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 Thrashers” in that statement. I mean, if one chooses to parse words here, one could say that regardless of where he plays he’ll be logging more time on the ice, right?

But that caveat aside…could it be that Anderson just gave us a bit of foreshadowing into the Thrashers near-future plans for Maxim Afinogenov?

Stay tuned.


Boris Valabik did not have himself a very good game Wednesday night. The official line on him was zero points, two shots on goal, 4 PIM and a –2 during his 17:03 time on the ice. But those numbers don’t do it justice.

Which defender is most likely to NOT make the Thrashers opening night lineup?

  • Boris Valabik (39%, 34 Votes)
  • Anssi Salmela (22%, 19 Votes)
  • Mark Popovic (15%, 13 Votes)
  • Nathan Oystrick (24%, 22 Votes)

Total Voters: 88

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When Nashville scored their first goal of the game to cut Atlanta’s 2-0 lead in half, it game 10 seconds after Boris had been sent to the sin-bin for a tripping minor. For the most part he looked out of position and flat.

To illustrate his night in just one play…during the third period, the Thrashers had just killed off a power play and Atlanta’s skaters were looking to switch out. But no sooner than those in attendance heard “Thrashers…FULL STRENGTH” bellow forth from the P.A. system, Valabik had flipped the puck down the length of the ice for an icing call.

Come on back, boys.

Given that…and the strong showings by Mark Popovic…if things continue like this, Boris may find himself viewing the action from the press box next Saturday night.

So…How Did Opie Do?

I’ll answer that question by saying that he did just fine. The line shows he stopped 33 of Nashville’s 37 shots…but really those numbers kind of got skewed a bit late in the game. Nashville netted a pair of goals with under three minutes left after the Thrashers’ skaters looked to already be in the locker room mentally. He saved the first 16 he faced and first 29 of the Preds’ 31 SOG. In the two games he has started he’s saved 66 of the 71 attempts taken on his goal, (.930 SV%).

For the most part, Opie looked sharp and in control.

If he came into the game with the upper hand in the competition for the opening night job, he didn’t do anything to slip in the rankings.

Kubina Not Gonna Stand For That Kinda Krap

One of the better moments in last night’s game came after a low hit on Ilya Kovalchuk. I didn’t get the number of the player who committed the offense, but that’s because Pavel Kubina was on him like Rosie O’Donnell on a lunch buffet…he smothered him, covered him and put him down! I think that’s the kinda toughness Kovy was saying the team needed last spring!

“A”s For Toby And Pavel

Tobias Enstrom and Pavel Kubina both wore an “A” on their jerseys last night. I don’t know if that’s because Armstrong and Kozlov were not in the lineup or if that is indicative of something more.

Thrashers First Decade Per Kincade

I was having lunch with John Kincade Monday…discussing such things as the upcoming Thrashers season, the re-signing of Kovy issue, and the team in general. He classifies his feelings on the 2009-10 campaign as “cautiously optimistic”…where I would say I’m more “anxiously optimistic”. But we’ll discuss that in more detail later.

But for now, here is Kincade’s “Ten Defining Moments” of the Thrashers’ first ten years.

Because You Asked…

The other day someone posted a question to me about the availability of seats on the Party Bus going to the Sharks game on October 24…i.e. the TJ’s/Thrasherville Express.

Well, the answer is that the response has been very good and we expect that the few seats available will be filled soon. But the good news is that there are still some tickets available for those still wanting to climb aboard.

Here’s the info…it’s sure to be a good time!

I’m just curious to see who wins the Zamboni ride that night.

104 comments Add your comment

R. Stroz

September 24th, 2009
1:06 am



September 24th, 2009
1:18 am



September 24th, 2009
1:30 am

Rawhide, you left out Boris’ horrible turnover at the blue line which led to the 2-on-1 that got Nashville back within a goal in the third at 3-2.


September 24th, 2009
1:35 am

August – You’re right…thanks for reminding me and informing everyone else about that. Simply a bad, bad night for Boris.


