Thrashers line combinations – with plenty of updates

Reporting in early from Wednesday’s Thrashers practice.

Here are the line combinations on the ice. Do not know if there is any significance yet. I’ll check after practice.

Light blue: Kovalchuk, Little, Antropov

Grey: Kozlov, White, Afinogenov

Orange: Kane, Reasoner, Peverley

Red: Boulton, Slater, Thorburn

Yellow: Armstrong, Gratton

There is nothing new of the Kovalchuk negotiations at this point. I, obviously, have a lot of catching up to do with Don Waddell and John Anderson a bit later. I have a long list of things to ask about, but feel free to give me your thoughts and I’ll add them to my list.

I will check back after lockeroom and interviews.

UPDATE: Lots to report from locker room interviews and session with Waddell and Anderson.

Here goes:

1. Kovy negotiations continue. Waddell remains optimistic. However, don’t expect it to be done by start of season. Both Waddell and Kovy said they don’t – and won’t – consider the contract talks a distraction. Stay tuned.

2.Without actually saying it, Waddell and Anderson strongly indicated that Ondrej Pavelec will start in goal for Saturday’s season opener.

3. Lehtonen is officially on injured reserve. He has started skating again – without equipment – be is still several weeks away from playing. Waddell refused to speculate a timeline on his return.

4. Nathan Oystrick cleared waivers and remains property of the team.

5. Manny Legace was offered a contract to go to Chicago. He elected to try to find a team in here or in Europe. The Thrashers and he will keep the lines of communication open should he change is mind.

6. Anderson said if the Thrashers don’t make the playoffs, the season will be a failure.

7. Stewart Cink dropped by the locker room – and brought the actual Claret Jug with him.

8. Josh Gratton is waiting until 3 p.m. deadline for the roster to be submitted before he informs his family he made the team.

9. Colby Armstrong, recovering from a groin injury (that was the “lower body injury”) practiced Wednesday. It was the first time he skated in nearly two weeks. He reported that he felt great. Ron Hainsey wouldn’t specify his injury. Said he has too many. I’m sure he was messing with me. He practiced.

10. Anderson said the line combinations above are pretty much set. Also (not to go over an even 10 things), captains and assistants will be named at Thursday’s Face Off Event for season ticket holders.

55 comments Add your comment

Pam on Weck

September 30th, 2009
10:35 am

Probably already on the list:

Injury statuses on Army, Hainsey, Lehtonen
Where does the staff feel Gratton fits in?
Who can we expect to see on the PK?

Pam on Weck

September 30th, 2009
10:39 am

Which goalie starts on Sat?
Has Max had enough practice time with his linemates to be effective immediately?

Hockey Biltong

September 30th, 2009
10:43 am

Ask DW about any possibility of developing an intown skating facility.

Toby

September 30th, 2009
10:52 am

The PK is my biggest fear heading into the season (Kovy and a goalie are right there too…)

Jarndyce

September 30th, 2009
10:54 am

Who moves down to the 4th line if Armstrong is ready to play? Kane?

Barry

September 30th, 2009
11:12 am

I’m still a bit confused why we are keeping two extra forwards. One extra I can understand but two? Anyway, I know Waddell brought Antropov to play center and be a big body up the middle, but his faceoffs are bad and doesn’t help get puck possession for that line. Is there some rule that says a winger like Little can’t take the initial faceoff? That top line losing faceoffs and puck possession really stood out to me in the last preseason game against Tampa.

Pam on Weck

September 30th, 2009
11:28 am

If Kane goes back to juniors after 9 games, we will only have one extra forward. That may be your answer.

Based on the combos above, Little is indicated as center. Once the puck is in play, he could easily change places with Nik.

Smoothie

September 30th, 2009
11:29 am

Wouldn’t it make more sense for Pevs to be on the left (RH shot) and Kane to be on the right (LH shot)?

Yes I know, silly little details…probably doesn’t matter so much in JA’s left-wing lock system where players are quite interchangeable. Perhaps this is what he’s wanted all along. 3 lines that can rock n’ roll and keep defenders on their heels. But will we be able to sustain puck possession to keep the shots down on Pavelec??

Smoothie

September 30th, 2009
11:34 am

Almost forgot, how does JA see the two PP units shaking out? Will Pevs still get 2nd unit time?

Kovy / Kubina / Kozlov / Antro / Little

Bogey / Enstrom / Pevs / Army / White

Darkhorse

September 30th, 2009
11:37 am

Any trades brewing with DW? Is it in the realm of possibility that we might trade for a proven #1 goalie? The Ducks have two in Hiller and Giguire that come to mind.

Thrasher_Ed

September 30th, 2009
11:52 am

What was it that put Salmella over the top with Nathan Oystrick? Could he be resigned for Chicago if he clears waivers?

mid-ga-hockey fan

September 30th, 2009
11:56 am

It does not matter if you keep shots down on Pavs,Because as it has been stated on this and other blogs,unless someone with some ability works with Pavs on some pretty glaring mechanical problems(weight distribution,shoulder height,puckhandling etc)fewer shots allowed might not equal less GA.I would love to see either Hiller or J.S.here but I doubt that they would go for Doris and a 3rd round pick for a top tier goaltender,they are going to want something of greater value, cap space be damned. Any thoughts?

