Waddell calls report of Kovalchuk impasse “false”

Thrashers general manager Don Waddell claimed a report that negotiations with star player Ilya Kovalchuk were at an impasse is “certainly false.”

“[Kovalchuk’s agent] Jay [Grossman] is actually coming in here [Saturday] and we’ll meet again,” Waddell said Thursday. “We will continue our talks. They have been really positive. I have not seen a sign yet that we aren’t going to be able to get this deal done.”

A report out of Kovalchuk’s native Russia said that contract talks have stalled after the team balked at a 10-year, $11.5 million per year deal. The report also stated that Waddell is considering trade options and that Vancouver and Los Angeles are interested.

“We like our hockey team,” Waddell said. “At this point I can honestly say that I haven’t talked to one team about a trade. Why even start that because our goal is to get this player signed.”

Waddell said he thought the next month of negotiations would be critical.

“We can’t be talking about this in February,” he said.

Waddell said contract talks currently revolve around the length of a new deal for Kovalchuk, who will become an unrestricted free agent in July. He said the deal will be a long-term contract.

“When you are doing a deal of this magnitude, it’s not a player signing, it’s a partnership,” he said. “You are going to line up with someone for multiple, multiple years, it’s got to be a fit – for both parties.”

Waddell again reiterated that Kovalchuk is pleased with the direction of the team. However, he did acknowledge that there is a lot of work to be done.

“After you get done with all the other aspects of the deal, the financial aspect is the biggest decision that has to be made,” Waddell said. “It’s not just Kovy’s [salary] number, it’s how we keep this team together.”

The maximum salary a player can receive is 20 percent of the league salary cap. That figure would be $11.3 million a season as the cap currently stands.

“There hasn’t been any breakdown in communications,” Waddell said. “We talk quite a bit. As long as I don’t get the sense that they are closing the door. That’s a different story.”

133 comments Add your comment

TrueBlue

December 17th, 2009
8:11 pm

Anyone else imagine DW’s nose getting bigger and bigger and bigger everytime they read his comments on various situations? Pinocchio would be jealous how big DW’s nose gets! Wouldn’t it be nice to actually be able to BELIEVE the GM of your favorite team?

LAC

December 17th, 2009
8:19 pm

ANYONE, I Repeat… ANYONE who believes LIAR don waddell
is a COMPLETE FOOL !

This man will LIE, just like he has for years to the Atlanta fans, because he works for SPINLESS owners who do not have the collective
GUYS to fire this A$$.

waddell is a Fool and Liar, he… should be run out of town as soon as possible, because with this liar in control, it is like the Titanic
for sure… oh and “don”, this team aint as good as you think, they are starting to sink as we speak ! No playoffs this season, Thanks Liar “don” !

Raider Fan

December 17th, 2009
8:22 pm

10 year, 11.5 million? If I were Kovy, I’d balk at getting about a million a year as well. ;)

Hans

December 17th, 2009
9:34 pm

Well this board is dead. About as dead as Philips arena.

Michael Caldwell

December 17th, 2009
9:37 pm

What happened to we can’t be talking about this in December. Now its we can’t be talking about this in February. Something needs to happen and soon.

stendec

December 17th, 2009
9:58 pm

Talk about roller coaster rides! The Thrashers won an overtime game on home ice in their All Hallows Eve uniforms after surrendering the tying marker in the final two minutes. A Thrasher netminder allowed almost half a dozen goals but won. The same Thrasher that scored the go-ahead shorthanded goal netted the winner in overtime. That same Thrasher leads all NHL players in the winning goal category. This was a nice one after the Thrashers failed to collect any points in the previous bout south of the Georgia border. Way to go Thrashers. No. I do not expect Captain Ilya Kovalchuk to stay in a Thrasher uniform. Just my opinion. Good night all. ++STENDEC++

KLS1

December 17th, 2009
10:10 pm

Trade him and get Kopitar or the Sedin brothers…Kovy can’t carry this team by himself and the salary hit will mean that he will have to. I don’t know how you pay someone max $ if he won’t even try to backcheck.

