Archive for May, 2011

Five Questions With … Patrice Cormier

Patrice Cormier, the highly-touted prospect obtained in the Ilya Kovalchuk deal, finally made his NHL debut this season for the Thrashers. It just started late and ended early. Cormier was lost to a broken foot on the eve of training camp. After healing and playing less than a dozen games in the minors he made his debut. However, the forward was limited to 21 games before suffering a season-ending concussion.

Cormier finished with a goal and an assist.

In the next-to-last of a series of interviews with Thrashers players following the 2010-11 season, here is some of what Cormier had to say about finally playing in the NHL and what he looks forward to next season.

Q. Can you talk about your season? I imagine it was difficult considering the broken foot early on and then suffering a concussion after finally joining the team?

A. I think that sums it. I could only play 30-something games. Going into the summer, I just want to get cleared to work out. That’s the key.

It was a …

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Five Questions With … Rob Schremp

Rob Schremp came to the Thrashers at the February trade deadline as a waiver wire pickup from the Islanders. He had four points (three goals, one assist) in 18 games with the Thrashers. Two of his goals were game-winners, March 24 against the Islanders and April 7 against the Rangers. He missed the final game of the season with a concussion.

Schremp is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent.

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

Q. Overall, can you describe your season? It was a crazy one for you personally to finally end up here.

A. It was kind of a good thing to get picked up here in Atlanta and get a chance to play with this team and talent. I really liked it. I was excited about it. I think things were running out a little bit on Long Island. They had a lot of talent there and maybe they make room for the …

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Updated: Arizona votes to keep Coyotes for another season … and beyond

As expected, the Glendale City Council agreed to pay the NHL an additional $25 million that would keep the Coyotes in Arizona for another season. The vote, 5-2, was agreed upon late Tuesday night. The city paid the NHL $25 million last week for operating expenses for the league-owned team for last season.

With the Coyotes safe for another season, the NHL can continue to work out a deal with prospective buyer Matthew Hulsizer. It could also search for another owner as the deal with Hulsizer has been complicated and been met with some resistance from a local watchdog group concerned with the use of taxpayer money.

The vote could prove to be more than a one-year fix despite the on-going ownership issue. Included by the vote was a provision that the NHL has the right to renew the agreement annually for 10 years. That could mean up to $250 million to the league to cover the losses incurred by the franchise.

Phoenix has long had the eye of True North Sports and Entertainment, a …

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Five Questions With … Johnny Oduya

Johnny Oduya was one of three Thrashers to play every game this season. He finished with two goals and 15 assists and was a minus-15. Both goals came against the Islanders on Dec. 11.

Oduya, who started the season as an alternate captain, will become an unrestricted free agent after next season.

In the next of a series of interviews with Thrashers players following the 2010-11 season, here is some of what Oduya had to say about his season and what he will work on for next year.

Q. Overall, what are your thoughts about the season?

A. I think there was some improvement. We are still a younger group learning how to play together. Every experience is going to be vital for next year. We wanted to make the playoffs. It’s the most exciting and fun part of the game to play playoff hockey. That’s obviously something we are going to push for next year.

Q. How about personally? How would you say your year went?

A. I guess it was OK. I always think I can do better. I will take this …

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Vote in Arizona could go long way in determining fate of Thrashers

The clock could start ticking on the Thrashers this week – and it could move quickly.

On Tuesday, the city of Glendale will vote on whether to pay another $25 million to the NHL. That money would be used by the league-owned team, rescued from bankruptcy in 2009, for operating expenses and would keep the financially struggling team in Arizona for one more season. According to several media outlets, the proposal is expected to pass.

Last week the city of Glendale paid the NHL $25 million for operating losses for last season.

The NHL is looking for an owner that will keep the team in Glendale. Efforts to sell to Chicago businessman Matthew Hulsizer have been ongoing for months in a complicated deal that has a local watchdog group threatening legal action.

The Phoenix franchise has been eyed by prospective buyer True North Sports and Entertainment, which would purchase the team and move it back to Winnipeg where it relocated from in 1996. However with the Coyotes staying in …

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Five Questions With … Alexander Burmistrov

Alexander Burmistrov was selected with the eighth overall pick in last year’s NHL draft and the 19 year old made the Thrashers out of training camp. The rookie played 74 games, with six goals and 14 assists. He was a minus-12.

