You can’t bet on one thing, Bryan Little will keep an eye out when Dustin Byfuglien is on the ice.
Little was in the Thrashers lineup Wednesday against Detroit after missing Tuesday’s practice with a sore foot. The forward was hit by a Byfuglien shot during Sunday’s game against the New York Islanders.
“I thought I wouldn’t be able to play yesterday,” Little said Wednesday morning. “I put my skate on and it hurt just walking around. I tried it on this morning and I could get my foot in and it wasn’t too bad. It’s pretty painful still. It’s much worse to walk. Once I put my skate on it’s not too bad.”
Little was also hit in the elbow by a Byfuglien shot last month against the New York Rangers and missed part of that game.
“As soon as he gets the puck I’m not going near the net again,” Little joked.
In other injury news, forward Fredrik Modin (upper body) did some skating prior to the team’s morning practice. Modin missed his fifth game since suffering the injury on Nov. 13.
In other notes:
* Thrashers rookie Alexander Burmistrov got a chance to be on the ice with a childhood hero and fellow Russian in Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk Wednesday.
Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay even used a video clip of Datsyuk to make a point with his 19-year-old center.
“He is very attentive player,” Ramsay said of Burmistrov. “He wants to be a great player. I happened to show him something today from our last game that I think he can do better. Then I showed him No. 13 [Datsyuk] doing it better. He got very excited about it. As he said, ‘I’m going to be better than him.’ He wants to be that guy. He’s just a kid but he learns fast.”
Datsyuk said he has not seen his young countryman play. He said he would offer words of advice following the game if Burmistrov desired.
* Ramsay praised the recent play of the Eric Boulton-Jim Slater-Chris Thorburn line for keeping the puck in the offensive zone and winning battles along the boards. Their play has allowed Ramsay to rotate all four of his lines during the past two games.
“We’ve been broken up before, but it seems like when we get put back together something just clicks and we find it right away,” Slater said. “We are all similar type players and we pride ourselves on good defensive play, offensive zone time, getting shots and wearing down the other team’s players. We’ve been so close getting goals. That’s the next thing. We have to take the next step and put some goals on the board for this team.”
* As I reported yesterday, Ondrej Pavelec will start in goal for the Thrashers. Jimmy Howard will start in goal for Detroit.
* The line combinations remained the same: