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


August 11th, 2010
1:59 pm

Carlos…..the Hawks the most consistant winner in sport here in Ga.???? We have a baseball team and its record for consistancy is legendary. I am sure you wanted to say the Braves when you typed Hawks. The ASG has all but assured the Hawks will be below avg for as long as they remain in Atl.


August 11th, 2010
2:01 pm

Just because a person has run in with the law doesn’t consider them to be a thug and to make things clear, black people aren’t the only people who can be considered as thugs. I’ve realized lately how people do that when someone black become a trouble maker or does something that is against the law but I give my vote the Dream. In three years they are already considered a top team in the WNBA.


August 11th, 2010
2:07 pm

I think the Thrashers have some good hype right now, which is somewhat shocking, but nonetheless, the Thrashers need to follow through this season. I’m glad the Thrashers can capitalize on the hype and get some more season ticket holders. What the team really needs is some fans, Fill the house and the team will have that spirit everyone wants. Atlanta can be a great sports town, Atlanta fans just need to show up.

J.C. Thompson

August 11th, 2010
2:08 pm

The NHL has the most affluent fans of any major sport, period.


August 11th, 2010
2:16 pm

The Thrashers made solid moves and the Hawks did not. Bottomline, I am looking forward to dropping the puck and not real excited about tip-off.

Gwinnett Fred

August 11th, 2010
2:19 pm

I think it’s a matter of expecations.

The Hawks won 53 games and had a plane crash to end the season. Didn’t add anyone and hired ANOTHER career assistant coach as their only move.

The Thrashers sucked, but basically acknowledged it – and went about many popular changes led by (1) Getting rid of a vastly unpopular GM, (2) Signing a goalie that might actually stop a puck now and then and (3) Trade for 1/5 of the Stanley Cup Champions.

One team is looked at as a POST SEASON dissappointment that didn’t to anything to improve and the other is looked at as a REGULAR SEASON disappointment that did several things to improve.


August 11th, 2010
2:20 pm

Long time hawks fan but I now look forward to the Thrash!! Hockey took some time to come around for me mainly as there were no games televised down here for many years. The hawks are treading water while the Thrash are at least trying to get better. Folks that diss hockey probably haven’t been to a game. Far more fun at a hockey game than watching Iso Joe( I could care less about the fans) Johnson.

Najeh Davenpoop

August 11th, 2010
2:43 pm

As a Hawks fan who knows little to nothing about hockey aside from the occasional AJC sports headline, I don’t think the Thrashers could have possibly had a more underwhelming offseason than the Hawks. My understanding is that while both teams picked up a player from the reigning champs, the Thrashers actually got a guy who will contribute instead of just warming the bench like the Hawks’ guy. That alone puts the Thrashers over the top. I don’t know whether the Thrashers will actually be more successful than the Hawks as a result, but they definitely couldn’t have failed more in the court of public opinion than the Hawks did.

The Real Thrash

August 11th, 2010
3:04 pm

1. This is trick question.
2. Which league has a large national TV contract?
3. Anyone who calls NBA players “thugs” is either one or worse. We know who and what you are.
4. They’re owned by the same people so they will always be second class because of money.


August 11th, 2010
3:24 pm

I’ll try and keep this simple
Read the article again.
It’s says nothing about thugs, tv contracts, which is more popular, etc.
Please, support your team, but don’t bash others.


August 11th, 2010
3:32 pm

Greg, you want Atlanta Thrasher coverage 24/7, go to Iceman’s blog. Some real knowledgable bloggers.

The Murf

August 11th, 2010
3:38 pm

I thought the Thrashers left three years ago?

Zombie Steve

August 11th, 2010
4:02 pm

Thrashers have been named the most improved team of the off season in all of the NHL. This team is posied to make some big waves; much like the Falcons did during Matt Ryan’s rookie season.

The Hawks seem to be in a slightly lower position than they were last year.

