Transcript from Waddell interview about Kovalchuk trade

This is quite lengthy, but I finally finished transcribing the entire interview with Don Waddell following the trade of Ilya Kovalchuk. I will post the whole thing.

If you didn’t see it, there is also a blog from my interview with Kovalchuk in the lobby of the team hotel as he was on his way to New Jersey. I posted that around midnight when I got back to my hotel.

I will report from the morning skate. We’ll see if Bergfors and Oduya arrive.

Here is the interview. I asked most of the questions, but some came from our local TV and radio folks and a Washington writer.

Q. Why New Jersey? Was that the best deal?

A. For sure. We did a lot of work these last couple of weeks talking to a lot of teams, exploring a lot of different possibilities. This fit everything we were looking for. We were looking for players to put on our NHL team as we speak. But we are also looking to add some assets into the basket. We think we did that very strongly. Patrice Cormier is a high-end junior player, unfortunately suspended for the rest of the year. Just came off the World Junior tournament, where he was the [Canadian] team captain. A very good recognition by Hockey Canada. We think he’s a great prospect – along with the No. 1 pick. We have assets to work with and two players that can help our team now.

Q. Can this move keep you in the playoff hunt?

A. No doubt about it. We expect to be not only to be in the playoff hunt, but we are going to make a push to make sure we are in the playoffs. Johnny Oduya gives you a real, real solid defenseman there. If you look at good teams around the league, they have five real strong defensemen and this really upgrades our defense back there and gives us another guy that we can count on. He’s a great penalty killer. We think he’s going to be a nice addition to our blue line.

Nik Bergfors is a first-year player. He’s got 13 goals. We are going to have to find goals from different people now, he gives us another weapon. Offensively, he’s got a great shot, can play the power play and score some goals.

Q. Did you talk to Kovy?

A. I talk to Kovy. He was out having dinner. I talked to him. I’ll probably talk to him more tonight. He was anxious to hear what team and that was the end of it.

Q. When did [the trade] go down?

A. It went down late. We flew into D.C. here. Probably got to the hotel sometime around 5 o’clock. Had a conference call with ownership to make sure we had support. Probably by 6 o’clock we had finalized a deal with New Jersey.

Q. There has never been an NHL player that turned down a $100 million contract. Is there anything else you could have done?

A. No. First, I would like to thank Ilya Kovalchuk for everything he’s done for our franchise. He’s been a true gentleman, on and off the ice. He’s done a lot of things for our franchise that people don’t even know about. At the end of the day we really felt that we did everything in our power. It goes back even a lot further to last summer, when we were building our team. I met with Ilya and we talked about some players that we’d like to add to our hockey club. He had some suggestions. We felt we had a good summer doing that. First couple months of the season, seven or eight games over .500. We hit a wall in December. Nothing about Ilya Kovalchuk the player, this is a business. I had great support from our ownership group to be able to offer a player over $100 million. It’s a lot of money.

Q. It’s just after the trade, but do you look back and say there is something you could have done differently?

A. No. Obviously as we found out, it was all about money. We built a team that Kovy liked. We knew Kovy wanted to stay for the rest of his career if he could, but when you start looking at trying to sign a player to that kind of contract, I’ve said already tell me which one of our young players do you want me to trade [Evander] Kane or [Zach] Bogosian because there is no way you’ll be able to afford these players going forward. It’s a cap system. If it wasn’t a cap system you could take a different approach. When you are trying to build a team in this system, look around the league there are examples where it didn’t work out real well, you need to have 23 players on the same page. In this case, if you are going to pay max amount of money for one player, it’s really going to limit you what you can do with the rest of your team.

Q. Moving forward, what do you see as the identity of the team?

A. I certainly think this is an opportunity for our younger players like Kane and Bogosian to step forward. It doesn’t mean they are going to grab the team on their shoulders, but it’s going to give them another opportunity. I think our locker room changes obviously when you trade your captain and the voice of your locker room. New guys will step up. I think there will be a challenge for some other players. I think some players are looking forward to that challenge. I think it will be very positive with some of our younger players as far as their responsibilities and roles they get put in to and how the accept it. I think that’s the exciting part. We know these guys, Kane an 18-year-old player, looks like he’s going to be a heck of a player in the very near future if he’s not already there. To be able to continue build guys like Kane and Bogosian and [Ondrej] Pavelec and [Bryan] Little and [Tobias Enstrom], we’ve got a pretty good core of guys to continue to surround other players with.

