Archive for October, 2010

Ramsay pleased, not thrilled, with 3-4-1 record

The quote of the day comes from Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay. I asked him following Monday’s practice what he thought of the team’s 3-4-1 record considering they have played Washington twice, Tampa twice and made a West Coast trip.

“It’s scary sometimes if you look ahead [at the schedule] and I, honestly, try not to. But you couldn’t help but look at some of that and go ‘Uh-Oh, this is not good.’ When we initially looked at it and saw four in a row on the road to start, I thought we are playing good teams, it’s not good. However, we’ll be away together and try to grow the team and I think that happened. The power plays we were playing against are frightening. Washington we did a good job against. Tampa we didn’t do a great job against. You take seven penalties against a team like Tampa and you are going to get burned. … I’m pleased with where we are. I’m not thrilled. I’m pleased and I think if we just trust and take that Washington game and use it. …

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Byfuglien “earned” right to wear ‘A’

Dustin Byfuglien “earned” the right to wear the ‘A’ of the alternate captain Saturday in Washington, according to coach Craig Ramsay.

Even if it only lasted for two periods.

Byfuglien wore the ‘A’ in place of Nik Antropov, who was a healthy scratch against the Capitals.

“I thought Buff has shown a lot of courage in the games,” Ramsay said. “I thought he’s really tried to make a difference in each and every game that he’s played. I talked about rotating [the alternates] and we haven’t made a change yet … but I thought that he earned it. He earned a chance to have an ‘A’ on his sweater and to be one of our leaders. Most guys are going to have a shot at it and it’s going to be fun. When you put it on for the night you should enjoy that and recognize that the coaching staff is recognizing you for a big effort.”

Byfuglien did not last the entire game as he was given a game misconduct at the 17:32 mark of the second period after getting a …

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Cormier on the mend

Patrice Cormier returned to Atlanta on Thursday to have the hard cast removed from his broken right foot. The Thrashers prospect is now wearing a walking boot but using crutches to get around.

“It’s day by day,” Cormier said Friday at the Thrashers-Lightning game at Philips Arena. I’ll see the doctor every couple of days. I still need the crutches. I can’t put full pressure on it. We are starting at 25 percent weight on my foot. I think it’s a good sign. I’m starting to walk on it a little bit. Not too much pressure on it right now.”

Cormier said he will remain in Atlanta at least for the short term to visit doctors for occasional X-rays to monitor the progress of the broken foot. The injury occurred while blocking a shot during a rookie camp scrimmage on the day before training camp in September. Suddenly the prospect’s chance at making it to the NHL was halted.

“It wasn’t a clean break,” Cormier said. “It was a shatter a little bit. It’s healed …

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Mason on Thrashers’ penalty woes

The Thrashers fell behind early in Friday’s 4-2 loss to Tampa Bay and penalties were the reason. The Lightning turned four power-play chances in the first period into two goals.

Here’s goaltender Chris Mason’s take on the issue:

“I think it’s one of those things that’s mental right now because it’s something we stress before every game. We are shooting ourselves in the foot by taking these penalties and  falling behind early. We’ve had a couple of comebacks but that’s definitely not going to happen, as we’ve seen the last two games. You get behind and it’s too hard to come back on teams. It’s something that’s been addressed, it just can’t happen anymore.”

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Opposition setting sights on Burmistrov

Alexander Burmistrov has two pretty big bodyguards – and he’s needed them early in the season.

The 19-year-old rookie, months removed from playing in the Ontario Hockey League, has skated on a line with Ben Eager (6-2, 240) and Chris Thorburn (6-3, 230) much of the season. The two have jumped in more than once when the opposition set their sights on Burmistrov.

Take Friday’s game against Tampa Bay. At the 4:27 mark of the third period, Burmistrov got called for an interference penalty after tangling with the Lightning’s Steve Downie. Pushing and shoving ensued for several minutes. The action started up again on two occasions after things appeared to have settled down. In the end, Burmistrov was flanked again by Eager and Thorburn – this time in the penalty box. Eager got a roughing and a 10-minute misconduct penalty. Thorburn got a roughing penalty.

“I think in the third period we defended ourselves,” Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay said after the game. “You’ve …

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Boulton in the lineup; Dawes clears waivers

Just a couple other news and notes from this morning’s skate in preparation for game against Tampa Bay.

* Eric Boulton will see his first ice time of the season. After being a healthy scratch the first six game, Boulton will play on a line with Fredrik Modin and Jim Slater.

