When I previewed the Thrashers over at FanHouse back in late August, I thought that head coach Bob Hartley was the man "on the hook" in Blueland, noting that "should Atlanta get off to a slow start, don't be surprised if someone else is behind the bench come Christmas." And while it's still very early and the Thrash are struggling through perhaps the most difficult month on their schedule (and without their best player, to boot), I'm standing by the prediction of a last-place finish for the Thrash that I made over at SeSo just over a week ago.
Consider that the Thrashers are now 0-4-0 and have scored just four goals while surrendering 17. They're the only team without a point in the standings, have scored the fewest goals per game in the League (thanks to a 1-for-19 start on the power play) and have the second-worst team GAA.
And while those numbers are likely grisly enough for Thrash fans, throw in last year's playoff embarrassment and Atlanta has lost their last eight games by a total combined score of 34-10, a stretch over which franchise goaltender Kari Lehtonen is 0-5-0 with a 4.82 GAA and a save percentage of .870 and Ilya Kovalchuk, Marian Hossa and Slava Kozlov have combined for four goals and three assists.
So Maybe it's Lehtonen. Maybe it's a dormant offense. Maybe it's personnel. But when you can't pin-point the problem on the ice, the gaze usually shifts upwards towards the bench. And when a team needs its sniper mixing it up in order to try to rally the troops, it may be because they're not getting what they need from their bench boss.
A new coach by Christmas? I think I'll take the under.