Q. Did you address the team?

A. I met with the team this morning. I talked about some of the misinformation that was out there yesterday. We went over that. I will address the team tomorrow. This is a profession they choose. It’s a business and I don’t expect any fallouts from it.

Q. After trading other players like [Dany] Heatley and [Marian] Hossa, how do you think the fans are going to react?

A. Any time you trade stars … Fans look at it as a star being traded away. They can never really measure what you get back. In this case we got two NHL players. But we are really happy with the Cormier kid. We think he’s going to be a top player for us in the next few years here. It’s hard for fans to get their head around that. Only thing I can say, this isn’t a knock of Kovy, it’s a knock on all of us, Kovy’s been here eight years and we still haven’t won a playoff game. This team has to take a different identity. We’ve been building around one player for a long time now. We need to build this around a team. I think this gives us an opportunity to do it. I know for fans, it’s tough to swallow. Bottom line is we need to win hockey games. If we can win hockey games and get in the playoffs, that’s what’s going to make all our lives better.

Q. Are there more deals in the offering?

A. We’ll see. We’ve got some flexibility. We have some more assets in the bank today than we had yesterday. So we’ll see. We have a tough schedule here before the Olympic break. We have four out of five games on the road. We’ve got to try to win some games and survive this and come out of the Olympic break we have what we think is a very great schedule. You can have a great schedule but you’ve got to be prepared to play it. We’ll see if there are other needs or things that we can add that will help our hockey team.

Q. You were so confident going into this process about being able to retain Kovlachuk. Were you taken a back by the monetary thing?

A. When you are going in to sign a player, in anything I do, you have to take a positive approach. I’ve always been an upbeat person and take the high-road that we can. When we got to it, I was a little surprised of the ask and then a little more surprised that we couldn’t make a deal that made sense for both of us. Obviously we were willing to give them term. I know there have been [reported] contracts out there, about seven, 12 years. We had eight-, nine-year deals on the table too. At the end of the day, when you offer somebody $100 million it’s hard to fathom how much money that is. I get paid a good salary in my position. I live a very good lifestyle. It’s just hard to put your arms around $100 million.

Q. Are you competing against another NHL team or possibly a Russian team [with contract offers]?

A. The Russian thing, I never really took that. If he decides to go to Russia that’s the thing he’s going to do. We can’t compete against Russia. I think Kovy, he’s got his side he’s going to look at and I don’t blame him. He looks at it, he’s the superstar in Atlanta. If he’s going to stay there, he should be paid the max. This is where it comes down to a business decision. Whether we are competing about the KHL or another NHL team, it will all be worked out in July when he becomes a free agent. We’ll see where he ends up and what kind of dollars he ends up getting. … It was never used as a bargaining chip by them.

Q. At what point did New Jersey become a player in the process?

A. Just the last few days. We’ve been working with a lot of teams here in the last while. It was slow process because this is a big deal. It takes teams time to figure things out. I was at the New Jersey game Sunday night, playing L.A., and the next day I got a phone call that if they were an interested trading partner would there be stuff there that fits. We started talking with them along with the other six or seven teams we had going at that time. I give credit to Lou Lamoriello. He’s been there a long time. He’s had great success. He wanted this player from the moment we talked. He was pretty determined he was going to pay the price. It’s one of those deals you hope works out for both teams because he obviously paid a price to get Ilya and he’s getting a great player. Now the rest is up to the players who were involved in the trade.

Q. Secondary scoring has been an issue. How do you explain taking out a 31-goal scorer and putting in a 13-goal scorer?

A. I said from Day One, you are never going to replace Ilya Kovalchuk. If I added a 25-goal scorer, you’d say it’s not 30 goals. You can’t replace 30 goals. You’ve got to look for other opportunities from players. Let’s face it, the power-play time, other players are going to get that precious two minutes of ice time that Kovy took from guys. So guys are going to score that normally wouldn’t be in that position. The 30 goals are not going to come from one player. It’s got to come collectively from our group. If you look at number of power-play goals, other guys are going to score those goals. Yeah, I’m not going to say we are as good of a goal-scoring team as we were with Ilya, but now we are going to provide opportunities for other players to come up with those goals.

