Saturday, November 3, 2007
The Atlanta Thrashers are a professional ice hockey team based in Atlanta, Georgia. They are members of the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). Their home arena is Philips Arena.
Led by captain Shawn McEachern, the Thrashers jumped quickly out of the gates with some notable highlights. Ilya Kovalchuk scored eight goals in the first seven games, including two hat tricks, one in a 7-2 rout of the Chicago Blackhawks and another in a come-from-behind victory against the Nashville Predators. Those comeback victories became a recurring sight throughout the season, including shocking upsets against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Boston Bruins, and the Ottawa Senators, as well as wins from games against the Los Angeles Kings and the New York Islanders.
Eleven games into the season, the Thrashers were alone in first place atop both the Southeast Division the NHL. Although they continued to play well, they could not keep up with the Tampa Bay Lightning, the eventual Stanley Cup champions, or other teams in the league. The absence of Heatley and a lack of depth started to appear. Boxing Day 2003 marked both a bright and dark day for the Thrash. On that day, Heatley skated for the first time since his car accident with Snyder, but it also marked the last win for the Thrashers before an extended losing streak. From December 28 to February 11 the Thrashers went a dismal 1-17-3. However, fans were entertained regardless of the team's struggles. Kovalchuk became only the second Thrashers' player to score in the NHL All-Star Game (after Heatley), an exciting overtime loss to the Detroit Red Wings occurred on New Year's Eve, Randy Robitaille broke Brian Boucher's shutout streak, Dany Heatley eventually returned to game action, and a twelve-man brawl against the Edmonton Oilers took place. The losing streak finally ended with a 4-1 win against the Vancouver Canucks.
While the Thrashers' playoff hopes were done for the year, they still played on and ended up finishing second in the Southeast Division and tenth in the Eastern Conference, only a handful of wins away from the playoffs. Kovalchuk ended up tying for the league lead in goals (41) with Jarome Iginla and Rick Nash. Goaltender Kari Lehtonen started his NHL career with four wins in four starts, including one shutout.
2003-04 Season Recap
Before the start of the 2005-06 season, the Thrashers picked up many veteran players in the hopes of making the playoffs for the first time. They signed Mike Dunham, Peter Bondra, Bobby Holik, Jaroslav Modry, and Scott Mellanby. They traded Dany Heatley on August 23, 2005, to the Ottawa Senators, in a blockbuster deal for forward Marian Hossa and defenseman Greg de Vries.
The 2005-06 season saw the Thrashers win a club-record 41 games, even with numerous goaltending injuries. Only a few minutes into the first game of the season, Lehtonen pulled his groin, an injury that would keep him out for a good portion of the season. Veteran backup Mike Dunham, an experienced number-one net minder, stepped in, but also promptly injured himself only a few games later; this left only prospects Michael Garnett and Adam Berkhoel to mind the nets. Journeyman goalie Steve Shields was signed, but he too was injured within ten games. On April 6, Lehtonen was run into by Tampa Bay's Chris Dingman, injuring him yet again. The remainder of the season was left to Dunham. Garnett was injured in a game against the Washington Capitals. Dunham, who had started the game but was relieved by the young rookie after poor play, was forced back into action in the third period.
2005-06 Season Recap
For a complete overview of the 2006-07 season, see 2006-07 Atlanta Thrashers season
October 13, 2006, the first official event on the new SportSouth was a National Hockey League game between the Atlanta Thrashers and the Carolina Hurricanes. The Thrashers ended up losing 4-3, giving the Hurricanes their first win of the season. On April 24, 2007, team captain Scott Mellanby announced his retirement. On October 17, coach Bob Hartley was fired after an 0-6 start.
Team colors and mascot
The current team colors are ice blue, navy blue, red, and gold. In 2003, the NHL decided to switch home and road jerseys.
The team's mascot is Thrash, a Brown Thrasher.
Statistics and records
Most Goals in a season: Ilya Kovalchuk, 52 (2005-06)
Most Assists in a season: Marc Savard, 69 (2005-06)
Most Points in a season: Marian Hossa, 100 (2006-07)
Most Penalty Minutes in a season: Jeff Odgers, 226 (2000-01)
Most Points in a season, defenseman: Jaroslav Modry, 38 (2005-06)
Most Points in a season, rookie: Dany Heatley, 67 (2001-02)
Most Wins in a season: Kari Lehtonen, 34 (2006-07)
Most Shutouts in a season: Kari Lehtonen, 4 (2006-07) Regular season
This is a partial list of the last five seasons completed by the Thrashers. For the full season-by-season history, see Atlanta Thrashers seasons
Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, OTL = Overtime Losses, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalties in minutes
Records as of May 10, 2007. As of the 2005-06 NHL season, all games tied after regulation will be decided in a shootout; SOL (Shootout losses) will be recorded as OTL in the standings.
Kelly Buchberger, 1999-2000
Steve Staios, 2000-01
Ray Ferraro, 2001-02
Shawn McEachern, 2002-05
Scott Mellanby, 2005-07
Bobby Holik, 2007- present Team captains
Hall of Famers: Currently, no member of the Thrashers has been inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Retired Numbers: The Thrashers have not retired a number, although Wayne Gretzky's Number 99 was retired League-wide on February 6, 2000. Number 37 (though not retired) has been taken out of circulation since the tragic death of Dan Snyder in 2003.
1999: Patrik Stefan (1st overall)
2000: Dany Heatley (2nd overall)
2001: Ilya Kovalchuk (1st overall)
2002: Kari Lehtonen (2nd overall) & Jim Slater (30th overall)
2003: Braydon Coburn (8th overall)
2004: Boris Valabik (10th overall)
2005: Alex Bourret (16th overall)
2006: Bryan Little (12th overall)
2007: none First-round draft picks
These are the top-ten point-scorers in franchise history. Figures are updated after each completed NHL regular season.
Note: Pos = Position; GP = Games Played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; P/G = Points per game; * = current Thrashers player
Franchise scoring leaders
Calder Memorial Trophy
Rocket Richard Trophy
Dany Heatley: 2001-02
Ilya Kovalchuk: 2003-04 (shared with Jarome Iginla of the Calgary Flames and Rick Nash of the Columbus Blue Jackets) Media
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