Archive for March, 2010

Update: Thorburn, Peverley out sick from Thrashers practice

The Thrashers returned to practice Wednesday after a win over the Sabres.

Most significant news is that a few players are not on the ice – Ron Hainsey, Pavel Kubina, Nik Antropov, Rich Peverely, Chris Thorburn and Todd White. Thorburn was scratched last night with an illness. White injured his right leg in the second period, but did return.

According to coach John Anderson Thorburn is still ill. Peverley was also ill this morning. White suffered an injury to the same leg earlier in the season and was held out for precautionary reasons. All others were maintainance  days.

Chris Chelios was scratched Tuesday. According to Anderson, the decision was not due to injury and Chelios will be in the lineup on a “day-to-day” basis.

Apparently, I took a shot from some sports talk radio “personality” this morning for the lead on the Thrashers game story. It simply read: Don’t count out the Thrashers just yet.” With 13 games remaining and five points out of the eighth spot, they are still …

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Bogosian MRI is negative

According to Thrashers coach John Anderson the MRI exam on Zach Bogosian’s thumb was negative. Bogosian and Anderson both told me his status for tonight’s game against the Sabres is a “game-time decision.” However, Bogosian’s name was not listed among the defensive pairings. That could change as Bogosian took part in the morning skate, but we shall see.

The line combinations for tonight:

Bergfors-Antropov-Afinogenov

MacArthur-Peverley-Little

White-Reasoner-Armstrong

Artyukhin-Slater-Thorburn

Slava Kozlov and Eric Boulton are the scratches.

Johan Hedberg back in goal. He will face Ryan Miller (thanks to a Twitter follower @jeffgarrow for running into Miller downtown).

Clarke MacArthur admitted to being nervous about facing his old team tonight. He said he didn’t have time to catch up with any former mates last night, but hoped to do so tonight – after a Thrashers win.

That’s all the news from today’s skate.

I’m working on a big feature on Hedberg, so look for that in the next …

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Updated: Waddell says no coaching change this season

Running behind today but here is the news from Thrashers practice.

I spoke with GM Don Waddell this morning. The full interview is below.

Here are the highlights:

*I asked if there was a chance that a coaching change with John Anderson could be made this season considering the six-game slide and slipping playoff chances. Waddell said no. Asked about the possibility of a change following the season, he said everything would be evaluated at that time – including himself by ownership.

*Waddell has not given up on the playoffs, but wants the focus to be the next game on Tuesday. Don’t look any further nor get caught up in numbers or scenarios.

*He said the poor play of the both special teams has contributed to the current slide. He also said missing a key contributor like Evander Kane has had an effect.

*There has been no real movement on signing potential unrestricted free agents. He said he had conversations with the camp of Pavel Kubina and Colby Armstrong, but such talks have …

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Playoff chances slipping away

Following Friday night’s loss to the Rangers it will take a monumental effort for the Thrashers to make the playoffs. In the words of Ron Hainsey, they’ll probably need to win 12 of the final 15 games to get in. Considering they have not won more than four in a row all season that seems like a tall task. Although Hainsey pointed out that Carolina has won 13 of 15.

Who would have thought this just a week ago. The Thrashers had beaten the Islanders, were 4-0-2 in the past six games, held the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference and had games in hand. Five straight losses and all that is gone.

Coach John Anderson said before the Friday’s game that “pressure does funny things to you.” I asked several players after the game if they felt the team was not responding to the pressure. They all said no. I asked the same of Chris Chelios, perhaps unfairly since he’s only been with the team for two days.  Here is what he said: “I haven’t been here long enough to comment on that, but …

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Updated: Chelios on the ice for morning skate

Chris Chelios has taken to the ice for his first practice as an Atlanta Thrasher. He will be the second oldest player to appear in an NHL game, second only to Gordie Howe, when he plays tonight at age 48.

Eight Thrashers were not born when Chelios made his NHL debut. They are – Ondrej Pavelec, Zach Bogosian, Boris Valabik, Evander Kane, Bryan Little, Niclas Bergfors, Tobias Enstrom and Clarke MacArthur.

With Chelios’ arrival, the Thrashers have changed defensive pairings: Chelios will play with Johnny Oduya (giving the team a left and right shot from the point), Ron Hainsey returns to play with Pavel Kubina and Zach Bogosian and Tobias Enstrom are reunited (in an effort to get more offense).

Chelios said he’s more than willing to lead his experience to the team, but acknowledged it will be difficult this late in the season. He said it would be more a one-on-one thing.

