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 scratches.

33 comments Add your comment

GaVaHokie

October 22nd, 2009
11:57 am

Would still like to see Peverley center the top line… move Antropov to RW where he’s comfortable.

Thanks for the update Chris!

docsbro

October 22nd, 2009
12:15 pm

Don’t mess with the Pevs, Army, Kane, line. I think this is a good move. I see too many times it looks like Little defers to Kovy. He will be #1 goal scorer on this line and we know Max isn’t afraid to shoot. We need to get pucks on net!! Bottom line. Shoot first pass later. Good things happen when you get the puck on net.

Goalie Starters 10/22/2009 « The Hot Stove

October 22nd, 2009
12:22 pm

[...] Vivlamore reports here that Ondrej Pavelec will be in net [...]

Russian

October 22nd, 2009
12:39 pm

It will be interesting combination. All Three Russians will be on one line. They might score lot of goals! :-) Or Bring lot of goals to own net. :-(
Those guys are fast and Big, but a PROBLEM they are not playing very well defence. We will se tonight.
Defenetely Second line had to be changed or shaked up little bit. They were not doing good lately.

Spud Webb

October 22nd, 2009
12:41 pm

Hokie, I gotta say I agree w you. Move nik over and put pevs up there.
You heard it hear first, thet all russian line will be a defensive liabilty, makes me NERVOUS, very nervous.
Yikes…

The Earl of Bud

October 22nd, 2009
1:01 pm

They actually used Max with Kovy last game against the Habs. I couldn’t tell if it was typical Kovy length shifts or the actual line.

Not sure what to think. We have 2 good lines now out of the 3, so I am in no way pushing the panic button. I actually wanted Peverley on the top line from the start, but after seeing his start, I am happy with him & Kane together with Army putting in some hits and points.

The other thing too is that where Kozlov and White are hurting is their PP production. I thought it was because their minutes were down, but it turns out that Kozlov is only behind Kovalchuk and Enstrom, Little is actually tied with Kozlov and White is fifth in PP TOI (those 5 are all at 3:58 or higher, the next closest is Max at #6 with 1:29 so clearly these are the top 5 guys for the league leading PP). So they are out there. But they only have 1 PPP each. Last year only Kovalchuk was near those two in PP production. A line change isn’t going to effect their special teams play as much.

Nervous too about the defensive liability of that new 1st line.

shubsens

October 22nd, 2009
1:57 pm

Yes agreed, don’t mess with the pev-kane-armstrong chemistry.

I have no idea why Peverley isn’t on the 1st PP unit, they could easily move white or Enstrom to the 2nd unit

[...] With first place in the Southeast on the line in tonight’s contest against the Capitals, Thrashers head coach John  Anderson has tweeked the 2nd line. [...]

The Earl of Bud

October 22nd, 2009
3:22 pm

shubsens – with Kovalchuk playing the point, you need at least Enstrom, Kubina or Bogosian out there with the first unit so you don’t have 5 forwards at once. As for White, he does produce, he’s just off to a slow start.

I named the first unit above but the second unit is Max, Antropov, Peverley, Kubina & Bogosian. While getting 1/2 as much time they are still out there also and Peverley is leading the team in PPP, Antropov and Max have 2 each.

Alan R.

October 22nd, 2009
3:26 pm

I want to see Salmela get a start sometime in the near future. Keeping him benched can’t be good for his development.

kracker

October 22nd, 2009
4:00 pm

I read at the HB Caps blogg about tonight’s game that Semin is out, with the flu or something. Sweet!

kracker

October 22nd, 2009
4:05 pm

I should have read more before posting about Semin. Boyd Gordon is also out tonight, so the Caps 2nd & 3rd lines will have different players, two of them call-ups.

The Earl of Bud

October 22nd, 2009
4:26 pm

kracker, that’s a double bonus, I think the guy I am playing against this week in my fantasy league has Semin.

