Archive for September, 2009

Thrashers preview and predictions with Magic 8-Ball

After again watching 16 other teams compete for Lord Stanley’s Cup last spring, seeing Evander Kane taken with the fourth overall selection in the draft, learning of the trades and signings that brought players such as us Pavel Kubina and Nik Antropov, observing training camp activities and becoming reacquainted with the team in preseason…we have now finally made it through to the other side. One more summer has come and then taken it’s leave of us as we find ourselves now standing at the threshold of the tenth season of Atlanta Thrashers hockey. As such, it’s time for me to gaze into my crystal ball and see if I can properly prognosticate what lays ahead for the residents in Thrasherville.

Well, actually…I don’t really have a crystal ball. I did asked the AJC to procure one for me but the request was denied. The guys downtown were, however, kind enough to forward me this old Magic 8-Ball from the 1970’s. But I’m sure it’ll work just as good…right?

First we’ll review the …

Continue reading Thrashers preview and predictions with Magic 8-Ball »

For Thrashers, what will be the lasting legacy of letting Manny go?

If you’re a loyal resident of Thrasherville, you undoubtedly know by now that Manny Legace was released and sent off to find employment in the nets of some other team. Now, after hearing of the news, I must admit that my first thought was, “Certainly their must be a logical explanation for this decision”.

Well, I mean, that was my first thought right after, “Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot”???

See, this is what I was trying to make sense of…

On one hand, you have Kari Lehtonen…dubbed our “goalie of the future” for the past seven years now…once again out due to pulled groin, flu, strained back, hangnail, split-ends, back surgery and won’t be able to start the season this Saturday. Heaven only knows when he’ll be healthy enough to return.

Then you have young Ondrej Pavelec…the newest “goalie of the future”…who has a career record of 6-10-0, 3.42 GAA, .890 SV% and zero shutouts…who last season, when called upon because of “Kari Down ‘08″, played to the numbers of 3-7-0, 3.60 GAA, .880 SV% …

Continue reading For Thrashers, what will be the lasting legacy of letting Manny go? »

No Matter Where Evander Plays It Won’t Be The Right Place

OK kids…preseason play is over and we now await the final decisions from the judges to see who is the last group of players to be voted off of Thrashers Island. The judges of course being John Anderson and his coaching staff…Don Waddell and Rick Dudley will certainly have a say so in this matter as well.

Now, speaking of voting players off of the island, I have to admit that I was a little surprised to see which player was the top vote getter in the Thrashers Fan Poll that I incorporated into Sunday’s blog. At the time of this posting, Evander Kane led the pack with Boris Valabik close behind.

I expected Kane to get some votes, but not be the one with the most votes off the island.

To hear Waddell tell it, Kane is going to get an eight or nine game look-see to begin the season before a decision is made to send him back down to the WHL. My take on this is… if Maxim Afinogenov is signed here… I just don’t see whose place Evander would take in the lineup.

Kozlov? White? Peverley? …

Continue reading No Matter Where Evander Plays It Won’t Be The Right Place »

Who’s Next To Be Voted Off Thrashers Island?

Nine players were voted off Thrashers Island on Saturday…four forwards, four defenders and one goalkeeper. Left in the wake of their departure are fifteen forwards, eight blueliners and three goalies, (four if you count Kari who is injured). Given that NHL teams must get their rosters down to 23 players by 3 pm Wednesday, this means that there are four players left remaining that will need to depart sometime by then.

Josh Gratton remained on Thrashers Island after Saturdays cuts

Josh Gratton still remains on Thrashers Island (AP/Gregory Smith)

Among the “safe” players are forwards Ilya Kovalchuk, Bryan Little, Nik Antropov, Todd White, Slava Kozlov, Rich Peverley, Marty Reasoner, Colby Armstrong, Jim Slater and probably Eric Boulton. I’ll add Maxim Afinogenov to that assuming he’s signed.

On the blueline, the top four are “safe” are Tobias Enstrom, Zach Bogosian, Pavel Kubina and Ron Hainsey. In goal only Johan Hedberg is to be given the “safe” classification in my book.

Kari Lehtonen is on the roster, but he’s not considered healthy …

Continue reading Who’s Next To Be Voted Off Thrashers Island? »

Maxim? Just Sign Him! Oh, And Manny Too

We’ve been ‘round and ‘round the whole subject of whether or not John Anderson’s “play more in regular season games” comments were in reference to Maxim Afinogenov or not. Did he accidently slip up and let loose a company secret…or did he just error in names, instead meaning to say that Nik Antropov would play more minutes once the games started to count for real?

Who knows…but to be honest with you, it just doesn’t matter. The Thrashers should just go on and sign the man and be done with it. Come to terms with him, allocate the necessary funds to pay him, sit him down at the table and get his Russian John Hancock on the contract.

The only real question regarding Max is this…does he make the Thrashers a better team with him on the roster? You may answer that however you wish, but my response to my own inquiry is “Yup…he does”.

Who will make the Thrashers opening day lineup?