“It stinks,” Boulton said of sitting out. “It’s no fun to sit out. You see the guys out there battling every night. You want to be a part of it. You want to help them. It’s tough to watch but at the same time you have to be a good teammate and wait for your chance.

“I’ve tried to have a good attitude and wait for my chance and I got it tonight. I’m going to go out there and do my thing.”

* Nigel Dawes cleared waivers on Friday, a day after being released by the team. He signed a two-way contract during the offseason and will be assigned to AHL Chicago. Dawes, who scored the game-winning shootout goal against Anaheim last week, had no points and was a minus-6 in the team’s six games.

*Patrice …

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Thrashers use many players to kill penalties

Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay does not believe in using a one or two set penalty kill unit. If you’ve watched closely, he runs many different players in and off the ice when down a man.

Here is his rationale.

“I think it’s important that everybody, well just about everybody, gets a crack at it<’ Ramsay said. “If you end up killing a lot of penalties during a game or getting a lot of power plays, people sit on the bench. It’s important that they get quality ice time. That they get out there and stay fresh and stay in it. I’ve been with various team and we started to use our top offensive guys to kill penalties and they like it. They get a kick out of it. They are not so sure at first and there is that learning curve about doing it. There is a commitment to blocking shots that you have to have to kill penalties. If you can have six and eight penalty killers that’s just wonderful and it’s nice to be able to toss out a couple of really good offensive guys and let them …

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Updated: Line changes for Thrashers

Thrashers players (left to right) Brent Sopel, Andrew Ladd, Ben Eager and Dustin Byfuglien and associate coach John Torchetti received their Stanley Cup rings Friday for winning the NHL title last season with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Thrashers players (left to right) Brent Sopel, Andrew Ladd, Ben Eager and Dustin Byfuglien and associate coach John Torchetti received their Stanley Cup rings Friday for winning the NHL title last season with the Chicago Blackhawks.

There will be some lineup changes for the Thrashers in tonight’s game against Tampa Bay.

Here are the line combinations (in no particular order):

Eager-Antropov-Peverley

Ladd-Little-Steward (unchanged)

Modin-Slater-Boulton

Thorburn-Burmistrov-Kane

Niclas Bergfors will the the forward scratch for the third time in four games. That mean Eric Boulton will see his first game of the season. Zach Bogosian continues to be out with a shoulder injury. He will miss his fourth straight game.

Here is coach Craig Ramsay’s comments about the line changes.

“We are finding our way, giving guys a chance to play with each other,” Ramsay said. “We made a few adjustments. No particular reason for any of it. We are just trying to see and let people play. Over the …

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Updated: Thrashers waive Dawes

The Thrashers waived forward Nigel Dawes on Thursday, trimming the roster to 22 active players.

Dawes signed a two-way contract ($600,000 over $105,000) with the Thrashers in September just before the start of training camp. If Dawes clears waivers by noon Friday, he can be assigned to AHL Chicago.

Dawes appeared in all six games this season without a point. He did give the Thrashers a victory with a shootout goal in last Friday’s win in Anaheim. He was a minus-6.

“I hope he gets through [waivers] and I hope we have a chance to have him back,” Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay said. “I like Nigel. I like the way he had a good training camp. Pucks didn’t go in. In this day and age it becomes difficult for all of us. Nigel gave us a good effort. It’s very unfortunate with the circumstances of salary caps and rosters that it had to happen. He’s a good person. He tried to do everything I asked from him.”

General manager Rick Dudley told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution …

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Eager takes two high-sticking penalties

Ben Eager took two high-sticking penalties against Buffalo Wednesday, including a double-minor with 3:46 remaining in the game. The Thrashers played short-handed the rest of the way.

I asked coach Craig Ramsay following the game if that was a concern.

“Benny has played extremely well. With a guy like Benny sometimes he just gets so excited he tries a little bit too hard. We want to be disciplined. We are not condoning high sticking in any way. But he’s such a great competitor that he’ll get over that. That’s a one-time thing. A lot of the things that happened tonight we hope are one-time things. ”

Here are some quotes from on whether the return from a West Coast road trip affected their play:

* “A bad game coming off that trip we had a built-in excuse and we used it,” Ramsay said. “Excuses are not going to be acceptable any more.”

* “That’s a typical excuse you can use,” goaltender Chris Mason said. “The travel in this league, everyone has to do it. There is no …

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