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 enough to be in the lineup on October 3. The team has a decision to make with him considering simply waiting for him to heal or placing him on the injured list. Given that, I would then reduce the number of players who will need to be trimmed off the roster to three.

That leaves forwards Chris Thorburn, Josh Gratton, Dan Fritsche and Evander Kane…defenders Nathan Oystrick, Mark Popovic, Boris Valabik and Anssi Salmela…as well as goalies Ondrej Pavelec and Manny Legace left to battle it out for the handful of slots that are left to be filled.

Coach Anderson has said he wants the lineup for today’s preseason finale to be a lot like what opening night’s will be…to that measure, here are the expected lines for this afternoon’s game against Tampa Bay.

And with that…I’ll ask for your projections for whom you believe will be the 23 left remaining to suit up Saturday for the season opener and who will also be included to watch the festivities from the press box. Obviously, a lot of this will be settled on the ice later today in the final preseason game, but I’d like to get your predictions beforehand.

Of course, I wouldn’t ask to see yours if I wasn’t willing to show you mine, so here are my projected lineups for opening night…

Maxim Afinogenov motors his way around Carolina's goal (AP photo Gerry Broome)

Maxim Afinogenov motors his way around Carolina's goal (AP/Gerry Broome)

Forwards

Kovalchuk – Antropov – Little

Kozlov – White – Afinogenov

Peverley – Reasoner – Armstrong

Boulton – Slater – Thorburn

In the press box: Gratton

Defensemen

Hainsey – Kubina

Bogosian – Enstrom

Arturs Kulda will do his fighting in a Wolves jersey (AP/Frederick Breedon)

Arturs Kulda will do his fighting in a Wolves jersey (AP/Frederick Breedon)

Oystrick – Popovic

In the press box: Valabik

Goalies

Pavelec

Hedberg

In the press box: Legace

Now, you’ll notice that I’ve put Opie at the top of the depth chart as I think he will indeed start against the Lightning and I feel the team will keep Legace, going with three keepers. One of the reasons I think Don Waddell and the organization will choose this route is because they do not want to see a repeat of 2005. As you’ll recall, that fall they were unable to properly address the problem of their goalies dropping faster and more frequently than stocks last fall.

Another reason I think they might keep Manny around is because if they sign him to a two-way deal and ship him off to Chicago, D-Mac will be deprived of some much-needed playing time. If the start him in Atlanta with Moose backing up…or the other way around… then Opie is once again thrown to the Wolves. Of course another option is for the Thrashers to simply say, “Thanks for your time, Manny…but we’re just gonna have to go our separate ways”. But I just don’t think the brain trust of Waddell, Dudley and Anderson care to see a keeper of Legace’s ability slip away given Kari’s questionable status.

So, I think they carry the three goalies… then sort things out once Kari is deemed fit to play.

Which of these players will be voted off Thrashers Island? (Pick Three)

  • Anssi Salmela (26%, 38 Votes)
  • Boris Valabik (49%, 72 Votes)
  • Mark Popovic (11%, 17 Votes)
  • Nathan Oystrick (20%, 29 Votes)
  • Josh Gratton (23%, 34 Votes)
  • Chris Thorburn (19%, 28 Votes)
  • Dan Fritsche (47%, 69 Votes)
  • Evander Kane (64%, 94 Votes)
  • Eric Boulton (7%, 10 Votes)
  • Manny Legace (11%, 17 Votes)
  • Ondrej Pavelec (15%, 22 Votes)

Total Voters: 148

Loading ... Loading ...

Evander Kane? Well, I think the Thrashers will determine that it is in his and their best interest to ship him off to Vancouver. Given that Max will be getting more ice time in the regular season…again assuming he is signed…there’s no real need to rush the kid or expose him to injury when there just is no real need to do so.

I also am projecting that Anssi Salmela comes in fourth in the battle for the bottom-three spots on the blueline, if for no other reason than the other three have significantly more NHL experience. Popovic has really shown me a lot since he was invited to camp. Valabik…not so much. If this is a true contest to see the best player win out, then Pops wins out over Boris.

