As Afinogenov takes off overseas we return focus to another Russian

Happy Friday everyone… I hope you all have something good on the agenda this weekend. It should prove to be an interesting one, what with all the rumors swirling around about a couple of Russian players and their contract situations.

Yes, now that we’re hearing Maxim Afinogenov will not return to the Thrashers lineup…instead signing with SKA St. Petersburg for 5 seasons…we can return our focus on another Russian player’s contract status. Indeed hockey sites around the blogosphere have just been abuzz lately with chatter and speculation about this story… and I, for one, am just all a-quiver in anticipation of the official announcement.

But the wait may soon be over as rumors lead us to believe we’ll soon find out for sure whether or not Andrei Zubarev will be joining the Thrashers organ-I-zation. According to this report from Russia, he’s signed a 2-year deal and will be heading to North America.

This blog’s official Russian language translater, “Russian”, translated the story for us… ”Andrey Zubarev is coming here. He was 6 round pick ay 2005 draft. He will be in training camp and he will sign two way contract. Thrasher management announce this deal end of this week.”

As you’ll recall, Zubarevwas the Thrashers 6thround pick back in the 2005 entry draft and has since spent his playing days in Russia… the past two years with Mytishchi Atlant of the KHL. Last season he scored 7 goals and 9 assists in 55 games played and was a +11 with 58 PIM.

Hockey’s Future describes the 23-year old Zubarev as “a solid defensemanand skates well withabove average agility and acceleration. He is an above average puckhandler, but does not tend to keep the puck for long and hesitates to carry it up the ice. Zubarevhas a strong shot but is not always accurate. He has an impressive physical component to his game.”

I think it’s safe to say Zubarev would be brought in to provide defensive depth, playing in Chicago with the Wolves. One could think of it as replacing Ivan Vishnevskiy who was sent to the Blackhawks in the deal that brought Andrew Ladd here.

So, good-bye to Max and hello…possibly…to Zubarev.

There, I think that covers all of the Russian hockey players that are making news this weekend. ..though I can’t seem to shake this feeling that I’ve left someone out.

Anyone out there know of any other player from that country whose contract status is causing a bit of drama?

Anyone…?

Anyone…?

Yes…You. Stand Still Laddie!

New Thrasherville native Andrew Ladd took to the airwaves of Calgary’s The Fan 960. Ladd, who played in Calgary wit the Hitmen, talked to host Rob Kerr about winning the Stanley Cup last June with the Blackhawks, his day with the Cup and his recent trade to the Thrashers.

You can listen to the interview by clicking –>here<–

Tip of the hat to frequent blog contributor “kracker” for finding and posting this.

Allow Me To Say “Thank You, Thrasherville”

I was recently informed that you people out there…yes, you… funneled quite a bit of cyber-traffic around here. In fact, not only did last month’s page-views far outpace those of last summer’s month of July but they also topped the previous highs that were set last winter…you know, when the Thrashers were in the midst of their “March to the Playoffs”.

So please allow me this moment to express my deepest and sincerest gratitude for making this blog and Chris Vivlamore’s a part of your daily reading loop. This is especially directed at the ever-growing number of you who provide great insight and thoughtful opinion in the comments section below. I’ve always said that the real reason why this blog-thingy ticks is because of such great reader contribution. As happy as such news makes me, it is also quite humbling and I cannot thank you enough for making the ajc.com’s Thrashers blogs the place to go for the best hockey discussion in town.

You guys kick gluteus maximus!

Ok…enough of this sappy nicety-nice stuff. Those of you that post here regularly, get busy and provide your usual high-quality, thought-provoking and sometimes even humorous observations. Those of you who frequent the sight and just “lurk”…good to have you, but get busy and start posting comments!

149 comments Add your comment

TableHockey

August 6th, 2010
9:07 am

glovesave29

August 6th, 2010
9:10 am

Thanks Bill…guess I am watching “Pink Floyd – The Wall” tonight. Time to see some kids ground into hamburger meat.

telfo

August 6th, 2010
9:12 am

no way an NHL team would have offered him a similar contract

Sports Climax

August 6th, 2010
9:13 am

They are really gonna miss Max’s offensive output. Was really hoping they stepped up and offered a longer deal to keep him. Maybe Dudley “Do-Right” has better plans for that money and he’s not telling us yet.

