Hedberg in, Kozlov out – again

Just back from morning skate and a lunch. No more snow here in Nashville, but it’s cold, really cold. Safe travels to those from Atlanta on their way to the game.

As I first posted on Twitter from the rink, Johan Hedberg will get the start in goal. It’s his fourth straight. His stats during his recent stretch speak for themselves. In this past four games he has allowed six goals (1.5 GAA) and stopped 116-of122 shots (.950).

“He has been playing very well and you might as well play your hot hand, right?” Thrashers coach John Anderson said.

The Thrashers will go with the same lineup tonight against Predators, which means Slava Kozlov is scratched for the fourth straight game.

“I spoke to him yesterday,” Anderson said. “He wants to play like anybody else. He can understand the situation a bit. He will eventually get back in the lineup at some point. He’s working really hard in practice. He hasn’t said a word. He’s a consummate professional. It’s very hard for me to tell him he’s not playing but that’s where we are right now and I have to think of the team first.”

Mark Popovic is the other scratch.

All the line combinations are the same as they have been of late.

35 comments Add your comment

Toby

January 30th, 2010
2:53 pm

They’ve lost 5 in a row and played in Detroit last night…We should take this one.

rob

January 30th, 2010
2:57 pm

Can JA explain how White went from being benched to being on the PP and in the SO without so much as a great game yet? I understand sitting Kozlov a few games to wake him back up hopefully, but spots on the PP and in the SO should be earned…..shouldn’t they? Is JA showcasing the Moose to other teams in the hope Kari is coming back, and if so what is he looking to possibly get in return for him? D or a winger? And if it’s a winger isn’t that gonna be more of a shot at White and Kozlov as they really are the 2 really wasting ice time now? Just trying to peer into the future as no one seems to be voicing any thoughts and as the playoffs start to loom these questions and others may very well determine just what we can expect.

Buzz

January 30th, 2010
3:28 pm

I would desperately try to trade one Todd White for a decent, youngster .. i would take a shot at peter mueller, who arizona must be sick of but still holds great promise. they need another center too.

And I would also try to trade pavelec, who may be our best goalie, but he has the most trade value. the stars might take him and popovic for brunnstrom.

then my lines would be …

kov-little-antropov
brunnstrom-pev-afino
kane-slater-arm
mueller-reasoner-thorburg

And we would score LOTS of goals

rob

January 30th, 2010
3:51 pm

What about the D? Bogozian desperately needs someone to show him the way. He is a great talent that will find his way, but it would be nice if he had someone other than Hainsey beside him as he is still developing. I think it would be nice to have a heavy hitter back there that gave some opposing forwards pause before they crashed the net as much as a lot of teams have done against us this year.

Chris Vivlamore

January 30th, 2010
4:36 pm

For what it may be worth: Don Waddell was at Flyers-Islanders game in Philadelphia on Saturday. Seen speaking to former Los Angeles Kings GM Dave Taylor, who was at the game, Dallas Director of Player personnel.

Kevin

January 30th, 2010
5:05 pm

Get White out. He brings nothing to the team. At least a subpar Kozlov can still help in the shootout.

[...] ATL JOHAN HEDBERG [...]

rob

January 30th, 2010
5:39 pm

For what it may be worth? How about seeing if he will cough up some info, even if it’s just speculation, it would be nice to see what the team is thinking. I am sure there is a lot to consider, as Kovy’s talks go, as Kari hopefully comes back, as the playoff positions shake back in forth. Just think it would be nice to see a little bit of info trickle down our way.

Lee

January 30th, 2010
6:03 pm

Wait, so what is exactly wrong with Kozlov? Is he ill?

j nes

January 30th, 2010
6:13 pm

Lee, Kozlov is a “healthy scratch.” Not ill, just older and less effective as of late. I think getting hammered game after game took a toll on him. What makes me mad is that no one on the team seemed to be sticking up for him. He got absolutely destroyed by Exelby in the last game vs toronto and there was no retaliation. I thought Kozlov was more respected than that but I guess this team just doesnt really stick up for each other.

