Q and A with Thrashers co-owner Bruce Levenson

Here is the transcript from my interview with Atlanta Spirit co-owner Bruce Levenson done Wednesday night after the franchise promoted Don Waddell to president, promoted Rick Dudley to general manager and did not retain its coaching staff.

Q. Why the organizational changes? Why now?

A. We obviously had this in mind when we brought Rick [Dudley] in a year ago. We thought it was a wise investment to have another voice at the table that had achieved a fair amount of success in this league. We wanted to get to know him and it was an opportunity to do that. He’s a rink rat and I mean that in a very flattering way. It was an opportunity for him to do that and see how it goes. We talked about it over the course of the year and in recent weeks it just all came together. If we were going to do this, this was the time. Way ahead of the draft. The decision was made to go into a different direction with the coaching staff and we wanted Rick to head up the effort in putting a new staff together. The timing just seemed right. Over the year, I had the opportunity to see Rick in action. Trade deadline day. It was an opportunity for me to watch him up close over the course of the year. The whole [Ilya] Kovalchuk negotiation and ultimately the trade. I had a really, really good feeling about this and so did Don.

Q. How soon after the season did you decide to go in a different direction with the coaching staff?

A. There is an on-going assessment of this coaching staff throughout the season. At the end of the season, there is a more thorough assessment that culminated in a discussion Monday in which this was the recommendation of our hockey operations people and I agreed with that recommendation.

Q. Waddell has taken a lot of criticism as GM. What was the thinking of moving him to the business side? Was it as much to get him out of the GM position or keeping a loyal person who has worked for you as long as you’ve owned the team?

A. I get a lot of e-mails from fans and season-ticket holders, all very passionate about team and wanting as much success for the team as I want. The e-mails, I’ve never done an actual count as there are hundreds and hundreds of them, run about 50-50 with some saying if you don’t remove Don as GM I’m not going to renew my season tickets. And there are others that say if you do remove Don as GM I won’t renew my season tickets. It’s kind of 50-50. Don has burned a lot of bridges in this town and his built an enormous amount of bridges. I’ve been around professional sports for a couple of decades and of the general managers that I have gotten to know, he brings a pretty unique skill set. He has the hockey personnel piece and he also has a business side to him that I haven’t seen in any other GM. It started to make sense. We need to rebuild both here. We need to rebuild the business side and we obviously need to rebuild the on-ice product. But are pointed in the right direction now and Don has a terrific relationship with our business partners. I spend a fair amount of time with our business partners with Don. So I’ve seen the relationships he’s built over all the years here. Nobody wants more for the success of the Atlanta Thrashers than Don Waddell. We think this is an opportune time for him to channel that passion and his business experience into bringing fans back into the stands. It obviously has to go hand in hand with the on-ice product that we can be proud of and our fans can be proud of.

Q. How will his role be different than that of Bernie Mullin?

A. Since Bernie left, Don took on some of Bernie’s responsibilities. This is really a focus. We have to focus our sales, our marketing, our sponsorship relationships, our season-ticket plans. All of that now is going to get a focus at the very top of the organization. I think that’s needed if we are going to turn this thing around.

Q. How frustrating is it as an owner to see where the Thrashers are as compared to where the Hawks are?

A. It’s been six years [since Atlanta Spirit has owned the franchises]. We have learned an enormous amount. We came in as rookie owners six years ago. We’ve learned an enormous amount about building a sports team. We’ve made mistakes along with way with both teams. We also did some positive things with both the teams. The goal from the beginning, and we said this then, was to bring a quality product on the ice and a quality product on the court. We understood that was what was needed for us to achieve success here. It is gratifying on the one hand to look at what we’ve done with the Hawks. I’m extremely proud of that. We’ve had an improved every year that we’ve owned the team. I don’t think any new ownership group in the history of professional sports has had the string that we’ve had on the Hawks side. That’s gratifying. But yes, it’s been unbelievably frustrating. I can look back at mistakes that we’ve made and wish that we haven’t made them. But it’s been extremely frustrating. After we got as far as we got (in making the playoffs) we hit a wall. We had to start over. Nobody likes to take two steps back, but we had to take two steps back. I’m a three-quarters full guy. I don’t want to overhype the direction I think we are headed in, but based on what we’ve learned over the six years, I feel good about the direction that the hockey team is headed right now.

Q. Do you consider this one-step back?

A. I think this is an important step forward. I think we now have a guy that’s going to be focused on the business side and I know from working with him very, very closely over six years that he’s very good at that. And we have a guy that’s going to be focused on the hockey side, on the personnel side that A has a resume, but resumes and only take you so far but B I’ve had the personal experience of working with him for a year whom I also feel very good about.

Q. How is the ownership currently working? There is still the on-going litigation. Can you also speak to how the search for investors is going?

A. It’s working as its worked. And it has worked. It’s worked fine. It has not had any impact. I can understand how a fan could look at it and say Geez, this is dysfunctional group, a bunch of wealthy guys fighting with each other. We have a legitimate dispute between two sides that’s been working its way through the legal process. I would dare you to find one example where that has impacted any of the decisions that we have made on the Hawks and in hopefully rebuilding the Thrashers. It doesn’t impact. It has no impact. It will ultimately come to a conclusion. It’s pretty much disappeared, I think, from the public psyche. It just never did have an impact. We have been ideally looking for an investor to come in and play a role in the Atlanta Thrashers – ideally a local investor who would give us more financial muscle, if you will, in this community. We haven’t found that person yet but we are continuing to look.

Q. If that person comes in, is it to keep the team here? Or could that person come in with majority ownership and move the franchise?

A. We bought the Atlanta Thrashers. In doing that we signed agreements with the NHL. Even if we wanted to talk to somebody about moving, we are forbidden from doing that under our agreements with the NHL. Even if we wanted to talk to somebody who wanted to move it, it’s clearly stated in our agreements. We are forbidden from doing that. We’ve never had those discussions. Every rumor that’s been published, and I’ve seen rumors we were moving to Quebec, to Hamilton, to Winnipeg, Seattle, they’ve been 100 percent unfounded and unfair.

Q. You have 10 unrestricted free agents, how do you see the payroll changing? You are in the bottom third in the NHL in payroll. Do you expect it to stay there? Is there a budget in place?

A. We were running right near $50 million. I hope we can achieve with the Thrashers what we’ve been able to achieve with the Hawks — to build a winning team in a financially responsible manner. That’s what we’ve done with the Hawks. There are ways to measure that like payroll dollars per win. We are at the very top of the NBA and there are a lot of jealous owners with what we’ve been able to accomplish there. I hope we will be able accomplish that. We don’t have an unlimited budget here unfortunately to spend on players. That would make it much easier so we are going to try to do that in a responsible way.

143 comments Add your comment

Kaniac

April 15th, 2010
9:53 am

Sara

April 15th, 2010
9:53 am

Translation: we’re still a bunch of broke mo-fos.

Kaniac

April 15th, 2010
9:55 am

Yea this is the last chance for the Thrashers I hope everyone gets on board because this is it. Oh and he forgot Kansas City as a possible move site.

J(Z)

April 15th, 2010
9:55 am

“And there are others that say if you do remove Don as GM I won’t renew my season tickets.”

Cough – Bull Sh^%&* – Cough

Steve

April 15th, 2010
9:59 am

Pure corporate speak B.S. by the owner. 50 percent of the emails he receives are in support of Waddell. Ha ha ha!

Joe Friday

April 15th, 2010
9:59 am

“I would dare you to find one example where that has impacted any of the decisions that we have made on the Hawks and in hopefully rebuilding the Thrashers. It doesn’t impact. It has no impact.”

Oh. My. Goodness. Is he serious? He really thinks we’re idiots.

“We don’t have an unlimited budget here unfortunately to spend on players. That would make it much easier so we are going to try to do that in a responsible way.”

And then contradicts his first statement and gives us the proof of an example he just dard us to find of where their finances and the litigation have tied their hands. Oof.

Spud Webb

April 15th, 2010
10:00 am

ahhahahahahahah “I’ve never done an actual count as there are hundreds and hundreds of them, run about 50-50 with some saying if you don’t remove Don as GM I’m not going to renew my season tickets. And there are others that say if you do remove Don as GM I won’t renew my season tickets. It’s kind of 50-50.”
REALLY???????????????????? Levenson, you’re a LIAR. That is an out and out lie & we on this blog know it.

Stinker

April 15th, 2010
10:03 am

We used to have a portable-toilet salesman running the hockey operations. Now he runs the business side only. I guess it’s a little improvement.

There’s some irony there too.

Joe Friday

April 15th, 2010
10:08 am

“And there are others that say if you do remove Don as GM I won’t renew my season tickets. It’s kind of 50-50.”

Yeah right! lol. Brendan’s right. These guys think we’re a bunch of morons, I know some lap up their nonsense, but this is beyond the pale.

He knows and has been hit in the pocketbook hard by the boycott of so many of us former season ticket holders who left and told them we’re not coming back until Waddell is gone. So, the best he can do is come up with just more nonsense where they give Waddell and new title but leave him in charge, and they think we’re just a bunch of morons who will believe that real change has been made? Really? No, really?! Your actions belie what you say there, Bruce.

Anyone that buys this stuff that comes out of the Spirit Squad’s mouth needs a serious wake up call.

Another Steve

April 15th, 2010
10:08 am

The response to the Waddell question is a clear indication of the hopelessness of Bruce Levenson to have any insight as to why the Threashers have failed as a franchise. I suppose its his money to lose, but as a fan of hockey, it is painful to watch.

Da Coach

April 15th, 2010
10:08 am

Levinson and Waddell: As they say in Vegas: “That’s a pair that beats trips!”

What a slap in the face to the fans (all 10 of us).

Whitaker77

April 15th, 2010
10:09 am

It is not the last chance for the Thrashers, it is the last chance for the ASG to get there act together before the NHL steps in and takes back the team in the hopes of finding a better owner. Bettman said as much a few months ago “We are keeping a close eye on the situation here in Atlanta…” The NHL knows that there is a market here for Hockey and currently that market is being hurt more by the owners and then GM than it is by the team on the ice. I for on would LOVE to see the ASG get slapped by the league.

thrasherbelle

April 15th, 2010
10:17 am

Ah Uncle Bruce, we all have the litigation on our minds and we have not forgotten because you guys are broke until this gets settled. And unitl then you will continue to run the team on the cheap side. Just sayin

Whitaker77

April 15th, 2010
10:27 am

I just want to know what photos Waddell has of the ASG. I met Bruce Levenson this past season at one of the town hall meetings, to me he is nothing but a fan with money, he has no idea what he is doing as he proves by saying basically Waddell is a God.

