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Third Time's The Charm(?) - Atlanta Firebirds

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Old 03-15-2019, 09:29 PM   #81
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Re: Third Time's The Charm(?) - Atlanta Firebirds

Quote:
Originally Posted by PFellah
Thinking about restarting a new franchise... culmination of little things I didn't like adding up:

- screwed up my Year 1 drafting because I didn't really get how the system worked
- bright orange unis a little hard to look at over and over
- feel like I might have a better uni/team concept in general
- want to up the trade difficulty
- some positive improvements in presentation, some of which I suppose I could just incorporate on the fly, but a clean start might be more fun.

TBD...
You can change the trade difficulty in options even after starting a season and can alter uniforms during the offseason. Just in case you liked enough things to not want to start from scratch.

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Old 03-23-2019, 09:23 AM   #82
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Re: Third Time's The Charm(?) - Atlanta Firebirds

November 2020: THINGS HAPPEN



Somehow I lost my day-to-day notes for this month, so... things happened. My general memory is that it was another streaky month -- started with a 4 or 5 game losing streak, and then righted the ship and had a decent month from there.

Also, somewhere fairly early in the month, Erik Karlsson gets injured and is out for a month.


GAME RESULTS
  • 11/2 at Calgary -- 4-2 L
  • 11/2 vs Buffalo -- 1-0 L
  • 11/6 at Colorado -- 7-1 L(Ouch)
  • 11/7 at Columbus -- 3-1 L
  • 11/10 at Anaheim --4-2 W
  • 11/13 vs New York Rangers -- 4-3 W (OT)
  • 11/15 vs Montreal -- 4-0 W I happen to remember Gustav Nyquist had a 4-goal game.
  • 11/17 at Edmonton -- 2-1 W (SO)
  • 11/19 vs Washington -- 4-3 W
  • 11/20 vs San Jose -- 1-0 W
  • 11/22 vs Boston -- 2-0 L
  • 11/24 vs Minnesota -- 5-1 L
  • 11/26 vs Arizona -- 5-1 W (Thanksgiving!)
  • 11/29 at Vancouver -- 6-4 W


MONTHLY SUMMARY

STANDINGS REPORT
  • MONTH: 8-6-0
  • YEAR-TO-DATE: 14-10-0, 28 points
  • DIVISION: Second in the Atlantic behind Buffalo (16-6-1, 33 points). Technically tied with Montreal, but we currently have ROW tiebreak 13-12.
  • CONFERENCE: 5th in the Eastern Conference. Top 8: NJ 34, BUF 33, CAR 31, NYR 31, ATL 28, MTL 28, WSH 27, PHI 26.

TEAM LEADERS
  • POINTS: Gaudreau 23, Wheeler 22, Nyquist 17, Hayes 15, Sbruev 14, Thornton 14
  • GOALS: Gaudreau 13, Nyquist 8, Hayes 6, Wheeler 5, Frolik 5, Sbruev 5
  • ASSISTS: Wheeler 17, Thornton 11, Gaudreau 10, Hayes 9, Nyquist 9, Sbruev 9
  • PLUS-MINUS: Pelech 9, Hayes 9, Gaudreau 7, Wheeler 5, Murphy 5

ON THE FARM
Birmingham clicking along at 13-10-2, third in their division behind Binghamton and Utica. The second line of Rudolfs Balcers, Michael Spacek, and Ray Finley are actually doing better as a group than the top line., and Finley is about to break 70 OVR. The top performer on defense is Markus Phillips, with 5 goals, 8 assists, and a +9.

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Old 03-23-2019, 09:42 AM   #83
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Re: Third Time's The Charm(?) - Atlanta Firebirds

November 2020: Around The League


STANDINGS


At the top, the big story is Colorado, smashing through the competition to the tune of 18-2-3. At the bottom, the Kings (3-17-4) and Red Wings (7-15-1) are candidates for the early tee times at their local golf clubs. The Metro is kind of interesting -- it's still close and things could change, but it's a bit of a changing of the guard, as the Pens, Caps, and Blue Jackets are looking up at the leaders instead of looking down from the top.

