Thorburn moving up a few lines

Just finished with Thrashers morning skate before tonight’s game against New Jersey.

Ondrej Pavelec will start in goal for the Thrashers after his win Thursday against Dallas. “It ain’t rocket physics,” coach John Anderson said of the decision to start Pavelec.

The scratches tonight will be Bryan Little, Anssi Salmela and the injured Mark Popovic.

With Little out of the lineup, the lines looked like this at practice:

Kovalchuk-Antropov-Thorburn

Kozlov-Peverley-Afinogenov

Kane-White-Armstrong

Slater-Reasoner-Boulton

Afinogenov was awarded the Thrashers player of the month for November by the team’s fan club.

I will check back in later.

62 comments Add your comment

TrueBlue

December 19th, 2009
12:05 pm

Yah, that is the answer JA. A 4th line grinder on the first line…How many times will they try this “experiment”? I feel like the problem with that line is the man in the Center. Antro is racking up assists, but it seems like he forces poor passes to Kovy all the time.

Anyways, I don;’t agree with Thorburn on that first line. I also completely disagree with benching Little and playing White all the time. What a joke.

StateBird

December 19th, 2009
12:41 pm

I sense that Little is hurt. I followed him closely on Thursday after the switch with Thorborn. He moved very slowly and cautiously.

Thrashers27

December 19th, 2009
1:18 pm

Good call, StateBird. Doesn’t make sense to sit Little. He’s been hustling like crazy. If anyone should sit it should be White, although he did show a bit of Gitty-up against Dallas.

Has anyone else been impressed with how much Boris seems to have improved over last year? A fleet of foot skater he’ll never be, but his positioning has been much better and he’s using his power much more productively. Put Salmella on the market.

Chris Vivlamore

December 19th, 2009
1:27 pm

Just going through tape of this morning’s interview with Anderson. He mentioned that Kari Lehtonen has begun skating again.

Dwayne

December 19th, 2009
1:31 pm

Can’t wait for Stendecs reaction to that bit of news.

R. Stroz

December 19th, 2009
1:45 pm

Afinogenov was awarded the Thrashers player of the month for November by the team’s fan club.

Good choice by the ATFC. Max has really turned things around here.

five_hole

December 19th, 2009
1:51 pm

I know Brian is struggling with his scoring, but I think he is playing well in the offensive zone, digging for pucks and passing. I suppose that JA wanted to reward Slater for scoring last game. After all, it may be his only tally for the year.

I agree that Boris has improved his skating, and I don’t think Ansi had a particularly good game Thursday, but I still can’t see playing Boris over him. Face it. Boris is a penalty waiting to happen.

Alan

December 19th, 2009
2:34 pm

“Salmela sucked, but he should be in anyway” is basically what I read there. Logic fail. :(

Also, I really want to see Kane play with someone not named White.

Telfo

December 19th, 2009
2:37 pm

I imagine putting Thorburn on that line has to do with the fact that we are playing the devils and may have to dump and chase more then usual. Kovy and Antro are certainly not good with puck retrieval

Get The Puck Out

December 19th, 2009
2:51 pm

Thorbrun is the one who will cover Kovy’s lackluster defense. Maybe he can show him how it’s done. Anyway i hope they come out first period on fire, instead of two thirds into the game. Go Thrashers!!

Brendan

December 19th, 2009
2:53 pm

Well, not to take stance one way or the other, but Bryan Little was responsible for the “late” goal that allowed Florida to cap a “4-point swing” over us recently. And he was a -2 in his last two games. Maybe Coach just wanted to send him a wake-up call. Of course, he could have just stuck an envelope in his locker that read, “You do know this is your CONTRACT YEAR, right?”

Brendan

December 19th, 2009
3:01 pm

I’ll throw this out there one last time. If I were Waddell, I’d get my contract writing pen out and save some money on Bryan Little’s offseason deal, by inking it right now. What’s the harm in opening up those channels. And don’t say, “Because Kovalchuk isn’t signed yet.” Bryan Little is an RFA and he isn’t going ANYWHERE. Unless he up and decides he’s forsaking the NHL in favor of playing somewhere in Europe. And ALMOST any RFA offersheet would be matched by Atlanta.