Q. How much input did John Anderson have?

A. I kept John abreast of what was going on through the contract [talks]. He wouldn’t know, especially the younger players. Bergfors we’ve only played against twice. That’s what we have our scouting staff for. We have a great staff, led by Rick Dudley who I brought on board this year. This is his bread and butter. When you start talking about these kinds of deals, he gets excited because this is what he does for a living. He loves to drive from rink to rink to watch all these players. There was a lot of involvement from a lot of people but at the end of the day we had to make a decision that we felt was best for our organization and this is it.

Q. How many teams contacted you and how many would you say were serious.

A. There were 10 or 12 teams that contacted us and five or six teams that were serious.

Q. Did the Olympic break and then the trade deadline three days later affect your timetable or did the other teams want to jump in?

A. It was a combination. The one thing we thought was we would come out of the Olympic break and we didn’t have a lot of time. This deal couldn’t happen in a day. I also said once you start talking to teams you’ve got to continue on. We talk about players all the time, but nobody will even hear about it. When we start talking about Ilya Kovalchuk, I know that’s going to get out there. You start that talk with teams, you’ve got to continue it. Once we started we were prepared to make a deal when we felt there was a deal to make. Once we got the deal done with New Jersey as far as asking for all the components that we got, it was time to make the deal and move on.

Q. How do you separate the business from the personal? You and Ilya go back to since he was a kid.

A. I can remember picking him up at the airport the year we drafted him. He couldn’t speak English trying to talk to him. It was hilarious because my Russian is not real good. My English isn’t much better. Ilya is a good person. He’s been the face of our franchise. There is nothing negative I could ever say about Ilya Kovlachuk whether he’s a Thrasher or a Devil. I have the most respect for him as a family man. I watched him grow up from a kid that got many speeding tickets his first year of driving. Now having two kids with another one on the way with a beautiful wife and family and a very, very good father. I watched him grow up a lot and I’m very proud to be associated with him for as long as I have.

Q. Would it be out of the realm of possibility that he finishes the year in New Jersey and you are in the mix [when he becomes a free agent]?

A. That’s a good question for him. July 1st brings many things. If he is a free agent on July 1st then it’s something we can talk about.

Q. Upside for Bergfors and Cormier?

A. Bergfors is a first-year player. He has 13 goals. We think that will get even better. He’s on pace for basically a 20-goal season as a first-year player. We’ve watched Kane as a first-year player, how he’s gotten better throughout the year. We think the player is only going to get better as he gets more maturity, gets more experience in the league. Whether that’s a 20-, 25-goal scorer on a regular basis is what we hoped. Cormier is probably ideal for a second-line center because he plays both ends of the ice very well. He’s a hard-nosed player, He plays hard as we know, unfortunately suspended right now. Even his game style, he plays a very aggressive style. As Rick Dudley says he’s the kind of guy that every organization wants to have on its reserve list. It was hard for New Jersey to give up this player.

Q. Did he catch your eye [at the World Junior tournament]?

A.  Even though players are drafted by other teams we always do rankings on every other player. He was captain of the team there so it wasn’t hard to not watch him. He got a lot of ice time there. We’ve watched him. We’ve seen him quite a bit over his draft year and again at the World Junior. You never know these kinds of deals are going to come together. We had him rated No. 1 as the top prospect for the New Jersey Devils as they did too. When we asked for him, I know it was a tough give. Lou was very professional in wanting to get this deal done so that’s why the player ended up being in the deal.

Q. Can you say something to the fans? You obviously take some heat for a move like this?

A. Our job here is to try to do what’s best for the organization short term and long term. We felt that the way the situation was going, with the amount of money we offered Ilya it wasn’t getting done, yeah we could let it play out and let him walk away on July 1st. Then I think we are taking a big step backward with our franchise. When you are able to add two NHL players to put in your lineup immediately, a very, very top prospect and  another first-round pick and not giving up the year. We had deals that looked like draft picks and prospects that were very, very appealing but didn’t help our NHL team right now. We wanted to make sure that we added players to our NHL club right now because we are one point out of a playoff spot as we sit here today. This team believes that they can be in the playoffs and we wanted to make sure we gave them every chance to do that.