LEAGUE LEADERS


Winnipeg's short-lived takeover of the leaderboard is over, though various Jets (Mark Scheifele, most specifically) still make an appearance in the Top 10 here and there. In one of the least surprising developments ever, Vladimir Tarasenko and Alex Ovechkin are WAY out in front of everyone else in goals scored -- aren't they always? I suppose the other interesting thing is the lack of Colorado players in the offensive categories -- Varmalov is having a good year between the pipes and several Avs on the plus-minus list, but not a lot of prolific scoring guys. So either they're winning a bunch of 2-1 games or they're spreading their offense out amongst the whole team.

CALDER WATCH


The top four picks of 2020 are all still on the board, but 2014 draftee Michael Dal Colle of the Isles is still the rookie to beat for now. Calgary's Andrew Mangiapane is the People's Rookie, as the only non-pedigree guy in the race at the moment.

The picture for rookie goalies is also starting to come into focus, and we might have a few contenders here. Connor Ingram is probably legit; now that Vasilevskiy signed with the Isles', it's his gig to lose. Comrie and Kooy are time-sharing in Winnipeg; Comrie as the nominal starter could be worth tracking. On the other hand, Toms seems like he's mostly backing up Martin Jones, and Nedeljkovic is behind Pekka Rinne -- those two might play well as backups, but doing well enough to merit Calder buzz probably depends on how much workload the old dudes ahead of them can handle.

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Old 03-23-2019, 04:16 PM   #84
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Re: Third Time's The Charm(?) - Atlanta Firebirds

December 2020: Waiting For Gaudreau



We start December in a mixed, but mostly positive position. Our overall record is pretty solid -- 14-10-0, good for 2nd in our division. Our top line has been doing really well. And we've managed to muddle through most of a month-long injury to Erik Karlsson and should get him back soon. If there's a downside, it's that our new forward acquisitions haven't really come together like we'd hoped they would. Frolik has at least had some moments, and has been a decent penalty killer, but Chris Kreider has been pretty much invisible, and Joe Thornton hasn't done a lot either.

12/2 at Chicago (14-7-3) – 2-1 W
Despite getting outshot 37-19, the Firebirds get two goals to the Blackhawks’ lone tally and come away with the win. Not pretty, but it’s two points.
GOALS: ATL – Hutton 4, Hayes 7. CHI – Kane 9.

12/4 vs New Jersey (18-7-0) – 4-1 W.
The Devils come in leading the Metro, but on the bright side, Erik Karlsson returns to the lineup, so we get the face the Devils at full strength. Connor Murphy gets the game off to a good start with a booming slapshot past Cory Schneider, but Kyle Palmieri gets that one back early in the second. And then it’s a game of missed opportunities – Karlsson catches a post, New Jersey has a go-ahead goal waived off for goaltender interference; the Firebirds hit Tony DeAngelo as he comes out of the box for a breakaway, but he can’t convert. But then, while on the penalty kill, Jared McCann hits DeAngelo lagging the play, and Tony D buries the chance for a 2-1 lead. Gustav Nyquist puts one through a screen for insurance a few minutes later, and Blake Wheeler adds an empty-netter.
GOALS: ATL – Murphy 3, DeAngelo 3, Nyquist 9, Wheeler 6. NJ – Palmieri 6.

12/5 at Detroit (7-17-1) – 9-0 W
We begin a four-game road swing with a visit to the struggling Red Wings. This feels like one of those trap games where we overlook a beatable opponent, but… nope; we pretty much open up a can of whoop-*** on them. The Firebirds score five in the 2nd, and book-end it with a pair in the 1st and a pair in the 3rd. Nyquist gets the hatty; Gaudreau, Wheeler, and Sbruev are good for two apiece.
GOALS: ATL – Wheeler 7, Gaudreau 14, Nyquist 10, Gaudreau 15, Nyquist 11, Sbruev 6, Sbruev 7, Nyquist 12, Wheeler 8. DET – NONE.

