Waddell speaks … On Captain Kovy

Before we head into the weekend – and Game 1 of the Finals – I figured I would offer one last thing from my interview with Don Waddell this month. By now, you’ve seen the story on the Ilya Kovalchuk negotiations, the final three candidates for the upcoming draft pick and the story on Waddell and his immediate future.

Waddell did offer an interesting take on Kovy as captain and his marked improved play once he was named.

He said: “Kovy took a lot of pride and passion in it. Not that he wasn’t playing that way before. He really took the team atmosphere on his back. But I think it was more important to the other 19 guys. They all knew that we go as Kovy goes. They know that. Here now that had a guy that just by putting that C on his jersey … all these guys can look up and he’s their leader. Everybody has responded to that. A couple years ago if we would have done that, people may not have responded because we had an older team. It being such a young team, the guys look up to him. Everyone talks about what it did for Kovy, but I think it helped the other guys even more.”

I thought it was an interesting point that it did as much for the other players as for Kovy.

That’s about all I have left from the interview. I head back into some other assignments next week, but am working on some other Thrashers story. I’m hoping to catch up with some other players in the next couple of weeks.

Stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the Finals.

My prediction: Wings repeat. They win in six games.

Let me know what you guys think.

85 comments Add your comment

Buzzeng

May 29th, 2009
4:32 pm

I want both teams to lose. [8)

Andrew

May 29th, 2009
4:33 pm

I want Custance. That is all.

Darkhorse

May 29th, 2009
4:33 pm

I don’t really like either team, but my gut says Wings in 7, but hope for Pens in 6 or 7 just for the irony.

Chris-Did Waddell have anything to say about using Kovy, or anyone else, to help recruit come July 1st? I wonder if he used him in that way last summer when going after Campbell?

WINGMAN

May 29th, 2009
4:37 pm

ABSOLUTELY!!!

Brendan

May 29th, 2009
4:52 pm

I think the Red Wings are the favorites. I’d guess, Wings in seven this time. But, I’ll be rooting for the Penguins to win in six. The NHL sort of nees Crosby and Malkin to win a Cup, for the promotions and marketing. I just hope that isn’t send to the referees, in the form of a memo. I’m all in favor of Pittsburgh winning the Cup. But not because they’re “annointed.” I have faith in the referees.

Brendan

May 29th, 2009
4:54 pm

Hey, I see Erin Andrews wants to be on ‘Dancing with the Stars.’ If there was ever anything that would make me watch that show, that’d be it!

Chris Vivlamore

May 29th, 2009
7:09 pm

Andrew: Craig Custance is an excellent reporter and writer. He has his own blog. You are free to post there. Please do.

Darkhorse: Waddell did not say anything about using Kovy to recruit free agents. I concentrated my questions on retaining Kovy. I really think you are much more likely to see a major acquisition this offseason via trade than free agency.

bigjohnthrashfan

May 29th, 2009
7:26 pm

Vivlamore, you’re alright in my book.

But your next article better be “Waddell speaks … on taking a long walk off a short pier”

Then you’ll be my BFF.

kracker

May 29th, 2009
7:44 pm

Chris, I agree that trades will probably be the more effective way to upgrade the top 6 O or top 4 D. The Thrash just don’t have the cash to sign the best of the top tier players from the FA pool. Getting another Hainsey type of player is probably the best level of FA we can attract. Hainsey is a capable player and I expect his play to improve next season with everybody being familiar with their duties in Anderson’s systems but he isn’t a true top 2 D-man. I hope he proves me wrong.

I am waiting to see what the cap will be. If it’s the same or lower as last year, there should be some good players to trade for in a good value deal from some team needing cap relief. Hopefully the owners will go for it and spend to a similar level as they did coming out of the lockout so the Thrash can take advantage of any difference-maker players that become available.

Hockeyfan

May 29th, 2009
8:12 pm

Wings in five

Bob

May 29th, 2009
10:02 pm

Pens in 6. Hossa slumps against the boards as the team he should be on skates the Cup.

nfieldr

May 29th, 2009
10:03 pm

I agree with Buzzeng, neither. It’s the NHL’s “dream series”… mine too, but for me, it’s a nightmare.

