Coach Ramsay believes defense can be Thrashers strength

So, how did new Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay spend this past holiday weekend? Well, taking advantage of the beautiful weather that was experienced here in Atlanta, he and his wife checked out some of the sights in Buckhead and did a little shopping. Being out and about in the fair climes of the south is something Ramsay says he could get used to.

“I spent 22 years in Buffalo and was asked if I would ever leave”, he told me. “I said ‘yeah if they ever put a team in Florida’. So I’ve been with both teams in Florida and now Atlanta”.

Of course, the weather down here wasn’t the only thing about Atlanta that coach Ramsay had heard of, “The traffic has been found to be everything it was proposed to be”.

However, his commute to the Duluth Ice Forum has been nothing but a pleasure, he insists. The coach says that’s because he truly is enjoying the people he is working with. He and general manager Rick Dudley and team president Don Waddell have known each other for years and Ramsay really is looking forward to building something special here in Thrasherville.

”Don is a great worker, student of the game and he’s going to be an invaluable tool for me and the coaching staff”.

Craig Ramsay, seen here with Milan Lucic, says making the Thrashers defense a team strength will be his top priority (AP Photo / Mike Dembeck)

Craig Ramsay, seen here with Milan Lucic, says making the Thrashers defense a team strength will be his top priority (AP Photo / Mike Dembeck)

He added that he knows what Rick Dudley expects from this team given that they went through the same “changing of the culture” experience while in Tampa. There, the two taught a Lightning team how to play and how to win at the NHL level.  Because of it, their names were etched in the Stanley Cup in 2004.

When discussing what it takes to create a winning environment, the coach said, “If you’re going to be successful you have to have good people in the organization and everybody has to be in this together and they have to understand that they’re part of something”.

He added that the presence of those necessary ingredients is what helped him to make the decision to head south and coach the Thrashers. “They’ve got good people here and that’s what really made it fun to come in”.

Joining Ramsay behind the bench are two other coaches that he’s excited to work with, John Torchetti and Mike Stothers. I asked Ramsay about sharing coaching duties with a man like Torchetti, whom many felt just as qualified to be head coach himself. Among other things, he plans on using him to help address the team’s biggest shortcoming throughout the years…defense.

“[Torchetti] will run the defense during the game and he’ll be overseeing the power play. I’ve generally done the defense with every team I’ve been with, but he will run that during the game”.

When coaching in Boston, Ramsay admitted that they felt comfortable exposing the Thrashers’ Achilles heal saying, “We thought we could take advantage of Atlanta in their own end, but I think we will turn that around…that will be a priority for us”.

But he doesn’t merely want to improve the play on defense… he actually feels it has the potential to become an asset.

“We want to change that attitude, that’s for sure. I think looking at this [team] that our defense could be our strength. That’s what we did in Tampa when we won the Cup. In Boston we were very strong on the blueline. Rick understands that value…and we’ve got good people here and we think they can make this defense work and it can be turned to our advantage”.

“We believe strongly that we have to be good at getting the puck out. Boston became probably one of the best breakout team that I’ve had, probably better than Tampa was, because we did a good job as a team. I have every confidence that we can make our team good in our end. And once you’ve established that, you can break out quickly and strongly and now you can start playing an up-ice and up-tempo game that I feel we can play”.

Ramsay and Torch have also been discussing the team’s power play. The key to success here, he says, is to just keep it simple and get the job done.

“I think our power play can be very effective. I think we have some people that can make it work. John’s got some good ideas on the power play and simplicity is something we’ve talked about already…and that’s something I couldn’t agree with more. We want to start off by getting to the point and shooting it. We’ve got a couple of people who can shoot it. And that’s going to help us get some net presence”.

“I think our power play is going to be [run] simple. We’ll make some tweaks to it but generally we want to make sure we’re not trying to do too much. Just go out and get it done”.

Mike Stothers will start the year off upstairs, maybe coming down for the third period.

And coach Ramsay certainly does not feel threatened at all by having such quality people coaching from his bench. In fact, he rather prefers it that way.

“Part of a head coaches job is to train your successors. These guys [assistant coaches], I want them to be down there working with me. I know for a fact I can work with both of them. So together I think we’re going to have a real good, tight group that works solidly together”.

Of the players he and his staff will coach, Ramsay says he likes the way the roster is taking shape. He is especially excited about the Chicago connection that made their way here along with Torchetti. He’s looking forward to using them them, and veterans like newly acquired Freddie Modin whom he coached in Tampa, to help teach the winning ways of hockey to the other players.

But even those with a few years experience under their belts can still continue in the learning process.

“We’ve got kids coming in from all over the place who have not been together, and I’m going to put in a style of play that’s fun so they can use their enthusiasm to participate with. However, even veteran players have to learn things…they haveto change their games. When you look at a Dave Andreychukand how he came in as strictly an offensive player, but by the time we finished in Tampa Bay he did everything for us…including killing penalties for us”.

For Ramsay, it’s the fine details that can be taught to these players that can make a big difference.

“I’ve always felt my job is not just to tell them to go out and play but to make sure they understand the small subtle differences that separate really good players from just another player…things that will allow them to maximize their talent. But those details make a vital difference”.

“When I talked to Freddie Modin in Tampa about looking big killing penalties, he and the others looked like I had two heads. Well, how do you look big? You can do things with your feet, legs and your body that make you look bigger and scare others from even shooting. Also, you have to be willing to block shots”.

“And if you are willing to go out there and do that, then others will be willing as well”.

Ramsay explains that it’s one thing to try and implement a game plan, but when players have been taught how to cope when “Plan A” goes south then you have a smarter more effective team. This is a lesson that remained with him from his early days from those who taught him the sport.

“I was very lucky growing up. I only played for two coaches until I turned pro. They taught me to look at the game, read the game and try to understand the game. Once you do that, then you can adjust to whatever you have on the ice. If you’re just told to go here or go there then when it breaks down…and in hockey, it does…well, then you have players asking ‘Now what do you do? You didn’t tell us about that’”.

Ramsay he wants to “hopefully make them the smartest team in hockey. And that’s what I consider my ‘job’. They’ll be better players, we’ll be a better team…and that’s what I think teaching is all about”.

Smarter players, he insists, also give him the confidence to place less emphasis on line matchups and more on skating out his best players on his terms.

“We like matchups…we understand the value of matchups…but we’ve also discussed the downside of matchups. You can get so carried away with having you’re ‘matchups’ that you forget to play your players. And have seen that, where at times some of the best players don’t get on the ice because a coach is too worried about his matchups”.

Continuing, “Once you’re on the road, you can’t always have your matchups. So we won’t get so carried away with that that we won’t get our players out on the ice”.

And so, coach Ramsay and his staff will seek to teach the Thrashers’ players how to play the game and instill in them a winning attitude. But Thrasherville’s newest head coach expects his students to participate not only during lesson time, but during the game as well. And not just on one side of the ice…but all sides.

“We want to have at least two sets of defense that can play against anybody. We want to have at least two lines that we can use in situations when we need them…and we expect all of our players to participate on both ends of the rink”.

Give the history in Thrasherville, that’s a lesson we can only hope that everyone on the team takes to heart.

192 comments Add your comment

Tom

September 8th, 2010
7:44 am

Coach Ramsey has the right attitude and it seems like the right group of coaches. I almost would prefer a down year with a true system being put into place than a race for the playoffs ala Waddell and Hartley.

World Be Free

September 8th, 2010
8:13 am

Rammer knew the Thrashers could be exploited in their own end. Something we have all been talking about for some time, correct? This guy is first class, top quality. Add in the fact that he and Dudley are on the same page and have been for almost 40 years bodes well for this club.

The Real Thrash

September 8th, 2010
8:17 am

Now if can just jettison Waddell.

Darkhorse

September 8th, 2010
8:19 am

Very nice job Rawhide….I hear ya Tom, but I’m going to vote for a solid run to the playoffs if possible. Anything this GM and coaching staff can do to change the perception of this franchise to a positive destination for players and keep our quality FA is what needs to happen.

That said, this roster is still a few sandwiches short of a picnic imo.

Fan from Carolina

September 8th, 2010
8:20 am

Rawhide please excuse this post but I wanted to thank Brendan for his post and time.
Brendan, thank you for taking the time to write all that info about the tickets BUT most of it does not apply to me or anyone that lives in western NC. No Publix, no Kroger, no Entertainment books here. A game is not just a game to me. I don’t want to see the Panthers or Wild or Islanders. I want to see the clubs I want to see at a fair price. The Canes (Raleigh is 5 hours away), the Caps, the Rangers, etc.. I do NOT want to sit in the 400 level. I’m accustomed to the lower level seats from my past and I had to settle for the 2nd level as it is. I was just trying to attend some games that were worth the 2 hour drive and to see the clubs that I wanted to see in decent seats. I can’t do it at a reasonable price. I’ve already bought my $45 2nd level seats for this year so it is settled, but attending NHL games this year will probably be my last. If I lived in the Atlanta area I could probably manage more games as you have pointed out many opportunities, but amazingly I’ve gone from season ticket holder in the 90’s to non-attendance in the future. Fortunately NHL Center Ice is available at a cost of less than 1 attended game for me. I am grateful for that. Thanks again for your time Brendan. You are a good guy!

kracker

September 8th, 2010
8:21 am

How anyone can read this fine article and their only comment is the obsessive one above is beyond me.

kracker

September 8th, 2010
8:22 am

Oops, sorry, I am referring to the short Waddell comment.

kracker

September 8th, 2010
8:27 am

Anyway….maybe it’s due also to the writing skills of the blogmaster but after reading about our coaches, particularly Coach Ramsay, I am really looking forward to watching a new Thrashers team develop this season. It won’t happen over night so let’s hope we don’t get buried early on.

