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 to begin their experience at institutions of higher learning. Some will be off to the campus of a major university and some off to a technical school.

And then there is the select group of young men preparing for a course in Advance Placement Ice Hockey at the Duluth campus of Thrasherville U. There, they will find Craig Ramsay waiting to school them in his way of playing the game. He’s made it clear that his main job here is to teach these players how to deal with situations on the ice and instill in them the skills required to properly perform their duties.

These skills are both of the physical variety as well as the cerebral.

For some, however, one brutal lesson that may be taught is the basic truth that, just as in life, sometimes hockey ain’t fair. In this instance, there is a good number of fine, outstanding young talent that will be on display during this 2010 training camp…numbers that, unfortunately, far exceed spots on the roster. This means that there’s certain to be a several who will fall just short of the cut.

I was thinking about those players Thursday as I was watching the final rookie 4 on 4 game. There were a few out there that are really exciting to watch and maybe…just maybe…they would have made some Thrashers teams of years past. But this fall, well…

For instance, take into account the following prospects: Patrice Cormier…Alex Burmistrov…Arturs Kulda…Spencer Machacek…Fredrik Pettersson…Paul Postma…Andrei Zubarev…and Angelo Esposito.

I’m sure there is an argument that can be made in favor of any one or group of these players making the team. However, there is enough quality on this team’s payroll already that could possibly keep most, if not all, of these guys down on the farm.

This is especially true on the blueline. With Dustin Byfuglien making the transition back to defense, one could imagine the Thrashers breaking camp with Hainsey, Oduya, Buff, Enstrom, Sopel, Bogosian and Valabikas Atlanta’s defensive corps. Maybe even Freddy Meyers steals a spot…shrugs…who knows?

Either way, this would keep a very strong candidate like Kulda on the outside looking in.

Up front, conventional wisdom would have such players as Antropov, Bergfors, Little, Peverley, Kane, Slater, Ladd, Eager, Thorburn and Boulton taking up ten forward line spots. Add in Freddy Modin, Patrick Rissmiller as well as Nigel Dawes, and the fight could narrow down to one last spot if the Thrashers opt to carry fourteen forwards. And that’s not even taking into account Enver Lisin who has been invited to camp on a professional tryout basis.

So as you can see, classes have filled up quick prior to the beginning of the semester.

All this prospect talent on campus naturally adds fuel to the belief that there could be a trade coming sometime between now and the dropping of the puck on October 8. For who and for what is anyone’s guess.

Patrice Cormier took a shot off the foot Thursday. X-ray results will come Friday (AJC/Phil Skinner)

Patrice Cormier played as good as advertised this week. But he took a shot off the foot Thursday. X-ray results will come Friday (AJC/Phil Skinner)

One could speculate that someone like Boris Valabik could be packaged with a prospect to bring in a top six forward… say on right wing. That would open up a spot for Kulda and help balance out Bergie, Kane and Ladd on the left side of our offensive lines. Maybe a trade for a center, moving Antropov out to the right wing could be in order.

Given either scenario, that would clear the path for Arturs Kulda to more easily make the squad.

I’ve felt all summer that Patrice Cormier was going to be on the team, and nothing during prospect camp or rookie camp caused me to reconsider that belief. But there’s some possible bad news for the 20-year old gritty forward. He took a shot off the foot in the closing minutes of the 4 on 4 rookie scrimmage Thursday while blocking a shot. He left the facility on crutches and X-ray results should be known sometime today.

How that turns out could have a lot to say about who breaks camp in a Thrashers jersey in about 20 days.

That’s right, just 20 days…and it all starts this weekend, Thrasherville. Training camp opens this weekend and the preseason begins Tuesday night. Three weeks from today is opening night.

Ah yes, it’s late September and I really should be back at…back at…well, back at Philips Arena.

61 comments Add your comment

SomaAtl95

September 17th, 2010
9:14 am

SomaAtl95

September 17th, 2010
9:17 am

Lets get Pucked up! Starting moving this weekend, hoping to stop by the forum in Duluth before I no longer live close to it. Its almost time, everyone!

