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

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Old 01-20-2019, 08:36 PM   #49
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Re: Third Time's The Charm(?) - Atlanta Firebirds

Training Camp 2019


Kevin Hayes, on swapping numbers with Johnny Gaudreau:
I was always going to give him 13. I mean, come on, he's a star. But I figured I'd make him work for it a little. Since The Walking Dead films around here, I asked Johnny if he knew someone who could get us on set. I guess his agent made a few calls, and... Johnny gets #13, and I get to be a zombie in an episode next season. Pretty cool, huh?
Andrew Cogliano, on the difference between last year and this year:
Last year, I think a lot of guys were uncertain about where they stood -- am I part of the long-term plan? am I going to be shipped back out in a trade? That much roster churn makes it a little hard to get comfortable. I think this year, we get back that sense of just being another team. Guys come out, guys come in, but the guys that are here know where they stand.
Ryan Kesler on dealing with the disappointment of a first-round exit:
Of course it sucks. But you can't dwell on it. Thirty other teams have their own version of that same story and theirs didn't end well either. You just gotta take some time to process it, then you pack it away and get back to work.
Adam Lowry, on working on a line with first-round pick Matti Filppula:
Flipper's going to be a good kid some day. I think what stood out for me is that he came in and worked hard, didn't take things for granted because he's a number one pick. I don't think he's going to drop right into the lineup like Nicky did, but if he goes and puts work behind the talent he has and polishes his game, hopefully we'll see him back here soon.
Johnny Gaudreau, on what he likes best about his new team:
Well, the color scheme's pretty similar so I can just turn my T-shirts inside out and they're still the right color...

9/25 vs Florida – 2-1 L (OT). A weird mix of rookies and veterans take the ice in the pre-season opener. The fans get their first looks at Erik Karlsson and first-round pick Matti Filppula, but Blake Wheeler and Johnny Gaudreau get the night off. Atlanta gets the better of the action, but gets sloppy and gives up a breakaway in overtime. Jonathan Huberdeau puts it past Nik Rubin with 54 seconds left, and it’s a win for the Panthers. Nail Yakupov had the lone Atlanta goal though Ryan Kesler put a potential game-winner off the post with about three minutes left.

9/27 at Boston – 4-3 W. Slater Koekkoek and Ryan Kesler break open a 2-2 tie in the opening minutes of the third period. Boston’s Cory Conacher gets one back in the final minute to make it narrow the gap, but the final minute safely ticks away.

9/30 vs Toronto – 3-0 W. The starters are starting to trickle back in, including Philipp Grubauer, and Gaudreau and Wheeler make their pre-season debuts. Toronto strikes first five minutes in on a goal by Afinogenov. In the second period, the Firebirds answer back with three goals – Nail Yakupov and Tyler Pitlick within 30 seconds of each other, and Kesler a few minutes later. And that ends up being your game.

10/2 at Tampa Bay – 3-2 L. On one hand, it’s “just” the pre-season; on the other, these are the guys who ran us out of the playoffs last year so even pre-season revenge is something. Unfortunately, Tampa gets two goals late in the first period and then, when it starts to look like Atlanta is getting some quality chances, adds a third early in the third period. Newest signee Teemu Turunen pokes home a rebound to finally get the ‘Birds on the board with 6:47 left, and Jesper Fast slaps home a one-timer with five ticks left, but it’s too little too late.

10/3 at Buffalo – 5-2 L. I just noticed Buffalo signed Vezina winner Sergei Bobrovsky, so this may be a tougher game than I thought. Anyhow, Buffalo shells former teammate Linus Ullmark, doing most of the damage in a 3-goal 2nd period. Blake Wheeler and Andrew Cogliano score in the losing effort.

10/6 vs Montreal – 3-2 L. I hoped to get a look at the Habs’ franchise rookie, but he’s not dressed tonight. In terms of game results, maybe that’s for the best, as Atlanta lets one slip away. Montreal scores two in the first, but Karlsson and Cogliano answer in the second. But then Matt Dumba breaks the tie early in the third and that’s the winning margin.

10/8 vs Ottawa – 5-4 W (SO). The Firebirds’ ends on a high-note with a back-and-forth affair that isn’t decided until the shootout. Ottawa draws first blood, but then the Firebirds rattle off three goals in a row. But then they give back leads of 3-2 and 4-3 before winning in the shootout on a Blake Wheeler tally.