But, *sigh*, since one team has to win… I’ll say Wings in 6 (again).

And Brendan, totally agree with you regarding EA on DWTS

LAC

May 29th, 2009
11:42 pm

What did waddell even SAY in this report ? NOTHING !

Brendan

May 29th, 2009
11:47 pm

BuzzEng, unless there’s an outbreak of flu, like in 1919 in Seattle (vs. Montreal), or in our modern times, of “swine flu,” somebody’s got to win. And truthfully, I hope it goes all seven games. I was very disappointed in the CF series, which seemed to be over as soon as they started. And now, Cam Ward has finally LOST a playoff series. Like that WASN’T gonna happen, ever in his career?

Andrew, imagine HOW BAD this blog might have been after Custance left? I hardly think Vivlamore has stunk it up here. We’re in the dog days of Spring, and not too far away from the dog days of Summer. What’s Vivlamore supposed to do, write article after article about how Marty Reasoner still hasn’t signed, Day 52! And about that, rubbin’ chin, I’m actually guessing Marty will re-sign with Atlanta. But maybe he’s playing a game called, “You wouldn’t negotiate with me when I wanted. So, I’ll make you wait until July 1st. And if I’m NOT IMPORTANT ENOUGH for you to call on that day, maybe I won’t re-sign. I want to see where Atlanta ‘priorities’ really are.” Fair enough, Marty.

Bob, from your mouth to God’s ear! Go Pens!!! But I’m not actually holding a grudge against Hossa. Hossa’s “crime” was that he wanted to play for a great organization, in a traditional market, with a great owner, a great GM, a great scouting dept., that is committed to winning and to spending to the max cap, to go chase the silver chalice on an annual basis. Shrugs. I can’t fault him for that. The man wanted Detroit. Not Atlanta. Not Pittsburgh. Must he suffer FOREVER because of it? Even if the Red Wings don’t win this year, they’ll be right back there, again, next year, or within the next two! Guess how the NHL’s accounting system works? Answer: They call up Detroit and ask how much room they need to re-sign Hossa, then set it there! Kidding. Sort of. Maybe not. Basing a cap off PROJECTED REVENUES instead of ACTUAL ONES is what MAINTAINS the disparity between clubs. If the cap shrank back to $45-$47 million, Atlanta would actually have a “fair shot” at competing for the Cup. Allright, I take that back. A $47 million cap would just mean Bruce Levenson and the ownership could regress the budget back to $31 million, and shed some payroll in the offseason.

Nfieldr, hopefully DWTS saw that article and Erin’s phone is ringing as we speak! In my opinion, the organization has not successfully replaced Erin Andrews in any of its attempts to do so. Then again, what were the odds, realistically, that the Thrashers were going to be able to keep her? D’oh!!!

N/A

May 30th, 2009
1:42 am

I have a horrible feeling Waddle will royally f*** this whole signing thing up this summer. -Sigh- Oh well time to live vicariously through the Redwings :D GO WINGS!

Buzzeng

May 30th, 2009
8:40 am

Yeah! Swine flu! Excellent! There’s HOPE!! [8)

Midfield

May 30th, 2009
10:37 am

As much as I regard Hossa as a rotten fruit, Crosby’s annoitment is the worst thing for hockey since Saskin’s appointment as the players union executive director. Or, perhaps, even before that, which is probably the worst thing ever. And if you doubt that, google Crosby’s coyote style attack of Valabik’s balls from the rear, and consequently pathetic call by the sympathetic referees.

frosty the snowman

May 30th, 2009
11:14 am

I say pens in 6!

World Be Free

May 30th, 2009
1:44 pm

Wings in six.

They may use Kovy to convince Antropov to come here. Kovy’s looking for some new playmates and Antropov may have the size to create some space for Kovy.

