Are The Peasants Truly Revolting?

During the French Revolution portion of Mel Brooks’ epic comedy ”History of the World, Pt. I”, Count de Money…no, no you fool, Count de Monet…de-Mon-A…approached King Louis XVI to inform him of an impending revolt against the crown.

“It is said that the people are revolting”…the Count, (portrayed brilliantly by the late Harvey Korman), tells him.

“You said it”, replies the King…”they stink on ice”.

Well, like the good King Louis, the collective partnership octo-cluster that is the Atlanta Spirit, LLC. may be facing the same type of social unrest…a type of “revolt” if you will… from the good and decent, hockey-loving citizens of Blueland.

To date, any such revolt has been a silent one…fans, in great numbers, simply have chosen to not pay the money to attend games this season. In the most recent home game, Tuesday’s 4-3 win vs. Colorado, the “official” attendance announced  was 12,101. But I tell ya kids, if there were 12K+ subjects in Blueland’s Castle Philips Tuesday night, 4,000 of them spent the game downing ale and chasing wenches in Taco Mac or something because there were only 8,000 in the barn…maybe 8,000.

Let’s see…the Falcons weren’t playing, and haven’t for eight weeks. The Braves haven’t even thrown the first pitch of the season yet. The Hawks weren’t on TV Tuesday night, neither UGa nor GT played basketball and the weather hasn’t exactly been balmy enough to spend time hanging out on the deck barbecuing in the evening. So, I’m wondering what it is that Don Waddell might blame the low attendance on…I mean, now that the fall and all it’s distractions has long past gone.

I know…everyone was watching the Barak Obama Show from the Capitol Tuesday night. Surely that’s it…right Don?

Yeah…right.

Anyway… we all know how the Thrashers and other NHL teams, as a means to inflate the overall numbers, figure in “tickets sold” and “tickets given away” and all that. Also, it’s clear that a Tuesday night matchupbetween two teams that are languishing toward the bottom of the standings isn’t exactly going to create a stampede at the box office. Especially so if the host team has won but 9 times in 28 games on their home ice. Regardless, seeing only about 7,000 or 8,000 warm-carbon-based-units in Blueland is more the norm than the exception this year.

Yes, there are a certain amount of you that have chosen to stay away from Philips to “boycott” the management and ownership. You want to get their attention. Well, I have news for you…the 10,000 empty seats that normally greet the players when they take to the ice have certainly not gone unnoticed. The Spirit Clowns may be among the most incompetent set of buffoons ever to purchase a professional sports franchise…but they aren’t blind. Hence, the discounted ticket prices that have accompanied the second halves of both this season and last.

And let me be very clear on this, I have absolutely no problem with them reducing prices to try to bring in more people. The marketing department and sales team have one job to do for this organ-I-zation…and that is putting butts in seats. Period. If 2,000 or 4,000 more seats can be sold at half price than otherwise…then they have do it.

Now, does that suck for season ticket holders who paid almost full price prior to the season? Well, as our friends in Min-EE-So-TAH would say, “Oh yeah..you bet-CHA”! But again, the job of your friendly ticket rep is to put as many cans in seats as they can…any way they can.

But rest assured…the “Protest of the Wallet” has definitely been noticed by the Spirit Boys.

And now, it appears, there are those who feel that the relatively quite revolt via absentia has failed to get the full measure of attention by those who rule the Blueland nest, so a few have begun a more visual and vocal approach to display their ire toward Blueland’s throne. Fans wearing brown paper bags have been spotting at Thrashers games recently…I’ve even seen the occasional sign or two on display as well. I guess such things really should come as no surprise when a team is coming off a 34-40-8 for 76 points season and is following it up with a 22-35-6 performance and heading for about 66 points this year. That plus the team is rounding out it’s 9thseason still looking for it’s first ever playoff win and the same general manager through it all is still in charge.

Given that, and last years absurd statement by Bruce Levenson that the team is “moving in the right direction”, fans are understandably upset.

And it seems a though the aroma of such an uprising has made it’s way to the senses of those in the royal palace of Blueland…and it seems the ruling class does not find it pleasing at all. “Dissent…protest…expressions of frustration and discontent in Blueland? No, NO, NO…this simply will not do”!

There have been reports that fans who have brought signs with them have been told they cannot place them against the glass during the pre-game skate.

Huh..whaaaaaaaat?