Forward lines to start the season will be (newcomers in bold, italics for guys getting promoted):
  • 13 Johnny Gaudreau - 14 Kevin Hayes - 26 Blake Wheeler
  • 57 David Perron - 21 Ryan Kesler - 17 Jesper Fast
  • 72 Nikolai Sbruev - 42 David Backes - 64 Nail Yakupov
  • 8 Andrew Cogliano - 19 Adam Lowry - 18 Tyler Pitlick
  • 55 Mark Letestu as 13th forward

CPU actually wants to reverse Cogliano and Yakupov, but I'd rather have everyone playing at their natural positions.

Defense pairs:
  • 65 Erik Karlsson - 5 Connor Murphy
  • 29 Christian Djoos - 9 Alex Petrovic
  • 25 Mirco Mueller - 37 Slater Koekkoek
  • 50 Adam Pelech as depth defenseman

  • 30 Philipp Grubauer
  • backup goalie TBD - CPU wants to bring up Ullmark; I had envisioned Pavelec being the backup, want to think through the waiver ramifications of both options.

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Old 01-27-2019, 08:04 PM   #50
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Re: Third Time's The Charm(?) - Atlanta Firebirds

Originally Posted by PFellah
Training Camp 2019
I like it! Very nice writing...
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Old 02-02-2019, 12:39 PM   #51
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Re: Third Time's The Charm(?) - Atlanta Firebirds

October 2019: Just Another Team Now

It's the beginning of season #2. We've gone to the playoffs, we challenged for our division title, we've signed and traded for some big names... we're no longer "the expansion team" but just one of 32 teams trying to win this thing. So let's get to it!

10/14 vs Columbus – 1-0 W
We start with the defending President's Trophy winner, though without their best offensive player (Panarin) and Vezina-winning goalie, they're not quite the team they were last year. Philipp Grubauer gets 2019 off to a good start by turning away 38 Columbus shots, and Ryan Kesler makes it stand up with a contested goal; Erik Karlsson let loose a slapper, which popped free, and Kesler crashed the net to knock it in. After a brief review to make sure it wasn’t kicked in, it stood as the lone goal of the contest.
GOALS: ATL – Kesler 1. CBJ - NONE

Originally Posted by Ryan Kesler
You can call it luck, but there's true luck and there's luck that comes about because you're in the right place doing what you're supposed to do. If Karly's gonna take that slapper, it's my job to crash the net and look for a rebound. If it went in off my skate instead of my stick, I'm still where I'm supposed to be.
10/15 at Toronto – 5-4 L
Kevin Hayes and Erik Karlsson get the Firebirds off to a fast start, but then the Leafs drop five goals on Ondrej Pavelec in the 2nd. Jesper Fast adds a goal in the 2nd and another halfway through the third, but the equalizer never comes.
GOALS: ATL – Hayes 1, Karlsson 1, Fast 1, 2. TOR: Staal 2, Sorensen 1, Hyman 1, Kadri 1, Martin 1.

10/17 vs New York Rangers – 4-0 W
The Rangers come in 0-3, and the Firebirds put them away after a slow start. After a scoreless first period, David Backes scores his first Atlanta goal in the second. Then things go quiet until the final 6 minutes, when Johnny Gaudreau, David Perron, and Erik Karlsson all tally. Grubauer turns aside another 30 shots.
GOALS: ATL – Backes 1, Gaudreau 1, Perron 1, Karlsson 2. NYR – NONE.

10/20 at Winnipeg – 2-1 W
Inverting the previous game, Winnipeg comes in at 4-0, but the Firebirds take care of business again. Johnny Gaudreau opens the scoring two minutes in and Tyler Pitlick scores a few minutes later. Grubauer carries his scoreless streak into the early third before finally giving up his first goal of the season, but that’s it the rest of the way.
GOALS: ATL – Gaudreau 2, Pitlick 1. WPG – Connor 1.

10/22 vs Pittsburgh – 3-2 L
The Pens prove to be a little too tough, even on home ice. Phil Kessel and Tyler Pitlick trade early goals within a minute of each other, but then Daniel Sprong breaks the Pens out on top later in the first. The second goes into the books scoreless, and then Patric Hornqvist pads the Pittsburgh lead to two. David Perron gets one back with 1:17 left, but that’s all.
GOALS: ATL – Pitlick 2, Perron 2. PIT – Kessel 5, Sprong 2, Hornqvist 4.

