Kovy listed as day to day

Ilya Kovalchuk might return to the Thrashers’ lineup as early as Tuesday night at Pittsburgh, Thrashers coach John Anderson said Monday. Jim Slater could be back for Friday’s game at Philips Arena.

Kovalchuk left Thursday’s game at Edmonton with an upper body injury and returned to Atlanta, missing Saturday’s victory at Buffalo. The team said Kovalchuk aggravated an existing injury.

Slater has two issues: The previously dislocated shoulder plus the elbow to the face he took Saturday against Buffalo.

Brett Sterling and Spencer Machacek will play tonight against Washington. On defense, Anssi Salmela makes his Philips Arena debut.

46 comments Add your comment

MashaPlayer7

March 16th, 2009
11:20 am

Mike, who is sitting out on D? Hopefully Valabik. It may help for him to sit a game or two and do some learning from the press box. He made too many fundamental mistakes in the Buffalo game. Oystrick hasn’t done anything in my eyes that warrants continued scratches.

Smoothie

March 16th, 2009
11:20 am

Who is sitting Mike? Please tell me it’s Boris and we’ll see pairings like these:

Toby & Bogo

Hainsey & Ex

Oyster & Salmela

Tom

March 16th, 2009
11:48 am

I second sitting Valabik. The only thing that he is doing well right now is staring down the opposition. He may develop in the future but the speed of the game is beyond him at this stage.

Boris the blade

March 16th, 2009
12:01 pm

Boris has had a few bad games which comes with being a rookie. He is also paired with Hainsey..and Hainsey has made every single partner of his on D look awful this year. I think most people saw Valabik sprawling to the front of the net, looking slow to stop a shot, but they neglect to see Hainsey being the guy that actually passed the puck to the Sabres, rather than a teammate.

I won’t argue sitting Valabik as he has had a string of bad games, but Hainsey was awful last game, all of the fingers can’t be pointed at just Valabik, he at least clears the crease and is physical in the corners. Valabik isn’t going to not be a rookie over night, he is a horse who needs to play to get better. This is what the rest of this season is about, obvioulsy and getting a brief look at Salmela.

It boggles the mind that the NHL doesn’t suspend the Buffalo player for the elbow on Slater. All the talk of eliminating hits to the head that cause injury, and we have a textbook example and they do nothing. If that guy would have had a Steve Downie jersey on he would be in jail by now. What a double standard. It’s the same thing, go ask Jimmy Slater if it matters who hits you in the head or not. It’s still a hit to the head, and that should be punished, based on the rules and suspensions to other players who do the same thing. Chris Simon would have got 20 games for that.

Alan

March 16th, 2009
12:01 pm

Wow, you all make it sound like we’re playoff bound or something.

On the other hand, someone has to sit for Salmela to play tonight. Valabik was -3 in the Buffalo game, but that game is hardly indicative of the sum of all his playing time this season so far.

Whoever sits, I just hope we win. Gotta break that ‘five game’ curse we have going.

MashaPlayer7

March 16th, 2009
12:09 pm

Agreed Hainsey is a liability many times. But Boris was directly responsible for the other two goals, especially the tap-pass up the middle right to the Buffalo player (on the 3rd goal I think). He will get better…Chara was slow and positionally deficient at first as well. Just want to see Salmella and Oystrick get some time on ice. Besides I am a bit nervous with Boris out there against all of those fast and shifty Caps forwards..I foresee too many hooking and interference penalties on Boris. He’s probably better matched up against less speedy teams at this point.

Thrashers27

March 16th, 2009
12:22 pm

I would like to see Boris in the lineup as a measure to keep Brashear’s piehole closed. Anybody else see him get knocked on his kiester last week? It was awesome! Definitely the kinda guy you don’t like unless he’s on your team…anyway, I’d like to see he Brashear and Boris lock horns. Definitely don’t want to see him take another run at Zach.

Zim

March 16th, 2009
12:25 pm

Boris was not directly responsible for that goal by Afinogenov. Hainsey appeared to be in full possession of the puck as he went into the left corner. Ron lost possession when he fanned on a pass to the right corner (the correct help-out position for Boris Valabik on the play). Buffalo took the puck, out-muscling Hainsey, and sent it to the middle where Afinogenov was waiting (no reason for him to go behind the net to chase Boris).

All of this was pointed out by Darren Eliot. Hainsey had the puck on his stick and failed to make the play. Boris was doing the right thing by creating an outlet for Hainsey to pass to… Valabik did not have a good game on Saturday, but it wasn’t near as bad as it might have seemed to the untrained eye.

MB

March 16th, 2009
12:30 pm

Can’t really argue too much with Boris watching the game from above tonight, though don’t forget that in addition to the Caps being fast and shifty, they’re also big. No forwards under 6-foot.

mknobler

March 16th, 2009
12:31 pm

Brashear is out. Brian Pothier might play.

