It is official. The Thrashers called up Chris Chelios from AHL Chicago. He will join the team in Columbus in time for Thursday’s game and will be in the lineup.
Coach John Anderson said that a call-up was option with Christoph Schubert being out 3-5 weeks. The team’s current three-game losing streak and Chelios’ 25 years of NHL experience were the reasons for the move.
“I don’t like the way the team has been playing lately,” Thrashers GM Don Waddell said. “We are a desperate team right now and we have to get back on track soon. … With the situation now, our backs are against the wall. Bringing in a veteran presence made more sense than bringing in a younger guy.”
Anderson said Chelios’ leadership will be counted on.
“Certainly, he’s played a leadership role on championship teams,” Anderson said of the three-time Stanley Cup winner. ” That’s what we’ll use him for. We have lots of tools here and we are going to try to use every one of them, whatever it takes to make the playoffs.”
The news was welcomed to the players I spoke to, especially Zach Bogosian who said Chelios was his favorite player growing up and patterned his game around him.
“He’s got a lot of assets, leadership will be the number one thing,” Bogosian said. “I think it will be good for us to have that veteran presence in the room to help out guys like myself. … I’m pretty excited that he’s going to be here.”
I caught up with Evander Kane this morning before the team took the practice ice. He is disappointed, but realizes that injuries are a part of hockey and is now focused on getting back as soon as possible.
Kane said he was told that his broken left foot is similar to that of Ilya Kovalchuk, near the top of the foot. Kovalchuk returned from that injury in three weeks. He missed six games. However, with the packed March schedule, if Kane is out three weeks he could miss as many as 14 games.
Kane said he felt his foot burn after blocking the shot and when the feeling didn’t subside he knew it was serious.
I spoke with the NHL this morning about the disallowed goal against the Predators. The verbal explanation I received is that the goaltender must be allowed to play the puck. If not, it’s goaltender interference. However, it’s up to the officials discretion whether the interference was intentional, enough to warrant a penalty or no call is made.
Nik Antropov is not at practice. Expect Slava Kozlov to be back in the lineup Thursday against the Blue Jackets.
There were new line combinations at practice: