The most memorable moments

It's not Toucan Sam, but it's close. Just thought I'd share a little bit of the vacation to Costa Rica.

We are back. Time to be honest. The “assignment” I was on: A 10-day vacation in Costa Rica with the wife and kid. I was literally in jungles away from everything. Truth is, I left the night of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals and didn’t know who won the game until a full week later – when riding on a bus with a guy from California. He let me know who won that game and the NBA finals. Guess my prediction of the Wings in six didn’t work out, huh?

Hard to stay on top of things with no internet, phone, newspaper or television. I apologize to those of you who would hold me responsible for not knowing the Thrashers hired a new associate general manager – which will be made official this afternoon – while I was away.

What was the most memorable moment in Thrashers' history?

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I did enjoy coming back this morning and catching up with the blog. You folks had some really good memorable moments. I enjoyed going back and researching some of them. There were many, but I found three that were repeated most often.

1. THE PLAYOFFS: The atmosphere around Philips Arena before the franchise’s first playoff game.

2. THE POINT: Ilya Kovalchuk points at Sidney Crosby after scoring a power-play goal following the Kid’s penalty.

3. THE FIGHT: Garnett Exelby got mentioned quite a bit for his fights and hits, but his knock out of Montreal’s Gordie Dwyer was mentioned most often.

Thanks to those who include the video links.

So let’s see what you all think with the poll.

Thanks again for reading. I know it’s slow for the Thrashers right now. However, the draft is this weekend. Also, I’m starting to line up interviews with some players so I will be able to bring you some updates. Oh, and there is always the Kovy situation to watch.

47 comments Add your comment

GaVaHokie

June 22nd, 2009
12:30 pm

First… welcome back!

Hockey Biltong

June 22nd, 2009
12:54 pm

2nd and did you see Arenal ???

Hockey Biltong

June 22nd, 2009
12:55 pm

Or ride the cable car thru the treetops…Or stay at Salva Verde????

dwayne

June 22nd, 2009
1:09 pm

xlb’s hats!!!!!

Glovesave29

June 22nd, 2009
2:23 pm

Or ride the 2700′ long zip line through the trees at Turubarri?

Chris Vivlamore

June 22nd, 2009
2:29 pm

Hockey Biltong: Why indeed I did. The photo of the toucan was taken at Arenal. Quite a wild scene to be in your hotel room and watching lava pour down the mountain. Did the zip line in Monteverde. That is crazy. Last line is 1,000 meters. Thanks for asking.

Toby

June 22nd, 2009
3:15 pm

Chris..what are your thoughts on Dudley being hired? Do you see DW handing over the GM position soon?

Brendan

June 22nd, 2009
7:28 pm

Welcome back, Chris. Glad you had some time off with family. The Draft is the next big happening and it’s good to have you back for that coverage. I’m hoping and praying Dudley will be promoted from Associate to full GM, as soon as possible. I’d like Dudley to run this draft.

So, do you think the Thrashers will take Kane at #4, Chris V.? Or do you think the Thrash will slide back, stockpiling some 2nd round picks, or attempt to land some RFA player? What are your thoughts on Atlanta Second Round picks, #34 and #45? Will Atlanta use them to select players? Or package them (one or both picks) for an RFA player? Also, Atlanta owns an extra 3rd round pick in 2010, from Montreal, in the Schneider deal. Could that come back into play for a deal made at the draft? Also, Atlanta has two sixth rounders; pick #176 came from the Jason Williams trade that sent Clay Wilson here. The pick was originally San Jose’s.

Chris Vivlamore

June 22nd, 2009
8:18 pm

Toby, Brendan: I’m really not sure if Dudley is the next GM. Both Custance and I each asked Waddell that very question today. He claims no. I can see both sides, a long-time friend was available and Waddell has spoken in the past of getting some help. However, you can also wonder why someone would leave an assistant GM job with Chicago for the same job in Atlanta. Can a challenge the only reason?

Brendan: We also talked to Waddell about the draft. My gut is they stay at No. 4. Waddell said although they have had talks about moving down, nothing has made sense, and he thinks they will stay there because they will get a really good player. That player? I don’t know why but Brayden Schenn keeps coming to mind. He is big (6-0, 192) and he has the bloodlines.

