Bigger buzz in Atlanta over Thrashers or Hawks?

I had an interview with Thrashers president Don Waddell on Tuesday for another installation in my Catching Up With … summer series (that is scheduled to run on Monday).

One of the interesting things he said was that there is a big buzz in the city right now about the Thrashers with the trades, free-agent signings, new coaching staff and move of Rick Dudley to general manager. “Right now, we have a good awareness in the city with the Thrashers,” Waddell said. “…  Everything has been real positive so we want to make sure we capitalize on this buzz right now on the Thrashers side. We are seeing it. Our season tickets are up over last year at this point. Our renewals are way up over last year. You have to try to capitalize whenever you have these opportunities.”

That got me thinking. The Hawks made the playoffs for three straight years, advancing to the second round this season. The Thrashers, while undergoing significant roster and management changes this offseason, have missed the playoffs the past three seasons. It’s not an exact science of tapping into the buzz around a team, I know. However, the Hawks – seemingly – took their lumps this offseason with their coaching hire and player signings. The Thrashers’ moves – seemingly – have been well received.

I’m wondering what you folks think. Is there more anticipation over the start of the Thrashers or Hawks seasons? Or is it a matter of the Hawks being under a bigger microscope than the Thrashers because of their recent success? Let me know.

* A couple of housekeeping items. I’m finishing up the last of my Braves stories and will cover one last game on Friday. Then, after my last two weeks of vacation, I will be on the Thrashers full speed. It won’t be long. There is no rookie camp in Traverse City, Michigan this year. The rookies will report to Duluth some time around Sept. 12. A week later, the whole team reports and training camp is underway.

I will be watching for news. Right now, things are slow. No word yet on the re-signing of RFAs Bryan Little and Niclas Bergfors. That could briefly interrupt my time off or happen closer to camp. We shall see.

I will be checking in. Remember to follow me on Twitter @ajcthrashers and fan blogger Bill Tiller @ajc_rawhide.

127 comments Add your comment

Telfo

August 11th, 2010
11:07 am

definitely a bigger buzz for the Thrash right now, but compared to the Braves/Falcons there is a long way to go for both teams

Tmac

August 11th, 2010
11:09 am

lanier

August 11th, 2010
11:15 am

what is this about I dont know these teams

Ricochet

August 11th, 2010
11:16 am

The buzz is starting to build for the Thrash. Hopefully it will continue to build as the season goes on.
I know they’ll be getting a few more fans this year as I’m taking some friends to their first hockey game. Can’t wait to show them why hockey is the greatest sport in the world!!

Ben Marko

August 11th, 2010
11:19 am

HA is that a joke? obviosuly the hawks

Fan from Carolina

August 11th, 2010
11:19 am

NBA is on the downslide, just like Nascar. The NHL is trying but Bettman keeps the sport down. I certainly can never forgive him for the ‘glowing puck’ for TV broadcasts way back when. He is a businessman only, has no loyalty to true NHL fans, and when he leaves his position some day I can assure you he will probably never attend an NHL game again. Here is hoping that the Thrasher fan base expands with the latest off-season moves. It can’t get much worse.

Dave

August 11th, 2010
11:22 am

The Thrashers get my love. The NBA is still mainly filled with a bunch of Thugs!.

Steve

August 11th, 2010
11:24 am

Who cares about either? Neither ever has, or will, win anything. Thank goodness for the Braves, Falcons, and college football! And Dave, I agree.

Former "Hockey Love" Participant

August 11th, 2010
11:26 am

I have Thrashers season tickets and usually go to every game out of rote from the first season, and even I simply do not care about this hockey team anymore.

JMAYNE

August 11th, 2010
11:34 am

Thrashers get my vpte. What exactly did the hawks do? My atl pro-sports allgiance stands @ Braves, Falcons/Dawgs, Thrashers, Hawks.

JMAYNE

August 11th, 2010
11:34 am

And yes, this is Gerogia, ask anybody, Satudays and the dawgs, pro sports.

THW Don

August 11th, 2010
11:35 am

Tell the Don that the buzz is a direct result of having a GM worth a flip. Now if we can overthrow the useless Atlanta “Spirit,” who did this:
3 consecutive playoff appearances = COACH FIRED!
9 garbage teams out of 10 = GM PROMOTION!
Just try to make sense out of that.

jphnny 5

August 11th, 2010
11:38 am

ATL has a hockey team? Why?

mike

August 11th, 2010
11:38 am

I’d say the thrash with the true sports fans. but then again this is atlanta this is no sports town.

GStateBen

August 11th, 2010
11:43 am

For the first time ever, both will make the Playoffs the same year. We’ve got a great shot at all 4 teams in the Playoffs this year.

