Thrashers second line on the schnied

So far after three games played, the Atlanta Thrashers’ offense has performed, as many would have expected, very well…scoring a total of 12 goals, four goals per game on the average.

Ilya Kovalchuk has led the way as he’s been involved in exactly half of those dozen scores…five goals and an assist. Fellow linemate Bryan Little has yet to notch his first tally of the season, however he has already contributed with four assists. Throw in last Saturday’s assist by Nik Antropov and the players that make up the first line have 5 goals and 6 assists between them…one of those goals and two helpers have come via the power play. Little is a +3, Kovy and Antropov are each a +2.

That’s some pretty good production so far, eh?

Dropping down to the third line you’ll find some decent numbers as well. Rookie Evander Kane has already found the net once and chipped in with an assist. Rich Peverley has a pair of goals…one on the power play… and four overall points, while Colby Armstrong has one assist in the two games he has played. That’s a total of three goals and four assists coming from the third line of your attack. After just three games, those are very promising numbers.

Kane and Peverley are +2 while Army is a +1. When Marty Reasoner centered the third line on opening night…he was a +1. So, like the top line, all positives from the third.

The fourth line has also done their part…Eric Boulton has a goal and an assists and is a +1, Chris Thorburn is a +1 with a pair of assists, Marty Reasoner’s assist came while on the fourth line in St. Louis when he was a +2 that night…he was a –1 in the loss to Ottawa.

So that’s a goal and four assists coming from the energy/checking line and all are on the good side of the +/- or even.

On defense, there have already been three goals accounted for from the blueline…25% of the total offensive production. Hainsey, Salmela and Bogosian with the honors there. Pavel Kubina and Tobias Enstrom have served up three assists each while Salmela has added another. That’s seven of the 22 overall assists coming from the defensive corps.

All of this is very, very good, indeed…have we overlooked anything?

Slava Kozlov and his linemates Todd White and Maxim Afinogenov are on the schnied so far (AP/Tom Gannam)

Slava Kozlov and his linemates Todd White and Maxim Afinogenov are on the schnied so far (AP/Tom Gannam)

Oh yes…then there are the un-good numbers that belong to the second line of Todd White, Slava Kozlov and Maxim Afinogenov.

Slava Kozlov has zero goals and zero assists to go with his –2 rating.

Todd White…zero goals, zero assists and a –3.

Maxim Afinogenov has produced one assist but no goals and is a –3.

It should be noted here that Afinogenov’s point was a secondary assist on a Rich Peverley power play goal against the Bolts with Kovalchuk getting the primary.

Also, there are only five players on the team that are below even in the +/- this season so far and three are found on that second line. The other two are defensemen Bogosian and Enstrom…each are –1.

So the question is…is this cause for alarm?

I’ll cut to the chase and answer by saying, ”No…at least not yet”.

White, Afinogenov and Kozlov are getting their chances… between the three they have accounted for 16 SOG, or roughly 20% of all Thrashers’ shots. Max’s 7 shots are only bettered by Kovalchuk’s 11 and Kane’s 8. The first line of Kovy, Little and Antropov have 18 shots between them and the third line of Peverley, Kane and Army have 17…18 if you count Reasoner’s 1 SOG against Tampa Bay.

So there’s not a lot of difference in the SOG stats between the top-three lines.

Last Saturday, Max almost had his first goal as a Thrasher in the loss to the Senators… but was robbed by a great save from Brian Elliott. Slava Kozlov’s “goal” in the third would have cut Ottawa’s lead to one…but it was ruled played by a high-stick. Listening to the radio feed from Kamal and Eliot, they seemed to think that it was possible from the replay they saw that the stick could have been below the crossbar when coming in contact with the puck…but I digress.

Now this isn’t to say that there haven’t been times when the trio has seemed out of sync or still trying to get into the flow of things…certainly they have at times. But looking back on preseason, if I remember correctly, this line didn’t get a lot of action together during those games. So maybe there are still some kinks to be worked out.

There are those, I’m sure, that might suggest shuffling the lines as a remedy to the lack of production from this area. But if Anderson chose that route, then it would mean monkeying with the first or third line…both of which are doing just fine, thank you very much.

Regardless…after just three games, I just don’t think it’s time to hit the panic button.

At least…not just quite yet.

