Kovalchuk out 4 weeks with foot fracture

The news that we feared would come today has indeed been made known…Ilya Kovalchuk suffered a broken bone in his right foot during Saturday night’s 4-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks and will miss up to 4weeks of action while it heals.

With Kovy out, what will need to step up the most?

  • The Offense: Must keep the goals a-comin' (26%, 20 Votes)
  • The Defense: We are going to have to win a lot of 2-1 games (12%, 9 Votes)
  • Goaltending: Opie and Moose have to be "the man" now (45%, 35 Votes)
  • Taco Mac Bartenders: They'll be busy helping us drown our sorrows after games (17%, 14 Votes)

Total Voters: 78

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4 weeks worth of games would equate to as many as 12 games missed.

After dealing with this piece of reality, the question becomes…what does this do to the shape and form of the forward lines?

After Kovy left the game on Saturday, coach John Anderson looked to move Evander Kane up into his position on left wing with Nik Antropov and Maxim Afinogenov. I would suspect that this is the first line he’ll elect to go with Thursday night when the Caps are in town.

But then, who fills Kane’s slot on the third line?

Well, there is couple of options to go with here. First, Marty Reasoner could be placed back on that line moving Rich Peverley over to left wing…Colby Armstrong would stay on the right. If that’s the case, then Jim Slater could relinquish his spot in the press box to whoever is called up from the Wolves and center the fourth line once again.

Another option I’ll throw into the mix would be to keep the fourth line of Boulton, Reasoner and Thorburn intact and simply place the call-up on the third line with Pevs and Army.

Either way, they’ll be a call-up coming our way from Chicago…I would think Josh Gratton. But is there someone else you’d like to see?

Joey Crabb?

Angelo Esposito?

Riley Holzapfel?

Brett Sterling?

Andrew Kozek?

Someone else?

NHL.com’s Rookie Watch Spotlights Kane

Rookie Evander Kane was the subject last night in Dan Rosen’s Rookie Watch on NHL.com. In it, coach Anderson pretty much confirms what we’ve all speculated for some time now…that Evander is not likely to be heading back to the Vancouver Giants.

“There’s nothing that indicates we want to send him back,” Atlanta coach John Anderson said. “He’s been a pleasure to coach, and he’s been doing everything we’ve asked, especially defensively. We’re excited about having him. I don’t see that he’s going to get sent back.”

Given the recent news about Kovalchuk…this is even truer now.

73 comments Add your comment

Shawn@GSG

October 26th, 2009
4:32 pm

Sara

October 26th, 2009
4:38 pm

Bringing up Gratton to replace Kovalchuk (or in terms of positioning I suppose Kane) is pointless. We’ll need scoring and while I know Gratton netted a couple in the pre-season, well, the Leafs were kicking everyone’s butts then too.

Anyway, I’d say we’ve got the best chance of finding a hidden honeypot of goals with Esposito. So that’s my vote.

hip czech

October 26th, 2009
4:45 pm

Spencer Machacek has gotten off to a good start in Chicago, but I think he is a right wing so some additional shuffling might have to be done.

Kane on the top line will be interesting to watch, if indeed that’s where he lands.

I hate to say this but …maybe the PP might be better off…instead of everyone looking for Ilya maybe we’ll see some more shots. Just saying…

Let’s hope for a speedy recovery!

Killer for my fantasy team…Kovy was my top pick and Daniel Sedin was my second.

five_hole

October 26th, 2009
4:51 pm

It sucks, but we sorta knew he would miss games because of the foot. Because it’s early in the season, I would prefer kids to play in Chicago. Presumably, they would put Slater in the lineup (somewhere) so I’d want a veteran like Gratton to sit in the press box.

Smoothie

October 26th, 2009
5:02 pm

Why not let Little play LW since he’s a right-handed shot? That way you can keep the Pevs Army Van line intact and prevent teams from game-planning to stop our hottest line?

Little – Antro – Crazy Legs

Kozzy – Reasey – Whitey (left-handed shot)

Kaner – Pevs – Armstrong

Greek Gods

I wouldn’t be surprised if Crabb is recalled simply because he plays the game like Thorburn does and JA seems to prefer the more calculating physical aggression and fore-checking of a guy like Thorby over Slater.