12/7 at New York Islanders (11-13-3) – 2-0 L
Well, THERE’S the game where we overlook an “easy” opponent. John Tavares gets a goal less than a minute into the game, and Charlie Coyle adds insurance in the second period. Atlanta puts up 30 shots, but comes away with nothing to show for it.
And NOOOOW I see… it’s because the ISLANDERS picked up Vasilevskiy. I thought TB reached terms, but no… the Isles are giving up four total picks, 2021-1, 2022-1, 2021-2, and 2021-3.
GOALS: ATL – NONE. NYI – Tavares 17, Coyle 7.

Thinking about making some changes on that third line. Not sure if I'll go all the way to a trade, or just try some different line combinations to shake things up. But it turns out Johnny Gaudreau is day-to-day, so let’s see what’s up with that first.

12/9 at Philadelphia (13-9-5) – 2-1 L
Frustrating game, as we hold the Flyers to 23 shots, but they still come away with the win. Joakim Nordstrom stakes the Flyers to an initial lead but a Blake Wheeler goal cancels it out in the later stages of the 2nd period. But in the 3rd, it’s Claude Giroux beating Linus Ullmark for the game-winner.
GOALS: ATL – Wheeler 9. PHI – Nordstrom 5, Giroux 17.

Major bad news on the injury front: Johnny Gaudreau has a broken leg and will be out until early March. Guess we need to look at a more permanent solution than Taylor Leier. Internal options would probably be Rudolfs Balcers or Jakub Lauko – but Balcers would have to go through waivers to get back down while Lauko would not. On the trade market, New Jersey has Michael Grabner on the market – he’s a mild upgrade and his game is probably more similar as a speedy sniper type. LA has Tanner Pearson and original Firebird Rick Nash on the block. There are options, but I’m going to start by calling up Lauko and seeing how things go for a few games.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Kesler
It can't all be on one guy. We can't just say "you're Johnny Gaudreau now, go score 20 goals". We need everyone in this dressing room to do their part to make this work.
12/11 at Tampa Bay (14-12-4) – 5-1 L
Well, that’s not good. After a scoreless first two periods, the Lightning jumps all over us in the third, chasing Grubauer from the game after four goals, and adding a fifth against Linus Ullmark. Silver lining… Chris Kreider got our only goal, so maybe being on the top line agrees with him? (On the other hand, Lauko was -3 in only 10:46 of ice time, so that experiment may be short-lived.)
GOALS: ATL – Kreider 2. TB – Kucherov 9, Kucherov 10, Johnson 4, Callahan 4, Stamkos 19.

12/13 vs Florida (11-17-2) – 4-2 L
You’d think getting off the road and facing a team with a losing record would be a recipe for getting back on the winning side, but… nope. 2020 draftee Cesar Lehoux breaks open a 2-2 tie early in the 3rd period, and Colton Sceviour adds an empty-netter to provide insurance to run the losing streak to 4.
GOALS: ATL – Sbruev 8, Hayes 8. FLA – Lehoux 7, Huberdeau 4, Lehoux 8, Sceviour 3.

We have a couple days off before our next game so while we’re waiting, let’s see if we can put something together to deal with this situation more permanently. I feel like Michael Grabner is a good move here – I need scoring touch, and Grabner gives me some of that without breaking the bank, and he’d still fit as a depth piece when Gaudreau returns. I have extra picks in the 3rd and 4th, and it looks like San Jose’s 3rd will get the deal done.

TRADE: Firebirds trade a 2021 3rd-round pick (from San Jose) to New Jersey for LW Michael Grabner. Jakub Lauko gets returned to the minors to make the roster right. Grabner will wear #40.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Grabner
Obviously you don't just parachute in and replace a guy who's an All-Star year after year. But I do think my game has some similar dimensions, so I can bring some of that same tempo that he provided.
12/17 at St. Louis (19-9-4) – 2-1 L
Another frustrating loss for the Firebirds. Nikita Soshnikov gets the winner halfway through the second period. (What is it with these fourth-liners beating us?)
GOALS: ATL – Thornton 4. STL – Parayko 3, Soshnikov 5.

