Little, Kubina skate … but don’t practice

The morning report from Thrashers practice on Tuesday is in.

Bryan Little and Pavel Kubina were on the ice prior to the start of practice. They skated – dressed in warmup suits – but left the ice before the start of team practice. Both are listed as “day-to-day” by head coach John Anderson with injuries. They did not appear (to the novice eye) to be hampered by the injuries.

Little has missed the past two games with a “slight groin strain.” Kubina missed Sunday’s game against Edmonton with “lower body soreness” after he was hit by shot in Friday’s game against Los Angeles.

I will see if there is any update about their status for Thursday’s game against Boston.

Here are the lines for the morning practice:

Light blue: Kovalchuk-Antropov-Afinogenov

Orange: White-Peverley-Kozlov

Grey: Kane- Reasoner-Armstrong

Yellow: Boulton-Slater-Thorburn

I will check back after practice and interviews with updates.

38 comments Add your comment

Toby

November 17th, 2009
10:34 am

First…

Anyone else think Little may be sitting for “reflection” more than an injury?

Kovy skated? Should of rested him today.

ThrashTalk

November 17th, 2009
10:43 am

Don’t think so since Little had finally hit the scoresheet recently. But I must admit I like Peverly as #2 center between White and Kozzie. And I love that Marty will get more ice time @ #3 center spot.

Spud Webb

November 17th, 2009
10:54 am

I have to agree with Toby, despite Little recently scoring. He looks to be pressing, heck we won the last two and if sitting and watching for a few games settles him down and gets him going, I’m all for it!!

Andy S

November 17th, 2009
11:19 am

I agree with ThrashTalk, having the Pevs dispenser in between White and Kozzie should help them start scoring, especially Kozzie. If they don’t start scoring, move Pevs back to between Kane and Armstrong so that it goes back to being a scoring line.

Zim

November 17th, 2009
11:19 am

Bryan has scored two goals, but they weren’t scored in a customary Bryan Little way. Peverley banked the first one off his skate and the second was a deflection. B-Lits has missed some open nets, dented some iron, and whiffed on golden opportunities at times this season. A little ‘reflection’ time may not be a terrible idea. No sense in playing a slumping player with a nagging injury.

Brendan

November 17th, 2009
11:43 am

I’m tellin’ ya, the time to re-sign Bryan Little, CHEAPER, is right now. Now, while he’s underperforming. Once that contract matter is behind him, it’ll put his mind at ease and he’ll start being Bryan Little, Thrashers budding star forward again.

Players probably won’t readily admit to this, but in their ‘contract year,’ their numbers weigh on their minds. They know their opportunity to make MEGA BUCKS is in that season. Perhaps, just perhaps, this is the case right now with Bryan Little. He’s coming off what, 31 goals? He, and his agent, and counting the moolah. Or what ‘could’ be the moolah. Bryan Little just needs to get back to being Bryan Little, forget the contract, and everything will be fine.

The Earl of Bud

November 17th, 2009
12:18 pm

The problem with Little is that he is playing with a couple of guys that get a bunch of their points on the PP in Kozlov & White. When Little started out the year on the top line with Kovalchuk and Antropov he had 5 points in 5 games. That’s a point per game. When he was bumped down to the 2nd line (what should be considered the 3rd line) is when he starting underperforming. But I have to agree with Brendan, if we sign him now, we can get a deal. Then if we bump him back up to the top line which is where he should be he will produce again.

Even Peverley couldn’t get Kozlov on the board at ES. And if you move Little off that line, you can rework things and put Peverley back with Kane & Army to make that a great 2nd line. Trouble is where do you put Max. Is Max worth more to the future of this club than Little? Both have produced on the top line.

ThrashTalk

November 17th, 2009
12:22 pm

On another topic… Do any of you think that Armstrong and Kane seem to mesh perfectly on their line like I do? The chemistry those two guys have makes me think we may have a great future with those two on the ice together provided we can keep Kovy and the Russians #1 line together long term.

Thrashers27

November 17th, 2009
12:23 pm

If anything, trade White and that will unclog the drain. He was great last year, but doesn’t seem to be performing this year and there really is no room for him now, so I’d say he’s odd man out at this point. Max has to stay and I don’t think anyone is ready to give up on Little at this point.

