Four goalies in the mix for Thrashers

I trust you’ve all seen the story I did yesterday on the Ilya Kovalchuk negotiations. Sounds like they are progressing. My impression – and it’s only my impression – is that there isn’t cause for concern right now. I spoke with Don Waddell for about a half hour on Monday in his office. His opinion is something will get done. Now, anything can happen in contract negotiations (again a lesson I learned in the Ken Griffey Jr. incident) but I haven’t sense a reason to worry in my reporting. I also think things may move a bit faster once Kovy returns to the states with training camp just around the corner.

I also met Nik Antropov, Todd White and Nathan Oystrick yesterday. They all were working out at the practice facility. Spent some time talking to each for future blogs and Sunday notes column. Antropov is indeed big. I really had no idea. He wasn’t real talkative, but that could have been my questions. I spoke to him a lot about Kovy. Andy Sutton was working out with them as well.

Now, for the title of the blog. I asked Waddell how Kari Lehtonen was progressing from his off-season back surgery. He said he gets weekly updates from Kari’s doctor and that all seems to be fine. They are not in a hurry to rush him back. Which brought us back to the goaltending situation. As you know, they have Johan Hedberg, Ondrej Pavelic and Lehtonen. However, Waddell reminded me not to forget about a new player in the mix – Drew MacIntyre. He was an unrestricted free agent the Thrashers signed on the same day they agreed to terms with Joel Kwiatkowski and Jason Krog.

“He’s going to compete for a job,” Waddell said Monday. “He’s a good goalie. He was one of the top goalies in the American league the last two years. We are very happy to sign him. He’ll be [in training camp]. He’ll compete for a spot. We are going to have some fun here.

“You can’t have enough [goaltending]. … The last few years when Kari’s been hurt, we’ve put ourselves in a very tough situation. You bury yourself in November, it’s tough to get out. It was a big decision this year to make sure we sign and have guys that can compete for that job. If somebody else comes in and competes and wins the job, that means they’re better. That’s our ultimate goal is to  be the best team we can this year.”

MacIntyre has a 91-49-8 record in 155 AHL games. He’s played with Grand Rapids, Manitoba and, most recently, Milwaukee. He has three straight seasons of at least 25 wins. Last season he was 34-15-4 with four shutouts and a 2.30 goals-against average. He led the AHL in wins, was fifth in GAA and sixth in save percentage.

One final plea for help. The story I did last week on Eric Boulton and Chris Thorburn training with a boxing instructor will run in tomorrow’s paper and be online later tonight. I need to include with it a list of the five all-time best fighters in the NHL. What’s your list? I could use a little help putting it together.

I am working on some advance stories today, so I will be on the blog for a good bit. I should be able to answer some questions.

Thanks folks.

116 comments Add your comment

BUZZ

August 25th, 2009
10:28 am

George Parros because of the mustache (fans wear them too when he fights!)

Georges Laraque is probably the best fighter today.

Donald Brashear is another monster.

Derek Boogaard is probably biggest but not so quick with his hands.

Jared Boll is a youngster and undersized but crazy.

BUZZ

August 25th, 2009
10:31 am

Oh, you said ALL-TIME … that would be a different list … but maybe Tie Domi would be the first.

Claude Lemieux is another good one … and Dave Schultz who was with the Flyers when they were unstoppable.

The Earl of Bud

August 25th, 2009
10:49 am

Off the top of my head I would say Bob Probert, Tony Twist, Marty McSorley, Rob Ray & I hate to say it but Tie Domi. Give me some time to think and I will definitely replace Domi and my bias for Ray might get him off the list. Probert is the best though.

This 4th goalie is a safe bet because we can stick him in Chicago but if we brought in a Marty Biron a la NYI, Lehtonen and Pavelec would flip whereas they probably don’t feel threatened by this guy. But the injury toll on Lehtonen means something nonetheless so this is probably a good move.

Chris Vivlamore

August 25th, 2009
10:56 am

Here’s the early list. Absolutely subject to change.
1. Gordie Howe, 2. Dave Semenko, 3. Bob Probert, 4. Tiger Williams, 5. Dave Schultz

DanTheMan

August 25th, 2009
11:18 am

For a guy his size, Chris Nilan never backed off from a fight and from what i remember, he never really lost a fight. Maybe he did not K.O his opponent every time but he was a good fighter.

I guess that’s where he got his nickname “knuckles” from!

DanTheMan

August 25th, 2009
11:22 am

As a matter of fact, if you youtube Nilan’s name and Semenko, you’ll see they squared off a few times. Nilan concedes at least a foot in terms of height but he’s the one doing the punching.

[...] source [...]

Smoothie

August 25th, 2009
11:45 am

Chris, thanks for the update on the Kovy negotiations. Good to hear something positive even if progress is slow. Obviously, with Kovy in France / Russia for the summer months, it’s unrealistic for much to happen. But the comments from both Waddell and more importantly, Grossman seem quite positive.