Winner: Thrashers (and it’s not even close)


August 11th, 2010
4:04 pm

Atlanta Thrashers!!!!!!! I hate it when people come over to OUR blog with their BS!!!! I’m a sports fan. I love all sports teams in Atlanta.


August 11th, 2010
4:24 pm

Very excited for the Thrashers. Unfortunately will not financially support them till Don Waddell does not get a paycheck from the ownership. That will actually make me feel like the team is fully moving forward

Zombie Steve

August 11th, 2010
4:36 pm

Sage? Is that you??

Say what you will about D-Wad. I won’t let one individual ruin my trips to Blueland to see some icey carnage.

This team is full of nastiness and is going to be knocking the crap out of teams all season long!

Sage of Bluesland

August 11th, 2010
4:45 pm

“…Getting rid of a vastly unpopular GM [Don Waddell]…”

Umm, no they didn’t. They PROMOTED him.

Thus, everyone can keep their “change” as far as the Thrashers go…As long as ownership is consistently cheap and allows for zero accountability, then my money stays in my pocket, right where it belongs.

To keep the person who has single-handedly run this franchise into the ground would actually be funny if it weren’t so offensive.

It’s the OWNERSHIP, stupid (similar to a statement made famous by an infamous politician).

Nope, I’m not subsidizing this different shade of incompetence…You can–but I promise you one thing: I’ll get a good laugh about it…


August 11th, 2010
5:11 pm

Both stink. They allow Atlanta sports fans to enjoy the beautiful early spring weather without having to miss any good sports action.


August 11th, 2010
5:19 pm

If Hawks hire Avery Johnson, cut loose IsoJoe and sign Shaq and one free agent other than the obvious, Bosh, Lebron). They win
But since the Thrashers promoted??LOL wadell, turned all personell decisions ove to new GM Duds, raided the Blackhawks players and a Coach, hired Ramsey, didn’t cave in to Max’s wants and didn’t over pay Macarthers park(let him walk) traded White(thank God) and got a solid goalie in Chris Mason…I’d say the Thrashers win this one.
Here is a question, Don’t yall think, as long as the Octotards own both teams, we will always have an off season of one team wins and one team loses.


August 11th, 2010
5:48 pm

Swami think way more buzz about Hawks. J.J., Smith, Pachulia, new coach, Southeast now a different division. More people care about that, Swami think. Even if Thrashers still had Kovy, there be more buzz about Hawks. No team in NHL Southeast be more interesting opponent for Thrashers than Miami Heat be for Hawks. Swami’s wife Gladys disagree, but that’s what Swami think.

Sage of Bluesland

August 11th, 2010
6:26 pm

The Thrashers are slightly more entertaining than the Chickenhawks; otherwise, the sports landscape is pretty clear: Professional Shepherding is still #1.

P.S.: Waddell isn’t such a bad guy, once you get to know him.

East Point Bob

August 11th, 2010
6:28 pm

I thought we were not going to hear from Waddell again, then he shows his ugly mug to ruin summer.


August 11th, 2010
6:42 pm

With the NBA lockout on the horizon, the Thrashers opportunity to draw attention and new fans is at a real threshold. It is all about wins and there is no more room for excuses for lack of production. I hope Duds has assemblied the pieces that it takes to make it happen. If it doesn’t happen in the next two years I dooubt the Thrashers can have a chance of staying in Atlanta.

Cletus Dooley Earnhardt SR.

August 11th, 2010
7:20 pm

I do’nt kno abou’t any othhher sport besiedes UGA frigggin football. I doont want to see the illliterrate thugs with no klass in the ENBA. I doont want to see the commie foregners of the NHL withh no teeth and they suport that punk Oboma. im a collegee football fan and i cant stomahc any other sport besides Nescar! Pro sports are for up north lebrals!



