Kovalchuk knows what’s coming against former team

Ilya Kovalchuk knows what’s coming tonight when he plays at Philips Arena – this time as a member of the Devils.

A youth hockey group sat in one of the upper sections of the rink while the Devils participated in their morning skate in preparation for tonight’s game against the Thrashers. Many of the kids booed every time he touched the puck.

“They are practicing for tonight,” said Kovalchuk, who expects to be booed by his former home crowd.

That’s fine with the former Thrashers No. 1 overall pick and captain. He plays for the Devils now and that means a trip to the playoffs. The Thrashers are hanging on for a chance to make the playoffs for only the second time in the 10-year franchise history.

“It nice,” Kovalchuk said of the upcoming playoffs. “That’s why we play hockey, to win. You don’t want to finish every year and go play in the World Championships. I won twice. Now I want to win something different.

“Every day I feel better and better [about being in New Jersey]. I know the guys better. I know the coaching staff better. The whole organization. I feel like I’ve been here forever because we’ve got an unbelievable group of guys here. Everybody helps me with everything so I feel very comfortable.”

I asked Kovalchuk the difference between the two organizations. He was candid in his remarks. He  referenced his comments following his trade when he said he was now playing for a “first-class organization.” Remarks the ruffled the feathers of some.

“There are a lot of different things,” Kovalchuk said. ” I can’t mention just one right now but it’s a little different organization. I know a lot of guys were [ticked] off when I said this was a first-class organization, but the difference between the two organizations – that’s winning. If you win on a consistent basis . … You don’t have to take it personally. You have to think about ourselves and make sure we do something better for the team next year.

“I didn’t mean anything personal. It’s just reality right now. [They Thrashers have] got so many young great players who can be really good, but you have to treat them right, train them right, teach them the game right and they are going to be successful. Like Pittsburgh, Chicago and Washington, they were last in the league and all of a sudden in a couple years they win the Cup or Presidents Trophy. That’s where they should look up to and try to do the same thing.”

Kovalchuk had dinner Monday night with his former Russian teammates, Slava Kozlov, Nik Antropov and Maxim Afinogenov. He did not spend the night in his Atlanta house, but rather stayed in the team hotel. He said his mother and plenty of friends will be at the game. He will also get a chance to join his wife and children, including his new born son, in Florida following the game.

Kovalchuk questioned why the Thrashers are not playing Kozlov.

“I don’t know what is going on,” Kovalchuk said. “I think a guy like Kozzy, they need him real bad right now with his experience. I think the guy has played over 100 playoff games. Some personal reasons don’t have to go against the team. Especially now with all those injuries and he’s still not playing. I don’t think it’s right to treat guys like that. They did it to [Alexei] Zhitnik first, now Kozzy. He’s just too professional. You can’t say any bad word against him. They just sit him down and all the guys are disappointed too.”

Kovalchuk has said he will not negotiate a new contract until after the playoffs. Still, a smile comes to his face every time the word is mentioned.

“I know what my future is,” Kovalchuk said. “I’m going to go in the playoffs. That’s my closest future. I’m not a guy who thinks a couple years ahead. I take it one day at a time.”

89 comments Add your comment

Stevo

April 6th, 2010
2:32 pm

I think it is clear the Thrashers will not make one last run at Kovy. He has clearly moved on.

Smoothie

April 6th, 2010
2:32 pm

“I didn’t mean anything personal. It’s just reality right now. They’ve got so many young great players who can be really good, but you have to treat them right, train them right, teach them the game right and they are going to be successful.”

What does this guy know about reality? There are great, young players right here in Atlanta with more to come. Just another mercenary hoping to ride someone’s coat-tails to a Cup. You better not sign with NJ long-term as Marty, Rolston, Elias, Langenbrunner, Niedermeyer and Pandolfo aren’t exactly in the prime of their careers.

All you had to do is sign a 2 year contract for $20-22 M, live comfortably here in Atlanta, the birthplace of your 3 children and wait for the synergy to occur. If it didn’t materialize, you could always walk in 2 years when more teams may have more money to spend under a bigger salary cap on your over-valued and inflated ego.

It has nothing to do with winning. He will take the biggest paycheck that comes his way. His agent is Jay Grossman. Do you really think he will take a discount to play for a “winner”. It’s a new era and a bad team one year can come back the next and win (Philly, Colorado etc). He’s upset over how they treatd fat boy Zhitnik? Kozzy wasn’t playing well you moron. And they brought in more of your damn Russian cronies to appease you. And yet you are hung up on Alexei Zhitnik…OMG.