10/23 at Dallas – 5-3 W
Blake Wheeler finally gets his first goal as a Firebird, and it establishes the lead that stands up for the rest of the game. After a 1-1 first, Wheeler and Kevin Hayes draw blood in the 2nd. A 2-2 draw in the 3rd cements the victory, with an empty-netter by Jesper Fast adding the exclamation point.
GOALS: ATL – Sbruev 1, Wheeler 1, Hayes 2, Yakupov 1, Fast 3. DAL– Benn 5, Gourde 1, Granlund 1.

Originally Posted by Blake Wheeler
It's nice to finally get that first goal, but I wasn't worried. The team's playing well, we're spreading it out and getting offense from a lot of different guys... you just work hard and the pucks will start getting into the net.
10/26 vs Detroit – 1-0 W
Detroit comes in winless at 0-5-1, but they make the Firebirds work for their two points. Jesper Fast finally gets the lone goal 4 minutes into the 3rd period, and this time it’s Pavelec stopping 31 shots to claim a shutout.
GOALS: ATL – Fast 4. DET – NONE.

Eek. Just looked at the injury report because I saw some alerts about morale and ice-time, and I’m down 2.5 defensemen – Alex Petrovic and Slater Koekkoek are both in evaluation, and Connor Murphy has a playable foot injury. Just to have an extra body, I call up Oliver Kylington because he’s not waiver-eligible.

10/29 vs Ottawa – 2-1 L (SO)
Atlanta’s first overtime game of the year ends up being a bit of a disappointment, as they come up short in the shootout. Matt Duchene opens scoring 2:31 into the game, and then it’s quiet. And quiet. And still quiet. Until, with 5:26 left, Kevin Hayes muscles a Senator off the puck for an offensive-zone turnover and puts a wrister past Anderson to tie it. The rest of regulation and overtime pass without another goal, but then Ottawa takes the shootout.
GOALS: ATL – Hayes 3. OTT – Duchene 2, White (SO).

10/30 vs Florida – 3-2 W
The month finishes on a positive note, as Atlanta run out to a 3-0 lead and then make it last the rest of the way. Wheeler and Karlsson score in the first and Kesler in the 2nd.
GOALS: ATL – Wheeler 2, Karlsson 3, Kesler 2. FLA – Hjalmarsson 2, Dadanov 4.

Originally Posted by Oliver Kylington
I know my role is that I'm just here for a few games until some guys get healthy. That's the business side of this game, it kinda is what it is. You just have to do the best you can with those opportunities, prove you can handle yourself, and hope the next time you get the call it's for longer, or even to stay.
End of month injury update – Petrovic is playable with a hamstring injury and Koekkoek is out about a week with a bruised arm. I’ll probably leave Kylington up until the 2nd, when Petrovic is back to 100%, and then send him down.


MONTH: 6-2-1
YEAR-TO-DATE: 6-2-1, 13 points
DIVISION: 2nd place, behind Montreal (8-1-0, 16 points)
CONFERENCE: Tied for 4th with Pittsburgh. Top 8: MTL 16, CAR 14, WSH 14, ATL 13, PIT 13, PHI 12, CBJ 10, NJ 10.


POINTS: Karlsson 10, Wheeler 6, Perron 6, Fast 5, Gaudreau 5
GOALS: Fast 4, Hayes 3, Karlsson 3, Kesler 2, Wheeler 2, Gaudreau 2, Pitlick 2, Perron 2
ASSISTS: Karlsson 7, Wheeler 4, Perron 4, Lowry 3, Gaudreau 3
PLUS-MINUS: Djoos 8, Kesler 6, Fast 6, Karlsson 6, Perron 6

Birmingham is off to a torrid 8-1-0 start, with a 29-15 edge in goals scored. Taylor Leier is the team’s leading goal-scorer with 6, Beau Bennett leads in points (11) and assists (9). Linus Ullmark leads the way with a 1.53 GAA in 7 starts; Nik Rubin is 2-0 in relief. In terms of scouting, Matti Filppula is gelling as a Top 6-Med forward and is currently at 60 OVR. In terms of actual results, he's dressed for 6 games and has a goal and no assists.

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Old 02-02-2019, 12:51 PM   #52
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Re: Third Time's The Charm(?) - Atlanta Firebirds

October 2019: Around The League


Note that I did away with the coloring -- even if you could infer the teams from the colors, I was finding it hard to read and a little annoying. As far as early results, the most interesting things are out at the fringes. At the top of the league, the Panarin signing is going gangbusters for the Ducks; at the bottom end, Detroit is hurting.


A lot of names you don't usually see, but it's early. Nice to see Grubby represented on the leaderboards.