Regarding tonight’s game, I hope Brodeur does not set the record at Blueland tonight. But, then again, it would make the ticket stub a bit more valuable. Gee, I wonder what Ondrej Pavelec thinks about all that. He’s one of the Thrasher names to be immortalized in the boxscore, per John Anderson’s declaration that he will start in net.

Regarding Thorburn’s promotion, it’s not the first time we’ve seen him there in the past. It was tried in a previous season. And Kovalchuk winds up fighting his own battles anyway. Though, I would think Thorburn would be the one to respond to cheapshots directed at the Captain.

five_hole

December 19th, 2009
3:02 pm

“Salmela sucked, but he should be in anyway” is basically what I read there. Logic fail. Incorrect. I think Salmela has more talent than Boris and doesn’t take stupid penalties for no reason.

Smoothie

December 19th, 2009
3:24 pm

Damn the blog monster! My post got hung up in blog purgatory…C-Viv, if you’re patrolling, please free it. Brendan double-crossed me with his back to backers! ;-)

Anyway, to summarize: I like the Thorbs promotion…at least for the time being. JA must expect a more physical game from the Devils tonite. I suspect we will see their back-up goalie since they played last night and have a big game Monday vs Pitts. I imagine their offensive scheme will be more conservative than usual and we will have to muck and grind like crazy to win this game. And if you recall, Thorbs had a very hard-working SH goal last time vs NJ and his PK hustle was unrivaled by any that night.

Smoothie

December 19th, 2009
3:27 pm

Wow Brendan, are you serious!? That game-losing goal was hardly Bryan’s fault the other night. Hainsey was playing soft and on his heels when he should have been checking Weiss hard. Bogo had the shooting lane clogged but he was screening Moose. B-Litts was a hair late, but the forward was below the circle and he is a wing…how much do you expect him to predict the future and stop a weird carom off Moose’s pad? Where was Antropov? He’s the C and should’ve been there eh?

Alan R.

December 19th, 2009
3:45 pm

five_hole, the point is, Valabik has been playing very well. Salmela got scratched for a reason, and it wasn’t so Valabik could “take stupid penalties.”

We carry a ton of D on this roster currently. The only thing stupid is not playing all of them to get them ice time.

[...] ATL ONDREJ PAVELEC [...]

Chris Vivlamore

December 19th, 2009
4:17 pm

Smoothie: It looks like it released itself. Let me know if that’s it. I’m patrolling the spam filter regularly.

Smoothie

December 19th, 2009
4:30 pm

Thanks Chris, but it must’ve gotten lost “at sea”…oh well. I summarized my Thorburn thoughts in another post after I blamed Brendan. :wink:

I also made a comment about Little. I don’t think this decision is an indictment on his play necessarily. White has been better with Kane and Army and JA just can’t bring himself to bench Whitey. But it will happen eventually. At some point, Little will find the net during a hot streak and Whitey may get the boot to the “box”. Till then, the time upstairs may benefit Little again. I just wish he’d get a chance to supplant White as C between Kane and Colby.

Thrashers27

December 19th, 2009
4:57 pm

Five_Hole,

You’re correct when you say Boris is a penalty “waiting” to happen. The beauty part of that statement is that in seasons past he was a perpetual penalty on skates.

Outside of his first game back, I haven’t noticed him having to commit his usual penalties for being out of position. I also think he’s learned to use his brut strength effectively.

I don’t know why, but I really want to see Boris succeed and I’m happy to see him doing “better” this year. I hope he can eventually become what we have all hoped.

Thrashers27

December 19th, 2009
5:29 pm

Chris, you may want to check the first graph of the “No Time for Reflection” portion of your Enstrom story.

five_hole

December 19th, 2009
5:45 pm

Thrashers27 I pointed out in Bill’s blog that I was still living in St. Louis when they traded Brendan Shanahan, who just had a 50 goal 50 assist season to Hartford for a young defenseman no one had heard of. He was a high 1st round pick but had no clue on how to play defense. His name is Chris Pronger.