“I know what my future is,” Kovalchuk said. “I’m going to go in the playoffs. That’s my closest future. I’m not a guy who thinks a couple years ahead. I take it one day at a time.”

Evidently not, because you are too money-hungry to see what’s right in front of you jackass! In two years you might have been one of the most respected players in hockey while competing for a Stanley Cup with a young, talented hockey team in Atlanta. Just another mercenary.

I’ll eat crow if he signs for less than $8.5 M per year, but I have a feeling some GM more ignorant than Kovy will pay him $9 – 10 M / year.

erock

April 6th, 2010
2:34 pm

I feel the same way about KOZLOV. The organization did him wrong just like they seem to do everybody. If they were not going to play him then they should have dealt him or just gave him away to anybody. CLASSLESS ORGANIZATION FROM TOP TO BOTTOM. I feel sorry for everybody except the UNRESTRICTED free agents. They have a way out of this @#@#@#@.

Smoothie

April 6th, 2010
2:38 pm

Nobody wanted his old, tired ass. And second-guessing your coach is now way to endear yourself when you’re on the outs of your career. Wake up.

J.B.

April 6th, 2010
2:38 pm

you know, if Kovy hadn’t strung all the atlanta fans along by saying he wanted to be a thrasher for life all season and was as honest and candid as his quotes indicate here, he likely wouldn’t get booed tonight. He’d likely get alot of cheering and applause much like Exelby did earlier this season upon his return to atlanta.

Kovalchuk was by far my favorite player when he was here and I don’t fault him for wanting to go somewhere else to win sooner than later, he’s earned that right, but he should have been honest and not strongly given the impression he wanted to stay when it’s obvious now that it was all lip service.

Additionally, I always enjoyed speaking with Kovy albeit briefly whenever I had the chance, but he really comes off as a d*uche b@g in this interview even if what he’s saying is true. I’m not one to boo players, only refs for bad or non-calls, and if I was going to the game tonight, I don’t believe I would boo kovy either, but whoever’s going to the game that has read this blog post sure has more of a reason to do so.

Finally, I REALLY don’t agree with Ilya commenting on Kozlov’s benching at all. For someone who wants to win so badly, Kovy sure isn’t being very objective in seeing that John Anderson wants to do the same thing and needs to scratch Slava to have a better chance of doing so.

erock

April 6th, 2010
2:40 pm

SMOOTHIE CALM DOWN AND WATCH . THERE WILL BE MORE PLAYERS TO FOLLOW THE PATH OUT OF HERE IN THE FUTURE AS SOON AS THEY BECOME FREE AGENTS. Those Russians cronies are LEADING your TEAM in goals and assists.

Sara

April 6th, 2010
2:41 pm

Smoothie – I think you misunderstood what Kovy was saying in that first quote – or at least I took it completely different. Chris can expound on that but IMO Kovy *is* talking about the young talent of the Thrashers – not of the Devils. And his point was unless Atlanta learns how to properly develop their talent, they are never going to be in the same League as the Devils. And guess what – he’s right. They won’t.

We’ve talked at various times about the poor feeder system from Chicago, or how Coburn wasn’t properly developed and then shipped off, or about not having an actual goalie coach. Based on what Kovy said, sounds like the players have noticed those issues as well.

erock

April 6th, 2010
2:42 pm

second guessing your coach that almost everyone on this blog wants gone after this year anyway because his system dont work. Take a deep breath SMOOTHIE and think before you open your TRAP.

MB

April 6th, 2010
2:42 pm

Smoothie / C-Viv, maybe I misinterpreted this when I read it, but I thought he was referring to the Thrashers when he said:

“I didn’t mean anything personal. It’s just reality right now. They’ve got so many young great players who can be really good, but you have to treat them right, train them right, teach them the game right and they are going to be successful. Like Pittsburgh, Chicago and Washington, they were last in the league and all of a sudden in a couple years they win the Cup or Presidents Trophy. That’s where they should look up to and try to do the same thing.”

ChippersLoveChild

April 6th, 2010
2:44 pm

I pretty much agree with everything Kovy had to say. It hurts to hear, but he is right! The Thrashers’ organization is awful and always has been. The names on the back of the sweaters may change, but the ones that count (the owners and front office) have not. Until that changes we will always be the laughing stock of the NHL. I wish Kovy would have stayed, but more importantly I wish this organization would have given him a reason to stay by producing a winner. Winning cures all. If that day finally comes most of the fans here will hopefully appreciate Kovalchuk for the great player he is and for everything he did for this franchise while here.

erock

April 6th, 2010
2:45 pm

J B Where would we be in the standings right now if KOZLOV was playing in the shootouts the last few games he was BENCHED ??