I am not sure how interested the Rangers are in resigning Antropov. I watched him alot with the Leafs. He has a tendency to pout when things don’t go his way. But then again, Toronto is such a hockey presure cooker, he may want to come to Atlanta (like Slava Kozlov) and escape the media presssure associated with playing in a high profile hockey city.

Sounds like Chicago is really trying to resign Havlat. Say what you want about his durability, but Havlat was the Hawk’s leading scorer this season. Chicago is saddled with Campbell’s contract for 6 more years. Good for them.

Just my take.

R. Stroz

May 30th, 2009
3:46 pm

Chris – Please don’t take this as a knock.

I think everyone misses Custance. Instead of bemoaning Custance’s absence, we should be happy that such a hockey loving individual was amongst us doing what he enjoyed. Custance knows our passion for good hockey and is in a position to dispel the notion that Atlanta fans know little about, or even care about, hockey.

Custance had an opportunity to interact and perfect the “new journalistic frontier” while covering the Thrashers. Do I wish Custance was still here: yes and no. On the yes side, Custance was able to focus on Thrasher hockey and had the knowledge and passion to do a great job. On the no side, things have changed in print journalism, especially at the AJC, and, as a result, I seriously doubt Custance could have given the attention to hockey to which we were all accustomed. We may have grown frustrated to Custance being pulled in different directions, which didn’t allow him to interact as often.

That said, give Chris a chance. The guy is wearing many hats, probably not by his own choice, but as a result of AJC staff cutbacks.

Now, if the AJC wasn’t controlled by a bunch of left winged pinkos, the circulation might pick up, but thats a story for a political blog.

kracker

May 30th, 2009
9:09 pm

I wonder if DW and Kovy discussed Kane? Ya have to figure Kane has always been Atlanta’s first choice (at #4) for the obvious link between the two: Kane’s ethnicity.

Assuming that Kane soon becomes the tier 1 power fwd most people expect him to be, I predict the NHL will eventually promote Kane in U.S. ads to a level approaching how they promote #87. Having a telegenic star black player playing in Atlanta fits too well w/ Bettman’s ‘grow the game in the U.S.’ stategy for the NHL not to sieze upon such an opportunity.

A marketing plan like that will result in much good press and more TV games, etc. for the Thrashers, making his selection seem to be a lock from a marketing standpoint. The local marketing ads can begin as soon as he is chosen and build momentum as he progresses. This is all even better in that Evander actually does look to be “The Real Deal.” Sooo….I am back to being 100% for picking Kane. If we have to wait for him to mature, so be it.

(If they trade down to secure immediate help….I guess they rate the advantages of having Kane play in Atlanta as highly as I do.)

Even if it is Kane, it’s even more imperative for the owners to step up and bolster the team this summer to the extent they can so the momentum of last season’s late surge and the boost of a Kane selection isn’t lost next season. Oh, and there’s that Kovalchuk fellow they are trying to convince to stay, too.

kracker

May 30th, 2009
10:50 pm

oops…DON’T rate the advantages…sorry

Brendan

May 30th, 2009
11:46 pm

I thought Pittsburgh had their chances, particularly Malkin, on the breakaway. That first goal that Fleury gave up was rough. Even Hossa knew was a “gift” it was.

jnes

May 31st, 2009
12:05 am

World–I am glad to see someone else express an interest in Antropov. I wanted the Thrashers to go after him last season at the trade deadline. The Rangers gave up a 2nd round pick for his services as a rental. The Thrashers need a a big center with enough courage to stand in front of the net when Kovy blasts away. Antropov would do just that.He has good hands too, so he could clean up some of the rebounds that Kovy, Bogo, and Hainsey create with hard shots (or off target shots in Hainsey’s case). His production has been up and down the past few seasons, but he is 28 or 29 years old so he should have a good 6 years left in him. I think he would be a great center for the first line. He also scored more goals and made less money last year as a second line center than Todd White did as our first line center. The only issue with acquiring Antropov is that he is a free agent. Free agents do not come to Atlanta!

Oh well, maybe we can trade one of our less than reliable goalies for another number 2 center and hope for the best–again.

