Thrashers: Training camp report, Day 1

By Holly Gunning

Atlanta Thrashers 2003 training camp took to the ice today at the team’s practice facility in Duluth, GA. Two ice surfaces are being used simultaneously, with coaching assistance from Thrashers AHL affiliate Chicago Wolves. This was the first of three days of drills only.

The 56 players in camp were broken into three groups, labeled Team A, B, and
C. The forwards were color-coded into lines, by jersey color. Below are the lines
for each team, listed in the order red, white and then blue. Players will remain in these groups for about a week until the first cuts are made.

Team A
Kovalchuk – Stefan – McEachern – Vigier
Lindsay – Piros – Desbiens
Aquino – Swanson – Maloney

Sutton – Majesky
Weaver – Tjarnqvist
Sellars – Nielsen
Dafoe and Garnett

Team B
Blatny – Santala – Heatley
Healey – MacKenzie – Baby
Cowan – Doell* – Bois*

Exelby – Kaberle
Foster – Safronov
Manson – Flache
Hnilicka and Cassivi

Team C
Kozlov – Savard – Tapper
Gamache – Robitaille – Dietrich*
Lessard – Stewart – Schell

Tamer – Tremblay
Hawgood – Coburn
Ustrnul – DiPenta
Sharrow
Nurminen and Garnett

* free agent invitee

Speed trials

Player were timed doing Coach Hartley’s famous suicides. Here’s the order
in which the skaters in each group on Team C finished, fastest to slowest. Those
in italics played over 40 NHL games last year. Players in bold are prospects.

Group 1: Kozlov, Tamer, Tapper, Coburn, Dietrich

Group 2: Stewart, Savard, Gamache, Schell, DiPenta

Group 3: Robitaille, Tremblay, Lessard, Ustrnul, Hawgood

Opening Day Press Conference

GM Don Waddell and Coach Bob Hartley spoke at a press conference following
the on-ice drills. Hartley responded to questions about jobs being open for
young guys to make their mark, “I don’t like to say I cut or keep anyone.
They make their own decision.”

Asked if 2003 first round pick Braydon Coburn could play this year,
Waddell noted that he played well for the team at Traverse City, looks good
already in camp making a good hard pass and moving well. But, he cautioned, Coburn
is only 18 years old and although he’s mature for his age, still has some growing
up to do.

Another young defenseman is already a hit. Hartley said of Garnet Exelby,
“This is a big camp for Exelby, and he looks great.”

Notes:

Missing from practice were Dan Snyder, Kari Lehtonen and David Kaczowka, all due to injury. Free agent
invitee Sam Paolini was also not on the ice…The team will send 3-5 players
to ECHL affiliate, the Gwinnett Gladiators…The first preseason game is Thursday,
Sept. 18th at home vs. Tampa Bay.

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