1. 4.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


on 25 September 2008

Mathieu Schneider?! Now THAT'S a lottery ticket win! What does a Matt Schneider add to Atlanta that can positively influence their play against the PQC?:
  • An average of well over 20 minutes of ice time per game, to include duty on both the Power Play and Penalty Kill
  • At least every other game, a point scored. Every 6.3 games, that point is a goal and a couple of those gaols will be game winners
  • A senior mentor to this squad's defensive corps who has raised The Cup
His ability to move the puck, provide some offense and tutor Bogsian, Enstrom and Exelby makes Atlanta a more potent defensive team, something that will also make Kari Lehtonen a better Goalie.
All the team needs is healthy players throughout the season and they will be a competitive bunch of players all year long. One man - other than a Goalie - does not win a game by themselves. But one man can elevate the team play of an organization. Schneider is just that kind of man for this Thrashers team.
The Thrashers have failed to make the playoffs in two of the three years since the Lockout. As a hard and fast rule, however, that particular statistic is deceiving. An average of twice over each of the last three seasons their team performance changed course from winning to losing or the reverse. So as a bottom line, any talk of Atlanta’s early demise may be premature. What happened last season and what can we expect 2008/9 to bring?

The Thrashers finished the last three years with an average rating of -2.67 below the PQC. Of note from 2007/8, the Thrashers’:
  • Were eliminated against the PQC on the second earliest date (25 OCTOBER) for any team since the Lockout.

  • Between the 10th and 20th games, their 0-6 season start gave way to an 8-2 record, fueling thoughts of a team on track toward a playoff berth.
  • Hope melted by 31 DECEMBER, however, when team play saw Atlanta in a perpetual negative spin for the rest of the season.
The explanation for the Thrashers’ 2008/9 NHL season above is similar in pattern to 2006/7 team play when they also failed to extend into the post-season. We view another, similar pattern as a key indicator for this season’s possibilities.

The Thrashers’ performance against the PQC is expressed in the graph below. Rather than parrot the same line combination other analysts offer for this team, OGA analyzes Atlanta versus their previous trends and the measure of their performance as the new season unfolds. We believe Atlanta’s entry into the playoffs this season is too close to call until we see them on the ice. Such a close call indicates two things could earn them a playoff berth – coachability under new mentor John Anderson; and overall play of other Southeast Division teams. The impact of those factors can only be told in their first 20 games’ performance, and OGA will be there to make the call.

The Thrashers’ first 10 games of the season are played 10 – 30 OCTOBER. Our broad analysis (displayed above) indicates that in that time frame, Atlanta earns an average PQC rating of 4.3 and about 9 points in the NHL standings. More telling, however, is the fact that at least an indicator of IN or OUT of the playoffs has occurred every season since the Lockout by Game 10! Just remember to temper your early excitement or frustration with continued ‘birding’ on into NOVEMBER because the Thrashers’ tend to swoop back in the opposite direction over the following 10 contests.

Some key statistics to keep in mind through OCTOBER are:
  • The Thrashers lose 72.3% of games in the 12 – 20 OCTOBER timeframe.
  • Atlanta loses 63.3% of the time in the second of back-to-back games and have two pair of them in the first 10 games.
  • They win 70.6% on Mondays and lose 65.9% on Thursdays.
  • The Thrashers play an average of 2 – 3 ‘Bonus Hockey’ games (overtime or shootouts) and win 58.2% of them

OGA in-depth analysis will provide your Atlanta Thrashers Game 10 Report, forwarding it to season subscribers by 2pm CST on 31 OCTOBER and making it available for order from the On Goal Analysis web site by 2pm CST on 1 NOVEMBER. (See a sample G10R here…)

Is Atlanta going to have another 2007/8 season, or will they quickly be relegated to a six-and-a-half month intensive hunt for the perfect driver or putter? History says there will be at least a warning of either IN or OUT in OCTOBER. OGA will be there for the call, and you can be there with us.

More to follow. Until tomorrow and the Buffalo SabresSeason Preview Report (SPR), this is The Colonel signing off…


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