Smoothie

April 6th, 2010
2:50 pm

Oh relax, I’m just having some fun at Kovy’s expense. Afterall, that’s what this is right? Entertainment? Just because Kovy scored over 300 goals in 8 years doesn’t mean I have to bow down and kiss his ass.

No, I meant what I said when I questioned his comments about young talent. Perhaps they’re the ones playing the game the right way — think Little, Kane, Enstrom etc…hopefully Bogosian will learn from this year — and he’s the one wanting other players to do the dirty work so he can score all of his goals and look like a superstar. My other point is we may be a lot closer than Kovy thinks. If he really believed we have lots of young talent like he states, why not stay 2 or 3 more years and find out? Perhaps he knows best, but I’m not willing to trust a superstar prima donna when he makes remarks like this. We shall see, but it sounds like he’s much more interested in chumming it up with his Russian cronies and fitting in somewhere else rather than actually lead a team of young men and help teach them the game the right way. He could’ve been a part of that, but instead he chose to hide behind his agent and take the road most travelled.

J.B.

April 6th, 2010
2:54 pm

erock – I won’t dispute kozzy’s talents in a shootout scenario but ideally you’d want to win in 60 minutes and not have the shootout be a factor. Neither JA nor any other coach in the league is going to create a lineup with a shootout as the predicted end result.

When he’s been in the shootout, he’s been great, but the fact is during regulation this season, kozzy has looked pretty bad. Hurts to say that too, because i’m a big fan of his, but I do agree with his benching during the latter parts of this season. There’s too much young talent to cultivate to keep a struggling vet on the ice for nostalgic purposes.

It probably could have been handled better, but the thrashers do not owe Kozlov ice time because he won two stanley cups with another team or because he was one of the russian five or because he’s (I think) the last active connection to CCCP hockey or anything like that; he’s got to earn it just like everyone else.

Sara

April 6th, 2010
2:58 pm

Smoothie I get your points. But given how skeptical many fans have been about expecting to see “real change” from this organization, why would you be surprised to know some players have the same skepticism? It’s his life and his career – maybe he doesn’t want to bank it all on “maybe’s.”

docsbro

April 6th, 2010
3:00 pm

Sara and MB that is the way I read it as well. I felt he was referring to Atlanta and how if they teach and train the players properly they can reach the top like other franchises have done. He did not say anything that was out of line. Again people he is not the villain, it’s a SORRY franchise and he saw the writing on the wall. If it was just as simple as offering him a MAX deal why did DW wait till one week before the deadline to do it. That deal should have been offered from the beginning. Good luck Kovy I appreciate everything you did for this sorry franchise…. It kills me to say that as a kid who grew up watching the Flames and was heart broken when they left. I love hockey, but this franchise has not done enough!! Ten years in and all we have left is DW…something is DEFINITELY wrong with that picture.

cleve

April 6th, 2010
3:03 pm

we should boo him , while the thrashers may not have given him the deal he wanted when it comes down to it , it was all about the money with him , i still have hope we can make the playoffs though.

Cornbread

April 6th, 2010
3:04 pm

Good Riddance! Kovalchuk is the reason the Thrashers are in the position they are in. A one way prima donna who quit on the team when they did not quit on him.

Smoothie

April 6th, 2010
3:07 pm

Sara – only because he has the talent and the charisma to help change it. And he was slowly being given the power. Perhaps it’s a good thing that it blew up in Waddell’s face because you can’t really build a team by letting one player sway every important decision. But it’s not Waddell’s fault that Lehtonen turned into a lazy, insolent dough-boy. Perhaps Kovy is a better judge of talent that Waddell and Pavelec isn’t #1 material or Enstrom isn’t even Top 4 or Kane won’t amount to much. But I doubt it. The guy doesn’t even know how to win a puck battle or lift someone’s stick. He’d rather, as you say, “whack a mole”-it lashing wildly at the puck as he flies by and says “damn” in Russian.

Chris Vivlamore

April 6th, 2010
3:08 pm

All: I’m sorry. Kovalchuk was talking about the Thrashers and their young players in that quote. I think he couldn’t help himself and slipped into “ourselves” from his days in Atlanta, but the essence of the quote is the Thrashers. He said if the Thrashers bring their young players along the right way, there is no reason to believe that can’t turnaround the fortunes of the franchise like Pittsburgh, Washington and Chicago. Sorry for the confusion.

