The times, they are a-changin’ in Thrasherville

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

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

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

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

The year prior to that we were struggling through a gasoline shortage. Do you remember paying well over $4 a gallon…that is, when we were lucky enough to find a station that actually had the product? The pumps didn’t work not because the vandals took the handles, but because a hurricane disrupted supply coming through pipelines from the gulf region.

So while the seasonal winds of change have yet to come to Thrasherville, there is indeed change Blowin’ in the Wind down at the Duluth Ice Forum.

Head coach Craig Ramsay told Chris Vivlamore this past weekend that he’d like Bryan Little to play center, sliding over from right wing. Little played the pivot in 2006 while with the Barrie Colts and was drafted by the Thrashers. He played there with the Chicago Wolves during his AHL days. But this fall will be the 4th Time Around for Little at the NHL level and he’s been out on the right wall for the past two-plus seasons.

Rich Peverley will then transition to RW under Ramsay’s plan. He’s play center for the Thrashers since they snatched him up off the waiver wire in January 2009.

Yes Thrasherville…the times, they are a-changin’.

Also, the Thrashers ship is listing quite a bit to port as there are several left-wingers skating with the team in camp. Nic Bergfors played there primarily after coming over in February, then there is Andrew Ladd, Freddy Modin, Nigel Dawes and Ben Eager. Given that, I could see another change coming by moving Bergie over to the right wall. If so, the he could have Evander Kane playing opposite him with Nik Antropov in between. Completing the top-six then could be Little centering Ladd to the left and Rich Peverley to the right.

With Little moving to center, coach Ramsay will have Rich Peverley out on right wing (AP/Gregory Smith)

With Little moving to center, coach Ramsay will have Rich Peverley out on right wing (AP/Gregory Smith)

All of this comes in the wake of Dustin Byfuglien making the change from offense to defense.

Given such a scenario, that sets up quite a battle for the third and fourth lines. From what I have seen during rookie camp and the opening days of training camp, my speculation is that maybe Modin and Fredrik Pettersson play on either side of the third line. Then you might see Eager-Slater-Dawes Rollin’ and Tumblin’ on the fourth line.

As for third-line center, as I wrote last weekend maybe Alex Burmistrov can take advantage Patrice Cormier’s broken foot and earn his way into centering there. But if he fails to take advantage of this Simple Twist of Fate, then where is the other centerman coming from?

Well, that takes us back to Little and Peverley. Maybe those two fill the second and third line pivots, then Pettersson moves to second line RW with Thorburn there on the third line.

And none of this even addresses where players like Eric Boulton or Patrick Rissmiller or prospects like and Angelo Esposito and Spencer Machacek might play into the equation. Maybe Bolts and Rissmiller could man the press box while Espo and Spencer return to the Wolves?

Another obvious change from past years is the size of the Thrashers. Gone are the days of having so many Smirfs as Dudley and Co. have embraced the ‘bigger is better’ approach. Hopefully this will bring about a style of play in which opposing teams will need to need to be warned, “Look out kid ‘cause you’re gonna get hit”.

There’s been a few health issues to speak of already, however. The first of which was the aforementioned Patrice Cormier suffering a broken foot Thursday. Bergfors left the ice holding his hand Saturday, but has since returned. And Antropov and Angelo Esposito have sat out since then recovering from effects from their surgeries. But that’s sometimes a part of training camp ya know…get sick, get well, hang around the rink a spell.

Good thing the Thrashers roster is much deeper than those of years gone by, eh?

Of course the big question is whether or not all of this change will bring about more Ws than Ls this season.. I think it will, to be honest, but only time will indeed tell if being a Thrashers fan will no longer mean being a Man of Constant Sorrow.

Regardless, things are certainly changing here in Thrasherville… at least when it comes to the Thrashers. As far as any change in the weather is concerned, well…I’m sure eventually the heat of summer will give way to autumn’s chill.

But then again you already knew that. After all, who was it that said, “Ya don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows”?

96 comments Add your comment

RS

September 20th, 2010
7:29 pm

Uh, Rawhide, I believe it’s the Blue Jackets in town tomorrow…..

