Was it a good goal…or was it not?
That’s sure to be the topic of debate today after the Thrashers fell to the New Jersey Devils Tuesday night. Trailing 3-2 in the dying seconds of the third period, Evander Kane got his stick on the puck as it was fired toward Martin Brodeur’s net and deflected it in for the game-tying score.
However, the ref waived off the goal claiming the puck was played with a high stick. Kane, while sitting on the bench waiting for the review call from Toronto, seemed to believe the call on the ice was …ahem…shall we say, “male bovine excrement”.
Later he would simply say, “I definitely disagree with the call.”
Ilya Kovalchuk then potted an empty netter, the Devils won 4-2 and for the first time this season have a points winning percentage above .500. The team that once was 10-29-2 and sitting in last place at New Years has gone 23-2-3 and has pulled even with the Thrashers in the standings with 70 points and has a game in hand.
When the Atlanta Thrashers take on the Devils up in New Jersey tonight, both teams will be looking to keep themselves within mentioning distance of the eighth and final playoff spot. Currently the Thrashers are tied with the Toronto Maple Leaves at 70 points…thanks to the Lightning’s 6-2 win in Toronto last night. Both trail the ninth-place Carolina Hurricanes by two points and the Rangers and Sabres, who occupy the last two postseason slots, by six.
Atlanta does have one more game remaining than do the Leafs and the Devils will be looking to move into a three-way tie.
Even with their current winning ways, New Jersey has had a tough time making up ground in the race recently. Even though they’ve gone 7-2 in their past nine games, they have only been able to go from 10 points out of a playoff spot to 8 in that time.
Last Wednesday night I was sitting in the Taco Mac on Highway 92 near King Road in Roswell. My friend Tom Ferda and I were viewing the game being played in Carolina that night on the HUGE TV screen located on the back wall…those who have been in that establishment know what I’m speaking of.
Anyway…as we were breaking bread together and preparing for the puck to drop, he commented that he truly felt this team still had a run in them. I came up from one of my hot wings long enough to respond, “Who…what? Which team are you talking about, the Thrashers or Canes?”
Tom insisted he was indeed referring to our Atlanta Thrashers.
“Look”, I said while picking up the last chicken wing. “The Thrashers playoff hopes are kinda like these plate of wings here”. I then gobbled it up and tossed the bone into the basket. “They’re finished.”
Wiping my hands on a napkin…or the back of a hoodie belonging to the kid sitting beside of us, I can’t remember which…I then continued, “The only ‘run’ that
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
I take you back to December 18, 2010, the last time the New Jersey Devils played in Atlanta. They slumped out of town after being drubbed 7-1 behind an Eric Boulton hat trick and their overall record fell to 9-21-2. The Thrashers, however, saw their position in the NHL standings elevate to 18-11-5 and the 41 points earned after just 31 games were enough to place them atop the Southeast Division.
The lone goal scored by the visiting team that night was former Thrashers Ilya Kovalchuk. It was only his 8th of the season thus far.
We in Thrasherville were dancing in the streets with joy as we experience a type of success not often seen in these parts. Two days after crushing the Devils, they traveled to Toronto and blew away the Leafs 6-3 and whispers of “Jack Adams” floated around Craig Ramsay. Truly, it was the best of times.
Devils fans, on the other hand, were left dealing with the exact same kind of misery we usually are
Once more the Thrashers drug the Carolina Hurricanes into overtime, just as they had three times in the previous four meetings. Once more their personal tormentor, Erik Cole, scored a big goal against them late in the game…this time on a break away after jumping off the bench to tie the game a two with 7:39 remaining in the third. But, unlike in the previous meeting with the Canes this season, this time it was the Thrashers coming away with the all-important two points after Tim Stapleton scored the game-winning goal for Atlanta in overtime.
Yes, that’s right…I’m talking about Tim “You can’t stop him, you can only hope to contain him” Stapleton, scorer of two goals in the last five games.