Alan R. – I don’t even think it is a matter of a development issue. I think Salmella is a better option than Popovic. He jumps into the play very well and moves the puck, I’m not saying Popovic isn’t at least worthy of a 3rd pairing, but there’s just something I like about Salmella.

The fact that we have 2 options to pick from and neither are Boris Valabik makes me very happy. Every time I watch the Sabres and I see 19 year old Tyler Myers play drives me nuts that he gets it and Boris doesn’t. They are virtually the same player on paper but what a difference on the ice.

BlueSpark

October 22nd, 2009
4:52 pm

Kovy and Max can both hog the puck and freelance at times. Not sure how that will work with them on the same line. So far, I think Antro has been pretty good defensively. He’s not quick, but he does seem to get back in time.

I agree with docsbro though – Little defers to Kovy too much. Although I haven’t check his numbers; for all I know he’s shooting plenty and just hasn’t gotten lucky yet. He and White work well in the slot on the PP, but I think everyone knows that shot is coming as soon as Kozlov has the puck down on the right side goal line. Too predictable, whereas Peverly is all over the place (less predictable, hence more successful).

KQuark

October 22nd, 2009
5:12 pm

The third line has gotten ice time like a second line and they deserve it. Don’t try to fix what’s not broken. The Thrashers have the best third line in the NHL in my opinion.

Putting Afinogenov on the first line is all about getting him more ice time because the second line is off to a slow start. Little has played OK but just is not shooting and Max will take pressure off of Kovy and take more shots. I’m not that worried about the defense on the first line because Antropov has played better defensively than I had thought he would.

The Earl of Bud

October 22nd, 2009
5:58 pm

BlueSpark – actually the one nice thing I can say about Max is that he is an excellent passer (when he actually does pass the puck instead of skating in circles with it until he turns it over). He may set up Kovalchuk quite a bit. If Antropov can be the responsible guy in the middle it may be ok.

But if we are already changing lines and we are at 4-1-1 then I imagine we will see plenty of different combinations throughout the year.

Brendan

October 22nd, 2009
7:14 pm

Well, looks like Fehr has opened the scoring for the Capitals, early on. 1-0. Chris Thorburn had two shots, while taking a breakaway, off of a busted play by the Washington defense.

Brendan

October 22nd, 2009
7:18 pm

Atlanta’s #1 ranked PP unit just evened things up. Max Afinogenov, from Antropov. I think. It took about 3-4 seconds to convert. The Caps had tripped up Bryan Little heading into the offensive zone to draw the penalty. That’s Max’s 2nd tally on the year. For $800,000, he’s looking like a steal, early on.

Brendan

October 22nd, 2009
7:29 pm

Giroux has made it, 2-1, for the Capitals. The Capitals’ Knuble was tripped up, but kicked the puck into the net. The goal was waived off, for a “distinct kicking motion.” Still, 2-1.

Brendan

October 22nd, 2009
8:22 pm

Fluke goal from center ice. 3-2, Capitals. Kovalchuk had tied it at 2-2, back in the 1st period. Max Afinogenov has a goal and an assist. And Antropov has two helpers on the night. C. Schubert is a -2 so far.

If you want to follow the boxscore on this one, from NHL.com, here’s the link. http://www.nhl.com/ice/boxscore.htm?id=2009020121

Brendan

October 22nd, 2009
8:33 pm

Well, Simeon Varlamov, the Capitals netminder, was credited with an assist on that goal that was deflected at Center Ice and skipped into the net past Pavelec. Washington has cashed-in TWICE more, to take a commanding 5-2 lead. Atlanta’s PP Unit got another shot, but didn’t connect. It was a decent-looking powerplay, though.

C. Schubert is now a -3. This is not his finest moment. Pavelec has been removed. (Stendec rant in 3…2…1.)

LAC

October 22nd, 2009
8:37 pm

Back to the OLD Thrashers… CANNOT play with the Big Boys Period.

