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 play, stay and stick. It’s all about confidence. I had a pretty good stretch at scoring some goal. It’s a long season and there are going to be stretches where you don’t score and you have to work on doing the other things to help the team. We didn’t make the playoffs, which was the ultimate goal. We are going into the summer thinking about it. We have a long time to think about it.

Q. Your [goal] production did drop off. Any reason you can point to?

A. It was my first season playing 80 games. It was the little things. I think I got away from that a bit. The last 20 games of the season were probably the toughest. A lot of teams are fighting for playoff spots and the chances that you would get early on in the season, where you would fly under the radar, you are not getting those chances any more. It is unfortunate. It’s keeping my hunger and keeping me extra motivated to pick up where I started and I look forward to next year.

Q. It’s a big offseason for you as a restricted free agent. What do you expect?

A. I definitely want to be back. I’ve been looking at different [living] places, like Atlantic Station. I expect to be back. I hope the team wants me back. I played pretty well for my first year being here and I look forward to helping the team make the playoffs.

Q. Have the started contract talks with you?

A. No talks yet but those things will take care of themselves going into the summer. I’ve just got to work on staying in shape and getting in better shape. I’ll worry about the on-ice stuff.

Q. What was the biggest lesson you learned going through a complete season that maybe you didn’t expect?

A. You can’t read your own headlines and take things for granted. Like I mentioned before, it may seem like you are getting easy goals but it’s the hard work. When you expect to score and it doesn’t happen, it’s a little rattling but if you just keep working hard and do the little things, it’s going to go in for you.

It definitely gets harder the second half of the season. Guys are taking liberties. Guys are bearing down extra hard because it’s crunch time.

The series will continue over the next couple of weeks. Coming Monday, Chris Mason.

35 comments Add your comment

surgeobanana

April 29th, 2011
8:20 am

39 points ain’t too shabby but what a tough last part of the season. 22 games without scoring IS NOT what the Thrashers need. Would I pass ? Ummm, not sure. I’ll take him eight days a week over Stapleton though.

Yuvno Ballzerdik

April 29th, 2011
8:33 am

“You can’t read your own headlines and take things for granted”.

That’s exactly how he played, he took it for granted like so many Thrashers. Have a good game, coast the rest of the way. No offense ..but any other organization would have sent this kid back down to the minors based on the second half he had. C-Viv should have asked him why he turned into a soft player, because based on what he said while trying to make the team , he lied. Anthony Stewart didn’t battle on most nights and that’s an overwhelmingly negative issue for this hockey club, too many players like Anthony Stewart who coast and flat out refuse to battle and if you don’t battle, you just don’t win. His tweet saying g’bye to Peverley was at least, funny.

Toby

April 29th, 2011
9:01 am

Ummm….can we please skip the “5 questions with Tim Stapleton” and have “5 questions with thebalken”?

Yuvno Ballzerdik

April 29th, 2011
9:11 am

yikes..please don’t ask John Kincade 5 questions..and I shake in anticipation on hearing Chris Mason answer every question other than why on earth did this organization choose him over Hedberg?

jimcee

April 29th, 2011
10:05 am

How about five questions with Don Waddell?

Michael B. Shapiro

April 29th, 2011
10:20 am

Good grief. This guy gets top or 2nd line minutes and fails to score a goal in the last 25%+ of the season? He’s soft, doesn’t dig in the corners and misses open shots when other players put the puck on his tape. He needs to go elsewhere because he’s tying up a spot that a REAL player could (and hopefully will) fill.

Crass Bonanza

April 29th, 2011
10:42 am

Stewie’s the perfect example of what separates 3rd liners/AHLers from NHL stars. It’s his hands. He skates like the wind but his hands…good grief. He handles the puck like someone wearing oven mitts. Not only does this hurt his ability to finish, but how many times did teammates put the puck right on his tape, in stride, only to see it bounced or fumbled away? He seems like a good guy but the Thrashers shouldn’t invest too much time or money in his next contract.

Darkhorse

April 29th, 2011
12:43 pm

Not a top two line guy-doesn’t score enough. Not a third line guy-doesn’t hit or check worth a darn. Sorry, this guy needs to be replaced by a much more consistant forward.

deb

April 29th, 2011
1:54 pm

so do the thrashers go to winnepeg for 2011/2012 season or another year here???

