SUNRISE, Fla. – The Thrashers placed forward Ben Eager on injured reserve before Wednesday’s game at Florida with a lower-body injury. Eager has missed the past four games.
“He’s coming along,” Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay said. “He’s starting to make some progress.”
The team had no immediate plans to call up a player from the minors to take Eager’s spot on the roster.
Eager has appeared in 33 games this season with nine points (three goals, six assists). He is a plus-3 and leads the team with 63 penalty minutes.
Jim Slater skated on Wednesday and will be re-evaluated when the Thrashers return to Atlanta on Thursday. The forward has missed two games with a concussion suffered Friday against New Jersey. Slater was injured when he collided with teammate Dustin Byfuglien.
New line combination
With Slater out of the lineup, Ramsay tried several different line combinations Sunday in Montreal. One of those combinations was to have rookie Patrice Cormier center Evander Kane and Chris Thorburn. The coach stuck with the combination Wednesday.
“I liked the way they played,” Ramsay said. “I thought Cormier was strong on the puck. He got good support from the other guys. It gives you a line with some size. I think we should be able to forecheck. They should be able to keep the puck. It gets Cormier a little experience and some toughness around him. He’s a pretty tough kid. I think they can battle.”
The Thrashers completed a three-game road trip Wednesday in South Florida. After arriving from Montreal on Sunday, the team had Monday off. They practiced on Tuesday but did not have a pre-game skate before taking on the Panthers.
“They get a chance to spend some time together and get a little rest,” Ramsay said. “… They enjoy some time together and get to bond a little bit. You would be surprised with all the travel you do, how little time you spend together. They got a chance to go out to dinner and bond some.”
Bronze for U.S.
The United States won the bronze medal at the World Junior Hockey Championships on Wednesday with a 4-2 over Sweden. The Swedish team featured two Thrashers prospects in forward Carl Klingberg and goaltender Fredrik Wentzel-Petersson.
Wentzel-Petersson, a fifth-round draft pick (No. 128 overall) in 2010, took the loss in the medal game.
Klingberg, a second-round pick (No. 34 overall) in 2009, had three goals in the tournament. He scored twice in a 6-5 shootout upset of Canada earlier in the tournament.
The Russian team did not inquire whether Thrashers rookie Alexander Burmistrov could play in the tournament.