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Afinogenov Talks to

September 18, 2009

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 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.

  1. GaVaHokie permalink
    September 18, 2009 4:53 pm

    Interesting that Pierre Lebrun picks Peverley to Center Slava and Max… Todd White still can’t get any love.:)

    I guess you can’t go wrong with either White or Peverley platooning on the 3rd Line with Reasoner and Armstrong… you can swap out whoever has the hot hand from week to week.

  2. frank permalink
    September 18, 2009 5:03 pm

    good stuff Ben. I like this move only hes not a -15 by december.

    p.s. i know hes only a tryout… but more than likely hes makes this team

  3. John permalink
    September 18, 2009 7:01 pm

    I’m going to be mad if this move gets White or Peverley demoted to the third line. I like Max as much as the next guy but the lines are perfect right now and I’d hate to see Max take someone else’s earned spot. The most I’d hope for is if he could play with Marty and Colby on the third line if Kane isnt ready, but otherwise the lineup should stay the way it is.

  4. Ben Wright permalink
    September 18, 2009 8:29 pm

    I hear you John, but I think that second line could use another shooter. Peverley, White and Kozlov all like to pass first, shoot later.

  5. videofarmer permalink
    September 19, 2009 11:16 am

    What number is he using at camp?

  6. September 23, 2009 11:12 am

    Max is always injured and is a very bad player. can skate fast and that’s it.

  7. twankie10 permalink
    September 24, 2009 11:38 am

    you all will see. hes going to have a huge season without lindy ruff holding him back.

  8. rjl6616 permalink
    September 25, 2009 7:43 pm

    lindy ruff wasnt holding him max is garbage, the only thing hes got going 4 him is hes fast thats it, joe knows what hes talking about. dont be disappointed you will see.

  9. September 29, 2009 10:44 pm

    I wouldn’t say Max is a “bad” player. He’s actually very exciting to watch because of his skating and puck handling skills, but hell, a fast skater that can’t score sure enough doesn’t help win games. As a native to western NY and born in Buffalo, the Sabres are my top team (followed by the Thrashers because I live here) and I’ve followed Max all these years in Buffalo. I honestly didn’t think an NHL team would pick him up since being put on waivers. I thought maybe he’d hit the Russian league. So, I was surprised Atlanta signed him. I didn’t even know he was down here trying out. Maybe the fact that we have lots more Russians down here is a major factor? Who knows. Koslov certainly didn’t get along with Ruff I know that for a fact. Maybe a change of scenery for Max, fresh faces, fresh start, new system will turn him around? I’m hoping it does because I was one of those fans that really wanted him to excel but he just never did. It was very frustrating how his production level just tanked in Buffalo. Lindy Ruff certainly was more defensive-minded and tried to teach Max to be a two-way player but I’ve always felt that with his speed he needs to be let loose and be completely offensive minded. I’m hoping he does well with Atlanta and it will be very cool to see him in blue down here. Just don’t get your hopes up too much. Maybe he can exceed expectations though. Guess I’ll miss the legendary broadcaster in Buffalo – Rick Jeanerat — calling out Maxim’s name when he did rarely score: “Maaaaxim Aaaaaaaaafinnnnnnooooooogenov!”

    I’m just jacked the season will start this week!


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