He also said he felt he could still play after being with Detroit in 2008. AHL Chicago made the most sense to …

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Updated: Thrashers call up Chris Chelios

It is official. The Thrashers called up Chris Chelios from AHL Chicago. He will join the team in Columbus in time for Thursday’s game and will be in the lineup.

Coach John Anderson said that a call-up was option with Christoph Schubert being out 3-5 weeks. The team’s current three-game losing streak and Chelios’ 25 years of NHL experience were the reasons for the move.

“I don’t like the way the team has been playing lately,” Thrashers GM Don Waddell said. “We are a desperate team right now and we have to get back on track soon. … With the situation now, our backs are against the wall. Bringing in a veteran presence made more sense than bringing in a younger guy.”

Anderson said Chelios’ leadership will be counted on.

“Certainly, he’s played a leadership role on championship teams,” Anderson said of the three-time Stanley Cup winner. ” That’s what we’ll use him for. We have lots of tools here and we are going to try to use every one of them, whatever it takes to …

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Update: Kane, Schubert at least three weeks

Evander Kane suffered a fracture of his left foot and will be out at least three weeks, the team announced Tuesday after the rookie forward underwent a CT scan.

Kane suffered the injury blocking a shot during Saturday’s loss to Tampa Bay. He continues to wear a walking boot and using crutches.

More bad news on the injury front came Tuesday morning. Coach John Anderson said defenseman Christoph Schubert will miss three weeks with a pulled muscle in his hip. The team said Schubert’s injury could cost him as much as five weeks, which would be the remainder of the season.

Schubert, who suffered the injury Saturday in Tampa Bay and missed Sunday’s game against Carolina,  played just three games after missing 13 games with a knee injury.

Anderson said the current plan is no call-up with six healthy defensemen. However, that could change later in the week.

Kane and Schubert could miss 14 games if they are out three weeks.

Johan Hedberg will start in goal tonight against the …

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Kane has CT scan scheduled for Tuesday

We will have to wait another day to find out how long Evander Kane will be out with a foot injury. According to the team, Kane is scheduled to have a CT scan on his left foot on Tuesday.

I would be surprised if the latest test does not reveal  a broken foot. He left the arena after last night’s game with a large walking boot (similar to the one Ilya Kovalchuk had earlier this season) and using crutches.

I’m no doctor, but I would imagine the location and the severity of the injury will determine how much time Kane misses.

He was having a decent rookie season with 25 points (14 goals, 11 assists).

This would be the third broken foot on the team this season with Kovalchuk and Mark Popovic all missed time with the injury. You could even add Boris Valabik’s broken ankle.

There is no Thrashers practice today after back-to-back weekend games. They are having video sessions in preparation for Tuesday’s game against Nashville.

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Getting ready for a big game in Tampa

There are worse things I could be doing. Here in Tampa, beautiful sunny day, about 70 degrees, not a cloud in the sky. I’m sitting by the channel watching the activity on the water. Although I’m sitting by a little outdoor bar (note to management, I’m just having a Coke), it’s hard to believe there is a key hockey game in a few hours.

Enough of that.

As I reported yesterday, Johan Hedberg will be back in goal tonight. No surprise that he will be facing Antero Niittymaki, owner of a 16-0 record against the Thrashers. Could this be the night that streak ends?

Here are some pre-game thoughts from the locker room:

Hedberg: “It’s a team that has played tough against us all year. They are patient and play well defensively against us. We know they have a lot of firepower. We have to play a complete game, limit our turnovers and mistakes and don’t shoot ourselves in the foot.

“They are a team in a [five-game]  losing streak, you know they are going to snap out of it sooner or …

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Update: Thrashers prep for big game with Lightning

The Thrashers practiced in Duluth Friday morning before leaving for Tampa Bay and a date with the Lightning Saturday.

The Thrashers are 1-2-2 against the Lightning this season, losing the last four games.

The good news: The Thrashers will enter the game tied for eighth in the Eastern Conference. They better news: They have two games in hand on the Rangers and three on the Canadiens, the teams that share their 66 points.

Everyone is here from the forwards and the lines remain the same as last night:

Orange: Bergfors-Antropov -Little

Grey: MacArthur-Peverley-Afinogenov

Light blue: Kane-Slater-Armstrong

Red: Thorburn-Reasoner-Artyukhin

Yellow: White-Boulton-Kozlov

Ron Hainsey, Johnny Oduya and Christoph Schubert did not practice. Coach John Anderson said no injuries, just maintenance days.

Anderson said Hedberg will start against Tampa on Saturday and did not rule out that he could start again on Sunday against Carolina.

The last piece of news: Niclas Bergfors has been credited …

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