Archive for April, 2011

Five Questions With … Anthony Stewart

Anthony Stewart made the Thrashers roster out of training camp after spending all of last season at AHL Chicago. He played 80 games and finished with career-highs in goals (14), assists (25) and points (39).

The forward, who is a restricted free agent, scored 10 of his goals in the first 35 games. That included a hat trick against Anaheim on Oct. 15. He failed to score over his final 22 games.

In the next of a series of interviews with Thrashers players following the 2010-11 season, here is some of what Stewart had to say about his contract status and his drop in production for the second half.

Q. How do you think the season went for you, considering you got the chance to be here all season?

A. I felt I got a really good opportunity coming into camp. They said if you come in in shape, then it’s your spot to lose. I held them to their word and made sure I came in in top peak performance. It started off really good. I got my hat trick [four] games in. That’s when I knew I could …

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Five Questions With … Eric Boulton

Eric Boulton enters his second straight summer as an unrestricted free agent after his sixth season with the Thrashers. This time he is coming off a career-high in goals with six, which included a hat trick against New Jersey on Dec. 18.

The forward was one of three full-season Thrashers to finish with a plus rating.

In the next of a series of interviews with Thrashers players following the 2010-11 season, here is some of what Boulton had to say about his desire to return next year and the potential he sees in the young team.

Q. How would you describe your season and your expanded role, which included a career-high in goals?

A. I played a lot more than I have in the past. I think that each year I’ve played here, I’ve played more and more. [Coach Craig Ramsay] likes to roll four lines so that was great for a guy in my role. I think I proved to him, the coaches and management that I can contribute besides just the physical side. Obviously we are not happy with the outcome, not …

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Five Questions With … Mark Stuart

Mark Stuart was acquired in a February trade with Boston and promptly signed a three-year, $5.1 million contract with the Thrashers. He had one assist in 23 games.

Stuart will play for the United States in the World Championships following the season.

In the next of a series of interviews with Thrashers players following the 2010-11 season, here is some of what Stuart had to say about how close the Thrashers are to the playoffs, how long it takes to adjust to coach Craig Ramsay’s style and his chance to wear an ‘A.’

Q. Can you speak to your season from a personal standpoint, coming over here in the trade and then not making the playoffs?

A. Coming over it was exciting. It was new. It was very disappointing we didn’t make a better run at it. Like I’ve said since I’ve been here, I really like our team. I really like the makeup of the team. I like the organization. The future is definitely bright. I think we have the pieces in place. Obviously there are some things that need to …

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Five Questions With … Jim Slater

Jim Slater signed a two-year contract with the Thrashers as an unrestricted free agent last summer. However, a concussion cost him half the season. Slater missed the final 41 games after suffering the injury in a collision with teammate Dustin Byfuglien in December. Slater tried to return to the lineup but suffered several setbacks.

In 36 games, Slater finished with five goals and seven assists.

In the next of a series of interviews with Thrashers players following the 2010-11 season, here is some of what Slater had to say about his injury and the disappointment of the season.

Q. How is your health? How are things?

A. Obviously, it’s not as good as I want it to be right now. I missed a big portion of the season which was very difficult for myself, very frustrating. It’s one that I never want to relive again. It’s a matter of having a good summer, rehabbing to my normal self and moving on from here. I can’t do anything about it. Right now, it’s just one of those things that …

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Five Questions With … Ron Hainsey

Defenseman Ron Hainsey finished his third season with the Thrashers with a plus-3 rating, second among full-season players. He had three goals and 16 assists, which included a seven-game stretch with two game-winning goals and a game-winning assist. Hainsey’s point production increased over the second half of the season with two goals and 11 assist in the final 31 games. He was one of three Thrashers to play all 82 games.

In the next of a series of interviews with Thrashers players following the 2010-11 season, here is some of what Hainsey had to say about what went wrong, what needs to be fixed and his improved play.

