This is Tom Lysiak. He played for a pretty good Atlanta Flames club before being dealt to Chicago. The Flames–unlike the Thrashers–had an excellent expansion GM (Cliff Fletcher) and improved quickly. The Flames made the playoffs in 73-74, their 2nd season in the bigs. They made the playoffs seven times in their 9 seasons in the south.
The current Thrashers had no Fletcher, but did get a ton of top draft picks to build around. Dany Heatley, Ilya Kovalchuk, Braydon Coburn, Zach Bogosian, Evander Kane. Lordy.
It hasn’t worked and in fact the Thrashers have been as pitiful as the Oakland Seals when it comes to making the post-season. Worse really; the Seals made the playoffs in years 2 and 3, while the Thrashers have made it to the second season only once (2007, and they had to kill their future to do it).
I think Rick Dudley and Craig Ramsay will make a difference, but it’s not certain to be in Atlanta. The ownership of the club is another Bettman headache and there’s a real chance Atlanta loses its second NHL team before the middle of this decade. Crazy.
The Oilers have played extremely well over the last two games and it’s been longer than that for solid 5×5 play. If they get the goaltending and these kids at F continue to do impressive things with the puck then another win is possible today.
I’ll be interested to see how coach Renney matches up against Roger Neilson pupil Craig Ramsay. If Evander Kane is out against the Jacques line all day then we’ll know how it is going.
The second edition of Nation Radio goes today at noon. It’ll be a pre-game show on some level but there will also be a couple of solid guests. The email is firstname.lastname@example.org and I hope you can tune in.
EDIT TO ADD: Souray on waivers. Jonathan Willis has the latest at ON.