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Atlanta Thrasher fan primer

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07-27-2004, 04:19 PM
  #1
Snap Wilson
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Atlanta Thrasher fan primer

So it looks like I'm going to be moving to your neck of the woods around the beginning of the new year, and I'm looking forward to getting to know the team. What do I need to know about the product on the ice and in the stands? Somebody give me a scouting report: run the potentional roster down for me. I'm a Ducks fan so I know all about Havelid (and Modry to a lesser extent). I know Kovalchuk and Heatley (if he plays) are ****. I know you guys played great the first third of last year before collapsing. I know the defense was pretty stank.

So give me the nitty gritty on the team, the arena, and anything else about living in the ATL.

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07-27-2004, 04:40 PM
  #2
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Paging Holly G., we have a new recruit on line 1.

Where in town are you moving too?

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07-27-2004, 04:48 PM
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Don't know, exactly. Somewhere near GA State (where the girlfriend will be attending law school) and downtown, where I will (hopefully) be working.

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07-27-2004, 04:58 PM
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Holly Gunning
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I see that. Yes, where in town is always the first question, as Atlanta is a big sprawling mess. You'll feel right at home coming from LA with that, but there are more trees here and it's a lot wetter -- both more rain and more humidity. Vegetation would completely overtake the city if it weren't constantly cut back. Thus all the lawn care companies.

I hated Atlanta when I first moved here, but grew on me like kudzu. Still hate the traffic though. The city grew too quickly without proper road planning, that's the problem in a nutshell.

What's your game plan as far the season goes, where do you like to sit? If you're over near 302, btn will by you Dippin Dots during intermission. Or not. There's not a bad seat in the place though really. Well, actually one time I was in the 200's for a concert, under the overhang, and I have to say I felt a little clausterphobic. But maybe that's just me.

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07-27-2004, 05:03 PM
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I'll be letting the gf choose the location as she's from the area. As long as it has DSL and allows me to have a couple of cats, everything else is gravy.

Yeah, the humidity. Having spent six months in Korea and Japan, I'm accustomed to having to change clothes three times a day, but being from Southern California, I'm sure I'll be whining a lot anyway.

I've never been inside the Atlanta arena, so I have no idea where all the seating sections are. Where I sit will depend on how the finances are going. I can handle the upper deck if need be, but my heart is a few rows from the glass.

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07-27-2004, 05:07 PM
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Holly Gunning
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moneyp
Somewhere near GA State (where the girlfriend will be attending law school) .
One of the professors at the GA State law school is a huge Thrashers fan. She should be sure to mention them.

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07-27-2004, 05:11 PM
  #7
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Cool! PM me a name, and I'll mention it to her.

So... anyone up for giving me a rundown of the team?

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07-27-2004, 05:54 PM
  #8
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If we go into the season with the present players, I see the line combos like this:

Heatley--Savard--Kozlov
Mellanby--Stefan--Ilya
McE--Aubin--Petro
Brennan--Simon--Vigier (with Lessard subbing JP for muscle)


I like this team a whole lot better with a legit #2 centerman though:

Heatley--Savard--Kozlov
Mellanby--#2 centerman--Ilya
McE--Stefan--Aubin
Brennan--Simon--Petro


These lines offer so much more, plus there is flexibility to mix and match. Not to mention a little depth.

The defensemen are: Sutton--Modry, Exelby--Havelid, Tjarnqvist--Majesky, Kloucek and Coburn. I think the pairings are still open but I think they might be like this. Coburn probably sticks with the big team and slowly acclimates with limited action and subbing into injury spots. I think defense is still suspect but certainly better than last year--at least should be more durable. (Better if for no other reason than Tamer and Trembley are gone).

Goalies: Nurminen, Lehtonen
I think that Kari gets about 30-40 games. This is a major upgrade and if Kari gets hot he can carry the club although his conditioning is a question.

Keys to the season (assuming there is one):
1. Acquire a legit #2 centerman
2. Drop the goals against from 243 to 200 (25th in league). Or at least score 10% more goals than allowed.
3. Develop some NHL-ready depth
4. Improve powerplay (last year 14.6% conversion which was 23rd)
5. Stay healthy (related to #3).
6. Score first! (ATL wins 68% when scoring first-8th; they win only 24% when giving up the first goal)
7. Don't take so many penalties (391, 28th) but maintain the penalty kill efficiency (85.1%, 8th)

Open for debate...

