Now healthy, Stuart hopes for new beginning

Mark Stuart wasted little time.

Midway through his second period as a Thrasher, the newly-acquired defenseman dropped his gloves to defend a hit on teammate Evander Kane.

“I didn’t plan on getting into a fight, but it was good to get one in there,” said Stuart of his bout with Edmonton’s Jean-Francois Jacques Saturday.

Stuart and forward Blake Wheeler were obtained from Boston Friday. They arrived just in time for the Thrashers’ final 23 games, reinforcements for a team and its fading playoff hopes. They jumped right into the fire as the Thrashers travel to Buffalo for Wednesday’s game against teams tied with 60 points in the Eastern Conference – four points out of the final playoff position.

Injuries have plagued Stuart over the past two seasons. He was limited to 31 games in Boston this season by a broken hand injury. He played just 56 games last season with hand, finger and sternum injuries. Stuart hoped this year would be a new beginning. He got his new start – it just came five months later and in a new city.

“Last year was tough with the injuries,” said Stuart, the brother of former Thrasher Colin. “There were a few weird injuries and I was out with those. This past summer, I was looking at this season as a new beginning and unfortunately the injury bug hit me again with the hand. It’s been a struggle since then. I’m very excited for this new opportunity. It’s definitely a new beginning.”

Stuart, 6-foot-2, 213 pounds, played in Boston under Craig Ramsay, who was an assistant with the Bruins before taking over the Thrashers. The coach said he will count on the edge Stuart brings to the ice – especially on the penalty kill. The Thrashers are 29th in the NHL on the special team. Allowing three third-period power-play goals and losing a 3-1 lead in Saturday’s loss to the Oilers didn’t help.

“[Stuart] will block shots,” Ramsay said. “[Opponents] are not always happy to be around him. That is an important part of what he brings. He’s quick and he has a little bit of a mean streak. He’s got a good stick. When he’s good with the stick, it can be very effective.”

Rissmiller arrives

It’s been a strange journey for Patrick Rissmiller. The forward did not make the Thrashers roster out of training camp after arriving in an off-season trade with the New York Rangers. He started the season at AHL Chicago but after a lack of playing time was loaned to AHL Lake Erie.

The Thrashers re-called Rissmiller on Tuesday and he could make his debut against the Sabres. Ramsay dressed seven defensemen against the Oilers, but said he is leaning toward going back to six and dressing the team’s 12 healthy forwards.

“It can be frustrating,” Rissmiller said of his wait to get back to the NHL. “It’s not an easy business sometimes. You have to be patient. It’s something that’s happened throughout my career. I’ve never been the first guy. I just kind of have to battle and be as patient as I can. It’s hard. You are always wondering when it’s going to be your turn or why it’s not your turn. You stick with what you can do.”

Rissmiller, a 6-foot-4, 225-pound left wing, has played in 180 NHL games over four seasons with San Jose, including 79 each in 2006-07 and 2007-08. He played two games with the Rangers in 2008-09 and spent all of last season in the AHL.

Ramsay said Rissmiller “looked pretty good” in Tuesday’s practice.

The 32-year-old had 31 points (12 goals and 19 assists) in 48 AHL games with Chicago and Lake Erie.

26 comments Add your comment

Buff-n-stuff

February 22nd, 2011
5:19 pm

Glad he wants to be here

ATL FAN

February 22nd, 2011
5:45 pm

Enter your comments here

Comment

February 22nd, 2011
5:49 pm

Ok the protest is going to be Sunday before the Maple Leffs game. Bring a couple of waffles to throw on the ice in protest of the owners move to Winnipeg.

Message to "Comment"

February 22nd, 2011
5:54 pm

@Comment: We don’t need any kind of calls against our team because of fan interference, such as throwing waffles on the freaking ice. Do your protesting with your vocal cords and signs, but don’t cause the Thrashers more problems by being a jerk and throwing anything on the ice.

Hockey Biltong

February 22nd, 2011
5:55 pm

I wondered where Patrick was labouring away? I hope he has some power with that size…

EA

February 22nd, 2011
6:00 pm

No waffles. Just signs and passiontate fans will do the trick. Waffles will get you thrown out.

Hey comment

February 22nd, 2011
7:19 pm

Penalties like that are only called if it’s during play you mouthbreathing dummy

Message to "Comment"

February 22nd, 2011
8:24 pm

And you qualified when you planned to throw them? Mouthbreathing dummy, indeed.

Flames + Thrashers

February 22nd, 2011
8:28 pm

NHL Players are listing Atlanta in their places to veto a trade and it’s not because of Atlanta. They don’t want to play in Winnipeg. Seriously, take that Canada, it was reported and it’s true, they don’t want to end up in Winnipeg. The Jets failed, save the THRASHERS.

Comment

February 22nd, 2011
8:42 pm

Going to bring some Hash browns scattered, smothered, and chunked to throw. I am going to bring a small orange juice to pour on the ref’s head.

kracker

February 22nd, 2011
9:36 pm

Throw yourself on the ice, instead. From section 309. Get a grip, dude. We need hockey fans at out games, not mouth-breathing Canada-type hosers whose idea of a great movie is ‘Wedding Crashers’.