GaVaHokie

June 22nd, 2009
9:33 pm

Chris… I have to say… I’ve been getting the same feeling about Schenn and I don’t know why either. All I can say is I feel he’s a late bloomer who is already showing great potential. For some reason, I feel 2-3 years down the road, Schenn is the better two-way Power Foward.

I still hope it’s Kane, but I’m intrigued by Schenn… can’t remember if it was Brian Burke who said in an interview the other day that “history tells us the younger sibling is always better.”

GaVaHokie

June 22nd, 2009
9:36 pm

Brendan… there’s no way Waddell would answer those questions to Chris. You’re just gonna have to wait like everyone else until Friday. ;)

Brendan

June 22nd, 2009
9:55 pm

I was only asking Chris his opinion, Hokie. Over eight weeks ago I posted that Waddell shouldn’t tell ANYONE, event he beat writer, what he intends to do on Draft Day. Except maybe Larry Simmons, his Assistant GM, and Dan Marr, his head of Scouting. And now that Dudley’s here, he can know. But Waddell keeping his cards close to his vest is a smart decision. If the CIA, NSA, Dept. of State, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and DIA find out what Waddell’s plans are, I just hope they keep it out of their regular channels of communication.

When Chris first asked this question, “Who would you take at pick #4,” back in April, I said Brayden Schenn. I based it on prospect reviews that said Schenn was intelligent, a good character guy, from good bloodline, and was NHL-ready sooner than some of the other top prospects. Since then, I have been shouted down and told what a DRAMATIC reduction in quality Schenn is from Kane. If it’s Schenn, I won’t cry. If it’s Kane, I won’t cry. These are both going to be good players. Time will determine which one was better pick. And even then, the player has to be drafted into an organization that will properly develop the talent and/or play a system that allows that talent to flourish. For example, Gaborik is a very good player, who’s been in Minnesota, playing a TRAP SYSTEM. If he were in an offense-first driven system, his stats might well be off the chart. These are things to remember as we compare Schenn with MPS and Kane. Or Duchene.

GaVaHokie

June 22nd, 2009
10:13 pm

I think most people who criticize Schenn are viewing him as a career Checking line Center… “it’s a waste of a pick to take a Checking Center at #4″… I think he’s better than a Checking Center. Schenn can score… I could see him evolving into a Glenn Murray type player.

GaVaHokie

June 22nd, 2009
10:18 pm

I feel like this is a draft where someone gets a home-run player in the 10-20 spots… I’ll say Zach Kassian, not that anyone will remember me saying that 2 years from now.

Brendan

June 22nd, 2009
11:06 pm

Yeah, but if Schenn is not likely to be anything more than “a checking line center,” why on EARTH is he a Top 10 overall pick? Something doesn’t add up. If that’s all Schenn is projected to be, why not pick him 64th overall? That’s where third line players are found. No, there MUST BE A REASON NHL Central Scouting thinks Schenn will be picked between 5th and 10th overall.

My thinking is this: If Schenn can be had at pick #5, or #6, or #7, then that opens the door for listening to trade options. Not necessarily taking them, but listening. If some team wants Kane bad enough, they’ll cough something good up to get him. If not, they’ll watch Atlanta pick the guy they wanted.

Kevin

June 23rd, 2009
5:35 am

Oh great we hire dudley do-right back of waddell great another 5 year plan again folks when will the ownwers ever show up…and get a hockey Man run team.Keep this up will be in quebec soon playin NHL hockey

Toby

June 23rd, 2009
7:51 am

Chris

I personally LOVE the Dudley hire, but what I find somewhat strange is the timing. He gets brought on a week before the draft and free agency and in the midst of the Kovy situation. Do you think Kovy had any input into this move? Maybe this was partly done to make him happy?

ranallo10 (in AT)

June 23rd, 2009
8:17 am

Toby — When would it make more sense for him (Dudley) to be hired? The Kovalchuk situation will be ongoing, but Dudley is known for his scouting and player development strengths (it’s debatable if he’s talented in those areas, but it’s what he’s known for none-the-less). It seems wise to bring in another opinion before the draft, especially one who already has intimate knowledge of the upcoming draft class due to his recently vacated role with another NHL club (Chicago).

He has done some research, has some knowledge, and is a friend of the GMs…maybe his opinion will be listened to come draft day, and maybe that opinion will differ from the typical Thrashers scouting department.

