Friday, September 14, 2007

Training camp notes – Day 1

Thrashers training camp is being broken up into a Team A and Team B again this year, but with the prospects more integrated in with the veterans. Each team had two lines of likely roster players, and the rest were prospects and invitees.

Each line, however, was not integrated. The lines the team may start the season with were already formed on the first day of training camp, notably with White centering Kovachuk and Sterling, and Holik between Kozlov and Hossa. Bob Hartley said he likes to think in terms of “twosomes” and that he’d try Kovalchuk and White as a twosome during camp. He said he'd try different guys at right wing with them, but wouldn’t hide the fact that Sterling will get lots of looks there.

Enstrom was paired with Pilar, someone with whom he’s competing for a job. The team rosters read from top to bottom very much like a depth chart.

Kovalchuk - White - Sterling
Larsen - Perrin - Dupuis
LaVallee - Little - Haydar
Pospisil - Krog - Deveaux
Crabb - Hamilton - Machacek
Zhitnik - Havelid
Valabik - Popovic
Kwiatkowski - Lewis

Lehtonen, Hedberg

Kozlov - Holik - Hossa
Boulton - Slater - Thorburn
Stuart - Giroux - Schultz
Bartovic - Holzapfel - Fretter
Doell - Stoesz
Exelby - Klee
Enstrom - Pilar
Oystrick - McCarthy
Denny - Fahey

Brathwaite, Pavelec, Turple

The new practice socks, which have a thick white vertical stripe, caused confusion for the players – half of Team A wore the stripe in the front, half in the back. According to Don Waddell, the stripe should go in the back. Team B, who went on later than A, must have gotten the message, since they all had done it correctly. Or, it could be that they had more Europeans, who have seen these kind of socks before.

Hartley was in cheery form, handing out a puck to a child just 13 minutes into the first session. He said later that they dove right into teaching systems today, not conditioning work. “Basically” everyone came to camp in great shape, a phrasing which leaves room for one or two stragglers.

Making a good first impression: Todd White
Making a poor first impression: Joel Kwiatkowski

Hartley said he has already told the players how many preseason games they will play, so as to put their mind at ease over having one bad game. He also said that preseason games would feature a lot of prospects in the lineup.

Pilar would seem to be likely to get a lot of preseason action, since it’s been so long since he played due to injury. He did not look out of place at all today, and was hitting.

McCarthy sent Jesse Schultz into the boards in a heap, but he was fine later.

The vets were having a good time. Ken Klee went the wrong way on a drill and was laughing at himself. He seemed to be talking constantly throughout practice. Kozlov knocked the stick out of McCarthy’s hand very stealthily from behind.

Kovalchuk appears slimmer, but it could be a different choice in shoulder pads due to the new jerseys.

Mark Popovic changed his number from 6 to 7 this year.

In injury news, Chad Painchaud has a grade 2 MCL injury. He’ll rehab at Duluth for a few days, then to to Chicago. It is the opposite knee (the left) than he had injured in the spring of 2006, also for an MCL. Guillaume Desbiens pulled a hamstring in summer training, and will report directly to Chicago.

Hartley said the team will carry 22 players to start the season.

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