Archive for February, 2010

Kozlov requests trade from Thrashers

Thrashers forward Slava Kozlov has requested a trade due to his lack of playing time and would be willing to waive his no trade clause, he told me on Friday.

“I don’t know if I’m going to be on this team or another team,” Kozlov said. “If we can find a team which I like and which is good for me and my family I will go. If not, I’m going to be here. …

With coach not playing me, what can you do? That’s why I feel I could go play for somebody that needs my help. Is so, I’ll waive my no trade clause.”

Kozlov’s agent met with Thrashers general manager Don Waddell in Chicago before the team’s final game before the two-week Olympic break.

“He’s disappointed with his reduced role of the ice,” Waddell said. “Like I explained to his agent, coaches make a decision and that they are trying to win games. They feel like right now he’s not in the top group of 12 guys and other guys are giving us more.

“I told his agent you control it because you have a no-trade. If you guys …

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I survived … but am already sore

Checking in from Thrashers practice where I just completed a short stint as a goaltender before the team took to the ice. I got some great tutelage from Johan Hedberg, Steve Weeks and Mark Popovic. Ashamed to say I was winded very quickly but I am alive. I know I took one off the face mask and got a huge assist from the post on a shootout attempt. Let’s just say Viv the Sieve lives.

Look for the story – with a surprise guest – in Sunday’s paper and the video online over the weekend.

The Thrashers may soon be at full strength for practice as all five Olympians lost on Wednesday. I’m not sure what the timetable is for their return, but I assume they will get a break.

Christoph Schubert is back on the ice, so it looks like his knee held up after yesterday’s practice.

The lines continue to be the same with Slava Kozlov on the line for Maxim Afinogenov.

Point of emphasis of this practice seems to be work in the corners.

Trade deadline is fast approaching so I will be working on …

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I return … and so does Mannino … and Schubert

I’m back from a nine-day hiatus, well-rested and ready for the stretch drive.

With Ondrej Pavelec still participating in the Olympics, the Thrashers re-called goaltender Peter Mannino from AHL Chicago Wednesday. He will join the team as they resume practice at 2 p.m.

At Wednesday’s practice, defenseman Christoph Schubert was on the ice. It’s the first I’ve seen him skate since injuring his knee earlier this season.

On item of interest, on Friday night the Thrashers will hold a 3-on-3 scrimmage, skills competition and shootout at the Duluth IceForum for players not at the Olympics. The event begins at 7:50 p.m. and is scheduled to last an hour. The event is free and open to the public.

Viv the Sieve returns. If you are interested, I will be at Thrashers practice early on Thursday to write a first-person account of what it’s like to by a goaltender. I should be on the ice, getting a crash course tutorial, at 9:15 a.m. I’m sure there will be plenty to laugh at. Seriously, I …

Continue reading I return … and so does Mannino … and Schubert »

NHL breaks for Olympics … and so does this blog

After flying home from Chicago the Thrashers shut down for the two-week Olympic break.

And so must I. Company orders (too much comp time!)

Those Thrashers not in the Olympics are not allowed to  be at the practice facility the first week of the break. They will resume practice on Feb. 24. I will return that week as well with a special project. I won’t exactly spill the beans, but let’s just say “Viv the Sieve” will make a return.

While I’m away, let’s use this blog to analyze what the Thrashers must do to make the playoffs after returning for the last month-plus of the season. Let me know what you think. I will be putting something together after I return.

Thanks, as always, folks.

Continue reading NHL breaks for Olympics … and so does this blog »

Update: Kulda will make NHL debut tonight

Your Friday report from the Thrashers morning skate here in St. Paul.

Defenseman Arturs Kulda, called up yesterday, is will make his NHL debut tonight. When I asked coach John Anderson if Kulda would play tonight in place of the injured Mark Popovic, he said “the chances are 100 percent.”

He said Kulda is 100 percent and Popovic, who appears to have a shoulder injury, is not. Hence the decision to go with Kulda. Friday’s practice was the first for Kulda, who got the call he was heading to the NHL at midnight Wednesday. He was on an 8 a.m. flight for Minnesota on Thursday. He arrived but his equipment did not.

Popovic did take part in the morning skate.

Nik Antropov, who missed yesterday’s practice, was on the ice. Anderson told me yesterday to expect Antropov to miss a practice a week for the rest of the season as he deals with nagging hip injury.

Johan Hedberg will start in goal tonight, with a new goalie mask that has arrived after he broke one earlier this season. Ondrej …

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Updated: Thrashers call up Kulda from AHL Chicago

Just arrived at the XCel Energy Center for Thrashers morning skate. I’m very early, but it’s better than sitting in a hotel room. I’ll watch the Wild skate.

