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Thrashers Getting Thrashed

So who else is shocked by the Thrashers' meltdown against the Rangers? Please tell me I'm not alone.

A week ago, I picked this series to be the most competitive in the Eastern Conference. Well, I blew it. It's been anything but. Jaromir Jagr and the Rangers are up three games to none after Tuesday's 7-0 victory at MSG, their first win in New York since 1997.

I mean, who loses by a touchdown in the playoffs?

Thrashers veteran Keith Tkachuk called the situation embarrassing and unacceptable.

Please don't get me wrong. I'm not taking anything away from the Rangers. Jagr, Nylander, Lundqvist and Avery have been brilliant. I just expected so much more from the Southeast Division champs, who are making the franchise's first ever playoff appearance.

Well, it's clear now that the first trip is also going to be a short one. Brad Larsen has more points than Kovalchuk, Hossa and Kozlov have combined. And Larsen's only got two. Lehtonen, meantime, has a goals against average of 5.59, the worst in the postseason.

The only good news for Atlanta fans who have waited eight years to see their team in the playoffs is that the nightmare will soon be over.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 18, 2007; 9:19 AM ET
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Next: Semin's Agent Talks


So Atlanta, was that eight year wait for the playoffs worth it? For all of your "great" season, you're still only playing hockey one week longer than the Caps. Plus, you've got one of the oldest teams in hockey and you're about to lose several free agents. The good news is you've got almost nine months of Nascar ahead of you.

Posted by: boor4 | April 18, 2007 9:48 AM | Report abuse

I'm not surprised actually. I did think the Rangers would win. I picked the series to go 7 games, but that was because I figured the Rangers would be as undisciplined as the Thrashers are. I'm a little shocked at how Hartley handled the goaltending issues and I largely blame him for the team seeming to be unprepared in Game 3.

The Rangers are a much, much better team than they've gotten credit for being I think. They have one of the hottest goaltenders in hockey and I think he's proving he could be a top 5 netminder for years to come. All Caps fans know what Jagr is capable of when he is on top of his game. We saw it smacking us right in the face when he was with the Pens and even saw it in the 3 or 4 games he showed up for when he was with the Caps.

The chemistry between Jagr and Nylander is undeniable IMO and it all started here. I try not to think about how good the two of them could have been if Jagr actually cared about being in DC. The Rangers defense has been surprisingly steady, though the Thrashers have just been terrible. They aren't playing as a team, Hossa doesn't look like he knows what he's doing and Kovalchuk is being Kovalchuk.

The biggest problem is discipline. Caps fans know the Thrashers as a cheap, dirty team that likes to use their sticks and head hunts. They've gotten into penalty trouble and that's a problem in this series because the Rangers are deadly on the PP, especially now that they are clicking on all cylanders. And Atlanta is not taking advantage of their PP opportunities, and by going 1 for 11 its pretty much series over.

Posted by: Jay | April 18, 2007 10:02 AM | Report abuse

No surprise here. The Thrashers are just not that good. Fewest points of any division winner, couple superstars, questionable goaltending, and a very medicore defense.

The Rangers will be right behind them in Round 2, as soon as they have to face a legit opponent.

Posted by: JoeBob | April 18, 2007 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Well...contrary to public opinion, I'm surprised. The Thrashers have some formidable talent (Hossa, Kovalchuk, Kozlov, and Tkachuk). Tampa Bay is doing much better with similar talent. This comes down to having your best players being your best players, which Atlanta's is not. It is surprising that Hartley played Lehtonen instead of Hedberg in Game 3.

We'll have to wait a little longer to see if the Rangers are legitimate. If the probabilities play out, they will likely face Ottawa in the next round. Ottawa has had success against Pittsburgh largely because of the Penguins' inability to score on the power play. New York was 3 for 9 in Game 3. The next series should be pretty interesting.

