Three in a row

With Tuesday night’s victory over the Colorado Avalanche, the Thrashers’ third win in a row, Atlanta moved not only comfortable ahead of the Islanders but also three points up on Tampa Bay, within a point of Colorado and within four points of Phoenix and Ottawa. In other words, there’s a realistic chance the Thrashers could finish 25th out of the 30 NHL teams, just good enough to have no chance at the No. 1 draft pick.

So, are Thrashers fans happy their team is finally winning, or would they rather it waited until next year?

Plus, here are two things I forgot to blog from Monday’s practice:

— With Eric Perrin off the ice recovering from his stinger, Ron Hainsey did some work as a forward alongside Marty Reasoner and Colin Stuart.

—Hainsey, on why the Thrashers were able to limit shots on goal by the Canadiens and Flames: “It’s more of a team thing. If the team’s committed to protecting the puck more, having the puck more, forwards and D, not turning it over, and being in good position in our end, we can limit the shots. … It’s everybody. It’s been the forwards just as much as the D.”

82 comments Add your comment

BlueLand Billy

March 11th, 2009
5:09 am

Winning brings positive vibes to the team, the fans, the press, as well as momentum for next season. Who knows maybe could help attract some FA’s as well.

B. Thenet

March 11th, 2009
5:48 am

Just win baby!

I agree with what BL Billy said above. Build momentum for next year within the team, fanbase, and organization as a whole.

squawks mcgrew

March 11th, 2009
6:21 am

I’d rather a strong finish light the fire heading into next season than rely on Waddell’s draft-picking prowess to provide the spark.

Toby

March 11th, 2009
6:43 am

Finishing the season while winning can’t hurt in convincing Kovy to sign the 6-7 year $50 Mill contract he’ll have sitting in front of him in 3 months. Nor does it hurt in convincing UFA’s to sign here.

Speaking of convincing UFA’s…Aren’t we glad the whole Brian Campbell thing never worked out. He’s still a great D, but 64 7 37 44 +3 (keep in mind this is on a much better team than ATL) is not $8.1/year.

Belak the Albino

March 11th, 2009
6:55 am

It’s funny how playing like a ‘team’ has such a positive effect. Even Hainsey gets involved now during scrums. Early in the year Hainsey was one of the guys who just stood around and did nothing. This “team” is finally playing like a “team” and that’s a big part of why they are winning. It looks like the messages JA has sent are finally showing results. Everyone is on board. Draft picks don’t always work out, I’m not sure why everyone assumes these players will all turn out to be golden. You would think years with Patty Stefan here..that some of you would be cognizant that not all high drafted players end up being great. This “team” won’t tank because for once we actually have some pride. It’s a deep draft, even if we pick later the signs being shown by the team are all signs that we are moving in the right direction. Even Jeff Schultz should agree with that.

Mike

March 11th, 2009
7:59 am

Just keep winning…I echo everyone’s comments above…it is just awfully nice to win some for a change !!!

Eileen

March 11th, 2009
8:06 am

WIN WIN WIN, it puts a smile on one’s face. Hopefully this is the beginning of a successful run that can be carried into next season.

Bob

March 11th, 2009
8:08 am

waddells inability to draft is exactly why we need to pick at 1 or 2, both tavares and hedman are can’t miss guys. hse are meaningless games, no free agent is going to have his mind changed by these games, we still finish at the bottom. especially with the ownership not spending to the max, we need cheap great young players

Shannon

March 11th, 2009
8:11 am

I love the winning. Keep it up!

Stan Drulia

March 11th, 2009
8:31 am

Typical Bob statement. While you call these games meaningless, I actually find myself excited to watch the Thrashers play every night now… something that hasn’t been happening since about 2 months into the season. So yeah, getting hard-core fans to start paying full attention again, while surely getting “fair-weather fans” back into the game, … meaningless. There is an interesting thread you should check out bob… http://www.thewordonthebird.blogspot.com .. pretty much addresses your whole attitude.

Go Thrash! Next year is looking a lot better all of a sudden!

Belak the Albino

March 11th, 2009
9:03 am

Excellent points Stan. These games aren’t meaningless at all. The players don’t find them meaningless , obviously. It’s about building a team, something we have always neglected to do properly. There is no quick fix, the Thrashers took their lumps and finally it seems like we have a very formidable foundation being built.