StateBird

January 30th, 2010
6:22 pm

Brendan

January 30th, 2010
9:30 pm

Chris Thorburn scored a short-handed goal, and now Bryan Little has tallied his 2nd of the game, to even the score, 3-3.

rob

January 30th, 2010
9:33 pm

Chris,
Guess I was a step ahead of your article there LOL. Thanks for at least asking Waddell his thoughts and letting him ignore the fans. Guess he figures a shot at the playoffs will get him off the hook for all his mistakes. The team can’t afford to give Kovy 20% and if he really wants what is best for the team and to win, Kovy should realize this and figure out just how many millions of dollars a person needs to be truly happy. So if he can’t get over himself, trade him, White, and anyone else not contributing, And let’s get on with the game of Hockey. Cheer the team but at the same time the owners/GM need to know the fans don’t like the way the team is run.

Brendan

January 30th, 2010
9:40 pm

They’re showing our Atlanta fans on the jumbotron feed.

It’s 3-3, after two periods.

Brendan

January 30th, 2010
9:56 pm

Yes!! Jarrett Stoll wins it for the L.A. Kings over the Boston Bruins. Kopitar has scored, and the Bruins were FORCED to score to extend it, and Marc Savard did score. Then Ryan Smythe HAD TO SCORE to keep it alive for the Kings. And he did. Bruins missed. Kings missed. Bruins missed. Then Stoll scored to win it, 3-2.

Predators now lead the Thrashers, 4-3. Rinne just stone Max Afinogenov, to deny the tying goal for Atlanta.

Brendan

January 30th, 2010
10:11 pm

Irrespective of whether the Thrashers make the playoffs and win a game or two or three, Don Waddell should be fired. This team sliding into the postseason at spot #8 … should HARDLY QUALIFY him to keep his job. Fifty-three percent (53%) of the NHL’s teams make the playoffs. That’s more than HALF the league. And this is a weak year in the East.

A simple playoff berth shouldn’t save his job. Period, the end. But with these clueless owners, he’d stay if Atlanta finished 26th in the league this year. Making the playoffs would just PROVE THEY WERE RIGHT about Waddell, all along, in THEIR OWN EYES. And THOSE are the operative words. It’s THEIR call. It’s THEIR money. It’s THEIR team.

They’ll do … whatever they jolly well want, ignoring the fans. Why should they care about them? They’re just the customer. Well, six thousand fans (6,000) of the other team show up every game, via the box office. The AS, LLC didn’t even have to pay a ticket rep to recruit them or retain them. They wandered in, right off the street. Their money is just as green as anyone else’s. And these owners know it. They don’t want to hear you complain. They don’t want to hear how you want Waddell canned. If they want you to do anything, it’s to “shut up and pay the icnreased ticket price, at FULL PRICE.”

Isn’t it wonderful? Isn’t it great? Can you feel the love? This team cannot get sold fast enough. But even that doesn’t ensure the next owners won’t be just as “hockey challenged” as this group is.

The Nashville announcers just marvelled at Kovalchuk’s production in a year where there’s so much trade talk about him. One said, “Why would Atlanta consider trading him?” The other announcer said, “Because he won’t sign. Lots of offers. High dollars. But no signature, as of yet.”

But see, they STOPPED there. They didn’t delve into WHYYYYYY Kovalchuk won’t sign. Of course, they’re Preds announcers, why would they care? But the whyyyy Kovalchuk won’t sign probably has as much to do with Waddell being the architect as it does who owns the team.

Bob

January 30th, 2010
10:18 pm

need 2 pts here

Brendan

January 30th, 2010
11:13 pm

Awww, Waddell doesn’t want to talk about the contract in the media anymore. Don’tcha feel bad for him? Before you say, “Gee, that sounds harsh. He could QUIT anytime he wants. And no one would blame him. The owners authorize the budgets that they do. It’s not Waddell’s call.” Waddell has to press ownership to do the right things, WHENNNNNN the right time to act occurs. Instead, he goes along with whatever they decide. Or heck, maybe he’s the one calling the shots, and it’s the ownership that sits idly by. Either way, it doesn’t matter. It is what it is. Not wanting to comment about it in the media is lame.