As for the goalie situation, the McIntyre signing was quite intriguing to me. Hopefully Ondrej Pavelec got the message loud and clear. He will need to step it up if he wants to be the #1 man this year…in Chicago! As always, the more competition, the better!

Smitty

August 25th, 2009
11:48 am

Chris,
You have to add Rob Ray to the mix. The NHL had to enact a rule because of him. Clark Gillies and Bob Nystrom also should be considered. Take Tiger off the list. Gillies manhandled him.

Todd

August 25th, 2009
12:43 pm

Probert, Domi, Joey Kocur, McSorley, Stu Grimson

Russian

August 25th, 2009
1:02 pm

I just checked NHLNumbers.com and Thrashers migth be lost all Goalies in 2010/2011 season. Moose will be UFA, Kari and Pavs are RFA. This is not a very good thing. :-(

five_hole

August 25th, 2009
1:08 pm

I agree with The Earl of Bud on Probert & Twist, and Smitty on Rob Ray. Twist had his career cut short (he tore up his knee in a motorcycle accident) but was without question the baddest fighter I ever saw. I would also include Gordie Howe and Tiger Williams. Honorable mention to Dave Schultz.

GaVaHokie

August 25th, 2009
1:23 pm

Pavelec’s going to be pissed… not only will he NOT make the Thrashers roster, but now he’ll be competing for time in Chicago… sweet!

R. Stroz

August 25th, 2009
1:29 pm

Didn’t Peverley play for Milwaukee? Kind of makes you wonder if Peverley and Anderson had some input on the MacIntyre acquistion.

R. Stroz

August 25th, 2009
1:32 pm

Best Fighter – Willi Plett. I watched him kick Williams and Schultz’s butts.

And Plett could score goals to boot.

The Earl of Bud

August 25th, 2009
1:35 pm

GVH, I sort of agree with you and I sort of think Pavelec might win the Thrashers job in camp because Lehtonen will be out of action.

On the fighters, some of the guys are before my time or I haven’t seen enough clips of them (growing up in Buffalo even if you were a little kid in the 80’s you have the image of Jim Schoenfeld and Cashman busting through the boards at the zamboni entrance and fighting in the hallway). I would agree with Grimson and Gillies added to the lists, but from what I hear and see Gordie Howe gets far more credit because he was so good at everything else. five_hole maybe you disagree with that. If we are going to throw size into the equation don’t forget that 5′9″ Danny Gare was a legend and stood up to Clark Gillies.

Chris Vivlamore

August 25th, 2009
1:48 pm

Wondering if it wouldn’t be better to do a list with one best fighter by era, maybe decade. It would allow us to get some of today’s guys in too. Also, who was the best Thrasher fighter? Odgers? Exelby?

R. Stroz

August 25th, 2009
1:51 pm

Vivlamore – If you’re going to TJ’s again this season, you better include Plett, as you might meet him.

Chris Vivlamore

August 25th, 2009
2:05 pm

What about this list? Bob Probert, Tiger Wiliams, Dave Semenko, Tie Domi and a fifth spot up for grabs between Marty McSorley, Dave Schultz, Stu Grissom, Donald Brashear, Clark Gillies and Joey Kocur.

five_hole

August 25th, 2009
2:08 pm

The Earl of BudI don’t disagree with you at all. I hate to admit this but I’m old enough to have seen Gordie Howe skate (with Detroit even). It was a different style of hockey back then. There were no “enforcers” per se; almost everyone (except for a few like John Bucyk of Boston) could fight.

Howe could do it all, and he was a bad man to fight.

I still think Twister was #1. I saw Bob Probert back down from him.

R. Stroz Forgot about Plett. A pretty good addition to the list.

Should we include the Hanson Bros in the list?

five_hole

August 25th, 2009
2:10 pm

ChrisDomi would not make my top 10.

The Earl of Bud

August 25th, 2009
2:10 pm

Chris Vivlamore

August 25th, 2009
2:10 pm

Just got a press release that the Gladiators have signed an affiliation agreement with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Logan

August 25th, 2009
2:14 pm

Funny timing. there’s a Q & A with Macintyre on the Thrashers website.

http://thrashers.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=486993&navid=atl-home-dl

For fighters- Probert has to be at the top of the list. Grimson was one of my favs.

[...] Thrashers are going to have four goalies in camp competing for the top two spots, writes Chris Vivlamore.  Always smart to have insurance around when Kari Lehtonen is number [...]

The Earl of Bud

August 25th, 2009
2:16 pm

five_hole, I was going to say that I think that the best fighters were in the 80’s because in today’s game yeah Brashear might be great but who else is there in the league? Back then EVERY team had it’s own true enforcer + some others who were willing to dance, not a Thorburn who can “stand in” if need be. To be the best among 20 – 40 is way better than being the best when there are only 5 left.

Now could I say anything about Tiger Williams or even much about Dave Schultz? Not really.

I also said that even though my first list had Domi at #5 I would eliminate him once I had time to think. Ray is obviuosly a sentimental favorite for me just like Plett might be for people from TJ’s. Probert, Twist & McSorley must stay on the list though.

