UPDATE, 5 p.m.: The Thrashers have re-called forward Tim Stapleton from AHL Chicago Friday afternoon. The 5-foot-9, 160-pound winger has 58 points (29 goals, 29 assists) in 71 games this season. He is a plus-24. Stapleton will join the team in Raleigh for for Saturday’s game against the Hurricanes. The move was made after Todd White did not make the trip after suffering an upper-body injury.
The Thrashers - both players and coaches – held a closed-door meeting on Friday before practice and messages were delivered.
Coach John Anderson questioned his team’s effort and play after Thursday’s loss to the Maple Leafs. This is what he said:
“I’m disappointed and really dismayed,” Anderson said. “After we played so hard this weekend to put forth an effort like that one, with the playoffs on the line, we have to be better. Collectively, we have to be better. And if we play like that, we’ll be out [of the playoff race] in two or three games from now.
“We’ve got to be better. We’ve got to be smarter. We’ve got to play harder. We’ve got to show that we want it. We can’t let teams like this hang around.
“Toronto played very good tonight. I have to give them credit. We didn’t put forth our best effort tonight. That really bothers me this late in the year.
Asked why his team did not put forth a winning effort Thursday — or in Tuesday’s 4-0 loss to the Bruins — with the playoffs hanging in the balance, Anderson said: “I’ll ask them tomorrow.”
So, this morning I asked what was the answer.
“We had a closed door meeting. I’m not going to break their confidence in me. We did talk about it, I will say that,” Anderson told me.
When I asked if the team received his message, Anderson said “I hope so. I guess we’ll find out tomorrow,” referring to Saturday’s game in Carolina.
“Coach delivered a message today that the way we’ve been playing these last couple of games was not acceptable,” goaltender Johan Hedberg said. “We’ve been feeling that too. Why the reason is, I do not know. We had a better quality practice than before. That’s the kind of intensity we have to bring from the start. We have to make sure we don’t have any mental lapses and we play determined these last eight games and see where it takes us.”
There was a lot of skating and passing drills during Friday’s practice.
Todd White was the only player to miss practice. He is still recovering from an upper-body injury. He will not make the trip to Carolina with the team and will be out an extended period of time, according to Anderson.
A couple tweaks in the practice lines:
I also asked Anderson how the lineup with seven defensemen worked.
“I was pretty happy with it,” he said. “We got some good minutes out of a lot of people. Obviously, it’s not a perfect situation. I don’t think that was a factor whether we won or lost.”