J.B.

August 6th, 2010
9:17 am

Posted this on the last blog. Didn’t realize Rawhide was already on the case and about to post anew…

I would have loved to have max back in the fold here but 5 years is just silly for someone of his age if you factor in his skill level. If those were his requirements for a contract, he was out of luck in the NHL from the get-go. I enjoyed him while he was here; best of luck to Max in Russia.

World Be Free

August 6th, 2010
9:19 am

Strong shot but not accurate-sounds like Zhitnik.

We all knew Max was gone when he didn’t get a competitive offer from ATL or anyone else this side of the pond. The Old Max could not overcome the New Max. Giving him 5 years was probably over committing to him, but I think the KHL is desperate to get players back to Russia that are not truly classified as “old men”. I’d go for a season or two but they would laugh at my equipment, look at my sticks and say “who is this Bossy guy on your stick”?

Flagstaff

August 6th, 2010
9:20 am

Good blog, Bill. The Zubarev situation will be interesting, but I’m still waiting on that trade Flames said might be going down… also sure to be interesting.

Somaatl95

August 6th, 2010
9:21 am

If I remember correctly the “inside man” we all know as “Flames” said something is brewing still, so I don’t think the ch-ch-ch-ch-changes are quite finished. Sad to see Max go, figured he would stick around because we gave him a chance no other team would last season… oh well. Hopefully we hear out of Boston that a certain greedy Russian becomes UFA again so he can go and join Max overseas.
It would be great if this was our cup winning season :)

Rockem Sockem Thrasher

August 6th, 2010
9:23 am

Here’s the article and the link on Zubarev

“Andrei Zubarev received an invitation from the “Atlanta”

05/08/2010 17:23
Defender Andrei Zubarev, speaking last two seasons for the Moscow Region “Atlant”, received an invitation from the club’s NHL Atlanta Thrashers.

In the coming days an agreement will be signed. According to the agent hockey player Valeri Matveyev, the contract does not provide for the return of Zubarev’s back in the first season, even if he does not fall into the basic structure “Thrashers”. Recall that Atlanta was drafted in the sixth round Zubarev under the 187-th number in 2005. ”

http://www.allhockey.ru/news/81520/

Darkhorse

August 6th, 2010
9:29 am

Agreed on Max. I was really hoping he was coming back for a year, maybe two. If his expectations were for a 4-5yr deal from us or another NHL team, and wasn’t backing down, then you would have to be Glen Sather in the head to give Max that long a contract.

The Max ship sailed for Dudley weeks ago I bet if terms like this and $$$ were what it was going to take. If we really are entering a manditory “win now” season from ownership, Dudley is working to make a much bigger splash at forward than Max IMO. More poaching from cap strapped teams to come?

Rawhide

August 6th, 2010
9:45 am

Per NHLSoursesSay tweet: “Afinogenov’s agent says his client chose the KHL because he liked the length of the contract (5 years) NHL offers were 1-2 year deals”

lemon drop the gloves

August 6th, 2010
9:45 am

zubarev’s weaknesses are postma’s strength’s-most notably puck retrieval/carrying skills and heavy accurate shot. i place him on the depth chart below postma without hesitation. time to go with the youth and build from within-especially since no major free agents have been acquired.

Smoothie

August 6th, 2010
9:45 am

“Glen Sather in the head”…nominated! Well done Darkhorse!

Tough to see Max go overseas, but 5 years is “looney tunes” for a nearly 31 y/o with a history of injury. I reckon Slava will be next to join SKA and Medvedev’s “expansion” team. Perhaps after the Ice Edge deal falls through in Glendale, the remnants of the Coyotes will be distributed between St. Pete, Moscow and Mytishchi to realize Medvedev’s dream of getting NHL hockey in Eastern Europe.

Smoothie

August 6th, 2010
9:48 am

Oh yeah, Custance gives us an update on Little and Bergfors RFA negotiations in his latest “Grinder” or “Grindhouse” column. Little’s talks are “active and ongoing” per a reliable NHL source. And CC expects Bergfors’ talks to resume in earnest early next week, which would make sense considering Duds is in Lake Placid watching his 3 Swedish sons make him proud.

kracker

August 6th, 2010
9:50 am

Off topic: From Brent Sopel’s Twitter page:

“Bio: Atlanta Thrashers Defenseman, but still Current 2010 Stanley Cup Champion.”