GaVaHokie

March 11th, 2009
9:08 am

Bob… We have 11 guys on our roster right now that were drafted by Waddell. As a first time GM in the early years, I’d say Waddell “couldn’t” draft, but his track record is pretty good of late.

Now that his drafting skills are catching up with his trading skills, we have some semblance of a depth franchise.

thebighairybeast

March 11th, 2009
9:13 am

Great to see the team finally winning a few games. The guys are working hard with little to play for. But the team, and the franchise as a whole is still a mess. Its good forr the fans, but it also gives DW and the AS crew so fuel to think that they are actually doing a good job.

Jarndyce

March 11th, 2009
9:16 am

The one thing that really stands out to me regarding the play of the team over the last month or so, is the enthusiasm and energy. Is it coincidence that this started about the same time that older, perhaps more skeptical players like Schneider have gone, and younger, hungrier players like Peverley, etc., have been added?

As I, and many others, said months ago: Just give me a team with players that will go at it every shift, every night, and I’ll take the losses with the wins. But the wins are a lot more fun…

As for draft position, I’d love to have the #1 pick. But the moment the team stops fighting for a win on every shift is the moment they no longer deserve a top pick.

GaVaHokie

March 11th, 2009
9:17 am

I’ll throw this out there for argument… Bernie Mullen, on his way out the door, did an interview on 680theFan. His sentiment to ownership was that they had the right people in place at GM, they just needed to give them time to grow.

Billy Knight stepped down since then, but Waddell is still going.

GaVaHokie

March 11th, 2009
9:22 am

One problem with guys like Schneider and even Holik and Zhitnik, is that they are grizzled vets who typically “dog it” for the first half of the season. They know that playoff teams come on strong after the All Star Break and try to peak right at the playoffs… we just don’t have the depth to support guys “saving it” for the second half.

Alan

March 11th, 2009
9:32 am

I’m happy with the performance of the team. The product being iced looks a whole lot better now than they ever did in October or November.

jake

March 11th, 2009
9:39 am

I agree with Jarndyce…it looks like addition by subtraction. Get rid of Havelid, Schneider, Christensen and Williams, bring in some hungry, young guys who do what the coach wants them to do, and suddenly the Thrashers are playing like a team. With the exception of a bit of a letdown in third period, it was great watching them play. Regardless of where you are in the standings, if you’ve got pride and professionalism, no game is meaningless.

English Teacher

March 11th, 2009
11:10 am

To Jake: I have to take exception with your comment about Havelid. He was by far our best defenseman all year. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for the youth movement and I really agree with whaat Hokie said, but Havelid never dogged it.

JD

March 11th, 2009
11:57 am

I was in the car listening to the 680 post game. They said they had “some great news for Thrashers fans… Breaking news” Then I lost the signal while driving and didn’t catch what it was….

Anybody hear it?

kracker

March 11th, 2009
12:05 pm

I’m still hoping for continued good play and still staying in the bottom 5 somehow. But it looks like we will pass the Avs soon, with plenty of games left to catch OTT and PHO. Still, there’s some good centers available at 5-8 depending on how you rank the draftees. But it does look like the Thrash will be better than the 3rd lottery spot for sure.

It’s really too bad they couldn’t have left the bottom group a few weeks ago. Then it wouldn’t seem that this late winning spree is counterproductive to the team’s long-term future, stress long-term. Just think how much we love having Bogosian now. If the Thrash had won a couple more games last season, Bogo would only be playing in Philips as a foe.

kracker

March 11th, 2009
12:08 pm

Ooops, I clicked before adding that moving up should help convince Kovy to stay (maybe) and hopefully the ATL will look a little more attractive to some FAs. Especially if the &%#*@ lawsuit is over with.

timthebrave

March 11th, 2009
12:09 pm

Sunday was my 5th game of the year and my first victory this season. I was starting to be cursed. Losing to get a high draft pick won’t help this team. Winning will.

Brendan

March 11th, 2009
12:26 pm

Look, there are a couple of things going on here I must address. #1, this use of the term “meaningless” is a relative term. And each of you are using it in terms of your own convenient definitions, without taking into the consideration the application of how OTHERS might be using it. Stop, and think about it.

