Thrashers need someone else for Crosby to chase

The Thrashers defenseman is on a rehab assignment in Chicago after ankle surgery.

Valabik and the Pittsburgh star had several run-ins last season. One incident included Crosby punching Valabik in the groin from behind during a December game.

“We have to do whatever we can to get them off their game,” Thrashers coach John Anderson said. “If [Sidney] Crosby is chasing [Boris] Valabik around, that’s a good thing. Maybe we should have called him up and have Crosby chase him around.”

Valabik made his Wolves debut Friday, a 1-0 loss to Rockford. He was a minus-1 and took a roughing penalty. Chicago played host to Peoria on Saturday.

*Defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh features a formidable duo in Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

Asked how he intended to defend the duo, Anderson said: “It’s almost impossible to cover both of them, so my thought is whenever they have the puck you want to take as much time and space away from them as possible and not give them room to move. … If you give them any time, [the puck's] going to end up in your net or at least at your net.”

*In Pittsburgh, Thrashers forward Colby Armstrong faced the team for which he made his NHL debut. Armstrong, acquired by the Thrashers in the Marian Hossa trade in February 2008, played 181 games for the Penguins.

“It’s been awhile, but obviously that’s my original team.” Armstong said. “I’m hoping we can pound them pretty good, but we’ll see what happens. It’s a little weird when you started out there to look at the jersey. It means a little something extra going against them.”

*Pittsburgh assistant general manager Jason Botterill was an original Thrasher. He played 25 games in 1999-2000 and had one goal and four assists.

*Rich Peverley received the Player of the Month award for October from the Thrashers' fan club.

*Defenseman Anssi Salmela and forward Jim Slater were the Thrashers’ healthy scratches. Anderson would not reveal who will start in goal Sunday, the second of back-to-back home games.

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