The Smooth Spark

September 8th, 2010
8:36 am

Amen Brother Free!

Bill – did you talk to Rammer about any specific players or did you focus more on overall philosophy? Great read and I really appreciate the time you gave to this assignment, very in depth purview into the inner-workings of Rammer’s noggin.

Rawhide

September 8th, 2010
8:42 am

The Smooth Spark – I did chat with Ramsay about some of the players…but it was more of a “Word Association” kinda thing. I’d say the name of a player then he gave me a quick response based on the first thing that came to mind. Nothing really in-depth or specific about roles.

One thing that really struck me is that he seems to possess a cool confidence…knows what it is he thinks he needs to do. I guess that comes when you’ve been around successful organizations and experienced what has ben done and has worked before.

In the hour spent with him, I don’t think one time an “ummm…” or “ya know…” or “uhhhhh…” came out of his mouth responding to any questions.

Joe Friday

September 8th, 2010
9:10 am

“we expect all of our players to participate on both ends of the rink”.

Preach it, Coach!

Could have done without him signing Waddell’s praises (WTF is with that?) but whatever, hopefully just blowing smoke up his boss’ rear (and he’s still the boss, guys).

Alan R.

September 8th, 2010
9:11 am

This is a beautiful piece of journalism, Bill! Great work! I really enjoyed reading about Ramsay and his plans for the team.

Mikey

September 8th, 2010
9:21 am

Nice work, BlogMaster.

Making the Thrashers defense our “stregnth”? My head is spinning just reading that. I hope it turns into a reality.

Given Rammer and Dudley’s past affiliations, if this team turns into a combination of the 2004 Bolts and the Blackhawks & Bruins of the last few years, I’d bo OK with that.

TrueBlue

September 8th, 2010
9:43 am

Excellent interview and article. I am really really looking forward to seeing this team in October!

Sara

September 8th, 2010
9:59 am

You mean we might see something besides whack-a-mole in our own end? Shocking!!

World Be Free

September 8th, 2010
10:01 am

Almost the season Smoothie! Can’t wait to “don” the Thrasher blue again, I have to get the blue cheese stain off my jersey from the Maytag fries late last season. They should just name those fries “The Triple Bypass Special”.

Rhythmpenguin

September 8th, 2010
10:01 am

Thanks Rawhide! Great interview and writeup! =)

kracker

September 8th, 2010
10:01 am

BenThrashers In case you missed the Rick Dudley interview on Calgary’s Fan 960 yesterday, here it is. http://bit.ly/aPB2CT

I am listening right now!

Smoothie

September 8th, 2010
10:13 am

Anyone heading to Duluth for the rookie camp scrimmage next Wednesday? I’m pretty certain I’ll be taking the long lunch…hope to see some familiar faces! Let’s drop the puck!!

kracker

September 8th, 2010
10:24 am

From the Dudley interview: On Oduya and the d-men, lookinf for scoring, for Oduya to be more offensive minded…Buff possibly to defense…Buff was developing into a top 4 d-man in Chicago. The change is up to Rammer…Rammer is a premier defensive teacher of the game, taught Boyle, Boychuck…reiterates his theory of not signing a player he thinks would not be picked up on waivers…Duds says he/they watched Modin closely in LA and in the playoffs, he thinks he played “really, really well”…he played for Duds and Rammer before. On Little…is less well known because he plays in Atlanta. On Kane…very focused…a leader…reminds Duds of Towes. On Bergfors…still negotiating. Looking for Burma and Cormier possibly to make team…same for Zubarev possibly, Kulda, too. Goaltenders…league wide trend is not to pay big bucks…did not expect to get a tender of Mason’s caliber. Would love a split goalie tandem. Mason is a good teacher. Looks for balanced scoring from the Thrashers…roll three lines…offence from the B/L.

kracker

September 8th, 2010
10:25 am

Love to, Smoothie! But I need the job more :) If I take off any time, it will probably be during main camp.

World Be Free

September 8th, 2010
10:26 am

Thanks for the Cliff Notes kracker-well done

Smoothie

September 8th, 2010
10:31 am

“On Kane…very focused…a leader”

Just hope he isn’t gleaning too many life lessons from Snooki and The Situation when he watches Jersey Shore!!

MASHAPlayer7

September 8th, 2010
10:33 am

Rawhide-that was a great interview. One of the best coach interviews I have seen anywhere. I like Rammer’s thinking…you can tell he is a cerebral coach…and we haven’t had many (any?) of those in Thrashers history. I really like the “smartest team” comments…smarts, determination and conditioning are usually the tipping points to truly successful hockey teams. Talent will get you far, but only so far.

I am excited about this year’s product. Even if the winning doesn’t happen right away, they will be a team that will be fun to watch and we can at least be proud of…and not have buyer’s remorse after forking over hard-earned dollars to attend Philips Arena.

Jack

September 8th, 2010
10:39 am

Kracker thanks for the link. What was your take on whether Dudley is finished or not(exception being Bergfors)

Adam

September 8th, 2010
10:40 am

Please, PLEASE, please don’t view my following comments as being a Waddell apologist. I think that from my previous posts most of you know how I feel about that topic.
Maybe, just maybe, this setup that’s in place for the entire management of the team can work. (You can’t fix the Octocluster without a new owner so I’ll just leave that one alone.) It’s been well documented that Waddell is well liked around the league. If he adjusts into a roll that utilizes his strengths and Dud’s and Rammer do the same they may make a good team together by covering each other’s weaknesses. Waddell was not a good GM. That much is known. But if his role complements the people that are beneath him instead of hampering the organ-I-zation we may see them build something that will change the legacy he has made for himself.
He’s still here so that’s all we can hope for.
I believe that financing has dictated many of the poor decisions that have been made by Waddell. Add to that his ineptitude to make the correct decision on personnel, from coaches to players, with the money he was given and the result is what we got. A subpar, poorly run franchise which has been the laughing stock of the league and an undesired destination for players.
From what I have watched and read of the new GM and coaching staff I believe the right people are finally in place within the club. When the last time you heard a coach of the Thrashers say the things that Rammer has said in this article alone? I sure haven’t and I really hope this philosophy rubs off on our minor league affiliates.

Smoothie

September 8th, 2010
10:42 am

kracker – thanks for the recap, and sorry your job demands that you actually work more than a few hours a day! ;-) But did you get a sinking feeling in your stomach when the radio guy asked about Bergie? Obviously he passed the buck so to speak saying it was Larry Simmons’ job, but there was nothing positive to say really. Perhaps I’m just scaring myself, but at least with Duds (should we have to trade him), we should be able to get good value for him in a trade scenario.

Josh

September 8th, 2010
10:47 am

Great read, rammer and staff are one of things that have me very excited about this season and things to come.

Alan R.

September 8th, 2010
10:58 am

Obviously he passed the buck so to speak saying it was Larry Simmons’ job

I heard that yesterday and didn’t think anything of it. Really, that’s why Simmons is there. Dudley has said in the past that negotiations are handled by Simmons.

Maybe it’s just me, but I’m really not too worried at this point.

Mr. Willson

September 8th, 2010
10:59 am

Good work, Bill. It’s gotten me more psyched for this season. Gotta temper my high hopes. By this interview alone, I’d can see that we are heading in a positive direction.

kracker

September 8th, 2010
11:06 am

Smoothie, I did somewhat get that feeling when all he said about Bergfors was they were still negotiating. No praise of Bergy, no talk of how well he expects him to play this season or how he is intended to be used. It is possible this is a Dudley tactic of not publicly fawning over players during an ongoing negotiation…and I suppose that makes sense. That said, I would have expected a little more chit-chat about the player’, if only from the standpoint of providing information during a radio interview.

Fred from Thrasherville

September 8th, 2010
11:07 am

Long time reader, first time commenter. Nice article on the new coach, blogmaster.

I’m a bit concerned about this whole Buff on defense thing and Bergfors still yet to be signed. But let’s see how it all pans out during camp.

I classify myself as “expectantly optimistic”. This is opposed to being “skeptically optimistic” the past few years. How would you and your regular contributors classify yourselves?

I’ll hang up and listen.

GaVaHokie

September 8th, 2010
11:17 am

Just FYI… In case you haven’t done the math yet. Atlanta has more money invested in Defense and Goaltending than Offense so far… that’s gotta be a first, at least in the post lockout era.

Jack

September 8th, 2010
11:24 am

Kracker I would say that Coach Rex Ryan of the Jets could learn from Dudley’s tactic of not publicly fawning over players.

I as well felt some turning when Bergfors was brought up. But we shall see, really curious if another move will be made. However it sounds like dudley is 90% satisfied of what he has so far.

