Thrashers offseason updates

I’m back, folks. Sorry for the delay but I got caught up in covering the Hawks’ playoff run and the Braves’ Brian McCann’s new glasses. I will be covering some non-Thrasher stories again next week, but we do have hockey to report.
Had a lengthy meeting and interview with GM Don Waddell this week. We talked about many things, including Ilya Kovalchuk, the draft, the goaltending situation, etc. I just finished writing a story on Kovy that will appear in Sunday’s paper. We talked at length about the contract negotiations. Here’s the hook to the story that I can fill you in on: They will not trade Kovy this year. There will be no Marian Hossa drama at the trade deadline.
Here is what Waddell told me: “At this point I can tell you, I’ve discussed it with the ownership, with the coaches, we have no intentions, regardless of what happens this summer with signing him, we have no intentions of trading him. If you trade every player that is going to come up to be an unrestricted free agent, the way the league is set up you are going to be a free agent at 25 [years old], so we are going to be doing this all the time. You have to look at the big picture and say this year is more important to us than years from now. Florida went through it with [Jay] Bouwmeester. They didn’t trade their big guy, but they missed the playoffs. You are going to see that more and more. Where a player is 25 and he’s going to get a home run deal, but it’s more important right now to keep him and keep the franchise moving in the right direction.”
Kovy wants to see an improved roster before he re-signs. Negotiations are likely to go beyond the July 1st start date. Kovy and his agent need to see what moves are being made. I got a good idea about the draft from my conversation with Waddell and will write about that next week. We could also see a trade at or near the draft, probably including either Kari Lehtonen or Ondrej Pavelec. Goaltending is an area of depth. Stay tuned on that.
Here are a couple updates:
Marty Reasoner: Expect him to be signed soon. Waddell said he is confident it will happen. Some details to work out, but it looks like he will be back.
Toby Enstrom: His surgery went fine and he is expected to be fully recovered by training camp. Don has not spoken to him but Johan Hedberg has. Don said he could have continued to play in the World Championships but it wasn’t worth the risk.
Ondrej Pavelec: He had his knee scoped following the season. He’s back working out already.
Hope that keeps us going through the weekend. I’ll be writing more from my interview with Waddell.
Here is my question: If you have to trade one of the goalies to get some help and convince Kovy to re-sign, which one goes? Lehtonen, the No. 1, but who has injury issues that have prevented him from proving himself an entire season? Or Pavelec, who has big upside but hasn’t proven he can play every day?

166 comments Add your comment

BN

May 14th, 2009
5:22 pm

1) Kovy won’t re-sign… unless he will get a better deal than Ovechkin AND new good forwards AND playoffs 2010.
2) Can the Thrashers meet all 3 requirements? Does the team have enough money to offer Kovy AND to sign new good players that could make him happy AND to keep higher level goalie Lehtonen to make the playoffs?
3) If we trade Kovy we can sign good players and keep Lehtonen to make the playoffs (like Nashville), however without Kovy the team will be less attractive for people to come and watch hockey.

Who do we trade?

nfieldr

May 14th, 2009
5:23 pm

I can’t believe that DW compared Kovy to Bouwmeester. Please tell me he’s not that clueless… or did I misunderstand the quote.

JC

May 14th, 2009
5:30 pm

If Kari were ever healthy, this would be a no brainer. You would trade Ondrej. I’m not convinced though. Maybe it’s time to give the kid a chance and you would certainly get more in return for Kari.

Tony C.

May 14th, 2009
5:50 pm

nfieldr-I think DW was comparing the situation of having a young UFA-to-be Stud player that is critical to your team’s success…do you trade him at the deadline fearing he won’t re-sign or do you (as Florida did) hold onto your blue-chip UFA-to-be for the stretch run?

That’s basically the situation that DW will have on his hands should #17 not re-sign this summer.

B. Thenet

May 14th, 2009
5:52 pm

Is Don Waddell so naive that he thinks that just saying that he isn’t going to trade Ilya at the trade deadline is going to be enough to prevent all the trade deadline nonsense and “Ilya is not signed through next year, OMG” nonsense from affecting the team?

He has learned NOTHING from the Marian Hossa trade saga if that is the case. That whole ordeal sucked the life out of the team, and shameful collapse of the team after the Hossa trade did not come a surprise to many in the NHL. I had read elsewhere in a DW interview that they were looking to trade Ilya if he does not sign this summer, and I was hopeful that some sanity was finally arriving to the Thrashers management.

If Ilya does not sign this summer, trade him. Get more young valuable assets to make the team better now, and in the future. Does DW really think the Florida Panthers are in a better place now that they missed the playoffs AND will lose Jay Bo for nothing?

Who will rid us from this turbulent GM?

Brendan

May 14th, 2009
5:59 pm

I absolutely don’t think the team should trade either goaltender. The only way I’d “greenlight” that project is if the return truly filled a need. Especially, if that “need” persuaded Kovalchuk to re-sign. With a gun pointed at my head, I’d keep Kari. Then pluck a free agent netminder to replace Pavelec. Which again begs the question, “Why are we ditching Pavelec again?” For whatever it’s worth, Kari custom-built a home in Atlanta, supposedly likes it here, and wants to stay. Unless his performance is so subpar that he simply must go, why not let Kari show how much of a ‘hometown discount’ he’s willing to provide to be locked up, longterm, on this RFA deal? That is, ifff Kari really does like it here and wants to stay. I actually believe that he does. If one of these two goalies wants OUT of Atlanta, it’s Pavelec, whose agent, last Fall, griped about Pavelec’s assignment to the Chicago Wolves after training camp.

Guys, I didn’t get the warm-n-fuzzies from this Waddell blurb. What I am hearing, through Waddell’s words is, “It’s better to lose Kovy in free agency than to salvage what the organization can via a trade.” I hope that’s not what he’s really saying, though.

A statement like, “You have to look at the big picture and say this year is more important to us than years from now. Florida went through it with [Jay] Bouwmeester. They didn’t trade their big guy, but they missed the playoffs. You are going to see that more and more.

Ummn, what? Watching “essential” players leave your team because you HOPE you can squeeze into the playoffs is a tell tale sign that things, or something, has been mismanaged or gone wrong. In other words, if Jay Bouwmeester were happy with the way the playoffless Panthers, since seemingly forever now, were being run, he would have been re-signed in the offseason. Or, at a minimum, DURING the season.

Stop. When people ask you to name a “Well-run” organization, who says, “How ’bout the Florida Panthers?” They don’t. The Panthers are not thought to be well-run. And that’s why Bouwmeester didn’t re-sign. There’s been TONS of speculation that the Atlanta Thrashers aren’t particularly well-run, either. Crazy talk, to be sure!! But what if, let’s just say, it’s true? What if the Thrashers are badly mismanaged, and Kovalchuk won’t re-sign?

Still with me? Per Waddell’s words, “We’re gonna keep him, to ‘try’ to keep things moving in the right direction.” Guess what? How does that help to avoid the “dark cloud of uncertainty” that would certainly plague this team all year long, with an un-signed Kovalchuk????? Honestly, now. Honestly. How can THIS, really be ‘the plan?’

No, folks. Ifffffff Kovalchuk won’t re-sign sometime during the offseason, he’s got to be traded. Period, the end. An asset like that cannot just up and walk out the door, for nothing. That reflects a very serious setback. Now, let’s pause a minute. Don Waddell could get Kovalchuk re-signed this offseason. And if he does, all of that “nightmare” goes away. I’m sure ‘that’s the plan.’ But Kovalchuk holds all the cards, here. Kovalchuk has laid down the challenge. He’s, flatout, told Waddell what he expects the organization to do. If the AS, LLC continues to operate the way it is, with salary cap floor spending, and Tier II free agent acquisitions, who’ll be surprised that Kovalchuk has finally seen enough of the Atlanta Thrashers organization? There ARE sunnier shores in the National Hockey League than Atlanta. And no, I don’t think it “helps” one little bit to keep Kovalchuk for “momentum’s sake.” Once Kovalchuk is gone, where went “the momentum?” Yeah, it probably up and left with Kovalchuk. Is there a way to sugarcoat the loss of Kovalchuk? Waddell BETTER get him re-signed, or, traded for something decent.

Hijacker

May 14th, 2009
6:12 pm

It’s mind-boggling to assume that they’ll no Marian Hossa like drama in case Kovy doesn’t get resigned. Is Waddell really that stupid? The media, especially in hockey mad markets, will go after this story just like they did with Bouwmeester this season.

Waddell is desperately clinging on to his job. He knows that if Kovy is gone, he’s gone. Once, again this man puts himself first and not the franchise. I see the big picture Don!

Good luck with trying to convince good FA to sign with the Thrashers! You’ll need it, because nobody is keen to join an organization where the owners are involved in a trail. I expect players similar to Hainsey, Reasoner and Williams to be signed. The usual medicore approach.

Lehtonen has vastly more trade value, than Pavelec. He’s got the talent, the upside (he’s still young in terms of goalie age) and mostly important of all, he has the NHL experience.

anonthrashers

May 14th, 2009
6:16 pm

Trade Pavelec. I just do not think he is meant to be with this team, everytime he gets his chance he just doesn’t cut it. Look at Varlamov. Wish we had him. We just need Kari to stay healthy. With the way the team played at the end and get kari healthy I think next year will be promising.

Glovesave29

May 14th, 2009
6:27 pm

So one of your best young players, and a future cornerstone of the defense (along with Bogo) suffers a horrific injury and you cannot even take the time to call him and check up on him? Don, hang your head in shame.

LAC

May 14th, 2009
6:36 pm

How much more can this franchise stand of LIAR STUPID IDIOT don waddell !!!!!!!!!!!!

Tony C.

May 14th, 2009
6:50 pm

Glovesave-I thought that was pretty telling as well. I mean, even Bobby Clarke visited Lindros in the hospital.
(granted I hear it was to tell him he was fired, but still…)

R. Stroz

May 14th, 2009
7:02 pm

FIRE WADDELL!

He’s determined to kill hockey in Atlanta.

Has there ever been a bigger idiot GM than this guy?

Anyone who thought Waddell was getting better as a GM just found out otherwise. He’s still a clueless idiot.

R. Stroz

May 14th, 2009
7:11 pm

Sounds like Waddell is threatening Kovy, if you don’t re-sign, we will not trade you.

So, lets get this right.

1) Waddell tries to blackmail Kovy into signing

2) Waddell doesn’t have the decency to check on Toby

Waddell. just resign, you suck as a GM and you’re a lying jerk too.

Brendan

May 14th, 2009
7:14 pm

See, I disagree with any notion that Waddell is or will be getting fired, even over the loss of Kovalchuk. Waddell sits down with the owners. He does what they say. They like him. They respect him. They think he does a good job. And if the owners say, “Financially speaking, we can’t trade Kovalchuk and be profitable or salvageable,” What options are left for Waddell?????? (Other than to resign, in disgust.) But the next GM isn’t inheriting a situation that’s easily fixable, either. No GM can fire ownership. What has to change is the ownership’s mentality. They’ve got to be pursuaded to change their business model. Because if they LOVE their business model, and the manner in which Waddell adheres to it, they’re gonna probably lose Kovalchuk. And any other Tier I player who meanders along the Thrashers trail.

Waddell’s got to do … what the owners say. He’s under orders from the ownership to KEEP Kovalchuk. So, he’ll hang on to Kovalchuk for as long as he possibly can, as instructed by ownership. God help us all! Can they be this stupid? Answer: Quite possibly, yes.

I guess they’ll just have to learn by watching the building get emptier and emptier. I can hear Bruce Levenson now, in 2010. “Okay, we see, NOWWWW, that we made a mistake. We held on to a business model and a GM for too long. We’ll never make that mistake again.”

Wow-eeee. What a revelation there, Bruce! A little late!!! Sigh. When the Thrashers got swept out of the playoffs by the Rangers, the ownership had the chance to do something to keep Kovalchuk. They didn’t. They could have cleaned house, changed direction, and empowered a new GM with a robust budget. Or so they claim! The owners claim they have lots of money. They just don’t want to spend it foolishly. That’s their story, and they’re sticking to it.

If they embarked upon a 4-year rebuilding plan, I’m actually “fine” with that. But they should have done it with a NEW GM!! Instead, they have this theory that LONGEVITY at the Post is what will cure everything. The key is that the GM must know that his job is safe, as he plots the rebuilding project. Well, it does appear that we’re now in Year Three of the 2nd “building project.” And I’ll even say Hokie has a point about Waddell “improving.” Aside from Jason Williams and a few other forgettable moves, Waddell hasn’t done anything TRAUMATIC in his moves. It’s been a slow, steady build. But the “culture” hasn’t changed.

The slow, steady build could quite possibly cost the organization Ilya Kovalchuk, who has been more than patient since 2001. Ilya has not failed the Thrashers. The Thrashers have failed him. But I digress. If this is the way things are going to be … then I don’t know what to tell you. Other than, “It’s gonna stink to lose Kovalchuk.”