I don’t see the timing as anything strange except for the fact that it took his resignation before he could accept the position…that seemed awfully hasty for a decision unless there were mitigating factors (such as unhappiness in Chicago with his future, a promise to become the next Atlanta GM, or simple the appeal of working with a close friend).

I doubt Kovalchuk knows anything about Dudley that would make this an appeasement hiring. That seems very unlikely to me.

GaVaHokie

June 23rd, 2009
8:26 am

Dudley is here to be an extra “checks and balances” to Dan Marr’s scouting team… Waddell needs someone he can trust to go out and do his scouting missions for him so he can stay in Atlanta and get things done from an organizational standpoint.

But feel free to speculate all summer long and into next summer that Waddell is stepping aside. :) … it’s not happening.

Toby

June 23rd, 2009
9:41 am

I bring up the Kovy situation because all the interviews with DW and ASG (Levinson and Gearon) have had quotes stating that resigning Kovy is the top priority this off season. They have also admitted that Kovy has demands which include acquiring high caliber players through trade or free agency. Gearon stated that he and Kovy sat together at a Lakers game to discuss this.

If all this is true, and they really are going to do whatever it takes to keep him, I figure that he has had some sort of input on the situation. As far as timing goes, the city (or just the fans) have been crying for DW to get canned (or at least some different input) for years now.

Is it just coincidence that they finally bring in some help while fighting to keep Kovy?

ranallo10 (in AT)

June 23rd, 2009
9:51 am

I don’t consider it a coincidence, I just doubt Kovalchuk has any say into the matter…it’s a management decision, he shouldn’t be able to dictate who is and is not running things from the front office. If ownership were worried about his desires, wouldn’t you think Waddell would have been fired immediately?

But maybe you’re right, maybe Kovalchuk absolutely adores Waddell and bringing in Dudley is simply an enhancement to help convince Kovalchuk they have the required talent in management that will bring him the team he desires.

My point is simply that I doubt Kovalchuk looks at this signing as a “positive” that will lean him more towards signing. I think he needs something much more tangible than Dudley before he’ll make that decision. But, that’s just my opinion.

GaVaHokie

June 23rd, 2009
10:02 am

Lot’s of good news here involving the Free Agent status of Dennis Seidenberg and Rob Scuderi… two good candidates for Dudley and Waddell.

http://spectorshockey.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=146:nhl-trade-a-free-agent-news-june-23-2009&catid=5:trade-rumors&Itemid=4

GaVaHokie

June 23rd, 2009
10:05 am

Oh, and Cam Barker in that link as well.

Alan

June 23rd, 2009
10:49 am

I wouldn’t mind Scuderi at $3.5m/yr for at least three years.

It’s probably overpayment, but Scuderi showed he’s worth it.

ranallo10 (in AT)

June 23rd, 2009
12:37 pm

I’m not so much on the Scuderi bandwagon…playoff performances are nice, and this past year definitely inflated his value, but I think the overexposure from playoffs is what makes us fans perceive players to be better than they truly are. It happened with Orpik last year and Scuderi this year…one good playoff series and most fans consider them a valuable commodity.

I don’t see the value myself, yet.

GaVaHokie

June 23rd, 2009
12:41 pm

Okay… here’s the nitty-gritty for this Friday… took a quick glance at Rounds 1 and 2.

If you want to consider possible trade partners for an “established” roster player. San Jose is the only team without a 1st round pick.

Looking in the 2nd Round, the following teams do not have any picks.

Minnesota
Buffalo
Anaheim
Columbus
Montreal
Calgary
Philly
Boston

I have to think one of those teams will be dealing with us on Friday.

Toby

June 23rd, 2009
1:31 pm

I’d say Boston. Offer the 34th, 45th, and Pavs for either Kessel (one year left) or Burgeron (take out the 34th for him). Philly is the only other team on that list who is in desperate need for cap room and I don’t want any of their contracts.

GaVaHokie

June 23rd, 2009
1:45 pm

Let’s review what Philly gave up to get Lupul…

Philadelphia Flyers traded Joni Pitkanen and Geoff Sanderson and a 3rd round selection in 2009 to the Edmonton Oilers for Jason Smith and Joffrey Lupul.

