As promised, here is the update on Nik Antropov leftover from Thursday’s trip to the Thrashers practice facility.
Antropov started skating last Tuesday as he recovers from offseason hip surgery. He said he hopes to be ready by the start of training camp next month.
“Slowly but surely,” Antropov said of the rehab process after taking part in a voluntary workout on Thursday. “I have been doing rehab all summer, since day one. Last week, for the first time, [I started skating].
“I hope [to be ready by training camp]. Hopefully, yes, but maybe two or three days after. We have to wait and see how it reacts. Every day is a new day for me.”
Antropov would not reveal the exact nature of the surgery to fix the injury that plagued him for part of the season. It ended his year with two games remaining after the Thrashers had been eliminated from playoff contention.
“You’ll have to ask the doctors,” he said. “It was something about fixing the cartilage.”
The rehab process is now designed at getting the strength back in a leg Antropov didn’t use for more than a month after the surgery.
“We just have to put the strength back and go from there,” he said.
Antropov also did not to put a percentage on how healthy his hip is after just resuming skating. He did say Thursday’s skate, with 15 other Thrashers players, was his best since returning to the ice.
Some leftover items from my conversation with Thrashers GM Rick Dudley:
* Dudley said he wouldn’t be surprised if first-round pick Alexander Burmistrov made the NHL roster. He would become the third straight top pick to make the team right after being drafted, joining Zach Bogosian and Evander Kane. Burmistrov and Patrice Cormier are legit prospects, Dudley said.
“I see no reason why not,” Dudley said of Burmistrov. “I watch him and his skating is not going to keep him out of the league. He’s a great skater. He’s hockey sense is off the charts. His work ethic is as good as it gets. And he’s got grit. The only question, obviously when we drafted him, is this is a very slight kid. Last night he weighed out at 179 [pounds]. He understands what he needs to do and he’s done it. He’s worked at getting stronger. I think I said if he could get to 180, I’d feel very comfortable. That’s about where he’s going to be.”
Burmistrov said he weight-gaining plan has been simple. “Work out and eat,” he said. “Eat a lot.”
* I asked Dudley if he was more concerned with the defense or offense at this point of the offseason. Here is his answer:
“I want to make sure our defense is a top defense. We feel pretty good about our goaltending. We could be really good there. We think our defense is good if we can allow a guy like [Dustin] Byfuglien, or if one of the other guys steps up, then we are real good back there. Our forwards are going to be fine. A lot depends on how much we get out of some people, but I expect Evander Kane to have a real good year. I expect [Bryan] Little to have a real bounce back year. I think he looks really good. Would I be surprised if [Alexander] Burmistrov contributed to our team? I wouldn’t be surprised at all. [Rich] Peverely we expect good things out of him. [Andrew] Ladd is going to give us his 15-25 goal range. I think he gives you so much more than the goal totals. That’s the reason we wanted him in the first place. He’s going to rub off on the other guys, his energy. We think [Chris] Thorburn is capable of scoring. He did in junior. I know the player really, really well way back from [OHL] Sudbury. I think he’s capable of being more than a fourth-line guy. If that happened we are in pretty good shape because he’s a big, fast guy that plays with an edge. Those guys, if you can play them a lot, in a top-three line situation, that’s invaluable. We also have [Patrick] Rissmiller. There are things that are questions, but they are all positive questions.”
Back to the last weekend of vacation. There is still plenty to check off the honey-do list. Come Monday, there is only two weeks until the start of rookie camp and full camp begins five days later.