Hedberg back in goal, Valabik returns

Sorry for the lengthy delay posting this new blog. I got caught up following the morning skate for tonight’s game against Florida.

Two noteworthy items from today.

Johan Hedberg will be back in goal tonight against the Cats following his shutout of the Flyers.

Boris Valabik was back on the ice for the Thrashers, fresh off his stint at AHL Chicago. He took part in the morning skate but most likely will be a scratch tonight. This is what John Anderson said when I asked about Valabik’s status this morning:

“We will see how he is reacting,” Anderson said. “He’s coming off a long-term injury and he played pretty good in Chicago. He will get in but it’s hard to put a new guy in when you are winning hockey games. We’ll have to make sure it’s the right time.”

The Thrashers will continue to carry 23 players for the time being.

I’m also told that Associate GM Rick Dudley and Director of Player Personnel Mark Dobson were in Nashville Friday and Saturday watching the Predators. No word on what they were looking for – or even if they were looking for anything in particular.

Things to look for in the near future:

The next player feature will be Nik Antropov.

I have starting gathering info for the Art of the Shootout story. I’m hoping to be finished with that next week when the Thrashers are in Canada.

I’m also set up to talk to prospect Arturs Kulda, who is playing in Chicago, for an update.

Let’s get this posted and get over to Philips Arena.

21 comments Add your comment


November 30th, 2009
4:23 pm

“I’m also told that Associate GM Rick Dudley and Director of Player Personnel Mark Dobson were in Nashville Friday and Saturday watching the Predators.”

This is great news, Craig, and it put a smile on my face. The less Waddell input on player scouting, the better. I really, really, really like this and makes me feel much better about our future. Don can negotiate the Ilya deal and let Dudley go find us players, win-win!


November 30th, 2009
4:24 pm

I mean Chris, so happy I’m having flashbacks to Custance!~

[...] ATL Johan Hedberg. Every give a “heyy yooooooooooo” for Hedberg [...]

The Earl of Bud

November 30th, 2009
5:18 pm

Dudley and Dobson could have been looking at someone from St Louis on Fri and doing advanced scouting of Fla on Sat :) Still, I wonder if Waddell is going to get his next Peverley. Still laugh at the fact that Waddell wanted to trade for the guy before the season began and we picked him up on waivers later in the year to make him the waiver deal of the decade.

Bob, Thrashers scouts/personnel directors have ALWAYS looked at other players in addition to Waddell, this isn’t some revolutionary idea that they are just now adopting.


November 30th, 2009
7:15 pm

How many people are at tonight’s game 1,000… MAYBE ?

There are entire sections that are EMPTY, it looks like a funeral
at Philips. With the team playing well, this is amazing…

If this continues, no matter how well the team does, they will be sold and moved, I am stunned at the total lack of attendence…

All NHL owners have to look at the bottom line and how can they continue
with NO fans at the games ?

Any Answers ??? Bill what is going on ?


November 30th, 2009
8:06 pm

got to be the worse 2-2 first period ever….turnovers, fluke goals, goalie gets clobbered by own player. Kovy has a goal, so what, he looks like he wants to be in Vancouver, remember my trade scenario??? Oh, and to top it all off???? the worst announcers I have ever heard, they are worse that Rathburn and Wilkens, now that is bad!!! If I had any hair i’d pull it all out…stinks, stinks, stinks. They better win, so all will be well!!!!

Dray from Calgary

November 30th, 2009
8:31 pm

EOB – Ballard’s chop on Vokoun has got to be the blooper of the year. I sent a late post on the Waddell interview.

Get The Puck Out

November 30th, 2009
9:33 pm

I don’t wanna hear another word about Max.


November 30th, 2009
9:49 pm

I’m happy….too bad Chief Poopy pants and his squaw could not get off their rumps when Max scored the game winner.

The Earl of Bud

November 30th, 2009
10:46 pm

Wow, Max got the GWG tonight in the last minute. I will admit, this has got to be some sort of record for most last minute goals in the first 2 months. Oddball game for sure, and the funny thing was that I had Keith Ballard OFF of that busts list I did for Brendan only because I didn’t want to be biased against him for being a Sabre. But Max came through.

I watched Hainsey extra close tonight as some folks were jabbering about him. The PP goal was a fluke, so I won’t hold that against him. But that first goal he got beat by a wallpass which drove me nuts. And Popovic didn’t make me happy at all either on the 3rd goal. But Ron was pretty sound the rest of the night and did well positionally. Still, he had 2 goals against to his name. I’ll keep watching more closely the next game or two.

I think the Koz-White-Little line is going to get hot soon. Little had a jump tonight and even the Todd was putting some shots on net which surprised me. Kozlov is already starting to pot some so that line can get hot soon.

Dray, don’t expect to see Boris anytime soon, not as long as we keep winning. He will get some extra time at practice and that’s it. I can’t see him playing even over Salmella let alone Schubert or Popovic.


November 30th, 2009
11:26 pm

Whew!!! Very glad to get out of that one with a deuce. Sloppy, whacky game, but the boys pulled it through with a beauty from Max with 5.5 seconds left.

From the sounds of it, Vokoun will be fine. Scary to see him being lying on the ice and being taken away on the stretcher, though. Thought it was a class move for our guys to go over and check on him.

