Afinogenov Talks to Atlantathrashers.com
I went up to Duluth this morning with our video guy to see what we could find out about Maxim Afinogenov. With more than half of the remaining 46 players on the road there were just enough players today to have four lines and four defensemen, so there was plenty of skating. Afinogenov has absolutely blazing speed and a fantastic shot. He was all business on the ice up until the end when he chatted with other players a bit more. He was one of the last players off of the ice, and then he and Ilya Kovalchuk were the last two players to finish working out in the gym. Russian NHL players aren’t known for their love of doing interviews in English but we got Kovy and Max in front of the camera and this is the result.
You may have noticed that Afinogenov says he knows a lot of the guys. He does. Look at these connections:
- 1999-00: Played with Randy Cunneyworth for the Rochester Americans for 15 games. Cunneyworth was a player/assistant coach and would later be at Buffalo camps as the head coach of the Americans.
- 1999-04: Teammates with Eric Boulton in Rochester and Buffalo.
- 2001-02: Played with Slava Kozlov in Buffalo. The two were linemates at times.
- 2001-02- current: Afinogenov and Kovalchuk havebeen palying on Russian national teams together since Kovy was old enough to play for the senior squad instead of the junior time. Some years they’ve skated as linemates.
- 2005-06: Chris Thorburn was called up to the Sabres for a pair of games. Thorburn spent three seasons in Buffalo’s system and would have been in training camp with Afinogenov for those years.
Pierre LeBrun from ESPN.com has a quick story on Mad Max and how he could fit in Atlanta. In it he mentions that the newest addition to the training camp roster is staying with Slava Kozlov, so that bond still exists.
What are the chances of him making the team? That’s tough to tell without seeing him in action, but he would certainly be set up to succeed in John Anderson’s up-tempo system. His skating and his creativity make him a natural fit and his existing relationships with other players and assistant coach Randy Cunneyworth have to help too.