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

Chris Vivlamore

August 25th, 2009
4:33 pm

OK, here is the final list – a very unscientific look at one person’s compilation of five OF the greatest fighters of all-time (in no particular order). How’s that for a qualifier?

1. Bob Probert
Generally considered the toughest and most feared fighter in NH history.
2. Tiger Williams
Holds the record for most NHL career penalty minutes (3,966). That’s almost three days.
3. Dave Schultz
“The Hammer” was the most notable of the Broad Street Bullies.
4. Tony Twist
A feared enforcer, he was a relentless puncher.
5. Gordie Howe
Not many wanted to fight Mr. Hockey, especially before helmets.

Thanks all for your help and the discussion. I have a feeling we could debate this a long time.

A27

August 25th, 2009
4:42 pm

My 5 – Stu “The Tombstone” Grimson, Bob Probert, Rob Ray, Terry O’Reilly, Tony Twist. Best Thrasher fighter’s Jeff Odgers and Eric Boulton.

five_hole

August 25th, 2009
4:53 pm

Interesting discussion Chris. Next time you should try the dirtiest player in the NHL. Now that would be a list.

lee

August 25th, 2009
4:57 pm

mine:
1. bob probert
2. Dave schultz
3. tie domy
4.Gordie Howe
5. Stu grimson

lee

August 25th, 2009
4:58 pm

you should do a tough guy list. richard zednick would be sommewhere on mine.

lee

August 25th, 2009
5:24 pm

u could do one on missing teeth too.

hello?????????!!!!!!! anyone there???

Scott

August 25th, 2009
5:31 pm

Dave Brown would destroy most guys listed above (this guy was tough and am surprised he is not on most lists. I guess most people do not know who he is. Gillies had fun with O’reilly throughout the Islander Bruin playoffs. Nystrom was pound for pound one of your tougher guys. Pound for pound, you have to love Domi and Stan Jonathan of the Boston Bruins. Dave Brown, Clark Gillies, Bob Nystrom, and pound for pound guys Tye Domi, and Stan Jonathan. Dave Brown is a no brainer.

Midfield

August 25th, 2009
7:19 pm

Interesting. Sutton hasn’t sold his house in Atlanta yet?

World Be Free

August 25th, 2009
7:34 pm

I’ve seen some of these names, but let me toss in a few on favorites.

Denis Potvin, great defenseman but he was also an animal.
Tony Twist-seen him somewhere here.
Stu Grimson-the Grim Reaper
Stan Jonathan-
LArru Robinson (kicked Dave Schultz’s ass on national TV in 75)
Terry O’Reilly
John Wensink
Val James and Jim Schoenfeld (for you older Sabres fans)
Enrico Ciccone
Gordie Lane (Islanders)
Chris Nilan
Cam Neely
Wendal Clark
Rick Tocchet
Chris Simon
Brad May
Matt Barnady
Kevin Maguire
Paul Laus
Scott Mellanby (in his prime)
Lyle Odelein
Mike Peluso
Dave Manson
Jerry Korab

And Ogie Oglethorpe

World Be Free

August 25th, 2009
7:38 pm

The story I hear about Domi and Ray is they were in the same hotelk room when they were braing in, becuase they had the same agent. They got into in int he hotel room, break the room to pieces.

The Stan Jonathan – Pierre Bouchard fight is the best one I ever saw. Jonathan was about 5′9″, Bouchard 6′3″. Jonnathan destroyed Bouchard, opened a gash on his head. John D’Amico was the linseman breaking the fight up, John D was covered with Bouchard blood.

Vote for the best linseman of all time– John D’Amico for sure, Neil Armstrong 2nd.

World Be Free

August 25th, 2009
7:42 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgPfQ-wfWWA

Jonathan/Bouchard-OK, so it’s not the best fight, but it’s pretty good

Your Mammy

August 25th, 2009
7:49 pm

CHRIS….MY VOTE FOR TOP FIGHTER IN THE NHL…..DEREK BOOGAARD OF THE MN WILD…..HE RUNS A FIGHT CAMP FOR KIDS IN THE OFF SEASON FOR CRYING OUT LOUD. THIS GUY CAN KNOCK PEOPLE OUT!!!!!!!