That’s good enough for me. Welcome to Atlanta, Brent!

Zombie Steve

August 6th, 2010
9:57 am

I’ve been addicted to this blog (and C-viv’s) since I first wandered in about 2 months ago. Keep up the great work!!

This is definitely the premier spot for Thrasher news and insider info

Zoomo

August 6th, 2010
9:59 am

You had to throw that “march to the Playoffs” in there…still makes me queasy.

>>>zubarev’s weaknesses are postma’s strength’s-most notably puck >>retrieval/carrying skills and heavy accurate shot

You know, the first time I saw Postma in prospect camp 2 years ago, the thing that got my attention was the “sound” of his shot. Low, hard, and heavy. I immediately started to keep my eye on him, and loved what I saw. I’ve been impressed with his continued development and I think he’ll be with the big club for a good part of the season. Time will tell whether it’s out of camp, or as a mid-season call up.

Nate

August 6th, 2010
10:01 am

As others have stated, five years is too long for a player with Max’s injury history and age. It’s just too big of a risk. At this point it looks like Dudley is going to give the young guys a real chance unless Jersey or maybe Boston have to unload some guys for cap reasons. He might snag someone in that case. I dunno. Looking over the roster it looks as if goal scoring will be at a premium. I’m worried some of the guys are gonna collapse under the pressure of having to produce.

Paminski

August 6th, 2010
10:08 am

Good luck to Max. I would have liked to see him in Thrasher blue for another season or two, but I would have taken the KHL contract too. He was good for the Thrash last year and the Thrash was good to him. Things change.

Zombie Steve

August 6th, 2010
10:15 am

Anyone got any predictions on what Dudley’s next magic trick will be?? Who are the current forward ripe for the picking?? (we are running out of UFA’s)

J.B.

August 6th, 2010
10:22 am

not saying it’s a good idea, but i still think fedotenko ends up in atlanta. my gut tells me stempinak goes back to the yotes. ummmm anyone left after that who’s not a goalie?

kracker

August 6th, 2010
10:32 am

J.B. —> “…my gut tells me stempinak goes back to the yotes” Ya know, I wonder. I have no idea what is going on with Stempinak or the Yotes but it might be that a franchise with a bit more stability (!) would appeal to Stempinak.

I don’t know…that’s probably just wishful thinking. But here Lee could get a place to live lined up and know he will be using it for the next season.

Mikey

August 6th, 2010
10:34 am

Blogmaster: Like Zombie Steve I too have recently come to make this blog a regular stop. Same with C-Viv’s. Like you said, regulars like Brendan, govesave29, Smoothie,World Be Free and all the rest make this site must read material.

It certainly helps us get through the offseason. October can’t get here soon enough.

Monkey

August 6th, 2010
10:42 am

I’ll miss Max. I wish we could have kept him.

Mikey

August 6th, 2010
10:45 am

Oh and I think “that other Russian” winds up a UFA again after the arbitrator kicks out that ridiculous contract this weekend.

Somaatl95

August 6th, 2010
10:49 am

Hopefully the Arbitrator agrees, Mikey :)

Jack

August 6th, 2010
10:49 am

Depending on how the kchoke soap opera ends up, I feel we will get our scorer via trade vs fa. If devils keep him they will be forced to dump salary.

Smoothie

August 6th, 2010
11:10 am

Mikey – thanks for the mention. Just trying to help facilitate the process of procuring Thrashers’ news. I am thankful there are so many dedicated fans / bloggers here at this little corner of the web-o-sphere.

By the way, if anyone needs a Mad Max hi-lite reel fix, I’ve put up a good 4 minute video on my blog: http://thrashingbirds.blogspot.com/2010/08/do-svidanya-max-udachi.html

Enjoy! And of course, best of luck to you — and Elena! — Maxim!!

Cornbread

August 6th, 2010
11:15 am

Max did not fit the new look of the Thrashers. As good as he was offensively, the turnovers he gave up at inopportune transition moments were maddening and hurt the team. A year signing I could have lived with, much more than that would have caused me to question Dudley’s sanity.