ThrashTalk

November 17th, 2009
12:32 pm

Earl, I think Max may be more important if it helps convince Kovy to stay long term. I believe a #2 Little/Pevs/White line and a #3 Kane/ Reasoner / Army line are future, assuming Kozzie is in the final years of his career. Without Kovy(heaven forbid), Kane moves up the to the #1 Line and Little is a huge signing to place with him.

The Earl of Bud

November 17th, 2009
12:36 pm

ThrashTalk, I am constantly calling for the reunion of the Kane-Peverley-Armstrong line.

Brendan, just to clear some things up on your last blogpost regarding Buffalo-Toronto. They actually didn’t have a great rivalry until the realignment of the mid 90’s. Toronto was an eastern time zone city and fought like hell to get in the eastern conference because of that. Thing is, we got all the Sabres games and most of the Leafs games on TV. So as people here pick a western conference team to root for, whether it be LA or Chicago or whoever, we rooted for the Leafs in the west. It was when they came into our division that we hated them and the QEW series really took off. Playing in the playoffs most years didn’t hurt either, there was a great 3 way rivalry it seemed between Buffalo-Toronto-Philly because there was a series or two every year between those teams it seemed and they were all great games.

Although as Toronto gained a great rivalry with us, they lost a great rivalry in the Norris with Detroit. As WBF spoke of the early 90’s as their best post-cup era, I still remember Potvin whacking Ciccarelli in the divisional playoffs and the great games they used to have.

Chris Vivlamore

November 17th, 2009
12:37 pm

Practice update: Anderson gave no further indication on the status of Little and Kubina other than to again say they are “day-to-day.”

Anderson didn’t give any hints about the goal rotation. He did say that they probably would have started Pavelec on Sunday, but gave him an extra day after taking the puck off the knee. Pavelec said it hurts, but he can play.

I talked to Nik Antropov about his new role as center, the number of assists he has and his lack of goals. That will be story for later/tomorrow.

GaVaHokie

November 17th, 2009
12:41 pm

Hey Chris… when’s our Kubina story coming?

Smoothie

November 17th, 2009
12:44 pm

EOB, technically I think that goal by Slava on Sunday was an ES goal aided by the dirty work of Pevs, who tapped the puck to White behind the net, before Whitey moved it to the slot were Slava was waiting. But you’re right, the point stands that Kozlov was so mired in a slump that it probably didn’t matter whom he was playing with. Luckily, for his sake, they have some familiarity with each other as Koz – Pevs – Army was our best line for the last 20 games last season.

As for Little, I think the time off will do him some good. As someone else said, Zim perhaps, no sense in playing him when his confidence is low and his groin is nagging him. My g/f says that he’s probably more distracted this year now that he’s found love in his life. She has no proof of a female interest in his life, but he JUST turned 22 and according to my g/f, his grooming and appearance has been taken up a notch! Can’t believe I’m posting this “Tiger Beat” type of speculative gossip, but I can see a young 20-something losing his focus a bit more due to lots of post-game “romping” if you know what I mean.

He’ll be fine. I still think he will pot 25 goals this season. But I think it might be with Kozzie and Pevs with White getting dropped to the 3rd or 4th line. If you ask me, Whitey should be asked to be more of a PK specialist and not Pevs. Not to say we should take Pevs off the PK entirely, but I’d rather have Whitey killing penalties than Slater and Whitey’s doing little for us on the PP. Wouldn’t you rather have another net-crashing banger like Army on the 2nd unit instead of White?

The Earl of Bud

November 17th, 2009
12:48 pm

Thrashtalk, I actually wrote the above reply to you before you made your last post. Either way, I want Kovalchuk re-signed and don’t want to think otherwise. Kane-Peverley-Army is my #2 line. Antropov is around for a few more years. So now do you put Max or Little on the top line with them. Trading White doesn’t really unclog things, because you still have to worry about Max or Little. And if you do sign Kovalchuk, you don’t want Kane on the 3rd line.

If Max helps us sign Ilya, fine do it. But once he is signed for 10 years or so, I think you have to make Little your guy. Putting aside my bitterness for the enigmatic Max, he is going to be 30 before next season, Little is 21-22 right now. Now add on that Max is one poke check away from being next to Lehtonen for 3 months and the injury factor makes a stronger case for Little.

The Earl of Bud

November 17th, 2009
12:55 pm

So Smoothie, what does your girlfriend have to say about, gosh, I can’t even think of a joke to insert here. Let me go open another browser window for the gossip pages and I’ll get back on that.

