Hi everyone....sorry about my lack of updates over the weekend. I had a few family activities, but did want to get something posted for today after the Thrashers weekend swing through Detroit and Boston.
I spoke with head coach John Anderson after practice today and, all things considered, he seemed upbeat about the team despite two tough losses over the weekend. Remember how he stressed to the media that implementing his system during training camp and pre-season was priority #1? Well, he's fairly happy with that progression. With that said, the new focus/priority is working on playing habits from within the system. From this standpoint, Anderson admits it continues to be a work in progress. Now the emphasis is on the little things like finishing skills and sticks in lanes.
This all came up in our conversation when I pressed him on the decision making of some of his forwards when the team transitions from defense to offense. I referenced a play from the game in Boston in which center Erik Christensen made a wide and deep turn in the defensive zone that negated the team's chance for a three on two odd-man break up the ice. Anderson said this type of mistake has been brought to the attention of the forwards in video sessions, including one this morning. The head coach said his staff has emphasized the need for tighter turns during transition and teaching them to swing towards the puck.
Overall, he seems happy with the progress made in the first month of the season, but understands the need for points in the standings. Then again, look at all the teams around the league with new coaches and their records. Ottawa has struggled as has the Tampa Bay Lightning and the New York Islanders. In Anderson's defense, it will take a while to get the Thrashers playing his system, maybe a few months.
Anderson thought Jason Williams played his best game of the season on Saturday at Boston. He pointed out Williams' time spent on the injured list a season ago and that he's just starting to gain back his stride. Don't be surprised if he's used more at the center position in upcoming games. Anderson said he thought Williams really picked up his skating when he moved to the middle in the Detroit game after Marty Reasoner was knocked out of the game after blocking the shot attempt by Brian Rafalski.
DON'T FORGET: Submit your questions for the Tuesday Q&A. I've received some good ones already. Don't be shy!