The Thrashers didn’t come by these two points easily, though. After going up 2-0 in the first period on goals by Rob Schremp and
Last night the Atlanta Thrashers were spared the indignity of dropping yet another rung on the NHL standings ladder. Had the New Jersey Devils continued their winning ways against the Ottawa Senator they would have jumped over the Thrashers and moved them down to 12th place in the Eastern Conference. It would have also left them with the 6th fewest points in the NHL standing…just one position out of being a lottery pick team in this summers draft.
Instead, the last place Senators edged the Devils 2-1 and the Thrashers remain in 11th place in the east and just two clicks north of Lotterypickville’s city limits. It’s a distance that has continued to shrink over the last few weeks as we’ve traveled down the road that is the second half of this NHL season.
Going into tonight’s game in Carolina, Atlanta remains seven points out of a possible playoff spot. And while some still cling to the ever-fading hopes that a playoff run is possible, the sad fact here is that there is a much
One of the nice things about Saturday night’s thrilling overtime win is that it gets to linger in our thoughts for several days. Following the 4-3 overtime win over the Florida Panthers Saturday night the Thrashers don’t play again until they travel to Carolina Wednesday night to take on the Hurricanes.
But even so, the truth of the matter is this team needed a much better showing than the 2-2-1 record the played to over this recent all-important five game home stretch. It’s not just that they only procured 5 of a possible 10 points in the standing when they really needed more, but they played the role of gracious hosts far too well by allowing 8 total points to leave town with visiting teams…all of whom were Eastern Conference teams.
So for those of you who may have held out hope that a good showing in those games would possibly catapult them back into the playoff race…needless to say it didn’t pan out that way. Now what you’re looking at is the team needing to go something
After last night’s most recent setback for the Thrashers, there were a lot of familiar lines coming from the losing locker room. It’s understandable I suppose…there’s really only so many ways you can describe yet another loss that materialized in much the same way a number of game have previously.
To illustrate this, let’s play a little game this morning, shall we? We’ll call this “The Now or Then Quote Game”. Basically, I’ll give to a few quotes that were attributed to players or the head coach following a loss. All you have to do is guess which one was said after last night’s 3-1 loss to Ottawa or after a previous defeat.
Oh, and no cheating, gang. No flipping back through previous game reports to match the quote with the game. Try to see if you can do this on your own.
OK…here’s the first group of quotes to play with:
1. “We all feel frustrated…we talk so much about shooting the puck at the goalie’s feet, and then we shoot it into his mid-section”
2. “It’s frustrating.
Allow me to take you back in time a month or so ago. Like the other 29 NHL teams, the Atlanta Thrashers were coming off the All Star Game break and preparing to begin the latter stages of the current hockey campaign. At the time the Thrashers were 24-19-9, coming off a 1-0 win over the Capitals prior to the break and sitting comfortably in a playoff position.
There were troubling signs, however, for the team. As has been the case for so many years they were giving up far more shots then they were taking themselves and this imbalance was pointed to by many as a major cause for concern.
Now with all that in mind, if I were to have told you back then that Thrashers would go on to outshoot their opponents by a combined margin of +91 SOG over the course of the next 12 games…an average of 36.4 S/G to 28.8 SA/G…what would you think the their record would be during those games?
Yesterday, Thrashers general manager Rick Dudley pulled the trigger on a trio of trade deadline day deals. He also re-signed newly acquired defenseman Mark Stuart and snagged a center off the waiver wire.
Here is a brief recap of what went down:
Sent to the Florida Panthers were forwards Niclas Bergfors and Patrick Rissmiller in exchange forward Radek Dvorak and a 5th round draft pick. Dvorak is 33 and has scored 7 goals and 14 assists in 53 games played. He’ll be a UFA come July 1 and is currently being paid $1.7 million this season.
Bergfors was a part of the deal with the Devils last winter that sent Ilya Kovalchuk to New Jersey. He scored 11 goals and 18 assists in 52 games and compiled a –11 rating. After coming to Atlanta last year he looked as though he could become a major piece in the Thrashers future, but things started to head south with him and the organization last summer during contract talks and he seemed to reside in coach Craig Ramsay’s doghouse all season.