Plenty to work on after Thrashers drop preseason opener

Bryan Little and Fredrik Pettersson both had a goal and an assist but the Thrashers dropped their exhibition opener 5-2 to Columbus Tuesday at Philips Arena.

As the final score indicates, more went wrong than went right.

Columbus jumped to a 2-0 lead early in the first period with goals coming 28 seconds apart.

“Our breakouts weren’t good enough,” coach Craig Ramsay said. “We’ve worked at it a bit but we have to get back, we have to change sides. On one of their goals the goaltender threw it up past our D on the short side and you can’t do that in the National League. Those are little details that we have to work on. There is some communication that has to happen under circumstances like that. … I hate to say it, no excuses, but we looked a little tired. We wanted to change fast and keep up the pace but we looked a little tired. We know they’ve put in the effort the last couple days.”

Ramsay singled out the Nigel Dawes-Little-Pettersson line as a highlight.

“I thought our line, although it took awhile for us to get going, in the second and third we were really cycling it and creating chances,” Little said. “It was pretty easy to play with those guys. It was pretty fun too. We have some good chemistry.”

Little scored a power-play goal with five minutes remaining in the first period to make it 2-1. His goal was assisted by Jamie Sifers and Pettersson.

Columbus answered with two goals, in the second and third periods, to make if 4-1 before Pettersson’s tally. Pettersson knocked in the rebound of a Little shot. Freddy Meyer was also credited with an assist.

“It’s been three years since I was here playing,” said Pettersson, who spent the past seasons in his native Sweden. “Obviously it’s a little different. I felt pretty good out there. I had a lot of energy. Our line we played pretty good. We got some opportunities and we scored some goals.”

Ondrej Pavelec played the entire game in goal making 21 saves.

First-round draft pick Alexander Burmistrov admitted to being nervous before his first game. There were bright spots, but there is still a long way to go for the youngster, according to Ramsay.

“I thought he got better for awhile,” Ramsay said. “The penalty killing was good. He was good defensively. The one thing that we really want to do is not take the puck back into the neutral zone. … When he got his [hooking] penalty he had a chance to shoot it in, maybe re-attack it. He took in back and ends up with a penalty. He played well. I thought he battled hard. It’s just a matter of the pace once you get into a National League game of getting the puck and moving it, knowing where it’s going, not looking for something. There were times in the offensive zone he could have thrown it to the point and allowed us to get a point shot and he’s looking around rather than doing that. We want to get that puck moving around quickly.”

Ramsay opened his post-game press conference with a joke about the offense. “There’s that offense we promised you,” he said. “Go, go, go.”

There were issues with both the offense and defense, he said.

On the offense: “I talk about offense, and I continue to talk about it, the offense starts from inside your own zone or turnovers in the neutral zone and we didn’t do that. We didn’t create nearly enough.”

On the defense: “We didn’t break out well. That is a lot to do with quickness. We have to go back hard. We need both D to go back. We’ve told them. When you are a little bit tired you hesitate a little bit as well. You have to go back, change sides, get the team off the wall and get moving the puck.”

The Thrashers, with a new group of players, will play again Saturday against Carolina. Ramsay players will get another look and decisions won’t be made from one preseason game.

41 comments Add your comment


September 21st, 2010
11:17 pm

Sounds like they have a lot to work on but on the bright side it is only the first exhibition game. It’s nice to hear that both Little and Pettersson played well together. Maybe we’ll see them on a line together in the regular season if they keep it up.

Hockey Biltong

September 21st, 2010
11:31 pm

Work harder boys!!!!


September 21st, 2010
11:39 pm

Chris, I am surprised you didn’t mention the play of Boris. I thought he impressed in the quite unfavorable manner. Being a turnover machine is not what I was looking for from big Bo. However, he certainly had plenty of help in looking bad tonight. Pavs was not sharp just to name one more.

You are a hard news guy but this is a blog so I feel you are or should be allowed to opine a bit.

OTOH, we had what? like 4 regular skaters? Lots of rookies or new players out there. First game….it doesn’t count, etc. But….from the get go, the CBJ were in control and no matter how you slice it, that is most un-good.


September 21st, 2010
11:44 pm

I was at the game and there was plenty wrong. They looked like they had never seen each other much less played together. No one looked good, a few looked okay, and many looked just plain bad. Columbus put us on our heels in the first two minutes and many of them never recovered. For those of you who bash Boris, you may get your wish; he was probably the worst player out there tonight. If I remember correctly he was either a -2/3 and had numerous turnovers in our zone and many within 6-8 feet of our net. I know this is pre-season, and most of these guys won’t be here on opening night so there is no reason to circle the wagons. However, Pavelec needs to play much better or it is going to be a long season. I hope Mason is ready to carry the load. I know this all sounds negative, but it is the truth. I am still a fan and still hold hope for this coming season.

Gwinnett Fred

September 22nd, 2010
12:15 am

The bigger shame here than the result is the fact that a ticket to this “exhibition” was regular price.

