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

Cornbread

August 6th, 2010
1:46 pm

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

No “we” don’t. Enstrom is a puck moving offensive defenceman. Zubarev is more of a stay at home D-man who is always looking to get rid of the puck and make a good first pass. He has a hard shot that is not accurate and Enstrom has one of the weakest shots in the league but is accurate when he does pull the trigger. Other than that, I won’t know much more about Zubarev until I see him play. But based off of those and other reports, he and Enstrom are nothing alike. Teams need diversity on the blue line just like they do on the scoring and checking lines.

Bluestreak

August 6th, 2010
2:51 pm

Allow Me To Say “Thank You, Thrasherville” . . .

This section concerned me before I read it. I thought the IceMan was going to melt away…

There is a reason for the blog going through the roof…its quality.

We’ll miss Finny, but at least he won’t haunt us in the NHL. Now if someone could get that ‘other Russian’ to go to the KHL, we can quit hearing about him.

glovesave29

August 6th, 2010
3:27 pm

Shot accuracy can be fixed a myriad of different ways…weight transfer, addressing the puck, puck placement, a longer or shorter stick, change the lie or curve of the stick…even minor changes like skates can make a difference (some are higher in the heel than others). I feel confident that the coaching and equipment staff will work tirelessly with him to improve his shot. Once those components are addressed, then it is just work ethic. How long is Zubarev willing to work after practice to improve? Set some targets up after the others have gone and set goals for that day, i.e. – he cannot leave until he’s hit each target 5 consecutive times. Hockey sense is innate, you either have it or you don’t…skills like shooting and skating are fixed with effort.

Rawhide

August 6th, 2010
3:27 pm

This section concerned me before I read it. I thought the IceMan was going to melt away…

Bluestreak – Nah…I ain’t going nowhere. In fact I’ve been given the official Okee-Dokee to announce my new contract with AJC.com Sports. It’s a 17-year deal worth $101.

That’s $10 per year for the first 8 years…$7 per year for the next two…then $1 per year over the last seven.

The contract is pending review from Cox Enterprises, of course… but I don’t see where there’s gonna be any problem there.

Spud Webb

August 6th, 2010
3:32 pm

Bye Max!!
RedLight, your thoughts???????

Smoothie

August 6th, 2010
3:33 pm

Rawhide made a pertinent and funny reference…and I chuckled.

That is all.

Somaatl95

August 6th, 2010
3:35 pm

Thats a seriously front loaded contract there Rawhide. Be careful, you may have cox down your throat for announcing it so fast…. :) That didn’t quite come out right, but you know what I mean – would hate to have to go to arbitration, right?

glovesave29

August 6th, 2010
3:58 pm

Rawhide v. Cox

Sounds like a good porn name

Somaatl95

August 6th, 2010
4:06 pm

“Rawhide v. Cox – This time, one takes a beating!”

Couldn’t help it :)

Mr. Heat Miser

August 6th, 2010
4:09 pm

do svidaniya Tovarich

Smoothie

August 6th, 2010
4:10 pm

Geoff Pederson: Uh ohhhhhh! Bad boy!

Tom

August 6th, 2010
4:14 pm

Oh lord what a direction this conversation has taken.

Of course, it is right in line with “Dinner with Schmucks”…

alex

August 6th, 2010
4:17 pm

i don’t know is that dud blunder or asg playing cheap as usual. they new max not going to accept 1 year deal. what about plan “B”? poni played w/ big antr. many years, they been prodactive together, they friends, so you get 2/3 ready line. sign poni for 3.5 for 1 year (he got 3 in la) everybody happy: antr., fans, and your offensive much improved. maybe asg said noooo this exseed our limitations. i think now we not going to make playoff because off goal shortage. fedotenko is not answer for sure. but i will shut up if better option is coming. regarding zub. nobody seen him playing in russia, i don’t trust “hockey future” examination. remember same ovi exam saying he going to score less than kovy and not so flushy but more usefull. in fact he is better in evry department. so will see is he a stud or the bust.. for sure right now nikulin is better, zub. fail to make russian olimpik team.

