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

World Be Free

August 27th, 2009
7:18 pm

Pedro

August 27th, 2009
9:45 pm

HookyBob

August 28th, 2009
6:09 pm

For fighting goalies I have 2 names to put into the hat. Pasi Nuermanin (sp), and Billy Smith.

As for general fighters I’d think one has to consider John Ferguson and Keith Magnuson. Seems to me Eddie Shore was more of a fight waiting to happen. These are the guys that make one think all star wrestling is not so far off base.

Does anyone remember Francis Lassard? He fought,…but seemed to bleed really bad every time.

When does the puck drop anyway.

HookyBob

August 28th, 2009
6:30 pm

World be Free: I see you mentioned Billy Smith earlier. My oversight (and my poor short-term memory).

I’d always thought Gump (Worsley, not Forest) was the last goalie to play sans mask, but I see Wiki disagrees with me (well my memory again). Hard to believe no mask was ever the norm (when did baseball catchers starting wearing cages?). Of course that is back when seat belts were relatively new.

So Shields was a fighter. I wouldn’t mind seeing Kari getting in (initiating) a fight, say picking on a forward who hit one of our guys. That would sure send a message to the other players and our fans.

From the AHL fights I’ve seen,… Boris he can be a real animal. Hope he gets that going in the NHL. When do we play Boston again? (Doesn’t he have an IOU to settle with Chara?)

World Be Free

August 29th, 2009
9:44 am

Hookie-Sheilds actually develope the rep of being a goalie would would drop them-watch the Shields/Sean Burke video and the announcers are talking about it.

Andy Brown was the last golaie I can remember that played without a mask. Joe Daley was other one; I can remember Joe Daley with a 60+ save performance in the Sabres’ first season in Boston, with no mask.

What would make any goalie want to play without a mask? I guess only a goalie would know.

Duder

September 1st, 2009
4:18 pm

puck drops in a month, can we get more consistent on the bloggage?

Evan Foudoulis

September 1st, 2009
11:57 pm

Hockeybuzz are reporting that the thrashers have invited Manny Legace to training camp. That’s now 5 goalies in the mix. What is DW thinking? Trade? Doesn’t seem much of a market there at the moment.

mutton

September 2nd, 2009
8:57 am

I’d read that we’ve invited Legace, too. Can you get a confirmation on that one, Chris? Seems a bit odd to me, too, what with the contracts that are in their final year: Kari’s contract expires, Moose’s contract expires, I think Pavelec too; we signed Drew Mac who a lot expect to get the starter job in Chicago, we signed Manino who’s probably also headed for Chi-town; AND invited Legace to camp? Hey I’m all for depth at goal, but I don’t know about that either. You’ve gotta do SOMETHING with the guys whom you don’t put on NHL ice, and pulling a Tampa and having upper-echelon guys riding pine or rotting in the minors or essentially pulling a video game-GM sign-and-trade because you brought in too many is a very good way to get a very bad name for your franchise. And we’re just beginning to get over that from LAST summer, and the summer before that….

[...] Spokesmodel (The Goalies): GM Don Waddell says that Lehtonen is progressing after off-season back surgery, which would be great news if not for the chronic groin issues that have dogged him over the last [...]

Kenny

September 2nd, 2009
1:57 pm

Sounds like we are headed for another Lotto pick this year.

Kenny

September 2nd, 2009
1:58 pm

because none of those goalies will be resigned mutton

Buzzeng

September 2nd, 2009
6:47 pm

Hey Chris – This probably isn’t your responsibility, but why is there no “puck drops” countdown on the Thrasher homepage? GT has one. Falcons have one… Too early? It can’t start soon enough for me! Go Thrashers!!

Joshgekko

September 3rd, 2009
11:19 am

Why is it that there are players in duluth, yet we have to wait 9 days or more for a new blog in September. Meanwhile Iceman is churning them out. You have access, use it!

Chris Vivlamore

September 3rd, 2009
1:36 pm

Folks, I’m frantically trying to finish five stories that I have on my plate before training camp starts. I did finally confirm that Manny Legace, along with Dan Fritsche and Mark Popovic, are being invited to training camp on pro tryouts. Don’t be surprised if there are one or two others. I will put up a new blog tonight or tomorrow and then I leave for a mini-vacation. I have some days left to use. I assume you all would rather I take them now than once the season starts.

Buzzeng: I don’t know the answer the the puck drops countdown, but I will certainly pass on your concern. We are getting close.

[...] 24, 2009. Don Waddell’s comment for AJC Blog He said he gets weekly updates from Kari’s doctor and that all seems to be fine. They are not in [...]

Don-in Canada

January 7th, 2010
2:24 am

I saw Howe fight John Ferguson once and poor Fergie didn’t know where the punches were coming from. He was confused. Howe had the sharpest elbows in the league and if went into a corner with him you would come out with sore ribs, if you were lucky. I remember watching a playoff game between Toronto and Boston and Forbes Kennedy went nuts! He fought half the Bruins team. Ted Green twice and even Cheevers in nets. He finally punched a linesman so he was done.