Update: Thrashers recall Stapleton; hold closed-door meeting

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:

Bergfors-Antropov-Little

MacArthur-Peverley-Afinogenov

Kozlov-Slater-Armstrong

Boulton-Reasoner-Thorburn-Artyukhin

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.”

45 comments Add your comment

Russian

March 26th, 2010
1:50 pm

He is doing another Experiment with lines. Keep them together. There is no time move them around. Bring back Slava to 3-d line. Or play with Thorburn in 4-th line and bring up Arty to 3-d. Do not mess with 1 and 2 line. You are freaking IDIOT>

Terrel

March 26th, 2010
2:09 pm

I like it. If they don’t try now they never will. The real fans are behind them but regardless they have to do it themselves.

Savannah Blueland Fan

March 26th, 2010
2:10 pm

Russian, I agree. The problem isn’t with the lines, it’s between their ears. What JA needs to do between periods is grab the nearest hockey stick and whack some heads.

Terrel

March 26th, 2010
2:13 pm

I wonder what was said. Most blamed Kovy for the lack of chemistry in the locker room but that excuse is gone. Maybe JA pulled the Sgt Hulka on them. Telling them to take a swing at him.

Russian

March 26th, 2010
2:23 pm

Anderson is horrible coach. He will kill all our young guys like Bogus, Kane, Toby and Berg. He did not control the team and did not know what he has to do every game. He has to come back to AHL. He is succesfull coach in AHL hockey. NHL is more talented and you cannot do AHL drills and “SYSTEM” here.
I said already that ANDERSON must FIRE at first thing after season is over. Then Don Waddel should be replase. Even if Atlanta will move in Play Offs, that two person must be FIRED.

Darkhorse

March 26th, 2010
2:45 pm

Agree completely Russian. The team has no confidence in Anderson, his system, or the front office. This same group of players under better coaching and management would make the playoffs, just from the fact you would get more consistant play out of them. For all the helter-skelter erratic play we’ve seen this year from these guys, they’re still only a few points out of the playoffs. Think what real management would have them doing……overachieving into a 4 or 5 seed probably.

builder dawg

March 26th, 2010
2:51 pm

I love hockey, am a big fan, but the fat lady is starting to sing. GO AWAY DON WADDELL anywhere, just not in the ATL ever again

alex

March 26th, 2010
2:58 pm

what you talking russian, you so naive are you forgot who in charge of this team, did’t you learn from experience. asg clowns always managed opposite common sense. no major fireing in future. no limit to levenson stupinity. this is the reason he is big boss in atlanta, but nobody wanted him a much smaller role in washington. now you understand why one team is elite and other just suck.

CA Thrasher Fan

March 26th, 2010
3:02 pm

I don’t see a team that lacks confidence in coaching, or confusion over the system, I just see a flat out inconsistent team, which isn’t all that unusual for a team that lost its most consistent and dynamic scoring threat. When they put in a full effort every night, they will win more than they lose, but they simply cannot afford to take nights, or even shifts off. If this team cannot amp themselves up for a shot at the playoffs, they simply don’t deserve to be there. And THAT responsibility falls on them, and them alone.

Jeff97

March 26th, 2010
3:03 pm

I cant believe it took this long for JA to have a closed door meeting. Probably too late, but you never know. He is definitely not one of those in your face coaches.
Unfortunately we have no upper mgt/coaches that get up in peoples faces. Everyone is too nice.
Lets keep Dudley for talent evaluation and get someone in here thats going to crack some skulls.

Bill

March 26th, 2010
3:07 pm

If you can’t beat the worst team in the East in your own building, when the team immediately ahead of you is losing, then what good is a closed door meeting going to do?

Mail it in, Thrashers, you were done in December.

Brendan

March 26th, 2010
3:34 pm

It’s gonna bother me if I don’t say it, but this blog topic made me feel good. I guess … I’m so conditioned that this franchise is a joke … that when it actually starts to do something resembling a real NHL franchise, I am moved by it.

