Thrasherville gets Torched…and I’m not just talking about the weather

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s hot in Atlanta. How hot? Well…it’s so hot that Gov. Sonny Purdue traveled down to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution office yesterday to visit Cynthia Tucker…just for the chilly reception.

Uh-huh…it’s soooooooo hot that the one guy actually working at a DOT site was finally allowed to join the other five in the air-conditioned yellow truck.

Yes, it’s hot all right. But what better way to beat the heat than hang out with some fellow Thrashervillians inside the cool confines of the Thrashers practice rink at the Duluth Ice Forum…especially on a day where it’s something like 97 and miserable outside.

97 and miserable…that kinda describes my old Aunt Agnes.

Anywhoooo…as for the prospects I’m watching closely, I am focusing the bulk of my attention on a couple of players that could have at least an outside shot at making this fall’s roster in Atlanta… Patrice Cormier and Alexander Burmistrov.

Cormier, as you know, is the prospect obtained last February in the Kovalchuk trade with New Jersey. Dudley really likes this kid and as such he should be given every opportunity to prove himself worthy of playing at the NHL level once training camp rolls around.

The 6’-2”, 200-pound Cormier was taken by the Devils with the 54th overall draft pick in 2008. He captained Team Canada during the 2010 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships where he scored 2 goals, 3 assists and was a +3 in six games played. He was added to the Chicago Wolves playoff roster last spring and he played in nine games, netting no points and 8 PIM.

Of course, Cormier is still facing legal charges stemming from that blind side hit on Mikael Tam last January. However, as C-Viv reports, he’s trying to move on from the incident.

Burmistrov was selected 8th overall a couple of weeks back in this summer’s draft and currently plays for the Barrie Colts of the OHL. Last season he scored 22 goals and 43 assists in 62 games played.

The Russian forward is listed at 5’-11” and 157 pounds…so I think a little time in the weight room is in order for him between now and training camp. However, given the fact that Dudley spent an eighth overall on the kid, I’m sure he’s going to get a good look-see at traing camp.

Another prospect of note is Carl Klingberg… the second-round, 34th overall, pick by Atlanta last summer. The 6’-3”, 205-pound Swede will be 20-years of age in January and has played the past two seasons with Frölunda HC of the SEL where he’s scored 8 goals and 8 assists in 52 regular season games. While it looks like the kid has the size compete at this level, maybe he needs another year or two to season.

I’ll also toss out there the name of Ed Pasquale, the Thrashers fourth round selection last summer. Last season with the Saginaw Spirit of the OHL, the 19-year old goalie was 27-17-5 with a 3.17 GAA, .916 SV% and one shutout.

Do I think he’s got any chance of playing in Atlanta this season? Oh, no…not unless there’s a repeat of the disastrous events in goal that we witnessed in the fall of 2005, that is. But depth in goal is very crucial to an organization, so I always keep an eye between the pipes.

Another hot item around these parts is Thursday’s announcement that John Torchetti was hired as the Thrashers associate coach. As you’ll recall, Torch’s hiring was reported a couple weeks back when Craig Ramsay was announced as the new bench boss but took until now to finalize.

Why? Well that’s anyone’s guess. Issues regarding compensation was one story that made it around the blogosphere…another had to do with the Blackhawks not being happy about Torch leaving the team to make a lateral move.

Whatever the story is…at least he didn’t require an hour on ESPN to let the sports world know where he was going.

Torch should feel right at home in Atlanta. Not only does he have a good history with Rick Dudley, but he’ll be coaching a squad that’ll have four players that lifted the Stanley Cup with him just last month.

When first hearing of the news, the first thing that came to my mind was, “I wonder how many people would have thought this was possible just last spring…for the Thrashers to convince both Ramsay and Torchetti to come to Atlanta and coach this team”?

Actually, my very first thought was, ”It’s hot as H-E-double hockey sticks outside, where can I get myself an ice cold Coca-Cola”? But, I digress.

Honestly though, getting these two in here is nothing short of a minor coup for Rick Dudley and the Thrashers organization. Both men were atop the rumored list of men to take over behind the bench as the head coach, but having them both here as a one-two coaching punch is very good for the team, indeed. And for landing the pair, Dudley is to be commended.

Now, if he could just bring in a goalie coach. Now that would be really…well… cool.