Jon Lovitz

December 17th, 2009
10:21 pm

What a load of crap!!! Don Waddell makes me look like an honest to goodness saint with the crap he spews! “We can’t be talking about this come February.” Gee, where and from whom have we heard this line of bull before? You’ve got to be kidding me. Time for Waddell to grow a pair!

Kovy thinks there’s still some work left to be done??? Yeah, on his game! How about actually trying to hit someone, other than your teammate Thorburn while on offense, during a game?? How about using your 225 lb frame to make a difference when back-checking instead of reaching with your stick when you’re right on top of someone? How about using your speed to crash the net and set up your teammates with some juicy rebounds or cross-crease feeds?

Peverley made you look like a fraud tonite Kovy.

12345

December 17th, 2009
10:41 pm

I have to agree with everyone, Don Waddell is not an honest man in the very least. Why he is still GM here is unreal, he is just so dishonest and has zero hockey knowledge. Please Don, resign and go away forever, that would a great Christmas present for all hockey fans around the world !

Darkhorse

December 17th, 2009
10:48 pm

Chris-Think you can track down Jay Grossman for a quick interview this weekend? Would like to here his current PR take on the negotiations.

StateBird

December 17th, 2009
10:59 pm

Chris – can you follow up by seeking an interview with Grossman when he is town? Just confirming that he is actually in town would be useful.

Jon stole my thunder. Would you trade Kovy for 3 Peverly’s? I would probably trade him for 2. That being said I would still like to see him re-signed for the sake of the franchise. If Kovy leaves the team won’t be far behind him.

DW’s story doesn’t hold any water. I’ve heard “were working on the length” for months. That part should take minutes … “what term would you like Kovy?” Ok, done.

StateBird

December 17th, 2009
11:01 pm

Darkhorse – glad to know that great minds think alike :-)

The Earl of Bud

December 17th, 2009
11:14 pm

Chris, I too would like to see you track down Grossman but at the same time the only news we are going to here on this is either:

a) Kovalchuk is signed or

b) Kovalchuk is traded

and there won’t be a bit mentioned otherwise. Anything else is going to be the same PR stuff that we always hear.

Quite a game tonight. What a way to break the maroon jinx.

Thrashy Thrashy

December 17th, 2009
11:19 pm

If Waddell is lying to all of us about the likelihood of Kovy staying here, is that really his fault? Isn’t he beholden to what the boys with the cash (or lack of it), Atlanta Spirit Group, tell him to do? Of course he is.

Regarding this particular situation (and not many others), Waddell is not a fool. He knows the fans want to keep Kovalchuk. He would gladly bring Kovy back at that max price. It might not be the best thing for the team to pay so much to Kovy (and the spin will certainly be just that if Kovy is traded), but most fans won’t believe it. They’ll demand Waddell’s head and wonder why the owners cheaped out on $1.5 million per season.

sisu

December 17th, 2009
11:21 pm

What do you expect for DW to say? That the negotiations are going like crap? The team cannot afford 20% of their cap to one guy or what? I am not saying DW is an awesome GM but do you really think any GM in any sports would show their hand so to speak???

I agree that February may be too late, as to what return on a unsigned player for next season? Hard to say but forget the top talent on another team!!!! A collection of solid talent and draft pics is more likely

R. Stroz

December 17th, 2009
11:26 pm

Wow, it sounds as if Earl of Bud is taking over Chris’s job and he can even predict the future.

Besides, I haven’t heard any comment on the Kovalchuk contract negotiations from Grossman yet. All we hear is Waddell moving the deadline further and further back. Isn’t that a surprise.

The Earl of Bud

December 17th, 2009
11:27 pm

Thrashy – while that does make sense, we just have to accept the fact that we won’t know anything until something actually happens (again, if he is either signed or traded). And that we may never know what happened behind the scenes (is it the Spirit, is it Kovalchuk, who called it off). Until then the same questions will be asked and the same answers will be given.

I am already sick of it because as each day goes by the chance of him not signing gets greater.