Hey Bruce, news flash you can bring in someone else and they can build just as good if not better relationships with the Thrashers partners. ALso one would like to think that after dealing with the partners over the past 10 years Waddell should have created a relationship with them.

I am sure I am the only Thrasher fan who see how big of a push the Hawks get over the Thrashers. I mean seriously it has to be me, after all uncle Bruce would not lie to us, would he? The Thrashers and Hawks are equal in their minds. Bruce said it so I should beleive it, right?

Oh, wait I know what it is when he speaks on topics such as Waddell and the Hawks Bruce uses his mouth and when talkinga about the Thrashers he is speaking out his @$$, I thought I noticed a voice change.

Sam

April 15th, 2010
10:48 am

So basically, they had decided to clear out the coaching staff months back…maybe back to the trade deadline…and perhaps in time to keep Kovy here or influence his decision. But they waited out the season?

They had these moves in mind last year??? Sounds like they were willing to sacrifice this season and our superstar in order to “evaluate” and “assess” this coaching staff and Rick Dudley?

So I spent my money on season tickets this year on a Rick Dudley, John Anderson “trial” season? Glad I could help finance your decisions, Bruce.

teflon don

April 15th, 2010
10:48 am

I am glad to see that many of you guys can see through our lies. Well, at least I can say that while I am a part of this organization, I have to be on their side. You know how they have been, and so have I. I get paid well for lying to you guys, and for doing my job THEIR way. Sorry, this is America, and business at its best.

John A.

April 15th, 2010
10:50 am

Joe Friday
April 15th, 2010, 10:08 am
“He knows and has been hit in the pocketbook hard by the boycott of so many of us former season ticket holders who left and told them we’re not coming back until Waddell is gone.”

Yeah Joe Friday, I think I heard him say, “Boycott? What boycott?”

Unfreakinbelievable that people continue to inflict self-injury by denying themselves year after year of going to NHL games so they can “show them there owners that we’re in charge and sooner or later they’re going to fire Waddell and do everything else we want them to do!”

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yeah, fire Waddell….Just like they just did yesterday! Isn’t that right, “boycotters”? It just goes to show you how stubborn you people really are and nothing makes you happy. Don’t any of you even “get it” yet? Can’t you see how Don was TAKEN OUT OF THE LOOP yesterday and it’s now Dudley’s team? Are you truly that thickheaded? You got what you wanted and you’re still too dense to even recognize it because to you guys “Don Waddell is no longer Thrashers GM” somehow doesn’t mean the same to you as if the headline was “Don Waddell fired as Thrashers GM”….Truly amazing that you people don’t “get it”!!

You’re also quite obviously CLUELESS Joe Friday about your boycott’s “success”. The HIGHEST ATTENDANCE OF THE YEAR was the season finale when the team was clearly out of the playoffs and had nothing but respect to play for. The REAL FANS showed up! Remember the first home game after the Kovalchuk trade when you nimrods were clamoring for everyone to BOYCOTT that game? LOL….It was the SIXTH HIGHEST attendence of the year….The REAL FANS showed up!!!

I was at both games and you quite simply missed two AWESOME NHL HOCKEY GAMES at Philips Arena those 2 nights. See how that works? The owners still wipe their butts with $20 bills and you deny yourselves in order to “show them who’s boss”….Again, unfreakinbelievable how some people abuse themselves while the owners of this organizations don’t even know they exist.

Dudley’s the RIGHT GUY for the job. Keep peeing in everyone’s Cheerios if it makes you feel better. You guys are gonna feel like the absolute dumbest hockey fans on the planet when this team takes off and plays better than they ever have…..And here you’ll find yourselves regurgitating the same old tiresome, “Well I keep telling them…..Until they fire Don Waddell, I’m just not coming back! I’m gonna hit them where it hurts…Right in their pocketbooks! They’ll do as I command…You just wait and see!”

You’re too stupid to realize that what you wanted to happen actually just happened…….LOL

East Point Bob

April 15th, 2010
11:06 am

Levenson is a complete boob who has no idea what to do or how to do it.
How he ever could get the money to be an owner is beyond me, he is just plain dumb when it
comes to professional sports and his reason for keeping Waddell are simply an excuse to cover his stupidity in that he cannot deal with anything where a decision should be made. Other GM’s, who ?
What sport, involved in pro sports for 20 years, what the girls National Creampuff League ?
This guy is as clueless as Don Waddell, once a loser, always a loser ! BTW Don aint built no bridges, only burned them !

GaVaHokie

April 15th, 2010
11:07 am

Don has a terrific relationship with our business partners. I spend a fair amount of time with our business partners with Don. So I’ve seen the relationships he’s built over all the years here.

In case you glossed over it.

Your season tickets don’t pay Pavel Kubina’s salary… Home Depot and Gas South do.

If Budweiser and Delta say “we’re pulling our advertising if you fire Waddell”, guess who stays?

They can’t afford to severe their business relations for a “new direction” on the ice. But they’re still tuned in to the fact that the fans are restless.

They keep Don and their business relations… the fans get Rick Dudley and hopefully a better product on the ice.

Win-win.

Joe Friday

April 15th, 2010
11:13 am

“If Budweiser and Delta say “we’re pulling our advertising if you fire Waddell”, guess who stays?”

Michelob and Air-Tran?

[...] Q and A with Thrashers co-owner Bruce Levenson Here is the transcript from my interview with Atlanta Spirit co-owner Bruce Levenson done Wednesday night after the franchise promoted Don Waddell to president, promoted Rick Dudley to general manager and did not retain its coaching staff. [...]

kracker

April 15th, 2010
11:25 am

BL saying the emails are 50-50 on Waddell is not really believeable but it’s like political speak, you say things in a nice way rather than dump on people unnecessarily. There are some people posting here that will be enraged no matter what happens. The people that, judging by their comments, would gleefully douse Waddell in gasoline and toss on a match. Literally.

I’m waiting on the lawsuit to finally conclude and Belkin has to pay up. Actually, I expect part of his buyout package will be forgiving the back payments he owes (something like $25M). Whenever a new owner is found, Belkin will probably net a few million when he walks. Good riddance.

Beyond that, I’m fine with Waddell on the business side and Dudley as GM. Dudley wants his own choices for the coaches…fine by me. With Duds making the decisions, I expect our on-ice personnel at all levels to continue to improve.

Payroll will continue to be a hinderance. This will hopefully improve somewhat once Belkin is replaced with a hockey-first owner.

PensFan

April 15th, 2010
11:25 am

At least the other NHL teams do come to Atlanta, they need to market the opportunity to see these teams, and then they will sell some tickets.

Trade Kovy, yea, he may have made the difference in at least 2 game- that would have made the playoffs. What are these Morons (DW) thinking?????

This franchise sucks, bad… 10 years – one playoff- and they lost that in 4 games… Own up to the fans and sell– Quickly.

kracker

April 15th, 2010
11:41 am

You have a short memory, PensFan. Before landing Crosby (how lucky, snicker) the Penguins were much closer to relocating to KC or wherever than the Thrashers ever have been.

Gwinnett Fred

April 15th, 2010
11:43 am

Looking at comments, most of which are pretty good today:

1) No doubt, the fans DO NOT pay the salaries. They pay the front office people, sales people, game day staff, etc., but indeed it is sponsors and more importantly (and why the Flames failed and Thrashers are hurting) television that pays the $50 payroll. An average attendence of 16,000 will gross about $39 million for the year. Just imagine what payrolls would be if the NFL’s TV money was reduced to the NHL’s TV money. There would be just as many franchises in financial disaster!

2) Waddell’s record speaks for itself, and for that reason alone, his continuing to be the GM this entire time was a complete joke. HOWEVER, I will say that a nicer person you will never meet. At the season ticket holders event before the start of the year, he was the most charming person there, giving my 10 year old daughter a personal tour of the benches, penalty boxes, etc., so I’m sure his “likability” has gone a long way toward his longevity. So personally, I think he’s a great guy. Professionally, I’m 100% on the side that he should have been “promoted” about 5 years ago.
3) I have guarded optimism that Dudley will do a fine job stepping into the GM role – his first task is to get a good fit as head coach. Someone that will kick some serious a$$ when the ladies come to play on any given night instead of the men!

Sherry Taylor

April 15th, 2010
11:45 am

I think the move they’ve had in mind since last year is the one to move Waddell into the President’s position not to fire the coaches. That coaches decision was made on Monday. You need to get your bias and emotions out of the way and see what they are saying. That said, I’m not a fan of the Atlanta Spirit, a huge misnomer–the only spirit I’ve seen is for the Hawks, but anyway. Neither have I been a fan of Waddell for about, oh, six seasons. I think he should’ve been gone about the time Kurt Fraser was, but for Levenson to say there have been almost even support for Waddell is, well, hard to swallow. I’ve not heard anyone express that, but then, I don’t talk to everyone in the arena. I am willing to sit back and see what Dudley pulls together. It would be nice to see a coach who brings in discipline without being a hard*#&, but also can teach and work with the younger players. A good combo of old school hockey and new sensitivities(gag) since some newbies must be coddled. The core is there, now hopefully they are willing to put some money where their double speaking mouths are and sign some vets who can bring a consistent stability to the team. One that can play brilliantly for more than one or two games in a row.

Sully

April 15th, 2010
12:06 pm

QUOTE -”I don’t want to overhype the direction I think we are headed in, but based on what we’ve learned over the six years, I feel good about the direction that the hockey team is headed in the right direction”.
Huh? Yu speek Inglish reel goodly, y’all. Perhaps proof reading this mess before you posted it would have been prudent. Is the copy editor also the janitor?
Way to avoid asking the tough questions with Levenson too, what did he do, promise you a suite not to bring up the disaster in management and bonehead moves they’ve made the last 4 years? It’s no wonder you’re a blogger. What a hack. My first question would be…Is there any chance you can get rid of that stupid phrase…Welcome to BLUELAND? Wtf is that all about? Great hockey town here. NOT. And he’s talking out his ass…if the Board of Governor’s decides it’s in the best interest of the franchise to move it, then they move it. Read the NHL Board of Governor’s Rules and regulations. Under the owner’s agreement, they receive a percentage of compensation and since they are continuing to run in a deficit like the Coyotes why would they want to continue to foot the bill when the franchise could actually profit and thrive in a real hockey market? I guess you could have asked him that if you had been a little more educated as a hockey writer. Stick to cars going in circles, hockey is way out of your league.

Steve Belkin

April 15th, 2010
12:15 pm

Hey Bruce, great interview, and thanks for keeping Waddell. Oh, about the emails that said “if you do remove Don as GM I won’t renew my season tickets”, they’re all from me! HA! Suck it Levenson!