124 comments Add your comment

World Be Free

July 11th, 2010
7:23 pm

Rawhide-correct, that was one ugly soccer game. My son noted that there are very few statistics in soccer, until hockey, football and most of all, baseball.

Kovy got a rough ride in ATL when he came back for what he did, but that’s nothing compared to what LeBron is waiting him in Clevelend. Gilbert, the guy who owns the Cavs also owns that Fathead company. They purposesly marked down James products to $17.41 to match the birth of noted American traitor Benedict Arnold. So I guess the razzing given to Kovalchuk on his return is nothing cpompared to what LeBron will get.

R. Stroz

July 11th, 2010
9:19 pm

If the Kings sign Kovy as rumored AGAIN, next season, I bet a few GMs will be ready to raid the Kings with an offer sheet or two.

They’ll be sitting ducks just like the Blackhawks.

AtlFlamesFan

July 11th, 2010
10:40 pm

I had seen before that video (the Dallas player missing the empty net, allowing the Oilers to go the other way and tying the game in the last second), but never realized that the Star was our own Patrick Stefan. That makes it so much funnier.
Ah, Patrick Stefan; #1 overall pick of the 1999 entry draft; drafted right before #2 Daniel Sedin and #3 Henrick Sedin (this year’s NHL MVP).
Another reminder of Don Wadell’s brilliant drafting skills.

Alan R.

July 12th, 2010
12:34 am

Another reminder of Don Wadell’s brilliant drafting skills.

You know, I dislike D-Wad just as much as the next guy, but he can’t be blamed for taking Stefan. Stefan was the “can’t miss” pick that year. He was the pick that anyone would take. Anyone.

Yeah, Donny Do-Wrong did a lot of things wrong. Drafting Stefan #1 isn’t something that can be placed at his feet. Hindsight is 20/20, after all.

Hockey Biltong

July 12th, 2010
12:54 am

Brendan

July 12th, 2010
1:33 am

Well, the latest out of TSN, earlier this evening, says Kovalchuk is flying out to L.A. for a “face-to-face” sit down with the Kings. The Kings deny they’re any closer to signing him. That should be an interesting discussion. I don’t know who needs to be on his best behavior more, Ilya or his agent Jay Grossman, who will no doubt be armed with statistics about goal production in the NHL since 2001. I think, but please don’t quote me as I’m not presenting it as fact, that only Iginla has more than Kovalchuk since that time. Which means what to the Kings? I don’t think Los Angeles needs an update on what Kovy has done in the NHL. I hope they stick to their guns, and don’t cave to $9.5 or $10.0 million cap hit, per year, just because the winger got on a plane. So far, L.A. has acted responsibly. They’ve engaged. Walked away. Re-engaged, then walked away, both times for the same reason. They have other pieces they have to lock up. Kovalchuk is the outsider. L.A. is not in desperate shape. They made the playoffs last year, and all signs point to another return this season, maybe even advancing to the 2nd round. If I’m L.A., and I’ve worked out my numbers as best I can, and I’ve talked to Doughty’s agent and Jack Johnson’s agent, whomever they might be, about being proactive with contracts, I think I just match New Jersey’s offer of $8.571 million cap hit per year, for the next 7-years. Paying Kovalchuk rougly eight and a half million dollars a year really isn’t that egregious of a contract. Kovy was making $7.5 million in cash, with a cap hit of $6.5 million. This would be a raise of $2 million, in terms of cap hit, and $1 million in terms of actual salary paid. Here’s the TSN.Ca link: http://tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=327346

So, how many people still think Kovalchuk is signing with the Islanders? C’mon. Don’t be bashful. If you think he’s all about the money, the NY Islanders are the team that bested even Atlanta’s offer. Ours was $101 million over 12 years. The Isles offer was $100 million over 10 years. Jersey’s offer was 7-years/$60 million. That pays him until he’s 34.

