Do The Thrashers Have Large Talons?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Pens Top Thrashers

I missed my first home game of the year last night as the Thrashers took on Pittsburgh. I've been battling a cold for two days and it was much worse on Thursday. So I'll keep this one short.

The team worked hard again, they were out-shot again (22-16 at Even Strength) and they were both a bit unlucky and lucky. They were lucky on the first two goals when a rebound came right to open Kozlov (Darren Eliot referenced the "lucky or good" debate by saying that they were in fact fortunate but credited them with doing the hard work to take advantage of a good bounce). Jim Slater threw a blind shot at the net that caught Sabourin with his five hole open.

They were unlucky when Satan got away with interference on Exelby that led to an odd man break against and a subsequent Penguins Power Play as Thorburn made a diving play to make sure that Pittsburgh did not score. On that power play, the Penguins worked hard but also benefited from a friendly off-the-stick-shaft deflection that won the game.

Before next fall the Thrasher must choose who their number one goalie will be for the future. My guess is that the choice will be Pavelec because he is younger, cheaper and may have more long run potential. Exhibit #1 in the case to prove Ondrej Pavelec is capable of being an NHL starter can been found by watching the Thrashers kill off a Penguins 5 on 3 power play. Pavelec was spectacular.

I hate to see anyone get injured, and I especially hate seeing possible concussions such as the one Todd White appeared to have suffered in the game. If there is a silver lining to White being out for a period of time, it would be a renewed opportunity for Eric Perrin to show Coach John Anderson his offensive skills playing on the Little-Kozlov combo. Assuming White is out for a while, someon will be called up from Chicago. Will it be a skill guy like Sterling or a checker such as LaValle?

I wasn't in the building because of the aforementioned cold, but it looked embarrassingly empty on television. The first five rows were nearly bereft of fans the sections to the right and left of center ice. The tickets distributed number was under 14,000 which usually means the turnstile attendance was several thousand below (The NHL "attendance" number is not the number of bodies that come into the doors but rather the number of tickets distributed). I have to say I'm surprised that Crosby and Malkin didn't pull in more of the casual fans. The sad thing is that so many people bought season tickets last year and watched a wretched hockey club most nights and this year the team works hard and is entertaining but nobody is there.


  • We were able to "relocate" from 317 to seats on the glass next to the Pens bench halfway through the first period. Not bad for seats we bought on the street for $20. The lower bowl filled up by the second period - I'm sure half of those upstairs had moved down. I had a similar seat in Montreal last year that cost $300 Canadian. My friends in Canada can't believe the access we have to practices & games in Atlanta. I thought the Thrash played well tonight - but the better teams usually find a way win. I agree, KL may not get his job back.

    By Anonymous d, at 11:43 PM  

  • Looking around the arena, it was very sad. After the Pens scored their first goal, my wife and I thought we were at a Penguins home game and not a Thrashers one. Quite a few penalties missed in this one by the refs. Thrashers still continue to play hard. Although there were a couple of instances that Kovalchuk showed obvious frustration either with himself or some of his teammates. One thing I have noticed in the games I have attended and the others I have seen on tv is that Schneider needs to stop shooting so much. The Thrashers won five in a row when he was out, and I have a theory on this. His shot is not Al MacInnis hard, and it seems like the goalies pick it up pretty well. When the Thrashers are set up in their offensive formation, it seems like every shot he takes, the goalie just gloves it and it kills any push or momentum the Thrashers have going because they have to start all over with a faceoff. Also, Kovalchuk definitely needs to shoot more and needs to stop always looking for an extra pass on the power play. The shot he seems to pass up is usually a better one than the one he gives to a teammate. When Jason Williams has a breakaway and is four feet from the net, he needs to shoot the damn thing!

    By Anonymous Jay, at 3:18 AM  

  • The Todd White hit was rough. He was out of body for about 60 seconds. The 5-3 PK was the highlight of the game. We were taunted by a Pens fan walking out after the game. I beaned him with my empty cup. Is that wrong?

    This team is going to rattle of a couple of more 4 or 5 game win streaks. Write it down.

    By Blogger pkwaldrop, at 8:40 AM  

  • Exelby still does not know how to move the puck out of his own zone and it was his mishandling that lead to the PP. He is killing us again this year

    By Anonymous Ben, at 9:48 AM  

  • The total attendance seemed pretty much average with the other 3 or 4 home games I've been to this season, but the thing is, as you mentioned, about 1/3 of them were Penguins fans.

    Jay- I think Schneider's shot is pretty good (one of the better ones of Thrashers defense) and I'd rather see a shot and a chance at a rebound goal rather than a pass that might get intercepted. Maybe his shots are getting gloved because we don't screen effectively? Totally agree with you on the Kovalchuk thing though.

    By Blogger Thrashers Recaps, at 12:28 PM  

  • The thing that really surprised me was how many odd man rushes were in this game, at least nine from what I can remember. Even Pens broadcaster Paul Steigerwald commented on this.

    It's a shame there weren't more fans in attendance, they missed an entertaining game. Kind of reminiscent of the way Pens games at Mellon Arena were around 2001 or so, in the days of Rico Fata. There did appear to be more Pens fans there, however, it was noticeable on TV.

    Had Marty Reasoner scored on that breakaway...

    Yes, Kovalchuk definitely needs to shoot more. He looks extremely frustrated at times in the game. He needs some steady support from his linemates, which would result in more opportunities over time, and needs to shoot more. He looks too intrepid at times.

    By Blogger spiker97, at 3:50 PM  

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