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

GaVaHokie

June 1st, 2009
12:38 pm

Brendan… I think the Combine is probably priority #1this week… we still have 29 days left to sign Reasoner.

World be Free

June 1st, 2009
12:49 pm

Antropov aside, back to my key point-

What this team needs is a 4th line center that can take face-offs and play defense when we are protecting a 1 goal lead in the 3rd period. The Thrashers have never been good at holding a lead, because we have not invested in a Dominic Moore, Saku Koivu and Todd Marchant-type defensive center to cover a lead late in the game. All 3 of the guys mentioned at UFAs, available free of charge in 1 month.

Detroit has taught us all the value of defense to compliment offense.

Dwayne

June 1st, 2009
1:09 pm

long time fan also, not a long time blogger, i’m not an indepth blogger like alot of folks, try to keep em short, i left out the part where i was telling him how much “we” love Ilya Koval”chuck” he said “who” i said Ilya Koval”chuck” well. i guess you get the picture now.

Jameson

June 1st, 2009
1:54 pm

Dwayne- Yeah, I used to be kind of offended by the way people pronounced Kovy’s name until that interview where he said something to the effect of, “I’m in America, so it’s Koval”chuck”, now.”

MB

June 1st, 2009
3:37 pm

Yeah, WBF…Detroit has also taught us all the value of the subtle interference, of holding the opponent’s stick for just long enough, and of installing springs behind your endboards. Bitter? Yeah, a little bit, though I will give them credit for skirting the rules without getting penalized better than any other team.

Darkhorse

June 1st, 2009
3:39 pm

I’m very luke-warm about Antropov being the “big” FA signing of the season, and our answer to a center for Kovy. If he was so great, the Leafs wouldn’t have had him on the trade block the past two seasons and the Rangers would work really hard to resign him somehow. I love his size and talent, but he’s been in and out of the lineup with various injuries throughout his career and always seems to not live up to the level of his talent IMO. He’s just a tease. An example to my disapointment in his stats are that they aren’t much different career wise than 5′11 Todd White. We remember how we all felt when DW signed White and said he was gonna be our #1 center.

If he ends up being the second or third best player the Thrashers find a way to bring in this offseason(outside of the players we draft), then I’ll be stoked.

Here’s Antropov’s stats if any are interested.

http://www.nhl.com/ice/player.htm?id=8467353

GaVaHokie

June 1st, 2009
4:08 pm

Darkhorse… my thinking is, Antropov has the best upside for the $4-5 million we might have available for a top line Center. Everyone else will be considerably more… another option is for Kovy to persuade Morozov to come over. Not sure of his contract situation with the KHL.

If we want Komisarek, we’ll have to shell out $5-6 million… resign Lehtonen at $3-4 million… resign Valabik, Armstrong, Slater, Salmela, etc… and the money is gone in a flash. I don’t think any of us are “stoked” and pushing for Antropov over Cammalleri or Havlat. I’m just being realistic.

But I understand… I’ve watched many Leafs games over the years and never thought in a million more I’d be wanting Antropov on my team.

Brendan

June 1st, 2009
5:13 pm

Hokie, think the organization will use up all 29 of those days?

Darkhorse

June 1st, 2009
5:21 pm

Hokie-I would really love to give Morozov a try if he’s willing. I don’t know his contract status either, but if there was a way….

I know Kovy loves playing with him, and it showed at the last two WC. If I was Kovy, I would be like ‘cmon man, give me one year over with Atl…we’ll tear the scoring records of the NHL to pieces.

That’s what’s so frustrating for us(the fans). If him and the infamous Nukiln gave us just a one year tryout, I bet things would become suprisingly better for the team, it’s fans, and those two.

I’m still very curious which of the goalies go, if either. Kari and that “3-4 mil” may get the short end of the deal if DW needs to spend the extra cash elsewhere. The end of June can’t come quick enough.