Hang on a sec… ever since I have been going to Thrashers games, fans have been allowed to hold up signs against the glass during the pre-game exercises. The homemade placards would range from support of the team, admiration and praise for an individual player or…as was the case on Nov. 18, 2007…to display the thought that maybe the wrong person had gotten fired the day prior.

I’ve heard murmurings as to how ushers have been given their marching orders in regards to any displays of discontent during future games…specifically the March 6 game when Montreal pays us a visit. If these rumors are true,  fans who dare show up with signs displaying anything but support for the product the Spirit Clowns and Waddell have placed before us on the ice will have them confiscated at the door. Also, there will be absolutely no toleration of paying customers wearing brown bags over their heads. I guess they’ll use the bags taken from you to dispose of the signs.

I know someone who works security at the arena who has told me that they have been directed to try and put the kibosh on anyone who might dare attempt to verbally call for a regime change in the Thrashers front office. He cites the management’s desire to maintain a “family friendly” atmosphere in Philips.

Oh sure…it’s OK to chant “BrodeurYOU SUCK” and that’s OK in a Blueland full of kiddies. But don’t even try “Fire Waddell” or the black suits just might put the clamp-down on you.

But honestly, there is little they can do to keep all of you from chanting, “FI-RE WAD-DELL”…or “SPIR-it GROUP SUX”, during the game…if that is what you so choose to do. I mean, it’s not like they can make you check your vocal chords at the door, right? Sure, sure…they’ve sent Thrash over to bang his drum to drown out the chants…but he and security can’t be everywhere.

To me, being able to vocalize your displeasure with what Waddell and the Spiriteers have done to this team is just as much a part of the game experience as cheering on the talent that is Ilya Kovalchuk, Tobias Enstrom, Zach Bogosian, Bryan Little, Rich Peverley, etc. Such ability should not be infringed upon…and it certainly would not be by an ownership that gave a damn about the poeplethat part ways with their hard-earned money to support the product they,  the owners, and management are responsible for.

So…has a new era of censorship indeed begun in the Kingdom of Blueland?

Well, one fact that cannot be overlooked here is when one purchases a ticket to such an event, you… the ticket holder… agree to abideby the rules of the arena. But such an overt attempt to squash any public dissent aimed in their direction would simply show a tremendous lack of class and intestinal fortitude on their part. Plus, if the eight-headed monarchy thought that their subject were angry now, just imagine the ire that would come their way if those same individuals were denied the ability to let off some steam at the games…even if that meant that the octo-cluster was the recipient of the heat that came from that steam. Would they really want to escalate the situation?

Besides, we’re not talking about a mob storming the castle with pitchforks and torches here, are we? Well… are we?

And on the other side of this issue…is there truly a spirit of “revolt” or “protest” in the chilly air of Blueland?

Well, let ask you, my fellow Bluelanders… are you are one of those who have had thoughts of entering through the gates of Philips Arena with signs in tow and sporting brown paper bags upon your head? If so, what do you make of such yammering that the guards at the gates might ask you to relinquish such items, or be denied entry?

Are you going to show up anyway…with your bags, with your signs… and MAKE them take these items from you?

Also, if you are going to attend the town hall meeting schedule for prior to the game…what might you have to ask of Bruce Levenson or any other members of the Clowns-Eight??

That is…if he, or any of the other rulers of Blueland, have the testicular fortitude to show up.

I’ll give Waddell his props here…at least the man will stand up there and suffer the slings and arrows…whether it be in the town hall meetings or on the radio. I certainly have seen and heard more of the general manager during this season than I any of the Spirit Boysoutside of a courtroom, that is.

One more question for you all. Regardless of whether you support the silent “Protest Via the Wallet”, a more visual or vocal display of disapproval…or you simply chose to attend, root for and accept the Thrashers as they are…since most of us agree that booing the players for poor performance on the ice has never been deemed “inappropriate”, why then wouldn’t those who are responsible for icing such a team not be big enough to take the same heat from the same set of fans?

If indeed the great octo-cluster that is the AS, LLC seem to think they are above such public criticism…well… then that would truly “stink on ice”.

32 comments Add your comment

Get The Puck Out

February 28th, 2009
8:04 am

Maybe someone out there that loves hockey in Atlanta knows someone that is a TV sportscaster. Freedom of expression is being taken away at Phillips Arena and i think it would make a great sports story on the six o’clock news. FIRE WADDELL.

