Dudley reshaping Thrashers’ scouting

I have some leftover items from my interview with GM Rick Dudley last week for the Offseason Update Story that I wrote. It’s already posted online and will run in the Sunday paper.

I thought I would share one today so we have a blog posted through the weekend. Covering the Braves on Saturday and will spend Father’s Day with the family.

Dudley shared his philosophy for scouting players and spoke about how he has tweaked the way the scouting department files player reports. Here is what he said:

“We have three criteria we go for and it’s pretty easy. We have character, we have hockey sense and we have speed. There was a time when size was an equal component. It’s no longer quite the same component.

“We break those out into, 12 or 14 categories that we identify from game to game. If you look at them, between pro and amateur, if you get a consistent number from scouts that watch a player then you can pretty much target that this guys is one heck of a good skater. You can check that off.

“Then you look at the category that has things like work ethic and grit and aggressive play. You put that component together and you can say that this guy is a pretty high character player.

“The hockey sense, to me, is the tough one. We try to break that out into the offensive side of things and the defensive side of things. If you get a player that has all three of those components you are in pretty good shape. Now, if you want to throw in that the guys is 6-foot-3, all of sudden we are getting pretty excited about this players. I don’t think people look at it in those terms. I think they say ‘Well, he scored 46 goals, he’s got to be a pretty good player.’ [I might]  look at him and say ‘He’s a big guy that scored 46 goals but he’s dumber than a sack of hammers.’ If that’s the case, he’s going to have a tough time playing in the National Hockey League.”

Scouts are now required to fill out more extensive reports than in the past,  breaking down players in all the above criteria. The reason is simple, according to Dudley.

“This is just me, but I think there is too much guess work. There is Too much ‘I think this guy is a good player.’ Or ‘My gut tells me this guy is a good player.’ Before you get to that point, I want him broken down into as finite of categories that you can have. I think you can do it.”

Wanted to give you some more insight into the way Dudley has tweaked things since taking over his new role.

A couple odds and ends:

* Once again, relax on yet another report that the Thrashers are for sale. They continue to publically say they are looking for minority investors. Here’s the latest statement following the latest report.

“As has been shared publicly for more than a year, we are interested in finding minority investors and have engaged a firm to assist us in that effort.  We have no plans to move either team, and remain committed to the Hawks, the Thrashers, Philips Arena and the city of Atlanta.”

* Zach Bogosian and Evander Kane will be guest instructors at the Thrashers Summer Youth Hockey Camp June 21-25. The camp, for various age groups, will take place at the IceForum in Duluth. For more information visit the website  Atlanta Thrashers Youth Hockey Camps

51 comments Add your comment

R. Stroz

June 18th, 2010
5:40 pm

C-Viv – Any UFA and/or RFA contract updates?

Flames

June 18th, 2010
5:44 pm

Well it seems as Dudley has things in control. I really hate the New York Times! Half of Canada just got excited with the thought of the team being up for sale. I’m so excited about this draft. It is going to be exciting.

Brendan

June 18th, 2010
6:23 pm

Nice and thoughtful blog, Chris Viv. Let’s hope some contract talks pick up next week.

Brendan

June 18th, 2010
6:27 pm

I think the hardest part about finding investors is what the Spirit can really promise them in return for their money. On one hand, they claim they’re losing $30 million. On the other hand, they are looking for investors. To do what, losing $5 million more? I mean, what’s in it for the investor? If it’s a majority owner, 51-percent, at least control of the team and the possibility of buying out some of the spirit might be there. But without the percentages of Philips Arena, no one will/would touch the Thrashers. The arena makes money. It’s one of the most profitable venues in the country. That’s what has to be offered as an investment opportunity.

And to Canadians up north, this team just, plain isn’t leaving. It can’t leave prior to 2019. In the year 2019, start salivating. But not before then.

World Be Free

June 18th, 2010
7:13 pm

I was hoping Dudley would change members of the the scouting staff. But if he changes the way they evaluate players, I guess that will due for now. He sure doesn’t look like a lap dog, at least so far.