Either way, I’m already figuring Kozlov out of the picture anyway after this year. Going forward I want the Kane-Pev-Army line to be together for our #2 line and then Kov-Ant-Lit(not Max for age/injury reasons) to be our #1 line. That’s a solid top 6 for another 3-4 years at least. Our 3rd line we can tinker with all you want and the 4th are just bangers anyway.

GaVaHokie

November 17th, 2009
1:04 pm

Interesting… Alex Ovechkin is going to return from injury tonight to play in Madison Square Garden.

… sound familiar? :)

Smoothie

November 17th, 2009
1:17 pm

Damn, I hate internet bloggin on the ajc sometimes. I just typed 2 paragraphs and then suddenly an automatic refresh of stupidity just devoured my handiwork!

EOB – my girlfriend limits her gossip to very select topics most of which will not be revealed here, but I can tell you she likes hockey A LOT more than the soap-opera-tic BS you’ll find on the entertainment page of the ajc!

Anyway, back to hockey. I agree with you about the top two lines for next year and into the future. I too think this is the end of the line for Kozlov in ATL as he is not the type of player, especially not at the ages of 38-40, playing on your third line. I would like to see Machaceck get his shot and who knows, perhaps Espo will end up centering that line, but I’m not counting on it. Next year it could very well be Macho – Reasey – Finny, which isn’t bad if you think about it. JA will have lots of ammo to support his case that playing on the 3rd line is not a demotion since it has been our most prolific scoring line often times this year.

In 2012, I can see our line-up looking like this, that is if the world doesn’t end:

Kovy – Antro – Kane

Little – Pevs – Army (I know, but I still think Little would be more effective as a sniper on the left side)

Macho-check – Reasy – Mad Max (or Klingberg)

Kaip / Paquette – Thorbs – Kozek \ Klingy

You will have a lot of sandpaper, speed and interchangeability with this line-up. Also, Chelios will be 50 and anchoring our 3rd pairing!!

Enstrom & _________ <— insert big Kubina type player

Bogosian & Postma

Chelios & Hainsey / Pops / Salmela

Pavelec & _________ <— Carozzi or Kangas??

Thrashy Thrashy

November 17th, 2009
1:26 pm

Brendan,

If Bryan Little’s agent has any sense, he wouldn’t go anywhere near a negotiating table right now. I don’t know about you, but I kinda want Little’s asking price to go up. That means he’s helping us win games.

GopherHockey

November 17th, 2009
2:08 pm

Smoothie, I’ve been to a few Gopher games this season and I dont know about Kangas…He’s been too up and down this season. Maybe by 2012 he can find some consistency…

Spud Webb

November 17th, 2009
2:20 pm

EOB, I’m with you, White isnt helping Little at all.

The Earl of Bud

November 17th, 2009
2:54 pm

Smoothie, hahahaha you crack me up because as soon as I saw Little over there I immediately thought in my head what you typed in parenthesis which was specifically aimed at me of course. So switch Kane and Little and we are in sync completely. Even going on those past discussions we were having about that I don’t think Little has the speed to do what we were talking about and Kane is a natural over there.

You mentioned Klingberg, but I actually think in 1-2 years you will see O’Dell and Morin up here. As for the other d-man, I am interested in Kulda. The guy scores only a handful of points yet has a monsterous +/- so he must be doing something right for a pure defensive defenseman. Not sure how that will fit in JA’s system but if he is paired with one of these gamblers like Bogosian then it may work beyond our wildest dreams. I think they even played together in juniors. Carozzi is leading the OHL juniors in GAA, but Turple had great numbers there too so interpret as you wish because Mason also had great numbers there. Carozzi though probably easily gets the nod over Kangas as of right now.

Spud Webb, yeah it definitely doesn’t help that they aren’t together on the PP. Given that White gets 50% of his production on the PP and 50% production at ES, you wipe out half the opportunities for Little to get something going with White. Now add on that Kozlov is having a not too surprising down year and it doesn’t bode well for Little being on that line.

Brendan

November 17th, 2009
3:24 pm

Brendan

November 17th, 2009
3:25 pm

Thrashy Thrashy, we KNOW Little’s gonna help us win games. He’ll help us win even more at a lesser salary, allowing the GM to do more shopping out on the trade market and free agent market.

[...] Kubina took the ice for practice but continue to be listed as day to day.  He also posted the morning lines from [...]

