Archive for October, 2009

What went wrong the last three games?

I’m a little late with the blog this morning, but it was a quick practice and I was doing some research for my next story – a look at what went wrong these last three home games. Let me know your thoughts.

The one piece of news from the practice was that Ron Hainsey left after a few minutes. I’m not sure what the problem is but coach John Anderson described Hainsey as “day-to-day.”

All the fowards were dressed in same color practice jerseys, but the lines looked like they remained the same from Thursday night.

Antropov-Peverely-Afinogenov

Kozlov-White-Little

Armstrong-Reasoner-Kane

Boulton-Krog-Thorburn

I will check back and see what you guys think of the issues the last few games. I can tell you the players all say they can’t fall behind early as they have.

Continue reading What went wrong the last three games? »

Antropov takes part in Thrashers morning skate

A quick report from Thursday’s morning skate.

Nik Antropov participated in the skate  after missing three straight practices with a “nagging groin injury.”

Before the skate, goalie Johan Hedberg made defenseman Anssi Salmela get in goal so he could take a penalty shot. Hedberg skated in from the blue line and got Salmela to fall to the ice, leaving the net wide open. Hedberg fired high past the open net.

John Anderson told me yesterday that Ondrej Pavelec would most likely start in goal. I’ll let you know if that changes.

Just wanted to get something to you quickly.

Continue reading Antropov takes part in Thrashers morning skate »

Antropov misses third straight practice

It’s looking like the Thrashers may go into tomorrow night’s game against Washington without both top liners Ilya Kovalchuk and Nik Antropov. I’m no doctor, so we’ll find out for sure Thursday. Kovalchuk is out with a broken bone in his foot so that’s a certainty. Antropov missed his third straight practice Wednesday. Coach John Anderson said Antropov is suffering from a “nagging groin injury.”

Here are the line combos used in Wednesday’s practice. Anderson told me Tuesday the team has several line combination scenarios and it will depend on who is available against the Capitals.

Orange: Kozlov, White, Afinogenov

Grey: Armstrong, Peverley, Kane

Red: Reasoner, Slater, Little

Light blue: Boulton, Krog, Thorburn

The first part of practice was spent on special teams.

The first power-play unit was Little, White, Kozlov, Bogosian, Enstrom. The second unit was Peverley, Armstrong,  Afinogenov, Hainsey, Kubina. Krog saw some time on the second unit.

The first penalty-kill unit had …

Continue reading Antropov misses third straight practice »

Thrashers lines without Kovalchuk; Krog recalled

Reporting from Thrashers practice Tuesday.

Before the players take the ice and we get an idea of what the new lines will look like without Ilya Kovalchuk, a couple of updates.

The Thrashers recalled forward Jason Krog from the Chicago Wolves of the AHL to take Kovalchuk spot on the roster.

Nik Antropov missed practice yesterday. He is also out today. Coach John Anderson said he had a “nagging groin injury” and was given the day off.

Anderson also told me not to pay to much attention to the skating lines used yesterday. It was mostly a conditioning day.

Defenseman Mark Popovic skated with a forward jersey to fill out the lines with Kovalchuk and Antropov. Anderson said he considered putting a forward jersey on Christoph Schubert, since he has played forward before.

Today, Kovalchuk is supposed to talk about the injury. You can expect an update and story after practice and interviews.

Here is what the lines look like:

Orange: Slava Kozlov, Todd White, Max Afinogenov

Red: Bryan …

Continue reading Thrashers lines without Kovalchuk; Krog recalled »

Practice begins … without Kovalchuk

Reporting from Thrashers practice Monday morning and Ilya Kovalchuk is not on the ice.

Here is the little I know this morning. According to GM Don Waddell, Kovalchuk will have a CT scan today because there is “obviously a reason for concern.” The team hopes to have the results later today. Waddell said the injury is to the top of the foot, where there is less protection on the skate.

I hope to have some news following practice and interviews so stay tuned. I will post an update with any further information from here in Duluth before leaving.

As an aside, a post on the old blog claiming to be from PR rep Rob Koch is very much bogus.  There are ways to identify said poster. You are not cool.

Mark Popovic is wearing forward jersey  (to help fill out lines, I presume). Nik Antropov is also not on the ice.

Without Kovalchuk, here are the lines as they are on the ice:

Blue: Bryan Little, Slava Kozlov, Max Afinogenov

Grey: Chris Thorburn, Todd White, Marty Reasoner

Orange: Evander …

Continue reading Practice begins … without Kovalchuk »

Odds and ends from Thursday’s loss; Will Heatley be booed?

It’s your Friday morning check-in from Thrashers practice. I’m here way early for the 11 a.m. practice. Another rookie mistake, very light traffic on a Friday.

Noah Welch is on the practice ice alone as I type.

