Archive for November, 2009

Kovalchuk skips optional practice

Back inside Philips Arena as the Thrashers hold an optional skate prior to tonight’s game against Los Angeles.

There are just 15 players on the ice. Ilya Kovalchuk was not one of the players taking part in the practice.

Those practicing are: Johan Hedberg, Ondrej Pavelec, Zach Bogosian, Boris Valabik, Tobias Enstrom, Anssi Salmela, Evander Kane, Jim Slater, Eric Boulton, Rich Peverley, Christoph Schubert, Mark Popovic, Todd White, Chris Thorburn and Marty Reasoner.

Noah Welch was on the ice when I got here, continuing to work after off-season knee surgery.

Some notes after Thursday’s game:

*With his goal and two assists, Rich Peverley now has points in 12 of the Thrashers’ 15 games this season.

*With a goal and an assist, Evander Kane had his first multiple-point game of his young career.

*The Thrashers scored two goals in a span of :25 in the second period, setting a new franchise record for the quickest two goals in the middle frame. The franchise record for quickest two …

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Kovalchuk returns to lineup against Rangers

UPDATE: Let’s sum up this whole crazy 24 hours on the Ilya Kovalchuk ordeal. He is back to being a game-time decision, one that Thrashers coach John Anderson’s gut thinks will play, tonight against the Rangers. Kovlachuk left before the start of Wednesday’s practice with soreness in his foot. This after Anderson told me he was 95 percent sure Kovalchuk would return from his broken foot. Anderson called him a game-time decision. Hours later the organization said he would not play and was not making the trip to New York. Hours after that we discovered that Kovlachuk did travel with the team to New York. Now he skated and may return tonight after all. Thus completing the full circle back to where we started. But what a trip.

UPDATE II: Kovalchuk and Kane in the lineup tonight. Jim Slater, Anssi Salmela and Spencer Machacek are the scratches.

I’ll leave the original blog below for those who care.

So we wake up this morning to find out that Ilya Kovalchuk has indeed traveled with …

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Kovalchuk warms up, leaves practice

The Thrashers are practicing at Philips Arena this morning before they leave for New York for the first of an away-home back-to-back with Rangers and L.A. Kings.

The big question you have is who is in attendance – as in Ilya Kovalchuk. Yes. He was on the ice before the start of practice, dressed and skating. It looks like his foot responded well after yesterday’s practice.  However, as practice started he left the ice and Rich Peverley put on a yellow practice jersey along with Nik Antropov and Max Afinogenov. I think it was planned because the extra yellow jersey was already on the bench. I will verify everything after  practice.

Evander Kane is back at practice. He missed Tuesday’s workout to have his foot examined. He is skating and shows no signs of being slowed by a shot off the foot he took  Sunday. Boris Valabik is also dressed and skating.

Here are the lines:

Antropov-Peverley-Afinogenov

Kozlov-White-Little

Armstong-Reasoner-Kane

Boulton-Slater-Thorburn

I will keep …

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Kovalchuk takes part in Thrashers practice

Let’s not bury the lead. Ilya Kovalchuk has just taken the practice ice for the Thrashers. The captain, who suffered a broken bone in his foot less than three weeks ago, is dressed and skating. Teammates  said he was a fast healer. He was expected to miss four to six weeks after the injury.

He is dressed in light blue practice jersey along with Nik Antropov and Max Afinogenov.

I will obviously get you more news as soon as practice is over.

When I got to practice injured defenseman Boris Valabik was also skating.

He, and fellow defenseman Noah Welch, were dressed in full gear and going through drills with strength coach Ray Bear before practice started. It’s the first I’ve seen Valabik on the ice since his surgery several weeks ago. He is also taking the ice for the practice, the lone player dressed in red practice jersey.

Valabik, as you recall, had ankle surgery in early October for a high sprain after taking a fall in practice. He was placed on injured reserve and thought …

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Last seven Thrashers goals from defensemen

The Thrashers are off today following Sunday’s shootout win over St. Louis.

However, let’s not let that stop us from blogging. I’m sure you’ve noticed that the last seven Thrashers goals, over two and a half games, have come from defensemen.  After Bryan Little scored against Columbus on Thursday the Thrashers have gotten goals from: Tobias Enstrom and Pavel Kubina against the Blue Jackets, Zach Bogosian, Kubina and Christoph Schubert against the Islanders and Enstrom and Ron Hainsey against the Blues.

Concerned? Sure you like scoring from the defense, but all the scoring?

It’s funny because on Friday, the day after the Columbus game, I asked coach John Anderson about Enstrom. It seemed, to me, that he was hesitant to shoot from the point. I wanted to see if Anderson thought I was off base. This is what he said:

“I don’t think Toby is the kind of player that thinks shoot first. I’ve been talking to him about it. He’s got a pretty good shot. You’ve obvioulsy seen that. …

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Kane and Kozlov switch practice jerseys

I was all set to post this blog with the morning practice lines being the same, but ….

As the skate was about to begin, Evander Kane and Slava Kozlov switched jerseys. That means the lines for practice this morning are:

Kane-Antropov-Afinogenov

Peverley-White-Little

Kozlov-Reasoner-Armstrong

Boulton-Slater-Thorburn

I’ll see what coach John Anderson says about the line change for the practice after interviews. Maybe he’s just trying to mix it up a little bit.

I spent the morning looking to see if there was a statistical reason the Thrashers are so different on the road (5-1-1) and at home (1-5-0). A couple of stats jumped out:

1. They kill 89.7 percent of penalties on the road; 76.2 percent at home.

2. They have 118 hits on the road (two more games); 57 at home.

3. They have 91 blocked shots on the road; 63 at home.

I also came across this about their slow starts:

1. Record when the score first: 4-0; Record when opposition scores first: 2-5-1

2. Recorde when trailing after …

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Hainsey still a “game-time” decision

Back from the morning skate for tonight’s game against Rick Nash and the Columbus Blue Jackets.

As I told you yesterday, Ondrej Pavelec will start in goal.

Coach John Anderson was not telling who will be the scratch. He said it will be a game-time decision. When I asked again about the status of Ron Hainsey, who missed the last two games with a lower-body injury, Anderson said he would be a game-time decision. Hainsey told me yesterday he expects to play against his former team. He participated in the morning skate, but stay tuned.

If you noticed, some of the Thrashers are starting to sport moustaches. It’s part of a prostate cancer campaign the team has entitled MOvember. Thrashers coaches, including Anderson, and players Zach Bogosian, Jim Slater and Mark Popovic are sporting the new look. It’s an effort to “change the face of men’s health.”

That’s the news from today. The Thrashers will again wear the alternate maroon jerseys. They are 0-2 wearing them this …

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Kari Lehtonen has another back surgery

We are back! Now with some breaking news: Kari Lehtonen underwent another back surgery on Friday. The procedure was to remove edges of bone that were applying pressure to nerve roots in his back at two locations. The surgery was performed by Dr. Paul Maurer at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, N.Y. The locations on the back were different than the location of the surgery he had on July 20.

The team says he will be sidelined for 6 to 8 weeks.

Thrashers had a late optional skate on Wednesday. They start at 1 p.m.

We’ll need to check the status of Ron Hainsey, who missed both games in Canada. He left last Friday’s practice with an undisclosed injury that coach John Anderson said was “day-to-day.” I will let you know if I find out anything new and what his status might be for Thursday against Columbus.

Looking to do a story for today/tomorrow on Ondrej Pavelec. I think with need to catch up with the goalie after two impressive games in Canada. What do you think was his better …

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