Joe Friday

September 8th, 2010
11:57 am

“I classify myself as “expectantly optimistic”. This is opposed to being “skeptically optimistic” the past few years.”

I would say that hits the nail on the head. Now, what I’m optimistic for is not a Cup run or even playoffs, that would be a sweet suprise. I’m optimistic of better overall play at both ends and no more figure skating from the forwards. That’s hockey, to me, and will make my viewing pleasure much more enjoyable.

Smoothie

September 8th, 2010
11:59 am

kracker – yep, those were pretty much my sentiments exactly! I know that Dudley is probably shrewd enough to not give Bergy’s agent any leverage by fawning over him in an interview, but I have not really heard much of anything positive coming out of Duds’ mouth regarding Bergfors. Not that he is negative but rather he always seems to leave him out of the discussion. Perhaps I need to go back to some of the older interviews, print and otherwise, and see if I’m just conjuring that up in my own head cuz I’m worried about the course of negotiations.

Wayne stuck in AL

September 8th, 2010
12:07 pm

Defense had better be the Thrashers’ strength; Dudley REFUSES to sign any 1st-line forwards.

lemon drop the gloves

September 8th, 2010
12:14 pm

great work rawhide. this team is trending upward and trying to do it the right way. i like rammer and his philosphy. duds good too – just don’t agree with him and big buff on defence. kracker – thanks for the link on his interview. the next month will be very interesting. i’m thinking there will be a few fights in camp with all the competition. really enjoy this blog. 92 points/3rd in division/8th in conference

A2B

September 8th, 2010
12:40 pm

I wouldn’t say Dudley refuses to sign any first liners, but think of it this way: Dudley knows our weakness has always been GA. IF you take one season to hammer that down then when a big time scorer hits the market you can fit him in to a more responible team and then plug the holes where they show up. He made or Goalie situation better, brought in all kinds of size and competition for D and is forcing players to really work on both sides of their game.

glovesave29

September 8th, 2010
1:25 pm

Bill – you missed your calling. This is a well thought out and excellent piece of work. There is a reason all are commending you here…some of your best work yet.

Carolina Fan – just post here if you plan on coming down for a game. I am sure one of us can hook you up with decent seats at a fair price. I get a pretty nice discount going through the local beer league, plus we don’t have to pay Ticketmaster fees. The Thrashers also make a contribution to our league foundation for all tickets sold – that money is used to fund handicapped hockey and help families of players and former players that have left us too soon.

I met Rammer a few years back at a Lightning practice at DIF. I offered an old Sabres puck to sign, he asked my name, took the time to personalize it and make it nice and legible, then shook my hand and thanked me for coming out. It was a nice gesture, and he took the time – and in a small nutshell, that is his personality. He understands. He takes the time. He knows not only the challenges the Thrashers face, but hockey in the south in general. I am infinitely more confident with him behind the bench. No more waiting for the team to “get” his philosophy – he will adjust the schemes to match the talents (and shortcomings) of the team. Last year, we too often got beaten in the latter part of the game as other teams made adjustments and we did not. I think those days are behind us!

Bergie will sign. There are too many good UFA’s still out there. With the new CBA, teams know the importance of building from within and getting talented players with more manageable contracts to contend with, in addition to the players that will have to be jettisoned by teams above the cap. Few teams will offer RFA’s sheets knowing they will lose multiple 1st and 2nd rounders – and also putting them in line for cap issues down the road. Everyone is going to wait it out – thus lessening Bergie’s bargaining position. I hope he signs and understands it is just part of the business. No taking it personal like Francoeur did with the Braves a few years back…instead act like Brian McCann – sign the deal and go play hard.

Red Light

September 8th, 2010
1:46 pm

After July 8, first-liners were hard to come by, but I certainly agree that wasn’t addressed. The interesting thing is that there isn’t a coach anywhere that doesn’t want to limit goals against and stress defense (except maybe JA), so to me that point is moot, but it’s how you limit opponent’s chances that matters. To me, Ramsay has a much clearer picture on that than most but lets not kid yourself, if this team starts winning games 5-4 or 4-3, there isn’t one person on this blog that would have a problem with that. It’s time to count wins and points, rather than feeling good about “good losses.” Obviously, fewer goals allowed means you have a better chance to win, but I think one vital item that all of us should pay attention to as the season unfolds is how this team plays in the neutral zone and transitioning from defense-to-offense after creating turnovers. If all goes according to plan, Ramsay’s team will be much better in the neutral zone come Dec. 1 than any we have seen here before. They will have had ample time by that point to figure out what Ramsay wants and I expect a huge improvement in that area.

Nice job Bill. Keep up the fine work.

Thrashers27

September 8th, 2010
1:46 pm

Nice piece, Bill!

No “Umms”, or “you knows”, huh…Well, Bob Hartley he ain’t. :)

Only a few weeks left!!!

Zoomo

September 8th, 2010
1:47 pm

Chiming in the with Kudos, Bill. Great timing too. Nice pre-cursor to camp.

glovesave29

September 8th, 2010
1:47 pm

OK Sabres fans…this should make your day. Here are the new jerseys that replace the Buffaslugs…

http://img228.imageshack.us/img228/6530/newalt1.jpg
http://img821.imageshack.us/img821/5079/newroad.jpg

Brendan

September 8th, 2010
1:55 pm

Well, it all sounds good. Loved the interview, Rawhide. I cannot even begin to express to you how you’ve taken this “Fan ‘Blogger” assignment to another level. For most newspaper, the fan blogger chimes in to say, “Well, tough business about this losing streak. Maybe we’ll win the next one. What do you guys think?” That’s what a fan blogger is required to say/do for this type of column. Amazing to see this kind of coverage, that we’re now used to and spoiled by.

I have loved the Ramsay signing from Day #1. I remember the naysayers were here to say that Torchetti was the only decent candidate, and that we’d blown it with him. Nope, for once, I think the Thrashers got it right. Ramsay as Head Coach. Torchetti as Associate Coach. They’re going to work well together. The team will truly be a TEAM, now, rather than a smattering of star players with insufficient supporting cast.

I am optimistic about the season, even if it will end outside of the playoffs. The point is … we’re now moving in a BETTER direction than before. I’m avoiding the phrase that requires that I pay the AS, LLC a royalty.

Brendan

September 8th, 2010
1:56 pm

Fan From Carolina, I put a response on the previous blog.

kracker

September 8th, 2010
2:14 pm

That is a good line about avoiding paying the ASG royalties, Brendan. Continuing your thought on Ramsay, he also said “Part of a head coaches job is to train your successors…” I think that is certainly true for Ramsay in this head partucular coaching position. Training the Torch to take over in a few years, I mean. I hope it works out that way. I also would really love to see Ramsay crown his hockey and coaching career by taking his Thrashers teams to the playoffs consistently, having them play well in the playoffs and perhaps get to the Cup series. And then, of course, earn the Cup.

Smoothie

September 8th, 2010
2:21 pm

glovesave – wonderful post! Good to hear the heart-warming story about Rammer. He just seems like that kind of guy who would take the time to sign and chat no matter who approaches him. He just seems genuinely appreciative of the fact he’s been able to make hockey a career. Then again, you could say that about the vast majority of hockey peeps.

Also, this part of your post intrigues me:

“I get a pretty nice discount going through the local beer league, plus we don’t have to pay Ticketmaster fees. The Thrashers also make a contribution to our league foundation for all tickets sold – that money is used to fund handicapped hockey and help families of players and former players that have left us too soon.”

Could you send me more information on this “program” by which tkts are made available, if indeed it is something they actively promote within local leagues? I think the fact that proceeds are being donated to a good cause would make for a good write-up feature entry on my blog. I love stories like this. Billy the Thrill Tiller has my e-mail address if you wouldn’t mind taking the time to elaborate a bit more on the process / program and sending it to Rawhide’s e-mail account. Or he can forward you my info and we can go from there. It certainly seems like one situation where the ASG deserves a little bit of praise. Then again, I could be wrong! ;-)

Thanks!

glovesave29

September 8th, 2010
2:41 pm

Smoothie – actually its the beer league that has the foundation, not the ASG. I have OK’s Bill to send you my personal info.

Players look at adults wanting autos with a weary eye. They think all will end up on eBay (should they really care anyhow with their salaries? – but I digress). When he wanted to personalize it, I jumped at the chance, and he could tell it was for me and was a good guy about it. Other players who were really cool were Joe Sakic (actually apologized for Patrick Roy being a total ass to me), Jacques Lemaire, Dave Schultz (!), Colin Paterson (I thanked him for the 89 cup over a beer or three!), Martin Brodeur, Bill Clement, Clarke Gillies, Bobby Hull and Stephane Richer (another !). Got them all displayed in the “man cave”

kracker

September 8th, 2010
2:43 pm

Jason Williams is still available…

Smoothie

September 8th, 2010
2:55 pm

Oh well, figured it was more the beer league spreading the hockey love and not ASG, but I’m still intrigued to say the least. I have a really good tkt rep who is not afraid to pass along my feedback so perhaps we can come up with something to get them more involved for the sake of getting more kids, friends of league players and such interested in going to some games early on in the season. Promote the charity aspect of it and and help boost attendance all at the same time.