Q. Was playing out the year a serious option?

A. We talked about it awhile back but as we got closer it wasn’t the right thing to do.

74 comments Add your comment

Matt

February 5th, 2010
7:52 am

Hahahahahahaha. Good ones there Donnie. Incompetent boob.

bob

February 5th, 2010
7:58 am

did kovy take letemin with him? this team, after 10 yrs, still has to score at least 4 goals a game to have a chance to win.

Gibby

February 5th, 2010
8:16 am

THE CURSE OF THE CAPTAIN!

Chris maybe you can do a story on this. If memory serves me correct, the Thrashers have not had a captain for two consecutive seasons. They become captain:

1.During a season and are gone at the end of the following season.
or
2.Become captain at the beginning of the season and do not finish the next season with the team.

So who do we want to be captain? We know they will be gone next season.

And now, your Winnepeg Thrashers.....!

February 5th, 2010
8:32 am

I don’t blame DW for not meeting Kovalchuk’s salary demands during this debacle. However, I most defininately DO blame him for letting him get to this point. He should have signed IK to a longterm deal right after our only playoff berth a couple of years ago when the future actually looked bright! A smart GM does that, he’s proactive and looks ahead down the road.

Waddell should be toast. If not, hope he likes the snow up north.

For all you Thrashers fans, please email Bary Bettman (gbettman@nhl.com) and get him to apply some pressure on the Atlanta NO-spirit Group to sell the team. Probably won’t help, but couldn’t hurt either. The sad thing is, if we had a winning team, hockey could thrive here….

Tee

February 5th, 2010
8:37 am

If the Thrashers are really happy with the new pieces added to this team for the future; then why don’t we trade Max, Kubina, Armstrong, Kozlov, Moose and any other veteran that will get some type of draft pick this years or next years draft?
Don Waddell should be removed from any and all player personnel moves and let Dudley try his hand. If Wads isn’t removed, Dudley will be named as a GM or at least the equivalent of where is he now with ATL for a team that HAS A CLUE!!!
WADS, YOU ARE AN EGG SUCKING DOG!!

Hip Czech

February 5th, 2010
8:40 am

bash the fans? where on earth do you see that?

Any time you trade stars … Fans look at it as a star being traded away. They can never really measure what you get back. In this case we got two NHL players. But we are really happy with the Cormier kid. We think he’s going to be a top player for us in the next few years here. It’s hard for fans to get their head around that. Only thing I can say, this isn’t a knock of Kovy, it’s a knock on all of us, Kovy’s been here eight years and we still haven’t won a playoff game. This team has to take a different identity. We’ve been building around one player for a long time now. We need to build this around a team. I think this gives us an opportunity to do it. I know for fans, it’s tough to swallow. Bottom line is we need to win hockey games. If we can win hockey games and get in the playoffs, that’s what’s going to make all our lives better.

is a pretty good, spot on answer. I am not a Waddell supporter but that is a true statement.
Everyone is upset about losing Hossa and Kovalchuk, but in the end you offer Kovalchuk whatever he wants and he turns it down.

Could he have gotten more? Who knows. Just be thankful it wasn’t some 31 year old has been or someone with a huge contract (Redden).

Steve Brown

February 5th, 2010
8:52 am

As I predicted a long time ago. Kovy new everything a year ago that he knows now. That’s when Waddell should have begun trade talks. Kovy’s trade value dropped every day he waited to pull the trigger. $101 million too little and no playoff wins to show-there was no other choice. This is a team game and we fans need to suck it up and support our guys. This is about winning not about individual stats. Although I’m depressed and I often watched to see if Kovy would score I will find new reasons to watch. Go Thrashers.

The Real Thrash

February 5th, 2010
8:52 am

What a true representative of the Peter Principle!

Will

February 5th, 2010
8:56 am

Please explain to me how the thrashers ever expect to become good? I dont know what to say other than I am furious with the GM…without a single Star how can anyone expect fans to go to the games…no fans = no money for good players….this team is sunk…If the thrashers leave at least atlanta can have more concerts when the hawks are not playing…Why can the thrashers pull a florida marlins move and just buy the all-star team win the cup and sell them all…i wouldnt care

TheFan79

February 5th, 2010
8:56 am

I thinks this team needs to be rebuild from the scratch.