GaVaHokie

March 16th, 2009
12:37 pm

I’ve been watching Wolves highlights to get an idea of what kind of game to expect from Machacek…a lot of his game is about setting up on the right post and stuffing shots in close.

http://chicagowolves.com/multimedia/tv/index.html?c=98&t=9

Watch for yourself… he had a big points streak going between Feb. 8-20th.

mknobler

March 16th, 2009
12:44 pm

I think Nathan Oystrick sits.

Boris the blade

March 16th, 2009
12:53 pm

The Albino is really only the second player to have ever kayoed Brashear, Brashear also tweaked his already bad knee when he went down. Brashear deserves some credit, he has been a top fighter for a long time now and hardly anyone has dropped him like that. Chris Simon did in it in the minors against Brash, and an early NHL fight with a ‘cheating’ shirtless Rob Ray did a number on him.

They still have Erskine as far as muscle goes. Bradley more than likely won’t be itching to get involved, his face is still purple from Tootoo’s eskimo donkey punches.

Sadly neither team seems interested in resurrecting the old blood feud rivalry. Last time I checked, we still owe them some sort of payback for Vishnevsky and Bogosian , though Boults did a nice job last game against Huggy Bear. If there were ever any reasons to not like a team, the Caps and Brashear have given us plenty of reasons over the years. Remember when they had Witt ? He’d elbow one of our players every game and then beat the daylights out of Cowan for good measure.

kracker

March 16th, 2009
1:21 pm

I was hoping nobody, either bloggers or posters, would mention the franchise winning streak barrier (6) the Thrash have yet to break through. Not that I think it’s bad luck….

Boris the blade

March 16th, 2009
2:33 pm

haha kinda like when Dellacamera mentioned Kozlov in shootouts, jinxing him with a rare miss. It’s okay I have chicken bones here, there will be no hex tonight.

kracker

March 16th, 2009
2:46 pm

Yeah, the Caps are a big enough of an obstacle. They need to rest Ovy to make it fairer… Nah, on second thought, let’s beat AO, too.

Brendan

March 16th, 2009
2:59 pm

I’ve always liked Brian Pothier. He departed the organization in a trade with Ottawa that netted us Shawn MacEachern. Then Pothier signed a 4 year/$10 million contract with Washington, in his free agency. I saw Pothier and Staios as two I wished we would have kept.

Bygones.

Hey, neither one is a Tier I defender, but I never like to see capable players leave the organization, unless BETTER ONES replace them.

B. Thenet

March 16th, 2009
3:46 pm

Pothier was OK, but Staios? Heck, Edmonton can’t give him away with $2.5 million/year left over the next two years.

Sara

March 16th, 2009
4:32 pm

Pothier – haha no kidding. I gotta call a friend and let her know he’s playing. Funny guy that one.

Boris is going to be a major work in process for a few years. While it wouldn’t hurt for him to get some “overhead perspective” on games, he’s going to learn best and fastest if he actually plays regularly (*cough* Coburn *cough*). Better to get the kinks smoothed out a bit now than in another year or two when the points matter more. But yeah, he screwed it bad on that Roy goal – first with the bad turnover, then the screen on Kari. Oy.

As for Hainsey – he isn’t a bad d-man and he hasn’t made everyone look bad. Problem seems more to be that he’s fine to do his own thing, but he isn’t strong enough to compensate for a young, inexperienced and/or weak partner. I think I’d rather see him paired with Oystrick the rest of the season, or even Exelby. But right now Hainsey and Boris should stay far far away from each other.

Sara

March 16th, 2009
4:34 pm

Oh…and someone needs to remind Ron that he’s a big guy.

Stephen

March 16th, 2009
4:41 pm

Is Kovalchuk playing tonight??

Boris the blade

March 16th, 2009
5:05 pm

I have not been impressed with Hainsey at all. In fact only recently has he even started trying to hit people. I stand by my comment, Boris’ life wasn’t made easier by Hainsey..the veteran making the same atrocious mistakes a rookie is “supposed” to make. Hainsey is the vet, the big money D man here, and he can’t compensate for the youth and inexperience? nuff said, I rest my case.

Brendan

March 16th, 2009
6:01 pm

Yeah, I don’t mean now. But at the time, 2000, Staios played for six more seasons after Atlanta, with the Oilers. He couldn’t have stunk that badly that they kept him around that long. If they overpaid his last deal, thennnn … that’s on them. He’s still logging over 19-minutes a game.