Jimbo

February 22nd, 2011
10:08 pm

What in the world is all this smoke about Winnepeg? It’s a small town that failed to support the Jets who ended up in Phoenix. The only games that they sold out were those with Gretzky and Edmonton and the North Stars when MN fans came across the border. Their arena was also terrible. When are we going to see a Medicine Hat rumor? or Brandon?

AtlFlamesFan

February 22nd, 2011
10:12 pm

I thought Wedding Crashers was funny as he!!.

Jimbo

February 22nd, 2011
11:03 pm

Just watched the Devils 17-1-2 in their last 20 vs. our 17 losses in the last 20. Zubrus was asked what the difference was and he stated it simply, Lemaire has reintroduced Defense and all 5 men playing as a defensive team. Hedberg beat Letinen, Kovy assisted on the only goal. We are toast. Hope that Clueless Craig and gang watched the game and heard the comments about D.

Rogie

February 23rd, 2011
12:03 am

I don’t think we’re done dealing. We now have 7 legit defensemen and could easily use one as trade bait. Trading with Boston for Wheeler and Stuart just says to me that Ramsay and Dudley want their type of players on the roster. I only think that Bogosian is traded for the right price so I wouldn’t be surprised to see somebody like Oduya included in a package for a forward.

Thrashy Thrashy

February 23rd, 2011
12:38 am

Jimbo,

That’s probably because the Devils were built to play D and were being misused. Do you honestly believe the team we have is a defensive force waiting to happen? I know I don’t. If only it were that easy, huh?

karamazov

February 23rd, 2011
5:12 am

Our D should at least be formidable. We are thin everywhere else minus Pavelec. All teams have holes, but we are paper thin in places, the Stapleton’s and Dawes add nothing and now we have another one, Rissmiller. Cormier and Burmy weren’t ready to even be here before they got hurt. We have no development, it’s like throwing soliders into war before they’ve ever fired a rifile. Who knows how we’d be if we had a better minor league agreement, the one with Chicago sums up how bogus DW is, they don’t even play the same system the Thrashers play, it makes no sense, our players do not develop there, no one in our organization even getst that concept. If we ever get a real owenr who cares about the money invested, I hope they take a long look at how this sideshow is run from top to bottom. It needs to be fixed, seriously our minor league team doesn’t even play the same system as our Thrashers and the players who come up have no earthly idea what to do because you can’t expect them to basically learn a new language in a few days. We are the only team that tries to develop players at the NHL level when that’s what the lower leagues are for. Look at Bogosian who everyone wants to trade, that guy has done pretty good to have played under John Anderson and now Ramsay while being thrown into the NHL when he wasn’t ready either.

WOW

February 23rd, 2011
6:33 am

Kovy is laughing his arse off.

Keep Thrashers In Atlanta - Video

February 23rd, 2011
7:13 am

Sports Fans: We posted a video plea for Atlanta’s leaders to step-up and lead to help find a buyer or investors to “Keep the Thrashers in Atlanta”. It has some good Falcons, Braves, and Olympic clips demonstrating how sports impacts our civic pride – we would appreciate it if you would forward the link below to a few of your sports buddies – they will like it (especially from 5:20 to the end – worth the effort). Hopefully, the Kincade tweets give us some hope. GO THRASHERS:

http://www.keepthethrashers.com/videokeepthrashersATL.html

Mike

February 23rd, 2011
9:03 am

I for one like the fact that in his first game, he stuck up for a fellow teammate. We’ve read on the blogs here recently about the comments made on VS about shots on Kane and other players and no retaliation from other teammates, so I was happy to see Mark drop the gloves the other night. Hopefully this will rub off on the other guys.

I agree with the earlier post that I don’t think Duds is done yet. I think we could trade Sopel or Oduya before the trading deadline. The only question is who do you package with them if you expect to get a Bolland type player?

Al

February 23rd, 2011
11:42 am

The Devils and the Islanders will overtake the Thrashers before the regular season is over. You heard it here first…this guy won’t help the Thrashers..

Tony C

February 23rd, 2011
12:17 pm

I wouldn’t trade Sopes-he’s our #3 Goaltender! seriously, how many pucks have you seen this guy kick away pucks and/or straight up make a save during PK sequences…

Flames

February 23rd, 2011
12:53 pm

The Thrashers will make the Playoffs this year! You heard it from me…

Snoman

February 23rd, 2011
1:09 pm

WOW Flames! I hope you are right on that one….surely this team is not as bad as their record over the last 25 games. But, they sure have lost the way to win. A fast turnaround is needed, starting tonight. Come on Thrash – Flames has spoken!!

Smoothie

February 23rd, 2011
1:27 pm

Flames – you hearing anything thru the grapevine about Duds getting a new 4 yr deal or extension??

Old Time Hockey

February 23rd, 2011
4:24 pm

Pavs, Buff, Enstrom, Kane and Little are the only untouchables. Everyone else is on the table before the deadline. Watching the games on Center Ice, we’re not that different from a bunch of teams. We just seem to fade and find a way to lose after playing a pretty good game. If this team finished games strong we’d have a spot locked up. Is that the coach or the players? I’m looking at the training staff. What other reason besides poor conditioning. Maybe a top notch trainer would be the cheapest change to make a big difference on this team. Hear that Rick?