Buzilla in CT

September 30th, 2009
12:09 pm

I would like to know how much wood would a woodchuck chuck.

mid-ga-hockey fan

September 30th, 2009
12:17 pm

It won’t take long for it to get around that Opie makes one spectacular save followed by BIG rebounds and is easy prey high gloveside.I don’t know who you trade for a goaltender,because I love our 1st 3 lines and unless someone is willing to trade a top tier goalie for Doris,Thorbs and a bag of pucks,I can only pray that our top 9 forwards can keep the other team on their end for a couple of weeks ’til KL can come back and kill a little time before his next stint on IR.

mid-ga-hockey fan

September 30th, 2009
12:36 pm

And don’t call me Chuck

Chris Vivlamore

September 30th, 2009
2:54 pm

In case you missed them, plenty of updates at the end of the blog. Call it my Top 10 list to celebrate my return.

Russian

September 30th, 2009
2:58 pm

Thanks, Chris.
Welcome back and I am really injoy to read your post. :-)

Darkhorse

September 30th, 2009
3:12 pm

Thanks for the updates! Hope Kovy doesn’t drag out negotiations one way or the other too long. Thought we might have had an opening night suprise, besides Pavs getting spanked by the Lightning.

Smoothie

September 30th, 2009
3:28 pm

CViv, thanks for the info from the media luncheon! Interesting to hear that the line combos are pretty much set. Did you get a feeling about Colby’s status as a 3rd line starter in the event he is feeling well enough to play or is it pretty certain they will work him back into the flow slowly? Also interesting that Legace was offered the 2-way just as many here suspected. Do you think Gratton stays with the big club until Legace changes his mind? We may see him in a Thrashers uni soon enough if Pavelec tanks in the first 2 weeks.

Toby

September 30th, 2009
3:28 pm

Welcome back!

#1 = scary.

Sam

September 30th, 2009
3:29 pm

Would Anderson consider the season a failure if we don’t sign Kovalchuk?

Sara

September 30th, 2009
3:44 pm

Sam I’d say it goes hand in hand –> no play-offs = no Kovy = epic fail

Smoothie

September 30th, 2009
3:45 pm

Thrashers will televise 20 games in BRILLIANT HD this season starting with the Oct 8th game at St. Louis, per Ben’s tweet treats.

Hijacker

September 30th, 2009
3:54 pm

1. Of course Waddell remains optimistic. I feel about .5% as optimistic when he does. Hello Zhitnik and him being an important part of the team. Hello Hossa.

2. 204 points in 236 games. I’m waiting for Pavelec to show what he do to ease my pain.

3. Awesome this sounds like 2005 all over again.

5. I expect him to be join the team which offers him the most money.

6. I want to see some heads rolling starting with Waddell’s.

Tight5

September 30th, 2009
3:57 pm

Hockey Biltong, I can report that a friend who is in commercial real estate says that the ownership of the Ice Forum Duluth has looked at in-town properties for building a rink. Don’t know anymore than that.

Darren

September 30th, 2009
4:50 pm

Does anyone have any extra tickets or is not using tickets for tomorrow nights face off event?

Smoothie

September 30th, 2009
4:55 pm

Hey Chris, did you purposely put Little in the middle because JA has moved Antropov back to the wing? Or was that just a Freudian slip?

ranallo10 (in AT)

September 30th, 2009
5:10 pm

Little can take faceoffs and slide to the right wing afterwards, there should be no issue there. To my recollection (I pulled stats once before but am too lazy to do it again) Antropov is poor at faceoffs. Little is no faceoff stud ala Holik, Reasoner or even Slater or Perrin, but he’s better than Antropov historically. I still think Little should take the faceoffs then go where coach wants him playing, which is likely along the boards and/or in front of the crease.

Smoothie

September 30th, 2009
5:13 pm

I echo those sentiments ranallo…and yes, Antropov is not good at faceoffs…tis well documented. That’s why I was wondering if Little was given the nod as evidenced in practice sessions. Perhaps he is too far from the ice being 6′ 6″ and it hinders his ability to get low and control the other players stick??

Darren

September 30th, 2009
5:14 pm

This is my first year in the teams existance that I haven’t had season tickets and I would really like to go if anyone had extra tickets to the face off event.

Chris Vivlamore

September 30th, 2009
5:16 pm

Smoothie: Yep. Just a slip. It’s cold typing inside that rink!

Brendan

September 30th, 2009
6:10 pm

Welcome back, Chris. That was a fine Top 10 list.