World Be Free

August 25th, 2009
7:53 pm

Add Al Secord and Nick Fotiu
Boogaard would probably be my no. 1 right now

Josh

August 25th, 2009
8:10 pm

Darcy Hordichuk has to be in there

Tony C.

August 25th, 2009
8:25 pm

Probert.

Period.

Although you may (or may not) give him the crown because of the whole cokeface thing. Still, I’ve never seen anybody just demolish people the way Probert did.

Semenko was good, but the only guy I’d say that gives Probert a true run for the money is Twist.

Also, Stu Grimmson was bad@ss.

But still, it’s Probert(*)

mutton

August 25th, 2009
11:03 pm

Vivi – Well done on the Boults/Thor article! I tend to enjoy the fighting aspect of hockey more than many, and I definitely enjoyed that article.

Keep up the good work!

Sadtoseeitthisway

August 26th, 2009
1:56 am

Toughest guy once he got his man in the stands? Had to be Terry O`Reilly. And why didn`t somebody vote for Berry Beck.

Justin

August 26th, 2009
2:54 am

Tiger Williams, Tony Twist, Bob Probert, Georges Laraque, Donald Brashear. Have to give the old and new credit. To be honest, any guy to drop the gloves deserves an applause.

Does Andy Sutton still live in Atlanta? Summer here?

I think you should definitely add a note to clarify the Kwiatkowski situation and the withdrawn contract due to his agreement with St. Petersburg.

ranallo10 (in AT)

August 26th, 2009
6:00 am

Focusing on the Thrashers, Exelby barely rates in my opinion:

1- Odgers
2 – Boulton
3 – Hordichuk
4 – Lessard
5 – Exelby
6 – Sutton

I don’t remember Lambert’s years too well, how was when finally throwing down? How about Tamer? Anyone I’m missing?

Exelby’s first fight was nice, but he kinda went downhill from the KO standard he set so early. After the Hollweg incident he’s been circling the drain in regards to fight quality, in my opinion (though, understandably so).

GaVaHokie

August 26th, 2009
8:19 am

I’d add that Kovalchuk fights are great, though few and far between.

How about Brayden Coburn? ;) It was quite humorous watching him get his ass beat.

GaVaHokie

August 26th, 2009
8:22 am

GaVaHokie

August 26th, 2009
8:25 am

Here’s a great fight between Denny Lambert and Eric Boulton (BUF)… enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAa53DRDL0Q&feature=related

Ugahall

August 26th, 2009
8:39 am

It’s simple former Atlanta Flame and Atlanta resident Willie Plett!

Chris Vivlamore

August 26th, 2009
8:40 am

Midfield, Justin: I’m told that Sutton still lives here. I didn’t get a chance to talk to him after speaking with Antropov, White and Oystrick. He’s been working out at the Thrashers facility quite a bit. Was wearing Islanders garb.

Justin: You are right on Kwiatkowski situation. I was just trying to point out how the signing of MacIntyre kind of slipped under the radar.

Your mammy: The camp by Boogaard was just a one-year thing two years ago, according to a Wild spokesperson. He has an injury, a shoulder I think, that prevented him from doing it this year.

mutton: Thanks. I’m glad you enjoyed the article. Boulton even gave me a hands-on demonstration of a hockey fight while explaining how he gets leverage while on skates.

mutton

August 26th, 2009
9:09 am

Hahaha I bet that was worth the price of admission. Kinda funny. When there was no news, the offseason dragged by and I thought sure I couldnt be more ready for the season to start. But now that theres been a little more lately, I believe Id have to say that I was wrong.

Just for fun, you should do a blog on who fights first for the Thrashers this season, and whom they fight. My prediction is that Boulton and Janssen fight on October 8th in St. Louis. That could be a real good one, two marathon counter-punchers who are about the same size and all.

GaVaHokie

August 26th, 2009
9:27 am

Going back to the goalie issue… was searching for some clips of Drew McIntyre… there’s a good amount on Youtube… just do a search for ‘Drew McIntyre Admirals’… otherwise, you’ll be weeding through a lot of WWE wrestling clips.

You’ll see a lot of acrobatic saves by McIntyre along the lines of the Donkey Kong save by Nurminen… but this is one of the more impressive one’s I’ve seen on his technique…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoD-ET__Be0&feature=related

Shutting down MacAuthor crashing the net… holding his ground.

