From Wednesday's Detroit Free Press...
SPARTY ON: Atlanta rookie center Jim Slater, who grew up in Lapeer and played at Michigan State, was happy to face the Red Wings in Tuesday night's game. But he was a little bummed out that he couldn't face (Steve) Yzerman, whom he admired as a youngster.
"It would have been nice to play him, but that's how things happen," Slater said before the game. "I was looking forward to it, but ... every kid has a childhood team they grew up watching and dreaming of playing for, playing against. The Red Wings were my team."
Slater has three goals, five assists and 27 hits in 25 games this season. He had one shot on goal and won three face-offs Tuesday in 4:42 of ice time, 4:49 below his average. The Thrashers beat Detroit, 7-6, Tuesday night.
"He gives us a lot of energy on the ice," said Atlanta general manager Don Waddell (a former defenseman at Northern Michigan from 1976-1980). "He's a player that every shift he goes out, something happens. To me, he's going to have a good NHL career."