Just back from morning skate and talking to the three new players. Radek Dvorak (No. 20), Rob Schremp (No. 13) and Ben Maxwell (No. 49) all made it to Atlanta – some delayed be yesterday’s weather. All three will play tonight vs. the Canadiens.
Here are the line combinations they Thrashers will start with, although coach Craig Ramsay made it clear they may well change on the fly.
Chris Mason gets the start in goal again as Ondrej Pavelec is still out with a injury to his right wrist. Ramsay had no timetable on when Pavelec might return. Pavelec skated the past two days. I talked to him briefly in the middle of trade deadline day and he said he was unsure when he might be back.
Former Thrashers defenseman Brent Sopel spent some time chatting with his old teammates and staff when the Canadiens arrived for their morning practice.
Here is my story on the new additions – and trade deadline day.
Radek Dvorak knew his future was uncertain.
His trade to the Thrashers was not a big surprise. He arrived from Florida which over the past month, culminating on Monday’s NHL trade deadline, moved Michael Frolik, Cory Stillman, Bryan McCabe, Dennis Wideman, Bryan Allen and Chris Higgins.
“I was expecting something,” Dvorak said. “The last couple weeks have been crazy in Florida. Everybody knows that. You see veteran guys going somewhere else. I was expecting a trade. It wasn’t that much shock. I’m glad it’s Atlanta. We have a great chance to push for the playoffs.”
Dvorak was one of three new players to arrive in Atlanta Monday on a revamped Thrashers roster. He was joined by waiver wire claim Rob Schremp and call-up Ben Maxwell, acquired in a trade last week. All three were in the lineup Tuesday against Montreal.
On the NHL’s trade day the hockey world seemingly stops everything to take note of the numerous transactions. Thrashers captain Andrew Ladd, not in danger of going anywhere, said he was glued to his phone and television to keep up with the news.
“It’s an intriguing day to see where everyone is going, to see what teams are doing, what changes your team is making,” Ladd said. “It’s probably one of the most exciting days in the hockey season.”
Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay, who tried to do video work while his roster was changing before him, said his wife was fielding phone calls from those interested in what the Thrashers were up to.
“It’s interesting,” Ramsay said. “You sit there and wonder if you are going to do anything. Then you see a change being made and you are tying to picture where it fits in your lineup. You’ve got to make some adjustments and figure out where they fit. It’s not easy to see how they package together in a short period of time.”
With the additions of Blake Wheeler and Mark Stuart, acquired on Feb. 18, the Thrashers have a decidedly new look as they entered Tuesday’s game four points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
“All of my career, it’s all about my speed,” said Dvorak, who added his brings 15 years of NHL experience, including two trips to the Stanley Cup finals. “I work on it a lot during the summer. That’s always been my game. If you can skate, you create a lot of opportunities for you and your teammates and eliminate a lot of rushes for the other team coming back. I’ve been playing like this all of my career.”
Dvorak skated at right wing on a line with Schremp and Nik Antropov Tuesday.
Schremp said he went through the gamut of emotions over the past several days. He was placed on waivers by the New York Islanders on Saturday and found out the Thrashers had claimed in on Monday right in the middle of the trade deadline day.
“It’s tough on waivers when a team kind of gives up on you,” Schremp said. “It’s ups and downs. The downs are that you don’t know where you are going to play. It’s hard to have that feeling that a team gives up on you. Once I found out I was coming here, I was pumped. It’s a good chance for me to play.”
The Thrashers acquired Maxwell, a minor-leaguer, from Montreal on Feb. 24. At the time of the deal, Thrashers general manager Rick Dudley said it wouldn’t be long until Maxwell would play in the NHL. It took just five days as he was re-called Monday following the team’s rash of moves.
Maxwell, who called himself a playmaking center, made his Thrashers debut on a line with Eric Boulton and Chris Thorburn.
“I’m excited to be here because this is where the opportunity is at,” Maxwell said.”