With Crusher & Perrin Gone, Let’s Look At The Lines

With the trade sending Erik Christensen to Anaheim in return for Eric O’Dell…the Ducks’ 2008 2nd round draft pick… coupled with the waiving of Eric Perrin, what kind of lineup will we be in store for Friday night?

Well, assuming Perrin isn’t going to be around, (and in my book he most certainly should not be), and the fact that O’Dell is at this time a “Not Ready For Prime Time Player”…here is possibly what we could see on the forward lines as the Thrashers take on the Canadiens:

  • 1st line: Kovy – Peever – Little
  • 2nd line: Kozzy – White – Stuart
  • 3rd line: Army – Reasoner – Crabb
  • 4th line: Bolts – Slater – Thorney

What do you think about that, eh?

Some Other Quick Shots Regarding The Passing Of The Trade Deadline

It’ll come a no big surprise that I’m thrilled at the fact that Marty Reasoner is still with us. If you are one who might be thinking, “But if he doesn’t re-sign here and goes elsewhere, then we get nothing in return”. Well that may be so, but look at it like this….what did we give up for him last summer? Really, all the Thrashers are “out” in regards to Reasoner is one year’s salary. In return the Thrahsers have gotten one year’s service…one year’s worth of good service. So, we’d be loose nothing.

Now, all that having been said…let’s sign him, Don.

The goalie duo of Kari Lehtonen and Johan Hedberg remains in tact along with the backup of Ondrej Pavelec in Chicago. However, on NHL Live Wednesday Don Waddell indicated that this issue will be addressed in the summer. He feels that Opie will be ready by next season So, as I read that, one of the three should be moved. We’ll see….

In Florida…the Panthers chose to keep Jay Bouwmeester instead of dealing him away before he becomes a UFA in July and possibly bolts. Personally, I see this as a good move by the Panthers. I mean, who was available that could fill his skates during this playoff push in south Florida? That team feels as though they simply have to qualify for post-season play this spring and big Jay is a necessity for them.

Even if they ultimately loose him to free-agency, I think they did the right thing. If you wanna look at it this way…Bouwmeester just became their rental player.

71 comments Add your comment


March 5th, 2009
1:39 pm

Thought some of you headed to the game tomorrow might want to know that the Dantanna’s will finally be open for customers – tomorrow being their Opening Day…


March 5th, 2009
1:47 pm

Thank you – Midfield finally gets it. This is not even a debate about the merits or lack thereof of Don Waddell. The point is that the owners have created a huge mess here that I firmly believe no respectable GM candidate would ever be willing to walk in to.

It is a known fact that the owners face significant financial constraints. That alone will be the single biggest deterent to any potential GM or top-tier Free Agent even considering coming here. You remember when our beat writer called Mike Babcock about Todd McLellan interviewing for the coaching position? He got an immediate, definitive, terse “He’s not going there.” See – that’s what top-notch people think of Atlanta and as much as people like to think that’s all because of Don Waddell, it’s not. People outside of Atlanta recognize that we have a bunch of fools for owners.

As for the argument about funding a winning product – that 2006-2007 season should have been the most revenue-inducing season in Thrashers history – it was certainly the most successful. That should have filled the coffers quite nicely (relatively speaking) and yet it was that very next season when the payroll first got cut. So if one successful season wasn’t enough to induce the owners to keep spending, what makes you think two more of them would have?

Again, my point isn’t even about Waddell, has nothing to do with him. This is all about the owners and what is patently obvious to anyone with two eyes, two ears, and even half a brain. I know I take a lot of heat for being a Red Wings fan, but after years and years of following that team, I know what a truly world-class organization looks like and this sure as heck ain’t it. And as much as the Red Wings have great players and a great GM and great scouting, the single most important thing is that they have great owners. It all starts with the Ilitches….whereas here it all ended with Spirit.

It’s all about bottom lines, to them and to me. It doesn’t matter if Waddell is the worst GM to ever associate himself with the game of hockey. It is the responsibility of the owners to put a winning culture in place and ensure that everyone else within the organization lives up to that objective. If Waddell blows, fire him. If the roster stinks, change it and if the GM won’t, fire him. It’s not like Atlanta Spirit doesn’t know what the Thrashers’ position in the standings is – they just don’t seem to give a crap. And since the owners don’t give a crap, why would management give a crap, or why would the players give a crap? Get my point? This whole mess begins and ends with the owners, irrespective of the performances of any other member of the organization. Which means you can shuffle the deck chairs as the saying has gone, but the ship is still going to sink. I don’t care if Waddell even picks out the uniform designs…he is an employee, just like the players, the coaches, the office staff. Unfortunately too many people are stuck on Waddell being the Captain, instead of figuring out a long time ago that he’s a deck chair just like everyone else.