Certainly we can put something similar together, like Exelby and a 2nd round pick.

Toby

June 23rd, 2009
1:58 pm

Doesn’t he carry a $4-$5 cap hit for four more years? I’m not sure if we’re willing to put up that much $$ and still sign a D.

GaVaHokie

June 23rd, 2009
2:33 pm

Toby… Bergeron is making $5 and $5.75 million the next two years… either choice will cost you.

Toby

June 23rd, 2009
2:50 pm

Yep….good call (though I see $4.75 per year which is still too much).

Kessel is $2.2 and then a RFA. What do ya think that will take? Both seconds and Pavs (or Lehts?) since Fernandez is not coming back?

Smoothie

June 23rd, 2009
3:29 pm

With respect to Philly and Lupul, I don’t like paying that much for an underachiever like him. $3 M / year and I might feel a bit different. Kozzy destroyed him statistically and only makes $3.667 M per. No thanks on Bergeron as well. Kessel I would consider given their possible interest in Pavs and even XLB as they will likely lose one of the following: Alberts, Montador or Hnidy.

@ ranallo: Just to play devil’s advocate, I was doing some checking on Scuderi to see how he stacked up with other FA on the “hustle” stats like Blocked Shots, Hits, Giveaways etc. and he rates very favorably. In fact, he is better than Ohlund on BS and had 20 fewer Giveaways (of course that may be skewed by the fact Ohlund is more of a puck mover). Take a look at this group of five FA:

Ohlund 152 BS — 109 hits — 56 G/A
Scuderi 164 BS — 61 hits — 36 G/A
Seidenberg 160 BS — 146 hits — 29 G/A
Alberts 133 BS — 157 hits — 59 G/A
Zanon, G. 237 BS — 153 hits — 31 G/A

Personally, after compiling these numbers, I would be more than happy to ink Zanon to a 2 or 3 year deal worth $3.5 – 4 M rather than throw so much money at Scuderi to pay for his Cup experience premium. We could probably get Zanon and his shot-blocking skills for $500 K to a $1 M less per season.

I forget who it was, Kyle Richardson of Spector’s??, but someone wrote that we were particularly keen on Zanon as a potential FA signee.

Sara

June 23rd, 2009
4:02 pm

Hokie – Doug Wilson has been very open about the fact he really wants to get a 1st round pick. However there isn’t anybody on that roster (that one could reasonably expect he would trade) that I think is worth giving up Evander Kane (or Schenn or MP or whomever). This is still rebuild time and you have to keep your eyes on the long-term, so keep the pick.

Smoothie – Lyle Richardson, not Kyle. ;) Also in regards to Lupul, there was an interesting interview with Holmgren recently that discussed in round about ways all the partying that went on amongst the youngsters on that roster. Lupul was right in the thick of that – not sure I want to bring that element here. They’ve got enough work to do keeping a certain goaltender out of trouble without getting him a potential cohort.

GaVaHokie

June 23rd, 2009
4:03 pm

Does Boston still have Rask? Not sure why they would want Pavs.

In Divisional news… Tampa just lost Ramo to Russia… tee-hee! :)

http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog/Andy-Strickland/Lightning-Goalie-Karri-Ramo-Signs-in-Russia/5/21687

GaVaHokie

June 23rd, 2009
4:07 pm

I can live with just about anybody on the forward lines if they would go aggressively for Cam Barker on Defense…. Give him a nice 4 year $12 million deal.

GaVaHokie

June 23rd, 2009
4:26 pm

Sara… I expect San Jose will get someone’s mid-round pick… can’t seem them maneuvering into the Top 5.

Smoothie

June 23rd, 2009
4:38 pm

Is Tuuka Rask an RFA? I’m not sure if he is there, it may be Hannu Toivonen, yet another Finnish goaltender. I was thinking they only had Fernandez backing up Thomas and gave up on Toivonen. Alas, I certainly could be wrong. Perhaps they will be desperate enough to trade Kessel for XLB and a couple of picks and a prospect (O’Dell?) to free up enough Cap space to sign all their guys.

Sara, thanks! I knew that didn’t sound right!! And yes, Kari does not need a party instigator! The only “Party” I want him hanging out with would be Marty Reasoner in a mentor capacity…someone who can teach him how to be a bit more focused off the ice. But then again, if Johan Hedberg can’t get to him, then perhaps no one can.