Today’s rumor about the possible sale of the Thrashers changes nothing up north. They still hate us, they’ll still make up stories about the impending sale of the club to a Canadian concern. Anything to disrupt this city, team and our fanbase.

Smoothie

June 18th, 2010
7:29 pm

C-Viv – now that’s a meaty blog! Scrumptious and filling. Thanks!

So what Duds is saying is don’t be surprised if we take Emerson Etem or Jeff Skinner over Brett Connolly and RyJo!?

Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if BC, RyJo and El Nino were all taken before we pick at 8.

How do y’all feel about Alex Burmistrov if those three are gone?

Sage of Bluesland

June 18th, 2010
9:11 pm

…and I’m sure we’ll get the player we wanted all along, too…Does “Duds” have a “Five-Year Plan” in effect?

What, precisely, IS the timetable we’re talking about here? Has anyone thought to ask the question related to expectations? (or are we still stuck with a complete lack of accountability and endless bluster from the powers-that-be of the local joke of a hockey organization?)

I think I know the answer to that question. Do you? Be honest with yourself, for once…

Chris Vivlamore

June 18th, 2010
9:18 pm

R. Stroz: No updates on UFAs or RFAs or coach search. There will not be any until after the draft, that much I can say for sure.

World Be Free: I can tell you that Dudley really likes the scouting staff. He said he was quite impressed when he arrived last year. He just wanted to change the process, making the reports more in depth.

Smoothie: I talked quite a bit about the upcoming draft with Dudley. Wouldn’t reveal much. Either he is playing it very close to the vest or, as he said, he’s really not sure what direction the draft will go after the top two picks.

Sage: Nice to have you back. As I’ve asked, and reported, several times before Dudley said he expects this team to improve next year and be a real playoff competitor in the near future. He again compared last year’s Thrashers team to the 88-point Blackhawks of a couple years ago. Here’s one quote (I’ll save others for another blog). “With this team, we have a capacity to be very good. I’d like it to be sooner. The sooner is going to be good because [a new coach] comes in and shows them how to play.”

Sage of Bluesland...

June 18th, 2010
9:40 pm

could right this ship, if only ASG weren’t so cheap.

Smoothie

June 18th, 2010
10:26 pm

Chris – thanx for taking the time to respond. Ur response to Stroz has me a bit confused tho. There has to be some kind of update on RFAs as the tender deadline is the day of the draft. Or were u just referring to the coaching search?

mutton

June 18th, 2010
11:08 pm

Chris – Thanks for the insight into scouting, the Dudley way! Glad to know that he seems serious about size not being a make-or-break anymore from him repeatedly asserting that and bringing in some smaller players who have a good chance to succeed in the NHL. I’m also very glad to learn he has given a little kickstart to the scouting department.

Chris, hope you have a faneffingtastic Fathers’ Day weekend. You’ve certainly earned the time off and then some.

World Be Free

June 18th, 2010
11:41 pm

All I can ask of any Thrasher team is that they play like Dudley played in the 70’s and early 80’s. Give your best, whatever it is. Too many players today go into the corner like their pockets are filled with fresh eggs and they don’t want them broken. If Dudley builds a team of little Rick Dudleys, well that would be alright by me.

Telfo

June 18th, 2010
11:43 pm

Smoothie- Im sure all the RFA’s we care about will get qualifying offers by then… i think he means its unlikely any will be signed by then

Brendan

June 19th, 2010
12:29 am

If the Thrashers are too stupid to make qualifying offers to Little, Bergfors, and Pavelec, they deserve what follows. The real question will be … who will SIGN those qualifying offers? As opposed to electing salary arbitration.

What ever happened to Brett Sterling? Is he an RFA, or what? Is he still part of the Thrashers organization? I’ve heard nothing about this guy. Not even trade rumors, lest I missed the trade. Which is possible.

The Real Thrash

June 19th, 2010
7:36 am

If you really believe the owners are not shopping the teams and arena and are happy just losing money, you are loony tunes.
These guys are barely millionaires, not billionaires.