Meaningless, in the sense of the games are “exhibitions?” Meaningless, in the sense that they cannot result in a playoff berth? Meaningless, in the sense that they are best served for giving AHL players the “9 game audition?” Meaningless, in the sense that the lottery draft places us, not our finish? Meaningless in the sense that … well … are 5-8 extra points really going to sway an UNRESTRICTED free agent to our market, knowing that DW and FUBAS are still in charge? And are still setting the budgets around here.

For the record, I hold ZERO grudge against any Thrasher fan who wants to BOTH (1) win and (2) win the lottery draft. Why wouldn’t we want BOTH????? I do. I want to win. ANNNND I want to win the lottery draft. Why am I not permitted to hold BOTH of these positions? The 26th place team can STILL win the lottery draft, ya know. It’s just that the odds of that happening become less likely.

Looking back, I’m not “hopping mad” that the 2002 Thrashers left 10-12 points on the table in games they should have won. I shrugged my shoulders and said, “It IS what it IS.” We drafted 2nd overall. And that’s it. Some people like Kari, and see him as the Thrashers #1 goalie of the future. And some people think we “busted” a CRITICAL, 2nd overall selection. I don’t demonize either viewpoint.

The SECOND thing I want to address is Don Waddell’s acumen. Stop for a minute, okay? Wait, first let me state for the record, I wanted Don Waddell fired in 2002. I cannot possibly explain why he is still here, in any rational argument. Okay, that part is done now. Here’s where “I’m fair.” No matter what I think, you think, the media thinks, what Al Franken might think, or what Bob Dole knows … Don Waddell has been an NHL GM for a DECADE. You might not think he’s deserves to be. But it’s a fact that Don Waddell has run the Thrashers for 10 years, going on 11. And, in the course of 10 years of being at the helm, ANYONE … and I do mean ANYONE … is bound to ‘learn a thing or two.’ He’s got experience. He’s tried just about everything. Nothing has worked. But the LAST THING he hadn’t tried … is what he SHOULD HAVE TRIED right from the very beginning. And that’s a youth movement, with his own draft picks. I’m sorry the latter round picks of 1999-2003 never seemed to take root. But the Waddell Administration’s record is getting a bit better. Just last season, I think the picks of Leveille, Lasu, and Redmond, may bear fruit. Ohh, not this year or next, but maybe a few years down the road. Heyyyy, you KNOW that draft picks take 3-5 years to develop, except for those high-end, Top 5, or Top 10 overall picks.

Okay. So, FUBAS doesn’t appear to be ready, willing, or ABLE to fire Don Waddell. So? So, what we have to hope for now … is that Don’s “experience” will lead him down the right path. He’s done the “greybeard, 30-something vet plan” with very limited dividends. I think he’s beginning to see the wisdom of forcing the young, hungry, eager to prove themselves draft picks … to gel … as the correct path for the future. Hey, if UFAs don’t want any part of our market, so be it! We can use the draft to cultivate our own! But we’ve got to have a “PLAN” that gives the team an IDENTITY that defines “Thrashers Hockey.” We cannot just continue to fly by the seat of our pants, drifting aimlessly out on the NHL seas. If this Eric O’Dell can be molded into this new philosophy, then great! This is the “new” NHL, and Don, finally, is starting to ‘get what that means.’ It’s a league where youth, speed and grit are at a high premium. Show me a young, fast, gritty team, and I’ll show you a team that will succeed in the new NHL, especially if the Special Teams Units (PP & PK) are up to snuff.

Barry

March 11th, 2009
12:54 pm

I want Thrashers to win as much as they can and play the systems consistently and show the league they are REALLY moving in the right direction. Draft picks won’t help this team right now anyway. I looked at the numbers and the players on this years team is either signed for next year or RFA status. The only ones that are UFA really is Reasoner and Perrin. The 3rd line is really the only place Waddell needs to find players for unless he can somehow find a top 6 RW and move Armstrong down to the 3rd line. Anyway let the Thrashers win and build good momentum, team play, and good habits. Seeing this team finally come together since the All Star break is great to see and I’m sure this is what Anderson had envisioned. Unfortunately it’s taken this long to come to fruition.

jason

March 11th, 2009
1:00 pm

JD, they basically said that according to some pretty well-placed sources, Ilya is “very happy” with the direction the team has been taking the past two months and it’s very likely he’s going to re-sign come July 1. Take that for what it’s worth.