Smoothie

April 15th, 2010
12:41 pm

Some of you chronic whiners on this blog should try doing some reading outside of the ajc blogs. Read what Russo from the Tribune has to say about Dudley and how dedicated he is. If you think he’s going to allow Waddell to pull his strings, I think you are grossly mistaken. Now, that doesn’t mean this will work as notorious hot-head Levenson and Duds could come to blows, but I doubt Dudley will compromise his integrity just to please Don or ownership if they don’t buy into his vision. However, I think the moves we’ve made since last June already speak to their willingness to buy-in to Dudley’s plan. From Minny Star Tribune Russo’s Rants:

“Dudley is one of the game’s great talent evaluators. He built the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Cup team even though he doesn’t have a ring to show for it and Dale Tallon credits Dudley for helping him rebuild the Blackhawks. This could be a very good move for the future of the Thrashers.

Next up Dudley will hire a coach. The top contender in my opinion is Blackhawks assistant coach John Torchetti, who was brought into Tampa Bay, Florida and Chicago because of Dudley and played for Dudley on the old ACHL Carolina Thunderbirds. Torchetti was nearly hired a few times by the old Wild regime to coach Houston. He’s a former interim head coach of the Panthers and Kings.

On those Thunderbird teams Dudley coached, he used to also drive the bus. From a 2002 feature I wrote on Dudley, Torchetti told me this: “I used to stay up talking hockey with him until 3 or 4 in the morning while he was driving the bus,” Torchetti said, laughing. “I learned so much from him about conditioning, demeanor behind a bench, how to deal with players, the hard work needed to win and loyalty.

“Loyalty is what hockey is all about.”

Dudley has an immense amount of respect for Torchetti, a true player’s coach, tactician and teacher.

You can bet Dudley will be interested in talking to Boston Bruins assistant coach Craig Ramsay, too. When Dudley managed Florida, Dudley fired Mike Keenan and took over behind the bench. But he tried incessantly to get Jay Feaster and the Lightning to let Ramsay come across Alligator Alley to coach the Panthers. Feaster wouldn’t allow that (division rival, in the middle of the year — were the obvious reasons), so Dudley replaced himself with Torchetti (coincidentally, that story broke while I was here in Minneapolis for the All-Star Game — I edited pretentious clause, ha).

But Dudley gushes over Ramsay.

Until these teams are eliminated in the playoffs though, you can bet the Thrashers’ coaching job will be on hold.

I bet you never thought you’d get so much Thrashers info on a Wild blog. Hey, it’s the offseason and I wanted to freshen up the blog.”

Thrashers Family Man/Fan

April 15th, 2010
12:44 pm

Ask anyone who was at the post-Kovy Town Hall Meeting and you’ll find that Waddell wasn’t confronted by an angry mob with torches and pitchforks. Frustrated, but supportive fans is more like it. I don’t find it hard to believe that BL receives many positive messages about Don Waddell, probably more so while they were still in playoff contention than after they were eliminated. The truly angry people only seem to show up on these message boards and they don’t appear to have much of a life beyond trolling these boards and looking for new opportunities to publicly vilify him. In fact, I’d trust him to watch my kids for the weekend…and there are members of my own family I wouldn’t.

I briefly spoke to Don at the Breakaway Grill (he was sitting a couple of booths over from us) following the Wed morn practice after the Tues loss to the Devils when we were eliminated in game 80. He was visibly upset and disappointed. (He was also having lunch with someone so it wasn’t like I sat down and threw a dozen questions at him.) When I was leaving the Grill with my family, I turned to him and said, “We came up just a little bit short.” He nodded in agreement and just said (while trying to chew – isn’t that always how it happens when you take a bite of food?), “Disappointing…” I let him know we would be there for the final game Sat night and he thanked us for our support, specifically saying it was much appreciated. My sons (spring break) were all decked out in their Thrashers gear and the players even signed their jerseys and gave them their practice sticks. You can’t imagine how much that means to little Thrasher fans! I only wish I’d had the opportunity to let my 6-yr old rattle off the players first and last names when given their numbers. He doesn’t miss and it’s quite impressive even if I do say so myself! He was also amazed that Nik Antropov came in with street clothes and stood at Don’s booth talking with him and working his cell phone for several minutes even though he didn’t practice that morning.

My point is I think and hope this is what the doctor ordered for this franchise. They’re all a bunch of good guys, Waddell included, who want the same thing – to win. They just didn’t have a coaching staff that could get them there. I watched a few of the late season practices (5 to be exact) and there didn’t seem to be a whole lot of “coaching” involved. They’d run a few drills, blow a whistle and meet on the other side of the rink and within a minute or two, they’d be doing drills again. One of the practices was over within 30 minutes and only Cheli, Boults, Reasoner and I believe Arty were still on the ice for awhile afterwards. Now I’m no expert, but I believe when you’re in the midst of a playoff race, there probably needs to be more focus, strategy and preparation for the opposing team than I saw. Maybe it happened behind the scenes while watching tape. Maybe it didn’t. I sure didn’t see it on the ice and that’s specifically a coaching issue.

Dudley should do well because he’s been adding young talent all year long, specifically late in the year. He’s got a tall order in front of him, but I can’t think of anyone better to tackle it. He knows how to put the puzzle together with the right pieces instead of trying to make pieces fit with a hammer like has been the case in the past. I also believe Dudley will ATTRACT quality players here because they’ve seen first hand what he’s accomplished wherever he’s been. That just can’t be underestimated. I feel good about the changes and they are obviously much more than cosmetic. Dudley wouldn’t have taken the job if he had someone looking over his shoulder 24/7. Of course he’ll communicate with Don and the owners – I should hope so! Look for Dudley to shock the world with a coaching hire that will get fans and players excited about this team’s future. But it probably won’t happen until the season is over or some teams/coaches are knocked out early.

Good guys. Young talent. A new GM that understands what’s needed for success. Ownership that will probably support Dudley with an almost blank check to make it happen. Wadell also wants him to succeed because he hired Dudley. This is a good situation and I’m sure other franchises that missed the playoffs are envious at this moment.

rob

April 15th, 2010
12:45 pm

tough crowd on here today.
Chris,
Thanks for putting all these interviews out for us to see. Maybe we have finally got a push in the right direction going here!!! While he isn’t fired, at least Dumb Wad is out of hockey operations. Now all of those that hated what he put on the ice can complain about what they pay to see the ice. Let’s hope for the best in this situation and give Dudley, a new coach, and the players the support they need to succeed here. Could be worse, we could be Whiney-peg crying because we don’t have a team, or KC watching a minor league team.
As for Levenson, of course he is going to gloss over the fact that so many fans dislike him to the extent they left, but at least they moved him away from the on-ice product, and in the year he was here, Dudley must have seen something he liked, or he wouldn’t have stayed IMO. This can only bode well for the teams future…..and maybe it won’t take 3-5 years to get results?
Chris,
Thanks again for the interviews!

Matt

April 15th, 2010
12:47 pm

Mr. Levenson, really? You really expect us to believe that 50% of the e-mails you received are in FAVOR of keeping Donnie? Man, we really must be suckers if you expect us to believe that.

With all due respect (and very little of that is due as to the hockey team) this ownership group makes Donald Sterling look like a genius.

Wow, it’s almost like playing Corporate “Buzz Word Bingo”.

GaVaHokie

April 15th, 2010
1:31 pm

Ask anyone who was at the post-Kovy Town Hall Meeting and you’ll find that Waddell wasn’t confronted by an angry mob with torches and pitchforks.

This!

People who are generally happy and content don’t go out of their way to express it to everyone… Only angry people find avenues to complain… that’s why reading blogs like this can skew the overall perception of “public opinion”.

ChippersLoveChild

April 15th, 2010
1:33 pm

“And there are others that say if you do remove Don as GM I won’t renew my season tickets. It’s kind of 50-50.”

Interview lost all credibility right here. C Viv, you didn’t think to interject here with a “Really? Or care to explain or expand on that?” I mean there is no way that is the case. I find that really hard to believe.

Your Mammy

April 15th, 2010
1:40 pm

Come on Bruce, that line about “…And there are others that say if you DO remove Don as GM I won’t renew my season tickets. It’s kind of 50-50.” Pure bullshytte!
Do you believe that we are that stupid to believe there is actually anyone out there that sent you an email stating if you do remove Don Waddell from his operations they would cancel their season tickets? If your inbox is indeed flooded with these alleged emails, then I would be willing to bet they could be traced back to Don Waddell’s home computer.

PMC

April 15th, 2010
1:54 pm

Tyler Perry’s “Atlanta Thrasher’s”

PMC

April 15th, 2010
1:57 pm

So Don Waddell’s friends and family have really been stacking the ol Levinson inbox eh?

Spud Webb

April 15th, 2010
1:58 pm

Thrashers Family Man/Fan…I hope that you enjoyed chatting with Don & it is cool for your kids. That said…what does that have to do with the past 11 years of total failure????????? I’m glad Dons a great guy, I am. Nobody has disputed that he isn’t a good guy. But the FACTS are that Don does NOT KNOW HOW TO BE A GOOD GM. That is an unfortunate fact. Thats what the people on these blogs are upset about.

WJ

April 15th, 2010
2:00 pm

to Spud Webb: Does he think that we are idiots? NOPE-He knows you are.

WJ

April 15th, 2010
2:01 pm

How many of you have really spent money on the Thrashers? Can you really complain about the quality of team? Put up or shut up! Let’s see what happens next before starting to destroy the team completely.

Joe Friday

April 15th, 2010
2:11 pm

“Ask anyone who was at the post-Kovy Town Hall Meeting and you’ll find that Waddell wasn’t confronted by an angry mob with torches and pitchforks.”

Of course he wasn’t who was there? Come on, think about it, it’s not that hard.

Think about the Tuesday night games this year? All the empty seats that used to be filled? There’s an answer there, you’re getting close.

Who was invited to the Town Hall? The current season ticket holders (all 289 of you that were left). Those of us that were fed up weren’t invited, eh?

Mike

April 15th, 2010
2:15 pm

By the way, did anyone read Chris’ article about the players reactions? Did anyone else find it interesting that Colby keeps saying “they” in his quotes when referring to the Thrashers? Doesn’t sound like someone who wants to be here next year.

Tim

April 15th, 2010
2:17 pm

The people on this blog are upset that Don Waddell has been allowed to keep processing oxygen!!!

1. AS cannot afford to pay him to sit at home (they are neither Notre Dame nor an SEC football program) and since he apparently has some skills which aren’t as visible to the everyday fan… they are now using him in a different capacity.