It’s an organizational failure to have allowed things to even reach this point. But enough of that. It was a good game tonight against a playoff-bound team in Nashville. I think the Thrashers played them very well. 31 shots against. Special teams were at least “okay.” One PPG and one shorty. Here’s your boxscore: http://www.nhl.com/ice/boxscore.htm?id=2009020813

Atlanta now sits at 7th spot. Montreal is, at the very moment, 8th. And your attention please, Carolina’s 4=game winning streak now sees them 14th in the Conference. That’s right. They caught and surpassed the Toronto Maple Leafs. Seems naming Staal Captain was a popular move. Staal has scored 8 goals in five games since it happened. Carolina also has TWO games-in-hand on the Leafs. But it doesn’t end there. The ‘Canes also own two (2) more wins. For Toronto, things aren’t going that great lately. Tonight, for example, they lead Vancouver, 3-0, and didn’t come away with a single point. They lost, 5-3, in regulation time.

Other notes, at -3 were Bogosian and Ron Hainsey. At -2 were Kovalchuk and Little. At +1 were Thorburn, Reasoner, Salmela and Enstrom. Our ice time leader was Kubina, at 25:25/ Enstrom played 25:06.

stendec

January 31st, 2010
1:34 am

In a slide? Cannot win a game to save your life? All hope seems lost? Who is on the schedule? The Atlanta who? Fear not! The losing streak will soon be a distant memory. These heartless quitters are just playing out the string! Sorry son of a betch alleged captain Russian Ilya “Not Worth A Russian Ream” Kovalchuk cannot score or play a damn lick of defense. The Siberian shet does skate a mean figure eight! Only joy this Maryann Hossa clone receives from hockey is of the Olympic varity. Hope Russia gets waxed by whoever the Hell is on the schedule! I have submitted my final contract offer to the agent of the uncaring Soviet. A stale hot dog, a flat soda pop and $2.99 per game with an incentive, not completely heartless, of $50 bucks per assist and $100 per goal scored. That money will remain in cofers! Still more than this team cancer is worth! I admire and respect true Captain Johan Hedberg tremendously. It is my belief he is the only professional hockey play in Atlanta that gives a damn about winning or the few remaining fans. That said. My hero did a Kari Lehtonen type act tonight (last night, sorry). Must be physically exhausted but Moose was a virtual sieve. Final goal was a pure Sori Letemin marshmallow! Okay big fellow. Damn. Just damn. All club members except Mr Hedberg can roast in Hell. Apathetic unconcerned losers! May this group wind up in Hamilton or someplace even colder. Pieces of commode residue! ++STENDEC++

stendec

January 31st, 2010
1:53 am

A quick contract amendment. Whenever El Kapitan Ilya “More Open Misses Than God Allows” Kovalchoke fails to convert a breakaway or shootout attempt then he foreits the equivalent of a game paycheck. Shell over that $2.99! Like that third period breakaway choke job by the captain? Cost club at least one point! Possibly two. Captain? Captain my a$$! Heartless untalented uncaring SOB slacker. ++STENDEC++

J-man

January 31st, 2010
7:29 am

John Anderson is insane if he honestly thinks that Todd White is more deserving of playing than Kozlov.

Brendan – the word is that the owners have low balled Kovalchuk both in terms of length of contract and money. Brian Burke, Toronto’s GM, was quoted about a week ago on what he had heard that Kovalchuk had been offered and turned down and I all I can say is that I don’t feel that it is enough to get him to sign and he can probably get more as a free agent.

Ward

January 31st, 2010
9:01 am

It seems very obvious that Zack is not progressing as a defenseman with Hainsey as his partner. Hainsey is on ice, out of position often when the other team scores, dragging the rookie in over his head. Our goalies deserve better. So do the fans.

Kovy's Agent

January 31st, 2010
9:30 am

Just did a little scan of the schedule and we might be down to two more home games in the Kovy era. Given the history of his agent (see Khababulin in TB) he is asking max money, nothing more nothing less and the Spirit just can’t meet that. So, we’ll go down to another draft day deadline with the hours ticking off and serious bidders dropping their offes by the minute till DW reprises his Hossa deal, panics and gets diddly for the “face of the franchise.”

Oh, and we all know why DW still has his job. He’s been told to operate within some just-above-the-minimum payroll figure and to not make demands on the Spirit outside of that. Sorta like “now go be a good boy and run that hockey team until we figure out how to unload it.”

Not Blind

January 31st, 2010
9:30 am

Kotton Kandy is a pox on this team. Get rid of him!

