Bogo.

hockeygoon79

April 14th, 2011
1:30 pm

Much of the season, Bogosian looked like someone who just woke up and found himself in the middle of a freeway. Confused, bewildered and frightened he was.

My hope is that Ramsay, Torch or someone can get through to him and quick. The kid has all the right physical tools and could be a real asset if properly trained and developed.

GaVaHokie

April 14th, 2011
1:47 pm

Bogo’s problem is that the boy just isn’t bright

Eh, I wouldn’t go that far… He just experienced his first ever NHL coaching change. I just think he’s young and hasn’t had a ‘fundamentals’ Coach quite like Ramsay and Torchetti. He played two professional years under a willy nilly John Anderson style. He got comfortable and now he’s being knocked down a peg or two.

More is expected from him… he’s had a lot more being THROWN at him, and it’ll take time to put it all together.

I think nothing but good can come from a Coach telling him to “do it again… again… again”.

Mat"T"

April 14th, 2011
1:54 pm

I agree that there is all this untapped potential in this guy, but time is running out on being patient. I truly believe the key to Blueland’s success next year is to keep 95% of the roster intact and work on developing each and every player in the current system. We need one or two marque offensive threat’s and I think we will be in Philips Arena this time next year hoping to advance to the semifinals. LET’S GO THRASHERS!!!!!

R. Stroz

April 14th, 2011
1:56 pm

Joe Bob Friday – That would be yours truely that noticed a severe lack of acuity on Bogosian’s part. However, in all fairness, there were others as well.

An interesting side bar, when the news of Torch and Bogo’s rocky marriage went public in the Canadian press, I read several articles about how numerous scouts, although impressed with Bogosian’s size, were extremely concerned over his “hockey sense.” At the draft, I explicitly remember St. Louis being concerned that the Thrashers were going to pick Pietrangelo instead of Bogosian. That was my first tip that the Thrashers “wonderful” scouting staff had missed something….again.

blade15

April 14th, 2011
1:57 pm

Great article !!! – Bogosian has a bad attitude which he takes on the ice with him . my opinion for what its worth is he doesn’t want to be here, he’s made several comments about the fans and crowd. His lack of defense on the ice as well as his ego needed to be benched , unfortunately i still don’t think its “sunk ” in .

KLS1

April 14th, 2011
2:25 pm

He has never had anyone yell at him since juniors…give me a break. He tried not to worry about it…is he the victim here?
It worked out for the best the last half of year? What? Is he saying he played well down the stretch?

I know I have been tough on Bogo but we have a problem here people…and its what I didn’t hear in the article that concerns me most, like:

I learned what the coaches want from me and I plan to continue to work on that to get better.

Or I am disappointed in how I played this year and look to make strides to be an overall more complete player next year.

A little humility and accountability would go a long way. After how rough they were on Bergie I gotta believe he will be moved prior to next season if they can get the right deal.

Smoothie

April 14th, 2011
2:37 pm

blade15

April 14th, 2011
2:41 pm

KLS1 – EXACTLY my point !!!!

Red Light

April 14th, 2011
2:42 pm

I’m sorry guys, but I subscribe to the camp that first looks for physical ability, particularly when looking at a under-21 prospect, regardless of where he is playing. You may not be able to teach “smart,” “awareness” or “anticipation” but even the dense can learn positional play, safe areas where to go with the puck, when to gamble and when not to take chances.

Yes, the kid has played 199 games over the past three seasons and should have wised up by now, but there are just so few kids with the size, speed and strength Bogo has at his age. In case you have forgotten, he only played two years of junior hockey and is one of only three defensemen drafted by the Thrashers ever to play more than 100 games for the club.

Maybe you have to look back at Bogo’s and Kulda’s development (teammates in Peterborough) under coach Vince Mallette (former Ottawa 67’s assistant under Brian Kilrea and fired after 2 years with the Petes), and then wonder why Bogo only spent five games in the AHL with Chicago while Kulda has played 197 games for the Wolves. Steve Downie is the only other player from either of those two seasons in Peterborough to play in the NHL.

KLS1…you may have missed the last quote: “”I am just looking at going into the summer with the approach of being a better player. I want to be the best player that I can possibly be next year.”

Smoothie

April 14th, 2011
2:45 pm

KLS1 – KLS gonna rock you! Great post my man. Perhaps it’s a lack of maturity or just his indelicate expression of thought, but I’m much more worried about how this saga is gonna play out compared to my worry (in the meantime) over potential relocation to Canada.

KLS1

April 14th, 2011
2:48 pm

Here are some facts behind the delusion.

Pre all star break he was -12
Post all star break he was -15
March was his worst month at -10

In wins for the season he was only +7 but in games they lost he was -34.

KLS1

April 14th, 2011
2:56 pm

ok…I feel like Torch now, will back off.

Thanks for the update Smoothie. Sadly I kinda hope the Glendale deal falls apart and take some pressure off us relocating.

ZAvalanche

April 14th, 2011
3:03 pm

Tonight’s games.

Montreal at Boston – this is going to be a grudge match but I don’t see the Canadians pulling this one out. Never know though, spite and revenge are serious emotions.

I think that Philly is pissed at losing the #1 seed, sorry Buffalo, you might be in for an ugly game.

San Jose is going to mow LA. Without some of their stars LA just doesn’t have the horses to swim with the Sharks.

GaVaHokie

April 14th, 2011
3:05 pm

At the draft, I explicitly remember St. Louis being concerned that the Thrashers were going to pick Pietrangelo instead of Bogosian. That was my first tip that the Thrashers “wonderful” scouting staff had missed something….again.

Uh… I don’t recall that at all… I remember the discussion being more like this.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/news/story?id=3448428

I remember the majority of the people on this blog wanting Nikita Filatov anyway.