Whatever happened to Pothier? He disappeared. Has he been hurt or in the minors? He played fairly well for Ottawa.

ranallo10 (in AT)

March 16th, 2009
6:13 pm

He got a concussion over one year ago, resulting symptoms and check-up showed he had developed astigmatism in one eye. He now has glasses (contacts on the ice) to correct the problem, and has played about 4 games of rehab in Hershey prior to this one.

Otherwise, he’s been playing well everywhere he’s been, but as a secondary defender. I too liked him here, but I don’t feel horrible knowing he’s doing well elsewhere.

Oh yeah, and my buddy is married to one of his ex girlfriends…that’s always a funny thing to think about.

Terptwin

March 16th, 2009
6:36 pm

AJC-Capitals vs. Thrashers-Tuesday, 16 March 2009

The Brian Pothier story could be the NHL comeback story of the year.

Brian suffered what many thought might be a career ending concussion at the hands of Milan Lucic over a year ago. Just six months ago, Brian was struggling to manage day-to-day activities.

Things turned for the better during December. Brian visited an ophthalmologist in North Carolina. As ranallo10 (in AT) mentioned, Brian learned that he was suffering from an astigmatism. Once that was diagnosed, Brian was fitted with contacts. All of sudden, Brian’s headaches subsided and he was able to resume his workouts.

Pothier rejoined the Caps for drills during January. Earlier this month, he had made such good progress that he was sent to Hershey for conditioning. Today, he plays his first game for the Capitals since the incident. The fact that he’s on the ice is a testament to his courage and dedication—as well as the doctors who aided him along the way.

For more news about this story, read Tarik El-Bashir’s fine work on the Capitals Insider @ the Washington Post site.

kracker

March 16th, 2009
7:02 pm

VS has it as AO the sublime shooter matched against Lehts the super stopper. Too bad Kovy is out for this Caps game.

Darren

March 16th, 2009
7:53 pm

I liked what I saw from Salmela, particularly in overtime. Still need to see many, many more games before I could believe he’ll be an actual, honest-to-goodness NHL defenseman that will actually help Atlanta win games (see: Bogosian, Enstrom) rather than lose them (see: any Thrashers defensemen circa 99-06)

I keep waiting for Peverley to be outed as a mirage, but he keeps at or just below a point per game pace.

Obviously, that would mean he’d be an 80-point player next season. I still say it’s too early to I don’t know that you can expect him to put up 80 points again next season, but could 60 or even 70 points be possible, if he plays with Kovalchuk? I dunno, but that would go a long, long way towards future success.

Is it possible we’re starting to actually see signs of things (gasp!) moving in the right direction?

A new GM (Cheveldayoff?) would go a long way towards not only a playoff run, but a successful franchise.

Tony C.

March 16th, 2009
8:47 pm

What did the VS. talking heads have to say during 2nd intermission???

Jared

March 16th, 2009
8:49 pm

Basically a lot of praise for Bogo Tony.

Jared

March 16th, 2009
9:16 pm

Oh my god… this is NOT the Kari Lehtonen that I know. The man has stepped up his game BIG TIME.

stendec

March 16th, 2009
9:36 pm

Who are these guys? Where did they come from? Are they going to be around for awhile? WOW! The Capitals were not only beaten but completely eradicated. Only a shutout would have been sweeter but this is damn sweet enough! I am completely flabbergasted. Watching hockey is fun again! Compliments all the way around. Well done!

Terptwin

March 16th, 2009
9:36 pm

My hats off to Lehtonen. He stood on his head tonight–especially during that frantic third period. 50 shots faced–only 1 goal allowed!

kracker

March 16th, 2009
9:48 pm

Going back to the lead-in by VS before the game Lehtonen the super stopper bested AO the sublime shooter! Too bad he lost the shutout…they just interviewed Lehts, I’m sure he was the first star, I need to bring up the game stats. They talked about building something good for next season, playing the young guys, Kari coming back from injury and playing well, playing for each other, etc. WOOHOO!! A new win record for the team (6) and Kari tied his personal win streak (5)!!

kracker

March 16th, 2009
9:53 pm

3 stars: 1. ATL G 32 K.LEHTONEN
2. ATL D 39 T.ENSTROM
3. ATL D 25 A.SALMELA

Russian

March 16th, 2009
9:56 pm

6 game in ROW. We never get number like that for whole History of Club. Ovechkin get BIG ZERO. He wanted 50 goal in Atlanta, NO WAY. He should go to Florida get it. Kari played great. I wish 7 in row. Kovy will play in Pittsburg.

Brendan

March 16th, 2009
10:38 pm

Well, it’s settled then. NO PROACTIVE CONTRACT FOR KOVY this offseason! Why? The franchise sets a record for wins while #17 is absent for 50% of it–and playing most of it on the road, long after the team had been out of the playoff hunt.

April Fools!!! (Oh wait, that’s in two weeks.) Sorry, jumped the gun, there.