I almost went with Peverly on the second line with White and Afinogenov. As I listened to the streaming online feed via the Hurricanes’ radio broadcast, there seemed to be some chemistry with that line. But that Peever- Party-Army line looks pretty good.

Since Joey Crabb was sent down with eight others on Saturday, the battle to unseat Chris Thorburn is now down to Josh Gratton and Dan Fritsche. I’ll go with Gratton here because I like the way Josh drops the gloves and his tough play on the ice. However, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Fritsche gets the nod, escpecially if Anderson is of the impression that he can provide help on the PK.

I also wouldn’t be stunned if Thorney finds himself snacking from the press box buffet Saturday night while Gratton or Fritsche play instead. However, starting the season off with a measure of consistency from last spring will probably be deemed what is prudent at this juncture. Besides it’s not like a change couldn’t be made later on if Anderson feels the need to do so.

So…all that means that I believe Salmela, Fritsche and Kane will be voted off Thrashers Island this week. Three pretty darn good players who any other season would probably find themselves on this roster. That’s a testament to the type of depth we have this season…which is a very, very good thing.

120 comments Add your comment

Cornbread

September 27th, 2009
2:07 am

Best damn analyses I’ve seen of the Thrashers line-up yet. Most logical line combos. More importantly, look at those lines! This is a team that can do some damage. I think most teams are probably aware of that but the hockey press and opposing fans don’t have a clue.

Hockey Biltong

September 27th, 2009
2:19 am

LAC

September 27th, 2009
2:21 am

Here as ALWAYS Rawhide provides up to date info and spices it up with projections…. Meanwhile the regular writer is off at some golf thing
as training camp ends and the regular season ends, What a commitment
to The Thrashers by this ajc crowd !

Great as ALWAYS Bill ! The other guy cannot shine your shoes !!!

Darren

September 27th, 2009
2:31 am

I think you’re right about Salmela being the odd man out, since Anderson seems to really like Popovic.

I’m not sure if they’ll keep Fritsche or Gratton, although I might be one of the few that believes Fritsche actually would have more value as a PK’er.

I also believe keeping Afinogenov and Legace are basically done deals. And, since that’s probably the case, I think it’s logical to assume Kane goes back to juniors this year.

Let`s Start the Season.

September 27th, 2009
3:54 am

Popovic needs to stay. His play has been a pleasant surprise. JA needs to find the right partner for him and the 3rd D pairing will be solidified. It`s really nice to see the team come together at this point of the preseason.

Al

September 27th, 2009
6:10 am

15 + 8 + 3 = 26. 26 – 23 = 3. This means that there are THREE players left remaining that will need to depart sometime by then. Not four… Basic math, dude!

Frustrated Editor

September 27th, 2009
7:29 am

Couldn’t you run your posts through spell check? I love you and enjoy your posts but testament is misspelled (not “testiment “!). Just pop it in Word or something and get it right.

hoosier_hoser

September 27th, 2009
8:01 am

Good analysis, Rawhide! The one thing you left out is the contract status of the players on the bubble. Who has a 2-way contract? Who can be sent to Chicago without being exposed to waivers? Given that the Thrashers are trying to build depth, the ability to send one of two evenly matched players to Chicago will be the overriding factor in any decision.

Observations:
1. Pavelec will be the #1 goalie or play in Chicago.
2. There is no reason to start the clock on an 18 year old (just barely), 185 pound power forward when there are players who can help more now. Of course, I said the same thing about Bogosian last year.
3. Valabik needs to skate and play,either here or in Chicago. Sitting in the press box does neither him or the Thrashers any good.
4. Players who can kill penalties effectively have a leg up on making the roster. I suppose this statement argues for Fritsche.
5. I think that Bolts will have a hard time making this roster. Losing him would be losing someone who has meant a lot to the Thrashers.

HookyBob

September 27th, 2009
8:01 am

Why do folks think Boris will make the team? (Granted, the only game I have seen was against the Predators.) What does he have going in his favor?

NorthStarsDave

September 27th, 2009
8:22 am

It is so refreshing to have depth….however, the Thrashers are still missing another game changer…that plays both ways.

Sure, Kovy has improved…but he is still not in the Malkin/Sid/Ovechkin class…and if you look at the top teams, all have more than one ’superstar’. Little might develop in to one…I certianly hope so!