OmniFan

October 26th, 2009
5:04 pm

Maybe too much of a shakeup, but how about…
1. Kane/Pevs/Little
2. Slava/Max/Antropov -keep the Russians together at the risk of a major speed mismatch
3. Reasoner/White/Army
4. Boults/Slater/Thor the original Greek Gods
Gratton would be a logical call-up for fourth line backup. Machacek or Sterling would be decent fits for the third.

Dwayne

October 26th, 2009
5:06 pm

Here are my lines::::Antropov-Little-Max
Kane-Peverley-Army
Slava-White-Slater
Bolts-Reason-Thor

BlueSpark

October 26th, 2009
5:07 pm

It’s a tough loss, but maybe some adversity will be good after the 3-game skid.

What about Sterling-Little-Antropov? I liked Little as a center, even though he had more success on RW. This probably wouldn’t be the #1 line in terms of minutes (that should go to Kane-Peverley-Army).

MashaPlayer7

October 26th, 2009
5:11 pm

Kane on the top line would be interesting, but wouldn’t want to break up the Pevs-Armstrong chemistry. I think bumping up Reasoner to fill Kovy’s spot, but switch Antro to LW and Reasoner at C. I think Marty’s got the skill to put in 20 goals and 6o points as a top line guy. We need a better face-off guy than Antro as well. If we go the call-up route, call me crazy, but why not Brett Sterling? The guy never has gotten a fair shake..let’s audition him for those 12 games on a scoring line and see what he does. Too soon for Espo and Spencer.

Smoothie

October 26th, 2009
5:15 pm

Dwayne, I could live with that. I’d swap Kane and Antro and move Army to the LW on that line if Antro isn’t comfortable playing LW.

At least we’ve got lots of options due to our depth. But I hope it isn’t necessary to experiment unsuccessfully for 4 or 5 losing efforts before something finally clicks. Hopefully the 3rd period of the Sharks game will provide the blueprint for what we need to do.

Smoothie

October 26th, 2009
5:18 pm

Masha – now that would be interesting but I don’t know about Antro playing LW. How about Kozzy with Reasy and Little? That leaves White playing with Finny and Antro on the other line. That could work!

Brendan

October 26th, 2009
5:27 pm

I guess I’d go with Crabb. But if you ask me, this is the time for White and Little to step up. Especially Little, since he’s in the contract year. As is Kozlov. Time for them to rise-n-shine.

This is troubling news for Kovy’s Rocket Richard Trophy aspirations. If he misses 12 games, how can he possibly keep pace with Ovechkin?

One last thought. Eric Boulton is in a contract year. If he stepped it up to give Atlanta some depth scoring, it’d go a long ways towards him remaining with the team next year. He’s already had a decent start.

This is also great news for Kane, whose role it will be to become a “Top Six Forward.” Now, he’ll be utilized properly.

World Be Free

October 26th, 2009
5:36 pm

Here’s a chance to see what the team will do without Kovy. They pretty well Saturday after he left the game. Now we will see what the rest of the team can do.

Dwayne

October 26th, 2009
5:48 pm

can we get a goalie? please? someone? somewhere?

LAC

October 26th, 2009
5:49 pm

I’d say give Esposito a shot and let’s see what he can contribute.

I wonder how this plays into the contract talks… Or will we be
getting a look at the future without #17… Needs to be discussed as well.

Brendan

October 26th, 2009
6:07 pm

Gang, I recall last year that Kovy was out and the team had a good little winning/points streak. I see this as an opportunity for those who want to be noticed and re-sign for big dollars to step up and earn that next paycheck.

ThrasherTim

October 26th, 2009
6:07 pm

This franchise is cursed! You have got to be kidding me. And in the middle of contract negotiations. I guess the team REALLY needs to play well without him to prove to Kovvy there is a solid nucleus here.

polskidawg

October 26th, 2009
6:15 pm

I’d like to see Spencer called up and replace Kane on the 3rd line – similar style of play, just less overall talent.

I also would want Kane on the 1st line with Anthropod and Little, or Max if really necessary. Kane can play those minutes and will play them quite well. If he plays as well as I think can can, it may allow Anderson to move Max to 3rd line when Kovy returns.