World Be Free

September 17th, 2010
9:26 am

Seems like the entire “feel” for the organiation has changed since Dudley and the new coaching team has come on board. There are no sacred cows on this team anymore, virtually every spot is open, up for grabs to the player that wants it. New atmosphere, new ballgame.

I am not looking that this through rose-colored glasses, the upcoming season may not be much different than previous seasons. But you can’t become a winner until you build an atmosphere of the team, instill competition and a desire be be a winner. That’s what happened in Detroit years ago; a down and out franchise discarded their losing ways and replaced those ways with champoinships. Who knows.

Red Light

September 17th, 2010
9:27 am

Had to re-post this…

I count 15 new faces at training camp with NHL experience. There was a time when the Thrashers held camp with 15 guys total who had NHL experience. That’s a great sign!

For the 2009 training camp, there were only eight, and only three who had a significant NHL career…Kubina, Legace and Fritsche.

Red Light

September 17th, 2010
9:38 am

World Be Free: I count 14-16 givens on the roster

F Kane, Antropov, Little, Ladd, Bergfors and Peverley (Eager and Slater?)
D Byfgulien, Sopel, Hainsey, Oduya, Enstrom and Bogosian (6)
G Mason and Pavelec (2)

AThrashrfan13

September 17th, 2010
9:41 am

I posted this to a blog that Ben Wright put up earlier and I think it should be repeated here.

I like the combination of players that this team is bringing to camp and I think it bodes well for us this year. This country has grown on the backs of the grind it out, work your butt off workers. There were no superstars. No single individual that made this country great. It was, and still is, a team effort.

Our 2010-11 Thrashers are no different. We don’t need a superstar. We need the grinders and the fighters and those players who will not give up and who want to win…..and we do have them in camp, this year. The tools are in place and the leadership is in place…we just need the right combinations to shake out before the season begins.

Everyone, you’ve heard it here first. Welcome to “BLUELAND BLUE COLLAR HOCKEY…..The Game The Way It Was Meant To Be Played”

We need our fans to look at this new team and come out and support it. The are many markets that want an NHL franchise and I don’t thenk they should be looking here to find one. Winning and fan support can change alot of minds.

Expect to win!

puckedup

September 17th, 2010
9:50 am

Someone was asking for me??? Sorry, bad joke, but it was there.

Alan R.

September 17th, 2010
10:00 am

Great observation, Red Light! That’s a wonderful change, even from just one year ago!

GaVaHokie

September 17th, 2010
10:00 am

There were a few out there that are really exciting to watch and maybe…just maybe…they would have made some Thrashers teams of years past. But this fall, well…

I couldn’t agree more… This year’s depth is ridiculous. And I thought the depth at last summer’s camp was good.

I just don’t see any prospects making this roster, and I mean that in the most positive way… about the only thing left to fill is the press box reserves and that’s not going to be given to a 19 year old kid who could better use that time developing in the Juniors or Minors.

I hope I’m wrong… but guys like Espo, Cormier, Petersson and Burmistrov have to play well enough to justify putting guys like Dawes, Rissmiller, Boulton and Eager in the press box.

GaVaHokie

September 17th, 2010
10:06 am

In former Thrashers News…

Anssi Salmela is out indefinitely after slow rehab from knee surgery.
http://www.nj.com/devils/index.ssf/2010/09/anssi_salmela_months_behind_fo.html

Also, Christoph Schubert was offered a two-contract or tryout with the Hurricanes and he turned down the offer… he signed with Frolunda.

GaVaHokie

September 17th, 2010
10:06 am

Trixie, I believe I have a post stuck in purgatory.

GaVaHokie

September 17th, 2010
10:27 am

Someone (by the name of JBone) has posted some video on Youtube of camp. Thanks to whoever you are!