The point of that story is that it is possible that Boris could grow into the position. I certainly hope so. I just don’t think he should be learning it at the NHL level.

Alan R. Sorry but it’s true. Boris’s skating has gotten better, and his last 5 outings, he’s had a +/- of 0 in each game. But I’ve still seen him take stupid penalties. The only reason I’d prefer him over Salmela is he’s bigger. But Salmela skates better, passes better, can clear the puck from our zone (unlike Boris) and is smarter (on the ice).

Chris Vivlamore

December 19th, 2009
6:03 pm

Thrashers27: Something wrong with it?

Dwayne

December 19th, 2009
6:38 pm

ok..did i just read something correctly????? Kovy leads the team in PIM’s???

Sage of NERDSland

December 19th, 2009
7:08 pm

Damnit!! Broadcast ALL OF THE GAMES!!!

It’s Saturday night in America, and there’s no hockey on TV in Atlanta!!

*headshot*

Sage of NERDSland

December 19th, 2009
7:09 pm

Meanwhile: NERDS!!! 30-24!!!

NERDS!!! NERDS!!! NERDS!!! NERDS!!! NERDS!!!

Alan R.

December 19th, 2009
7:19 pm

five_hole, in five games, he has a major and two minors. He’s not nearly as bad as you say this year.

Mikey D

December 19th, 2009
7:27 pm

hahaha yall should hear the new jersey tv guys ripping i mean ripping on thrashers defense its such a joke… they wont shut up about it

Mikey D

December 19th, 2009
7:28 pm

ooh and for all you complainers, pony up the dough and buy the nhl center ice u cheap assess,

Pavelec

December 19th, 2009
7:35 pm

I am getting outshot 21-3 now and I can’t stand on my head any longer. There have been more shots than there are fans who came tonight.

gretschdrum

December 19th, 2009
7:36 pm

Chico Resch – “I’ve never seen a team that never gave as little effort”. (About the Thrashers tonight).

Mikey D

December 19th, 2009
7:44 pm

over 20 shots ALLOWED in one period and up 3-1 HAHAHAH

LAC

December 19th, 2009
7:45 pm

During most of the season there have been a few comments concerning the Thrashers defense and #17’s contract and the fact we have low attendence.

But tonight on the NJD broadcast Doc Emrick & Glen Resch are RIPPING us apart,I mean it, almost MEAN sprited comments, like Resch said we have NO defense, this is the WORST period of defensive hockey I have seen in years, and then there was, They are not exactly jamming the seats, and they said they don’t think the franchise can afford #17 and Resch said there is little chance he will remain here.

Then they showed the DUMB don waddell comment, about not talking about this in February, Hey STUPID LYING don, what happened to you LIE about December.

I say trade him get what we can and move on, but if #17 leaves then like Brenden said, two news releases, one wishing #17 well, and the other FINALLY announcing don waddell FIRED !

Dwayne

December 19th, 2009
7:49 pm

nj commentators are butchering Atl’s d rightfully so…..but it is 3 to 1 hahahahahahahahahahaha

Brendan

December 19th, 2009
8:13 pm

“Chico” Resch has been tearing this Thrashers lineup apart. He’s utterly appalled and exaperated at the lack of effort, commitment and discipline of our guys. He keeps talking about how the Devils are totally dominating, in shot and scoring chances, and how fortunate Atlanta is to be leading this game.

One comment stood out. Glen Resch said, “I’ve identified the only player on the ice worth $11 million (for Atlanta) and it’s the guy in goal, Ondrej Pavelec.” Admittedly, I laughed at that statement. Pavelec is “kinda, sorta” holding down the fort. But the Devils have just scored to tie this game, 3-3.

