Spoiled Rotten…And Lovin’ It!

When Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller “Psycho” was released in 1960, theaters were instructed to not seat anyone once the movie had begun. The reason being that the entire movie was based upon pulling the audience in and making them fall in love with Janet Leigh’s character from the very first second. As the movie progresses, the viewers follow her throughout the first half of the story and begin to relate with her…understand her…pity her. Then…just as it appeared that she was going to right the wrong that she had committed…she is brutally murdered in the now-famous shower scene.

To keep the plot of the movie hidden from the public, Hitchcock even went so far as to not allow critics the opportunity to view it in advance…instead making them experience it alongside of those who paid to see it.

Hitchcock believed that the horror of this scene would come not only from the sheer terror of seeing a young woman brutally stabbed to death while in such a vulnerable state…but it would also be made that much more shocking in the minds of those watching if he was successful in creating an emotional bond from the audience towards her. To see her killed after they had invested that much viewing time and coming to “know” her…well, it was almost as if a member of their own family had been cut down in front of their eyes.

This is why he required that viewers see the movie 100% in it’s entirely and disallowed any pre-screens by critics. He did not want the plot to be…spoiled.

Spoiled…as in, ruined or made less than it could be.

We use that word, “spoiled” in other ways in our culture. Another such way is describing how milk or other dairy products have gone bad…and have you ever opened a carton of bad milk and inhaled a whiff of that putrid aroma? Yuck! Worse still…if you have accidentally taken a swig of it. Gawd-almighty…just the thought of it makes me feel like I may have to go kneel in front of the great, white parceling goddess and become a spew-chow monkey!

Yes…spoiled. Meaning, having gone bad…nasty bad.

How many times have we placed that word “spoiled” in front of the word “child”? Uh-huh…if there is one thing that will cause a more sickening sensation in the pit of my gut than the thought of swallowing bad milk, it’s witnessing the actions of a child gone bad.

Bad as in spoiled…spoiled rotten.

If you need a refresher course in bad-parenting 101, simply mosey on out to your local Wal-Mart or Grocery store some weekend…maybe even the mall. Arm yourself with some munchies and soda…grab yourself a seat near the candy or toy isle and you won’t have to wait too long before the show begins.

Sure enough some crumb-cruncher is gonna want something but is gonna be told “no” and… BOOM! Let the wailing and gnashing of teeth begin…at very high decibels as well. But, as sure as hell is hot…the parental unit will capitulate or, if not, the child will gain support from the accompanying second parent or grandparent. Children are smart, ya know…they understand that to get their way all that needs to happen is for the weaker-willed adult to insert the word “just” or “only” into the discussion.

“Oh come on, hon”, they’ll say. “It’s just one cookie”…or “It’s only a $6 toy”. Game over…mission accomplished…the continued appeasement of the spoiled child.

In each case here, the word “spoil” is used in a negative way. However, our Thrashers have taken a derivative of this word and have put a very positive spin on it… positive, that is, if you are a Thrashers fan. And it can be very rotten for opposing teams these days.

That word, of course is…”Spoiler”.

Over the course of the past several weeks, such teams as the Anaheim Ducks, New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings, Carolina Hurricanes and twice the Montreal Canadiens have faced off against our Thrashers in need of two points and have come away with something less. Last Friday night, the Habs were blanked 2-0 by the Thrashers and their slide from an almost assured playoff spot to something far more precarious continued. Though they currently hold the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference, they are but two points from being out of the playoff picture altogether.

And the Thrashers were all too happy to contribute to their woes.

This Thrashers team has taken the role of spoilers and begun to wear it almost as a badge of honor. They are playing better team defense, attacking the opponent’s goal, scoring at a 4 goals per game clip, skating hard, fighting…and winning…battles and are playing some of the best hockey I have seen come from them in many, many moons.