September 24th, 2009
2:50 am

I thought it was turning out to be a pretty good night for Boris. I mean he had played with that edge and made it clear that you werent gonna run Opie, but he took a penalty on the play. To me, thats a good penalty, or at least as good as a penalty can be without taking someone to the box with you. But then…. then came the tripping call and resulting PPGA. I figure, *expletive*! but no big deal really, just one slip up and he’ll come back more composed and he wont do it again. Seems like no sooner do I hear his name again, I hear the words “Nashville” and “scores” in the same sentence. Come to find out it was Boris who turned the puck over by turning himself inside out.

The impression I got (DISCLAIMER: I WAS NOT AT THIS GAME. I LISTENED TO THE RADIO FEED. But Dan Kamal is about as good as it gets short of being there. And yes, I do mean including watching on television.) was that Boris was having a good night, straddling that line pretty well, then he crossed it in a necessary situation (when Opie got run) and then he got overconfident and goofed up. After that one, which led to a goal, he didnt seem with it, and after the 2-1 goal against, I dont think I heard his name again the rest of the game.

So yeah, it was a bad night for Boris. But thats what preseason is for right? Now if he takes after Hook N Slash Holik and costs the team a PPGA per game give or take, Ill be right there in the crowd calling for him to get tough practices and less minutes. But Im thinking Dan Kamal was pretty much spot on when he said that Kubina could help mentor Boris on being a big dman in the NHL. After all, who was there to be a big dman mentor to him before Kubina? Hainsey? Maybe. But Hainsey doesnt really have as much of a physical element to his game. Im not saying Kubina makes Valabik a 30pt +30 dman in the NHL, but I think he could help Valabik to stabilize his game a little.


September 24th, 2009
2:50 am

(MAN… that didnt seem that long when I was typing it…)

Hockey Biltong

September 24th, 2009
2:52 am

Ok so Mrs Biltong should ride… nuff said!!!


September 24th, 2009
3:41 am

In case some of you have short memories. Boris was an absolute disaster his first 10-20 games he played for the Thrash. He never would have been extended that much of a look-see had he not been a former first round pick. It was painful to watch. I hope he`s not returning to that level of play.

World Be Free

September 24th, 2009
6:32 am

I still say Boris needs to go to Chicago-for both seasoning and motivation. Other guys have played better in the preseaon that deserve to be here.

Watched a little of BUF-Toronto last night. Exelby looked like a pylon, sorry to say. He’s a 6th or 7th in Toronto at best.

Manny Malholtra-if the stories are correct, Manny had a chance at a multi-year deal here for a mil or 2 per season. I guess he was looking for a better deal; he “got it” in San Jose, 1 year $700K. Nice going, Manny and your agent. Don’t roll the dice in a down economy.

The Sharks have to be in trouble if they are looking to fill out their roster so close to the regular season.


September 24th, 2009
6:48 am

ugh, just disgusting night for boris. ya know, his size is what makes us wanna keep him.

that sounds great! signing max cant do much wrong!


September 24th, 2009
6:48 am

smooth anderson.

Hip Czech

September 24th, 2009
7:03 am

Oh oh…sounds like Boris took a big step back last night.

WBF, I always wondered if the Thrashers had any talks with Maholtra, seemed like he might have been a good fit here (one heck of a face-off man!). Nice to hear the Thrashers were pursuing it.

Hopefully the PA announcer has learned to pronounce An-TRO-pov correctly (and hopefully he gets lots of practice this season). Kind of embarrassing Monday night when your big FA signing has his name mispronounced.


September 24th, 2009
7:17 am

I suppose Anderson could have been speaking in the theoretical, like, theoretically, if Max is here in the regular season…um, yeah. Max had some good shifts, some impressive skating, a little off-timed passes here and there, and a couple shifts of pure coasting.

And speaking of pure coasting on some shifts…ahem, Kaptain K I’m looking straight at you. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

Last night was quite the lesson – no getting complacent even with a 3 goal lead and just under 6 min left in the game. The team had checked out mentally and headed for the showers. They nearly paid for it. As for Boris – he needs a mentor badly. I mean so far he’s had mostly XLB – yeah, lots of good stuff to learn there. The team needs to get on the ball with that one (and Pavs).

And finally, a little shout out to my oldest who made it onto the JumboTron last night and extra hugs for my youngest who didn’t. Thanks camera guy….


September 24th, 2009
7:24 am

I have to think that Kabina’s 4 minute minor on Oglivy (or whoever it was) is the best penalty so far this year. As impressive as Antro is,…I think Kubina may help the team more. He’s got Sutton’s size and some nasty to go with it. I hope he keeps the “A” on his jersey.

Still the # of shots given up is worrisome.

This is the first time I saw Kane on the ice. I liked what I saw,…wish he had another 10-20 pounds on him though. I noticed he played both special teams last night. They are really giving him a good look.

Boris did have a bad night. Stepped up at the wrong time, didn’t cover his guy,took too many penalties, etc.

Who is Josh Gratton and where did he come from?


September 24th, 2009
7:36 am

Everyone can have a bad game but with Boris, it seems like it’s the same thing every game. I can’t imagine him making the team at this point. I like a physical, intimidating presence on the ice, but I also like players who, I dunno, make smart plays and don’t take stupid penalties.

When I read Chris’s column I saw the same thing Bill did. Haven’t gotten to see Max play yet, but if he’s over the knee injury, then he’s a keeper IMO. Especially if he comes with a bargain basement price.


September 24th, 2009
7:51 am

Wow! I wonder if I was at the same game. Watching Opie made me nervous. He was a rebound machine. I agree the goals were not his fault, but he left rebound after rebound in the crease. I just think in the regular season thats going to get the Thrashers killed. And he plays so small in net.

Antropov was fantastic. If he plays that way in the regular season, I think he will get the 100 points.

And Afinogenov looked good. He used his speed to create chances for his teammates and went to the front of the net for deflections. I hope he does stay.

World Be Free

September 24th, 2009
8:03 am

Hip Czech-I heard the announcer mess up Antropov’s name a few times Monday night. You figure he would have been prepared! What’s he going to do to Max’s name?!

Boris is too slow. When I was younger, I was an average skater in a good league. as an average or slow skater, you spend so much time trying to keep up with better skaters. It’s also easy to get caught out of position and harder to get back. That’s why skating is so important in hockey. Sounds simple, but skating is the basis of the game and why so many good players never make it to the NHL. He’s still here becuase of his size.

Boris needs to concentrate on defense and not even think about scoring goals or getting assists. His only plays with the puck should be off the boards and out of the zone.


September 24th, 2009
8:23 am

One slight correction, Sugiura wrote the article, not Vivlamore.


September 24th, 2009
8:32 am

Any opinions on how Kane looked last night.?I didn’t hear the radio guys mention him too much, but I only caught part of the game.

Was Gratton’s performance enough to give him a look on the 4th line? I doubt we’d keep both him and Boulton when you could fill your extra forward spot with a more versilte forward.


September 24th, 2009
8:32 am

WBF – there’s actually a good discussion on Falconer’s blog about the name pronunciations and apparently the announcer is correct.


September 24th, 2009
8:32 am

A buddy of mine were discussing Kovy’s performance thus far in the preseason. I honestly don’t think he’s coasting. I think he may be out there evaluating the team skating around him. Just a theory, but I’m buying into it.

I watched the presser right after Ben posted it last night and rewound the q & a on Afinogenov like 10 times to make sure I heard Coach right. It’s been suggested he made a mistake and was talking about Antropov instead of Afinogenov. I’m not buying that at all.


September 24th, 2009
8:36 am

Zoomo –

I wasn’t there last night, so take it FWIW….

I read that he’s seems lost and intimidated. That may change if he ends up on a line with Reasoner and/or Army, but it’s looking like he may benefit from another year in Vancouver.


September 24th, 2009
8:37 am

I was talking about Kane btw….


September 24th, 2009
8:49 am

No one here wants Boris to become the next Zdeno Chara or Braydon Coburn…the guy that develops into a stud later in his career. But with the two aforementioned players, there were early albeit inconsistant flashes that led one to believe there was something great developing. NYI and ATL gave up on them and well, we know the rest of the story. I cannot see that happening with Boris. He’s still a slug on skates, and if he makes this team, someone more deserving will be on the outside looking in. He just has got this tremendous size that makes him get additional chances he doesn’t necessarily deserve.


September 24th, 2009
8:49 am

Re: Anderson’s comments. I’ll be shocked if Max doesn’t get a one year deal. You have to at least take a flyer on a guy with his skills in Anderson’s system. If it doesn’t gel, you cut your losses and/or deal him.

R. Stroz

September 24th, 2009
8:59 am

According to Ben Wright’s twitter page, the Anderson comment concerning Afinogenov was a mixup. Ben’s twitter post follows:

That was a mixup. He was asked about Afinogenov and answered talking about Antropov

Antropov had plenty of playing time last night. Afinogenov, not as much.

Ben Wright has obviously been taking “spin” classes from Waddell.

Spud Webb

September 24th, 2009
9:00 am

Rawhide, I just read the actual paper and saw that quote about Max. WTF is that?????????????? REally, so he’s already made the team?? That’s very, very disappointing to me, there are a LOT of other guys in camp busting their humps. Tryout max gets a free pass??????????? I don’t like that or the message it sends!
Nik looks like the real deal on the first line, no worries there, but lets focus on making our second and third lines better, NO MAX please.
Kubina, THAT IS WHAT I’m talking about. Nobody runs a top 5 player in the league, unless his name is Kovy, well for the last 5 years anyway teams have done what they want vs Kovy. Please stand up Thrashers, show some unity!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And finally, I love Valabik, mostly for his size and what I WANT HIM TO BE, but I just don’t think he’s going to make it. Ugh, hope I’m wrong!!!


September 24th, 2009
9:19 am

Let’s not forget that we have the couple of positions watching the game every night in the pressbox. And when the injuries occur, and they always do, having a deep team is an asset. We have NEVER had that luxury here, instead we call Chicago and pray that whomever is called up this time will step up.

Having a cheap Maxi working his butt off getting back into the position he feels he deserves has great potential with little downside. Same with Manny Legace. Having Valebek in the pressbox for the initial roadtrip and ready in case of injury.

We have a huge opportunity to have depth on this team instead of fear. The locker room will be very happy to have one of their own step up, not a call up from Chicago.


September 24th, 2009
9:25 am

One slight correction, Sugiura wrote the article, not Vivlamore.

DB – Thanks for the correction, I’ve updated the post.

According to Ben Wright’s twitter page, the Anderson comment concerning Afinogenov was a mixup…Antropov had plenty of playing time last night. Afinogenov, not as much.

RStroz – yeah, I gotta scratch my head there too. Max played 11:40 last night. Antropov played 16:44 and 18:20 on Monday night. To me he’s getting his time. I wasn’t in the room to hear it, but to me…that looks like Anderson was talking about Max.

We’ll see, I guess.


September 24th, 2009
9:32 am

Based on the way the question was phrased from the female russian reporter (anyone know what media outlet she’s from? i’d be interested on what she wrote on the game) and the context around the infamous quote from Coach Anderson, I just don’t see how he could be talking about Antropov. If he was and did make a mistake, wouldn’t someone in the room ask him to clarify? The press wasn’t exactly clamoring over one another to get questions in; there was plenty of time for the inquirer to get clarification on his answer. Just my opinion. It was late and I was tired when I watched the presser, so I maybe reading too much into it, but I think he slipped up and announced we’re signing Maxim.


September 24th, 2009
9:46 am

Good Morning all. RE Max and Evander – it seemed that the first period that line just wasn’t comfortable with each other, didn’t know where they were going or doing. I thought later on Max had a couple of nice breaks but was trying too hard to feed Kane or Stapleton instead of taking the shot himself. Stapleton, though, I thought had a better game overall than either of them, playing more on “special teams”, etc.

R. Stroz

September 24th, 2009
9:48 am

A few takes from last night’s game.

1) Sign Popovic. He has earned a spot on the roster.

2) Mad Max played pretty well, especially considering the line he was on. So, and I know this will drive some of you bezerk, Sign Afinogenov. Mad Max skated harder than Kovy last night.

3) Peverley never takes a shift off. The guy busts his hump every single shift. Re-sign Peverley quickly.

4) Big Boris seems unable to anticipate or read plays well on defense.
Hopefully, Kubina can mentor Big Boris as Schneider mentored Bogosian last season. Boris is still a work in progress and not exactly NHL material yet.

5) Kubina gets major props taking up for Kovy. Kubina took the bum out with one punch.

On a lighter note:

1) My sympathies go out for Smoothie, as he was sitting in front of my BULLHORN. I hope your ears aren’t ringing Smoothie.