GaVaHokie

April 14th, 2011
3:05 pm

ZAvalanche

April 14th, 2011
3:11 pm

Nice link GaVa, hindsight is 20-20 right?

Smoothie

April 14th, 2011
3:19 pm

Nikita Filatov??! On this blog?? Perhaps a few, but seemed like the consensus was a D-man, just a matter of which one.

R. Stroz

April 14th, 2011
3:21 pm

GaVaHokie – I’m refering to the actual conversation at the St. Louis draft table on DRAFT DAY. Their table was mic’d up and they expressed concern that Atlanta was going to take Pietrangelo instead of Bogosian.

LAC

April 14th, 2011
3:25 pm

Question is… Can the team stand another season like the past one ? If so NO other team would want him and his value in a trade would be zilch.

He needs to be moved this summer. We have some depth at defense and I feel Postma could replace zach without a hitch. We need scoring, simple, trade zach before he kills his value to Atlanta.

A “smart” GM would usher him out of town for some scoring, but remember our GM is living inside a light bulb when it comes to putting a WINNER on the ice and the post season recap I saw was…
LAME !

World Be Free

April 14th, 2011
3:26 pm

I am not going to question how smart Bogo is or isn’t. Truth is, even a smart, young player will be tainted if he is not handled properly. I go back to his age and what has been expected of Bogo before his 20th birthday. Pietrangelo was left in juniors just like Tyler Myers for additional seasoning.

Bogosian was tossed on the ice like a Detroit squid from day one.
No plan, no vision, little support= Bogosian as he is today.

ZAvalanche

April 14th, 2011
3:33 pm

LAC – I don’t think we could get much for ZBo at this point. Put him in the minors for a season and let him get some leadership time.

Hoof Arted

April 14th, 2011
3:41 pm

Don Waddell was sitting at his desk recently looking at the stats of the 2 players picked 3rd and 4th overall in the 2008 draft. He then smacked himself on the forehead and cried out…

“I could have had a Pietrangelo”!

ZAvalanche

April 14th, 2011
3:54 pm

OK, after a piece by Adrian Dater saying that Adam Foote’s # should be retired before Forsberg’s, I offer you this little ditty, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRtrQ1YrCzw . If you aren’t in hockey playoff mode already, this should do it for you. Talk about a rarity, watch how he hits and moves. Amazing. Thrashy needs a player like this.

Twisted Wrister

April 14th, 2011
4:10 pm

It suffices to say, Don Waddell has smacked his forehead so many times that he has incurred permanent brain damage.

Rawhide

April 14th, 2011
4:11 pm

Congrats to Jim Slater who was nominated by his teammates for this year’s King Clancy Memorial Trophy.

This award is presented annually by the NHL to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community.

KLS1

April 14th, 2011
4:45 pm

ZAv – nice tribute…Foppa was a beast. I still wear #21 in his honor.

glovesave29

April 14th, 2011
4:58 pm

ZA – Bogo cannot go down without clearing waivers.

LAC – you keep touting Postma and Kulda…but what do you really know about them? Right now they are just a couple of Dmen in the AHL with little to none in the way of NHL experience.

THE RED JERSEY IS OFFICIALLY RETIRED. At least I can report some good news regarding this team!

ZAvalanche

April 14th, 2011
6:14 pm

Ahh, that is right Glove, forgot about that.

KLS1 – I will NEVER wear another player’s jersey and I am fortunate enough to have Swedish cousins who got me a MODO, full team signed, Foppa jersey :)

Matt from MN

April 14th, 2011
6:41 pm

Zach NEEDS to be stressing out, as this was a RFA year for him, he did terrible and his future is very, very murky right now. I think he’s got a ton of talent, but he has got to get his act together and soon.

tommy2tone

April 14th, 2011
8:58 pm

Poor Zach got yelled at. So lets fire the coaches…….spoiled brat!

Hokie P. Clisters

April 14th, 2011
9:09 pm

Hokie’s quick fix for 2011-2102. Put Buff on a line with Kane and Bermie. I like the sound of that line. Pair Bogo back with Toby. See if it light’s a fire under his Bogo’s rear – and its probably our last chance to salvage this kid. At least experiment with it during the preseason. Does Buff want goals or wins? We know Buff wants to win. Plus Buff is stuck with us for a while so we need to at least try it out! We all know we ain’t gonna get any real help (top 6 forward or top 5 defenseman) with our owners so we need to think outside the box.

Flames

April 14th, 2011
9:24 pm

Zach will be fine… He is a good kid with alot of talent. The kid loves playing in Atlanta. He just can’t handle the pressure of the expectations of him. He really wants to do well here. He Just needs to mature more as a player. The kid puts to much pressure on himself. Torch treats Zach different than he does the other players. Torch needs to figure out how to reach him. Some people just don’t respond well to being yelled at everyday. That is what a good coach does. If figures out how to coach each player.

Hokie P. Clisters

April 14th, 2011
9:45 pm

Good point Flames – I hope Torch figures it out. I’d hate to lose his potential for nothing. I’m afraid if Zach leaves we would quickly forget about the Coburn fiasco. Our new Thrasher’s lament would be – “Why couldn’t we develop this kid? He’s a beast now”.

World Be Free

April 14th, 2011
10:09 pm

Flames-very well said, the kid (and he is a kid) needs to figure out the game. Giving him away would be a big mistake. It’s up to the organization to develop him, not just Torchetti.

Would the team have ruined Coburn too or did he develop in the Flyers organization?

World Be Free

April 14th, 2011
10:11 pm

Heatley gets the Sharks going

Flames

April 14th, 2011
10:35 pm

What I wouldn’t give to have Dany Heatley back.