TORONTO — Niclas Bergfors admits to being frustrated.
The Thrashers forward was a healthy scratch for the fifth time in six games, along with Ben Eager, Monday against Toronto.
“You can’t whine about it,” Bergfors said following Monday’s pre-game practice. “You have to keep your head up and stay positive and support the team. Work hard. When you get the chance you have to be ready. That’s kind of what I’m focused on. Obviously it’s kind of boring to sit out. You have really long days on game day. It’s not fun. I’m trying to stay positive and be ready for me next chance.”
Bergfors said Thrashers coaches have not told him the reason he has been out of the lineup.
“They haven’t said anything,” Bergfors said. “I know I haven’t played my best hockey. I’m trying to focus to do my best and do the small details and everything that will help the team win the game. That’s what I’m trying to accomplish my next chance.”
Bergfors has seven goals, tied for seventh on the team with Nik Antropov.
Without Bergfors and Eager, Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay again put Fredrik Modin and Tim Stapleton in the lineup. They have been skating on a line centered by rookie Alexander Burmistrov.
Ramsay said he has been impressed with Stapleton’s play, especially defensively, since he was signed last month while on a 25-game tryout with AHL San Antonio.
“I thought [Modin and Stapleton] they played extremely well [Saturday against New Jersey],” Ramsay said. “Stapleton is very good without the puck. He’s going to score, but he’s been good defensively. He made a couple of solid plays the other night. You look at him and know he’s going to score goals, but if he’s good the other way that gives [the line] more opportunities. I thought as a line, that was Burmy’s best game in awhile. That line was very effective and they played quality minutes for us.
“The first game [Stapleton] played was in Washington and he ends up out against [Alexander] Ovechkin a couple times and got the job done. That helps a lot. We you see that he participates defensively, you feel good about putting him out there. … One of the things he did as a smaller player is he’s really strong. The pucks along the wall, he wins the wall battle. He didn’t turn it over. You can see that if he can play along the walls, and he can play at any time against anybody, that’s a key issue.”
Stapleton does not have a point in five games.
Freddy Meyer will be the defenseman scratched against the Maple Leafs.