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 takes time. Time is critical. Right now I have some time to get better.

Q. You would get to the point where you would put six or seven days together and then suffer a set back?

A. When it first happened I thought I would be out for a week, at the most. I tried pushing it about three and half weeks ago to get back with some games left. Hopefully the season was going to be prolonged for us and I could step in and play into the playoffs. That didn’t work for us. I tried pushing it and it didn’t happen. Once the team was officially eliminated from contention there wasn’t really that big of a need for me to keep trying. That’s when we made the decision to take it off and get better.

Q. I know you had one day where you skated for about 40 minutes. Then what happened?

A. I skated for four or five days for that long. I was feeling really good. That’s the thing with this headache with me. I felt good for a number of days then there would be one or two days that set me back a couple of steps. It’s the most frustrating injury I’ve ever had.

Q. How big of a disappointment was this season, especially after signing a new [two-year] deal and hoping to have an impact?

A. I feel like I’m a valuable asset to this team. I think I make us a better team and give us a chance to win. After the beginning of the season, I thought this was definitely going to be a year where we went deep in the playoffs. We weren’t there and it’s tough to see because we worked really hard. It wasn’t meant to be this year.

Q. One player doesn’t make a hockey team but you could point to your injury as when the slide started. Do you think that?

A. I don’t look at it that way. I just feel that I’m a big asset to this team. Any way I can help this team win, I’m going to go out there and do that. We brought a couple of guys up during that time and they played really good. To say, that it was because of me, I don’t look at it that way at all.

The series will continue over the next couple of weeks. Coming Wednesday, Mark Stuart.

28 comments Add your comment

The Real Thrash

April 26th, 2011
8:14 am

Re-sign Ladd now!

Tony C.

April 26th, 2011
8:20 am

This guy is my favorite Thrasher-hope he recovers fully.

GaVaHokie

April 26th, 2011
8:22 am

Thanks for your modesty Slates, but your injury definitely upset the chemistry of line combinations… I’ve said it before, anytime the Greek God line is disrupted it’s a diservice to the team. Not to mention the PK units… Get well!!

Jimbo

April 26th, 2011
8:58 am

I agree with him that he is an asset to the team as a 4th liner. Too bad that he has no hands because he can skate and is a hustler. A couple of years ago both Boulton and Thorburn seemed to accept their roles on the 4th line and did produce some energy and excitement. Unfortunately, it seems that Boulton’s hat trick and someone’s observation that Thorburn was a great center in junior took them down the “ice capades” trail and they forgot their roles. We need a couple of feisty, pluggers to work with Skates.

Yuvno Ballzerdik

April 26th, 2011
9:49 am

Well said, Jimbo, I agree entirely. That was a great 4th line until some heads got swollen and roles were obviously abandoned. Get well soon, Jimmy. I’m not sure if Boults will be re-signed..if we opt to not re-sign him, please get us a legit heavyweight to protect guys like Kane, we don’t need Kane fighting and he’s obviously a target for other teams. I am in no way saying Kane isn’t tough or won’t get into the odd scrap, but teams go after him with no answer from us, that’s the whole point of an enforcer. I love Boults as much as anyone, but older enforcers normally forget the role, he’s been through the wars, nothing to prove etc etc, lets get a young gun who is eager to provide those intagibles if Boults doesn’t re-sign. I do not want an enforcer-less Thrasher team, we have enough toughness issues as it is and please don’t rely on Thor to be the primary, designated fighter, mean-looking hair-do or not. Slates really made that line click and it has not been the same since his injury woes. Remember that stretch where Jimmy was fighting anyone who looked at him funny, including Dan Carcillo, it was fun to watch and the team was inspired because of it.

Sam

April 26th, 2011
9:57 am

Man, its so easy to like Jim Slater. Humble, competitive, commited and productive. Jimmy was third in the league in face-off wins when he went down. That was something the Thrash never recovered from, especially after the Peverley trade, too (tho that was obviously a great trade, IMO). I agree with Vivlamore that Jimmy’s loss, on the PK, in the face-off circle and on that “energy” 4th line was a turning point. Jimmy brings physicality to his game, in a smart, effective way. And he gives 110% every shift. Those are all areas/qualities that, IMO, dropped off after he was out.