2) I met HookyBob. HookyBob come down and join in the insanity next time.

3) Props to Tong G. for getting on the jumbotron. You really dance like a “white man.”

4) We have to get the “Crab Dance” on youtube. Razor, that was GREAT.

Tony C.

September 24th, 2009
9:57 am

Great to see everybody that made it to the game and came on down…

My impressions from the game:

1) ZOMG! we’ve got guys that go to the net on the team now! (In fact Gratton’s 2nd goal might as well have been a “how-to” drill for the simple give&go from the blueline in-give the puck up and go to the net with your stick on the ice)

2) Really wasn’t impressed with Pavelec’s rebound control and was more than a bit confused by his receiving the 3rd star of the night-certainly, he did make some circus-type saves but he also let in some really soft ones

3)Kane is really f’n good. Still, I think he’d be well served playing in the AHL….can’t do that so I reckon they’ll drag his 9 games of eligibility out.

4)Pasha is a very nice pick-up. There was no hesitation on his part when dude torpedo’d #17~just instant bullrush retaliation-oh yeh dude is pretty nifty with his stick work as well…

5)Not that this is news but…Bogosian is a hoss. Also, he needs to work on finishing below the circles if he’s going to keep taking off with the puck like that-maybe it was just this game, but seems to me that if dude could elevate the puck when he’s in close he would’ve potted at least 2 last night.

6)Jimmy Slater has really improved tremendously from this same time last year.

7)Coach really wants the #17/Antro/Little line to work. A lot. It seemed like he was putting them out there every other shift at one point. They do however look pretty effin good for the most part.

8)Popovic should make this team unless he’s a complete dillweed in the room. His play was strong and his decisions timely and with one exception absolutely correct.


September 24th, 2009
10:00 am

Afinogenov has always been a great skater, bad finisher. But I’d rather see him on the team than wasting a year of Kane, and I think Coach just told us Max is getting signed and I assume he’ll play on the 2nd line.

Valabik needs a lot more seasoning, back to Chicago for him.


September 24th, 2009
10:03 am

Oh, question of the day: Who’s the happiest guy to read Coach’s quotes from last night? Afinogenov’s agent.

Gib Traf

September 24th, 2009
10:17 am

Anderson was asked two questions by different reporters where the reporters clearly asked about Afinogenov but it really sounds like Anderson was responding about Antropov:

Question: Please speak more about Afinogenov’s game. You didn’t give much time to him today.
Anderson: Well I thought he played really well. We didn’t have very many power plays. And, uh, I thought him and KOVY were working well together. they are seeing the ice very well. He’ll play more in the regular season games. It’s just the way it went tonight with so many penalties against. You know, he’s not a penalty killer.

Question: What were you looking for with Afinogenov.
Anderson: A shot to the roof just like he did. Uh. Kovy and him got something going. Made a good play down low on the PP with Litts etc.. etc….

Now, Afinogenov very well may get signed but it did seem like Anderson got mixed up on the names and response.


September 24th, 2009
10:40 am

i see your point Gib… i only heard the game on the radio, were there any shifts when Kovy & Maxim went out on the ice at the same time or did the set lines stay in tact all night?

BTW – clever name choice there. made me laugh out loud and I’m at work!


September 24th, 2009
10:51 am

Yeah, I noticed later in the interview someone asked Coach about “his plans for Afinogenov” and he replied with a comment about Antropov and him “being the 100 point guy they thought he’d be in Toronto”… and I started to realize he was confusing the two.


September 24th, 2009
11:19 am

Good comments all around on this blog…a lot of cogent and accurate observations regarding the key participants.

Fritsche – the fact that no one has really commented on him may not bode well as Danny hasn’t really stood out. However, he seems comfortable on the PK and was not on the ice for any goals allowed.

Gratton – what more can you say? He has done everything necessary to earn a roster spot. Will the coaches have the balls to cut Thorburn? I think you keep Boults and Gratton as Gratton can play RW as a lefty.

Crabbshack – love the guy since he normally plays with great energy and borderline on the edge. However, he didn’t seem to be in the flow of the game and perhaps it is the result of unfamiliarity with his line-mates. Honestly, if Crabb is fighting for 3rd or 4th line mins, why is he playing with two skill guys that aren’t yet used to each other?

