Lehtonen, Antropov take part in practice

Your morning practice report begins with the news that Kari Lehtonen and Nik Antropov are taking part in the skate.

This is Lehtonen’s first practice with the team since undergoing two back surgeries, the last in October. He went through conditioning drills prior to the players reporting, left shortly and reported back.

Antropov is also on the ice after missing three game with a hip injury. Not sure what his status for Tuesday against the Senators will be, but I will update.

Here are the line combos. I’m not sure if there is an order.

Blue: Kovalchuk-Antropov/Peverly-Thorburn

Gray: Armstong-Reasoner-Afinogenov

Orange: Kane-Slater-Little

Red: Kozlov-White-Boulton

I enjoyed meeting many of you at Casino Night Sunday. Thanks for your questions and kind words.

I will check back after practice and interviews.

42 comments Add your comment

Barry

January 11th, 2010
11:17 am

Wow those are some weird line combos. I hope those aren’t the ones to be used. When Anderson tried Thorburn with Kovy a game before they were not on the same page at all. The other three lines make no sense at all.

J.B.

January 11th, 2010
11:19 am

… well, they had to try SOMETHING different!

Jarndyce

January 11th, 2010
11:34 am

If you assume that Boulton is only going to give you about 6-8 mins per night, those lines look like a message to Kozlov and White.

J.B.

January 11th, 2010
11:36 am

excellent point jarndyce.

Mike

January 11th, 2010
11:48 am

I really want to know from JA what deficiencies the following lines would have: Kovy-Little-Antro, Koz-Peverly-Max, Kane-Reasoner-Army, Boults-Slater-Thor.

If there are any, they appear to be much less than the lines he has been playing lately. I really don’t know why he (a) won’t sit White and (b) won’t put Antro back on the wing. Yes, we got Antro for a big body in the middle, but when the puck is being cycled in the zone, Antro can still make his way to the net.

GaVaHokie

January 11th, 2010
12:00 pm

The top line should be Kovy-Pevs-Antro… don’t know why this hasn’t been tried all year.

Smoothie

January 11th, 2010
12:08 pm

Yes, but how did Kari look out there? Did he look a bit sluggish?

I would imagine several of the players may have been a bit sluggish after last night’s festivities. Hope there isn’t a hangover effect like last year after Casino Night when we lost 3 to 2 in Pevs’ first game as a Thrasher against, guess who?, yep the Sens. Time to legislate some freakin’ justice on those damn Senators Tuesday night!

Russian

January 11th, 2010
12:11 pm

OK. Anderson is lost his mind. Idiot. I hope he is not using those line at Tuesday.
**to GaVaHokie**
I am with you. It will be great combination. He did not use them together.

Not Blind

January 11th, 2010
12:14 pm

Changing the line combo’s ain’t going to fix the problems.

Barry

January 11th, 2010
12:31 pm

Armstrong-Reasoner-Max? Well Max is going to be flying up the ice, pulling up, waiting for his team mates to follow, waiting…waiting…waiting. Kane-Slater-Little will get pushed around and bullied. Kozlov-White-Boulton will each be looking for someone to go to the net but nobody will. Again I don’t see why we can’t try:

Kovy-Antro-Max
Kane-Peverley-Little
Kozlov-White-Armstrong
Slater-Reasoner-Thorburn

PuckedUp

January 11th, 2010
12:36 pm

I’m not sure what to think of the line combinations either. I have never liked the Kovy & Thorburn combo myself, never seems to really be productive. Not sure moving Kozzie to 4th line winger is really all that great a move as well. Is he going to backup Boults if the gloves fly?

Bruinsfan17

January 11th, 2010
12:48 pm

SO any new new on Kovy goin to the bruins and what would it take to make that deal

Ryder
Wideman
Sobtka
Hamill
Colborne
Or any combo of picks

What do you guys feel is the right price for a player like kovy

[...] source [...]

pissed off fan

January 11th, 2010
1:21 pm

I personally think that our 4th line needs more playing time. Seems like every game I’m there that it’s the 4th line making the most of there time on the ice. Just saying

Jarndyce

January 11th, 2010
1:25 pm

Again, maybe look less at the combinations, and think more about ice time as reward and accountability. Just as Not Blind said above, changing the line combinations isn’t going to fix the problem. But line combinations can be much more than just trying to find chemistry, they can also be seen as units of ice time. Top line gets 18-20 minutes, second line gets 14-16, third gets 10-12, fourth gets 6-8 minutes. If you play hard and play smart, you get more minutes. If you don’t, you end up on Boulton’s line and watch a lot of the game from the bench.

You can yell and scream, but the clearest message is to cut ice time.

George

January 11th, 2010
1:28 pm

still waiting to see Pevs,Kane and Little together. Please try it JA. I think they could work well together

Chris Vivlamore

January 11th, 2010
2:02 pm

Back from practice. There will be a few updates when I get settled and finish up three stories for tomorrow (Part II of the Art of the Shootout is scheduled to go).

Anderson said although he practiced, Antropov is doubtful for tomorrow.

On the lines, Anderson said nothing set in stone but he’s trying to get grit on each line.