While I never root for the team’s demise, it gets HARDER and MORE INDEFENSIBLE if the Thrashers are OUT OF CONTENTION at the 2010 trade deadline, to keep Kovalchuk. At least Waddell can MAKE THE ARGUMENT that he HADDDDDDD to hang on to Kovalchuk to make the playoffs, if Kovy goes untraded at the deadline. But if Atlanta is sitting at 62-points on the day of the trade deadline, and an UN-SIGNED Kovy stayyyys, it’ll be anarchy. Mass hysteria. Dogs and cats, living together. We might see a bonfire of tickets.

Jimbo

May 14th, 2009
8:51 pm

Our needs are pretty simple- consistent goal tending and better special teams play on the PP and PK. With Kari’s propensity toward injury, we need both him and Pavelec. Put more focus on the PK and make sure that Reasoner, Stuart and Pevs form the big 3 on the PK. Would be nice to see some real muscle on the 3rd or 4th line. Boulton and Torburn are not the answers.

Wings fan in Ga.

May 14th, 2009
9:00 pm

R. Stroz, if your question about has their been a bigger idiot GM than Waddell can span other sports – yes there has. His name was Matt Millen.

Brendan

May 14th, 2009
9:52 pm

Question: Do you think Waddell intends to “punish” Kovalchuk for not re-signing? I’m not trying to ask a loaded question. I mean, how does this play out? Kovy “pretends” that he wants to re-sign? And Waddell “pretends” that the two sides are in discussions? All while 10 months pass slowly by, each side wondering if they’ve been “caught” yet by the Atlanta fans??

Forgive this post. This is why Waddell has to get something done with Kovalchuk in July/early August. If Jay Grossman is busy until the 3rd week of July, just say so! Everyone will understand. People won’t be mad if the Kovalchuk contract isn’t signed by July 3rd. Just tell the fanbase what’s going on. That’s all. Just say, “We’re waiting until August 1, because that’s when Kovy’s agent is back from vacation.” Fiiiiine. We can all live with that. Really, truly.

R. Stroz

May 14th, 2009
10:46 pm

Wings fan in Ga. – If Matt Millen and Don Waddell were in the same sinking ship, who would care if either gets out?

All the other GMs, Matt and Don make their jobs easier.

All joking aside, both suck; however, I might give Millen a slight edge with that 0-16 record.

Midfield

May 14th, 2009
11:34 pm

The problem is that by now the ASG and Waddell have completely lost credibility. Whatever they say, one needs to read between the lines. So, we’re looking at as many interpretations as there are posters around here.

Jason(Darkhorse)

May 15th, 2009
12:02 am

No clue which goalie should go, if either at this point. I feel like the answer would be whichever of the two can fetch the best return. But if the return is only a 3rd or 4th line NHLer and a 3rd round pick, don’t trade either one.

I love that Reasoner may be resigned soon, as he does bring intangibles this team needs badly. Trading Kari or Pavs though for another Reasoner or Army isn’t what Kovy’s looking for as “talent” in making his decision on resigning I bet. Gonna have to do much better than that. Two more Havalids aren’t gonna cut it either. I’m really worried that the task at hand will be too far over DW’s head……AGAIN.

Kevin

May 15th, 2009
12:09 am

Keep them both, you need goalie depth and Hedberg will be gone in another year. If one must be traded move Pavlec. Lehtonen is a superior goalie, the one year he did stay healthy was the playoff year, I don’t think Pavlec is ready.

Capslock Typeface

May 15th, 2009
8:42 am

No offense, but was this written on the car on the way into work? Rambling with little cohesiveness from sentence to sentence. Paragraphs spaced right on top of each other and very tough to read.

I hope this is not indicative of future articles on the Thrashers beat.

Dwayne

May 15th, 2009
8:54 am

I repeat, you must sign Kari and get him a goalie coach. Hire Moose. Problem solved.

MiltonDawg

May 15th, 2009
8:54 am

As long as Atlanta Spirit is running this ship, this franchise will go nowhere. Kovy is our main feature, need to do whatever it takes to keep him. DW needs to see his way out as well.

GaVaHokie

May 15th, 2009
9:14 am

Chris… I’d like to hear if he had any discussions with Ilya Nikulin.

Welcome back!

Pavelec is not ready to start, especially if Kovy isn’t under contract… you can’t take that risk of him getting eaten alive with Moose as a back-up… and I don’t trust Kari to stay healthy anymore.

If I HAD to keep one of them… Kari… but I trade them both for assets and make a fresh start in goal… Fernandez, Khabilbulin, Craig Anderson, etc.

five_hole

May 15th, 2009
9:20 am

Agree with Glovesave One of your 2 best defensemen (that you gave a 4 year contract to last year) gets his face broken, and you can’t pick up the phone? Why wasn’t he on a plane to Sweden that day? Just another example of why top-tier players don’t want to come to Atlanta.

With regards to the goaltending, I try to trade Lehtonen. When he’s on his game, he’s as good as they come, but a) He’s inconsistent and b) He’s injury-prone. My bottom line is that you can’t count on him and I’m sick & tired of him disappointing me.

With regards to the Kovy situation, does anyone think Atlanta will actually sign top-tier free agents? A) We won’t spend the money and B) Read my thoughts on the Enstrom situation above. Maybe I think athletes are childish when it comes to little things like that, but on the other hand, maybe they are childish when it comes to little things like that.

I predict things will go pretty much the way they did last year. We will overspend to get a middling free agent, promote him as the second coming of Bobby Orr, and be disappointed all over again.

Nikita

May 15th, 2009
9:38 am

I don’t think you trade either right now. This year was a good one for Moose, but he’s older and he can’t carry the team for a lengthy stretch. And there will probably be lengthy stretches where Kari will be unavailable. Plus, Moose is retiring — who’s going to step up if we trade Pavs, Alex Kangas? Am I the only person whose blood ran cold at the thought that Dan Turple might actually play? On the other hand, if Pavs continues to be as rough in goal as he was this season, I can see trading him later in the season. His technique is not great, and neither is his mental state.

As much I think Don Waddell screwed up in the past, I’m really not too unhappy with his recent trades. Like from the Hossa trade on. Here’s hoping he makes good offseason moves.

As to comments on specific players above…I’d say the chances are nil that Eric Boulton doesn’t return. He’s under contract, he improved a lot and showed more finesse and speed than previously indicated, and he actually had very good numbers for his role this past year. Thorburn’s numbers are not great, and he is available to re-up or release, but the coaching staff appears highly enamoured of him. They seem to think, as I do, that he has more development potential. But if you need to make room for new hires, as I think we need to, he’s a good candidate for not resigning.

Jimbo

May 15th, 2009
9:41 am

Brendan- I think that you’re right. We’ve heard this tape too many times- Audette, Savard, Hossa and now Kovy. The better players want to play for a team that has some hope of getting to the top. With DW at the helm and an ownership that does not want to spend, we will continue to squander top talent. If Kovy is not signed by mid- August, paint the ‘09-10 season black.

Brendan

May 15th, 2009
9:46 am

five_hole, your post made me think about what is required from media pressure in this situation. How so? Well, the Atlanta Spirit, LLC always “claims” they have BAGS O’MONEY, but it’s just that they don’t want to spend it foolishly. I can appreciate that, as someone who also doesn’t like to waste money. But isn’t the MEDIA REQUIRED to press the Atlanta Spirit, LLC about just what constitutes foolish spending? More specifically, how can ANNNY spending be foolish, if it ultimately keeps Kovalchuk? Which, I thought, was their GOAL. More directly, how can the ownership ’stay the course’ knowing that ’staying the course’ is what WILL CAUSE Kovalchuk to leave? Which THENNNNN ought to prompt the question, “How committed is the Atlanta Spirit, LLC, really, to KEEPING Kovalchuk?” Kovalchuk has already stated, “We must get the pieces not just to make the playoffs, but to compete for the Stanley Cup.” There’s no real ambiguity there. That’s cut-n-dry.

If the AS, LLC’s response to Kovalchuk … is to “shrug,” while thinking, “That’s just not going to be our plan,” then they’ve ALREADY GIVEN UP on Kovalchuk. Think about it. Now THINK HARDER. The GM just told the beat writer, “We’re gonna keep Kovy right ’til the end, to try to keep the momentum going.” Hmmmmn. Trying to ’soften the blow’ already? That’s what that sounds like. What the GM didn’t say was, “We’re embarking on a campaign to build a roster that will BLOW YOUR HEAD OFF & KEEP KOVALCHUK. We’ve got CAP ROOM. We’ve got a plan. And this is going to be one thrill-ride of a season.” Did any of you hear Waddell say words to this effect? Did any of you hear the GM say, “No worries about a Kovy re-signing. It’s just a matter of dollars and cents now.” See, ’cause that’s what Waddell said about previous deals with Peter Bondra, Kovalchuk, and even Lehtonen. When Waddell says, “We’re just talking about dollars and cents,” it means the deal is probably gonna happen. When Waddell says, “We’re still in discussions about the player’s future in Atlanta,” that means HOSSA ALL OVER AGAIN.

Look FUBAS. If you’ve already QUIT on Kovalchuk, trade him. Don’t put us through this OBLIGATORY SEASON of ‘will he or won’t he?’ Man up. If you CANNOT DO what is required to KEEP HIM, then Trade him at the draft. What’s ONE LAME DUCK SEASON of Kovalchuk really worth? To you … or to us.

RS

May 15th, 2009
9:50 am

Kovalchuk is not going to sign anything until the Thrashers make tangible moves that he can see they are trying to improve the team, and who can blame him? Waddell can promise all he wants, but Ilya doesn’t trust the Atlanta Spirit any more than the fans do.

Brendan

May 15th, 2009
10:03 am

Hokie, your post has most piqued my curiosity. So, you’d trade both Kari and Pavelec. That’s interesting. I hadn’t thought about that. Truly, that would be a “new day” here at Blueland. What you’ve proposed could work, if Khabibulin actually came here. Maybe even along with Craig Anderson as the backup. But what’s this going to cost? Khabibulin’s been making $7 million-a-year. And if Chicago actually wins this Cup, the ‘Bulin Wall would be a 2-time Stanley Cup winner, and demand the moon and stars.

And, pretending for the moment that FUBAS hasn’t already ABANDONED Kovalchuk beyond this season, how are Khabibulin and Anderson going to fit in with Kovy’s $9+ million deal, plus Bryan Little’s future deal, along with Valabik’s next contract, and Bogosian’s future contract, and all the rest of the guys who fill out a roster. To be clear, I’m not saying your idea is bad. I’m just wondering how it would work. But it could work.

Toby

May 15th, 2009
10:11 am

Last year, the Thrash jumped on the free agent market early and came up empty. I believe their offer to Campbell was on the first day. I think the Thrash will try to strike quick again. If no star is signed by July 7th, Kovy is gone. If Kovy is not signed by Sept. 1, I hope we change our mind and look into trades and clean house on a team.

The week of June 27th (Draft) to July 7th (signing UFA’s) is going to be HUGE for the future of the Thrashers.

Russian

May 15th, 2009
10:15 am

It is kind of Crazy idea, but let’s talk about it.
We keep Kari and Pavs together. Kari is number one and Pavs is back up. They are both a young and good goalies. They will play very good to insure Number one position. Moose contract should be buy out or trade him. I heard that Managment can offer him Coach position. It is perfect for him.
Yes, we need to update team. Kovy will not sign contract with Team like 2008-2009 season. We need to have two good Forwards and one D-man. How can we get them? My CRASY IDEA is DRAFT. Trade first draft pick for good Forwards. It is possible. Tampa will do that.

Russian

May 15th, 2009
10:18 am

**to Toby**
I am agree with you.
June 27 and July 7 will be historical date for Hockey in Atlanta. If Don can do something, we will see TEAM in Atlanta. If he fail again, team will relocate to another city.

GaVaHokie

May 15th, 2009
10:25 am

Well, if the Thrashers miss the playoffs again, maybe it IS time for Kovy to go… not saying the teams failure is his fault, but the two most consistent parts of this franchise for the last 10 years have been him and Waddell… and it hasn’t been exactly easy finding guys to gel with Kovalchuk on the top line. Nobody knows what he’s gonna do from play to play, and if he’s not getting it done on his own, than the team isn’t successful… (I’m going to regret saying this, but)… it sounds a lot like Vick with the Falcons. Nobody knew what he was going to do from play to play, and if he had a bad game, the team lost. You get rid of him, you bring in Matt Ryan, and now all of the sudden all the pieces work.

BUT… Waddell is certainly done if Kovy doesn’t stay… how could he ever convince a free agent to sign here again?

GaVaHokie

May 15th, 2009
10:36 am

Brendan… it’s not going to happen. I’m just saying if it were me making the decision, I’d want a fresh start in net… one of those guys will be our starter next year, and I’m pretty certain it will be Lehtonen.

Pavelec has been a pretty demanding client so far, while Kari has been practically begging to stay in Atlanta and has been much easier to negotiate with… the choice seems obvious to me from a contractual stand-point.