The camera work last night on the Nashville feed was really terrible with no close up shots while play was going on. This allowed the viewer to see the more of the ice than is the norm in Thrashers games. Got to watch more of KK’s play away from the puck. He sucks. Get rid of him or this team will never amount to anything !

Brendan

January 31st, 2010
10:49 am

J-Man, I agree with you completely. And I was someone who defended Todd White as a “necessary depth center” when he was signed in 2007. Of course, I also pointed out that if the organization thinks Todd White (or Eric Perrin for that matter,) is the Center who would keep Hossa in Thrasher blue for the coming years, they’re on crack.

Re: Brian Burke. I suspect he knows whatever his pal Waddell was willing to tell him, up to and including “misinformation.” Shoot, maybe Waddell even told him to start spreading rumors about the contract. Waddell’s a politician, of the worst variety. If Don Waddell told me the sun was coming up tomorrow, I’d still go buy a flashlight. I’m not leaving it up to Waddell’s word. The way I treat rumors is to smile politely, knowing that we’ll never know the truth, capital T, unless our names are Grossman, Waddell, Kovalchuk, and/or Gearon, Jr. And the only one with a brain among the four of them is Grossman. Well, would you hire Ilya Kovalchuk to give a seminar on how to excel defensively in hockey? Yeah, that’s what I’m sayin’, too.

That said, I’d definitely try to re-sign Kovalchuk, with this premise. Tell me what your concerns are, so that I may assuage them. “Communication” is one of the hallmarks of negotiation and civilized society. What are Kovy’s PRIORITIZED concerns? Is #1, the direction of the team? Said another way, that this team needs a new GM. Is #1, the possibility of relocation? If that were actually it, I’d put something in the contract that says he can request a trade to up to 8 contending teams, if the franchise relocates. If Kovy’s #1 concern is team payroll on Opening Night, then I insert a clause that says if this franchise is greater than $3 million from the cap limit, in any given year, it invalidates his contract, making him an unrestricted free agent, free to sign with any other club he wishes. I can’t imagine he’d find that unacceptable.

If his #1 concern is the Head Coach, then we can always another one of those. They don’t even cost $1 million to replace. If his #1 concern is being the top paid player in the NHL, I’d sit down to explain to him that Crosby, as well as Tavares, and players who haven’t yet been drafted, will all EVENTUALLY make more money than he does or will. Inflation is always going to be with us. His “NHL-leading salary” will last all of two seasons. Then I’d explain to him … that if he wants quality linemates, we need money to re-sign them or pluck them from free agency. And that he has to prioritize what matters most to him. His salary needs? Or winning the Cup? Then await his answer. Maybe nobody’s ever been THAT DIRECT with him before. But clearly, in such a conversation, he can see “INTENT” to win the Cup, and to work with him on that topic. Again, why would this discussion UPSET him?

If his #1 concern is that Atlanta’s #1 sport is football, not hockey, then we say, “You’re right. But winning some Cups might help change that landscape.” Meanwhile, you and your family will enjoy Atlanta’s low cost of living, great weather, low taxes, and something close to total anonymity. Which are things you won’t get in Toronto, Montreal, Boston, Calgary, or New York. Los Angeles might provide some anonymity for Kovalchuk and his family.

But if it’s only about money, nobody can pay more than the KHL. I don’t think it has a salary cap. If they offer $15 million-a-year, for 13 years, no NHL team can match that. I’d make it my business, if I owned this team, to know what’s rolling around in Kovy’s delightful little coconut. Let him tell me, “I want to play in L.A.” Let him tell me, “Waddell’s gotta go and be replaced by something GOOD. Do it now! As in, NOW-NOW!” Let him tell me, “I want something close to max cap, every Opening Night, from now on.” Let him tell me, “Coach Anderson’s ideas won’t work. We gotta try something else.” Privately, I might add. Not publicly. But, as owner, to sit idly by … leaving Waddell in charge of negotiations, perched 10,000 feet away from direct contact, represents gross negligence of a franchise. But is par for the course, from this group. That’s how I see it. I welcome a diversity of opinions from others.

