The Thrashers offense finally showed some signs of life Wednesday night, scoring as many times in the first two periods as they had in the previous three games. However, it still wasn’t good enough to notch their first win of the exhibition season. They are now 0-4 with two more dates on the preseason schedule and have yet to even hold a lead.
You ask me if I’m worried about that…Nope, not at all. As long as these games don’t count, the outcome is academic.
Oh don’t get me wrong, I’d much rather see them win…but that isn’t what the preseason is really about. Craig Ramsay and his coaching staff are getting to see how certain players perform during game-like situations, new players are learning the tendencies of their teammates and line formations are being tried out.
To that point, there are a couple of guys who are working hard to make it difficult for Ramsay to trim them from the roster.
First off there’s Fredrik Pettersson. He’s been one of the few consistently good players during the four games. The kid has great wheels, is good with the puck and is all out hustle all the time. I particularly like the little move he’s got where he chips the puck into the zone off the boards then zips around the defenseman and wins it on the other side. It’s kind of a solo dump-and-chase routine.
Freddy-P makes the squad or there needs to be an investigation.
Nigel Dawes has continued his impressive work too. On this night his efforts paid off in a power play goal, getting his stick on a Johnny Oduya pass through the crease to tie the score at one apiece late in first period. He’s a pesky, scrappy little player or plays larger than his diminutive size.
Oduya finished with a pair of helpers during 17:22 TOI.
Anthony Stewart also keeps making a case to keep him around after this weekend. He finished the game a +2 during his 18:28 on the ice, the only player on either side to finish better than a +1. He’s aggressive, tough and gives you just about everything you might want in a fourth liner.
Given a choice between he and Eric Boulton right now, I might just have to say I’d have Bolts viewing from the press box. Stewie may also be playing Chris Rissmiller right off the roster too.
Then there’s Freddy Meyer, who had another good outing on the blueline. The 29-year old New Hampshire native certainly has performed like he’d much rather earn $600,000 in the NHL than $105,000 in the AHL. He finished with 20:39 worth of ice-time and blasted home a nice shot for his first preseason goal. It came just 16 seconds after Nashville’s Martin Erat’s power play goal put the Predators up 3-1 in the second.
As for Alexander Burmistrov, once again I left thinking that this kid is going to be something in the years to come…but just not now. He still is somewhat undersized and gets out-muscled. He may, however, get a few NHL games under his belt next month if Jim Slater’s mystery wrist ailment continues to keep him out for a while.
Ben Eager notched his second goal of the Preseason in the 4-3 loss to Nashville. He finished off a really nice play in which Zach Bogosian motored his way though center ice into the right side of the attacking zone. He then found Eager streaking across the opposite side and slipped the puck though to him for the one-timer.
Eager’s tally tied the score six minutes before the second intermission.
Having an uninspired preseason so far is one Mr. Ron Hainsey. He hasn’t looked sharp at all in the three games I’ve seen. I’m hoping it’s just a case of working out the kinks before October 8 rolls around.
Ron was a -1 tonight, but I believe he was on the ice for the two Preds power play goals too. For that matter, Brent Sopel was a -2 and I think he was on the ice during all four Nashville goals.
Nik Antropov played like you might expect one to in his first preseason game. The coaching staff limited him to but 12:44 worth of playing time as he looks to work his way back into playing condition.
Atlanta closes out the preseason this weekend with a game in Carolina Friday afternoon and one in Columbus Saturday evening. It’d be nice to discuss a win in at least one of those, but next week is when it really matters.