Mr. Heat Miser

February 28th, 2009
9:03 am

Spoke to my ticket rep the other day and he said that there were no changes in policy in regards to signs and stuff for the Habs game. We’ll see.
The town hall is gonna be a hoot.

jason

February 28th, 2009
9:04 am

I don’t think anyone that protests will have anything taken from them; rather, they’ll be taken to a room where they have to watch a loop of Natalie doing the “Keys to the Game” for two hours.

But seriously, I was someone that was trying to lead the Fire Waddell chants from 318. But the problem is that at a certain point, I realized that the folks who own the team just don’t care. Firing Waddell would cost money, and they just don’t want to spend the money to bring in someone competent. For the people like Levenson, the team is moving in the right direction in that it costs so little money to actually run the team.

It’s kind of like watching a game against the Flyers – I always have a feeling of inevitability watching a game with them. I have hope at first, but I know it’s just not going to work out. I feel the same way when it comes to these owners.

Glovesave29

February 28th, 2009
9:05 am

Metropolit was claimed by Montreal. Guess Don was to busy to be checking the waiver wire. I can only hope he was busy updating his resume.

Need to begin a “guerilla” campaign to get heard. Have little signs and wear the opponent jersey…when the “Kiss Cam” hits you, hold up the sign. When they do the “Price is Right” game…yell out FIRE WADDELL. Wear a Thrasher jersey customized to read “Fire Waddell” and the uni number “09″.

The ASG is constantly inundating those of us in the men’s league with 1/2 price ticket offers…the top sellers get time on the ice after the Thrashers game for a league all star game. Get both teams to have FIRE WADDELL on their jerseys…that would be priceless. Get photos of that and get it out into cyberspace.

We just need to get creative.

ThrashDawg

February 28th, 2009
9:29 am

I am all for complete regime change, ie. Saddam Hussein style. You have to cut off the head of the snake! That means you ASG

B. Thenet

February 28th, 2009
9:31 am

Lets get a sellout for that game on 3/6/9!!

It is a nationally televised game in the US, and will be shown all over Canada since we are playing Montreal.

If you have boycotted the team by not showing up, show the entire continent that WE LOVE HOCKEY, and at the same time we hate what the owners have done to our hockey franchise.

drpheffer

February 28th, 2009
9:45 am

I will NEVER attend another Thrashers game as long as Wadell and the Atlanta Spirit Clowns are around. Period.

Adam

February 28th, 2009
10:15 am

Rawhide, bravo for your best column yet. I’m a former Day One season ticket holder who dropped his tickets before this season, and I fully intend to participate in this protest. Even my 4-year-old will be wearing a bag on his head on March 6. My sign will say “Support the players, fire the owners”.

Wings fan in Ga.

February 28th, 2009
11:21 am

Well that’s just wonderful. First amendment rights of freedom of speech and freedom of expression are being taken away. Where’s Saint Obama when you need him?

Keep it up Thrashers fans! The Lions tried to hold us down by taking away our Fire Millen signs but we kept it up and suffered through an 0-16 season this year, but it was worth it since Millen was fired.

Wear your bags and bring your signs! Let his people take them away. Viva la revolution!

When (if) Waddell gets his walking papers, it will feel like a holiday to you guys, and hopefully new owners will come in as well.

five_hole

February 28th, 2009
11:38 am

Jason, I think the point is to keep the franchise value low. That way, if they win the court case (and have to buy out Belkin), they will have to pay him less for the current value of the franchise.

Paper bags is fine; I’ve done it before. If the producers controlling the cameras choose not to put protesters on, will anyone know they’re protesting? On the other hand, a large, empty stadium is sort of hard to not show.

Adam

February 28th, 2009
11:50 am

DWTOO

February 28th, 2009
1:25 pm

I’m with B. Thenet – show up and cheer the team on March 6th. Show the folks from north of the border that there are Southern hockey fans. As for the ASG consider them our cross to bear until the court case is done, the team sold, and new management in place. The time grows nearer.

Last week over many pitchers of Yuengling(best beer anywhere) a group of decided the beat way to take on the Canadian media (remember the morons who keep calling for franchise relocation, especially this one, to the north) is to make some some signs calling for Canadian franchise relocation – LeHabs KC or maybe the Las Vegas Maple Leafs. See how the bozo’s like that.

