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.