(return line-up)

Kovy – Little – Anthro
Kozlov – White – Kane
Max – Peverly – Armstrong
Boulton – Reasoner – Thorburn

Just a thought.

HookyBob

October 26th, 2009
6:35 pm

Well Ilya, tough break,..really ungood for you and our boys in blue. Not too long ago I opined that our depth would prove useful in case of injury. Now, we have a really big gap to really test our depth.

Big decisions need to be made.

I don’t often get into line combinations,…but this injury is going be felt up and down the lines. On the minimal change side of the spectrum,…I’m liking what I see with Peverly, Armstrong & Kane. How about moving them to the first line? Leaving Kozlov, Little & White on the 2nd line. That leaves the 3rd line as Antro & Max with Slater or Reasoner. If Slater it would be crazy fast,..and if it matched against the 2nd or 3rd pair of D-men who knows what could happen. Aternatively, moving Kozlov, White & Little to the 3rd line could prove to be just the prescription to get them going.

If you are going to shuffle the lines I like Omnifan’s line of Peverly, Little, & Kane. That line could cycle the puck, as well as go to the net, and probably shut-down the opponent’s top lines.

Who to call up? I like Crabb (agree w Brendan), or Espo, or Sterling. Anyone know where Colin Stuart is today (recently let go by Calgary)?

Does anyone know if Salmela can play forward? He skates well and seems ready to charge at any given time.

Anyone heard if Semin will play Thursday? Listening to D Elliott the other day it sounds like Semin may be physically healthy and is really a mental (ie attitude) scratch. (Wonder how he’d play with Kaptain Kovy?)

Anticipation,…we can never know about the days to come.

StateBird

October 26th, 2009
7:00 pm

Bring back Colin Stuart

Rawhide

October 26th, 2009
7:21 pm

Nate

October 26th, 2009
7:30 pm

This could be a defining stretch in regards to the future of the franchise. Go .500 or better and the team will be ok and that may in fact convince Ilya that this team is for real. Which leads to Kovy re-signing. Or…the team goes 3-9 and Kovy says no thanks to Waddell’s overtures. Which leads to the trade block, no playoffs, another top 5 pick, and most likely Waddell’s departure as GM. 4 weeks/12 games doesn’t sound like a lot, but it could mean everything for the Atlanta Thrashers as an or-gan-i-za-tion.

rightshot

October 26th, 2009
8:23 pm

(Putting on my coaches hat) This is the time for the team, not just one or two men, but the entire team to step up. This is the time for the team to say we may be down a man, but we have others who can score. This is the time for the team to go out on the ice and say ‘we are not a one man show’. We are not going to go quietly. We will fight. We will fight with every thing we have. We will do all we can to win and we will never…never give up in any game, in any situation, or to any opponent. We may not win every game, but we will make D@mn sure you know you had to fight like h#ll to beat us.
This, my friends, is the time when, as a team, stand up and yell to the entire league, ‘now is the time to listen. Now is the time to watch out for this team’. Now is the time to let the entire league know, ‘we are the Thrashers!’

Darkhorse

October 26th, 2009
8:34 pm

To think I am still more concerned about our goaltending than Kovy missing a month is scary.

I say bring up Esposito also, if he’s over his injuries and is conditioned well. He’s supposed to be a versitle playmaker and scorer. This would allow him a earlier chance to show his stuff somewhere on the top three lines and give the team a sooner than expected quality look at whether he can be a top player here or not.

Jenn

October 26th, 2009
9:19 pm

Spencer Machacek should get the call.

Cup Guy

October 26th, 2009
9:31 pm

What about this. Move Kane to line one obviously. Then on the PP give him the reins. I think throw him in Kovys spot on the PP. Seriously. His speed his smarts his talent. He has one heck of a shot. He showed Sat at the end of the PP that he can score. Even tho the PP was over it was still 5-4.

Why is Slater out? I mean why is he sitting so much. I think he plays just like Thor. Maybe even more hustle. Idk. About the same anyways.

Let see Angelo. Does anyone want to see him as much as me? He is still young but it would be interesting to see how he does. Let me know what you think.

Christoph Schubert

October 26th, 2009
9:33 pm

SCHEISSE! Wir sind geschraubt!