Rawhide

September 20th, 2010
7:32 pm

RS – You are correct! I was given tickets to next Wednesday’s game today and I must have had that on my mind. DOH! :oops:

Chris

September 20th, 2010
7:44 pm

Four dollar gas was in 2007.

I can’t see Buff staying on D. It makes no sense.

R. Stroz

September 20th, 2010
7:48 pm

Since I just received the ranallo treatment, lets try again:

HookyBob – I’m fine. Thanks for asking. Lately, I’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time taking care of two elderly parents. No one ever informed me of the downside of being an only child.

Brendan – The Modin over/under is based on his “Thrasher” days.

Good thing the preseason game wasn’t tonight. The folks driving in from Gwinnett would be, in the words of Joe Bob Friday, polyscrewed.

Mikey

September 20th, 2010
7:50 pm

Actually Chris, it was 2008. Right after Hurricane Gustav hit the gulf coast. I remember waiting in gas lines, what a nightmare.

I’m warming to the thought of Byfuglien on defense. Especially if it helps keep Boris off the ice.

Jack

September 20th, 2010
7:54 pm

Well done Rawhide. Chris I think Buff will stay on d. We need size on d, and as much as I would like see buff in the crease, I thnk Ram& Dud are preaching defense and size, However you may see him down low on the power play. We shall see, but have to give Ramsey the benefit of the doubt.

R. Stroz

September 20th, 2010
8:02 pm

Tomorrow night, considering the heat, the Beach Boys should sing the National Anthem.

Rawhide

September 20th, 2010
8:16 pm

Mikey- I’m “warming” to the Buff on D idea myself.

Hurrricane Gustov…yeah, that was the one. Memorial Labor Day weekend that year. For about a month after it gas was hard to find in Atlanta.

I remember heading down to the prseason game in 08 against the Red Wings. Had an SUV full of people with me, including RStroz. There was a gas truck pull over by a policeman on 75 near Delk Road and I can remember all of us yelling out, “let him go…he’s probably only got the only gas delivery in Cobb County today”!!

Mikey

September 20th, 2010
8:47 pm

I’m more curious to see how this team begins to play overall team defense. I know there has been some concern about where all of the goals are going to come from, but what will untimately make or break this season is if they can close the gap between S/G and SA/G.

kracker

September 20th, 2010
8:57 pm

Rawhide, you did what I frequently do: Type Memorial Day when you meant Labor Day when you were refering to Hurrricane Gustov.

Whatever….I am pumped for tomorrow! Hope to see you and some other folks in the food court!

goose

September 20th, 2010
9:16 pm

Bergforce is a right wing. The only reason he played left when he came over was because of too many right wings and the departure of kovy left a hole in the left wings. Also most of the goals Bergforce scored for us was when he came up the right side.

Brendan

September 20th, 2010
9:49 pm

Oh my goodness. Can we not “nitpick” the blogmaster. Honestly, in his shoes, I’ll probably unload on such people. He writes the blog for our amusement, not for him to be deconstructed in Lacanian fashion. Wanna go back to Ice Princess, with the impressions she got while listening to the game on the radio? Allrightee, then.

Brendan

September 20th, 2010
9:53 pm

Rawhide, with your Bob Dylan-laden blog, I wouldn’t blame you to dip into “Positively 4th Street” to remind your critics, “Yes, I wish … that for just one time, you could stand inside my shoes. And just for that ONE (1) MOMENT, I could be YOU. Then you’d know what a DRAG it is … to see you.”

Brendan

September 20th, 2010
9:57 pm

Red Light, the lowest guess was indeed East Point Bob, at 60-points. The highest point total guess was James Brown (J.B.), at 103-points. The lowest budget guess was $45.1 million, by “Mikey.” The highest guess has been by, well, me. “Brendan” submitted a guess of $51.4 million. I could never have guessed that I’m the one who possess the most confidence that the AS,LLC is actually trying to make the playoffs this year. This contest does reflect the level of confidence you have in the ownership. A low guess means, “I don’t think they much care.” A higher guess means, “I think they’re really trying to achieve something.”