2. He’s no long the GM. I would think that the hand-wringing group of malcontents that post on this blog would be happy. Instead… it’s like you’ve all asked for 20 really awesome Christmas gifts, got the coolest 18 but still throw a tantrum.

3. I acknowledge that many of you act like grown ups in real life and the internet is your opportunity to act like petulant children.

4. A little tip… look for the positive (there’s plenty to go around)… you’ll live longer. Yes, we’ve been burned before… so blippin’ what!!! Being negative about this move gets you what as a fan? The opportunity to say I told you so down the road… that’s all! Have fun with that!!!!!!

Thrashers Family Man/Fan

April 15th, 2010
2:19 pm

Spud, Don isn’t the GM anymore. So there’s no reason to be upset any longer.

I also personally don’t blame Waddell for failing to make the playoffs this year, which was clearly within reach with teams seemingly stumbling over each other trying NOT to get in. I made the observation that Don actually looked hurt that we didn’t get in, like he truly expected we would make it. Anderson just seemed to be afraid of losing his job (according to his interviews) and responding to Kozzy. To Anderson’s credit, he did take absolute full responsibility for not making the playoffs. It makes it somewhat easier to fire a guy who goes around telling everyone he did a crappy job and he know it.

Dwayne

April 15th, 2010
2:25 pm

The ASG is now known as “The Octogeniuses”. Lord Stanley here we come. Hey Sage, please pass me another cup of that kool-aide.

Midfield

April 15th, 2010
2:30 pm

I don’t understand what is so wrong with this guy. Who forced him into this 50-50 email analysis crap? Could you just not say anything about this and not make a fool out of yourself yet again, Bruce?

Ice Man

April 15th, 2010
2:46 pm

Move the team to Calgary !! Ha ha !! No, seriously. Why not move some of these teams to Canada. Hell, even a town like Saskatoon, with a population of maybe 200,000 would still fill an 18,000 seat arena (Saskatchewan Place can be expanded to 18,000 capacity). The whole province of Saskatchewan would rally around the team, just like they support the CFL RoughRiders.
Hockey in places like Atlanta, Miami, Nashville etc has a profile like curling; face it, Southerners care only about football.
The NHL can right itself by doing the following.
-move the Coyotes back to Winnipeg, Manitoba
-move the Thrashers to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
-move the Predators to Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario
-move the Panthers to Halifax, Nova Scotia
-move the Islanders to Salt Lake City, Utah (some US markets could support NHL hockey)
-move the Maple Leafs to Havanna, Cuba (ha ha, Canada hates Toronto; that city
shouldn’t have an NHL team; oh, wait a second, it doesn’t ! :)
-

Bryan

April 15th, 2010
3:00 pm

The business partners would would prefer winning seasons, playoffs, season ticket sales, increased advertising, or to be short, just making money; more than a friendly relationship Waddel. Levinson’s protection of Waddel is unelievable. What business promotes someone who had the greatest influence on a organization after 10 years of failure. Good guy or not, Waddel has to go. Can you imagine what this board will be saying a ayear from now if the Thrashers have yet another losing season. I love hockey and want no more than for the Thrashers to be successful, but this interview makes me believe it’s not possible. Levenson needs to go to, and probably would like to but he is stuck.

Spud Webb

April 15th, 2010
3:03 pm

Ice man, you watch the Phoenix game last night?????? Standing room only!! It was awesome, made me think the Thrashers could be in that spot next season!! Why not??? Bankruptcy last year, now winning a playoff game. Great moves by the GM at the trade deadline…which leads me back to….
Family guy, I’m not really mad at this point and glad Dandy Don and his good personality and disappointment are the “president” of this boat now. Don’t mistake my disappointment for anger about Don and our failures. Fact is Don Waddell was a failure as the GM of this franchise and proved as much when he went behind the bench for 77 games a few years back. His team, no coaching blames, his players, year after year.

Chris Vivlamore

April 15th, 2010
3:33 pm

ChippersLoveChild: Seriously, dude? Levenson something and I’m supposed to say “Really? Carry to expand on that?” I suppose you are right. Then he would he just break down and say “OK, you are right. I lied. No one e-mails me who is happy with Don Waddell. I made the whole thing up!” I asked a question. He answered it. You can choose to believe him or not. Anyone can choose to believe him or not. By the looks of some of the responses here, many don’t. I’m just reporting what he said.That’s not to say that I can’t, or shouldn’t question, someone’s answer. In the case, he said what he said. There were more important things to get to,

Lee

April 15th, 2010
3:33 pm

The 8 stooges.

tom

April 15th, 2010
3:36 pm

This is not fact, just a really good guess. No GM in the history of the NHL has survived all the losing seasons and no playoff wins and kept his job as long as Mr. Waddell. I doubt the owners comment about 50% of his emails want to keep Mr. Waddell. Don’t want to call him a liar, just acting like a politician who knows you can’t check to see if he is telling the truth.

GaVaHokie

April 15th, 2010
3:39 pm

Chris Vivlamore

April 15th, 2010
3:41 pm

Sully: Really? I transcribed a 30-minute taped interview and you find one word out of place and the janitor edited the piece? Good for you.

The tough questions? Why don’t you get rid of the stupid phrase Welcome to Blueland? That would be your first question? You’re a great hockey mind. I think fans were much more interested in why the Thrashers made the organizational moves, why Don Waddell was kept?, why the payroll is in the bottom third of the NHL? Those questions. Maybe I should have asked him why they don’t change the color scheme.

I’ve read the rules and regulations. And the collective bargaining agreement. And many other league documents. I’ve spoken to commissioner Gary Bettman about the state of the franchise and the league’s intention to keep a franchise in Atlanta. You obviously haven’t.

Spud Webb

April 15th, 2010
3:45 pm

PS Chris, Great job with all the interviews. Hope you enjoy some down time!!!

Cletus Dooley Earnhardt SR.

April 15th, 2010
3:54 pm

wake cletus up when summer praktice in athens startts

Sage of Bluesland

April 15th, 2010
4:01 pm

The sheep never fail to disappoint!

They just want to bewieve so BADLY–they’ll take any morsel of information and spin it to their delusion, all the while trying to argue with facts in a condescending manner…I love it.

My favorite was the oaf who talked of how he would trust Don with his kiddies…Well, isn’t that just great! As soon as “the children” are brought into the “logic”, I know where that is going–right where Donnie used to sell (i.e. his port-a-potties).

…That and when the sheep continue to bluster about Donnie being such a “nice guy”…That and a dollar gets you a cup of coffee…but no playoff wins, apparently…

Wake up–but most importantly–grow up. Please.

Viva Le Vivs

April 15th, 2010
4:01 pm

Chris: you’ve been on fire lately! Looking forward to your blogs from now on.

Sage of Bluesland...

April 15th, 2010
4:02 pm

continues to be right.

Joe Friday

April 15th, 2010
4:07 pm

I’m guessing Chris just finished his taxes…I feel your pain, brother!

Smoothie

April 15th, 2010
4:10 pm

C-Viv, indeed. You’ve been doing great work this past week and change getting all of this commentary and dialogue from players, coaches, GM’s and now owner. While many of us certainly doubt Levenson’ sincerity in many things he says, it would be very unprofessional of any journalist to stop him and badger him on something seemingly unimportant to the real issues at the heart of the matter. Like Levenson is going to tell us, “oh yeah, you got me man…what was I thinking? I don’t give a crap what our fans think cuz Waddell is going down with me when this ship sinks!” Obviously they have their reasons, good or bad, for keeping Waddell but from the tenor of the conversation, I got the feeling they are finally starting to realize Don was being asked to do too much. Rather than take the chance of suffering a PR disaster by giving Waddell another vote of confidence, they are doing the polite thing by moving him into a more focused role where he can enjoy some level of success if and when this franchise gets turned around on the ice by Dudley. Bringing in Duds was a calculated and shrewd move last spring and I doubt it was strictly a matter of Don going to the ASG and saying, “look guys, I’ve screwed up big time and I need help.” It was probably more a matter of Barry going to Don and saying, “look Don, I am running out reasons to keep you; it’s time to bring in some help and a possible successor for you as GM.” If some of the folks on here constantly criticizing and complaining would listen to other hockey people and read other opinions, they’d see that there isn’t some great conspiracy at play here to rankle the hearts of disgruntled Thrashers’ fans. I guaran-damn-tee you that if this next chapter isn’t a successful one for Duds and the gang that Gary Bettman will be shifting his focus to Atlanta and how to rescusitate a struggling franchise.

Whitaker77

April 15th, 2010
4:12 pm

Ice Man you are correct any city in Canada could fill an 18,000 seat arena, heck they could fill a 24,000 seat arena. The Problem was and still is there is not enough corporate sponsorship to build and support a team hence why the teams moved from Canada to the US.

I think Canada should have and could support one more team up there, but as it is the league would have to move a team and then redo the divisions probably too much work. If they did I would say move Tampa or Florida, they seem like the easiest to move.
Hockey would not be leaving the state completely
The “new” team is kept in the East, then and added to the Northeast Division (Montreal,
Toronto, Ottawa, Buffalo, “new Team)
Boston is moved to the Atlantic (Rangers, Islanders, Devils, Bruins, and Penguins),
Move either PA or NY team, I would move the Flyer to the Southeast (Tampa, Atlanta,
Washington, Carolina, and Philadelphia)

That is how I would do it, but it still would suck to take hockey away from any fan.

Richham

April 15th, 2010
4:14 pm

50/50 on the emails he received about whether to keep DW versus fire him? Anyone believe that big, huge load of crap?

You know actually that does make sense because there are actually still Thrasher season ticket holders. These are the same people that believe in leprechauns and unicorns I guess.

ChippersLoveChild

April 15th, 2010
4:20 pm

I didn’t mean any disrespect, and I certainly appreciate all the work you’ve been doing throughout the season and since it ended. I just thought it seemed like he gave you the opportunity to expand on that statement, because as a fan I feel the ASG has never really been held accountable at all when I’ve heard them give interviews, and it reads more like you went in with a list of questions and followed the questions then held him to the fire. I’m just nitpicking though, didn’t mean to come off as someone who doesn’t appreciate what you do.

Richham

April 15th, 2010
4:21 pm

I haven’t met a single person who thinks DW has done a fair to average job while the Thrashers GM.

I’ll say one thing for Donnie W, he must be able to sell a truck full of sh#t like its diamonds and gold.