This Thrasher team will win because of their depth…and Coach Anderson’s style, but is this team capable of finishing ahead of Washington and Carolina…or become one of the top 8 in the Eastern Conference? The team is getting there…thank goodness the owners are giving this team some attention…we can only hope that they make the moves necessary to get the Thrashers in to the playoffs!

Trade Kari…OP/Hedberg/Legace is a much better threesome than with Kari replacing one of the three…he has just not proven to be reliable and consistent…

I like the lines…and the analysis….thanks!

BG33Brown

September 27th, 2009
8:46 am

Hoosier, your absolutely right about contracts and if I remember correctly, we signed Anssi Salmela to a one way contract. Hence, he makes the team and I think Oystrick goes. I wish this wasn’t the case, but contracts make a difference.

World Be Free

September 27th, 2009
8:56 am

I think Boris needs more time in the minors. The big guy just does not look like he is ready to be an asset. He needs to improve his skating.

Hope we get “the news” on Kovy this week. that would be the best way to start the season.

docsbro

September 27th, 2009
8:58 am

Great analysis as always.

People need to remember this is not his “day job”, so your gonna pick on a misspelled word and math. Also… and I quote…” I would then reduce the number of players who will need to be trimmed off the roster to three.”~Rawhide.

Reread the article…now lets talk some hockey.

This does look like a dynamic team with three solid scoring lines and finally four “NHL” defense men. It also helps that the “other” D-men are well suited to this system. I am excited but there is always trepidation when talking about the Thrash. I also agree that Max has earned a spot…but having watched enough Sabre’s games(the wife’s from the B-lo) I know how he doesn’t always give “max effort”…sorry couldn’t help myself. However, I think he is in a position to try and prove himself and therefore he will give full effort and intensity to the team at least at first….

Dwayne

September 27th, 2009
9:01 am

Bye Bye Doris, Need Gratton, need more than just Kubina and Bolts to protect Kovy, Max, Little, Pevs, Kozzy, and our Goalie, whoever that might be.

BlueSpark

September 27th, 2009
9:19 am

I hope Salmela makes the team. I’m excited to see what he can do. He looked so smooth for the few games he played last year. I also think, once Kari returns, that having another Finn on the team might not be a bad idea.

I have not seen any pre-season games, however, so I can’t judge by that.

ben

September 27th, 2009
9:30 am

Why is Canada all abuzz over the thrashers moving up north on the blogs? Thirty million isn’t a bunch of folks for seven hockey teams. Letemin isn’t the next off, but he’s going soon. I foresee a trade coming to make room for Max. Hows about it! Letemin for a second rounder. He’s a backup, that’s what he is.

World Be Free

September 27th, 2009
9:46 am

docsbro-thanks for beating me to the clarification; great job Bill.

Ben-stealing the Thrashers or any American hockey franchise has become an obsession for hockey idiots in Canada. These “so smart” people would pay top dollar to go to a Maple Leafs game, no matter how bad the product is on the ice.

There’s alotta great people in Canada, but the list of idiots is growing in the Great White North. Especially for anyone who believes Hamilton is an NHL town. Hamilton is a great city, if you like sewers.

Curly

September 27th, 2009
10:35 am

Great analysis Rawhide.

1. I Believe if the Thrashers are serious about improving the Penalty Kill, then Fritsche makes the team. Boulton makes the team as he has proven to fulfill his enforcer role. Gratton provides the added dimension of a second enforcer and a fourth line guy who goes to the net and can score. Plus Josh has a face only his mother could love, and I think he scared one of those goals in (the one where he’s standing at the front of the goalie). I believe that Kane will be sent back to Juniors before his 10th game, as the Thrashers really don’t need to burn up a year of his RFA status now that Max will be signed. That leaves either Slater or Thorburn as the odd man out. Both need work on their scoring abilities. Slater was a late first round pick and I don’t think Don will send down a player he chose in the first round. I think Chris should be sent down (waivers) and hopefully he will clear, as most other teams are in the same boat, trying to clear roster space and will not have the ability to pick him up.