The Modin contest is 14 goals and 56 games played, and, per R.Stroz, they must be played and SCORED as a Thrasher. If Modin plays games or scores goals as a member of another NHL team, they DO NOT COUNT in the over/under contest. That is all.

d

September 20th, 2010
10:04 pm

Am I the only Thrash fan concerned about Antro? 2009-2010 was easily his most productive year in the NHL – some might say Nick “overachieved” a year ago. Now Antro appears to be plagued by ongoing hip injuries from the end of last season. I’m concerned that 2010-2010 could be a season that Nick “underachieves” as much as he overachieved last year…

Derrick

September 20th, 2010
10:21 pm

I’ll take the over on Modin. I see him having a very solid offensive year for the Thrashers, especially if he’s on the same line as Pettersson and Burmistrov as I anticipate.

Brendan

September 20th, 2010
10:34 pm

d, it’ll be allright. Remember, Antropov won’t have Kovalchuk on his line to pad his numbers. It’ll be a whole different style of play. If I’m reading Ramsay correctly, the goal is to have most of our lines contributing every night. And to win, based on depth. Three lines score, while the team gives up two goals, means the Thrashers win, 3-2.

That’s depth. If Antropov’s numbers decline this year, it’s probably because of that. We’re going to have to stop looking at a player in terms of his offensive output, in favor of “what he brings to the team.” If Antropov improves defensively, that may not show up on the scoresheet. His minutes played may not be what it was last year, either. The season is very, very long. I’m going to try to refrain from coming to conclusions in October. That’s an inadequate sampling. By Thanksgiving, however, we should know where our strengths and weaknesses are, so that we can improve for the rest of the season. I’m very interested in our goaltending situation. I hope Pavelec can be our # 1 guy. If he can’t, we must assess if Chris Mason can be the guy for the preponderance of the season. And if he can’t, meaning that both Pavelec and Mason have disappointed, then we must look for a fix in net. During the season, there aren’t too many unsigned goalies. And goalies found on the waiver wire, aside from ones named Bryzgalov, that blossom into anything … are improbable. Hopefully, everything goes swimmingly in net for the Thrashers this season.

Rawhide

September 20th, 2010
10:37 pm

Brendan – Ah, I don’t worry about that, Professor. I have no issue if someone points out an EE-greee-geous mistake. In fact, I’m grateful to RS for pointing it out before too many people saw it.

The over/under for Modin is set at 14 goals and 56 games? Hmmmm…I’ll take the optimistic route and go with the “over” on both.

d - I’m overly concerned with Antropov. My guess is that they are being cautious with him right now as far as the hip goes. There’s no need to push it at this time.

Ramsay told me he wants him to be more of a two-way type of player…said he think he can bring even more to the team. Even if he gets off to a slow start, remember how long it took him to notch #1 last season?

Brendan

September 20th, 2010
10:51 pm

Derrick and Rawhide, you’re both registered as “over” in the Modin sweepstakes.

Brendan

September 20th, 2010
11:05 pm

Rawhide, remember … the bar wasn’t set by me. The over/under on Modin was established by R.Stroz.

Hockey Biltong

September 20th, 2010
11:53 pm

See y’all tomorrow…..

js

September 21st, 2010
2:53 am

Since times are a changing, how about the Thrashers trying this; http://msn.foxsports.com/nhl/story/Pittsburgh-Penguins-give-tickets-away-with-job-hunting-twist-091910 This is the sign of a good marketing staff.

World Be Free

September 21st, 2010
6:05 am

Where you sitting Biltong? Kracker too, how bout you Rawhide?

Thanks for the Dylan reference, not enough of them these days.
Buff may be the thumper on D that this team needs. Now if he can only teach Boris to play that way, especially if you consider Buff is “smaller” than Valabik.
Can’t say I am unhappy with anything I have seen the coaches do so far.

Floods-I was caught in Austell during the rising last year. I knew a way out of town, back towards the 20-I made it to the Thrashers’ game that night, me and about 2,000 others made that game.
Stroz-good luck dude.

