Thrash Talk: Respect

You may say it’s just that rush many teams get when a new coach is hired, and you could be right. But this looks like a totally different team under the direction of Hartley, with only one loss in his first six games. They will cool off in time, of course. But his teaching, demand for hard work and defense-first philosophy is rubbing off on the players and they are responding well. Even with this improved play, a top five pick in the entry draft still looks to be the Thrashers fate. However, they are slowly but surely gaining the respect of their opponents. News and Notes:

Thrashers are starting to embrace a more defensive game with their new coach. Their intensity is up, their defensive positioning solid, their puck support getting better at both ends of the ice. Atlanta has outscored its opponents 20-13 in six games under Hartley (considering what they’ve done before, this is pretty significant). When Dafoe returns from injury, he will get the chance to reclaim the number one spot. But Pasi Nurminen will continue to be the starter, unless Lord Byron returns to his good form. Since coming back from a three game suspension, Slava Kozlov has 5G and 10A in his last 9 games.

Injuries:

Dafoe (groin) – ready by middle/end of this week but won’t be rushed due to excellent play by Nurminen

Bartecko (groin) – should be ready to play Tuesday if needed

McEachern (groin) – placed on IR and will likely be out another week or so.

Uwe Krupp (back) – began practicing with the team. Another week or two needed for conditioning

Marc Savard (hamstring) – left Saturday’s game. Day-to-day

Prospect Update:

College

-Stephen Baby (Cornell) 27 points in 19 GP

-Jim Slater (Michigan State) 28 points in 24 GP

Finland

-Tommi Santala (HPK) 40 points, +20, tied for league lead in scoring, tied for fourth in PIMs

-Kari Lehtonen (Jokerit) 20-8-3 1.8GAA 93.31SV%

Chicago Wolves

-Simon Gamache 17G, 21A +14

-Mark Hartigan 8G, 20A +3

-Derek McKenzie 11G, 10A +12 Excellent faceoff man, hardest worker on team finally scoring

Trade Rumors:

GM Armstrong and Guy Carbonneau of the Stars attended the recent Blues-Thrashers game, most likely scouting Slava Kozlov. Vague rumors have mentioned Matvichuk or Erskine going to Atlanta, but to me it seems unlikely; Matvichuk is hurt for a while, Erskine still has a lot to prove and Kozlov is on a hot streak. The possibility still exists that Kozlov and/or McEachern could be traded at the deadline, depending on whether management wants to sign one or both of them to a new deal. In my opinion, they are both worth keeping for their talent and experience. There are others on the roster who are much more expendable than these two (ex. Tamer, Tremblay, Bartecko, Cowan)

Extras:

A recent article on CNN/SI’s hockey page makes mention of Marcio Campos from Brazil, who recently made a trip to Atlanta in order to attend five games on a Thrashers homestand. For several months on the message board at AtlantaThrashers.com, Marcio has stated to those of us viewing the board about his impending trip. Unfortunately, I was not able to attend any games on that homestand and was unable to meet Marcio. You have to admit though that the article was correct in saying that he is one of the more die-hard NHL fans (especially when he comes from a country where the people obsess about soccer more than Canadians do about hockey).

Even though I’m very excited about the Thrashers winning ways of late, I am a realist. I know their play will level off at some point and they will still remain one of the worst teams in the league, point-wise. But this is one of the very few happy times that any Thrasher fan has had in almost four years, the rest being futility and frustration. And like myself, there are many others that have waited two decades to get a hockey team they could finally call their own again. For a true fan, rooting for your home team even if they have played poorly for 20 years is infinitely better than having no home team to root for at all. Whatever you may think of this team (ie we should be contracted or we should be moved north), don’t be surprised at my excitement and enthusiasm about this run of good play and that Atlanta might finally be on the right track. Three weeks of enjoyment about my home team over the span of 24 years. That’s not too much time to ask for, is it?


18 Responses to Thrash Talk: Respect

  1. Rushing says:

    You can have Matvichuk. Erskine has already scored two goals in three games. He is much more physical than Mat and don’t put up with anything. Mat just hasn’t proven himself lately. I’ll keep Erskine.