I miss not having a horse in this race, but still interesting. I formalized that I'm only going to watch goalies who qualify for the league leaderboards (i.e. 31% of team's games). Looking at the board, Mittelstadt stands out as a holdover from last year (was Sbruev's leading competition out of the gate), and no 2019 rookies represented yet. Montreal does have Viktor Kovalev (the Franchise kid) with the big club and he's dressed for 9 games, but he's only got 2 assists so far.
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Old 02-03-2019, 04:30 PM   #53
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Re: Third Time's The Charm(?) - Atlanta Firebirds

November 2019: Firebirds Claim Perch Atop Atlantic

11/1 vs San Jose – 4-2 W November starts with the Johnny Gaudreau Show as Johnny Hockey notches a pair of second-period goals to power the Firebirds to victory. Blake Wheeler adds three assists to the effort.
GOALS: ATL – Gaudreau 3, Gaudreau 4, Karlsson 4, Yakupov 2. SJ – Meier 2, Thornton 2.

The good news is that Petrovic is healthy and Koekoek is back in a few days. The bad news is Adam Lowry is out for the month with a MCL sprain. So Oliver Kylington is headed back to Birmingham, and Mitchell Stephens gets the call-up. He might be a depth forward, or we might try him instead of Letestu centering the 4th line.

11/4 vs New Jersey – 4-1 W. New Jersey added Tyler Seguin and Max Pacioretty in the offseason to juice up their offense but it didn’t seem to make much of a difference tonight. The Firebirds were in command all game, but particularly in the final minute, scoring goals with 33 second left in both the 1st and 2nd periods. The Firebirds cruised to a 3-0 lead and even had a 4th goal by Blake Wheeler waved off. Taylor Hall finally broke the shutout with about 5:30 left, but that was all the comeback the Devils had in them, and Nikolai Sbruev added an empty-netter in the final 30.
GOALS: ATL – Perron 3, Hayes 4, Yakupov 3, Sbruev 2. NJ – Hall 3.

11/6 at New York Islanders – 5-4 W (OT) An ugly two points, but still two points, as the Firebirds blew leads of 2-0 and 4-2 to send the game to extra time. But in overtime, Ryan Kesler bailed the ‘Birds out with his second goal of the game.
GOALS: ATL – Backes 2, Sbruev 3, Kesler 3, Backes 3, Kesler 4. NYI – Pulock 3, Clutterbuck 7, Ladd 4, Beauvillier 2.

11/7 at Anaheim – 6-3 L. This one hurt. The Ducks come in at 12-1-0, so we know it’s not going to be easy. But the Firebirds get three first-period goals, and even an early second-period score by Richard Rakell looks like little more than a speed bump. But Anaheim scores five goals in the third – two in the early going to tie, and then three in the final five minutes. Ouch.
GOALS: ATL – Gaudreau 5, Djoos 1, Perron 4. ANA – Rakell 5, Terry 2, Kerdiles 3, Dowd 2, Perry 5, Kase 5.

Originally Posted by David Perron
They're a good team, and it's just one game out of 82, but you can't give yourself a pass for that. We had that game in our control for 40 minutes, and then it just came apart on us. It can be a positive if we learn from it and learn how to put teams away, but today, it's frustrating.
11/10 vs Los Angeles – 4-1 W. The defending Stanley Cup champs come to town, but they’re scuffling along at about .500 so far this year. Early on, great goaltending by Jonathan Quick and a goal off a face-off by Derek Forbort is keeping the Kings in a game where Atlanta is getting the better of the scoring chances. However, Christian Djoos gets the equalizer halfway through the first, and Johnny Gaudreau finishes a give-and-go with Erik Karlsson to give the Firebirds the lead they’d never relinquish. The third period could’ve been even worse than it was – as a disallowed goal and a couple of shots off the iron saved the Kings from a blowout.
GOALS: ATL – Djoos 2, Gaudreau 6, Karlsson 5, Kesler 5. LA – Forbort 1.

11/11 vs Calgary – 6-3 W. A lot of familiar faces on the visitors’ bench, as the Preferred Trading Partner of the Atlanta Firebirds come to town. On one hand, the Firebirds got out to a 2-0 lead and were never really threatened; on the other hand, the Flames got as close as 4-3 before a pair of empty-netters made the score look more lopsided than it was. The top line does most of the damage: Kevin Hayes comes up with a hatty, and Gaudreau puts up two against his former teammates. (David Perron with the remaining tally). Craig Smith does score one of the three Calgary goals in his return to Atlanta.
GOALS: ATL – Hayes 5, Gaudreau 7, Hayes 6, Gaudreau 8, Perron 5. CAL – Smith 3, Panik 4, Tkachuk 4.