The Real Thrash

February 5th, 2010
8:57 am

Hip Czech Exactly when did DW offer Kovy “whatever he wants”? He was offered less per year than he was worth. He has the most goals in the NFL since 2001, dude. And anyone who wants hockey to stay in Atlanta knows this is a step in the opposite direction.

Dwayne

February 5th, 2010
9:01 am

I’m glad it’s over. I will still watch the Thrashers, I’ll watch the Devils now also. I hated New Jersey up until yesterday, they are now my 2nd favorite team. What will upset me, if it happens, which i’m sure it will, is when Kovy starts playing defense ALL the time. I think I might cry now.

J-man

February 5th, 2010
9:01 am

Hip Czech – Kovalchuk was NOT offered “whatever he wants”. Kovy and his agent made it very clear that “what he wanted” was 12 years at the maximum salary possible to stay here. DW and the owners have been very up front with what they offered and it wasn’t even close to that. Only at the end did they finally agree to 12 years, but at about $4 million less than the maximum per season. And they offered a few shorter term $10 million a season deal, but the max is around $12 million. So they never came close to meeting his terms. I’m not saying that they necessarily should have met Kovy’s demands, but please do not say that Kovy’s demands were met because they were not. They weren’t very reasonable demands and that’s a fair criticism, but they still weren’t met.

Dwayne

February 5th, 2010
9:05 am

No Real Thrash, this had to be done. We were already headed in the opposite direction. Look on the bright side. Another 5 year plan. I wonder how Johnny OOOOOO-DUUUUUU-YAAAAA is feeling? Probably worse than us…..hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

The Real Thrash

February 5th, 2010
9:08 am

Dwayne The satirical reply is priceless!

Get The Puck Out

February 5th, 2010
9:11 am

I don’t blame Kovy for wanting to leave. I don’t think it was ever about the money. It was about a team that has ownership that was not supportive of trying to build a competitive hockey team and a GM that is only doing what he is told. Don Waddell is not a quality GM and is just doing what he has to to hold on to his job. Kovy will not fit in the Devil’s scheme as they are a defensive team and he has never been pushed to play defense. Kovy will sign a contract somewhere else this summer and it will not be the Devils. I would hope that the thrashers could be in the market for Kovy, and he will sign somewhere for less than what he would have got here now. I don’t know what will become of hockey in Atlanta, and i hope someone will step foward to purchase this team. All i know is Don Waddell is NOT gonig to lead this team anywhere but out of town, and the ownership is doing nothing but running what little fanbase that was left away from hockey. If you have a winning team the casual fan will come, but if you have a team that cannot keep their markee players and cannot sign a top tier FA, then you have what is known as the Atlanta Thrashers. Even hard core hockey fans are tired of the terrible, terrible job that ownership and GM has done. Someone has to be responsible for this Team’s lack of success and it has to be Don waddell. If ownership wants anyone to come to home games, they will have to FIRE Don Waddell. I wonder how many fans it would take to purchase the Thrashers at $10 dollars a pop?

Bob

February 5th, 2010
9:13 am

“He should have signed IK to a longterm deal right after our only playoff berth a couple of years ago when the future actually looked bright! A smart GM does that, he’s proactive and looks ahead down the road.”

This is spot on. Waddell got about what I expected him to get for a rental of Kovy, very middling return, Christensen, Armstrong, Esposito and a low 1st. The point is that Waddell never should have let it get to that point. Try to extend him proactively long ago. And when it was clear he didn’t want to re-sign here, then you trade him long ago and you get a heck of a lot more for a guy under contract for the year (or years). The return that Waddell got on Kovy, a top scorer in this league, is an indictment against his ability to properly manage a club. This trade should have been made long ago and we should have received much better players in return. Instead, it’s rebuild mode once again.