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07-27-2004, 06:44 PM
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Thanks, Dunwoody, although I have to say that a lot of the players listed are just names to me at this point. The picture I'm getting is a team that had serious problems on the blueline, although I'm curious how the forwards impacted that end of the ice. How was the forecheck, maintaining pressure in the offensive zone, backchecking, etc.?

Curious about the penalties as well. We're they due to defensive lapses or overaggressive play?

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07-27-2004, 07:23 PM
  #10
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The Heatley--Savard--Kozlov line was something special when healthy and together. They seem to have a knack of knowing each other's whereabouts on the ice. Savard is a spunky, fiesty, point per game centerman when healthy. Nice vision, nice passing, can finish. Heatley is a stud and still learning! Kozlov is suspect (at least to me). He is invisible sometimes (lack of interest?) but when on his game can play both ends well enough. I think his best days are behind him but DW still likes him.

This line will see plenty of ice together. The opposing teams generally try to either match up their checking line or their own larger #1 line to push these guys around. Savard is small and when Thornton or Primeau or Jagr or...(other large Eastern Conference centers) are in town, Savvy takes a beating. (Last year Savvy got tired of the continuous beating he was taking at the hands of Thornton that he completely lost control and pummelled 'ol Joe pretty good from behind--took a boatload of penalty minutes and ejected--pretty cool though). Gained a whole lot of respect that night.

Mellanby--Stefan--Ilya is my guess for #2 line. Stefan is really a two way center with outstanding defensive skills and developing offensive skills. Gaining in confidence every year. Not the ideal #2 setup man for Ilya but our best available. That's why we need an assist man at this spot. Mellanby you probably know as well as I. Ilya is just a force of nature, period. Volatile and crazy skilled. Loves the game, loves to score, works like a dog on the offensive end, hogs the puck (less under BH) and never met a shot he didn't long to take. And his shots are laser beams! He is worth the price of admission--alone! The sole purpose of being on this line is to create space and chances for Ilya! Ilya craves ice-time and is starting to play defense better (still poor) because he sees more ice if he does. BH is slowly breaking him and Ilya seems to be taking to it well enough. The advantage of putting Patty and Mellanby together is that they can make up for Ilya on the defensive end--at some cost on the offensive end.

The matchup problems are clear. It is always interesting to see how teams matchup against Ilya but usually they play him tightly with a winger who can play both ways and Ilya gives up his share of chances. Ilya's line is always vulnerable to the pinching-in defenseman on Ilya's defensive side--but God help that defenseman if Ilya catches him pinching--because Ilya racing down the left wing with an odd-man break often results in a goal!

Enough for now--I'm getting excited!

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07-27-2004, 07:49 PM
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Keep in mind as well that injuries played a big role last year.

I know, that sounds like an excuse. Hartely doesn't believe in excuses, so he rallied the troops as much as possible. But it did play a role in the January collapse. Guys were dropping like flies, and we truthfully didn't have the depth to survive it.

Coming from the LA area, you know of course about the injuries that the Kings had. Worst in the league. But they had more depth to call upon, they survived much longer until they ran out of gas near the end.

The defense is still a bit suspect, but maybe not as much as the numbers would indicate. At least that's my feeling. If the team can stay relatively healthy and players actually get a chance to develop some chemistry (especially among the Dmen), the numbers should improve. If they don't, Hartley will likely call for and get someone's head, then bring in someone else who can get the job done.

And even in the event of some type of cap or other monetary restriction, Atlanta should still have a bit of room to acquire another player if needed. We finally have real owners, not the farce that was AOL/TW.

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07-27-2004, 08:41 PM
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Thanks for the input, CW. I am suspicious of the additions of Havelid and Modry as defensive upgrades, only because I am familiar with them. At this point, they also look like the points on the top PP unit (correct me if I'm wrong) and both are lefties, a scenario I always find awkward.

It will be interesting to see how the Thrashers address their depth problems going forward.