The answer is the Hawks because of the ASG’s lack of Thrashers exposure. This team has the mosts talent it’s ever had (my words, not Don Waddell’s).

Chris, Just a correction, the Hawks have advanced to the Playoffs 3 straight seasons and will be in again for a 4th straight season.

Sutton's Fro

August 11th, 2010
11:45 am

This headlineis a joke, right? The general population of Georgia (i.e., the 95% who aren’t rabid Hawks or Thrashers fans) will not acknowledge the NBA and NHL until after the BCS championship and Super Bowl are played. And that acknowledgement will ascend to “Buzz” only if one of the teams is in playoff contention. The bandwagon will then empty once Spring Training and Spring Football start.

Lord Stanley

August 11th, 2010
11:49 am

Steve obviously you care or you would not be on this blog. :)

No doubt the Thrashers, why on earth would you cheer for a team where there players have been quoted to tell the fans to go somewhere where the sun does not shine. Send the Hawks to Birmingham.

Chris Vivlamore

August 11th, 2010
11:50 am

GStateBen: You are correct sir. Made the fix. Thanks for that.

Jack

August 11th, 2010
11:52 am

Glad to see you back. :) Enjoy your vacation, hopefully Thrashers will do their trading and/or signing before you leave for your Safari. :)

Greg

August 11th, 2010
11:56 am

The Olympics last year got me ready to give hockey another try. I had been lukewarm as a Thrahers fan, but I finally got the fever last year. I’m VERY excited to see what the Thrashers can do this season. I’ve spent a lot of time reading about the team on blogs and websites.
I claim to be an expert at football, but when it comes to hockey, I need help to analyze the game. I’m looking forward to the AJC’s coverage this year, and I hope it is extensive.

Hawks? Looks to me like they are taking a step backwards. How can anyone be excited about that? Had they gotten a “name” coach, maybe it would be different.

Smoothie

August 11th, 2010
11:57 am

Can we please get an update on the RFA contracts for Little & Bergfors? Die-hard fans wanna know what’s up and if we’re close to locking these two young kids up long-term. Or are we likely looking at 2 year deals?

J.B.

August 11th, 2010
11:58 am

ummm, when did don waddell go cross-eyed?

A.T.

August 11th, 2010
11:59 am

We have a hockey team?

The Hawks and it’s not even a contest.

Paddy

August 11th, 2010
12:02 pm

It must be the Thrashers. ASG has seen to it that the Hawks are now looked upon by free agents as the “Three Mile Island” of franchises. If there is no buzz in the league from players about ATL, the end will come very fast. And with no $ to spend, the hockey team can’t be far behind. It is a shame, ATL should have all 4 major sports. ASG may of just ruined that dream for decades.

Wayne stuck in AL

August 11th, 2010
12:03 pm

I’d rather pay to see the Atlanta Dream than watch a Hawks game for free.

Chris Vivlamore

August 11th, 2010
12:04 pm

Smoothie: I’m on it. As I said above, there is nothing to report at the moment. I will keep at it.

Tired of it

August 11th, 2010
12:05 pm

To all the people saying this is not a sports town, shut your mouth and go to some games. The last 15 years Atl saw it’s population double mostly due to people moving here from the north. So of course those people still root for there hometown teams, but think every year these transplants and their offspring are slowly but surely starting to support the local teams. Nothing wins fans over quicker than winning.
I strongly support all local teams as well as the college teams. To me there is plenty of room to support all teams!

Tired of it

August 11th, 2010
12:06 pm

Correction

root for “their” hometown teams,

J.B.

August 11th, 2010
12:08 pm

Dear AJC sports online readers,

The quip “Atlanta has a hockey team?” and any variation thereof has been done to death, we’ve read it a million times before in every other Thrashers blog posting, and it wasn’t even funny the first time somebody wrote it prior to the inaugural season.

If this is the extent of your ability to be funny, you need to stop trying. Humor is not your thing. And to anyone who has made this most feeble attempt at humor at the expense of hockey fans in town, do you realize how completely stupid you appear to by by making said comment on a long-standing blog about Atlanta hockey?

It really is pathetic and I feel sorry for you if this is how you entertain yourselves.

Go Thrashers, Braves, Dawgs, Falcons, Jackets, Hawks, and any other team that competes representing our city and state.

Yours truly,

JB

Jack

August 11th, 2010
12:13 pm

JB well said. Obviously you know there is a hockey team if you show upo on the blog.

Daculafan

August 11th, 2010
12:17 pm

I am extremely excited about the Thrashers. I’ve lived in Atlanta since I was 8 years old (that’s 30 years now) and I’m a Braves fan also, which means I go to a couple of games and watch a few innings a week. I could care less about the Falcons, Hawks, Dawgs or Tech and NASCAR is beyond boring. For me the entire sports year revolves around hockey.