Well, 49 saves for Kari … pretty good. I think he’s got his GAA under 3.00, and his save percentage up over .910. Those are decent. Salmela scored his 1st NHL goal. Niice. Enstrom scored. Pretty good. Kozlov finally netted his 20th, after a fairly quick start to the season. Peverley continues to be productive. Bogosian continues to shine. Even Eric Perrin got in on the scoresheet.

Keith Jones, Brian Enblom, etc. on Versus had high praise for Bogo and for Kari. It’s hard to believe Bogosian is only 18. What a maturity level for a young player. And we’ll probably see him playing for Team USA in many future Olympics. Maybe even 2010, in Vancouver?? I don’t know. Possibly. That would be cool for him. With Waddell on Brian Burke’s advisory team, he’s going to get consideration.

R. Stroz

March 16th, 2009
10:50 pm

Ovechkin – NO SOUP FOR YOU!

Tom

March 16th, 2009
11:03 pm

Stendec…. Stendec….. Come out and play-ay….

Where are you my friend? The slings and arrows that you throw at Kari are surprisingly mute this evening. I wonder why?

MB

March 16th, 2009
11:09 pm

NOvechkin! NO. Bad Vechkin.

stendec

March 16th, 2009
11:55 pm

Hi Tom. I checked in at 9:36 (see above). Kari Lehtonen did play a Hell of a game. I believe he truly deserved another shutout but his guys let him down a bit near the end. He was in a zone. No complaints here. Hey, six wins in a row. Who would have thunk it only a few short (miserable) weeks ago? Have a nice evening everyone. Enjoy the ride. Hope it continues a bit (actually a lot) longer. God bless.

BlueSpark

March 17th, 2009
12:04 am

Is it me or did Ovechkin leave his feet for every hit? Before contact, not after. I didn’t do a slo-mo replay, but it sure looked like charging to me.

Jason

March 17th, 2009
12:18 am

It was funny to see Larry Murphy having to sweat and swallow his ego to give the Thrashers props on NHL OTF, AND they all agreed they were a team on the rise with young guys like Little, Bogo and Enstrom, Kari and Peverley to go along with Kovy.

I really enjoyed watching this game and performance tonight in person. The crowd was mediocre in size, but pretty vocal, chanting Kari’s name a few times, which was very cool. He played absolutely fantastic tonight.

On another note, I thought Ovechkin took some cheap shots and runs at our guys toward the end of the 2nd and early 3rd. No penalties were called on him of course. Was really suprised no one on the team leveled him later on.

But we made them look like fools in the end without Kovy. 6 in a row!!!! Whoohoo!!!

nfieldr

March 17th, 2009
2:30 am

Completely agree BlueSpark… especially during that time at the end of the second period. If it were anybody else, except maybe Sid the Baby (I mean Kid), then that would be charging. But… the NHL protects its stars.

Pinball34

March 17th, 2009
5:27 am

Paging a Mr. Jeff Schultz, paging a Mr. Jeff Schultz, please report to the front counter. Mr. Jeff Schultz

Trasher

March 17th, 2009
9:17 am

A few more comments on Boris. . . being a rookie and all he has much to learn and needs to adjust to playing NHL hockey. He will need to work very hard over the summer if he is to continue and I am not convinced that he is ready to be playing top-level hockey. His limit may be as an AHL defenseman only. Not everyone makes it in the big game. Time will tell.

The lack of mobility is his greatest weakness and due to this he is out of position and gives up the puck too many times. Half of the time Boris does not seem comfortable or confident out on the ice as if the game is moving too fast. Possibly with more time and a different defensive partner is what is needed. I do like that he clears out anyone near the crease in close quarters and for his toughness which the Thrashers have lacked all season.

I do like what I’ve seen from Oystrick and believe he can earn a spot on the team. It will be interesting to see more of Salmela in the next couple of games and to see what he can offer. Also would like to see Grant Lewis given another chance.

Nikita

March 17th, 2009
9:29 am

Trasher…I think Boris will be NHL material within a few years. But I think he has a long way to go. Likewise, I’m not really sure why we’ve had Oystrick up so long — he’s certainly capable of playing in the NHL, but he doesn’t yet have the instincts that he’ll need long-term. Both of them have matured a lot this year — Oystrick has gotten better at maintaining position, and Boris has developed a more restrained style of enforcement. But they still have a long way to go.

But I actually think we need to trade Grant Lewis. I really like him. Love him, actually. He’s moderately talented, more than adequate to make the leap to the big league. He’s mentally steady and good-natured and reads the ice well. But his style is not John Anderson’s — it remains to be seen whether he’s willing to transition, and he can probably have more immediate success on a team like Phoenix which values defensive defensemen more. Also, he needs to build more speed, but that will come with time.