Man, they really need to tap some of the “talent” on this blog when it comes to promoting the game in this city. Use your fans to help stir up interest and create new fans along the way. Invest in the game and the game will be better off as everyone benefits, profit-wise, entertainment-dollar wise and community srengthening-wise.

Okay, stepping down off of the soap box.

Adam

September 8th, 2010
3:06 pm

Bill – I meant to mention how good of a Blog article I thought this was. Thank you for your time & effort.

I been around this page almost as long as you have and I must say you are head and shoulders above your predecessors!!! If you keep getting team access like this you may end up giving Chris a run for his job. No offense to Chris… ;)

Tom

September 8th, 2010
3:10 pm

Remember when Bergfors was traded to the Thrashers? He was not happy about it and was not afraid to show it during his interview with the blonde (sorry, I have already forgotten her name).

Bergfors is a very talented young man, but he is not eager to be a Thrasher. I think he is taking the road that if he is to play here he will do so only if he is overpaid.

Dudley has obviously been around the block a few times and knows this so he will not be bullied. My guess is that is why he is saying publicly that he will only pay the amount that would be attractive on the waiver wire.

My hypothesis, Berfors is trade bait for a Top 6 player. The team knows that he will be gone sooner rather than later so getting value now out of him will make sense.

Darkhorse

September 8th, 2010
3:20 pm

If Bergfors is smart, he will realize playing a bigger role in Atlanta as he develops is not such a bad gig, especially when you consider the amount of beautiful, availible women in this town. Much rather hit the Midtown watering holes after a weeknight game here than Newark on a Saturday.

kracker

September 8th, 2010
3:33 pm

RE in the Bergfors negotiation (and some others), Dudley may be demonstrating, or saying, that he is in charge and a proper team is now being constructed in Atlanta, so no longer will players be over-paid to play here. Or something along those lines.

Now, if Dudley can back that up by constructing a proper team, we might be in business.

kracker

September 8th, 2010
3:36 pm

Very true, Darkhorse, being a bigger fish in a slightly smaller pond is a good thing. Surely he played here long enough to get out to Buckhead/Midtown after he was traded?…

Smoothie

September 8th, 2010
3:38 pm

Darkhorse – Jimmy “Skandalous” Slater needs to show Nicky a good time out in midtown…time for this team to change its own image. Ramsay will kickstart the change on the ice, but I think our boys Kaner, Bogo, Mason, Ricky Pevs, Jimmah and even Burmie will help change the image of this team within their own peer group. These whiny prima donnas who blather about playing in real hockey market need to take it upon themselves to make this town excited about hockey. If it can happen in Denver, CO, Phoenix (I mean Glendale), AZ and even Sonrise, FL, then it sure as hell can happen here in Atlanta. Bergy son, you have the potential to be great. But you gotta prove it first! Let’s go! Get on board the Kane Train o’ Dames and Fame or else you’re gonna feel real stupid sitting around with the hoboes at the midtown Amtrak waiting for your train out of town!

Smoothie

September 8th, 2010
3:45 pm

BTW, the biggest loss this off-season will prove to be Marty Reasoner. Our PK will struggle without him for at least a month or so until it adjusts and new roles are embraced by guys who don’t even know it yet. This team needs his passion and leadership by example. However, I do believe that Kaner and Slater and even Pevs to an extent will provide the necessary passion to fuel some fires in the ‘room’.

But you know, I’d be perfectly happy if we traded Bergfors to Florida for Stephen Weiss and Marty Reasoner. I think Weiss is one of the most under-rated C in the entire need. As Red Light has pointed out, we need play-makers more than anything. Hell, I’d be willing to give up Peverley too if that’s what it took to get Weiss. No offense to Pevs, but I think Weiss’ ceiling is closer to 75-80 points.

English Teacher

September 8th, 2010
3:51 pm

“In the hour spent with him, I don’t think one time an ‘ummm…’ or ‘ya know…’ or ‘uhhhhh…’ came out of his mouth responding to any questions.”

I think this speaks volumes, and it gives me hope.

Is it hockey season yet? Let’s kick this pig!

kracker

September 8th, 2010
3:53 pm

On trading Bergy…we can only trade negotiating rights, yes? I don’t know how much we would get coming back without the trading partner being sure of signing Bergfors. Can the Thrashers allow another team to negotiate w/ Bergfors before those rights are traded?? I suppose there could be some back door talking going on, perhaps.

Red Light

September 8th, 2010
4:34 pm

kracker: “Very true, Darkhorse, being a bigger fish in a slightly smaller pond is a good thing.”

Begging to differ here kracker. There are no smaller fish in the NY/NJ Metropolitan professional sports market than the New Jersey Devils, even with their Cups. Even if the Thrashers come in fourth here now, they have a chance to move ahead of the Hawks. In the other market, the Devils will never be higher than 7th out of nine, and could easily be 9th if it weren’t for the Isles.

If you win in Atlanta, the attendance here will be better than it is in Jersey. The reason they can compete is because of the radio and TV market, which of course, is so densely populated with viewers and listeners. The new arena, broadcast money and their Cup legacy is the only reason they are somewhat viable. Other than that, they are way off the radar except with their small base of fans.

1) Yankees
2) Giants
3) Knicks (when they don’t suck)
4) Jets
5) Mets
6) Rangers (they always have sucked with Sather)
7) Nets
8) DEVILS
9) Islanders (because their building sucks and their team has too, but there is room for a return to prior levels)

Also, I think they can trade Bergfors’ rights to whomever they want, whenever they want. The acquiring team has until Dec. 1 to sign him. You also could let him walk, and if he signs with an NHL team the Thrashers automatically get a 3rd-rounder in return.

Rawhide

September 8th, 2010
4:39 pm

Thank you very much to those who have offered up kind word. I enjoyed doing this piece. Ramsay was real easy to speak with and gave some good responses. There was a lot more, but I had to trim it down somewhat. Maybe I can work in some other comments of his about players and other things in the coming days as we discuss the team as it approaches camp.

I classify myself as “expectantly optimistic”. This is opposed to being “skeptically optimistic” the past few years. How would you and your regular contributors classify yourselves?

Fred from Thrasherville – I don’t think I could find a better way of putting it than the way you did. Put me down as “expectantly optimistic” as well.

If you keep getting team access like this you may end up giving Chris a run for his job. No offense to Chris…

Adam – C-Viv does a super job at covering the Thrashers and keeping up with his other duties as well. I don’t think for a second I could come close to giving him a run. But I appreciate the spirit of the compliment.

glovesave29

September 8th, 2010
4:47 pm

The latest laugh from Eklund…

from a source… “The trade would involve Tomas Kaberle and a 4th rounder ending up in NJ,
With Rolston, Langenbrunner, a first in 2011, and a second in 2012.”

Like Lou would ever let go so much for so little in return!!!

Sage of Bluesland

September 8th, 2010
4:56 pm

”…Don [Waddell] is a great worker, student of the game and he’s going to be an invaluable tool for me and the coaching staff…”

Remember, that half of all ’students’ finish in the lower half of their class. That’s our ’student’ Donny in a nushell.

I will agree that our bumbling little fraud of a “former” GM is a “tool”. No doubt about that. Not a spreadsheet in the world would show differently…(well, maybe except one…wink)

Nice article, Rawhide. It actually gives me a little hope that the old guy is preaching fundamentals–as opposed to gimmicks and ridiculous schemes (which aren’t time-honored in the league; i.e. everything Coach Sunshine and his ’system’ stood for).

It will, as always, be interesting to see…

Smoothie

September 8th, 2010
5:01 pm

Hey World, there’s a rumor from Andy Strickland saying we’ve signed or are about to sign Nigel Dawes. Didn’t we say he’d be a good fit here?

Penalty Killer – check!

Adam

September 8th, 2010
5:01 pm

Bill – I was be a bit facetious with that comment, hence the wink. I know you have no plans on making journalism your primary vocation.

I know the writers here are spread a bit thin. I just think that this is one of the better Thrasher pieces this rag has seen in in a while. As C-viv continues to learn more about the game his blogs/articles have gotten better.

Adam

September 8th, 2010
5:04 pm

^ being a bit…
It’s late in the day. I need to go home. :)

kracker

September 8th, 2010
5:10 pm

Red Light, you miss my drift. Darkhorse (I don’t think) and I are not referring to market size, market share, the popularity of hockey versus some other sport, crowd size or city size…nothing like any of that. Simply that Bergfors has a better chance to shine, stat-wise, as a developing individual player on a team whose top six will almost surely be less difficult to crack than on a more established contending team. He would be getting ample PP time here too, don’t you think?

Even with logging heavy minutes here, I expect Bergy would rather play top six on a contending team. If he can land on one with the open slot for him, that is. I rather expect he has the spot already penciled in for him here in Atlanta.

Red Light

September 8th, 2010
5:14 pm

Got ya kracker!

Smoothie: It was way back on June 30 we began mentioning Dawes. Hope it happens, and if it does, say goodbye to Rissmiller.

http://blogs.ajc.com/iceman-thrashers-blog/2010/06/29/a-look-at-where-thrashers-are-prior-to-ufa-season/comment-page-2

Red Light

September 8th, 2010
5:17 pm

No question Bergfors is a power play winger and will get lots of time on that unit, but depending upon the team he isn’t a sure top-6 forward, well at least not in Detroit, San Jose, Vancouver, Chicago, etc.

kracker

September 8th, 2010
5:28 pm

Dawes? Wow, guys, it’s getting more crowded every day! How many spots will remain available for the young, hopeful players? Maye a trade coming for some picks?

