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 few players skipped it.

As I let you know early yesterday, Johan Hedberg will get his first start in goal.

Enjoy the game tonight. I understand there is a viewing party at TJ’s.

31 comments Add your comment

Jeremy H

October 17th, 2009
3:18 pm

I’m not one to be a jerk, but it’d be awesome if you actually gave us some meat in your blogs posts. For example: you said some players skipped the morning stake, but didn’t say who…?

Chris Vivlamore

October 17th, 2009
3:23 pm

Oh Jeremy H, you’re not a jerk. Kovy, Antropov, Kubina, Hainsey and Reasoner didn’t skate. Although, Kubina and Reasoner were at the arena.

Buzz

October 17th, 2009
3:31 pm

Viv, Thanks for the blog. Hope you get to go on more road trips.

Do the players seem tired after last night’s game? Can you get someone to talk about whether it is more difficult to play back-to-back games, or are they still fired up from last night’s win? I assume some of the older guys (Kozlov, etc) would have dead legs, but it is early in the season, and we seem to roll more lines now some maybe they still got plenty in the tank.

Chris Vivlamore

October 17th, 2009
3:38 pm

Buzz: I’ll see what the players say after the game, but beforehand they say they are not tired. There was so much time off between games and not a long flight from Newark to Buffalo. No one was dragging. In fact, Pavelec was going strong at the morning skate, staying on the ice and working with the forwards.

Todd

October 17th, 2009
3:51 pm

How are you all getting to Elmira.. My nephews in Canada await.. Are you flying out of Hamilton or TO to Montreal?

Todd

October 17th, 2009
3:53 pm

What time is the Elmira event?

The Earl of Bud

October 17th, 2009
5:13 pm

Vivs, enjoy the chicken wings. If you are at the Pearl Street Brewery have a Don Cherry or SabreEdge if you please, but the Trainwreck is the safe pick.

Kane had an attempt to score one on Brodeur earlier in the game and passed instead on a 2-1. Glad he was more aggressive the 2nd time.

Remember Buffalo played last night also, so both teams are on the back end of a B2B.

Chris Vivlamore

October 17th, 2009
5:18 pm

Todd: Oh, I’m driving to Elmira. Sporting the Kia Spectra. Splurged and opted for the GPS to find my way around Ontario. I’ll return to Buffalo after the event and fly out from here. As for the event, practice begins at 1 p.m. Starting at 2 p.m. there is a team meal and then an autograph session until 4 p.m. Then the Thrashers leave for Montreal.

Earl of Bud: Actually Kane said that very thing this morning. He blew a chance early in the game and didn’t want to do it again.

Chris Vivlamore

October 17th, 2009
5:45 pm

Healthy scratches tonight: Jim Slater and Anssi Salmela.

The Earl of Bud

October 17th, 2009
5:51 pm

Chris, if you didn’t do it on this trip then on your next trip to Buffalo you have to catch some junior games. Tomorrow one of the Thrashers prospects will be playing but it sounds like you will be just up the road. If nothing else you can catch the next big thing, Stamkos and Tavares both played dozens and dozens of games within an hour of where you will be. This year’s projected number one is in the OHL also as I got to see him play about 20 mins from where you will be driving by.

TheFan79

October 17th, 2009
7:34 pm

Good start by Thrashers tonight.Kovalchuk 2 goals.Atlanta leading this one 2-0 firts period.

TheFan79

October 17th, 2009
7:35 pm

First not firts hehehe.My mistake in the firts post up there

Get The Puck Out

October 17th, 2009
8:02 pm

Is there any way to get the thrasher’s radio announcers on gamecenter?

Brendan

October 17th, 2009
9:23 pm

The Devils just took both points in their game with Thrashers’ division rival, Carolina. It looks like 2-0 shutout for Brodeur.

Brendan

October 17th, 2009
9:24 pm

Stafford has just scored for Buffalo, with 3:34 left in the 3rd. Atlanta still leads, 3-2.

Brendan

October 17th, 2009
9:26 pm

Max!!!! Atlanta leads, 4-2. Every time the Sabres score, Atlanta immediately responds with a goal to reclaim the 2-goal lead. Rick Jeanerette sounds like someone shot his dog.

Russian

October 17th, 2009
9:59 pm

Max Goal was SWEEEEEET!
Russian Rules!!!! :-)
Good Game.