World be Free

June 1st, 2009
6:32 pm

MB-I got jumped on this blog that last time I ragged on the Wings. I see the subtle holding and interference they do and get away with, more than any other team. Holstrom leads the league in goaltender interference. Add to the fact that NBC Sports in fawning all over the Wings, forgetting that therer are 2 teams on the ice.

But I also see Zetterburg, Hossa and The Mule backchecking, taking away scoring chances in the middle of the rink. Everyone is responsible at both ends of the rink.

I don’t like the intererence, but the league isn’t going to do anything to stop it.

Ice Meister

June 1st, 2009
6:36 pm

Antropov is a tier 2 free agent. I think that’s the best we can hope for unless we want to overpay someone.

Overpay? See Jeff Finger, Chris Drury, Daniel Briere, Brian Campbell and a host of toehrs from the past 3 off-seasons.

Ogie Ogelthorpe

June 1st, 2009
6:39 pm

We shoulda signed the Hanson Bros. kid when we had the chance this year-Christian Hanson signed with the Leafs.

Just imagine, the Hanson’s boy went to Notre Dame.

Wonder if he’s puttin’ on the foil?

MB

June 1st, 2009
10:51 pm

WBF, there’s no doubt that the Wings do just about everything very, very well…and I guess that’s what bugs me so much about their little indiscretions. I’d much rather see them play a “clean” game…goodness knows they’d still win the vast majority. But seeing their little indiscretions end up contributing to goals, that just irks me a bit.

Before I go any further, let me just say that I’m well aware that there aren’t any NHL clubs made entirely of choir boys, and all probably do their best to bend the rules in their favor. That said, it may just be a case that, once again, the Wings do it better and in a more systematic manner than any other club.

Truth be told, the first two games were fairly even on the ice with each team controlling play for a while only to have it taken by the other. Osgood has been a difference maker, as has Fleury (in a not-quite-as-good way). In close games, every little advantage takes on greater importance, and I guess that’s what is bugging me about the laxity given to the Wings in regards to their subtle infractions.

GaVaHokie

June 2nd, 2009
8:18 am

Darkhorse and Ice Meister… could be a combination of things we see… would you rather see Cammalleri and Pavelec… or Antropov and Lehtonen?

But keep this in mind… if Pavelec gets the starting job this year. He’ll be due for a major pay raise next summer (RFA)… if we start signing guys like Cammalleri and Komisarek, we’re screwing ourselves next summer with Pavelec.

More and more I see us signing a Tier 2 free agent Center, unless we trade assets for a contract player.

GaVaHokie

June 2nd, 2009
8:20 am

Brendan… I think the league decides on the salary cap for next season this week… so, I’ll stick to my original guess, which I think was June 10th (for signing Reasoner).

Ice Meister

June 2nd, 2009
8:29 am

GaVaHokie-Antropov and Lehtonen? I am not sold on Pavelec as a no. 1 and we already know Kari is a No.1.

I think Cammalleri will stay in Canada, unless someone is willing to overpay him. We need a center more than an undersized winger.

Komisarek? He’ll get overpaid too, though I like his edge.

I totally agree on the tier 2 center. Tier 1 players are bound to get overpaid and this management group will not overpay for anyone.

Dwayne

June 2nd, 2009
8:41 am

in reference to bending the rules, little or subtle indiscretions….if you aint cheating(a little), you aint trying to win.

Old tyme fan

June 2nd, 2009
9:04 am

What is with all the HOSSA hatred?
He tried to stay but Don Waddell would offer a reason to stay!
When Waddell chases off Kovy, will you hate him too?
I like that the poll shows people agree with my assesment that Hedburg is the worst goalie in the NHL, another great waddell choice

GaVaHokie

June 2nd, 2009
9:26 am

Ice Meister… yeah, I was just pointing out that if we keep Lehtonen, then we’ll have to go with a Tier 2 Center… if we sign a Tier 1 Center, we may have to move Lehtonen and keep Pavelec (still on a entry level contract)… just balancing out the money (about $8 million, either way).

