Hedberg has Rangers’ number

It was not a difficult decision to start Johan Hedberg in goal against the Rangers tonight.

Hedberg, who said he grew up a Rangers fan, is 2-0 against the New Yorkers this season. He had 33 saves in a 5-3 win on Nov. 12 and 46 saves in a 3-2 shootout win on Dec. 14.

Coach John Anderson has another reason to start Hedberg.

“I just think he’s been playing pretty good as of late,” Anderson said Thursday morning. “He does have the highest winning percentage of our goalies right now.”

Mired in a nine-game losing streak (0-6-3), both Anderson and Hedberg used the word desperate to describe the Thrashers.

“We are a really desperate team and hopefully we’ll play that way with desperation and control,” Hedberg said before the game. “We’ve got to put a string of wins together to get back on track.”

“We’ve got to take it on a game-by-game basis but there is a desperation around us,” Anderson said. “Teams around us [in the standings] are winning. … Nothing is getting easier and it will be a dogfight right until the end and hopefully we are right in that dogfight.

“Our goaltending has to really help us out a little bit. It was spectacular early on. It’s hard to count on your goaltending to be spectacular but this is the situation we are in. Everyone has to play up to and past their standards.”

Popovic back at practice: Thrashers defenseman Mark Popovic took part in the team’s morning skate, his first practice with the team since breaking his foot in mid-December. Popovic said he felt good after the session.

“I had a smile on my face all day,” Popovic said. “When you take four weeks off, it’s fun to be out there with the guys.”

Popovic said after being cleared by doctors following Thursday’s practice and more conditioning, he could be ready for game action in a week.

Popovic, along with Boris Valabik and Nik Antropov (hip) are the scratches.

28 comments Add your comment

Jeremy H

January 7th, 2010
3:43 pm

DAMN IT! Scratch White!

StateBird

January 7th, 2010
3:49 pm

The Pens game was the lock of the season. I can’t count the times I’ve seen the Thrash return home from a long and unsuccessful road trip only to lay an egg. They talk a good game (e.g. “desperate”) but I expect another flat effort tonight (and probably continued until the Kovy situation is resolved). Easy to take the Rangers tonight and take the attractive odds.

Darkhorse

January 7th, 2010
4:05 pm

Kiss of death saying Hedberg has their number. Bet there won’t be 5000 at the game tonight due to the “snow”.

gretschdrum

January 7th, 2010
4:11 pm

StateBird, Rags are 2-12 on the road underdogs in January on the back half of back to back games (since ‘97). Take our beloved Thrashmasters straight up. :) Seriously.

Thrashers27

January 7th, 2010
4:59 pm

We need Boris in tonight to slap around Avery.

Lee

January 7th, 2010
7:29 pm

Good, glad Moose is in there. We better win, or we’ll reach 10.

stendec

January 7th, 2010
8:01 pm

Want to know about total disrespect? How about when the New York Ranjerks start a goalie with peach fuzz who has zero NHL starts. As in absolutely none. Guess Yardbirds have put the fear of God in these rotten Big Apple losers! Guess what? The heartless Loseland tenants have no goals after 20 minutes! Zero. Zilch. Nada. Against a netminder only just removed from high school hockey. Hard to understand why fans fail to shell out big bucks to watch these gutless wonders. Not! Aplogists will whine about close calls. Shove it up your candy a$$es! El Kapitan Ilya “Show Me More Money” Kovalchuk will skate untold figure eights at blue line until Olympics commence. Then Russian will then compete with fire on ice. At least until Russia goes bye bye in Winter Games! Damn losers. Worthless oxygen wastes. To Hell with all of the overpaid prima donna bestards. Will losing streak continue? Bet on it! On to BSC championship. ++STENDEC++

Chris Vivlamore

January 7th, 2010
8:12 pm

Talked to Waddell after first period. Contract talks with Kovalchuk continue. No impasse at this point. He also said Lehtonen will probably begin practicing with team next week and could do rehab stint in Chicago.