Brendan

November 17th, 2009
3:39 pm

That said, Go Bryan!!

Chris Vivlamore

November 17th, 2009
4:00 pm

GaVaHokie: Kubina article will run next week. I had a really good interview with him. I need to ask a few more questions after I spoke with Phil Esposito, who drafted Kubina in Tampa Bay. He had a couple of good stories. All the other reporting is done. I just have to sit down and write it. I was hoping to speak with him today after practice but there were team meetings.

I am just finishing the Art of the Faceoff story that will run Wednesday/Thursday.

GaVaHokie

November 17th, 2009
4:11 pm

Awesome… thanks Chris! Keep up the good work… for someone who hasn’t dealt with hockey much, you’ve sure been on a rampage. Have we made you a bigger fan of the sport? :)

Smoothie

November 17th, 2009
4:52 pm

EOB – true ’bout Morin and O’Dell…they will make camp competition fierce, but Jeremy needs to work on his skating…so everyone says, but the dude just scores goals, period. How the hell did I forget about Kulda?! Duh. I love it…yes, Artus and Z-Bo, reunited and it feels so good…I think they played together in the “O” for Peterborough one year. If he can keep developing and become a Kubina-type presence, then we are going to have a sick blueline in 3 years:

Bogo & Kulda

Enstrom & Postma (if he can add the weight and not lose his agility)

Hainsey & Salmsy / Pops

Smoothie

November 17th, 2009
4:56 pm

Oh yeah, one more thing: Little may not have the extra gear that Kaner has, but I recall someone who went to much of camp reporting that Little was winning most of his sprints when they broke down into groups. Little’s got adequate wheels I think, but in my opinion he needs to work on his dipsy-ing and doo-ing! Also, IF Kane is ever going to play with Kovy, he either needs to learn how to play C in the NHL or play RW, which I think is a natural fit for a guy crashing the far post as Kovy slides magnificent passes through traffic to an adroit, deft goal-scorer like Kane will be…he’s got 40 goal potential IMHO.

Alan R.

November 17th, 2009
5:02 pm

… Did somebody say reunited?

Heh. Yep. Went there, too.

Alan R.

November 17th, 2009
5:04 pm

.. But yeah. I’d love to see Kulda and Bogosian on the same defensive pairing again.

Hockey Biltong

November 17th, 2009
6:45 pm

Smooothie,
keep up the gf observations.Went to party once and met a gf of a sports figure who had “vertigo”.Way she tells it, it had nuttin’ to do wit dat?!?!?!?!?
So maybe Little is experiencing ‘growing pains’.
Keep Max, but short term.No sense investing in a potential liability. He has found new life, but that is not a candle that burns all night.
Anyone think that Kozzie could coach???? He is in the bad year of his on again/ off again cycle.And it being a contract year coming up…..
Brendan – I too, think we should sign Little.
Smoothie – Try Balvenie 21 Double Portwood……….Or ‘10′ which is a bargain….

Dwayne

November 17th, 2009
8:44 pm

If Max would agree to a Pevs like deal, would you sign him???

The Earl of Bud

November 17th, 2009
10:05 pm

Dwayne, I’ve been burned by the guy too many times before. Buffalo (a team that does NOT throw money around) signed him to a $3 mil/year deal and we thought he was going to be a bargain. We got burned.

JLH

November 17th, 2009
10:44 pm

Smoothie – I haven’t given up on Esposito, even though he is way underperforming at Chicago. I’m not sure why, but I really think he has the skills to make a difference when playing with good players. He looked good to me at the World Championships last winter when playing with other skilled players. Granted, they were 19 yr olds, but still his peers.

Thrashers27

November 18th, 2009
9:09 am

Dwayne,yes, keep Max…at a reasonable price, of course. Especially if Kovy resigns and they continue to work well together. That’s the key, EOB. Buffalo is not Max’s style. He fits into JA’s system way better than Lindy’s.

MB

November 18th, 2009
11:14 am

Way too early to talk about re-signing Max, imho, and I like the guy. I tend to agree with T27 that he’s a better fit with JA’s system, though I would also add that I think Max needs to play with top line skill players to be at his most effective…which, as I believe EOB has pointed out, could hamper the further development of Little and/or Kane. With so many elements tied to this decision, let’s see how the Max experiment goes for a few more months before we consider taking any further action.

Biltong, good call on the Balvenie. I’m also a fan of the Cardhu.