Brendan

May 15th, 2009
10:39 am

Umm, forgive me for this post. But this is how I see this. The Atlanta Spirit, LLC is just like the young girl whose EPT just came back POSITIVE. She runs off to the doctor to confirm it. And she’s told, “Congratulations, Deary. You’re about six to six and a half weeks along.” Now, she can claim she’s putting on a little weight for about the next eight (8) weeks. But two months from now, it’ll be July 14th–BASTILLE DAY!!! You know, when the French peasants revolted and it was a “heads will roll” kind of day! By mid-July, the world will know that the FUBAS, aka “The Atlanta Spirit, LLC” is in a ‘family way.’ The cat, rrrrrrear, will be out of the bag. We’ll know … that things aren’t going so well with a Kovalchuk re-signing. That is, barring some explanation about Jay Grossman, Kovy’s agent, being on vacation and not returning until August 1, or thereabouts. But that “lame excuse” buys only about two (2) weeks. That’s 14 days, FUBAS. Fourteen.

So … either they construct Kovy his “dream team,” or they should trade him if he won’t buy into the “continuing building project.” Personally, I wish Kovy would get ONBOARD with the project. By 2011, this team ought to be filled with some quality draft picks. Bogosian’s already here. Bryan Little is already here. Kane/Schenn/Duchene is coming. And then there’s two more lottery drafts to go. What’s two more years to wait, with Kovy as the “centerpiece” of what will hopefully be great things to come, possibly under NEW OWNERSHIP and NEW MANAGEMENT in 2011.

But hey, we’re not Kovy. He’s been waiting since 2001. And he didn’t fail the Thrashers. The Thrashers failed him. So, I’m not going to blame him for leaving or FORCING A TRADE OUT, coming late February, or whenever the trade deadline is. Hey, that reminds me, when are the Olympics in Vancouver? That’s next season, 2010. And Kovy will surely be playing for Russia. If Kovy isn’t “healthy enough” to be traded, we’re stuck with him, like it or not. Like Minnesota with Gaborik. The way to avoid that, if the organization won’t build Kovy the team he wants, is to trade him now. Ya know, at the draft. Colorado picks third overall. But they’re not stupid. They’d want Kovy locked up. The Islanders are stupid, however. And they pick 1st overall. If we’re going to lose Kovalchuk anyway, why not collect Tavares? I’m kidding. That’s a joke. Not even the Islanders would pass on Tavares for one measely year of Kovalchuk.

Supes

May 15th, 2009
10:47 am

If the Thrashers don’t make every effort possible into signing Kovy, and making this team a playoff contending team in 2010, I will never step foot inside “Blueland” ever again.

To me (the casual hockey fan), Ilya Kovalchuck IS the Atlanta Thrashers. If they don’t put 100% into signing him and making him the cornerstone of the franchise, they can kiss their attendance goodbye (at least from casual hockey fans), who I dare say this ownership needs to win over to turn our attendance from mediocre to good.

I’m sure the hardcore fan “only cares about winning”, but I care about watching one of the TOP 5 goal scores in the NHL when I go see a Thrashers game.

Imagine the Braves trading Chipper Jones a few years back when he signed a big contract extention. Yeah, I didn’t think so!

Some GM’s just “Get it”. Don W. seems to full of double talk and empty promises. Even the casual Thrashers fan can see that. Does not inspire confidence to go attend my 6-8 home games a year (that I normally go to).

GaVaHokie

May 15th, 2009
11:03 am

Supes… it would all depend, to me, on what they used to fill the void. Assuming Waddell is gone with Kovy and somebody like Pat Quinn came in, and he was able to persuade Rick Nash (also UFA next summer) that things are gonna be different in Atlanta and they want him to be the cornerstone… I’d still attend.

Spud Webb

May 15th, 2009
11:34 am

OH sh&T. He isn’t going to sign Kovy. Read between the lines there. UGH. Man o man. We are fools. They will trade Kari, BANK on it. Save money play the kid. It’s going to happen, probably could get more for Kari. Good job Chris. This is going to be a GIANT MESS. Lord Help us. Bye Kovy.

Mike

May 15th, 2009
11:45 am

Toby: I agree, clean house on a team, what we’ll get back is going to far excede the value of our beloved Kovy and his pricetag. Thrashers doesn’t die without Kovy in the lineup, they proved that last season. Trade Kari now when his stock is high. Can’t wait for next season to start!

Nikita

May 15th, 2009
12:32 pm

Oh, I should add that I’m fine with trading any or all goalies if we do so based on acquiring an elite-level goalie to replace them. But I don’t think we have to — I think that would be a waste of negotiating time, and we really do need some other pieces.

GaVaHokie, your comments on Kovy are ones I agree with. I like Kovy, and I respect his talent. But as an asset, he’s not a standalone, and there are both benefits and costs to retaining him. The obvious cost is having to work around him. Last year, this team was all Kovy — if he had a bad night, it was over. This year the team as a whole seems to be moving toward a more comprehensive strategy — but can Kovy ever really gel with anyone well enough to be considered a team player? He’s adjusted pretty well to the JA system, but he still requires a lot of investment to make the investment in him worth it. And if JA wants to have a team consisting of four lines of equals, he’ll never be able to do that with Kovy.

There are a lot of advantages to replacing Don Waddell, particularly a well-known GM would come in with better connections. Which isn’t the same as saying Don Waddell sucks — I think he’s done o.k. with what he has at this point.

Smoothie

May 15th, 2009
12:38 pm

Supes has got a good point: failure to sign Kovy could really spell disaster for this franchise…at least in the short-term until DWad is finally fired or the ownership mess is settled. However, Thrashers fans have already been VERRRRRRRRY

Smoothie

May 15th, 2009
12:44 pm

Oooops, somehow hit the submit button by hitting the tab key instead of the Caps Lock. Silly me.

…..VERRRRRRRRRRRY patient with this organization and now patience is wearing quite thin. Kovy has averaged 42.4 goals per season since his entrance into the league. He is a point / game player with the potential to take it to an even higher level as he comes off a superb MVP performance in the World Championships in Bern. He has earned his status as a top 1o player in the league and should be paid as such.

That is just how it works in the big business of sports. While I personally fail to see the difference between 7 and 10 million dollars, the market will dictate what Kovy is worth. For the future of this franchise, I would say Kovy is definitely worth $9.5 – $10 M over at least 5 years as the captain and leader of this team in addition to his value as a Top 5 sniper and Top 10 talent in the league.

I can only hope this was DWad’s bumbling, ill-conceived way of saying to us that they will do everything in their power to re-sign Ilya and that they don’t see trading him as an option since they are so confident that they will pay him what he’s worth and convince him to stay. However, history would seem to dictate otherwise.

I might just have to uproot myself and my Thrashers allegiance and relocate wherever Kovalchuck goes should he not re-sign here. I shudder at the very thought.

Sara

May 15th, 2009
12:45 pm

Brendan when has Atlanta Spirit ever claimed to be running around with money, cause everything I’ve read is 100% the opposite. Huge losses from the teams (though notice how the arena never comes up), Seydel admitting in court he can’t meet capital calls anymore, Belkin no longer contributing his 30%. All signs point to the fact that they don’t have any money. Hence why payroll went from league maximum to league minimum. And if they are still essentially broke until a new partner with capital comes in to replace Belkin, we aren’t likely to get squat this off-season. That’s why I’ve been wanting Chris (or someone) to have a chat with the OWNERS about the off-season plans. Are they paying up for an improved roster or not?

As for Kovy, if he has even one half of a brain, he isn’t going to sign a contract until he sees how next season progresses no matter who they sign in the off-season. There are too many examples of teams bringing in a bunch of high-priced FAs only to still have the whole thing blow up in their faces. NYR, TO, Philly w/ Briere. I’d frankly be looking to see if any new additions work out, how the kids fare in their second/third seasons, how the Coach continues to adapt his strategies to improve still-leaky defensive play and poor penalty killing. I don’t think it’s a crisis if Kovy doesn’t sign this summer (though that would certainly make me do the happy dance). Now if the team starts blowing chunks next season…then I’d worry. And Kovy does not have to be Hossa 2.0. This situation is not unique and it doesn’t always lead to lockerroom malfunctions and whatnot. Nor do I expect Kovy to go at half-speed next season – he has too much pride and work ethic and genuine regard for this franchise and its fans to not give 110%. He takes his role as C seriously and he’ll lead the team in the right ways.

Trade Pavs, keep Kari.

Then wait and see what develops with the draft and FA cause as usual everyone is b*tching about stuff that hasn’t even happened yet and always expecting the worst. This blog needs a healthy dose of Zoloft or something.

Smoothie

May 15th, 2009
12:49 pm

“can Kovy ever really gel with anyone well enough to be considered a team player?”

I think Kovy just answered that question emphatically and definitively with his performance for Russia in the Worlds. Just ask Morozov and Tereschenko how they feel about his ability to be a team player. Some of his passes were just sick in that tournament and he was a team high +8 I believe along with his 5 goals and 9 assists.

GaVaHokie

May 15th, 2009
12:59 pm

Smoothie… that’s why I’d like to hear if Waddell had any discussions with Nikulin and possibly Morozov.

Thrashers27

May 15th, 2009
1:18 pm

Convince Moose to become goalie coach and keep Kari and Andrej.

Supes

May 15th, 2009
1:45 pm

Anyone that is saying the Thrashers are better off without Kovy, I have one question for you. Granted, I’m not a diehard fan like you seem to be (very knowledgeable) and I’m not trying to be a smarta&& but do 50 goal scorers grown on trees, and if so, asuming that Kovy is gone, will the Thrashers get to pluck one as “easily” as they can let him walk?

Also, put together a list of the top 5-10 goal scorers in the NHL. Ilya has to be on it. Simply put, you can’t let a player like that walk UNLESS he doesn’t want to be here. Now that completely changes the discussion. However, so far he hasn’t said he wants OUT.

Supes

May 15th, 2009
2:51 pm

If the Thrashers were going to trade Kovy, (and I hope it never happens) but let’s say they do, what kind of value can you get for a top 5 goal scorer?

Could the Isles (if they draft Tavarez), could they be willing to part with him and maybe a defensive prospect on top of that or is that too steep of a price.

The only way I can ever imagine getting equal value for Kovy is landing Tavarez and Kane (with the 4th pick), and hope they can turn this franchise around.

If you compare what we got in return for Hossa (30 goal scorer)…one player is no longer even with the team, the other is on the 3rd line…and the last one is a prospect that may never pan out. Not very PROMISING.

I’d hate to see the same thing happen with Kovy.

PUTTING ON THE FOIL

May 15th, 2009
3:15 pm

Someone comparing Kovy with Vick. Now that really takes the cake. Sounds like an excuse Waddell would come up with.

Brendan

May 15th, 2009
3:17 pm

Sara, when Bernie Mullin was with the Spirit, he went on 680TheFan several times to talk about the Hawks and Thrashers, and moves they might make. Extremely specifically, I recall Bernie talking about the possibility of the Hawks acquiring Allen Iverson. Bernie said, “Yeah, we have the money. But we just don’t think he’s the ‘right element’ to bring into our lockerroom.” Then, Mullin was on 680TheFan after the Thrashers were swept by the Rangers in 2007, saying that there were many FA Centers the Thrashers were considering, but that they didn’t think the coveted Tier I centers would be worth the money they were paid.

Some people are, at this moment, “clapping.” Bernie may have been RIIIGHT about that. Gomez, and his $7 million? Briere and his $7.1 million? Drury, and his millions. But Bernie was EMPHATIC, Sara, that the organization HADDDDDD the money–they just didn’t think it was PRUDENT to spend it on Drury, Briere and Gomez. Fans called into to 680TheFan to complain that not getting those players cost the organization Marian Hossa. Truthfully, I’m not 100% sure that gripe is accurate. I think it ‘contributed’ to Marian Hossa not re-signing here. But, for me, I think it was Hossa wanting to play in Detroit. And absent that, some “more traditional” hockey market. But I’m basing my, “They had the money comments” on what I heard over the public airwaves of 680TheFan, in the morning, on the “Rude Awakening Show.” Now, I don’t dispute that FUBAS’ finances may not be where they’d like. But I’m sure FUBAS would counter that their offer to Brian Campbell disputes how “destitute” they are, financially. Admittedly, Sara, even I have to credit FUBAS with the ATTEMPT at signing Campbell. Atlanta DID put forth a very high dollar offer on the table for Campbell. I believe it was seven years, $56.8 million. That’s not a chump change offer. I was, quite frankly, surprised to hear FUBAS had really made an offer of that magnitude. Remember, at that time, Buffalo offered $5 million to Campbell, who rejected it. His agent, Bartlett, I think his name is, said they wouldn’t take less than $6. I forgot what Campbell’s actual cap hit turned out to be with Chicago. But I think it was OVER $7 million.

Be that as it may, I don’t doubt that FUBAS may be in more trouble, TODAY, than in 2007 or 2008. So, if they’re saying that they don’t have the money anymore, maybe they’re telling the truth. I’m just saying … that in the PAST, their former “spokesperson,” Bernie Mullin, said they had money to improve the teams. I can’t be the only one who hears those interviews on 680TheFan.