Acer

June 19th, 2010
7:39 am

Dudley managed to conduct a very good draft in 2009 with the “Waddell” scouts. I’m wondering whether the scouts were the problem or whether Waddell didn’t fully utilized them. I’d love see to how the 2010 draft is working out before coming to a conclusion.

WBF, Ever since mid 2004, I’m one of biggest doubters of the Thrashers scouts and everything added up, until Dudley joined the organization. How the heck did the fools around Marr managed to conduct a successful draft in 2009? It shattered my long term impression about them. I’m betting that Waddell and Dudley have fundamental differences over how to utilize the draft/ scouting staff.

Smoothie, I found the 6′3” number VERY interesting + plus RD is talking about scoring goals aka forwards and not blueliners. Ryan Johansen is 6-foot-3. He’s the guy the Thrashers target and Dudley may like him enough to trade up to secure him. Burmistrov is too much of a risk. TSN’s piece on him (check the video player) only adds up to my concerns. Personally, I’d stay away from any Russian in the Top60. One Russian in this draft though is high one my list. He’s almost like a second coming of Gonchar and his name is Alexei Marchenkov. I pick him in the 3rd or 4th round.

Finally, Chris-
Thanks for doing this. I’ve waited for quite a while for another draft related article and as I alluded above you already give me an idea of how RD thinks. I can sleep a lot better knowing that the Thrashers have a GM who has a found understanding about the importance of drafting/ scouting. Hopefully, a few gems on draft day will increase the awareness and interest of a few more fans for the draft. I got question for you Chris before finishing off this entry. Is Dudley planning to trade any of his Top60 picks for established NHL’er? You may not answer this one but hopefully you can provide at least a subtle clue of some sort. ;)

DB

June 19th, 2010
7:48 am

What we know a little about from the reports is the cash flow status. From earlier reports, ASG partners have been asked to pony-up cash for operations and recently Belkin had to kick-in his share. They could be experiencing positive cash flow now however they still show bottom line losses. It would be nice if we could get an idea if the ASG partners have had any cash calls lately.

World Be Free

June 19th, 2010
8:59 am

Acer-with Dudley, it’s not all about the player’s skills. It’s more about their commitments and team dedication, the same criteria successful pro football teams like the Patroits use. I am not surprised that Dudley requires his scouts use these elements to judge all potentional players.

As a player, I played with talented hockey players that were selfish, lazy and didn’t care about the team. It doesn’t work in the long run, I’d rather play with a bunch of mediocre guys who are commited to winning.

buldog/52

June 19th, 2010
10:32 am

re sterling he is a urf does not look as if he will resign with thrashers. he has no chance to move up with atl.

Sage of Bluesland

June 19th, 2010
12:40 pm

“…Dudley said he expects this team to improve next year and be a real playoff competitor in the near future….”

Ever felt that feeling of ‘deja-vu’ before? Lisping Don’s teams marginally and incrementally “improved” each year too–well, until the wheels fell completely off after the one and only playoff appearance.

What’s the “near future”? Heck, that could be three years from now!

“…we have a capacity to be very good. I’d like it to be sooner….”

Thanks, “Duds”, I would too…so would everyone else in Thrashersland…

“…The sooner is going to be good because [a new coach] comes in and shows them how to play.”

I apologize for any confusion, but I don’t even understand this sentence. It’s like a Dilbert cartoon.

Great.

Like I started with, folks: Ever get that feeling of ‘deja-vu’? For me, it’s alive and well in the figurative joke otherwise known as “Blueland”…

I’m STILL not buying the bluster. I hope I’m wrong about this guy, but anyone hand-picked by Don Waddell already has one strike against them. Why anyone would listen to this person who has single-handedly help run this franchise into the ground over a decade is beyond my mental capacity.

Maybe the bluster will be backed up this time with real results–as opposed to worthless promises, conjecture, obfuscation, and excuses…I do hope so and I hope I’m dead wrong about this guy…

Pittsburgh Pirate Fan

June 19th, 2010
12:51 pm

Sage, Don and Dudley are not the same person. Dudley has a history of building success stories, a proven track record. Don does not. I am a wait and see person, leery of the past just like you. But I am satisied so far that Dudley is moving the team in a positive direction. Cautiously optimistic, but mindful of the past.