Talked to Waddell about the Kovalchuk negotiations. Nothing to Bruins and/or Kings rumors. He said he’s not at the point where a trade is an option.

I talked to Kari about his first team practice. He said he felt very good.

Scotty

January 11th, 2010
2:16 pm

“Talked to Waddell about the Kovalchuk negotiations. Nothing to Bruins and/or Kings rumors. He said he’s not at the point where a trade is an option”

Sorry, but the Don Waddell BS Detector just went off, Chris. A quote like this from the Thrashers GM means Kovy is as good as gone.

stendec

January 11th, 2010
2:20 pm

Hi Chris. Try to cut you some slack fellow since I was a sports reporter myself for many decades. However. Any friend of Kari Lehtonen is not a friend of mine. He is in class of thug dog killer Michael Sick as far as I am concerned. That said…I simply cannot make the following any plainer. Please bear with me…An NHL team captain (TC) is not always the most talented member of the club. A TC is not always the tallest, most muscular or highest point tabulator. A true TC virtually has to be tied to the bench so he will not join players on ice. A TC is an instigator. A TC gets on nerves of opponents from the start of a game until the final buzzer sounds. A TC is not selfish. A TC does not expect teammates to constantly feed him puck in an effort to pad personal statistics. A TC wants teammates to put puck in the net because he understands importance of being a team player. A TC knocks the Hell out of guys in different colored uniforms. A TC comes to the assistance of teammates. A TC could not skate a figure eight if his life depended. A TC takes it personally when a rival scores. A TC suffers with every defeat. A TC makes those around him play above themselves. El Kapitan Ilya “Money First, Second And Third” Kovalchuk fails every criteria a true TC must meet. What does Russian actually do well? SportSouth airs that sugary sweet fairy tale segment on overrated bum every damn day. Other that that, uh, well, eh, he is the best blasted figure eight skater in NHL. I also like the way he misfires on open opportunities that even mediocre players would put into the net. Captain? Captain my a$$! ++STENDEC++ Casino Night? Casino Night! CASINO NIGHT! Forgive me if I fail to give a damn about Casino Night when the club is playing worse than skaters from the Boom Boom (Geoff-Ree-On) Hockey School For The Blind. Whoop dee do!

Smoothie

January 11th, 2010
2:45 pm

Yeah, you can pretty much go just the opposite way of what Waddell says or hints in the media like when he said Zhitnik was “still a part of this team’s future.” Sure, riiiiight. DWad needs to get serious about entertaining offers…what harm could it do now? Perhaps Kovy will at least step up and take some sort of action, like, “hey Don, trade me to L.A. and I will listen to your offer on 7/1/10.” Perhaps they are very close to a deal, but c’mon, who really believes it at this point?

Chris Vivlamore

January 11th, 2010
2:51 pm

Pair of Thrashers prospects traded by junior teams. Ben Chiarot to Sudbury (OHL) and Jimmy Bubnick to Calgary (WHL).

Chris Vivlamore

January 11th, 2010
2:54 pm

Scotty, Smoothie: All I’m reporting is Waddell’s answer to the questions I posed about where negotiations stand and the recent rumors. Y’all can read into them what you like. I appreciate your interest.

Smoothie

January 11th, 2010
2:59 pm

Wait, Chiarot was traded for Bubnick? How ironic!

Chris, we understand you’re asking the questions, we’re just warning people that Waddell has a history of sorts when it comes to lying.

At this point though, I think he’d be better off being completely honest and get interested teams into a bidding war. Unless he really thinks he can convince Kovy to sign…ouch! I just fell off my chair laughing hysterically!

Also Chris, sorry I missed you last night. Saw you at one point but I was looking for my g/friend and didn’t have a chance to stop and say “hi”, but I will next time I see you.

Trade Kovy

January 11th, 2010
3:05 pm

Any truth to the rumor of LA’s GM in Atlanta meeting with Waddell?

Lee

January 11th, 2010
3:15 pm

Good to see Kari practicing! Finally we can get this Pavalec guy outta here…

Mooseberg

January 11th, 2010
3:34 pm

Our 4th line is really our 1st line, we just prefer to rest them more often.

Jimbo

January 11th, 2010
3:39 pm

Chris- you do a fine job or reporting and keeping us updated. The tinkering seems to me to the proverbial “rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic”. Do you ever get a sense that DW and JA have “a sense of urgency” or need for significant changes? Many of these are obviously skilled offensively but don’t seem to play as a team or pull together. No fighting, hard hitting, high fives, little or no emotion other than to congratulate some who scores. Not one single regulation win in the last 20 games certainly says it all. There is good parity across the league but we’re not on a par with the rest. I’v lost interest.

GaVaHokie

January 11th, 2010
3:42 pm

Smoothie, I would agree on taking offers… what could it possibly hurt when Kovy is asking for league max salary? What could possibly be worse than that?

The best thing that could happen is you can verify that no one in the entire league is willing to pay him that.

GaVaHokie

January 11th, 2010
3:49 pm

Here’s how I’d negotiate what Kovy’s asking for… I’d tell Jay Grossman to go out to every GM and ask for a 10 year $110 million contract on the table… if you can get one worthwhile team to agree, I’ll match it.

