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 game whatsoever. But, hey, that’s just my opinion. Like me or hate me if you don’t [agree]. I’m not a big fan of Atlanta for a lot of reasons but the fact that they’re going to play Dustin Byfuglien [as a defenseman], my goodness gracious.”
So, Rick Dudley “doesn’t know the game whatsoever”? Who knew?
By the way, the subject of Byfuglien came up in my post-practice interview with Craig Ramsay. Byfuglien was given the day off as he continues to nurse an ankle injury.
“He needs some rest,” Ramsay said. “We like the way he’s played and he’s coming. He’s really doing a good job for us. We’ve liked what we’ve seen. We need to give him a little break.”
In other news:
* The roster for tomorrow’s exhibition against Nashville is below. Nik Antropov told me he will play in the game, making his preseason debut.
“Obviously I’m not going to be 100 percent,” Antropov said of the start of the regular season. “It was not a minor injury that I went through. It’s going to take some time, but I’m close enough. Hopefully tomorrow is going to be a good test for me.
“Just get my legs back. Practice is a practice, you can skate as fast as you can or score 100 goals, nobody cares. Just get myself back into game situations, the speed, the positioning, the little things. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to put one in or set someone up. The main thing is just to get back in there.”
Ramsay said he is looking forward to seeing Antropov on the ice and working on the new systems.
“He looks really good,” Ramsay said. “He feels ready. That would be great. We just have to get him a game. You can’t expect miracles. He’s a big, strong body and he has to start learning what we are doing. It’s one thing to practice it and another to carry it into a game.”
* In other practice notes, Jim Slater and Enver Lisin did not practice. Ramsay did not have an update on Slater’s condition.
* I don’t want to make this blog too long, but I asked Ramsay if he is concerned about the Thrashers lack of scoring during the preseason. They have just three goals in three losses. Here is what he had to say:
“Sure it is, but we expect to score. What we are doing right now is we are hesitating, we are thinking. There are times when we are overtrying in the offensive zone. That’s one of the hazards of not scoring. You do two things. One you just stay back and try not to get scored against. Or, you get three guys standing in the goal crease, which we had a little of last night. We had one great rush and a wide-angle shot. [Alexander] Burmistrov jumped to the middle and the puck went right through the dot, just like we told them it would. Had he been there, it was maybe a freebie. The effort was wonderful, but smart is what we are trying to accomplish. In order to do that they have to relax a little bit and just play. Because we’ve covered a lot of things perhaps they are hesitating just a little bit thinking about if they are doing the right thing instead of just reacting.”
* Here are the line combinations from practice today (in no particular order). Ramsay said not to read too much into them as he is just mixing things up to see what might work.
Roster for game vs. Preds (There will be two scratches):
Forwards (13): Antropov, Burmistrov, Dawes, Eager, Kane, Ladd, Little, Modin, Pettersson, Peverley, Rissmiller, Stewart, Thorburn.
Defense (7): Bogosian, Enstrom, Hainsey, Kulda, Meyer, Oduya, Sopel.
Goaltender (2): Mason, Pavelec