Sage of Bluesland

June 19th, 2010
2:24 pm

…and he ["Duds"] also has a proven track record of not being at one place for too long…or for not being in a place when the success was finally realized.

But, I don’t think “Duds” can do much worse than Don–nobody could. But I’m just saying I’ve heard the loud and arrogant bluster before, as Don was one of the best (before he became mindful of his idiotic promises/statements and noticeably limited his comments to the media).

Only time will tell–I’m just not impressed anymore with words…I’ve heard them countless times from this pathetic organization…

Pittsburgh Pirate Fan

June 19th, 2010
4:31 pm

Dudley took alotta crap in TB before he told ownership to kiss off. And you are correct-he can’t be worse than the man he is replacing. So let’s wait and see.

Pi$$onaDawg

June 19th, 2010
4:46 pm

I hope he is scouting for a new house and arena in a new city for the Thrashers and himself.

alex

June 19th, 2010
5:29 pm

SAGE, it’s clear what dud mean saying will be contender for playoff in near future, after asg idiots sell this team to local or relocated owners, with cheap asg in power it’s impossible to compete even with brilliant gm. so as soon they sell to real owners team going to be ok.

rob

June 19th, 2010
7:26 pm

All this conjecture……I am simply excited about the players coming this way. The season should be more exciting on the ice IMO. A new coach will have to put his stamp on the team, I can only hope he is a coach, and not someone who wants to be friends with everyone. Coach can’t do that, he has to be able to lead and hold players accountable. Season can’t get here soon enough for me!
LET’S GO THRASHERS!!!

rob

June 19th, 2010
7:42 pm

pi$$ on pi$$onadawg. On 2nd thought why waste the time.

Acer

June 20th, 2010
6:54 am

WBF, you add some good points. The Blackhawks made some , what a few experts considered, questionable picks under Dudley. Both Akim Aliu and Kyle Beach were surrounded by plenty of question marks during their draft years. I suspect that commitment and team dedication were not a concern for Chicago. What are the implications this year? Maybe Dudley takes McFarland with the 24th overall pick.

SAGE, give Dudley a chance! I know that you have a massive problem with Don Waddell, just like many fans including myself, but at some point it’s unfair to blast Dudley before he even started his job. My issues with Waddell were mainly based around the mediocre draft and development record.

Dudley seems to understand the importance of the problem much better and he has already proven to be successful with the Hawks and the Thrashers in 2009. Improvements on this front won’t happen over night. Some players will improve next season but as a result the team may not improve as a hole in a short-term manner. The long-term outlook is much better though- ““…Dudley said he expects this team to improve next year and be a real playoff competitor in the near future….”

At the end, I believe that the Thrashers are TWO seasons away from the playoffs. Why? I’m convinced that Afinogenov and Kubina are gone to “honor” the Thrashers tradition of losing key players. Dudley and some fans like to compare the team to the Blackhawks before they were good. I believe that those fans don’t fully realize what Dudley is saying. Kane and Toews lead the resurging Blackhawks and not veterans like Afinogenov and Kubina. Atlanta will be heading in the right direction when Kane, Bogosian or other youngster are the best players and lead the Thrashers. This may or may not happen next season.

It’s gravely annoys me to read about calls from ATL fans who want to trade Top 60 picks. This franchise is doing a nice job of adding solid depth and decent quality but decent is not good enough. Atlanta needs quality, not just decent, players and it’s much easier & cheaper to acquire such players via the draft. Other former bottom barrel franchises have shown that it’s better to make the playoffs before trading first round picks. Examples: Pittsburgh (2006), Chicago, Phoenix, Nashville (2004), LA. Trading within the draft gets my thumbs up but trading for established NHL’ers like Versteeg would move Dudley closer to Waddell from my POV.

