While The Thrashers Wander In The Desert…

I have a minister friend of mine who lived in Arizona. Once he told me that he found that part of the country to be among the hardest of places to win converts. “See”, he would say, “Out in the desert of the southwest, during the winter time it’s so beautiful that no one wants to come inside the church…and in the summer, well, it’s so darn hot that nobody is scared of Hell”.

And that is where our Thrashers currently find themselves on this four-game west coast road trip…the nation’s 48th state, Arizona. Tonight’s game starts at 9:00 pm eastern as Atlanta goes into Jobing.com Arena in Phoenix to get ugly with the Coyotes.

So, while the Thrashers are wandering about in the desert climes, here a few items to keep you occupied…

Keeping Up With The Kaptain

If indeed the aliens… the ones that kidnapped the Thrashers bodies back in that memorable come-from-behind win against Toronto last month… have returned to do same over the past few games, then the the Captain of those ETs apparently flew out here early and has been wearing the #17. Dating back to the 3-2 loss to Philly, Kovy has netted 8 goals and three assist in the past five games. Three of those goals and one assist have come while on the power play.

So far on the roadie…#17 has five goals, a pair of helpers and is a +3.

Following Kaptain Kovy’s lead…Bryan Little, (a.k.a. Byron Young), has a pair of goals, 4 points and is a +2 since the team has headed west…Todd White has a goal, three assist and is a +3 in the past two games…Marty Reasoner has a goal and three points in the past two games…Colin “Shorty” Stuart has 3 goals, all short-handed, and an assist to go with a +4 rating in the past four games…Ron Hainsey has four points in the past three games…and Zach Bogosian is a +3 on the road trip so far and posted 3 assists in Monday’s win in L.A.

Who-da Thunkit?

OK, if I would have told you Sunday afternoon that the Thrashers were going to give up ten goals and 80 total shots on goal in just the first two games of this road trip…but they were going to go into Thursday night’s game against the Coyotes with all four points from those games…you would have told me to lay off of the hootch, go soak my head and get some rest.

Turns out…that is exactly what happened.

Ken Campbell Says, “No Tanks”

Ken Campbell of The Hockey News says that the concept of “tanking” for a #1 draft pick is “absurd”.

“Get a grip”, he says to those who harbour such a notion. “…doing such a thing goes against everything for which the game stands. It rips off and insults the intelligence of the paying customer and it’s a sleazy, unseemly way to go about doing business”.

Besides, as he continues, “It’s almost impossible to accomplish. I’d challenge anyone to in the NHL to try and be as bad as the Islanders are this season”.

“Being bad for an extended period of time is not an acceptable way to build a team. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t work from time to time, but it sure takes a long time to get the stink off of your organization. Teams that are ultimately successful in the long run would’nt think of employing that kind of strategy”.

“They generally go the more conventional route. You know, make good trades, draft and develope players well and manage the salary cap. What a concept”.

Yes, indeed…what a concept.

Havelid Trade Bait?

Yahoo Sports analyst Jim Fox discusses possible players that could be traded before the March 4 deadline. Florida’s Jay Bouwmeester, Anaheim’s Chris Pronger are on on the list of blueliners that could be on the move as well as the Thrashers Nic Havelid.

Hey Allan, What’s The Deal?

Allan Muir’s latest power rankings are out. For what it’s worth, he currently has the Thrashers at #26…up from #30. But that isn’t what caught my eye here. 

Nope…what did, however, was this question posed by Muir, “Wait…did Don Waddell just win a deal”? He was referring to the Schneider trade to Montreal for draft picks.

Also…notice how he slid in the “step in the right direction” phrase. I wonder if Bruce Levenson slipped Allan a few comp tix for that one.

Oh, and as for asking if the Schneider trade will free up some ice time for Boris and Oystrick…uh, Allan, (DUH5).

  Attention Atlanta Spirit Marketing Department And Season Ticket Reps

Looky-here ya’ll…the Carolina Hurricanes have announced that if season ticket holders renew for next season, the will lock in the current ticket price for three years.

What’s that you say? A three-year price freeze for their most loyal of customers? Being pro-active in trying to show real-life appreciation for the people who have supported you and your product over the years?

Wow…simply brilliant!

Hello…Is there someone down at the Atlanta Spirit, LLC paying attention here?

26 comments Add your comment


February 19th, 2009
7:00 am

Are they paying attention? Of course not. They’re acting like a bunch of four year olds in Maryland. Grown men with refrains of “Liar, Liar, pants on fire” and “He’s evil.” Oh please.

Dan Waldron

February 19th, 2009
7:16 am

I finally decided to write a comment on your blog. I just wanted to say good job. I really enjoy reading your posts.

Get The Puck Out

February 19th, 2009
7:26 am

I say some responsible adult needs to take their children away from them. They are UNFIT OWNERS.


February 19th, 2009
8:14 am

Bill, your title “While the Thrashers Wander in the Desert” would have been better if Waddell hadn’t traded the only decendent of Moses away (OK, as far as I know, I’m the only Jewish blogger here. I can say it).