I’d really like an explination from management why these games, if not free, aren’t discounted heavily. You guys ever heard of making more money off consessions when more people are in the building???


September 22nd, 2010
12:56 am

The first step to recognizing deficiencies … is HONESTY. It’s easy to lie to oneself. I like that Ramsay owned his team’s performance. And there are things to work on. But, ya know, why wouldn’t there be things to work on? It’s the 1st game of preseason. Any team that comes flying out the gate, in Stanley Cup Finals fashion, can’t keep that up all season long. The preseason, in my view, is just an opportunity to evaluate talent for when the games really count. It’s not really about winning. It’s about seeing what’s working. And what isn’t. And who can hang here. And who can’t.

Here’s to hoping that the coaching staff get it right, in terms of roster cuts, later on.


September 22nd, 2010
1:10 am

We will be just fine.


September 22nd, 2010
1:31 am

It’s clear Ramsay is a teacher of the game. It’s nice to hear a coach talk in depth about the tactics and strategy of the game and what a player and team must do to get better. It sounds like he’s keeping it very simple now – especially with the youngsters like Burmistrov – and will build on it as the season and team progress.


September 22nd, 2010
1:51 am

I think it was clear in the 1st period, that the team just wasn’t … well … a team.

Somewhere around halfway, you could visibly see them start to gel … remember, none of these guys have ever played a game together — only scrimmages, and only a few of those, at that.

Now they’ve got a taste of what it’s like in the big building, with all the lights and people that yell BOOO.

Acid test will be next game – there simply MUST BE improvement in all areas.

You can’t leave your goalie out by himself … best guy in the world won’t stop all of ‘em.

Bright side … lots of “move the puck” and “go go go” going on 2nd period and esp. the third period.

Not so bright side … where was that “don’t dump it without a plan of what you’re gonna do with the rebound” ?

Also saw lots of mishandled pucks, and several instances of just plain lack of situational awareness (on a power play the puck should NEVER squirt out and glide 2 feet behind your back, back across the blue line – just inexcusable)

All fixable stuff … but every day means one less day to fix it. Gotta start NOW.


September 22nd, 2010
6:34 am

Game apparently stunk but Ramsay’s presser was awesome … love how specific he was. No excuses, no cliches, just straight-up analysis. Listening to him instills so much more confidence than Anderson did. He knows exactly what went wrong and what he wants to see done differently by the players to fix it. So the real question is going to be how quickly the team is going to get on board and make the necessary adjustments.


September 22nd, 2010
7:45 am

Wasn’t the best way to start the pre-season, but at least the team knows what they need to work on and what they need to do to get ready for the season. Go Thrashers!


September 22nd, 2010
8:11 am

I agree with Fred. Give the tickets away for free. Maybe it will introduce the game to a few fans. Apparently Toronto did that last night. As a result, there was a full house. I think a few more people in the seats could be a motivating factor for the players as well.

Zombie Steve

September 22nd, 2010
8:18 am

Was at the game last night…. game puck goes to Pettersson. I was very impressed with his style of play and energy; he played like a Tasmanian devil on fire last night! Little looked sharp as well…he had some trouble winning faceoffs, but that’s to be expected since he hasn’t played pivot in awhile.

The goats of the game were Pavs and Boris – both were putrid.


September 22nd, 2010
8:32 am

Here is the link for the post game press conference> Don’t know if it will be on the website.

Sage of Bluesland

September 22nd, 2010
8:39 am

Why all the bluster? It’s just ONE PRESEASON GAME!!! It’s not that big a deal, just like I explained in the email I sent to you gentlemen.


September 22nd, 2010
8:40 am

Keep it up Doris and I’ll get my Christmas wish early.

Zombie Steve

September 22nd, 2010
8:43 am

Anyone else notice the team having trouble keeping the puck in the attack zone(especially on the PP)?! Boris couldn’t even make a simple pass to the opposing pointman without putting the puck offsides!


September 22nd, 2010
9:06 am

It’s really wrong to steal someone’s handle.


September 22nd, 2010
9:22 am

I agreed, dude.


September 22nd, 2010
9:38 am


September 22nd, 2010
9:41 am

Relax. It’s the first pre-season game. Mostly prospects and try-outs. The next game will be the same way, just a different grouping. Dudley and company need to get a look at these guys before they make the next few rounds of cuts. If the last two pre-season games look this bad, we are in trouble … but I doubt they will. Guys will have had time to gel and it will be mostly roster players. Till then, just enjoy watching the young guys play.

The bright spot is that Pettersson played like a vet. If he doesn’t drop off and can keep up the hustle, he’s got a great shot of making the opening night roster.

Atlanta Spirit of Incompetence

September 22nd, 2010
9:42 am

We need help.

NHL Ready

September 22nd, 2010
9:45 am

See Pav’s started right where he left off. I hope that someone finally see’s it is not going to happen for Pav’s. I say send him to Dallas to back up Kari they like our garbage.

