Thrashers limping to the halfway point

The Thrashers’ season will be at the exact midpoint after Saturday’s game againt the Islanders. At 39 games in, the Thrashers stand at 18-17-4.  A six-game losing streak looms and it’s not the only thing that has changed (or remained unchanged in terms of the Ilya Kovalchuk contract) since the quarter mark.

The Thrashers were once at the top of the league in special teams. The penalty kill, once the best in the NHL, has slipped to No. 20. The power play has slipped to ninth.

While the goaltending has been strong, but it’s worth noting that Ondrej Pavelec has allowed three or more goals in his last nine starts. He’s been pulled from three of them.

The Thrashers continue to be outshot. The total is now up to 29 of their 39 games. Add the two games where the shots-on-goal totals were even and Atlanta has only held the advantage in eight contests.

We are still talking about the Kovalchuk contract negotiations. The offseason has come and gone as has training camp, the start of the season, 20 games into the season and Christmas, all points when the team hoped to have something done. Now the New Year is right upon us. GM Don Waddell has admitted to a “snag” in the talks. The longer the talks drag on, the more of a distraction they will become. If we get to the Olympic break, then the trade deadline looms. Waddell told me in the offseason he would not trade Kovalchuk under any circumstances. However, if negotiations reach more than a snag, that could well change.

I will be working on a Thrashers at the halfway point story, but would like to hear from you. What do you see as the good and bad so far? Highlights and lowlights?

I hope everyone has a happy and safe New Year’s eve and a great 2010.

55 comments Add your comment

Roscoe P. Coltrane

December 31st, 2009
10:38 am

For the 10th year now, fire Waddell. The fans are leaving in droves, he can’t keep a legitimate star, he can’t draft worth a damn. The only people that think he’s working out are the even dumber owners. I only hope they will lose more money than Phoenix and the NHL will take over and hire an NHL office staff. Decade Lost.

Lee

December 31st, 2009
10:48 am

Oh, so many things to complain about. I think every bloggger right now has at least one negative thing to say about the thrashers. Pretty soon, they’ll be no fans in the stands until they shape things up, big time. In a couple days we’ll be the Phoenix Coyotes. Ah well, there’s always next year, and the year after……if we get there. Dissapointing time of year right now :(

rob

December 31st, 2009
10:53 am

After watching the team this year, I have decided a few things. We need a goalie we can rely on. Pavs has shown sparks, but continues to allow goals which make you shake your head. Can we get Pevs and Cane back on a line, they played well together and seemed to connect and Kane will need more exposure to good players to expand and develop, not just mucking the corners w White/Little. Kovy may be a good scorer, and the basis for the franchise, but a real leader with the team, the city, and a passion to build something would sign and show everyone he is what this team stands for. You can’t honestly expect to get close to 20% of the teams total payroll and think a great team will be able to be built. If he is going, get the C on someone who can give this team direction when the going gets tough (like now). Fan base here is bad, and with the economy contributing more, the tickets need to be more in line with getting more people in to see these games and show some team support, and on that note the people in charge at the games need to get the few fans there cheering!! The Habs game a while back, the first half my voice was echoing eerily alone until the team woke up and gave a thrilling end to it. Hope the upcoming Rangers, Caps, and Sabres games are better! LET’S GO THRASHERS!!!!!! MAKE SOME NOISE AT THESE GAMES PEOPLE!!!!!!

Glen Rubin

December 31st, 2009
11:26 am

This is definitely the most talented team we have ever had. When all is said and done we will have 5 or 6 Olympians and a few others that nearly made Olympic squads. That is a lot of talent and world class hockey players. From that standpoint, to sit here at about .500 midway through is a big disappointment. In my opinion, the team lacks discipline and grit. One most nights we have as much or more talent and firepower than our opponents. However, we consistently get outworked and outcoached. We don’t play a system under Anderson and we don’t do the “little things” that make teams successful in the NHL night in and night out. With coach Anderson, we have all heard about the desire to play up tempo. However, we don’t move the puck well at all. We commit far too many turnovers and we haven’t had a good puck distributor since we let Savard go. It is almost as though we play “pickup” hockey each night. If things click, bingo we outscore our opponents and win on talent alone. There is absolutely zero commitment to play defense. Our forwards are probably the worst back-checkers in the league. Our defense pinches and often get caught out of postion when opponents counterattack. The forwards are constantly a step behind the opposition when they come into our zone. That leads to higher quality shots and rebound scores. In short, we need to start playing a system and the buy in from the players. At this point, I would have no problem moving Kovy if we could get 2 to 3 young, solid players in return for him…say 25 goal scorers. I would not mortgage our future on him. He is talented but I question making him the face of the franchise and building the team around him. He is nowhere near as good as Ovechkin and is demanding far too much compensation.

B. Thenet

December 31st, 2009
11:38 am

I think the decision by Don Waddell to field hockey teams that do not believe in forechecking, toughness, or team defense is a fitting topic for any article on the Thrashers throughout their entire history.