I’ve always said that UFAs play where they want to be. That Kovalchuk is getting on a plane to Los Angeles in the morning tells me that (1) he’s very serious about L.A., or (2) he’s trying to make Lou Lamoriello find his checkbook. If he wants to play in L.A., then L.A. can stick to its guns. I don’t know what the Kings offer was, truthfully. I seem to recall it averaged out to $6.5 million cap hit, but I never frankly heard the length of the deal. In Los Angeles’ shoes, what would you do? I’m kinda partial to offering Kovalchuk a 1-year deal, at $8 million, and see how it turns out. If Kovy doesn’t fit what the Kings had in mind, or starts to take on the appearance of a “coach killer,” then they can move Kovy at the trade deadline in a deal similar to what Atlanta got for him. Then again, it would be a source of distraction, if it played out that way. Remember, the Kings could enter into contract negotiations with Kovalchuk on New Year’s Day 2011, to avoid the trade deadline speculation about his future. It’s not like $8 million is some horrible pay day for Ilya. That’s more than he made in 2010. I’m sure Lou Lamoriello would make Ilya the same 7-year/$60 million deal next July, if things didn’t work out so well in Los Angeles.

I’d love to see the look on Ilya’s face when the Kings say, “nyet” to the $10 million deal, as Kovy turns to Grossman, telling him, “You promised me I’d be paid more than Crosby and Ovechkin. And you said you’d place me where I want to be.” I’ll say it again, wouldn’t it be delicious of Kovalchuk fired Grossman! And he didn’t get a nickel. I’d laugh … and laugh. I don’t have sympathy for sports agents. I just don’t.

World Be Free

July 12th, 2010
6:07 am

I stand by what I said about how much Kovalchuk will make on this next contract, compared to what he would have made had he taken Atlanta’s offer. I just don’t see any team paying him more and keeping their current team together.

glovesave29

July 12th, 2010
10:10 am

Eklund claims to have photos of Kovy and Lombari together at dinner last night. If he doesn’t leave for the KHL, i’d rather him be out west and not affecting us here as much. Lombardi seems to be playing hardball. I knows Kovy want to be there, and it taking advantage of that. I hope we can take advantage of their cap issues as soon as Kovy is signed.

Spud Webb

July 12th, 2010
10:18 am

Alan R, you’re correct. I love bashing DW more than anyone, but Stefan was the consensus number 1 pick that year in a weak, weak draft.

Smoothie

July 12th, 2010
10:26 am

I LOVE Kovy in L.A.!!!

Cuz I’ll never have to see his selfish mug again on my TV set! Save for that one game we play against LA in the 3rd week of October.

Kovy to the Kings for 6 years and $52 million would be my guess.

Flames

July 12th, 2010
10:40 am

It was a decent turn out Sunday for the Scrimmage. It was good to see that many people in Atlanta excited about this team. Duds has gotten people talking about the Thrashers in July!

Tony C.

July 12th, 2010
10:41 am

eh.
I’m over. the whole will-he, won’t-he thing at this point.

Who all impressed at baby Thrashers camp? That’s interesting.

R. Stroz

July 12th, 2010
10:43 am

With regards to the 1999 draft, does anyone remember who the GM was that procured the number 2 and 3 pick?

Yep, Brian Burke. The guy who would have been the GM job of the Thrashers if Harvey Schiller had a brain.

And the Thrashers, in words of Sean Avery, ended up with..well you know.

Flames

July 12th, 2010
10:56 am

I thought that the Alex Burmistrov look real good. He was much quicker and faster than most. You could tell he was enjoying himself.

Brendan

July 12th, 2010
11:01 am

Spud Webb and R.Stroz, I know that there was a possibility of grabbing one of the Sedin Twins at #2 for Atlanta, but I think their plan all along was to play together, or even potentially not come to the NHL if they couldn’t make that work. With that in mind, we were stuck with Patrick Stefan, in terms of plausible scenarios. Plus, as you say, Stefan was a top prospect by many hockey publications at the time. So, for new GM Don Waddell, the chance to grab the top overall pick in ‘99 for the concession of not selecting Sedin, was too overwhelming to pass on. In Waddell’s eyes, he’s never going to get Sedin under contract without his brother, plus the #1 overall pick falls in his lap, to go land what Central Scouting said was the top player in his draft class, with the caveat, “high risk, high reward” due to his concussion issues.

If the newly minted GM Waddell had played “hardball” with Brian Burke, who owned the #1 overall pick via trade with Chicago, I think, he could have selected either Henrik or Daniel at #2 overall. But Burke offered him # 1 overall as inducement not to pick either Sedin at #2, which then fell to Vancouver. Burke started out the day with the #3 overall pick, then made a trade to add #1, which he then gave to Atlanta to get #2. And, that’s how Burke wound up with #2 and #3 that year, I believe. I may not have that exactly correct. A poster here named Eugene laid out the exact scenario about 20 blogs back.