The Earl of Bud

August 25th, 2009
2:19 pm

Why is someone linking to a website about a story about 4 Thrasher goalies? I got a better idea: SCROLL UP!!!

polskidawg

August 25th, 2009
2:22 pm

Willi was awesome – definitely a guy familiar with the Gordie Howe hat trick! As pure fighters go, though, for me:

Probert, Ray, Twist, Schultz and Domi.

Laraque may replace Domi in a few years. He’s the most intimidating player now.

Sadtoseeitthisway

August 25th, 2009
2:22 pm

Here`s a name from the last years of the original six. John Ferguson. Played for the Montreal Canadiens Stanley Cup teams of that era. I think he also played for the Rangers, and St.Louis Blues right after the first expansion.

Darkhorse

August 25th, 2009
2:33 pm

polskidawg’s list is closest to mine, but I will say Twist was the baddest mother I ever saw live. Probert #1 on my list also.

Here’s a youtube Twist tribute:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38EhaJ3iJGU

Waffleboy

August 25th, 2009
2:36 pm

Five all-time fighters in the NHL:

Tony Twist
Dave “Tiger” Williams
Bob Probert
Terry O’Reilly
Tie Domi

How am I the first one to mention Terry O’Reilly? The epitome of a hockey tough guy. He was suspended for hitting a ref in a playoff game. “Bloody” O’Reilly belongs on any list of all-time fighters in the NHL.

Chris Vivlamore

August 25th, 2009
2:39 pm

Darkhorse: It is very hard to argue with that video. Dude never stopped throwing. Good call.

Chris Vivlamore

August 25th, 2009
2:41 pm

I think we are getting close to a list that while not definitive (how could it be?) is pretty good. I’m told to reconsider Howe because in the pre-helmet days no one wanted to mess with him.

Chris Vivlamore

August 25th, 2009
2:45 pm

How about: Probert, Williams, Twist, Schultz and either McSorley or Howe?

Waffleboy

August 25th, 2009
2:47 pm

O’Reilly was also a two-time All-Star and four-time 20-goal scorer.

[...] GM Don Waddell says Drew MacIntyre will compete with the other three goalies (Lehtonen, Hedberg, Pavlec) for a spot in Atlanta and [...]

Waffleboy

August 25th, 2009
2:54 pm

Any image of Marty McScorley(6′1″, 235) is obscured by my memory of his bloody face after a fight with Wendel Clark(5′11″, 200) in the ‘93 Cambell Conference Finals.

Chris Vivlamore

August 25th, 2009
2:58 pm

Waffleboy: I keep coming back to Domi. Say what you will but he did fight.

Hockeyfan

August 25th, 2009
3:02 pm

Everybody is forgetting about “The missing link”, Link Gaetz

Toby

August 25th, 2009
3:04 pm

I’ll think up my list…but I think it’s unanimous…Probert is #1.

Great work on the Kovy info Chris…keep up the good work :)

mutton

August 25th, 2009
3:05 pm

Id say Bob Probert, Behn Wilson, Clark Gillies, Dave Brown, and Georges Laraque would be my preliminary list, but its subjective. And if you add the word “of” and say “5 of the best” then youve CYA’d and nobody can really tear you up for it.

R. Stroz

August 25th, 2009
3:08 pm

Plett consistently beat the hell out of Williams and Schultz, so I don’t see how Williams or Schultz are higher on the list.

mutton

August 25th, 2009
3:09 pm

Correction to my list: Id remove Wilson and stick Twister or McSorely in there. I tend to forget about them sometimes because I havent seen much of them. Thatd probly be how my list would end up after a lot more thought too.

Now as for favorites, Craig Berube is my all-time favorite, but thats another list entirely.

five_hole

August 25th, 2009
3:10 pm

The Earl of Bud Agreed. To me the 80’s were a golden era in Hockey. Back then you had the toughest fighters and the top scorers (Gretsky & Lemieux).

Chris Vivlamore

August 25th, 2009
3:14 pm

Stroz: Who else is on your list of five?

Chris Vivlamore

August 25th, 2009
3:21 pm

mutton: Good call on the CYA!

[...] under two hours before I posted the Q&A with Drew MacIntyre, Chris Vivlamore posted some quotes from Don Waddell on his blog talking about the goaltending [...]

The Earl of Bud

August 25th, 2009
3:52 pm

five_hole, I would say it continued through around 93 to 94 when Gretzky was in the finals, next year you had the Rangers. Lemeiux was still scoring 150 pts/yr, guys like Lafontaine, Mogilny, Hall & Oates, Pavel Bure were going strong, Selanne was coming on the scene with Winnipeg. Then came the strike and then came the trap.

lee

August 25th, 2009
4:25 pm

will someone please tell me a little bit more about this drew macintyre character. i haven’t heard much ’bout him.

-chris, great blog, exactly wat ive been waiting for.

sounds like everyone is getting along and things are going smoothly.

Waffleboy

August 25th, 2009
4:26 pm

Domi’s on my list, but not Schultz. As for Plett, how’s this for old school:[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2vOH6Mkmrg]