I think there has been more buzz about the Thrashers versus the Hawks. The Thrashers have made more off season moves than the Hawks.

ChippersLoveChild

August 11th, 2010
12:18 pm

Thrash… who cares about the Hawks?

whitey

August 11th, 2010
12:18 pm

I’m a long time hawks fan & don’t get into hockey unless it’s a playoff game or video game. I like Joe Johnson but think the Hawks over paid. If they couldn’t have got him for less they should have let him go elsewhere. Now they are cash strapped. With the trades the Thrashers made, especially the trade with Chicago, I am interested in saying how they start this coming season. The Falcons are the team I am excited to see. Football seaon is near.

Atticus

August 11th, 2010
12:18 pm

Seriously….who cares?? NEITHER team has a chance of EVER winning a championship under the currentr leadership!

NFL, College football and MLB (sheer numbers and no comp in the summer) dominate over every other sport. Couple it with incompetence at the ownership level=never spending a dime or minute on either franchise.

J.B.

August 11th, 2010
12:20 pm

Thanks. I really just can’t stand reading that line any more. These are the same people who think knock knock jokes and Biff Tannen’s lines from Back to the Future are hilarious and extremely creative. I’m at the point of questioning how anyone with an IQ greater than Garnet Exelby’s career goals total could even think that’s funny. (no offense, Ex) I just don’t get it… As a hockey fan, I’m not even remotely offended by it because it’s so stupid; the intent of the comment was to beg these idiots to stop embarrassing themselves in this forum (and likely others) and fashion.

I realize I’m probably feeding the trolls here… sorry y’all.

Carlos

August 11th, 2010
12:28 pm

If you go on merit alone…. HAWKS are the most consistant winning team in the city, hands down. Now I am a diehard Falcon Fan but i am a truly Atlanta Fan. I would say the Hawks may win a championship faster than the Falcon or Braves at the moment if you went by success of the franchises lately!!!!!!!l Also fo you who mention thug in the NBA, did you know Pro and college football have more law run in than the NBA by a large mark……..

J.B.

August 11th, 2010
12:29 pm

Seriously….who cares?? NEITHER team has a chance of EVER winning a championship under the currentr leadership!

NFL, College football and MLB (sheer numbers and no comp in the summer) dominate over every other sport. Couple it with incompetence at the ownership level=never spending a dime or minute on either franchise.

This is exactly what I’m talking about… NFL, College football, and MLB are great. I enjoy all three and do have decidedly better numbers. No one can question that, BUT THE QUESTION FOR DISCUSSION WAS THE CURRENT BUZZ FOR HAWKS/NBA v. THRASHERS/NHL.

For the love of all of us who have a modicum of intelligence, please if you do not have an opinon on the subject at hand, shut up until a new blog post is up on which you do have something valid to say.

… I’m so sick of this crap, I’m signing off the blog for a while. enjoy the trolls and jackholes y’all. I just can’t take it any more today.

J.B.

August 11th, 2010
12:33 pm

…of course i must admit that my comment about waddell being cross-eyed in the picture on the thrashers/ajc main page did not add anything of merit to the discussion, so i apologize for that. ;-)

GaVaHokie

August 11th, 2010
12:36 pm

What exactly have the Dawgs won besides the Chik Fila Bowl?

GaVaHokie

August 11th, 2010
12:45 pm

I’d like to see Viv follow up this article with “Are the Dawgs the most overrated sports team in the South?”

Jiggs

August 11th, 2010
12:50 pm

I’d say that right now the Thrashers have more buzz. They hired a GM from the Stanley Cup champion team while the Hawks hired one from their own 2nd round losing team. Also, they have made key trades and free agent signings while the Hawks only significant offseason move was resigning a guy who a lot of fans didn’t even want back. Once the seasons starts I think the Hawks will get more buzz because there is more basketball history here than hockey history, but if the Thrashers young players continue to develop and this team gels early it could be an exciting hockey season for one of the few times in Thrasher history.

Snoman

August 11th, 2010
12:53 pm

Carlos, you have to look at the numbers on a per capita basis. Each NBA team has 12-14 players. Each NFL team has 54 players. Each college team has 85-100 players. Of course, football players are going to have more run ins with the law, they have way more players. I would like to see the per capita numbers for the correct comparison.

Snoman

August 11th, 2010
12:59 pm

I am on the Thrashers side for more buzz in the off season. I love the things that Duds is getting done. Young and hungry is an approach that Waddell never seemed to embrace. It may take some time for them to jell, but I like the direction of the franchise. Hopefully, the owners will wake up and take note that hockey can be viable in this city if they will put forth some funds and effort towards the team. Go Thrash!!