Hopefully, a few good picks will increase the awareness and interest of the Thrashers fan base for draft because it’s an important building block for any successful franchise. Throughout the year, I admired Phoenix fans. The Coyotes were playing well in the NHL, yet the fans also talked about the draft. Most important of all both started in early December and went on from there. Down the road, I hope to see similar developments in Thrasher-ville.

I’m excited about the draft and hopefully the Thrashers pick one my favorites in the lower rounds of the draft (Olden, Noebels, Marchenko, D.Smith.)

World Be Free

June 20th, 2010
9:23 am

Acer, like you, I think the playoffs will be tough to reach next season. I am also disappointed in the prospect of losing Max and possibly Kubina. Both players contributed last season, but maybe neither is in Dudley’s grand plan. Or maybe it is just about money and we have heard that before.

I am one who believes we should look to trade #24 for an established player. The philosphy is new in the NHL, trading picks (potential) for an established NHL from a team that must trade to get under the cap. It’s not about picking another team’s cast offs. No way Chicago wants to trade Versteeg or Sharp due to performance, they have to. So this is a viable route to improve quickly. There’s also the route of keeping picks and selecting the right players. Dudley’s criteria for players (prospects and established players) is more defined than anything ber believe Waddell may had had for past drafts. Like you, I want to give Dudley a chance. We have nothing to lose.

Sage of Bluesland

June 20th, 2010
9:56 am

I don’t have a problem with letting all of these veterans go and doing a complete rebuild–from the ground up with kids everywhere–I can live with and actually can endorse becoming, in effect, an expansion team yet again.

I just can’t deal with the organization not cutting ties with the incompetent buffoon who led us down the path and wasted our time for the first decade. I’ll never be able to support it.

Those are my issues. I hope, just as much as everyone, that Bogosian and Kane become the Toews/Kane of the Hawks and what the Heatley/Kovalchuk should have been…I do hope that Duds is the real thing when it comes to prospect identification, selection, and development.

I hope and pray that our player development becomes more than what it was under Waddell–which consisted mainly of the top-five pick of the first round (and everything else was an utter failure).

We’ll see–but I do agree it’s going to take more time than even Duds will say publicly…I just don’t think we’re as close as the organization would like us to believe…The ‘Legends of Blueland’ are nothing more than paper dreams…

World Be Free

June 20th, 2010
10:19 am

Sage, sound the trumpets-we agree

CrazyDiamond

June 20th, 2010
10:24 am

Thanks for the blog, Chris. I’ve always wondered about scouting in the NHL.

Hey, Flames – So you hate the New York Times. Because Rush Limbo told you so? The report of the sale of the teams and Philips Arena originated in the NEW YORK POST, owned by Rupert Murdoch, the owner of Fox News.

Acer

June 20th, 2010
11:02 am

Thanks for clearing things up (#24, rebuilding.) I always found it hard to understand where you guys here at the AJC came from. ;)

World Be Free

June 20th, 2010
11:22 am

Acer-either way, I think we will be OK in the long term with Dudley in charge, assuming he is here long term. Sage has noted that Dudley has worked a couple of different places. Hope he stays and takes a clear path for the next few years.

What is the chanes of Kovy ending up in Florida with the Panthers? Just asking…..

Brendan

June 20th, 2010
11:52 am

Acer, WBF, Sage … there’s something I’ve got to say, and it’ll bother me if I don’t. Remember when we came into the league? Course, ya do. Yeah, well … Tampa Bay and Chicago sucked EVERY BIT as much as we did. Did they just DRAFT THEIR WAY to the Stanley Cup? Answer: No. Though, certainly draft picks were part of the story. No, the real answer why the Lightning and Blackhawks have Stanley Cups on their resumes during the time in which the Thrashers have been in the league … is because they had an ownership change. Or, said another way, ownership CHANGED its way of operating. Let’s toss Anaheim into the mix, as well. The then “Mighty Ducks” were mired in mediocrity, as well. But ownership in Chicago, TB, and Anaheim, changed the way it did business. They forget their past, and blazed a new trail towards the future. The results? Tampa won the Cup in 2004, Anaheim in 2007, and Chicago, right here in 2010. See, it CAN happen. Just look at the decades prior to those Cup wins … in those markets. Not pretty, was it? Pretty hopeless, or so it seemed. Segue ….