Adam Dunn

June 23rd, 2009
6:12 pm

we are days away from the draft and no new blog yet.. who is with me this new beat writer blowsss

Sara

June 24th, 2009
7:48 am

I dunno Smoothie – it’s been a little while since I’ve heard any Kari stories and he certainly played very well when he came back from his injury so perhaps someone did get through to him. Hopefully he’ll stay focused during the off-season and keep his conditioning up. This team needs to pick up right where they left off at the end of last season and then build from there to continue their progression.

August

June 24th, 2009
9:32 am

Yeah Adam Dunn, this blog has been up 46 hours. Bring in the Chop Chick or Ice Princess, right? Chris is doing just fine. Unfortunately, your comment did like your namesake and struck out.

GaVaHokie

June 24th, 2009
10:28 am

I’m sure when there is some news to be mentioned we’ll see it… would you rather Chris make something up like the Toronto media or Eklund?

It’s June.

TRON

June 24th, 2009
10:46 am

DRAFT A NEW GOALIE…………..DUMP THE FRAUD LETEMIN………………..

Joey

June 25th, 2009
1:56 am

Yes, we now have a Thrashers beat writer who blogs about his vacation and gets everyone to tell him their top moments and uses that for a blog. Awesome job Atlanta Urinal and Consitpation! Give one of us the job, at least we’d take it seriously. I hope this team starts winning and forces the idiots at AJC to take notice.

I say we’ll get a pretty good player with the 4th pick. Kane, Schenn, maybe even Duchene.

On another note, if Heatley wants more ice time, the Rangers would be great for him. Torts always plays his stars a lot. Ottawa might have to take Gomez and his salary off the Rangers’ hands though, so I doubt that trade could happen. It seems to me that Heatley is the new Keith Primadonna Primeau of the NHL. Certainly sounds like it.

Chris Vivlamore

June 25th, 2009
11:59 am

JOEY: Wow, what awesome insight you give us. The Thrashers will get a good player with the fourth pick, Kane, Schenn, maybe even Duchene. Let’s see, I think we’ve all been talking about that on this blog for more than a month, ever since I wrote that Don Waddell told me the pick would likely be one of those three players. Great job.

For the real bloggers: I am waiting to talk to Zach Bogosian now. I’m talking to him for the draft preview I will file later today. I will put up a new blog with some of the other things he has to say about his offseason and the upcoming year.

Brendan

June 25th, 2009
2:19 pm

I really don’t have any issue with Vivlamore’s timing of vacation. It was the offseason, well before the draft. And everyone knew, who follows this team religiously, that Dudley and Waddell have history together. Even at prior drafts (2002!!).

Chris, some people come home from a rough day at work and kick their dog. With that in mind, hockey fans throughout metro Atlanta have always felt hockey coverage was not pushed as much as football, college or pro, basketball, and other sports, in the AJC print edition. Some of that frustration gets unfairly channeled towards you. As a hockey fan, I understand that if the AJC ran 4-5 hockey items in its sports section … that it might be in some trouble. I’d be thrilled. But I’m only one paying customer. I am part of the 1% of hockey fans in the metro area who buy the paper. The other 99% of paying customers would clamor for more UGA, Tech, and Falcons or NFL coverage. I have a grip on the reality of the situation.

scottbravesfan

June 26th, 2009
10:31 pm

Brendan,

The Braves out draw online hits for UGA and the Falcons combined. Dave O brien’s blogs get over 2,000 comments on average. The Braves blog is the reason that the AJC had to upgrade their comment section because the Braves blog would hit 1000 replies and crash all the time. There are only 45 comments on this blog and it’s been up since June 22nd. There is a reason that the AJC puts so little input on the Thrashers because their fan base is microscopic. As a Thrashers fan I would love to see the AJC cover the Thrashers like one of the Canadian papers but the AJC actually covers the Thrashers about as much as the New York, Boston, LA, and other big market papers do, which is not much.

John

June 27th, 2009
2:04 am

In the words of those much wiser….there’s 18,000 Rangers fans, and they all have season tickets. Scottbraves fan is right to say there’s about the same amount of coverage here as in Boston and NYC…not as much, but for a franchise thats just entering its second decade, as compared to two original six teams, that ain’t bad.