Zoomo

September 21st, 2010
7:36 am

With all the Zimmy references, you missed a good opportunity for a gratuitous Kovy knock….

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the Devils or it may be Lou
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

Riceowls

September 21st, 2010
7:41 am

Its finally Christmas morning!

World Be Free

September 21st, 2010
7:44 am

Rice-yes indeed!
Zoomo-classic, I forgot that song since that was during Dylan/Zimmer’s reborn days, didn’t particlarly like that period. But he is Dylan.

World Be Free

September 21st, 2010
7:51 am

question Rawhide-
Are you still picking the Toronto Maple Leafs to make the playoffs this season? Versteeg and Colby Cheese are the only real true andditions to the team that finished second last in the entire league last season. all this for a team that is butt up against the cap.

The Real Thrash

September 21st, 2010
8:17 am

Why you keep insisting on promoting Alex Burmistrov, an undersized youngster in need of seasoning, as someone to keep up is beyond me! And as a third line center to boot!

kracker

September 21st, 2010
8:18 am

World, I am in section 219 row A directly behind the goal.

World Be Free

September 21st, 2010
8:34 am

Real Thrash-totally agree
kracker-hope to see you-maybe we should designate a meeting place (for the season maybe?) in The Phil.

kracker

September 21st, 2010
8:59 am

WBF – I will be in the food court until the doors open. In the Gorin’s area or sometimes down by Blimpie’s.

Rawhide

September 21st, 2010
9:05 am

Why you keep insisting on promoting Alex Burmistrov, an undersized youngster in need of seasoning, as someone to keep up is beyond me! And as a third line center to boot!

The Real Thrash – I’m not “insisting” he will make the team. In fact, if I were a betting man I’d say he’s Barrie-bound. I’ve pretty much said that from the day he was drafted to last Saturdy. The Cormier injury opens the door a bit for him.

And anyway, this is why they have training camp and preseason. Burmistrov has the opportunity to force the Thrashers to keep him up…but it’s all up to him.

Are you still picking the Toronto Maple Leafs to make the playoffs this season?

WBF – Yeah, I said that at the draft party, didn’t I. It was said more in praise of Brain Burke than anything. If anyone can build a winner there right now it’s he. So…I’ll stick with my prediction if for no other reason than pure stubborness.

BTW, I’m in the club section tonight I think. But catch up with me in the CNN food court before hand.

Its finally Christmas morning!

Riceowls – Yes…but let’s hope we don’t get the fuzzy pink rabbit PJs that a crazy old aunt made for us :grin:

Zoomo – Very well played, my friend.

js – You are correct. That’s a great idea.

World Be Free

September 21st, 2010
9:21 am

see you guys in front of Gorin’s before the game

Rhythmpenguin

September 21st, 2010
9:36 am

If you are not able to make it to the game tonight you can listen online through the Blue Jackets website: http://bluejackets.nhl.com/

glovesave29

September 21st, 2010
10:18 am

Hip injuries are strange. I had one two years ago (they are common with goalies!). For months I went to treatment and physical therapy and it never seemed to get better. Then BOOM…one day it was gone and it’s stayed gone ever since. I think the team is just being cautious. You already know what he will do during the regular season…so why take a chance by playing him to much in games that mean nothing.

I’d hold out the ex-Blackhawks too in the pre season. Their summer was 2 months shorter than everyone elses.

I look for a drop in Antro’s raw numbers, but as a percentage of the points earned – for that to stay the same. I see us as more of a trapping / counter attacking team – and stronger goaltending and defence. Gone are the days of the wild freewheeling offence (the one Anderson wanted but never really got) Best sign we can see from this team (other than wins – duh) is to see more players with positive +/-…that and fewer SOG along with an improved penalty kill will be the truest sign we are heading in the right direction.

No way the TML make the playoffs. Chemistry there is awful. I beleive in Burke – but this is a long term rebuilding project he’s got up there. They’ll be closer to the bottom with the Isles than the number 8 seed.

