Just back from the morning skate for tonight’s game against Montreal. Didn’t the Thrashers just play them?
Why yes, this is the Thrashers’ fourth and final game against the Canadiens, who were just in town nine days ago. The Thrashers played two games in Montreal in the span of 14 days and the end of October, beginning of November.
There is no new update on the Ilya Kovalchuk contract talks. I have talked to both sides in the past week. Kovalchuk’s agent was in town on Saturday and talks continue. Kovalchuk stated again on Monday morning that he would like to stay with the same team his whole career. However, he understands that hockey is a business.
It is my understanding that there is no truth to the recent trade rumors, including a trade to Vancouver. I will continue to chase the story and provide updates when relevant.
One piece of bad news for the Thrashers is Andrei Markov is back in the Canadiens lineup. After missing more than two months with a leg injury, Markov returned Saturday and scored two power-play goals in a win over the Islanders.
His fellow Russian countryman, Ilya Kovalchuk, said he is glad to see him back – but would rather see him as a teammate in the Olympics than as an opposing defenseman. “It’s good for you guys,” Kovalchuk told the Montreal media. “It’s not good for the teams that play against him.”
Johan Hedberg will start in goal for the Thrashers. He beat the Canadiens 4-3 on Dec. 12 on Kovalchuk’s overtime goal.
Eric Boulton, Anssi Salmela and Mark Popovic are the scratches.
The team will skate with the same lines as they did in Sunday’s practice:
Defensive pairings remain the same:
After tonight’s game, Thrashers are on the road for the next seven games and won’t play again at home until Jan. 7 against the Rangers.