Here’s a nice hip check from Zubarev… if you click on ‘JBone’ at the top you can see the rest of his videos.

http://www.youtube.com/user/jbone225#p/u/1/sPRLTmugm_o

FormerIslesFan

September 17th, 2010
10:38 am

@RhythymPenguin: Just responding back to your question off the last RH blog. Love the Maple Gretsch kit. The tones on the color look fantastic. I play at vintage (1974) Ludwig Standard that I’ve supplemented with a vistalite tom (just can’t match the sound). Most of the cymbals are Sabians although I recently added a Dream Bliss splash. Highly recommended. If you want to see it, check out our FB Page and YouTube Channels (Rumpus Monkey):

FB: http://www.facebook.com/justpeachyband#!/pages/Rumpus-Monkey/180707545241?ref=ts
YT: http://www.youtube.com/user/RumpusMonkeyBand?feature=mhum

Oh, and RH…are you joining us at the Rush concert at Verizon on the 29th?

We now return the hockey discussion…

FormerIslesFan

September 17th, 2010
10:42 am

Okay, that wa a fail on the FB page link. Let’s try again…
http://www.facebook.com/search/?q=&init=quick&sid=0.9583384834186963#!/pages/Rumpus-Monkey/180707545241?ref=ts

Joe Friday

September 17th, 2010
10:43 am

“He took a shot off the foot in the closing minutes of the 4 on 4 rookie scrimmage Thursday while blocking a shot. He left the facility on crutches and X-ray results should be known sometime today.”

Thrashers luck says it’s broken. I want Cormier on this club, hope this doesn’t relegate him to the AHL due to bad luck. I know what guys like Slater and Boulton bring (don’t bring) to the table, time to move on past them.

Rawhide

September 17th, 2010
10:54 am

Oh, and RH…are you joining us at the Rush concert at Verizon on the 29th?

FIF – Sadly, no. I will be at Philips for the last preseason game. Duty calls, ya know…

Thrasher_Ed

September 17th, 2010
11:26 am

Well summer is turning to fall and the boys are all back in town. Somewhere out that Stompin Tom Connors is singing “The Good Ole Hockey Game” and hopes springs eternal that our boys will make the Stanley Cup Playoffs. I am glad to see camp opening tomorrow and truely excited to see how this team is molded together coming out of training camp. Maybe even a surprise trade or two that gains us a Top 6 Forward who can score! Go Thrashers!!

hoosier_hoser

September 17th, 2010
11:27 am

I was busy and could only attend the Tuesday 4 on 4 and practice session. I thought the best forward on the ice was Akim Aliu. He is big, fast, tough and can score. He is a terrific NHL prospect. Props to Dudley for including him in the Chicago deal. I also liked Frederick Peterson. His skills and ice awareness were a cut above that of the other prospects.

Unfortunately Burmistrov, Cormier and Esposito did not really stand out.

Paul Postma played with skill and poise. His NHL prospects seem to get lost in the blue line traffic jam.

Dudley at one point announced that the Thrashers were going to give prospects a chance to play. Recently we have had a glut of role and journeymen signings. At this point Dudley’s vision for the future is not very clear.

World Be Free

September 17th, 2010
11:27 am

R/L- 14 to 16 is good, but everyone is going to get pushed by these kids, sooner or later.

J-man

September 17th, 2010
11:29 am

hoosier_hoser – You have to take what Dudley says with a huge grain of salt. The comments about Thorburn being a potential scorer are proof of that.

GaVaHokie

September 17th, 2010
12:29 pm

From TSN… Here’s a look at some of the players with NHL experience who will be on tryouts at training camp:

Anaheim — Joe DiPenta, Stephane Veilleux.

Atlanta — Enver Lisin, Kyle McLaren.

Boston — Brian McGrattan.

Columbus — Dan Fritsche.

Dallas — Jonathan Cheechoo.

Florida — Tyler Arnason.

New Jersey — Marcus Nilsson.

N.Y. Rangers — Garnet Exelby, Ruslan Fedotenko, Alexei Semenov.

Philadelphia — Bill Guerin.

Phoenix — Shane Hnidy, Kyle Wellwood.

San Jose — Andreas Lilja.

Tampa — Eric Perrin.

Vancouver — Brendan Morrison, Peter Schaefer.

Washington — Matt Hendricks.

GaVaHokie

September 17th, 2010
12:32 pm

Not exactly sure how Boston gives Brian McGrattan a “tryout”… what exactly is he supposed to do? Beat the crap out of Milan Lucic during practice?

