Archive for October, 2009

Schubert back at Thrashers practice

Here is your early morning report from Thrashers practice. Your last for nearly a week. Team leaves today for New Jersey, Buffalo and Montreal with a stop in Elmira, Ontario for Dan Snyder event. They don’t return to Duluth until next Wednesday.

The early report is that Christoph Schubert is back and on the ice. We assume the “immigration problems” are taken care of. He has been off the ice for a few days so his status for the weekend games remains to be seen.

We had quite a few players on the ice already when I arrived a half hour before the start of practice.  Colby Armstrong, Evander Kane, Bryan Little and Marty Reasoner are working on drills with Schubert at one end. Jim Slater and Chris Thorburn on the other end working with two goalies.

Judging by the practice jerseys, the skate will begin with special teams practice (Look, I learned my lesson!).

That’s all I have to offer so far. I will update after practice and interviews.

Thanks.

Continue reading Schubert back at Thrashers practice »

Kane getting in a little extra work

UPDATES IN COMMENTS:

Reporting in from Thrashers practice on a rainy Wednesday morning.

As the players take the ice, it doesn’t appear there is anything new to report.

Christoph Schubert is not on the ice. He was given a few days to return to Ottawa and get his belongings.

All the lines remain the same.

Kovy-Antropov-Little

Kozlov-White-Afinogenov

Kane-Peverley-Armstrong

Boulton-Reasoner-Slater-Thorburn

Popovic paired with Salmela on defense.

Kane was on the ice early working with assistant Randy Cunneyworth on some shooting drills. Slater and Thorburn were also on the ice early working at the other end of the rink with goalies Hedberg and Pavelec.

Team leaves after practice tomorrow for games in New Jersey on Friday and Buffalo on Saturday. I will be making the trip to Buffalo.

That’s the morning update, such as it is. I will check back after interviews with an update.

Continue reading Kane getting in a little extra work »

Anderson: Can’t play that way and make playoffs

Just back from the Thrashers’ practice facility. There was no on-ice workout today, just gym work and meetings.

I will have a Q&A with Ondrej Pavelec online and in print.

OK, I see some loyal folks are fussing about the lack of coverage from Ottawa. I hear you. I have spoken to our online folks about making sure a story gets online when they are on the road – especially when it’s not televised. I’m sure it was just an oversight.

I did talk to Anderson about the Ottawa game – along with several players. Here is the item from the story I wrote on Monday.

“Two days after the Thrashers’ first loss of the season, Anderson was still not happy with his team’s effort. The Thrashers dropped a 4-2 decision to Ottawa on Saturday. After allowing two goals in the first two and half minutes, the Thrashers tied the score by the end of the first period. However, the Senators pulled away with goals in the second and third periods.

“I don’t think we competed as well as we should …

Continue reading Anderson: Can’t play that way and make playoffs »

No slow start for Kovalchuk

I made another rookie mistake this morning at practice folks. No battery life on the laptop so I couldn’t blog from the rink.

I might have caused a stir as defenseman Christoph Schubert was not at practice. Turns out he was back in Ottawa bringing back some of his belongings for the Atlanta accommodations.

I wanted to take a closer look at Ilya Kovalchuk’s five goals. I wondered – outloud to several people – if his fast start had anything to do with his off-season comments about wanting to see improvement in the team. I figured if he was going to talk the talk, perhaps this was his way to walk the walk – five goals in three games. It turns out Kovalchuk didn’t score his fifth goal until Game 12 last season.

All involved assured me that was not an accurate assumption. Kovy said his job is to score goals. Period. Coach John Anderson did say he spoke to Kovalchuk about his slow start last season at the end of the year. Anderson said “if he can score 80 goals that would be …

Continue reading No slow start for Kovalchuk »

Are the shots-on-goal stats cause for concern?

The Thrashers are 2-0. That’s the good news.

In those two wins, they have been outshot 70-50. That’s not so good news.

So, I brought the subject up with coach John Anderson today. I got him by phone while he was on the team bus leaving practice since I’m not on this road trip.