Thrashers27

May 31st, 2009
1:57 pm

Hey!!! What the…Did anybody else notice this from the AtlantaThrashers.com interview with Waddell…He talks about the draft and Tavares and goes on to say “…I don’t think we have to worry about him because I’m pretty sure he’s going to be there at the fourth pick.”

Either that’s a typo, Don is crazy, or he knows something that we don’t.

Any thoughts?

Here’s the complete answer and a link to the interview:
Waddell: These are in no particular order- they’re just who’s coming to mind off the top of my head, but we’ll start with John Tavares who everyone knows is very skilled. Good playmaking abilities but a really good scoring touch. He’s going to put up points and goals in this league for a long time. I don’t think we have to worry about him because I’m pretty sure he’s going to be there at the fourth pick.

http://thrashers.nhl.com/team/app/?service=page&page=NewsPage&articleid=423446

Alan

May 31st, 2009
2:21 pm

Thrashers, I didn’t catch that the first time I read the interview. I read it as “he’s not going to be there.”

That said, it’s probably a typo. I sincerely doubt he falls below 2nd overall.

Jameson

May 31st, 2009
3:28 pm

I noticed it, too, but thought it had to be a type-o, or Waddell misspoke. It has to be one or the other. If he meant to say he was going to be there at the fourth pick, of course he would have to worry about him.

World be Free

May 31st, 2009
5:56 pm

Jnes-most of all, I like that Antropov plays with a chip on his shoulder. I think he and Kovy would work very well together. I watch Toronto alot, so I have seen him play frequently over the years.

And if we could get a vet setup man to play with him?

Brendan

May 31st, 2009
10:37 pm

Come on, Penguins!! When to do they play Game Three? This series needs a change of venue.

Conor

May 31st, 2009
11:13 pm

Another good thing about Antropov– this might seem somewhat insignificant, but he’s HUGE! Don Waddell mentioned something about signing a big forward… at 6′6″, 230, he certainly fits the bill. Perhaps Donny thinks the same way.

And Thrashers27, you’re right… Don Waddell is definitely crazy.

Ice Meister

June 1st, 2009
7:44 am

He plays huge too

The Real Fan

June 1st, 2009
8:07 am

WILL SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME WHERE THE COVERAGE OF THE NHL FINALS ARE IN THIS PAPER? GEEZ!

GaVaHokie

June 1st, 2009
8:26 am

Red Wings in 4

kracker

June 1st, 2009
8:36 am

Real Fan – Look on page C4. There is a nice AP article with a huge headline and a big picture. I don’t see how you missed it.

Spud Webb

June 1st, 2009
8:36 am

World and others, I have to respectfully disagree on Antropov. Yes, he is big and has soft hands and is for sure a huge talent. But I watched him in Toronto a bit also, what I saw was a guy who sometimes played hard and sometimes was lackadaisical and very undisciplined. Just my opinion! I could be wrong, he could’ve just been burned out with all the losing in Toronto, who knows?? It was to the point that his own team announcers would rip him for being lazy.
That said, We do need size and someone to do the dirty work with some skill. I’d just be scared if Nik gets a big contract that he will just get lazy, again, just my opinion.

David Hooton

June 1st, 2009
8:46 am

I watched the cup this weekend and my 4 year old daughter was mad and wants explanation on why her team was not playing. I was hoping may Waddell had an answer

Jameson

June 1st, 2009
8:50 am

Spud- Think that if we do sign Antropov there’s any chance that Captain Kovy could be a good influence on him when it comes to lackadaisical play?

Spud Webb

June 1st, 2009
8:54 am

Hey Jameson I’m always hopeful!!!! I could be totally off on Antropov, heck I wouldnt complain if we signed him, at least we would be making a solid attempt at getting better, you know what I mean???

R. Stroz

June 1st, 2009
9:13 am

David – Don’t look for Waddell to have any answers. For years, Waddell has had a plethora of excuses, but no solutions. Waddell is one half of this team’s problems. The other half is ownership that either doesn’t have the capital or the desire to maintain a competitive team.