Brendan

January 7th, 2010
8:16 pm

Darkhorse, but Don Waddell assures us all that “attendance will pick up after the football season has ended.” That a GM would utter those words of sheer surrender, is staggering. Wins improve attendance. Losses, not football games, cause empty seats to abound. Wow.

It’s 1-0, Rangers. I don’t think this game has been an utter disaster yet. In case you’re the curious sort, the all-time longest losing streak by Atlanta is 12 games, set between January 24 and February 20, 2000. The Thrashers do own a dubious mark, an NHL record for most home losses, at eleven (11), set between January 24 and March 16, 2000. The Coach at the time was Curt Fraser.

stendec

January 7th, 2010
8:30 pm

El Kapitan Ilya “Heartless Scumbag Quitter” Kovalchuk will not score for his team but is not adverse to standing around watching players from other teams score. Perhaps the Ranjerks will shell out millions to the overrated and highly overpaid piece of Siberian shet! To Hell with the captain. Captain my a$$! ++STENDEC++

Brendan

January 7th, 2010
8:38 pm

Chris Vivlamore, what could they POSSIBLY still be talking about? Whether or not the AS, LLC are good owners? No, they’re not. Are they talking about how Don Waddell’s acumen is sure to result in a Stanley Cup within 24 months? Uhh. Next. Are they talking about how the weather in Atlanta, GA is far superior to that in NY, Chicago, Boston, Washington, Montreal and Toronto? Because the counter-argument to that is … the weather’s plenty sunny in L.A.! Phoenix, too. They say Anaheim’s got nice weather. I hear Dallas isn’t half bad.

What they should talking about now is … (1) “Where do you want to be traded?” and (2) “Is there a feasible return for Atlanta from that team?” That’s what’s left to discuss. If it’s about money, Atlanta can’t afford a league max contract. So, that’s over. Off the table. Or should be. If we’re talking about $8 million vs. $9 million, split and difference, and sign the deal.

If we’re talking about, “A timetable for the lawsuit to be definitively resolved,” no one can really control that. So that has to come off the table, as well. Are they talking about the color-scheme and design of future uniforms? Could a logo re-design be in the works? Are they talking about how many free T-shirts, hats, key-chains, and toss-in tickets Waddell can sweeten the pot with?

Chris V., what’s left to discuss??? If he wants the league max, he’s gonna have to hit the open market to get it. And then, it’s wait for a SUCKER GM to step up and say, “I’m clueless. I’m offering a career -85 player more money than Crosby and Ovechkin.”

Pfft. No impasse. I tell what they’re discussing, Teriyaki Beef or General Tsao’s chicken?, and whether or not they can add sesame seeds to it, and if there’s any MSG on it? ‘Cuz Mr. Grossman doesn’t like that. He’ll go the wanton soup route, if it comes to that. With extra fortune cookies. That’s what they’re discussing.

Then again, no. I’ve finally figured it out. They’re discussing how STUPID Bruce Levenson and Ilya Kovalchuk are to PAY THEM to “negotiate” on their behalves. Ovechkin sat down with Capitals owner Ted Leonsis and made a deal. No commissions. No fuss. No muss. Bruce Levenson and Michael Gearon, Pescowitz, Turner and Seydell rely on Don Waddell … to work his wizardry.

Ilya, gawd LOVE that man, pays Jay Grossman to PRETEND they’re interested in coming to a deal. And Waddell still shows up to each and every meeting. Well, I guess he has to. Or Levenson will say, “why aren’t you meeting with Grossman?” Then Waddell says, “I’ll get right on it. Hello, Jay? Yeah, it’s me. Naw, I’m feeling like Szechuan this time. Maybe some Duck sauce.” And who pays the bill for these meetings?

Brendan

January 7th, 2010
9:27 pm

It’s 1-1, with just a few minutes left in regulation. Atlanta is 0-6-3 in the past 10. They’ll either be 0-7-3, 1-6-3, or 0-6-4 for their last ten games. And we’ll know in mere moments.

Is the suspense KILLING you? Please, it’s no wagering.

