Getting ready for Kovy’s return

Getting settled in here in Duluth as we begin the final week of the regular season. And look who comes calling tomorrow? Ilya Kovalchuk.

I’m hoping to speak to him today about his return, but I’m wondering what you think the fan reaction will be?

Does Kovy get cheered? Booed? Mixed reaction?

I remember talking to him shortly after he was traded when we were in Washington. He already knew the date of April 6th and the Devils return to Philips Arena then. It should be interesting. Let me know what you think will happen.

As for Monday’s practice:

Todd White is skating after missing several games with an upper-body injury. I will check on his status for Tuesday’s game after practice.

Evgeny Artyukhin is at practice after missing Saturday’s game with an upper-body injury.

Pavel Kubina (upper-body) and Bryan Little (lower-body) are not at practice.

Here are the practice lines:

Gray: Bergfors-Antropov-Afinogenov

Light blue: Kane-Peverley-MacArthur

Yellow: Slater-Stapleton-Artyukin

Orange: Kozlov-White-Armstrong

Red: Boulton-Reasoner-Thorburn

For what it’s worth: Angelo Esposito was skating prior to the start of practice, still rehabbing from torn ACL.

Let’s get this posted and I update following practice.

101 comments Add your comment


April 5th, 2010
6:54 pm

From wiki, just fyi: “The Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the National Hockey League player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey.”

Wayne stuck in AL

April 5th, 2010
7:39 pm

Not only should Kovy be booed because: 1)He’s on the other team, and 2)He stabbed us in the back, but Waddell should be booed too; after all, if Hawk fan booed Stan Kasten for trading Dominique…


April 5th, 2010
8:06 pm

Atlanta fans are idiots most of the time. They’ll boo him because he didn’t sign up for 12 more years of mediocrity in Anderson-Waddell World, and then they’ll hypocritically b*tch about the GM and ownership at the same time.

I’m going to cheer Kovy on in Atlanta Tuesday and all through the playoffs.


This is what everyone that checks their emotions at the door should do. Great post Sam!


April 5th, 2010
8:44 pm

I’d like to think that Thrashers fans would be classy enough to applaud for the top player in franchise history (according to the record book) when he’s announced, but we all know that’s not the case (as evidenced by the hollering of “Knights” during the national anthem).

My guess is that reaction will be split but that the boos will be louder, just because booing tends to be louder than polite applause. Unfortunately, I can’t make the game. I would applaud him at the introductions, and would be wearing my Kovalchuk Thrashers sweater…cheering for the home team, but bearing no ill will towards our former superstar.

As for comments along the lines of “what did he ever do for us” referring to no playoff wins…well, by that rationale, you should boo every single member of the Thrashers, right?

Stabbed us in the back by saying it’s nice to be with a first-class organization? Can’t claim that to be anything other than the truth, and unless I’m missing something, he said nothing derogatory about the city or the fans.

But that’s just me…and I have to keep in mind that the same people who boo Kovy, Hossa, Savard, and Heatley are also the ones who cheered for Waddell at the town hall meeting.

NJ Kovalchuk hater

April 5th, 2010
9:15 pm

wearing a kovalchuk jersey is like where a vick jersey at the Falcons eagles game. My Koval jersey has already been burned and replaced with Bogosian


April 5th, 2010
9:36 pm

We should have been booing him for years as he tried to go through 4 guys by himself instead of passing the puck or his non-existent defensive play.

Its a little late now.

But cheer the ASG for not paying $110M to re-sign him, that would have been the end. Thanks for playing but adios.


April 5th, 2010
9:50 pm

Jack, Knights! isn’t in the anthem, either. Not with a “k.” Well, it isn’t. So, screaming Glads! makes about as much sense as “Knights!”


April 5th, 2010
9:59 pm

Here’s what I don’t understand. Here in “polite” Atlanta, where we can’t even manage to get a good, solid “Fire Wadell” going, after a DECADE of failure, we can somehow MUSTER THE ENERGY to boo Hossa, Savard, and Kovalchuk, some of the best players to ever pass through our hallways. Just amazing. And then, we wonder why unrestricted free agents don’t want to come here. And why former players don’t speak highly of us. We’ve lost 10 years being “polite” to Don Waddell.