12/19 vs Winnipeg (12-12-7) – 6-3 L
Over the first half of the game, Atlanta builds a 3-1 lead on the Jets, and it looks like things might be turning around for the home team. But Winnipeg scores 3 in the second half of the 2nd to retake the lead and two more in the third period to pull away.
GOALS: ATL – Nyquist 13, Wheeler 10, Kreider 3. WPG – Connor 8, Byfuglien 3, Ehlers 4, Connor 9, Laine 20, Perrault 7.

12/24 at Toronto (15-16-1) – 3-0 W
Hey, remember when we were battling Toronto for Atlantic Division titles? Now we’re scuffling for who gets to be over .500, and Atlanta is also trying to break a six-game slide. After a scoreless first, Ben Hutton starts the second with a goal on a nifty give-and-go with Chris Kreider. Later in the period, Connor Murphy scores on a slapper from the point. And then to start the third, Blake Wheeler bangs home a fortuitous rebound, and all that’s left is to grind down the clock.
GOALS: ATL – Hutton 5, Murphy 4, Wheeler 11. TOR – NONE.

12/25 at Carolina (20-10-3) – 2-1 L
It’s Christmas Day hockey from Carolina! A frustrating loss as Joe Thornton takes a slashing penalty with 1:11 left in regulation, and Carolina makes them pay with a power play goal with 14 seconds left. A couple back-and-forth turnovers eventually spring Victor Rask into the offensive zone and he beat Linus Ullmark from the faceoff circle.
GOALS: ATL – Nyquist 14. CAR – Skinner 14, Rask 14.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Hayes
I'd love to know what the league was thinking, scheduling us on Christmas Eve AND Christmas Day. I can understand one or the other, but... you know... we've all got families too, and it's a little frustrating.
12/27 at Pittsburgh (17-14-3) – 3-2 L (SO)
It takes until the new year, but we finally have our first extra-time loss of the season. Michael Frolik bails out a 2-1 deficit in the final minute to push the game to extra time and secure at least one point, but rookie defenseman Niclas Almari wins it for the Pens in the shootout.
GOALS: ATL – Nyquist 15, Frolik 6. PIT – Kessel 18, Letang 5, Almari (SO).

12/29 at Ottawa (18-17-1) – 4-3 L
We end with a battle of identical 18-17-1 records. Tony DeAngelo gets things off to a decent start with a goal 2:14 into the game, but then Ottawa takes over. Brandon Tanev and Julius Bergman score in the first, and from there it’s a cycle of Ottawa adding the insurance goal, followed by Atlanta scoring to make it competitive again. As an oddity, it’s kinda neat to see three goals all scored by defensemen, but I'd rather have had the win.
GOALS: ATL – DeAngelo 4, Hutton 6, Karlsson 2. OTT – Tanev 7, Bergman 1, Stone 4, Zadina 5.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Thornton
You want to see the positives.. we were competitive in almost every individual game, it's normal to go through an adjustment phase when you lose a major piece of your roster, the core of this team is the same group of guys that won the Presidents' Trophy. All of that is true. But "1-8-1 in our last 10" is true too, and the other stuff doesn't change what the standings look like. That other stuff may feel good to tell ourselves, but we need to start turning it into wins again.
MONTHLY SUMMARY

