Russia has captured the last two World Championship titles but neither Kovalchuk nor Afinogenov were willing to predict an Olympic gold medal.
“Every team is comparable,” Afinogenov said.
The Thrashers have several other players who could make Olympic rosters including Ron Hainsey and Zach Bogosian (United States), Pavel Kubina, Ondrej Pavelec and Boris Valabik (Czech Republic), Christoph Schubert (Germany) and Anssi Salmela (Finland).
The Olympic hockey competition begins on Feb. 16 in Vancouver.
Kane misses practice
Thrashers rookie Evander Kane missed Sunday's practice after injuring his shoulder in Saturday's loss to Tampa Bay. Thrashers coach John Anderson said Kane is "day-to-day" after being examined by doctors. Kane was scheduled to make the next leg of the team's road trip, which continues Monday in New Jersey.
Lack of effort
The Thrashers have lost four straight (0-3-1) headed into Monday’s game in New Jersey. They are coming off Saturday’s 4-3 loss in Tampa Bay as the Lightning took the lead with two third-period goals.
"I thought we played a good game up until that third goal," Anderson said. "We thought [Alex Tanguay's goal] was offsides, but it wasn't and, lo and behold, it ends up in our net. We relaxed and you don't relax until you hear the whistle. That's pee-wee hockey. That bothers me, something as simple as not playing it out to the whistle ends up in our net."
Junior goal scorers
Thrashers prospects Carl Klingberg and Jeremy Morin, both second-round picks this year, each scored goals in the opening round of the World Junior Hockey Championships on Saturday in Saskatchewan.
Klingberg, playing for Sweden, scored in a 10-1 win over the Czech Republic. Morin scored for the United States in a 7-3 win over Slovakia. Morin started a four-goal second period for the U.S. en route to the win.
The tournament continued Sunday.
Chris Chelios, the 25-year NHL veteran, signed a second Professional Tryout Contract with AHL Chicago. Chelios, 47, is not property of the Thrashers. He has appeared in 22 games and is second on the team with a plus-nine rating for the Thrashers affiliate.