Some leftover notes from last night’s game:

- The Little White Russian line were all minus-1. Kozlov had the line’s one point, an assist.

- The Thrashers were outshot, but only two, 28-26.

- The penalty kill did not allow a goal in seven situations. They are now No. 1 in the NHL with a 90.6 kill rate.

- The power play converted 2-of-8 chances. They are now in a three-way tie for No. 1 in the NHL – with Calgary and Colorado – with a 28.6 success rate.

- Coach John Anderson on the game:  “There were some good things. Some things I didn’t like. We have to be hitting on all cylinders to beat Washington.”

- When I asked if he was surprised that the Thrashers lost despite not allowing Alexander Ovechkin a point, Anderson said: “That’s why they are not the Ovechkin Capitals.” …

Continue reading Odds and ends from Thursday’s loss; Will Heatley be booed? »

Thrashers move Little to second line

The Little-White-Russian line is back.

Just back from the morning skate for tonight’s key early season matchup between the Thrashers and Capitals. First place is on the line.

Coach John Anderson has juggled the second line, moving Bryan Little back to play with Todd White and Slava Kozlov. As I documented today, the second unit has been off to a slow start, combining for two goals and a minus-10.

“We are just trying to get everyone going,” Anderson said. “Some guys haven’t gotten goals yet. Guys that can score. You want to have all your guys running on the same gear and maybe a little switch will be a breath of fresh air. Lines are not set in stone. We can always change them back.”

Little does not have a goal this season. He does have five assists. He was skating on the first line with Ilya Kovalchuk and Nik Antropov. Max Afinogenov will move up to skate on the top line.

Ondrej Pavelec will get the start in goal.

Jim Slater and Anssi Salmela will be the healthy …

Continue reading Thrashers move Little to second line »

Back in Duluth … What’s gone right, wrong

We are back at the IceForum. The Thrashers are finished with the three-game road trip to New Jersey, Buffalo and Montreal.

Sorry about the delay with the blog. I had it written and then it disappeared into the blog-o-sphere. Then practiced ended and I had to hustle.

Wednesday was an optional skate since the team got back from Montreal at 3 a.m. A few players did not skate.  They were Toby Enstrom,  Zach Bogosian, Nik Antropov and Todd White.

No line pairings today. Forwards are dressed in dark blue, defensemen in white.

Finished the Ron Hainsey story for tomorrow, but have several other assignments. I have to do a recap of what has gone right and what has gone wrong (not too much) as the Thrashers start the season 4-1-1. I have my list, but give me your list.

Right:

Kovalchuk’s fast start, penalty kill and power play, goaltending, Kane

Wrong:

Shots-on-goal disadvantages, slow starts.

Let me know what you think and I may include it.

Thanks for the help.

Continue reading Back in Duluth … What’s gone right, wrong »

Details from an emotional trip to the Dan Snyder Memorial Arena

Checking in from Buffalo as I wait to return to Atlanta. It took me exactly 30 minutes to check out of my hotel, return the rental car, check in for the flight, clear security and arrive at my gate – three hours before departure. Does that happen in Atlanta? So, plenty of time to post this blog, write a notebook of items leftover from the weekend and work on a Ron Hainsey story that will appear Wednesday/Thursday.

I had never met the Snyder family before this weekend. I took over as Pro Sports Editor shortly after the accident, so I was involved in a lot of the coverage and the Dany Heatley trial. When I arrived at the Woolwich Community Center in Elmira on  Sunday I was quite early. Children were already lining up to get in, two hours before the doors opened. I was directed down a hallway between the two rinks and almost immediately met by a woman, with a walkie-talkie in hand, making sure every detail was under control before the Thrashers arrived. It was LuAnn Snyder, Dan’s …

Continue reading Details from an emotional trip to the Dan Snyder Memorial Arena »

Afinogenov returns to Buffalo

I made it to Buffalo. No snow on the ground, but it’s cold.

Plenty of people waiting to see Max Afinogenov when he arrived for the team’s optional morning skate. He talked to former teammates and  a (very) small media contingent waited for him after practice.

He said it was a weird feeling being back in Buffalo.

“It was definitely a weird feeling,” Afinogenov said. “This was my home for a long time. … I would be a liar if I said I was not [going to be nervous]. Hopefully it will just be at the start of the game and everything will calm down.”

He will be the top item to my game notes.

I also talked to Evander Kane about the goal Friday against Martin  Brodeur. Here’s what he had to say.

“You know you are going against a world class goalie so with that there’s a little something more added to it,” Kane said. “But at the same time, it’s just another goal and it doesn’t matter who the goalie is for me.”

Pretty telling of where he is as an NHL player.

It was an optional skate, but …

Continue reading Afinogenov returns to Buffalo »