This “closed door” meeting is an appropriate response from an NHL organization that is actually trying to win. For an organization that has been fundamentally lacking in accountability, I am extremely pleased by this closed door meeting. I’m actually starting to believe that things around here are more than just “status quo” … waiting for lawsuits to be settled and/or new ownership to emerge. And what a refreshing change it is.

The next “impressive” move they could make … is to fire Don Waddell. Or, at least, not renew him. What a jolt of “real change” that would be? As for John Anderson switching line combinations, it’s very, very late into an NHL season to still NOT have your forward lines settled. It’s fine in October or November. Even December isn’t too late to be “seeing if there’s a better way.” But late March?? Late March??? Only if the team was completely overhauled at the deadline. Which it wasn’t. The new faces are Artukyin, Begfors, and Oduya. The subtractions were Kovalchuk and Lehtonen. And Lehtonen didn’t play one minute for Atlanta this season, giving Stendec is fantasy wish from April 2009, that Kari had played his final game as a Thrasher.

Let’s see how the boys respond against Carolina, one of the best 2nd half teams of this season. By the way, the Leafs, despite their place in the overall standings, are and have been playing very well lately. At this time of year, you don’t look at where your opponent is in the standings, you look at their roster, their system, their goalie, and devise a strategy to beat them. The playoffs work the same way. It doesn’t matter where you or your opponent are seeded, none of that matters anymore. What matters is meeting your obligations, knowing your responsibilities, knowing your role, and executing plays. If you’re the goalie, it’s all about being mentally sharp and making saves. Can’t have any “mental meltdowns” at this stage of the season. It’s all still here, folks. It’s up to them to make it into the playoffs. There are still enough points on the table to squeak them in past Philly. Maybe even Boston.

But if that doesn’t happen, it’s time for accountability. Remember something, Don Waddell ALWAYS said, “I’ll answer for wins and losses. I’m the GM.” Fair enough. Honor your words, Don Waddell. Answer for the wins and losses.

Terrel

March 26th, 2010
3:35 pm

Why not have the closed door meeting after the beat down given by Boston?

Farel

March 26th, 2010
4:13 pm

Please, someone salt the ice. I can’t stand watching this anymore this season. If they don’t care to show up for every game why should the fans? I do like the guys on the team but I just wished they believed in themselves as much as we do.

Chunkynem

March 26th, 2010
4:26 pm

I support my city’s teams. But they have got to show progress ocassionally. The sad thing is the East is so weak they’re only 6 points our of 6th with a game in hand. All they need is a couple of good wins and they’re right in the thick of it.

Can they do it??? History says “no” but who would have thought they would be this close after trading Kovy & Kari? It seems to me that maybe there is addition by subtraction here. Let’s support the boys until the end. They might suprise us.

After the season is over or we’re elimainted we can hopefully throw Waddell under the Zamboni and start our new five year plan.

EW

March 26th, 2010
4:29 pm

closed door circle jerk ain’t gonna bring back Kovy

Looters

March 26th, 2010
4:39 pm

Maybe the coach is the problem. JA might be a great guy but it seems that everytime they have a chance to step up to play with the big boys they blow it. Can’t be the players fault all the time and ever he said that the team is talented.

rob

March 26th, 2010
4:41 pm

Terrel,
I think it is nothing but a knee jerk response. There are all these whispers, Bettman is concerned, the fans are restless and malcontent, some are actually wondering about some silly word called accountability, and once he looked it up, JA must have become concerned with his future. This meeting should have taken place sometime during our horrid December. And individual players need these from time to time to. Kovy maybe could have benefited from a few, and a certain #20 and #4 might also need a serious talking to also IMO. As for the line changes, Max might perk Pevs back up, and as was said in a previous blog, Antropov works well with whoever he is given, and Little and Bergfors seemed to work well together. Let Antropov and Max work the PP together. Speaking of the PP, does anyone else think it doesn’t make much sense having our points shooting from the boards instead of center? Kinda hard to get some good one timers when you aren’t set up to shoot them, and Zach and Toby both could probably get off more quality shots from the point that way. Just wondering as it seems any chance we can give our PP would be worth looking at.

Midifeld

March 26th, 2010
4:44 pm

I agree. They should have had a closed door meeting the morning after the loss to Boston. Today they should have had an open-door meeting.