Brendan

October 17th, 2009
10:48 pm

Thrashers PP Unit cashed in TWICE. Slava Kozlov had two (2) assists. Antropov had two (2) assists. Kovy had two (2) goals. And Finny had a goal. Even Todd White got off the schneid.

Can you believe it? 4-1-0. Okay, tear off points #88 and 87. That means … 86 more points until we clinch the playoffs.

Brendan

October 17th, 2009
11:37 pm

Ya know something else? Our 4th line generated at least two penalties against Buffalo. One of which resulted in a PPG.

LAC

October 17th, 2009
11:43 pm

If you want to hear something very very interesting, go yo NHL.com and go to Sabers site and watch & listen to Lindy Ruff near the end of the post-game interview.

I have seen a number of his post-games over the years, but NEVER NEVER NEVER heard him ever directly praise a team and specific players, like he did tonight about… Your Atlanta Thrashers !

He said we will be very surprising this season and shock a lot of people, and that we are one of the BETTER teams in the NHL right now…
WOW coming from him like that is HIGH PRAISE believe me it is…

Just keep working etc… Just love these 4-2 games !!!!!!!

Max the Great

October 17th, 2009
11:46 pm

I do great. Make Earl of Bud cry.

ben

October 17th, 2009
11:52 pm

i had this team pegged as a playoff team pre max. they’ll go far this year.

Bravos33

October 18th, 2009
12:10 am

Man, great game! Wish I could have posted during.

Very pleased with the effort tonight. CHRIS, can you remember a Thrashers team ever handling a charge from a team (particularly on the road) as well as they did tonight? I mean, we got on top early by 2, but each time they scored we answere back with inspired play. the first time we earned a quick powe pay to take away momentum, and then we score on the PP. Then, after they cut it to 1 goal in the 3rd we score 17 seconds later! Tremendous!

It just feels like even though this is a small sample, we are NOT a fluke. We are a good hockey team.

My biggest fear was that all of the optimism I built up from this past spring, thinking we had turned the corner, would be dashed by a slow start. It has only AFFIRMED what I felt after last season. Let’s keep it up! Go Thrashers!!! Unleash the Fury!

Steve

October 18th, 2009
8:16 am

The goal of the year so far to Afinogenov. Took the starch out of those Buffalo boos!

B. Thenet

October 18th, 2009
10:33 am

1-0 with Chris on the road, something to think about AJC :)

Have fun in Elmira, should be a fun time for the boys.

Chris Vivlamore

October 18th, 2009
9:24 pm

Just back in the hotel room in Buffalo. Elmira was quite a day. I’ll post a blog in the morning after I choke down some McDonalds and get some sleep. Not an easy drive to Elmira. Let me just say, thank goodness for GPS. I might have ended up in Vancouver. The Snyders are very nice people. So are all the folks in Elmira. Could not have been nicer. More on that tomorrow morning. Thanks all.

Sean

October 18th, 2009
9:45 pm

Eeew! McDonald’s?! Seriously?

The Earl of Bud

October 19th, 2009
12:12 am

LAC & others – go to nhl.com’s 100 facts for the season so far. Our PP, great start, Kane, Kovalchuk, Pavelec, and Peverley were each in one fact or another. That’s a 1/2 dozen points of praise when I wasn’t expecting it. Even though that’s out of 100, I would normally only expect 1 or 2 at most, not 6.

Our PK is also ranked 8th right now which while not one of the top 100 points of the league so far also has me very happy.

Oh, and for the brave, courageous poster who used an anonymous name – don’t worry, it’s only a matter of time before Max makes me cry AGAIN. He already made me cry when he missed that wide open breakaway chance when the puck got lost in his skates. But he always gets a couple converted out of 100 chances over the season so let’s enjoy this while it lasts.

Brendan

October 19th, 2009
12:16 am

Chris Vivlamore, I enjoyed the Dan Snyder article you posted two hours ago. I hope it gets picked up.

DWTOO

October 19th, 2009
8:08 am

I found it strange that the Buffalo fans booed Max every time he touched the puck. It’s not like he left the Sabres – they didn’t make an effort to sign him. I’m sure he would’ve like the have returned. Sure that Max was really fired up to show Sabres management they made a mistake.

Their loss – our gain. Also thought he made a good defensive play diving to poke the puck of the stick on the 2/1. Probably a good recovery, but, the hustle was there.

The Earl of Bud

November 1st, 2009
6:21 pm

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