March 5th, 2009
1:55 pm

Yeah Rawhide we can go ’round and ’round about Hartley – I think we mostly have. But being the best coach in Thrashers history, as shown by your numbers, isn’t necessarily saying much. I remember that we virtually squeaked into the division championship due in large part to those trades Waddell made. Without KT or Zhitnik (mostly the former), that team misses the play-offs. Then again – Hartley also presided over this team when it had arguably it’s most talented roster too – Kovy, Heater, Savvy, then Hossa. It was still a roster needing tweaks, but virtually light-years away from where we are right now.

I’ll agree firing a coach with no replacement in sight wasn’t brilliant…but I still think firing Hartley was right. But then – that’s what opinions are all about right? :)

Buzilla in CT

March 5th, 2009
2:24 pm


March 5th, 2009
7:03 pm

While I am NEVER going to say anything nice about the ASG, I still put a lot of this on the GM. As an owner of a business…I trust my employees to do the job I pay them for on issues I am not as proficient in as they are. A good GM can tell ownership on how to best spend the assets. Perhaps if DW had a better track record, they would open up the wallet a bit more. I guess they feel Don has not merited any additional funds (well that and their total disregard for hockey). The Flames are owned by a group no different than the ASG, they just have good management and stay out of hockey ops. The Leaf, Rangers and Sharks are also owned by groups. As much as I despise the ASG, I would like to see what would happen with them with a good, strong GM.

ranallo10 (in AT)

March 5th, 2009
7:25 pm

I find it interesting that just two short seasons ago, Hokie and myself (among others) were scoffed EVERY time we brought up “incremental progress”. Now that the team has collapsed, people are considering incremental progress a measure of success? I guess that’s what happens when the team sits in the cellar for two straight years…people yearn for the “good ol’ days” of barely making the playoffs.

Since everybody likes to use this argument against Waddell…how many playoff wins did Hartley have as a coach in Atlanta? What was his record in the “real season” (playoffs), during his time with the Thrashers?

ranallo10 (in AT)

March 5th, 2009
7:44 pm

Glovesave…the obvious difference between the ownership in New York, Toronto, Calgary and San Jose is that they would fire a GM if he wasn’t living up to their standards. It makes little sense to me that after repeated failure from the GM the owners simply pull the funds, instead of firing the supposed root of the failure. How is that logical?


March 5th, 2009
7:51 pm

Ranallus Maximus – I’ll take a bite on that apple, if I may… Obviously BH has as many playoff wins as coach of the Thrashers as DW has as GM.

For that matter, they both have as many playoff wins while with Atlanta as I have had dates with Erin Andrews….ZERO.

However, if that is a justification for firing BH, I would point to the fact…as stated prior…that he improved this team each and every year he was allowed to coach a full season here. That, plus the last two seasons finished with winning records.

Since being asked to leave…well, we don’t have to go into the record since 10/17/2007, do we? For the record…it’s 57-69-14.

If it’s a justification FOR Don Waddell not receiving scrutiny…I would disagree. He has been the man making decisions since Day-One here. Among the bad decisions…IMHO…was the one he made on 10/17/2007. Regardless, since that time, how close have we been to making the playoffs?

Anyway…as for you remarks about the “good ol’ days”…well, again, how sad is it when the Spirit Clowns and DW leave you yerning for the day that we were merely competitive and struggling to make it into the tournamant that 16 out of 30 teams qualify for.

Tony C.

March 5th, 2009
8:49 pm

So where is the rally-point for the protest?

ranallo10 (in AT)

March 5th, 2009
8:54 pm

I didn’t say it’s a justification for either. However, the best justification for Hartley being fired (in my opinion) is the decline of the team since Christmas of 2006. The team had a big lead then collapsed, Waddell acquired players for Hartley, they made the playoffs, and laid an egg. Hartley then led the team to a stellar 0-6 2007 season.

Hockey is always about “what have you done for me lately”. Hartley’s last 0.5 seasons left much to be desired, and showed signs of a coach losing his lockerroom and ability to adjust his game plan to the demands of the game. Hartley looked more useless during the playoffs than Lehtonen or Hedberg did.

I’m not giving Waddell a pass on anything, nor am I attempting to defend him for not being fired to this point (I don’t know how many times I can say I’d like Yzerman or Nonis or Cheveldayoff in here), but I’m also not giving Hartley the credit of being the “coach that got away”. It was his time…he proved to be unable to adjust his game to the opponent (think PP and PK “success” in 2006), unable to maintain control of the lockerroom (the rumor why he was ultimately fired at 0-6 instead of 0-10 was the locker room beginning to divide), and didn’t seem too fond of developing rookies in Atlanta (his misuse of Coburn and relegating him to 8 minutes per game is THE reason the kid was deemed expendable).

