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I am not putting the fault on the kids heads. They were not ready for the NHL.

Just so we're clear, we agree on this point. I was raggin' on the articles I read, not you.

In watching the games, it felt at times the rookies were just hung out to dry...goaltending can not excuse the lethargic and careless play by the other 5 icemen.

And here's where we learn that there is just no substitute for Center Ice, which I don't have (yet). I wasn't able to assess how the other guys were (or weren't) stepping up, since I've followed the action on CBS gamecenter online, but haven't actually seen one of their recent efforts. From your description (and the outcomes) it sounds like the team decided they were at a disadvantage and didn't bother to try.

For that, I'd put a lot of the blame on the coach, whose job it should be to keep the team focused. Look at the near-collapse in the Vancouver/Colorado game on Saturday. Vancouver basically quit when, up 5-1, Crawford put the checking line out on the power play. A nice gesture, perhaps, but it sent the message to the rest of the team that the game was over -- opening the door for a talented Colorado team to storm back with 3 goals in under 4 minutes.

Back to Atlanta: I stand by my original observation that losing both goalies put the team at serious disadvantage. Imagine how bad Vancouver, for example, would be without Cloutier or Auld. Except on shootouts, of course, where there would be no noticeable change.

Should be an interesting week: Pittsburgh could be a soft opponent for the Thrashers, though the Pens are hungry for their first win and might figure Atlanta is their last/best hope!


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