Popovic finally gets back in lineup

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.

27 comments Add your comment

Bravos33

February 2nd, 2010
3:06 pm

well…FIRST! And Viv, heard any rumors about the goalie situation? Who is being shopped, and who is most likely to get moved?

GaVaHokie

February 2nd, 2010
3:17 pm

I’m sure Waddell isn’t around these days, but any word on who will be replacing Paul Martin on the US Olympic Squad?

Would be nice to sneak Hainsey or Bogosian in there ahead of Matt Carle.

Brendan

February 2nd, 2010
3:24 pm

Welcome back, Popovic! Maybe, he’ll garner some trade interest among the GM’s out there?

j nes

February 2nd, 2010
3:30 pm

I thought Bogosian earned a shot at the olympic squad (even though his play of late might prove otherwise), but I don’t think Hainsey is worthy.

Hockey Biltong

February 2nd, 2010
3:33 pm

Bogo’s name was in a Sporting News article with a few others, Hokie.

j nes

February 2nd, 2010
3:34 pm

send Todd White to Chicago and call up Joey Crabb!

kracker

February 2nd, 2010
3:38 pm

The Thrash sure do need to get the Niitty-monkey off their back tonight! Battling a division foe at home…this can’t-beat-Niitty crap has to stop! They had him beaten in the last game….until that BS call w/ the Midget skating right into Antropov, but Nik gets penalized instead of St Louis. grrrrr

sisu

February 2nd, 2010
3:39 pm

So here is the latest…any comments Viv?
JohnKincade (Via Twitter)

1. I also feel confident in reporting that goaltender Kari Lehtonen will be traded before the deadline. I am hearing Dallas and St. Louis about 1 hour ago from web
2. Attention NHL fans; I can assure you that Ilya Kovalchuk is leaving the Atlanta Thrashers. He will be traded sooner than later. about 1 hour ago from web

ChippersLoveChild

February 2nd, 2010
3:39 pm

Bogo and Hainsey with their -1000 don’t belong anywhere near an Olympic squad… maybe in a few years for Zach, but neither of them are worthy at the moment.

ChippersLoveChild

February 2nd, 2010
3:40 pm

Doom and gloom Kincade isn’t the best source, especially if he is citing web rumors… he probably trusts Eklund..

j nes

February 2nd, 2010
3:44 pm

or maybe Kincade heard it from Waddell. Either way the source is unreliable.

DWTOO

February 2nd, 2010
3:45 pm

j nes – you are brutal, honest, but still brutal. Thanks for the laugh!

Lee

February 2nd, 2010
3:48 pm

As much as I love Kinkade, he doesn’t give a crap, he probably just tweets anything that he can find.

kracker

February 2nd, 2010
3:49 pm

Speaking of Eklund…he has a Thrash/Devils trade involving Kovalchuk. Says 3 different sources today say there is something to the rumor, for what that’s worth.

sisu

February 2nd, 2010
3:50 pm

I doubt that the Devils would take a forward that DOES NOT play defence…but who knows. I think that all this is to prepare the fans for the trade. If these two are dealt then two former first rounders are gone and what does the team have to show for it?

Smoothie

February 2nd, 2010
4:00 pm

Devils have been slumping of late, but c’mon! The Devils? And Kovy? Yeah, I’m sure he’d really excel in their offense. Jeezus H.

And Kincade is a blow-hard. He has nothing to go on but hunches. We could all make the same statements. The Lehtonen to St. Louis thing is hooey unless they are giving up on Mason (doubt that) or Waddell has man-love for Ty Conklin to replace Moose as Pavs’ back-up.

A better rumor that makes more sense would be the Habs offering us Plekanec, Pouliot and Price for Kovy’s rights, Lehtonen and Afinogenov or a D-man like Hainsey to replace the aging Gill.

Midfield

February 2nd, 2010
4:10 pm

Any trade involving Hainsey is good. It’s like getting a couple of million stimulus package.