60 comments Add your comment


October 12th, 2009
10:08 pm

Isn’t this the contract year for everyone on the 2nd line? Maybe they are already squeezing the sticks a bit too tight. :)

Perhaps they need to play more often than once every five days.

I’m thinking the goals will come for them.


October 12th, 2009
10:28 pm

Well said Rawhide. I was wondering how the lines were producing, but I must admit being too lazy to look up the stats…

So I feel like I should thank you for allowing me to perpetuate my laziness haha


October 12th, 2009
10:31 pm

This weird sked certainly is not helping. This team needs more games so that it can gel from top line down. The potential is certainly there and 5 games in 8 days should give us a pretty good indication as to what works and what doesn’t. My hunch is that White will need to go back to the pivot on the top line and Little down to center the 2nd.


October 12th, 2009
10:55 pm

HookyBob – Kozzy’s last year, White has 2 yrs left, Max signed for 1.
Smoothie – I’ve seen posts that assert Antropov is a slow starter, so I’m more inclined to ride the fence on that one. I’m more in the camp that believes our 3rd line is/will become our 2nd line.


October 12th, 2009
11:26 pm

JLH – I’m only suggesting we move Antro back to his natural RW pos, not moving him off the top line. I think you add some much needed grit or sandpaper to the 2nd line by letting Little play the pivot for Slava and Max. He can do all the mucking and grinding that the other two don’t do consistently. Little will continue to do well on the top line, but I think his complete 2-way game would be better served on the 2nd line (more puck posession is needed)


October 12th, 2009
11:43 pm

I heard Afinogenov had to score in Ottawa, and Kozzy did actually score… Close enough for me. It’s only been 3 games so far.


October 12th, 2009
11:54 pm

Excellent recommendation, Smoothie. From what I’ve seen (and only heard from Ottawa…sucks) is that Kovy and Antro have jelled quite nicely. Switching Little with White should not bother their chemistry and why not try something to kickstart line 2. I agree with Rawhide, also, that it is not anytime to panic but a 1 game trial switch couldn’t hurt. Who knows…

Cup Guy

October 12th, 2009
11:57 pm

I agree with Little moving down. I know it’s early in the season and they have not had a good schedule to start the season with only 3 games in two weeks. I say lets stay with the lines as they are for the next 5 games. That should give them more time to get a feel for each other. You have to keep in mind that Max has been injured and it might take him a little more time to get back to his normal self. He is arguably a top 6 forward keep that in mind. I love what our D has done this year. I remember a few seasons ago we were worst with points coming from the back. Expect to see that number go up this year with lots of records being broken.

Rawhide: I guess since we wont be coming home with 5 wins I dont get the two drinks, but if we come back with 4 wins, I will take the single drink. In the end I would love to meet up with you at the next home game and meet you personally.

Hockey Biltong

October 13th, 2009
12:52 am

9TH!!! Woohoo.


October 13th, 2009
7:32 am


It seems to me that the 2nd line’s getting their chances. For all the heat Max takes in this blog (some of it deservedly so) he does create scoring chances. Koslov is a notoriously slow starter. By Bill’s stats above, the 2nd line has 17 SOG, compared to 18 with the 1st line. After 3 games, I don’t see the necessity of shaking up the other lines, just to tinker with this one.

If I were to do anything, I’d try to get OP a goalie coach.


October 13th, 2009
7:35 am

I’m not worried about the second line right now. We all know Slava starts slow, so I’ll give him to the end of the road trip to get that line up to speed. The fact that we’re getting such great production from our third and fourth lines and out d corps mitigates what we’re not getting from the second line.

Cup Guy is right, Afinogenov is a top six forward in this league, and I can’t see Kozlov and White not getting ir together with all the chances they’re getting. I’m still more concerned with the SOG stat. I know that JA doesn’t worry about it, he worries more about scoring chances, but anytime a goalie HAS to stop a puck that’s on goal, there’s a chance he misses it. Just look at Huet last night, or Khabibulin last week. I’d like to see the SOG cut at or below 30 for a few games in a row.

World Be Free

October 13th, 2009
8:32 am

I am trying to hold back my thoughts on Max. That’s so difficult, being a Sabres fan for so long.

I promised that I would not diss MAx until Christmas. By then, I sure most people will be tired of his act.