The point of the statement is to not continue the hypocrisy of saying it’s OKAY for Hartley to have no playoff wins, but it’s not okay for Waddell to have any as well. Hartley was here with Waddell during the glory years and neither could sustain that incremental progress. I was a supporter of Hartley’s before 2006, during 2006, and before his firing…however I don’t have these blue tinted glasses that assume WITH Hartley the team would be completely different today, winning playoff games, and the ASG would have fired Waddell.

It was time for Hartley to go…many knew it, they just wanted Waddell out at the same time. Unfortunately for them the ASG likes Waddell enough to continue his employment AND extend his contracts.

I feel that, as a fan, clinging to the Hartley days is just like clinging to the Savard days…it’s so far in the past it makes little sense to continue to bring it up. Waddell’s not getting fired, apparently, so let’s move forward. Shall we?

Waddell is learning from his mistakes, it seems. He’s bringing in players that strengthen the locker room, it seems. He’s making a youth movement, or so it seems. If he’s fired tomorrow I wont give two poops…but I also wont expect his successor to have any more success. Everyone knows I’m in agreement with Sara that the root of all of these problems lies at the feet of inept ownership. In my opinion nothing will change with this TEAM until ownership makes a shift in their current business model as executed on the hockey side of their product.


March 5th, 2009
9:19 pm

Ranallo – you answered your own question. ASG will never be found in the same sentence as logical. Waddell should have been fired after that debacle of a season last year.

How many teams have playoff success on their first go around? Most teams make the playoffs, get throttled, have a down year and then come back and make a move in the playoffs. We were heading in the right direction…yeah, the playoffs blew and the season started off wrong, but you felt we were heading the right way. In one move, it was all destroyed. Teams can rebel against coaches like Hartley who are task-masters. Take no prisoners…their way or the highway (you get the point). Then they “love” those buddy-buddy coaches. Until the winning ends and you realize the tough coach was doing his job and getting the most out of the team. When’s the last time you saw Scotty Bowman going out with the boys for a cold one after a game?


March 5th, 2009
9:22 pm

ranallo“Everyone knows I’m in agreement with Sara that the root of all of these problems lies at the feet of inept ownership. In my opinion nothing will change with this TEAM until ownership makes a shift in their current business model as executed on the hockey side of their product”.

You and may have to agree to disagree about the Hartley firing…and I’m good with that. But if there is one thing I agree 100% with you & Sara on it’s the above statement.

However, I would also add that part of that change involves making a change in the GM office.


March 5th, 2009
9:31 pm

The NHL Network is free this week, so tomorrow’s Thrash game against the Habs will be televised locally.

ranallo10 (in AT)

March 5th, 2009
9:45 pm

“However, I would also add that part of that change involves making a change in the GM office.”

And I have absolutely no problem with that. Neither does Sara, from everything I’ve read. Yet, something tells me that no matter how many times we say it, there are a few people who don’t like to believe it.

To me, it’s not about the GM. Typically GMs don’t last near as long as ownership groups do. If ownership is a continual problem, GMs will continually fail here. The only solution I see is a fix at the VERY top (be it through new owners, or current owners getting a clue). Such a fix will then have its positive aspects trickle down to the ice.

A new GM will be brought in … it’s a guarantee that Waddell cannot be employed as the Thrashers GM forever. So one day, everyone complaining about him will be relieved. What I know I would like (and I’m guessing would as well) is to feel that when that day comes, ownership has made enough changes in their way of business to enable (key word) the new GM to succeed.

If ownership stays the course with their “right direction” garbage, nothing here will improve to the level we as fans hope to see.

As for Hartley, there’s still no point in arguing or debating it. He’s gone and likely not coming back. Right or wrong, that’s how it is. Just like Savard leaving, Heatley leaving, or Hossa leaving…we can dwell, or move on. I choose to move on, personally.

But sure, we can agree to disagree about the reasons Hartley should or should not have been fired. If I saw him tomorrow I’d thank him for his time with Atlanta, for helping Kovalchuk learn to be a two-way player, helping Lehtonen grow up quicker than he wanted to, and helping this team win their first division title. He did a lot of good here in Atlanta…I’m definitely not forgetting that. As I said, I was a fan of his prior to the 0-6 start (and still felt he deserved more time), I just felt he too deserved much of the blame for the Thrashers quick demise.