JD

March 11th, 2009
1:09 pm

Thanks Jason. I almost called 680 at 1 AM last night to find out.

I’m surprised that hasnt been reported anywhere else on blogs/message boards. Unless I just missed it.

Ray

March 11th, 2009
1:09 pm

I’m waiting for Stendec to blame Kari for allowing four shots to hit the post!

chc4

March 11th, 2009
1:25 pm

Bogosian is an absolute monster. If Valabik contines to develop we have the makings of a solid D core along w/ Enstrom.

Bob

March 11th, 2009
2:33 pm

**If the Thrash had won a couple more games last season, Bogo would only be playing in Philips as a foe**

Bingo. And if they had won a couple more games last season, those games would have been meaningless, except that we wouldn’t have Bogosian.

the only thing these wins are doing are screwing us out of the chance at Tavares, and that’s a huge thing. That’s what’s wrong with this country, everyone wants instant gratification (yea, they won today!) and no one can look at the big long term picture (getting a stud like Tavares)

GaVaHokie

March 11th, 2009
2:35 pm

TSN actually doing a Mock Draft already. :) Here’s the lay of the land so far… I’d have zero problem with this.

http://tsn.ca/nhl/feature/?id=7027&lid=sublink03&lpos=topRelated_nhl

GaVaHokie

March 11th, 2009
2:37 pm

Bob… there’s only one problem… you’d have a hard time convincing anyone in the Thrashers locker room to give a damn about Tavares.

The Real Fan

March 11th, 2009
2:39 pm

See the business rankings for all NFL clubs below:
NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE

Montreal Canadiens (4)
Detroit Red Wings (7)
Pittsburgh Penguins (10)
San Jose Sharks (12)
Philadelphia Flyers (18)
Chicago Blackhawks (24)
Calgary Flames (27)
New York Rangers (31)
Minnesota Wild (33)
Washington Capitals (41)
Anaheim Ducks (47)
Buffalo Sabres (48)
Vancouver Canucks (53)
Dallas Stars (55)
Boston Bruins (60)
Edmonton Oilers (61)
Toronto Maple Leafs (64)
Ottawa Senators (68)
Colorado Avalanche (74)
New Jersey Devils (79)
Carolina Hurricanes (89)
Nashville Predators (90)
St. Louis Blues (94)
Los Angeles Kings (96)
Tampa Bay Lightning (97)
Florida Panthers (102)
Phoenix Coyotes (107)
Columbus Blue Jackets (114)
Atlanta Thrashers (119)
New York Islanders (121)

The Real Fan

March 11th, 2009
2:39 pm

The Atlanta Falcons soared higher than any other major Atlanta sports franchise, but the Atlanta Thrashers were near the bottom of the barrel in 2008, according to a new study from bizjournals.

The Real Fan

March 11th, 2009
2:40 pm

WHEN ARE GOING TO HAVE A MAJOR LEAGUE HOCKEY GM/TEAM IN ATLANTA?

GaVaHokie

March 11th, 2009
3:00 pm

Ranallo… (and anyone else)… check this clip out. You know how much I was raving about Tyler Ennis during the draft last year. I was curious what he was doing in Juniors this year. Check out his 6 goal game just two weeks ago… the last 2 goals are beauties.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7g9QByo5ec

Brendan

March 11th, 2009
3:09 pm

Is there an Aves fan in the house? Are you guys “tanking it” to try for Tavares or Hedman? I’m interested in hearing the opinions of the other lottery draft PROBABLE markets.

I want Tavares. If I can’t get Tavares, I want Hedman. If the Thrashers play BETTER in losing efforts, I am SATISFIED. This year is all about developing prospects. Bryan Little will score 30 goals this year. Nathan Oystrick is coming along. Zach Bogosian is learning the NHL ropes. Toby Enstrom is working hard. Jim Slater is trying to reach 10 goals this season. Kari Lehtonen has 3 shutouts on the year and is steadily improving over his last 10 games. If these things continue, while the Thrashers are LOSING, I’m fine with that. We’re not in the playoff hunt. And, as Bob suggests, each loss adds ping pong balls. But I really don’t think the organization, players, coaches, etc., are trying to lose. I think they’re trying as best as a salary cap floor team can. If the team loses, they lose. And if they get Tavares, in an act of Divine Intervention, so much the better.