A2B

May 15th, 2009
3:25 pm

If we trade anyone it should be Pavlec and a high draft pick for a stud defender. I mean, if we get one more really solid defender and then got a true top scoring RW then we are getting there. Might sneak in next year to the playoffs but after that I’m sure we can manage one more signing to fix any holes that come up during the season. Our weakness has never been in goal, its always been in Defense and not being able to clear the puck after the big save.

Brendan

May 15th, 2009
3:53 pm

Obviously, the Thrashers can’t re-sign Kovalchuk on May 15th. Clearly. What people are ‘reacting to’ are the comments made by the GM. Waddell telling us that what Florida went through with Bouwmeester is common, are ‘troubling’ comments. Aside from Bouwmeester, I can only think of two other players I can recall were in the same boat: Marian Gaborik, with Minnesota, and Keith Tkachuk, with St. Louis. With Gaborik, there was an injury and they couldn’t trade him, if I recall correctly. With Tkachuk situation, I think the Blues and Tkachuk, in concert, agreed that it was in the Blues best interests to keep him there, and not to “rent him.” In the end, they kept him. (Tkachuk had an NTC. He’d have to waive it to be traded.) And the Blues, like the Panthers with Bouwmeester, were in a playoff race and needed this player to reach the playoffs. In the case of St. Louis, it worked. But ask yourself this question: “Are the Blues mismanaged? Or did they just have a rather unfortunate rash of injuries to some of their key players and draft picks?” Moreover, Tkachuk very well might retire. He’s in his 40’s, I believe. KT is far from a ’spring chicken,’ who’d fetch upwards of $8 million out on the open market. But I digress. In Minnesota, the Head Coach, Jacques Lemaire, resigned. And the GM, Risebrough, was fired. Sumptin’ goin’ on there. But I’ll leave it alone. Let’s look at Florida. “Are the Florida Panthers a well-run organization?” Heyy, who just fired off a “rim shot.” Tsk, tsk, tsk. Percussianists?!, what can you do.

Before you answer, as if you needed a moment to ponder it, the Panthers last playoff appearance occurred in 2000. They were SWEPT by the New Jersey Devils. In fairness, the Devils won the Cup that year. But if you’re the curious sort who asks, “Well, just WHEN WAS the Panthers last playoff win?” The answer to that question is: “There’s no way in H#LL Bouwmeester liked what he saw during his years there, as a 2002 draft pick of theirs, and wanted out.” By the way, the Florida Panthers last playoff win happened on April 17, 1997, in Game One of their opening round series with the NY Rangers. The Panthers were the #4 seed, hosting #5 New York. And the Panthers posted a 3-0 shutout. If you must know, the Rangers took the next four games of the series, to close the Panthers out in Florida in five games. Esa Tikkanen potted not one, but TWO overtime winners in this series, including the series clincher in Game Five. There. You now know MORE THAN YOU EVER CARED TO about the Florida Panthers playoff history.

B. Thenet

May 15th, 2009
4:44 pm

I regards to trading Kovalchuk. If we replace him with a couple of guys with 20-30 goal scorers who can add some size, defensive responsibilty, PK ability, along with speed…..I submit we might actually be as good a team, if not a better team, than we are with Ilya.

I don’t want to turn this into a what would you trade for Ilya thread, but I think you can get some very nice young pieces for Ilya if you play your cards right. Of course providing he has no interest in re-signing with the Thrashers.

Christy

May 15th, 2009
4:56 pm

Okay, general observation because I went away for a few hours and came back to find most of the blog has gone into an apoplectic fit.

Maybe I’m being overly optimistic (something I cannot be accused of according to my family) but I did NOT read that he wasn’t going to re-sign Kovy into DW’s words at all.

As I recall what drove the team and all fans nuts in the 2007 / 2008 season was the not knowing about Hossa and the fact that after he DID leave, the team just deflated and for all intents and purposes mailed in the season.

DW essentially just guaranteed that not only would there not be any potential distraction with trade / don’t trade rumors, but that Kovy, being Kovy, would be playing hard all the way down the stretch no matter what, and as a result, so would the team, by following their Captain. Whether he is doing it for the sake of improving is FA chances or not, he will be playing hard if there isn’t a signed contract on the table. How can that not be better for the long term interest of the team than trading for nothing and repeating the fiasco that was the stretch run of the ‘07 and ‘08 season?

As SUPES indicated above, exactly what would you trade Kovy for? Would you say that Kovy will have the value that Hossa had in a better economic market? If so, do you think we’ll do better than an Army, Christensen and Esposito? Because I’m falling back into my cynic mode and not buying into that possibility at all…

R. Stroz

May 15th, 2009
4:59 pm

Can anyone name a top five player on the Thrashers that has ever been re-signed once that player achieved UFA contract status besides Kozlov?

Brunette, no. Staios, no. Savard, no. Hossa, no. Add player here, no.

Can anyone name a top tier UFA that has signed with the Thrashers?

Anyone want to take bets that this year will be any different with Waddell still at the helm?

R. Stroz

May 15th, 2009
5:28 pm

Chris – The ASG court case was suppossed to kick back into gear on May 8. Have you heard anything about the case?

GaVaHokie

May 15th, 2009
5:48 pm

Last time I checked, 27 teams did just fine without Kovalchuk. ;)

Honestly, I’m not worried about it… as long as Peverley, White and Little don’t play a disappearing act next season like Perrin… but I guess Kozlov is due for a slump, since he’s been alternating good and bad seasons.

It seems every year, one or two players fall asleep behind the wheel.

Brendan

May 15th, 2009
5:54 pm

Christy, you’re right. Waddell never said he wouldn’t re-sign him. The truth I believe is that Waddell desperately WANTS to re-sign him. The blogger reaction you’re seeing is in response to Waddell lending legitimacy to losing key players, like Florida potentially has with Bouwmeester, because they weren’t signed in their UFA year, ANNNND weren’t traded at the deadline. Like it’s going to happen all the time, to every team in the league. With Atlanta being no different.

Christy ask yourself this question: “Would it be OKAY with you if Kovalchuk weren’t traded by the deadline, if he remained unsigned?” In other words, would you still have a GOOD FEELING about Kovalchuk re-signing with Atlanta in the offseason, when he is scheduled to hit the open market on July 1, 2010, where Atlanta no longer controls his rights? In short, that Kovalchuk would be FREE to sign with ANY OTHER TEAM, without ANY compensation coming back to the Thrashers, whatsoever, for his departure.

That’s the issue.

If that actually happened, the only silver lining would be … well, gee, Atlanta just cleared up $6.5 million in cap room. I guess, at that point, the ownership couldn’t claim that they can’t afford Bryan Little’s new contract, now can they?

Almost nobody wants to lose Kovalchuk. Some might. But those who want Kovy to leave, more than likely, also want to see some form of compensation returned to the Thrashers for having lost Kovalchuk. If I’m hearing Waddell correctly, it’s his plan not to trade to Kovalchuk, opting instead to try to ride out the possible momentum of his presence on the roster to the very end of the season.

See what a re-signed Kovalchuk avoids, if completed sometime in July/early August? That’s all.

Brendan

May 15th, 2009
6:06 pm

Hokie, and some team is gonna win the Cup WITHOUT Kovalchuk this year, too. Who knew that was possible? The most positive I can come with, in a post-Kovalchuk Thrashers era would be … that the team-record setting six-game winning streak was completed 50% without Kovalchuk. How’d I do? Did win anyone over with that argument?

Brendan

May 15th, 2009
6:09 pm

R.Stroz, does Nic Havelid count as a Top 5 player? That’d be my only guess.

GaVaHokie

May 15th, 2009
6:09 pm

Well, the new GM might trade Kovalchuk ;)

…because if this team gets off to another horrible start like it did this past season, I can’t see how Waddell could possibly keep his job… Kovalchuk certainly wouldn’t want to resign at that point.

GaVaHokie

May 15th, 2009
6:12 pm

R.Stroz, does Nic Havelid count as a Top 5 player? That’d be my only guess.

Does Bondra count?… Stroz didn’t specify RE-sign.

And we can’t count out the blockbuster deal signing Byron Dafoe… hehe.

World Be Free

May 15th, 2009
6:24 pm

The folks in Buffalo were ticked when they did not sign Campbell, Briere and Drury. While I like all 3 as players, none are worth the money they are getting. Campbell is the 3rd best defenseman on the Hawks.

All 3 are a drain on their teams’ salary caps.

Something to think about when we think about shopping on July 1.

World Be Free

May 15th, 2009
6:25 pm

Todd Marchant would be a great off season pickup. He shut down Datsyuk for most of the Ducks-Wings series.

Keep Kari-he was great after the trade deadline. Get him a personal trainer, so he stays in shape all year, avoiding the annual pulled groin or other various muscles.

Brendan

May 15th, 2009
6:33 pm

Hokie, R.Stroz did specify “RE-sign.” I think he said, “Re-sign once they hit UFA status.” I’m at a loss, other than Nic Havelid, iffff Nic Havelid counts as Top 5. Waddell certainly re-signed J.P.Vigier and Eric Boulton enough times.

But I digress. Hokie, I just can’t envision a scenario where the AS, LLC would ACTUALLY FIRE Waddell. I can’t. He’s doing what they tell him to do. They never fire him over the results, which I won’t rehash. But suffice it to say, if the results haven’t gotten Waddell yet, what will?

I’m deadly serious. But what if Kovy leaves? Well, playing Devil’s Advocate here, what if ownership TOLD WADDELL he COULDN’T Trade him. Let’s say Waddell even ASKED!! Let’s say, hypothetically, Waddell has walked into Gearon or Levenson’s office, for a speaker phone conference call with the other owners. Now, this example is entirely fabricated to illustrate a point. But continuing, let’s just say that Waddell says, “I just got off the phone with Jay (Grossman, Kovy’s agent.) And they’re saying that they’re happy to play out the season, but that they won’t re-sign in 2010. Ilya is determined to play in another market next Fall. Because of this, I’m requesting that we trade him, either AT THIS TIME or at the trade deadline, so that we recoup something for him.”

Still with me, in this nightmare example? What if the ownership says, “Look, Don. We have to sell every conceivable ticket we can, from Opening Night to season’s end. So no, your trade request is DENIED. Kovalchuk can leave, if he wants, when he fulfills the obligations of his contract. But no sooner.”

Kovy’s quote comes to mind here, “You must do what the little slip of paper says,” referring to his 5-year contract, that he signed back in 2005.

Waddell, hypothetically, goes home and cries into a glass full of bourbon. He turns to his wife and says, “Now, what do I tell people? They’ll put my head on a pike. Nothing I say will ever make this okay.” And his wife says, “Well honey, I guess you’re just going to hope that some people will understand the predicament you’re in.”

I suppose, he could always quit?

Chris Vivlamore

May 15th, 2009
7:29 pm

Some very good comments folks. I didn’t make one thing as clear in my blog as I did in the story that will appear on Sunday. Waddell made it very clear he wants to re-sign Kovy. That is his intention. I was trying to give a little insight into the upcoming story by letting you know that he won’t trade Kovy, even at the deadline. Certainly his first option is to re-sign him.

Keep up the good discussion. I’ll check in through the weekend.

kracker

May 15th, 2009
7:55 pm

It’s too early to really get into this but the only way I trade Kovy is if he says he will not extend. If that is the case I hope the breakup is amicable and Kovy does and says the right things so he can go to the highest bidder, preferably one of his choosing where the deal is worked out beforehand in a sign and trade. If it has to be, that is the best thing for all parties.

But, c’mon, the playoffs aren’t even over yet, the entry draft is about six weeks away and the FA signing period is a few days after that. That’s also the date contract negotiations can begin w/ Kovalchuk. Everybody take a breath and relax.

Midfield

May 15th, 2009
10:42 pm

Brendan, now that you’re playing these scenarios out, let me ask you: do you think that Levenson & Co firmly count on the fact that most STHs in Atlanta are suckers and aren’t worth paying close attention to on the merits? And If they do, how realistic their views are in this regard?

Brendan

May 16th, 2009
12:42 am

Well Midfield, I’d say that most owners in the NHL understand the dynamics of what’s going on with their franchises. Admittedly, my memory of this is “hazy,” but when Eric Staal’s contract was up, Carolina ponied up before training camp ended. Now, as I’ve said, that may not be exactly accurate. Maybe they signed him before camp. Maybe they signed him a little bit after camp. Maybe it was right before Opening Night. But the point is, Carolina realized what having Staal un-signed all year could do and mean for their club, moving forward. Sure, they’d get that last and final year of Staal, and perhaps, the STH’s with it, but WHAT THEN, AFTER THAT??

See, this is the part I’m not too sure FUBAS understands. Maybe the thinking is … well, gee … plenty of our STH’s are corporations, who use these tickets as an opportunity to wine & dine clients. In those cases, it might matter not how good or how bad the team might be. They’re not there to “cheer.” These tickets are “bonuses” for their out of town guests, who might not care a bit about the Thrashers. They’re not there, emotionally invested, in the team wearing blue. They’re there to “kill time” while in Atlanta, on business. But if you’re the Spirit, LLC, all the money’s GREEN. I suspect the Spirit views most, if not all, fan criticism as the ramblings of inconsequential idiots and smart alecs. They’d listen, if you were HOME DEPOT. They’d listen … if you were Coca-Cola. They’d listen … if you were any kind of sponsor with deep pockets. Them, they care about. Maybe STH’s along the glass, they care about. But it’ll take the realization that not only can they not sell discounted tickets to Thrasher games, they can’t GIVE THE TICKETS AWAY. That’s when you’ll hear Levenson say, “Okay, we realize, NOWWWWWW, that we made a mistake.” They don’t think this day is coming. And maybe it won’t. In a city of 5 million people, it’s a very low percentage of them that need to make up 18,545. And yet, will they achieve it?