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07-27-2004, 08:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dunwoody_joe

Goalies: Nurminen, Lehtonen
I think that Kari gets about 30-40 games. This is a major upgrade and if Kari gets hot he can carry the club although his conditioning is a question.
Conditioning is one of the reasons why Lehtonen was at the Prospects Camp recently. He also has been involved in an off-season training program because in Finland, they really don't do off-season training, so when he reported to Prospects Camp last year, that was the first training he had done since the end of the FEL season. The lack of off-season conditioning was one of the contributing factors to his injuries last season. Had he not been injuried back in January, he would have gotten a callup then, and who knows how the season could have ended up if he would have been called up a few months earlier.

A conservative guess would be that Nurminen and Lehtonen start an equal number of games +/- 2 or 3 games. It's really hard to say if Pasi will be penciled in as the #1 goalie at the start of camp. If Kari continues where he left off late last season, Pasi could be riding the pine come Opening Night. If one of them gets injured, or in a slump, look to see Michael Garnett called up, especially if he's performing well for the Wolves.

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07-27-2004, 08:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vespajet
If one of them gets injured, or in a slump, look to see Michael Garnett called up, especially if he's performing well for the Wolves.
There will be someone else in the depth chart to call up before Garnett, whether that's Hurme or someone else is the only question.

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07-27-2004, 09:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moneyp
Thanks for the input, CW. I am suspicious of the additions of Havelid and Modry as defensive upgrades, only because I am familiar with them. At this point, they also look like the points on the top PP unit (correct me if I'm wrong) and both are lefties, a scenario I always find awkward.

It will be interesting to see how the Thrashers address their depth problems going forward.
Heatley is a lefty and Kovy with his right handed laser beam will spend some time at the point also..

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07-27-2004, 09:39 PM
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Quote:
A conservative guess would be that Nurminen and Lehtonen start an equal number of games +/- 2 or 3 games.
Lehtonen has only played four NHL games, right? Granted, he appeared to play real well, but...

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07-27-2004, 10:32 PM
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moneyp
Lehtonen has only played four NHL games, right? Granted, he appeared to play real well, but...
I think its fair to say we are being conservative when we predict something along the lines of 40 games for Kari, rather than thinking he'll come right in and lead us to the playoffs with 67+ games in his rookie season

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07-28-2004, 12:20 AM
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moneyp
Thanks for the input, CW. I am suspicious of the additions of Havelid and Modry as defensive upgrades, only because I am familiar with them. At this point, they also look like the points on the top PP unit (correct me if I'm wrong) and both are lefties, a scenario I always find awkward.

It will be interesting to see how the Thrashers address their depth problems going forward.
I'm a bit suspicious as well. But options are limited. The CBA is mucking up the works for everyone, a lot of big names still unsigned. Don't know who is going to go for what price. Still though, the bigger names are asking for a lot of money which will just insure nobody with decent sense signs them until the smoke clears. But even with new ownership, Atlanta isn't gonna go out and get a $5M Dman. Doesn't make sense for them now. So they pick mid-level players.

Health is more along the lines of what the team is looking for. As individual players go, Havelid and Modry aren't the best you can get (better than Tremblay and Tamer anyway). But they have at the least been healthy in the recent past. Hartley is a very good coach, I do believe that he can make a "team" out of this group. A change or two along the way may be needed, but that's to be expected.

I will take a "team" anyday over a collection of talent. I just hope that's what the Thrashers are working towards.

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07-28-2004, 01:02 AM
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Yes, I'll grant you, Havelid managed to stay healthy even when we were all praying he would get hurt. :-)

And I agree about having a team over a collection of talent. My suspicions of Havelid and Modry isn't over their price tags, it's over their respective abilities in the defensive zone, where the Thrashers struggled. But I don't discount that either player could thrive in Atlanta's more wide-open game.

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07-28-2004, 01:21 AM
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moneyp
Yes, I'll grant you, Havelid managed to stay healthy even when we were all praying he would get hurt. :-)

And I agree about having a team over a collection of talent. My suspicions of Havelid and Modry isn't over their price tags, it's over their respective abilities in the defensive zone, where the Thrashers struggled. But I don't discount that either player could thrive in Atlanta's more wide-open game.
Time will tell.

It's probably much better to listen to Holly, she has a better handle on this than me. I'm just another opinionated fan.

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07-28-2004, 01:42 AM
  #21
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High praise. I shall peruse the archives for HollyG posts and absorb the wisdom of her pixels.

Holly, if you don't mind my asking, where did you move to Atlanta from?

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