Since dropping the first three games after the All Star break, Atlanta is 8-6-1 over the past 15 games…. pssst, that’s a winning record kids. During that time, they’re 4-2-1 on the road. Three of those road wins came against teams that, at the time of the game, were in the playoff hunt and/or jostling for position.

The Thrashers had won only nine games at home through the first 28 games at Philips Arena. In the last five… they have won four. In doing so, they have denied much-needed points to the Canes and Habs. They have also worked there way out of the Southeast Division’s basement.

Sunday afternoon, the Northwest Division-leading Calgary Flames came to town and once again had their “homecoming” spoiled by the Thrashers. After the 5-2 beating at the hands of the current NHL franchise in Atlanta, the Flames are now 0-5-1 in their old hometown.

One of the reasons that I’m enjoying the Thrashers play of late is how it compares to the way last year’s team played down the stretch. That bunch completely folded up the tents and phoned it in following the trade deadline. But this year’s team seems to be approaching the situation in a much more professional manner. They know their season will end after 82 games, but they are going to play the remainder of those 82 games with purpose…even if that purpose is simply to try and spoil things and make life rotten for someone else.

Hey…somebody’s gotta do it, right?

Think of it…in a few short weeks we could very well be seeing a team like Montreal, Carolina, Anaheim or the Rangers miss out on post-season play and join the Thrashers in watching them on TV instead. And it may very well be because of two measly little points. Two points that were denied to them by…the Thrashers.

Come on…be honest here. That would put a big, fat, hairy smile on your face too, wouldn’t it? I know it would mine.

Taking a look at the upcoming schedule…there are dates with Montreal and the Rangers again… Pittsburgh, Edmonton, as well as a pair with Buffalo and a pair with Florida. Right there are eight games with teams that are bouncing on playoff bubbles. Wouldn’t ya just love seeing the Thrashers provide the needle needed to bust one or two of ‘em?

And let’s not forget about the Wings coming to town next Friday. Oh, they are oing to make the playoffs alright. But they are currently in a fight with the San Jose Sharks for that top spot out west. A game seven in the conference finals would be very nice to help deprive Detroit of…would it not?

In taking to the role of spoiler in the manner that they have right now, the Thrashers are showing the potential that resides in the crop of youngsters that make up the roster. They give a glimpse of what could be this coming fall and they are providing a reason for the paying customers to continue..or even start… to show up to root them on.

A fan could get…spoiled rotten…watching this kind of play on a regular basis!

Personally, I love this new attitude on display by these Thrashers. Some may find it a little rotten to take such pleasure in adding to the misery of others…but I know I’m not alone. I met Scott and his son Nicholas Sunday and they like it too. Same is true with Kracker. Anne’… a fan of the Thrashers flew all the way in from Finland to watch this team play over the last couple of weeks… she likes it as well. And it was my pleasure to have met them all.

Besides…others have been adding to our misery up until recently and I haven’t felt much sympathy coming our way from them. So for now… I love it!

Again, that may be rotten of me…but God help me, I do love it so!

66 comments Add your comment

Injun Joe

March 8th, 2009
11:51 pm

FIRE WADDELL!!!

FIRE STANDEC TOO!!!

Just wanted to be the first to say it tonight.

jason

March 9th, 2009
12:31 am

Highlight of the game: After the 4th or 5th goal, the folks running the video board were smart enough to throw a shot of the two Calgary fans who were featured in the Kiss Cam – one of which did a double-fisted “salute” to the camera on two occasions during the Kiss Cam segment. Ah, karma….

Brendan

March 9th, 2009
1:38 am

The Flames still haven’t won in Georgia since the team moved to Calgary. Normally, I’d say something along the lines of, “Well, yes. But that’s not so usual, given the infrequency of play, since 1999, between the two clubs at Philips Arena.”

But then … I got to thinking … the Thrashers are a team which is about to finish in the bottom third of its Conference for the eighth time in nine (8/9) seasons. So? So, the Thrashers haven’t exactly been a Cup contender to dominate any of those Pacific or Northwest division teams.