The interesting thing is to compare this to other FAs that signed. I know Ovechkin had a long negotiating period like this. But normally it ends up like a Bouwmeester/Hossa/Campbell situation where if they don’t sign by a certain date it ain’t happening. Can anyone think of a case besides Ovechkin where the negotiating period was this long and the player did sign? The other thing too is that between Bouwmeester/Hossa a lot of those players never had the heart for the city they were in or with Campbell mgt came out and said they weren’t likely to re-sign. That felt different with Kovalchuk and between Atlanta and Buffalo I have experienced this a lot.

The Earl of Bud

December 17th, 2009
11:30 pm

“Wow, it sounds as if Earl of Bud is taking over Chris’s job and he can even predict the future.”

R. Stroz, why do you care about me so much? How is it you claim to know who I am? Don’t you have anything better to do with your life than call the Director of Sales Service and Retention about me? LOL. What did they even say when you called them?

Arse Trolls

December 17th, 2009
11:40 pm

Earl of Bud I’ve been lamenting over you for years now. I’ve been following you all over internet. I know what your other name is on the Falconer’s blog. I also know your real name is Lorenzo Chizzlechest. I know where you work. You can push me away but I will keeping spending my days and nights reading all your posts. I will even call the director of subscriptions renewals for the AJC and complain about you.

The Earl of Bud

December 17th, 2009
11:44 pm

Oh great, now there’s two of them obsessed with me.

R. Stroz

December 17th, 2009
11:44 pm

R. Stroz, why do you care about me so much?

Well Brian, I don’t.

Don’t you have anything better to do with your life than call the Director of Sales Service and Retention about me?

Hey stupid, you just told everyone you’re Brian again. LMAO.

Brendan

December 17th, 2009
11:46 pm

I’m sure we’d all like to see this contract done already. I’m sure we’re all feeling angst and concern that it’s even taken this long. It is very disconcerting that Waddell’s statement of, “I don’t think we’ll be talking about this at Christmas” has turned into thinking that the next month of negotiations would be critical. Well, please BEEE HONEST. Shouldn’t he have been thinking that back in July? Because Waddell could have said to Kovy, at that point, if you don’t re-sign by July 14, 2009, we’re trading you. I realize, that sounds harsh and mean-spirited, and rings like an ultimatum. Be hear me out, okay?

Now, I hear you. Don’t think I don’t. “Hasn’t Kovy earned the right to take a ‘wait-n-see’ approach before committing to something longterm?” See, I agree with that sentiment. However, couldn’t a 1-year “band-aid” approach been worked out on say, July 5th? Or 10th? Or 15th? Couldn’t Kovy and Waddell agree to take THE WHOLE YEAR to evaluate the team? See, ‘cuz makes a whole lot more sense to me. The whole issue of “will he or won’t he” is postponed until July 1, 2011. It’s not a FOOLPROOF solution, mind you. But I think it’s a little better than the situation we have now. We don’t truly know, other than to take the GM at his word, that this contract is progressing nicely and will get done soon. It’s a little unusual to take this approach of ‘wait-n-see,’ if both sides are truly EAGER to re-sign. It’s risky. Couldn’t both parties have just reached a 1-year deal during the offseason, so that this talk could be avoided? Bygones.

My ‘panic’ date is on or about January 24, 2010. To hear Waddell actually utter the words, “We can’t be talking about this in February” does raise some flags. But I repeat, I’m not panicking yet. If Kovy needs half the season to make up his mind, I guess I can live with that. But his actions will speak louder than any of his words. And the action that matters … is just a signature.

There is one Kovalchuk quote from back in April that bothers me. No, it’s not the “We have to bring in Free Agents and compete for the Cup next season. I think the fans in the City of Atlanta deserve that.” Though, those remarks are troublesome, on the heels of a 78-point season. It’s this quote, “I have to do what the little slip of paper says.” The slip of paper is his contract. There is no ambiguity about that. So, what was Kovalchuk implying with those remarks? If it was, “Do whatever you want. I’m cool with anything you choose. Trade me, now. Trade me, later. Trade me at the deadline. Or Don’t trade me. I’m happy to play out the season, since that’s what my contract says I have to do.” Then that is troubling, my friends.