Posted by: Blueline | April 18, 2007 10:41 AM | Report abuse

i love every second of it, i also liked the redneck nascar jab, absolutely hate nascar, especially ever since it took hockeys place in the sports world(in espns view)

Posted by: Anonymous | April 18, 2007 10:45 AM | Report abuse

I was a bit surprised at first, but then again, this is the same team that went through a slump mid season. It even threatened their earlier position of being a shoe in for the playoffs. If they had issues keeping up their level of play then, who says it can't happen now?

On a personal note, as much as I'm not too crazy for the Rangers, it was a pleasurable experience seeing the trashers get their butts handed to them.

Posted by: keydet | April 18, 2007 10:45 AM | Report abuse

I had a bit of a premonition about this after losing a bet made back in October with a Rangers fan on the subject of their making the playoffs. When he emailed in April to gloat, I told him that I didn't think the Thrashers would offer much resistance. I have no idea why I said it, but it appears to have been right.

Posted by: Brain | April 18, 2007 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Not at all surprised. Atlanta's been a team that if you punch in the mouth early, can be beaten. And the Rangers did just that and, true to form, the Thrash have not responded.

Posted by: Rage | April 18, 2007 11:39 AM | Report abuse

I am surprised as well. Again, not to trash the Rangers (just Jagr:), they have really dominated. Maybe its just this mentality from the last few years where they have washed out a bit?

I thought Atlanta would be a lot hungrier for it.

And, the Stars series is a lot more interesting then I thought it would be. The Stars are really fighting. One more Cup for Modano?

Posted by: LB | April 18, 2007 12:05 PM | Report abuse

I am surprised as well. Again, not to trash the Rangers (just Jagr:), they have really dominated. Maybe its just this mentality from the last few years where they have washed out a bit?

I need to clarify! I was saying that maybe this mentality they have had in the past (light on the fighting, a post- Messier drop in mental toughness) is why I am surprised they are doing well.

Posted by: LB | April 18, 2007 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Didn't the Caps manage to get throttled 14-4 to the hands of New Jersey a few years back in the playoffs?

Posted by: 7-0? How about 14-4 | April 18, 2007 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Nobody here is shocked - ok.
I'm definitely suprised. I don't think I ever realized just how good Lundquist is, and just how much talent the Rangers have. It also doesn't hurt they have a character guy like Shanny in the locker room.

Regarding the Thrash - they are not on the same page. They look like Dallas does - lot's of talented players, not on the same sheet of music. I'm also begining to think Hartley isn't nearly as good of a coach as he gets credit for being.

His cups in Colorado were due more to Roy/Blake/Forsberg/Sackic & more... than his brilliant coaching.

Posted by: Jaymagz | April 18, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

If I didn't know better, I'd swear you were describing the Caps. Hahaha. The only difference being, Wash. DID NOT QUALIFY FOR THE PLAYOFFS.

Posted by: puckguru | April 18, 2007 12:35 PM | Report abuse

No surprise here. The Thrashers are just not that good. Fewest points of any division winner, couple superstars, questionable goaltending, and a very medicore defense.

That describes the Capitals, too. (Minus the jab at the goaltending; I will defend Kolzig's annual Vezinicity until he demonstrates otherwise.)

Versus had an interesting stat a few nights ago: they took the top two scorers from each team and ranked these duos based on percentage of their team's total goals. The top three teams were Tampa (Lecavalier and St Louis), Washington (Ovechkin and Semin), and Atlanta (Kovalchuk and Hossa).

To have all your biscuits in two baskets seems to be a recipe for disaster -- unless you are playing a shaky Martin Brodeur and/or have a recent memory of winning a Stanley Cup.

Posted by: P-Mac | April 18, 2007 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't matter if people here are SHOCKED at the meltdown. The Thrashers themselves are SHOCKED and FRUSTRATED.

Sam Rosen and Joe M (don't care to spell it) said the same thing during the third period!

Posted by: caphcky | April 18, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I'm floored. I thought this was going to be a great series. I thought adding Keith to the team would really give them the edge. Its been a complete break down.