That leaves $8 million for a Tier 2 defenseman and to resign Valabik, Salmela, Slater and Armstrong.

Darkhorse

June 2nd, 2009
9:30 am

Hokie & Ice Meister-It’s up for debate I guess for me on who or what type of FA to bring in and what we pay them. Hopefully by July 1st whatever assets and big trades we were gonna make will have happened, and that will give us a clearer picture on what FA to go after.

I think you’re both right about the money not being shelled out at this point for the Sedin’s or Cammalleri. There have been some really bad contracts signed by other teams over the past few seasons, like Drury, Gomez, Sundin, and Campbell. I almost want to give DW and the ownership some credit for not hamstringing the franchise with guys with those type of deals, but alas, I know it’s really only because they are cheap and poor.

Darkhorse

June 2nd, 2009
9:47 am

Hokie-I would think all the business with the RFAs we want to keep will have been taken care of before July 1st, and possibly the draft. So going into the draft everything is set for trades to take place to open back up that amount of money needed on July 1st possibly. Maybe Slater(FA) and Ex(trade) are gone to re-freeup that extra 3mil needed for flexibility for FA or other trades closer to the season.

I am wondering what the actual trade market is gonna be for either of our goalies? Which of the two is more sought after by other teams? With Pavelec being a RFA next year, I don’t see why we would resign Kari now and keep Pavs for next season. We would be back in the same boat again as for who to keep, but also have Kari signed to a longer deal, forcing us to trade Pavs more than likely. I bet Pavs, whether or not he’s ready, is expecting to compete for the #1 job wherever he is next season.

GaVaHokie

June 2nd, 2009
10:28 am

I’d like to keep going the route of getting younger and cheaper myself… I’d far prefer to trade Lehtonen and our 2nd Rd pick for Lupul and VanReimsdyk, trade Exelby, Slater and Montreal’s 2nd Rd. pick to Chicago for Cam Barker, and then draft Evander Kane… stay right at that cap floor so you can retain your young players for years to come. I have “zero” interest in maxing out the cap on guys like Cammalleri… that’s just me.

Kovy Peverley Lupul
Kozy White Little
Stuart Reasoner Armstrong
Boulton Kane Van Reimsdyk

Bogosian Enstrom
Hainsey Barker
Valabik Salmela

Pavelec
Hedberg

That’s the difference between us and teams like Chicago and Boston… they have these youth movements, but they’re running out of cap room fast.

GaVaHokie

June 2nd, 2009
10:44 am

Here are the ratings for the Stanley Cup so far… 5 million viewers for Game 2… barely beating out Family and American Dad repeats.

http://tvbythenumbers.com/2009/06/01/sunday-ratings-nbc-red-wings-stanley-cup-finals-win-again/19753

GaVaHokie

June 2nd, 2009
10:48 am

One thing I’ll point out is that people in Detroit get CBC and it’s the broadcast of choice… those ratings don’t count towards American ratings.

Here are the basketball ratings… 8.9 million for Sunday night on cable.

http://tvbythenumbers.com/2009/05/27/nba-playoffs-wwe-raw-and-ncis-lead-cable/19437#more-19437

Alan

June 2nd, 2009
11:24 am

It’s because NBC and Versus suck with their hockey coverage.

I watch CBC feeds I find online as opposed to NBC or Versus.

Brendan

June 2nd, 2009
11:30 am

I’ll go with June 30th, for Reasoner, Hokie. Why do what you can, SOON, when you could PROCRASTINATE, per company policy? I don’t really know that Reasoner’s value is escalating with each passing day. But my guess is that he could have been re-signed last February more cheaply than whatever he’s going to sign for in the next four weeks or so. In either case, I wouldn’t think Reasoner’s salary will be what breaks the Thrashers’ budget, irrespective of where the league sets the cap. I’m hearing a figure of $54 million being tossed about. That’s not nearly the kind of budgetary relief that most NHL markets need to be more competitive with the bigger markets and more traditional markets.

