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 often don’t get the job done. In their case, the got on a merry-go-round and swinging in circles instead of stopping. …We had three instances, off the top of my head, where we got stuck in our own zone and we got scored on twice. That’s not good enough. There is an old saying I made up years ago ‘If you think you are tired, you are not.’ You’ve got to find a way to battle through that. That’s part of the growth and the learning process that it’s not acceptable to say I was tired.”

* Injury news: Dustin Byfuglien did not practice again Thursday. Ramsay said he is unsure if the defenseman will play in either of the final preseason games. He was not on the roster for Friday’s game at Carolina (see below).

“I’m not sure,” Ramsay said. “He skated a little bit and the trainer took him off. He wanted to be careful. My guess is we will have him in the warm-up and make a game-time decision.”

Hainsey came off the ice after the start of Thursday’s practice.

Jim Slater was on the ice skating for the first time in several days. Other than skating, he did take part in drills. Slater was encouraged to get back on the ice after missing training camp time.

Slater would not reveal the exact nature of the injury, but said surgery was ruled out as an option.

“That’s the last thing I want to go through,” Slater said.

The center also said that, while unlikely, he would like to play in a preseason game. However, if not, there is still a week before the start of the season.

“That’s my timetable to be ready by next week,” he said.

Nik Antropov practiced Thursday, a day after making his preseason debut. “I felt better than I thought I would,” Antropov said after the game.

* More on Byfuglien on defense: “From the first scrimmage where I first saw him lining up as a defenseman I thought ‘Uh-oh, this could be trouble,’ Ramsay said. “But his enthusiasm has been wonderful. His great stick is really a key for a defenseman. He’s got a good stick down low, picking off pucks. Again, he’s got a lot to learn and it’s not ideal, but he really has figured out a lot of things. He’s got a ways to go but he’s a big body back there with a good stick which is really a nice thing to have. And he can jump up from there which makes him hard to cover.”

* More on Burmistrov: While he still has a lot to learn, Ramsay said he has been encouraged by the growth of first-round pick Alexander Burmistrov.

“Burmy has made huge strides. Last night he had a couple of instances. On one of the long shifts we had in our end, he had the puck over the red line and decided to stick handle. He certainly isn’t the only one, but we want to nip that one as quick as we can. One of the great things is as soon as he got to the bench a couple of the veteran players grabbed him and say ‘Hey kid, get it deep and let the boys change.’ It was good to see our bench take care of it. That’s a great step when the others are recognizing the errors and correcting them by themselves. He competes every game, he battles for pucks.

Asked if it looked possible that Burmistrov could start the season in the NHL, Ramsay said: “I think he’s done everything he could to earn a chance to play. I’ve been thrilled with him. Last night there were a few errors but overall the boy is showing that he really wants to play. I don’t mind that.”

* Lineup news: Ondrej Pavelec will start in goal Friday against Carolina. The entire remaining team will make the two-game road trip. Here is the 22-man roster for Friday’s game:

Forwards (13): Antropov, Bergors, Burmistrov, Dawes, Eager, Kane, Ladd, Little, Modin, Pettersson, Peverley, Stewart, Thorburn

Defensemen (7): Bogosian, Enstrom, Kulda, Meyer, Oduya, Sopel, Zubarev

Goaltenders (2): Pavelec, Mason

Two players will be scratched.

* Roster move: Enver Lisin, who was in training camp on a pro tryout, was released on Thursday, bringing the total number of players left in camp to 29. Lisin did not play in an exhibition game. The Thrashers must get down to the league maximum of 23 players by Wednesday.

Ramsay said he was unsure when final cuts would be made. Injuries could affect some decisions about who breaks camp.

* A little more from Ramsay: You know how I like to pass on Ramsay knowledge. Here are his thoughts about what he’d like to see in the final two preseason games. They will try a different forecheck. However, here is one problem area he has seen:

“One thing we have a tough time with is getting through the neutral zone. On thing they haven’t grasped, from me, is that we keep getting guys running into the middle of the ice. You think of traps, blocks or whatever you have, there are a whole bunch of people in the middle to the ice. When you jump into that, all you get is trouble. Peverley drove wide that set up the goal by Meyer. Bogosian drove wide that set up [the goal by Eager]. They are doing it, but they revert back to other things. Some of that is when you get tired or stay out there too long.”

Did an interview with goaltender consultant Clint Malarchuk for an upcoming story. Look for that soon.

Enjoy the weekend folks!

35 comments Add your comment

ChippersLoveChild

September 30th, 2010
4:37 pm

Ready for a W!

Smoothie

September 30th, 2010
4:45 pm

Chock full o’ good stuff! Someone tell 680 the Fan that Vivlamore is hording all the good stuff, because their morning radio show sux!

Darkhorse

September 30th, 2010
4:56 pm

Great job Viv! Anyone standing out in your mind leading in the Captain catagory?

DWTOO

September 30th, 2010
4:57 pm

As does their afternoon show. If you want hockey on the air get XM.

