Gratton, Valabik not on the ice

Here is your morning update from Thrashers practice.

Josh Gratton is not on practice ice. I will check later to see if he cleared waivers or was claimed.

Boris Valabik, who fell during yesterday’s practice, is also not on the ice. I will check if there is an update on his condition.

As for the line pairings, they are the same as yesterday. Colby Armstrong skating with third line of Rich Peverley and Evander Kane. Marty Reasoner on the fourth line with Eric Boulton, Jim Slater and Chris Thorburn. Armstrong is skating strong, no noticeable effects of groin injury.

They have not run drills with defensive pairings yet, but I assume they will be the same as yesterday as well.

I will check back later after practice and interviews and the drive home. Let’s hope I-285 has recovered.

62 comments Add your comment

R. Stroz

October 6th, 2009
10:46 am

FIRST, or GOLD

Chris Vivlamore

October 6th, 2009
10:48 am

We’ll give you the gold. The Olympics are next year.

Get The Puck Out

October 6th, 2009
10:51 am

If Schubert’s in who’s gonna be out? Sounds like Army’s ready.

Smoothie

October 6th, 2009
10:52 am

Now that’s what I call reporting! Talk about your timely updates…blogging right as the team takes the ice. Nice work!

Chris, can you ask JA if he plans on getting Antropov into the first unit PP rotation so we can take some of the pressure off of Little to screen the goalie. I’d rather have Bryan making his slick passes from behind the net. Todd White should be on the 2nd unit.

Sara

October 6th, 2009
11:00 am

Chris – can you find out what the implications are of Legace signing in Chicago?

Thanks

GaVaHokie

October 6th, 2009
11:16 am

Chris… I believe Gratton has until noon to clear waivers… not 100% on that though.

blahblah

October 6th, 2009
11:33 am

Why are we talking about hockey??? It’s football season for crying out loud. Plus, I thought the Thrashers left Atlanta couple of years ago. Guess I was wrong.

gafan1

October 6th, 2009
11:47 am

blahblah, dude, if you dont like hockey dont comment on the post. Come on man. I love football too, but hockey is a great sport. I think we are going to score a ton of goals this year, lets see if we can stop anyone.

TrueBlue

October 6th, 2009
11:56 am

You know when you are an absolute loser when: You have time to come to a Thrashers blog post and make a stupid comment only to feel better about yourself. We have a winner!! Congrats blahblah!

World Be Free

October 6th, 2009
11:58 am

blahblah-thanks for playing our game, Johnny Olson, do we have a parting gift for this young fellow?

Jim

October 6th, 2009
12:03 pm

I don’t like Reasoner on the fourth line. Kane will be a liability on the third when they have to shut down a legit 1st line.

Daculafan

October 6th, 2009
12:06 pm

I’m guessing that if we re-activate Army any time soon that Boris will get put on the IR. If not somebody has got to go down when we put Army back on the roster.

More interesting moves out Duluth on tap folks…let’s see what JA pulls next…I’m still stoked..I think we’re going to be awesome this year.

Midfield

October 6th, 2009
12:38 pm

Actually, Kane looked like a great shut-down guy for an uptempo transition style opponent like Tampa. He back-checked relentlessly. I’m not sure if he’s able to do as well against bigger opponents – like the Caps, for example.

ranallo10 (in AT)

October 6th, 2009
12:43 pm

Moving Reasoner onto the fourth line is just killing the team’s faceoff percentage. Really, who can win an offensive zone faceoff if the two best faceoff men on the team are on the fourth line with grinders/enforcers?

mid-ga-hockey fan

October 6th, 2009
12:52 pm

Ya think Legace watched tape of Opie flopping like a fish and said “Hmmm maybe I won’t have to wait too long for the call”and signed with the Wolves to stay in game shape?

Chris Vivlamore

October 6th, 2009
1:14 pm

Back from practice: The big update is Valabik is having an MRI on his leg today after taking the spill in yesterday’s practice. I don’t expect the results until tomorrow, but we might get lucky and get them today.