2. Popovic has earned a spot on this team by his pre-season play (and I think Anderson likes him from the their Wolves days). The fate of the remaining three (Salmela, Oystrick and Valabik) may be determined by contract status (two-way). However if Anderson his true to his word and the best players in camp make the team then Nathan makes the team with solid and consistent play. Salmela has not impressed me, however makes the team and sits in the press box only because Boris’ play has been awful; and he needs more time in Chicago.

3. I agree with Rawhide on the goalie situation. OP becomes our #1 with solid pre-season play with Moose as the solid back-up. The Thrashers will carry a third goalie and keep Manny in the pocket (press box) in case of injury or if OP can’t handle the #1 duties.

five_hole

September 27th, 2009
11:00 am

Bill, agree with your assessment on everything except keeping Valabik over Salmela. Not only has Boris been a disappointment on the ice, he simply doesn’t fit Anderson’s scheme of fast puck handling defensemen that can shoot. Hmmmm, who does that sound like? Oh, yeah. Salmela.

Haven’t seen Evander play, but I just like the idea of allowing him to go back to the juniors and mature. Why rush (and potentially ruin) the kid?

Michael B. Shapiro

September 27th, 2009
11:11 am

Bill

Hope to see you at this afternoon’s game. Look left, I’m in 115.

As for who stays/who goes, I think Gratton gives us more than Bolts. I’ve never been a huge fan of Bolts…he fights…okay, but not great, losing far more than he wins, he occasionally takes a stupid penalty, and most of all he just can’t score. Gratton gives us equal if not better fighting capability, never coasts, and has proven that he can keep up with and score with Slates and Thorby. If we truly want to roll four lines (something I’ve advocated for years), then Gratts gets my vote.

On the defensive side, I still think Boris is a stiff. Yes he’s huge and yes he has a long reach, but he skates worse than I do and I can’t skate worth a damn. That frequenlty puts him out of position and causes him to commit a (stupid) penalty. Worse that that, as shown in the Nashville game, JA wants him on the PK. Pretty hard to do that from the sin bin. I’d give Salmonella the nod hear and send Boris back to Chicago with the explicit instructions that if you want to come back up you need to: learn to skate better, avoid commiting stupid penalties (and if you can’t do that at least learn how to “hide” the fact that you’re slashing the opposing player). Liked what I saw from Oyster last year and agree that Pops has earned his shot during the pre-season.

Agree with your assessment of the goalies.

Hope we sign Mad Max and put Kovy’s John Hancock on some paper too.

Go Thrash!

Rawhide

September 27th, 2009
11:16 am

Al – As I have clarified in the post…there is a fourth keeper in camp, Kari, who is injured. There will be three cuts made and, in my opinion, Lehts will be left out of the lineup due to his back.

Frustrated Editor – Thanks for pointing out the mispelled word, it’s been corrected. However, if you are going to carry the title of “editor” here…I must warn you that you’re apt to be very, very “frustrated”. The occational butchered word is just gonna happen. With that aside, tell me what you think of the Thrashers’ organ-I-zation this year…

Five_Hole – You certainly are not the only one who feels that way about Boris…and if he has another game today like he had Wednesday, you very well just may get your wish.

hoosier_hoser – Great points regarding the contract status of players. Nicely done!

Curly – I agree 100% with you about Pops. He’s has done all he can do to make this team.

Darkhorse

September 27th, 2009
11:21 am

Really nice summary Rawhide. I think PK is still the big issue they have not settled yet, along with goalie. I say Fritsche takes Thors spot on opening night. Oystrick goes to the pressbox/Chicago in place of Salmela and his one way contract. It’s not like Salmela has had much of a chance to play compared with Pops and Oystrick this preseason. When he has played, it’s not been a disaster. I think Valabik stays as well. I sense the staff and GM are determined to develop his usefulness(size) to their advantage.

alex

September 27th, 2009
11:22 am

it is crystal clear, boris not good. he stunkt 2 years ago. 1 years ago, on world champ w/slovakia, he stink right now on preseason, he is not chara, not coburn, not even zhitnick or exelby,everybody undestand this but dw. if he want the size, lure shack from cleveland nba. also i am pretty sure we going to be in trouble if pav. our #1 choise. best available right now- legace. still, despite dw building for decade, goalie position our weakest link. even if this is been only one dw fault on any nhl organization he been long time gone, just one exception atlanta thrashers. show me your goalie, i tell you if you have a team. i hope i wrong, my prediction for seson gloom, because of goalie situation, prey for #17 disagree with me,

Ferris Bueller

September 27th, 2009
11:24 am

Frustrated Editor is Cameron’s father.