10 years of hockey in Atlanta, and precious little to celebrate.

Rockem Sockem Thrasher

December 31st, 2009
11:41 am

Chris, has Coach Anderson spoken to you about the recent losing streak? Is he very concerned and what is he planning to do to get back to winning. Also, any chance we see some Chicago Wolves in Atlanta any time soon?

Matt

December 31st, 2009
11:45 am

“Herbies” until each and every player throws up on the ice! No discipline and no accountablilty, from the A”nospirit”G, to Mgmt, to coaches to players.

Limping? No they are not limping to the halfway point they have had their legs and whatever heart/pride they had cut off from them.

Just mind-blowing in it’s sheer patheticness.

Losing when giving 100% effort for the entire game I can live with, rolling over like a dog is unacceptable and that’s what has been happening far, far too often.

stendec

December 31st, 2009
11:58 am

I might be willing to take over the GM position. I would guarantee one thing. Efforts (if it can be categorized as such) like the one against the Boston Bruins would be a thing of the past! Players who fail to compete for 60 minutes would be benched for a game. Salary would not be a consideration! If two of three goals are marshmallows then netminder is pulled (sorry Moose). If minimum number of players not available then young hungry Wolves would be provided opportunity to showcase wares. Only players with fire in their guts and hearts of lions would be allowed to skate for team. Most of these guys are celebrating Olympic selections. Whoop dee do! Do the Olympics sign their paychecks? Not since former USSR once got away with it! Not one Thrasher (except Mr Moose Hedberg sir) gives a flying f#ck about winning. Do not have tiniest iota of respect for any one of them! Laughingstocks? They could care less! Bank accounts matter. No Thrasher forced to wait in soup line! Apologists can kiss my a$$! ++STENDEC++

stendec

December 31st, 2009
12:04 pm

So a new GM is needed? I might be willing to take over the GM position. I would guarantee one thing. Efforts (if it can be categorized as such) like the one against the Boston Bruins would be a thing of the past! Players who fail to compete for 60 minutes would be benched for a game. Salary would not be a consideration! If two of three goals are marshmallows then netminder is pulled (sorry Moose). If minimum number of players not available then young hungry Wolves would be provided opportunity to showcase wares. Only players with fire in their guts and hearts of lions would be allowed to skate for team. Most of these guys are celebrating Olympic selections. Whoop dee do! Do the Olympics sign their paychecks? Not since former USSR once got away with it! Not one Thrasher (except Mr Moose Hedberg sir) gives a flying f#ck about winning. Do not have tiniest iota of respect for any one of them! Laughingstocks? They could care less! Bank accounts matter. No Thrasher forced to wait in soup line! Apologists can kiss my a$$! ++STENDEC++ Happy New Year!

R. Stroz

December 31st, 2009
12:29 pm

“Herbies” until each and every player throws up on the ice! No discipline and no accountablilty, from the A”nospirit”G, to Mgmt, to coaches to players.

Matt – I have to agree with you. Last night, I posted a similar comment:

If I were Anderson, I’d request extra ice time from arena operations, take the team back out on the ice in full gear, and pull a Herb Brooks on them.

and subsequently added the following:

If I were Anderson, and they performed again like they did last night, I’d take them out in full gear after the pathetic effort and make them skate until they realized who they represent and who cuts their paycheck. Right now, we have too many Olympians looking out for themselves and forward to February.

I say pull a Herb Brooks on them and let them know who the boss is, as is, the inmates are running the asylum.

Dwayne

December 31st, 2009
12:40 pm

Too bad Herb is not around now. Maybe he would coach the thrashers.

stendec

December 31st, 2009
1:29 pm

Legend Herb Brooks had an edge Coach John Petrino does not. The Olympic coach could require players to do Herbies until they puked because he possessed power of the cut. A player could be sliced from team at sole discretion of coach. Do not want to be a team player? Unable to put team first? Bye bye. No Olympics for you! Heartless Russian Kapitan Ilya “Pay Me Millions Now” Kovalchuk is blackmailing the Yardbirds. He can coast, dog it, never play defense, skate at third speed, make fancy figure eights while awaiting a breakout pass or remain in full Maryann Hossa mode without consequence. Why? Uninformed persons perceive the Russian as a premiere athlete. Premiere? Premiere my a$$! This captain is a total team liability. Lazy, uncaring, disinterested and a complete slacker! More enthusiastic at being selected to Olympics than mad as Hell angry over fact that group of which he is the damn captain (supposed leader) has become laughingstock of NHL. Anybody else see anything wrong with this scenario? A long term contract? Hell no! I do not even want to see IK in a Yardbird uniform in 2010-2011. Give me three guys who can score 20 plus goal. I would trade the bum in a second. If that long! Happy New Year! ++STENDEC++

Brendan

December 31st, 2009
1:51 pm

I have not had a lot of positive things to say lately. Who would, in the midst of losing eight out of nine games, including six in-a-row. But I can point to some things that have, generally-speaking, gone well. Even now, lame and pathetic as we are on special teams play, we’re still better than where we were last season on the PK.