August 11th, 2010
7:30 pm

maybe don should try quietus for that buzz he is hearing


August 11th, 2010
8:06 pm

I have to say the Thrashers have the clear edge here. They have brought in an experienced, intellegent GM to replace the incompetent unaccountable Dumbwad. I have no idea how the Octotards pulled this one off, but hockey now has a chance here. An identity is being drawn up, and other teams around the league should take notice. This has the makings of a TEAM. No one trick superstar without the true heart and desire to man up. The Hawks have put together a good run of playoff appearances and still can’t draw a crowd. I would say if the Thrashers have a similar string of playoffs the crowds will be through the roof and much like it was the first years of the team.
In Dudley We Trust!!!


August 11th, 2010
8:38 pm

Way to lose Maxim Afinogenov, Atlanta Spirit!



August 11th, 2010
8:40 pm

We barely support the Falcons, the Thrashers have has must chance as an ice cube on Peachtree Street in the midday sun.

Sage of Bluesland

August 11th, 2010
10:29 pm

Is “thug” the new N-word?


August 12th, 2010
7:09 am

Are you serious about the ” positive buzz” about the Thrashers. They can’t sign a face of the franchise to replace Ilya, They don’t resign their second leading scorer. The “Buff” trade looks fine, but this team is the consumate concept of fielding a middling roster maybe good enough for a 7 or 8 seed in the playoffs, and no desire to be an elite franchise…and that is not Dapper Don Waddell’s fault alone. Terrible Ownership , Terrible Concept , I see another ” gosh, darn we just missed the playoffs again this season…just wait for next year when we make a true splash in FA and Trades and the additions barely if at all meet the losses through FA and players streaming out of town.” Great town for Hockey…Franchise is the worst imaginable.


August 12th, 2010
7:12 am

Whoever that J.B. dude is….the question asked which one is there more buzz for and as a reader, we have the right to say neither because #1–its the truth and #2 this is a public forum. I love hockey, I was a huge Flames fan and I loved it when we got the Thrashers and went to many games however after the last several years, watching the incompetence of the leadership, supporting them any more is just plain idiotic. Good fans will demand a better product and in today’s econmonic landscape, I don’t throw good money or time invested in a product until I see the people running the show are serious. The more fans exercise their rights and walk away and communicate their disgust with the ownership, the quicker we can get good owners and actually win.

Until then, I will continue to post what I want. So get off your high horse.

Putting On The Foil

August 12th, 2010
7:13 am

Does Lou, Walt, and the Pistol still play for the Hawks?

P. Bull Terrier

August 12th, 2010
8:14 am

Ooh! I know this one!

The Hawks are the basketball team that plays in Atlanta.

I’m not so sure about the Thrashers. I think maybe they’re a women’s volleyball team.


August 12th, 2010
8:30 am

No buzz for either team. Most people are focused on the Braves, the Falcons, and college football. The Thrashers will improve, but not enough to get the city’s attention. The Hawks will regress due to the improvement of their rivals.

icy nards

August 12th, 2010
8:42 am

Check this out: the 2009-2010 NHL Champion WAS NOT the Chicago Blackhawks (at least according to the Stanley Cup!)


August 12th, 2010
8:46 am

The NBA is a waste.


August 12th, 2010
8:48 am

That’s not a pic of the Stanley Cup BTW…

icy nards

August 12th, 2010
8:52 am

Ah, but it’s still incorrect: Washington didn’t make the Finals last year, and the Pens didn’t lose two in a row.


August 12th, 2010
8:53 am

Considering what liar DW is, the reality is completely opposite. Sales are down,(that’s why he talks to bring it up), there is not too much of a “buzz”and majority does not care after a decade of “moving the right direction”. Actually he says “We HAVE TO CAPITALIZE” on this buzz, etc. Yes things are bad, and he maybe on a thin ice.


August 12th, 2010
8:57 am

Hawks of course.

I care nothing for hockey………..the only reason I read the article was b/c “Hawks” was in the title.