R. Stroz

March 5th, 2009
9:53 pm

“If he’s fired tomorrow I wont give two poops”

I’ll give two poops and name them. The first will be named Don and the second will be named Waddell. But then again, I could just as easily name the first one Bruce and the second one Levenson.

R. Stroz

March 5th, 2009
10:00 pm

And those two poops would be REAL stinkers


March 5th, 2009
10:56 pm

I’d like an indulgence here. But I had a real problem with “incremental progress.” Let me tell you why that is. “Incremental progress” is nothing to write home about.


Just stop. Suppose we took a MORON… an IDIOT, … an ABSOLUTE ZERO. For those who love to cite it, a BLOGGER!!!!! And you made the BLOGGER the GM. Just by picking up waiver claims, and making NHL Central Scouting CONSENSUS lottery draft selections … even the most COMATOSE among us … would achieve “incremental progess.”

Is anybody feeling what I’m saying??

It’s one thing to make “incremental progess” in the execution of a VISION, of a PLAN, that gives a team an IDENTITY. Something that shows some sort of “continuity of purpose and plan.” It’s a DECADE later, and the Thrashers STILL don’t have an identity. They STILL are in expansion mode. In short, it’s been a BUILD DECADE. (You’re welcome, Rawhide.)

What, for the Love of Pete, was “Waddell’s Plan?” Shrugs. I don’t know. I haven’t a CLUE. So, I sure don’t care about “incremental progress,” when there isn’t or wasn’t a PLAN. Hate him if you must, but Brian Burke has a plan. He can ARTICULATE it. And he did, the second he got hired by the Maple Leafs. You might disagree with it. You might question it. You might think Brian Burke is really “lucky.” Etc.

I want Don Waddell to explain … what his PLAN was… starting from 1999, all the way to the present. And more specifically, why did J.P. Vigier enjoy one of the longest tenures in the franchise history?

I agree that Waddell’s drafting and prospect stocking is a move in the right direction. I only wish he’d have embarked on this path, starting in 1999. It seems, to me, that Waddell started to be a responsible GM over the last two seasons. In terms of drafting talent, and developing talent, I think Waddell has improved. I’m sorry that the Dwyer boys, and Stephen Baby, Brian Sipotz, and Tommi Santala never materialized into anything for the Thrashers. But then again, maybe building through the draft wasn’t Waddell’s initial strategy. Maybe his strategy was Tjarnqvists, Tamers, Kallios, Hrkacs, Burts, Tremblays, Karlssons, Rheaumes, Harlocks, Svartvadets, and Domenichellis, with Ferraro as the anchor?

But does ANYONE deserve a DECADE at the helm, to EVENTUALLY learn how to be a GM? The ownerships, plural, owe the fan base an explanation, probably FAR MORE than Waddell does. Though, Waddell still should “explain himself.” But I wouldn’t bother. Here will be the answer. “I just did what I was told. When they said, get a Veteran D-man, I got Zhitnik. When they said, Get a Tier I Center in here, I got Tkachuk. When they said, “Get some speed and grit in here, I got Pascal Dupuis. I did what they asked.”

Gee, I’m glad I asked!! Oh look, there’s William Hung. “Excuse me, William. May I ask how you became such a great singer?” His response, “Dude, it just comes to me. I was BORN this gifted. I can sing.”

Thrashy Thrashy

March 5th, 2009
11:35 pm


Are you William Hung’s agent? You use his name a little too often for my taste. I’m no pop culture buff, but you need a newer reference.

Do you watch The Office? Don Waddell is like Michael Scott. Every once in a while, Michael manages to bumble his way into doing something well enough to earn kudos from the higher-ups at Dunder Mifflin. He should have been fired years ago, of course. He’s terrible at his job. Even so, his job never seems to be threatened.

Sounds like Waddell to me.


March 6th, 2009
10:17 am

Thrashy Thrashy, I will make you a deal. Your job, should you choose to accept it, is to find a more RECENT, but equally applicable “posterchild” for a celebrity known to be terrible at their job, but who believes they are exceptional at it.

If you find such a person, I make you this vow. I will cease making reference to William Hung. Do we have a deal?

ranallo10 (in AT)

March 6th, 2009
11:31 am

Brendan — He did…Michael Scott. Watch one episode of The Office and you’ll see what he means.


March 6th, 2009
5:19 pm

Is Michael Scott a real person, or a character on a show? I need a real human being. And it can’t be the President or former President, as you’ll never get “everyone” to agree that “W.” or Obama are/were terrible at their jobs, while being famous.

Don Waddell isn’t a “character on a show.” He’s a real human.