Goaltending: We knew there’d be sacrifices to be made because of “Kari Down ‘09 (Bill “Rawhide” Tiller, all rights reserved). Perhaps, we’ve come as FAR as we can with Moose, a 35-year career backup, and Pavelec, a 22-year old ROOKIE goalie, who was PRESSED INTO SERVICE a full YEAR ahead of schedule. I never like “rushing” prospects. But, I understand that we had very little choice. All things considered, our goaltending, given the number of shots faced, has kept us afloat this year. But Father Time is catching up to us. If we’re going to be a contender we have to play like a contender.

Segue … but the Thrashers look like a team of guys committed to playing in a beer league. When I watched them last night, the only thing missing was, “Who’s got the beer? Make sure we don’t run out.” Because that was the only sense of URGENCY I witnessed the whole night. What a dramatically poor defensive display.

I can’t prove it, but I think I caught Marc Savard mouthing the words, “Boys, I told Ilya during the pre-game skate that life in the NHL gets SO MUCH BETTER once you leave Atlanta. The air smells fresher. The water tastes sweeter. And don’t get me started on how much better CUDDLING gets.” I had to clean that last part up a bit. But you get the gist of it.

Honestly, something Glenn “Chico” Resch said still haunts me. He said, and I quote, “Doc, I’m tellin’ ya. It’s not about shooting and passing. It’s about leading by example and playing a complete style of play. I think it would be best for Ilya to go to a team where he’s not the TOP BANANA. So he could see truly complete players apply their craft and truly learn from them there. It might just be the best thing for him.” And implied in those comments are that … it would be detrimental to Kovy’s development, as an NHL player, to remain in Atlanta, where he’ll be permitted to lollygag and cherry pick all the days of his career, while holding EXTRAORDINARY informal power. Once Kovy is signed to some $11 million contract, he’ll be able to get coaches fired, Jaromir Jagr style.

I can’t think of a reason to give Don Waddell more time as the GM. What would that accomplish? An accountant can adhere to a budget. This team has NOT had an IDENTITY since its inception. And one of the principal duties of a GM is OVERSIGHT of the direction and IDENTITY of the team. I understand that he’s been hamstrung by budgets and bad ownership pressuring, etc. But c’mon. Where is this “GM Utopia” that exists out there? Not even Ken Holland in Detroit is so blessed in his job conditions and security. Someone, other than coaches, should answer for this.

I don’t want to be so negative. I think Atlanta has good prospects in Kane, Bogosian, Pavelec, and even Kari, when healthy. I think Bryan Little is miscast in his current role. He should be playing Center, on either the top line or 2nd line. Maybe the pressure of it being his contract year has affected him? But Bryan Little’s best years are still very clearly ahead of him. He’s a prospect worth keeping. I’m on the fence with Colby Armstrong. I see him as a 3rd line guy who wants to play “Top Six” forward minutes. He may not get that chance here. And he may not want it, if offered. Max Afinogenov has been a very nice surprise. But, yes … he coughs up the puck with alarming frequency and uses poor judgement in his passing, sometimes. I like ‘im, because of the low salary. If we were paying him $3-4 million dollars, I’d like him much less. Todd White has checked out. So has Kozlov. I just don’t know what to say. Ron Hainsey has not been a $4.5 million defender.

But I don’t want to end so negatively, as I’ve said. Nik Antropov has genuinely surprised me. His increased goal scoring and decent point production have surpassed anything that I anticipated from him. And Toby Enstrom’s 27 assists are a wonderful stat. And finally, Pavel Kubina hovering around +15/16 most of the season has been a welcome change.

Sage of Bluesland

December 31st, 2009
1:54 pm

Now where is that little child Sara and her wittle spweadsheet to ‘prove’ to us that the bumbling, blustering little fraud of a GM is actually an above-average GM?!

What a sad, pathetic joke. Now we finally know who lisping Don’s daughter was all along!

I gave you all the answer years ago–but you didn’t listen. It’s too late now. The former port-a-potty salesman will ride this franchise into the ground, laughing all the way to the bank at you–the SHEEP who subsidized his incompetence.

Ownership would have been FORCED to do something if more did the right thing for the good of the franchise: boycott the product; let it be known that the product/service was completely unacceptable as is.

But, no, there are too many wittle Bwuewand fwag-wavers around–and they have become just as much of a problem. Pat yourselves on the back, those who continued to subsidize. Ownership never got the message clear enough–there were still enough of you around to live in your fantasyland….Poor ignorant, delusional sheep.

P.T. Barnum was indeed correct. You get what you deserve, folks–and you’re getting what you so foolishly paid for. Enjoy it–you bought it.

