Slava Kozlov’s franchise record for consecutive games played ended Saturday. It was not a health issue that snapped the Thrashers veteran forward’s streak at 251.
Kozlov was a healthy scratch against Tampa Bay.
“I hate to be the grim reaper,” Thrashers coach John Anderson said. “I have to do what I think is best for the team at the time. Nothing is set in stone. Sometimes it helps players; it helps them get a little more motivated. Certainly I don’t like to do it, but I have to do what I think is best for the hockey team at that certain time.”
Kozlov has eight goals and 15 assists this season, off from his pace of 26 goals and 50 assists of last season. Kozlov has a plus-minus rating of minus-14.
“I hope not well,” Anderson said when asked how Kozlov took the news. “I don’t want him to be comfortable with it. It’s not like it’s his first day at the fair. He knows his numbers. Again, I hate to do it. It’s not like it’s a surprise. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody. I want him to come back with more determination than ever and hopefully help our team get to the playoffs and do some damage.”
Kozlov last missed a game during the 2006-07 season.
Tobias Enstrom now holds the team's active streak for consecutive games played with 215.
With Kozlov out, Todd White was back in the lineup after being scratched the past five games. White skated on a line Saturday with Rich Peverley and Max Afinogenov.
“Not so much hungry, but with a little edge, a little more motivation,” Anderson said of what he wanted to see from White. “We’ve talked about secondary scoring. That’s what I need to have from [players such as White]. If they are not doing it, then it’s not helping the hockey team.”
Mark Popovic was the Thrashers' other scratch.