R. Stroz

August 6th, 2010
4:23 pm

Is Trixie involved in the aforementioned festivities?

Somaatl95

August 6th, 2010
4:27 pm

Gotta love the double entendre. Thats “The Hockey Way”!

Frosty the snowman

August 6th, 2010
4:34 pm

You guys are a bunch of bitter nancie’s when it comes to Kovy. Kovy played his butt off for this terribly run franchise. You wanna bellyache about someone, do it towards Wadell. Kovy is not the first to walk away from this franchise, it happened with several different players. Not to mention the several other players who wouldnt even cosider coming here as a free agent. Year after year Wadell loaded the team with 3rd and 4th liners on the first and 2nd line, why would you be suprised at Kovy wanting to play somewhere else? Hossa did it the year before, same reason, they wanna play for a franchise that is serious about winning. You would want the same if you were in their position.

glovesave29

August 6th, 2010
4:39 pm

Uh, Frosty…we all DO blame Waddell.

Somaatl95

August 6th, 2010
4:39 pm

Hey Frosty – We were mad at D-Wad. Some of us were ticked off at Kovy telling the fans how much he loves it here and wants to stay. Ownership and management is one thing, telling lies to the fans is something completely different – and his reassurances last season “It isn’t about the money” were pure BS.

Somaatl95

August 6th, 2010
4:40 pm

If it weren’t about the money he wouldn’t be waiting for the arbitrator in Boston, would he?

hoosier_hoser

August 6th, 2010
4:46 pm

Rawhide:

I believe in the publish/subscribe (or Field Of Dreams) model. You publish something worthwhile and entertaining and and all the rest of us subscribe to it. You should take exceptional pride that your blog has reading value 52 weeks of the year. The credit is yours, not ours.

Your predecessor sold out to the Rags (or was it the Islanders). His predecessor, Ice Princess, dropped off the face of the earth. Are you finally able to give us assurance that if nominated by the Rags, you will not run, and if elected, you will not serve?

Schroeder

August 6th, 2010
4:51 pm

Frosty,nice try.The ONLY person Kovy played for was Kovy.Yeah he worked his butt off when the puck was on his stick.The rest of the time he was picking his nose between the blue lines.I blame the previous coaching staffs for not holding him accountable for his side of the defensive zone. I promise you if he lands in NJ or any other contender in the NHL he will have to play both ends of the ice and I will bet a dollar to a doughnut that he will not score over 35 goals. I bet your favorite baseball player was Barry Bonds,ONE DIMENSIONAL,hits homeruns,can’t run can’t throw,can’t catch,can’t hit for average.One Dimensional players do not win championships,in any sport!!!! BITTER NANCIES? WTF is that?

Jack

August 6th, 2010
5:00 pm

Frosty really???? Bitter Nancies?? We all agreed that Wadelll sucks, but the common factor is Kovy played when he wanted to and as hard as he wanted to. Oh yeah and he played no defense,

kracker

August 6th, 2010
5:07 pm

This is rather odd….isn’t it?

mirtle Gerber was 15-6-6 with a 2.19 GAA and .914 save percentage in the KHL last season. I wonder what this means for Khabibulin.

mirtle Here’s an interesting move: Oilers have agreed to terms with goaltender Martin Gerber on a one-year contract.

ThrashDawg

August 6th, 2010
5:11 pm

In all fairness to Barry Bonds he is/was considered a five tool player and certain Hall of Famer. The only thing that kept Bonds from being adored by fans and media alike is his sour attitude and use fo PEDs. I would not consider Kovy in the same light as Barry Bonds other than his selfish attitude towards team play. Oh and by the way, I am no fan of Barry Bonds…just thought the record should be clear, he was an all around ball player unlike Kovy.

ThrashDawg

August 6th, 2010
5:17 pm

Maybe a good comparison to Kovy would be Dave Kingman? Although I will have to say I don’t think you can really compare baseball and hockey…because I enjoyed watching Kovy play while he was here although it was frustrating at times…I cannot say the same for Dave Kingman…but of course I am a Cardinal fan so that might explain it.

kracker

August 6th, 2010
5:18 pm

Ok…Gerber is a depth signing.

mirtle Nick Kypreos confirms that Gerber’s contract is a two-way deal, meaning he comes in as insurance for Khabibulin.