Jim’s right about being very valuable to this team, and his loss left a void. That 4th line with Boults, Thorbs and Slates has been effective through aobut 3 coaches now. They always end up back together and they always produce…sometimes goals, but always intimidation, energy and powerful forechecking. Man, was THAT lacking some shifts this season. I hope Jimmy heals over the summer…and stays healthy way beyond that. Invest in the best helmet out there.

Sherry Taylor

April 26th, 2011
10:11 am

Nothing happens (signings, etc) before the playoffs and finals are, well, final. Besides, Ladd is assistant captain for Canada, so he’s got his mind somewhere else. It’ll be June or July before they nail him down.

Nate

April 26th, 2011
10:44 am

I appreciate Slater’s modesty as well, but there’s no doubt his injury started the slide. He’s the best faceoff guy on the team and his absence really hurt the puck possession game for us, especially on the PK. Get well before next season Jimmy!

Puck Like A Porn Star

April 26th, 2011
11:28 am

One Question With Bernie Marcus:

Have you considered the cross-marketing possibilities of being the major benefactor of the world’s largest aquarium AND owner of Atlanta’s NHL franchise? Artie has a sports team, why not you?

Make that Two Questions…

yo

April 26th, 2011
12:10 pm

peep our faceoff % after the slater injury. he’s hella important to this team and you are a joker if you think otherwise.

Brendan

April 26th, 2011
12:24 pm

I like Jim Slater. He is, perhaps, the most tenured Thrasher in team history, being a 2002 first round draft pick. Always loyal, never complaining, Jim Slater brings a “lunch pail” mentality to the 4th line. I hope he can make a full recovery and play well for us next season.

J-man

April 26th, 2011
12:30 pm

I respect Slater and his game, but to do what so many fans have done in pinning the team’s decline single handedly on his injury is just extremely naive.

drajax

April 26th, 2011
1:29 pm

When I think of when the team started to decline it coincided with Slater’s injury. Slater brought speed and aggresiveness to the team. Maybe more importantly was his ability to win faceoffs. IMO the team couldn’t find a replacement for him and as a result suffered. With a healthy Slater we’re in the playoffs. I hope he is able to play again because I enjoyed watching his enthusiasm for the game.

GaVaHokie

April 26th, 2011
1:43 pm

J-man… I get what you’re saying, but I wouldn’t underestimate it either. That was a very effective energy line, especially when you consider Slater was 3rd in the league in Face-offs. Even Kovalchuk claimed it was one of the best 4th lines in hockey, for what it’s worth.

They were reliable, they got possession of the puck, they pinned guys on the boards and they even tapped in a goal or two… not to mention setting the pace and energy level for the rest of the team.

They should be renamed the Ambassador line for the example they set.

schmeckdawg

April 26th, 2011
2:03 pm

Here is my question for Jim Slater:

Hey Jim, how do you like sitting on your a$$ watching all of the other teams currently in the playoffs?

Enjoy Winnipeg!

KLS1

April 26th, 2011
2:29 pm

I like Slater and he could be important part of this team, but we need some major upgrades. To think Slater will come back and we will be a playoff team is a fantasy.

Lets hope we get him back and the other upgrades needed to compete in the playoffs. Because on thing I will say is that Slater is one player who’s style of play will translate well in the playoffs.

GaVaHokie

April 26th, 2011
2:36 pm

KLS1… that’s partially my point. The organization needs to stop investing in ‘plugs’. They need to go into the summer with the mindset that our 4th line is a lock with Boulton/Slates/Thorburn. Stop trying to replace them… every year, those guys outplay the Eagers, Dawes and Rissmillers of the hockey world… put all that cash together and get one solid top line forward… just one.

Enough with the Penny Stocks… time to buy a Blue Chip.