Sage of Bluesland says Levenson craves the green in your wallet. And depends on it. I guess we’ll find out if that’s true or not. If Kovy going un-signed on “Opening Night” means the Thrashers play before 6,000 to 8,000 fans, the organization won’t reach their benchmarks for higher revenue-sharing. And that’ll hurt their bottom line. They count on revenue-sharing dollars to break even, or marginalize the losses. In theory.

World Be Free

May 16th, 2009
9:11 am

It’s very simple-Kovy stays if the owners open their wallets and spend higher that 29th or 30th in payroll. I am an optimist, one who hopes the owners will put the last 9 years behind us and start to invest in the product and the scouting necessary to build a winner.

It’s happened in other places and other sports.

NorthStarsDave

May 16th, 2009
10:10 am

Keep Kovy…trade Kari for scoring and defense…and give The Big O his chance…Kovy has stated in the past that he is a STUD..The Thrashers new LOCAL owners….Waddell is not the reason for poor seasons, the Owners ARE…remember, he was schooled in the Red Wings org and also was trained by Scotty Bowman…

World Be Free

May 16th, 2009
10:40 am

NS Dave-I think some of us remember when the Wings were very bad. The stands were nowhere near capacity (like Atlanta). Detroit was so bad, Barry Melrose was one of their defensemen.

Everything changed when a local owner, Mike Illitch bought the team. Anther example of ownership changing the mindset of the franchise.

Christy

May 16th, 2009
12:36 pm

Brendan – to answer your question, if DW doesn’t sign Kovy this summer, no I won’t have a good feeling about Kovy long term, but I’m also going to try and sit back the last year with Kovy and know that when I get tix for the last game of the season at home that he’ll still be in uniform and that I’ll have the pleasure of watching him play one last time.

Aside from that, DW’s words vis a vis Bouwmeester – if Florida had traded him instead of making the run at the playoffs – what would their fans have thought? If, come February, Atlanta is still in it, just a couple of games from that 8th spot and playing well down the stretch, and Kovy is still un-signed – do you want him traded for what we might get, or do you want him to play it out and see what might come of it? I think that’s the possibility that DW was offering. not the fact that we can lose out on the playoffs and not get anything in return because we didn’t sign or trade Kovy. But the answer to the “what if” we just keep playing it out.

mark m

May 16th, 2009
1:45 pm

I just don’t think you can take a paranoid approach to running a team and be successful. A successful organization is one that can keep it’s big name players when their contracts are up. We will never be successful in the long run if we keep trading our stars for Armstrong, EC, Espo type packages. Just not gonna happen. I just don’t think it sends a good message to players across the league when you are trying to deal your top guy every year. What FAs will want to come play for such a team? I guess I’m in the minority in agreeing with DW on this one. Hopefully we sign kovy to an extension and it won’t matter, but if next season comes and goes and we are battling everyone else for his services next offseason, so be it. The alternative, another group of 2nd-3rd line prospects is not gonna make me feel any better.

As for the goalie situation, until the NHL adds the second net into play requiring the use of 2 starters, one of these guys has to go. This is really the organizations only area of strength. We have to deal from there to add to our weak areas. If you aren’t confident Kari can stay healthy enough, trade him. If you think Pavs will be the better NHL goalie, trade Kari. But you gotta do something. DW needs to be listening to offers for both and make the deal that maximizes return. but anyways, we cant keep all 3 because we fear another crazy rash of goalie injuries again.

we should have money to spend this offseason, so hopefully we have better success in drawing in a top 6 type forward, preferably a legit top line guy.

GSU-Lee

May 16th, 2009
2:02 pm

Just remember, Kovy is not Hossa or Heatley. His character, I think, has shown to be more formidable than that of Hoss and Heater. Those guys wanted out, and for whatever reason, I honestly think Kovy wants in. He just wants to make sure the team isn’t going to suck forever. If he thinks they will, by all rights he will be out of here. And I think there is nothing unreasonable at all with his demands.

Brendan

May 16th, 2009
3:23 pm

Christy–If Kovalchuk won’t re-sign by the trade deadline, he’s forced my hand. And there it is. At that point, I’d have to examine why I failed with him. And blame myself for his loss. All while trying, as best I can, to salvage WHAT I CAN, for him. Who knows? Maybe the “salvage effort” is still enough to get into the playoffs?

We’ll never know what Bouwmeester might have fetched at the trade deadline? Who could know that? Other than the Panthers GM, having listened to the offers. I have no idea what Florida was or wasn’t offered for Bouwmeester. Maybe there was a pretty solid, missed opportunity there? Maybe even, grasping to be sure, enough to overtake Montreal and qualify for the 8th and final spot. We’re only talking about 1-point there, in the standings.

And on July 1, I beg him to return. Pay him whatever he wants. And say, “Hey, ya know, we were just renting you.”

There’s another approach, here. Why not just try to convince Kovalchuk to be a little bit more patient? Christy, Will you “boo” Kovalchuk on the final home game of the 2010 season, if he’s un-signed? Will you “boo” him if returns to Philips Arena wearing another team’s uniform in the 2010-11 season? My answer to both those questions is “no.” Kovalchuk is trying to effect change here. And he’s run into a brick wall, since the 2007 season.

Bob (other)

May 16th, 2009
3:23 pm

Brendan, why don’t you consider writing the speculative War and Peace novel, most of the hypothetical, specultaive content could be pulled from your postings.

Bottom line is you do not know. No one does other than the parties directly involved. Look around the league…how many teams can make money available to add a 8 to 10Million player…not too many, not without massive movement of their current roster.

Get a grip…its a business and let those who are in that business run it.

Your passion is compelling but all this speculation is really meaningless. We can have a good year next year…finished strong, hopefully it carries over.

Brendan

May 16th, 2009
3:29 pm

Bob(Other), when Kovalchuk re-signs in July, I’ll save a glass of champagne for you. For all of this will have been avoided. There’s absolutely nothing anyone can on May 16th. From a fans’ perspective, there’s nothing anyone can do. We don’t have control. I just hope it all works out. Same as you.

Supes

May 16th, 2009
3:57 pm

OK, will someone please answer this question.

If it comes down to this and Kovy has to be traded, could the Thrashers trade him to the Isles (for the number 1 pick in John Tavarez, asuming they pick him with that pick, since the draft is before we all expect Kovy to be signed/not signed).

That would be the only thing that DW can do to keep the casual fans interested in showing up, showcasing a talent like Tavarez (who maybe the second coming of Gretzky).

Plus with the 4th pick, Thrashers could have 2 of the top 4 young players in the draft to show.

Given Kovy’s contract situation, does the NHL do “sign and trades” like the NBA does? As in, knowing that the Kovy will be a unrestricted FA at the end of 2010, would any team want to give up something like the number 1 pick in the draft for him?

The Joker

May 16th, 2009
4:14 pm

“Get a grip…its a business and let those who are in that business run it.”

Bob (other) : Don’t you mean run it into the ground?

kracker

May 16th, 2009
5:38 pm

Supes, yes, a sign and trade is doable. That’s how Hossa came here, he just didn’t know he would be traded to Atlanta when he signed with Ottawa. Anyway, as far as I know, any team can sign a player and then trade him whether or not the player being signed knows of the deal before he signs the contract.

I suspect that is the scenario you are talking about where Kovy has prior knowledge of the trade before he signs the contract extension. I know of no reason why that isn’t a legal trade. No party is being coerced or taken advantage of. Any player not wanted to be traded gets a NTC written into his contract – if he has the clout to do so.

ranallo10 (in AT)

May 16th, 2009
6:03 pm

“would any team want to give up something like the number 1 pick in the draft for him”

I’ll take a stab at this one, Supes.

No.

The Islanders are just swapping positions with the Thrashers in the dreaded “will Kovalchuk sign” drama, if they were to make that deal. They have no guarantee he would sign with them, and if it were as easy as “sign-and-trade” why would Atlanta not just force a player to be included and that player “fail” the physical (i.e., Kovalchuk is signed, trade is nullified, he’s now “stuck” in Atlanta with a fat new contract).

This isn’t the NBA (thankfully), so the sign-and-trade type deals don’t happen all too often. I can only think of two situations in which a recently signed player was traded in the NHL, one of which was Hossa. The other was Tim Gleason, who was traded to Carolina for Tverdovsky and Jack Johnson only a 12 days re-signing with Los Angeles.

So no, I don’t believe a sign-and-trade would happen, and no, I don’t believe any team with the right package to acquire Kovalchuk would be willing to give up a franchise player or #1 draft pick.

World Be Free

May 16th, 2009
6:30 pm

Keep Kovy and do not trade him under any circumstances.

He has developed into a winner and a leader. Those qualities are very tough to find.

Bob (other)

May 16th, 2009
6:45 pm

http://www.forbes.com/2008/10/29/nhl-team-values-biz-sports-nhl08_cz_mo_kb_1029nhl_land.html

Joker you may want to check out this link.
Franchise value incresed, P&L negative. If you look at same for the NBA you will see the Hawks are slightly positive on the P&L.

We all want to win…but it is a business and compared to many other franchises we have performance that is indeed better.

LAC

May 16th, 2009
8:59 pm

At some point even the most STUPID of people see change IS needed !

These owners are good at their given jobs in the business world, I will give them that. The fact they have $ and spent some to buy these teams is also a given… But the fact they are good at one type job DOES NOT mean they are good at running professional sports teams. They are HORRIBLE !

These guys are like the geeks who could not make a girls softball team in elementry school, but now that they have book smarts and made a lot of money,how I do not know, they thought they could step up to the plate and be sports owners…. They have FAILED at every turn and it has been AWFUL to take for hockey fans !

Ok, I own several businesses, if a sales manager does not produce
on a consistant basis, after a period of time goes by and things do not improve, well I would have to make a change to better the companies bottom line… This is what gets me about these idiots… Anyone can hold a budget and keep expenses in line, that is a job a good CPA could preform, NOT a GM. A GM’s job is to assemble the BEST possible collection of players he can to WIN.

Has don waddell done that? NO NO NO NO NO NO !!!!!!!

don waddell IS responsible for this team being what it is, not too good.
Look at all the FAILED UFA’s, The EXCELLENT ones we lost and so on…
it is a degrace to say the least. waddell has not preformed up to the standard of any other GM in the NHL. He has FAILED at every turn,
He has zero eye for talent, no idea how to put a WINNING team togather and I believe does not give a damn about the Thrashers win or lose.

don waddell should have been gone after year three, no if’s and’s or but’s about it ! He is clueless and has been from draft day one when he drafted Patrick WHO ??????? Not much more you can say there…

waddell is a career LOSER, he must be fired replaced or run out of town if the franchise is going to thrive….. I don’t think the team will.

I expect to see yet another 70-75 point season next year, all the broken promises,all the LIES from waddell mean nothing will ever change until these clowns who own this team realize ONE DAY,don waddell is a
VERY BAD GM and then hopefully change will take place, but with waddell
still here, look for little or NO improvement and continued losing…
That won’t change until changes are made !

The Joker

May 16th, 2009
11:18 pm

“We all want to win…but it is a business and compared to many other franchises we have performance that is indeed better.”

Bob (other) – Are you kidding me? The Thrashers are the 27th out of 30 teams. Doesn’t that make our ownership one of the five worst in the league using the metric which you supplied? Well yes, it does. look at the following link:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/hockey/nhl/05/08/nhl.owners/index.html

Even worse, that metric is based on the 2007-2008 season, before the recession and the 50% decrease in STH retention due to the incessant discounting. We all know attendence last season was down and overinflated due to the number of FREE ticket vouchers handed out like candy at Metro Atlanta schools.

Now, Bob (other), should we rename you the Riddler? See you claim to be a fan sitting in Section 116 yet you also claim to have access the P&L statement for both the Thrashers and Hawks. So, are you a fan with season tickets in Section 116 or an ASG employee or owner with access to the financial statements? So, Riddle me this, which are you?

Mr. Neutron

May 17th, 2009
8:21 am

>>>“If we felt we were helping our team and getting a good player back for one of our goalies … that would be something we would look at,” Waddell said.

Hey, here’s an idea. You’re $10 million under the salary cap. Why not go get a player AND keep your goalie?

World Be Free

May 17th, 2009
9:09 am

I think they are more the $10M under the cap. It all depends on if the owners want to spent. You can keep Kari, Kovy and get help via UFA or RFA.

People in other cities feel just like us; go to some of the local papers in non-playoff or first round loser cities. The fans are all pissed.

In each case, fans are asking management “what are you going to do about it?”

