Update: Kovalchuk at Thrashers practice

Your Thursday morning practice report.

Ilya Kovalchuk is on the ice despite being told yesterday that he will be traded. I will talk to him after practice and see what his thoughts are.

Kovalchuk is working on one end of the ice with Bryan Little and Nik Antropov, taking shots on the two goaltenders.

UPDATE: Here are some quotes from Kovalchuk, who spoke to the media for about 12 minutes.

“The rumors are flying all season long. What do you want me to do, sit at home and cry?”

“I asked [Waddell]  if I’m going to play [Friday] and he said yes. So I just show up and do my job.”

“It’s nobody’s fault. Everybody in the locker room can be traded. I’m in the same position as anybody. If they tell me I can be traded, that’s OK too. I just have to show up and play. I love my teammates. I’m one of them.”

“The rumors are getting louder and louder because the deadline is coming up. … It’s a distraction for everybody, but we have to show up and play through it and play our best.”

We have tripled the usual media contingent here as Jeff Schultz and ESPN’s Scott Burnside are also in attendance.

Looks like there will be more special teams practice today in advance of tomorrow’s game in Washington.

193 comments Add your comment

road trip

February 4th, 2010
10:13 am

Don’t care about being first. Very funny how tripling the normal media contingent brings the total up to three. That says a lot.

Get The Puck Out

February 4th, 2010
10:14 am

If he’s practicing and he’s still here friday you think he’ll be playing?

Telfo

February 4th, 2010
10:17 am

They are saying he will play… somehow i doubt that happens, too risky

Bob

February 4th, 2010
10:19 am

What kind of bizarro world does Waddell have us walking through? Has anyone ever heard of this happening anywhere else in any sport? You tell a guy he’s being traded, and then make him come to practice and you might play him tomorrow? WTF?

road trip

February 4th, 2010
10:20 am

What a choice–play him and watch him get hurt or keep him in the press box while you are trying to get a playoff spot. I’d keep him in the press box and put the pressure on the rest of them to step it up. A good check to see what they are all made of–if it isn’t clear already.

road trip

February 4th, 2010
10:22 am

Not that the Rangers set any example for anything, but—they recently told Kotalik that he was being traded and sent him home from a western road swing.

English Teacher

February 4th, 2010
10:24 am

I consider myself to be a bright guy, but I don’t get this. Why practice him if you’re getting rid of him?

bob

February 4th, 2010
10:25 am

kovy – take letemin with you and put in a good word for d-wad to manage the ice forum next season

ChippersLoveChild

February 4th, 2010
10:27 am

So depressing…

Hockey Biltong

February 4th, 2010
10:29 am

Maybe Kovy sez.” I play to help team win, then I twist ankle and have no trade value for you!”

Midfield

February 4th, 2010
10:29 am

It’s either ASG clowns are intentionally tanking the team for whatever cash scheme they have in their convoluted minds, or it’s time for some trust to step up and take over the team ownership due to their mental incapacitation to save them from themselves. Personally, I’m not going anywhere near Philips arena for the time being out of concern for my safety.

sisu

February 4th, 2010
10:33 am

I guess practicing is no big deal, he needs to skate so it’s not like he would go do a public skate? ;)
It will be interesting to see what happens. Chris, any possibility you can ask why he wants the maximum contract and did not want to come off that number?

Falconsforlife

February 4th, 2010
10:33 am

I hope the ASG ends up losing the Hawks after someone takes the Thrashers to Hamilton. What joke they are. Way to take a fanbase and complete destroy it in one decade. After they trade Kovy they’ll be lucky to get over 10k people into philips even on weekends.

road trip

February 4th, 2010
10:38 am

Falconsforlife—the sad thing is that the original fan base stuck with them for a decent part of the decade despite the poor product on the ice. Everyone has their limits, however.

Smoothie

February 4th, 2010
10:42 am

Why in the world would you play Kovy on Friday if you are going to trade him? Even if you’re hoping in the back of your mind that the threat of a trade will get him to sign (not that it will but this is Waddell were talking about) why would you not relegate him to the press box? We can’t beat Washington either way so why risk injury on top of all else. But most importantly, it sends the wrong message to the rest of the team. Show some faith in the rest of the group and tell them to go out and show Kovy and his stupid agent that they can win as a team.

