Archive for September, 2010

Despite 0-4 preseason start some Thrashers making it tough to be cut

The Thrashers offense finally showed some signs of life Wednesday night, scoring as many times in the first two periods as they had in the previous three games. However, it still wasn’t good enough to notch their first win of the exhibition season. They are now 0-4 with two more dates on the preseason schedule and have yet to even hold a lead.

You ask me if I’m worried about that…Nope, not at all. As long as these games don’t count, the outcome is academic.

Coach Craig Ramsay given instructions from the Thrashers bench. Although his team has yet to win in preseason, some players are trying to make it hard on him to cut them (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Coach Craig Ramsay given instructions from the Thrashers bench. Although his team has yet to win in preseason, some players are trying to make it hard on him to cut them (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Oh don’t get me wrong, I’d much rather see them win…but that isn’t what the preseason is really about. Craig Ramsay and his coaching staff are getting to see how certain players perform during game-like situations, new players are learning the tendencies of their teammates and line formations are being tried out.

To …

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Thrashers now 0-3 in preseason after loss to Nashville

The preseason is half over now and the Atlanta Thrashers have an 0-3 record to show for it. Their latest exhibition season setback came Monday night in Nashville as they fell 2-1 to the Predators. The good news, of course, is that after this week none of it matters at all. Preseason and all that, ya know.

Here’s a quick recap of the game as I heard it via the Predators radio station web feed. (That is, when it wasn’t going blank as it did all throughout the game).

Andrew Ladd makes his way around Patric Hornqvist during the 2-1 loss in Nashville Monday night (AP Photo/Frederick Breedon)

Andrew Ladd makes his way around Patric Hornqvist during the 2-1 loss in Nashville Monday night (AP Photo/Frederick Breedon)

Nashville took an early 1-0 lead when Sergei Kostitsyn tipped a Shea Weber pass through the wickets of Ondrej Pavelec. The goal came on the Predator’s second shot at the 3:06 mark of the first period.

Nashville outshot the Thrashers 8-6 in the opening 20 minutes.

It sounded as though Atlanta began to take control somewhat in the second as much more of the play was in the Nashville …

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Thrashers drop second preseason game despite better effort

Just as I did after Tuesday’s 5-2 loss to Columbus, I want to open up by saying that Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Carolina was just a preseason game…nothing more, nothing less. However, unlike the first preseason game, this recent one gave us a lot more good than un-good to talk about.

First on that list of good things is the play of newly acquired goalie Chris Mason. He stopped 28 of the 29 Hurricane shots in his first performance as a Thrasher and deserved a better fate in the outcome. That he looked this sharp in his first preseason contest is not totally unexpected, he’s a veteran and looked like he came into training ready to go.

Another vet that looked like he was ready to get the season underway was Freddy Modin. He led the Thrashers with 5 shots on goal and looked very comfortable with linemates Rich Peverley and Fredrik Pettersson. Combined, the trio accounted for 12 of the 32 total shots Atlanta was able to get off on Cam Ward.

Unfortunately for Atlanta, Ward was …

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Is there a clear-cut candidate for Thrashers captain?

Last Tuesday I was enjoying the Thrashers opening preseason game with a small group of friends down in section 102. About halfway through the second period one of them, a good friend of mine name of Carl, leaned forward from his seat just behind me and asked, “So who do you think will be the Thrashers captain this year”?

Ron Hainsey celebrates after scoring the overtime winner against St. Louis last fall. Will his teammates lift him up as their team captain this season? (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)

Ron Hainsey celebrates after scoring the overtime winner against St. Louis last fall. Will the Thrashers lift him up as their team captain this season? (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)

Before I put any cerebral activity to his enquiry, “Ron Hainsey” spilled out of my mouth. He then looked at me as if I had three horns growing out of my head.

And I assure you… I only have two.

When asked why in the world I would think such a thing, I shrugged and replied that maybe it was because he seemed to have step up following the Kovalchuk trade last winter. He appeared to assume more of a leadership role in the absence of any real “captain”, both in practice and in …

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Yes its just preseason, but Boris was brutally bad

Yes, yes, yes…it was only the first of six preseason games. So really, there isn’t too much that should be taken from the 5-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets Tuesday night. The coaches got to see how several prospects looked in a pseudo-game situation and new game plans were worked on. This will help to make some roster decisions and other game plan tweaks…so, it is what it is.

But there were a few standouts of note from last night, but of the good and un-good variety. And I’ll begin with the positives.

Bryan Little was by far the best Thrasher on the ice last night, and not just because he finished with a goal and assists. He was “on it” every shift and looked very good on and off the puck. If this is what we can expect from Little on a consistent basis this season, he and we will be just fine.