Injury note: Tyler Pitlick and Alex Petrovic are both out with short-duration injuries. So, bench is a little thin, but probably don’t need reinforcements from the minors unless we lose someone else.

11/14 at Philadelphia – 4-1 W. The Flyers are improved from last season, but they’re still not exactly good. Blake Wheeler stakes the Firebirds to an early lead, but Shayne Gostisbehere wipes it off the board early in the 2nd. But then Kevin Hayes and Erik Karlsson score to pull the ‘Birds away, and Christian Djoos adds an empty netter late. Ondrej Pavelec turns aside 32 of 33 shots in the relief performance.
GOALS: ATL – Wheeler 3, Hayes 8, Karlsson 6, Djoos 3. PHI – Gostisbehere 4.

11/16 vs Las Vegas – 4-1 L. Pavelec gets back-to-back starts in net, but this time he’s human as the Golden Knights put four pucks past him. The teams trade goals in the first (Kevin Hayes continues to be red-hot), but Reilly Smith gets a goal 5 minutes into the 2nd, and Vegas pulls away with a pair in the 3rd.
GOALS: ATL – Hayes 9. VGK – Sbisa 2, Smith 5, Tuch 5, Tanev 2.

Adam Pelech is hurt during the game, so with Petrovic still out, we may have to put Oliver Kylington back on a plane.

11/18 vs Boston – 2-0 W. It’s a low-scoring affair, with both teams held below 30 shots. But Atlanta makes the most of their 23, putting two past Tuukka Rask. Nikolai Sbruev scores in the 1st period, and rookie call up Mitchell Stephens gets his first NHL goal in the closing minutes. You’re gonna want to keep that puck, kid.
GOALS: ATL – Sbruev 4, Stephens 1. BOS – NONE.

Originally Posted by Mitchell Stephens
Pretty great, huh? When you get called up in a situation like this, of course the little kid in you wants to go up and score a goal. But as a professional, you don't want to get selfish, you need to fill the role the team needs you to fill and you just gotta hope you're put in a position where you can succeed. Sometimes things break right and you get both, I guess.
11/20 vs Carolina – 2-1 L. Another low-shot effort, as the Firebirds only put 23 pucks on Marc-Andre Fleury; this time, the bad guys come out on top as Jacob Josefson scores 1:20 into the 3rd to break a 1-1 tie.
GOALS: ATL – Wheeler 4. CAR – Skinner 9, Josefson 2.

11/23 vs Washington – 3-1 W. Some less familiar faces get involved in the scoring as Alex Petrovic and Andrew Cogliano stake the Firebirds to a 2-0 lead and Phillpp Grubauer makes it stand up. Blake Wheeler shows signs of heating up by adding a third-period insurance score.
GOALS: ATL – Petrovic 1, Cogliano 1, Wheeler 5. WSH – Ovechkin 11.

The revolving door on defense continues – Adam Pelech is almost healthy, but now Connor Murphy is out for evaluation, so I guess Kylington isn’t cancelling his plane ticket back to Birmingham yet.

11/25 at Tampa Bay – 5-4 L (OT). Tampa has been making an early case for being the Firebirds’ chief rivals so far, and another chapter was written with a great back-and-forth game that took extra minutes to decide. Neither team ever lead by more than a goal, a short-handed goal by Tyler Pitlick almost held up as the game-winner (on a five-minute major, no less), and the game was 8 seconds from heading to shootout when Atlanta was slow getting back and Nikita Kucherov buried a two-on-one.
GOALS: ATL – Pitlick 3, Wheeler 6, Perron 6, Pitlick 4. TB –Johnson 8, Sergachev 2, Masin 1, Kuckerov 7, Kucherov 8.

Originally Posted by Kevin Hayes
I give the guys in this room a lot of credit. We had two guys get hurt, and then Coggsy got the game misconduct and the five-minute power play. It would've been easy to use any of that as an excuse, to fold up shop. We got caught out of position right at the end and didn't get the result we wanted, but we hung in there and showed a lot of heart as a team.
It looks like we lost two guys – Nikolai Sbruev AND Slater Koekkoek to injury. We’re getting Adam Lowry and Connor Murphy back in a couple days but we basically have NO bench for the next couple games unless we want to bring someone else up.

Also, an odd trade offer. Anaheim is offering – basically – to undo the Kesler trade. Kesler and Beau Bennett for Raddysh. If I were rebuilding, I’d consider it, but we’re having a good year, so… no.