That’s true, isn’t it? It’s not just a line that Renee Zellweger delivers to Tom Cruise in the movie, “Jerry McGuire.” Ten years. Ten. And it’s still possible to finish 11th in the Conference. Yet, Kovy is who should get booed? Whose vision was it to “fill the other team’s net with puck, in a defense optional” philosophy? Answer: Don Waddell.

Stop. Did Kovy do what Waddell instructed? Well, did he? I’d say he did. Only Jerome Iginla has scored more goals than Kovy, since 2001. Waddell said, “Pack ‘em in, Kovy. Goals bring excitement. Excitement bring fans!” Mission accomplished, at least on the Kovy goals front. Only one coach ever tried to reign Kovy in, to make him play defense. And that was Bob Hartley. Whom Waddell fired, probably because he stood in the way of his “pedal to the medal offense” philosophy. Okay, I retract that. Bob Hartley lost the room. Yada, yada, yada. Film at Eleven.


April 5th, 2010
10:03 pm

Ya know what would be awesome? If Kovy got all his Devils teammates to yell “Knights!” during the anthem, just to razz the Atlanta fans. How cool would that be?


April 5th, 2010
10:08 pm

And yes, Congrats to Jim Slater, our 2002 1st round draft pick, for being the Masterton nominee.


April 5th, 2010
10:19 pm

MB, I was just thinking, 10 years down the road, at the 20 season mark, who is the organization going to trumpet as its “all-time greatest players,” and hang a 17 from the rafters? Who’s it gonna be? Hedberg? Ten years from now, Kovy may well still be the team he signs with this Summer. This organization has to find someone whom they hold in reverence.

Matt the Brave

April 5th, 2010
10:46 pm

This franchise is just a tax write-off like the Braves are. Would’ve been better to have been sold off separately. Sell ‘em back to Ted Turner. At least the promotions would be interesting.


April 5th, 2010
10:47 pm

I’m sure he will receive an earful of boos… they will only because he chose not to commit to a poorly run
franchise. Why sign for the talent he had around him and the uncertainity of relocating in a few years when this franchise leaves town.. Only cheers from me for being able to see a talent like his play for years around here… Hope you get yourself a ring in Jersey!!! Thanks 17 for the memories!!!

Sage of Bluesland

April 5th, 2010
10:49 pm

“…But that’s just me…and I have to keep in mind that the same people who boo Kovy, Hossa, Savard, and Heatley are also the ones who cheered for Waddell at the town hall meeting.”

Isn’t that the truth?! The same sheep…You know who you are–don’t go hiding now that your bluster was nothing but that–and it would make even Don Waddell proud!

Take your excremental progress and enjoy! You deserve it so…


April 5th, 2010
11:00 pm

The sad thing, Brendan, is that it’s Don Waddell who the ASG reveres.

Who knows…I’d like to think that players like Bogosian, Kane, Bergfors, and Pavelec…heck, maybe even Klingberg and Morin…will be among the Heroes of Blueland in 2020.

Then again, I had great hopes that I’d be cheering for Thrashers players like Heatley, Hossa, and Kovalchuk for many years to come (I would add Savard, but in complete candor I thought Boston was over-paying for him and that he wouldn’t be able to maintain that level of production…oops).


April 5th, 2010
11:02 pm

Bruins got a point in the OT loss at Washington. Bruins played well, actually.

Sage, I can understand clapping for Waddell, specifically in support of not caving to $135 million demands. But after that, fans have to speak up about demanding change. Not “asking” for it, but DEMANDING IT. If Bruce Levenson says, “I’ve heard several of you say that you won’t be back if Waddell remains, but we’re 100% behind Waddell,” then you grab your hat and coat, thank them for the invitation, and leave “en masse.” If Bruce asks, “Hey, where’d everybody go?” Your proper response is to GLARE AT HIM, loathfully.

Even Bruce would figure it out. After someone explained it to him using “sock puppets.”


April 5th, 2010
11:05 pm

MB, I laughed and clapped at your post. After I made my post, I did have the creeping thought, “They’ll Waddell’s name from the rafters.” Why not? That’s who they revere! Well done, MB.