Red Light, it looks like Dudley read your post ;)

Smoothie

September 8th, 2010
5:29 pm

That’s right! You were the one suggesting Dawes back then. See? We do know what we’re talking about! ;-) I reckon we’ll be getting him for less than his former $850K price-tag and perhaps even on a 2-way contract similar to Freddy Meyer. I for one was never counting on Rismiller. He’s AHL fodder and an occasional disaster call-up. If Machacek, Cormier and Burma can’t beat him out, we’re in trouble.

kracker

September 8th, 2010
5:36 pm

Oh, not just Red Light….several of y’all were liking Dawes back than.

Red Light

September 8th, 2010
5:44 pm

Yes, but I’m certainly not going to enhance my “assistant GM” status by advocating the acquisition of such low-hanging fruit like Nigel Dawes. You want someone to give you his all, night-in and night-out? Dawes is your man.

Red Light

September 8th, 2010
5:53 pm

It’s done. 2-way deal $600k/$105k

Red Light

September 8th, 2010
5:54 pm

Thank you Rick. Thank you C-Viv. Thank you Sather and Sutter!

Red Light

September 8th, 2010
6:00 pm

And, oh by the way, while this very definitely is a depth signing, I’ll amend R.Stroz’s over-under on Modin goals and games to pose this proposition bet:

Who will score more goals in the NHL this season, Nigel Dawes or Fredrik Modin?

Darkhorse

September 8th, 2010
6:21 pm

kracker-You got my drift on Bergfors. He can sign a 3-5yr deal, be a main cog/star, and then still be young and go sign elsewhere for big $$ maybe on the next deal.

Funny how many of you were calling for Dawes since last summer.

Dawes is an interesting signing. Great PK guy, can pot a few goals, plays a Marty Reasoner tough style, and got him cheap on a two way deal. Interesting he agreed to a two way deal with us on what is already a very crowded third and fourth line. Starting to get very crowded on the roster, which should create some fierce training camp battles. With Modin, possibly………Dawes and Meyer, Rismiller, and Kyle Maclaren, not sounding like there will be much room for the young guys to make the roster. I would have thought Modin would have been the two way guy due to his age and injuries, and Dawes would have been the solid PK one way contract guy. But hey, what do I know sitting on my sofa here?

Could there be a trade brewing for a solid top six forward? They need that worse than another 3rd-4th line guy, who I do like by the way.

Smoothie

September 8th, 2010
6:56 pm

Hey, nothing wrong with a 2-way deal…good for everyone except the player if he doesn’t make it. But this competition for jobs is the best thing that could happen to our young guys. It’s not like they’ll be losing out to JP Vigier, Brad Larsen or Todd White!!

After we sign Burmie and Bergie, hopefully, we’ll only have one contract left under the 50 allowed. I reckon there will be at least one more trade just as we’ve talked about. Luckily, the Sathers and Sutters of the world have painted themselves into some very unenviable corners.

Smoothie

September 8th, 2010
6:57 pm

R/L – neither Modin nor Dawes, Pettersson scores the most with 14. Modin 11 and Dawes 9.

How’s that for going out on a limb!?

Red Light

September 8th, 2010
7:00 pm

A very shaky limb indeed.

GaVaHokie

September 8th, 2010
7:07 pm

Thrashers are now at 47 contracts, 50 is the NHL maximum. Bergfors would be 48.

Brendan

September 8th, 2010
7:08 pm

Rawhide, can you tell us if Ramsay listed anything resembling a final roster? Or any intended line combinations?

Brendan

September 8th, 2010
7:20 pm

What are our preliminary line combos?

Little-Antropov-Bergfors,
Kane-Peverley-Byfuglien,
Machacek/Petterson/Holzapfel-Cormier-Boulton/Modin/Dawes,
Thorburn-Slater-Boulton

On Defense …

Bogosian-Hainsey,
Oduya-Enstrom,
Valabik-Kulda/Postma

Is this where we are? Someone help me out.

Brendan

September 8th, 2010
7:25 pm

Whoops. Listed Boulton twice.

Tony C.

September 8th, 2010
7:37 pm

Sweet. We will be playing the trap. Just look at our forwards-lots of “sound two-way player” types…only a few that’ve ever seen the lamp go on more than 15 times in a season.

Looks like we’ll be winning more but have less “OMG!” type moments. I can live with that… provided we can get some scorers in here in a few seasons. The coming lockout seems to be informing personnel deciscions league-wide. Unfortunate, but hey, at least we have NHL hockey for a couple of more seasons.

Somebody be sure and let Rammer know that if we’re going to be playing the 1-2-2 his boys are going to need to rack up some serious PIMs… because the fair-weather jack@sses in this town surely aren’t going to be wowed into ticket purchases by playing positionally sound hockey (at least until/if we make the playoffs).

Not that I’m complaining. It will be nice to see a Thrashers squad that actually keeps the puck out of their end. I just don’t see enough scoring on that roster, and have deep reservations about the marketability of a trapping team that doesn’t fight (although you look at that roster and I see several guys that aren’t afraid to drop ‘em).

Brendan

September 8th, 2010
7:49 pm

Kinda forgot Ladd and Sopel. Allriightee, then.

Rawhide

September 8th, 2010
8:01 pm

Rawhide, can you tell us if Ramsay listed anything resembling a final roster? Or any intended line combinations?

Brendan – We did discuss that. But he said he really couldn’t speculate at this time.

Given the fact that there are so many new faces coming together on the squad, he said it would be ideal if a final roster could be put together early on. Then they could have time to gell during preseason. However, given that there are a number of prospects who will be trying to win spots, he doesn’t want to deny them the chance of proving themselves.

HookyBob

September 8th, 2010
8:03 pm

Mr Tiller:,…excellent, excellent write-up. Not sure if there is such a category but this is the “blog of the year” in my mind. What timing too,..you should be in the Thrashers marketing dept. Once again let me thank-you for the excellent service you provide Atlanta’s pro hockey community.

Defense as a Thrashers asset? Those words aren’t often found in the same paragraph,..let alone sentence. The common metric for defense is goals against / game. Last year we were at 3.05, or 25th in the league,..while the best team, NJ, was at 2.27. Who thinks we’ll improve to 2.75 (would have been 16th in the league in 09-10),..or even 2.60 (10th in the league).? Maybe this is another blogger contest to measure our faith this team and coaching.

I must admit that my optimisim is tempered by “high hopes” in previous Septembers. Weren’t Frasier, Hartley and Anderson all promoted as being hired because of their great ability to develop young talent? Perhaps Ramsay truly is the one to succeed at it.

Developing players “hockey intellect”,… and learning to be adaptable in the course of a game. I’m sold. Hope it doesn’t become fodder for commercials like the 2:40 mark of this clip illustrates: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5E-m2FIAcws

Also, hope it doesn’t reduce the blue collar grit and drive that a competitive hockey team needs.

Zoomo

September 8th, 2010
8:14 pm

And Ben Eager, Brendan….the third line may be the new Octocluster.

kracker

September 8th, 2010
8:39 pm

And Freddy Meyer is in the D mix somewhere. We sure are going to see a lot of a$$e$ being worked off this camp and preseason.

kracker

September 8th, 2010
8:53 pm

Hey! I thought we were told there was no Traverse City Prospects Tourney this year?!

“….announced today that the Hurricanes will participate in the 2010 NHL Prospects Tournament from Sept. 11-15, in Traverse City, MI. This marks Carolina’s second appearance at the annual tournament, hosted by the Detroit Red Wings. The Hurricanes’ squad won the tournament in 2009.”

http://hurricanes.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=535428

alex

September 8th, 2010
8:54 pm

good article, thanks. ram best signing for thrashers this summer.but he is not playing, team does. feel sorry he deserve better skillwise roster. he is not messia, i don’t like making nim scapegoat if team not perform. usially they fire coaches. not higher managment waddel included.

Smoothie

September 8th, 2010
9:04 pm

Bergfors(or trade?)-Antro-Little

Kaner-Pevs-Big Buf

Laddy-Slates-Modin/Pettersson (we carry 14 forwards to start and Fly is one of them)

Eager/Boults-Cormier-Dawes

Thorburn may be in jeopardy; Machacek is prolly quite pissed at this point

Hainsey-Oduya

Enstrom-Sopel

Bogosian-Kulda-Valabik

Freddy Meyer is the first call-up if Vlabs struggles to start the year

My somewhat bold predictions I guess you could say. Burma may get his 9-game cup of coffee and then Fly Pete gets the first call-up. Rismiller is the emergency replacement if Cormier screws the pooch or goes to jail (just kidding). I really think Thorburn may wind up the odd man up. Dawes, Modin, Fly Pete and even Eager have better hands. Uh oh.

R. Stroz

September 8th, 2010
9:16 pm

The preseason games are looking more interesting than previous years.

Rawhide

September 8th, 2010
9:21 pm

Did you guys see Sidney Crosby go yard at PNC Park in Pittsburgh? Yup, he smacked that ball pretty hard.