SCHUBERT

September 30th, 2010
5:02 pm

What are the odds that I will be one of the 23?

Derrick

September 30th, 2010
5:04 pm

Thanks once again for all the great information Chris!! There’s no doubt that you’re the man to go to for Thrashers news!

As for the last couple preseason games, I hope Coach Ramsay starts playing guys on lines with each other that will likely be together during the regular season and stops putting Bergfors with 4th line guys. He proved last year that if he’s given a shot on one of the top 2 lines that he can produce and score goals which is something that this teams desperately needs more of.

GaVaHokie

September 30th, 2010
5:04 pm

Thanks Chris… good stuff!

Derrick

September 30th, 2010
5:10 pm

Oh and by the way it’s nice to hear Coach Ramsay calling out Hainsey and Sopel for their poor play. I like a coach who holds his players accountable and doesn’t just b.s. us by saying how they really didn’t play that badly when it’s obvious that they did.

Sam

September 30th, 2010
5:16 pm

Really enjoy the “Ramsey knowledge”. Keep including it, please!

Hainsey injured, scratched, or trade material?

liquid fart

September 30th, 2010
5:29 pm

I am pretty sure Ron Hainsey has a no trade clause. I wish he didn’t, obviously. I am not blaming Sopel, I’ve seen him play, Ron Hainsey can make ANYONE look bad when he’s paired with them.

Brendan

September 30th, 2010
6:22 pm

Let’s go Defense!

Brendan

September 30th, 2010
6:45 pm

Hainsey, I believe, would waive a no trade clause to go to a winner for the remainder of his contract. Unless he just loves Atlanta so much, like Slava Kozlov apparently did, that the idea of leaving is completely out of the question. But I wouldn’t completely shelve the idea that Hainsey would accept a trade somewhere. In the end, players want to win. And they want to MATTER in the process. I definitely think Ron Hainsey will play significant minutes as a Thrasher. Would he play those same minutes elsewhere? I cannot say. Maybe. Depends on where. His $4.5 million annual salary cap hit could be an impediment to a contending team, as contenders do tend to spend closer to the cap limit. Something Hainsey would have to consider is … what he if gets “Reddened or Hueted” (stashed in the minors so his salary won’t count against the cap) down the road by a contender? Once he waives that no trade clause, I think it opens up the possibility for him to be stashed in the minors, at NHL pay. Now, I hear ya. “Hey, that could happen to Hainsey right here in Atlanta.” No, it won’t. Hainsey won’t fall so far out of favor that Atlanta would rather play Valabik or Kulda, or whomever D-man # 6 or # 7 on the depth chart might be, over Hainsey. That’s the stability factor, in Atlanta, for Hainsey. He’d likely be able to play out his contract in Georgia, without fear of relocation. Hainsey is under contract until 2013. If a team like Phoenix underwent some blueline injuries at or near the trade deadline, they could take on a contract like Hainsey, even with two more years on it, and still have room to re-sign RFA Keith Yandle. We’d likely have to take on some of their low-end salaried deadweight in the exchange, however. Maybe Sauer or Aucoin. But, pretty much, any such trade would just be Atlanta dumping salary, to be rid of Hainsey. And, truthfully, as close to the floor as the Thrashers usually are, they need that Hainsey salary to avoid a cap infraction.

Derrick

October 1st, 2010
12:13 am

Yeah I really see no way anyone would take Hainsey from us in a trade. He’s someone we definitely overpaid for and with most teams struggling to get under the cap, he’s not going anywhere (except hopefully to the press box).

Acer9

October 1st, 2010
7:06 am

I don’t think that Hainsay wants to waive his NTC to go to team with a clouded future.

I doubt that the Coyotes even want Hainsay, regardless of Phoenix’s position in the standings around the TDL. They have an awful lot of talent in the system including: Yandle, Schlemko, Ekman-Larsson, Summers, Lepisto, Goncharov, Ahnelov.

Aucoin was a key player in holding that young Yotes together. He’s not deadweight and signed an extension this summer. It makes little sense from a Yotes POV to acquire RH.

d

October 1st, 2010
8:03 am

What dope was responsbile for offering Hainsey $4.5 million/year in the first place?

Hotrod

October 1st, 2010
9:16 am

I like a good defense, but I am not seeing a 25 -30 / yr goal scorer step up and forward yet. We probably need 2 or 3 of those.

Zombie Steve

October 1st, 2010
9:26 am

Little will score 30+ this season. mark it down.

jerry

October 1st, 2010
9:27 am

It will be a big improvement if they can just get the puck out of their end in less than five minutes.

lordstan57

October 1st, 2010
9:28 am

I don’t believe Ron makes our top 6 if he doesn’t play the way Coach expects. He WILL NOT PLAY just because he has a big contract. Expect Rammer to ice the BEST TEAM POSSIBLE…. based on merit, not something else. Go out to practice sometime….. THERE IS NO FAVORITISM! these guys work, hustle, with huge amounts of instruction. Even w/ the tenders! Can’t ever remember seeing that before….. isolated drills FOR THE G”s! Don’t know if it was Malarchuk(C-Viv may know, he’s there EVERY DAY!) but they were practicing multiple shots, and lateral movement, staying “squared to the shooter”. Guys were unleashing from the bottom o’ face-off cir. Nice drill.