This is just the start of a quick downfall back to the bottom of the NHL.

I said we did not do enough this off season, now it shows, I am VERY sorry to say.

Brendan

October 22nd, 2009
9:12 pm

Am I the only one not AT this game?? I hope that’s the case. By the way, Bogosian scored. It’s 5-3. So, this thing’s no over yet.

Zach

October 22nd, 2009
9:42 pm

MAX YOU GOTTA MAKE THAT!!!! COME ON, YOU’RE ON THE DOORSTEP!!!!

Brendan

October 22nd, 2009
9:43 pm

What a competitive finish! Kovy gets his 9th! He’s tied with Ovechkin now. But it’s a 5-4 loss. Credit Moose with pitching a shutout in relief of Pavelec.

Brendan

October 22nd, 2009
9:45 pm

Max had two points tonight, including a goal. That was disappointing that he flipped it over the crossbar, (or just wide,) on the goal mouth, with seconds left on the clock.

Zach

October 22nd, 2009
10:00 pm

Brendan, bored?

I’m not dissing Max I just said you gotta make that.

Brendan

October 22nd, 2009
11:05 pm

I’m not disagreeing. I think Max should have scored, too. But, overall, Max had one of his better nights. It’s disappointing that this one got away from us.

The Earl of Bud

October 22nd, 2009
11:32 pm

Guys, as the resident Max basher on these blogs, I have seen his best of nights and worst of nights. Go to the 7:40 mark of the first period. He goes streaking down the wing after Antropov hits him with a nice outlet. The d-man goes to Antro so there is no one between Max and the net. Instead of driving to the net, he spins to pass (he has to because he is ahead of everyone else with his speed), fans on the pass, falls to the ice, and the Caps gain the puck. That is typical Max. Yes he has 2 goals, but when the Olympic break comes and he has not come near 10 yet you will know what I mean. Great one moment, makes you pull your hair out the next. That is Max.

And yes, HE SHOULD HAVE HIT THAT WIDE OPEN NET!

BlueSpark

October 22nd, 2009
11:36 pm

Let’s call this line switch a failure. The second line wasn’t remarkably better, and Kovy and Max were a -1 and were on the ice for 2 Washington goals. 2 of their 3 combined goals were on the power play.

Pavelec looked terrible, even before the skipper went in. He should have stopped the second goal. Even watching the replay, I don’t understand how it went it. Of course, they probably shouldn’t have attempted a line change with the Caps on the rush.

LACK

October 22nd, 2009
11:38 pm

Back to the OLD LAC… CANNOT post with the Big Boys Period.

This is just the start of a quick downfall back to the bottom of the Vivlamore blog.

I said we did not do enough Mad Libs this off season, now it shows, I am VERY sorry to say.

The Earl of Bud

October 23rd, 2009
12:00 am

Good call BlueSpark. We were doing fine with the lineups as they were. Yeah Kovalchuk and Max scored, but as you say it was on the PP. Kozlov also scored and some will say that the change up was good then. But he too scored on the PP, so the line change meant nothing for that either.

At least our special teams still looked sharp. Couple of PPGs, great PK and a shorty to boot.

LAC, there are 82 games in a season fyi. No one has ever gone undefeated.

Brendan

October 23rd, 2009
10:25 am

Hard to believe we outshot the Capitals, 7-6, in the 2nd period, but were outscored, 3-0. Dems da breaks, I guess.

Getting back to Max, we know … that Max might go 20-22 games without a goal. He might have a stretch like that. There’s a reason he didn’t get signed in the NHL until after training camp, on a try out invitation. With a heavy emphasis on words EARLY ON, Max has done well for us, through seven games.

It’s at this moment that someone will scour our farm system players to suggest, “insert player name here” would be doing better than Max. Hey, if Max doesn’t work out … Waddell can always waive him. He’s at a price where someone would claim him, either at full price or half-price, on re-entry waivers.