Curly

October 26th, 2009
9:38 pm

It’s too early in the season for Spencer. He is maturing well in Chicago right now.
Gratton earned the call-up in camp.
Another option would be Sterling. Brett has not had a real chance at a top line left wing spot (his natural position). I’d give him this shot and if he can’t produce, let him loose (trade or back to the wolves for good).

Nikita

October 26th, 2009
10:10 pm

Machacek! Machacek! Machacek! a) he’s well known to the others, b) he’s a solid, steady, two-way player, c) He can fill a third line role, which is probably his destiny, and bump someone else up for top line minutes.

As much as I’ll miss Kovy, I actually think his absence will be good for everyone else. He’s not really a two-way player, and a lot of the others defer to him. But without him, maybe we can see what all of them can contribute in a more equal configuration.

Brendan

October 26th, 2009
10:33 pm

http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=503615

Don’t feel like checking out the link? Okay, here’s the part you need to take away from it. I copied this, word-for-word.

“Atlanta General Manager Don Waddell continues to work the phones with Jay Grossman, Kovalchuk’s agent, to get his best player signed to a long-term deal. It has been reported by numerous outlets that Kovalchuk is weighing his options between staying in Atlanta or playing in Russia.

“You really can’t control it,” Waddell told Sporting News Today. “If you’re competing against other NHL teams, it’s one thing. If you’re competing against another country paying whatever — you can’t. If his decision is to go play in Russia, I don’t think we can do anything. There’s only so much money you can pay.”

Said Kovalchuk: “I got one year left and my agent and Don talk a lot. I just want to focus on hockey right now so when a decision is going to be done, it’ll be done.”

Okay, time for me to chime in. “I’m not buyin’ that Kovy wants to play in Russia. His goal is to win the Stanley Cup. He can’t do that in Russia.” I’m not sure what Waddell is trying to do with this quote. Here’s my best guess. By implying that the league maximum ISN’T ENOUGH for Kovalchuk, it makes Kovalchuk look like a GREEDY, money-grubbing HO. It sounds like Waddell is trying to insulate himself.

“The Buck never got here!!! I can’t match $17 million-a-year!!! The League maximum is $11.36 million.” That’s GROSS EXAGGERATION of the point I’m trying to make. Relax. Nobody used those figures. Nobody. But I’m curious as to why Waddell would want to make ‘contract negotiations’ sound like it’s a “Russia vs. USA” thing. I highly doubt that. Maybe, just maybe, Waddell’s tactics are to make Kovalchuk look like the bad guy SO BAD … that he’ll just AGREE to the $11.36 league maximum so this kind thing can be wrapped up.

Shrugs. I don’t know, folks. I just don’t know. But I find this ODD. I really don’t think Kovy is going to Russia. And Waddell is not factually correct about his point of competing against other NHL clubs. Kovy holds the cards. If Kovy wants New York … or Los Angeles … or Toronto … or wherever, Don Waddell cannot MATCH the offer. Kovalchuk is not an RFA. If the Rangers offer $11.36 million, and so do the L.A. Kings … and so do the Atlanta Thrashers, it’s ENTIRELY Kovalchuk’s decision as to where he plays.

But there’s more. Some other markets can afford to FRONT LOAD the contract, such that Kovy makes $15 million next year, so long as the contract AVERAGES OUT to be $11.36 million or less. Can Atlanta afford to do that?

Before you answer, consider what I’ve been saying all along. The smaller markets are fighting this uphill battle. If the cap, which started out at $39 million in 2005 had just stayed around $45-$47 million, Atlanta could compete in the marketplace. But instead, it is what it is. An aberration of actual revenues generated, to the tune of $56.8 million. In this respect, Waddell is right. “There’s only so much money you can pay.”

R. Stroz

October 26th, 2009
11:28 pm

Based on productivity in the preseason and need to ascertain NHL compatible talent level prior to end of RFA status, I select Tim Stapleton as the call up.

Tom

October 26th, 2009
11:36 pm

Here is a what if:

What if we play better as a team without Ilya? What would that do to the negotiations to re-sign him?

I am not expecting this to happen, but we will improve incrementally defensively while being weaker offensively.

World Be Free

October 27th, 2009
12:15 am

Brendan-he’ supposed to be the captain and thereby should set the example of commitment-just sign the darn deal and get it over with. There’s a new “Kovy to somewhere” rumor everyday.