“It’s obviously a work in progress,” Anderson said. “We are certainly aware of it and we want to cut it down.”

However, Anderson did present a couple of reasons for the discrepancies.

He pointed out that the shots-on-goal totals against St. Louis on Thursday were even 5-5 through the first period. However, the Thrashers took a couple of second-period penalties and that led to the 14-6 second-period Blues’ advantage.

“We go through stretches where we float a little bit,” Anderson said.

Anderson also noted that the Blues were taking shots from impossible angles.

“Our guys are more shot selective,” Anderson said.

You can make that case. The Thrashers have 10 goals on those 50 shots.  If my math is correct, …

Continue reading Are the shots-on-goal stats cause for concern? »

Thrashers trade LaVallee

By now, I trust you’ve seen the story I posted a while ago about the Thrashers trading Jordan LaVallee-Smotherman (he has changed his last name) to Columbus for future considerations. The move could be as much about freeing up a contract as anything.

Thought I would post a new blog to give you folks a chance to weigh in about the deal. Also, we can all return here tonight to talk about the game against the Blues.

Also, Boris Valabik had his surgery and the prognosis now has him out four to six weeks.

Let me know what you guys think.

Continue reading Thrashers trade LaVallee »

Valabik injury may require surgery

UPDATES BELOW:

Forget what appeared on this blog earlier. The lines below are the special team  practice units.

Yellow line: Kovalchuk, Little, White, Kozlov

Dark blue line: Antropov, Peverley, Afinogenov

Orange line: Kane, Armstrong

Red line: Boulton, Slater, Reasoner, Thorburn

Special teams practice is done and the lines are back to normal.  Thanks to the lovely Susan for pointing out a very, very rookie mistake.

This will be the last practice in Duluth until Monday. Game in St. Louis Thursday, travel day Friday, game in Ottawa on Saturday and off day on Sunday.

No early word on Valabik’s MRI. He is not at practice. We shall update.

I will check back in following practice, interviews and the drive downtown to the office (another meeting!).

Thanks all for checking in this week. Good conversation.

PRACTICE UPDATES:

The news was not good on Boris Valabik. His injury is to his LEFT ankle (despited the previously reported right leg). The injury is to the upper ankle and is a …

Continue reading Valabik injury may require surgery »

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.

Continue reading Gratton, Valabik not on the ice »

Armstrong practicing with Peverley, Kane

Checking in from Monday’s practice as the Thrashers return from an off day following Saturday’s season opening win.

All players are present and accounted for. All eight defenseman are on the ice.

Here are the line pairings this morning:

Light blue: Kovalchuk, Antropov, Little

Grey: Kozlov, White, Afinogenov

Orange: Kane, Armstrong, Peverley

Red: Reasoner, Boulton, Slater, Thorburn and Gratton

I don’t want to dwell on the negative after Saturday’s impressive win over Tampa Bay, but coach John Anderson was not entirely happy. Here is what he had to say at the post-game press conference when I asked what specifically he was unpleased with.

“Certainly, reading the rush, picking up the right guys. Talking in our own zone. When the puck gets dumped in we want to make sure, we didn’t do a bad job of this, that when the [defense] goes back they keep the puck close to them from either side of them so when they try the chip passes we can come out of the zone. Just recognizing who to …

Continue reading Armstrong practicing with Peverley, Kane »

Schubert arrives, won’t play tonight

The morning skate for opening night is over. Here are a few things to know:

1. Christoph Schubert skated with the team, but will watch from the press box tonight. He didn’t arrive until 1 a.m. after being claimed on waivers from Ottawa. He’s big. John Anderson expects him to be ready by Thursday’s game. He will see time on the penalty kill. Forget any notion of playing forward, Anderson says he will be on the back line.

2. Ron Hainsey was not at the skate. According to Anderson he had a “bit of a sore throat.” A decision on his game status won’t be made until later. If he plays, Boris Valabik will be the scratch.

3. The Thrashers helmets will feature the 10-year anniversary logo.

We will check back in later tonight when I return to the arena for the opening puck drop.

Are you ready for some hockey?

Continue reading Schubert arrives, won’t play tonight »