August 12th, 2010
8:59 am

I’ll give both teams close to a draw in “buzz” so far, but one is a bad buzz and the other good for a change. The Thrashers get the edge because they’ve had a more successful and intelligent summer so far with players and cap management, while the Hawks have made the buzz because of what they couldn’t do right. Wrong coach, wrong player and contract resigned(though they were in a tough spot), poor cap management(with the wrong unmovable contracts still here), roster stays the same or worse, while the rest of the east gets much tougher.

The TV and radio media in this town still lean to the Hawks when they do decide to talk about something other than football and the Braves. But all the buzz I hear or read about the Hawks this summer is what a poor offseason they’ve had, which I agree with.

The Thrashers have had a better buzz for their offseason so far, but they better add one or two more legit pieces somehow, if they want to be more than an eastern bubble seed all year.

For any casual reader and non-Thrasher fan, the Thrashers appeared to stumble on not resigning Kovy, but that’s a blessing in disguise to me, and the NHL media seems to agree. Worse would have been for him to take that 100mil Joe Johnson like deal, and cripple this franchise even further with more one dimentional play. Instead, we received three, maybe four good pieces w/managible contracts to build a deeper roster with.

But as others have said, neither team is going to win a championship until this owernership is gone, or maaaayybe has a core change in philosophy with new investors.

Andrew G

August 12th, 2010
10:59 am

Pumped up all the way out here in Colorado! This season has got bigger expectations in my books. We are making moves and it is great to see that the Thrash are more of a team, than the Coastalchuk show.


August 12th, 2010
11:16 am

Thrashers needs to be out of ATL, what a huge disappointment to the state of GA with only one playoff appearances.

Hawks are more buzz worthy then the Thrashers.


August 12th, 2010
12:04 pm

Looks like the Thrash are serious about improving. Love the trades.
If they want greater exposure they will need to improve radio coverage. If you live outside the perimeter you can’t listen to the games on radio. Also forget the TV games that start late out west. Nobody can stay up for them. Let’s get all the division games on TV.

Better exposure will create more fans!


August 12th, 2010
12:23 pm

Thrashers…they finally made some good moves.
@Mitun… going by your logic, my beloved Braves should have been long gone out of Atlanta before the 1991 Season. Do not forget this was a team that only had 2 playoff appearances with NO PLAYOFF WINS in a 25 year span. The only disappointment to the State of GA is making such silly remarks.


August 12th, 2010
12:37 pm

This may have been better posted as a poll instead LOL! It is amazing what kind of sentiments this brings out in people.


August 12th, 2010
1:21 pm

Wonder if that Prince of Wales trophy engavement blunder actually cost someone their job? I mean, how do explain how it happened? “Ummn, boss. A funny thing happened. Ya know how I’m in charge of engraving the Prince of Wales trophy? Yeah, but ummn … I didn’t actually follow the Stanley Cup playoffs. So, I assumed Washington won the East.” Or better still, my internet was down, so I couldn’t look it up, so asked some guy waiting for the bus. And he told me it was the Capitals. So, I went with it. In any event, we need to re-engrave it to say Philadelphia Flyers.”

A guess a really nice boss says, “That’s okay. Coulda happened to anyone, really. For what it’s worth, I thought the Capitals should have won the East, too.” :razz:



August 12th, 2010
1:23 pm

J.C. Thompson

August 12th, 2010
2:06 pm

Looks like some people are still obsessed with superstars like Ilya Kovalchuk. For some reason Atlanta is obsessed with over-rated superstars. First of all, Kovalchuk is worth just over half what this stupid organization offered him, and were extremely lucky that he didn’t take it. With all the players acquired from the original Kovy trade has made this team extremely better. Evander Kane, Niclas Bergfors, and Zach Bogosian will all become stars, if not hall of famers eventually. So lets sit back and educate ourselves on the game of hockey, how a team should operate, or just got back to screaming “go dawgs” like they do in every trailer park across the state.

Pro-Jen Man

August 12th, 2010
2:22 pm

Just like Larry Sinclair with the married Barack Obama, the Thrashers just need to PULL OUT of Atlanta as soon as possible.