Dwayne

June 2nd, 2009
11:50 am

i like that line up GAVAHokie…would the 2nd line take a physical beating?? just asking..

Ice Meister

June 2nd, 2009
12:10 pm

Darkhorse-You are correct; being tied down with a bad contract could be worse than not signing any free agents. Actually, the Hainsey signing last year turned out to be one of the better signings of the 2008 UFA season (some may argue this).

Dwayne-for me, the only thing that matters is who is hoisting the silver when it’s all over. For Pittsburgh, Fleury just hasn’t made the key stops when he’s had to.

You guys are all missing that 4th line defensive center that we need. Trade Slater to the Ice Capades. Look at Stephane Yelle-he was a late pickup for Boston before the start of the season. All he did was center a good 4th line, play great defsense and win key faceoffs in the 3rd period. You gotta get the lead and protect it.

GaVaHokie

June 2nd, 2009
12:13 pm

Brendan… It doesn’t break OUR bank, but the salary cap might break some other banks around the league. I think a lot of GM’s want to hear the magic number before they start dealing with their UFA’s… they want the best idea of what could be out there July 1st.

Dwayne

June 2nd, 2009
1:06 pm

OK, Detroit wins the cup, cap is lowered, Hossa says he wants next deal to be final deal….who signs him. I would love to see him back in a Thrasher uni..uh…sweater.

Brendan

June 2nd, 2009
4:35 pm

Dwayne, Hossa will probably re-sign at whatever figure Detroit can afford. And if Detroit can only offer a 1-year or 2-year deal, then Hossa takes it, more than likely. And when the league’s offices bend over to grab their ankles for Detroit, yet again, thennnn Hossa will get his “spectacular, homerun deal.” Unless Detroit is in a position to offer the homerun deal right now. Hossa will take whatever Detroit offers, to ensure he gets to stay, is my opinion. Hardly a fact. Let’s watch what happens.

Hokie, Marty Reasoner would fit under just about any team’s salary cap, no? There are a few he might not be able to squeeze into. But for the most part, I would think the only issues with signing Reasoner on July 1st are: (1) Does Marty want to play for that team?, (2) Does that team WANT Marty Reasoner?, (if Marty’s agent is the inquirer,) and (3) is there sufficient cap room.

GaVaHokie

June 2nd, 2009
4:46 pm

Brendan… and 4) Do the Thrashers see better options for the money based on other teams needing to shed cash from the NEW salary cap? If not, they’ll resign Reasoner.

The other delay in signing free agents is the GM meeting going on right now… it’s not just Atlanta… it’s EVERYBODY… there has been very little contract activity during the playoffs.

World be Free

June 2nd, 2009
8:14 pm

Marty wants to stay here. He was going nowhere last year wehn the Thrashers signed him. He fits the system and the coach likes him.

It’s not like he has alotta options. There a number of veteran free agent centers out there. He’d be in line for another 1 year deal with another team. He’s not going anywhere.

Brendan

June 2nd, 2009
11:23 pm

If the Thrashers find BETTER than Marty Reasoner, then it’s fine by me. I want the best possible team that the Thrashers can field. My major point, which sadly can’t be proven, or disproven, is that Reasoner’s next contract probably would have been less expensive than it might be on July 1. And if Atlanta sees an opportunity, AFTER HAVING SIGNED HIM, to move him in a Draft Day trade or a trade occurring at any time, they could. Reasoner isn’t untradeable. Worst case scenario?? Reasoner is re-signed at a modest pay increase and is dumped at the end of the next season, or packaged in some trade deadline deal.

World be Free

June 3rd, 2009
7:53 am

The Thrashers are pretty deep at center in their organization. I think the short term (2 years) on a contract is what we will see with Marty. He sure proved himself to be a valuable player last season.

I wish he was a little more dominant on the faceoffs. It would make alot easier to dump Slater if we know we have a 3rd period center to replace Jimmy.