Snoopy

August 11th, 2010
1:00 pm

Neither – Both stink

Football & NASCAR are both much larger than NBA – NHL… NHL tv ratings do not even rate a whole number.. More like .9 – not even 1.0

Jiggs

August 11th, 2010
1:07 pm

Could we all please stop using the term “thug” as a comparison of athletes in one sport versus another? I know this is often used as a hot-button term to inflame people in the blogoshpere. For those who want to use “thug” as an indictment of NBA players or other sports, please consider that hockey players are also arrested during the offseason and there have been many cases of on-ice thuggery as well. Two names that immediately come to mind are Sean Avery and Patrice Cormier. If you insist on using this term, please define what your criteria is for using it.

chief of smoke

August 11th, 2010
1:09 pm

Much Bigger Buzz about the Thrashers. If they win they will easily outdraw Hucks in 2010-2011

Brendan

August 11th, 2010
1:19 pm

I come from a position of bias as (1) a hockey fan and (2) a Thrashers fan. But let me tell you why the Hawks aren’t my “buzz” right now. I know they re-signed Joe Johnson. For a franchise crippling sum, and they felt that was “the right move” for them. They’re sounding victory bells. Well, I don’t doubt that the Hawks will make the playoffs in a pathetic Eastern Conference in the NBA. But, I can tell you this much. I’ve lived here for quite some time now. I can tell you about the buzz of the Braves in ‘91. I can tell you about how the ‘honeymoon’ had worn off by ‘99, and people in this town actually walked around thinking, “When the Braves are in the NLCS or WS, then I’ll start going to games.” I can tell you that the Hawks with Smith, Blalock, Laetner, Mutombo … were kinda fun to watch. But the problem then is still the problem now … how does this NBA franchise advance past the 2nd round, into the Conference Finals? The buzz wears off, when you realize the futility of the situation. In many instances, the Braves didn’t have a plan past the N.L. teams. In many instances, there was a road block “dynasty” team waiting for the Hawks.

But for the Thrashers, there’s very little by way of expectation. Situation: Perfect, if you’re the Thrashers and you’ve done your job well. Enter Rick Dudley. It’s pretty clear to me that Dudley knows more than Waddell. Or, at a minimum, he has better LUCK. I cannot tell you, with tangible results, why Don Waddell still has a job. That’s one of the great mysteries of life, and only Bruce Levenson really knows the whole story.

If I were a ‘generic sports’ fan, trying to decide where my disposable sports entertainment dollars were going in 2010, I’d be looking at the Braves, since they are division leaders, and looking towards a playoff berth, in Bobby Cox’s final season. And let’s be honest about something, this time around, we’d all be HAPPY that the Braves lost the NLCS, for that’s a big improvement over 3-4 seasons of no playoffs. But if baseball wasn’t my cup o’tea, and neither were college sports, then I’d be looking towards the Falcons next. The radio and TV ads are everywhere, hyping up the season. I do think the Falcons, for the third straight year, could have a ‘winning record.’ I don’t know about playoffs, or what, but I’ll be watching Falcons games on TV, if not attending a few.

But even as a ‘generic sports fan,’ I’d have to be looking at the Thrashers, too. Yes, Atlanta has a hockey club, in its 11th season, and the team is just that this time around. A TEAM. Not a smattering of Superstars trying to hit their numbers. With competent Head Coaches like Craig Ramsay and John Torchetti, a new strength coach, new assistant coaches, the whole look and feel of the Thrashers lockerroom ought to be different. You should give them a look this year, if you haven’t in a while. I can’t tell you that the Thrashers didn’t renew Don Waddell for 2-3 more years. I have no idea what they’ve done with his contract. But if Dudley is given some flexibility and an enhanced budget at the trade deadline, if things are going well, I expect the Thrashers to be buyers. If that’s the case, it’ll be really fun to watch the stretch-run.

Kovalsuck

August 11th, 2010
1:25 pm

Thanks for the new blog, scalawag!

I’m WAAAY more interested in the Thrashers this season, almost as excited as I was during the spring of 2007!!

T_height

August 11th, 2010
1:46 pm

@Dave

Thugs are in the NBA but Hockey players are the ones that fight almost every game. Tell me why do you say Thugs are in the NBA. I’m pretty sure I know why you think so but i would rather you tell me.

Carlos

August 11th, 2010
1:47 pm

Snoman, Ahhhhh DUH! the figures are from percentage per capital of players so for every NBA player which was on 3 who had legal offenses in 2009 compaired to 112 pro and 353 college football players having legal offenses.