GaVaHokie

January 11th, 2010
4:03 pm

Two sticking points that I could see holding up negotiations…

1) Demanding that the team spend $50+ million a year on team salaries, showing commitment to winning.
2) An out-clause if the franchise is ever sold to another city.

Ownership wouldn’t want #2, because the selling value of the team would be heavily weighted by acquiring Kovalchuk as well.

sisu

January 11th, 2010
4:06 pm

Thanks for the updates Chris, any idea on how the coach and GM are taking this slide that the team has been on? Any signs of concern or worries about being fired?

R. Stroz

January 11th, 2010
4:06 pm

Politicians tell the truth more often than Waddell does.

R. Stroz

January 11th, 2010
4:08 pm

GaVaHokie – I have your dollar.

BTW, Waddell sucks.

Sam

January 11th, 2010
4:09 pm

“Talked to Waddell about the Kovalchuk negotiations. Nothing to Bruins and/or Kings rumors. He said he’s not at the point where a trade is an option.

I talked to Kari about his first team practice. He said he felt very good”

Both pieces of good news. Especially with Waddell and Jay Grossman meeting a few days apart, in Sasketchewan last week and then here, Sat/Sun. Hopefully, we’re getting closer to a deal.

IMO, if this slide in December didn’t scare Kovy off…if he still wants to be here…then he really is committed to this franchise. Sign him. No other superstar of his caliber (like there are many out there, anyway) would want to be here.

And good for Kari. Look forward to seeing what he has on the ice this season. Wishing him the best.

R. Stroz

January 11th, 2010
4:17 pm

I have faith in Waddell. I’m sure he’ll trade Kovy for 2 Todd Whites, 3 Ken Klees, and 2 prospects with one arm each.

Jimbo

January 11th, 2010
4:44 pm

GaVaHokie and others- Kovy is likely to go to one of the more established teams that believe that his scoring may lead to this year’s Cup. They’ll try the same pitch to Kovy that Pittsburgh did with Hossa. See how much fun it is to play for a winner and be in the Cup finals- sign with us for 3-5 years, $10 mil/yr. A team getting Kovy for the Cup run this year and the “hope” that they can sign him aren’t going to give us a proven star in return. We’ll get the Christensen, Klee types in return plus a draft pick. Forget the stuff about getting a Semin or Carter. Ain’t gonna happen.

GaVaHokie

January 11th, 2010
4:45 pm

Sam… good points.

Stroz… I may let you donate that dollar directly to the Gorin’s tip jar. Not sure I trust to handle it. :)

GaVaHokie

January 11th, 2010
4:53 pm

Jimbo… the difference is, Pittsburgh had cap space to take on Hossa’s salary (I think Crosby was still on his entry contract when Hossa joined the team)… teams like Philly will have to move considerable money to fit Kovy on the roster. Kovy is still owed about $3.5 million for the rest of the season.

GaVaHokie

January 11th, 2010
4:54 pm

Kovalchuk also doesn’t carry the stigma of a “playoff ghost” like Hossa did at the time of his trade.

R. Stroz

January 11th, 2010
5:07 pm

Waddell should be registered as a WMHD, a Weapon of Maximum Hockey Destruction.

PB

January 11th, 2010
5:18 pm

Wow, our team sucks lately. I have had some tough times as a Thrash fan (I know we all have), but that sorry showing against the Capitals almost broke my will for these guys.

Great to hear that Kari is back, I hope we can get him in there before Pavelec finishes the job of unraveling the team’s early success. And also before Moose falls over from exertion.

I can’t help but hope that Kovalchuk does not get the significant raise that he is (probably, almost certainly) asking for. If you ask me, based on the entire year so far he is barely worth the money he is paid now. And since December 1, he is not close to earning his current paycheck. For $10mil kind of money, we need a player that can play BOTH ends of the rink, put the team on his back in some cases and will/muscle/score the team to a win. Although he has shown promise that he could be this kind of complete player at times in his career, he has never actually been that complete guy consistently. The last 30 games of last season were the closest he and the team have come, but to me, they got way too much credit for being able to step up AFTER it was very clear that they no longer had a shot at the playoffs. It is much easier to have a loose grip on the stick when there is nothing to play for.

Now, I am not saying this team will be better without Kovalchuk – anyone reasonable knows that is not true. But for $10mil this team could possibly have the above-average center and the two 25-goal wingers that will replace his production. Not to mention play some defense. It doesn’t make sense to think that Kovy will start playing defense after he signs the big contract. If he is not doing it now while trying to secure that contract, when will he do it, and for what motivation? No, we have seen his best. The effort is not going to go up to Ovechkin’s level.

So Kari, please come back soon, in good health. And Don, please counsel with Mr. Dudley on the Kovalchuk situation. Because when it comes to solving this problem, we need a different perspective from the one that has brought us to a 20-game losing streak in our 10th season of supporting this team without a single playoff win.

[...] over at Philips Arena where I’ll try to get some thoughts on the new line combinations, if the combinations they used in practice yesterday are the same as the ones they use [...]