Just got back from the KISS concert. I thought U2 was loud! Getting up for work in 5 hours.

Brendan

October 27th, 2009
12:29 am

OMG, Niklas Hagman just completed a “hat trick” to make it, 6-2, Toronto. Yes, folks. The Leafs are gonna win one. Brian Burke will defeat his former team, the Anaheim Ducks. This hasn’t been Jonas Hiller at his finest hour.

Brendan

October 27th, 2009
12:32 am

WBF, hope you enjoyed the concert.

Re: Kovy rumors, this came directly from Waddell. I can’t call that a rumor. I could call it “misreporting,” if it turns out to be false. Waddell is attributed several direct quotes in that linked item at nhl.com.

Ron Mexico

October 27th, 2009
1:31 am

What a tough break! Well this is now truly gut check time as we see what the rest of this team is made of. Little and Kozlov especially need to step it up. If they hold their own and can play somewhere around .500 hockey or slightly above, that’s a win in my book, not to mention seeing this team look good without the captain can only help in Kovy’s contract negotiations. So needless to say this next month will be evermore crucial for the franchise’s long term future.

As far as who to call up, with Slater going back into action, I’d rather not see Machacek or Esposito just yet seeing that they will likely only be sitting for a while. Those kids need to play, so let them stay in Chicago a little longer. I’d be fine with Crabb, Gratton or even Sterling getting the nod.

Joe WIlliams

October 27th, 2009
2:18 am

Heh heh. Sidney Crosby supposedly likes Phillips Arena the best because of the bright lighting. But Guerin and Letang rate it the worst. I wonder why? Even if they didn’t care for Phillips, how could it be their worst???? It’s not like they have bad memories. And while Phillips can be bland, it is nice inside.

And the lighting comment by Sidney makes sense as I feel like a well lit arena just looks good for hockey.
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/penguins/s_649722.html

World Be Free

October 27th, 2009
8:15 am

Brendan-Gene Simmons still has it-the man can rock!

Toby

October 27th, 2009
8:16 am

Kane – Peverley – Antropov
Kozlov – White – Little
Armstrong – Reasoner – Max
Greek Gods
Machacek

:)

over 2500 women

October 27th, 2009
8:45 am

Yes, Gene can still rock!!!

AB

October 27th, 2009
9:31 am

I feel an early season trade coming. Face it, we have no one in Chicago or Atlanta that’s the caliber of Kovy. He is a big on ice presence and there is no one (that I’ve seen) that can step into that role until he returns. I for one an extemely concerned with our goaltending. Kari is turning into Mike Hampton, Opie can’t control the puck, and Hedberg while I like the guy, won’t cut it. Waddell either brings Legacy in from Chicago or trades Opie and someone out of Chicago for a decent goaltender. Key to the next four weeks will not be how many goals we score, but rather how many we allow.

Spud Webb

October 27th, 2009
9:42 am

I’m with LAC, bring up Espo and let’s get this thing going. Time to come together as a team and hold the fort down till Kovy gets back.
Also, anyone hear anything in regards to negotiations???
Cmon Thrashers!!!

Bob

October 27th, 2009
9:47 am

Joe Williams, Phillips is notorious for it’s bad ice. I watched the Caps feed of the last game and after the game their coach said that our ice was the worst he’s seen in all of his years in hockey (and he toiled in the minors for years, right?).

Terrible news on Kovy. Both on the injury but moreso the quotes from Waddell that Brendan posted. This is not looking good, folks. What the heck is with Lehtonen? This club needs an enema. Mabye new ownership and new GM could give us a fresh start, but this club is just jinxed. Here we go once again with no goaltending and about to let another star player get away. Oof.

Toby

October 27th, 2009
9:48 am

Ben says Krog has been called up. Ew.

five_hole

October 27th, 2009
9:55 am

Kovy had 9 goals in 8 games. You’re just not gonna replace that kind of scoring in the lineup with anyone from Chicago. And I doubt seriously that the team carries Slater on the bench for the 1st 9 games, and then promotes a kid from Chicago to take Kovy’s spot and leave Slater there.

We’re gonna play Slater. He takes a 4th line slot. Reasoner gets “promoted” to the 3rd line. Peverley would be my choice to skate on the 1st line, but I bet JA gives Kane the 1st shot at it. If that’s the case, then Pevs slides to the wing on the 3rd line.

