Archive for January, 2011

Byfuglien gets morning off; Ladd could play

A couple of notes from the morning skate prior to tonight’s game with the Capitals (follow-ups of the tweets I sent this morning).

Dustin Byfuglien did not take part in the skate. He was at the arena but the Thrashers skated with five defenseman. Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay said he was just giving the All-Star a rest.

“Like a lot of guys, he’s a little sore,” Ramsay said. “He’s fine. He’s going to play. I just felt it was a good idea to give him a little extra rest.”

* Andrew Ladd, who missed Sunday’s game in Tampa Bay with a lower-body injury, took part in the pre-game skate. He did not skate on the line combinations nor was he listed on a line in the lineup posted in the Thrashers’  dressing room. However, Ramsay said that Ladd could play, depending on how he felt following treatment.

“We are fairly certain he will play providing after the treatments following the skate that he still feels fine,” Ramsay said.

* Evander Kane, who will miss his fourth straight game …

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Following break, just 30 games remain

Following Wednesday’s game against the Capitals, the Thrashers are off for five days for the NHL All-Star break. When they return, just 30 games are all that remain. It’s then this team will find out what it is made of. Will there be a second trip to the playoffs? Or another finish leaving them on the outside of the postseason.

The Thrashers have lost three straight going into the game with the Capitals. They have just four wins (one in regulation) in the past 16.

Here are some thoughts about the second half of the season.

Coach Craig Ramsay:  “Once the break is over, it’s the push down the stretch. Everybody has to realize what happened before that – good, bad or indifferent – it’s about pushing yourself down that final stretch. That’s when teams are made.”

Thrashers goaltender Ondrej Pavelec: “You want to win every game, but absolutely it’s important to get this win and feel better about ourselves, get some rest and be ready for the last stretch because it’s …

Continue reading Following break, just 30 games remain »

Cormier getting his chance – as a left wing

Patrice Cormier is getting his chance to play in the NHL.

It’s just at a different position right now.

Cormier, a natural center, has played left wing for most of his14 games since being recalled from AHL Chicago on Dec. 28. He has most recently been on a line with Bryan Little and Anthony Stewart as Evander Kane (mid-body) has missed the past four games.

Cormier said he played left wing in Chicago when he returned from a broken foot that cost him the early part of the season and a chance to break training camp with the Thrashers.

“I like the left wing,” Cormier said before Wednesday’s game against Washington. “I’ll play wherever the put me. I’ll play right wing too.”

Injuries have hit the Thrashers hard of late. Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay has called for all players – even the young ones – to step up and make a difference.

Here is Cormier. He is seen by Thrashers general manager Rick Dudley as a third-line center. Now, he’s the second-line left wing. …

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No trade in near future for Thrashers

Despite the  Thrashers’ injuries and current losing streak, I’m told the Thrashers are not close to  making a trade. Certainly the Thrashers need a top-six forward however nothing is imminent. Stay tuned on that front. The Thrashers had several areas to strengthen before the season and the rash of injuries has not helped.

* Following the Thrashers loss to Tampa on Sunday, coach Craig Ramsay said to turn around the team’s current losing streak he need the players and leaders in the locker room to step forward. I asked him to clarify the comments Tuesday as to who specifically he wanted to speak up. Turns out, he wants everyone to show leadership with their play.

Here is what he said:

“It’s not necessarily to say something,” Ramsay said. ” It’s easy to say something. It’s easy to yell. It’s easy to pick fault with people. We are a little banged up. It’s up to [Dustin Byfuglien] not to worry about his points but to worry about his defense and to encourage his …

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Thrashers-Capitals preview

Next for Thrashers

Who: vs. Capitals

When: 7 p.m. Wednesday

TV; radio: FSSO; 680 AM, 93.7 FM

* The Thrashes have lost three straight games and have just four wins in their past 16. The Capitals are 3-0-2 in their past five games.

* The Thrashers will be without Tobias Enstrom, Evander Kane, Jim Slater and Chris Mason due to injury. Andrew Ladd is questionable.

* The Thrashers are 3-1-1 against the Capitals this season.

* Dustin Byfuglien, the Thrashers leading scorer, does not have a point in the past nine games. Rookie Alexander Burmistrov does not have a point in the past 10 games.

- Chris Vivlamore

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Updated: Enstrom out 2-4 weeks, will miss All-Star Game

An already injured and struggling team got another dose of bad news Tuesday.

The Thrashers will be without All-Star defenseman Tobias Enstrom for two to four weeks with a fractured finger on his right hand. He will not attend this weekend’s all-star activities in Raleigh due to the injury.