Current management is what we have to work with. If they are willing to imnprove the team, it will happen. If not, they’ll be on the move to some of city and Atlanta once agian, will be unfairly coined as a non-NHL town.

Bob

May 17th, 2009
9:55 am

Waddell is so full of crap, as usual. Of course he’ll trade him if Kovalchuk won’t re-sign, the only question is if they trade him this summer or wait till the deadline. It would set the franchise back even further, if that’s possible, to lose him for nothing.

Now who expects Kovy to re-sign here this summer? Thought so…this is going to drag out all year and we’ll be subjected to the Don Waddell dance of obfuscation all year, wonder how long it will take before Waddell starts bad mouthing Kovy? “I’ve felt all along that this player just wouldn’t buy into a system so of course we’re much better off now with Maxim Afinigenov in the fold”.

Bob (other)

May 17th, 2009
9:56 am

Joker, I am a fan STH and obvoiusly smarter than you. Look at some of the other teams P&Ls we are not 27ty there. Look at the debt ratio, we are not 27th there. You just dont get it. It is an entertainment business largely supported by corporate sponsorship, corprate sales and STHs. That is the model for all professional sports with one exception and that is the NHL doesnt have the kind of TV money, although Toronto sure does. The Leafs consistently have the highest value, highest profit and haven’t won since 67.

I hope you can quit being so negative.
I enjoy the games, support our team and will continue to do so.

GaVaHokie

May 17th, 2009
10:20 am

LAC… and what if Waddell had permission from ownership to retain Savard at $5 million back in 2006?

Do you think Waddell REALLY thought Steve Rucchin was an upgrade to Marc Savard? Or do you think it was ownership saying “we gotta go cheaper”? Ownership had just spent $37 million that season, which by Gearon’s own words was “a lot of money”.

That was the summer Waddell supposedly wanted to get Michael Nylander, who ended up getting $5.5 million from Washington… so, if ownership wanted to go cheaper, “why not go with Rucchin who was generally good for abot 40 assists a season in Anaheim and has playoff experience?”

Choices of a wishy-washy ownership group that wants to operate at bare minimum… again, Waddell says “it will be in my book some day” and “I like having a job.”

LAC

May 17th, 2009
10:50 am

No gava, Savard had proven himself and was very effective here, at close to the same time holik was brought in and never worked out at all, Rucchin was washed up before he was signed,a waddell trademark.

waddell shows NO desire to win,everyone knows people like rucchin/williams and other CHEAP unproductive waiver pickups
have NEVER worked out,how about Rico Fata,great addition right ?

Where is Joe Metkzo now ???? Who are most of these guys ? Not top level players for sure. Not saying EVERY player needs to be top flight,but
waddell’s eye for talent is simply AWFUL ! We need players who wit
in here, and 90% waddell gets DO NOT ! Which simply adds fuel to the fire,that waddell is The Worst GM in pro sports.

Hey Chris… ask waddell what he thinks of the fans BLASTING him !
I would like to hear his nutty answer… He HAS TO BE FIRED !
This to save this franchise, more waddell calling the shots means MORE LOSING !

Ice Meister

May 17th, 2009
11:04 am

Does anyone really want to talk about how we can improve this team, or do we just want to bitch about the past? We know what we have in ownership and management, but can’t we find anything positive to talk about?

It is Sunday you know.

Rink Rat

May 17th, 2009
11:23 am

Therein lies the problem, Ice Meister. As fans, we don’t control anything. We control nothing. Beyond ticket sales. We could sit here, alll dayyyy lonnnnng, proposing trades, draft picks, front office moves to make the team better. What will come of it? What? The only people who CAN effect change are the owners, who control the GM. And, as a courtesy to you, Ice Meister, I won’t rehash their past.

Ice Meister

May 17th, 2009
11:39 am

I can only hope that the decline in ticket sales (and interest) will get management and the owners to start to move in the right direction. I am just as frustrated as you and so many others who sign into this blog every day.

But I find encouragement in the fact that this team played well after Kovy was made captain. The team worked hard and we have a good coach. I agree on not rehashing the past, I just hope the past is not a roadmap for the future.

For now, I will stay positive and hope.

Enjoy the game today folks

Slapshot

May 17th, 2009
12:17 pm

Has anyone read cv’s story today? If so is there any surprising info?

The Joker

May 17th, 2009
1:44 pm

Bob (other) – Yes, I missed the other links, my bad. That said, those numbers are a year old, which don’t take into account the dropoff in ticket sales due to the recession and fan displeasure with ticket discouting.

Are you smarter than me? I don’t know. I don’t consider tickets to be an investment as you do. Tickets are a discretionary expense, not an investment. I didn’t see many Thrasher fans in 116 last season, especially against Buffalo and Detroit. I guess you and your “friends” sold your tickets because you were out of town.

Do you want to see who can urinate higher on the wall?

Would you like some beach front property in Waycross Georgia to invest in?

Bob

May 17th, 2009
1:52 pm

Bob (other) is a shill for the club and a disgrace to our good name.

Remember the nonsense he wrote about everyone renewing in 116 last year, but they were just on “business trips and couldn’t make the games”. lol

He rivals Hokie for the most nonsensical stuff written on this blog over the years.

GaVaHokie

May 17th, 2009
2:07 pm

Ice Meister… some of us try to talk about other things. But get backstopped by the conspiracy theorists who think an organization would pay $40 million to purposely NOT win, like LAC.

R. Stroz

May 17th, 2009
2:40 pm

This is going to be an interesting offseason.

Kovy has essentially demanded a top tier free agent, which Waddell has never signed.

Kovy’s contract is up for renewal and Waddell has never been able to keep our best players providing some sort of excuse each time.

So, this offseason, Waddell must perform two tasks he has never accomplished as a GM, sign a top tier free agent and re-sign a premiere UFA player. So, who thinks Waddell can find a soltion this offseason instead of another excuse?

As a fan, do you renew your ticket package before Kovy re-signs?

If you think last season’s ticket sales were bad, just think what this seasons ticket sales will be like if Kovy hasn’t re-signed by October.

For once, Waddell must find solutions, not excuses.

Thrashers27

May 17th, 2009
3:05 pm

I think it’s great that Kovy is forcing the owner’s hand. Hopefully, Waddell can bring in Havlat, or Gaborik. That would be awesome!

Ice Meister

May 17th, 2009
3:16 pm

Stroz//your summary of the situation is perfect. I was at the last game, when Kovy was interviewed in front of everyone. He called for an improvement in the lineup, get some guys in that can win.

Now it’s up to management to do what is necessary. If they don’t, then we know they are not serious about having a competitive team in Atlanta. Kovy IS forcing their hand and I think it’s great.

Hokie-don’t let the theorists get you off track. We have nothing to lose by thinking about a good future for this team.

I really like what I saw in this team over the last 3 mos of the season. They played hard, for pride and for jobs next year.

Rink Rat

May 17th, 2009
3:30 pm

Ice Meister, I’m going to choose to stay positive, too. You’re right. Ever since Kovy was made Captain, it seems that the team’s results got a little bit better. The Chicago-Detroit game has started. I suggest we enjoy it. It’s on NBC, as we speak. It’s already 1-0, Chicago. Burish.

As a fan of the Thrashers, all I can do is try to enjoy their games. As a hockey fan, minor league and pro, I can enjoy the successes of other teams and appreciate their failures. I have one solemn wish for this team: Just start to run it well. I don’t ask for Stanley Cups every year. I ask for a team to be conceived of intelligent design.

There are plenty of teams in the NHL who haven’t won a Cup in the past 10 years, even longer, but at least they’re trying. They make decent enough trades. They draft well. They re-sign players. They work off a plan. They do the best they can. Fans of such teams shouldn’t wash their hands of their team. But in Atlanta, with the Thrashers, I sort of understand it. If the ownership doesn’t care enough to try to win, or retain players, to add players, then why should fans care?

KOVY MUST STAYY

May 17th, 2009
5:19 pm

Here you go fans, i did the dirty work thank me later hopefully people will actually look at this very important to our season next year… we got a left wing(kovy) right wing(little) and thats about it. pevs and white are good but come on we need some true top line forwards. screw defense we cant get everything…. lets say we get kane or duchene or some quality forward who makes the team.. ok so then we need a left wing a right wing and a center… 3 guys who can be attainable through a lehtonen trade and or ufa..come on no excuses wadell and shtty ownership get it freakin done…..!!!!

Here’s a list of the notable pending UFA players of each team.

ANAHEIM DUCKS: Francois Beauchemin, Bret Hedican, Rob Niedermayer, Scott Niedermayer,

ATLANTA THRASHERS: Eric Perrin, Marty Reasoner.

BOSTON BRUINS: PJ Axelsson, Manny Fernandez, Steve Montador, Mark Recchi, Tim Thomas, Stephane Yelle.

BUFFALO SABRES: Maxim Afinogenov, Dominic Moore, Teppo Numminen, Andrew Peters, Jaroslav Spacek, Mikael Tellqvist.

CAROLINA HURRICANES: Erik Cole, Chad LaRose, Dennis Seidenberg.

CALGARY FLAMES: Adrian Aucoin, Todd Bertuzzi, Mike Cammalleri, Jordan Leopold, David Moss.

CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS: Martin Havlat, Nikolai Khabibulin, Samuel Pahlsson.

COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS: Christian Backman, Wade Dubielewicz, Chris Gratton, Manny Malholtra, Michael Peca.

COLORADO AVALANCHE: Tyler Arnason, Ian Laperriere, Andrew Raycroft, Joe Sakic.

DALLAS STARS: Steve Begin, Jere Lehtinen, Brendan Morrison, Mark Parrish, Darryl Sydor, Sergei Zubov.

DETROIT RED WINGS: Chris Chelios, Ty Conklin, Johan Franzen, Marian Hossa, Mikael Samuelsson,

EDMONTON OILERS: Ales Kotalik, Dwayne Roloson.

FLORIDA PANTHERS: Craig Anderson, Jay Bouwmeester, Nick Boynton, Radek Dvorak,Karlis Skrastins,Richard Zednik.

LOS ANGELES KINGS: Derek Armstrong, Kyle Calder, Denis Gauthier.

MINNESOTA WILD: Marc-Andre Bergeron, Kurtis Foster, Marian Gaborik, Martin Skoula.

MONTREAL CANADIENS: Francis Bouillon, Mathieu Dandenault, Saku Koivu, Mike Komisarek, Tom Kostopoulos, Alex Kovalev, Robert Lang, Mathieu Schneider, Alex Tanguay.

NASHVILLE PREDATORS; Radek Bonk, Greg de Vries, Ville Koistinen, Scott Nichol.

NEW JERSEY DEVILS: Scott Clemmensen, Brian Gionta, Niclas Havelid, Bobby Holik, John Madden, Johnny Oduya, Michael Rupp, Brendan Shanahan.

NEW YORK ISLANDERS: Andy Hilbert, Joey MacDonald, Dean McAmmond, Mike Sillinger, Doug Weight.

NEW YORK RANGERS: Nik Antropov, Paul Mara, Derek Morris.

OTTAWA SENATORS: Mike Comrie, Chris Neil.

PHILADELPHIA FLYERS: Andrew Alberts, Martin Biron, Mike Knuble, Antero Niittymaki.

PHOENIX COYOTES: Dmitri Kalinin, Ken Klee,Steve Reinprecht.

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS: Philippe Boucher, Ruslan Fedotenko, Mathieu Garon, Hal Gill, Bill Guerin, Miroslav Satan, Petr Sykora.

SAN JOSE SHARKS: Rob Blake, Brian Boucher, Mike Grier, Kent Huskins, Travis Moen, Jeremy Roenick.

ST. LOUIS BLUES: Dan Hinote, Manny Legace, Keith Tkachuk.

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING: Marek Malik.

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS: Martin Gerber, Curtis Joseph, Olaf Kolzig, Brad May.

VANCOUVER CANUCKS: Jason Labarbera, Mattias Ohlund, Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin.

WASHINGTON CAPITALS: Donald Brashear, Sergei Fedorov, Viktor Kozlov.

Bob (other)

May 17th, 2009
5:33 pm

Bob and Joker, you are entitled to your opinions, which we agree to disagree. I generally do not post here unless it really irrates me. Basically a waste of people’s time. You have no influence over outcome.

The Joker

May 17th, 2009
5:48 pm

“You have no influence over outcome.”

Bob (other) – Neither do you. Why don’t you go build some houses?

“…I generally do not post here unless it really irrates me. Basically a waste of people’s time.”

Bob (other) – You claim to be smart yet you can’t spell correctly or construct complete sentences.

Frankly, you are a waste of oxygen. Very soon, you’ll need to purchase carbon credits.

And I forgot to remind you, the Thrashers ownership is considered one of the five worst in the NHL. Their business model is flawed. In order to assist you in understanding a good hockey business model in a southern state, please study the Carolina Hurricanes model.

Ice Meister

May 17th, 2009
7:41 pm

You know Rink Rat, we can only do so much If we don’t like the product or the commitment, then we can walk. That would be tough for people like us-people who really love hockey.