Best line, in my mind, was clearly the Weiss-Booth-Horton line. They always seem to play well against us. Florida fans should be excited by those guys. By the way, I hadn’t realized the Cats had owned us to that degree the past couple of years.

Next to the Vokoun injury, the saddest sight of the night was the paucity of the crowd at the Bulb. Guess I can’t say much since I watched it at home, but ugh.


November 30th, 2009
11:29 pm

What an interesting night in the NHL. Tampa Bay gets shutout by the Avalanche, 3-0. The Sabres went into the Air Canada Center and won for the seventh straight time there. This time, via shutout, with Miller making 38 saves. The ‘Canes lost their 5th in a row. How is Paul Maurice keeping his job? Granted, it was only a 3-2 defeat. But Carolina is still last in the league. That had an opportunity to close ground with the Leafs losing. Ovechkin had an injury tonight.

I sincerely hope Tomas Vokoun will make a full recovery. What an unfortunate event, with Ballard’s carelessness. The loss of David Booth to the Florida Panthers was bad enough. Add Vokoun to it, and it almost becomes insurmountable.

The performer of the Night, per NHL network, was Mike Rupp. Rupp usually has between 3-6 goals in any given year. Tonight, he had a “hat trick.” Good for him.

Let’s look at some Thrashers numbers. Max Afinogenov, whom Florida announcers misprounced all night, now has 25-points in 24 games, and is a +8, including 11 goals, 14 helpers, and one GWG. Nik Antropov now has a team high 21 assists, with 2 goals, for 23-points in 24 games and is a +14. Sweet. Kubina is a +16. Enstrom is a +11. Reasoner and Kane are +9. Kane has 3 GWG’s. Peverley leads the team, and the NHL, with 5 GWG’s.

+2 players tonight were Reasoner, Boulton, Thorburn, Max, and Antropov. The +1 guys were Kubina, Hainsey, Enstrom, Bogosian (good night for the blueliners!) and Kovalchuk.

Hainsey had a tough break on a deflection off his stick past Hedberg. Likewise, Popovic had some miscommunication behind the net that led to the Frolik goal to tie the game at 3-3. But Mark Popovic also scored a goal. My 3 Stars are: Max, 1G, +2, Antropov, +2, with two helpers, and Boulton, +2, with two helpers. I’ll forgive ‘im for being in the sin bin when Olesz scored for Florida.

Atlanta is 14-7-3. That’s seven over .500, “NHL-style.” This is where they have to be at the Olympic, to be in the playoff hunt. Speaking of which, tear off points #65 and #64 from your chart on the wall. For only 63 more points remain until the Thrashers clinch a playoff berth.


November 30th, 2009
11:40 pm

“Ovechkin had an injury.” Understatement of the century there Brendan. ;) If he isn’t out for a month+, Campbell’s gonna gift him with his first suspension for Xmas.

Dray from Calgary

November 30th, 2009
11:54 pm

Coming up to completing 1/3 of the season, the Thrashers 31 points gives them 1 point more than the Redwings with 2 games in hand.


December 1st, 2009
12:02 am

announced crowds
Nashville 10500
Columbus 12000
Carolina 12000
Tampa…more of the same
Thrashed sad but true..look it up

tough economy coupled with a looser sports towns…unfortunately that is the outcome

The good news…the idiots in this town will show up for the thrashers…..sorry for all the loosers who have it our for DW

p.s why the nhl would schedule this many games on a monday after thanksgiving has me puzzled. but for you short term thinkers who moved south and do nothing but complain….stay tuned


December 1st, 2009
1:35 am

Hainsey has put at least six goals past Hedberg alone this season. I also recall at least one past Pavs too.

This is nothing new, Hainsey has had issues with this in the past too. But this rate at this young in the season is considerably worse than I’ve seen with any d-man.

Ron Mexico

December 1st, 2009
1:47 am

Nice to see Max paying off huge dividends, he has been cluch!……As for the crowd, its the Panthers on a Monday night after a holiday weekend–quite frankly what did everyone expect? The crowds will get better as we get into the new year and we hopefully keep on winning.

Miami Screaming Eagle

December 1st, 2009
7:46 am

HNIC-I believe Carolina and Tampa won Stanley Cups in this decade, so calling them losers is not very accurate.

These are tough time’s everyone just has to buckle down and get through it. Crying Chicken Little every other day doesn’t help the situation at all.

Go Thrashers! I think Ron Mex hit it right on crowd expectation. Even the full crowds in Toronto were more quite than usual. The only time you knew people were at the Leafs’ game is when the booed.


December 1st, 2009
8:18 am

Mad Max Beyond Georgia Dome…coming to rink near you!!!


December 1st, 2009
8:34 am

I was at the game last night and there was less than 3,000 people there, including staff. I agree that attendance will go up after Christmas.

The good news is that the team is playing well, there will be more interest as the season goes on if they keep playing like this. But they better look at hedging ticket pricing for next year if this team gets in the playoffs and generates an interested fan base. They lost my season ticket contribution a few years ago with escalalting prices and a perenially losing product.


December 1st, 2009
9:32 am

Frustrating game last night. Thrashers scored good goals while the Panthers got either deflection goals or the mis-played goal. Yeah, they all count but no way last night should the Cats have been in that game. Well, the Horton line played well, particularly early, but they didn’t crack Moose with a clean shot.

It all worked out in the end, though. Islanders next!