CineSport’s Jerry Recco and Chris Vivlamore of the AJC discuss what other changes could be in store for the Thrashers as they enter a crucial stretch.
Even to my untrained eye, Nik Antropov has not been the same player this season as he was last year.
The big forward, who had 24 goals, 43 assists and was a plus-13 last season, had major hip surgery during the offseason. He has seven goals, 15 assists and is a minus-8 so far this season. According to Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay, Antropov is still dealing with the effects of the surgery and the time off that followed for recovery.
I asked Ramsay if Antropov was still hampered by the offseason surgery. Here is what he said:
“I think so,” Ramsay said. “He had a major surgery and a lot of time off. It’s not easy to take 10 or 12 weeks off. Now, you are jumping back in training camp.
“The one thing Nik has done lately, he’s been really solid without the puck. He wants to play hard and he’s trying. You see him diving to block shots. He had two blocks in one shift (against Florida). He’s trying to make sure that he is a great teammate. We’ve used him late in games, in close games,
It took longer than he expected, but Nigel Dawes is happy to be back with the Thrashers. The key now is to stay here.
The forward was re-called from AHL Chicago on Wednesday, along with Tim Stapleton, and was in the lineup against the Lightning. Dawes started the season with the Thrashers, but was pointless in six games before he was sent to the minors.
“Obviously they wanted offense and to score some goals,” Dawes said. “I hadn’t really done that. I hadn’t really created any chances either. … The year didn’t start off the way I would have liked but I’m feeling really good now.”
Dawes was tied for the AHL lead with 21 goals. He also had 15 goals in 40 games. Ramsay hopes Dawes can provide some scoring, an area the team has lacked of late.
“He had a pretty good preseason, but it didn’t translate into goals in the regular season,” Ramsay said. “When he gets his chance, don’t try to be a playmaker if you are a shooter. If you are in shooting position, shoot it. We can score on
Evander Kane did not skate Thursday morning and will not play against the Lightning tonight. Kane, who has battled a mid-body injury for a month, suffered another blow in Florida on Monday. He did not practice Tuesday and was taken off the ice after 10 minutes of Wednesday’s practice.
Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay reiterated that Kane, and other players, must be healthy before they return to the ice.
Kane is out, along with forwards Jim Slater (concussion) and Fredrik Modin (mid-body). Modin did skate this morning even though he was placed on injured reserve Wednesday as the Thrashers re-called Nigel Dawes and Tim Stapleton from AHL Chicago.
Also out of the lineup will be Zach Bogosian. The defenseman will be a healthy scratch for the second straight game. Ramsay said that the play of Freddy Meyer in Monday’s win in Florida earned him another game.
Here were the practice lines from Thursday
The Thrashers made several roster moves Wednesday due to an injury depleted forward corps.
Nigel Dawes and Tim Stapleton were re-called from AHL Chicago. To make room for the forwards, Spencer Machacek was re-assigned to the AHL and Fredrik Modin was placed on injured reserve.
Dawes began the season with the Thrashers and played six games. He did not have a point, but scored a shootout goal in a win over Anaheim. In 40 games with the Wolves, Dawes had 21 goals and 15 assists. Dawes has played 205 NHL games over five seasons with 39 goals and 44 assists.
Stapleton will be making his fourth appearance with the Thrashers after being signed as an unrestricted free agent in November. He has played 11 games during his stints without a point.
Machacek appeared in four games without a point after being re-called on Jan. 9.
Modin has missed the past four games with a mid-body injury. He practiced the past two days but had already been ruled out of Thursday’s game against Tampa
The good news: Evander Kane practiced on Wednesday.
The bad news: It was only for 10 minutes.
Kane, who has been hampered by a mid-body injury for more than a month, did not practice on Tuesday. Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay said he hoped Kane could play Thursday against the Lightning, but the final decision would be made in the morning. Ramsay said the decision for Kane to leave practice was made by the training staff.
“We want to make sure he doesn’t get hit again and early so he’s not ready,” Ramsay said. “We’ll see tomorrow to make sure he’s OK. There is a difference between playing hurt and being injured. We want to make sure it’s a hurt.”
Ramsay said it was possible the team could re-call a player from the AHL as a “precaution.” It is also possible they could dress seven defensemen if Kane can not play.
Chris Thorburn missed practiced for the second straight day, but Ramsay said the forward would play against Tampa Bay.
On the other injury fronts, Jim Slater (concussion)
Close isn’t good enough.
The Thrashers have lost nine straight games to Tampa Bay, including all four meetings this season. The last two defeats have come in extra time, one in a shootout, one in overtime. But in the words of Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay “Playing well is good. Winning is better.”
The Thrashers have two more chances to beat the Lightning – their last of the regular season – over the next four days. After hosting the Southeast Division leaders Thursday, the Thrashers end the season series at the Lightning Sunday. Three days later, the Thrashers end their season series with Washington. The Lightning (59 points) and the Capitals (58) lead the Thrashers (53) in the division.
The best time to make up ground is over the next seven days.
“Yes, we want to beat Tampa,” Ramsay said. “For sure. We want to play well against Tampa. We want to be solid against them. We’d love to beat Washington another time. But we really have to be worried about every single game we
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
Ben Eager has served his four-game suspension. Now his season resumes with San Jose.
The Thrashers traded the forward to the Sharks on Tuesday for a fifth-round draft pick in this year’s draft.
On Monday Eager completed an NHL suspension for the match penalty he received when he punched Toronto’s Colby Armstrong on Jan. 7. The 2002 first-round pick (23rd overall) will play for his fourth team when he joins San Jose in time for Thursday’s game in Vancouver. He said he was excited for the new opportunity.
“It’s always a big surprise when you get traded,” Eager told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Whenever you get traded to a new team you expect you are going to be there for a long time. It didn’t work out here. It’s part of the business. They have a great bunch of guys here. It’s tough leaving the guys. I got pretty close to some of the guys. Now I’ll go to the next team and make similar relationships.”
The trade may not be the last for the Thrashers. The team broke a
Chris Mason suffered an MCL sprain of his right knee minutes into Saturday’s game against Dallas. The goaltender said surgery does not appear to be necessary but there is no timetable for his return. He was placed on injured reserve on Monday as the team re-called Peter Mannino from AHL Chicago to back up Ondrej Pavelec.
Mason was injured when Chris Thorburn slid into him while trying to block a shot. He tried to play a few more minutes but yielded to Pavelec.
“I felt kind of weird and I got up,” Mason said. “I knew something was kind of wrong. I have never injured myself during a game before. I got up and was a little bit in denial that it was hurt. I tried to go for a few more minutes. I just knew I couldn’t do it. It was tough going to the one side.”
Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay called Mason “courageous” following the game for continuing to play.
Mason said the knee was quite sore on Sunday but felt better on Monday. He said he was told that if he was going to injure his