Sunday, November 23, 2008

What We Know

Is always subject to change, of course. But at this point in the season I think it's reasonable to say that we know the following:

1. While not an unqualified success (more about that below), John Anderson's style has improved the Thrashers' play. The breakout of Bryan Little and the Kozlov Renaissance are thrilling indicators of a team-wide improvement in scoring, offensive pressure, and simple entertaining, fun-to-watch panache.

2. The Thrashers have always been a wildly erratic and streaky team, but the good points of the Anderson era have just further highlighted the inconsistency of the team's play, not just game-to-game but period-to-period. As we all know, the Thrashers can dominate one period and crumble in the next one.

3. Something strange always seems to happen in the third period that generates a scoring chance for the opposing team. I'm not sure how a team corrects something like that...cutting down on turn-overs might help.

4. While Anderson's style has improved the team, so far it's not been effective against defense-minded teams like New Jersey, Minnesota, and Columbus. The Thrashers can beat highly skilled teams like Buffalo and Washington, and come dramatically close to beating teams like Pittsburgh and Boston, because those teams play an offensive style based on puck possession and wide-open, back-and-forth skating and scoring. For reasons of size and style, the Thrash can't compete with teams that play a checking game.

5. Speaking of size, the Thrashers are more or less a small and soft team. I don't mean this as criticism, necessarily; it's just demonstrably true that the Thrashers don't play a very physical game. It might help them if they became slightly grittier. I'm not saying they should imitate the Calgary Flames, which would be impossible anyway, but that a level of hits similar to Pittsburgh's, say, would go a long way.

6. The team has proven that it can grow and improve. Hopefully we haven't seen the culmination of the 08-09 Thrashers' growth. Anderson has said he wants to continually mold and shape the team; let's hope he's successful.


Anonymous said...

I'll give you a big secret to winning hockey games. Finish, finish , finish. i.e put the fucking puck in the fucking net when you get the opportunity. Great teams have a habit of doing so. Kovy needs to hit the fucking net, crusher needs to hit the fucking net. Trade a goalie for some top line talent, and capitalize when you get the chance will ya.

Big Shooter said...

Kinda hard to argue with that.

Razor Catch Prey said...

J-Head is absolutely correct, but in addition to finishing on scoring chances, the team also needs to finish checks and finish battles along the boards and in the corners. Often, the team doesn't look hungry enough. They aren't willing to take the bruises and scrapes in the trenches to come away with loose pucks, they aren't willing to punish the other team for possession of the puck, and they aren't willing to go through opponents to get to the net. No, we can't put together the Calgary Flames overnight, but picking up another player or two like Marty Reasoner might inspire some others to start playing North American hockey instead of pretending that they play for Team Finland.

Tiffany said...

defense-minded teams like New Jersey, Minnesota, and Columbus

trap-oriented teams like New Jersey, Minnesota, and Carolina.

fixed it for you :D