Barry

September 30th, 2009
6:23 pm

Man I sure hope Kovy signs sooner rather than later. I would just feel better having it done asap. It would be a crushing blow to this franchise and to the hearts of fans if he doesn’t re-sign as a Thrasher. I don’t like the idea of Pavelec starting for the season opener. Tampa lit him up like a Christmas tree Sunday. I just think it’s an injustice to Moose honestly. I mean it would be fitting for the season to kick off with everyone yelling Moooooooose all game and show Johan the love he deserves.

Dwayne

September 30th, 2009
7:09 pm

Thrasher Ed….I do believe Salmella can’t be sent down.

George

September 30th, 2009
7:47 pm

Antropov should be the one in the crease this yr. with his size!

Tiago

September 30th, 2009
10:18 pm

I tought Kane would play as center on fourth line.
who will replace hainsey?
I would prefer to see Peverley instead Afinogenov on second line.

Furmanisanidiot

September 30th, 2009
10:52 pm

Darren, I have 2 tickets for tomorrow night if you would like them. I do not get back to atlanta till around 11pm so I cannot make it. You need to give me an email address to forward them too

Hockey Biltong

October 1st, 2009
12:28 am

Tight5- thanks for that nugget. I had heard a whisper as well, but nothing else.Possibly inside 285.

Good job Chris.Glad you are back.

stendec

October 1st, 2009
12:30 am

No playoffs for ice chokers! Thrashers will once again be near or at bottom of league in goals surrendered. Due, mostly to, ah, forget it! Soft goals will be the norm not the exception. Thrashers will continue to be absent without leave on home ice. Most heartless defeats of season will be reserved for home fans. Teams will scheme to neutralize lone Thrasher offensive threat. Ilya Kovalchuk will become increasingly frustrated at being held, punched and hounded by goons from drop of puck to final buzzer every game. This constant attention will result in even more missed open nets and microscopic misfires. I am certain Russian led world in this dubious category for all professed hockey stars. That rage will equate to more senseless penalties being taken. Thrashers will have one of most inept power kills in league. Power play will not be much better as powerless one last season. IK will be shadowed forevermore like that raven said. Numerous bouts will be tied late only to have…oh well, what is the use in even trying to tell unbelievers? I will not have to call for tar and feathers for certain netminder after another nauseating campaign. Many of his most staunch supporters now will be scouring Atlanta for those items. Enjoy IK this season. It will be his last with a bird on his shirt. Peace.

ThrasherHusk

October 1st, 2009
2:35 am

glad to see your back stendec. hey man atleast kari wont be playing for awhile, you should atleast be happy about that. looking forward to this season alot but mark my words, i will not be a thrasher fan if kovy doesnt get resigned at some point this year. i will simply have to switch teams, as painful as it will be seing as how i have never loved any team like this one.
I like the line combos and if goaltending can be somewhat consistant, i like our chances to make atleast the 7 or 8 spot,,
stay positive thrash fans!!!

ThrasherHusk

October 1st, 2009
2:44 am

Tiago- Hainsey is fine, he is practicing and will start sat night with kubina.

i like the lines alot
1. “the little russian” 2. “the white russian” 3. great speed, playmaking ability love the fact that kane is getting a chance to show what he can do- he will def be the goal scorer on that line 4. i would like to see gratton and army on the 4th line with boults. we all know slater is a joke and thors isnt real good either so why not?? the idea of army on the 4th sounds real good to me… defensively we look as good as i can ever remember. top 4 should be pretty damn solid. i like popovic with either salmella or mccarthy. please no valabik, that guy just doesnt have it yet…

jerry

October 1st, 2009
6:00 am

One thing is going to be different this year. I am not going to waste my time watching the opponent control the puck in the Thrashers zone for an eternity while the Thrashers stand around with their finger in their……

Darren

October 1st, 2009
7:11 am

Furmanisanidiot – I appreciate that a lot. Thanks so much. my email is: darrens18@yahoo.com

Jimbo

October 1st, 2009
7:18 am

I agree with many. The PK was one of ur biggest weaknesses last year. Have we fixed any part of it? What are the combinations that we’ll see?

[...] -Atlanta forward and former Penguin Colby Armstrong is dealing with a groin injury. [...]

Doug T

October 1st, 2009
8:18 am

Why not just send Kane back to juniors? Why keep him here & stunt his development by putting him on the third line? And why isn’t Peverley with Kovalchuk? That combination thrived last year.

ranallo10 (in AT)

October 1st, 2009
8:42 am

9 games of third line play will at least give Kane a glimpse into what it’ll take for him to play at the NHL level. It’s always possible for Atlanta to send him to juniors.

If he plays 10 games on the third line I’ll consider it truly impeding his development as a top line scorer.

Furmanisanidiot

October 1st, 2009
9:51 am

Darren, tickets have been forwarded. Have a good time

Stephen

October 1st, 2009
9:57 am

Will any reporter please ask Waddell (or Anderson) why Legace didn’t make it. Was it performance or $$ related? You’re telling me he was worse than Pavs and Hedberg?

Darren

October 1st, 2009
9:58 am

Thanks a lot. I appreciate it