October 13th, 2009
8:41 am

Hard to believe Tampa is on top of the division…

Washington and Tampa have let in more goals than scored.

Meanwhile, we sit all week with no games.

These next two are CRITICAL games, if we lose both we could be in real trouble, real trouble.

Let’s hope for some solid play. Plus the Buffalo game is not on any TV
I could find… what is up with that ?


October 13th, 2009
8:56 am

Can someone explain to me why, with the compressed schedule due to the Olympics, we have these huge stretches with no games?

Spud Webb

October 13th, 2009
9:35 am

Well considering the fact that I don’t like white or max (not personally, just their games) I’m not surprised. In defense of them though, it has only been 3 games. We shall see…


October 13th, 2009
9:39 am

Probably has something to do with Disney on Ice… perhaps every team will be effected at some point during the season as Mickey Mouse makes his way around the country. :)


October 13th, 2009
9:40 am

Kozlov and White will get their chances on the Power Play… I still think Army is the better RW for Kozy and White.


October 13th, 2009
10:18 am

These are the lines I posted just before the season started and were done with the thought Army wasn’t going to be ready.


Now I’d say I agree with Smoothie.


If after a few more games with low production from the 2nd line I might just swap the 2nd & 3rd and give them more time to get up to speed and gel.

When are the going to wise up and hire a Goalie coach?


October 13th, 2009
10:25 am

I wouldn’t change a thing…yet. It’s been 3 games and we’re 2-1. Wait till the 10 game mark and then we’ll talk shakeup.

Get The Puck Out

October 13th, 2009
11:06 am

The weak link is still gonna be the goalie. With this many SOG your’e gonna have to REALLY be on your game and i don’t know if opie is used to this kind of assault on the NHL level. If Manny has signed a pro tryout contract with Chicago can he be brought up to the Thrash?

pond scum

October 13th, 2009
11:09 am

It’s ironic that the #2 line is off to the slower start considering that line was the one that carried us many nights on offense last season (especially early on) until Pevs came along.Well I firmly believe Kozzie was robbed by the refs sat. nite and Max got robbed by the Sens goalie.

And as Rawhide pointed out,this line really didn’t get any time to gel together in camp or preseason cause Max did join in later and just about all the icetime was given to players who was rite on the cusp of either making this squad or the Wolves. So that I feel is part of the reason.

Slava is a slow starter himself and he’s really not a big shot taker,in the 82 games he played last season,he took 165 shots for 26 goals. So Kozzie makes the most of what he takes, Max is trying to regain form after missing so much time due to injury over the past 3 seasons.

I’m one of the biggest White supporters here. White will go to the front of the net. He does have chemistry with Kozzie, considering the early and stable point production from last seasons start with the Little-White-Russian line. White himself is not a puck hog,which sometimes he does pass up a shot to set up another linemate. Max does seem to wanna handle the puck more between the 3 of them,Kozzie needs to step in and take charge and let his play making and descions set up Max and White,not the other way around.

I don’t think changing around the lines would be wise right now. We have only played 3 games(while the rest of the league is almost double or more in that category). I feel they need some more time together to gel and work it out. One thing JA could do is if this keeps up,is change up on the fly during some games. If the confidence of the players gets lower,it’ll take even longer for them to come around. They will start trying “to hard” to make something out of nothing,and that could lead to turnovers going the other way into our net instead.


October 13th, 2009
11:20 am

Agree with the fact that it’s only been 3 games, so let’s not break up the band just yet. They’ve been sniffing the twine, and it’s only a matter of time before they start gnawing on it. I’m more concerned, not overly, but more concerned with the goaltending situation and having to utilize both with the back-to-back games coming up. Does the Moose have enough left to keep us close on the scoreboard?


October 13th, 2009
11:26 am

i think pavs needs to stay in goal. he needs to fix this rebound issue he has and he can’t do that on the bench. Like Viper said re: Maverick in Top Gun, “Keep Sending Him Up.”


October 13th, 2009
2:37 pm

The current roster of the Thrashers may be an opportunity to rethink the current notion of 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th lines, much like Buffalo did 4-5 years ago when they rolled 4, fast-skating lines. Rather than apportioning ES time so that the so that Antropov’s line gets the most, then White’s line, then Peverly’s line, down to Reasoner’s line, why not roll the lines at ES, starting with Antropov. PP’s, PK’s and starting points will adjust the minutes so that Antropov’s line gets the most minutes, etc. PP’s will also give the skill players more minutes in favorable situations. This approach will force the opponents to keep up and wear down opponents who don’t have confidence in their 3rd an 4th lines.