STANDINGS REPORT
  • MONTH: 4-8-1
  • YEAR-TO-DATE: 18-18-1, 37 points
  • DIVISION: The bad news… 7th place. The good news is that it’s really tight all the way up the ladder. Buffalo leads with 45, followed by Montreal at 43, Boston at 41, Ottawa and Tampa at 39, and Atlanta and Toronto at 37. (And as long as we’ve mentioned everyone else, Florida at 32). So if we can tweak things and get back on track, the division is still competitive.
  • CONFERENCE: For the moment, 15th and nowhere near the playoffs. The danger is that the Metro is generally doing better than the Atlantic – Atlantic leader Buffalo would be 5TH in the Metro -- so right now, it’s Top 3 or nothing. Top 8: CAR 50, NYR 49, WSH 47, PHI 47, BUF 45, NJ 43, MTL 43, BOS 41.
TEAM LEADERS
  • POINTS: Wheeler 32, Nyquist 30, Gaudreau 28, Sbruev 25, Thornton 24
  • GOALS: Gaudreau 15, Nyquist 15, Wheeler 11, Hayes 8, Sbruev 8
  • ASSISTS: Wheeler 21, Thornton 20, Sbruev 17, Nyquist 15, Hayes 14, Karlsson 14
  • PLUS-MINUS: Pelech 13, Hayes 13, Gaudreau 10, Nyquist 10, Wheeler 6, Sbruev 6

ON THE FARM
The minor-league squad has also run into a tough patch, and is also down around .500 at the moment. At a quick glance, it looks like #1 center Mitchell Stephens has been out of the lineup; that may be contributing to the offensive woes. I might go back and take a second look later.

Last edited by PFellah; 03-23-2019 at 04:19 PM.
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Old 03-23-2019, 04:38 PM   #85
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Re: Third Time's The Charm(?) - Atlanta Firebirds

December 2020: Around The League


STANDINGS


Colorado still leads all of hockey, but they looked a little more human this month and are now just two points ahead of Carolina for the Presidents' Trophy. The real mover this month is the Arizona Coyotes, who went 11-3 for the month and jumped from 7th to 2nd in the Pacific. In general, not a lot of separation -- 7 teams within 10 points in the Atlantic, six teams within 5 in the Pacific. The one emerging trend wile-card wise is that the Metro is outpacing the Atlantic -- Atlantic leader Buffalo would only be 5th in the Metro and BOTH wild cards would currently come out of the Metro if the season ended today.

LEAGUE LEADERS


Alex Ovechkin and Vladimir Tarasenko have been leading the way so far, and they continue to set the pace, but they did slow down a little this month and the rest of the field closed the gap a little. The big mover this month was Steven Stamkos, who pushed his way onto the leaderboard in everything except assists.

On the goalie side, it's mostly the usual suspects, though Andrei Vasilevskiy got enough starts for the Islanders to qualify for the rate stats. Oddly enough, Philipp Grubauer is still on the leaderboard in shutouts, even though he's having an otherwise ordinary year.

CALDER WATCH


This actually could be a year we see a goalie win the Calder. Now that Vasilevskiy is gone, Connor Ingram really is the guy in Tampa, and Eric Comrie is doing well in Winnipeg. Kooy, Toms, and Nedeljkovic are competent backups, but it doesn't seem like they'll get enough starts to be end-of-year candidates.

On the skater side, at least two guys took big leaps forward. Vyacheslav Novikov, the #1 overall, jumped up to 2nd in scoring, but it's almost all assists. Perhaps more impressively, Florida's Cesar Lehoux scored 9 goals this month to leapfrog from the bottom of the Top 10 into a tie for 3rd. He probably won't score 9 every month, but if he's starting to find a new level, he could be one to watch going forward.

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Old 03-25-2019, 04:27 PM   #86
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Re: Third Time's The Charm(?) - Atlanta Firebirds

Jan 2021: We're Not NOT In It...



I figure this next stretch of games, combined with what the rest of the division does, determines whether we’re going to be buyers or sellers at the deadline. If we’re still competitive at the start of February, maybe we hang in there and try to finish strong when Gaudreau gets back. If the division starts to slip away and the wild-cards are probably coming from the Metro, maybe we start unloading some of the guys who are done at the end of the year.
Injury-wise, nothing major beyond Gaudreau. Tony DeAngelo is down until the 5th with an ankle injury, but that’s it.