Yuvno Ballzerdik

April 26th, 2011
3:04 pm

Slater was an important loss, but not the main reason this team laid a turd. The powers that be couldn’t stop a lifeless effort/nearly 3 month long stumble that ultimately cost us the playoffs. Inadequate coaching and the fix wasn’t acquired fast enough, not to mention no roster players to speak of in the organization to REPLACE players like Slater who get injured. I agree about the 4th line, Boulton especially outplays his plug-replacement every year while starting from the bench for no reason. Anderson did it to him and so did Rammer. It’s amazing what this team could have done had we some depth, better coaching and upgrades that could have been made had they been willing to spend some money on sensible players that would fit the style they seemingly want. The Dawes and Stapletons and the 300 year old Modin’s don’t cut it, do they?

East Point Bob

April 26th, 2011
4:05 pm

Jim Slater has never been much of an asset here, and keeping him makes no sense. Time to cut bait and get what we can for him now.

Midfield

April 26th, 2011
4:42 pm

This situation must really suck, especially for a utility player like Slates. I hope everything works out for him. He seems to be a good sport.

HookyBob

April 26th, 2011
7:37 pm

There is never a doubt in my mind that Jimmy gives 110% every time he steps on the ice. (I fear this may be hindering his recovery.) That is something there isn’t enough of on this team.

He reminds me a bit of Chris Draper who has made a good career with limited skills, great effort and smarts. (I also appreciate that little bit of Dan Snyder I see in him from time to time.)

I would argue with those who don’t beleive he has much value that, while he doesn’t score a lot, winning face-offs, playing effectively on the PK, being part of solid 4th/energy line, and being a plus 4 is worthwhile.

Add to that his effort, willingness to hit as well as pay the price, & speed and I believe there is a place on next years team for Jimmy.

Jimmy,..I wish you Godspeed on a full recovery this summer.

HookyBob

April 26th, 2011
7:42 pm

I should add that Jimmy is a bit jinxed in that he is a Don Waddell first round pick.

I wouldn’t wish that pox on anyone,…and hope he can overcome it.

TJ

April 26th, 2011
9:43 pm

I am proud of my fellow Spartan Slates. He has given his all to this team and the community over the years and will be an integral part to next year’s playoff bound Thrashers. Prediction – Slates is a plus 10 with 10 goals and 10 assists in 2011-2012 season

Kaat

April 26th, 2011
10:38 pm

Nothing to add except that I appreciate new Thrashers content in the offseason. Thanks CViv.

Mat"T"

April 26th, 2011
11:03 pm

Slater, Stuart, Wheeler, and Little are the fabric this team needs to be made out of! I feel really good about next year! Seriously!

Cornbread

April 27th, 2011
2:49 am

Jim Slater is one Hell of a hockey player. Those that can’t see that don’t know what they’re watching.

Yuvno Ballzerdik

April 27th, 2011
7:27 am

Slater is a very good player but it speaks volumes about this organization that he has been injured for how many seasons now and they haven’t managed to find a replacement or upgrade. That’s my only beef, I don’t know why Slater seems to be the glue that holds our non-playoff team afloat..wait..see..we aren’t a playoff team with him or without him, his expected injury was NOT the reason this team became mediocre. But yes for the record Slater is much better than the Dawes, Modin’s, Stapletons and Anthony Stewart’s. I am waiting for us to bring back the Krog’s and Haydar’s..maybe even Sterling also, our management LOVES career AHL’ers who can’t cut it in the NHL, Akim Aliu is next in line or Andre Deveaux.

Seriously, even the most negative posters here will admit Slater is a NHL roster player unlike those players listed above including the 300 year old Modin who obviously catapulted Calgary into winning the Cup this year on Xbox. Slater is defiantly “good” in comparison with our paper thin roster but he is overrated and INJURED every season. Gosh I am a broken record..this team has zero depth..like I said..Slater is hurt every season and we have yet to find anyone to even remotely fill the glorified hole he leaves.

Zombie Steve

April 27th, 2011
3:49 pm

It all starts from the top down. This team will never have a chance with the third world budget the ASG has set.

Sage is a blow hard, but he’s right. The ownership, along with D-wad, have got to go.