Of course, Boris Valabik could tell you how aggressively Sid swings at balls.

Thrashers27

September 8th, 2010
9:27 pm

Brendan, I’m hoping for something that is more along these lines.

Bergfors-Burmistrov-Antropov
Kane-Peaver-Little
Ladd-Cormier-Modin/Pettersson
Boults/Dawes/Eager-Slater-Thorbs

D
Bogosian-Hainsey
Sopel-Buff
Boris-McLaren
Kulda

I get the feeling Burmistrov is going to make the opening night roster and I firmly believe that in order to make the best use of talent on the roster Antro needs to be moved back to RW.

It’s nice to have the depth that the team has aqcuired, but there seems to be too much of a logjam on the 3rd and 4th lines.

I couldn’t stand Mclaren when he was with the Sharks. Seemed like a really big douche, but he’s the kinda guy that you don’t mind having on your own team. He has size and adds grit for sure. I think he makes the team out of camp.

Bring on the pucks, beaches!

World Be Free

September 8th, 2010
9:29 pm

Smoothie, Red Light-we wanted Dawes awhile back, now we have him. Another guy that’s in the league for one reason-he works. Very nice pickup.

Sage-you are so pitiful.

kracker

September 8th, 2010
9:36 pm

This is still the Spirit Group owned Thrashers. Out of camp, I’m not betting against anybody on a one-way contract. Later in the season, maybe.

kracker

September 8th, 2010
9:42 pm

WOW pretty cool! I would be going if it was the Thrashers.

mirtle Crazy Canes fans. RT @MikeSundheim: @mirtle For what it’s worth, AAA sold almost 300 travel packages for fans from Raleigh to go to Finland.

kracker

September 8th, 2010
9:45 pm

Hokie P. Clisters

September 8th, 2010
10:46 pm

All these “depth” signings have caused me to think about an old tune from the 5 Man Electrical Band:

“Signs”

Sign, Sign, everywhere a Sign,
blocking out the scenery,
breaking my mind,
Do this, don’t do that
Can’t you read the sign?

Tom

September 8th, 2010
10:52 pm

What is the NHL policy on releasing players after camp. I assume they go on waivers, then re-entry waivers like the regular season.

The reason I ask is Dudley’s comment about signing players that will not clear waivers at their salary. He may have brought all these guys in knowing he will waive a few once camp breaks. We get a great look at the players and someone else picks up their salary to fill in holes in their lineups. Even if a couple run through re-entry we are not on the hook for too much.

Brendan

September 8th, 2010
11:04 pm

Zoomo, I guess I just don’t really believe Ben Eager will play here this year … that he’ll find a way to get packaged in a trade, as “sweetener.” But, he very well may be here, for all 82 games. Or, he might be moved at the trade deadline.

Well, I’ll say this for training camp … let the best men win! Rissmiller wants to play here. That’s for sure. He’s got to earn it, though. Petterson wants to be here, I think. Valabik shouldn’t think his position is safe. He might be here on opening night, but if it becomes clear that Postma or Kulda would do better, it’ll be interesting. Dawes and Modin need jobs. If they get them, doesn’t that sort of make Eager available? And yes, Thorburn, too. Holzapfel is still another year away, right? Burmistrov??? I don’t know. You know how I feel about rushing rookies into the lineup. No 1st round of ours that has been “rushed” into the lineup has played the year uninjured.

JLH

September 8th, 2010
11:15 pm

Thrash27 – How did you leave Oduya and Enstrom out on defense? Are we trading them? I like moving Antropov back to RW, but he was pretty effective with Bergie on the wing. I also wouldn’t be surprised if Bergfors goes back to RW. He often moved to the right side of the ice last year to score his Atlanta goals – don’t know about NJ. I’m also voting for Pettersen as the surprise of camp. He’s got more experience than some of the younger guys and fits the Dudley/Ramsey mold. I also don’t see why Kane can’t play on the 1st line, though there may not be any difference between the 1st and 2nd lines for Ramsey.

Kane-Antropov-Bergfors
Byfugelin-Peverley-Little
Ladd-Burmistrov/Slater-Pettersen/Modin
Eager/Boulton-Cormier-Thorburn/Dawes

Oduya – Hainsey
Kulda – Enstrom
Bogosian – Sopel
Valabik

Brendan

September 8th, 2010
11:34 pm

I’ve seen it posted here a few times now, about moving Antropov from center to wing. I must say, I like and support this idea. And I’d add that Bryan Little’s natural position is not that of winger, but center. Put Little in the middle, and the Mix-A-Lot jokes behind.

The Smooth Spark

September 9th, 2010
12:19 am

Uh, hate to break it to you but the ol’ wood apple is turning rotten. He will never play for the Thrashers.

Cornbread

September 9th, 2010
3:55 am

Very good report. Far more accurate reporting than a recent international piece that has the Thrashers finishing 26th in the league.

World Be Free

September 9th, 2010
5:51 am

Hokie-showing your age

kracker

September 9th, 2010
7:34 am

“…the ol’ wood apple…” ??

I have no idea what that means.

hip czech

September 9th, 2010
7:45 am

wow…a Five Man Electrical Band reference!

Seems to me this is the first time there has actually been competition in camp besides just competing for one fourth line position. Competition is a good thing.

This is shaping up to be probably the most NHL talented roster. I’m not saying the top 6 are great, not even saying they are above average, but I think from top to bottom on offense, defense, and in goal this is probably as solid a roster as we’ve seen.

I like Thorburn, but man, where does he fit? For sure there’s got to be another move or two to be made or if not the line at the unemployment office is going to be pretty long when final cuts are made. I’m still thinking Bergfors is moved along with a couple other ‘depth’ types.

World Be Free

September 9th, 2010
7:54 am

hip-the word “fit” is a perfect word to descibe the players on this team. These players will fit wherever their skills, drive and desires take them. I didn’t think Thorny fit with the Thrashers at all last season, I was advocating for the Thrashers to dump him in July 2009. But Thorny showed us all a side that made him valuable, in a penalty killing role. Dawes and Modin both have spots in the lineup if they can maximize what is left of their skills.

Duds is clearly building a bench that has NHL experience, either with the guys he signed this summer, or by fillig the bench with players from the 2009-2010 roster. Should be interesting.

The Smooth Spark

September 9th, 2010
8:20 am

Holzapfel means “wood apple” in German. No room at the in for him.

kracker

September 9th, 2010
8:35 am

TSS, we just added three additional hits on Rawhide’s blog. My initial question, your answer and this reply.

GaVaHokie

September 9th, 2010
8:35 am

I’m going to say that not a single prospect makes the roster… Dawes and Modin clinched it.

Kane Antro Berg
Ladd Pevs Little
Modin Slater Dawes
Eager Thorsy Boulton
Rissmiller

Enstrom Bogosian
Hainsey Oduya
Sopel Buff
Valabik

Rhythmpenguin

September 9th, 2010
8:41 am

No way Hokie. At least one prospect will be there on opening night. Probably Burmistrov or Cormier will make it, maybe both of them.

kracker

September 9th, 2010
8:49 am

Could well be that way, Hokie. I am saying basically the same thing, unless there is a trade to clear some space.

kracker

September 9th, 2010
9:01 am

Dan Ellis: “I am shutting down my twitter because in no way shape or form do I want this to disrupt my team.”

Just because you have a place to talk doesn’t mean you have to say something.

rob

September 9th, 2010
9:08 am

There are so many people here who will be fighting for a spot, it is impossible to say what the lines will be. I will say that if there is ever going to be a time for some prospects to make it, it has to be now.
Concerning Bergie, didn’t Salmella make a quote after being traded back to NJ that he told Lou he would be back to play for him again? I sure hope Bergie isn’t thinking the same thing, but if he is…. 1st time he steps foot back here I hope there is quite the greeting for him. This is shaping up to be a TEAM, so get with it, or tell them who you would except a trade to and get the F out! If he isn’t signed by camp he needs his head examined.

rob

September 9th, 2010
9:11 am

And as for Antropov, if his hip has taken all summer to come around, I would far better have him on wing than carrying the responsibility of center around and being more likely to reinjur it, IMO.

J.B.

September 9th, 2010
9:18 am

Here’s another good reason to walk away from McArthur… he’s a giant douchebag. I realize he’s right to an extent, but I hate when they point it out like that… doesn’t help grow the sport down here and gives the Canadians more ammo.

http://www.thestar.com/sports/hockey/article/858472–new-leaf-macarthur-credits-phaneuf

Buffalo was good, I went through their system and learnt a lot. Atlanta wasn’t exactly a hockey market. I’m glad to be back where hockey means something.

The Smooth Spark

September 9th, 2010
9:26 am

Dan Ellis should have kept his foot in the goalmouth and out of his proverbial one.

Alan R.

September 9th, 2010
9:29 am

Hey! I thought we were told there was no Traverse City Prospects Tourney this year?!

No. We were told Atlanta isn’t participating this year. The tournament has been around for a good while, though.

Atlanta wasn’t exactly a hockey market.

That’s cool, MacArthur. You weren’t exactly a good hockey player, either.

Alan R.