1/1 at Nashville (20-14-3) – 2-1 L (SO)
Ryan Johansen and Blake Wheeler trade first-period goals, and then all is quiet on New Year’s Day (come for the hockey, stay for the dated U2 references!) until the shootout, where P.K. Subban puts the Predators over the top.
GOALS: ATL – Wheeler 12. NSH – Johansen 9, Subban (SO).

1/3 vs Las Vegas (19-16-3) – 4-2 W
The Firebirds jump out to a 2-0 lead, and then keep answering back every time Vegas closes the gap to one goal. It’s a game featuring unlikely heroes, as defenseman Connor Murphy scores a pair, and Ryan Reaves gets the rare start and scores his first of the season. Reaves misses the Gordie Howe Hat Trick by an assist.
GOALS: ATL – Karlsson 3, Murphy 5, Murphy 6, Reaves 1. VGK – Eakin 7, Marchessault 7

1/5 vs Los Angeles (10-24-5) – 3-2 L
It’s a back-and-forth contest, as LA builds 1-0 and 2-1 leads with Atlanta answering both times. But then Mats Zuccarello adds a third goal midway through the second, and the Firebirds can’t come up with the answer for that one.
GOALS: ATL – Frolik 7, Grabner 2. LA – Froese 3, Rieder 4, Zuccarello 10.

1/7 vs Dallas (18-18-4) – 5-4 L
A low-scoring game through two turns silly in the final 20. Dallas holds a narrow 2-1 lead, after two, but then Klinberg and Gourde score seconds apart to widen the lead to 4-1. But then Chris Kreider and Kevin Hayes match that feat, also scoring within about a minute of each other to get the game back to a 1-goal margin. But then in the final minutes, Klingberg scores again, and Nikolai Sbruev’s goal that could’ve been a game-tying goal just makes things look respectable again.
GOALS: ATL – Hayes 9, Kreider 4, Hayes 10, Sbruev 9. DAL – Granlund 3, Radulov 12, Klingberg 5, Gourde 5, Klingberg 6.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Cogliano
Individually, we've all experience adversity in our careers, but really, this is the first time this team has faced it together. But so far, I feel like we're still in the right mindset. No one's checked out, everyone's still working hard in practice. That's all you can do, and hope things start clicking again.
1/10 vs Calgary (16-22-3) – 6-2 W
The Firebirds enter action under .500 (19-20-2) for the first time ever at any significant point into the season (think we started 1-3). And for the first time, we see proof that this team can still put up points, as they hang 6 on the Flames. A four-goal run in the 2nd does most of the damage.
GOALS: ATL – Hayes 11, Grabner 3, Wheeler 13, McCann 2, Karlsson 4, Pelech 2. CGY – Mangiapane 13, Backlund 7.

Between games, I decide to switch things up a little – Jared McCann is going to move up to the third line with Grabner and Frolik, moving Ryan Kesler down to the 4th line. I feel bad putting the captain down on the 4th line, but he’s not producing, and maybe McCann shakes things up a bit.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Kesler
I'm mad at myself because the production isn't what I'd like it to be, but I'm not mad at Jared or at the team. When you're going through a spell like this, you gotta shake things up. If that means I play on the 4th line for a bit... whatever gets the team moving in the right direction again. If there's going to be a long-term readjustment of my role with team, we'll deal with that when it's more appropriate. Right now, it's about doing what the team needs.
1/11 at Buffalo (23-13-5) – 3-1 W
Divisional games are starting to feel like must-win matchups – not only do we need to get some points, but we need to reel in the leaders and keep them from getting too far ahead to catch up. Today at least, the team is up to the challenge as Atlanta grinds out a 3-0 lead and then holds Buffalo off the rest of the way. Alex Nylander spoils Linus Ullmark’s shutout, but the divisional win is far more important.
GOALS: ATL – Frolik 8, Murphy 7, Wheeler 14. BUF – Nylander 7.