Stapleton – he definitely has some good puck skills and makes good decisions. However, he is TINY!! He makes Perrin look 6′ 2″. Overall this team struggles with sustained puck possession and cycling so I don’t see how Timmy will fit…good call-up potential though.

Kane – I thought he started really strong in the first period when Max was still finding his rhythm. EK made some good decisions with the puck and even made one D-man look silly with a dangle, but I think he fumbled the puck a little as the shot on goal didn’t have much on it. The kid has great hands, but he hasn’t had many opportunities to show it. If he’s truly got a shot, why not let him get some mins with Pevs & Little or Nik & Max to see what he can do? From the 2nd period on, he looked very unsure of himself.

Raucously fun time sitting down low in 111 with Rawhide’s Rowdies. Luckily, my ears aren’t ringing too bad from Stroz’ bullhorn, but I hope my friends (relatively new to hockey) weren’t terrified by his passionate and funny exhortations!! Also great to meet Tony C and his family along with the motley crew from the Chronicle. If Crabb can cement a job, we can get some serious crab-dance mojo going this year!


September 24th, 2009
11:25 am

Boris did have a rough game, but I really hope someone like Kubina can truly mentor him. It does look like he’s trying too hard to make Anderson’s system work for him. Maybe he’s just not cut out for an offensive system and will excell in a more simple role. I would be curious what Anderson thinks of his progression now vs two years ago in Chicago. If they truly feel Boris has the talent to succeed and stay, then they need to fully commit to having him work longer and harder before and after practices and such on his challenges. Let him know what is gonna hold him back until he puts in the extra time to try and correct it. If he wants to stay up here, then he’ll put in the extra work.

I also did not feel as good as some of you watching Pavs. He flopped around a few too many times and let out way too many juicy rebounds. Some of the goals were not on him, but for someone trying to lock down the top goalie spot, he made me and my wife very nervous from our vantage point in 106. Did not look bad overall, but not quite a true number one just yet except by default.

I thought Gratton and Stapleton showed some real value and perserverance last night. Both played well when matched up together. The two on one for Gratton’s second goal was very nice. Like others above said, a Thrasher that went straight to the net…wow! When it’s all decided, I think they both will head to Chicago, but they proved to the staff they can fill a specific role just fine and will be quick call ups when certain guys go down.

As I said on the last blog, Max showed me enough in his first game with new linemates to play a bigger role in the Carolina game on Friday. He might be a great weapon to have througout the season for cheap.

I saw Kane do some nice things with regards to positioning, two way play, versitility, keeping his head up, and showing he could play both on the PP and PK. But I say give him a cup of coffee for 5 games maybe and let him go back to juniors to work on bulking up. I would argue we needed Bogo worse last year than we need Kane this year.

Kubina certainly isn’t the fastest guy on the ice, but he uses his size and skill pretty well, along with leadership. Definitely a top four guy. Loved his decision to immediately stick up for Kovy.

It’s preseason and I am glad things go wrong so they have time to address them.


September 24th, 2009
11:29 am

Gib Traf – Cudos on the “username”…well done. Sounds like you were in the area listening to the questions and comments. was that the case? At any rate…sounds like Anderson very well could have mixed up Max and Nik’s names. Stuff like that happens.

Thanks for the input.


September 24th, 2009
11:34 am

Oh yeah, one more thing, Peverley must’ve been bursting with pride when the “PEVERLEY, PEVERLEY” chant was at its crescendo right before Peever took the draw right in front of us at the left dot. Suck it Nashville!


September 24th, 2009
11:35 am

In case you missed it… Malhotra has officially signed with San Jose.


September 24th, 2009
11:41 am

This is a repost from the previous blog.
I saw last night’s game and came away with several of my roster questions answered (at least in my own mind). I have been on the fence about each of these players.

1) Kane is not ready to play up here. He was tentative and average at best, and I think that’s being generous. He was also not strong on the puck. I wish he could play in the AHL, because like a lot of you, I’m not sure that another year in Juniors will give him the experience with speed and size that he needs. If he plays in Atlanta this year, even just for 9 games, I see a couple of things happening. One, we will be fielding a weaker team than we otherwise could at the start of the season and I think we are all agreed that we need to start strong. Two, Evander’s confidence may take a significant hit, and we all know how that can turn out. If this was a “rebuilding” year, then I might say yes, let’s give him a half season to come around, but it is not.