Anyway, expect Coach to ice the best possible, Dud’s will handle any “ego” issues that may arise.

GO THRASHERS!

ChippersLoveChild

October 1st, 2010
9:54 am

Why are you guys speaking like Hainsey would be traded? Who would trade for Ron Hainsey and his salary?!?

rob

October 1st, 2010
10:00 am

How refreshing to see Vivs getting quality stuff from the team!!! I hope we don’t see too many WTF’s al la JA, and no blame for the teams shortcomings on that dreaded bouncing puck which NEVER seemed to bounce our way to hear JA say it. Sounds as though accountability might be a word we can look forward too. Keep it up Vivs and don’t be scared to ask the tough questions to Ramsey!!!! I don’t think he will shy away from them or beat around the bush like the past has done here. Can’t wait to see what this team does once they get going!
LET’S GO THRASHERS!!!!

rob

October 1st, 2010
10:06 am

And not that I actually want him to get involved in the Thrashers coverage, but if Schultz is sooooo “for” the Thrashers succeeding here, even though I have yet to see much good actually come out of him, how come he hasn’t looked into the “new” Thrashers? As a “sports” writer I would think he would want to get some “ins” with the new group here. Or have they made Vivs the one stop writer for the team? If this is the case, can we get the other writers off of the Thrashers page on the AJC, because their outdated and uninformative columns on there are tacky and kind of 2nd rate don’t you think?

[...] this time next week when the Thrashers open up against the Washington Capitals. And given what Ramsay had to say about last June’s first round draft pick, it seems like Alex Burmistrov could be as well. Even if [...]

Barry

October 1st, 2010
4:12 pm

I don’t know about the rest of you but the lack of wins and lack of goal scoring is really bothering me. I thought preseason was to try out certain guys and get the team ready for the regular season. This team doesn’t seem ready for the regular season and not ready to win yet. I’m getting really concerned….

Swami

October 1st, 2010
5:04 pm

Maybe Thrashers make playoffs, maybe not. But they headed in right direction. That’s what Swami think anyway.

Lee

October 2nd, 2010
9:42 am

I’m not concerned about the Thrasher’s preseason. Look at the B-Hawks, their 2-4…..

NHL Ready

October 2nd, 2010
10:38 am

I hope this team will be ready for the Caps come Friday. I hate to see a blow out but it could happen. I do not think we are ready just yet. We need to start the season on a positive note. A bunch of lost games will not help the fan base. If we don’t score Dudley needs to find a fix who is left out there we can use??

kracker

October 2nd, 2010
11:03 am

Pre-lockout: Teams played eight pre-season games.
Post-lockout: Teams played seven pre-season games for three years.
Now: Teams play only six pre-season games since 08-09.

The Thrashers really need those extra two practice games.

Smoothie

October 2nd, 2010
1:22 pm

Is now the time to offer up Pavelec, Peverley and Kulda to Philly for Jeff Carter? Problem is, we’d have to sign Carter immediately before a slow start sours him on ATL. Then turn around and trade a middle round pick and a prospect to San Jose for Thomas Greiss.

I LOVE Rich Peverley but with Duds as GM, anything is possible!

Wayne stuck in AL

October 3rd, 2010
1:47 pm

Not one story about the final two exhibition games in Carolina and Columbus; not even an AP story…

Midfield

October 3rd, 2010
9:14 pm

One way to get a story is to Redden Hainsey in keeping up with New York. That’ll show them. Hainsey will be the highest payed on Atlanta roster to play in the minors.

J.B.

October 4th, 2010
9:00 am

Check this SE Division preview out y’all. Could not believe I was reading this about the Thrash in the Canadian media…

http://www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/story/2010/09/29/spf-nhl-preview-southeast.html

Puck Like A Porn Star

October 4th, 2010
9:43 am

Thanks for the article, J.B. I still can’t believe a Canadian wrote it.

W-wait a minute! Could it be?

Thrashers season starts FRIDAY?????

I’ve already got a ticket, but still, it’s hard to fathom.

Adam

October 4th, 2010
10:14 am

Hey Chris, can you find out what the scouting staff has been up to? Which preseason games have they gone to? Has one team been targeted and so on.

Steve

October 5th, 2010
2:04 am

Looks like its down to Meyer vs. Valabik for the final defensive spot for the Thrashers.

With Atlanta building under a three year plan, one would think they would keep Valabik and roll the dice he becomes a second line type player. That being said, they might be able to get a middle or higher round pick for Valabik if someone else needs a big body. If they can do that and keep Meyer to help the youngsters and provide a little more threat than BV up the ice then I will take it. I do like Meyer being able to generate a little threat, but when the team is finally coming of age in three to four years Valabik could finally be coming into his own. Tough decision for the GM already. Neither one figures to get alot of PT unless there are injuries.