BUT if we play with reduced offensive output, we’d better shore up our goaltending. Manny Legace, COME ON DOWN! You’re our next contestant, on, “The goalie is right”.

stendec

October 27th, 2009
10:00 am

THRASHER FANS HAVE BEEN HAD! That personally makes me mad as Hell! I know no one wants to read my words but I type them anyway because I so want this team to be successful. Kari Lehtonen misrepresented his injury to team officials! The untalented Finn has never been worth a damn and is a total fraud. He once possessed marginal talent but that was once. I fully believe he never expected to play this season but when dumba$$ Don Waddell served up a juicy contract the LaLa Land boy was more than willing to take the money and run, uh, skate, eh, whatever. Despite the fast start I always believed deep in my heart Captain Ilya Kovalchuk was awaiting an escape from Atlanta. I still believe that. Do not think Russian will ever be the same after foot injury. Sorry folks. That is just the way I view it. Team should go after KL to secure a portion of those funds. Use them to sign players to strengthen team. Do not see KL or IK in Thrasher future. Just do not! Cannot improve on a previous older post so…Expect El Kapitan Ilya Kovalchuk to be out for quite a while (now confirmed)! Worry not faithful Thrasher sheep. He and Sori Letemin will be lounging beside some pool surrounded by babes in bikinis as the Thrashers continue their freefall into complete obscurity. Both will continue to collect hefty paychecks (no gripe about IK salary) for doing well, uh, absolutely nothing. Finn and Russian must adore American capitalism! Captain will never be same after injury (see above). Letemin was never worth a damn anyway! Never will be (see above). Sorry apologists. Just a fact. Savor return of LaLa Land boy until chapped lips knock him out of lineup (return highly unlikely at this point). Painful stuff! Kovalchuk will probably never skate for Thrashers again. Cannot really blame him for that. I wish him well elsewhere. I sort of like the guy (wants out but genuinely cares for fan base). F#ck KL! Another nauseating season outside playoffs looking in. Embrace those close defeats. Moral losses build character! For losers. Have a great day. WORLD B FREE – Letemin is in no rush to (ever) return so why should you be? ++STENDEC++ Forgive reality check but I am still (even now) pi$$ed about watching Falcons get routed by a semi pro football squad in Texas!

Rawhide

October 27th, 2009
10:33 am

Toby – Yeah…here is the official communique saying that it is Krog who was called up from Chicago.

The Atlanta Thrashers have recalled forward Jason Krog from the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League, according to Executive Vice President and General Manager Don Waddell.
Krog, 34, has recorded seven points (one goal, six assists) in eight games with the Wolves this season. He leads the team in assists and ranks second in points. The 5-11, 190-pound center earned a season-high four points (one goal, three assists) in a 7-1 win on Oct. 24 vs. Abbottsford.
The Fernie, British Columbia, native has earned 59 points (22 goals, 37 assists) in 202 career NHL games with the NY Islanders, Anaheim, Atlanta, the NY Rangers and Vancouver. Krog appeared in 14 games with the Thrashers during the 2006-07 season, tallying four points (one goal, three assists).
After the completion of his college hockey career at the University of New Hampshire, which included capturing the Hobey Baker Memorial Trophy in his senior season, Krog was signed as a free agent by the NY Islanders on April 10, 1999.

Smoothie

October 27th, 2009
10:33 am

Why the hell do we call up Krog??? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!! This team needs toughness and grit – a guy who can scrap in the corners and forecheck – to complement the skill we have on our top 3 lines.

Does this mean they are giving up on Antropov as a center? Why do we bring in an undersized, journeymen center when we have 5 guys who are capable of playing up the middle already? Even Sterling would make more sense as he played well the last time he was called up for Kovy drawing 3 penalties against Washington and scoring the shootout winner against the Sabres.

GaVaHokie

October 27th, 2009
10:34 am

Thanks for posting in both places stendec… I might have missed it. (sarcasm)

GaVaHokie

October 27th, 2009
10:36 am

Smoothie… I’m guessing Krog is more of a “safety blanket” for Anderson… I don’t know either. All I can say is I don’t expect him to play. He’ll be a reserve.