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Season Opener: Thrashers v Tampa Game #1

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The NHL season started on Thursday but the Thrashers have had to bide their time until today. Usually, I'd post some stuff on the matchup and who is playing well for the opposition, but since we have zero data, I'll skip that today.

I did learn a few interesting things from the coaching staff at the Thrashers Faceoff Event. Coach Anderson talked about the power play and said that he would like to run two different PP units that play two different styles. If that is the case Ilya Kovalchuk might see fewer minutes. The point men for the 1st unit are going to Kovalchuk and Enstrom and on the 2nd unit it will be Kubina and Bogosian. Hainsey will get worked into the PP rotation at some point.

One of the other key stories for the Thrashers this year will be the PK unit. GM Don Waddell had mentioned earlier that the coaches spent time looking at video of the top PK units in the NHL last season. I asked the coaches what they learned from that exercise and the answer was that all 4 PK skates must be more synchronized when they attack the puck carrier. If one PKer pressures the puck at the left point, the two skaters must attack both passing lanes to try and force turnovers. In the final home game against the Lightning, Tampa scored two PP goals--they said that in both instances one of the PKers was a step late in covering his lane. It is a system the players are still learning and getting used to.

In terms of the opposition we all know what Vinny Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis can do with the puck. The biggest additions for Tampa are on the blueline. Ohlund was added from Vancouver and the enormous Victor Hedman from Sweden. I expect Hedman to have a very good rookie season. If you want more Tampa Bay info check out our SB Nation Tampa site Raw Charge.

Hainsey out? Ben Wright has the likely starting lineup from morning skate downtown and Ron Hainsey was not out there. Looks like Valabik and Gratton are the scratches and Colby Armstrong, Kari Lehtonen and Ron Hainsey injured is sick. Tonight will be the 1st ever game for Evander Kane.

Also don't forget to bring $10 in school supplies for a free ticket to a future game.