Preseason Eve is more like the day you see the first ads for Christmas sales. Not there yet, but getting close.

Not much of a Dylan fan. I was listening to Sirius on the way to my game on Sunday and AC/DC’s “Hells Bells” comes on just as I pull into the rink parking lot. That lead in with the bell and the guitar just gets you pumping. I want the Thrash to enter the ice to that song. Plenty of good songs to hype one up – but that one just tops them all.

R. Stroz

September 21st, 2010
10:19 am

kracker – Why did you move from Section 221?

Did it have something do with the bullhorns and cowbells in Section 222?

Hockey Biltong

September 21st, 2010
10:53 am

WBF- we’ll be in 119. same as before. I’ll swing by Gorins to see if I can find all you sucka-perpetrators!!!!!!!!!!

Diego from Lilburn

September 21st, 2010
10:53 am

I see the BlueJackets site has a “listen online” link for tonight’s game on their page but the Thrashers page does not.

Wish I could be there but my personal finance manager (wifey) convinced me the stock holders wouldn’t stand for such lavish expenditures. I will have to wait and meet you guys on regular season opening night. Have a great time!!!

GaVaHokie

September 21st, 2010
11:21 am

Here is the projected Blue Jacket line-up for tonight… not Ryan Johansen, but there 2nd round pick Dalton Smith is playing.

F1: Matt Calvert — Derek MacKenzie — Derek Dorsett
F2: Tom Sestito — Kyle Wilson — Mike Blunden
F3: Oliver Gabriel — Andrew Murray — Dan Fritsche
F4: Dalton Smith — Ben Guite — Kyle Neuber

D1: Marc Methot — Brent Regner
D2: Jordan Sigalet — Mike Commodore
D3: Nick Holden — Nate Guenin

G1: Mathieu Garon
G2: David LeNeveu

Extras: Mike Ratchuk, D; Cody Goloubef, D.

GaVaHokie

September 21st, 2010
11:23 am

I’d love to go to tonight’s game, but with the newborn at home, I have to save my “get out of jail free” card for the regular season.

Dwayne

September 21st, 2010
11:28 am

They need to rename Gorins to Groins and have Doris sign autographs there.

Hockey Biltong

September 21st, 2010
12:13 pm

Used to be called Steves’.

Red Light

September 21st, 2010
12:20 pm

That Columbus line-up for tonight’s game conjures this Dylan lament…

I don’t care
How many letters they sent
Morning came and morning went
Pick up your money
And pack up your tent
You ain’t goin’ nowhere

World Be Free

September 21st, 2010
12:34 pm

The Dylan quotes will start – a – flowin’ now

Brendan

September 21st, 2010
12:35 pm

Wasn’t Derek MacKenzie once a Thrasher?

kracker

September 21st, 2010
12:37 pm

….like the day you see the first ads for Christmas sales.

I expect them any day now. Seriously.

World Be Free

September 21st, 2010
12:45 pm

The preseason is upon us; I believe THE player on the spot for the Thrashers this season is Zach Bogosian. Bogo definitely suffered from a sophomore slump, big time. The honeymoon was over early last season and it got worse as the season progressed.

So it’s for Zach to get back where he was as a rookie and go beyond. Bogo needs to have a big season at both ends of the rink, on the power play both defense and offense. Getting Bogosian to the next level will be one of Ramsay’s biggest challenges-and it has to happen.

kracker

September 21st, 2010
12:56 pm

Well, well, well. Our old buddy Derek MacKenzie is centering for the CBJ tonight.

Zombie Steve

September 21st, 2010
12:59 pm

I think Bogo is going to get really involved on the offensive side this year. I expect to see him regularly make runs at the net.

kracker

September 21st, 2010
1:05 pm

I frankly expect Bogosian to bounce back with a vengence, assuming his injured arm, wrist – whatever it was was – is fully healed. Which it should be. For the first 12-15 games or so, Bogo was on fire last season. Then came the injury and although he played through it, he was not close to being the same player. In fact, even with the Kovy circus, had Bogosian not gotten injured, the Thrash make the playoffs easily, I do believe.