Hedberg to start vs. Flyers

We are back from a three-day holiday break. Hope everyone had a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

Thrashers get two good wins on the road.

Here are some tidbits from my interview with coach John Anderson after Saturday’s optional morning skate.

* Johan Hedberg gets the start in goal tonight vs. Flyers.

* I asked Anderson if the Carolina game – and the comeback from a 4-1 deficit – is a game this team would not have won last season. He said that was true and went so far as to say that there was so much confidence in the team’s ability to score that last year he may have considered pulling Ondrej Pavelec to get Hedberg some extra work or playing his fourth line more minutes. What a difference a year makes.

*Eric Boulton was a healthy scratch in favor of Jim Slater the last two games. Anderson wanted to get Slater some ice time. Also, it wasn’t likely that Detroit and Carolina presented a “tough” element.

*Anderson had a very interesting take on Bryan Little’s play – with two assists. Here’s what Anderson said: “Sometimes you have to recognize situations. One play [Little]  was on the wing and he has [Brandon] Sutter back there playing defense. To me that’s the green light for a guy to take the puck wide and go. He made a pull up play and we ended up losing the puck. The next time he gets it, he crosses the line, drives the guy out wide and passes to [Rich] Peverley and we score a [game-winning] goal. That’s the type of things we want to see.”

*I asked Anderson about the line switches he made against Carolina, specifically moving Ilya Kovalchuk back with Nik Antropov and Max Afinogenov. Kovalchuk looked more comfortable there (to me, sitting on my couch watching it on television.) Anderson said he would continue to juggle lines when necessary.  “If that’s what we have to do all year to be successful, that’s what we’ll do,” he said.

26 comments Add your comment

jason

November 28th, 2009
1:50 pm

Great story from Carolina last night Chris. Good to know that Raleigh isn’t too far away for the AJC to cover a sporting event. I know you guys think covering sports is important now, so maybe I’ll renew my subscription.

Oh wait, strike that last paragraph.

Sorry, is this supposed to say “first” or something instead?

English Teacher

November 28th, 2009
2:01 pm

I really, REALLY hope they start off strong tonight! I’ve only been to one game where they did and they pounded LA.

English Teacher

November 28th, 2009
2:02 pm

Oh, yeah, second!

Chris Vivlamore

November 28th, 2009
2:07 pm

Thrashers led the NHL in third-period goals. Here is the list of the top five:
1. Thrashers 37
2. Canucks 32
3. Stars 30
4. Kings 30
5. Capitals 30

Hockeyfan

November 28th, 2009
2:28 pm

It looked to me that Boults got injured in last Sundays game in the second period. He missed a check and jammed his shoulder. He went down the tunnel and didn’t come back for a while. My guess he sat the last 2 games not for lack of a need for toughness but more of a chance to get better.

Jimbo

November 28th, 2009
3:03 pm

We’ll need Boults tonight because the Flyers love to try to push us around early. Also, they lost at home yesterday and will be snarling. Looking forward to seeing us open up with a good first period.

The Earl of Bud

November 28th, 2009
4:02 pm

We didn’t need Boults against the Canes. But against the Flyers would probably make more sense.

Sorry to be so down on the scoring but while it is nice that we have these comebacks and the confidence to do so, at what point does that transfer over to the other periods? We rank 1st in the league for 3rd period goals, but we rank 19th in 1st period goals and 16th in 2nd period goals. Those games where we lose by one goal because we only outscored them the other team 2-1 or 1-0 in the 3rd period would be wins if we scored more in the beginning of the game.

Can’t wait for tonight though, should be a good game. Hopefully we come out strong and win one.

We are in 7th place now with games in hand on the whole conference except Buffalo who played just 22 games also.

jared

November 28th, 2009
4:41 pm

Anyone have tickets they are willing to give away? Im going to the game regardless so i might as well ask. Jaredroger@gmail.com

Matt

November 28th, 2009
5:27 pm

Can we please, please, please start out the came strong and NOT have to come from 2 to 3 goals down?? Remember, it’s supposed to be home ice ADVANTAGE. That being said, amazing come back last night, but those kinds of games are going to be few and far between if they keep getting into immediate holes to start games. Hope Little’s game will spark him on the scoring side as well. Pavs, please remain in the goal at ALL times and you won’t get burned.

Dwayne

November 28th, 2009
5:44 pm

If Philly gets up by 2 or more in the 3rd, its over. Did I say that??? I didn’t mean it. Never say never.

The Earl of Bud

November 28th, 2009
5:57 pm

Dwayne I like that we can say “never say never” with our team, but I don’t think we can come back on Emery (or even Boucher on the B2B) and the Flyers as easily as we come back on Legace and the Canes. That said, let’s play 60.