No official word on Gratton yet. He had until noon to clear waivers (GaVaHokie, you are correct). That puts the roster at 22 – clearing the way to activate Armstrong and not make another move. Anderson said they plan to keep the roster at the maximum of 23 players.

Some questions:

Sara: I want to ask Waddell about Legace. He hasn’t been around the last two days. I will try again Wednesday.

Smoothie: I didn’t see your question to ask Anderson about Antropov on the power play. However, you might be interested to know that he practices standing in front of the net and deflecting shots every day. That might be a sign of things to come.

Get the puck out: I assume now that Valabik is the odd-man out on the defensive side. Whether he has to go on IR remains to be seen, but if he’s getting an MRI today, I doubt he’ll play Thursday.

Smoothie

October 6th, 2009
1:17 pm

Thanks Chris, next time I’ll try to make the question actually look like a question (i.e. ?) and make it stand alone. At least we seemed to be mixing it up a little bit on the PP with Kovy moving around a bit and trying to go back door to exploit the overplay.

Shananeeeeee Fananeeeeeeeee

October 6th, 2009
1:17 pm

Forget the Thrashers, what I want to know is how many of the Blue Crew I am going to hook up with this season?

Chris Vivlamore

October 6th, 2009
1:20 pm

No problem Smoothie. I just didn’t see all the posts before I had to turn off the computer and watch a little of the practice.

Chris Vivlamore

October 6th, 2009
1:24 pm

Gratton cleared waivers. Going to Chicago.

Russian

October 6th, 2009
1:26 pm

Gratton is in Chickago. Great news. Thanks

Smoothie

October 6th, 2009
1:27 pm

Good to see he cleared and will make it to Chicago…he will be valuable to us at some point as a call-up…for certain.

J.B.

October 6th, 2009
1:27 pm

Glad we’ve still got Gratton in the mix going to Chicago. I liked him during the preseason and I think chances are EXCELLENT he’ll need to be called up at some point this season.

Felt kind of bad for him that he was so excited to make the opening night roster, was scratched for the game, then waived. At least he has a good chance of coming back up to Atlanta this season. Chicago’s going to be incredible this season.

What a horrible person I am… Boris is injured and I’m sitting here going, “Whew! Glad it’s Boris and not one of the other D-men.”

ranallo10 (in AT)

October 6th, 2009
1:30 pm

Vivlamore — Would you kindly mention something to Anderson about the faceoffs and see if he’s contemplated (or already tried) allowing Little to take the faceoffs in place of Antropov, and then going to wing afterward? I’m sure there is far more to it than it seems, so I’d like to know his opinion on why such an idea would or wouldn’t work.

ranallo10 (in AT)

October 6th, 2009
1:33 pm

The Gratton situation reeks of Hoffman ‘08-’09. People seemed to love him because of his size and propensity for fighting, the club had a spot for him, then an injury hit and he was sent down to the AHL for the entirety of the season. Now Gratton “makes” the team, people love him because of his propensity for fighting, and the club sends him to the AHL. It’s harder for an enforcer to crack an NHL lineup so, unless someone like Boulton or Thorburn gets injured or traded, I don’t expect Gratton to be in a Thrashers uniform in the near future.

Chris Vivlamore

October 6th, 2009
1:34 pm

In case you missed it – Jason Krog was named captain in Chicago and Kevin Doell and Nathan Oystrick are the alternates. Hey, anybody like that Oystrick story on Sunday? I was hoping for some feedback.

Ranallo: I will ask about the faceoffs. Some of us were having the conversation this morning. If Reasoner is one the fourth line, meaning either Reasoner or Slater sit, who will be on the penalty kill or take faceoffs? I’m on it.

Putting On The Foil

October 6th, 2009
1:39 pm

Chris- Thumbs up on the Oystrick story Sunday. First time I ever got the wife to read a hockey story.

Putting On The Foil

October 6th, 2009
1:40 pm

Have I missed something recent on Legace?

Don *(Not That One)*

October 6th, 2009
1:44 pm

Legace signed with Chicago Wolves, I’ve yet to see details if it’s an AHL only deal or if there is anything that covers getting called up to the Thrashers.

