Tonight's game against the Nashville Predators (7:00 at Philips Arena) is the last home game of the pre-season for the Thrashers. It's been a disappointing one. They're winless in three games and have only scored three goals thus far. The lines have been juggled every game, the line-ups have been different, and Nik Antropov's been out nursing a hurt hip.
Luckily, Antro will be back tonight to see if he can spark some of the Thrashers' weak offense. Coach Craig Ramsay spoke with Chris Vivlamore of the AJC yesterday regarding the return of Antropov:
“He looks really good,” Ramsay said. “He feels ready. That would be great. We just have to get him a game. You can’t expect miracles. He’s a big, strong body and he has to start learning what we are doing. It’s one thing to practice it and another to carry it into a game.”
Hopefully he'll be able to carry even a tad. The Thrashers are dressing a full 23 man roster, though line pairings have not been released yet. Two players will be scratched:
Forwards (13): Antropov, Burmistrov, Dawes, Eager, Kane, Ladd, Little, Modin, Pettersson, Peverley, Rissmiller, Stewart, Thorburn.
Defense (7): Bogosian, Enstrom, Hainsey, Kulda, Meyer, Oduya, Sopel.
Goaltender (2): Mason, Pavelec
Notice Boris Valabik isn't dressing for the evening. He's not injured, and Kulda being dressed over Valabik again doesn't bode well for Big Boris. His skating's been slow and his positioning has been off horribly, but he's notorious for getting off to slow starts. This year that slow start might cost him a roster spot.
Pre-season might not mean a thing for the fans, but for some of these players it's the difference between an NHL and AHL contract.