ChippersLoveChild

April 6th, 2010
3:13 pm

Cornbread,

How did Kovy quit on this team? He came back from an injury weeks earlier than expected this season to help this team, which is saying quite a lot for a guy in contract year when coming back so soon could have caused further injury. He was a professional and a leader while here. I will never fault him for wanting to move on and be apart of a winning team and organization.

ChippersLoveChild

April 6th, 2010
3:16 pm

Smoothie,

If they were giving Kovalchuk power on decisions that says more about their complete ineptitude when it comes to running an oganization than it does about whether or not Kovy is a good judge of talent.

Smoothie

April 6th, 2010
3:23 pm

True, but Antropov and Afinogenov have both worked out fairly well. But most of the folks on this blog new those moves had the potential to work. More so with Antropov. I was even more skeptical of Antropov, but he has really impressed me as a well-rounded player. As for Crazy Legs, we all knew what were getting, but he has exceeded all expectations by scoring 20+ goals. While they may have not asked Kovy to furnish a list of players, there’s no doubt they were trying to appease him by bringing in certain players, Kubina included.

Chipper – question for you. Do you really think Kovy played as hard in December and January for this team as he did during the last 3 months of last season? I think you have your answer in terms of Kovy’s inability to commit completely. It most certainly affected his play. At first, I thought it was his foot, but by late December it was obvious he was either pressing and trying too hard or just loafing out there waiting for the perfect oppty to strike and make himself feel better.

PJR

April 6th, 2010
3:23 pm

Kovy is just telling it like it is. He will be paid far less money than he was offered by the Thrashers but will be much happier and successful with a real hockey organization. I have been a season ticket holder since the beginning but will finally come to my senses and not renew. People need to wake up and cancel their tickets until we get a new owner. I remember going to the town hall meeting at the end of last year and listening to the team spewing a bunch of BS to its fans and I could not believe how many people actually believed that the team was on the rise. Stop the nonsense until we get some real hockey executives to run this team.

Cornbread

April 6th, 2010
3:26 pm

And what did Kovalchuk do when he returned in December and January? QUIT. The team played their hearts out when he went down. He came back fired-up and then quit when things were not going to his prima donna liking. If you and anybody else can’t see that, you are blind.

Mr. Obvious

April 6th, 2010
3:28 pm

Ilya Kovalchuk = A bad, no-defense-playing memory from Atlanta’s past.

Jason Heyward = The Anti-Kovalchuk

ChippersLoveChild

April 6th, 2010
3:28 pm

Smoothie,

Maybe not about Kovy, but that is a problem that has plagued him since day one. I’m not sure any player on this team, except maybe Antro or Reasoner (Kane seems to fit that mold too) plays their ass off every night, at least that is an impression that is easy to form while watching them. I think it is and always has been to expect great things from Kovy every night and then on certain nights when those things didn’t happen it was easy to say he wasn’t playing as hard as he should be. His game has certainly improved over the years, but nobody is perfect.

Smoothie

April 6th, 2010
3:38 pm

CLC – no argument there really, but after watching Kane play compared to how Kovy approaches the game, I think it’s easier to tell when Kovy is taking shifts off or floating. But playing too many minutes forces him to do that sometimes and perhaps that was the bigger problem.

Also, I would add Little and Kubina to that list. While Little has struggled around the goal, he’s always fighting for loose pucks, getting involved in the corners and skating like hell to get back on defense in transition. And Kubina has been known to dive and sprawl and slide into the crease to block a shot when the goalie is flopping around. Sure, he gets beat badly from time to time, but what D-man doesn’t? He seems to bring it just about every night.

Sara

April 6th, 2010
3:39 pm

BTW, just came across this on the Yahoo hockey blog. As I haven’t been around much perhaps it’s already been discussed. If so, please ignore. If not, Chris? Please do some digging??

Elliotte Friedman on why Winnipeg is an option for NHL relocation, but why it may only be Option C. Also of note: “Remember that seven-year, no-movement agreement Balsillie wanted no part of in Pittsburgh? Atlanta’s runs out on March 31, 2011. Looking around the league, you’d think that would be the only potential dance partner at this point.”

Smoothie

April 6th, 2010
3:41 pm

Who’s y’all vote for Player’s Player and Dan Snyder Awards? Obviously, Antropov will win the Three Stars for his consistency.

Player’s Player: Hedberg probably, but Marty, Slater & Kane all have a shot at this I think. Yes, I said Kane. His motor never seems to stop.

Dan Snyder Award: Slater, Reasoner or Moose.

