Fredrik Modin will be the Thrashers’ other healthy scratch against Buffalo Friday. The forward has a minus-8 rating this season. He had a costly turnover that led to a goal against Washington last week.
Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay insists those are not reasons Modin was scratched.
“When we brought Freddy in, we didn’t expect that he was going to play every game,” Ramsay said of the 36-year-old. “He’s a great person around the team. He’s scored one goal and we need him to score more but Freddy is a good person around your hockey club. We’d like to see better things happen for a number of our people and the fact that Freddy is out tonight, like I’ve said early, we have an extra person or two and somebody is going to be out.”
Modin’s minus-8 rating, after nine games, is higher than at the finish of his past 10 seasons.
That number, in the short-term, is not a concern to Ramsay.
“He’s had a couple of turnovers in the defensive zone that have worked against him,” Ramsay said. “The plus/minus I believe in over the course of a season but not in the short term. In the short term you can have some bad nights. You can have a lot of bad things happen. On a bad change you can step on the ice and get scored on. Vice versa, you can step on the ice and get a plus. Over the course of the season, I think it shows you something. But in the short term it’s suspect.”
In other news:
* Bryan Little said his left elbow is still very sore after being hit by a Dustin Byfuglien shot against the Rangers Wednesday. Little got hit early in the second period. He said he returned to the bench once X-rays determined his elbow was not broken.
“I braced for it,” Little said. “I can’t believe it didn’t hit my elbow pad. … The good thing is it doesn’t affect me on the faceoffs, so I should be good with that.”
Little scored his first goal of the season in the first period against the Rangers on a great individual effort. He said he has kept a positive attitude early this season, a lesson he learned from last year when his frustration mounted as he dropped from 31 to 13 goals.
“If anything, I learned don’t get as frustrated,” Little said. “Come to the rink everyday with a smile on your face. It sounds kind of funny but that’s how I treated the first eight games. I could have gotten frustrated, been in a bad mood and it could have gone on longer. I stayed positive. I knew if I kept trying to get chances they were going to go in. I think my mood has changed.
“Our line was getting a ton of chances. If you just stay patient and fight as much as you can to get your chances, it will come no matter what.”
* Ondrej Pavelec said his conditioning start at AHL Chicago went well, even though it was a 4-1 loss. Pavelec stopped 19-of-22 shots against Oklahoma City, which scored on two breakaways, a power play and an empty netter.
“It was good,” Pavelec said. “It was great to have a game up there and get in game shape and know how I was doing. It was only one day. …
“We lost but for me it was more about getting my confidence and getting a game, have some shots [against].”
Pavelec will back up Chris Mason Friday against the Sabres and return on Saturday at the Blues. It will be his first game since losing consciousness and collapsing minutes into the team’s season opener on Oct. 8 due to a fainting spell.
“I’m so excited to get in the game tomorrow night,” Pavelec said. “I haven’t played a game yet. It’s been a long time, like three weeks. I’m really excited.”
* Alexander Burmistrov confirmed Friday at that his pass to Evander Kane, who scored a goal for the rookie’s first NHL point Wednesday, was indeed intended for Dustin Byfuglien. The big defenseman was set up for a one-timer when Kane took the pass, skated in on Rangers goaltender Martin Biron and scored his sixth goal of the season.
“Yeah, that’s true,” Burmistrov said. “Buff was wide open for one-timer. Kaner just come and take it, but it was a good play actually, good skill.”
Kane did retrieve the puck and gave it to Burmistrov as a souvenir of his first point.
“Every thing was good,” Burmistrov said. “We won the game and I got a point. We played in New York and Madison Square Garden and that was unbelievable.”