Ice Meister

May 17th, 2009
7:48 pm

K-M-S not much out there on the free agent market, is there. Havlat will get bigger money on the market then Chicago can offer. Antropov and Knuble may be affordable pickups.

There are going to be alotta teams looking to dump good players, salary dumps. I suspect there will action in the week heading up to the draft, right before the feeding frenzy on July 1.

I think our backline is OK. It’s our team defense that has been lacking for years. Does anyone have an update on Angelo Esposito, where he’s at for next year?

kracker

May 17th, 2009
9:19 pm

I have no update but I can’t imagine Espo will be in game shape in Sept/Oct after having a multiple ligament knee reconstruction in February. One ligament was replaced by another taken from somewhere else in his body. Rawhide would say that is un-good.

Brendan

May 17th, 2009
10:53 pm

I wish the AJC.com could run a poll with this question. Ready? Which event would have caused you to have more ‘faith’ in the direction of the Thrashers? (1) Successfully landing Brian Campbell as a coveted free agent, (2) the firing and full removal of Don Waddell as GM, or (3) an “Opening Night” budget of $50+ million dollars?

Hmmn. I would be, really, truly curious as to the response.

Brendan

May 17th, 2009
11:29 pm

R.Stroz, Excellent post. The proof will be in the pudding. I fully agree with you that Waddell needs to finally deliver on the score of landing a Tier I free agent and re-signing a major pending UFA (Kovalchuk). I always preach about player retention, especially with our original Thrasher draft picks. Will he do it? Well, without a robust budget, I would doubt it. This is a seemingly recurring excuse for Waddell. As I’ve sometimes said, “Everyone has an excuse or excuses. Some more valid than others. But who DOESN’T have an excuse, or excuses, for just about anything you can name in life?” I do not think fans want to hear any excuses. That song and dance has gotten old.

I seriously doubt very many non-corporate STH’s will renew until they hear Kovalchuk has re-signed. I know this will sound naive, but I actually think Kovalchuk WANTS to stay. But he WANTS TO STAY with a good team around him. He’s trying, via his contract situation, to FORCE that reality upon the organization. I guess I can’t blame him there. And I honestly think that if Atlanta provided him this high-caliber team, he WOULD re-sign. Allright. Fire away. Tell me how naive I am. Tell me how it’s “all but sealed between Kovy and his next team in 2010.” I just always thought this city deserved better. I think there’s great hockey fans here, who ONLY ASK for accountability, when accountability is necessary. I really don’t think the typical Thrasher fan demands the Stanley Cup every year. But they do demand BETTER than what they’ve seen, through nine (9) seasons.

R.Stroz, I got a little concerned, earlier, upon hearing Waddell’s “no trade comments” regarding Kovalchuk. I committed a Cardinal sin there. I took Waddell at his word. I should know better than to do that. If Waddell says he won’t, there’s plenty of room for interpretation. But suffice it to say, if the true, legitimate reaction of the fanbase of this team is to scarcely tremble at the prospect of losing the ‘face of the franchise,’ (especially for nothing,) then those who say hockey can’t make it Atlanta would probably be right. Thankfully, gazing at the calendar, we’re nowhere near that day.

LAC

May 18th, 2009
2:40 am

Chris…. Let’s try this OK ?

Ask worthless waddell what he thinks of the fans comments on the blogs calling for his demise. We ARE the customer and WE are calling for his head and I cannot believe he ignores these blogs 100%.

Just would like to hear HIS position to the many of us calling for his head ! Thanks in Advance… I hope !

LAC

May 18th, 2009
2:44 am

I feel a Ken Klee signing coming on !!!!!!!!!!!!

LAC

May 18th, 2009
2:46 am

Typical gavahokie, WRONG as usual, I never brought up a dollar amount…
Where did you attend school ? Always supporting a sinking ship with a drunk captain… Foronce gava GET REAL !

Dwayne

May 18th, 2009
6:04 am

sign Hossa to a long term deal…re-sign Kovy. Am I dreaming?

GaVaHokie

May 18th, 2009
8:39 am

We ARE the customer and WE are calling for his head and I cannot believe he ignores these blogs 100%.

Let’s leave the word “we” out of your comments, please… YOU are a customer, and I am a customer… please don’t include me in your “we”.

Hijacker

May 18th, 2009
11:04 am

@kracker:

I recall Falconer asking Dan Marr about Esposito, during his recent interview. Marr projected it’s unlikely that Esposito will be ready for camp.

@ R. Stroz: Great post.

Waddell will continue to cook up excuses, until the fans, THE OWNERS and the also the media will (AJC) ask questions!

Alan

May 18th, 2009
11:46 am

Which event would have caused you to have more ‘faith’ in the direction of the Thrashers? (1) Successfully landing Brian Campbell as a coveted free agent, (2) the firing and full removal of Don Waddell as GM, or (3) an “Opening Night” budget of $50+ million dollars?

Option three only shows we were throwing money around, but there’s no guarantee we wouldn’t be in the same place we ended up in. Toronto Maple Leafs South, anyone? Option one, while fun to consider, may not have amounted to much. That’s an unknown, especially given the system we play. That’s one of those unknowns. Option two, while also an unknown, would have given an indication to many disenchanted fans that, maybe, the team is moving forward. Bringing in a new GM to see what he could do with our situation with new ideas, and perhaps bringing more success to this team in the long run.

Therefore, I would have to select option two.

Brendan

May 18th, 2009
12:33 pm

I’d also select Option #2. That’s two votes for Option #2.

Midfield

May 18th, 2009
12:52 pm

Option 2 is the necessary condition. Options 2 and 3 is a preferrable package. Options 2, 3 and 1 would be nice.

Hockey Biltong

May 18th, 2009
2:01 pm

I’m guessing Kovy is giving Don plenty of input on who he thinks should be here to play alongside him. Has anyone asked Kovy that?? I’ll go as far as to say that Don has probably discussed who is availble and who he thinks Kovy should go and sell the idea of coming to Atlanta. It would not suprise me at all to find that Kovy has or is testing the waters with different players.

Brett

May 18th, 2009
2:10 pm

As much as I hate to say it Kovy is as good as gone. Think about it! Kovy want to see what steps the organiztion takes during the off season before he makes a a decision about resigning with the club. If that’s the case he’s gone. Remember last off season DW and the organization couldn’t lure any top tier talent to Atlanta! Nothing has changed with this organization or ownership since last off season. SO what would make this off season any different. DW will not be able to lure anyone that would be a difference maker to the club and Kovy walks. End of story. I hate to see it. I consider myself an avid fan but this is getting hard to stomach. Year in and year out the same mess. DW and the ownership need to go. JMHO.

GaVaHokie

May 18th, 2009
2:20 pm

Biltong… I’m not sure they’re allowed to do that yet by CBA rules. At least, the recruiting aspect from Kovy, that is.

Thrashers27

May 18th, 2009
2:31 pm

In a perfect world: DW signs Havlat and Camalleri, Nikulin comes over and Esposito steps in to contribute at least 60 points. We pick up Duchene, or Kane and give them a year to season in the AHL…Preferably Duchene.

Alan

May 18th, 2009
3:34 pm

Think about it! Kovy want to see what steps the organiztion takes during the off season before he makes a a decision about resigning with the club. If that’s the case he’s gone.

Okay, I’ve thought about it. I’ve read this over and over. Here’s what I get:

Kovalchuk makes statement -> ???? -> Kovalchuk is gone.

We’re missing a piece of the puzzle, here. You’ve already jumped past phase three. This makes no sense.

One of two things will happen this offseason, and I’ll use the same format to illustrate:

1. Kovalchuk makes statement -> Ownership/DW balks -> Kovalchuk is gone.

Under this first scenario, it is painfully obvious that Kovalchuk’s statement went in one ear and out of the other. He decided that if DW wasn’t going to get him anyone to play with, he’ll take his puck and stick and go play elsewhere.

2. Kovalchuk makes statement -> Ownership antes up, DW delivers -> Kovalchuk is not gone.

Under this scenario, Kovalchuk’s statement was heard loud and clear by the great octo-cluster and DW, and they gave Kovalchuk what he asked for. Kovalchuk, under this scenario, re-signs.

It’s black and white, folks. Either they get Kovalchuk what he wants, or they don’t. His status as a Thrasher rests in the balance.

Brendan

May 18th, 2009
3:45 pm

That’s three (3) votes for option #2.

R. Stroz

May 18th, 2009
4:03 pm

Anyone who thinks the Thrashers will be able to procure Martin Havlet from the UFA markey can forget about it. Havlet’s agent is none other than a$$hat Allan Walsh. You know, the agent that told Pavelec not to report to Chicago after failing to make the team last season.

Thrashers27

May 18th, 2009
5:54 pm

Just a “Wish List”, ‘Stroz. Havlat would be a great pickup. Who knows what will actually happen over the next few months.

LAC

May 18th, 2009
6:04 pm

gava, go stick your head in a toilet please… Your comments are worthless and uneventful on this blog.

You provide NOTHING to this blog, Nothing, you express to be some expert on hockey etc… but you are simply some nobody
trying to be a somebody, I would NEVER include you in any of my comments, so go away… Can you understand this !

R. Stroz

May 18th, 2009
6:10 pm

Thrashers27 – Nothing wrong with wishing.

I just remember some of Walsh’s past comments that Atlanta doesn’t deserve a hockey team and how he told Pavelec to handle the situation last year. In general, Walsh is a jerk and I wouldn’t blame Waddell for not even trying to deal with him. Walsh is also Dupuis’s agent and he had Dupuis convinced he was a top line player.

I’d be thrilled to get Havlet, but find that doubtful based on who his agent is. Walsh will probably convince Havlet he is worth $10 million/year on the UFA market.

R. Stroz

May 18th, 2009
6:30 pm

Here’s an interesting note:

Allan Walsh has Havlet and Gaborik as clients, two players which suffer from recurring injuries. Also, when Walsh was negotiating Dupuis’s contract extension last year with the Penguins, Walsh stated that Dupuis was comparable in talent to Huselius. Did I just hear someone say BS?

Someone needs to tell Walsh to put the bong down.

Alan

May 18th, 2009
8:07 pm

Stroz, unless that bong is filled with crack, that might be the least of our worries.

World Be Free

May 18th, 2009
8:27 pm

I am glad the Thrashers did not sign Brian Campbell. Campbell is the 3rd best defenseman on the Black Hawks and his contract is a monster.

UFAs know the money is out there. IF the Thrashers want to pay for Cammalleri or Havlat, they will listen. Also, Boston and Philly are going to have to dump some talent to stay under the cap and keep their current rosters, with the hope of lading a UFA.

We also have to decide if we are going to pursue Mary Ann Hossa. Big regular season, insignificant in the post season.

Ice Meister

May 18th, 2009
8:29 pm

I really hope they don’t trade Kari

Frosty the snowman

May 18th, 2009
9:14 pm

**We also have to decide if we are going to pursue Mary Ann Hossa.

Hossa doesn’t want anything to do with this franchise. We will sign NO significant free agents(tier 1) Kovy will be playing for another team. My guess is the caps.

OPTION #2 FOR ME

Brendan

May 18th, 2009
9:39 pm

That’s four (4) votes for options #2. I hear that Colorado is looking for a new GM and ‘may’ have just selected Patrick Roy to be the Head Coach. Roy denies that he’s been offered ANYTHING. Tony Granato thinks he’s still the Head Coach. Granato has 2-years left on his contract. Pierre LaCroix is calling the shots right now in Denver, I believe. I would think that LaCroix, if he were really going to make a change at the Head Coaching position, would have the courtesy to privately fire Granato before going public, and THENNNN hold an interview with Patrick Roy, among other candidates. And finally, hold a press conference to announce it. But what do I know?

Wouldn’t it be great, if Colorado hired Waddell to be their GM? What? Don’t look at me like that. I actually have some sympathy for Waddell. Shouldn’t we wish Waddell to get the chance to work for a real organization, whose history includes includes six trips to the Conference Finals and two Stanley Cup wins since 1996?

Seriously, I don’t hate Waddell. I just don’t think he should the Thrashers GM anymore. I further would like to see what Waddell could do, if he had a committed owner behind him. Certainly, Waddell wishes for these things himself, does he not? I would think the answer is “yes.” And to make it reality, all Waddell would have to do is approach Levenson, thank him for the time here, then resign. Then get hired by Colorado. If Don Waddell is ’so respected in NHL circles,’ why couldn’t this be something he pursues? Forbes says Waddell’s contract expires in 2010. I, personally, believe Waddell has an automatic 1-year extension written into that contract … that kicks in provided Waddell retains a neck and a heartbeat. So, if oxygenated blood continues to reach his brain, and his lungs are still functional, he’ll be the Thrashers GM in 2011. Unless he has the good sense to jump off this train wreck and into a better organization. Like he probably should, if given the opportunity.

Brendan

May 18th, 2009
9:58 pm

The “Cardiac ‘Canes” have closed the deficit to 3-2, with 1:26 left in the 3rd period. What an exciting team to watch!