The Thrashers can come out of the PP with Reasoner’s line and then go to Antropov’s line. They can come out of the PK with Antropov’s line and then go to White’s line.

If JA believes that Peverly’s line is going better than White’s, change the order to Antropov, Peverly, White, Reasoner.

I would have to see some metrics to know whether the Thrashers are better off matching the opponent’s top line with the next line, as opposed to Peverly’s or Reasoner’s line. I don’t believe the answer is obvious.

What I’m suggesting is that the Thrashers take advantage of their speed, skill and depth rather than have match tactics dictated by line numbers.

BTW: Making judgements on the goals scored by White’s line after 3 matches is just a bit premature. If White’s line is generating good shots on goal, which seems to be the case, there is every reason to be confident, Max naysayers aside.


October 13th, 2009
2:39 pm

Non-issue at this point. It’s only three games and the season opening three at that. They are getting plenty of chances, White is a centerman, Slava usually starts a little slow and I don’t know how Max usually starts. Kovy was a little slow getting started last season. It’s hard to be a plus player when nodody on your line has scored. I don’t know if any of the defensive scores came when the 2nd line was out there. It’s just too early…but it’s also five daye between games, lol, got to talk about something!

Now, if all the KWK line was doing was turning the puck over and going to the box that might be a bit concerning.


October 13th, 2009
2:44 pm

I guess these guys have to be the White Russian line now. They are no longer Little so thay need to be scoring!

Tony C.

October 13th, 2009
3:02 pm

J.B.-Excellent point. Also tremendous kudos for using “Top Gun” as a reference.


October 13th, 2009
3:06 pm

Me personally I think they should swap Little and Maxim. Little could help Kozlov and White with a pure scorer on that line. Maxim could be a nice decoy for Kovy. Maxim also seems to like going towards the net which would be perfect to bang in rebounds as Kovy and Antropov take shots and work along the walls.


October 13th, 2009
3:10 pm

With my line combos you could call Kovys line the “Faberge Line” and Kozlov’s line the “Little White Russian” line. :)


October 13th, 2009
3:21 pm

Hey WBF…you’re being sneaky and dissing Max by saying you’re not going to do that until Christmas!


October 13th, 2009
3:39 pm

i find the vast majority of people identify and appreciate a good top gun reference from time to time :-)

World Be Free

October 13th, 2009
3:44 pm

kracker-it’s so difficult to hold back! Especially when I hear of Max being a top 6 forward. That’s like calling Phyllis Diller a hot chick.

OK-I promise that from now on, I’ll leave Max alone. Jimmy’s not playing so I have nobody to diss!

hip czech

October 13th, 2009
3:59 pm

an interesting idea on how to re-do the point system in the NHL:

One ‘good’ thing about this weird schedule is that it is kind of nice to be the ones with games in hand. It seems like every year for the last 5 years or so the Thrashers were ALWAYS at the top of games played in the conference and other teams had 2 or 3 games in hand.

Maybe in March we can make up some ground with those games in hand (assuming we still have them at that point).

Petty Officer Thrash USN

October 13th, 2009
4:07 pm


October 13th, 2009
4:25 pm

For those who ask, why is the schedule this way? Why so few games when the rest of the league is into a normal flow? Here`s the reason(s). Right now, ITS FOOTBALL SEASON! The ASG and the NHL have learned the hard way not to try to compete with football right in the heart of their season. If you go to home games early in the season what you see is a lot of empty seats. A LOT OF EMPTY SEATS. Therefore, games played at home later on the schedule have a much better chance of drawing fans. Also, starting games at 7:00 is very hard for anyone living or working beyond 285 to get there. This prevents a large percentage of potential fans from being there.


October 13th, 2009
4:40 pm

For all the talk about the 2nd line, the goal that angered me most was the one when Hainsey was gently moved away from the puck behind Atlanta goal. Granted, he scored his own later, but the guy of his size should be ashamed to look as soft as he does.