J.B.

February 4th, 2010
10:48 am

Smoothie – i agree on all counts. I just can’t fathom why kovy’s skating today and/or penciled in on the line-up for tomorrow. Makes no sense whatsoever… so par for the course for the thrashers i guess.

Bob

February 4th, 2010
10:50 am

“Even if you’re hoping in the back of your mind that the threat of a trade will get him to sign (not that it will but this is Waddell were talking about) why would you not relegate him to the press box?”

It’s mind boggling, but again this is Waddell we’re talking about. In the past in the NHL, if a club has a pending trade for a guy, they pull him off the ice, out of practice, definitely out of games, and he sits in the press box so he doesn’t get hurt and queer the deal.

The only thing I can think of is what you just wrote, Smoothie. Is this some bizarro desperation ploy from Waddell where he thought that by telling Kovy he was going to be traded that he was hoping Kovy would call us Grossman and say “take their offer!”?

Mooseberg

February 4th, 2010
10:58 am

Ah, the Atlanta Bizarro’s have taken to the Ice today. It would make for a better mascot anyway.

GaVaHokie

February 4th, 2010
11:02 am

Bob… Seems like another poker strategy… I suppose it’s the “last day of high school” feeling they’re going for… a last minute miracle that Kovy will have a change of heart skating around with the guys.

… I really have no idea either.

GaVaHokie

February 4th, 2010
11:04 am

Jokinen was told he’d be traded and Calgary played him anyway… they caught some media flack for that, rightfully so.

MG

February 4th, 2010
11:05 am

Kovy wants max money from the Thrashers simply because he doesn’t want to be here… He can ask for it and if he doesn’t get it then he says I’m not signing, selfish but it is what it is….

I just don’t see him signing for the amount he is asking in the off-season no matter who he signs with. He will sign for what ATL offered or maybe even less. He is using this as his way out of town. Pretty classless, he could have told them a while back if he never truely wanted to stay if that was the case.

Who would have ever thought of the big player losses over the years that looking back, Dany Heatley would be the one who did it with the most class. He did it behind closed doors and the Thrashers were able to get equal value in return in the form of Hossa and DeVries.

This franchise is just jinxed.

GaVaHokie

February 4th, 2010
11:05 am

Very funny how tripling the normal media contingent brings the total up to three. That says a lot.

I LOL’ed on that one. :)

Diego from Lilburn

February 4th, 2010
11:06 am

I say bench him and let the team go ahead and get back to how they were while he was out with the broken foot. Don’t risk him getting injured.

I have to say that asking for the max and not budging is just plain greedy. He’s not the best player in the league. We all know it. I like Kovy but this is just pure arrogance.

Kovy, good luck wherever you land.

Diego from Lilburn

February 4th, 2010
11:07 am

Oh, and wherever it is you land, they may expect you to play defense if you want a max contract with their organization.

Diego from Lilburn

February 4th, 2010
11:07 am

Just sayin’.

GaVaHokie

February 4th, 2010
11:11 am

I think he’s going back to Russia… they’re going to make him one of the Top 10 highest paid athletes in the world and he’ll be the nation’s “darling”.

The last few weeks, Kovy has said he wasn’t ready to commit long-term and was hoping to finish out the season and give the fans a “playoff performance they deserve”… sounds like a parting gift to me.

When Russia is offering $20 million a year, there’s nothing acceptable than “everything you got to offer” from any NHL team.

Smoothie

February 4th, 2010
11:11 am

GVH – are you sure the Sutters told Jokinen anything up front? The media was on to the trade before Jokinen was. I thought I recall someone asking him before the last game he played as a Flame and he was quoted as saying that no one had informed him of any trade or the intention of such a deal. But I might be remembering wrong.