The news so far today is that the Thrashers have called up defensman Arturs Kulda from AHL Chicago. The official announcement will come later today. He did not practice as his equipment is en route.

I did a feature on Kulda earlier this season (how about that?). At the time, GM Don Waddell said he would have no problem calling Kulda up if he need be. Kulda was paired with Zach Bogosian in juniors.

The Thrashers are carrying just six defensemen after the placing Christoph Schubert and Boris Valabik on injured reserve.

Mark Popovic and Nik Antropov did not skate. Could be reason for Kulda call-up without Popovic?

Looks like the lines are being tweaked. Here’s what they looked liked in practice (minus Antropov):

Light Blue: Kozlov-Peverley-Afinogenov

Gray: Bergfors-White-Little

Orange: Kane-Slater-Armstrong

Dark Blue: …

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Faith in Hedberg, Pavelec clears way for Lehtonen trade

Just back from morning skate here in Denver.

Johan Hedberg will get the start in goal against the Avalanche. He is 4-2 with a .762 save percentage against Colorado lifetime. Ondrej Pavelec is 0-2 against them.

Slava Kozlov will be the healthy scratch. After sitting for five games, he has played the past two.

Other notes that might be of interest. A couple of former Thrashers were in the building – one on the ice and one in the stands.

Darren Haydar, who played 20 games with the Thrashers over two seasons, was called up by Colorado Tuesday. The forward was the leading scorer for Lake Erie in the NHL.

Also, former Thrasher Ken Klee was in the stands watching the team skate. He is out of hockey, living in Denver and coaching youth, I’m told.

I talked to Hedberg about the Kari Lehtonen trade, to get his reaction to the fact that Lehtonen was moved due to the team’s confidence in Hedberg and Ondrej Pavelec. I also wanted to get an idea where the team is now that the Ilya Kovalchuk …

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UPDATE II: Lehtonen traded to Dallas

Here is my story on the Lehtonen trade:

Kari Lehtonen will play another NHL game – it just won’t be for the Thrashers.

The Thrashers traded the goaltender, recovering from two off-season back surgeries, to Dallas on Tuesday for defensive prospect Ivan Vishnevskiy and a fourth-round draft pick this year.

Lehtonen, 26, is the franchise’s all-time leader in games played (204), wins (94), save percentage (.912) and shutouts (14). He is also the single-season record holder for games (68), minutes (3,934), wins (34), shutouts (4) – all set in 2006-07 – and save percentage (.916, 2007-08). He finished his Thrashers career with a 94-83-17 record and a 2.87 goals-against average.

After returning from a two-week conditioning stint at AHL Chicago on Sunday, Lehtonen practiced with the team on Monday and Tuesday. He was scheduled to accompany the team to Denver for Wednesday’s game against the Avalanche, but did not make the trip.

With the Thrashers carrying three goaltenders, …

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Updates: Lehtonen back in, Valabik out

Your Monday morning Thrashers practice report:

UPDATE:

* Kari Lehtonen was back at practice and got a lot of work. He says he is NHL ready. Coach John Anderson said there is no timetable for him to get into a game. He will make the three-game road trip.

*The extent of Boris Valabik’s knee injury is not known. They are waiting a few more days to let the swelling go down to determine the next step. The initial thought is he tore the ACL.

*There are no plans to recall anyone from AHL. They will play with the six defenseman. Christoph Schubert’s return is not imminent. He hasn’t begun skating yet, although was walking around the locker room today without a limp.

Team is back to three goaltenders. Kari Lehtonen is back from his conditioning stint at AHL Chicago and working with assistant coach Steve Weeks along side Johan Hedberg and Ondrej Pavelec.

Newcomers Johnny Oduya and Niclas Bergfors are on the ice for their first practice as  Thrashers.

Boris Valabik is not on the ice. He …

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Lehtonen returns from AHL Chicago

The Thrashers recalled goaltender Kari Lehtonen from his two-week conditioning stint at AHL Chicago on Sunday.

Lehtonen made his final start on Friday night, losing in a shootout after stopping 17-of-19 shots in regulation and 6-of-9 in the shootout. In all, Lehtonen appeared in four games, going 1-1-2. He allowed 11 goals on 109 shots for a .899 save percentage and 2.67 goals-against average.

I will see what the plan is at Monday’s practice.

Also, it appears the Boris Valabik’s injury, suffered to his left leg on Friday night, will cost him some games. The team did not have an official word following the game. I saw Boris in the hallway after the game and asked if he was OK. He was on the phone, but shook his head no.

I will see what the word is on Monday.

If anyone is interested I can blog about the adventures of covering the Ilya Kovalchuk trade and then getting back from Washington D.C. I did see former beat writer Mike Knobler (funny story about eating at an Ethopian …

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