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Thrashers - Hurricanes Pre-Season Game Analysis

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Who played the most


  1. 23:53 Enstrom
  2. 22:51 Postma
  3. 22:44 Popovic
  4. 21:55 Kubina
  5. 21:50 Vernace
  6. 03:45 Hainsey

Hainsey's early injury resulted in everyone else playing over 20 minutes on the blueline.


  1. 26:18 Kovalchuk
  2. 18:20 Antropov
  3. 18:13 Little
  4. 17:21 Peverley
  5. 16:50 Kozlov
  6. 15:08 White
  7. 13:59 Slater
  8. 13:46 Fritsche
  9. 13:08 Thorburn
  10. 12:29 Reasoner
  11. 09:25 Boulton
  12. 01:51 Armstrong

Armstrong's early injury had Coach Anderson juggling the lines quite a lot. Kovalchuk was the primary beneficiary, He led all players (including all defensemen) in ice time.

Falconer's Take

  • Ilya Kovalchuk: He played big minutes and generally played very well. He looks very motivated and excited. He got a pass he wasn't expecting and flubbed it--Kovy might have a little adjustment period playing with more skilled guys. He still had one of those shifts where he made a poor decision in the defensive zone which resulted in the Thrashers becoming stuck in their own end for the greater part of a shift--but there were fewer of those shifts than in the past. I'm not sure if the Little deflection goal on the shot/pass from Kovalchuk was planned or just a happy accident, but it was very pretty.
  • Nik Antropov: A friend of the blogger commented on how he goes to the net and sets up for rebounds and screens--"it is weird to see a Thrasher do that." I don't want to get overly excited about beating up on a Staal-less Carolina roster...but...they had some nice long shifts at the good end where they had sustained pressure--if they can do that in the regular season, it will take a big load off the defensemen.
  • Pavel Kubina: His foot speed looked adequate last night. He's not fast, but he was able to get back. The value of his size was noticeable on several players where he just put his big body in the way of someone and they struggled to get around him. His enormous reach was also apparent, and it allowed him to break up several plays. Boris Valabik could really benefit from watching a full season of Pavel Kubina. The goal he scored was straight out of the Coach Anderson playbook, distract the opposing defense by cycling in one corner while the Thrashers opposite side D pinches down for a back door tap in goal--bingo!
  • Jim Slater: He showed off some terrific eye-hand coordination by bating a loose puck out of the air for a goal. He skated well and worked hard. He and Thorburn were paired together on the PK--in fact they led all forwards in SH TOI--but those two were also on the ice for the Hurricanes PP goal.
  • Mark Popovic: I thought he looked great even before he scored his goal. If I were Salmela, I'd be very concerned about my NHL roster spot. He plays Anderson's system perfectly, skating with abandon and creating overload situations by driving to the net.
  • Paul Postma: He did not look out of place at all. His skating was great and passing good. He did OK handling bigger forwards down low around the net. I expect that he will be going to Chicago, but he looks like he could handle some spot duty in the NHL very soon.
  • Johan Hedberg: He made some big saves. One in particular where he read the play well and went side to side.
  • Mother Nature: She dealt the team a low blow last night. Several people were killed by the weather and traffic arteries were clogged. Basically nobody was inside the building last night. I put the crowd at 500-600. During the National Anthem I counted every person standing on the club side and it totaled just 49 people (with more standing on the concourse). I think there might have been more people at last Monday night's Battle of the Prospects Game at the Practice Facility than in Philips. A shame such an entertaining game went to waste for so many season ticket holders and fans.
Tim's Take
  • Did anybody notice that The Falconer was counting the number of people on the club side during the national anthem? Party foul.
  • Paul Postma: I have two names for Paul Postma; I call him, alternately, "my favorite prospect" and "The Postman." (Yeah, because of all those sweet passes he delivers...) He played slightly tentatively, but it was only his 2nd game. Like Falconer said, Postma will almost certainly be heading to Chicago this year. I've said that his shot at the NHL is in two years, but I'm curious if he can push that up to next year.
  • Slava Kozlov: Kozy looked like he was in mid-season form. I was very impressed with his skating. He played most of the night with Todd White and Rich Peverley (there was some swapping due to Armstrong's injury) and he kept up with them better than I had imagined. He missed a shot right on the doorstep, though--perhaps the puck was on end? It was on the far side of the ice from me.
  • Mark Popovic: Pops needed a strong, strong preseason to challenge for a roster spot. If he plays on Wednesday and/or Sunday like he did last night, I believe he'll earn that roster spot.
  • Nik Antropov: Either I or the Thrashers PA guy is saying Antropov's name wrong. He kept saying An-TROP-ov to my AN-tro-pov. What can you say about a guy who picks up 3 points in a game in his first game back after the summer? Antropov is huge. He's enormous. During training camp (when players don't wear numbers on their jerseys,) I noticed that Nik makes Kovy look like Bryan Little. That's how big he is. Thrashers fans: be excited.
  • Colby Armstrong: An injury took him out of the game, but did anybody notice how much he was swaying during the national anthem? It was hilarious.
  • Boulton-Slater-Thorburn: They did what they did, but does anybody think that all three of these guys will make the team? I'm not so sure.
  • Dan Fritsche: I must be missing something: he looked remarkably average to me. Not bad... just average. If he plays on Wednesday, I'll have to watch him closer.
  • Mike Vernace: Most of the time, Vernace looked a bit short of the rest of the team. He had a couple moments where he'd make a strong play or a good move, though. He looks like he has some talent, but perhaps is a bit raw. Maybe he simply hasn't had enough time in the Anderson system yet? Vernace seems bound for the AHL.