Brendan

December 19th, 2009
8:16 pm

By the way, Marty Brodeur has been CHASED from the New Jersey goal. It’s not Jan Danis. Or Dennis? Whichever. In net for the Devils. The Devils may have come down to Georgia for a shutout. But they’ll have to settle for win, if they can get it. Ron Hainsey actually scored our 1st one. And Antropov also tallied. I forgot who had the third one.

Brendan

December 19th, 2009
8:18 pm

Smoothie, I am serious. Watch that replay again. Bryan Little fell down. He got up quickly, but it was too late to catch him. We can argue over whose responsibility it was, positionally, on the ice. But the man Bryan Little was trailing got away from him … precisely and exactly … because he fell down. I have that on tape. It’s recorded. Watch it again.

Brendan

December 19th, 2009
8:35 pm

Trailing, 4-3, Atlanta is hardly as “out of it” as the Devils’ Chico Resch says. Resch is not harping, “I don’t mean to sound like a broken record, but the Thrashers aren’t even close to winning a puck battle. It’s amazing to witness.” Thud.

Okay, that man is certainly entitled to his opinion. I don’t think it’s quite that bad.

LAC, I do NOT believe that Waddell will be fired if Kovalchuk is either traded or lost to free agency. I’m not going to argue about whether he SHOULD be. All I’m saying is … the AS, LLC is the only entity that can fire Waddell. And I don’t see them doing it. Quite on the contrary, I think they’re pleased with Waddell’s performance. And if they lose Kovalchuk, they’ll chalk it up to Kovy’s demands being too egregious, financially. They did the same thing with Jose Childress, on the Hawks side. Chilly left to go play in Greece because the Spirit said he “wasn’t worth $10 million-a-year.” They were probably right about that. And while I hardly want to see Kovalchuk leave, his $6.5 million in cap relief allows Atlanta to re-signing any of its talent in the pipeline that it wants. And it also also allows the team to go shopping and/or bargain hunting in free agency.

Hockey will not disappear without Kovalchuk. It will survive here. But it’ll take an ownership group that’s honestly trying to win the Stanley Cup. It’s possible to win the Stanley Cup with a different sort of strategy than the one Atlanta is currently using. It is possible to win the Stanley Cup … without Kovalchuk. It takes ownership commitment. It takes the right GM. It takes the right coaches and scouts. And there it is.

Glen “Chico” Resch just slammed the Thrasher fans for NOT BEING EXCITED ENOUGH when the Thrashers got up, 3-1. He said, “maybe they knew that an implosion was coming.” At least Doc Emerick credited us for being the 9th best PP unit in the NHL. We are getting ripped to shreds by Glenn Resch. I can’t tell if he has an “ax to grind,” or if this is just genuinely how he sees our franchise. But I suspect he’s going to get hate mail. Resch just credit Waddell with the Peverley waiver wire acquisition, however. That’s the 1st nice thing he’s said about us all night!

LAC

December 19th, 2009
8:47 pm

Yeah, Resch is like mild mannered Clark Kent, I have NEVER seen his with an AXE to grind against ANY NHL team like tonight, this is UNREAL, but he is right to a degree, we need a defense, #4 & #6 are TERRIBLE, where is the offense ?

Everyone needs to see #17 coasting, standing around NEVER forechecking nothing, sure not worth what he wants, looks like hossa all over again.

Brenden, then WHAT does it take to fire waddell ? I can count hundreds of solid reasons, I cannot believe these SICK owners cannot.

BTW, Mr.Pottymouth levenson my OFFER still stands against you and you will never accept, my companies for your stake in team I will kick your you know what !

Thrashers27

December 19th, 2009
9:07 pm

Chris,

Sorry, just realized that that post probably came across as “jackass editor guy”

I’m just wondering if you are you quoting “NHL Insider”? The phrase “we at the NHL Insider asked Anderson…” seems odd to me.

Three goals on six shots???!!!???!!! 24 shots for the Devs in the first???!!!???!!! WTH? Go Blue!