Albert Buckenberger

April 15th, 2010
4:24 pm

Do you guys know why there are not many people in Atlanta going to the Atlanta Thrashers hockey games? I’ll tell you guys why there are not many people going to the Atlanta Thrashers hockey games. It’s because the season tickets are so expensive that the people cannot afford. If I was the owner of the Atlanta Thrashers, I would cut down those ticket prices so that way people would go to see their games, and there are no sales taxes so that they can afford to buy the season tickets. There is one another thing that is in my mind. If I was the Atlanta Thrashers owner, I would care about the fans not money. If you guys don’t agree with me, please feel free to e-mail me at albertbuckenberger@firebettman.com. I’ll be looking forward to hear from you guys soon. Take care.

[...] has list of things to do as Thrashers general manager“- Chris Vivlamore, AJC – “Q and A with Thrashers co-owner Bruce Levenson” – Chris Vivlamore, [...]

Game On

April 15th, 2010
4:57 pm

Chris you do a great job. I think Chippers Love child need to go back to the Braves blog, and continue to kiss Chippers feet. I thought it was interesting that here is a contract stating they can not move the team. That should relieve many of the Thrashers fans. Is there any more info that you can shed about the terms regarding to if the ASG sell the Thrashers. Go Thrashers and go Chris!!!!!

Game On

April 15th, 2010
5:00 pm

Well said Albert. A couple years ago if you had seaason tickets you could but another for $99 a seat(max 2). I think ownership should relook on doing this again. There are so many of my friends, especially those with sons that want to go to the games but they do not have a money tree in there back yard.

The Real Thrash

April 15th, 2010
5:06 pm

Were his lips moving?

Ice Man

April 15th, 2010
5:08 pm

Spud Webb, you’re right. Hockey in Phoenix would be alive and well if the franchise hadn’t been so badly mismanaged. The city did have successful hockey teams in the past ie the 1960s Western Hockey League Road Runners, the 1970s World Hockey Association Road Runners, and the early 1990s International Hockey League Road Runners. As for the Coyotes recent past, Wayne Gretzky was a great player, but let’s be honest, he is a terrible owner/manager/coach. I give Arizona fans credit; they don’t worship the ice this guy used to skate on, unlike Canadians, who mistakenly think this guy is GOD.
Whittaker 77, you’re also correct about corporate support. That’s the unfortunate aspect of professional sports these days. Butts in the seats means nothing: The old Quebec Nordiques had nothing but standing room only sell outs but without corporate “welfare” the team was not financially viable in a city of 800,000.
I suppose that’s where the current economic climate comes into play. Corporations have to examine where they’re spending their sponsorship funds, and these days hockey is not a very effective advertising medium. If some of the weak southern NHL franchises lose some of their corporate sponsors, re-location to the Great White North will suddenly become the prudent thing to do. Note that the current owner of the AHL Manitoba Moose, Mark Chipman, has backing from the owner of the MTS True North Centre, David Thomson, the Canadian media magnate, whose family is said to be the 33 wealthiest in the world. NHL hockey in Winnipeg would work; 15,000 sell outs every game, backed by the Thomson family, who own and operate the CTV and TSN tv networks. 15,000 in “small” arena is better than 7,000 to 8,000 in a southern 20,000 arena.

Hope

April 15th, 2010
5:12 pm

Just renewed

BehindEnemyLines

April 15th, 2010
5:59 pm

re: those alleged emails — Most people wouldn’t count the ones coming from DW’s family nor the ones from opposing GM’s and opposing teams’ fans.

Lee

April 15th, 2010
6:01 pm

Sully – Wow…let’s see you have a GOOD conversation with Levenson. You’d probably ask questions like: “Will you change the color of the tickets?” “Will you add another Carvel Ice Cream?”

Chris – Don’t let these scumbags interfere with your writing. They are just ungrateful people that don’t appreciate your work. I’d like to see them have a 30 minute interview with Levenson, or the new “President, or the new GM. I appreciate your work.

Jack

April 15th, 2010
6:18 pm

AMEN LEE!!!!

jerry

April 15th, 2010
6:19 pm

Season ticket sales are now down 50%. That’s official.

Thrashers Family Man/Fan

April 15th, 2010
6:29 pm

Sage: Still upset Donnie didn’t answer your 3 e-mails 8 years ago, huh? Let’s see…You wanted him fired as GM ever since George Dubya was just settling into his first term. If anyone should be jumping up and down and shouting AMEN! it seems it would be you.

And I completely understand why you’re jealous that I’d trust my kids with Don Waddell for the weekend since they won’t allow you to have minor visitors over the weekend there at Central State in Milledgeville, right?

polskidawg

April 15th, 2010
7:35 pm

Chris – your interview and questions are dead-on. Great Job, as always.

Mr. Levenson – I’m ready to buy that oceanfront property in Kansas from you….

East Point Bob

April 15th, 2010
7:40 pm

I believe LAC that Chris V. is a tool of ASG, and is their little yes man. No tough questions here people, just marshmellow’s thrown around. I am not impressed Chris V. with your interview…

Lee

April 15th, 2010
8:33 pm

Be grateful that Mr. Vivlamore actually took his time to post news for us.

Just Curious

April 15th, 2010
9:42 pm

OK SAGE OF BLUELAND

That makes TWICE today I’ve read something about you swearing off the Thrash because you wrote Don Wad and he wouldn’t respond to your e-mail. SURELY THIS ISN’T TRUE! It also said this happened like 8 yrs ago. SURELY THAT ISN’T TRUE EITHER!

I simply can’t believe you would have the nads to come on here day after day, season after season and call fans of the team “SHEEP” and ridicule them and stuff knowing YOU haven’t been to a game for 8 yrs because Waddell ignored your e-mails? WTH is up with THAT?

You need to get back on here and RESPOND to this madness. I just can’t fathom that someone would quit supporting a team for nearly a decade because the GM didn’t reply to an e-mail! That’s just INSANE IN THE MEMBRANE, dude!!!!! If it is true, aren’t you at all embarrassed by that? Is it something you’d call normal behaviour?

RESPOND SAGE OF BLUELAND! I don’t beleive these lies. They are lies aren’t they? You need to come on here and set the record straight about this or you should NEVER come back and post anything mocking the real Thrash fans ever, ever again! I still don’t beleive it. But YOU need to say it ain’t true.

Sage of Bluesland

April 15th, 2010
10:19 pm

That’s just more sheep-spin on the “whole” reason–i.e. because Donnie didn’t respond to my emails. The sheep will do anything to tear me down–as that’s all they’ve got, apparently.

How about this reason, geniuses: THE RECORD. It’s the record, stupid(s).

How about this reason, geniuses: THE DRAFTING/PLAYER ACQUISITION-DEVELOPMENT. It’s the “Legends of Blueland” tripe, stupid(s).

How about this reason, geniuses: THE BLUSTERING LIES. It’s the intelligence-insulting bluster year after year, stupid(s).

That’s just off the top of my head, and I grow tired of pandering and entertaining the short-bus crowd.

However, it MUST hurt to know I’ve called it for about eight years now (it was at the 2002 draft I was convinced)…You’ve tried to ridicule me–but look who was right all along!

(It hurts, doesn’t it?!)

Kirk P

April 15th, 2010
10:22 pm

Chris-great job. Nice response to Sully the bird-brain!

lord stanley

April 15th, 2010
10:55 pm

I see east point has no clue. Not sure whats going on with East point but I think he is sniffing too much of that Airline fuel . Great job chris, if it wasn’t for Chris we would have any inside scoops,

Just Curious

April 15th, 2010
10:58 pm

SAGE, in 2002 you didn’t know for sure what the records were going to be or who would be drafted or what lies would be told every year for 8 years into the future. So you’re saying it’s true that you e-mailed Waddell in 2002 and he never responded to you? Have you been to any games at Philips since then? Don’t you plan to go to any games next year since Waddell isn’t GM any more? Are you still “mad” at Waddell because he didn’t answer you way back when?

CrazyDiamond

April 15th, 2010
11:50 pm

We are so screwed. Again.

Atlanta Spirit = morons, as stated above many, many times. All the suckers who paid good money to watch a “trial season” for Dudley and Anderson are also morons. Vote with your wallet, forgoodnesssakes. The ASG votes with their wallet – that you are stupid suckers, hockey wise. The confirm their opinion of the fans when they say that the Don Waddel poll was 50 – 50. No way.

Hockey in Atlanta is a money looser. NHL is in for more bad economic woes going forward as well. (Can you imagine if Phoenix – owned by the league – wins the Cup?) NHL and Atlanta Spirit have been caught in a bad economic situation like all of us. ASG wants so bad to sell to get some of their cash back you can smell it. And it stinks. We are so screwed.

Joyaman

April 15th, 2010
11:53 pm

As a regular critic of Don Waddell as a GM, and as a former STH, I am now willing to spend my money on Thrashers tickets again (BL: note that I didn’t say “season tickets”). While I think the spin surrounding the recent moves is total BS, I’ll look past this weak and transparent attempt at face saving and focus on the on-ice product.

After reflecting on this for a day or so, I’m now not as skeptical as some about the spectre of Waddell continuing to pull the strings on personnel moves from behind the scenes. The reason is simply that now that there’s an experienced, qualified person sitting in the GM’s chair, there’s no way Waddell’s amateur-hour notions will be taken seriously any more. RD’s not going to stick his neck out for the same random BS moves that sent this team in 25 different directions over the last 10 years. Duds will rise or fall based on his own moves and would not have taken the job to be DW’s puppet.

I look forward to seeing many of you again next season at Blueland as we give the new regime our support. Who knows, with a credible GM and his hand-picked coach in place, we may actually have a chance to re-sign Kane, Enstrom and Bogo in their RFA years.

Go Thrash!

Just Curious

April 16th, 2010
1:43 am

CrazyDiamond,

I’m Just Curious. Is there ever a time in your feeble little world when we AREN’T screwed? Are you afraid to leave your house because you’ll be screwed again? Are you afraid to go out in the sunlight because you’ll be screwed again? Do you wash your hands every 5 min because you’re terrified those little buggers are gonna get you and you’ll be screwed again? Do you never pick up the phone because once you do they’ll “get you” and you’ll be screwed again?

You know what…..I’m starting to believe you really ARE CRAZYdiamond, with the emphasis on CRAZY. You’re obviously quite depressed (or you pretend to be) about ever single thing that has to do with the Thrashers, and then some. You aren’t Jeff Schultz trolling the boards again are you? That would explain alot. What’s difficult to explain is WHY you’re a one trick pony. Can’t you come up with some NEW material. Or is “we’re screwed again” just easier for you to remember or cut&paste? If the Thrashers make you so TERRIFIED of being screwed all the time, why don’t you just WALK AWAY from them? You know, block your PC from accessing the AJC Blogs? You add nothing to any discussion just claiming “we’re screwed” all the time, or isn’t that even apparent to you? Do you happen to know Chicken Little?

