Do The Thrashers Have Large Talons?

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Festivus of Turnovers

Last night at Philips Arena a young hockey team with a new head coach came and played with great determination. With young guys playing key positions and getting ice time in crucial situations, the young team played excellent defensive hockey and ran away with the game that should have been closer on paper. Unfortunately that team was the Toronto Maple Leafs, not the Atlanta Thrashers.

The Thrashers gifted the Toronto Maple Leafs numerous extra possessions with turnover after turnover. Not a single Thrasher defensemen had an acceptable game. Time after time the Thrashers made elementary mental errors such as passing the puck behind a man, passing too far in front of a man, passing the puck to the other team or passing the puck to one in particular (while on an odd man rush).

Do any of these players feel guilty for taking the organizations money after an effort like that? They ought to be donating the pay check for this game to charity because they certainly didn't earn it. They should thank their lucky stars that they don't play in Detroit, Toronto or Montreal because they would be getting ripped apart by the local media and fans on sports radio stations. Here they can tip-toe out of the locker room and finish up their Christmas shopping without worrying any embarrassing comments from fans at the mall.

Does anyone on this team ever hold his fellow teammates accountable? Because this was the sort of game that should have resulted in either a broken TV in the locker room, water bottles being throw across the room or somebody shouting in some one's face after the game. I can guarantee you that Mark Messier wouldn't just dress quietly and slip out the door after watching his team mail it in like that. If someone wants the "C" on their chest tonight was an opportunity to show that you deserved to be called a leader. In my book only Armstrong and the 4th line were the only Thrashers who looked like they came to play.

Kovalchuk has gone back to over-passing again. I ripped into him several weeks ago because he seemed to forget that he has perhaps the most dangerous shots in the NHL. Here is a man on the verge of his 500th point who has a shot that ranks up there with guys like Brett Hull and he keeps passing it off or waiting until after the defenseman closes off the shooting lane. Memo to Kovalchuk: you shoot when the lane is there, not when you "feel" like it. You can score from just inside the blueline--you don't need to skate into the top of the circle and let the defenseman block your shot or take away the lane--rip it higher in the zone!

The Little White Russian line was far too "euro" last night, they were content with making short passes on the periphery and passed up several chances to put the puck on net. They finally did manage to score a goal but the game was out of hand at that point.

The entire defense corps ought to be ashamed of themselves. In baseball they have a term "defensive indifference" which means that a runner advanced with no attempt by the defense to stop him. Well the official scorer for the Thrashers-Leafs game could have used that phrase on the first three Leafs goals. Go and watch the replay and you'll see one wide open Leaf goal scorer standing unmarked and unmolested time after time. Even the "crease clear" Valabik fails to mark a Toronto player who gets an easy tap in goal. Lehtonen had no protection what so ever.

Defensive Indifference? Who was on the ice when the Leafs Scored
Goal 1 Oystrick-Schnedier Kovalchuk-Reasoner-Thorburn
Goal 2 Enstrom Havelid Little-White-Kozlov
Goal 3 Hainsey Valabik Kovalchuk-Reasoner-Thorburn
Goal 4 Enstrom Havelid Perrin Reasoner (PPGA)
Goal 5 Oystrick Schnedier Kovalchuk-Reasoner-Thorburn
Goal 6 Oystrick SchnedierLittle-White-Kozlov Kovalchuk (ENGA)

Cumulative Damage: Players on the ice for
4 Against: Kovalchuk, Reasoner
3 Against: Oystrick, Schneider Thorburn
2 Against: Enstrom Havelid Little White Kozlov
1 Against: Hainsey Valabik Perrin
0 Against: Slater-Crabb-Boulton Williams Armstrong

2 Comments:

  • Totally agree, they passed through our defense like swiss cheese. Since I collected stats for our defense yesterday, I looked at the new stats posted on nhl.com and determined how many turnovers each of our defensmen caused tonight:

    Oystrik: 3
    Enstrom: 1
    Schneider: 1
    Valabik: 1
    Hainsey: 0
    Havelid: 0

    To put that in perspective, compared to turnover numbers of other defensemen around the league that is about twice as many.

    By Blogger Thrashers Recaps, at 11:44 PM  

  • Well,
    I totally don't blame you, Falconer for saying what you said. I had a feeling that Toronto would win this one because they have been winning a lot lately. You would think that with Toskala out, we had a chance. Boy, was I wrong. Never saw Pogge coming. Toronto's defense, even according to Larry Murphy, is not that great either. But our defense must have been worse.

    I know that people have really been Lehtonen a lot of crap, and have suggested that he is traded, but he would do a lot better if our defense was better. And this time, you can't blame Exelby. He is injured and didn't play. The Oystrick-Schneider line gave up the most, according to you and according to Thrashers Recaps, it was Oystrick more. Same with the Havelid-Enstrom line. They didn't give up as many, but 2 goals still. And then Hainsey and Valabik. Maybe they should call up Kulda to replace Oystrick and see how that works.

    One more thing, I think that Anderson needs to consider which goalie to play according to who has the worst game against a team.

    Toronto did this with Curtis Joseph last night and played Pogge. Why can't we do that with our guys too?

    Lehtonen has lost 5 of 6 vs. Toronto. So, you don't play him. You don't play him or Hedberg against Philly either.

    I think that they should consider things more carefully with the defensive lines too because of where the Thrashers are giving up more goals.

    I think you are right about Schneider and Hainsey should be paired. Then Enstrom and Valabik or Enstrom and Havelid, and then Oystrick and Valabik or maybe Valabik and Kulda.

    Why Lehman was brought up a few nights ago, I don't know why. Why wasn't Kulda brought up? Or what about Hoffman? When is Hoffman going to be ready to play again? They just need to shake things up on defense so that our defense is more solid night after night. I think that our goalies would be more confident if our defense would not allow as many shots on goal.

    It is a sad statistic night after night to see the opponent with 19-30 shots on goal vs. our goalie facing 30-40 shots every night. Statistically, our goalies are among the worst, but I think, most of the time, it is because our defense is not doing their jobs often enough. I think that Hainsey is the best of them this season. He was definitely worth the money!! Schneider, I am still not sure what to think about him. Enstrom has done better, but Havelid is slowly showing that his effectiveness is waning too. Valabik is getting better. Oystrick is contributing too, but he is making errors of a young player. But we can't afford them right now.

    Last year at this time, we were at around .500 I think that we were 16-16-1 at 33 games. On this date last year, we were 19-17-1 though but we played 37 games. We are worse now than last year, and we supposedly have better players this year? ASG is not getting much of a return on their investment!

    For the record, I don't think Anderson is to blame either. It is all on the players!

    By Anonymous Steve, at 8:11 AM  

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