Brendan

January 7th, 2010
9:32 pm

I think Kubina is a -1 for this game. Whatever happened to his +16? He’s plummeting down to Earth. Which is not good, considering that he was basically acquired as a salary dump by Toronto, so that Atlanta could move him at the trade deadline for a nice return.

Well, we’re headed to overtime! So, Atlanta’s last ten will either be (1) 1-6-3 or (2) 0-6-4. So, once again, Atlanta has given the opposition at least one “freebie point” for the standings. Overtime has now begun.

Dwayne

January 7th, 2010
9:49 pm

streak over yeah

Brendan

January 7th, 2010
9:51 pm

The losing streak is over. Shootout goals by Kozlov and Little, along with four shootout saves by Hedberg gets it done.

Brendan

January 7th, 2010
9:55 pm

Oh Darren! Second half Slater. That’s hilarious. What’s next? “Maybe we could ‘rent’ Slater at the deadline?” Oh mercy. If we wind up on that topic ….

stendec

January 7th, 2010
9:58 pm

Sincere thanks to Moose Hedberg who refused to allow the losing streak to continue. Way to go big guy! Only Yardbird who truly gave a damn tonight at Loseland. El Kapitan “Figure Eight King” Kovalchuk made an ultra pathetic uneffort in shootout which could have kept slide intact had Moose not been super sharp. Moose would have shut out Ranjerks in regulation were it not for IK who stood by like a damn statue as the Rankjerk goal was scored. Overrated Russian scumbag bestard! Proud of Moose. Rest of the wingless Yardbirds can dive into Hell. ASAP! ++STENDEC++

Bob

January 7th, 2010
10:12 pm

what the hell was that half hearted effort from Kovy in the shootout. Peverly played a heck of a game and was robbed multiple times. Good job by Moose in breaking the streak.

Brendan

January 7th, 2010
10:21 pm

Peverley has had some bad breaks lately, Bob. He’s playing well, just not getting the results.

Is Kubina injured, too? His plus-minus is taking it on the chin, lately.

I.C. Wiener

January 7th, 2010
11:02 pm

A win is a win, but I want a regulation win sometime this month.

C’mon, guys, we can’t give up points to ANYONE in the East!

Brendan

January 7th, 2010
11:21 pm

My apologies, Kubina was “even,” not a -1.

stendec

January 8th, 2010
12:12 am

God bless Moose Hedberg! Not so for his heartless offenseless uncaring teammates. At least this slide is over. Until…++STENDEC++ Number Moose had over Ranjerks was one. As in one goal during regulation plus overtime. Thanks for being a true professional with heart big guy!

StateBird

January 8th, 2010
8:50 am

gretschdrum – glad you were correct. It has been a nice ride taking advantage of the annual Thrash slide. Hope that its time to jump off that bandwagon now.

Captain Moose

January 8th, 2010
9:00 am

What has gotten into Jimmy Slater and Salmela ? Both fringe guys playing like they earn the big bucks..or rather they want to stay in the lineup. I like it. Give Moose the C.

Lee

January 8th, 2010
9:52 am

Finally! A W!
Captain Moose-I actually really like the way they’re playing! I think they want to step up and contribute to our team, since most of the players aren’t.

gretschdrum

January 8th, 2010
9:54 am

StateBird – FYI, almost all the “pros” were fading the Thrash over the last 7 or 8 games. Those boys hate to lose $ so they obviously knew this was the time to go short on them (road games, annual slump, etc.). To my knowledge yesterday’s game was the first one in weeks where the stars aligned for the Thrash.

Captain Moose

January 8th, 2010
10:20 am

The stars did align and it’s hard to complain after a an “earned” win, unless you are a “mad at the world” stendec..but that penalty call on Thor (tripping) was one of the worst I’ve seen in a long time. Complain about that, dude. We have enough problems without the refs adding insult to injury. Congrats to the fans who turned out, you get the first star.

DWTOO

January 8th, 2010
11:00 am

Thanks Captain Moose. Funny thing is that we probably wouldn’t have gone except that we figured it would be easier to move around because no one in this town goes anywhere when there’s a chance for bad weather. More folks that I figured tho’. Good and enthusiastic crowd!