I believe the last member of the Atlanta Flames to play in Atlanta was Kent Nilsson, who retired in 1995. Jim Peplinski was drafted by the Atlanta Flames, 75th overall in 1979, but he played his entire career in Calgary, retiring in 1995. Tim Hunter was drafted 54th overall, by Atlanta, in 1979, but he never played for Atlanta. Hunter retired in 1997, playing for Calgary, Quebec, Vancouver, and San Jose. Atlanta drafted Paul Reinhart, 12th overall, in 1979. Reinhart played for Atlanta, Calgary and Vancouver, before retiring in 1990.

Sometimes, I hear people blog, “Hey, I miss those guys,” refering to the Calgary Flames. And I marvel about what player they might be missing?” I don’t even think there’s a remnant of a deferred draft pick, traded three times over, from 1979, or 1978, that can be traced back to the Atlanta Flames.

Tony C.

March 9th, 2009
1:46 am

Oh MY….

I think we may just be seeing the conception of “Thrashers Hockey” these past few weeks. Loved the way the big-boy Canadian teams have watlzed onto Flatscreen ice annnnnd have gotten the short end of the stick.

And not just “kinda”

Our boys have been DEFINITIVELY handing it to our “welcome guests”, and like Mr. T., I couldn’t be happier.

I really like what I’ve been seeing. Maybe there’s something we don’t know about the legal proceedings… maybe it was J.P. DelaCamera’s calling the dominating US over Mexico victory before returning the Le Thrash’s broadcasts, maybe it’s the fact that Schneider’s farts were REALLY gross…I dunno, and I don’t care! Since the court case has re-opened and just after #17 got the C, things actually have improved.

DW kept Reasoner (who shockingly seems to want to be here), a move I could only call… smart.

Don’t look now, and don’t let the boys wash the lucky T-shirts or wtf-ever it is. Keep it comin.

HookyBob

March 9th, 2009
6:04 am

Great game,..although you can probably count on one hand the times Kiprusoff has given up 5 goals on 15 shots.

So,…after 60 some games as coach has the team finally gotten JA’s system? If so, you can only wonder where we would be today if JA had been hired shortly after Hartley was let go. The learning curve would have ended late last season, we still would have had a high draft pick,…and this season wouldn’t be such a waste. I know “waste” is a relative term as we are going to get another lottery pick. Also there were rumors JA couldn’t leave til the season was over. (To my knowledge that has never been substantiated.)

One also has to wonder if this “tease” at the end of the season is enough to stem the loss of STHs?

five_hole

March 9th, 2009
6:32 am

Bill, usually love your writeups, but this one meandered a bit. Of course, it’s late in the season and I bet most of us are worn out as well.
The team seems to be playing much better as of late. Is this a function of the Thrashers “gelling” with the coaches philosophy, not having the pressure of playing for a playoff spot, or simply having gotten rid of “dead weight” (all of them except Nic Havelid)?
I do like some of the “additions by subtraction” (Schneider & Christiensen) but it seems to me that the addition of Peverley has changed what we can do up front. This guy is a game changer who plays defense as well as he does offense. The top priority of the team should be to lock him up to a long term contract.

Glovesave29

March 9th, 2009
7:47 am

Brendan…those of us who grew up with the Flames have not let go…but I think that is an admirable trait. It is the truest definition of being a fan, to stick by your team through thick and thin. You play / cheer for the name on the front of the jersey, not the back. 20 years from now, when Kovy and the current gang is long past, will you be less of a Thrasher fan? No, of course not. That is the way it should be. I personally think the Thrashers have missed out on a wonderful opportunity to reach out to the fans by having not embraced Atlanta’s hockey history. Instead of that stupid banner for Widespread Panic’s sellouts, how about a banner at Philips that recognizes the Flames and Knights? They could retire old numbers (yeah, them being gone, I realized it is purely symbolic – but appreciated nonetheless) such as Bouchard and Lysiak. Raise a banner for the Knights Turner Cup championship. Some will say to forget the past, or that a minor league win doesn’t count – and those are welcome to that position. But I think it’d go over VERY well.