GaVaHokie

April 29th, 2011
2:31 pm

“You can’t read your own headlines and take things for granted”

Well, at least you recognize that. A lot of guys don’t… you’re definitely on the list of guys who got too comfortable with their position this year.

Midfield

April 29th, 2011
2:49 pm

Well, I don’t see Stewey as an NHLer, to be honest. Too soft for a grinder and too unskilled for anything else. Good leg speed, really slow head speed.

the truth

April 29th, 2011
2:56 pm

deb,

The NHL is not returning to Winnipeg…ever. The NHL would contract before seriously considering relocation to Winnipeg. Players don’t want to live there, and opponents don’t want to have to travel there. Also, at this stage, I don’t think it’s even possible for the Thrashers to be able to relocate to Winnipeg for next season.

Vitamin Z

April 29th, 2011
3:05 pm

The only way I would’ve considered resigning him is if he was a physical player. He could’ve been useful as a 4th liner (maybe instead of Bolts) but this guy, for his size, is as soft is a marshmallow. And that’s too bad. He could’ve been very effective.

Allowed 6 goals on 6 shots

April 29th, 2011
5:00 pm

He needs to be let GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO… down to where ever he came from. The only headline I read was how bad he sucked.

Michael B. Shapiro

April 29th, 2011
6:41 pm

Did we have enough of one player named Charmin?

Brendan

April 29th, 2011
6:42 pm

Stewart is player that I’d throw in as “sweetener” on the morning of the draft. We technically own his rights until July 1st, at 12 Noon. As an RFA, the team that agrees to take him as no real fear of losing the player. There will not be RFA offersheets coming his way. And if there were, I doubt Atlanta would match them, opting for the 3rd rounder, or whatever we happen to get for him, depending on the size of the offersheet. Not too sure if Stewart has arbitration rights. My guess is … that he does. If he wants to go the arbitration route, then he can become unrestricted when Atlanta declines the arbitrator’s decision. As is the case much of the time, there are upgrades out there, for an ownership willing the spend the money to make them. There are overpriced contracts sitting out there, just looking to be dumped somewhere. Atlanta is a “somewhere.” And it’s a “somewhere” with pahlenty of cap room. Our market just lacks committed ownership from being an annual playoff entrant. And Bettman knows that, too.

AtlFlamesFan

April 29th, 2011
7:34 pm

Yes Crass Bonanza, Stewart cannot catch a pass. Not only does he have that issue in the center ice and offensive zones, but it is really a killer in the defensive zone. How many times have the D begun a breakout by sending the puck to him, only to see it go bounce off his stick, allowing the opposing D to keep the puck in the zone. It affects the way our D play; they tend to try to play to the left because they know the puck is coming right back at them if the go to the right.

Yuvno Ballzerdik

April 29th, 2011
8:17 pm

Good mention of upgrades..like MacArthur, Artyukhin and Afinogenov. We obviously opted for Dawes, Stewart and Stapleton.

Gretchelby

April 29th, 2011
8:53 pm

I watched him cuss out a female fan about her sign…and she had no sign…it was like he was on something….It was in front of families, children, and first time fans…It was violent…and I am scared of him, personally….too bad the opposing team isn’t. Hello Stuart….GoodBye Stewart!

And Jimcee….haven’t we been lied to enough????

Lets trade Stewie for a bag of pucks!

Cornbread

April 29th, 2011
9:26 pm

Stewart had a nice first full season. I like his game. Not too many would have predicted 40 points out of him at the beginning of the season. Most of his time came even strength and he did not see a lot of PP time compared to others. Respectable numbers came from that. Once he gets going he’s got lots of speed. He is a big North-South boards guy and that fits into the Atlanta game. He is very hard to knock off of the puck when down low and reminds me of Buff in that regard. Those that criticize him for being soft are wrong. He was 5th on the team and 3rd among forwards in hits on a team that is coached not to hit just to hit (you know, like the Red Wings).

I don’t believe he was snake-bit like Little was this year but he certainly was robbed by some unbelievable saves down the stretch like Little was. He’s a potential 20 goal scorer. I have no problem with him coming back on the third line. He can step-up to the 2nd if and when needed.

I do agree that his hands are the weak part of his game. It showed on the half wall. That can be improved upon. But more importantly, he’s not a guy who made a lot of mistakes.