It’s a little too early to start standings-watching every day, but just taking a peek, we’ve moved up from 7th to 5th, though it’s still a tight cluster and the top 3 are starting to separate a little. BUF 51, MTL 51, OTT 49, TB 45, ATL 44, TOR 43, BOS 43, FLA 35.

1/14 vs Colorado (28-9-5) – 3-2 L (OT)
Things got off to a good start against the Avalanche, as Atlanta opened up a 2-0 lead after the first period and generally seemed to have the better of the action. But they couldn’t quite put it away and it eventually cost them a point. Colorado scored a goal in the second and another early in the third to tie things up. And then with seconds left in overtime, Atlanta pushed too hard to get a game-winner, their defenders got caught too deep, and Gabriel Landeskog got sprung free on a breakaway, which he buried for the OT win. (Unfortunately, in a fit of annoyance, I accidentally exited out before looking at the stats page.)
GOALS – (oops)

1/15 vs Columbus (19-19-5) – 2-1 W
A quiet, by-the-books win. Blake Wheeler and (original expansion draftee) Josh Leivo trade goals in the second period, but Nikolai Sbruev puts it to bed in the third. (Not sure what’s going on, but that’s Ullmark’s third start in a row, and Grubauer doesn’t appear to be injured.)
GOALS: ATL – Wheeler 15, Sbruev 10. CBJ – Leivo 1.

1/18 vs Anaheim (26-16-2) – 3-0 L
Back to our disappointing ways. 29 shots and nothing to show for it. Meanwhile, Anaheim gets goals from Leo Komarov, Nick Ritchie, and Nic Kerdiles – one in each period.
GOALS: ATL – NONE. ANA – Komarov 9, Ritchie 8, Kerdiles 6.

Oh, lovely. Philipp Grubauer is out for evaluation. Honestly, if he's out for any serious amount of time, that may be the signal to pack it in for this year.

1/20 at New York Rangers (26-9-10) – 4-0 W
For one game, we were the team we thought we were. Winning puck battles, laying big hits, forcing turnovers, doing the little things right. After Nikolai Sbruev banked a one-timer in off the post, it was the Kevin Hayes Show, scoring a pair of goals against his former team. The first, a redirect of a shot from the point; the second, finishing a nifty pass through the slot by Dominik Simon. In the third, Blake Wheeler jammed home a second-chance rebound for a little more insurance, and Linus Ullmark put the shutout to bed.
GOALS: ATL – Sbruev 11, Hayes 13, Hayes 14, Wheeler 16. NYR – NONE.

There’s a week off here where I assume the All-Star break would fall in real life. In the meantime, Grubauer recovers from his injury, and The Islanders offer me a deal for Ryan Reaves. They’re not offering much – Reaves and a 2021 4th for a 3rd next year – but I think I might take it. Reaves is a healthy scratch most nights anyway.

TRADE: Firebirds trade RW Ryan Reaves and their 4th-round pick in 2021 to the New York Islanders for the Islanders’ 3rd-round pick in 2022. Michael McCarron gets the call-up to fill the roster opening, but Taylor Leier is likely to be the initial recipient of more ice time.

1/27 at Montreal (24-17-6) – 4-3 W (OT)
Another divisional game where we could really use a “W”, and we get a wild one I loved as a fan but hated as a GM. Every time we thought we had the Habs put away, they kept coming back. In the 3rd, we even scored a short-handed goal on their power play to take a 3-2 lead, but they converted the power play to tie the game up again. But then in OT, Erik Karlsson fed Blake Wheeler in front of the net; Price got a piece of the shot, but it still trickled in for an overtime game-winner.
GOALS: ATL – Wheeler 17, Nyquist 16, Kesler 4, Wheeler 18. MTL – Danault 9, Kovalev 15, Nazarov 4.