Frustrated Editor, go outside, loosen up, or life will just pass you by.

Go on now, this post is over…weel, what are you still doing here?

Mike M

September 27th, 2009
11:27 am

I would like to know why Moose is a shoe in for the back up goal tender job? The only thing about his play that is constant is that it is bad. In Save percentage the only number that matters for a goalie he was 46 out of 47 goalies last season 42 out of 44 in 07-08. His best season ever was a .905 he only played 9 games. Kari on the other hand has a worst season ever of .906 and no one wants him around even as a back up. Pavelec is an untested backup at best and Moose is an AHL goalie at best. If Don wants to improve this team then waive moose sign Legace and let Pavelec try to earn a job until Kari returns. If Pavelec gets his act together then the Thrashers can make a trade to get rid of one goalie if they need to but putting the first part of the season in the hands Moose and Pavelec is foolish at best.

Todd Brennand

September 27th, 2009
11:49 am

A very insightful look at the team Rawhide. Something tells me that the Thrash will actually allow Mr. Kane a 9 game test just so they can see how he fares at the NHL level, gauge his development and then send him back to junior. One never knows when another Jordan Staal debut may force a club into a good, yet challenging decision of sacrificing the year of junior eligibility for the betterment of the big club.

Now, in terms of the comments re Canadian hockey fans….while I have grown up outside of Toronto I have actually dispised the team from very early on for the reasons noted above. The majority of fans here are born wearing blue colored glasses and continue to support the team, buy up all the tickets and as such the team for decades was never motivated to improve the on-ice product. On those occasions where they did have a taleneted player they would usually heap so much pressure on them they would eventually falter and be drummed out of town by the horribly disrespectful organization.
In terms of Hamilton as a possible location, you are correct it is not the nicest city in the world, but they have a very nice facility (Copps Coliseum…remember the 87 CDA Cup, Lemieux to Gretzky back to Lemieux, he scores!!) and I can guarantee people would travel from all surrounding areas to provide a fantastic hockey environment and allow the team to financially thrive and provide a brilliant on-ice product. We are a passionate people when it comes to hockey, yet it is usually the naive yet boisterous fans that give us a bad rap. We take it very seriously and begin our children’s development around the age of 4. I live in a city inbetween TO and Hamilton, and have 4 double pad rinks within 5 minutes of my home.
At this point the attention is all focused on the Coyotes while the talk of moving the Thrashers died down quite some time ago.

World Be Free

September 27th, 2009
12:15 pm

Todd-you seem to be the kind of Canadian hockey fan we have been looking for on this blog. Most of your countryman that have come on this blog have been boorish fools, tell us that we don’t deserve a team and all that. Canadians in general are great people, but put them in a hockey rink and some of them go from Dr. Jeckle to Mr. Hyde in a NY mimute.

I am a native Western New Yorker who has listened to it all for years. The folks in Hamilton (and Cherry and Beddoes) blamed the Sabres for Hamilton not getting a team in the 80’s. Now the mayor of Hamilton is making threats against the Sabres once again, as if Buffalo controls whether Hamilton gets a team or not. The rest of the idtiots in the Canadian meia have joined in too. HNIC used to be the gold standard for hockey announcing – now they are just a bunch of Leaf homers. Glad to see they have learned to work together.

Copps is OK if the year was 1985. But you have to admit that Hamilton has done a poor job of supporting its teams for years. The Bulldogs draw mildly. Go back to the 70’s; Hamilton failed to support the Jr. RedWings and Fincups. If you want a legitimate 7th NHL team, put it somehwere in Toronto with 21st Century arena or put a team in Winnipeg, a real NHL city.

Heading to the game this afternoon. Hope to see some of you there.
The people of Glendale has invested millions in the Yotes. They deserve to keep them under the right ownership. Baisillie is not the right ownership!

