Thrashers Head to the Rock For Some Southeastern Revenge

Good Lord, far too much time between games.

It's kind of like being quarantined at Christmas. You're sitting in your room upstairs, listening to everyone unwrap hat tricks and trading stats about "so-and-so's scored his highest point total to date since blah blah blah," and "so much for truculence, the Leafs are just as bad as they ever were."

Whoops, heh... how'd that get in there?

Um, awkward jump.

Anyway, just to hit a couple of points I discovered whilst cruising the Gore-acle this afternoon:

  • The New Jersey Devils Have Some Pretty Okay Blogs. First and foremost, there's our labelmates over at In Lou We Trust, whom the Falconer has so cordially chatted up. They like good music. I also recommend taking a gander at Interchangeable Parts. I really have no idea how Pookie & Schnookie (srlsy) ended up in my feed reader, but their blog has a sweet homey charm laced with a dangerous undercurrent of malevolent Devil fandom. Quite beguiling. Fire & Ice is an actual press blog (Tom Gulitti, proprietor) that does very well keeping folks up to date on Devil happenings. In the message board category, many were viewed, but one was chosen: NHLArena. They had a very comprehensive GDT for tonight's tilt, as well as an unexpectedly high number of "Go Thrashers" posts. From said blogs, we shall uncover exciting news and tidbits henceforth.
  • Last Time We Saw Marty, He Got A Boo Boo. Not that the Thrashers had really anything to do with Marty Brodeur's bicep tendon tearing, but they were there just the same. He's got at least a 90 minute shutout going against the Thrashers, and here's to hoping that streak ends tonight. To that end...
  • The Devils Like to Scare Their Fans. See what I did there? The Devils' last 3 road wins have been decided, in large part, in the last 7 minutes of regulation. Against the Lightning, Panthers and Capitals, it took last-minute heroics from the likes of Travis Zajac & David Clarkson to secure the Devs points in those games. This isn't David & Goliath here, folks. 

  • Davey-and-goliath1_medium
    No, this is Davey & Goliath. Subtle but important difference.


    The Thrashers can beat this team, and they should. I second Falconer's "4-3, Thrashers win" prediction.

  • Anssi Salmella Likes Atlanta. Our favorite Finnish defenseman sort of had it in his head that he might be traded somewhere:
    "You don't really know if you're going to be traded or not, but let's just say that I kind of knew it could happen. At that point, we were getting close to the playoffs and it was pretty sure at that time that Devils were going to the playoff and I wasn't there [in New Jersey], so I think they didn't really need me."
    Peanut doesn't see much red when he thinks of the Devils, though:
    "It’s not that big of a thing for me. It’s different than playing in other cities because I played here, but it’s not that big of a deal."
    Just find the back of the net, Chachi. Or make sure someone in red doesn't.

  • Finally, The Devs May Just Be Sick of Sweet Tea & Grits By Now. NJ's last three games have been on the road against Tampa Bay, Florida and Washington. Tonight, Atlanta and tomorrow, Carolina. The Devs have pulled out 6 points so far; let's see if Le Thrash can land a blow and grab at least a point tonight. It's time to defend some Southleasterneastern hockey honor. In my best Yankee-turned-Southerner dialect: Y'all come back now!

Who's excited about hockey!?!?!

 

Tim's Take: I sure am! The Thrashers have played just 3 games, the least in the league. In fact, just two teams have played 4 games - the Islanders and the Sabres - so the Thrashers qualify as an outlier. Sitting at 10th in the Eastern Conference, the Thrashers are actually doing pretty well this season. We're one game over 0.500, just like the Washington Capitals. Aaron covered the bases, but I figured I'd chime in with a few thoughts.

 

  1. Pace Yourself - The Thrashers started the season with one game at home followed by five on the road. The target - according to Captain Ilya Kovalchuk - is one point per game for the trip. I tend to agree. With a win on opening night, a seven-points-in-six-games start to the season would keep the Thrashers on pace with the Capitals, though the Capitals have played four games at home. With two points in two games, the Thrashers are succeeding so far. The remaining road trip games are against the Sabres and the Canadiens, so it's very possible for the Thrashers to pick up 3 more.
  2. Captain's Orders - Ilya Kovalchuk has 5 goals in 3 games. Need I say more? Kovy has been the Thrashers best player so far this season. Unlike in years past, if Kovalchuk hits a slump this year, his line has enough firepower to continue to be successful. That said, I am slightly concerned that our top-6, outside of Kovalchuk, hasn't scored any goals. Not one. Which leads us to...
  3. Balanced Attack - Kovalchuk has five of the Thrashers' 12 goals, but those 7 other goals are distributed pretty well. 3 from the 3rd line, 3 from the defensemen, 1 from the 4th line. Only the line of Kozlov, White, and Afinogenov has failed to light the lamp, though not for a shortage of chances. If the Thrashers can continue to get scoring from all lines, they stand a good chance at picking up more early-season points.
I mentioned this on Twitter, but I'll say it again here: I think we need a shake-up in our lines. My first suggestion: swap Kane and Kozlov. I don't care what you count as the 2nd and 3rd line - I'd give the two pretty even ice time. Kozlov - Peverley - Armstrong was one of the best lines last year and I think Kane could grow into his role as a power forward better on a line that doesn't already have one. Just my two cents.
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