I liked what I saw from Arturs Kulda as well. He’s not a “flashy” player by any stretch of the imagination, but he put in a solid performance. Kulda was one of two …

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The times, they are a-changin’ in Thrasherville

The calendar may show that autumn is upon us, and the NHL schedule indicates that the preseason begins Tuesday. But a quick check of The Weather Channel shows that summer isn’t exactly going to go away without a fight, as tomorrow will bring temps in the mid-90s in Atlanta. That night the Columbus Blue Jackets and Thrashers will get all Tangled Up in Blue(land) to kickoff preseason 2010.

Bryan Little, Nik Antropov and Nic Bergfors hope that embracing the changes will lead to embracing after more goals (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Bryan Little, Nik Antropov and Nic Bergfors hope that embracing the changes will lead to embracing after more goals (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

The dry, hot conditions have been the rule here in Thrasherville for the entire month of September, and it’s in stark contrast to what we were dealing with at this time last year. Then we were about ready to build an ark as the floodwaters rose in and around Atlanta. Streets were under water, a high school in Cobb Country literally became an island, yards were washed away and every ride at Six Flags amusement park became a water ride.

The year prior …

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Can Burmistrov or Esposito take advantage of Cormier’s tough break?

Of all the prospects the Thrashers have at their disposal, the one that I’ve felt had the best chance of cracking this fall’s roster was Patrice Cormier. The 20-year old forward came over to Atlanta last February along with Nic Bergfors and Johnny Oduya when Anssi Salmela and, and…snapping fingers… oh, who was that other guy we sent packing?

Oh yeah…Ilya Kovalchuk.

Anyway…

Cormier came to Thrasherville with some baggage in tow as he was currently serving a season-ending suspension. It came as a result of a vicious hit on Michael Tam during a QHJML game last January. Cormier is answering criminal charges for that incident. But even with that hanging over his head, Rick Dudley…then associate GM…still though highly enough of his on-ice talent to bring him on board.

Cormier impressed during prospect camp and last week put in solid performer at rookie camp. To many, his jump to the NHL rested simply on continuing his fine work during training camp. Unfortunately, …

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Thrashers players prepare for class as training camp opens

Wake up Thrasherville, I think I got something to say to you. It’s late September and…sing it with me… I really should be back at school.

Well…OK, maybe not me. Long gone are my days at Schmartazz University where as a young skull-full-of-mush I studied underwater fire prevention and was a proud member of the fraternity Ata Mun Pi.

Like so many of you, I learned so many life lessons on and just off campus. Among them, just what it is a lady wants in life…security. Yes, security is what women want. Or at least that’s what they would scream for anytime I approached one at an off-campus bar…”SECURITY!”

Uh-huh, blonde, brunet, red head…I don’t want to brag, but I was turned away by some of the best looking girls around. Just sayin’…

Arturs Kulda will be fighting for a spot on the Thrashers blueline when training camp gets underway (AP)

Arturs Kulda will be fighting for a spot on the Thrashers blueline when training camp gets underway (AP)

But while those days are just hazy memories for me now, we find ourselves again at that time of year when many youngsters gear up …

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Lunch at Thrashers rookie camp

Wednesday I made the trek out to Duluth-land to take in a little lunch at the Breakaway Grill while observing the rookie 4 on 4 game. Smoothie of As the Birds Thrash as well Razor Catch Prey of The Blueland Chronicle joined me. Big Shooter, (a.k.a. Dances with Dolphins), was unable to attend.

Coach Ramsay, however, was on hand and observed the action just a few seats down from us. Don Waddell was just behind us. And it was good to see Falconer and Ben Wright as well.

The Blue team defeated the White team 6-4 with the two sides playing non-stop end-to-end hockey. The best goal of the game come off the stick of Fredrik Pettersson as he zipped his way through the right side of the defense, eluding checks and buried a nice shot past Ed Pasquale. He later scored on a nice wrap around.

Pettersson really stood out on both ends of the ice…the kid just flat out plays strong hockey.

Not to my surprise, Patrice Cormier also impressed. He is just a huge presence on the ice and knows how …

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Word association and Cup talk with Craig Ramsay

Recently I was able to engage in a little “word association” exercise with Thrashers head coach Craig Ramsay. I gave the name of a specific player and he then responded with a brief description of said player based upon his initial thoughts.

Here’s a sampling of how things went…

Evander Kane: “Speed…and shot. I just saw him the other day just fire one and it was quite impressive. I love the way he just gets around the ice”.

Zach Bogosian: “Strong…shot”

Chris Mason: “Steady…and just a good person. I liked him when I met him and I just like the way he is a solid goalie and a solid person”.

Coach Ramsey has been impressed with Evander Kane's speed and shooting ability (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)

Coach Ramsey has been impressed with Evander Kane's speed and shooting ability (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)

Nik Antropov: “Big, strong…I think he can do more for us. I think this kid can be a good solid two-way player. Really dominate”.

Dustin Byfuglien: “Potential…talented. For a big man he has great hands. He can shoot and he can handle the puck. And he’s a …

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