It just had to end this way for the Thrashers, didn’t it? Going into a win-or-die game at home against the team they traded their former franchise player to in front of a, to be polite, sparse crowd at Philips Arena and the Thrashers manned up by… Getting shut out 3-0 and being knocked out of the running for the playoffs.
This isn’t to say the Thrashers played poorly since dealing Ilya Kovalchuk to New Jersey before the trade deadline, they played admirably and even started cooking up discussion of “Ewing Theory” possibilities for Ilya Kovalchuk just the same. It’s not as if the fans didn’t get their last shots in on Kovalchuk, they certainly did as much, alas, it was not meant to be for the last of the deep south Southeast Division teams still in the running to join the postseason party.
What now for the Thrashers? Well, for one thing Don Waddell will again be analyzed for the Kovalchuk deal but getting Niclas Bergfors from New Jersey seemed to be a surprisingly solid return given the circumstances. Also, the man who helped write Greek mythology, Chris Chelios, will now head back to the AHL to help out Atlanta’s farm team in Chicago as they enter their own playoff run.