1/29 vs Edmonton (26-18-3) – 6-2 W
THEY’RE ALIVE! Atlanta jumps out to a 3-0 lead and keeps rolling from there. Nicky Sbruev scores a pair and the Underwhelmings (Kreider, Thornton, Kesler) also contribute goals.
GOALS: ATL – Kesler 5, Sbruev 12, Thornton 5, Sbruev 13, Nyquist 17, Kreider 5. EDM – Caggiula 10, Nugent-Hopkins 10.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Hayes
This team has the talent to win, even with Johnny out. Every guy here believes that. Hopefully stringing a few wins together like this will help us turn the page and get back to being the team we're capable of being.
1/31 at Washington (29-14-5) – 4-1 L
The recent momentum hits a wall in Washington as the Caps put up a 3-goal first period and ride it to victory. Adam Pelech gets the lone tally for the Firebirds.
GOALS: ATL – Pelech 3. WSH – Kuznetsov 11, Oshie 15, Ovechkin 38, Vrana 11.


MONTHLY SUMMARY

STANDINGS REPORT
  • MONTH: 7-4-2. Not a huge leap forward but at least above .500. Much better than 1-8-1.
  • YEAR-TO-DATE: 25-22-3, 53 points
  • DIVISION: Still about the same sitaution. On paper we're an unimpressive 6th with 53 points, but first place is Buffalo at 58. With 30 games left to play (and Gaudreau back for half of them), it's still an open race.
  • CONFERENCE: On the conference side, the Metro/Atlantic imbalance is getting worse -- Buffalo would be 7th in the Metro, and Atlanta sits 12th in the conference. For the moment, wild-card chances in the Atlantic are non-existent.
TEAM LEADERS
  • POINTS: Nyquist 45, Wheeler 40, Hayes 34, Sbruev 33, Thornton 32
  • GOALS: Wheeler 18, Nyquist 17, Gaudreau 16, Hayes 14, Sbruev 13
  • ASSISTS: Nyquist 28, Thornton 27, Wheeler 22, Hayes 20, Karlsson 20, Sbruev 20
  • PLUS-MINUS: Hayes 20, Nyquist 17, Pelech 16, Sbruev 13, Gaudreau 10, Karlsson 10

ON THE FARM
Birmingham has bounced back a little better than the parent club, now standing at 28-19-3. They’re technically 4th at the moment, but 3rd through 6th is a pretty close cluster. Ray Finley leads the team with 19 goals; Teemu Turunen leads the team with 29 assists, and Rudolfs Balcers leads the team in points with 36. Nik Rubin has a 20-15-2 record with a 2.40 GAA and a .915 save percentage.

Last edited by PFellah; 03-25-2019 at 04:41 PM.
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Old 03-25-2019, 04:37 PM   #87
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Re: Third Time's The Charm(?) - Atlanta Firebirds

January 2021: Around The League


STANDINGS


In the Atlantic, Toronto had the surge we'd hoped to have and moved up to 2nd, but it's still anyone's race. Except maybe Florida. The top 4 in the Metro and Pacific and 2-7 in the Central are similarly tight. Gotta feel for Pittsburgh -- their 59 points would be good for a Top 3 finish in any other division (and lead the Atlantic) but they're currently on the outside as things currently stand.

LEAGUE LEADERS


The main thing I noticed is Tarasenko went so cold this month that I wonder if he was injured. He's not currently listed, but he had almost no points for the month. Other than that, things kinda maintained the status quo, except for Claude Giroux scoring 9 or 10 goals and jumping up into 2nd place in that category.

One oddball note: Linus Ullmark played in just enough games to qualify in the rate stats and sits fifth in GAA. Won't be there at the end of the year, but still momentarily cool.

CALDER WATCH


On the skater side, everyone held their position in the scoring race, which is odd... you usually see at least a little churn at the low end. For the goalies, the backup guys are starting to fall behind the pace -- Toms and Kooy disappear and Nedeljkovic is JUST at the cutoff -- so it's down to a two-man race. Comrie's rate stats are slightly better, but Ingram has more total games. Neither team is currently headed to the playoffs though, if that makes a difference to Calder voters.

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