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.