September 9th, 2010
9:30 am

Oh, damn. I forgot to close one of my italics. Need more coffee, I guess.

lemon drop the gloves

September 9th, 2010
9:53 am

hokie-you can’t be serious about buff and sopel paired together. puck movers/retrievers they are not. still don’t think buff is going to play d. also dawes on 3rd line? maybe for the wolves with that two-way deal.

R. Stroz

September 9th, 2010
10:08 am

Yep, MacArthur learned alot in Buffalo. He learned how to play like a wuss. I’d preferred to state something else beginning with a P.

When we play Toronto in the regular season, we should toss tampons at MacArthur.

Twisted Wrister

September 9th, 2010
10:12 am

The president of the Atlanta Thrashers fan club has either had a Freudian slip or thinks the Thrashers Fan Club members have been eating well this summer.

http://twitter.com/HockeyWench/status/23236357481

Alan R.

September 9th, 2010
10:15 am

Twisted – I’ll go with the latter ;)

kracker

September 9th, 2010
10:21 am

Wow…back-to-back typos there.

Smoothie

September 9th, 2010
10:28 am

Oh dear, she almond.

Perhaps she and Dan Ellis can hang out when we go down to Tampa.

Smoothie

September 9th, 2010
10:30 am

Alan – took the words right out of my mouth (re: C-Mac). What a dolt.

Does anyone still follow Colby on twitter? Notice how he’s so much more engaged now that he’s in Tronna. Makes you a bit sick on the inside. We’ll just have to show these ingrates what they’re gonna miss. Break out the brooms (or at least a couple of cans of whoop-a$$) for Tronna, Tampa and Jersey!

rob

September 9th, 2010
10:33 am

MacArthur sounds like a jilted lover. Don’t hate the fact that the ATLANTA THRASHERS decided you weren’t capable of playing hockey in a market that hockey doesn’t mean anything to you CLOWN! When do our ex-slackers Colby and Clark come back? Can’t wait to see the look when they don’t see any figure 8’s on the ice and instead get smacked in the corner. PLEASE…….PLEASE let that be what awaits them!

Twisted Wrister

September 9th, 2010
10:37 am

Based on the spelling in that twitter post, I’m convinced Sage is the alter ego for the president of the fan club.

rob

September 9th, 2010
10:37 am

And if that is what awaits them……I can only hope there is some rabid fan there to bang on the glass and laugh at the shocked look on their face…..before the usher comes over and tells them they can’t do that, of course. LMAO

World Be Free

September 9th, 2010
10:41 am

Hockey won’t mean as much to MacArthuir when Leafs’ fans boo his ass out of the Air Canada Centre for being such a candy. This guy is not exactly a Ron Wilson type player, his only positive attribute is that he can score 20 goals in the right situation. But any player that lasts as long on the UFA market as he did is not a core player, fringe at best.

And frankly, who cares what he sez.

Smoothie

September 9th, 2010
10:43 am

WBF – indeed, who cares!? I’d rather spend time worrying about how much money Dan Ellis might lose to escrow!! LMAO

Don’t these players get some life-lesson and financial training for orientation when they enter the league? The escrow is there to protect your future interests, ya big dummy!!

Zombie Steve

September 9th, 2010
10:45 am

Clark MacWho???

World Be Free

September 9th, 2010
11:09 am

Smoothie-you would think a guy on a one year contract (like MacArthur) should learn to keep their mouth shut. He needs to focus on making the Leafs and securing a long term deal. Not smart to burn a bridge with ANY team or gain the reputation as a guy with a big mouth. Especially when MacArthur does not have the tools to back up what he sez.

He can think it, but don’t say it!

Smoothie

September 9th, 2010
12:09 pm

Wow, an hour and 15 minute lull on Bill’s blog. There must be an international crisis or something! Oh wait, it’s just Dan Ellis being Dan Ellis on twitter. Still LMAO!

World Be Free

September 9th, 2010
12:14 pm

Toronto is not a baseball town either-maybe we should move the Blue Jays to Birmingham, AL?

Smoothie

September 9th, 2010
12:35 pm

Toronto isn’t a footbal town and the Bills think they need to play games there. Such a shame. Perhaps the NHL should trade Bettman to MLB for Bud Selig so Canada can get over their complex about Bettman. I don’t really think Bettman is out to get CA, he wants to grow the league and make everyone richer. Despite escrows and financial matters that may affect the league year to year.

World Be Free

September 9th, 2010
12:43 pm

The Bills are in Tronna for money, they get a bundle for the games up there. when Ralph wilson dioes, the Bills will move to Los Angeles, not Toronto.

Bettman and Selig-2 basket cases

Smoothie

September 9th, 2010
12:50 pm

Money from the city though right? Did they even come close to selling out the Rogers Centre or whatever the hell its called for the Jets game last season? I agree that Buffalo could end up moving to LA. Who will die first? Ralph or Davis?

kracker

September 9th, 2010
12:54 pm

Really? The Bills moving from Buffalo….

John

September 9th, 2010
1:04 pm

Joe Friday

September 9th, 2010
2:09 pm

Ellis is a moron. He’s a crappy goalie too.

MacArthur? Keep your head up, son.

Colby will be fine, he’ll play pretty well up there, he was just another of the guys biding his time till he’s out of here, but really, when Don Waddell is your boss, there’s not much hope. There’s a new sheriff in town now, I like Ramsay more every day, they just need to keep Waddell away from the practice rink and locker room.

I smell a trade coming, that’s why Dudley is building this stash . . . and we need a top sixer

Smoothie

September 9th, 2010
2:29 pm

“I smell a trade coming, that’s why Dudley is building this stash . . . and we need a top sixer.”

And I am smelling what Rick Dudley is cooookin’!!

kracker

September 9th, 2010
2:47 pm

Hope so. C Viv said they thought they were done before the Dawes deal. So he still thinks they are done.

DWTOO

September 9th, 2010
2:56 pm

I am extremely underwhelmed at the Modin/Myers/Dawes signings. We need a winger who can play on the top lines. Instead we’re signing another series of third liners. Just looks like the same old crap we’ve been seeing for years.

Hoping that there is something brewing, but, as C Viv states roster is probably set. Damn!

Smoothie

September 9th, 2010
3:01 pm

No disrespect to C-Viv, but he apparently doesn’t know Duds’ tendencies. Look at how many trades he made before the ‘99-2000 season when he first took over in Tampa. For better or for worse, he generally gets the players HE wants. He may make mistakes, but what GM doesn’t? The bigger concern would be the internal budget. Judging by the lack of progress in the Bergfors’ situation, I’m thinking we’ll be lucky to get up over $49 M, with bonuses. Then again, perhaps we’re saving $3-4 M for that big trade?

Thrashers27

September 9th, 2010
3:13 pm

JLH,

Yeesh, you’re right. I totally left Toby out of the mix. Well, I guess that bounces McLaren.

World Be Free

September 9th, 2010
3:14 pm

Smoothie-the money is private in Tronna for the Bills, Ralph or Davis, who will go first? Don’t know, but somebody has to give Al Davis a bath the guy has looked greasy for 30 years.
kracker-as soon as Ralph Wilson dies the Bills are outta Buffalo.

Nate

September 9th, 2010
3:23 pm

I’m out of the loop. What did Dan Ellis tweet/say?

Red Light

September 9th, 2010
3:27 pm

Move Toby to center. He’s the best passer on the team!

DWTOO

I have no problem with trying to create competition at training camp, just as I have no problem with doling out two-way contracts. But, the problem with two-way contracts is that those guys who signed them typically have to far outshine those who have one-way deals during camp. For instance, if Dawes doesn’t really show something in camp, he’ll be sent down. Ditto for Rissmiller, Meyer, etc. As you, and others, have so correctly pointed out, there are a ton of 3rd and 4th liners on the roster, and like opinions everyone has them. That’s why I believe there is no question that Ladd will play on one of the top two lines, as he is the one most capable of scoring consistently. I also believe that in the right situation and added ice time, that Dawes also can score when on a line with the right linemates, like Peverley and Little for instance.

Right now, Antropov (if and when healthy) will have to stay at center. I have serious reservations about Little’s hockey sense and don’t want to see him at center. All of us would enjoy seeing Burmistrov take a roster spot, but if he is sent to Junior, then someone will have to move to the middle.

Red Light

September 9th, 2010
3:29 pm

Meaning, that if Burmistrov is sent down, then it’s conceivable that Cormier and Slater could be the 3rd- and 4th-line centers? That doesn’t provide much confidence at all.

Smoothie

September 9th, 2010
3:33 pm

Oh boy Nate, there’s so much, but the gist of it was that he expressed worry and frustration over his money situation and pointed to the escrow process as a main reason for his worry. But he came across as a real insensitive douche by portraying himself as some sort of victim despite making 30 times what the avg American makes after taxes.

Puck Daddy at yahoo.com has a couple of lengthy and entertaining blogs on the subject matter if you want to get more of the nitty gritty.

http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/blog/puck_daddy

Smoothie

September 9th, 2010
3:37 pm

Why are so many folks assuming that Cormier, if he makes the team, will be the 3rd line C? It’s Jimmy Slater’s job to lose. He pretty much earned it over the last 60 games playing between Kaner & Army.