Somaatl95

March 26th, 2010
4:52 pm

Completely off topic but any of you who saw the Rob Schneider movie “Deuce Biggalo: Male Gigolo” surely remembers the cop that keeps harassing him throughout the movie and whips out his junk out of frustration. As much as I have liked JA in the past he is starting to remind me of that cop with his reactions to our play. Atlanta has a great history of “shell-shocking” coaches in its sports, then eventually finding one that reverses it, and whips the players into winners.
Or so I can dream.

Brendan

March 26th, 2010
5:08 pm

Terrell and Midfield are correct. The “closed door” meeting should have occured on the heels of the 4-0 pounding by Boston. If it had, maybe the Leaf game would have been a win?

Janos P.

March 26th, 2010
5:23 pm

Scenario: You are a player, playing for the Thrashers who are owned by not one, or two but half a dozen idiots that pass for living protoplasms. What would you do? The owners – for the most part-cannot quit quibbling long enough to find out what a puck is let along run a franchise. Don’t blame the players. Oh, and by the way, only part of the closed-door discussion was about the playoffs, you know, how they can get tickets to the games and should they watch the playoffs on this guy’s TV or that guy’s TV, etc. The rest of the talk concerned what city they were going to be sent to in the dis-franchising of the team by Gary Bettman.
JMP

Lord Stanley

March 26th, 2010
5:26 pm

Well its obvious that Dan needs to go. He has fired coaches before and we are in the same place. Unfortunatly with JA contract ending this year he will be the first out the door. The good news is Wadells contract expires next year so maybe he will be fired next year.

Lord Stanley

March 26th, 2010
5:27 pm

my apologies I meant Don not Dan

[...] Toronto he scored one goal. Whether or not he plays tomorrow night in Raleigh remains to be seen. Chris Vivlamore form the AJC is on the trip so look to him for morning skate updates [...]

MB

March 26th, 2010
5:39 pm

I’m tempted to say “too little, too late,” but somehow we’re still within striking distance and Boston and Philly keep tripping over their own units about as often as we do. Good thing we’re not in the West, huh?

Anyway, I think the time for the closed-door meeting was right after the weekend losses to Tampa Bay and Carolina. We played horribly and needed to get our minds right for a string of tough games against teams fighting for playoff position. Instead, we wound up with only one point out of eight, despite playing three of those games at home.

Hope today’s meeting has the desired effect. They certainly could not look much worse than they did last night.

Brendan

March 26th, 2010
5:52 pm

Lord Stanley, well no. “Dan” Marr needs to go, too. You should stand by that earlier post. Both are correct.

Brendan

March 26th, 2010
5:54 pm

Janos P, I think if I’m a player, especially if I’m a pending UFA or RFA, I’ve got to play for my next contract. That affects how much I get paid. And, potentially, what caliber of team I can get to for next season.

Brendan

March 26th, 2010
5:57 pm

Stapleton, was he part of the Exelby trade to Toronto? I think it was Exelby and Colin Stuart to the Leafs for Stapleton and Pavel Kubina. Is that right?

EA

March 26th, 2010
6:17 pm

Some of the Thrashers demeanor on the ice appears very light hearted. There is a sharp contrast between the intesity on players faces like Peverly and Boulton to others players whose names I will not mention. I question some of their maturity. I am one of the die hard fans and I am getting restless and bored.

Brendan

March 26th, 2010
6:32 pm

As soon a Ted Turner loses his next appeal, and has to pay up, I wonder if the Atlanta Spirit won’t approach David McDavid to ask, “Name your price for the Hawks and Thrashers.” McDavid won’t relocate the teams. Dallas already has the Mavericks and Stars. There’s no way the NBA and NHL would put TWO teams in each sport, in Dallas, TX. If McDavid relocates the team to Dallas, it’d be Dallas, GA, in lovely Paulding County. :)

brett

March 26th, 2010
7:25 pm

Brendan…Don’t disparage Paulding Cty! It’s a lovely place. A relocation to Dallas, Ga might reinvigorate the organization!!

fes

March 26th, 2010
8:51 pm

Yes, Brendan, Stapleton came over with Kubina. Maybe he can get his second nhl goal tomorrow (in only his fifth game).