Smoothie

April 6th, 2010
3:43 pm

Sara – I think Elliotte is mis-informed. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen several sources cite 2014-15 as the end of the “no-movement clause” vis a vis the Thrashers franchise. Again, the Philips lease would be added insurance against this team moving any time soon. Can’t believe Friedman would buy into this crap as well. So much for him. Seems like Kevin Allen, Craig Custance and Darren Dreger are the only reliable hockey sages in the media.

nicholas

April 6th, 2010
3:56 pm

kozlov remarks about not rolling ‘3 lines’
kozlov upsets coach
kozlov sits

/end of story

ChippersLoveChild

April 6th, 2010
4:04 pm

Smoothie,

I’d have to agree with you on adding Little and Kubina to the list. Little might just be overlooked because of some of the linemates he has had this year.

Darkhorse

April 6th, 2010
4:10 pm

Someone should slip a cameraman 50 bucks tonight to put a closeup of Waddell on the big screen for a few minutes. Bet that will get more boos than Kovy.

DWTOO

April 6th, 2010
4:50 pm

What about Nik Antropov for the Players Award. He’s leading the team in scoring and having a career year. He dishes the puck well and plays in front of the net. Plus, he’s playing thru a hip injury.

Dan Snyder Award – Jimmy Slater. Hustles every shift.

SportsCrack

April 6th, 2010
5:08 pm

If anyone deserves boos it’s Waddell. Kovy played his heart out here in Atlanta and gave it his all. It’s been clear for 5 seasons now that the ownership and the GM are not the right people to build a winning franchise here in Atlanta. You can’t fault Kovy for being truthful and seeing the writing on the wall. Players want to play for winning organizations and it’s quite clear that the Thrashers have never been one. I’m the biggest Thrashers fan in the world and if I was in Kovy’s shoes I would have left too. It’s not always about the money or he would have taken the contract the Thrashers offered. Sometimes you just want to win and Kovy has earned that right.

Go Thrashers!

Smoothie

April 6th, 2010
5:11 pm

DWTOO – Nik is very worthy, just figured the players would look to a lesser heralded player knowing Antro shold have the most 3 stars points. I would not be unhappy at all to see the Human Eclipse get the award from his peers though.

East Point Bob

April 6th, 2010
5:23 pm

He should be BOOED. I am tired of the classless owners here and a GM who is not a smart as Bugs Bunny. I would pay to skate naked before a home game if they ever fire Waddell, that bum has to go and go now !

Kevin

April 6th, 2010
5:40 pm

I agree with him concerning Kozlov, he is one year removed from a great season and could have helped us down the stretch. He wasn’t playing great but he did deserve to be handled differently. Great coaches don’t let personal feelings affect their lineup decisions.

reg dunlap (aka stendek)

April 6th, 2010
5:46 pm

I am authorizing a bounty on that miserable back stabbing commode residue oxygen waste Illya Kovalchoke! Only the first one who knocks him off the ice will be eligible to collect bounty. Any Trasher have any guts or pride left? Guess that question will be answered in a few hours! ++STENDEK++

Beau Turner

April 6th, 2010
5:46 pm

I’ll be there tonight booing Koval-Joke all night long.

Suckers.

Pavel Kubina

April 6th, 2010
5:49 pm

Am I playing tonight, Coach? I need to finish my little chat with Ilya from the Olympics…

Ilya Kovalchuk

April 6th, 2010
5:53 pm

Andrew G

April 6th, 2010
6:03 pm

Slava has been invisible all year when he played. Bring in the young crop and hold players accountable. I’m sure there is more that meets the eyes than the fact that JA doesn’t like Kozlov.

Devils fan and not NJ!!!

April 6th, 2010
6:06 pm

Ok so i love the ATL sports teams, but if we as a city and fan base boo this guy we are freakin crazy!!! Those kids know no better!!! Get off this guys back!! I so wish i could be there to roote on Kovy!!! I also hope he smacks in the game winning goal that puts the final bullet in our heads for the playoffs… dont get me wrong i love this team and i always will , but we messed this orginization up when those classless jerks in charge traded Hosa and Kovy this year!!! I want this orginization to win win win but as long as you know who is in charge, we will be just as bad off as America is with Obama!!

4 jacks

April 6th, 2010
6:23 pm

The ownership of the Thrashers is deplorable. It is 3rd rate at best, and as long as these BOZO’S own the team it will be no better. I left after Hossa was let go, because the ownership is not committed to winning. They are nothing but corporate wanting to fill their pockets without making any real investment in making the team better or building a solid team for the future. Kolvy knew this, and to his credit he wanted to play for something more than fighting for the last playoff spot. Thrasher ownership can go to He!!.

Adam Dunn

April 6th, 2010
7:23 pm

Go Kovy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Destroy trashers, lets go!!!!