Q. In your mind, what went wrong this season?

A. The critical stretch was February where we played some of our best hockey and got some of our worst results. We played at Phoenix (lost 4-3), Edmonton (lost 5-3) and Buffalo (lost 4-1). Buffalo and us were really close. We had [the first] two games where we had the lead and gave it away … and then lost the Buffalo …

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Five Questions With … Nik Antropov

Nik Antropov struggled early in the season to recover from major hip surgery following last season. He finished with 16 goals and 25 assists in 76 games for the Thrashers, including six goals and six assists in his 19 games.

Antropov said by the end of the season he felt he was “95 percent” back to his form from a year ago when had 24 goals and 43 assists.

In the next of a series of interviews with Thrashers players following the 2010-11 season, here is some of what Antropov had to say about his recovery time and his switches between center and right wing.

Q. How do you think your season went and how long did it really take you to come back from last offseason’s hip surgery?

A. I guess I can divide it into different parts. The first half I was trying to get back on track and then I felt way better, more like myself, the last 20-25 games. Not in terms of points, but the how I felt on the ice and skating-wise.

Q. Your individual numbers were down this season. How …

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Five Questions With … Blake Wheeler

Blake Wheeler had 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) in 23 games with the Thrashers after being acquired from Boston on Feb. 18, playing right wing on the team’s top line. In 81 games with both teams he had 18 goals and a career-high 26 assists.

Wheeler is a restricted free agent and general manager Rick Dudley said following the season he would like to work out a long-term deal. Wheeler will compete for the U.S. at the World Championships.

In the next of a series of interviews with Thrashers players following the 2010-11 season, here is some of what Wheeler had to say about his time in Atlanta and the future of the team.

Q. How did you think the season went for you personally after arriving in the trade and how did you think you fit in?

A. I think since the trade I was pleased with the opportunity I was given here. It was great and exciting. I think I did as well as I could with it. It makes it really exciting for me going into the offseason knowing what to expect next year. …

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Five Questions With … Bryan Little

Bryan Little moved to center this season and finished with a career-high 30 assists. He finished with 18 goals and led all Thrashers with a plus-11 rating.

In the next of a series of interviews with Thrashers players following the 2010-11 season, here is some of what Little had to say about his new position, his need to improve his faceoff percentage and playing with Andrew Ladd and Blake Wheeler.

Q. What are your overall impressions of the season?

A. It’s very disappointing when you don’t make the playoffs. For me, it’s three years in a row now. It’s hard coming in this early and packing up your stuff. As far as the season went, it was strange because we had such a good start and were in playoff position early. Then we had that rough month or two where we were struggling to get wins and that put us behind and it was too much to make up.

Q. How about for you personally with a new role [playing center]?

A. It was the season I was the most happy with as far as my all-around …

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Five Questions With … Andrew Ladd

Andrew Ladd is coming off a career season after being traded to the Thrashers weeks after winning the Stanley Cup in Chicago. He was named team captain and set career highs in goals (29) and points (59).

It will be a busy offseason for Ladd. The restricted free agent will play for Canada in the World Championships and get married in July.

In the next of a series of interviews with Thrashers players following the 2010-11 season, here is some of what Ladd had to say about his playing in Atlanta and his contract status.

Q. What are your overall impressions of your first year in Atlanta?

A. The start was great. The first half we proved that we can play with any team in the league. Throughout the year, I thought our best games were against top teams. We showed we could skate and play with anyone. That was exciting to see.

Obviously its disappointing not making the playoffs and really thinking we had the group here to get in there and do some damage. You have to use that …

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Five Questions With … Zach Bogosian

Zach Bogosian becomes a restricted free agent having concluded his first three-year contract with the Thrashers. It was an inconsistent season for the young defenseman, who picked up his play in the second half.

Bogosian finished with 17 points (five goals, 12 assists) and had a minus-27 rating. He declined an invitation from USA Hockey to compete in the World Championships to concentrate on his offseason.

In the next of a series of interviews with Thrashers players following the 2010-11 season, here is some of what Bogosian had to say about his play this season and his future.

Q. How would you describe your season?

A. Up and down. Obviously getting hurt three games into the season wasn’t the best thing for me. After that I thought I had a pretty good second half.

Q. How much time did it take you to get adapted to Craig Ramsay’s system? Was it much different than last year?

A. It was a little bit different. Not knowing what to expect at the end of the year with a lot of new …

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