Chris Vivlamore

October 6th, 2009
1:45 pm

Putting On The Foil: Thanks for the review. I appreciate it. There was a report that Legace had accepted a contract with Chicago (AHL), although I haven’t seen anything official.

R. Stroz

October 6th, 2009
1:51 pm

Vivlamore – The Oystrick story was a good news tear jerker and I truely enjoyed reading it. I posted it on Rawhide’s blog for additional coverage. Well Done.

Where do I pick up my medal?

J.B.

October 6th, 2009
1:52 pm

Reasoner sitting is a mistake.

I can see ranallo’s hoffman parallel (whatever happened to him?) but honestly, i was just as impressed with Gratton’s two goals in a single preseason game. I realize he’s more of an enforcer but i was surpriesed by his offense; it must have made an impression on me.

I read Legace’s contract is a professional tryout much like his tryout with Atlanta.

Chris Vivlamore

October 6th, 2009
1:57 pm

R.Stroz: Perhaps I can deliver it at the next viewing party at T.J.s

Smoothie

October 6th, 2009
1:58 pm

Chris & ranallo and anyone else with concern about Marty getting bumped to the 4th line — I would bet good money that Marty will be the pivot on the bottom line with Boults on the LW and Jimmy playing RW. He’s played RW before and it may actually help him to develop chemistry with Reasoner, a player whom Slater would be wise to pattern his game. Slater can take F/O if Marty gets bumped and the two may even play a bit more together on the penalty kill.

I highly doubt either Slater or Marty gets benched in favor of Thorburn who isn’t as polished on the PK, if you can say that about Slippin’ Slater (I love ya Jim but it’s just too awesome a nickname!).

As for concerns about top line F/O proficiency, Bryan Little took 8 of them and won 6. I doubt Antropov was booted that many times so I think the strategy you speak of ranallo is already in play. Little is our # 1 C of the future and will cement his status as such this season…mark my words.

GaVaHokie

October 6th, 2009
2:18 pm

Smoothie… I hear ya… I still have my lines penciled in, it’s getting close… they just have to swap Max and Army and make the Kane line the 2nd line.

Kovalchuk Little Antropov
Kane Peverley Afinogenov
Kozlov White Armstrong
Boulton Reasoner Slater

FormerIslesFan

October 6th, 2009
2:29 pm

Viv,

I very much liked the Oystrick story. My wife, who is a regular hockey article reader and you met at the draft party at TJ’s this year, is adopted as well and your story affected her very much (in a positive way). Any time you can continue to bring the “human” element of our players to your column, please do so!

five_hole

October 6th, 2009
2:51 pm

Shananeeeeee Fananeeeeeeeee My guess is never.

GaVaHokie That’s a pretty good 3rd line, imo.

Can anyone tell me why it’s taking so long for Thursday to get here?

Smoothie

October 6th, 2009
2:58 pm

GVH, I think you’re really on to something. However, I think I like the idea of having Kane’s speed on the 3rd line to chase down the other team’s best players like he chased down St. Louis a couple of times in the 3rd period…his speed + effort = incredible back-checking.

I’d go with the Kozster on the Pevs / Finny line and add Kane for the needed back-checking speed on the 3rd with Whitey & Army. Each of the 4 lines would have a guy that absolutely flies: Kovy & Litts / Finny & Pevs / Whitey & Kaner / Slates & Party…EFFIN AY WOW!!

GaVaHokie

October 6th, 2009
3:06 pm

I just figure Peverley plays well with Afinogenov and, as witnessed Saturday night, Kane plays well with Peverley.

I can only assume that at some point we have to see Kane Peverley and Afinogenov get a green light.

But, seriously, does Peverley NOT play well with anyone? He’s been the perfect cog in the wheel so far for this team.

ranallo10 (in AT)

October 6th, 2009
3:14 pm

Smoothie — It’s not a concern with Reasoner not getting faceoff time while on the fourth line, it’s the fact that the Atlanta fourth line typically has 10 minutes of playing time, and will now have their two best faceoff takers on the same line logging minuscule minutes. Faceoff situations normally taken by Reasoner will now be split between whatever offensive line is on the ice, and undoubtedly that player is not as proficient at faceoffs than Reasoner.

