Your report from the morning skate as the Thrashers prepare for big tilt tonight with Lightning.
We’ll start with the lineups. Once noticeable return, once noticeable absence.
Mark Popovic is in tonight after missing the past 27 games with a broken foot. He will skate in place of Anssi Salmela.
The other scratch is Slava Kozlov, for the fifth straight game. John Anderson was asked about it again this morning.
“Slava is having a tough year, certainly not the standards of last year. … He will be back in the lineup, it’s just a matter of when, getting the right game so he has the best advantage to come back and star for us.
“He’s been wonderful. He said whatever the coach wants to do, I’ll do. As a coach I really appreciate that.”
Ondrej Pavelec will start in goal, his first start in five games. He will be opposed by Antero Niittymaki, who is 15-0-0 career against the Thrashers. “I’m not playing against Niittymaki,” Pavelec said. “I’m playing against Tampa Bay.”
I asked Anderson about the pending returns of Kari Lehtonen and Christoph Schubert. Anderson said Lehtonen still has a few more days to spend at AHL Chicago and will do so to get more games in. He said he expects Schubert to begin skating within the week.