But we’re not there yet. If Grossman comes into town on Saturday, and there’s a deal announced Monday night, during the Canadiens game, we’ll all have a very Merry Christmas. As well as a good hearty chuckle over this whole situation.

Thrashy Thrashy

December 17th, 2009
11:48 pm

I guess I just find it hard to believe that Don Waddell is the only villain conspiring to destroy the Thrashers. Maybe I need to loosen the screws in my brain, but Waddell’s first impulse has always been to do whatever he’s told. He’s a survivor. He’s a bureaucrat who knows how to please his overlords.

(Of course, when he’s left to his own devices, Don fields a team of 5′9″ guys who think a “backcheck” is something you go to a chiropractor for.)

God in Heaven

December 17th, 2009
11:50 pm

Brian / EOB? This is God. I want you to stop pretending to be Lorenzo Chizzlechest. It is in bad taste and it is making Lo crazy. You need to stop being such a know-it-all too. For those who are meek, for they shall inherit the blogging kingdom’s gold.

Anyway, who died and made this ass-clown Don Waddell king? Dudley needs to put some roofies in his third drink during the 3rd period and then hold a press conference calling Kovy’s bluff. For blessed are the humble, they shall inherit the Cup of Hockey Greatness.

R. Stroz

December 17th, 2009
11:53 pm

This last summer, I stated that Waddell had NEVER been able to re-sign a top tier UFA. To date, he still hasn’t. Lets hope he does before Christmas. My greatest concern is Waddell keeps moving the deadline date as the prior dealine date approaches.

In addition to re-signing Kovy, I’d like to see Kubina and Max signed shortly after the beginning of the year.

If we could only trade Todd White for a bag of pucks.

Did anyone else notice that Little was demoted to the fourth line tonight? I’d demote White before Little.

God in Heaven

December 17th, 2009
11:56 pm

I’m God, how in heaven did I make a typo!!? Well, even God has his off days during the long grind of the Christmas season.

Blessed are the aggressive and unrelenting backcheckers, for they shall be granted access to the sacred ground of postseason play.

The Earl of Bud

December 17th, 2009
11:57 pm

R. Stroz, YOU said you were going to call the Thrashers about me, about my employee tickets, YET I DON’T HAVE ANY so how can you use that as proof of something that doesn’t even exist? Please, tell everyone on this blog how you think that I am Brian.

STOP STALKING ME YOU FREAK!

The Earl of Bud

December 18th, 2009
12:01 am

Ok, Kovalchuk isn’t going to sign here and this is the state of the hockey blog. Instead of talking about hockey let’s just have R. Stroz play his games. From now on, no more talk about hockey. Let’s just ruin the blog and turn this into endless name calling.

If R. Stroz wants to ruin this I can go along with it. I am more than happy to play along. So R. Stroz, tell us about your knowledge of hockey. When will you turn 12? Did you get your first pimple yet? Come on everyone, join in.

RonPaul2010

December 18th, 2009
12:05 am

This is a great idea. We can post for hours about this. Hockey is leaving Atlanta. Kovalchuk is not going to sign here. This city can’t support a team. Arena is empty. Fans won’t show up. No one knows anything about the game. The owners are cheap and won’t spend the money to attract top talent to the city. Franchise is moving to Calgary. They can support two teams better than we can support one.

Lawrence

December 18th, 2009
12:07 am

Kovalchuk isn’t going to sign. It’s plain and simple. The team is dead. I heard Kansas City has already contacted the Atlanta Spirit about buying the team. Their building is completely empty right now but we still don’t have more fans than they do. Hockey is going to leave again.

Darren

December 18th, 2009
12:09 am

When the team leaves this time it is not coming back. We were lucky that we got a second chance but we will never be given a third chance. Even Gary Bettman isn’t that stupid. He will finally realize he should have never put an NHL team in Atlanta again.

Rick D.