Brendan

December 19th, 2009
9:16 pm

Okay, lots of typos. “now,” instead of “not.” And Josh instead of “Jose.” If the Hawks ever had a Jose, it’s news to me. :)

Thrashers27

December 19th, 2009
9:23 pm

Brendan,

Jose/Hose-B…It’s all good.

Brendan

December 19th, 2009
9:24 pm

Glen Resch just said that Kovalchuk’s game lacked maturity. And that, as the Captain, he’s got to show more intensity and more defensive responsibility. Resch said it’s PAINFUL to watch Kovalchuk tonight, as he got his stick lifted, then didn’t attempt to make a serious backcheck, and it resulted in a goal. Then Glenn Resch said, “I think if you’re gonna pay this guy the MAX contract, he’s got to be a COMPLETE player. It’s almost as if … Kovalchuk needs to go to a team where he’s not the LEAD BANANA. So he can learn. And grow. It’s just not making passes and taking shots. It’s about backchecking and having a complete game. He’s wearing the Captain’s C. He’s got to be leader. He’s got to be guy who leads by example and sets the standard, Doc. He can’t be like this (one dimension, cherry picker, always thinking goal first, defense never or last). If he’s asking for the max contract, he’s got to become this all-around player (that that sort of salary commands). I did not sense bitterness or hostility in Resch’s tone. He said to Doc, “I’m speaking as a player now. (not an announcer)”

Brendan

December 19th, 2009
9:33 pm

LAC, here’s what it would take to get Waddell fired. He’d have to commit a felony that embarrassed the franchise. And Waddell, I believe, is a law abiding person. He maybe gets a speeding ticket, here and there. He may have rolled a stop sign once or twice in his life.

SCORES!! PPG by Slava Kozlov. Assists Enstrom and Antropov. It’s 5-4, Devils still lead.

Getting back to Waddell, and his future. My guess is that Waddell’s contract officially expires in June of 2010. But I suspect, and cannot prove, that if Waddell survives until June of 2010, that there’s an automatic renewal clause in his contract, which would keep him in charge until 2011. But even if there ISN’T one, what stops the AS, LLC for giving him a brand, SPANKING NEW contract during the offseason?

What? I’m serious. They own the team. They decide who the GM is or isn’t. If they are pleased with his performance, then he stays. For as long as the contract says. I doubt they’d renew Waddell, then fire him. That’s really, truly CRAZY. If they want to fire the guy, they’d just do it. Or, I suppose, they have the option of just not renewing him, if there is not any “automatic renewal” clause in the contract. But then, there’s another problem. This ownership has to ATTEMPT to attract a qualified GM candidate to this market. I used to think Chevaldayoff was in line for that. But he’s gone now. So, I have no logical choice to replace Waddell. LAC, in total seriousness, I can’t see a way that Waddell will ever NOT be this team’s GM, so long as the Atlanta Spirit, LLC is in charge of it.

C’mon Thrashers! 1:03 left in regulation!!

LAC

December 19th, 2009
9:42 pm

Brenden, Guess you are right !

Terrible game, score 4 on NJ and LOSE…

This team needs a defensive adjustment and FAST !

Does John Anderson know ANYTHING about defense ?

It is sure looking like he knows nothing and this constant COASTING by #17 is really making the entire team look like they are GIVING UP !

He was DIRECTLY responsible for TWO NJ goals, Great job #17, how about repaying the FANS tonight for YOUR NOTHING EFFORT AND ATTITUDE !

Brendan

December 19th, 2009
9:44 pm

Uhh, stop!! I forgot about Dudley. A huge Mea Culpa. Dudley is the logical choice. I was distracted by a phone call. I bet I’m already too late and am now being harpoon by “Earth to Brendan, Rick Dudley!” I deserve that. It was a brain cramp, of the Nth degree.

Brendan

December 19th, 2009
9:47 pm

Marty Brodeur has got to be sitting there, dismayed, that Jan Danis just won this game for the Devils.