Did anyone see Channel 2’s coverage last night? They had a camera right outside of the restaurant after Kovy got the news. He came through the door yucking it up with (was that his agent?) or someone, looking happy as a clam, and then he saw the camera and immediately got this deadpan face on and looked all sad and walked up to the camera saying how sorry he was to live. Pffft. He was happy as a clam to hear he was finally out of here. And this is a huge indictment against Waddell and the Spirit.

Now, where’s Sara? Time to step up and admit you were dead wrong, honey, and admit that those of us who pointed out months ago that Kovy had checked out and was gone, were the ones who were right.

sisu

February 5th, 2010
9:20 am

Cannot believe we just swapped dmen and got a rookie forward and a criminal in return…

DB

February 5th, 2010
9:20 am

Maybe management needs to get their around this, the fans of this team want a winner. We have suffered for over ten years with only one playoff visit. We continue to see star players traded away. We continue to see half measures to build a team while ticket prices increase.

I’m not advocating that the Thrashers should have paid Kovy what he wanted, but in reality Kovy was lost years ago through the mismanagement of building this team. DW is the most reactive GM in the business when the most successful are proactive.

Put your heads around this ASG, no one in ATL trusts you to do what is right in building teams. The Hawks only sellout when big name teams are in town. Now days the Thrashers can’t even do that. Rethink your model or sell to someone who will.

PMC

February 5th, 2010
9:23 am

you can’t whine about the cap when you aren’t even close to it.

Hockey Bob

February 5th, 2010
9:24 am

You cannot pay one player 20% of your total salary base and expect to compete, in any sport….especially when that one player plays only offense in a game that demands defense as well.
The bottom line is that unlike his top shelf peers, he has not lead us to a chanpionship or even a playoff win….ever.
Folks, you win in sports with defense…always defense first.
We are better off having a group of guys who play the game tough, both ends and want to be here. He was and is a prima donna and I hope he enjoys the NJ winters. He ended up being extremely selfish and hiding behind his agent.
Make no mistake, Cormier is a HUGE addition……

AM

February 5th, 2010
9:24 am

The Thrashers management is the complete reason that most of the seats are empty and the team has under achieved for now 10 years, They have traded away an All Star team, Audette, Brunette, Colburn, Heatly, Savard, Hossa, and now Kovy. They always say the same thing we are building the team around youth. BS. They are building the team around youth so they do not have to pay for a winner. It is obvious. 10 years one playoff appearance (lose in 3 games) – that is unacceptable. Waddell is the scapegoat but make lousy decision with the $ the management team lets him play with. If they move the team they had better get a better vision and management team willing to spend to get a winner. Too bad for a large hockey market – lousy leadership can sink a ship!

English Teacher

February 5th, 2010
9:27 am

Kovy would still be here if Waddell had offered up the contract Ovechkin got right after Ovechkin got it.

As it stands, I’m really sorry Salmela had to go. I really liked him.

Cormier looks like a beast. I hope he stays out of prison.

Trash

February 5th, 2010
9:29 am

Don Waddell said, ” Our job here is to try to do what’s best for the organization short term and long term. ” – -> really ??? Is this a joke ? Uhhh. .your (ASG/Waddel) past history does not reflect this statement. Are we now moving forward ? We receive a suspended player to help the team make a playoff spot this year ? That will help us score some goals since we no longer have the 5th leading goal scorer in the league. Why is incompetence excusable ?

And. . .at least can we now remove the minor league coach running a game system that is not sustainable in the NHL ?

English Teacher

February 5th, 2010
9:29 am

“Now, where’s Sara? Time to step up and admit you were dead wrong, honey, and admit that those of us who pointed out months ago that Kovy had checked out and was gone, were the ones who were right.”

This makes me sad but only becaues my dad’s name was Bob and my mom’s name is Sara. You never like it when your parents fight.

PuckedUp

February 5th, 2010
9:29 am

For a moment I got my hopes up. But crap, Todd White is still here. At this point I’m trying humor, ran out of all the beer and liquor. And drano gives me indigestion.

Alan R.

February 5th, 2010
9:32 am

This is spot on.

Sure, except for the part about signing Kovalchuk after our only playoff berth. Since he was in an existing contract and all, said contract can’t be re-negotiated like that. Now, I’m not well-versed in the CBA, but I’m pretty sure that’s in there.

The point is that Waddell never should have let it get to that point.