October 13th, 2009
4:43 pm

Sadtoseeitthisway… well, they better hope they’re still in the thick of the playoff race come March, or they’ll have a hard time filling the building for 12 home games.

And Football is only two days a week and most of it’s in the afternoon on Sunday… that’s no excuse. So, I guess everyone is going to bail out on the Thrashers and Capitals next week since UNC is playing Florida St on ESPN?


October 13th, 2009
5:45 pm

Chelios as a Thrasher, i’d pay to see him

Stat Support

October 13th, 2009
6:27 pm

In game #1 the Thrashers, officially, had 17 scoring chances. The double white Russian line created 6 of them. And Mad Max created an oppty to score during a 4 on 4 sequence. Problem is they didn’t convert on any and they gave up at least a 1/2 dozen chances while on the defensive side of the ice. Game #2 to come later.

Hockey Biltong

October 13th, 2009
6:57 pm

Statistically, isn’t this supposed to be an off year for Kozlov???
WBF – you did sneak in an errant[or not so] remark about Max!!! Step away from that horse till December!!!

Stat Support

October 13th, 2009
8:42 pm

Game #2 — there were 14 (unofficially) scoring chances versus the Blues. Unfortunately, only 2 of them were generated by the Dbl White Russian line. They didn’t give up any goals but they were consistently bested by either the 1st or 2nd line of St Louis. Most of the evening, they were pushed around by the more physical Blues team.

World Be Free

October 13th, 2009
9:03 pm

Oops-Biltong caught me too! Cheers need to buy you a coldie at the next Thrash game.

Watching the Leafs lose, again. Ex got in a fight and hammered some dude. Hockey Bil, betcha your buddies in Calgary will have fun watching the Maple Loafs stink all season.


October 13th, 2009
11:07 pm

2nd line will come around. They are all trying to pass to each other right now. Mad Max is impressing me. He breaks for the goal on the weak side. The passing is off a bit, but they will get the timing down.

Kozlov always tries to pass first, shoot second. He will start shooting more.

Questions – Does anyone know if the game with the Sabres on Saturday is going to be viewed anywhere?


October 13th, 2009
11:31 pm

World Be Free, I hope you’re still here tonight. Did you see that Leafs game on “Leafs TV?” O…M…G. One of the Leaf announcers actually attempted to explain away tonight’s 4-1 loss, and 0-5-1 start, on the basis that it’s “homecoming” for too many of the League’s players when they come to Toronto. They rattled off a laundry list of Aves players who had “friends and family” in attendance. At least the other Leaf announcer said, “You cannot use that as an excuse. And what about the members of the Leafs who play before ‘friends and family’ 41 times a year?” Yay! Rational thought isn’t completely lost. In some fairness to the Leafs, two Aves goals went in off Leaf players on strange caroms. That’s a lame excuse, I do realize. Colin White isn’t a goalie, but by my count, he made five saves in or about the Toronto goal crease. Hey, MacDonald needed all the help he could get tonight.

The Leafs cannot win like that. Or by giving up what feels like more than four goals per game. Things won’t get any easier for them, as the “red hot” Rangers roll into the Air Canada Center on Saturday night, which is a “date night.” If the Leafs lay another egg, look for the Sunday morning print edition of the Toronto paper to be scathing. As it stands now, Toronto has earned one of a possible twelve (1/12) points on the season. Yes, they got a “pity point” for the overtime loss against Montreal. The NHL network is reporting that this is the Leafs worst start since 1990-91.

But really, they (the Toronto media) have mostly themselves to blame. It is Toronto’s media that fuels these “risky trades” to find some “quick fix” solution to their 40+ year drought from the Cup. Who promises two (2) first round picks to a DIVISION Rival, while “rebuilding?” Plus a 2nd rounder, too. This year!!!

If the season ended today, the Leafs, statistically-speaking, would pick 1st overall. But now, that pick goes to Boston, as part of that Kessel trade. And where is Phil Kessel? Not in the lineup. When he returns, he’d better average two-points a game. It’s early, of course. It’s all still very early. But if this season continues like this for Toronto, they won’t pick until 91st overall. Unless they’re promised some other team’s pick, from some previous trade, or some future trade.

Imagine if Brian Burke leads Team USA to the gold or silver, in the same season that the Leafs lottery draft pick goes to Boston? Would Burke be allowed back into the province?