11/27 vs Montreal – 3-0 W. The division-leading Habs and the still-dormant WonderRookie Kovalev are in town, and I’m not sure what to make of this game. On one hand, it was really a 1-0 game that got out of hand late; on the other hand, Atlanta put 46 shots on net to Montreal’s 25, so maybe it was closer to a blowout.
GOALS: ATL – Gaudreau 9, Hayes 10, Gaudreau 10. MTL – NONE.

Generally positive news on the injury front, as Koekkoek (sore hip, 12/4) and Sbruev (strained hamstring, 12/2) are both short-term injuries. So – knock on wood – we’re only a couple games away from being back to full strength. (And actually, by the time we get to 11/29, Sbruev is actually back in action.)

11/29 at Arizona – 4-3 L (SO). The Coyotes are another former division winner that fell on hard-times, but they manage to stretch the depleted Firebirds into overtime and win it in the shootout. A point should be enough to end the month leading the Atlantic, but still disappointing to lose what on paper looked like a winnable game.
GOALS: ATL – Pitlick 5, Sbruev 5, Fast 5. ARI – Goligoski 2, Lindblom 4, Stepan 6, Galchenyuk (SO).


MONTH: 9-3-2
YEAR-TO-DATE: 15-5-3, 33 points
DIVISION: 33 points, 1st in division, followed by MTL (16-7-0, 32), Tampa (14-8-2, 30), and Toronto (12-8-4, 28).
CONFERENCE: 33 points, 1st in Eastern Conference. TOP 8: ATL 33, MTL 32, TB 30, PIT 29, NJ 28, CAR 28, WSH 28, TOR 28.
PRESIDENT’S TROPHY: 3rd behind Anaheim (18-4-2, 38 points) and Vancouver (15-5-4, 34 points). Dallas also tied at 33 points (15-5-3).


POINTS: Karlsson 25, Gaudreau 23, Wheeler 21, Hayes 17, Perron 15
GOALS: Gaudreau 10, Hayes 10, Wheeler 6, Karlsson 6, Perron 6
ASSISTS: Karlsson 19, Wheeler 15, Gaudreau 13, Perron 9, Hayes 7, Sbruev 7
PLUS-MINUS: Djoos 15, Wheeler 11, Karlsson 10, Perron 9, Kesler 8, Gaudreau 8, Murphy 8, Hayes 8

Cooled down a little from the hot start at 16-6-1, but still leading their division. Wouldn’t surprise me if losing Stephens and Kylington to the big club may have played a part. Leading point scorers are Bennett (21), Simon (21), Leier (16), DeAngelo (14), and Sundqvist (13). Leier is the only guy with double-digit goals at 10. Looking at goalies, Nik Rubin is getting an uncomfortable percentage of the starts (Ullmark 15, Rubin 9) and actually has better rate stats – considering Rubin was a warm body, that doesn’t bode well for Ullmark’s status as goalie of the future.
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Old 02-03-2019, 04:42 PM   #54
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Re: Third Time's The Charm(?) - Atlanta Firebirds

November 2019: Around The League


The most exciting development is the Firebirds leaping into the top spot in the Atlantic AND the Eastern Conference. Still early, but it's a good feeling. Other that, looks like Anaheim is really good, and Detroit and Arizona are really bad, and the rest needs more time to marinade.


Grubby still continues to be in the discussion for the Vezina. He's been helped a little by the fact that Rinne (Edmonton) and Gibson (Anaheim) haven't played a full slate. In new developments, Erik Karlsson is in the Top 10 for assists and sits outside the Top 10 in overall scoring.


Same basic faces as last month, but now we're actually starting to see some numbers. We also now have a few goalies entering the conversation -- Calgary's Gillies seems to be starting, though his numbers are unspectacular. Most of the other guys will probably fall out of the discussion eventually.
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Old 02-05-2019, 10:02 PM   #55
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Re: Third Time's The Charm(?) - Atlanta Firebirds

Really liking the players comments & how you have been able to make their names show up in the "quote". A really great idea.

Heres to a strong season for the Firebirds
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Old 02-11-2019, 10:34 AM   #56
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Re: Third Time's The Charm(?) - Atlanta Firebirds

December 2019: The Long And Winding Road

This month features some interesting scheduling as we start the month with a nine-game road trip.

12/2 at Colorado – 4-3 L (OT) 35 shots for Atlanta, 34 for the Avalanche. 1-1 through the first, 2-2 through the 2nd, 3-3 after regulation, and Colorado just happened to get the next goal in overtime.
GOALS: ATL –Lowry 1, Hayes 11, Murphy 1. COL – Andrighetto 7, Kerfoot 4, Soderberg 7, Soderberg 8.