GaVaHokie

June 1st, 2009
11:58 am

Chris Vivlamore

June 1st, 2009
12:06 pm

R. Stroz: Thanks for the post. No worries about me taking anything the wrong way. I love the passion on this blog and with Rawhide’s blog. I do hear where folks are coming from. It’s difficult to take over a beat one week after the season ends, but I’m trying to bring you guys what I can during a slow time. We will kick it up a notch with July 1 and into the season. Thanks for reading.

David Hooton

June 1st, 2009
12:15 pm

Yeah R Stroz Iknow Iactually posted an article on Associated content Entitled “Save Hockey in Atlanta “hoping that The NHL could step in and run thing for a while they did with Buffalo a few years ago lots of reads but no response from either NHL or ASG
Kovy is another Hossa situation, for Kovy’s sake when he leaves here I hope a cup is in his future as well

Dwayne

June 1st, 2009
12:22 pm

As was at a local pub the other nite, sitting next to a Georgia Southern University professor from Moscow, he informed me how to pronounce Kovy’s last name, its not chuck, its chuk, probably should have a squiggly line over the “u”, anywho, I told him about how we call sidney crosby(his name does not warrent capital letters) cindy crotchby, he is going to inform everyone he knows. He also let me know the cindy is the 2nd best player on that team, and not as good as AO or our beloved Ilya Kovalchuuuuuuuk. When does season start? I’m tired of baseball and basketball, at least Lebron is gone!!!! HAHA

World be Free

June 1st, 2009
12:24 pm

Spud-I have seen the same tendencies with Antropov in Toronto. But Toronto is probably the hardest place to play in the league. The city is the self-proclaimed center of the hockey universe. The press is impossible, especially when they are losing. Add to the fact that he’s Russian and you have Don Cherry and the Cherry-ites constantly trashing most players who are not Canadian. I think I would want out of Toronto too.

According to Toronto media, half the Leafs’ team (no Canadian players) have been on the trading block for the past 2 seasons. Antropov played better in New York. Hard to think the NY market would be an easier place to play in than Toronto. Maybe Antropov would be challenged more playing with Kovy.

Also-no offensive to any of our Canadian bloggers. I have Canadians in my family, so I hope they don’t read this post.

Dwayne

June 1st, 2009
12:25 pm

As was at a local pub the other nite, sitting next to a Georgia Southern University professor from Moscow, he informed me how to pronounce Kovy’s last name, its not chuck, its chuk, probably should have a squiggly line over the “u”, anywho, I told him about how we call sidney crosby(his name does not warrent capital letters) cindy crotchby, he is going to inform everyone he knows. He also let me know the cindy is the 2nd best player on that team, and as good as AO or our beloved Ilya Kovalchuuuuuuuk. When does season start? I’m tired of baseball and basketball, at least Lebron is gone!!!! HAHA

Atlanta fan since 99

June 1st, 2009
12:25 pm

Chris Do you honesty think Waddell will reach abetter deal with Kovy than he did with Hossa
or Savard
or Brunnette
or Micheal Garnett ( still best goalie Atlanat ever had)

Maybe we will get a real deal like we did with Dunham ( who I watched blow a 3-5 games versus the the Augusta Lynx, in his lone abysmal game with the Gladiators, yeah he was NHL material)
Hey does any one remember Don’s crowning achievments of Season 1? Patrick Stefan and Damion Rhodes?

Atlanta fan since 99

June 1st, 2009
12:27 pm

Don do us a favor and quit, you suck!!

Brendan

June 1st, 2009
12:31 pm

Marty Reason still un-signed, Day 55.

Brendan

June 1st, 2009
12:31 pm

Reasoner, even, then!

GaVaHokie

June 1st, 2009
12:36 pm

Dwayne… yeah, I think most long-time fans are aware of the Kovalchook/Kovalchuck, pronunciation… it was Kovalchuk himself that joked he would go by Koval”chuck” now that he was playing in America. :)