This is by no means a definitive list….But I’ve never been screwed so much in my entire life according to you and your dim outlook on life as a Thrasher fan. Not even when I was in college! Let’s have a look-see, shall we?

John Anderson answers back | Atlanta Thrashers
Apr 12, 2010 … CrazyDiamond. April 13th, 2010 2:15 am. We are so screwed.

Thrashers playoff hopes slim | Atlanta Thrashers
Mar 13, 2010 … CrazyDiamond. March 13th, 2010 7:25 pm. We are so screwed.

Boris Valabik placed on injured reserve | Atlanta Thrashers
Feb 9, 2010 … CrazyDiamond. February 9th, 2010 11:48 pm. We are so screwed.

Is Cox taking a gamble in suggesting raising price of lottery …
Mar 12, 2010 … CrazyDiamond. March 12th, 2010 2:26 pm. We are so screwed.

Evander Kane disappointed by foot injury | Atlanta Thrashers
Mar 10, 2010 … Link; Report this comment. CrazyDiamond. March 10th, 2010 8:43 pm. We are so screwed.

Lehtonen trade is another blemish on Thrashers’ draft history …
Feb 9, 2010 … CrazyDiamond. February 9th, 2010 11:54 pm. We are so screwed.

Christoph Schubert out three weeks | Atlanta Thrashers
Mar 9, 2010 … CrazyDiamond. March 9th, 2010 3:16 pm. We are so screwed.

Heard this before? Thrashers scrambling and star unsigned | Jeff …
Jan 26, 2010 … CrazyDiamond. January 27th, 2010 12:31 am. We are so screwed.

It’s November you turkeys! – ABQ chat thread – Page 4 …
22 posts – 9 authors – Last post: Nov 26, 2009
Last edited by crazydiamond; 11-21-2009 at 10:20 AM. …. We are so screwed.

I doubt it’s possible to be screwed so much if we all spent the weekend at the Moonlite Bunny Ranch! REALLY, dude. Give it up or at least get some new material. Everyone started ignoring Chicken Little too…….Hint, hint.

Chris Vivlamore

April 16th, 2010
7:37 am

ChippersLoveChild: I hear you. Thanks. Didn’t mean to sound aggravated – although I did recently send in my taxes.

World Be Free

April 16th, 2010
7:56 am

I just scanned over most of the posts, since they are from the same grioup of whiners.

Turn the page boys and girls, Dudley is here. Duds is one of the best hockey minds in the league. We got a man who has a proven track record.

Half the teams in the NHL have owners who are out of tune. I have used Buffalo as a prime example of 2 owners that are totally clueless in a town where the rink is full every night!

Let Dudley do his job.

GaVaHokie

April 16th, 2010
8:08 am

Sage suffers from delusions of grandeur… he thinks he’s a profit or something. *snicker*

Jack

April 16th, 2010
8:59 am

Chris its the playoffs no reason to defend. You are definetly in the right.

Thrashy Thrashy

April 16th, 2010
9:40 am

Dudley’s a better personnel guy than Waddell. As long as Dudley is handling the personnel, I think we’ll be fine. His big question will be this:

Can he find a coach who can get this team to play a well-rounded game?

If so, the Thrashers will be in the playoffs next season. If not, Dudley will be just like his good buddy.

GaVaHokie

April 16th, 2010
10:18 am

Not only what Coach he can bring in, but also what “Joe Nieuwendyk” type player he can bring in.

Patrick Marleau? Patrick Sharp? Maybe an early exit for San Jose will warrant a Joe Thornton trade? Brad Richards?

Gobbledygook

April 16th, 2010
10:34 am

Attempting to analyze and critique Levenson’s words is a complete waste of time. Are we more informed now than before the interview? You are never going to hear the real story in a public interview. The truth will only be revealed to the public if someone happens to run into the owner in a bar after he has had a few too many, e.g. – Jerry Jones.

Joe Friday

April 16th, 2010
10:39 am

“although I did recently send in my taxes.”

I figured, and you’re rightly pissed off like most of us are, just “Remember in November!”

Alan R.

April 16th, 2010
11:28 am

It’s gonna take a lot of “November” to fix this broken system, Joe Friday.

Joe Friday

April 16th, 2010
11:42 am

All I know is I’ve been tread upon too much, Alan. I think they have awaken a lot of passion and I have great hopes that our great country will rise up in November and begin to get us back on the right path, much like our Thrashers hopefully have.

I like this from Chris’ interview with Dudley. Sounds like a man with a plan and I never heard these type of things from Don, mabye Don was “too nice” and we need a rougher edge kind of guy like this:

“I coached for a long time and I was a pretty technical coach. I think I can ask someone questions that perhaps someone else couldn’t. That gives me a unique perspective. I think I can talk to a coach that I don’t know well and by the time I’m done, I’ll know if he knows what he’s talking about.

“That may be a little daunting to some people, but by the same token if they do know what they are talking about, they might be able to blow me away.

MB

April 16th, 2010
11:49 am

Agree with you, Joe, re: the Dudley interview. While I, too, am disappointed that Waddell remains with the organization, I’m going to keep an open mind during this critical off-season. It does sound like Dudley has a good plan…let’s hope he’s allowed to work it (Levenson’s budget comments are a concern here).

Hokie, I’m interested to see what kind of Andreychuk (sp?) player Dudley has in mind, though I’m fairly confident it won’t be Marleau. Nice player, no doubt, but he didn’t exactly excel when put in a leadership role with the Sharks…and our needs would seem much greater than theirs.

Jimbo

April 16th, 2010
12:00 pm

Chris: Continued great job. Time to move on. Dudley’s also got a good rep at being able to sell his ideas and team. That will be invaluable in the retention of key players like Kubina and Bergfors. Also in recruiting UFAs. I am happy to see Teflon Don out as GM and Johnny Boy as coach. Hope springs eternal and I now plan to renew my season tix.

Question- Do whiner get fruit and cheese with their whine?

John

April 16th, 2010
12:01 pm

Fans in Atlanta, don’t think that you will lose your NHL team anytime soon. If Commissioner Bettman went out on a limb for Phoenix, what do you think he would do to keep the NHL in the hub of the Southeast? If any franchises need to be moved, we have two down here in Florida, the Lightning and Panthers. At least the Lightning appear to be getting their ship in order with new ownership and aggressive marketing. The Panthers are a complete joke in South Florida. Have gone to games where in the Bank Atlantic Center, could swear there were only 5,000 fans when they announced 12,000 or so as paid attendance for a Panthers vs. Thrashers game. Heck, WWE sells out when they come here. The Thrashers situation is sad, I feel sorry for you guys, Atlanta can be a great NHL market with the right ownership situation. You guys got screwed out of the Flames. The league took a huge step backwards when they let the Flames leave Atlanta at a time when they easily and should have taken in Houston in the WHA merger along with the other four teams they took in. That would have continued the growth of the game in the Southeast and other non-traditional markets during the 1980’s. There was talk before Gretzky came to LA, the Kings were looking to be moved to Hamilton. The US would have had zero NHL teams in “warm” weather markets. The league over-expanded. And put teams in the wrong places in the 90’s expansion. Houston should have been a lock, but competing ownership groups killed the expansion bid, and Les Alexander couldn’t get the Oilers deal done. And the league needs still another Pacific Northwest team, hello Seattle?

Worst Team In ALL Of Professional Sports

April 16th, 2010
12:05 pm

50-50 for and against Waddell. LMAO! NO WAY THAT IS TRUE!! I’m calling you out Bruce Levenson. Do you think we are idiots??

Adam

April 16th, 2010
12:23 pm

The only ball C-Viv dropped was not following up on Levenson’s claim that the lawsuit hasn’t had any effect on how they’ve run the Thrashers. I would’ve then asked him why Jay Grossman, Kovy’s agent, publicly claimed that Spirit did not even authorize DW to begin negotiating a new deal until October because of their ongoing hunt for a new investor. http://tinyurl.com/yagknkc

gcs

April 16th, 2010
12:45 pm

“…about 50-50 with some saying if you don’t remove Don as GM I’m not going to renew my season tickets. And there are others that say if you do remove Don as GM I won’t renew my season tickets.”

THAT IS A @#$%ING LIE!

There is no way that any Thrashers fan said keep Waddell or I am walking. Yet another reason Atlanta Spirit needs to get out of the hockey business in Atlanta. We don’t appreciate bullsh*ters.

.

J.B.

April 16th, 2010
12:51 pm

That’s a good and fair point Adam. Though, even if the question was asked it would surely be answered with B.S. Chris probably knows this and knew it about most of the other quotes he got from Levenson.

The point is likely moot anyhow as I don’t think anyone believes a couple more months of negotiation would have changed the Kovy situation. It’s public knowlege that Grossman never once wavered from the 11.36M for 10-12 year offer they presented to the ASG. Despite feeding us the standard pending free agent canned answers about staying here, Kovy knew all along he was leaving. In hindsight, as many have pointed out, the Thrashers seem to be a better unified team without him to rely on for offense, to compensate for on defense, and to deflect for off the ice in the media about being a distraction.

Alan R.

April 16th, 2010
1:10 pm

THAT IS A @#$%ING LIE!

Congratulations for picking up on the most obvious lie to have ever been printed in the Thrashers blog.

Now, if you people are done concentrating on one stupid line spoken by one of the biggest morons in Atlanta sports history, there’s far more things we could be discussing.

Joe Friday – I like much of what Dudley has said, and I would love to see his plans come to fruition. I’d love to see what kind of coach he brings in, and who that veteran he’s referring to is.

World Be Free

April 16th, 2010
1:18 pm

Good to see more bloggers are willing to give Dudley a chance. That’s all we should expect.

Jimbo-gotta have cheese with the wine.

litz

April 16th, 2010
1:48 pm

Look guys … Levenson was saying what needed to be said.

There’s no way he’s going to look a reporter in the eye and say “the Season Ticket Holders revolted and demanded we remove the GM” …

Take his statements with a grain of salt, digest the moves made, swallow (with difficulty), and move on.

B***ing about the guy’s comments does not help things.

This IS a fresh start, and there IS hope.

Let’s keep an eye on things going forwards, and the actions taken will tell us if we’re looking at daylight at the other end of the tunnel, or a freight train.

Alan R.

April 16th, 2010
1:51 pm

Well WBF, it’s been 11 years of the same ol stuff, with the same ol guy in charge. I can understand that many people approach this situation with trepidation because D-Wad is still here.

He should have been outright ousted. We all know that.. I read a comment the other day that stated D-Wad “must have pictures of the owners with farm animals” to still be employed here. And who knows, really?