Red Light

September 9th, 2010
3:50 pm

Slater is not a third line center. His career high in assists…14. In this day in age, the third line has to score Smoothie, and lets not forget he was a third line center between Kane and Army on a team that finished 10th in the East.

kracker

September 9th, 2010
3:53 pm

Red Light – “Move Toby to center. He’s the best passer on the team!”

In one of the interviews with Dudley there was a non-specific reference about the possibility of converting a defenseman to forward. I thought Toby could be the guy. He is a good skater, passes well, can shoot and his lack of size won’t matter as much.

I don’t think there was any serious intent to do it.

Red Light

September 9th, 2010
3:58 pm

Last thought…does anyone else get the sense that training camp will be the last time we see Thorburn and Boulton in a Thrashers uniform?

DWTOO

September 9th, 2010
4:02 pm

R/L – You could be right. We have a log jam of third/fourth liners all of who probably have better skills.

Kracker – Toby shoots? When? He is a good skater and passer, but, when does he EVER shoot?

kracker

September 9th, 2010
4:09 pm

Maybe one of Thors or Boults might be traded. I don’t think both unless we get a fighter(s) coming back.

As for Toby ,I said he can shoot, not that he does it a lot. At forward, wouldn’t he shorten his long stick to be a better puck handler and, presumably, a better shooter?

Smoothie

September 9th, 2010
4:12 pm

Cormier may have better hands than Slater, but he has proven nothing yet. Until Cormier beats him out in camp / pre-season, Slater is your 3rd C, like it or not. And your third line doesn’t have to be dynamic when it comes to passing the puck around. The trio of Kaner, Slates & Army proved you can be very effective by cycling the puck effectively and generating chances thusly when the D gets tired chasing them around. Of course, Kaner won’t be there to help him this year, nor Army, but Ladd/Modin/Pettersson all have one thing in common: they can shoot the puck and shoot it quite well. Can you say that about Cormier?

goose

September 9th, 2010
4:19 pm

Red Light- Slater had one of the best face off win percentages last year after you eliminate all the players that had under fifty or so face offs slater would be in the top ten in the league.

Red Light

September 9th, 2010
4:21 pm

I can’t say anything about Cormier at this level, and, you certainly do not know what Pettersson’s capabilities at this level are either. I can say that I have seen enough of Slater to know he is not a good center and is best suited as a disturber and as the cycler as you suggest. I prefer him on the wing. As you also suggest, he won’t be playing with Kane, which was the main reason he was so effective last season. Ladd won’t play third line here Smoothie, he’s in the top 6 on this club.

Both of us will have to play wait-and-see with the young guys. The next few weeks will provide a good indication, but if Slater winds up as the third line center for more than 2 weeks, you can sit with me for several games in November.

Do you have a man-crush on Slater? LOL

Red Light

September 9th, 2010
4:22 pm

goose…He is a solid face-off man. Agreed.

Smoothie

September 9th, 2010
4:29 pm

Part of being an effective 3rd line C is puck possession and control. His 55% F/O win percentage speaks to his value there. Cormier may still prove to be better served playing wing. There are a few youtube videos floating around the internet that illustrate Pettersson’s ability to score the puck. You don’t have to be some genius to know that he has a high degree of skill compared to some of our bottom 6′ers.

But if you have such a problem with Jimmy Slater, then why not move Bryan Little to C on the third line with Slater on the right and Modin on the left, or Pettersson if Modin can’t stay healthy? From the limited footage of Cormier that I’ve seen, and watching him at camp, he does seem to have a good knack for passing the puck in space, but that’s just a 4 on 4 prospect camp.

Slater has his flaws for sure, but his blend of speed, grit, F/O ability, fearless-ness in driving the net a valued asset. Perhaps it is on the 4th line, but my biggest point is that Slater is most definitely ahead of Cormier on the depth chart, for now, despite what Duds rambles on about w/r/t Cormier.

Smoothie

September 9th, 2010
4:38 pm

kracker

September 9th, 2010
4:57 pm

That’s a good debate about Slater. I like him but that’s not worth a lot. I will be getting a Slater sweater so I hope he sticks for a few more years.

We have seen Tobias shoot, however reluctantly, from the point. Does anybody have a feel for how his wrister might be?

Jack

September 9th, 2010
5:10 pm

Chris tweeks that Dawes will be officially announce on Monday. Why does it take so long to annnounce this move??

Jack

September 9th, 2010
5:12 pm

Tobas shot is good but hell freezes over each time he shoots.

Thrashers27

September 9th, 2010
5:48 pm

So, why do we need Nigel Dawes? I just realized he’s 5′9″. Really? It hope it’s a two way contract.

kracker

September 9th, 2010
6:36 pm

Dawes is 5-8 or 5-9. But he is a young scrapper at 25 yr old. He is regarded as a good penalty killer, an area we need to shore up, especially after losing Marty Reasoner. He is indeed on a two-way contract. $600K/$105K so you can see he is regarded as a pretty good AHLer at $105K.

Rhythmpenguin

September 9th, 2010
6:46 pm

His stats for last season are not bad: 32 points (14, 18) in 66 games, about .5 points per game and he is a +1 for the season (+2 career). What do y’all make of his 14.6% shooting average with 96 shots?

Nate

September 9th, 2010
6:50 pm

Smoothie – Thanks. Who knew athletes could be such a$$ clowns??? Oh, wait a minute…

Rhythmpenguin

September 9th, 2010
6:51 pm

Check out some of his goal, there are some nice ones: http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/console?hlp=8470741

The Smooth Spark

September 9th, 2010
7:12 pm

Nate – no problem, my pleasure.

Another good thing about Nigel is he seems to be a bit of a shoot-out specialist, he has a very quick release.

So if Nigel and Aliu both make it, we’ll have an African-Canadian (Kane), an Afro-American (Buff), an Afro-Swede (Oduya), a Nigerian-American (Aliu) and a Jamaican-Canadian. Perhaps Kevin Weekes would like to come out of retirement?

Are there any Black Russians available?

Red Light

September 9th, 2010
7:24 pm

I’m not trying to be Dawes’ lone apologist, but I have watched a lot of his games during the past 3-4 seasons. The kid can shoot. He needs an opportunity by playing with more offensive types. He may not prove himself here, but I believe he will. Think of Rich Peverley. Dawes is not the same type of player as Pevs but could make the most of the right opportunity. Some said early on his weakness was in the defensive zone, so he worked at it and got better.

BTW, although used sparingly, he’s 8-of-18 career in shootouts.

Red Light

September 9th, 2010
7:26 pm

Sorry Smoothie, didn’t see your post.

But, while I’m here, thanks for the hockey lesson above concerning the third-line centers.

kracker

September 9th, 2010
7:41 pm

Chris’ new blog: The making of the Philips Arena ice. This is a very interesting read.

http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-thrashers-blog/2010/09/09/the-making-of-the-philips-arena-ice-quite-interesting/

The Smooth Spark

September 9th, 2010
8:15 pm

R/L – no problem, my pleasure (chuckles).

Man the NFL Kickoff show is intolerable. Thank God for NHL network!

Jack

September 9th, 2010
8:25 pm

Sparky no doubt tired of listening about those pansy Saints

Hokie P. Clisters

September 9th, 2010
9:07 pm

Can we send MacArthur’s comments to arbitration? They seem to be way over the top.

World Be Free

September 9th, 2010
9:34 pm

Seeing Rammer in his Sabres road blues brings back memories. That’s back when the road team wore dark colors.

Totally off subject-I hate ESPN, but I had to watch the Auburn/Miss State game tonight. Who do I see? That mega-scab Craig James. Give it to ESPN for not dumping this scum when he and his candy-ass son torpedoed Mike Leach last year, with the help of the ego-maniac network.

I know it’s not hockey, but I had to vent.

kracker

September 9th, 2010
10:04 pm

It’s all good, WBF. It’s good to vent and I don’t have any idea what you are on about.

Joe Friday

September 9th, 2010
10:44 pm

If Jimmy Slater is our 3rd line center, we are lottery bound again

goose

September 9th, 2010
11:01 pm

I just saw a great post on the TSN boards: What do the Leafs and the Titanic have in common? They both look great until they hit the ice.

World Be Free

September 10th, 2010
5:44 am

goose-saw that one before – it’s a good one! Some Leafs’ fans do admit to reality.
Joe Friday-totally agree on Jimmy-he’s 4th line or in the press box.

Rhythmpenguin

September 10th, 2010
7:15 am

Nice goosey. The more hockey jokes (especially punny ones) the better. =)

GaVaHokie

September 10th, 2010
8:07 am

I’ll take our Defense over the Leafs Defense… overrated.

Mason > Giggy

kracker

September 10th, 2010
8:22 am

Smoothie, I never did answer about whether or not Dudley is done as Chris thought. I feel sure Chris got the right impression (or was told) that the Thrashers “were done.” With what Dudley wanted to do this offseason, with the budget he was given, he indeed might be finished at this time.

But we know the job for a good GM is never finished. The general composition of your team, the up-to-date assessment of your players’ skills, the availability of players, injuries, the waiver wire, calls to and from – things are always in play. So while Duds may be finished at the moment, it is a pretty good bet that with 4 weeks until open night he is not done .

Hockey Biltong

September 10th, 2010
4:28 pm

+1 above..We are not done…