Adam Dunn

April 6th, 2010
7:37 pm

right on devils fan!! couldnt have said it better myself

Adam Dunn

April 6th, 2010
7:37 pm

1-0 devs over yoooouuurrrrr attllaanttaa thrashhhhhhhhhers!!!!

Sage of Bluesland

April 6th, 2010
7:50 pm

Laughing at Smoothiesheep, who still thinks it’s about money!

Wake up, if it’s even possible…

You’re so wrong on practically everything…why do you even bother? Seriously.

B. Thenet

April 6th, 2010
7:57 pm

Ilya is spot on about how pathetic this franchise is at developing talent. Until DW is removed, nothing will change in that regard.

Ilya is dead wrong about Kozlov. Talking smack about your coach to the media in Russia, not acceptable for a guy with a letter on his chest. In addition, Kozlov had been just awful this season, the only time we miss him is in the shootouts.

Lee

April 6th, 2010
8:02 pm

I love ya Kovy….but you’re my past…maybe other’s past too:

“What you need to know about the past is that no matter what has happened, it has all worked together to bring you to this very moment. And this is the moment you can choose to make everything new. Right now.”

“We cannot change our past. We can not change the fact that people act in a certain way. We can not change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.”

GO THRASHERS!

dj

April 6th, 2010
8:14 pm

You can talk about Kovy all you want but Hedberg has cost us 4 points.

stendek

April 6th, 2010
8:22 pm

Trashers look so cute in their pink uniforms! Completely gutless and heartless assembly of commode residue scumball quitters. Even Johan Moose Lethonen! The SOBs have yet to lay a glove or even a glancing body check on overrated Ilya Kovalchoke. They are a total disgrace. They are not men! Men take a little bit of pride in what they do! I pray that Hamilton takes these losers way north next season! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE! Tired of looking at their stinking uncaring butts. Oxygen wastes! Eery miserable one of them. Before you bother with any excuses apologists – SHOVE THEM! In no blasted mood to hear any of that bullshet now. Nauseating filth these Trashers be! ++ STENDEK++

Lee

April 6th, 2010
8:42 pm

Ha…nhl network thinks the Thrashers are trashers too. One of the headlines is: Devils @ Trashers.

stendek

April 6th, 2010
9:33 pm

Here are YOUR Atlanta Trashers (darn sure are not mine!): Heartless, gutless, spineless, talentless, prideless, dignityless, ball-less, clueless, soul-less, gritless, defenseless, offenseless and (feel free to insert less of choice). Totally embarrassing apathetic debacle at Loseland. Although the pink uniforms did look sharp! Suits these girly girls. Hope whole kit and kaboodle freezing their butts off in Hamilton next season. Even Johan Moose Lehtonen. Sorry guy. Trashers simply gave up after opening puck was dropped. Patrons should have received refunds. Hope scum never showed up! They can all go to Hamilton or Hades. All the same to me! ++STENDEK++

[...] New Jersey Devils at Atlanta Thrashers, 7 p.m. EST. If Ilya Kovalchuk(notes) is getting booed by youth hockey players during practice, it probably doesn’t bode all that well for the reaction to his first game in Atlanta as a [...]

Bruce

April 6th, 2010
9:54 pm

I really don’t want to hear the ATL Spirit group members or Don Waddell bragging on how tough the Thrashers played down the stretch when they start talking about next season (like they did this yr.). They STILL didn’t make the playoffs. When are we going to get owners and a GM that know what they are doing. This off season and the beginning of next season tout the team for what they are…..also rans.

Midfield

April 6th, 2010
9:58 pm

It’s been a fitting display. The loser organization ended up surrounded by loser fans. Kovy clearly passing up on some excellent looks was quite a humiliation in and of itself. Wow. Time to announce Waddel’s contract extention and cheer him and Levenson up at the next townhall meeting, real hockey fans!

Sage of Bluesland

April 6th, 2010
10:03 pm

“…Time to announce Waddel’s contract extention and cheer him and Levenson up at the next townhall meeting, real hockey fans!”

Indeed. The sheep are getting what they deserve. They really are. The fans would deserve better if they stopped subsidizing this incompetence…Otherwise, they are getting what they paid for.

I laugh at those who try to convince otherwise…

Tweedle Dum Waddell

April 6th, 2010
10:37 pm

HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! I made you all hate Marc Savard and Andrew Brunette when they walked for nothing in exchange! I made you hate Marian Hossa when he called my bluff and refused to re-sign with this crap of a franchise! And now, my greatest coup! You hate Kovalchuk because I let him call the shots in July and I let him sit around and watch as my AHL coach lost control of the room and I hung him out to dry with the fans until the bitter end instead of drawing a line at November 30th to trade him!!!!

