Archive for September, 2010

Ramsay’s work with defense continues

Lots to cover from today’s practice before the Thrashers leave Friday for the final two preseason games – tomorrow at Carolina and Saturday at Columbus. I will not be on that trip (will enjoy a three-day weekend) before the final week of practice and season-opener on Friday.

Here are the highlights:

* As coach Craig Ramsay mention in his post-game interview after Wednesday’s 4-3 exhibition loss to Nashville, the veteran defense struggled.

Specifically on Thursday he noted the struggles of the pairing of Ron Hainsey (minus-1) and Brent Sopel (minus-2).

“That wasn’t a wonderful event for those two boys,” Ramsay said. “The upside, the other four defensemen were really good. … Those two veteran players will play better. There is no doubt about that. They got trapped on the ice a couple of times. One penalty kill was way too long. We should have got it down the ice. We had a couple chances and didn’t get it done. Once you get trapped out there, especially this time of year, you …

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Thrashers get goals, but not a win

The Thrashers matched their exhibition season goal total Wednesday but remained winless after a 4-3 loss to Nashville at Philips Arena. After scoring just three goals in three games, the Thrashers surrendered a third-period goal to drop to 0-4 in the preseason.

“I truly believe that defensively we will be fine,” Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay said. “I can teach that. We have good people who can play. But scoring goals was an obvious problem and tonight we looked better. We are looking at how our people play and how they learn our system. We want to win every game but it hasn’t happened. We’ve been in them.”

The Thrashers have allowed the first goal in each exhibition game and have been outscored 12-6. They lost to Nashville 2-1 on Monday.

Nashville broke the tie when David Legwand knocked in a loose puck in front of the Thrashers goal for the game-winner at the 8:12 mark. Thrashers goaltender Chris Mason, who stopped 26 shots, said the goal was another instance of his trouble …

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Three games into preseason, goal scoring still an issue

Job No. 1 in tonight’s exhibition game against Nashville is to score goals. The Thrashers have just three goals in three preseason losses.

“I would like to see a puck go in the net,” coach Craig Ramsay said following this morning’s pre-game skate. “That would be really neat. It would be nice to get a power play. We didn’t have one the other night. We are hoping to get a power play and see it work. … We need to get some up-ice pressure, run some cycles and use our point men. We have some guys back there that can shoot. We want to take advantage of that.”

The Thrashers worked on several drills and one continued to be getting the third forward higher in the offensive zone. I asked Ramsay to explain so I could get a better understanding of what he was talking about. He’d like to see the third forward almost to the top of the circle and not just out near the hash marks.

“We’ve watched it on the video and tried to make them understand that,” Ramsay said. “Teams sag back to try to …

Continue reading Three games into preseason, goal scoring still an issue »

Updated: Roenick blasts Thrashers for Byfuglien’s move to defense

To start the blog, we’ll begin with what Jeremy Roenick said on his weekly radio show about the Thrashers moving Dustin Byfuglien to defense. He also took a couple shots at Atlanta fans and the general manager.

Roenick: “That might be the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard in my life.  Dustin Byfuglien as a defenseman.  I would love to play against Dustin Byfuglien as a defenseman.  I would turn him inside out, left, right and center every single time.  This kid, he made his living in front of the net scoring goals during the playoffs for the Chicago Blackhawks.  Why on earth would you put him back as a defenseman?  This kid is strong, he’s powerful, he’s a great skater.  Put him in front of the net as a forward.  That’s where you want him to do all his damage.  Playing him as a defenseman?  Maybe that’s why the Thrashers are 0-3 in preseason.   Maybe that’s why nobody comes to watch their games.  It’s crazy.  What are they thinking?  They already have a GM that doesn’t know the …

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Ramsay’s focus continues to be on defense

The Thrashers practiced at the IceForum Monday morning before a group of 22 departed for tonight’s preseason game in Nashville (see previous blog). I will not be making the trip. However, I want to assure AJC readers that I will be traveling with the team once the regular season starts. The plan is to make road trips. I have booked travel for the month of October – including the six-day West Coast trip. So remember, will be the place to get your information from those three late starts. I will post game stories, notes and blogs and keep you as up to date as if the games where here in Atlanta. Thanks for all the support.

Now, on to the on-ice business. A couple things to note from interview with coach Craig Ramsay following Monday’s practice.

* It is clear that Ramsay’s initial points of emphasis with the Thrashers will be the defense. Here is what he said today about what he would like to see against Nashville.

“Our breakouts were better, but not good enough,” he said. …

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Updated: Thrashers re-assign three more players

A quick report from morning skate. Spencer Machacek, Riley Holzapfel and Noah Welch are not at practice and have been re-assigned to AHL Chicago. Welch will have to clear waivers. Roster down to 30 players.