World Be Free

August 26th, 2009
9:35 am

The Earl of Bud

August 26th, 2009
10:42 am

World Be Free, thanks for the link to the Bogo article.

I always try to see what would get a player in the top 30 since there are 30 teams in the league that would make them all-star material if they were the best per team).

For a forward they need to get to around a point per game (say 78 points in 82 games) to get in the top 30. For a defenseman they need to get ~1/2 point/game (say 40 points in 82 games). Then some forwards will blow away that rate and score 100 points or some defensemen like Lidstrom or Green will get a point/game. But Bogosian is doing very well at that rate. His +/- is very well too which I didn’t catch how well he did there last season until I saw his +11 in 39 games.

buzilla in CT

August 26th, 2009
12:06 pm

Two words. Troy Crowder. He was the biggest, baddest, MOFO to ever strap on skates. He played for the Devils when they wore the Christmas uniforms. I have never seen anyone better. He only lasted a few years but he beat the crap out all of the best fighters of the time. Check out youtube fights of him making Probert, Domi, Baumgartner his b*tch.

6′4 240. All awesome

buzilla in CT

August 26th, 2009
12:07 pm

World Be Free

August 26th, 2009
12:31 pm

EOB-I think people will get to know Bogo this year.
Buzilla-we all obviously missed Crowder, good call, he was tough.
We also forgot Goddard from Pittsburgh. I am trying to remember the gorilla that used to protect Mario in Pittsburgh, some big dude they got from the Rangers.

Denis Potvin is still the toughest, craziest dude I can remember int he game. Nobody would challenge him.

The Earl of Bud

August 26th, 2009
1:50 pm

WBF, Mario had Ulf Samuelson back then. He also had Kevin Stevens on his line who was a gorilla that racked up PIM but never dropped the gloves that much back then. Playing with Jagr & Lemeiux he was also a pt/gm player. Both of those guys went to the Rangers along with Jagr but none of them came from NYR to Pittsburgh.

World Be Free

August 26th, 2009
1:53 pm

EOB-there was another dude who was a monster and I forget his name. Will reserach tonight. Ulf was not a fighter, Stevens was and a good all around player.

The Earl of Bud

August 26th, 2009
2:16 pm

WBF, I am curious now as to who you are thinking about. That team was loaded with names back then. Ulf was more of a cheap shot artist but he did get in a lot of fights back then. I am trying to think of who was the big star that he kneed and knocked out of the playoffs. I was gonna say Roenick but I thought he got elbowed in the jaw by someone else? Now I’m trying to think who from the Dallas Stars got in a similar incident. Help me out here it’s getting fuzzy.

kracker

August 26th, 2009
3:37 pm

Chris, what’s the rammifications of the Glads changing their affiliation to the CBJ?

Jimbo

August 26th, 2009
4:07 pm

y top 5 enforcers- Probert, Dave “Cement Head” Semenko, Stu “The Grim Reaper” Grimson, Clark Gillies and Jack Carlson of the North Stars. Terrific left handed puncher.

Chris Vivlamore

August 26th, 2009
4:07 pm

Checking back in on my off day.

kracker: No real ramifications. Just means the Glads will serve as the ECHL affiliate for both the Thrashers and Blue Jackets.

j nes

August 26th, 2009
4:13 pm

Just saw this on yahoo.

According to The State of Hockey News, the worst fans in the NHL are:

No. 30 Atlanta Thrashers: “The Thrashers online presence is very small and that does little to help a team that many in Atlanta seem to struggle to remember they are even there. That sound you just heard was Ilya Kovalchuk(notes) screaming over the fact he has at least one more season with the team.”

I have to disagree. I think nontraditional hockey markets have some of the best fans. It is easy to be a fan in Canada or Boston or Detroit. We here in Atlanta are constantly fighting an uphill battle. People look at us like we are crazy when we profess our love of hockey, yet Phillips Arena still draws an average of over 14000 fans a game. If the article was trying to indicate which team had the “least” fans, than they could pick on Atlanta, Florida, and Phoenix, but what kind of subjective survey did they use to determine best and worst? Just because a bunch of Penguins fans get the number 87 tatooed on their backsides does not make them good fans. And I am willing to bet half of the morons that show up to a Thrashers/ Red Wings game at phillips with a detroit jersey on cant name more than four players on the roster.