12/3 at Vancouver – 5-2 W. The Canucks actually got the better of the early action, as Elias Pettersson connected on the power play to give the Canucks a 1-0 lead through 1. From there, the Firebirds took control with three 2nd-period goals, two within about a minute of each other. Gustav Nyquist gave the Canucks a burst of life with a goal 52 seconds into the third, but the Firebirds converted a failed clearance into a Kevin Hayes goal from between the circles. From there, it was quiet the rest of the way, with the exception of a Johnny Gaudreau empty-netter.
GOALS: ATL – Wheeler 7, Kesler 6, Perron 7, Hayes 12, Gaudreau 11. VAN– Pettersson 9, Nyquist 6.

12/5 at Nashville – 4-2 W The caravan rolls into Nashville with the team at full health for the first time since who-knows-when, and the Firebirds mark the occasion by running away and hiding with the first four goals of the game. Nashville eventually gets goals late in the second and early in the third to make a game of it, but that’s how it finishes.
GOALS: ATL – Hayes 13, Cogliano 2, Pitlick 6, Karlsson 7. NSH – Bonino 2, Forsberg 15.

12/7 at Minnesota – 5-1 L. The Firebirds finaly suffer a regulation loss, and it’s a doozy. Minnesota rolls out to a 3-0 lead through 1, and proceed to hold it the rest of the way. Nothing good to say about this one.
GOALS: ATL – Fast 6. MIN – Spurgeon 1, Foligno 1, Koivu 3, Koivu 4, Staal 10.

12/10 at St. Louis – 4-3 L. It’s the first back-to-back losses of the year. Atlanta actually gets out to a 2-0 early lead on goals by David Backes and Erik Karlsson but they can’t hold it as the Blues chip away, eventually getting up 4-2 on the ‘Birds. Black Wheeler adds a goal down the stretch in the third to inject some drama, but the equalizer never materializes.
GOALS: ATL – Backes 4, Karlsson 8, Wheeler 8. STL - Fabbri 9, Bozak 3, Parayko 4, Parayko 5.

Interesting offer comes in: Boston offers prospecty power forward Markuss Tarasov (60 OVR, Top 6 Med) for Beau Bennett and a 7th. It’s a fair offer… I’m just not sure what purpose it serves at this point in the season when I’m well in the playoff race. I probably ought to keep my trade pieces for something that can help me in the present, not stockpile prospects who may or may not pan out.

12/12 at Edmonton – 4-1 L. And it’s official. We’re facing the first real adversity of the season, three losses in a row. Atlanta only musters 24 shots and one goal.
GOALS: ATL – Karlsson 9. EDM – Kassian 2, Rattie 6, Nugent-Hopkins 5, Caggiula 7.

12/14 at Chicago – 2-1 L. On one hand, we’re getting closer. At least this was a one-goal game. On the other hand, Atlanta registered a paltry 19 shots. Also, a generally undisciplined game, as the Firebirds were whistled for 7 penalties. The last of those power plays proved to be the margin of victory as Patrick Kane punches home the game-winner with 6:27 left in the 3rd.
GOALS: ATL – Yakupov 4.CHI – Saad 5, Kane 15.

Originally Posted by Ryan Kesler
Losing games is never easy, but it's even tougher when you beat yourself out there. I mean, you can't keep giving a team like Chicago an extra man, it'll kill you. And tonight it did.
12/15 at Buffalo – 3-2 L. You’d think drawing Jonathan Bernier in net instead of Bobrovsky would be the elixir Atlanta needed to get things going, but… nope. 2-1 was going to be the result but the Eichel parked one in the empty net with 49 seconds left, and Ryan Kesler got the afterthought goal with six seconds left.
GOALS: ATL – Fast 7, Kesler 7. BUF – Mittelstadt 7, Reinhart 8, Eichel 13.

12/19 at Columbus – 4-3 W. Well, the good news is the losing streak is broken. The bad news is we almost found a way to fumble it away in the third as the Blue Jackets turned a 4-1 cakewalk into a 4-3 nail-biter. Still, a win’s a win. We’ll take what we can get at this point.
GOALS: ATL – Hayes 14, Perron 9, Gaudreau 12, Perron 9. CBJ – Dubinsky 8, Dubinsky 9, Atkinson 10.

TRADE: Firebirds trade D Slater Koekkoek to Winnipeg for C Michael Spacek.

