Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Focus on a Thrasher: Jim Slater

People like Jimmy Slater. I mean check out this bitching sign. How awesome is this Slater/Slayer sign???

Even in the arena of the "most intimidating fans in the NHL" (Philly) They show love for Slater.

It's understandable. He's a friendly personable guy, I had a blast at his table at Casino Night. He let me toss the little ball into the roulette wheel. On the ice, Jimmy usually centers the rough and tumble 4th line affectionately called "The Greek Gods" (with Eric Boulton and Chris Thorburn.
Why do they call them that? It's a good story, check it out:

Let's learn some more about Slater.

James Slater was born in Petoskey, Michigan on December 9, 1982. Some fun trivia...his dad, Bill, played defensive line for the Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots.

Jim started playing organized hockey at the age of 6 and originally started out as a goalie ( I knew there was a reason I liked Slater!) One day when his team needed a forward, he volunteered. He scored his first goal and abandoned minding the net for good.

Slater played several organized sports while young including basketball, football, soccer and baseball. His parents never pushed him into anything, but were supportive by shuttling him from rink to rink to play. They also had season tickets to the Detroit Red Wings. Jim got to go to the games and see his idol, Steve Yzerman. Slater says he considers Yzerman a role model. Jim spent 3 season with the Cleveland Barons of the NAHL. Though he was drafted in the later rounds by the OHL, college hockey was Slater's priority and he went to Michigan State University in 2001.

In 2001, Jim had the opportunity to participate in a very unique hockey game, The Cold War. The Cold War was an outdoor hockey game played between rivals Michigan State University and the University of Michigan. Set on October 6, 2001, it set the world record for the largest crowd at an ice hockey game. Attendance was so high because instead of having the game in the East Lansing's Munn Ice Arena, MSU decided to set up the ice rink at the Big Ten football stadium, Spartan Stadium. There were 74,544 in attendance for the game and the game ended with a 3-3 tie with Jim scoring the tying goal!

In the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, Slater was drafted in the first round, 30th overall. He continued to play at MSU for four seasons. If you are wondering...he majored in Human Resources. (I know I was wondering, but I'm a dork like that)

2004 was a banner year for Slater. In addition to receiving the Michigan State's Outstanding Offensive Player Award he scored 19 goals and 29 assists for 48 points, and was named as one of the top 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Award, an annual award given to the top National Collegiate Athletic Association men's ice hockey player. Jim didn't win, but was very honored to be in the top 10.

"This is quite an honor," said Slater. "I came to Michigan State for its hockey tradition and this award is one of the biggest individual honors that a player can receive. To be a part of this group is really nice. It's just a great honor to be placed in that category."
More fun bits of knowledge....the winner that year was Junior Lassard. Among those nominated along with Jim that did NOT win...Yann Dani and...Zack FREAKING Parise. Don't know why I found that so funny.

In 2005 with college over, Jim reported to the Thrashers. He played four games for the Chicago Wolves, and then on October 15, he made his NHL debut against the Florida Panthers. He scored his first NHL goal on November 9 against Pittsburgh. In his first season in the NHL he played 71 games and had 20 points, the highest recorded with the Thrashers to date.

In 2006 Slater appeared in a career-high 74 games recording 19 points and set a new career record in assists while ranking 5th on the team with a +8 rating. He also made his NHL post season debut versus the Rangers (in our ill fated first play off appearance) on April 12. He (as well as the Thrashers in general) appeared in four play off games.

The 2007-08 season saw Jimmy appear in 69 games scoring 13 points. He set a new career best and tied for the team lead with 2 shorthanded goals. On March 5 against Carolina, he played in his 200th NHL game.

Jim missed 15 games during the 2008-09 season due to a shoulder injury. He played 60 games, scoring 18 points. Two of those points came from short handed goals. Three of those points came within a five game period.


Anonymous August 27, 2009 at 3:29 PM  

Nice story. Thanks! Unfortunately, you missed a small fact that from the first round pick Jim Slater turned into a huge disappointment.

Anonymous September 29, 2009 at 8:48 AM  

Nice story. Thanks! Unfortunately, you missed a small fact that from the first round pick, Jim Slater has NEVER been given a chance to perform to his ability. The Thrashers pick up players that NO ONE wants (Peverly, for one) and give them all the time in the world on the first line and on power plays. Heck, they even bring up every odd player from Chicago, and there they are on the power play, for goodness sake! I watched Slates at MSU all four years, and I can tell you, not only was he the most outstanding player around, he OWNED that team. I'd certainly like to see him get a chance to skate with some talent who knew what to do with the puck when he gets it to them.

Anonymous June 10, 2011 at 5:56 PM  

still my favorite player as a Thrasher from the older blond at the ice. Get better and I'll miss you and hockey in Atlantaami


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