Search for new coach has begun

I spent an hour with new Thrashers GM Rick Dudley this fine Saturday for a feature that will appear later this week. His journey to the NHL  is an extremely interesting story. You can read about it later this week, but I will leave you with one tidbit. Dudley once appeared on the game show To Tell The Truth as a two-sport professional athlete (hockey and lacrosse). He stumped the panel.

The Thrashers have been preparing all week for the upcoming draft with the scouting team in Duluth for hours of meetings, one of which I interrupted for the interview.

I asked about the coaching search. He again said to me that he is in no hurry to make a hire. However, he has sought permission from four NHL teams to speak to people in their organization about the Thrashers vacancy. He gave no names, but when pressed told me that three of the potential candidates are currently still in the playoffs. He believes the correct practice is to wait until those teams have been eliminated from the playoffs before doing an interview.

The organization – meaning Dudley and assistant GM Larry Simmons – have begun reaching out to several of the 10 unrestricted free agents. Dudley said for the right price he’d like to have them all back -  except for Slava Kozlov. A long shot to return is Mark Popovic. If Pavel Kubina is re-signed, that gives the Thrashers six top defensemen with Boris Valabik returning from injury. A player like Arturs Kulda will get a looooong look in training camp and a chance to make the team.

Several other prospects will get a real chance as well. Dudley mentioned Patrice Cormier (who he sees as a second or third liner), Spencer Machacek, Ivan Vishnevskiy and Paul Postma by name. “We have to give our young players a real look,” Dudley said.

Of the unrestricted free agents that Dudley said the team has begun to talk to their representation are Kubina, Colby Armstrong, Maxim Afinogenov, Johan Hedberg, Jim Slater and Eric Boulton. He said they have not yet talked to Evgeny Artyukhin. I will be making some calls to stay on top of potential signings.

Those are some of the highlights from the interview.

It sure is good to get a hockey blog posted. I have covered several Braves games since the season ended and, no offense, but baseball is a slow game. I haven’t forgotten the several season-ending interviews I still have to get posted as well. Now that the house and yard are in order and Mrs. Vivlamore is happy, I will get to them.

55 comments Add your comment


May 12th, 2010
4:33 pm

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May 12th, 2010
8:00 pm

Crosby is losing YEAH. I know its not over so I am knocking on wood


May 13th, 2010
2:04 am

A good coach will be the difference for the Thrashers this year. My first choice as I mentioned numerous times before would be Craig MacTavish but if the Thrashers wanted to get a coach on the cheap, I’d try to get Kirk Muller or John Maclean.


May 13th, 2010
10:03 am

Hey Kracker. Wake up.

I think if you’ll check the real gate receipts of the last two years (as opposed to the announced attendance figures that includes numerous comps), the numbers were down by several thousand, not just “one.” I wouldn’t have said another word about Waddell, and was actually looking way past his nightmare regime, when he starts poking his head back in player-evaluation situations.

I worked for the New Jersey Devils for three years and for 10 other NHL teams’ hockey departments for another six years, and I know the role of a team President vs. a Director of Player Personnel, Area Scout, GM, Assistant GM, Pro Scout, Amateur Scout, etc….Presidents (without a shared GM title) are supposed to run the business operations (Marketing, PR, Ticket Sales, Accounting, Season Ticket Relations, etc…), not show up at major championships, junior rinks, rookie camps, etc….

If Waddell is no longer in a player personnel evalutation role, he picked a poor way of demonstrating it by having the PR department publicly state that he couldn’t be reached for comment on the Cormier situation because “he was at the World Championships in Germany.” I want to root for this team as hard as you, Brendan and the others, but the guy who personally guided this team into the toilet is clearly still performing his amateur plumbing – and not even attempting to hide this fact.

I’ll stop bringing up Waddell as soon as he stops his tinkering in the clubs’ hockey operations.


May 13th, 2010
10:18 am

Hey Viv, see if you can get a straight answer from Duds or an owner on the purpose of Waddell’s presence at the World Championships, and more importantly on a definition of his new role, especially as it relates to the club’s Hockey Department.. Does Dudley report to Waddell? Is Waddell directly or indirectly involved in player personnel decisions? What will Waddell be doing at this year’s Entry Draft? Will he attend? Why? Presidents typically do show up at Entry Drafts for the PR exposure and executive-junket perk value. Will this be the case wtih DW in LA (purported destination of Kovy if he doesn’t join his boy Slava in the KHL)? Thanks.