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 12th, 2010
2:49 pm

The question should be:

What’s more boring? NBA or Pro Bowling? Tough one…


August 12th, 2010
4:05 pm

Or what’s more “fixed”…NBA basketball or pro wrestling?


August 12th, 2010
4:10 pm

NBA is more boring than bowling.


August 12th, 2010
4:12 pm

Mikey, at least with pro wrestling, if you don’t like the outcome, or the storyline, you can write to the company to ask to change the script. With the NBA, we’re stuck with the rosters as assembled. We can’t just “re-write the script.”


August 12th, 2010
11:03 pm

no doubt Hawks have more buzz. who cares about the Thrashers and Hockey?

NBA sucks

August 13th, 2010
1:44 am

The Heat made the Hawks irrelevant. The thrashers look like they will have a solid young team, but i feel like all the blackhawk players just want to get the year over with and sign somewhere else. Im not sure but it seems like they all just have one year deals.

[...] 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 . [...]

Zombie Steve

August 13th, 2010
9:45 am

Who bring more guns into the locker rooms??

NHL Rocks

August 13th, 2010
5:01 pm

Excited with new GM, new coach, and new players. Important that Thrash get off to respectable start.


August 13th, 2010
6:48 pm

only one more reason to say waddell is the biggest idiot of them all. who is talking about the thrashers? the thrashers have never done anything to gain the attention or respect of anyone. let them start with something other than trades and keeping the payroll low. if they make gains then maybe next year they can be part of the buzz and i hope they get there having been a flames fan at the first game in the city and a die hard fan until they left. this team has never gotten my imagination going except for maybe thinking about going to gwinnett to see a hockey game.


August 13th, 2010
6:57 pm

You got it right Sutton’s Fro, its football season and nobody gives a rats a_ _ about the NBA or NHL in this town.


August 15th, 2010
2:21 am

Hawks have more buzz, but that’s not a good thing. The Hawks buzz is negative, angry, and mostly borne out of frustration in the fanbase toward the ownership. Also, the NBA has been hurt by the whole Lebron debacle more than I think a lot of people realize… if you know the Heat are just going to crush everyone, why should you go watch your team knowing that they don’t have a chance? What Miami did deflated the hopes of a lot of fanbases and killed a good bit of fan interest, Atlanta included, which is why it wasn’t good for the league. So while the Hawks are certainly a better team than the Thrashers, there is very little hope left among their fans.

The Thrashers have less buzz, but more hope right now in their fanbase. They have hired a new GM who seems to know what he’s doing and is already making moves that have helped the team get better. The only reason they aren’t getting buzz is because hockey isn’t as popular here and the city is a little burned out on the Thrashers consistent failure. But if this GM continues to make the right moves, they will have a lot more buzz than the Hawks in the next few years.


August 15th, 2010
8:16 pm

there appears to be another JR but he is not as good looking or erudite as i am.

once more, what is the status of the various unsigned players like schubert?

[...] given the job of team president after proving so incompetent as GM that he failed upwards) thinks Atlanta’s awareness of the Thrashers is growing. “Everything has been real positive so we want to make sure we capitalize on this [...]

World Be Free

August 16th, 2010
8:05 pm

No need to apologize for being a hockey fan. And I have no issue with anyone else liking annother sport. Fredom of choice

Score Check

August 16th, 2010
9:51 pm


August 16th, 2010
10:23 pm

Why does Waddell still have his hands in “day-to-day” operations regarding roster decisions? He’s not the GM, in theory.


August 17th, 2010
10:38 am

Score check wow, thats really goofy.


August 17th, 2010
11:47 pm

Waddell is still involved in the team’s day-to-day operations and roster moves…
“Rick … is the best at player development. That’s why I hired him two years ago,” Waddell said. “My strengths compliment Rick’s strengths. Rick and I are side-by-side as we are making decisions. Rick doesn’t have to worry about the business side, the contracts, the budgets … because he knows I’ll handle it. When a decision has to be made, he and I sit down and make decisions that we feel are best for the long term of this franchise.”

bubb..bubbbbb…..bubbbbbb…..bbbbbbbbbbbbbllllllluuuuuuuuaaaaahhhhhhlhlhhhh !

Always feel better after you puke, doesn’t it?


August 18th, 2010
12:15 am

Here’s where Forbes Magazine ranked the results of DW’s “great job” last year…

“29. Atlanta Thrashers.

Attendance Rank: 30

TV Viewership Rank: 29″

How can anyone take Waddell’s opinions on building a hockey roster seriously? I’d love to witness the snickers in the room as he trys to trump a Dudley personnel move on any basis other than budget. Move away from the bar Donny, you’ve had quite enough already. You can save the drunken fairy tales for fans in another city, who didn’t view and suffer from your incompetence first-hand.


August 18th, 2010
1:38 am

The bottom line on DW’s TEN seasons….

Team Points
DET 1120
NJD 1033
OTT 1002
SJS 1002
DAL 993
COL 967
VAN 960
PHI 949
BUF 926
TOR 910
STL 904
BOS 904
WSH 897
NSH 879
ANA 879
CGY 879
MTL 878
CAR 869
EDM 855
LAK 848
NYR 845
PIT 841
PHX 838
CHI 823
FLA 795
TBL 783
MIN 778*
NYI 769
ATL 727
CBJ 657* * -Columbus and Minnesota joined the NHL one season after the Thrashers
giving these clubs 164 fewer potential points than Atlanta had over this period.


August 18th, 2010
10:16 am

i see where there will now be a different face value printed on tickets for the same seats. for example, a saturday vs. the blackhawks will be sold for a higher face value than the same seat will sell for on a monday vs. nobody.

i would think that the atlanta spirit would try to field a better product before trying to screw ticket buyers any more.


August 18th, 2010
12:10 pm

Joyaman, enjoyed your post. You might also include a points-percentage, as they might clear up confusion over teams that joined the league after the Thrashers.


August 18th, 2010
9:23 pm

Chris this is old new. Time for new blog.


August 19th, 2010
10:08 am

If the Thrashers could put a decent team on the ice, they’d pass the hawks. The NBA has 5 juggernauts every season so there is a good chance that in any given market that shares an NBA and NHL team, the NHL team will have a better shot to succeed in their league. Too bad for the Panthers


August 19th, 2010
4:50 pm

I don’t know what to think about this. I suppose this guy is bound for the minors. But hey, if he has a good camp and earns a roster spot, who are we to complain?


August 20th, 2010
3:29 pm


Here you go. Thanks for the suggestion. This sort order shows the true story…

NHL Points per Game 1999-2000 through 2009-2010

Team Points GP Pts/GP
DET 1120 820 1,366
NJD 1033 820 1,260
OTT 1002 820 1,222
SJS 1002 820 1,222
DAL 993 820 1,211
COL 967 820 1,179
VAN 960 820 1,171
PHI 949 820 1,157
BUF 926 820 1,129
TOR 910 820 1,110
STL 904 820 1,102
BOS 904 820 1,102
WSH 897 820 1,094
NSH 879 820 1,072
ANA 879 820 1,072
CGY 879 820 1,072
MTL 878 820 1,071
CAR 869 820 1,060
MIN 778 738 1,054
EDM 855 820 1,043
LAK 848 820 1,034
NYR 845 820 1,030
PIT 841 820 1,026
PHX 838 820 1,022
CHI 823 820 1,004
FLA 795 820 0,970
TBL 783 820 0,955
NYI 769 820 0,938
CBJ 657 738 0,890
ATL 727 820 0,887