Bob – I don’t understand this man. He botches everything he does with his flawed logic or general lack of IQ. I swear he does not ever make two good decisions in a row. There is absolutely nothing good that can come from Kovy playing tomorrow night or practicing for that matter. And if he is trying to scare Kovy into signing, does skating with Todd White and Mark Popovic really convince him of why he should stay?

Pure. Unadulterated. Madness.

Mooseberg

February 4th, 2010
11:13 am

Hopefully he gets traded to LA and signs a long Term contract…then we only see him once a year and after he gets eaten up by CA Taxes he will be making less than he does now for 10 more years(insert Homer Simpson —-dohhooo here)

rob

February 4th, 2010
11:13 am

Well there needed to be at least 2 people at the practice so someone could write about what else is happening other than the line ups and scratches or bio interviews….speaking of which how about one on Kane so he gets a feeling we are interested in him and want him to stay? Otherwise he may just be running around trying so hard so others will notice him and he can get outta hockey hell ASAP.

Russian

February 4th, 2010
11:15 am

What’s Happend in Atlanta – Stay in Atlanta :-)
I was scream when I opened AJC and read that Kovy practice wiht a team. WHY? Will he play in DC? It will a BIGGEST JOKE in Professional sport.
They are going to leave to DC today aftrenoon, we have to wait few hours.

rob

February 4th, 2010
11:16 am

And as far as practices go, play him…..it isn’t like we have anyone on the team other than Kane and Thorburn who actually check anyone on a consistant basis. Thankfully I have Center Ice so when I get really depressed with the Thrashers I can watch that and remember what it looks like to watch uptempo, hard hitting hockey before I go back to cheering/swearing at the Thrashers! LMAO

GaVaHokie

February 4th, 2010
11:23 am

Smoothie… if the media was on to the trade, somebody in the front office knew about it…doesn’t matter if Jokinen knew about it or not. Pulling a player off the ice is a management decision, not a Jokinen decision.

KovyRules

February 4th, 2010
11:23 am

Midfield “Personally, I’m not going anywhere near Philips arena for the time being out of concern for my safety.” Now you’ve got me thinking. Let’s see, if your real plan was to torch Philips to collect insurance, the first step would be to make sure no owners are there (check), second step make sure no people are there (check)… gulp… If Rutherford is there on Saturday and I see him head for the exit, I’m running!!

zippy

February 4th, 2010
11:28 am

DW has no offers. Period. End of story. No one is going to give up roster talent for a rental that won’t play defense.

Waddle got screwed on the Hossa deal, now he’s done it again by playing the waiting game on Kovy so his big idea is to make it all public, even adding the “secret team!” OOOOOOOhhhh!

Kovy will coast around on ice in Thrasher blue until the March 3rd deadline when DW gives him away for 2 ice bags and a dirty sock. Then he’ll tell us about the book he’s going to write.

Don Waddell

February 4th, 2010
11:29 am

You heard it hear first. Kovy will play Friday and then on Saturday vs Florida at home. Kovy will be traded on Sunday (the last home game before the Olympic break) that is unless Grossman and Kovy cave and take what is on the table which is highly unlikely. After all of this craziness Waddell will step down as GM just before the Olympic break and Rick Dudley will take over.

R. Stroz

February 4th, 2010
11:33 am

Waddell bluffed with a pair of twos again.

I’m convinced the ASG gets a tax credit for employing a special needs GM.

Thrasher_Ed

February 4th, 2010
11:36 am

You know what guys, I am so sick of Dumb Don and the joke of an Ownership group that has destroyed my favorite sports team in Atlanta. Kovy ain’t worth the money he is asking for. No matter where he may go, he will never be a 2 way player. I don’t think he will ever be on a team that wins a Stanley Cup. He is selfish and all he cares about is scoring goals. He does not care about the Thrashers. I am not sure he ever has. Why should he? Dumba$$ joke of a GM, piss poor ownership group, what else? I want guys that want to play both ways and give me effort for my hard earned money. Trade him! He will NEVER help anyone win the CUP! EVER!!!!