  • Maxim Afinogenov (67%, 80 Votes)
  • Evander Kane (3%, 3 Votes)
  • Both of them (29%, 34 Votes)
    Continue reading Maxim? Just Sign Him! Oh, And Manny Too »

Friday Follies From Waterlogged Thrasherville

We are finally coming to the end of one the longest, oddest most historic week in I’ve experienced in Thrasherville. I knew it was going to be quite the bizarre week when the first thing I was called upon to do once I entered the office on Monday was to help de-copperhead the store just off the main lobby. Seems the critter was not unlike all of us that soggy day and was simply trying to escape the rising water and was running…er, ah…slithering his way to higher ground.

Then came the floodwaters that caused so much havoc and damage to the area. Nasty times, my friends, and I hope that you and yours made it through with minimal damage to self and property.

Every attraction was a water ride at Six Flags this week

Every attraction was a water ride at Six Flags this week (AJC photo / Phil Skinner)

But we’ve finally made it through this wierd week and finally the weekend is upon us…the last weekend of the preseason at that! So, in light of this occation, let’s relax, lighten up a bit and enjoy some Friday Follies…

If You Missed It, …

Continue reading Friday Follies From Waterlogged Thrasherville »

Coach Anderson Said What?

So…did you catch this segment in Ken Sugiura’s write up of Wednesday night’s 5-4 preseason win over the Nashville Predators?

Another addition under examination for the Thrashers was speedy forward Maxim Afinogenov, brought in last Friday for a pro tryout. His opportunities were limited — his ice time was third-lowest on the team — and he was playing with new linemates (rookie Evander Kane and Tim Stapleton), but he showed Anderson enough.

“I thought he played really well,” Anderson said. “He’ll play more in regular-season games. It’s just the way it went tonight with so many penalties in the game [against the Thrashers]. He’s not a penalty-killer.”

Ah…what’s that again coach? ”He’ll play more in regular-season games”.

Well, if Anderson is going to be giving Max more playing minutes come October 3rd, then that means he’s going to be signed…logically speaking of course?

Now…granted, some may point out the fine print to me here that the good coach did not use the phrase “with the …

Continue reading Coach Anderson Said What? »

Pavelec Appears To Have The Upper Hand

Wednesday night, per C-Viv’s twitter, young Ondrej Pavelec will start in goal against the Nashville Predators. It’ll be his second start of the preseason and follows up his impressive performance in Tampa last Friday night where he stopped 29 of the 30 shots he faced in regulation…32 of 34 overall.

How do you feel about Pavelec starting the season in goal?

  • Great!… Opie is Da Man! (18%, 17 Votes)
  • Crossin’ My fingers…hopin’ for the best (62%, 58 Votes)
  • Oh brother… pass the Tums, please! (20%, 18 Votes)

Total Voters: 93

Loading ... Loading …

Couple that with general manager Don Waddell’s statement at a season ticket holder event last week that he expects Pavelec to be the starter for the season opener…just a week and a half away, mind you…and it seems that Opie has the upper hand for the Thrashers’ main gig ‘tween the pipes at this time.

Now, I’m not going to feed you a load of male bovine excretion here by saying that this is making do cartwheels down the isles of …

Continue reading Pavelec Appears To Have The Upper Hand »

A Sign Of Things To Come?

It was a preseason game…yes, I know. But I can’t help but get the feeling that Monday night’s 4-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes was the type of thing Don Waddell, Rick Dudley and John Anderson had in mind when putting this team together.

Nick Antropov assisting on three goals. Hmmm…assists are what you’re looking for from a center on Ilya Kovalchuk’s line, right?

Pavel Kubina providing a goal on the power play…I’m definitely looking for a lot of that this year.

Mark Popovic driving forward to account for a goal…the kid is doing everything he can to make this team.

Oh, and a defense that allowed but 22 shots on goal…only seven in the first 30 minutes of play.

The go-ahead goal, which came at the 8:31 mark of the third period, was another example of what Thrashers’ fans are hoping to see more of in days to come. Antropov was skating between the circles and found Kovy with a nice drop pass. Kovy then fed Bryan Little who was cutting through on the right side, who then beat …

Continue reading A Sign Of Things To Come? »

Waddell, Thrashers Giving Max Effort Building Roster

Think about this for just a second…if Thrashers general manager Don Waddell would have told you last April that he planned on bringing in players like Nik Antropov and Maxim Afinogenov to join Ilya Kovalchuk on the top line…that Pavel Kubina would play on defense in the place of Garnet Exelby…and that a veteran goalkeeper like Manny Legace would be brought in to make an already-perceived-deep goaltending situation here deeper still…you would have thought the man had just taken a vicious blow to the head.

What do you think of the Thrashers inviting Maxim Afinogenov to try out with them?

  • Thumbs up! (67%, 139 Votes)
  • Thumbs down. (6%, 13 Votes)
  • I’ll let ya know once I see him play with the team (27%, 55 Votes)

Total Voters: 207

Loading ... Loading …

Maybe one of those acquisitions would have gone down…maybe…but not all four, right?

Well, given the news that Afinogenov has been invited to the Thrashers’ training camp for a pro tryout and the fact that Kari Lehtonen is highly …

Continue reading Waddell, Thrashers Giving Max Effort Building Roster »