And see, that’s what hasn’t happened HERE, in ATLANTA, yet. Could Chicago have landed players like Havlat, Hossa, and Campbell in free agency in 2003, or 2004, or 2006? No!! Of course, not. They hadn’t changed their business model yet. The players … in this league … know which owners are committed to winning Cups, or trying to win Cups, and which ones aren’t.

And, sadly, ours aren’t. In our ownership’s mind, “wishing” for Stanley Cups is all they need do. But what have they done, in terms of something TANGIBLE, to send an announcement that the Thrashers are going to be a Cup contender? *crickets* They haven’t. That’s why we can’t keep players. That’s why UFA’s, other than the Tier II variety, steer clear of Atlanta. The players want to win. The players jockey for position on contending teams. If this ownership would, TODAY, fire Waddell and start to lock up key players, people would know they’re serious. That ‘real change’ has happened in Atlanta, and it’s suddenly safe to go back into the water.

Not that I especially advocate this, but Bogosian is eligible for a PROACTIVE RFA deal on July 1. If they locked him up for 8 years, it would raise my eyebrows. “Getting serious about winning?,” I’d start to think to myself. That’s jumping the gun a bit, I do realize. But it’s an announcement that “striving to be the 15th or 16th best team in the NHL” on a shoestring budget is NO LONGER the goal of the Atlanta market. We’re not going to try to eek our way into the 8th spot anymore. They’re not going to have this “minor league habitus” surrounding the franchise ANYMORE. There’s going to be ACCOUNTABILITY … and we’re going to attract and KEEP quality players, from now on.

If they do these things, WATCH. Just watch how fast things would change. But the instrument of change must come from ownership. Either they sell to committed ownership, or they BECOME committed ownership. And I don’t just mean, after tipping a few beers on “banner raising night,” in a drunken euphoria, declaring that “We’re gonna do everything in our power to bring the Stanley Cup to Atlanta.” Then suffer through 4 full seasons, under Don Waddell, without a playoff win or, frankly, a PLAN.

I don’t know that Dudley, alone, can get it done. I don’t know that Dudley could do it, with committed ownership. But I AM WILLING to give Dudley his fair chance. Like Sage, I see no purpose for the retention of Don Waddell. Release Waddell to pursue other options in the NHL, or whereever he wants. To show you just how far removed from “serious” this ownership is … they didn’t even issue a statement over WHY they made a GM change. At no point did this ownership ever say, “The results under Don Waddell were insufficient. Therefore, we knew we needed to make a change, and thus, we are removing him as GM. After an exhaustive search, will name a new GM, and begin a new direction.” Did anyone of you ever hear these words escape the Spirit’s lips? Me, either. And until that happens, nobody will take Atlanta seriously. Sure, they make a GM change, but they let the last GM name his successor? And the old GM still has a job, where he maintains oversight of the new GM? It’s like something in bizzaro world, where hamburgers eat people. This is not the way to real change. Even the “Blueland” marketing campaign is still in effect. Drafting, alone, and wishing, alone, will not get it done, in terms of Stanley Cups. It takes commitment. It takes money. And it takes strong, bold statements through action, too.

World Be Free

June 20th, 2010
12:27 pm

Right now, our only hope for improvement lies with Dudley. This is why I have been so enthused about giving him a chance. It’s safe to say that under the circumstances, we have no other options.

Dudley has league-wide creditability that others in this organization do not have, either through their lack of experience or their actions as part of the Thrashers’ organization. I think we all agree on what has happened in the past, the missteps of the first 10 years. Sage has harped on it for as long as I can remember, and he is 100% correct about the past. I differ with him concerning the future, if Dudley is given the keys to the house. That’s a BIG if and we don’t know for sure if he is operating without “input” or better yet, interference. We just have to see what happens cause the remaining cast of characters isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon.

Ron Mexico

June 20th, 2010
12:41 pm

Hey Flames, the story on the sale of the Thrashers was in the Rupert Murdoch owned New York Post, not the New York Times.