I can’t believe that a coach would deliberately “tank” the season for the top draft pick. First of all, draft picks are chances. Stamkos is hardly the reincarnation of Crosby or Kane. In the NFL, Jamaal Anderson is a bust as a defensive end. It happens. Secondly, players get paid (new contracts) based on performance. “Tanking” would impair their ability to command better contracts in the future. Thirdly, coaches coach to win. Now. I’ve never heard of a coach who would say to their team “it’s OK to suck now, but in the future, we’re gonna kick a$$”. Fourth, why would any fan buy a ticket to a game for the rest of this year, expecting the team to lose?

Dwayne Johnson

February 19th, 2009
9:30 am

i was on a 5:50 pm, listened to it again this a.m. on the repeat. and i remember the goal you are talking about. another one was when a player did a chest bump toward the goal after the puck bounced straight up in the air in front of Kari after he made a save. distinct motion toward the net, altho not with his leg, pretty soon thay will let the o-fense push it in with their arms, elbows, arse and head. yes, Sharon, March 6th is the protest night


February 19th, 2009
9:52 am

Hey – five_hole…I’m MOT, so you are not alone.

With only 6 or so teams truly out of playoff contention, and the balance of the league still in it, then we had better darn well “win” all of the trades. “Oh so you want Havelid, well, I have 8 other offers…blow them away and you can have him…” had better be coming from the office of the GM. With so few sellers and more teams being buyers, we’d need a bumbling fool to get fleeced over the coming weeks.

Ugh, comment recinded….


February 19th, 2009
10:19 am

So…who’s up for a Thrashers viewing at TJs in Alpharetta on Saturday?

Buzilla in CT

February 19th, 2009
10:20 am

Tilly….is that a picture of your own toilet?


February 19th, 2009
10:26 am

Glovesave29 – really? And your mother let you play sports? Goalie of all positions? What if you had hurt your glove hand; how would you play violin/piano?

I would be disappointed if they traded Havelid; IMO he’s probably the best defenseman we have, and I would like to see him resign here for another year or two. Having said that, might as well get what we can. Think we could get anything for Christensen?

Dwayne Johnson

February 19th, 2009
11:43 am

Atlanta is 4 n 3 this month. Based on this month only, and since they won ugly at the Kings, with the only stinker being the nj game. Who you want to start next year with this team? Call me crazy, but i like all the pairings. And, with all the crap going on, this might be the only thing Donnie boy can do? Having said that, if they get skunked tonight and Saturday, i’ll be hollering for a top 4 d-man and another top scorer/playmaker.

Spud Webb

February 19th, 2009
12:06 pm

Problem is Five_hole, I don’t see Havlid signing here again.
He would wanna go somewhere he’s got a chance to win. Unfortunate but true.


February 19th, 2009
12:39 pm

Season Ticket Survey sent today through email. Everyone let them know what we think of the owners and DW.


February 19th, 2009
12:51 pm

Havelid for whatever reason may want to resign here, ala Tkachuk. If I was him, I would consider signing with a Cup contender first. But as much as I think he is our most solid defender at the moment, you have to trade him, for a worthwhile return, at the deadline.

Hopefully, all these “fringe” teams will win just enough to create a logjam of buyers for the top eight in each conference at the deadline. I like Reasoner alot also, and hope we can resign him, but I do wonder what a combo of solid dman and a shutdown forward like Havelid and Reasoner plus maybe another midround pick or throw-in(Sterling) could get us? Those two are perfect, low cost fits on Cup contenders looking to shore up for playoff type defence. Would a package like that for a mid to late first round pick and a prospect please everyone here, or would you rather trade them all individually for a couple of 2nds and thirds and such?

So, like Glovesave29 said, I am more concerned about Waddy making the deals for us than anything.


February 19th, 2009
1:13 pm

i’d be willing to lock in a ticket price for 3 years… but not the current price for this season. i’m pretty much decided on not paying the current full STH price again for the lousy on-ice product. i gave it one more chance this year to see how JA and others worked out, but after the suckfest thus far, i’m nonplussed. i’d lock in a buy-one-get-one free, but that’ll be about it.

Dwayne Johnson

February 19th, 2009
1:17 pm

i just do not see where trading away Havelid for picks would help next year. might help in the future, but who knows what might happen with ownership and DW. if Havelid was traded, what would he bring back? picks? DW’s track record aint to good with picks. i agree about him pulling a knucklehead and coming back and i agree with Glovesave29 on DWmaking deals

Tony C.

February 19th, 2009
4:06 pm


You deal for picks now and use that as currency during the draft to move up or down, OR to get the services of a known NHLer on draft day. There’s always some team that went out and overspent on UFAs/big-ticket trades that has buyer’s remorse and would probably unload one of their high-paid unsatisfactory players for the chance to re-stock their developmental system (I’m looking at YOU Glen Slather!). So if you’re selling, you get picks and prospects. Most straight up ” Player ‘A’ for Player ‘B’ ” trades happen during the summer, or during big-boy camp.