Remarkable

April 30th, 2011
7:12 am

Does anybody really care?

jebediah

April 30th, 2011
9:38 am

Deb, yes, the team is moving to wpg. Everything is set up here in the peg for and NHL team and the move is merely being stalled due to PHX. The balkan is supposed to make an all or nothing deal this weekend. You will see Spirit grp say no followed by TNSE group buying team and moving them to wpg, paying the relocation fee which will then be used as part of PHX purchase price.

Yuvno Ballzerdik

April 30th, 2011
9:53 am

I am amazed the internet made its way to Winnipeg. Wow. Miracles do happen..what’s next..the Peg gonna get an actual NHL player who “wants” to play there..because so far..nope.

jebediah

April 30th, 2011
10:22 am

yes, big buff just signed for 5 year extension… lived 2 hours away from the peg…. dude, he did not sign the contract to stay in ATL. You are about to learn that a deal was in place a loooooonnnnng time ago.

T_Plunk

April 30th, 2011
3:33 pm

Hey ‘jebediah’

Here is a paper for Winnipeg: http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/
Go type go be a hockey fan on that site dude. This is Atlanta’s team. Stop dreaming about them moving to ‘peg’ before you wake up disappointed.

Peace.

Jimbo

April 30th, 2011
5:42 pm

You look at his size and skating ability and think “wow”. But, he is really soft physically. And, he and Slater went to the same BOARD HANDS ACADEMY.

Hoof Arted

April 30th, 2011
7:23 pm

Yeah jebediah, there’s been a plan worked out for months now, right? And somehow none of the details of this “secret plan” has managed to leak out to anyone in the credible press yet? Who set up this arrangement, Elvis Presley? Was the meeting set up inside of an alien spaceship? Tell me, was there a shadowing figure of a man standing on a nearby grassy knoll too?

Yuvno Ballzerdik

May 1st, 2011
5:19 am

Very true Jebbie, when Byfiglien was saying how he loved the city of ATLANTA (like nearly every player who has played here), he must have been thinking of the frozen turd pond up north, good job. Just like all of the other NHL players, Byfuglien must secretly love freezing and amazingly signed here in hopes to eventually freeze, rather than enjoy the city of Atlanta and its sub-tropical climate not to mention the fact that Buf might be living the single life and Atlanta is heaven for a single guy unless you like garage heaters so your car doesn’t freeze or women with hoofs.

Gretchelby

May 1st, 2011
9:08 am

Winnipeg can have Stewart…leave the Thrashers here though!

jebediah

May 1st, 2011
9:54 am

How’s that Balkan deal going this weekend? Watch how this all gets played out. TNSE wants ATL and they will get it. You seem to forget Spirit grps panic back in February… they panicked b/c they were (and still may) lose their original buyer TNSE to the phx mess. Do you find it odd the Spirit grp got out of lease and rights in December without telling anyone… pretty sneaky. I believe there is a Balkan but his offer will be rejected.

Alan R.

May 1st, 2011
11:35 am

Jebediah, you don’t seem to understand business. You come here, attack the fans, and try to scare us into believing your tripe.

Begone, foul troll.

Yuvno Ballzerdik

May 1st, 2011
4:18 pm

Scare us? TNSE wanted the Isles and Yotes also, then Atlanta, then any team, then back to the Yotes, then Atlanta..yep..they sound like the spirit group as far as not making things happen go. According to TSN, all of those teams mentioned have already moved to Canada, even though Philips Arena is still sitting there. My advice is to take it for what it’s worth and remember the “Canadian logic” that basically writes speculation as fact when it’s obviously not, especially Winnipeg fans who ought to understand an inkling of what it’s like to lose a team, lucky for them there was no internet then or now..so they will never have people try and poach their team becuase it gets old..and they’re really grasping for straws by using the Byfuglien signing as an example when he clearly said he loved the city of.. A T L A N T A. If the guy loved the frozen tundra so much he could have easily waited to be a FA and signed with Edmonton which is the same frozen cesspool as the Peg.

sisu

May 1st, 2011
10:17 pm

Hmmm, snow in Canada today? Sucks to be there ;)

Gretchelby

May 1st, 2011
10:39 pm

Love it..Yuvno Ballzerdik

[...] AJC.COM: Chris Vivlamore recently interviewed Atlanta Thrashers forward Anthony Stewart and asked about his contract status. A restricted free agent this summer, Stewart admitted contract talks hadn’t begun, but added he was confident things would be sorted out this summer. [...]