Jarndyce

March 11th, 2009
3:10 pm

“And if they had won a couple more games last season, those games would have been meaningless, except that we wouldn’t have Bogosian.”

If you are going to contemplate having won a couple more games, then you have to answer to the reprecussions, as well. So, we win some extra games last year, and pick, say 6th overall. Then your statement above would read:

“And if they had won a couple more games last season, those games would have been meaningless, except that we wouldn’t have Schenn.”

The truth is that winning games has a better long-term payoff than a single draft position over the life of a franchise. If only because in almost all cases, the incremental difference between one player and the next best player is very slim. Not to mention the variable nature of forecasting future player development in the first place.

ranallo10 (in AT)

March 11th, 2009
3:19 pm

“If the Thrash had won a couple more games last season, Bogo would only be playing in Philips as a foe”

If we’re going to compare to last year, let’s look at things first to gain “perspective”…here is the draft class from last year, pick 4-9 (realistic range for the Thrashers at this point of this season).

Pick Team Player Pos. GP G A Pts PIM
4 ATL Bogosian D 32 4 5 9 26
4 STL Pietrangelo D 8 0 1 1 2
5 TOR Schenn D 56 1 5 6 48
6 CBJ Filatov L 8 4 0 4 0
7 NSH Wilson C no games in the NHL
8 PHX Boedker L 66 10 15 25 16
9 NYI Bailey C 53 3 17 20 14

So, at first glance…is Bogosian that much better than his contemporaries? Keep in mind, this is still early in their careers and things can change drastically as they play more games. However, at THIS point, would you as a fan be upset had the team won an extra few games and drafted (for arguments sake) Schenn, or Boedker? Would you have been longing for the team that “could have been” by missing out on the “can’t miss” pick of Bogosian?

I like Bogosian, and in fact wanted him over Doughty, but I don’t believe he was head and shoulders better than Schenn, Pietrangelo, or even the forwards available at that point. It’s still yet to be proven, especially since they all play a different style game.

However, do you right now wish this team would’ve lost MORE games so they could’ve drafted Doughty at the number 2 position? Stamkos first? Or do you instead appreciate the skill level that Bogosian is playing at in his first year here? Do you think you will care in one year’s time that instead of drafting Duchene at number 3 (has been the most realistic position for this team since it was apparent the team couldn’t compete), they take Schenn at number 5 (for example)?

“the only thing these wins are doing are screwing us out of the chance at Tavares”

Any team could’ve iced a roster of 18 year olds this season, in an effort to get Tavares next…yet, nobody did that. The Islanders have been the worst team for the majority of the season, yet they’re sitting on a 5-3-2 record over their last 10 games (Thrashers are 6-3-1). Apparently the Islanders didn’t get the “tank” memo either, as they seem to be playing to win games and not win draft picks. I’m sure there are plenty of people who will be upset because they didn’t lose more, but I’m guessing that convincing players to lose so they can play alongside Tavares is not something most coaches try to do.

But quite honestly, THIS is what is wrong with this country…people look to get the greatest gratification while exuding the least amount of work. They look for handouts (best player available to the worst performing team) instead of trying work their way to the top the harder way.

Nearly every year there is an impact player coming to the NHL, who is a “can’t miss” prospect. Should some teams tank every year just so they can assure they get that player? I sincerely hope that never happens, because hockey will become a boring game until the playoffs start and each matchup involves two teams trying to win.

Bob

March 11th, 2009
3:42 pm

ok, whatever. too many words up there, suffice it to say that if we miss out on Tavares, each and every last one of us will rue the day that we screwed ourselves out of it.

He’s THAT good. Not every draft choice in every year is, usually it doesn’t matter this much, but he is.

h

March 11th, 2009
4:21 pm

“screwed ourselves out of it”……please……here’s the WORST thing that could happen…..the Thrash tank it, whether on purpose or not, and someone ELSE wins the lottery……..get over it. I’d rather see wins now than play the lottery…..you want to play the odds? goto Vegas…..I’m glad they are playing well, as it makes me want to go to games TODAY, and the start of next year….could we miss out on the next big thing? perhaps, but it is never worth sacrificing professionalism and screwing people who pay their hard working money to see someone try their best.