Rangers look very good. I'm opening myself up for harsh crit here, but I've always liked Avery. Yeah, he runs off at the mouth and plays an agitators game like Barnaby once did, but he has skill. Had it in Detroit, showed it on a woeful L.A. team and is really turning it on in NY. At least he has the skills to back up all that attitude. I'd take him on the Caps in a heartbeat. Fire away.

I'm blaming the Thrashers' meltdown on Hartley. His goaltending changes have been simply sensational. If the Thrash get swept i fully expect him to lose his job. I will be shocked if he doesn't get canned. 7 to nothing. The question: is this rock bottom?

In other news, the Pens/Ott series is great! The chokers are getting it done and may put the Pen kids back to bed. Full cred to Pitt; well played so far.
The Van/Dal series has been very good as well. Last night's Det/Cal game was crazy. WHo else has been watching that series? Calgary was a totally different team. Too bad they don't have home ice advantage.

all in all, good hockey.

Posted by: Kerplunk | April 18, 2007 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Didn't the Caps manage to get throttled 14-4 to the hands of New Jersey a few years back in the playoffs?

I assume you're referring to the 10-4 loss back in 87-88?

Posted by: boor4 | April 18, 2007 1:17 PM | Report abuse

On deadline day, some people here and at other boards called trading for Tkachuk (especially given the price) as the worst deal done. Others complained that while our GM does nothing, the brilliant Waddell (who will soon be out of a job) went out and got pieces that were necessary to his team's cup run (Tkachuk, Zhitnik).

Posted by: Graham | April 18, 2007 1:43 PM | Report abuse

LOL...Avery is Dale Hunter with an original six jersey on!

Posted by: caphcky | April 18, 2007 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Forget last night's 7-0 ... let us not forget the 8-0 drubbing Philadelphia took at the hands of Buffalo in 2000-01. Eastern quarterfinals. Game Seven. At home.

As my father and I sat through the Pittsburgh 2, Washington 1 game at the Phone Booth at the same time, it warmed our hearts to keep checking the out-of-town scoreboard every few minutes ... "It's four now ... Five ... Six ... "

Posted by: P-Mac | April 18, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Can't resist!

'GM' caphcky from a few weeks ago...

"You need experience. I don't care what team you're on. You need experienced guys that have been around," Tkachuk said on the Thrashers' official Web site. "We have a lot of guys that have won Stanley Cups. That's huge."

What is also huge is Atlanta recognized the experience and went out and got guys like Tkachuck. While we think a Calder Cup is just as good as a Stanley Cup.....

Posted by: caphcky | April 4, 2007 01:34 PM

It's huge I'm telling ya! Huge!

Posted by: slappy | April 18, 2007 2:44 PM | Report abuse

While I am surprised that the Rangers are hammering the Thrashers, and not a fan of the Rangers, the Rangers moving on to the second round and maybe the third round is a plus for the NHL and Versus/NBC. The Rangers doing well in the playoffs increases interest in the NHL. It is no coincidence that the NHL's popularity zenith occurred when the Rangers won the Cup.

If Dallas falls in the first round again, then it is possible that Tippett will be fired and Dallas will look to change the makeup of the team. Doesn't Dallas have an abundance of offensive-minded defensemen and vet defensemen in general, and a lack of young prospects particularly in the forward ranks. Purely speculative, but I wonder if Dallas' demise might be good news for the Caps, as they could be a trading partner if they decide to do some dismantling.

Tarik, I know you are relegated to Capitals Insider absent Caps news, but one topic you might consider at the end of the first round is whether the ouster of certain teams may make those teams more likely to be willing to make trades with a team like the Caps for picks and prospects and what players those teams might make available.

Good work on the continued NHL updates.

Posted by: Monty | April 18, 2007 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Not even a little bit surprised. The Thrashers have no defense to speak of and Kovalchuk is probably the laziest and most overrated player in the league. I am surprised at how poorly Hossa has played, but it's not like he's getting any help out there.

By the way, does anyone else imagine what it would be like if the Caps had held onto Nylander? I bet Ovie dreams about it at night.