Ahahahahahahaha! you people are soooooo stupid! Who should I let you boo next? Colby! and Pavel! YES! And don’t forget Slava! My trifecta for June!

Tweedle Dum Waddell

April 6th, 2010
10:41 pm

I’m the only constant in Atlanta for the last 11 years! These past captains have all badmouthed management as soon as they left:
Steve Staios, Ray Ferraro, Scott Mellanby, Bobby Holik, and now Ilya Kovalchuk! Yep, each one of these guys were flawed and horrible men when they were here! I’m the greatest GM that ever lived, just ask Atlanta Spirit!!!!

Andy

April 6th, 2010
10:50 pm

I was not at the game tonight becuase I won’t give another dime to the idiot Atlanta Spirit. Hearing that Kovy got booed shows that the fans are as dumb as DW and Levenson. Wake up people–we had a real star,a real talent and ownership could not or would not keep him. You idiots will keep buying tickets on promises that has been’s, never were and never will be’s will combine to make a winner. Dream on. And Don Waddell will be mistaken for Scotty Bowman. The NHL should strip this group of ownership.

Andy

April 6th, 2010
10:54 pm

Want change? Don’t buy tickets. Spirit doesn’t care what you say if your butt is filling a seat. What has supporting this team and paying DW’s salary gotten you for 10 years?

Wad

April 6th, 2010
10:55 pm

Hey guys, I just don’t understand why some of you are so jealous with Kovy or angry at him. Call him a “moron”? – He’s been the epitome and the face of your home team for some years. Thrashers are much indebted to him for their victories (albeit scarce and far between – but that’s not his fault). After all, he hasn’t let you down all those years. And he’s not the first to opt for a change – remember Heatley, Hossa etc., huh? – I guess they must be “morons” too, aren’t they?

B. Thenet

April 6th, 2010
10:58 pm

We are very good at not buying tickets….Guess what? The owners still do not care and still refuse to fire Waddell.

So what next? Lose our franchise because our owners are morons….to prove a point.

The season ticket pricing for next season says it all. Instead of attempting to improve the product, by firing the incompetent management….they just want to bribe us with really cheap tickets. So we have less to complain about when the team sucks next season.

Tweedle Dum Waddell

April 6th, 2010
11:04 pm

Please don’t boo me when I step on the ice to thank all the idiots, I mean fans for attending games this year! All 26 of them! In fact, come on to the game, we have 30 players on the roster and they will all give their jerseys off their backs….we want to get at least 30 fans there.

Wad

April 6th, 2010
11:09 pm

BTW, – some of you should learn from Montreal’s fans. – When Kovalev signed with Ottawa and came playing against his former team (he even scored a goal against Montreal), the Montreal fans greeted him with standing applause (in recognition of what he had done for the Habs). – Mature attitude, isn’t it

Sharon

April 6th, 2010
11:23 pm

Breaking News: The Thrashers have been eliminated from playoff contention.

Now back to bitching about how Kovalchuk broke up with you right before prom and asked for his class ring back.

Get a grip…

Brendan

April 6th, 2010
11:25 pm

Tonight, I cheered my lungs out for Kovy. While all the others booed. And there went the season.

Sage of Bluesland

April 6th, 2010
11:54 pm

“…What has supporting this team and paying DW’s salary gotten you for 10 years?…”

Winner-Winner-Chicken Dinner. Folks like Smoothie and his many lapdogs here are apparently happy…

Matt the Brave

April 6th, 2010
11:55 pm

Atlanta still has a hockey team? :P

thrashers out but Kovalchuk in playoffs

April 7th, 2010
7:39 am

Lets all give thanks to Don(teflon-coated) waddell for another 12 year program comin up…if u keep comin waddell will think he is scotty bowman.And believe u he not he the worst GM n detroit red wings are laughin at Us.Look for wholesale changes like raise n Ticket prices to pay for waddell pants! Look to Winnipeg in 2013 as the Jets will be re-born….Thank u waddell n atlanta owners for u Lies like those monkeys with see no evil speak no evil now!

TheAntiMe

April 7th, 2010
8:05 am

I would not be surprised if the Thrashers upper management were patting themselves on the back for coming close to making the playoffs this season. This organization has absolutely no sense of urgency to build anything more than a mediocre hockey team.