Alan R.

September 17th, 2010
12:37 pm

Recently we have had a glut of role and journeymen signings. At this point Dudley’s vision for the future is not very clear.

Most of those signings were of the two-way variety. Those journeymen players are here for one reason, and that is to push the kids to compete that much harder. Simple as that.

ChippersLoveChild

September 17th, 2010
12:38 pm

Really J-man? He also said Buff would move to D and look where he is now… Thor had better not sniff a top two line.. ever.

Red Light

September 17th, 2010
12:56 pm

Yet another reason to question Sather’s aged acumen of player evaluation…

N.Y. Rangers — Garnet Exelby, Ruslan Fedotenko, Alexei Semenov.

GaVaHokie

September 17th, 2010
12:57 pm

Those journeymen players are here for one reason, and that is to push the kids to compete that much harder. Simple as that.

I don’t think the journeymen would tell you that. ;)

Rawhide

September 17th, 2010
12:58 pm

Kari Lehtonen doesn’t wear his new goalie mask…it wears him!

Red Light

September 17th, 2010
1:00 pm

The journeyman either make the roster, play in the AHL, head to Europe or begin their new careers of hay-bailing or as convenience store owners. Can you still do that and not be from the Middle East or Asia?

GaVaHokie

September 17th, 2010
1:01 pm

Wow, Wellwood is a lazy S.O.B… he makes me yawn just reading this (from TSN)…

Wellwood is ready to hit the ground running.

He spent a lot of time working on his conditioning in the off-season because he knows he’ll have to be sharp right from the moment the Coyotes hit the ice on Saturday. There’ll be no time to ease in.

“I’ve gotten better at it over the years,” said Wellwood. “Certainly as the summer went on and it looked like I was going to have to go somewhere on a tryout, I had a little more dedication in getting ready for exhibition season and camp.

“I’ve got to show that I can be a good quality player for a team.”

Wellwood has spent the last week in the desert skating with some Coyotes players.

GaVaHokie

September 17th, 2010
1:05 pm

Kari Lehtonen doesn’t wear his new goalie mask…it wears him!

Oh, I get it Kari… Walker Texas Ranger… Dallas Stars… *shaking head*

GaVaHokie

September 17th, 2010
1:06 pm

Red Light… that’s because the college football draft busts take all the good car dealer jobs.

Rawhide

September 17th, 2010
1:44 pm

Per tweet from Mark Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun: “Marc Savard tells Chiarelli he’s been suffering symptoms from post-concussion syndrome. Not skating here. Will be checked out by docs today”

So…who still wants to bring him in with a contract that pays him just over $4 mil ’til 2017 when he’s 40-years old?

Badger Bob

September 17th, 2010
1:47 pm

Class is certainly back in session on this blog – like kindergarten! Most of us have the attention span of sugared-up gnats. We’ve got a few smart kids, whose insights get drowned out by silliness and whining from the rest of us. We’ve even got a bully, who thankfully stays home most days. Many days, teacher departs shaking his head wondering why he bothers, but always shows up the next day. I love this class!

Dandylions

September 17th, 2010
2:10 pm

Nobody listens anymore. Told my sister a few months back that my roommate would love a Thrashers fathead for her birthday. What does my sister buy? A freakin Cindy Crotchby Fathead (my roommate is from Pitts.) I’m going to be sick every time I enter the basement – it haunts me.

Alan R.

September 17th, 2010
2:10 pm

21 September 2009 was our first home game of the preseason last year. The high temperature on that day was 79F. 21 September 2010 will be our first home game of the preseason this year. The predicted high temperature is supposed to be 93F. Is it really going to be in the 90s for the first puck drop of the year for Atlanta?

Rawhide

September 17th, 2010
2:19 pm

Danylions – I’m sorry, but if your basement floods…I will laugh :lol:

Alan R. – 93F, eh? That just means I will be wearing shorts into Philips Arena.

I apologize in advance.

Badger Bob – …shaking head

Smoothie

September 17th, 2010
2:25 pm

“World Be Free: I count 14-16 givens on the roster

F Kane, Antropov, Little, Ladd, Bergfors and Peverley (Eager and Slater?)