Burmistrov missed eight games with a broken foot in February and March. The injury came in the middle of a stretch of 33 games when he failed to score a goal. He credits teammates for helping him to adjust to life in the NHL. Still learning to speak English, he credited Nik Antropov who translated for the young Russian during practices and games when the coaching staff was trying to make points.

In the next of a series of interviews with Thrashers players following the 2010-11 season, here is some of what Burmistrov had to say about his first season and what he needs to improve on for next season.

Q. How do you think your first NHL season went?

A. I think it was pretty good. I learned a lot. Maybe sometimes I played not good. I think half my games I …

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Five Questions With … Tim Stapleton

Tim Stapleton was signed by the Thrashers as an unrestricted free agent on Nov. 30 after he was finishing a 25-game tryout with AHL San Antonio. The forward signed a two-year contract that will be a professional deal next season.

After a slow start, Stapleton finished with five goals in 45 games. He scored the game-wining goal in overtime against Carolina on March 9 and had the game-deciding goal in a shootout against Boston on Dec. 30. Stapleton was named to the U.S. team for the World Championships following his exit interview last month. He has an assist in three preliminary round games.

In the next of a series of interviews with Thrashers players following the 2010-11 season, here is some of what Stapleton had to say about where he fits in and getting to play on a line with Evander Kane.

Q. Overall, what are your impressions on your season considering where you started and where you ended?

A. It was a weird process for me. I was in San Antonio at the beginning of the year …

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Five Questions With … Radek Dvorak

Radek Dvorak was acquired by the Thrashers at the February trade deadline in a deal with Florida. Dvorak played 13 games with the Thrashers with one assist. He missed the final six games with a concussion. The injury also kept Dvorak from playing for the Czech Republic in the world championships.

The unrestricted free agent forward has expressed his desire to remain in Atlanta.

In the next of a series of interviews with Thrashers players following the 2010-11 season, here is some of what Dvorak had to say about his future plans and the potential of countryman Ondrej Pavelec.

Q. What are your plans considering you are an unrestricted free agent?

A. I haven’t been here a long time, just traded here a month ago. I like it here. We had a great push but obviously it didn’t happen for us. I like the future. We have a great chance. If you look at the team, [there is] a lot of young talent here, great leadership. I just wish I can be here next season. Hopefully we can work …

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Five Questions With … Tobias Enstrom

Tobias Enstrom had another career year for the Thrashers as the defenseman was named to the all-star team, along with Dustin Byfuglien and had career-highs in goals (10) and points (51). His point total was tied for fifth and his 41 assists were tied for seventh among all NHL defensemen.

Enstrom missed six games with a broken hand, snapping his franchise record for consecutive games played. He also missed the final four games of the season with a shoulder injury.

In the next of a series of interviews with Thrashers players following the 2010-11 season, here is some of what the reserved Enstrom had to say about his injury, his all-star season and playing with Byfuglien.

Q. How is your shoulder injury and what is the prognosis?

A. I don’t know really. It feels pretty good. I’ve been off for a couple of days and it’s getting better. It was tough missing the last part of the season.

Q. Will it affect your playing in the World Championships?

A. Yes. I’m not going to the …

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Five Questions With … Chris Thorburn

Chris Thorburn appeared in all 82 games for the Thrashers this season in an expanded role and posted career highs in goals (nine) and points (19). His season started strong, which included a three-game goal streak from Oct. 9-15.

Thorburn, who signed a three-year contract extension, led all forwards with blocked shots and was third on the team in hits.

In the next of a series of interviews with Thrashers players following the 2010-11 season, here is some of what Thorburn had to say about his expanded role and being named the team’s Players Player.

Q. We talked before the season about your desire to have an expanded offensive role on the team. How do you think that went this season?

A. I think to split up the season a little bit, it started off great and then I had that little stretch where I wasn’t producing many points. I thought from December on I thought I brought that to the table but didn’t do it consistent enough. It’s something I want to get to that point as a …

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