Rawhide

September 27th, 2009
12:26 pm

Michael B. Shapiro - Actually, today I’ll have to look right as the younger tax exemption and I will be hanging in 119. Come by and say “howdy”.

WBF – Same to you….119.

Todd Brennand – I’ll echo WBF’s comments regarding what a welcome addition you are here with your very insightful comments!

Cornbread, docsbro, Let’s Start the Season & Mike M. – A warm welcome to you as well.

LAC – As always, I appreciate the kind words…but let’s cut C-Viv a little slack here, my friend. He’s pulled in several directions right now. Once the golf tourny is over he’ll be full-time on the Thrashers and will provde us with quality coverage, I assure you.

World Be Free

September 27th, 2009
12:49 pm

Bill-I am in 106 today-I’ll come over and see you after 2nd period.

Smitty

September 27th, 2009
1:23 pm

Try not to get too upset with Canadiens wanting to get another franchise by whatever means. They are as passionate about hockey as many in this town are passionate about GA football. If and when hockey comes to Hamilton it will be well supported. **WBF** Do not be too harsh on Hamilton. We are both from the Buffalo area and last time I looked Buffalo was not that big of a hot spot. Buffalo is similar to Hamilton in that they both are blue collar types of towns that went down hill due to the loss of the manufacturing sector.

As for the final cuts, if Max signs Kane will go back to jrs much to my regret. I think Gratton should stay on the 4th line with either Bolts or Thorny in the press box. I think Boris should stay and join Pops as the 3rd set of

Brendan

September 27th, 2009
1:29 pm

I voted Fritsche, Salmela, and Kane off the island. Want to hear the good news? These are all fairly decent players to be called up, at some point. Could the Thrashers actually start to have to depth on the farm? It’s certainly looking that way. It’ll be fun to watch the Wolves, looking at Sterling, Holzapfel, Kulda, Grant Lewis, Postma, and whichever goalies ultimately wind up there. Let’s keep an eye out on McIntyre, too.

My lineups are: Kovy-Antro-Little, Kozzie-White-Afinogenov, Peverley-Reasoner-Armstrong, with Gratton in the Press Box. On Defense, I’ve got Enstrom-Bogosian on top, with Hainsey and Kubina in the middle, and Valabik and Popovic on the bottom. Up in the Pressbox: Nathan Oystrick. In net, Pavelec and Moose, with Legace in the Presser. Pretty similar to what you have, Rawhide.

Hookybob: It makes the GM look bad to have a former 1st round pick (2004) still in the minors five years later. Valabik’s got to be given the push this year. It’s time. If he can’t cut it in the NHL, then it’s back to the minors, unless someone wants him in a trade. And, again, let’s not just give him away. Even if Valabik cannot make it in the NHL, full-time, he still has “value” as a call-up, when needed.

In case anyone’s curious, Mark Popovic was originally acquired by Atlanta on August 23, 2005, for Kip Brennan, who got shipped out to Anaheim. Brennan had been acquired by Atlanta in that trade for Jeff Cowan, back in March 2004, along with the rights to Kurtis Foster. Waddell shipped Kurtis Foster out to Anaheim for Nic Havelid. And you’ll all recall that Havelid was moved to New Jersey at the trade deadline, last season, for Ansi Salmela. Popovic was lost to Free Agency for a time, but could re-sign with Atlanta. Is Popovic signed? My apologies, if he has been signed. I just didn’t see a contract announcement.

Rawhide, please don’t tell me we have spelling nazis on the board? Hasn’t the rule always been, “If you get to the period at the end of the sentence, and you UNDERSTOOD the post, then it’s a good post (content not withstanding). But if you get to the period at the end of the sentence and have no clue what the poster was trying to say, then that’s a BAD post.” Rawhide, you could incorrectly spell a word in every single sentence, and you’d STILL be the best Fan Blogger the AJC has ever had. It’s about content, folks. Not pefect sentence structure. Or spelling. (I’m aware that “not perfect sentence structure” has glaring grammatical flaws, like the utter absence of a VERB! English teachers everywhere are rolling over “Or spelling” as a possible sentence.)

Brendan

September 27th, 2009
1:32 pm

Umm, yeah. That fourth line should read: Boulton-Slater-Thorburn. Sorry.