Jameson

November 28th, 2009
6:17 pm

Speaking of tinkering with the lines, I wonder how something like this would work out:
Kovy-Little-Max
Kane-Pevs-Antro
Kozy-White-Army

Chris Vivlamore

November 28th, 2009
8:03 pm

Two pieces of breaking news: Prospect Angelo Esposito tore his ACL – same knee – and will miss the rest of the season for AHL Chicago. Suffered the injury last Sunday. An MRI confirmed diagnosis. Thrashers flying him in tomorrow.

Boris Valabik’s rehab stint in Chicago will end Monday. Initially will return to Atlanta and Thrashers will carry 23 players.

BlueSpark

November 28th, 2009
9:41 pm

Finally beat the d*** Flyers!!1

Brendan

November 28th, 2009
9:46 pm

The Moose pitches a shutout! Reminded me of the time we shut out the Flyers, 1-0, in the Inaugural Season, during the Curt Fraser era. I didn’t catch how many saves he made. But hey, anytime a team wins a game, 1-0, is a character win. So, how many games in the winning streak now?

sisu

November 28th, 2009
9:46 pm

Awesome win!!!!

And on a side note, Esposito is officially a bust! I think the only thing he has going for him is his last name.

Chris, can you please check to see if Boris will play without having to earn a sot? Is Salmela the odd man out or will it be Pop be the one gone eventually??? I really hate to think that Big clumsy Boris would just automatically be inserted into the line up unless it is to work out a trade for a draft pick?

Brendan

November 28th, 2009
9:49 pm

Washington and Montreal are in the shootout. Capitals win the shootout, on a shootout goal by Backstrom. Oh well. Carolina lost to Buffalo, 5-1. And Tampa is leading Dallas, 1-0. Florida and Nashville at knotted at 1. That’s the Southeast division update.

Brendan

November 28th, 2009
10:01 pm

Sisu, the Hossa trade isn’t completely a bust. Though plenty of people would tell you that Esposito was the centerpiece/cornerstone of the deal. Armstrong is in his final year of restricted free agency, so he gets to test the market in July, if he doesn’t re-sign in Atlanta. Armstrong may or may not be with the Thrashers next year. Erik Christensen, another component of the Hossa trade, was moved for Eric O’Dell, in what might ultimately be a coup, by Waddell. And then, there is the prospect at Michigan State, pick #29 in the 2008, Daultan Leveille.

Of course, not matter how anyone tries to “spin” it, not getting Hossa to re-sign was a major setback for the organization, for he was suitable replacement for Dany Heatley. At least, “arguably.” This is why I say that I don’t like trades, generally-speaking. You wind up getting a player, who quite possibly doesn’t want to play here, and then you run the risk of either watching him walk in free agency or be moved at the trade deadline, if he won’t re-sign in this market. That’s some bad news on Esposito. Esposito was considered to be a “slider” in his draft year. I think he went 20th overall, when he was expected to be a Top 10 overall pick. Injuries happen. Nobody can predict them. In theory, Angelo Esposito was going to be a nice addition for Atlanta. In theory, Kari Lehtonen was the top goaltender of his draft year. These things happen.

Brendan

November 28th, 2009
10:02 pm

Good news! A pair of PPGs by the Stars has Dallas on top of TB, 2-1. And Nashville just scored to take a 2-1 lead on Florida.

The Earl of Bud

November 28th, 2009
10:21 pm

First off, hat tip to Jimbo for saying to insert Boulton in the lineup tonight against a tougher Flyers team. His fight a few minutes in was a good thing.

Otherwise, I’m sorry, but as happy as I was with the win, I am disappointed with this first period effort again. We had a season low 3 shots on goal in the first period. Overall in the game, scoring chances were 22-8 in favor of the Flyers. Again I am happy with the win, but the facts say that we are due for a slump and I hope I am wrong or that these guys play 60.

Sad news about Espo, but I wouldn’t call a player a bust because of injury. Was Cam Neely a bust? Absolutely not.

Funny you talk about resigning Hossa Brendan, because the Flyers telecast had a great intermission segment on re-signing Kovalchuk and said that Hossa was a mercenary and that after he walked on teams like Pittsburgh and Detroit he shouldn’t be missed in Atlanta. They were favorable to us, or at least objective, but bashed Florida for not moving Bouwmeester sooner and for more picks when it was clear he wasn’t going to re-sign.

Nice call on O’Dell though, I am hoping to watch him if I go home for Christmas. Or Morin if I can’t see O’Dell.

One last note, did anyone even notice that Coburn played in the game tonight? I wasn’t impressed and I just watched them play the Sabres a few nights ago and he was just as unimpressive. Van Riemsdyk looks awesome on the other hand.

sisu

November 28th, 2009
10:27 pm

Brendan, I did not say the whole trade was a bust, just Espo. Two injuries to the same knee = ungood. Maybe he can make a recovery and be a 5th liner with the lost speed and agility and worry over blowing it out again?

Enough about that! What a win, this is a good sign! Three in a row is 6 points no matter how you slice it!