Chris Vivlamore

February 2nd, 2010
4:25 pm

Thrashers AHL affiliate in Chicago signs former NHLer Reid Simpson to pro tryout contract.

Mooseberg

February 2nd, 2010
4:32 pm

Rumor Alert:
I’m hearing Waddell to the Amarillo Gorillas of the CHL for a Signed Helmet of their Star LW – Austin Sutter( 2 G, 11 A on the season) and possible a bag of CHL pucks but can only be used in practice..not NHL worthy.

680 Said what?

February 2nd, 2010
5:09 pm

Heard over The Fan that Kovy’s going to the Rangers or the Kings and Kari’s going to either the Blues or the Stars? How much more of this do we have to endure before DWad makes his announcement?

Red Light

February 2nd, 2010
5:13 pm

Consider the source: when was the last time Kincade stepped foot in Philips Arena?

J-man

February 2nd, 2010
5:14 pm

Kovy will NOT be traded prior to the Olympics. No sane team (yes, even GM Glen Sather of the Rangers has his moments of sanity) would dare pay what it would take to get him only to lose him to an Olympic injury.

Mike

February 2nd, 2010
5:45 pm

A few things…I don’t get JA sometimes. I thought the Boris/Salmela pair was playing well together. Bogo and Hainsey are having issues…why not bench one of them? If not, then maybe you need to look to change up the top 4. I wouldn’t mind seeing Bogo and Kubina. Also…on the way home, The Fan said that Kovy turned down the biggest contract ever offered to a UFA. If this is true, then I don’t blame the Thrashers for trading him. While I am going to miss him, I’m hoping the Thrashers make the playoffs without him.

Brendan

February 2nd, 2010
5:47 pm

Bloggers: Time for brutal honesty. What would you want to see more? (1) Kovalchuk re-signed, properly or otherwise or (2) Don Waddell fired and forced to clean out his desk?

Type 1 for Kovalchuk re-signed.

Type 2 for Waddell fired.

I’ll cast the first vote. 2!! It’s more important for ownership to wake up and realize that it needs a new GM than it is to make a bad contract with Kovalchuk, that potentially cripples the franchise. Sadly, I think ownership’s position is this: We want to keep Waddell AND Kovalchuk, if he’ll agree to stay, at ANY price. You watch. The AS, LLC will fold like Superman on laundry day just to get that man’s signature on a contract. In their view, Kovy is the reason people buy tickets. They can’t afford to lose him at any price. And really, that’s not correct thinking.

Here’s the truth I believe. Wins put fannies in seats. Run the franchise properly … and treat the fans (your lifeblood) with respect, and you’ll soon watch the franchise flourish, even sans Kovalchuk. But step #1 … is recognizing the need for a new GM. And a new business model. There is still talent here, and in the minors. It just needs a real GM to shape and mold the franchise, via Coaches and Scouts, with a REAL STRATEGY. What team succeeds in an environment free from accountability? None. Make the GM, Coaches, Scouts, and players accountable, and watch the pride return. That’s got to be the first thing that happens. This “business as usual,” or business how it’s ALWAYS been … simply won’t work. A message must be sent that … “It’s a new day. Blueland, as a concept, is over. We value your hard-earned money. We value your support. We are going to run this team like an NHL franchise should be run. The Waddell era is over.” Until that happens … what’s the point?

Mooseberg

February 2nd, 2010
7:02 pm

2 and I think even if you lose Kovy but do number 2(how appropriate) you will actually see an increase in season tickets holders next year.

Lew 39

February 2nd, 2010
7:33 pm

Was there a press release on Kovy?

JimG

February 2nd, 2010
8:02 pm

Kincade is a tool who delights in reporting bad news – and rumors -about ATL teams. But he’s probably right on Kovy. Kovy hinted weeks ago he didn’t need to be the highest paid but wanted to see that the ownership was serious about making Thrashers a true, perennial contender (just like Hossa). They haven’t done anything to show they are committed to winning and offered him a record contract instead. Losers.