D Byfgulien, Sopel, Hainsey, Oduya, Enstrom and Bogosian (6)

G Mason and Pavelec (2)”

R/L – I agree with your first 16, but I’m going to add the following: Pettersson (mark it down, he will be in our top 9, perhaps 2nd line), Modin, Thorburn (experience on the PK will get him over the top) and Boulton (gotta have the designated pugilist!). That leaves a 13th spot up for grabs between Burma, Rismiller, Dawes, Machacek and Cormier. But Cormier’s injury, like Joe said, is probably Thrashers’ luck (bad).

Also, I doubt it will be 93 degrees at actual puck drop! If so, then the high during the day might be 105!!

World Be Free

September 17th, 2010
2:30 pm

Hokie – thanks for the list and good one about McGratton. Yeah, what are his talents?

Rawhide-just like some of us expected in Savard and why we were not keen on getting him. Even healthy, that is a heck of a contract to carry-why remove the burden from the Broones?

Wade Redden, Tim Thomas and a bunch of guys are anchors to their current teams that we compete with-why relieve their burden? I believe Alexi Yashin is still the Islanders’ highest paid player.

Smoothie

September 17th, 2010
2:32 pm

Bill – almost forgot! Bravo, splendid blog!! And funny. But a couple of spelling errors prove that you were studying, um, let’s just say “other things” during your high school days far more often than vocab! ;-)

Smoothie

September 17th, 2010
2:33 pm

WBF – yeah, you’re right, let ‘em sink!! I’m happy with our guys going in. The competition will be fierce and we’re gonna have some happy surprises I believe. We may have a couple of disappointments, but nothing as grandiose a failure as the Todd White experiment, year 3.

FormerIslesFan

September 17th, 2010
2:46 pm

Unless I missed a post earlier, has there been any word on the results of Cormier’s x-rays?

GaVaHokie

September 17th, 2010
3:02 pm

Damn, the Leafs are working hard today, per Mike Komisarek on twitter…

mkomisarek Great first day of camp. Dominated Vo2 and wind gate tests…highlight was assistant coach Keith Acton(Woody) doing the tests with the boys

Hokie P. Clisters

September 17th, 2010
3:17 pm

Wow! Kari with Chuck Norris on his mask. That really surprised me. I was expecting a sauna with two rubber bands.

Rawhide

September 17th, 2010
4:00 pm

FIF – C-Viv has the news and will be posting it momentarily.

Diego from Lilburn

September 17th, 2010
4:39 pm

Enter your comments here

Diego from Lilburn

September 17th, 2010
4:42 pm

doh! Tab then enter skips from “email” down to “submit comment” bypassing the comment box entirely! Learn from my fail.

Anywho…

Rawhide, My son started roller hockey a few weeks ago and has one goal and one assist already. I think that puts him one point up on what Todd White had all last season!!! WooHoo!

Hopefully we will have no one on a milk carton this season at all.

Badger Bob

September 17th, 2010
4:43 pm

Cormier out indefinitely with broken foot:

Per CViv: The Thrashers prospect will be out indefinitely after suffering a broken right foot during rookie camp. According to the team, surgery will not be required

Smoothie

September 17th, 2010
5:01 pm

Slater was probably breathing a sigh of relief when he saw that Cormier was felled with the broken foot. Now what looked to be a position of depth (strength?) is a bit of a mystery if Slater’s wrist takes longer to heal than expected — hopefully they learn from the Bogosian situation last year. I guess Kaner, Thorbs and Rissmiller all can play C if need be should Slater & Cormier are on the mend. Burmistrov must be salivating now.

Brendan

September 17th, 2010
6:33 pm

Slater has a 2-year deal, I think. I think it’s management’s plan to keep him, both years. Though, if some other team actually asked for Slater to “sweeten” things up, I don’t think the Thrashers would say, “Absolutely not. That’s out of the question.”

Matt

September 17th, 2010
9:46 pm

Patrice Cormier-greeted by the Blueland Curse. Yikes.