Jay Grossman

February 4th, 2010
11:38 am

Don,

While you are being so forthright and honest, why don’t you tell the good people that the clause in our proposed contract that says you’ve got to resign from the Thrashers and let Dudley take over is the real hang up. Come clean, buddy,

Your dear friend,

Jay

stendec

February 4th, 2010
11:38 am

When the Thrashers win (in Atlanta or Hamilton) everyone will understand why Ilya Kovalchuk was not paid $10 million per season for a decade! Agent screwed his own self as well as IK. Although his percentage of contract would make agent millionaire many times over. Such is life in professional sports! ++STENDEC++

Trash

February 4th, 2010
11:39 am

The most galling thing is that Waddell is pulling the strings on this trade. How humiliating to the fan base and the team. What a joke. Even though hockey is the most amazing sport in the US, it is still a niche sport where only the rabid few do understand. And I’m sorry to say but this is another sign as we watch hockey fade away from Atlanta once again. Git ‘er dun. . . . .

ThrashDawg

February 4th, 2010
11:41 am

Dang, Don speaking of yourself in the third person huh? lol

Thrasher_Ed

February 4th, 2010
11:41 am

Does anyone in the Atlanta Spirit care that the entire NHL thinks they are so stupid that they just raid us for our best players and give us trash in return? What will we get? Chris Vivlamore, Shultz, any AJC sports writer should be in the offices of any and all ASG owners demanding to know why they can’t provide this town with a Winning GM and a Team capable of sustained success. It can be done in Atlanta. The NHL commish wants Atlanta to be successful, he has said so numerous times. Atlanta fans will turn out when you rid us of Don Waddell and the ASG onwers who don’t give a FLIP about us as fans!

Hockey Biltong

February 4th, 2010
11:43 am

Fred, ” Elizabeth, I’m coming to join you, my heart just can’t take it anymore. LaMont, you can run the business.”

Raider Fan

February 4th, 2010
11:44 am

HE SAYS EXTENSION STILL AN OPTION.

OMG, HOCKEY CAN STILL BE SAVED!!!

Sherry Taylor

February 4th, 2010
11:44 am

I object to being jerked around by just about everyone involved with the Thrashers from the lackluster/we-don’t-care-about-hockey ownership to the GM to the radio and tv announcers. Over and over Darren Elliot and Dan Kamel have been asked by call in fans about the distraction of Koy’s contract negotiations and all season, I mean, all season, they have said ‘no, no, Kovy isn’t distracted and neither is the team. They are professionals, they know how to play around this type of thing.’ Then Tuesday after the game they both went on and on about what a distraction this has been and how obvious it has been that Kovalchuk has been distracted in his play. How stupid do these people think the fans are? We’ve all sat in the stands since September and known what was going on and yet from the GM down to the announcers been lied to, I would say the owners but as par for their course, they have had little to say.

How many times do the fans have to sit through this mismanagement before the ASG realize we know what they are doing? My mother uses an old southern expression and it perfectly describes this ownership and GM–’You are cutting your nose off to spite your face’. Atlanta Spirit take notice, the fans care more about the team than you do, so it appears.

Badger Bob

February 4th, 2010
11:48 am

Wow, the day stendec sounds like the calm voice of reason compared to the really pissed off fans is the day ASG ought to finally start worrying.

Hockey Biltong

February 4th, 2010
11:52 am

Sherry, it is all one big charade.

Dwayne

February 4th, 2010
11:56 am

Sit Koastalchuck in the pressbox. hell, tell him to go home. Cancer got my Dad in 1992, that goodness Koastalchucks cancer cant physically kill anyone. It just kills the spirit of enough players and fans to ruin what we love. Pure and simple hockey.

GaVaHokie

February 4th, 2010
11:56 am

Waddell bluffed with a pair of twos again.

It might be working… according to Ben Wright, Kovy said an extension is still not out of the question at practice this morning.

http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog/Hockeybuzz-Hot-Topic/Watch-The-Ultimate-Kovalchuk-Twitter-Feed-Here/64/26011

R. Stroz

February 4th, 2010
11:59 am

GaVaHokie – Never, never, never trust the ASG, Waddell, or their spin doctors.