The Earl of Bud

August 26th, 2009
4:41 pm

j nes, I read that article too. I found it flawed because while I agree with dropping Colorado to 26th because the moment their team started doing bad they stopped showing up. Wysh didn’t like that but I have to agree. However, if you are going to do that then why reward the Penguins who had horrible attendance and then when Crosby and company got drafted they started showing up?

I also hate how they put so much of an emphasis on “online presence”. I didn’t see how that is measured but just because a team like St. Louis doesn’t have good online prescense doesn’t mean they don’t talk about them around the watercooler.

Rogie

August 26th, 2009
5:09 pm

Steve Durbano deserves consideration. Played with Pittsburgh and KC in 1976 and had 310 penalty minutes which led the league (yes, more than anyone on the Broad Street Bullies during that year…).. What’s more, he was certifiably insane — a prerequisite for the perfect goon..

Brendan

August 26th, 2009
5:19 pm

Midfield, Sutton’s still waiting for Don Waddell to make him a contract offer. Bah-dum-pum. Sutton did wait a good bit of the 2007 offseason before he came to terms with another club.

Oh, great. Here comes the LITERAL CROWD to tell me Andy Sutton signed a three year deal, at $3 million-a-season, with the NY Islanders. Thanks. Mandy’s in his ‘contract year,’ so perhaps we’ll be seeing the BEST of him this season?

R. Stroz

August 26th, 2009
6:40 pm

Just because a bunch of Penguins fans get the number 87 tatooed on their backsides

However, it does mean they should all be wearing diapers.

World Be Free

August 26th, 2009
8:03 pm

Rogie-great call on Steve Durbano, I had him on my list too. What a thig he was!

World Be Free

August 26th, 2009
8:25 pm

EOB and eveyone-Pittsburgh’s policeman during Mario’s heyday was Jay Caufield. If you hit Mario you had to answer to Big Jay.

The Earl of Bud

August 26th, 2009
9:33 pm

World Be Free, I went and looked at the roster and PIM and I figured it was Caufield or Grant Jennings but I don’t remember either one that much. I did though find the info on Ulf’s knee-on-knee hit on Cam Neely that I was trying to recall earlier. Now if I can just recall the Roenick incident and the Dallas Stars knee-on-knee debacle. If anyone else knows what I’m trying to think of chime in please, it’s like a song that I can’t remember the name of.

Gabe

August 27th, 2009
7:58 am

I don’t know about the top 5, but regarding Dave Schultz, I was at the Flames and Flyers game in the Omni In which Schultz challenged Willie Plett. I’m pretty sure Plett was just a rookie then, but Plett beat the crap out of Schultz. This also was the night the benches emptied and both teams fought for what seemed like 20 minutes before the officials get break up all the fights. I’ll never forget Dan Bouchard and their goalie skating toward each other and meeting at center ice to duke it out. Definitely one of my favorite Atlanta sports memories!!

World Be Free

August 27th, 2009
8:19 am

Cannot remember EOB, but remember Grant Jennings was a Sabre at the end of his career.

Best fighting goalies? Billy Smith, Steve Shields (Shields could toss them). Andy Brown too -last goalie to NOT wear a mask.

Don’t remember the Roenick knee incident, but I do remember Ulfie on Cam.

j nes

August 27th, 2009
10:07 am

Ron Hextall has to mentioned when it comes to best goalie fighters. 714 career penalty minutes, I wish I could tell you how many of those were 5 for fighting; I know it has to be a few.

The Earl of Bud

August 27th, 2009
10:23 am

“Ulf was more of a cheap shot artist but he did get in a lot of fights back then. I am trying to think of who was the big star that he kneed and knocked out of the playoffs. I was gonna say Roenick but I thought he got elbowed in the jaw by someone else? Now I’m trying to think who from the Dallas Stars got in a similar incident.”

World Be Free, I just pieced it all together, these memories are getting pretty fuzzy. It was Cam Neely that I was thinking of that Ulf knocked out of the playoffs, and essentially forever. The Roenick jaw/knee thing with the Stars? That was Derian Hatcher of Dallas that broke his jaw when he was playing for Phoenix that I was thinking of.

I have to agree with j nes though, Hextall was a loony in the crease, but you know I will give Shields some due.

World Be Free

August 27th, 2009
7:12 pm

Steve Shields and Garth Snow (we forgot about Snow)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UwaHRE2Infc