The Thrashers made some cuts today, and although none of them were all that surprising, some of them were surely hard do. The Thrashers sent down:
- Joey Crabb
- Jason Krog
- Spencer Machacek
- Tim Stapleton
- Arturs Kulda
- Grant Lewis
- Paul Postma
- Mike Vernace
- Drew McIntyre
Of the players listed, Crabb, Krog, Machecek, Stapleton, Postma, Vernace, and McIntyre all played in last nights pre-season game in Carolina. I was fortunate enough to attend so I felt I'd give a little observation on what was good or bad about their last game before the cut.
Crabb - He looked good. No boneheaded plays or turnovers. Used his body well. Solid on the PK, about the same as he played in the 08-09 season. Expect to see him as one of the early call-ups if there's an injury on the 3rd or 4th lines.
Krog - He got pushed around a bit by Carolina's regular season roster, but never quit. He tried hard, but nothing really stood out about his play. Got schooled by Rod Brind'Amour when he tried to stand him up on the wall--Brind'Amour just bounced it off the wall and went around, Krog didn't know which way to turn. Doubtful he'll even be a call up.
Machecek - Looked OK out there on the power play, cycled the puck a bit. Didn't see a lot of PK time, which is what I was hoping for. Don't really have anymore if that says anything.
Stapleton - He's got great hands. He makes great passes and has a nice shot. I only wish he were bigger as he does get pushed around a bit. I wouldn't be surprised if he gets a few games in this season.
Postma - I can't wait for this guy to be on the team. He's got a lot of skill. His passes as usual were crisp and tape to tape. He skates well, positions himself in the right spots and shoots whenever he has the chance. That's my only gripe on him as sometimes he shoots when there is no shot. A couple times he shot when the defending player was right on him resulting in a blocked shot. He would have been much better off to just pass it, or dump it in the corner to get it deep.
Vernace - He was most often in the right position last night. His goal wasn't anything special and was really on a 4-on-2 (more on that in a sec). He had another good chance on a 1-2 play, but Cam Ward robbed him with a great glove save. Overall, he was OK, nothing to get excited about this season.
McIntyre - The first goal he was screened and didn't really have a chance on it as it went high glove side. The second goal was weak and came after a previous close call. He seemed to be overcommitting on cross ice plays and got lucky the defenders were there for the rebounds as he was way out of position. Not a particularly strong game.
Other notes about the game:
- Manny Legace looked good from the start and was really not feeling that second goal off of Postma's stick. It bounced off his back before going into the net and I think he felt he had a chance on it but the deflection off his back was just bad luck. A good game overall, especially in the first period where the Thrashers were in their defensive zone for most of the period.
- Speaking of, the shot count was at only 1 SOG in the first period when I counted 3. Not that that's much better but the Thrashers really didn't seem to show up till after the 29th minute...
- Josh Gratton's fight was amazing! Tom Kostopoulos and him started dancing right away and Kostopoulos lost his footing on his first move. Gratton picked him up so they could continue the fight which was pretty one sided. Total KO on Gratton's part. Kostopoulos had to go to the dressing room for repairs after sitting with his face on the ice for a good 30 seconds after the fight. Hope there's a video of that somewhere as it's definitely worth a watch.
- Slater looked good on the PK and I think we may see some improvement in that department from last season
- I'm calling it now, Mark Popovic will still be here after Monday. He looked sharp and in position defensively. He was using his offensive side as much as possible and made a great play to block out a Carolina forward to get possession of a loose puck right before the end of the second.
- Maxim Afinogenov had a good game. The first few shifts he was almost playing by himself. He's been characterized as a puck hog, but really, he had no one to pass to as the rest of the team was all lagging behind. The Vernace goal was really Maxim's play. The previous shift he elbowed Corvo in the face and got ticked off the Carolina bench as he skated by, mocking them with hand talking motion. His next shift he brought the puck in the zone and skated in the circles where he was followed by a Carolina d-man looking to get back at him with a big hit. This left Vernace completely open at the bottom of the circle where a perfect pass set him up for the goal.
- The Thrashers had a good chance to send it to overtime with the goalie pulled, but couldn't seem to get a quality shot off although there were some good passes.