Time to head to the tailgate. Come on down to the Gulch before the game tonight.

Brendan

February 28th, 2009
1:43 pm

R. Stroz once said, “Become None” in Blueland. They appear to be on their way.

If the Spirit “henchmen” are stifling your 1st Amendment Rights, bring an attorney with you and serve them papers to appear in court the next morning. Philips Arena isn’t a private, “members only” club. Anyone who purchases a ticket … as the right to be there. So long as they don’t scream, “Fire!,” at the top of their lungs, or encroach on public standards of obscensity, then they are free to yell “fire Wad-del” as often as they like.

I can’t wait for Philips Arena to be the 1st in the nation to announce, “Yelling is NOT allowed” in its venue, during sporting events.

The boys at ESPN would eat it up, and Atlanta would be the laughing stock of the nation. It’d be water cooler “fodder” for the entire nation. And, I didn’t think it possible, but it would make the Spirit ownership appear even more foolish than they are.

Of course, I think they do it DELIBERATELY. It’s “useful” for them to appear foolhardy. As in, “whoops, looks they we messed up, again. Oh darn. Better luck next year. Why tear it down, when we’re ’so close.’” When the real goal … is selling it for a “mint,” in 2011, when the team is loaded with Bogosians, and Tavareses, etc.

Ribby

February 28th, 2009
1:58 pm

Don’t get saucy with me Bernaise!

Wayne

February 28th, 2009
2:20 pm

What I’d like to know is: why hasn’t Atlanta Spirit (or even Belkin for that matter) come out and said ANYTHING since the season began? I know that there are certain questions you can’t answer because of the lawsuit, but, damn, silence is NOT golden!

PabloAmigo

February 28th, 2009
3:42 pm

I wish all you Thrashers fans luck in your boycott of management. Keep up the signs and the paper bags and you will defiantly get noticed up here in Canada. It will smeared across every sports station up here like Hurricane Katrina or 9/11. There will be talk of it for weeks I almost guarantee it. Just hope that Waddell doesn’t move Kovy at the deadline, he is a true sniper that should never be traded.

KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!!

Tony C.

February 28th, 2009
5:53 pm

Who all is goin>?

stendec

February 28th, 2009
7:45 pm

I am overweight with a heart problem but even I could have stopped the two goals that sorry son of a betch Finn Kari Letemin whiffed in during the first 20 minutes! John Petrino will leave him in because both are brainless idiots who do not know a damn thing about hockey. Good old Ilya “Another Misfire” Kovalchuk is in a zone again. A damn no-score zone. Oh yeah, on the power play, shoot the mother (X) puck! Pretty passes do not count for a damn thing. Another nauseating night in Loseland. To Hell with Kari Letemin. To Hell with all the ball-less quitters! Will gladly shell out a few bucks to purchase their tickets to Hamilton. Hell, ANY city outside of Georgia will suffice!

stendec

February 28th, 2009
8:42 pm

Ilya Kovalchuk scored with less than a minute to play in second period. No one can misfire forever! How long before worthless oxygen waste Kari Letemin gives that one back? Oh well. It is 2-1 after two periods. Is another of those close losses apologists savor so much only a few minutes away? Only time will tell.

stendec

February 28th, 2009
9:11 pm

WOW! That piece of shet in the Toiletlid goal is even more worthless than I thought he was! The Finn bestard sure gave the goal back in record time! Damn son of a betch. Secured another home loss! Thanks for nothing Finland! Mother (X) fourth rate backwater country not worth a flying (X). Do not export any more of your smelly trash! Can we deport the bestard?

stendec

February 28th, 2009
9:18 pm

Another goal for Kari Letemin to return! Hope it takes just a tad longer THIS time. Another close defeat looms. Break out that champagne apologists! Just think if the home team had a REAL damn goaltender instead of an untalented fraud between the pipes. Sigh. But sign him for life right braindead poll voters? Damn unintelligent jerks!

stendec

February 28th, 2009
9:35 pm

Home team netted enough. Congratulations! Nice rally. Been waiting all season to see some toughness. Witnessed it tonight!

five_hole

February 28th, 2009
10:10 pm

Don’tja just love to see the team come back from behind in the 3rd period?\

Can I suggest that we give Peverley a long term contract in the offseason? He’s obviously earned it. This guy makes things happen out there. I wasn’t a believer in him 20 games ago, but I am now. Can we send Nashville a nice fruit basket or something?