“Knowing him, it will probably be the shorter side of it,” Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay said. “It has to be done correctly. Our doctors want to do it – for the long-term health of him and our team – correctly.”

Enstrom suffered the injury during Saturday’s game against the New York Rangers. He missed Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay, snapping his franchise record consecutive games played streak at 296.

There was no immediate word on who the NHL would name as Enstrom’s replacement.

“Obviously Toby has been an incredibly important part of our team,” Ramsay said. “He’s been a big part of this organization. We are going to miss him. It is a great opportunity for other …

Continue reading Updated: Enstrom out 2-4 weeks, will miss All-Star Game »

Enstrom, Ladd out versus Lightning

TAMPA, Fla. – The injury bug bite the Thrashers again Sunday – hard.

All-Star defenseman Tobias Enstrom and captain Andrew Ladd missed the game against Tampa Bay after suffering injuries Saturday.

For Enstrom, his franchise record for consecutive games played ends at 296. He has not missed a game since making his NHL debut to start the 2007-08 season. Enstrom surpassed the mark set by Slava Kozlov earlier this season.

Enstrom injured a hand blocking a shot in Saturday’s shootout loss to the New York Rangers. He will be re-evaluated Monday in Atlanta. His status for Sunday’s All-Star Game is unclear.

With Enstrom out, Zach Bogosian returned to the lineup after being a healthy scratch the past three games. He was paired with Ron Hainsey. Johnny Oduya moved up to play with Dustin Byfuglien and Brent Sopel and Freddy Meyer completed the defensive pairings.

Ladd missed his first game of the season with a lower-body injury. The extent of his injury is unclear.

With Ladd …

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Thrashers fall in shootout — again

Here is my story, with quotes, from Saturday night’s 3-2 shootout loss to the New York Rangers for those who would like to comment.

Ron Hainsey had some comforting words for Ondrej Pavelec.

They offered little consolation for the goaltender.

The Thrashers blew a third-period lead and lost in the shootout for the second straight game. The latest was a 3-2 defeat to the New York Rangers Saturday night at Philips Arena.

The Rangers got a shootout goal from Mats Zuccarello for the game-winner. It was the only time the Rangers led all night. Bryan Little, Nik Antropov and Niclas Bergfors failed to score on their attempts.

“He’s one of the best competitors I’ve met,” Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay said of Pavelec. “I just love his attitude. He was mad tonight and deservedly so.”

Pavelec stopped 29-of-31 shots. The Thrashers have played three straight games that were decided by a shootout. They won in Florida and lost to Tampa Bay.

“Somebody gets an extra point and we …

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Another lawsuit … and some practice notes

If you have not read it already, make sure you read the latest story on Atlanta Spirit’s suit against former law firm. READ IT HERE.

Columnist Jeff Schultz also weighed in on the matter. READ IT HERE.

Lots of details about ownership trying to sell the team – almost from the moment they bought it before the lockout. They also claim to have lost $130 million over the course of lengthy lawsuit to buy out former partner.

A quiet and quick practice today in Duluth.

* Andrew Ladd did not practice due to illness.

* Chris Thorburn did not practice. He was giving another another day off to rest an undisclosed injury.

* Evander Kane (mid-body), Jim Slater (IR, concussion) and Chris Mason (IR, knee) also did not skate.

* Fredrik Modin (mid-body) did skate as he makes his way back to a return to the lineup.

* With so many forwards out, defenseman Zach Bogosian skated as a forward.

* Goaltender Ondrej Pavelec will soon be sporting new equipment (once it gets broken in). He has new pads, …

Continue reading Another lawsuit … and some practice notes »

Thrashers-Rangers preview

Next for Thrashers

Who: vs. Rangers

When: 7 p.m. Saturday

TV; radio: None; 680 AM, 93.7 FM

* The Thrashers, coming off Thursday’s shootout loss to the Lightning, have lost five of the past six games. The Rangers lost to the Hurricanes on Thursday and have two wins in their past six games.

* The Thrashers beat the Rangers 6-4 in New York Oct. 27, their only meeting this season.

* Leading scorer Dustin Byfuglien does not have a point in the past seven games.

* The Thrashers penalty kill has allowed 15 goals in 29 chances in the past eight games. The unit remains 29th in the NHL with a 75.6 success rate.

* Former Thrasher Todd White, who was traded to the Rangers in the offseason, was sent to AHL Connecticut on Dec. 29. In seven games with the Whale, he has three goals and two assists.

- Chris Vivlamore

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