KLS1

July 12th, 2010
11:04 am

HA HA HA…No Kovy, No Heatley, No Hossa…no problem. We need to make the playoffs just so we don’t draft anymore entitled superstars at #1.

I am so glad Kovy is somebody elses problem…LA – New Jersey…have fun! Sure he’ll score 50, but will still be minus 30 when the season is over.

Smoothie

July 12th, 2010
11:07 am

I went on Saturday and was particularly impressed with Danick Paquette, Jordan Samuels, Paul Postma and John Albert. Burma and Cormier weren’t flashy but they certainly had an air about them that speaks volumes. Cormier was very responsible and broke up several plays on the back-check. Burma showed some good bursts of speed, but seemed tentative with the puck as you sensed he wasn’t very familiar with his mates. He must’ve settled in yesterday as the video Ben posted showed him making some good plays including a nice goal.

Aliu and Klingberg are very powerful skaters and when they get going on the outside are fearless going to the net. On one sequence, Aliu carried the puck from his own end all the way to the the offensive zone with some pretty good puck-handling aplomb. Not flashy but solid…he certainly didn’t look like a “project”…just needs more seasoning. Carozzi was good but didn’t get a lot of shots. Kangas probably got the most action and certainly made some good saves. But I was low in the corner and could not see his end of the ice very well. Just seemed like blue was swarming and he had to make several good saves just to keep it from getting completely out of hand.

All in all I was impressed with the size and speed of our players, but no one really dazzled with their play. A lot of smart, cerebral hockey with occasional bursts of speed and power on the break-out. Just seemed disorganized at times as players weren’t familiar enough with each other to make crisp passes on 2 v 2 sequences. Without the high 3rd man, your options to pass and cycle become quite limited. But more than anything, it was just great to be out of the heat and in a cool rink watching passionate 18-21 y/o skate and battle hard in a scrimmage.

Brendan

July 12th, 2010
11:11 am

Carrie Underwood and Mike Fisher apparently got married in Greensboro, Georgia over the weekend. The location of the wedding ceremony had been kept secret to all the party guests. Mike Fisher plays for the Ottawa Senators. http://tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=327255

R. Stroz

July 12th, 2010
11:17 am

The Smooth Spark – Size and brains? Thrashers? Are you sure?

No more boxes of rocks? Sacks of hammers? Smurfs? Slow Old Men?

WOW!

kracker

July 12th, 2010
11:23 am

Telegin look pretty good. Good size, he will be difficult to handle when he bulks up.

But these are prospects vs prospects. The age and skill levels vary a lot. Let’s see how the invitees fare come September in pre-season camp.

R. Stroz

July 12th, 2010
11:24 am

Brendan – My point was that I’d be willing to bet Burke would have pulled off that magic trick if he were the Thrashers GM.

The Smooth Spark

July 12th, 2010
11:25 am

Stroz – I like this…think I’ll keep it as my new moniker.

Yeah, I’d say we have several very intelligent prospects. I think they were being too careful not to make mistakes and we’re trying to make the smart play most of the time. Problem is, the D-men are just as smart at reading the play and breaking things up. One thing is for sure, Postma is like a hockey ballerina the way he moves up the ice with the puck on his stick. Just a really good hockey player. If he puts on the necessary in the next couple of months and comes to camp healthy, he has a legit shot at making the roster. Valabik will not be ready till Nov at the earliest so Postie could end up our 7th d-man.

BTW – I think Danick Paquette has the tools to be as good as Jimmy Slater is now. It took Jimmy 3 or 4 years to find his niche. Danick seems to know his limitations and plays his strengths as well as you could hope. I have a really good feeling about him as a future 3rd or 4th line winger who can change the tenor of a game when he steps on the ice. Doesn’t hurt that he’s not afraid to “tango” if you know what I mean. Paquette-Cormier-Klingberg could end up being one hell of a 3rd line by 2012.

Rawhide

July 12th, 2010
11:26 am

“The Smooth Spark”…I like it!

OK, here’s a new blogity-blog about prospect camp for ya’ll to chew on.

Brendan

July 12th, 2010
11:55 am

R.Stroz, right you are. I can’t allow myself to think what might have been if Burkie had come here instead. I was looking at the number of playoff wins by GM’s since 2004, and Burke is way up there on the list.