A lack of healthy forward continues for the Thrashers. More absences required defenseman Zach Bogosian to practice up front on Tuesday.
Evander Kane and Chris Thorburn did not practice and were “banged up” according to coach Criag Ramsay. Jim Slater (concussion) also did not practice and Fredrik Modin (mid-body) skated in non-contact drills only.
Ramsay said the move of Bogosian was done out of necessity. However, he did not rule out Bogosian playing forward when the Thrashers host Tampa Bay on Thursday if there is still a shortage of healthy players.
“Who knows?” Ramsay said. “I don’t know for sure. It depends on how there other guys go. It’s always a possibility to dress seven [defensemen]. We know, for instance, that he could play up front. Freddy Meyer can if necessary. …
“One thing, you wouldn’t want to be a defenseman with Zach bearing down on you because he can skate and is a physical guy.”
Bogosian was a healthy scratch in Monday’s shootout win over Florida. Meyer played as a forward one game earlier this season.
Chris Mason, who sprained the MCL in his right knee, also did not practice. He was scheduled to have an MRI Tuesday. There is still no timetable on the goaltender’s return.
Modin said his return will be determined by how he feels after the practice. He did experience some tightness after skating. The forward has battled several injuries this season. He has appeared in just 28 games and only twice has played seven straight games.
“I don’t like to say that I’m getting used to it,” Modin said. “You really don’t. It sucks. It’s been like this for awhile. It is frustrating. You are always looking forward to when you can get back. That’s kind of been what drives you.”
Modin said he will wait until after the season to determine his future.
Having won just four times in the past 13 games, including Monday’s dramatic win over Florida, the Thrashers are hoping the victory will mean good things. Bryan Little and Thorburn scored 44 seconds apart in the game’s final two minutes to tie the Panthers in a game the Thrashers won in a shootout.
“It has the potential to be a watershed game,” Ramsay said. “We really hope it to be so. I thought we played solidly against Philly but found a way to lose. The first half of the game were the dominate team in Dallas and found a way to lose and ruined that one. You have those instances and this one where it was a pretty tight game. We looked like we coughed it up again. Instead we battled through with two empty-net goals to make this thing work and get the shootout win which was great for us. These are the types of things a team can build off of.”
Andrew Ladd said he had the very same thought.
“That’s the kind of win that can turn a year around and get you headed in the right direction,” the captain said. “At the same time, we have to use that in the right way and go out there and start playing the way we can. We can’t wait until the last two minutes to get some urgency and really start taking it to a team. We know what we are capable of.
Anthony Stewart and Little were each fined $200 by the NHL for being the third and fourth fights in the melee in Boston on Dec. 23.
With Tuesday’s trade of Ben Eager, Spencer Machacek will get an extended look. Re-called from AHL Chicago last week, Ramsay said the forward is doing a good job but must get used to the speed of the NHL game.
Here are the line combinations from Tuesday’s practice: