Asked if he is confident he’ll re-sign with the Thrashers, Kovalchuk said, “Yeah, hopefully because I’ve been here all my [professional] life. My family is excited to be here and my daughter is starting [pre-] school. Hopefully, we get it figured out.”
“I think we are way better than last year,” Kovalchuk said.
That last statement is extremely important. That was one of the goals for him re-signing. The team needed to improve. He's already seeing it before camp... I can't wait to see what he thinks once the season starts. The whole situation is far better than the Hossa problem, and is probably way better than a lot of big markets are hoping for, since everyone's visualized Kovy in their team colors.
Sorry. The guy wants to wear off-powder blue, maroon, gold, white, and... um... a fugly 10th anniversary patch.
Another interesting thing from the first article is what Anderson said about the goalie situation:
The other note of interest was Kari Lehtonen. He did not practice. He is still recovering from back surgery. There was no indication from coach John Anderson when he will return. In Lehtonen’s absence, finding a No. 1 goalie is a top priority of camp.
“Right now, he’s not in the mix,” Anderson said of Lehtonen. “Saying he’s No. 1, that’s not true. I’ll put him in when he’s actually ready, but right now the No. 1 job is up for grabs. Right now there are four guys that look really good out there.
“I want to make sure we get off to a good start and I want to establish a No. 1 goalie early on. If Kari is not here [finding a No. 1 goalie] is a priority of our training camp.”
Huh. So, if there's no Kari, basically, having everyone and their MOTHER at camp is basically a tryout for numero uno. We can surmise it won't be Moose, or probably not one of the 2 guys we brought in from free agency this summer. I wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't come down between Manny and Pavs. Frankly, if Manny plays like he did year before last, he's a lock. And, well... if we sign him to a contract for the season, and even if it's a 2 way one, that just leads to even more log jammin' (see what I did there?) at goal.
I'm still of the camp of that while I think Kari's a tremendous talent and a great goalie, we can't keep waiting on him to be healthy. If we have Legace going great guns, and something tweaks in his knee again, we have Pavs to step up, and Manny's usually back within a few weeks from that, not a month or two like Kari has been with his groin and back.
Quite a quandry we have there.