Day Two of Thrashers training camp was much like the first in the drills conducted by coach Craig Ramsay and his staff. The concentration was on chipping the puck off the boards as an offensive weapon. They also worked on getting the defensemen to jump into the offensive rush some more.
There is still plenty of work to do. Ramsay was unsatisfied with the progress made. Here is what he had to say:
“We worked on chipping it again and we found it to be inordinately unsuccessful. Using the boards is an important part of the game and it’s actually a play. You just don’t panic and throw [the puck] off the wall. You bounce it off the wall on purpose if someone can go chase it down. Indirect passes, I call it. Or you can get it back.
“It’s something I really believe in. When you look at the middle of the ice, just look at the middle of the ice now and all the people standing there, and you try to make a pass through there. If you watched today’s scrimmage we tried to make a pass through there. And it doesn’t work. They kept picking it off and picking it off and turning it over. The point is when someone is clogging up the ice, you have to use what’s available to you. The other thing, and it’s an old hockeyism about tape-to-tape passes, if there are two guys trying to pick it off, they are probably going to get it. If you throw it off the wall behind the player, it’s going to come out in front of him and you can chase it down. You can throw it off the boards in all aspects, almost every place on the ice and catch someone trying to aggressively step up. You can use it very effectively. What we did see is that these players, some of them, are not used to it. Some of them want to make a tape-to-tape pass even when they cannot. That’s when you see all those turnovers. We think we can cut down turnovers and increase offensive opportunities by putting ourselves in foot races.”
* As a final note, Ramsay said he has not set a date for the first set of cuts. It will be after Tuesday’s first exhibition game. While he would like to get to a smaller, more manageable number, he and his new staff are still learning about the players. That makes it hard.
As I posted as a comment in the first blog, Ramsay is switching Bryan Little to center and Rich Peverely to right wing. That is the subject of the daily training camp story which should be posted soon.