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Staggering Into the the All-Star Break

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After turning a couple of better-than-expected performances the Thrashers came up a bit short versus the Canadians, didn't show up at all against the Sabres and then played hard but executed poorly on Sunday with Edmonton in town.

Kwiatkowski was called up played adequately on Sunday and gave the team much more than Zhitnik has all season. If it were up to me I wouldn't dress Zhitnik for the next game either. So far this season Zhitnik has played below "replacement level" which means his performance has been worse than what you could expect from a top minor league veteran. I'm glad to see him finally held accountable.

The Thrashers need to figure out if Zhitnik is struggling because a) he's out of shape; b) he doesn't care; c) he is no longer NHL caliber. If it is the latter two they might as well send him to the minors and/or buy him out this summer to free up a roster spot for someone who is more serviceable to the club. The $3.5 million owed him next year and the prospect surrender (Braydon Coburn) to obtain him are all sunk costs. The Thrashers decision making regarding Zhitnik should not focus on how much it cost to obtain him but simply on the this question: Is he one of their top 6 defensmen now and next season. If the answer is "no" then it you dress the six best guys available.

Bernie Mullin left Atlanta Spirit today. His contract was up this summer and given the current owners level of interest his position was probably unnecessary. I've heard DW repeatedly mention informing the owners about trades and contract talks so having an extra guy in there seems unnecessary. My only question is why now? If Mullin could see he wasn't needed and received an offer then his departure now makes sense. If he left without an offer then that raises the question of why a guy would walk away from his contract with nothing waiting for him. I'll try to keep an eye on when he starts his next job.

The recent surge by the Capitals has made the division title and place off race more complicated for the Thrashers. They have slipped down to a tie with Buffalo for 11th in the real standings. WAS and CAR are tied at +1 for the SE title and last playoff berth. The Thrashers need to get two points out of the mid week pair up in New York. If they were to lose both they would slip down to a tie for 13th in the conference.

Points Above .500
1. OTT +15
2. PIT +10
3. PHI +11
4. NJD +10
5. MON +9
6. BOS +6
7. NYI +4
8. CAR +1
9. WAS +1
10 NYR +1
11 BUF -1
12 ATL -1
13 FLA -3
14 TOR -3
15 TBL -5