Waddell was stupid, but the ownership was worse. It all starts from the top down, and boy did they screw it up big time.

Telfo

February 5th, 2010
9:35 am

some people are really misinformed. You cant do any new contracts with a player until July 1st the year before he becomes a UFA.

all this crap about getting him signed after we made the playoffs or after Ovechkin signed his deal is stupid and makes no sense.

I am usually a DW hater but he did very well in this trade considering it is for a rental that most likely wont stay in Jersey. Kovy and his agent put DW and the owners in an impossible spot.

Telfo

February 5th, 2010
9:36 am

and the ownership offered him over 100 million. Atlanta Spirit deserves most of the crap they get. but in this situation there is no reason to blame them.

EA

February 5th, 2010
9:40 am

Leave Sara alone. You guys have obviously run her off the blog. She is an optimist which is wonderful quality. None of your opinions are superior to anyone else on the blog.

ThrashDawg

February 5th, 2010
9:49 am

Let’s face it, DW is the perfect GM for the ASG. They play games and he takes the fall! What else could you ask for? Oh by the way, if I am not mistaked the ASG did not give DW the go ahead to negotiate with Kovy until like October. I believe I read this somewhere, maybe somebody can confirm this and post on this blog.

Sasha

February 5th, 2010
9:50 am

People are forgetting, we’re still far from the trade deadline. I loved Kovy — I still do. He was the face of the franchise, but lets face it — he clearly didn’t want to stay in Atlanta. Blame DW? It’s hard to do when Kovy sits down over the summer and says who he wants and you go get those players for him. He gave no indication that he wanted to be anywhere other than Atlanta and in fact said that many time publicly. Management and owners put their trust in him.

The Thrasher have 3 goalies – two being first stringers and I have no doubt that there are many teams in the league that would love to have either Kari or Pavelic. That packaged with a decent forward could bring a very good player to Atlanta.

The young players they got are very, very good. No, none are a super-superstar but you only have to look around the league to see some of the top teams in the league thriving on youthful energy and players developing into top players right in front of the fans eyes. And with time to make more deals, and I am most certain more will be made, it’s too early to call it quits on this team.

R. Stroz

February 5th, 2010
9:50 am

Operation Tankland 2010 begins today. A few have pointed out the Thrashers are within points of the playoffs. That’s true.

However, the Thrashers are also within points of another lottery pick.

After we lose the next few games before the Olympic break, the Thrashers will be seaded in the lottery pick group. And thus, Operation Tankland 2010 has begun.

If anyone thinks the Thrashers will be buyers at the trade deadline, you must have inhaled. The only thing the Thrashers will be buying at the trade deadline is prospects/picks/rejects from trading Kubina, Armstrong, Hedberg, Afinogenov, and Kozlov if he’ll waive his NTC.

The ASG better be ready to lower ticket prices next season, or maybe, they already have a buyer lined up, because, after the upcoming fire sale, the Thrashers will be a Calder Cup team.

Thrashy Thrashy

February 5th, 2010
9:51 am

Waddell is telling the truth about winning hockey games, but the fact is that he hasn’t done it. It’s infuriating for most fans to see the guy who can’t get the job done talk about the on-ice bottom line for a hockey franchise. Since Waddell is the constant factor involved in failing to produce a team that is capable of providing a solid bottom line, why is he employed here?

Hey, I hope the trade works out. It would be nice. Unfortunately, the wrong guy is still at the controls.

Get The Puck Out

February 5th, 2010
9:51 am

I’d like to be an optimist but i’ve run out of optimistism.

GaVaHokie

February 5th, 2010
9:53 am

Only thing I can say, this isn’t a knock of Kovy, it’s a knock on all of us, Kovy’s been here eight years and we still haven’t won a playoff game. This team has to take a different identity. We’ve been building around one player for a long time now. We need to build this around a team. I think this gives us an opportunity to do it. I know for fans, it’s tough to swallow. Bottom line is we need to win hockey games. If we can win hockey games and get in the playoffs, that’s what’s going to make all our lives better.

My sentiments exactly… and yes, you can argue that Waddell has been the only consistent piece as well.