Sage of Bluesland

June 20th, 2010
12:51 pm

Well, it’s hard to argue with Brendan; it all starts at the top…It won’t matter how well anyone would draft if we’re constantly losing our players at the first chance they get…If we’re constantly on the fringe of making the playoffs…If we’re constantly in the middle of a “Five-Year Plan”…

Is this ownership simply happy to be in the group–or are they committed to winning the title?

I think most of us, deep-down, know the answer to that. Keeping Don Waddell employed for so long after so little result is Exhibit A.

It’s a real shame, too–as this market only needs a reason to believe. This ownership provides no reason whatsoever.

Brendan

June 20th, 2010
1:50 pm

Sage, isn’t it telling that there was no statement about the results during the Waddell Administration, from ownership? We didn’t even get, “We feel we need to move in a new direction.” Isn’t that, amazing? These owners don’t even seem disappointed about missing out on playoff revenue, which might be something that occurs, if you’re billionaires. But if you’re just millionaires, and losing $30 million annually, this ought to be a gigantic problem that commands your immediate attention. But losing money isn’t new to this ownership. Hardly.

It’s lost money every year, per their courtroom testimony, as reported by AJC reporter Kristi Schwartz. And yet, they had the opportunity in 2007 to substantively change the way that the team is run. They didn’t. And didn’t offer explanations about it, either. Isn’t that, “odd?” And yet, they knew the contracts of Savard, Kaberle, Hossa, and Kovalchuk were in play, the entire time. And still they did nothing to cultivate a winning climate. Instead, they were content to be within the lottery draft, reloading. Which, look, I shouldn’t even criticize. That’s how you recover from 4 bad trade deadline moves that resulted in a 1st round sweep, but you at least do the rebuilding with new management. No?

Acer

June 20th, 2010
1:54 pm

Brendan,
the Atlanta Spirit LLC are hanging over our heads like the sword of Damocles. Most of us know that and realize that they are the main cause behind the Thrashers fortunes. At this point, I’m not in the mood to get frustrated about anything AS related. I’ve managed to establish a gap between me and the franchise and it’s working out just fine. I’m aware of the problem which truly hold this franchise back but I’m not going to be overly emotional about them. What else can you do as fan?

Where are the fan protests against them? No, that’s not part of the American fan culture. Hockey and other sports are just a form of entertainment and not part of the culture. People just don’t attend the games anymore and look towards other forms of entertainment, instead of actively fighting for “their” team.

Google “MUST” and you can find out what dedicated fans can do to fight/ protest ownership. No, it’s not supposed to be a carbon copy for the Thrashers. It’s show one way how fans can voice their
displeasure with ownership. BTW, I’m far from being a ManU fan but I admire and support the efforts of the “MUST.”

Sage of Midtown

June 20th, 2010
2:37 pm

This team needs more players with guts and grit.

More hard, sweaty bodies working hard to bring this city the ultimate climax.

Jameson

June 20th, 2010
3:23 pm

I tend to see the biggest failure of years past in the player development part. I think we have drafted sufficiently, but no one but our sure shots ever made any noise because they weren’t developed properly. Without those players in place to fill holes, and a budget that wouldn’t allow the holes to be filled otherwise, it’s easy to see why the sure shots left unhappy, and why the team never had much of a chance. I’m encouraged by the fact that Ryan Bowness has taken over player development, and left Dan Marr to worry about only drafting, and not development.

That being said, I don’t know much about Bowness. Just that he’s someone new who can focus more closely on what happens to our prospects once they are selected. If we can adequately develop our own role players, we may even have enough slack left in the budget to bring in some important pieces.

The future is fuzzy, but at least it’s brighter.

Pittsburgh Pirate Fan

June 20th, 2010
5:57 pm

You can’t develop players without having control at the minor league level. The Thrashers have no say in how the players are used in Chicago, so how can you have any control over their development? Other teams control who the coach is and what style of hockey is played at the minor league level, to ensure the game is transparent to all players called up to the NHL. We don’t do that.

