The Atlanta Thrashers have continued to silence their hockey critics by finding a way to win in many of the games they have played this season.
Considering that the Thrashers were out of playoff contention early last season and many hockey experts had pronounced them “dead on arrival” before the season got under way, means their accomplishments so far this year have been surprising to say the least.
GM Don Waddell and Coach John Anderson worked diligently through the summer putting together a mixture of veterans, young players, and free agents who all seemed to share one common thread: they all wanted to win.
Atlanta has had a good stable of players in previous years. Danny Heatley, Marian Hossa, and Marc Savard have all been in the Atlanta lineup but the team could not ever seem to get too far out of the starting gate.
For some reason the 2009-10 Thrashers seem to have a different look and feel. Yes, Ilya Kovalchuk is still on the team and is their captain and best player, but it does not end there. This season Kovalchuk is joined by two other Russian-born players, Maxim Afinogenov and Nik Antropov.
The three have played on a line together for the majority of the season and have consistently managed to find the net. Dubbed the Russian Express , Kovalchuk, Antropov, and Afinogenov have at times brought Phillip Arena fans to their feet with their speed finesse, and creativity. The only NHL that has possibly been more of a surprise is the LA Kings.
No NHL team can make the playoffs with just one line and the Thrashers are no exception. Rich Peverley has been a tremendous addition as well as Todd White and rookie Evander Kane. Defenseman Pavel Kubina, Tobias Engstrom, and Zach Bogosian have added skill and puck moving ability to the defense corps.
Let's have a look at the 10 reasons the Thrashers will make the Stanley Cup playoffs.