2) Afinogenov definitely gets the nod over Kane. His speed was evident and generally effective, and his stick handling was also generally superior. He also had a little time on the penalty kill, and held his own.

3) Gratton over Bolts. I hate to say it, but his superior offensive play combined with his experience as a “tough guy”, gives him the nod in my book. And it wasn’t just the fact that he scored 2 goals, but that he consistently put himself in position to score without sacrificing his game in other ways. Can you imagine how we would be raving if Boulton had scored twice. If Waddell is true to his word, (insert snickers and uproarious laughter) about ignoring contract considerations to put the best team on the ice I think Gratton gets the nod.

4) As good as Oystrick has looked at times, I think he may have played himself out of a role with the big club tonight. He misread, or misplayed the puck, pinching up. several times tonight, directly resulting in at least one goal, and didn’t assert himself offensively at all. Popovic was unremarkable offensively also tonight, but I never saw him as a liability defensively tonight.

Valabik also looked like a liability tonight, in addition to his 2 penalties. His skating is still not where it needs to be, and he seems to still be quite a ways away from knowing how to use his size in the NHL. I must say he did make one nice hip check against the board in the first period, but ended up on the ice himself. I think the Thrashers are committed to Boris for this year to see if the sleeping giant will awake, but I have not seen his size be enough of an asset to overcome his deficits. Postma looked NHL ready to me on Monday, but I think a year at Chicago will be best in the long run for both him and Kulda. They should both push hard for a seat at the main table next season.

While Peverley sure brought a lot of energy and puck control skilI, I think he was a bit disappointingl. I am afraid though, that as in Nashville, he will flounder if he is not playing with highly skilled players. Thorburn showed some good puck control and patience with the puck and didn’t looked nearly as bad tonight on the PK as on Monday. Fritsche did not distinguish himself in my mind tonight and Stapleton looked comfortable if not outstanding, playing at this level. Even though Crabb had a goal, (off a fantastic pass by Bogosian) I would say he did not have a great game and did not really show his speed and was not confident with his decision making.

So my opening night line-up would be:

Kovy – Antropov – Little

Kozlov – White – Afinogenov

Peverley – Reasoner – Armstrong

Gratton – Slater – Fritsche/Thorburn

Enstrom – Bogosian

Hansey – Kubina

Popovic – Salmela/Valabik

Armstrong and Hansey’s injuries do not sound like they would prevent them from playing on opening night.

mid-ga-hockey fan

September 24th, 2009
12:02 pm

Does anyone have any idea as to when they plan to make these cuts today?afternoon,evening,late tonite?I’m getting antsy,what can I say.


September 24th, 2009
12:12 pm

A little off topic, but this is interesting nonetheless: Wayne Gretzky has resigned as coach of the Coyotes.


September 24th, 2009
12:12 pm

Riceowls8891 – Per your 7:51 am post…playing “small” is the big knock on Pavs. Glovesave29 makes that observation a lot.

JLH – Great recap…and it was nice seeing you and Goose last night again.

mid-ga-hockey fan – Dunno. I guess we’ll find out soon enough though.

Alan – WOW!

World Be Free

September 24th, 2009
12:16 pm

Alan-I guess that’s no surprise, considering the mess that is the Yotes.
Sara-can’t wait until the folks in Toronto hear (right or wrong) how we are pronouncing antropov. They, of course will say they are right becuase it’s Toronto-they are perfect.

mid-ga-hockey fan

September 24th, 2009
12:26 pm

Sorry if I sound impatient but I am 35 miles SOUTH of Macon and I don’t have a great deal of sympathiser’s (is that even a word?)when it comes to my Hockey withdrawals.Moreso since Macon would not support the Whoopee or Trax.I feel as though I am stuck in my own private hell and the only fix I get is this blog during the day and the NHL network at night,If I see Sidney Crotchby one more time I think I will be on the roof with a rifle!! HELP!!!!!!

World Be Free

September 24th, 2009
12:26 pm

JLH-what is your read on Postma? he looked real good Monday night. I am concerned about his size.