MB

March 11th, 2009
4:30 pm

I’m enjoying the wins as much as anyone else, but I think the “problem” may take care of itself.

Fact is, in our remaining 15 games, all but three of them (Bolts x2, Sens) are against teams still in playoff contention. In general, position by position, these teams have more skill than the Thrashers, and they theoretically have more to play for than our boys.

Logic would suggest that we are likely to lose the majority of our remaining games. While I’d love to see us win, win, win, I have to admit that I would still be pretty happy if we continue playing at the level we have since the All-Star break and showing the overall commitment to team play that the boys have exhibited of late, and that Hainsey referred to in speaking to Knobler.

Kovy effectively embracing the leadership role as captain…the continued evolution of our young blueliners…the willingness to do the dirty work in the corners and stand up for one another…Kari apparently getting his mind right…everyone playing within the system and off of the same page. If all of these things continue, I won’t get too upset if we lose some close, hard-fought games against playoff-bound teams.

In the end, I’m expecting us to finish 4 or 5 from the bottom. Tampa Bay, Colorado, and Phoenix are all struggling of late, and while the Isles have been coming on, I just don’t think they have the horses to keep it up. I am, though, hoping that each of them finishes the season on an amazing hot streak.

ranallo10 (in AT)

March 11th, 2009
5:57 pm

Would you really want Tavares to be on a team filled with players that would purposefully lose just to see him play?

What is your favorite line…”just win baby!”? I guess that goes out the window at your own convenience.

I have no thoughts that this team is built to be a contender this year…I simply don’t feel giving up because someone “THAT good” is available is the way to run a team or play a sport. If it was teams would be lining up to be the worst when Malkin, Oveckin, Crosby, Kovalchuk, and now Tavares come into the league.

The interesting thing is no team seems to be “tanking”. I guess all of those GMs don’t understand The Program.

LAC

March 11th, 2009
6:20 pm

Mr.Potty Mouth levenson has spoken for the FIRST TIME ALL SEASON !!!!!!!

What did he say, NOTHING, hehid from Mike’s questions, which were pretty good, and dodged the entire issue.

In other words it will be BUSINESS as it HAS BEEN for years to come. One star player, NO commitment to the team or FANS and more LOSING seasons with NO hope of being a playoff team.

No folks, he for all intent and purposes said waddell is going no where.
They will NOT commit ANY MONEY to make the team better and will continue
their hide and seek from the fans approach they are famous for.

Really a SAD bit of reading to say the very least… Nothing new, just more of the same CRAP we have seen since they got the team.

Really spells ill for the Thrashers and give us PAYING fans NOTHING
to look forward to… Thanks Mr.Potty Mouth, too bad we cannot flush you down the tubes once and for all, YOU DESERVE that if nothing more.

IE…levenson YOU $UCK !

Brendan

March 11th, 2009
7:49 pm

Well, LAC. For the 1st time ever, I’ve read a Levensen interview that didn’t make me vomit a little in my mouth. He refused to OVERTLY say Waddell will return, opting instead to say it was a “day-to-day” situation. What??? Light, at the end of the tunnel??

When he talked about the budget, he talked like a “responsible” owner, instead of a penny-pinching imbecile. What’s more, Bruce Levensen was HUMBLE!!! He said, words to the EFFECT of, “I screwed up. I know I screwed up. I don’t want to play the blame game over what happened. We’re just going to try to be BETTER and try to FIX things moving forward.”

Okayyyyy. Remember when Marge Simpson got mad at Homer? And Homer said, “Look Marge, if you’re going to GET MAD AT ME every time I do something stupid … I guess I’m going to have to STOP DOING STUPID THINGS.” To which Marge replies, “Hmmn. Okay!”

Marge Simpson is the FANBASE of the Atlanta Thrashers. And Bruce Levensen is Homer Simpson. If you followed that analogy.