If we trade Havelid, DW better get a 1st-rounder or a stud prospect(plus later-round pick[s]). Reasoner should fetch a similar return. Christensen unfortunately doesn’t seem to be able to pring anything but later-round picks. SPECTOR says that Shero wants Armstrong back, but DW isn’t sold on a package of Goligoski(spl?) and a 3rd rounder. I’m pleased to hear that. We need Armstrong and even if he’s not happy to be here, if we give him up we need to get a premium for him-he’s a great teammate and judging from interviews I’ve read/seen he’s funny to boot. I’d rather not ship him out, but if DW does, he’d best get a GREAT return.

Frosty the snowman

February 19th, 2009
5:50 pm

I am not sure Havelid or Reasoner are worth 1st round picks. They are not superstars. They are close to average players.


February 19th, 2009
5:53 pm

The three year freeze on ticket prices is a great idea. Given the fact that most experts expect the recession to last 24-36 months, it’s a great way to recognize the financial strain that most of us are under. Regarding Havelid, he has been OK but not outstanding. Given his age, this might be the right time to try to get someone of qualit in return for him. I doubt that Exelby or Christensen are drawing much interest from clubs in the playoff race.


February 19th, 2009
6:14 pm

Yeah five_hole…can ya believe it? Football, baseball and soccer too! Given the fact I play drums, I can’t do too much more damage to my hands and wrists from sports that I am already doing on the skins!

Why would you accept a freeze on STH prices? You can get tix to a game any night for 1/4th face value.

I cannot see ANYONE offering a 1st rounder for Havelid. Let’s be realistic. He’s a solid D man, but no GM in their right mind would offer that high of a draft pick for him.


February 19th, 2009
6:24 pm

Rumor now is Flyers D man James van Riemsdyk for Kari Lehtonen.


February 19th, 2009
6:50 pm

Rawhide – In for saturday. Sounds good.

Tony C.

February 19th, 2009
7:00 pm

Well, I don’t think you’re going to get the 8 seed’s 1st rounder, but what happens if saaaay San Jose looses a top-4 defender, and asks DW about Havelid? DW offers up Havelid and Anaheim’s 2nd for SJ’s 1st round pick? SJ’s main option right now if somebody on their blueline goes down is Semenov. Not the he stinks, but I think even he would tell you that Nic is WAAAAY better-suited to the puck-possesion system SJ is running right now. Also, don’t think the fact that Nic can remain a “+” player on a team that as a whole is is something like -36 is lost on the rest of the league.

I don’t think you’re going to get a 1st-rounder out of a bubble team, but injuries have a way of putting guys in “panic mode”. Honestly, I’d rather see Havelid moved for a top prospect than anything else. I’ll give that on talent alone he’s not going to bring back a 1st round pick, but like I said, think about the buyer. If one of your horses goes down, you want a proven guy who isn’t going to disrupt your dressing room. Example: Who’s the best AVAILABLE option for Chiarelli if big Chara goes down? Jovonoski? Sorry he’s got a NTC. Pronger? Too much $ for a guy that might just poison the room. Bieksa? Vancouver’s going to want that same high-quality pick, plus he’s still prone to making boneheaded plays.

I challenge you to find havelid out of position. He may not be a game-changer, but he most certainly isn’t a guy that’s going to cost you by making a dumb play. A lot of times it’s not the flashy guy who makes the big play to keep your team on the road to The Cup (see Darren McCarty for example), it’s the guy who’s in the right position and makes the high-percentage play instead of trying to do too much (see Havelid).

Let’s also be honest. I’m biased. I want a king;s ransom for my guys, but I’m also realistic enough to say that I’d take a prospect and 2nd or 3rd round pick (depending on the prospect) for Reasoner.

Both Reasoner and Havelid are known to be good teammates (in Marty’s case some will tell you that the Oil misses him in the room even more than they miss Smyth on the ice), and solid pros with demonstrable skill of the type that wins championships. Reasoner’s lifetime faceoff % is nasty, and anybody that tells you that the draw isn’t hyper-critical in the playoffs is a rube.

My favorite silly rumor lately is that we’d trade Kovalchuk for Antropov and Tlusty with Toronto throwing in a later round pick.

And yall get on me for dreaming big!

Injun Joe

February 19th, 2009
10:35 pm

Where is TJ’s and what time? If possible Im there after I get off work.

B. Thenet

February 19th, 2009
11:32 pm

Jovocop should get a couple games off for that disgusting hit on Thorburn. I have no idea HOW that ref could be starting right at that hit and not call a 5 minute boarding major.

Ms. Blueland

February 20th, 2009
5:51 am

Rumour is that Philly is interested in Lehtonen….


February 20th, 2009
11:00 am

Yeah, supposedly its Lehtonen for Van Riemsdyk…who was a stud for the USA in the recent World Juniors. With all the goalies passing thru waivers this year, that seems a pretty high price to pay for Kari. Perhaps there is some residual guily that needs to be assuaged for the Coburn for Zhitnik debacle.

I was out of town last week, so I don’t know if the news of Angelo Esposito’s torn ACL made it into the blog. Poor guy…gust when it seemed he was turning it around after the WJC’s.