Posted by: zamboni | April 18, 2007 3:07 PM | Report abuse

By the way, does anyone else imagine what it would be like if the Caps had held onto Nylander? I bet Ovie dreams about it at night.

Nylander didn't do much in a Capitals uniform. Robert Lang, on the other hand ...

Posted by: P-Mac | April 18, 2007 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Slappy, nice catch on the words of caphcky. If only message board people were actually held responsible for their words.

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | April 18, 2007 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I couldn't be happier that Atlanta and Pittsburgh are getting handled in the playoffs. Those are two teams I just don't like.

And BTW, I seem to remember the Caps getting drubbed fairly recently in the playoffs 7-1 or 7-0 or something like that to either Pittsburgh or Tampa. I can't remember which.

Posted by: Sapper | April 18, 2007 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Sapper, was it Kolzig's fault by letting in an easy one?

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | April 18, 2007 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Nylander didn't do much in a Capitals uniform.

What? In what was really his only season with the Caps he had 17 goals and 39 assists for 56 points in 71 games in a pre-lockout NHL playing with a clearly unmotivated Jagr (who had only 77 points in 75 games). Nylander was a very good player in his brief time with the Caps.

Posted by: Jay | April 18, 2007 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Sapper, you are referring to the 7-1 butt kicking we took from the Pens in April 2001 during that series where we got screwed out of home ice by the NHL.

Posted by: Jay | April 18, 2007 4:42 PM | Report abuse


Quick question ... here's a link to Semin's agent side of the story of what happened in Russia ... what are your thoughts?

Posted by: Question 4 Tarik ... | April 18, 2007 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Didn't the Caps lose a game 1 to the Pens 7-0 a few years back in the playoffs, only to go play games 2 and 3 on the road, even though we were higher seed?

Posted by: FS | April 18, 2007 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Yeah this really helps versus and nhl. Seems like they were counting on the Pens to do great things (nyah nyah!). At least for the time being they can ride the ranger horse until they go out.

Posted by: Clarendon | April 18, 2007 11:13 PM | Report abuse

I remember getting screwed out of home ice. That was total BS and just another proof positive regarding Bettman's evil. He gave our home ice advantage to the Pens because of some MCI scheduling crap. This season, Detroit got how many days off between game 1 and 2? Me and Uncle Gary in a staircase, i tell ya...

Posted by: Kerplunk | April 18, 2007 11:24 PM | Report abuse


I can't resist. Sorry you missed the Ranger/Atlanta series! My comments had NOTHING to do with what happened in that series. Hindsight IS 20/20 when you're looking at it out your @ss!

Posted by: caphcky | April 19, 2007 8:22 AM | Report abuse

i'm not surprised that the rangers won it...but i didn't think they'd sweep it, not at the beginning. i had them in 6 or 7. though it was definitely a treat attending the game last night :D

Posted by: sonia | April 19, 2007 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Awwww... caphky, no need to reduce yerself to profanity.

I was merely calling you out on your own wisdom. Just pointing out the obvious-to-most sentiment that just because another team does it, doesn't mean you should bash the Caps for not doing it.

Again, raise the level of discourse, little fella. You'll find if you use your big mouth intelligently the world will be a happier place.

How about Zubrus!?
Look's like it finally is his breakout year. Looking just as good with Ovie.

Posted by: slappy | April 19, 2007 10:41 AM | Report abuse


one's man's bashing is another women's right to misinterpret the situation.

Posted by: caphcky | April 19, 2007 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Aw poor caphcky, he was proven wrong while many correctly predicted that the Tkachuk deal was a terrible one.

Posted by: Graham | April 19, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

its all in how ya spin it Graham!

Posted by: caphcky | April 19, 2007 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Third grade namecalling is the best you can do?

Come on little fella, raise the level to grown-up talk.

Isn't there a Sports Illustrated for Kids website? You'd be better off there.

Posted by: slappy | April 19, 2007 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Caphcky... I can agree with that!

Posted by: Graham | April 19, 2007 9:05 PM | Report abuse

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