  2. pantherboy says:

    Good update. I admit, up until recently I viewed the games against the Thrash as some easy 2 points. But not anymore, no sir. Hartley has turned this team around. I dunno if its just that little swing when a team gets a new coach or what, but they are looking sharp. Espcially after they man-handled the Blues like that.

    That must of been quite of an experience for that Brazillian. I probably felt the same way he did this winter as I FINALLY got to see 2 Panthers games IN FLORIDA. Its nice to go and see them in Detriot, Buffalo, and Toronto, but believe me, theres nothing finer then being in the home teams arena. Truely amazing.

  3. mikster says:

    Yeah, Lundmark had 6 goals in 25 games and is playing awesome.

    Still, that doesn’t prove much.

    I like Erskine, he should be ready by now.

  4. Rushing says:

    He “HITS” much harder than Mat. He’s running Hatcher a close race. At the same time, in 3 games, he’s already scored half as many goals as Hatcher has all season. That’s Hatcher’s big time weakness. No accuracy with the puck.

  5. mikster says:

    Watch out for the Thrashers next season…..

    I say they will make the playoffs, and TB will be screwed.

  6. pantherboy says:

    I like the tone of your voice.

  7. titans says:

    Soooo…the Thrashers aren’t in the AHL??? I’ll be damned!

  8. TaajAr says:

    Who would have thought the Atlanta Thrashers and Buffalo Sabres would be January’s two hottest teams?

    It’ll be interesting to see how long Atlanta can keep it up. It could be just the aura of a new coach but it doesn’t generally last this long.

  9. titans says:

    Could me Kryptonite…you know the blue kind…or maybe not.

  10. Tradedude says:

    LMFAO!!!!!!!!!

    haha good one, but you gotta give ’em respect.

    They got 2 future superstars, if not already superstars, plus a great goalie in Passi Nurminem, and a GREAT coach.

    and 1 good defense pair of kaberle and sutton.

  11. Rushing says:

    Dang, where did Dallas go? Lost one in their last 14.

  12. titans says:

    Yes I’ll give you all that, but after all that they have NOTHING. They need more depth. The rest of the team is filled with has beens and never will be’s.

  13. Freeze says:

    Where are all the Don Waddell bashers now?

  14. Tradedude says:

    No complaints here, but still even if u do have a whole shit load of junk from 2nd line to 4th line, including the defense, you gotta think they wanna play for a STANLEY CUP coach.

    they should see some free agent signees in the offseason. Players do have a lot of respect for Hartley u know.

  15. Tradedude says:

    Titans….

  16. cwhockey says:

    Minnesota is winning with the trap, pure and simple. But ask around and you will see that, from top to bottom, most know that Atlanta has more quality in their organization. I’m not sure players like Kozlov and Savard, who have been playing excellent in the last few weeks, would qualify as a shit load of junk. But new franchises have depth problems for at least the first four years; their only draft picks will just start to develop at this point. This is the case for Atlanta.

    I agree that depth is a problem. But it should be a short-lived one. There are a handful of excellent players scheduled to come over from Europe in the off-season (2 Finns, 2 Russians, maybe 1 Czech). The farm team in Chicago has two big Dmen that will be ready to contend for and take their spots on Atlanta’s backline next year, along with 3 or 4 other great talents that could be ready in about 1.5 years.

    That seems to be one of the reasons why many have slammed this team. They just simply don’t know enough about them, which is the reason why I came to this site. Looking at the players in Atlanta now and the others in the system, it would be ignorant to say that beyond a few players this team has nothing. Having a lot of talent and potential in your organization means nothing until you can develop it to play at the NHL level. But it’s so much better than having little to work with in terms of prospects. Atlanta has the talent in their system and in time we will see if that translates into a crop of good players. But if you are able to see the entire picture, the near future looks very bright for this team.

  17. Tradedude says:

    they just gotta win more.

  18. amok says:

    Atlanta has a prospect named Baby? Poor guy.

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