Brendan

November 28th, 2009
11:32 pm

Sisu, I know. I realized it after I posted it. It’s just that “the experts” told us Esposito was the KEY component to the Hossa trade. But clearly, you did not state that the Hossa trade was a bust. I’m the only one who brought up Hossa. Mea culpa, for the sore subject.

Hossa, if truly wanted to, could have hopped from team-to-team, from now on. But he signed, what? A 12-year deal with Chicago? A deal that, I thought, was still under investigation by the NHL to determine if the Blackhawks and Hossa, or Hossa’s agent, ever discussed the possibility of ‘early retirement.’ Some people are thinking, so? Well, that contract would pay Hossa until he’s 42, unless he retires early. They repeat, so? So, if he retires at 38 or 39, with 3-4 years left on the contract, then his cap hit for all the previous years should have ACTUALLY BEEN HIGHER. Since contracts are “averaged out” to determine a cap hit. The bottom line would be, if true, that Chicago received a “loophole benefit” by signing Hossa to such a lengthy contract. For it helped them field a team with Campbell, Toews, Barker, Keith, Kane, etc. Including helping Chicago to re-sign some of that HIGH DOLLAR talent, with such a smaller cap hit for Hossa. Technically, I don’t think Hossa did anything ‘wrong,’ per se. He gets paid to play hockey. He was drafted by Ottawa. He re-signed with Ottawa. Ottawa blindsided him with a trade to Atlanta. Hossa’s most productive year, in his career, was 2007, with the Thrashers. So, now matter he felt about playing in Atlanta, he put up his best numbers here. Then, he ostensibly hurt his shoulder. He refused surgery to correct it, so that he could force a trade to a contender at the 2008 trade deadline. That turned out to be Pittsburgh. Then, after rejecting a tremendous multi-year offer by the Penguins, he opted for free agency, FORCING his way onto the Red Wings. And, once again, Hossa forewent surgery on his shoulder, in an effort to rideout the season into a Stanley Cup with the Red Wings. The Red Wings GM, Ken Holland, would later admit, “Hossa came to us injured.” Then, he opted for free agency, once again, which is his right, for his age and tenure in the league. And then, finally, he had his surgery, unwilling to postpone it any longer.

If Hossa did something wrong, it was rejecting Pittsburgh’s longterm offer. I’d wager, that if he could have, he would have signed a longterm deal with Detroit. When that didn’t materialize, he saw Chicago as an attractive option. Original Six market, new ownership, new direction, new philosophy, traditional hockey market with knowledgeable hockey fans, and good visibility for product endorsement. I don’t hate Hossa. But he’s not one of my favorite players, either.

If someone asked, “Who would have Atlanta been better off with, longterm, Heatley or Hossa?” I pause a moment, then say Hossa. Hossa probably won’t demand a trade out, the second things don’t look like the next season will result in a Stanley Cup. I think we’ve moved on as an organization from both Heatley and Hossa. Well, what other choice is there, really? Neither is coming back.

Brendan

November 28th, 2009
11:54 pm

Frekkin Dallas Stars let Tampa take back a point in their 4-3, overtime win. It was 3-1, Dallas, in the 3rd period. We’re ahead of the Bolts, with a game-in-hand.

jltmilaftw

November 28th, 2009
11:58 pm

I just saw where tonights 1-0 shutout of the Flyers was the first time the Thrasher shutout the Flyers since 1/14/2000 which was also a 1-0 victory. I remember that game because I was at that game. Norm Miracle shut out the Flyers. Remember good ole Norm Miracle.

Brendan

November 29th, 2009
12:42 am

I remember that game, too, Jltimilaftw. I bought a commemorative game pin, that they used to sell, for all the Inaugural season games.

MB

November 29th, 2009
1:01 pm

Terrific game from Moose…feels great to finally beat the Flyers. Reminds of when we finally beat the Devils for the first time. But I have to ask…what happened late in the second when it looked like the Flyers put one past Hedberg? We were in the 300s at the other end of the ice. The ref immediately waved it off, but I missed why.

I actually thought we started off well, though we tried too hard to make the extra pass instead of taking our shots at Boucher, especially in the first. But in terms of the flow of play, I thought the period was fairly even.

Forget who mentioned it first, but last night the Kap really seemed to be struggling, making me think that foot is still bothering him. How many times did he pass up shots that a healthy Kovy takes every single time? Wondering if he just can’t plant with it to get off his shot. Honestly, I felt it would have been better for him not to play at all and have somebody on the ice who could go 100%.

Speaking of 100% (or close to it), Little looked good out there…was making a lot of good things happen…good passes, and rang the pipes a couple of times.

So disappointed to hear about Espo. Kid must feel snakebit. Hope for the best for him.

Nice run for the T-Birds, and with the next four against Florida (x2), the Isles, and the Leafs, time to make some hay against some struggling teams to get December off to a good start.