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 cover the front of the net. We want to get our third man out high and almost run a three-man high set to try to drag them away from the net. If they don’t come out, the high slot is going to be open. If they do come out, then our defensemen will open up a little more. By doing that, I also think we can have some two-on-two [opportunities] down low and some of our big people can take it to the net and our little people can beat somebody on a one-on-one and get it to the net. There are lots of options once you get that high guy.”
In other news from the skate:
* Ramsay said team doctors are still unsure the exact nature of the wrist injury of Jim Slater. They are still trying to figure out what is the issue and what the next course of action will be. It’s looking more and more as if Slater won’t be ready for the start of the regular season. It seems unlikely, with a limited number of practices, that he will be ready in just over a week.
* Dustin Byfuglien was not available today since he is not playing tonight so I was unable to ask him about Jeremy Roenick’s comments. I will try again. Byfuglien was on NHL Live radio this afternoon, but was not asked about the comments, just his move to defense in general.
* Defenseman Noah Welch did clear waivers and will play for AHL Chicago.
* I will report the scratches for tonight’s game when I get back to the arena. The lines in practice were much the same as yesterday’s practice.