Patrice Cormier is placed on injured reserve.

Jaime Sifers, Peter Mannino, Drew MacIntyre cleared waivers. Other Thrashers who cleared waivers from previous moves were Mike Siklenka and Jason Krog.

Jim Slater not taking part in practice.

Here is the roster for tonight’s exhibition in Nashville. There are 22 players going so two will have to be scratched.

Forwards (13): Niclas Bergfors, Eric Boulton, Alexander Burmistrov, Nigel Dawes, Ben Eager, Evander Kane, Andrew Ladd, Fredik Modin, Fredrik Pettersson, Patrick Rissmiller, Rich Peverley, Anthony Stewart, Chris Thorburn

Defensemen (7): Zach Bogosian, Dustin Byfuglien, Tobias Enstrom, Ron Hainsey, Arturs Kulda, Freddy Meyer, Andrey Zubarev

Goaltenders (2): Chris Mason, Ondrej Pavelec

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Thrashers fall to Hurricanes, 1-0

Craig Ramsay had a list of things he wanted to see in the Thrashers second exhibition game.

1. Cycle the puck.

2. Offensive zone pressure.

3. Defensemen join the offensive rush.

Ramsay saw a lot of good – in stretches and sometimes to a fault. However, the result was a 1-0 loss to Carolina, dropping the Thrashers to 0-2 in the preseason.

“Much better,” Ramsay said of the Thrashers play, one game after a 5-2 loss to Columbus. “… Our defensemen did a great job of jumping up the ice, almost to a fault. You’ve got to start somewhere. We just didn’t finish. We missed our chances when we had them. More shots, more opportunities to score goals but we’ve got to get one to go in. They got a funny one and we ended up losing.”

Ramsay said he felt the Thrashers cycled the puck in their offensive zone and kept pressure on the Hurricanes for “extended periods of time.” That was an improvement over the exhibition opener.

Jeff Skinner scored the game’s lone goal for the Hurricanes. It came …

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Thrashers unsure exact nature of Slater’s injury

Jim Slater’s wrist injury may be more serious than originally thought. The center has been limited to skating drills for much of training camp and continues to be listed as day-to-day.

Following Saturday’s morning skate, in preparation for the exhibition game against Carolina, coach Craig Ramsay said the team is still unsure of the exact nature of the injury.

“They are still trying to figure out exactly what is wrong with it,” Ramsay said. “They’ve had a couple different opinions on what it is and they are trying to sort that out. I’m staying away from that as far as I possibly can. I know [general manager] Rick [Dudley] is trying to get it done. Our trainers are trying to get it done. We want to figure it out as quickly as possible. So far there have been some different ideas about what is wrong. He doesn’t want to rush into anything too. He wants to make sure it’s done right.”

Slater’s injury and the rehab of Nik Antropov  leaves the Thrashers with a lack of centers. Rich …

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Ramsay talks about commitment – again

Very sorry for the late posting of this blog. I got back from practice to find the screen on my laptop is not functioning. Sounds like a new (old) computer is in my future. Meanwhile, the monitor on my home computer is getting me through the day.

I wanted to share a couple of thoughts from coach Craig Ramsay from my post-practice interview. He brought up the subject of player commitment several times in response to several different questions.

As part of a response to a question about what the team did in practice, he said: “The one thing I really like around here, overall, is the commitment by the players. They have to show it. Not everybody has at all times and I’m not going to get into that, but we have to see that from every person. There isn’t somebody who can just go out and play. That’s unacceptable. We are going to get past that.”

As part of a response about the battle for the final defenseman position, he said: “It’s not going to be easy to play here. I hope they’ve …

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Thrashers reduce roster by eight

The Thrashers released six players on Wednesday. They re-assigned forwards Angelo Esposito, Michael Forney, Danick Paquette and Jared Ross and defensemen Paul Postma and Mike Siklenka to AHL Chicago. The team also released forward Andre Deveaux and Kyle McLaren from their tryout contracts.

Esposito, who missed the past three practices with a lower-body injury, was skating at the team’s practice facility prior to Wednesday’s practice. He hoped to return Thursday. Esposito is returning from two torn ACLs in his right knee.

The Wolves open training camp on Monday.

The Thrashers now have 38 players in training camp. Patrice Cormier and Andrew Kozek are injured.

Here are the new training camp groupings:

Group A

Goaltenders: Chris Mason, Peter Mannino

Defensemen: Brent Sopel, Zach Bogosian, Freddy Meyer, Noah Welch, Johnny Oduya, Tobias Enstrom

Forwards: Evander Kane, Bryan Little Patrick Rissmiller, Nigel Dawes, Niclas Bergfors, Anthony Stewart, Eric Boulton, Spencer Machacek, Akim …

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