GaVaHokie

February 5th, 2010
9:54 am

Bob… wow, I know we don’t agree, but I thought you’d be smart enough to know you can’t extend a player until the final year of his contract… sheesh.

thrashersfan

February 5th, 2010
9:57 am

Some of you guys need to get your facts straight: “And now, your Winnepeg Thrashers…..!” NHL rules do not allow teams to negotiate an existing contract until after July 1 of the last yr of the contract, so there couldn’t have been any contract discussions after they made the playoffs. And “AM”, they didn’t lose in 3 games, they lost in 4.

It was “never” about the money. By default, Kovy can command a huge contract. He’s earned it and someone will pay him. Perhaps not the max but damn close. It was about ownership, management, and success, none of which the Thrashers have ever had. One playoff appearence isn’t enough. You cannot blame Kovy for leaving the mediocrity, but it’s certainly unfortunate that DW did some of what Kovy asked of him last summer and he still walked. Then again, DW clearly didn’t do enough nor spend anywhere near the cap.

How unfortunate for us true hockey fans.

GaVaHokie

February 5th, 2010
9:58 am

And, technically, we didn’t really build a team around Kovalchuk until this year… the rest of the time, you ran a “dog and pony” show by having Kovy running around the ice with whoever fit in the budget.

Denis Lemiuex

February 5th, 2010
9:58 am

My allergy to these fans has returned.

Hip Czech

February 5th, 2010
10:04 am

The Real Thrash…come on, they offered him to be the highest paid player per year for 7 years, turned that down…they offered for him to be the 2nd highest paid player long term for 12 years…he turned that down.

He wanted Antropov, he wanted Max…and he walks. How much more could you offer him???

No one, NO ONE, is going to offer him that kind of money come July.

It will be interesting to see how this team does now that we don’t have to play shorthanded for 22 minutes a game.

Get The Puck Out

February 5th, 2010
10:08 am

I hate it that the only time the Thrashers make headlines is when they lose a top tier FA and not when they sign one.

drajax

February 5th, 2010
10:12 am

Now lets see what type of coaching job Anderson can do. I think everyone would be suprised if the team makes the playoffs but lets see if he can get the defense to tighten up and get some other players into the offense. He’s got a third of the season left. It will be a good test for the entire team, and if the team fails, Waddell should look for a new coach.

Tom O'Connor

February 5th, 2010
10:14 am

I hope Wadell has his resume up to date. He’s a moron. He can’t build a winning team. They got nothing for a superstart.

With the trade of Kovalchuk, I hope the moving vans are ready because this team will move. The idiots in the NHL has to come to the conclusion that Atlanta doesn’t like hockey. Move them to a market where hockey will flourish. Some examples, Hamilton, ON, Quebec City, and Winnipeg, MB.

What a sad sack franchise!!

Tom O'Connor

February 5th, 2010
10:17 am

Thrashersfan, NHL clubs can negotiate with unrestricted and restricted free agents January 1st before they become UFA.

Alan R.

February 5th, 2010
10:18 am

I hope the moving vans are ready because this team will move.

You hope the team moves? Really?

Begone, troll. People like you make these blogs a miserable experience.

thrashersfan

February 5th, 2010
10:25 am

Obviously I didn’t have “my” facts straight. Thanks Tom!

Hockey Lover

February 5th, 2010
10:25 am

you can’t renegotiate a contract…you can’t negotiate an extension either until the player is entering the last year of his contract…blame this on the owners who “won” the lockout. lots of poison pills in the contract…players and agents have are the people with the power in the last year of a contract…

Hip Czech

February 5th, 2010
10:32 am

The idiots in the NHL has to come to the conclusion that Atlanta doesn’t like hockey.

I am not sure what the proper term in logic for this statement is…but how does trading Kovalchuk prove that Atlanta doesn’t like hockey?

The Real Thrash

February 5th, 2010
10:40 am

Hip Czech Again read the interview with Waddell. When asked how he was going to replace the scoring lost with Kovy his reply was the players will receive ” 2 minutes more ice time on the powerplay and they will have to step up”. Do you see anyone else stepping up now? Of course not.
And with regards to the contract Kovy asked for what the player with the most goals in the NHL since 2001 should be paid. The team is no where near the cap and if his salary was going to be 20% of the team’s payroll then that proves they are cheap. But we already knew that.