With the Thrashers eliminated from the playoffs, Chris Chelios and Tim Stapleton were sent back to AHL Chicago for the Calder Cup playoffs, which begin next Wednesday for the Wolves. They were long gone by the time practice began Wednesday.
By sending Chelios down, the Thrashers have just five healthy defensemen. Coach John Anderson said the team would most likely re-call a player from the minors, but a decision has not been made yet as to who it might be.
It was a light practice day with lots of players not on the ice. Those who did not practice were: Pavel Kubina, Bryan Little, Todd White, Marty Reasoner, Nik Antropov and Clarke MacArthur.
Here are some of the things Anderson said today:
On reporting to work after elimination: “It’s somber, to say the least. Very disappointing.”
On the team’s recent play: “As a coach I love the fact that we tried so hard, but on the other hand we still have to find a way to do what other teams are doing. We have to find a way. That’s just the bottom line. We have to review the whole year, break it down and find out how we can get those five or six extra points.”
On any lessons he might have learned this season: “It’s so early. I’ve had one day to reflect. It will take a week to figure everything out, access everything. We’ll certainly speak to the players. We are all held accountable. I want to see what the players’ thoughts are if there is anything that us as a coaching staff could have possible done anymore. Those are things we’ll have to find out.”
On playing the remaining two games: “Play as hard as we can. We owe it to the league. We owe it to our fans. We owe it to ourselves to play the very best we can and get the most points that we can out of the season.”
I will be at the last practice on Thursday. I won’t make the trip to Washington for the Capitals game as (proud father plug) my daughter will be competing in the state Geography Bee. I’ll be back for Saturday’s final home game and exit interviews on Monday.