As for Zubarev signing, I’d say he is a depth replacement for Kulda more so than Vishnevsky. The Thrashers have their Vish in Enstrom and Postma.

Postma, that guy can skate!

GaVaHokie

August 6th, 2010
11:17 am

I’d like to see us make an offer on Bobby Ryan… Little and Postma perhaps.

Riceowls

August 6th, 2010
11:19 am

I’m so Jonesing for hockey I actually watched how they make hockey sticks last night. Man I hate August.

Rawhide

August 6th, 2010
11:26 am

Oh and I think “that other Russian” winds up a UFA again after the arbitrator kicks out that ridiculous contract this weekend.

Mikey – I think most people “want” to see that happen as the contract looks to me to violate the “spirit” of the CBA. But does it violate the “letter of the law” regarding the CBA? That’s the question.

I predict the NHL loses this challenge, but they succeeed in their aim of taking a shot accross the bow of agents and teams who may look to do same in the future.

Smoothie - Nice post & great highlights.

As for Zubarev signing, I’d say he is a depth replacement for Kulda more so than Vishnevsky. The Thrashers have their Vish in Enstrom and Postma

Cornbread – Good point. I expect Kulda to be here this fall, so it reasons that a replacement in Chicago is needed somehow.

I’d like to see us make an offer on Bobby Ryan… Little and Postma perhaps

GaVaHokie – As long as it’s not Bergie and Kulda… OK.

I’m so Jonesing for hockey I actually watched how they make hockey sticks last night. Man I hate August.

Riceowls – Where did you see that? COOL!!!! :cool:

kracker

August 6th, 2010
11:28 am

Interesting, Riceowls. If it was a video clip, what is the URL?

Adam

August 6th, 2010
11:45 am

Other than signing FA Stempinak what trade do you guys see working. I don’t see Anaheim parting with Ryan, they’ll get him inked.

Cap troubled teams like Vancouver have a couple of guys I could see here like Mason Raymond or Alexandre Burrows. In Calgary you have Niklas Hagman. While I’d still like to see us make a move for Zajac I don’t know if Lou would work a deal with Duds again right now.

Somaatl95

August 6th, 2010
11:47 am

Riceowls – If you have the NHL network they are replaying this past seasons playoff games. Watched the Pens and Sens last night and was reminded just how much of a whiny little beyatch Cindy Crotchby is (He made sure to point out to the ref that he was cross checked in front of Ottawas Goal and looked as if he was gonna blubber up and cry when the ref didn’t care) Also, if you are a kid at heart and have a game console you can always play EA Sports most excellent NHL games – The new one comes out a month from tomorrow and hopefully EA Canada shows our birds some love. Thats how my friends and I get through the off season.

Somaatl95

August 6th, 2010
11:49 am

… and I forgot, Rawhide and C-Viv also help during the off season. Nice to talk puck 365 days a year :)

Badger Bob

August 6th, 2010
11:52 am

Re. Kovy’s contract and the letter of the law, here’s the law in question:

“26.3 Circumventions.
(a) No Club or Club Actor, directly or indirectly, may: (i) enter into any agreements, promises, undertakings, representations, commitments, inducements, assurances of intent, or understandings of any kind, whether express, implied, oral or written, including without limitation, any SPC, Qualifying Offer, Offer Sheet or other transaction, or (ii) take or fail to take any action whatsoever, if either (i) or (ii) is intended to or has the effect of defeating or Circumventing the provisions of this Agreement or the intention of the parties as reflected by the provisions of this Agreement, including
without limitation, provisions with respect to the financial and other reporting obligations of the Clubs and the League, Team Payroll Range, Player Compensation Cost Redistribution System, the Entry Level System and/or Free Agency.”

To me, there’s no question Kovy’s contract “has the effect of defeating or circumventing” the salary cap. Hossa’s probably did too, but Kovy’s exceeds his in duration, player age at the end of the contract, and laughability of final year $ amounts. It’s not just the spirit of the CBA, it is the CBA itself in question here. If his contract is accepted, then the salary cap becomes an utter joke.

Badger Bob

August 6th, 2010
12:00 pm

BTW, Rawhide you deserve all the commendations you get – you give us a terrific blend of insight and humor, and an oasis of hockey talk in the desert of the southern states. Well done!