I hate atlanta spirit!

March 26th, 2010
10:05 pm

Thrashers are certainly not helping themselves with this so called “playoff push”. If they really care about the playoffs they would have won that game against the Leafs. For all you thrashers fans you guys have gotta expect a 50-50 relationship from the organization. We the fans buy expensive tix to watch em lose? No i think if were paying an average of $250-300 for a family to see them play they should give us our money’s worth. 2 things the thrashers could do: lower prices because they SUCK or keep these outrageous prices when they actually START WINNING! The thrashers are truly a parasitic organization. They expect us to pay up to see their crap and they give no effort. Move to Canada thrashers will ya?

I hate atlanta spirit!

March 26th, 2010
10:07 pm

Closed door meeting will not solve the problem it will only improve when the players have fire in their bellies to start winning. I want more games out of them which were like when they played the flyers.

JBird

March 26th, 2010
10:32 pm

it starts at the top like any business (GM)…why, might i ask,does the coach have to explain the importance of a game at this point?

Kovyoverrated

March 26th, 2010
10:46 pm

I think I saw one moron above say something about “a closed door meeting won’t bring Kovy back”. Idiot. You really wanted to sign that guy for the league max? Check his stats at Jersey, a-hole!

Sage of Bluesland...

March 26th, 2010
11:29 pm

John Robertson

March 27th, 2010
2:56 am

I keep hearing people talk about bringing Kovy back to Atlanta. I don’t think he should be welcome back in a Thrashers Uniform. He is a great player, but we don’t need him. And many of you are gonna say “wtf are you crazy? of course we need him!!” but i don’t think we do. We gotta lotta young guys with tremendous talent. I think Kane’s gonna be as useful as Kovy, and guys like Bogo and Enstrom have great careers ahead of them. We have the talent. But no drive. It is hard when you play for an organization that, and I hate to say this, because I am always going to be a fan, win or lose, but it is hard to play for an organization that sucks statistically. I am still hopefully for the playoffs this year, because it is perfectly possible. It will be hard, yes. But the boys CAN do it. They just need to WANT to do it. This is all up to them. Right now, this has nothing to do with Don or JA, this is the boys. They are professionals for a reason. They need to do this, no one else. I Believe in Blueland and we need to Unleash the Fury.

jerry

March 27th, 2010
6:37 am

There have been many poor efforts made this year. I thought the organization tolerated it. And still do. There is no pride in being an Atlanta Thrasher.

[...] -The Thrashers recalled forward Tim Stapleton from Chicago of the AHL. [...]

J-man

March 27th, 2010
11:11 am

Kovy won’t be back. I feel that he and DW have both moved on with their lives. Kovy won’t get an offer from the Thrashers in July nor would he take it even if he did.

Brendan

March 27th, 2010
7:08 pm

Brett, I have no official objection to the Thrashers relocating home games to Paulding County, in Dallas. :)

Brendan

March 27th, 2010
7:13 pm

J-man, I’m not as convinced as you are. If the Thrashers fired Waddell and/or the team got new ownership, Kovalchuk hasn’t put his house up for sale. If he intends to continue living in Atlanta, the thought of “one day” returning here might appeal to him, but it’s got to be under the ‘right circumstances.’ Namely, that GOOD ownership is installed and a GOOD GM is in charge of building the Stanley Cup roster. If those things could happen here, I don’t think Kovy would say, “nyet.” But, I’d agree with you, that AS IS, “status quo,” Kovy’s not going to re-sign here. He might not hang up on a call from the Thrashers. But I don’t think he’d sign here.

kracker

March 28th, 2010
1:00 pm

Looks like the team got JA’s message. And they got whatever things they had to say about their own efforts, about the coaching….whatever they all said it seemed to result in a good 60 minute effort over the Canes. Sure, it was the Canes who are not having their best year but they have been a really good team after recovering from their bad start. And it was a road game to boot.

I look forward to them doing it again Monday night. Don’t get tight in front of the home fans, boys.

Also, the Thrashers roadie fans looked good behind the goal last night!