Friday, October 31, 2008


First, allow me to apologize. I have been in technohell since leaving Atlanta. The internet connection at our hotel in NYC did not work. As a result, I haven't been able to post.

Also, another apology from last night's telecast. If you were watching, you know I originally thought Chris Drury scored the tying goal. It was indeed Nicolai Zherdev. I thought it was #23 and it turned out to be #13. Not that it's an excuse, but Madison Square Garden is a tough place to call a game. The broadcast position is far from the ice and the lighting is brutal.

Thoughts about the NYR game:

I thought it was another good road game for the Thrashers although the same result of no points. But in the overall picture, they did a nice job of bouncing back from the Philadelphia debacle and playing as a team again.

Nathan Oystrick had an outstanding game. He jumped into the play and created some offense. When I talked to head coach John Anderson at practice today, he told me Nathan just decided to relax and play his game. He also led the team with six hits.

The fight between Eric Boulton and Colton Orr was one for the ages! Make sure you watch our telecast Sturday night from New Jersey. Darren Eliot did a feature with "Bolts" earlier today with the two of them breaking down the fight. It will run during one of the intermissions from New Jersey. And I agree with Eliot in that Boulton was the team's MVP Thursday night based on the fight with Orr and setting the tone early in the game.

Practice Update:

Anderson tweaked the lines once again. If today is an indication of his plan for Saturday, Brett Sterling will play and Eric Christensen will sit. In addition, Jason Williams will move from right wing to center.

The lines looked like this:


No changes are expected in the defensive pairings.

Enjoy Halloween and be safe.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


What can you say about last night's fiasco at Philips? I mean, if there was ever a game in which NOTHING went right for the Thrashers, last night was the one.

What disturbed me was their starts and finishes to each of the periods. Up until this game, the Thrashers had always started strong and finished strong. Not last night. In fact, the game reminded me of alot of the games from last season in which they gave up goals in bunches to start and finish periods.

They had no passion and no shot against a Flyers team that's dominated them for three seasons. It will be interesting to see if they move Jason Williams to center and fill his spot on the right side with Brett Sterling. For a team that's in desperate need of offense, Sterling deserves a shot. Also, anyone a bit surprised that John Anderson didn't bench Ilya Kovalchuk for a few shifts after his double minor at the end of the second period? That surprised me a bit.

I'm heading to practice this morning (Philips), then off to the airport for the flight to New York. I'll post an update after the skate and hopefully have some news on the status of Zach Bogosian, who suffered a leg injury in last night's game.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Tuesday night pucks return to Philips Arena this evening as the Thrashers host the Flyers. The game can be seen on Versus with John Forslund (Carolina) and Darren Eliot calling the game at 7pm. For tickets, go to

Here are a few nuggets heading into the tilt:

Philadelphia is 2-3-3 overall and 1-1-2 on the road. They are led in scoring by Mike Richards (4-6=10) and Jeff Carter (6-2=8). Martin Biron has played the majority of time between the pipes and has posted a 2-3-1 record with a goals against average of 3.95.

As for streaks, Carter has six points in his last four games and Scott Hartnell has six points over his last three games (3-3=6). The Flyers are unbeaten in the last two games and have yet to play a team from the Southeast Division.

For the Thrashers, they are coming of the 5-4 heartbreaking loss on Saturday in Boston. They have lost two straight and are 1-3-1 in their last five games. They are 0-1-0 against the Atlantic (home loss to New Jersey). Todd White leads the team in points (2-6=8) and Kari Lehtonen is expected to start in goal (2-3-2, 2.99 GAA). As for streaks, Colby Armstrong has four points in his last three games (1-3=4) and defenseman Ron Hainsey has tallied three points in the last three games (1-2=3).

The key to the hockey may come down to the Thrashers play in the second period. So far this season, Atlanta has been outscored 12-4 in the middle frame while outscoring it's opponents 18-13 in the first and third periods. The Flyers have struggled in opening periods, being outscored 13-7 while outscoring teams 14-10 in the second period. Another key to the game is how the Thrashers handle Philadelphia's size. The Flyers average height and weight is 6'1", 203 lbs.

Loose Nuggets:

In 24 career games against Philadelphia, LW Ilya Kovalchuk has tallied 15 goals and 11 assists for 26 points. Slava Kozlov has recorded eight goals and nine assists for 17 points in 31 games against the Flyers.

Neither Kari Lehtonen nor Moose Hedberg have fared well against tonight's opponent. In 16 games, both goaltenders have posted a combined 1-11-2 record against Philadelphia.

The Thrashers will be busy against the Atlantic Division over the next couple of weeks. Four of the next five games are against teams from that division (Philadelphia, at NY Rangers, at New Jersey, NY Islanders). Looks like a great time to start picking up points against Eastern Conference teams.

Defenseman Matthieu Schneider currently ranks fifth among active defensemen in games played with 1,205 and is the 74th player in NHL history to play in 1,200 contests. The leader is Detroit's Chris Chelios at 1,616 games played.

LW Slava Kozlov's current 128 consecutive games played streak ranks 6th all-time in franchise history. Former captain Bobby Holik holds that record at 190 consecutive games played.

Ilya Kovalchuk shares the franchise record for most points recorded in a single game when he tallied five points (2 goals, 3 assists) in a game at Philadelphia on November 18, 2005.

Defenseman Ron Hainsey is even or plus in seven of the first eight games of the season (+3).

I'll be travelling with the team later this week and filling in for JP on the games from New York and New Jersey later this week. I'll be sure to pass along updates from New York City and hopefully have time to break down the 10-game numbers after the Rangers game on Thursday. In the meantime, ENJOY TONIGHT'S GAME!

Monday, October 27, 2008


Hi everyone....sorry about my lack of updates over the weekend. I had a few family activities, but did want to get something posted for today after the Thrashers weekend swing through Detroit and Boston.

I spoke with head coach John Anderson after practice today and, all things considered, he seemed upbeat about the team despite two tough losses over the weekend. Remember how he stressed to the media that implementing his system during training camp and pre-season was priority #1? Well, he's fairly happy with that progression. With that said, the new focus/priority is working on playing habits from within the system. From this standpoint, Anderson admits it continues to be a work in progress. Now the emphasis is on the little things like finishing skills and sticks in lanes.

This all came up in our conversation when I pressed him on the decision making of some of his forwards when the team transitions from defense to offense. I referenced a play from the game in Boston in which center Erik Christensen made a wide and deep turn in the defensive zone that negated the team's chance for a three on two odd-man break up the ice. Anderson said this type of mistake has been brought to the attention of the forwards in video sessions, including one this morning. The head coach said his staff has emphasized the need for tighter turns during transition and teaching them to swing towards the puck.

Overall, he seems happy with the progress made in the first month of the season, but understands the need for points in the standings. Then again, look at all the teams around the league with new coaches and their records. Ottawa has struggled as has the Tampa Bay Lightning and the New York Islanders. In Anderson's defense, it will take a while to get the Thrashers playing his system, maybe a few months.

Other notes:

Anderson thought Jason Williams played his best game of the season on Saturday at Boston. He pointed out Williams' time spent on the injured list a season ago and that he's just starting to gain back his stride. Don't be surprised if he's used more at the center position in upcoming games. Anderson said he thought Williams really picked up his skating when he moved to the middle in the Detroit game after Marty Reasoner was knocked out of the game after blocking the shot attempt by Brian Rafalski.

DON'T FORGET: Submit your questions for the Tuesday Q&A. I've received some good ones already. Don't be shy!