Niclas Bergfors and Ben Eager are back on the bench.
The Thrashers forwards were healthy scratches for three straight games before returning Thursday against Carolina. However, they were back out of the lineup for Saturday’s game against New Jersey.
When asked if there was something specific that Bergfors and Eager were doing wrong, Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay said there was not.
“We need to compete as a team,” Ramsay said. “We need to hold onto the puck in the offensive zone and we have to be good in our zone. It’s expected from everybody.”
Bergfors and Eager played sparingly in the third period against Carolina. Bergfors played a total of 7:40 on 11 shifts. Eager played just 6:22 on 10 shifts.
With the lineup move, Fredrik Modin and Tim Stapleton were back on the ice.
“They are both pretty good defensively. I think Freddy did a good job holding onto the puck in the offensive zone down in Tampa. Stapleton, he’s got some good offensive skills that we know about. He’s done a really good job defensively. He did a good job on the walls. He did a good job on his backchecks. He’s a guy you’re not afraid to put out there and it doesn’t matter who they come with. I think we’ve got some quickness with Stapleton and another big body with Freddy.”
The NHL Players Association announced Saturday that Donald Fehr was been approved as the membership’s new executive director.
Fehr, 62, was the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association from 1983 to 2009. He recently served in an advisory role with the NHL union before being approved overwhelming as the new leader.
“He’s the guy that came in and helped us a little over a year ago when things were slightly in disarray when Paul [Kelly] was let go,” Thrashers union representative Ron Hainsey said. “He’s been a huge help to us getting us organized. He’s the guy we wanted leading us into the next few years. We are very excited to have him.”
The NHL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement expires after next season, in 2012. The last agreement came following the cancellation of the 2004-05 season.
Bob Goodenow resigned as executive director following the last agreement. Ted Saskin and Kelly were fired after each served as a replacement.
The Thrashers lost their last two games in a shootout, an area that Ramsay admitted the team needs to work on. The Thrashers have just one shootout victory dating back to last season when Slava Kozlov was removed from the regular lineup.
I asked Ramsay if the Thrashers, who thrive on a team scoring concept, are at a disadvantage during the shootout.
“It looks like we have been at a disadvantage but it doesn’t have to be that way in the long term,” Ramsay said. “In the short term it has been. In the long term it should not be because we have people who are nifty, people who should be able to score. We have to spend a little more time on it. Maybe we have to get some more video from around the league to see what teams do and get that available to our players. It unfortunately wasn’t a priority, or didn’t seem like it. Now we want to look at it a little better, a little hard. Sometimes it becomes self fulfilling prophesy. We don’t dwell on the doom and gloom of losing in a shootout. We would rather win in regulation rather than overtime. We have to get better. We recognize that.”
In other news:
* Ondrej Pavelec will start in goal for the Thrashers. The Devils, who played Friday against Nashville, did not practice Saturday morning.
* The Thrashers lines went back to the recent combinations with Modin and Stapleton back in the lineup.