Ilya Kovalchuk

April 5th, 2010
11:22 pm


April 6th, 2010
12:28 am

It’s been interesting reading everyone’s comments. A wide range of opinion and everyone respecting other’s opinions. Good that this didn’t break into a contest.

I was unsure of what I was going to do – on one hand Kovalchuk was the face of the franchise and played hard (in his own defenseless way), but neither can I forget how he talked at the end of last season about adding pieces and how he strung Waddell along. Hindsight is 20-20, but Brendan hit it on the head – should have made him the utlimatum last summer. Put up or shut up.

Think I’ll be like our friend Mr. Tiller. Kovalchuk? He’s plays on the Devils, right? Just another guy on the opposing team.

One thing I do want to see – Kubina take a run at him. There’s bad blood between them from somewhere as Pavel ran Kovy at the Olympics. Anyone know why?

DW has to go

April 6th, 2010
1:40 am

Anyone who boo’s Kovy shouldn’t call themselves a true Thrasher/Atlanta sports fan…period. He was the lone reason why we sold tickets to begin with. He was the face of the franchise for his entire existence in Atlanta. He has not said one negative thing about our team nor our city and can’t be blamed for wanting more $ to play for a team that doesn’t have DW as the 29th worst GM according to one hockey source.
If anyone should be booo’d, it’s Teflon Don. I can’t wait to see how he wastes this years draft pick.
Atlanta fans need to step up and show some class. (Highly unlikely)….but I can still wish.


April 6th, 2010
1:59 am

Here, here, DW has to go.

Had you not broken it down to a “money’ thing for Kovy I would have been totally on board with you. However, I believe that Kovy just wants to play for an organized…organization. I really don’t think the money was a problem judging by things Kovy said leading up to his exodus. I think he’s just realized that with the ownership being what it is, this story ain’t changin’ anytime soon in Atlanta.

Atlanta for the most part is a classless city, so for the town to show some class is unlikely. The only thing that gives me hope for this town is the multitude of hockey fans who live here and know what “class” is all about. I’ll not apologize for hockey culture. Hockey culture has pride, sense, reason, direction, class and dignity. These are things the average, indigenous, Atlantan could really stand to learn about

Go Thrashers!


April 6th, 2010
2:21 am

I’ll be going to the game, but I won’t be booing Kovalchuk. He gave the Thrashers 8 years of chances and they wasted all of them. So no, I won’t be booing… he didn’t fail the Thrashers, they failed him. That sounds familiar as a fan too, doesn’t it? I’ll target the rotten core, not the pieces that fall off.


April 6th, 2010
4:21 am

If I were there, which I won’t be, I’d be booing Kovalchuk. It’s not just that he’s not a good player to build a whole team around that is entirely offense first and pays attention to defense only when his coach pulls away ice time for sucking so terribly at it. It’s the fact that he wasn’t honest with anyone. He told the fans that he wanted to remain a Thrasher forever, and he told Waddell whatever the hell he told him months ago to make him think that less than the maximum contract would keep him here (remember Waddell’s statement that they never backed down from max on the Kovy side, and the bullcrap “I just want to provide for my family statement” Kovy gave us). Everyone would have been better off if he had just said “11.2 mil per year keeps me a Thrasher and nothing else). Then, we could have gotten max return for us, and he might have tricked another team into giving him near max money (NJD wouldn’t after what he’s given them). I’ll probably still pull for him after this year, but he wasn’t anywhere near fair to the people who drafted him as high as they did, especially for the kind of play he gave.

Tony C.

April 6th, 2010
4:41 am

Don’t boo him…. It’ll just tick him off and he’ll score 4 by 12:36 of the 2nd.


April 6th, 2010
4:43 am

After reading other comments as well as re-reading my own, I can only boil it down to this: I’d boo him because he crippled my favorite sports team on the entire planet to try to come off as a good guy. It has nothing to do with Waddell (bringing Waddell into this is a cop-out because most people who follow the Thrashers want to fire him). Had he come forth with honesty about his demands a year ago, we’d probably be in a better position than we are now, and if it was about us going nowhere as a franchise, then why was he so in favor of signing Antropov and Afinogenov, who have done well this year?


