The Atlanta Thrashers have been very active making logical and well calculated, if not popular personnel moves prior to the start of training camp. Colby Armstrong and Pavel Kubina were allowed to depart the team. Forward Max Afinogenov was given his walking papers after failing to reach agreement on a contract.
The Thrashers also added Dustin Bufylien, Brent Sopel, Akim Aliu, and Andrew Ladd. What could very well prove to be one of the teams most critical moves is the hiring of John Torchetti as the teams new associate coach. Torchetti was a finalist for the head coaching position, which eventually went to Craig Ramsey. Prior to joining the Thrashers organization John Torchetti was in a comfortable position in Chicago as a assistant coach that just won the coveted Stanley Cup.
Despite the cup win Torchetti still decided to take a secondary role in Atlanta and participate in a rebuilding project that at the least could be called "high risk." Coach Torchetti sat down with Bleacher Report and several columnists and bloggers to answers questions about his new role with the Atlanta Thrashers and to explain his reasoning for making the move to Georgia.
BR / Media: As associate coach, how do you view your role?
Torchetti: My job is to illustrate. I am there to make the players successful. As assistant coach I provide teaching, film analysis and another set of eyes for Craig. I want them to be the best athlete they can be. If they can’t beat the trap that is our fault.
BR / Media: Analyze some of the team’s new acquisitions.
- "Andrew Ladd is a great asset. He is a hard worker, a leader, a tremendous team guy. He practices hard and has a excellent locker room presence.
- Brent Eager is a grinding winger who is physical. He will finish his checks and is intimidating on the forecheck.
- Dustin Buyflien a power forward who can plant himself in front of the net and create all kinds of matchup problems. He is incredible in the locker room and has a great selection of music that keeps the team loose.
- Brent Sopel is a student of defense. He is a good shot blocker and is ready to give up his body for the benefit of the team. Younger players cannot help but to step up their play after watching Brent dive, slide and do whatever he can to protect our goaltender.
- Akim Aliu is a big kid with good skills. It is difficult sometimes for a player that was a star in juniors to adjust to playing on the fourth line in the major leagues. He will have every opportunity to make it. I t will be up to him if he takes advantage of the opportunity. Players have different learning curves and mature at different ages.
- Patrice Cormier has the grit, leadership ability and work ethic to succeed in the NHL. It is not a matter of if for him it is just a matter of when."
BR/Media: Why did you move from Chicago a team that just won the Stanley Cup?
Torchetti: When, you get around good people, you always want to be around good people.“It’s a great situation for me. Not many times do you have a chance to move on your own in hockey. I pretty much knew if Duds became a GM, I’d be working for him.”