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Pens Top Thrashers

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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.