Joyaman

April 7th, 2010
8:46 am

No use beating a dead horse here. Anyone who has seen my posts for the last three years knows my position on the General Manager situation. To the extent that ASG even gives a flip about their “franchise on blocks” until they can find a buyer on AutoTrader.com, perhaps a new GM would be like a fresh paint job, or the smell of fresh bread baking for the prospective home buyers.

They can try to give away the remaining seats (that weren’t comped already this year) to try and cover up their abject failure and negligence as owners, but this situation has reached a new low. The patient is flatlining and the doctor is down the hall watching the Hawks on TV. The least they could do is to ask the NHL to do what the NFL did for the Giants when they helped a sorry franchise with a great upside select a new GM. I seem to remember some sort of turnaround after that happened.

Go Thrash!

Lee

April 7th, 2010
9:12 am

They should’ve ended the season early…back when we lost those 6 games in a row.

Jack

April 7th, 2010
9:32 am

I really believe this is a bad case of a broken record. For the exception of one year. The year always ends with missing the playoffs by approx 10 points, then emphasizing how bad ASG is and how Wadell needs to be fired. When will the(ownership or lack of) get a clue and make some changes.

Jack

April 7th, 2010
9:34 am

Secondly coaching change is not the answer. Yes JA may not be an all star coach but just getting rid of him is not the answer.

bugman

April 7th, 2010
10:39 am

stendek

April 7th, 2010
11:15 am

They should’ve ended the season early…back when (they) lost those 6 games in a row.

They did! ++STENDEK++ Actually it was before THAT losing streak!

PMC

April 7th, 2010
11:44 am

Now that Kovy is gone can we get Hartley back?

Please for the love of all that is good and holy… just turn the team over to Dudley already.

KLS1

April 7th, 2010
1:43 pm

Stop whining about people booing Kovy…this is our team and a little passion, even if it is negative is a good thing.

Kovy made a lot of money in this town, the Thrashers did more for him than he did for us…he wants $110M for one postseason appearance, get real. A season in which Hossa carried the team into the playoffs kicking and screaming while Kovy did his usual figure 8’s.

Its time to get tough Thrasher fans, I would boo Jesus Christ if he showed up in a NJ Devils uniform at Philips arena as we are on the doorstep of the playoffs.

Grow a pair instead of complaining and hiding in the bathroom when the welders from Buffalo start chanting for the Sabres.

Jack

April 7th, 2010
2:17 pm

KLS good point, I had no problem in booing him and I will boo him again. Of course he probably will go to KHL so I will not get that oppurtunity

David

April 7th, 2010
2:25 pm

Why would you NOT boo him? He doesn’t play for us. Boo the crap outta him! It’s a team sport and he’s not on your team.

Midfield

April 7th, 2010
3:09 pm

Hey, you can boo at his poster every day, if it helps. Whatevergetsyathroughthenight, eh?

Wadellblows

April 7th, 2010
4:14 pm

So let me get this straight– you “fans” hate on Kovy? He’s about the money? I guarantee he’ll end up with less per season than what the thrashers offered. Comments that he quit? really? how do you back that up? Heyward is the anti-kovy–after ONE game?!?! hey, mr. FAIRWEATHER fan! People are angry that Kovy says after TEN seasons this team has done NOTHING? Is he saying something you don’t believe?!?!? Hello, anyone home?!?!? Yeah, he’s a terrible guy for scoring more goals than ANYONE in the NHL during his time as a Thrasher & leaving BECAUSE HE ACTUALLY WANTS TO WIN. My favorite: the comment that he should’ve stuck it out for 2 more seasons– because clearly giving an organization 8 or 9 seasons to find any sort of direction is not enough. Booing Kovy is akin to endorsing Wadell.

MB

April 7th, 2010
7:15 pm

“Now back to bitching about how Kovalchuk broke up with you right before prom and asked for his class ring back.

Get a grip…”

Amen, Sharon!

Lee

April 8th, 2010
11:11 am

I remember last year I said “Ahh…at least there’s next year.” And I find myself saying that every year….

:(

G

April 20th, 2010
7:53 pm

Smoothie that is not true. He was offered 110 million dollars from Atlanta but turned it down. He left Atlanta because he was tired of not making the playoffs, and he’s given many years to the team so what more do you want?

RM

April 20th, 2010
8:01 pm

The people booing him are immature, even the Thrashers players said Ilya did not deserve to be booed. Why be so stupid toward a player that gave a lot of years to your team? And he has always been respectful to the fans and is NOT greedy…. he wants to play in the playoffs and have a chance at the Cup, just like any other hockey player. I’m in Illinois and the Blackhawks lost tons of players in the late 90s and early 00s, but I wished them well for several reasons. Blame your GM, not Kovalchuk.