Oh, and Happy New Year to all…well, I can hope and pray that this next year will be the last of that bumbling, blustering, idiot of a GM we have at the helm of the franchise…but, it doesn’t matter–the damage has been done, and re-done, and re-done again…

(Where is RanalloLamb and GaVaSheep and their vaunted, albeit proven-wrong-countless-times, opinion of our GM who is so far in over his head it’s not even funny?)

Cheers.

B. Thenet

December 31st, 2009
2:36 pm

Sage: Take a look at the crowd during Thrashers home games and tell me that people are not voting with their pocketbooks already? How empty does it need to get?

Sage of Bluesland

December 31st, 2009
3:26 pm

How empty? Completely.

Imagine what would happen if there were less than 1,000 folks to show up…yes, it would make the national news…and, yes, it would force ownership to take action.

(and if it forces ownership to move the franchise, then so be it–it only cuts to the chase of everything the ownership stands for…everything in the sports-world is getting bass-ackwards: the fans deserve to know what the ‘plan’ is from ownership…if it’s to be mere fodder for the rest of the league, then fine, but at least you know what you’ll be paying for and make your economic choices accordingly…)

Brendan

December 31st, 2009
5:14 pm

Here’s what I want Head Coach John Anderson to do on New Year’s Day. Right as the players are returning to their benches to get ready for the starting lineups before the National Anthem, I want John Anderson to walk over to the Buffalo bench, and in front of ALL the Sabre players say, “Lindy, just so ya know. There’s no way in H#LL you guys are gonna win this game. Not even if we spotted you a four goal lead in the 1st period.” And then, I want Lindy Ruff to reply, “With or without the spotting, we’ll be up 4-0, anway.” And I want every Thrasher player to hear the exchange.

Maybe THENNNN, we’d get a spirited contest. And normally, Sabres-Thrasher games are plenty spirited to begin with!

Hotrod

December 31st, 2009
5:50 pm

I just need to point something out, then I will go back on strike.

Bruins game 12/30/09 – 1st period – between 6 and 5 minutes:
Valabik was bringing up the puck with a couple of other Thrashers,
he made a pathetically weak wiffed pass and fumbled it to a hard working Bruin. Kovy comes in to challenge the Bruin for the puck against the boards and Valabik stood there and watched as Kovy worked for the puck against the boards. The 3rd Thrasher was somewhere near the crease watching as well. 1 Bruin against 3 Thrashers and doing a dang good job.

Valabik stood there and watched making no effort at all. When I saw it live, I couldnt believe it. Seeing it on the replay today just infuriated me more. If Anderson stands for that with out any repercussions, then he is not a good coach and is the reason the Thrashers have no dicipline.

Lee

December 31st, 2009
6:14 pm

Brendan-Sounds like a good deal to me, we need our players pumped up. It’s not practise, it’s a game, with competition.

Steve Brown

December 31st, 2009
6:57 pm

DW said Kovy would be signed by Xmas. When it became apparent that wasn’t happening the team began this collapse (Anderson’s opinion that this hadn’t affected the locker room was more Thrasher management BS, it sure affected play on the ice, I think that is where it counts). The charade is now over and you can all start playing the next fools game, who are the Thrashers getting in the trade. What foolishness, this team does not deserve fan support for treating the fans like a bunch of fools.

Lee

December 31st, 2009
7:37 pm

Steve Brown-I think what’s happening is that the team is so concerned about signing kovalchuk, that they aren’t focusing on winning. But the truth is, Kovy won’t want to sign if you don’t win!

Brendan

December 31st, 2009
8:14 pm

If Kovy really wanted to help out the Thrashers, he’d just agree to a one-year contract right now, so the matter would be behind us. And if the year goes like crud from here, Kovy can ask to be traded at the draft. And if that fails, it’s only one more year. What’s that, in the “big scheme of things?” Kovy’s prime years are still ahead of him. He’s got 12-14 more good years to play for the Cup.

Steve Brown, the Atlanta Thrashers fans have been treated so disrespectfully, that we might as well be the jilted wife, now sleeping on the sofa, while the mistress has shacked up with hubby, in the upstairs Master Bedroom. And worse yet, we’re “grateful” for our uncomfortable sofa, since it beats the COLD, HARD FLOOR. Is this any kinda of marriage? What are we clinging to? Are the neighbors “fooled” when they see us coming up the driveway? ‘Cuz hubby is waltzing out the door, with lipstick on his collar, and his lingerie-clad love bunny draped all over ‘im like a cheap suit. What are we supposed to say? “Hi Sweetie! I’m home??? Didja miss me??,” while glancing back at the neighbors, hoping they “bought” it?

Steve Brown, if all doesn’t turn out well, and soon, the Atlanta hockey fan will not soon forget how they were hoodwinked, flimflammed, bamboozled and hornswoggled by this ownership and GM, with “talk” of playoffs during the 4-year building plan, that none of them will talk about publicly. As Sage of Bluesland says, “You fire them with your wallet. That’s the vote that counts.”