However, this is a time for optimism. We have a change. Maybe it’s not the change we all would have liked, or it’s more change than we would have liked, but it’s still change. Change can be scary, especially to us die-hard Thrashers fans who have put up with years of what seems like abuse from above. No matter who the “new sheriff in town” answers to, though, we still have that new sheriff.

We should all give Dudley an opportunity to succeed. However, it’s understandable that people fear the “change” we perceive is actually a smoke and mirrors trick. We’ll see. All we can do is wait and see.

GaVaHokie

April 16th, 2010
1:56 pm

MB… oops, thanks for the subtle correction. I meant Andreychuk, not Nieuwendyk… always get those two mixed up for some reason.

Personally, I’d like to see Kubina be that veteran player and Rick can continue finding more compliments for Bergfors, Little and Kane.

I still feel that Patrick Sharp is the best fit as a player/leader.

Joe Friday

April 16th, 2010
2:15 pm

“I still feel that Patrick Sharp is the best fit as a player/leader.”

Concur. I do like the leadership and examples that Antropov and Kubina bring, but didn’t do enough this year so there does need to someone new that could be the missing link needed leadershipwise.

rob

April 16th, 2010
3:23 pm

The past is just that people. It’s over. Choose to either support the team or not. If you don’t want to support the team, why waste time on these blogs, honestly? All you do is take up space for those here who actually enjoy hockey and watch the game for that reason. Just because we go to the game doesn’t mean we like Dumb Wad. But just because I don’t like him doesn’t mean I stay away from the game I love. This is a chance for true change. ASG and Dumb Wad are still here, sure, but Dudley isn’t going to just come here and associate his name with them if he didn’t think he could help the team and keep his name out of the mud covering the ownership/GM. If you don’t think it’s a chance worth taking, then stop worrying about it. I spent good money to see some great games this year, and I spent some good money to see some horrible hockey this year. Enjoyed the good and the bad. The fact that I was there and watched all the other games on TV gives me reason to discuss the team, both good and bad. If you want change, voice your opinions where it will do the most good…….at the games. Otherwise, I am sure Bettman or anyone else who might have the power to force change isn’t reading an AJC blog (afterall who reads the AJC?), and the FANS will continue to go see games because they want to. Maybe Dudley can turn things around here, halting the flow of UFA’s running from this place faster than rats on a sinking ship, and even make some others give us a look when they are shopping for a new home. I am looking forward to the off season once the playoffs are done, and next season won’t get here fast enough.
LET’S GO THRASHERS!!!!!

World Be Free

April 16th, 2010
3:54 pm

Alan R-totally agree with what you have stated here.
Fresh start, but still accountability, maybe more than ever since we never expected much up to now.

Joe Friday-I think Versteeg could be had, but I don’t think Chicago will let Sharp go just yet. Just my thoughts.

newyorker

April 16th, 2010
4:25 pm

I didn’t realize Waddell had such a big family! 50% of e mails saying to keep him!? Bruce wouldn’t lie to us would he?

Fan from Carolina

April 16th, 2010
4:56 pm

Didn’t I read here that Dudley wanted to trade Lecavalier way back when?? If he got his way Tampa Bay would have no Stanley Cup and would be in worse shape than Atlanta. This is NOT a guy to get excited about.

Sage of Bluesland

April 16th, 2010
5:35 pm

It’s like deja-vu all over again, as I see Bob is going back to his ‘old’ ways, before he was so vehement in his opposition to Waddell…See, some may want to forget what they USED to say, but I do not! Laughing about how ‘full circle’ this feels!

Reading those words by our ‘new’ GM reminds me more of Ken Herock than anything else (he of the infamous words upon his arrival in Suwanee back in the late 80s: “Don’t worry about the 49ers, I’ll outdraft them…”)

Uh-huh. Sure. Bluster is bluster–it just ranges on the scale of offensiveness/abrasiveness/delivery from Dudley to Waddell…

We’ll see. Hoping for the best–really am–but not expecting it. I don’t believe in “Hope as a strategy” as some apparently do…

bugman

April 16th, 2010
10:17 pm

“It’s working as its worked. And it has worked. It’s worked fine. It has not had any impact.”

Huh?!!

Rocket science at its finest!

Great i-view c-Viv.

Thrashers27

April 17th, 2010
2:09 pm

Fan from Carolina,

I disagree with you.

I’m not saying you’re right, or wrong, just that your statement is one that cannot be proven right, or wrong. Should Dudley have traded Lecavalier, what would he have gotten in return? I doubt anyone knows for certain. Maybe the return would have resulted in additional cup wins for Tampa.

Point being that you can’t dismiss the guy on baseless information.

Lee

April 17th, 2010
2:20 pm

Chris did the best he could with the interview with Levenson even though he may not have asked somethings that you whiners want. Give him a break.

Paddy

April 17th, 2010
6:49 pm

As long as this ownership group is embattled in legal problems and financial disaster, there will be no moving forward.

Brendan

April 17th, 2010
8:28 pm

I guess I don’t understand why the Spirit doesn’t just hire an accountant/budget expert to be Team President? Why is it that Waddell’s accounting skills are so highly in demand? What secret source of revenue stream is Waddell going to find, in his new administrative, desk job ONLY function, having ZERO impact on hockey roster decisions? Why not fire him, end any talk or confusion WHATSOEVER about Dudley’s status, as “Chief Decision-Maker,” having total OVERSIGHT, as GM, of the franchise?

I’ve heard the argument, “But Brendan, you cannot pay Waddell to sit and knit at home.” Why not? What’s wrong with knitting? (At this point, I should mention that I have been sued, successfully, by the ‘Anti-Knitting Defamation League.’) My lawyer is glaring at me. A-hem. On advice of counsel, I am hereby declaring knitting to be a very fine hobby, and there’s nothing wrong with it. That should please these people. My attorney’s arms are flailing wildly, objecting over the term, ‘these people,’ as apparently that has offensive connotations. He’s still nudging me in the short ribs. Fine. “And knitting is something that all Americans should try at least once, whether in the privacy of their own homes, or in some central, organized location, or as a group or society.” (Looking over at him.) Okay, he’s smiling now.

Can we move it along?

How ’bout these Montreal Canadiens? They’re up, 3-1, in the 2nd period, over the Capitals. Montreal won Game One in overtime. If the Habs go back to Montreal, up 2-0, I still say Washington wins this series. Remember 2006? (Of course you do.) Montreal won BOTH games in Carolina, forcing Martin Gerber out of the ‘Canes net, in favor of Cam Ward for Games Three and Four. The results? Carolina won the next four games to take the series, 4-2, en route to winning the Stanley Cup that year.

Halak looks good. If Halak is the future in Montreal, will Carey Price be on the move, whether at the draft, or during the Frenzy, on July 1? Maybe not. But it’s something to keep our eye on. Carey Price went 5th overall in his draft year, and outgoing GM Bob Gainey was VEHEMENT in Carey’s defense, at the # 1 goalie in Montreal.

Brendan

April 17th, 2010
8:37 pm

It’s 4-2, Montreal, now.

Joe Friday

April 17th, 2010
8:57 pm

crap, I thought the Habs had that period locked down at 4-1.

“I see Bob is going back to his ‘old’ ways”

yougottabekiddinme

No season tix here, Sparky. Willing to give Dudley a chance, though . . . you have to give it at least 50/50 that Waddell is out of the decision making process

Brendan

April 17th, 2010
9:28 pm

Washington tied it, 4-4. But not, Monteal is back on top, on a goal by Plekanec. But the Capitals are on the PP, with 4:00 left in regulation. Tense times.

Aren’t you GLAD there are no “pity points” in the playoffs? Just a winner and a loser, like it should be. Justice will be served, one way or another. If only the regular season could function the same way.

Brendan

April 17th, 2010
9:35 pm

Washington 5, Montreal 5, headed to overtime. No “pity points,” Montreal. You gotta win it. Or you get NOTHING!!!

4 jacks

April 17th, 2010
9:38 pm

This ownership is nothing but a joke. Waddell was only 10 percent of the problem, ownership is 90 percent of the problem. Why should people spend their hard earned money on a sorry product when ownership does not make the committment to put a good product on the ice. It all starts at the top, and although I feel it is past time for Waddell to go, it is certainly not all his fault. This ownership just plain out sucks…sorry for the offensive language.

Brendan

April 17th, 2010
10:01 pm

Backstrom get the “trick” in the overtime. Montreal get NOTHING!! “Awwww, shouldn’t they get a pity point? They played hard. They tried. They put effort. Shouldn’t that be rewarded??”

Sorry!!! No sale!!! You lost, Montreal. You get nothing. If only the regular season worked this way, too!! Capitals 6, Canadiens 5.

Brendan

April 17th, 2010
10:15 pm

4 jacks, don’t forget that the ownership insults us, regularly, with their pathetic and transparent moves. This “Waddell is now the Team President” is just the latest in a long line of less than forthright efforts and words. I could at least extend a measure of respect of them, had they said, “We’re going to embark on a 4-year building campaign, after this NY Rangers sweep. We realize we don’t have draft picks this year (2007) to go rebuild. But we want the fans to be “on board” with our plans, moving forward, so that they understand the situation and what we’re trying to do.”

I can live with that. Truly. That’s honest. Instead, we got, “This will be a playoff year.” When the results were 76-points, 76-points, and now, 83-points.” And budgets were at the league minimum for 2008 and 2009. So, there’s a pretty big and obvious disconnect between the “words and the deeds.”

Truthfully, I don’t listen to BL anymore. There’s nothing left for him to say. What do you expect from a pig, but a grunt? What do you expect from a politician, but kissing babies, then stealing their lollipops, when their parents head is turned. Fool us once, that’s shame on us. Fool us 14 times, and we’re the ones out of excuses.

I heard that BL said, “we’ve made mistakes in the past.” Well, gee. That’s all fine and good. It’s nice 1st step to admit failure, but who hasn’t been keeping up with those current events? Don’t apologize for past mistakes, take corrective action. By that, I mean … you fire Waddell with Dan Marr, the rest of the scouts, the rest of the Coaching staff, and you tell Dudley, “You’re Absolutely, 100% in charge. Go do whatever you feel is best.” Better still, hold an exhaustive search for a new GM, and if the best candidate really is Rick Dudley, then you hire him. Then tell him, “You’re in charge. Do whatever you feel is best. I pay you to manage the team.”

Brendan

April 18th, 2010
12:35 am

Vancouver has squandered a 2-0 lead, as the Kings and Canucks are going to overtime. Canucks lead the series, 1-0.

Brendan

April 18th, 2010
1:13 am

The Canucks no longer lead the series. Anze Kopitar has won it for the Kings, on a PPG, in overtime.