Todd Brennand

September 27th, 2009
1:32 pm

WBF – You are right in that the one thing TO and it’s surrounding areas are not good at is supporting anything other than the premier league. I mean the Marlies (TO farm team) have tried so may locations in and around town but they never pan out for it is the Leafs or nothing. Same could be said for basketball, baseball….and do not even get me started on the Argos and the CFL. The smaller towns in Ontario who have an OHL team are outstanding supporters of the local team, but any farm teams close enough to smell the Big Smoke seemed destined to struggle.
Copps would need a rather large makeover, and ugh the ice is like skating in sand so this would need to be seriously upgraded….but it would fly for sure if an NHL team was there.
Re the HNIC announcers….I hate them with the power of a thousand suns. They are the reason I buy the Centre Ice package every year so I can hear the visiting teams announcers call the game. I spent years listening to the Sabres and grew so fond of the dulcet tones of Rick Jeanneret, that I was shocked and appalled when I learned I would have to listen to Harry Neale (ex HNIC announcer) do the color for all Buffalo games. All that said…..looking at all the possible locations for another team, Winter-peg would be the best in terms of rabid fans and a lack of corporate involvement…like with the Leafs who buy up all the seats and do not bother to show until mid-way through the second period and inevitably hang out at the bars underneath the platinum seats that no normal person could ever afford. Seriously, you could buy the Centre Ice package for the year and a 50″ plasma tv for the same money as you would spend on 2 tickets to the game.

Alan R.

September 27th, 2009
2:01 pm

I don’t believe Thorburn has done enough to make the team.

Contracts are meaningless if you have more capable players. Gratton on the ice, Thorburn in the box.

That’s really about it. I’m really not impressed with Thorburn, when someone like Gratton can do the same things better.

CarrieLee

September 27th, 2009
2:01 pm

I don’t feel qualified to comment on the lineup yet seeing as today’s game will be the first I’ve been to this preseason. And with only a few games broadcast on radio (and some were the OTHER team’s home station) I can’t really say I know much about the team’s chemistry yet. It’s more than a little frustrating to try and tune in games and realize that there is no TV (and spotty radio) coverage. Shouldn’t these smaller, “in trouble” teams be doing all they can to get fans to watch and listen?
Ah, but I could rant all day and I’d rather concentrate on the positives–I’m excited about the team this year, happy that the choices the coaches have to make are between good and better, and most of all I’m READY FOR HOCKEY!

My younger “tax exemption” and I will be in 122–I’ll be the one with the hot pink arm cast.

Nikita

September 27th, 2009
2:47 pm

Let’s see…

I vote Kane and Valabik down to the lower leagues after Kane puts in his display games. Or maybe he puts them in midseason when we start traditionally having problems with overall squad health?

I’d like to see Gratton in place of Thorburn or Slater. But I’m not sure which — neither is great on the PK, though Thorburn is marginally better. Thorburn has the weaker skating, though.

Oh, and I am moving, ya’ll. Going to enemy territory, where I will do my damndest to acquire Centre Ice and see the Thrash in person when they play against my new home teams. (I haven’t decided which to adopt yet, though I hear I will be heavily pressured to support the Penguins.) My last game in Phillips will be the opener.

World Be Free

September 27th, 2009
2:51 pm

Smitty-agreed on your post, except I believe we Buffalonians are a much more civil group than the folks in Hamilton. I would be willing to work with them if they showed the slightest desire to do the same. They really gave it to the Knoxs in te 80’s. The Knox brothers were 2 of the classiest people in any sports. I have had a tough time setting that stuff aside.

Todd-as I stated before, you have brought a great insight to “the other side”. I agree 100% with what you have stated about support for sports other than hockey in Ontario and much of Canada. I have had the pleasure of going to many OHA/OHL games when I was younger. Great stuff.

HNIC-I miss Danny Gallivan, Gary Dornhofer and Mickey Redmond on Hockey Night in Canada though Redmond has become a bit of a homer in Detroit. Chris Cuthbert is the best P/B/P man on HNIC, he should be ahead of Bob Cole and Jin Hughson (The Mannequin) out in Vancouver. I remember Hughson from his Leaf days on CHCH in Hamilton.