[...] THRASHERS BLOG – Plenty to work on after Thrashers drop preseason opener It may only be the preseason, but Ondrej Pavelec is going to have to be better if his team wants any part of the playoffs. [...]

The Monkey

September 22nd, 2010
10:04 am

I wouldn’t worry much. Preseason game. Very few of the guys that skated last night will be on the Opening Day roster. Bring on Sat game and the first hockey tailgate of the season. Yherp!!!


September 22nd, 2010
10:06 am

did anybody else notice that our penalty kill was the same as. We still continue to collapse. I hope Ramsay has a plan for that.


September 22nd, 2010
10:13 am

I hope they took a good look at Hainsey.

Joe Friday

September 22nd, 2010
10:15 am

So Boris and Pavs are in mid-season form already? No big suprise there, not worried about the rest of the guys that played last night other than Little and nice to hear he had a decent game. What will be interesting to me is how quickly Coach is able to get down to the final roster. To me, that needs to be rather quickly so he can work on the guys getting to know how to play with one another and learning his system so we’re ready to go when the regular season starts. Can’t afford a 2-6 start or something out of the gate.

NHL Ready

September 22nd, 2010
10:50 am

Midfield I think Hainsey is way overrated and wouldn’t break my heart to see him go in a trade. That is coming from a Home town CT boy just like Hainsey.


September 22nd, 2010
11:25 am

for me better to lose exibition games, because all mistakes on the up zoom. important to win from october 8. but i am not going to change my opinion even if we win the rest exibition, we need help in offensive from trade before season start, otherwise no playoff for sure and start to scout lottery pick. i think hockey people like ram, torch, dud. understand that, big bosses – don the idiot and asg cheap have to make decision. on my 11 years expirience with this clowns i bet they going to stay put with small hope that i am wrong.

Boris Valabik

September 22nd, 2010
11:35 am

Playing defense how does that work?


September 22nd, 2010
12:21 pm

Now is the time to sort out issues.. That is what exhibition season is for. Lots of new faces that liteally just started to play together last week. Patience. Rammer will have em toein the line soon enuf fot 10-8!


September 22nd, 2010
12:38 pm

NHL Ready, moving Hainsey with his contract is a feat even Dudley cannot pull off, I’m afraid. So, we’ll just make him the Captain instead, based on popular demand.

Old Time Hockey

September 22nd, 2010
12:55 pm

I don’t think anyone (except for some on this blog) is going to make any decisions based on the FIRST Pre-Season game. C’mon people. With a week to go in pre-season, maybe, but not yet. Pre means before the season. Remember that.


September 22nd, 2010
1:02 pm

you still going to need 4 goals a game to have a chance to win


September 22nd, 2010
1:11 pm

preseason games mean nothing. Last year Toronto won almost 70% of their games in the preseason and we all know how that ended. I think the preseason tickets should be cheaper, $50 for a preseason game is a bit too high. I’m optimistic the Thrashers will make the playoffs this year and because of that, I bought two season tickets and will be looking forward to the games.

Joe McGrath

September 22nd, 2010
2:02 pm

Regarding playing preseason games at home to full proce tickets, I still can’t figure out why management isn’t playing their preseason home games out of town. Columbus (Ga), Birmingham, Augusta, Greenville, S.C., are towns where Thrashers could grow their exposure, especially if they offer all tix at $10. I know there isn’t ice laid at these facilities yet, but if the Thrashers were to work with the venues, they could eisily gain some exposure. It’s either that, or fasion shows.


September 22nd, 2010
5:43 pm

While the one preseason game should not be used as the measurement, it is clear this team wont have a large margin for mistakes as we move forward. It does not look like Pavs and Mason will be shut down goalies, so we should expect the other teams to score 3-4 goals against per game. The problem with our current roster may be we won’t average more then two goals for us per game.

Special teams will be key and the last line of defense on the penalty kill is goaltending which most get better. If Pavs can’t step up in camp, it may be time to promote the guys from Chicago who let up less then 3 goals per game down on the farm.


September 23rd, 2010
12:17 am

“It doesnt look like pavs and mason will be shut down goalies”??? You havent even seen mason play in a thrashers jersey! Mason’s stats last year were pretty damn good…well below 3 G.A. I know pavs doesnt instill confidence but, I think we need to wait and see what mason brings to the table before we start freaking out about the goaltending situation. I would be shocked if mason wasnt the official starter.


September 23rd, 2010
12:32 pm

JoeMcGrath – I think that is a brilliant idea actually. Playing in other markets could draw fans from all over Georgia. I live in Augusta, and I think it would be amazing to have the team play here for a game. They could use the James Brown Arena, where the Augusta Lynx played and the Augusta Riverhawks will be playing.


September 23rd, 2010
8:00 pm

Yes, Thrashers play bad. But just be glad we have team and they not move to Calgary like Flames. Aye-yaye-yaye.