How are the Thrashers this bad?

18Apr07

Well, jeez, on paper, Atlanta looks a dynamo offensive team. I mean, Ilya Kovalchuk, Marian Hossa, Keith Tkachuk, Slava Kozlov. Heck, Eric Belanger‘s not too shabby, and Bobby Holik‘s been known to pop a goal in every now and then.

So how can a team with four first-liners have such an anemic offense? From what I’ve seen (and yes, this is with Center Ice channel flipping, so I haven’t caught every second of every game), it’s a combination of stupid and soft — two things you DON’T want in the playoffs.

On the stupid end, Ilya Kovalchuk looked tentative at first, like he was overthinking what the right thing to do was. That, in itself, is pretty stupid when it comes to NHL-caliber hockey. Then he scored a big goal in game 2 and was all sorts of revved up, but then it flipped to the other side of stupid. Kovalchuk started trying to fly through the ice one-on-four, deking the bejesus out of everyone. Now, the Rangers don’t exactly have the same defense as the Ducks, but still, when you get those odds going against you, it doesn’t usually amount to success. Then late in game 2, Kovalchuk decided to slam Sean Avery as hard as he could. Hey, on principle, I have no problem with that since Avery’s, well, Sean Avery. But still, this was probably one of the biggest moments of the series and Kovalchuk let his frustration take over.

On the soft end, where the hell has Marian Hossa been? Mr. 100 Points has a very ugly stat line of -5 and no points, though he did fire off four shots in game 3. Here’s a guy who was considered a Hart Trophy candidate for a good portion of the season, and he can’t seem to get anything going on a no-name Ranger defense. Remember how Sens fans used to complain Hossa didn’t show up in the playoffs? Well, that’s still following him, and it will continue to do so unless he leads the charge in an Atlanta turnaround.

As for game 3, it was a combination of soft (backchecking anyone?) and stupid (nine penalties = bad news). Yeah, Kari Lehtonen gave up seven goals, but it’s kind of hard when you have the whole Ranger team against you while your guys are just kinda exchanging pleasantries in the neutral zone. From what I saw, Lehtonen did the best he could in a very bad situation, and his entire squad forgot how to bring passion to their game.

So what happens now? Unless the Thrashers pull off some sort of miracle, they’re toast, leading to a very disappointing end to a strange season. Remember when the Thrashers rattled off eight straight after getting Keith Tkachuk? It’s just too bad the post-season didn’t start then.

When will the “Fire Bob Hartley” rumor mill start churning?

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3 Responses to “How are the Thrashers this bad?”

  1. 1 Zanstorm

    Are any of those top guys good leaders? I’ve never known any of them to have that characteristic.

    The Sens still look smart for dumping Hossa for Heatley, in my opinion.

  2. 2 Mike Chen

    I always thought Bobby Holik would be the glue guy for the Thrash. Guess I was wrong.

  3. 3 Zanstorm

    Well, he is not the man he used to be. Past his prime I suppose. Actually, hasn’t he been much less effective since he got that fat contract a few years ago?


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