Allright. Sounds like Bruce is starting to TRY to stop doing STUPID things. Fine by me. I AGREE with the slow build process. I AGREE that there are times, and situations, when it makes sense to withhold spending. And I AGREE that there are times when going HOG WILD with the checkbook is apt. We’re not AT one of those times. It makes a whole heckuva lot more sense to SPEND in the offseason when the team is 1-2 pieces away from winning the Cup. We’re never been that close before. It makes SENSE to OVERPAY and overcommit at a trade deadline when NOT DOING IT will be the difference of winning the Cup versus NOT winning it. That juncture has NEVER EXISTED in the history of the Thrashers franchise. But this ownership and this GM acted like it was. People think Coburn for Zhitnik was bad, but Tkachuk for what ultimately turned out to be a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd round pick, plus Metropolit, might have been equally as bad. If the team had re-signed Eric Belanger, whom it traded for Vitaly Vishnevski, it might have softened the blow of the playoff sweep. Getting Pascal Dupuis for what turned out to be Chris Thorburn (3rd round pick from NYR) and Alex Bourret wasn’t such a bad deal. Bourret still isn’t anything, Thorburn is a pending RFA, and Dupuis turned into (take your pick) Colby Armstrong or Erik Christensen. And if you picked Christensen, then Dupuis turned into Eric O’Dell. Yeah, yeah. Angelo Esposito. I don’t know. I consider Esposito and Daultan Leveille (Two 1st round picks) to be more part of the Hossa compensation than the Dupuis part.

Finally, Bruce addressed the price of tickets and treatment of season ticket holders. And he ADMITTED WRONGDOING. Again, this seems like a MAJOR STEP FORWARD for him, personally. How, EXACTLY, they rectify that, remains to be seen.

Now, what will make me change my mind, right quick, is if after locking up Kovalchuk, Levensen fails to address the situations of Little, Pavelec, Valabik, Lehtonen, Sterling, Stuart, LaVallee, Oystrick, Armstrong, Crabb, and Reasoner, etc. In other words, he can’t just throw $10 million a year, for the next 8-9 years at Kovalchuk, and declare the offseason a GRAND SUCCESS. Not hardly. While, YESSSSS, certainly, getting #17 under contract would be a huge success, (failure isn’t an option there,) it’s not ALLLLLL the work that needed to be done in this offseason. There’s got to be “THE MASTER PLAN.” And if the organization fails, YET AGAIN, to take the requisite steps to remedy that, I’ll be furious.

Stop. What GOOD is a Kovalchuk re-signed, if there isn’t a supporting cast around him, that is young, skilled, fast, and gritty … and LOCKED UP under contract for the next 5 years? OOOOOOOOhhhh, GOT you thinkin now, don’t I? There’s so much to be done THISSSS VERY OFFSEASON. And it’s got to start with Levensen setting the tone, altering the business model, and making the necessary steps towards TRULY and GENUINELY putting this team on a path, not only towards the playoffs, but towards winning the Stanley Cup. Because to continue to STRIVE to be the 15th-best team in the NHL, on an ANNUAL basis … is Horsespit. Plain and simple. Fans deserve better.

kracker

March 11th, 2009
8:11 pm

I can’t root against the Thrash. But I can wish for TB at Ott, now tied at 2 in the 3rd, to go to OT and have TB win.

Brendan

March 11th, 2009
8:52 pm

Ottawa won, 3-2, in overtime. I was rooting for the Bolts.

R. Stroz

March 11th, 2009
10:42 pm

“Finally, Bruce addressed the price of tickets and treatment of season ticket holders. And he ADMITTED WRONGDOING. Again, this seems like a MAJOR STEP FORWARD for him, personally. How, EXACTLY, they rectify that, remains to be seen.”

Yet, they did discounting again all season. Between the Chick-fil-A family nights and the Philips Insider Special, nearly every game was discounted.

Once again, Levenson speaks with forked tongue.

nfieldr

March 12th, 2009
12:53 am

These guys are starting to remind me of the 1990 Braves… a bunch of real young guys who are on the verge of figuring out how to win. Could it possibly be?

Sara

March 12th, 2009
7:41 am

Stroz – season ticket holders are going to have to face facts that there are ALWAYS going to be some deals and discounts. Levenson was quite clear last year that the CFA Family Nights would continue. Have they let it get WAY out of hand? No question – but packages and discounts are something that goes on with every team in every sport. That’s a personal cost-benefit every potential STH has to factor in when they purchase because it will never go away entirely.