rob

January 31st, 2010
10:52 am

Chris,
Can we follow up your latest article with another about the lack of motivation and commitment to winning that starts at the owners and goes all the way down to the ice? 10 years of sad sad hockey can’t just be bad breaks. Other new teams have fared VERY well already, and continue to follow the natural ebb and flow of NHL teams going through building, winning, aging, losing, rebuilding, winning again. As a market, Atlanta has to be a place the league would love to see succeed. Sure the ASG has problems, but that shouldn’t be their out. Put it in print, get it to the front of the sports page, do a series on it, doing the owners, gm, coach, players, and the fans. Strengths and weaknesses, what will make hockey flourish here, and what is smothering it. Certainly while you are looking to run into Ozzy or watching the snow fall somewhere this might be some kind of story which might generate some talk LOL
Decent outting last night, but mental breakdowns killed us on 3rd and 4th goal. Zach and Hainsey really should be broken up, too many letdowns there. Could Kubina be a better fit for Zach? Maybe Enstrom’s speed might make up for some of Hainsey’s mistakes?

Brendan

January 31st, 2010
11:21 am

Kovy’s Agent, I don’t think they’re going to trade him. Even if Atlanta doesn’t win another home game between now and the deadline, if they manage those “pity points,” they’ll stay in the race. At least enough to say, “We still have ’some shot.’” Remember, they think Kovy sells tickets. If they move him, the STH revolt happens and the casual fans erupt, too. Their solution? “We just won’t trade him this season.” If they manage a Kovalchuk trade, it will be at the draft, when there’s a clear understanding that he simply won’t re-sign in Atlanta. And then … Waddell moves him to the team where Kovy wants to go, trying to pry that team’s worst salary cap problem players away, in the exchange. Unless it’s Los Angeles, which doesn’t have cap issues. Still, they might just flip us Frolov, because they simply don’t want him anymore. They might toss in some 3rd round pick, since they did them the favor of not letting him hit the UFA market, giving the Kings exclusive negotiating rights. Yeah, Frolov and a 3rd round pick. Woo-hoo…ey. This is the “effect” of leaving Waddell in charge.

Who owns the team? Yeah well, they’ll live with the consequences of their actions, as well as their inactions. That’s the beauty of it. Right there. Whenever somebody makes stupid decisions, they have to LIVE WITH THE CONSEQUENCES. It’s “karma justice.” You reap what you sow.

Lee

January 31st, 2010
1:38 pm

I don’t think Kovy will be traded, but they’ll probably won’t sign him until the last hour or two before the deadline. Ok, it is not an easy descision, but can it really be THAT hard, he’s had forever……

Smoothie

February 1st, 2010
10:30 am

@ C-Viv – thanks so much for the write-up on Marty Reasoner. He’s my favorite player and I had the pleasure of spending some time with him at his table on Casino Night. He could not have been friendlier and he made the night more fun than we could have imagined. I picked his brain a bit about his BC days and college hockey and despite being a stud at that level, you can tell he never had a huge ego. He is as unselfish as they come and whatever sage advice he can impart on our young players will surely benefit us in years to come. I can certainly see Marty moving into the coaching ranks in some capacity after he retires.

Three cheers for Marty the Party, truely one of hockey’s classiest men.

FlamesFan

February 1st, 2010
11:33 am

I’ve read some comments about keeping Kovy through the end of the season, and then trading him before he becomes a free agent. Why would any team make that deal? Do they get any rights that his original team (us) does not get?

PMC

February 1st, 2010
1:11 pm

The Atlanta Spirit is running this team like they are the Cleveland Indians in Major League.

It really really seems like they want to sell this team. Otherwise… why let Waddell make decisions on what bottled water they buy much less what they pay hockey players?

R. Stroz

February 1st, 2010
1:22 pm

C-Viv – If you talk with Waddell today, remind him that this is the month of February and Kovalchuk isn’t re-signed.

Also, see if Waddell will provide his next line in the sand.

Huh?

February 1st, 2010
1:24 pm

Didn’t someone else at the AJC already do basically the same story on Reasoner?

Huh?

February 1st, 2010
1:27 pm

…a year, or two ago?

GARY

February 2nd, 2010
10:49 pm

put v kozlov back inthe line up ASAP i don’t want loose my pool by one ir two points beacuse of the benching!!!!!!!!!!!!