Now, what I’d like to see Friday night, between whistles, are the Buffalo Sabres taunting Kovalchuk. Here’s a sample. “Hey Ilya. Good luck in Free Agency. ‘Cuz you SURE won’t be playing here?” Another Sabre teammate says, “Wanna know why, Kovy?” And the first Sabre replies, “Because on our team, we all play defense.”

What? Oh, Ilya’d would shake it off and ignore it. But maybe it’d make Thrasher teammates respond with some mettle. I’m sick of this passiveness. You can’t tell me that they don’t talk smack in Philly. Or Boston. Or New York. Or even Chicago and Detroit. But in Atlanta, it’s like, “Hey, we don’t want any trouble here. We’re just guys trying to collect an NHL paycheck. C’mon, now. Let’s just try to get through these sixty minutes. And then we’ll leave your arena, peaceably. Couldn’t you guys use a night off? We’re all pretty tired. Just take a nice fat, juicy 1st period lead and we’ll allow you to nurse it all game. Just let us get close, by the end. So it doesn’t look so bad in the boxscore.” And that’s the deal we give teams, these days.

Ever see “Bee Movie,” with Jerry Seinfeld as the voice of Barry Benson Bee. And he’s feuding in the bathroom with Patrick Warburton over “Vanessa,” played by Renee Zellweger? Well in the fight scene, the action spills over to the shower, where a waterbug is hiding in the bathtub. He says, “I’m just a harmless waterbug. Not taking anyone’s SIDE, here.” The Atlanta Thrashers are the benign waterbugs of the NHL. And I’m getting a little tired of it.

Guess what would be BETTER? Anything! Let’s go over to the Sabres bench and tell them, “Not only are we gonna win tonight’s game. We’re going to EMBARRASS YOU in front of your home fans, and run up the score. We’re the team that’s makin’ the playoffs. Not you.” Could we, for once, start to play with that kind of an ATTITUDE?

Steve Brown

December 31st, 2009
10:10 pm

Thanks Brendan, you made me smile going into 2010. Happy New Year and stay fired up. It’s the only way to fly!

Brendan

December 31st, 2009
11:57 pm

Happy New Year, Steve Brown! And all Thrasher fans! And even you, Bruce Levenson. May 2010 be the year you grow a brain! Lord, hear our prayer! A-men!!!

And, although 2010 is not the beginning of a new decade, but rather, is the 10th year of the 2000 decade, I don’t even care if people want to THINK that it is! Woo-hoo!!

Sage of Bluesland

January 1st, 2010
12:53 am

Happy New Year, Sheep!!!

Kovy won’t be here in 2011, and neither will I!!!

Why? Because I’m INCREDIBLY QUEER!!!

LAC

January 1st, 2010
7:21 am

Ok Chris… As a fan I want YOU, since you have a direct line or at least access to waddell. I want YOU to ask him when he plans on resigning !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Read the blog comments, WE DEMAND IT NOW ! You work for the the paper and it reports on events, don waddell is a person in,
“not really”,control of a pro sports team here that simply stinks. He has been a CAREER LOSER since becoming GM. I want answers from the FOOL himself, when is he leaving for the sake of the team. That is a fair question, given the Awful play and his dishonest conduct.

I realize it will put you in an akward position, but READ YOUR BLOG, What are we ALL saying ? So I now say it has to be asked finally, get rid of the butterfiles and DO IT ! I want to see what YOU have… If I were in your shoes, I would because it is something THE FANS want to know. Do not let him HIDE from you or the facts !

I doubt you will, as you have NEVER shown a willingness to do so in the past, but now it HAS to be done period. And if he does not like it F him, name a time & place and I will be there, we’ll see how much GUTS this spineless coward really has and you can refree the event.

OK Chris ??????????????????? Do what the FANS want not the team !

Not Blind

January 1st, 2010
8:42 am

All the Thrasher Olympians will be taking no chances on getting injured before the Olympics. Kozlov has playing that way for several years. Thank God for Center Ice.

Lee

January 1st, 2010
10:57 am

HAPPY NEW YEAR ALL!!!!!!!!! LET’S START THE SEASON OFF GREAT!

Brendan, totally agree that thrashers fans are treaed poorly, but is it becuase we were always known as Loserville regardless of the sport, OR is it becuase we are a new team with very little years of experience OR is it becuase we are in the middle of Georgia? First ofall, I don’t belive either of those. Starting will Loserville, umm, what’s the Atlanta Hawks record again?? And did they make the playoffs last year?? Yep! Really?? Then the falcons, they sucked this year, but they made the playoffs last year, now I can see how the braves and thrashers are considered losers, but we have 2 decent sports teams, that’s not loserville.
Now, young team will little experience, umm so what? We need to let the players develop and learn some things, cough cough, how to clear the puck.
And the fact that we are in Georgia, it’s actually pretty impressive to have a hockey team here.
So Mr. Brendan, this is where you come in, which one is the best reason that we, fans, are treated badly?