Reasoner on the third gave the Thrashers their best faceoff man on their top defensive forward line. Slater on the fourth allowed for the energy line to win at a 50%+ clip also. White is decent enough for a second line faceoff taker in my opinion, but Peverley is not nearly proficient enough to be facing an offensive line with the game on the line. If he was a top line center I wouldn’t be concerned, but right now he’s a #3 center and that’s where I want a faceoff professor.

Of course that’s all just my opinion which is why I’m curious what coach Anderson has to say about it.

More importantly to my point, Antropov is not a good faceoff taker. I’m hoping we’ll see Little take more faceoffs for that line.

Jen

October 6th, 2009
3:16 pm

I think it is entirely possible to have Slater (or even Reasoner) play on a wing and then sit either Bolts or Thorbun since they are the obvious candidates for press-box time. It would be interesting to see what a Bolts(Thorburn)/Reasoner/Slater line does.

The Earl of Bud

October 6th, 2009
3:48 pm

ranallo10 (in AT) – Reasoner may only play 10 mins/g at ES, but he will get additional minutes on PK which will be important to win faceoffs on the PK and as well give us a legit 4th liner that can kill penalties. As for faceoff %, look at the numbers for last season:

Reasoner – 52.8%
Peverley – 52.4%

I don’t think that’s much of a dropoff having Peverley as the 3rd line center. Todd White is also above 50% as well, so that means the only guy we have that is <50% is Little who is our top line guy anyway. By the way, Little to Antro is only a 2% difference (43% to 41%).

Smoothie

October 6th, 2009
4:03 pm

Peverley is pretty good in the face-off circle as well and may be a better defensive forward than Marty…he’s certainly faster. So a 3rd line of Army – Pevs – Kane may actually be a better defensive shut-down line than any 3rd line we’ve ever had, with or without Marty. And I say this as one of Marty’s biggest supporters…owner of a personalized Reasoner jersey that I am. But with Marty on the 4th line, and in a game where both Boulton & Thorburn don’t sit for 10 mins, we may very well end up with 2 shut-down lines or, at the very least, a pretty tough and gritty 4th line with some speed and skill to score. Either way, Marty will still get his 12-15 mins.

Sara

October 6th, 2009
4:14 pm

Details of Legace’s deal w/ Chicago, per Andy Strickland – all I have to say is “convenient.”

Manny Legace is signing a 25 game professional tryout with the Chicago Wolves of the AHL. He will make $105,000 which will allow him to sign with an NHL club without going through re-entry waivers.

http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog/Andy-Strickland/Blues-Win-With-Depth–Rink-Rats/5/23461

GaVaHokie

October 6th, 2009
4:51 pm

Sara… yeah, I was just looking at that… very convenient indeed. Should we assume it will take 25 games before we see Lehtonen? If Pavelec returns to Chicago before Legace’s tryout is up, does MacIntyre have a stint in Gwinnett.

GaVaHokie

October 6th, 2009
4:53 pm

Strickland also rumors that Ladislav Smid and John Michael Liles are being shopped… Liles was Hainsey’s D-partner at the World’s, but with Kubina here, I don’t see that coming to fruition.

The Earl of Bud

October 6th, 2009
5:00 pm

GaVaHokie, I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but we may actually have a logjam at defense.

J.B.

October 6th, 2009
5:21 pm

The Legace signing peaks my curiosity. I wonder if there’s an “understanding” between Legace’s camp and the Thrashers should a goalie opening arise…

george

October 6th, 2009
6:16 pm

O.K. so reports out of Winnipeg and Toronto indicate Thrashers are headed there within 2 years financed by a gentleman with more bucks than Basille. The Atlanta Spirit are trouble…Anyone with more info??

Thrashers27

October 6th, 2009
6:41 pm

Yeah, I have more info, George.

It’s not gonna happen. End of story. Let it go! Again, due to lease agreements, etc it is next to impossible for the Thrashers to leave Atlanta.

I wish someone would take out a billboard to advertise it, so that we don’t have to re-hash it everytime a new RUMOUR comes about.