Mikey, you gotta add RedLight to that list of uniquely insightful posters here.

Mikey

August 6th, 2010
12:06 pm

Badger Bob: I knew once I started naming some of the regulars I would leave someone out. Red Light, sorry for my oversight.

I should have put an “etc.” at the end of the list.

World Be Free

August 6th, 2010
12:10 pm

Smoothie-on top of everything else, 5 years is alot to give a guy who has a tendency to take “European Vacations” during the middle of the season.

World Be Free

August 6th, 2010
12:15 pm

Mikey-add Friday in there too, Sage for repetition.
Somaa-we are hockey junkies aren’t we.

ChippersLoveChild

August 6th, 2010
12:21 pm

Sad to see Max go… we are going to have to make another move somewhere, we are sorely lacking in goal scorers as it sits right now.

Smoothie

August 6th, 2010
12:24 pm

WBF – indeed, 5 years is a long time for anyone who is at a cross-roads of sorts. It’d be one thing if he had spent all ten years of his career in ATL. I could see rewarding Max with 3 or 4 more years after reviving his career in the wake of that 2 year disaster at the end of his Buffalo days.

But like many have said, the team is moving in a different direction. And the complexion is such that the young team can ill-afford too many inopportune momentum shifts that result from unnecessary risk-taking.

However, I will say this in Max’s defense: once Kovy was traded, he seemed to do less free-lancing and even seemed to work harder in the corners. Unfortunately for Max, his game is predicated on unpredictability and it doesn’t necessarily jibe with a more plodding, grind-it-out style that we are likely to employ. We will have to keep games close and try to win them on the power play or with relentless forechecking.

Riceowls

August 6th, 2010
12:26 pm

There’s a show on Discovery (I think) called “How do they make that.” The manufacturer had 6,000 sticks from professionals so they could make exact copies to sell. I was fascinated.

(What can I say, I’m still a geek when it comes to that stuff. But I went to Rice so you already knew that).

Somaatl95

August 6th, 2010
12:27 pm

WBF – Yup we def are junkies… and these blogs we frequent are our “Drugs of choice” Most readers of the AJC Sports pages are about UGA, The Braves, Falcons or Hawks. Its nice to know that due to the excellent musings of Bill and Chris the traffic to the Thrashers area of tha AJC is growing on a steady basis. Hopefully the bigwhigs at the AJC give the Thrashers proper coverage during the season instead of sports that are out of season. That is one step towards getting those team coveting fools in Canada to stop saying we aren’t a “Hockey Town” – remember, to those people “Perception = Reality” They think we are a joke and getting Atlanta media to cover the Thrashers (outside of Rawhide and C-Viv) is next to impossible.

Badger Bob

August 6th, 2010
12:35 pm

About a quarter of the posts on the Max story at tsn are “I wonder why no GM’s offered him a contract”. SE fans get accused of not being hockey knowledgable, but there is your proof that the Great White North sports plenty of uninformed hockey fans.

World Be Free

August 6th, 2010
12:47 pm

Smoothie-I felt all along he deserved another chance to be here. Max and Antro both played better overall games after Kovy left. Maybe they just had more opportunities, whatever the case we still wanted him back. But Dudley has his plan and Max was not part of it IDWT I guess.

Somaa-This is the place for good sports chatter, esecially with the quality of the contributors on the 2 AJC hockey blogs. Braves have too many contributors, Sports Vent is down right stupid. Can’t wait for the season to start.

Wayne stuck in AL

August 6th, 2010
12:59 pm

“Hockey’s Future describes the 23-year old Zubarev as “a solid defensemanand skates well withabove average agility and acceleration. He is an above average puckhandler, but does not tend to keep the puck for long and hesitates to carry it up the ice. Zubarevhas a strong shot but is not always accurate.”

Don’t we already have that in Toby (”I’ve never seen a shot that I’ve liked”) Enstrom?

Jack

August 6th, 2010
1:05 pm

Based off Ramsay’s idealogy and Zub’s weakness of pushing the puck up the ice, I see Zub n Chicago for awhile,

Michael B. Shapiro

August 6th, 2010
1:10 pm

Bye Max, you were great last year (so much for the naysayers) and we’ll miss you. Good luck in Mother Russia.