Garnet Exelby was caught out of position a few times in that Leafs game. He got in a fight, and scabbed up his knuckles. Later on, in the 3rd period, Exelby got bodied off the puck. In frustration, he drilled one of the Aves from behind into the glass and sat for two-minutes. It didn’t escape Leafs’ announcers scrutiny. Ron Wilson stormed off to the lockerroom at the game’s buzzer, where the team was serenaded by fans who STAYYYYED just to boo their team out of the barn. Again. That’s at least twice now that Toronto has booed their team off the ice.


October 13th, 2009
11:56 pm

Eh, not worried. Both White and Koz are usually slow starters. White’s production is slow and he, literally, isn’t up to the speed of the NHl until a few weeks have oassed.

World Be Free

October 14th, 2009
8:01 am

You know Brendan, it’s really sad to see what’s happened to the Leafs over the past few years. It is in the best interest of the league for Toronto to be competitive and accurately covered.

The media carries the majority of the blame here, for forcing their “Cool Aid” on the Leafs’ Nation. They pressured Ferguson Jr. to overpay tier 2 free agents and resign Bryan McCabe to a long term contract. Then they tossed Fergy, McCabe and most of the newcomers under the bus when they didn’t win the Stanley Cup. What free agent would want to play under such media pressure? The days of the Leafs getting hometown discounts are over.

Vesa Toskela is the current object of everyone’s anger, though he rarely gets any help from the Leafs’ core of “6th defenseman” and the second coming-Luke Schenn. Now even Brian Burke has succumbed to the pressure by pulling the trigger on what looks to be a horrible trade for Phil Kessel. Your call on their immediate future and the height of Boston’s first reward is right on. Two more high picks to come for a guy who hasn’t taken the ice yet. The boo-birds are waiting him. His contract should be considered hazard pay.

Toronto media used to be blunt and honest when Harold Ballard owned the club. Pal Hal was an easy target and Leaf management got a break, because everyone knew Ballard called all the shots. It’s tougher now that the teachers own the club-who do you focus your anger towards? The focus goes from ownership to club management who supposedly have all the resources to build a winner. You build winners through the draft and experience in the AHL.

I heard the same excuses last night on Leaf TV – or “Laugh TV”. Incredible.

Foster Hewitt must be spinning in his grave.

R. Stroz

October 14th, 2009
8:25 am

Move the Maple Leafs to Winnepeg.


October 14th, 2009
8:32 am

Have you seen Detroit and Buffalo game? Buffalo played very good and won a game 6:2. We will play with Buffalo this Saturday. It will not be easy game. Buffalo lost Vanek after second period, but they are very fast team. I hope we can get 2 points in NJ and 1 point in Buffalo.


October 14th, 2009
8:37 am

The decline of the newspaper has had a lot to do with how the game is reported. A reporter who simply conveys the facts is not as “coveted” as those who are more outgoing and demonstrative, so the papers tend to employ the latter…truth or objectivity be damned. Reading the Hockey News is sickening, it is a cover to cover suck up to all things Canadian. I finally had to cancel…it’s a waste of time and money. Someday (well, maybe not) I will understand why they are soooo against trying to expand the game to new viewers in “non-traditional” markets. It’s not as if we change the rules of the game to suit our demographic. The game is exactly the same in Phoenix as it is in Toronto….not like the CFL, who had to make football ridiculous adding silly rule changes to suit Canadian tastes.

Saturday nights game against Buffalo just changed a bit with Vanek’s injury. They are being vague about what happened as he plowed into the boards after his goal, merely calling it an “upper body injury” and saying he will be out a few weeks.

Speaking of the Sabres…I actually prefer the Buffaslug to that half-assed “throwback” they wore last night. Adding the silver to the stripes, the navy instead of royal blue are bad enough, but those grey pit stain patches they have under the arm are atrocious. Almost as bad as the Thrashers red jerseys. Do the fans up there actually like this uni?

World Be Free

October 14th, 2009
8:45 am

Stroz-great rumor! Give it to the Toronto media/fans for once!

Russian-Sabres playing well/their forechecking and backchecking has been real good. Funny what happenes when you add a little character to a team. Now most of their forwards are going to the net which wasn’t the case last year.

It will be interesting to see how “Hockeytown” reacts to the Wings’ fortunes this season.