Hockey Biltong

January 1st, 2010
11:02 am

Happy New Year, y’all!!!!!

rob

January 1st, 2010
11:55 am

The team has no leader. Any thoughts on who should be the next Captain? I don’t see anyone making a stand that would get the rest of the team to follow right now…… Determination, Grittiness, Hard work, Dedication to job and team. If you work your butt off on the ice and lose that is one thing, but to have no ethic to play this game the way it is suppose to be played is plain pathetic. That is why so many hockey fans in Atl still cheer for their old team instead of embracing the Thrashers with the passion of a true hockey fan. Being from Buffalo I am trying to support the Thrashers, going to the games and cheering until I am hoarse, trying to overlook the lack of effort and intensity on this team. They are leaderless. There is talent on the team, and a lot of promise, but until someone gets them to come together and PLAY HOCKEY, we will continue to be a could have been. C’mon boys play some hockey so all the hockey fans in this town can go to the game and cheer for the home team instead of the OTHER team.

Jimbo

January 1st, 2010
12:48 pm

We are in the second, failed 5 Year Plan that DW has crafted. We’ve got more talent than any past Thrasher team but we are outhustled, hit, and played by TEAMS. Yes, TEAMS that play together, cover for one another and seem to be able to rise to any occasion. All we seem to rise to is -A 3 GOAL DEFICIT. Does Anderson have a wrinkle in his so-called “System” that can pull out grit, toughness and defense from a bunch of talented but almost exclusively offensive players????? They sure haven’t shown it and they’re not fun to watch right now. Time for JA to show some leadership.

Chris Vivlamore

January 1st, 2010
1:08 pm

I’m hearing neither Hainsey nor Bogosian made U.S. Olympic team.

stendec

January 1st, 2010
1:32 pm

Do any Yardbird players actually DESERVE to compete in Olympics? Not in these damn quarters! ++STENDEC++

stendec

January 1st, 2010
1:45 pm

If Moose Hedberg starts in goal tonight he will turn in a stellar performance. The Yardbird offense will remain in deep freeze no score mode. Captain Ilya “Give Me Money Now” Kovalchuk will miss open nets and continue to play bullfight (ole) defense. Yardbirds will continue to trip over their own skate laces. Coach John Petrino will continue to look as lost behind bench as Mark Bicht on sidelines. The new year will be a continuation of the old one. Uninspired debacles. Heartless exhibitions. Gutless showings. Just standard operating procedure for this uncaring club. ++STENDEC++

LAC

January 1st, 2010
1:59 pm

HEY CHRIS… Will you please ANSWER MY QUESTION and NOT ignore it ?

Chris Vivlamore

January 1st, 2010
2:08 pm

LAC: I’ll answer your question when you ask an intelligent one. Waddell is not going to resign because you want him to. Sorry. He’s not going to all of a sudden step down because I ask him. Be real dude.

Smoothie

January 1st, 2010
3:36 pm

Per Dan Kamal, looks like Whitey is back in along with Anssi Salmela. Boris takes a seat…finally! Still waiting word on the other forward scratch…how about Kozzie?? Moose gets the nod in net…obviously.

I’m hoping they mix up the pairings and let Anssi skate with Hainsey as those two were decent together in limited action last year. I think it’s time for Bogo to have his minutes reduced…to third pairing mins. I see no issue with Bogo and Schubie playing against Buffalo’s lower lines and perhaps preserving Zach’s energy for some productive PK mins.

The Real Thrash

January 1st, 2010
4:11 pm

Goodbye Thrashers, we loved you. Better than the owners and GM.

Brendan

January 1st, 2010
4:21 pm

What a nice Winter Classic! Mark Recchi tied it at 1-1, late in the 3rd period. Then Marco Sturm won it for Boston, 2-1, in the overtime.

Brendan

January 1st, 2010
4:26 pm

I didn’t hear Hainsey or Bogosian’s names mentioned for the Team USA roster.

stendec

January 1st, 2010
4:48 pm

Do not think all NHL outcomes are scripted ala professional wrestling. Have no doubts Winter Classic was! Tying goal late. Home team wins on power play goal in overtime. Bostonian who scored winner for USA against Russians in 1980 Olympics plus a few gold medal teammates in attendance. Coincidence? Conspiracy? Duh! ++STENDEC++ Do not get me wrong. Glad Beaners won. I hate Philly, which embraces dog killing thugs, with a fiery passion. City only damn cesspool surburb of Detroit anyway!

sisu

January 1st, 2010
5:20 pm

Sage and LAC, how about starting the new year with a resolution of stopping personal attacks? I have not met either one of you and do not care to after all the same whining on each blog. As to most other people on here I have met and talked to and had good conversations about hockey. The real issue with the team is that the goaltending has become a huge question mark, Pavs has disappeared and Moose can only do so much. I think the biggest reason for this is that tere is no “true” goalie coach in Atlanta. Perhaps the Spirit is saving money by not hiring one?