December 18th, 2009
12:14 am

The problem is that there aren’t enough northern transplants. The NHL saw the large influx of people from the North moving to Atlanta and thought this would be a good city for hockey. But it’s going to take a full generation of people here now to forget their old teams and have their children like the new team in Atlanta. Southerners have shown that they won’t watch the game enough over NASCAR. Maybe in another generation when all the northern transplants have their kids grow up and be native to Atlanta they will support a team because we can’t. Of course if they are growing up here they might turn out to be like all the other people who grew up here and don’t support the team.

Brendan

December 18th, 2009
12:16 am

Sigh. I think everyone is permitted to have a dissenting opinion. My opinion is this: Hockey will survive in Atlanta with or without Kovalchuk. Wins put fannies in seats. And even if they don’t, there’s always the fans of the opposing team to buy tickets. In a city of over 5 million, the opposition only needs to draw 12,000 to make hockey viable, through revenue-sharing dollars. There will always be 3,000 or so season ticket holders, who would buy seats to the Thrashers if they couldn’t beat an ECHL team.

R. Stroz

December 18th, 2009
12:22 am

Someone’s having a meltdown. LOL.

Kovy has seen too many years of Waddell’s smurf forwards and over-the-hill defensemen.

Lets hope Dudley can convince Kovy to stay while he continues to build a NHL team capable of winning in the playoffs.

The Earl of Bud

December 18th, 2009
12:27 am

Hey! It’s R. Stroz! So, are you going to tell us why you think I am some other guy? Or are you going to duck & run? Are you so infatuated with me that you are going to call the Thrashers and complain? Did you really spend time out of you own day making a phone call about some poster from an AJC blog? LOSER!

The Earl of Bud

December 18th, 2009
12:31 am

“Kovy has seen too many years of Waddell’s smurf forwards and over-the-hill defensemen.”

R. Stroz, it seems that you don’t know anything about the sport so let me explain something to you. We have 1 defenseman over the age of 30, his name is Pavel Kubina and he is only 32. Kovalchuk can’t be sick of any of them for being too old. Our forwards are by no means “smurfs”.

I am sure that you just dream up things after reading some of your posts, but I will just set the record straight for those fans that choose to be informed about the sport.

The Earl of Bud

December 18th, 2009
12:34 am

R. Stroz, I gotta ask again, did you really spend time out of you own day making a phone call about some poster from an AJC blog? Who is this guy that you think I am that you got your panties in a wad so badly? I gotta meet him.

R. Stroz

December 18th, 2009
12:34 am

EOB – You really need to address your need for attention issues with a psychiatrist in private. This is a hockey blog.

The Earl of Bud

December 18th, 2009
12:42 am

“EOB – You really need to address your need for attention issues with a psychiatrist in private. This is a hockey blog.”

AH, the name calling. So R. Stroz, if this is a hockey blog, why all the posts about things like what you think my name is, where you think I worked, telling the entire blog how you called the THRASHERS THEMSELVES complaining about me, or at least who you think I am.

Besides, did it ever occur to you that YOU are the one that gives me all the attention? I mean how more more attention can you possibly give me other than the fact that you claim to know who I am on not just this blog, but on other message boards of other forums? Why do you spend so much time thinking about me? Why do you give me so much attention? Are you old enough to get a girlfriend yet? How many message boards do you visit wondering if I am on them?

The Earl of Bud

December 18th, 2009
12:47 am

So R. Stroz, since you think about me so much, what else do you think you know about me? Tell the entire blog how you keep careful track of the minutia of details of the very life you think I lead. Everyone’s been reading your posts about me, why do pay SO much attention to me by listing all these things? And who is this guy that you think I am? Why do follow him around so much? Why are you so infatuated with him? Is this how you spend your time in study hall, thinking about some guy?

Do tell. And then say more things about me, I like the attention you give me. It’s actually comical that someone who only knows me from an internet blog spends so much time thinking about me. Well, it’s creepy, but still comical.

The Earl of Bud

December 18th, 2009
12:50 am

One more time R. Stroz, did you really waste time out of your own day to call the Atlanta Thrashers and talk to them about who you think I am and that my fictitious employee tickets should be taken away from me? LOL. You’re a loser if you spent a second out of your personal life away from this blog thinking about me.