Originally Posted by Slater Koekkoek
It's tough, but it's a pretty competitive situation here because of all the guys they were able to bring in with the expansion draft, and I haven't been able to show everything I can do health-wise. It is what it is. You just gotta turn the page, have confidence in your own abilities, and work hard to make the next situation the one where it all comes together for you.
Combination of wanting to shake things up in general and specifically being frustrated with Koekkoek’s repeated injuries. Spacek can go directly to the minors. For the moment, I’m going to make Bartkowski the 7th defenseman call-up because he’s ultimately expendable. I’d rather keep the 3 D’s (Dotchin, DeMelo, DeAngelo) getting regular playing time at Birmingham.

The other thing I’m considering is shaking up the bottom 6… possibly moving Tyler Pitlick or Adam Lowry. Having said that, I think I’m going to wait until we’re a little closer to the deadline and do something bigger involving cap space, since I have about $5M in room under the cap to take on a salary.

12/20 vs Toronto – 3-2 W (OT). Was it the trade? Was it home ice? Or was it just dumb luck. Atlanta blows a 2-1 lead in regulation, and the clock ticks down toward the shootout. But with two second left, Adam Pelech decides to put one on net from just inside the blue line, and it gets past Frederik Andersen for the win and two points.
GOALS: ATL – Djoos 4, Gaudreau 13, Pelech 1. TOR – Marleau 11, Nylander 2.

12/22 at New York Rangers – 4-2 W. A quick run up to Madison Square Garden before breaking for Christmas results in a fairly easy two points. Atlanta had a 3-1 lead after 1 and pretty much rode it the rest of the way.
GOALS: ATL – Wheeler 9, Cogliano 3, Backes 5, Gaudreau 14. NYR – Kreider 7, Leivo 5, Hayes 5.

Originally Posted by Tyler Pitlick
A bunch of us went skating at Rockefeller Center. Yeah, it's kind of a cheesy tourist move, but some of us have either never been to New York City, or at least never been here when all the holiday decorations were up. Hayes was kind of ribbing us a little for that, since he played here for a few years and it's kinda old news to him, but whatever.
A Christmas trade offer from the Rangers – Fast, Pitlick, and my 20201 3rd for their 2nd and 3rd in 2020. Again, an offer I would probably consider more seriously if I wasn’t playing for this year.

12/28 vs Winnipeg – 3-1 W. Kesler and Nikolaj Ehlers trade goals through two, but the Firebirds pull ahead in the final period. Kevin Hayes gets the go-ahead 2:07 into the period, and then Connor Murphy adds some breathing room in the final minutes.
GOALS: ATL – Kesler 8, Hayes 15, Murphy 2. WPG –Ehlers 10.

12/30 at Pittsburgh – 4-1 L. It’s even through one period, but the Pens just have too much firepower. Malkin scores a pair; Guentzel and Kessel also get on the board. Wheeler gets the lone score for Atlanta.
GOALS: ATL – Wheeler 10. PIT – Malkin 14, Guentzel 9, Malkin 15, Kessel 15.

Ottawa places D Ben Harpur on waivers. He’s nothing special, but I’m neurotic about giving as few reps as possible to CPU filler players, so what the heck.

12/31 vs Dallas – 3-1 W. And 2019 ends on a high note, as Dallas draws first blood, but Atlanta supplies the rest of the fireworks. Nikolai Sbruev scores a pair, including an empty-netter.
GOALS: ATL – ATL – Cogliano 4, Sbruev 6, Sbruev 7. DAL – Gurianov 6.


  • MONTH: 7-6-1
  • YEAR-TO-DATE: 22-11-4, 48 points
  • DIVISION: 2nd with 48 points. Buffalo leads with 49 (21-9-7), and behind the Firebirds are the Lightning (22-13-2, 46), Canadiens (20-15-2, 42) and Senators (19-14-4, 42).
  • CONFERENCE: 3rd in the conference. TOP 8: PIT 38, BUF 49, ATL 48, WSH 46, TB 46, CBJ 43, MTL 42, OTT 42.
  • POINTS: Karlsson 41, Wheeler 33, Gaudreau 32, Hayes 30, Perron 20
  • GOALS: Hayes 15, Gaudreau 14, Wheeler 10, Karlsson 9, Perron 9
  • ASSISTS: Karlsson 32, Wheeler 23, Gaudreau 18, Hayes 15, Perron 11, Sbruev 11
  • PLUS-MINUS: Karlsson 20, Wheeler 17, Murphy 16, Hayes 16, Djoos 15
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