The season is still not over, however, if the team digs a big hole by a long losing streak then the playoffs are a dream.

lee

January 1st, 2010
5:48 pm

Awesome Winter Classic, a WAAAAY better game played then we did. So Chris, how many teams have not named their olympic roster??? Thanks.
As for team USA, I didn’t hear Bogo or Hainsey named either, oh well. Let me ask the question folks: Which team(s) are YOU rooting for in the Winter Oylmpics???

Brendan

January 1st, 2010
6:02 pm

Lee, I don’t believe, for one split-second, that Mr. Gearon, Mr. Levenson, Rutherford Seydell, Ed Pescowitz, Bo Turner (??), or Michael Gearon, Sr., seriously sit around a table to discuss, “How can we further SCREW the Thrasher fans in Atlanta, and nationwide?” Neither, I’d wager, do you believe that. They simply don’t do that.

Here’s how I’d craft an explanation of the disrespect, Lee. These guys, with the except of Levenson, had no prior hockey exposure or experience. Said another way, they made their MONEY in other business ventures. In this regard, they’re not abject losers. They’re just sports/hockey ignorant. I have no doubt … that they’ve TRIED to learn more about hockey and sports as a business. I have no doubt … that they EMBRACE the concept of “building through the draft.” And I do, too. Answering truthfully, that’s precisely how I’d go about building an expansion team or ANY team that finds itself LAST in the standings. I’d embark on a 4-5 year building plan, slowwwwwly and patiently. But during the process, I’d EXPLAIN that that was the plan. Why? So my fanbase doesn’t think I’m an absolute bozo. So that my fanbase understands what the plan is, moving forward. I’d be, as an arm-chair/hypothetical owner, all about INCLUSION. I’d want my fanbase to be informed about team policies and team decisions and team strategies.

Even today, Brian Burke “unveiled” his VISION/STRATEGY for Team USA. He even went so far as TO EXPLAIN the 18-month long PROCESS of how players were selected. Then he went into detail about the concept of “team character” and “team speed.” Etc. But I digress. This isn’t the Olympic blog. So I’ll return to answering the question.

I would tell my fanbase that, even though we’re building, there will be accountability of performance of players, coaches, scouts, equipment managers, team doctors, ushers, ticket takers, and, above all, the GM–the person charged with OVERSIGHT of the team, in whose judgement I place the HIGHEST VALUE or most importance.

These owners don’t SET OUT to displease hockey fans. That’s NOT their goal or objective. And they don’t have any sort of stated reason or anti-hockey philosophy designed to punish the hockey-going crowd. They simply don’t have good judgement. In my view of things, this is my best guess. They have or had the belief that they are in possession of one of the great hockey minds of our generation in Don Waddell.

No, there’s no “bah-dum-pum” rimshot. And that’s the problem. They simply don’t have good judgement about how a hockey team should be run. They don’t have proper experience with running a successful hockey program. They are, first and foremost, businessmen. Stop. That’s not meant to be an indictment of them or their character. It’s no sin to be an entrepreneur. They operate according to a very conservative business model. As fans, we don’t like the business model. At all. And we want it changed. And we’ve wanted it changed for years now.

As best I can ascertain, their business model is to try to be the #6-#8 seed in the playoffs, every year, with minimal expenditure. And in years where they think they can get a competitive edge by spending more, they do, provided that it, again, doesn’t DEVIATE SUBSTANTIALLY from their “fiscally responsible” approach to running the team. The Atlanta Thrashers, under the AS, LLC’s stewardship, essentially relies on “revenue-sharing dollars” to survive. In other words, they tend to keep the payroll low, or lower, so that they can “break-even” with the NHL financial assistance. In “build years,” that’s actually a very nice approach. After all, the goal in the “building process” is to reload via the lottery draft, waiver wire, and where possible, via inexpensive free agency (Peverley/Afinogenov).

Okay, so where is the “disrespect” factor? The disrespect comes from a fundamental lack of accountability for the direction and oversight of the team. In 99.9% of other markets, that’s the GM’s job. The GM is supposed to conceive a “concept” for the team. We’re in our 11th year and 10th season, I still cannot explain what “the plan” was or is. I’d say we’re in the midst of a youth movement. And at the beginning of the current CBA, we were in a “geriatric movement.” And prior that, we were in a “hodge podge of whatever” movement. So, you can clearly see … the franchise has essentially been rudderless, blowing where the wind takes us. But it doesn’t begin and end there, Lee. It’s that season ticket holders are charged FULL price for their seats, while those same seats are discounted sometimes 50% by Christmas, to the general public. That’s a tremendous SLAP in the FACE to the very people on whom the franchise’s very EXISTENCE DEPENDS!!! Seventy-six percent (76%) of the NHL’s profits come from gate revenues. You’d think that, knowing that, that the owners would treat their STH’s with the utmost of respect. Instead, Bruce Levenson tells them to shut up and pay the increased prices … at the town hall meetings. In marriage terms, this is hubby coming home drunk, stinking like his mistress or the Pink Pony dancers, while slapping his wife across the face, telling her, “I’m the man of this house. I’ll come and go and do as I please. Now make me some food. Get up off the floor, before I get angry and really hurt you. And, by the way, tidy up this kitchen.”