April 6th, 2010
7:20 am

Some of you guys crack me up. You type a 3 page love letter about why we should cheer for someone on another team. MAN UP. You are suppose to cheer for your team, period. I will boo but that is where it will stop, nothing personal. To heck will kovy we should be cheering our guys on. I mean after all the crap they went through and to end up this close to the playoffs is a feat. Go Thrashers!!!!!!!!


April 6th, 2010
7:37 am

Look you guys. HE didn’t embarrass this franchise it already was an embarrassment!! Saying it is a joy to finally play for a first class organization…well that wasn’t a slap in my face because as a Thrasher and hockey fan I know that to be fact!! It’s not like when Heatley said he was glad to play someplace where “the people” care about hockey. You see Kovy wasn’t taking a shot at THE FANS!! He was taking a shot at the miserable OWNERSHIP group and even more pathetic GENERAL MANAGER. I will at least give the ASG a little bit of a pass because they NEVER wanted a hockey team and where merely saddled with them(doesn’t make it right but it is the reality). However the GM is a “hockey lifer” and has had 10 years to do something with this franchise AND HE HAS DONE NOTHING!! Kovy is NOT the problem DW IS!! Until he is gone(and the team is sold to someone who cares about hockey) this franchise will be very always be very UNworld class!!

The ownership does not care about Hockey and they don’t care what ANY of us thinks!! This is a joke of a franchise!!

Chris Vivlamore

April 6th, 2010
8:14 am

If my math is correct, the Thrashers will be eliminated from playoff contention if they lose to the Devils and if the Flyers gain a point against the Maple Leafs.


April 6th, 2010
8:17 am

I predict loud boos for Kovy. Atlanta fans are mostly “what have you done for me lately” types. Look at the reaction to Glavine and Smoltz after they left. Fans want a freely operating economic system except they won’t accept players getting the maximum contracts that management is stupid enough to offer.


April 6th, 2010
8:40 am

I just pray his does NOT earn a star in the game tonight.

Game On

April 6th, 2010
8:56 am

Hey DW got to go-
Kovalchuk is the enemy and true fans boo the enemy or other team. Koval is on the other team and a trader. Also look what happens when Avery(Rangers annoyance) got under Kovy skin, he did not produce, and he played awful and Undiscipline. Thus we should boo Kovalchuk in the attempt to get under his skin as well. We need this win.


April 6th, 2010
9:10 am

I agSree with a number of others who have said “BOO WADDELL INSTEAD”. He has not developed a ‘winning culture’ here and Kovy, Hossa and others have recognized that winning “the Cup” is not in the immediate Thrasher’s future. Donnie Brilliance simply could not read between the lines when Kovy’s and Hossa’s agents told him that negotitations were moving ahead. They were simply buying time and using the Thrasher bids to up the price for their clients. Until we get an upper management that is able to develop a winning culture, what good UFA is seriously going to consider coming here? Boo Donnie Brilliance for a ten year failure not Kovy for providing some highlights while here.

Kovy's Agent

April 6th, 2010
9:16 am

Pardon this little reminisence. Six years ago, during one of those season ticket holder pre-season events, we got Kovy to hold our 12mo old daughter and took a picture with him and her. He was genuinely warm and tender when holding her. My wife is Ukrainian so they had a nice little chat in Russian and he spoke a little (in Russian) to our daughter. Keep in mind, this was when he was still single and one would suspect had little interest in kids. Now that he’s a father, several times over, I have no doubt he’s a good dad because of how he treated us at the time. My daughter’s now 7 and I would love to have the opportunity to get Ilya to sign that photogragh in her presence. Somehow, I suspect he’d get a kick out of it almost as much as she would.

Fillin' up @ Juniors

April 6th, 2010
9:36 am

BOO, He was offered a max deal, and rejected it. The Thrashers had no choice but to get something for him or get nothing. You say thanks for the memories if a player retires, is traded for needed players, or signed a free agent deal when the team didnt want them back. You do not cheer for buttholes who walked away from their teams on their own will.


April 6th, 2010
10:00 am

Kovy has left people. It’s time to put down the kool-aid and move on. He is a liar, don’t reward bad behavior from children like him.