Brendan

May 18th, 2009
10:04 pm

OHHHHHHH! IT was there!!! Staal, on the door step. Just couldn’t control it. Too much heat on the pass. It hit Staal’s stick and caromed right into Fleury, who was down on the ice, sprawled out, helplessly. Then, a seemingly innocent dump in from Center Ice took a horrendous bounce and nearly fooled Fleury. I honestly wouldn’t have faulted him. It was the “flukiest” of bounces. Of course, I’m not sure Penguin fans would EVER let Fleury forget he gave up a shot from Center Ice, with seconds left in regulation, had it scored.

It’s a final: Pittsburgh 3, Carolina 2. This is going to be a great series.

Sara

May 19th, 2009
8:49 am

World Be Free agree on Campbell. If your gonna pay a guy as much as if not more than Nick Lidstrom, he better damn well be the second coming of Orr. IMO anyway. We’ll come out way ahead paying nearly half as much to Hainsey if they can just get him a partner that’s worth a poo – Hainsey isn’t good enough to compensate for a slow-developing rookie like Boris or a mediocre d-man who loves to get out of position going for the big hits like XLB.

Keep an eye on Detroit as another team who may drop some players or move someone in order to clear cap space. Filppula may well hit the block if Holland intends to keep Hossa.

Speaking of Hossa, all due respect, but if you think he’s “insignificant in the playoffs” you really haven’t been paying attention. 68 points in 87 career playoff games ain’t too shabby. And as he and Pasha both prove, there’s a lot more to contributing in the playoffs than scoring goals – besides, that’s what they have Mule for. ;p

Brendan

May 19th, 2009
10:17 am

Marian Hossa had 12 goals, 14 helpers, for 26-points, while being a +8 for Pittsburgh last year. That included 5 PPG’s and two (2) game-winning goals (GWG). I wouldn’t call that “disappearing.” At least, not in that season. And he has four (4) goals already in these playoffs for Detroit. I think Detroit is going to keep Marian Hossa. Hossa will just have to accept less than his market share to stay. And that’s a deal I think Hossa can live with. Not too sure his agent will like leaving money on the table. But hey, his client could always FIRE him, and he’d get nothing.

Silent Assassin

May 19th, 2009
10:25 am

Remember this conversation. Lehtonen will be moved. The club loves what they see in Pavelec, whom, if things go as planned, will be the next starting goaltender on this roster.

Bob

May 19th, 2009
2:09 pm

“I am glad the Thrashers did not sign Brian Campbell. Campbell is the 3rd best defenseman on the Black Hawks…”

Are you completely clueless?

“We also have to decide if we are going to pursue Mary Ann Hossa. Big regular season, insignificant in the post season.”

Never mind, you apparently are. lol, Hokie did you pick a new name to blog under?!?

Darkhorse

May 19th, 2009
2:47 pm

Option two for me as well. All option three does is give us a couple of hefty Jeff Finger contracts and maybe the return of Vishnevsky to a multi year deal because he shined at the World Champ in DW’s mind.

MB

May 19th, 2009
3:08 pm

Did anybody else pick up on the comment made during last night’s game re: the relatively small size of the Hurricanes? Naturally, hearing that made me wonder how the Canes compare to the Thrashers (as a frequent and somewhat warranted refrain around here is “we need to get bigger”).

Thrashers forwards – 6′0″, 201
Canes forwards – 5′11″, 190
Thrashers D – 6′2″, 207
Canes D – 6′2″, 208
* both D squads were rounded up to 6′2″, the Thrash from 73.7″ and the Canes from 73.8″.

So while I personally think it’d be nice to add some size to the squad, what’s really missing is toughness and commitment. Throughout the playoffs, I’ve wondered whether or not the Thrashers are tough enough to win a 7-game series. Some of their play in the last two months of the season showed that they could, indeed, play tough. But can they sustain it…and that’s where commitment comes in.

Perhaps no game better illustrated the importance of commitment (to me, at least) than game 7 of the Pens v. Caps series. From the opening faceoff, the Pens played physical, finished checks, blocked shots, and played strong team defense. The Caps, on the other hand, didn’t seem to have the same level of drive…they weren’t hitting, they didn’t seem to want to work and win battles for the puck, and the forwards abandoned their defensive responsibilities while waiting for potential break-out passes. Meanwhile, I remember Malkin blocking a shot and Crotchby battling in the corners even once the game was well in hand.

Hopefully our boys (and management) are taking note.

Bob

May 19th, 2009
4:09 pm

“Did anybody else pick up on the comment made during last night’s game re: the relatively small size of the Hurricanes? Naturally, hearing that made me wonder how the Canes compare to the Thrashers”

I had the exact same thought when hearing that and wondered how we compared, thanks for digging that info up. I think you’re right, you can play big through toughness and commitment.

Brendan

May 19th, 2009
7:07 pm

Five (5) votes for option #2. I like the reasoning behind the votes, too, guys! Keep ‘em coming!

Ice Meister

May 19th, 2009
8:17 pm

I’ll take the bigger squad anytime. What makes Carolina great is that they can rely on their goaltender. That’s why we need to keep Kari. Pavs is not Kari.

Sorry for being negative.

World Be Free

May 19th, 2009
8:39 pm

Thanks Sara-I was just expecting more from Hossa than I have seen so far. Especially since he’s playing for a contract.

He had a good first periof tonight, maybe his best period so far in the playoffs.

World Be Free

May 19th, 2009
8:49 pm

Now Bob, why do you think Brian Campbell is so good?

Campbell is a great skater and offensive threat rushing the puck and
QB-ing the power play. Other than that, what does he bring for $56 Mil?

He’s not big enough to play physical, aside from the RJ Umberger hit 3 years ago. He is the 3rd best defenseman on the Hawks.

Seabrooke and Duncan Keith are much better. They both kill penalties and play against the opponent’s top lines AND they play the power play.
You will not see Campbell on the ice with a minite left in a game when Chicago is ahead by one goal. It’s always Seabrooke and Keith or someone other than Brian Campbell. It was the same way n Buffalo and the Sabres don’t have a tandum like Seabrooke and Keith.

As stated before, Campbell is making Lidstrom money. And he ain’t no Niclas Lidstrom. He’s more like a younger Brian Rafalski.

Even the folks in Chicago are starting to wonder why the Hawks tied up so much money on a defenseman that does not have the total defensive package.

Sage of Bluesland

May 19th, 2009
8:54 pm

Laughing at the silly sheep…Someone said that the reason the folks in sections have disappeared is because they are all on “business trips”???!!!

My, that’s rich. I guess that’s where I’ve been: on a business trip. Yeah, that works.

Kovy’s getting the moving company rep out to his house to estimate how many trucks it will take to move his stuff…He will join the ghost of Damian Rhodes as yet another Don Waddell blustering mistake.

Join the club–it’s a large one and getting larger…

Enjoy the rate hike–I think I’ll be on a “business trip”…

Alan

May 20th, 2009
10:57 am

You will not see Campbell on the ice with a minite left in a game when Chicago is ahead by one goal.

However, seeing him five minutes into OT make that beautiful pass to Hudler is fine by me. According to him, he would make that play a hundred more times.

I.C. Wiener

May 20th, 2009
2:19 pm

As much as I love the Thrashers, if they let Kovy get away, I’ll have to do some soul-searching before I can support the team again. Talk about a kick in the crotch!

Tom

May 20th, 2009
3:47 pm

Dumb question, but one that needs to be asked for perspective.

If Waddell was the GM of a New York team (Rangers, Devils, or Islanders) would he survive the treatment by the press in those cities?

Growing up on Long Island my bet is that he would have been savaged starting with his first draft. The lack of accountability by the local paper has partially allowed the mess we are in today. I am not blaming the beat writers, they have to go in the locker room every day and are there to report, only. But the opinion guys have been absolutely useless on holding Waddell’s feet to the fire. There have been only a handful of opinion pieces on the team all year, and hard hitting investigative reporting they have not been at all.

ranallo10 (in AT)

May 20th, 2009
4:18 pm

Tom — With the AJC being the only major publication in the city of Atlanta, I think it’s easy to assume the media pressure would’ve been exponentially higher had Waddell been a GM in a different city.

There are opinion writers here who have held Waddell to the coals, but when the local paper has little to no influence on the public perception of hockey, I don’t anticipate much change being made by Schultz’s op-ed pieces. And as you said, the beat writer shouldn’t be the person asking the “tough” questions and holding the management accountable from the media side of things.

Such is life when your city only has one large newspaper and a population who cares more about basketball, baseball, and college football than they do about hockey. There seems to be no market for the media to appease by doing NHL pieces, so they don’t (for the most part).

World Be Free

May 20th, 2009
8:00 pm

Brian Campbell got tired. He decided to take a nap in the middle of overtime, must have become dizzy from one too many spin-o-rammas. Instead of Chicago possibly being tied in the series 1-1, it’s 2-ZIPP Detroit .

As Bob would say, LOL

From The Buffalo News today-

Brian Campbell might not want to turn on the television, open a paper or peruse the Internet today. He’s all over all of them, and it isn’t pretty.

The Blackhawks defenseman had a game-losing giveaway Tuesday night as Chicago lost to Detroit, 3-2, in overtime. The setback dropped Chicago into a 2-0 hole in the Western Conference finals, and many are saying the series is over.

Campbell is definitely wearing the goat outfit. He turned the puck over at the Detroit blue line with a backhand attempt, and the Red Wings responded with a three-on-one rush that goalie Nikolai Khabibulin had no chance of stopping.

ESPN is running clips of Campbell ’s “Big Mistakes.” The lowlights start with his penalty late in Game Seven of the 2006 Eastern Conference finals, when he shot the puck over the glass for the Sabres; Carolina scored the game-winner on the power play. The next clip is a penalty he took in the fourth overtime last season with San Jose , and Dallas eliminated the Sharks on the power play. Those plays are followed by Tuesday’s gaffe.

“On the goal there I’ll do that play a hundred more times,” Campbell said in the Chicago Tribune

Bob

May 20th, 2009
8:40 pm

“Now Bob, why do you think Brian Campbell is so good?”

Because it takes real talent to turn the puck over like that and give the game away.

He screwed up big time (understatement of the year) but he’s not the 3rd best dman on the club, he’s the best dman they’ve got, he’s just not a defensive shutdown type which is why he’s not there in those situations you’re looking at.

But that was pretty damn ironic that he blows the game right after I give you crap about him, lol indeed.

World Be Free

May 20th, 2009
9:17 pm

Yo Bob-truth be told, I am a Sabres fan too. I died when the gave up Campbell basically for nothing, along with Briere and Drury. All 3 are all overpaid, but they are also playmakers.

I just don’t see giving a one dimensional defenseman that kind of money. A $56M D-man should play 28-30 minutes / game every game.

FYI-Thrashers come first over Sabres

ranallo10 (in AT)

May 20th, 2009
9:30 pm

Not to nit picks, but I would say that Duncan Keith is the better defender simply because he’s a more rounded defender and still possesses offensive abilities as a defenseman. To give a closer to home comparison, it’s like Enstrom vs. Bogosian…one is the more rounded defender (Bogosian), while the other is a defensively capable offensive defenseman. Both are good in their own right.

If I had to choose between Campbell or Keith, I’d choose Keith based on how I’ve seen them both play, and what they both bring to the table as defenders. Chicago having both, combined with Seabrook and Barker, is a solid top 4 with plenty of years for further development.

Gov Sonny

May 21st, 2009
4:22 pm

Go Thrashers!

hockeyman3944

May 25th, 2009
6:40 am

There’s a reason Don Fraudell was named the worst GM in hockey, mates…he’s a puppet for a bumbling, clueless “group” of owners, (a group of owners mind you…whatever happened to a tough singular owner?), that couldn’t run a car wash let alone a sports franchise! They are underdunded and saw this as an opportunity to get into the big leagues and have some fun, kinda like owning a race horse. But, a race horse has to be fed, watered and taken care of once you buy it. OOOPS! Forgot about the fed and watering part huh? And Teflon Don is their stooge, himself nearly as brain dead as those dithering idiots. These two are collectively running hockey out of ATL, and its a shame because there are a nice group of dedicated fans here that will be spending fewer and fewer $$ to see admittedly overpriced entertainment, with a non-competitive team in an ailing economy. Nice work guys, you’ve really got your fingers on the pulse of the Thrashers! ATL fans are perhaps the worst in sports generally…front runners and band wagon jumpers, but these guys absolutely don’t help a great sport that unfortunately is relegated to a cult sport…a darned shame!!

Tickle Me Selma

May 25th, 2009
8:54 pm

No updates from the beat writer in a while? That bodes poorly. I guess there are better things to do.

Brendan

May 26th, 2009
12:18 pm

No, Vivlamore has a story cookin’. It just hasn’t come out yet.

Alan

May 26th, 2009
6:09 pm

Any coverage of the draft combine?

Please throw us a bone here, Chris.

Tickle Me Selma

May 26th, 2009
9:57 pm

One story, huh? Pinch me. Well, it’s not like there’s anything going on in the hockey world these days. Typical AJC.

I stopped my paper subscription to the AJC the day I hooked up to the internets in the early nineties and found real hockey coverage. The only reason I poke my head around here is for the comments, which are often way more informative and intelligent than the coverage this paper has historically given the game.