Lee

April 18th, 2010
9:14 am

A friend of mine lives next to Mr. Waddell, and he gives their family free season passes. I assume that he does that to the people that live next to him, and the people that live across, and diagonal. Now. Change Mr. Waddell to….uhhh….Steve Belkin. Do you think he’d do that? Uh no.

Jeremy

April 18th, 2010
9:41 am

Have to understand NHl is not in a position to move a team. If they wanted a team to move they would of done that by now. Ask Arizona that. The NHl spent more money in count last summer than what it would of cost to move the team. Not many people looking to buy an NHL team. Only one person come to mind Blackberry which they are are not doing as the NHl won’t move any team as this time time. This has also been stated by the NHl several times over this year.

Sage of Bluesland

April 18th, 2010
10:10 am

“…you have to give it at least 50/50 that Waddell is out of the decision making process.”

See, this is evidence of your former ways; this truly personifies the “Hope as a Strategy” approach.

For the official and non-waffling record that many seem predisposed to, I don’t buy any of this “change”…When Waddell is finally separated from the organization, I will conclude that his stench doesn’t permeate the halls anymore.

But, of course, those who place the blame for all ills on the ownership are absolutely correct. Waddell is just the incompetent representation of an indifferent group.

Thus, they don’t deserve my money at all. I support accountability and responsibility–not indifference and intellect-insults…

Alan R.

April 18th, 2010
11:52 am

yougottabekiddinme

No, he’s not kidding. You softened your image of Dudley, and therefore you’re fair game for attack. You’ve seen how this works countless times.

Brendan

April 18th, 2010
3:20 pm

Sage, I agree with you, but I must ask you a question. And I do appreciate your honesty and sincerity of response. Here, now, the question: “Do you see players like Artyukin, Kubina, and Antropov, as well as several of last year’s (bigger, taller) draft picks, as the IMPRINT of Dudley on this team?”

Answering truthfully to the same question, I do see a change. I do see Dudley’s imprint. And all I can do is hope that Dudley will eventually be (1) exclusively in charge of the roster and (2) have exclusive responsibility for the choice of a Head Coach of the Atlanta Thrashers. A former poster, who has since been banned, would completely disagree with me, stating that Waddell is the lone architect of it all, and that Dudley has done absolutely nothing. That banned poster is certainly welcome to that opinion.

For my $0.02, I still don’t understand what Waddell has done … (1) to deserve an office or (2) a contract or (3) a salary from this NHL team. What is Waddell doing, as Team President, that a $45,000-a-year accountant couldn’t do for them? Why is Waddell still part of the equasion? That’s what I cannot fathom. People keep telling me, “Oh, he’s been neutered. Ohh, he’s been shoved aside. Ohhh, he really doesn’t count for anything anymore.” If those were true, Waddell would have been told to clean out his desk. Instead, the “man in charge” for the past 11 season remains part of the “consulting/vetting” process of the named GM, Rick Dudley. What has Waddell done to merit being part of that process?

According to some, Waddell’s around “to smooth things over” and “ease the transition” of Dudley to GM. See, that … RIGHT THERE … to me, is the problem. If Dudley is a “hot head,” which I don’t know to be true as a character trait, perhaps that is JUSSSSSST what these owners need. Waddell, to me, seemed like the type who didn’t like conflict. He’d just agree to whatever they said or wanted, to keep his job. If Dudley’s the sort to say, “Look fellas, you can’t run a team like this. And the next guy to sit in that GM chair would tell you the same,” then I totally support Dudley in his allegedly, supposedly confrontational nature. These owners, in my view, don’t have a handle on the dynamics of running an NHL franchise. If Dudley can educate them on that, fine! Great! Fabulous!! I’d love to see it. Maybe we’d start to retain players when they hit UFA status? Maybe we’ll have a coach who improves the club’s fortunes with respect to the core area of “player development.”

I welcome all of the positive “changes” that are supposedly coming. I just don’t see what retaining Waddell accomplishes, in terms of ‘turning the corner’ from the past, as a franchise. Don’t tell me the the Thrashers are the Braves or the Falcons. When clearly, they are not. They are the Atlanta Thrashers, as run … by a dysfunctional ownership group. They say, “We’ve made mistakes in the past.” Fine. Everyone does. That’s why pencils have erasers. But part of correcting the mistakes of the past includes removing what was wrong from the beginning, and that’s Waddell.

Look, my goal, here, isn’t to see Waddell begging for change on the street corner. He’s made $9 million being the GM of this team for the past 11 years. If Waddell’s house isn’t paid off yet, shame on him. He shouldn’t be destitute, nor should be completely “unemployable” by another franchise in the NHL. Remember, “he’s very respected in NHL circles.” And that “respect” will land him another job. Somewhere in the league. And I’d be the first to wish Waddell well in that new job, elsewhere in the league. I think Waddell got a raw deal here. Maybe in a different environment, he’d have better luck? Shrugs. I don’t know. I see Waddell like I do Kari Lehtonen, a guy who seemingly has a lot potential, but for whatever reason(s), never achieved it. I hope Kari does have a great career in Dallas, or wherever. And if Waddell wins a Stanley Cup somewhere else in the league, I won’t begrudge him that. But he’s MORE than had his chance here. For his benefit, and that of the Thrashers, he should go. Go get that fresh, new start.

Sage, I await your answer.

Lee

April 18th, 2010
4:48 pm

Will Montreal/Washington be an upset?? Montreal certainly isn’t letting in in this series.

Sage of Bluesland

April 18th, 2010
5:05 pm

“…Here, now, the question: “Do you see players like Artyukin, Kubina, and Antropov, as well as several of last year’s (bigger, taller) draft picks, as the IMPRINT of Dudley on this team?…”

I don’t think it’s evidence of anything, as there has been no official correspondence supporting this point of view. I can speculate JUST AS EASILY that Ilya Kovalchuk wanted these players and make a case that he had more of a GM-impact than “Duds” did. See what I mean?

Another road I don’t want to go down–AGAIN–is trumpeting the pick of Kane and attributing that to either “Duds” or Waddell…Never forget that even ‘I’ could read the top-prospect list and make that very pick, given everything related to Kane and how well he would fit into Atlanta…just as I wanted Heatley, Kovalchuk, and Nash…A ‘real’ GM makes or breaks his team with the picks which require real skill (or luck), which are about all picks after the top-ten.

Until we start hitting on picks from the 2nd to the 7th round with legitimate NHL players (not just 4th liners), then we’re stuck back in the cycle of one premier pick per year; one kid per year; too little too late when rebuilding, as the good ones will be long gone once they can.

By the way, I have a serious question for the hockey grognards (serious question with no offense intended)…Why do people shorten names of players/persons and add an ‘-s’ to the end seemingly all the time? Cases in point: Lehts, Duds, Slates, et. al. My favorite sport is football, and I notice it’s not done there…thank goodness, too. I think it sounds, well, I’ll let you be the judge of how I’m feeling about that…

OK, serious question #2 for those who follow the business workings or arena of the Thrashers: I notice that other hockey venues have ‘electronic’ advertising boards…and we have a clear window with what looks like a paper-roller-bar for the ads. I don’t know what the percentage is of the electronic ones–and I know it’s completely peripheral to the playing of hockey–but I DO laugh every time I see ours on TV and think of our wonderful owners and how much they must care!

Nope, I’m not convinced of anything. Some dream and want certain things so badly they invent the ‘truth’ in their minds. It’s far too early to judge anything related to “Duds”. Based on what I’ve seen so far, I liken him to Ken Herock of the Falcons when he arrived to that other dysfunctional team then located in Suwannee (the Falcons). He blustered well, too…but, in the end, IT’S THE OWNERSHIP where it all starts.

(and that is precisely why I’m not sold on anything they say or do…they have proven to me they are not serious about this team, numerous times too…I don’t know what other people are seeing, but I’m seeing the old Jack-and-the-beanstalk and the magic beans moreso than real, effective, change…)

Brendan

April 18th, 2010
8:04 pm

Uht-oh, my last post didn’t take. Maybe Vivlamore can save it. Sage, the shortening of names in hockey is just a common thing that happens. At the speed hockey is played, no one has time to say, “vanRiemsdyk,” while tapping your stick on the ice. When you can say, “Rimer” or “Van.”

Ice Man

April 19th, 2010
2:06 am

John is correct about Houston being left out of the WHA NHL merger; Houston was a strong WHA franchise and a good hockey market. But remember, the Aeros folded after the 1977-1978 season. Many of their players ie Morris Lukowich, Rich Preston, Terry Ruskowsky, Scott Campbell, and a few others were sold to the Winnipeg Jets, where they played in 1978-1979. The leagues merged the after the 1978-1979 season was completed; Winnipeg, Quebec City, Hartford, and Edmonton joined the NHL in the 1979-1980 season.
Too bad earlier attempts at merger did not succeed; the Aeros and the Cincinatti Stingers would have also joined the NHL had that earlier attempt succeeded.

GaVaHokie

April 19th, 2010
8:35 am

“Do you see players like Artyukin, Kubina, and Antropov, as well as several of last year’s (bigger, taller) draft picks, as the IMPRINT of Dudley on this team?”

I agree with Sage on this one… it’s hard to judge, but I’d say Kubina was a favor to Burke that made sense for us, Antro was Waddell making Kovy happy, and anything during the season… Oduya, Arty, Bergfors, Cormier, Vishnevskiy was an imprint of Dudley.

As for your Waddell “knitting” and budget argument… I’m thinking Levenson tipped his hat a little bit by pointing out Waddell’s “business relationships”. Something that’s probably hard for the Spirit Group to maintain themselves. When you’re never present, and you allow your GM to be the eyes and ears for your business; he probably becomes more valuable than the owners themselves… scary thought, huh?

I notice that other hockey venues have ‘electronic’ advertising boards…and we have a clear window with what looks like a paper-roller-bar for the ads.

haha… especially when Philips is our building sponsor. You’d think they could design something.

GaVaHokie

April 19th, 2010
8:40 am

At the speed hockey is played, no one has time to say, “vanRiemsdyk,” while tapping your stick on the ice. When you can say, “Rimer” or “Van.”

Yep, and doesn’t quite work in football when your receiver is 30 yards down field. :)

Gotta think Kovy was screwing with the guys in that NJ game… coming up behind the guys saying “Thorsy, I’m open”… “Pevs, line change”

Andrew G

April 19th, 2010
4:02 pm

When are the Thrashers going to be saved by a professional like Arthur Blank? The farm system sucks as we let players like Chelios and Krog take up minutes for our players we want to develop. I am sick of the Calder Cup.

Brendan

April 19th, 2010
5:40 pm

Hokie, maybe I’m wrong and you and Sage are right. All I know is … I really, truly want “change” for this organization. I hope we’ll really get it this time.