I do not give the team much credit for drafting either, which is why I wanted the scouting staff ditched when Dudley was hired. He hasn’t ditched them, he’s just given the scouts criteria for the players Dudley wants in the system.

Brendan

June 20th, 2010
7:31 pm

I find myself agreeing with Pittsburgh Pirates Fan. I expected Dudley to bring in his own scouts. Instead, Dan Marr, here since Day One, or something close to that, is still here. Now, AJC opinon columnist Jeff Schultz is super critical of this franchise. When I press him on Dan Marr, his answer is always the same. “Actually, Dan’s a nice guy, who is capable enough. I think Don goes against his recommendations.” Now, I’m not telling you Schultz is right or wrong. Point of fact, I have no idea. I just live by accountability. Whether is the scouts who messed up or the GM who wouldn’t listen to them, because, ultimately, “it’s HIS call, as GM,” the results are same. We picked who we picked. And those picks either pan out, or they don’t. Any way you slice it, SOMEONE should be made to answer for it. The punishment for the Thrashers has been that Don Waddell got promoted and the scouting staff remains.

I tells ya, this ownership means business!!! If the Thrashers don’t make the playoffs next year, there’ll be “No More Casual Fridays” for the staff at the Atlanta Spirit offices at CNN Center.” And they’ll do it, too. And no more cakes on people’s birthdays. And no more vanilla scented urinal cakes in the rest rooms. Oh yeah. There’ll be BIG changes and serious punishment comin’. I’m even hearing … that if Dudley doesn’t get the Thrashers back in the playoffs this year … that someone will poke him with some “chenille pillows.” And if that doesn’t change his tune, one of the Blue Crew Ice girls will tickle him with a feather.

Pittsburgh Pirate Fan

June 20th, 2010
7:48 pm

Brendan///

I am hoping that by now, Dudley knows the difference between a good scout and bad one. The fact that the scouts have criteria (or criterion) for judging players tells me he has a plan for the kind of player he wants in the Thrasher uniform. This is a departure from Waddell’s habits, which seem to be more whims than anything else. I think the plan all along was to have Dudley move into the GM’s role, so he’s probably been evaluating the scouts since he was hired. At least he has an idea what kind of player he wants.

Brendan

June 20th, 2010
8:01 pm

Pirates Fan, I just hope Dudley will go public with his plan. I’d like to know that “plan” wasn’t just lip service for the Public, like it was under Waddelll. When Brian Burke got hired in Toronto, his PC laid out his vision for the team, for the coming years. And it was “specific.”

Midfield

June 20th, 2010
9:17 pm

It’s like in the Blades of Glory.
Levenson: [confidently] Okay, so what do you say? Let’s try an Iron Lotus.
Dudley: Are you nuts?
Marr: Wha…? We can’t do that!
Levenson: C’mon. What are you talking about? Look, after all these years, I know what went wrong. The physics were off; it was a man and a woman. That’s why it didn’t work. You’re two men… you should be fine.

Pittsburgh Pirate Fan

June 21st, 2010
5:46 am

Brendan//

Folks in Toronto demanded to know the plan from Burke. We haven’t done that yet, but I will say I havew found Dudley alot more open to straight questions (and giving answers) than Waddell was ever capable of. His criteria for the scouts seems pretty absolute.

Jameson

June 21st, 2010
9:11 am

Some do. Others have shared AHL teams. I don’t see how you can believe that teams sharing AHL affiliates have more control over those teams than we do.

GaVaHokie

June 21st, 2010
9:15 am

We should start getting some real draft insight today… TSN starts their official coverage this morning. Bob McKenzie will have his draft rankings up before noon. He had the first 6 players exactly in 2009 and had 9 out of the Top 10 players correct (Glennie was drafted in the Top 10 instead of Kulikov).

Keep in mind though, it’s not a Mock, it’s just rankings.

Here was his 2009 rankings…

http://www.tsn.ca/draftcentre/feature/?fid=11891

[...] Thrashers: Atlanta doesn’t just base everything on hockey skill when it comes to player evaluation. Said GM Rick Dudley: "I think they say ‘Well, he [...]