DB

August 6th, 2010
5:19 pm

Bonds a five tool player? 3 hypos, a bottle of drops and a pill. He certainly didn’t have an arm and was a liability in the field.

ThrashDawg

August 6th, 2010
5:21 pm

Early on in his career he certainly was considered a 5 tool player. I certainly agree he was not at the end of his career. I would have to say I would question his arm out of the five, but he certainly was not a one dimensional player.

Schroeder

August 6th, 2010
5:31 pm

I agree with the “TOOL” part,especially when he could not throw out Sid Bream,who was deceptively slow,(he was much slower than he looked)When he went to San Fran and shortly thereafter you could use his batting helmet as a hot tub,I lost all respect for him. The same way I lost all respect for Kovy and his charade about it not being about the money. I would had a lot more respect for him had he just said ” I want to be the highest paid player in the game and I don’t care who pays me!!”

Flames

August 6th, 2010
5:40 pm

Rawhide you are the man! No news yet guys! I will miss Max as well. He just wanted a long term contract. One good year here doesn’t transpire into a long term deal. This blog is the best. I really enjoy reading your posts. You guys are awesome.

Not Blind

August 6th, 2010
5:40 pm

Re Max’s 5 year deal: If it don’t pan out after a year a two they will tell him to take a hike. It’s already been done.

Cornbread

August 6th, 2010
6:09 pm

The fans have every right to be pissed-off at Kovalchuck. Everyone new Hossa was not going to sign with the Thrashers when he quit playing for the team long before being traded. No one expected Captain Kovalchuk to pull a Hossa after all the smoke he blew up everybody’s butt. Kovalchuck is the main reason the Thrashers did not make the playoffs last season.

Hossa was the most complete player the Thrashers ever had even if he was selfish in his goal to win the Cup. Kovalchuk was far more selfish in his play, the way he treated his fans, and the team that drafted and was built around him. Good riddance. This point is clear, this team will win more playoff games without them than they did with them.

Dwayne

August 6th, 2010
6:21 pm

Rawhide, I liked your music based blog the most, then the posts by all you guys afterwards was fun reading. Do that more often and do one with a movie title theme, or movie character theme.

Thrashy Thrashy

August 6th, 2010
6:27 pm

Ilya’s a 27-year-old with 338 goals. If healthy, he’ll probably end up potting 600 or so in his career. Only 18 other guys have done that. In baseball terms, that makes Ilya more of a 500 HR guy than a 400 HR guy. That puts him in elite company, which is exactly what Ilya is: an elite goal-scorer.

Jack

August 6th, 2010
6:47 pm

elite goal scorer should not be in quesstion, However he will never be a elite hockey player or team player for that matter

ex-ex-STH

August 6th, 2010
6:49 pm

Hate to see Max go to Mother Russia but I think if Duds really wanted to sign him, he easily could have. He’s got something else “up his sleeve” (a “Plan B”). I hope Kovy gets his contract in NJ so we can start picking thru their lineup like Duds did in Chi-town! NJ has been a willing “dance partner” the past couple of seasons.

Rawhide….this has always been the most entertaining and enlightening blog out there! Your informed and knowledgeable followers make it the best read on the web!! especially during these wicked hot dawg days!

Midfield

August 6th, 2010
7:59 pm

Cornbread never fails to impress me with his logic as well as his (?) prophetic abilities. It’s ok for Hossa to cost for the most of the season while collecting his pay; but it’s not ok for Kovalchuk to hint his intentions by declining to resign. No other player in this franchize’s history sold as many seats and season tickets. Would this franchize even still be here had it not for Kovalchuk? I’m not asking Cornbread to answer (in all likelihood, he’s convinced himself that Thrashers would have won the Cup without Kovalchuk by now).

NHL Ready

August 6th, 2010
8:58 pm

I have to go along with Thrashy Thrashy on the Kovy talk. He is a outstanding player who has never been on a winning team (1 year wow) and still he pulls in these numbers. I do not blame him for leaving Atlanta and in the long run I think it was also good for Atlanta to part ways. We have a different team now and I am excited about the new season coming up. I hope he gets his contract with NJ and we can see him twice this year and if you want to boo go ahead but remember all those times when we were all cheering when he would score one of his highlighted goals. You all forget to easy.

SomaAtl95

August 6th, 2010
11:09 pm

NHL Ready & Thrashy Thrashy – look at it like this. Kovy is that girl (or guy, whatever floats your boat) that you had an incredible relationship with, starting out. As time passed on you started to think maybe they just weren’t that in to you. You keep asking, only to hear “Baby, its all good… I want to be here… I couldn’t imagine being with anyone else” so many times that you finally start to think its true.
Then they leave you and the next time you see them they are with their new sweetheart, talking about how the new person in their life is their one and only, and they finally want to settle down and lead a “first class” life.
You’re hurt, you’re angry, and you keep asking yourself where you should have made a better decision sometime during the whole relationship. It hurt so bad that you make a BIG change yourself to make that next big step come even faster. You hope all your effort is worth the payout but as of now you have no clue what will happen. So here you are, eagerly looking towards the future but always keeping in the back of your mind what led your ex to leave you. You remember the good times and wish things would have worked out, but most of all you wish they just had been TRUTHFUL.
Thats the best way to understand in the most non-hockey way possible why most of us are upset at being lied to by someone we had so much stock in. Sure, we’d still be upset if he were honest and left (like Hossa) but at least we would have respected them for having the balls to say they were going.
A man once said “Know thyself” That mans name is Rawhide v. Cox. :) October cannot get here fast enough!

Streethockey Oldtimer

August 6th, 2010
11:26 pm

Had to say something, as I felt like Rawhide was talking directly to me, as one of those who “lurks” around every day for the insight and humor, but never posting anything. And I certainly agree that the regulars make this a great blog. I am very proud that the Thrashers fan base is “high quality”, if not yet “high quantity”. Thanks for getting me through the off season everyone.

By the way, has anyone heard the terms of Max’s contract?
I’m figuring millions of rubles the first two years, some meat pirozhkes the next two, and a bottle of vodka the last. Or is that just the American way?

ThrashFan23

August 6th, 2010
11:30 pm

Hey you all should check out the nhl.com preview of the Thrashers…it’s actually really good. http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=535218

Cornbread

August 7th, 2010
1:27 am

Wow Midfield 9 rebuttals to Frosty’s post and you singled mine out… again. I’m flattered. Me thinks you have a crush on me.

But, you really do assume too much about me and infer far too much from my posts, much of it wrong. It’s not that serious of a relationship dude. Let it go.

meaningful posts???

August 7th, 2010
1:27 am

when? who? where? Glad there is a UGA blog to talk about a real sport!!!hahahahahaha…

ThrashFan80

August 7th, 2010
2:07 am

Screw you Afinogenov. If it weren’t for the Thrashers, your sorry ass would have been kicked to the mediocre KHL last year. You freakin’ owed the Thrashers on that one. Couldn’t have taken the one-year deal from us as a sort of “Thanks for saving my damn ass?” Have fun in a financially troubled league where there are absolutely no stakes at all and winning is meaningless.

Hotrod

August 7th, 2010
7:08 am

Are we still a few short to be so close to camp, or do we just round it out with some young’uns?

alex

August 7th, 2010
8:01 am

compare: we got ladd, byf, eager from chicago. who they played with – kane, toews, hossa, sharp, wersteeg. who they going to play now – antr, bergr., little, pev.,kane. we not even close offensivly. how we going to make playoff with this bunch that means surviving this franchise (fill more than10000 people, keeping future ufa, avoid been hockey siberia). sorry i am not excited so far. emergency need offensive help. do ypu see dud+dw+asg. hope so. untied purse pleas.

ThrasherNY

August 7th, 2010
8:56 am

Been a while since I piped up with a comment on the blog but I am proud to be contributing to the page views day in and day out. As someone said before me above, it is the quality of the discussion that makes this a must stop on my daily internet stroll. I will also add that the frequent posting makes this blog a one stop shop on the latest news which also adds to the views. That is my tribute to both Rawhide and the long list of informed bloggers. Thank-you!

I have long been a Kovalchuk fan and it is a little disturbing to see him being trashed by some of the fans on this blog. He is clearly an elite player in spite of the garbage he was surrounded by because of the bumbling idiot of of GM we have all had to endure. I did say player and not scorer for a reason. I respectfully disagree with Schroeder above and would take that bet. While I agree he will be required to be more of a two way player, which I feel he strives to improve at due to personal pride, I feel strongly he will continue to pot 40+ goals just because he is that talented a scorer. I also expect his point production to increase over the last few seasons as he will be surrounded with talent intended to maximize his potential. That is what great GMs do. He has never enjoyed that type of dedication. DW did nothing but leverage his talent to keep the payroll low by marching in a parade of 3rd liners to play his line. I think it is short sided that any long standing fan sees his departure as his legacy here in Atlanta. Before my job took me to NY I had near perfect attendance and Kovy carried the show many of the games. He is not a Datsyuk or a Gretzky type elite two way player but he is elite and he long ago gave up the cherry picker role for a more responsible style of play.

In our history we have had three elite players. All three of them left for the exact same reason and that reason is named Don Waddell. Heatley is the worst offender in my opinion for his comment about the cities dedication to hockey and the cowardly exit. But with regards to a pure business decision I can place no blame. Hossa didnt want to be here in the first place and as such his weak exit is not unexpected. These two elite players saw clearly what we all saw which is that DW had no clue how to build a winning franchise. I dont see Kovy telling the fans he wants to stay as a complete farse because he started saying it in the off season when he was likely behind the scenes begging someone to grow a brain and start making moves to make us show promise. Do you honestly think if Dudley were here a couple years ago organizing the talent and setting up the core of players Kovy wouldnt have signed back with us? Sighting it was all about money is just silly. We supposedly offered him the exact same amount for less years. NJ is a proven winner with a dedication to being an elite franchise. Kovy wants the same thing that most elite players want, to play for the Cup while earning the money they have worked hard to procure.

Sorry for the rant but as I said I am a fan of the guy and even look forward to seeing him play in NJ just to see the talent. Optimal would be for us to beat them by 5 goal margins both games up here so I can see Kovy score a couple great ones at no cost to our beloved Thrashers.

Last couple random comments:

Dudley, hope you read this, you are making great moves man and I am still optimistic you have a card up your sleeve. Exciting about next season and even more so about the future, talk about building a core.

Lets all hope Opi shines this season. He has all the talent and just need some refining on technical aspects.

I hate to even say it but is anyone else hopeful that Dudley could actually convince Nikulin to make the jump? I am not all that well versed in the pay situation but I know it sucks for a guy like Nikulin but a part of me thinks DW is what kept him in Russian all these years. Make it happen Duds and I will give you a dollar and a doughnut!

Go Thrashers!

World Be Free

August 7th, 2010
9:01 am

The concern that I have by losing Max is how the team will function out of the gate. Max/Nik/Bergfors really jelled together when assembled late in the season, they fed each other really well. Now we need a RW that will p;ay European hockey the way these 3 guys played together. As several of us have noted, this team has to get out of the gates and get moving our doubts will set in. With so many new players, this is still an experiment. Max’s speed kept defenses honest as well. So who will take over this role?

Kovy lied

August 7th, 2010
9:03 am

Enter your comments here

World Be Free

August 7th, 2010
9:09 am

ThrashyNY-nice post, but I think Nikulin is anchored in the Homeland-he is not coming. People in ATL pile on Kovy cause we went through a LONG divorce. By the time it was done, even the biggest Kovy fans were done with him, his agent and the entire process.

I was watching the HBO special on the Brooklyn Dodgers the other day. The long, drawn our Kovy departure was similar to Walter O’Malley’s long, drawn out courtship dance with Los Angeles leading to the the eventual departure of the Dodgers from Brooklyn. The process was so long and consuming that even the most devoted Brooklyn fans gave up before the team left. In the end, Kovy fans felt the same way.