BG33Brown

December 19th, 2009
9:51 pm

Lac/Brendan….as we all just watched that broadcast, I have to say I agree with most of what Chico said. Now the guy is a obvious homer” but this terrible play hasn’t just been going on tonight. The lack of physicality is TERRIBLE.

And everyone is just coasting out there. I think someone actually stopped in the defensive zone only once tonight. Every other time they just keep gliding and then circle around. I mean come on. We may make the playoffs (we certainly have the talent to) but something has to be done.

Fire Nelson, bench Bogo or Kovy, I don’t care. Kovy looks like Randy Moss out there. And we will never win when our “LEADER” is a primadonna.

Brendan

December 19th, 2009
9:57 pm

BG33Brown, I have to say that Resch was coherent in his comments. He wasn’t Don Cherry, drunk out of his mind. It’s not as if Resch weren’t making an impassioned plea to the Thrashers to play with more heart and personal accountability, including making a committed effort, defensively, for the benefit of the team.

Brendan

December 19th, 2009
10:14 pm

But, I suppose I should add that Resch … wasn’t exactly LAUGHING at us, so much as he was EMBARRASSED on our behalf, for our performance. Glenn Resch, in no UNCERTAIN terms, just called Ilya Kovalchuk out. Flagrantly. And unabashedly.

Let me translate that into English. He just called any GM in the league who offers Kovalchuk the MAX contract … an idiot. Why? Because in Resch’s view of things, the guy is immature, spoiled rotten, non-committed defensively, and lacks leadership skills. Not to mention failing in “setting the standard” for the other players to follow.

Wow. That’s a little harsh. But, I suppose, Glenn Resch is entitled to that opinion. And, I suppose, there will be thos who AGREE with him. I wonder if Jay Grossman is about to give “Chico” Resch a call. As in, “Whattaya doin’? I’m trying to get my client the MAX. And you’re EXPOSING him as deficient. Shut up! Before someone hears you!”

Shrugs. I still Kovy is worth a LOT of money. Faults and all. There are Season Ticket Holders’ opinions to consider. And if they tell the Thrashers, “If Ilya leaves, so do I.” It’s gonna be rough for them. Financially. They’ve got to try to keep this player. It’s Glenn “Chico” Resch’s opinion that the Thrashers cannot pay Ilya Kovalchuk $100 million over the next 10 years, because the seats aren’t filled. And this, somehow, becomes an indictment of the Atlanta Hockey Fan. Well, I blame OWNERSHIP and Ownership DECISIONS much, MUCH MORE than I do any fan “apathy.” If the ownership held Coaches, Scouts, and GMs accountable, the fan reaction would be more like it was in 1999, when it soldout 38 of 41 home games. Ya know, before OWNERSHIP was exposed for WHO they are. And that goes for ALL incarcarnation of the team’s ownership. Hockey HASN’T STARTED in Atlanta, until ownership is installed that’s committed to winning the Stanley Cup. Now, certainly, the AS, LLC has had some mitigating factors at play. Steve Belkin comes immediately to mind. But how long can they milk that excuse? In what other world … does it take 4 full years to “buy out” an estranged investor-partner?

Segue, I see that “Ice Edge,” the group that wants to buy the Phoenix Coyotes, is being CALLED OUT. They have to, in the next 30 days, show that they have the capital resources to survive 26 years in Phoenix. And if they CANNOT do that, by going public with their financing, that the league will essentially withdraw consideration for ownership of the Coyotes. It seems Gary Bettman may have learned something from the Atlanta fiasco. By the way, the PURCHASE PRICE for the Phoenix Coyotes is a rather paltry $140 million. That’s a steal. Somewhere, Jim Balsillie is hurling. He offered $243 million, allegedly, supposedly, for the Nashville Predators, a few years ago. I think the Preds were ultimately bought for $199 million. But I cannot rightly recall that. I may be confusing it with the sale of the Edmonton Oilers.

I tell you … it’s tough to be the Commissioner. You’ve got to hope all your owners can actually pony up at the end of the day. It makes jerks like Balsillie seem necessary for the survival of their league.