R. Stroz

December 18th, 2009
1:01 am

Dudley was running the show when Kubina was brought into the fold. Dudley was hired June 23, 2009. Exelby was traded for Kubina on July 1, 2009.

Waddell was responsible for Ken Klee, Jaroslav Modry, Uwe Krupp….just a sampling of over the hill defensemen.

Waddell was responsible for Niko Kapanen, Todd White, Glen Metroplit, Eric Perrin…just a sampling of smurfs.

Too bad you can’t see Dudley’s imprint on the team. A good fan would cheer for Dudley to succeed where Waddell has failed for so long.

Dawg on Skates

December 18th, 2009
1:03 am

I would guess that if Waddell can’t get a deal done with Kovy that it would probably mean the end of his tenure in Atl…unless Kovy is dead set on going back to Russia.

I am worried – almost panicked. I love the Thrash but feel like, to date, the hard times have been plentiful. Things are looking bright but, as an Atlanta sports fan, that’s the time you start looking for a catastrophe. Don’t mean to be a pessimist but it just seems to be setting up for some major disappointment. I hope I’m wrong…

The Earl of Bud

December 18th, 2009
1:06 am

Wow R. Stroz, are you aware that all but one of those players are no longer on the team? So Dudley was hired on June 23 and it was all his work to pull off a trade 1 week later. Even if that were true, that’s the big imprint on this team?

So let’s get back to why you spend so much time thinking about me. How did you conclude that you think you know what my name is? Why do you think you know where I work? Who is this guy you think I am? Why do you spend time out of your personal life combing the blogs trying to pick out names that I, the Earl of Bud, am using? How do you match me to these names? Do you ever measure the number of minutes per day that you spend on activities that involve my life? How many others are there like me that you think about in your personal time?

R. Stroz

December 18th, 2009
1:11 am

There you have it, how to annoy the blog troll.

The guy is so obsessed about being called out, he can’t discuss hockey, poor troll.

The Earl of Bud

December 18th, 2009
1:11 am

R. Stroz, when you think about me, what do I look like? Do you dream about me with black hair, blonde hair, or do you envision me as a redhead? What kind of build do I have when you close your eyes and think about me? What other names do you give me? Why did you pick me, the Earl of Bud, out of all the other posters on this blog? What do I say that compels you to comb the internet looking for information about me?

R. Stroz

December 18th, 2009
1:13 am

Wow R. Stroz, are you aware that all but one of those players are no longer on the team?

Todd White is no longer on the team. That’s great news, incorrect, but great if it were true.

The Earl of Bud

December 18th, 2009
1:15 am

“The guy is so obsessed about being called out, he can’t discuss hockey, poor troll.”

But R. Stroz, everyone on this blog has read your entries about me. It was not I who started talking about me, it was YOU! YOU are the one who named me, who started talking about where you think I work, you posted a name that you think I have, you even went so far as to say that you called the Atlanta Thrashers Director of Sales Service and Retention to talk about some guy that you think I am. What does any of that have to do with hockey? Nothing. But it was YOU who did all those things. YOU wanted to make this blog about me. And the greatest thing is, you don’t even know who I am. Yet you are so obsessed with talking about me instead of hockey that you talk about all those things. And all the other posters read what you said R. Stroz, so you can’t deny it.

R. Stroz

December 18th, 2009
1:15 am

Wow, talk about creepy, EOB sounds like a real homo.

The Earl of Bud

December 18th, 2009
1:17 am

Wow R. Stroz, are you aware that all but one of those players are no longer on the team?

Todd White is no longer on the team. That’s great news, incorrect, but great if it were true.

R. Stroz, I said “all BUT ONE”. Todd White would be THE ONE that is still on the team.

If you didn’t spend so much time thinking about me, imagining things about me, you would be able to think more clearly.

So what else do you think about concerning me? Do dream about what kind of car I drive? Am I an SUV type or sportscar? Please don’t tell me you picture me on the hood. How did you come up with this name for me?