Please get rid of Al Strachen, anything but Strachen.

Alan R.

September 27th, 2009
3:06 pm

Or maybe he puts them in midseason when we start traditionally having problems with overall squad health?

Can’t. Kane goes to Juniors or stays here. There’s no in-between, as per CBA.

Jameson

September 27th, 2009
3:23 pm

For what it’s worth, here’s my guess:

Forwards

Kovalchuk – Antropov – Little
Kozlov – White – Afinogenov
Peverley – Reasoner – Armstrong
Boulton – Slater – Gratton
In the press box: Thorburn

Defensemen

Hainsey – Kubina
Bogosian – Enstrom
Salmela – Popovic
In the press box: Valabik

Goalies

Pavelec
Hedberg
In the press box: Legace

Jameson

September 27th, 2009
3:55 pm

I tend to agree with Darkhorse about the defense. Although, since I think Valabik will get a pass, I guess they’ll go ahead and play him. I’d really rather see him shipped out, and Oyster taking his spot, though. I remember a couple of years ago, I was sure that Oystrick and Popovic would be our long term solution for a third pair on defense.

Jameson

September 27th, 2009
5:11 pm

Is anybody able to stream audio or video from the game? I can’t find any.

Waffleboy

September 27th, 2009
6:17 pm

This season is all about everybody buying into the system day one. We saw it at the end of last year and it needs to start DAY ONE this season. JA’s system works if they work it. Hopefully this team, as it stands now, buys in 100%. As to the goaltender situation, it is precarious, at best. I hope KL is back soon, because we need him to be the man this year. We simply cannot win without a legit no. 1 goaltender and KL is the ONLY one who can be that. I like Opie and Moose is a solid backup, but without KL at his best, I don’t think this team makes the playoffs.

Darkhorse

September 27th, 2009
7:14 pm

If anyone wants to listen to the rest of the 3rd. It’s not been pretty. 4-1 Bolts. Pavs doesn’t sound like a number one to me:(

http://www.whnz.com/cc-common/ondemand/player.html?world=st

Zoomo

September 27th, 2009
7:24 pm

Now 5-1 …sounds ugly.

R. Stroz

September 27th, 2009
7:27 pm

Send Pavelec to Chicago, he’s NOT ready for prime time.

Darkhorse

September 27th, 2009
7:30 pm

I bet this performance throws a wrench in Anderson and Waddell’s plan. PK sounded bad, not much sustained offense, Pavs sounded average to poor, and 0-6 on the PP. Oh boy….

Chris

September 27th, 2009
7:42 pm

What in the hell is going on inside Blueland today? 5-1 to Tampa?

Ugh. Better now than Saturday. But this doesn’t get me excited at all for the regular season. Not what you want to see out of your “first team.”

Send Boris anywhere. The guy isn’t capable of being productive in this system.

Jameson

September 27th, 2009
7:47 pm

I have to keep reminding myself it’s preseason after looking at that box score. I guess Pavs is just going to continue with a couple of good performances followed by a choke job.

Dwayne

September 27th, 2009
8:16 pm

HERE IS MY POST FROM SEPT. 26TH AT 6:07 PM.
I think Manny is the better option at STARTER, I do not think Opie can handle the 5 game road trip. I’d let Moose back up Manny and let Opie start in Chicago. Ladies and Gentlemen, the Thrashers can not have a bad start. I would rather be able to say, 2 veterans played goalie and couldn’t get it done, than to have a rookie, or somewhat of a rookie, get shelled. And then be saying, we should of went with the veterans.

jared

September 27th, 2009
8:20 pm

5-1 does not sound good. This really scares me. This is the second time Pavs has let in more than 4 goals in a preseason game yikes. KL needs to hurry his self back into shape or this could be a bad year in trying to resign kovy. Valabik is a good as gone in my book. unless he learns a lot quickly i say give up on him and bring in kulda or Postma they seem more ready than valabik is. Postma has the offensive mindset and the passing skills to make the squad, ya he is skinny but when has that stopped the thashers from putting someone on the ice.

Gratton is my main man for this 4th line, i say throw thorbun out.