Whatever he did for the Thrashers on and off the ice is completely outweighed by the fact that HE IS A LIAR. He lied to you, he lied to the team. He just made up a figure in his head that he wanted, didn’t think ASG would match it, and when they did, he ended up looking stupid. Instead of taking the high road, a la Marian Hossa, he decided to take the complete Jerk road.

If you cannot see that by now, keep sipping your kool-aid and buy a freakin’ Devils Jersey.


April 6th, 2010
10:09 am

Kovy should not be booed. Management should be booed. Kovy was not the franchise player to build a team around and the organization didn’t recognize this. He’s an offense specialist, not players like Stahl and Crosby that played both ends well. Making Kovy a captain was the final straw in futilty. He never embraced the roll, either by action or words. I hope we don’t lose our franchise but don’t see how it can go on under current management who can’t get us to the playoffs. Anyway, I will still be supporting the players tonight and love to see them beat Kovy to get into the playoffs.


April 6th, 2010
10:15 am

again i give the glavine/maddox example. maddox wanted to stay but was released. the fans cheered him. glavine left over a 10% offer difference. the fans booed him.

kovy strung the village idiot along and thereby caused the franchise opportunity. i suspect that the fans will boo him.


April 6th, 2010
10:44 am

that’s: deprived the franchise of opportunity.


April 6th, 2010
11:53 am

Guess you Atlanta fans will be steamed by the fact that Kovy has started to play better defense, and under Lemaire, he’s going to be a pretty good defensive player.


April 6th, 2010
12:05 pm

Hopefully he’s booed as resoundingly as Jason Heyward is cheered.


April 6th, 2010
12:06 pm

At the very least he’s a lying piece of crap.

Big Shooter

April 6th, 2010
12:10 pm

Fillin up at Juniors – Kovy wasn’t offered a max deal. Sounds like that is what he wanted, but never offered it. For the record I will give polite applause. He did too much for this franchise to boo him because he didn’t want to waste the rest of his career fighting like hell to finish 10th in a bad Eastern Conference.


April 6th, 2010
12:24 pm

The question is – what would be the circumstances under which the bulk of the booing proponents change their mind. The answer is – none. They claim that Kovy is a liar, because he presumably misled everybody about his intentions. In other words, if he had decided to bail for some greener grass before the start of the season and if he had announced his intent, it would be acceptable. Right. Well, I don’t believe that they would. So, boo right back at you. It looks like some people expect for tier one players to sacrifice their careers on the altar of incompetent ownership and front office of this franchise. I got news for you: it will NOT happen. Get used to it.


April 6th, 2010
12:35 pm

How did he not mislead people? He said for a full year “I want to be in Atlanta”

Do I blame him for leaving this awfully pathetic excuse for a hockey franchise? No way. What talented really talented player would want to play here thier entier career? It’s a horrible organization from the ownership down. Just don’t freaking lie through your teeth for the entire process.


April 6th, 2010
12:37 pm

I mean you could boo Waddell but that’s done no good has it?


April 6th, 2010
12:38 pm

guy plays for a different team now and it was worth more than 100 million for him to never play here again. You don’t want to boo that’s cool but cheering the guy? NO way.


April 6th, 2010
12:47 pm

Exactly. It’s like a joke about a father wacking his son over the head after missing a train at a station. The son screams, ‘What for?’ And the father goes, ‘What else am I supposed to do?’


April 6th, 2010
1:32 pm

Why would we boo Kovy? He wants to win, why would I fault him for that? It certainly isn’t going to happen here.


April 6th, 2010
1:33 pm

What would you want Kovy to say about staying here? If you were on your way out at your current job would you completely trash the place? I wouldn’t.

Roscoe P. Coltrane

April 6th, 2010
1:51 pm

waaa, waaa! You mindless wonders that say “Kovy wasn’t honest?” You should be asking when Don Waddle was last “Honest?” Waddle is the one that never built a team around Kovalchuk. He made him the centerpiece too at young of an age.

Waddle had no one else to promote and then he stabbed Kovy in the back by taking the negotiations public because he couldn’t sign him. How unprofessional. Save your own job you lying SOB. Nice job of running the franchise into the ground.

PS….Hey Waddle: Hockey was in Atlanta in 1970. Long before you came along to squash the fanbase.