Center Jim Slater practiced with the Thrashers today for the first time hurting his shoulder Jan. 20 against Montreal. (Incidentally, that was the team’s last home victory.) Slater and Jordan LaVallee skated as a fifth line, with another player joining them to complete three-man drills. (Eric Boulton returned to the fourth line after sitting out Saturday’s game at San Jose.)
“It actually felt good,” Slater said of the practice. “First time out there with the guys. Finally got to pass the puck a little bit and receive good passes. With one guy out there [the past couple of weeks], you can only do so many drills. It’s good to be out there with the guys. You can do a lot of different drills, especially with goalies out there.
“I don’t think I’m ready yet. I’m hoping by the end of this week. It’s a lot different once you get in a game. I feel good. It’s coach’s discretion, but hopefully by the end of the week I’ll be looked at.”
Coach John Anderson said he liked what he saw.
“It’s just a conditioning thing,” Anderson said. “He’s been cleared by the doctors. We’ll play it by ear and see how I feel about his conditioning. He usually in good shape all the time anyway. Maybe [he'll play] by the weekend or just after.”
On a different subject, a couple of you were curious about Slava Kozlov appearing to chirp at Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky after Kozlov scored in the shootout Thursday night. Here’s what Kozlov said today about it: It wasn’t Gretzky he was talking to, but Coyotes associate coach Ulf Samuelsson.
“It had nothing to do with Gretzky,” Kozlov said. “I didn’t see Ulf for a long time. He was my teammate in Detroit. So that’s it.”