Thought Big Bad Boris had a decent game. The kid had a few shots from the point, and only took 1 penalty. He played with some confidence tonight.

BTW; did anyone see M. Schneider’s overtime goal for Montreal the other night? Love to see the Habs go all the way to the cup (and minimize our compensation). Meanwhile, we seem to have a firm lock on one of the top-3 picks in the draft.

Glovesave29

February 28th, 2009
10:26 pm

Nice toe save in the waning seconds to seal the victory. Gritty effort, nice to see it pay off in a win. Can anyone that went to the game give me a more accurate attendance than the 17,796 as listed on nhl.com? I didn’t look that full on TV. I liked the color commentator switch off in the 2nd, nice to get a different perspective.

LAC

February 28th, 2009
10:33 pm

We had a winning month ! A Very Nice comeback when it looked
like another loss to these guys.

Too bad we could not have played like this more often earlier…

Let’s hope WISE changes are made starting with a NEW GM !

Brendan

February 28th, 2009
10:35 pm

NY Islanders won tonight, 2-0, over Buffalo. So this loss really hurts Carolina, who could have gained 2-points on Buffalo. The NY Rangers also won, huring the ‘Canes. The win doesn’t hurt Atlanta’s ping pong ball situation on draft day, as the Islanders did also win. So Atlanta didn’t gain any ground on them. Or lose any, in pursuit of Tavares.

Carolina played a pretty good road game for 39-minutes. But in the final 21 minutes, they were outscored 5-1. Somewhere, out there, Peter Laviolette is smiling? I don’t know.

Great comeback. Peverley can be re-signed, PROACTIVELY, on July 1, 2009. Peverley may reject contract negotiations in favor of trying to put up even better numbers in 2009-10, for a bigger contract than the one Atlanta ‘might’ hypothetically offer this summer. Peverley will probably play with Kovalchuk next season, assuming Kovalchuk is not dealt on the morning of the draft for the best deal Atlanta can get.

Kovalchuk, to his total credit, continues to say all the right things, like a politician in an election year. Tonight, he said Atlanta always plays 6-on-5, because of the great fan support. But does that ‘great fan support’ really jive with the turnstile attendance? Kovalchuk talked about building momentum for the remaining games and for next season. That’s EXACTLY what he’s supposed to say. Well done, Kovy.

Kovy gives every outward appearance of wanting to stay in Atlanta. Good! He’ll have the chance to prove this ’sentiment’ very shortly. It’s March 1st, in a few hours. In precisely four months, he’ll be eligibile to be re-signed for the REST OF HIS LIFE, if he so desires it. If Kovalchuk isn’t re-signed by July 14, I think we’ll have his answer. Kovy got two more tonight. I think he’s up to 33 or 34 now. Peverly got a few tonight, including the game winner. Todd White chipped in, also. Todd White continues to say all the right things. When asked why the Thrashers lack consistency, he said words to the effect of , “When we’re not playing as team, we’re playing as individuals, and that’s why we can find the consistency factor.” That’s an outstanding answer, and far better than, “We’re demoralized by our ownership/management/budget situation.”

Wayne

February 28th, 2009
11:11 pm

I loved seeing Darren Idiot go over to the Hurricanes’ broadcast booth in the 2nd period; unfortunately, it wasn’t permanent…

Hanson Brothers

February 28th, 2009
11:12 pm

Glovesave: While I don’t think that attendance figure nearly represents the actual attendance, the crowd was noticeably larger than it has been for awhile. The large Carolina contingent didn’t hurt either to fill the building. If I had to guess, looked like about 15k in actual attendance.

EA

February 28th, 2009
11:42 pm

The crowd was large and ELECTRIC! It was a nice change. The come back win gave everyone a lot to cheer about.

LAC

March 1st, 2009
7:02 am

I agree with Wayne, A NEW Broadcast team next season ( ? ) would be great. These two we have get worse with every passing game !

Hockey Biltong

March 1st, 2009
9:54 am

Thrashers have been a 3rd period team most of the year. Difference now is that they work the coaches system better. Pevs is the start of what Thrash should be getting for next year.

David Hooton

March 2nd, 2009
5:17 pm

Hey Raw Hide your article has inspired me to attempt to address gary Bettman about our situation please check out my article http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1521367/gary_bettman_please_save_hockey_in.html