Really. Levenson is that bad. That the ownership would ever elect him to do the speaking for them, is outrageous. I think Michael Gearon, Junior, has come to this epiphany. When the team is terrible, Levenson stands before them saying, “Sorry. We got raise ticket prices. If you don’t like it, tough.” Poor Waddell sits there, hands covering his face in embarrassment, wishing he were ANY PLACE but there. But really, why is the team so terrible? I’ll hold a mirror so Waddell look into it, to find the culprit. Waddell is HARDLY AIDED by these businessmen, but these businessmen don’t make draft picks. They don’t make trades. They don’t hire coaches. They don’t hire scouts. They don’t hire equipment managers. Or hire sales reps, ushers, or ticket takers.

To evaluate how a team is doing, there are, in every major newspaper and every sports website on the internet, something called “standings.” Other teams, like the Pittsburgh Penguins, made GM and Head Coaching changes, even during the “building process,” when things weren’t going right/properly. Need I remind anyone that the Penguins drafted 1st overall in 2003, 2nd overall in 2004, 1st overall in 2005, and 2nd overall in 2006. Sound familiar? Atlanta drafted 1st overall in 1999, 2nd overall in 2000, 1st overall in 2001, and 2nd overall in 2002. Curt Fraser wasn’t fired until after Christmas in 2002. And Waddell is still on the payroll, listed as the “GM and Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations.” And the team still hasn’t made the Conference Finals, despite nine Top 10 overall picks, and six lottery draft selections. But nobody thinks there’s a problem??, in terms of ownership. Well, they do not. They attribute those 1999-2004 results to PRIOR OWNERSHIP follies. I kid you, not. They do. That’s what they think. For real. I repeat, they think they’ve got THEIR MAN in Waddell. They’re not doing it, purposefully, to make Thrasher fans angry. They’re not vendetta driven. They’re just wrong in their judgement. And until fans stay away in DROVES, telling them the reasons why they are abstaining from attendance, the owners just won’t get it, enough to make a change. In their view of things, Lee, as businessmen, Waddell is doing everything right. He’s sticking to budgets. He’s drafting well/better. He’s trading better. He’s making smarter free agent signings. And he’s even got his team in playoff contention, at Christmas and New Year’s. So, when fans complain to them that Don Waddell should be fired, their reaction is to SCOFF. LOUDLY. They think you “insane.” Or disgruntled. They can quickly point to all the wonderful things he does, like drafting Bogosian and Kane. Like claiming Peverley off of waivers. Like trading Exelby and Colin Stuart for Tim Stapleton and Pavel Kubina. Stapleton, as I understand it, is doing well in the farm system. They’ll tell you how Atlanta’s ECHL and AHL teams are chock full of great prospects, like Kaip, Kulda, Machacek, Grant Lewis, Holzapfel, Niclas Lasu, Zach Redmond, Daultan Leveille, Angelo Esposito, Stewart, Lehman, Oystrick, Postma, Gratton, Jordan Lavallee, Brett Sterling, Crabb, Krog, Pospisil, etc. They’ll tell you that Boris Valabik and Bryan Little are cornerstone players for the coming years. And they’ll tell you, proudly, what an ABJECT STEAL, what THIEVERY, Maxim Afinogenov was, at $880,000.

In short, they’ll LAUGH AT YOU, heartily, to suggest that such a GM … needs to be shown the door. And there it is. In a nutshell. With no sugarcoating. That’s your ownership. Does the guy who comes home drunk from the strip bar think he’s done anything wrong or disrespectful? Well, neither do these owners think anything they’ve done, aside from possibly the embarrassment of the lawsuit, is wrong.

lee

January 1st, 2010
6:43 pm

Brendan-Thanks man, great explanations and statements, you’re always the answer to the answer to the question!! :)

LETS GO THRASHERS!

Alan Champagne

January 1st, 2010
6:45 pm

Bogosian has gotten extremely tentative and has stopped shooting.

Lee

January 1st, 2010
9:07 pm

Alan Champagne-Yep I agree, I’m pretty sure it’s becuase he’s really young and he’s very streaky just like Ondrej Pavelec.

Lee

January 1st, 2010
9:09 pm

Alan Champange- BTW, I kinda like him passing more than shooting, becuase he’s a D man and he’s not supposed to shoot. He’s not always in the right place to shoot, so it’s good to see him passing more. I think the coaches talked to him about that.

Brendan

January 1st, 2010
9:55 pm

I didn’t mean to write such a novel. Thanks for reading it, Lee.

Lee

January 1st, 2010
9:59 pm

Brendan-Haha, well if it wasn’t you, I probably wouldn’t read it!