Bob

March 9th, 2009
8:11 am

The only spoiling going on is if they spoil their chances at a top 2 pick this summer, that would make this season completely useless

Rawhide

March 9th, 2009
8:18 am

Five_Hole – I would add to your list of “subractions” one Jason Williams who occupieded the roster slot that The Peever now fills.

Also, if you look at Williams, (now with the CBJs), Havelid, (NJ), Crusher, (Ducks) and Schneids, (Montreal)…I think we can all agree that their departure was needed at the time. However, all four of them look as though they will be helping their new clubs in the playoffs.

Just one of those things I guess where the deals seemed to help not only the Thrashers, but those players and their new teams a well.

Bob – And that is OK with me.

As I have stated prior…I just disagree with that viewpoint. We could play the whole “We aren’t going to win the Cup this year, so let’s hope for the top draft pick” game for years. I want this team to improve and play better…now! I firmly believe that doing so better the prospect of re-signing Kovy, and that is priority #1 for this franchise at this moment.

If finishing off the season playing well means that they pick 5th..or 7th…I am happy with that right now because it means THIS core group of players can get they job done. That confidence then transfers to next fall.

Glovesave29

March 9th, 2009
9:24 am

Bob – its a lottery…keeps teams from tanking it to get the top pick, so it’s a moot point anyhow. We could end up dead last and still not get the top pick. Plus, its hardly a “can’t miss” proposition at #1. Among many flops (not including our own P. Stefan, as he was not a consensus to pick, just DW’s) does the name Alexandre Daigle ring a bell? He was the “saviour” of the Ottawa Sens, and never scored more that 51 points a season. Total bust. Brian Lawton, Gord Kluzak…ya just never know. I’d rather promote a culture of winning on the ice over losing on the ice to win at draft lottery. Wrong sport, but how many times has Elgin Baylor been sitting at the lottery table in the NBA over the past 20 years? Last time I checked, his team still is a wreck.

kracker

March 9th, 2009
9:26 am

Tony C – It would be nice to know if a favorable result in the lawsuit is already known to the team and is improving their outlook and their game…maybe the judge winked at the ASG lawyers or something.

Interesting point, HookyBob. If only JA had been hired in Oct. 07…I agree, sign Pevs, Reasoner, Kari and that other fella, Kovalchuk.

Alan

March 9th, 2009
9:32 am

Bob – We still have a shot at Matt Duchene, who looks to be a very promising center prospect, currently ranked at third overall.

kracker

March 9th, 2009
9:40 am

Last year’s Big Pick, Stamkos, is scoring at about a .5 pts/game pace (14/18). I’m sure he will get much better soon. So will Bogosian be better. I’m sure the Thrashers will get a great player at the 3 spot, which is probably where they will pick.

Phil

March 9th, 2009
9:50 am

I agree with playing for the wins now and not worrying about the draft slot. The fans have seen enough losses. Speaking of which, one satisfying byproduct of this home winning stand has been seeing the fans of other teams come into our house, first having their cheers drowned out by the home fans, then having their “expected” two points taken away by the home team.

Brendan

March 9th, 2009
9:54 am

Glovesave, that’s a great point. There are lot of Atlanta Flames fans who are now Atlanta Thrasher fans. And who were, once, Atlanta Knights fans. I think I overreacted to ONE blogger who pines for the Flames to return to Atlanta. I should know better than that. Although, I do want to say … if a person WASN’T HERE for the Atlanta Knights … and that person yells “Knights!” during the anthem … then it’s NOT your tradition. That person WASN’T HERE for it. So, it’s only, REALLY the tradition of those who actually EXPERIENCED it. And I hope and pray, that one day, yelling “KNIGHTS!” during the National Anthem will cease. But, it’ll probably take NOT PLAYING THE ANTHEM to make that happen. Even a fake Bruce Levensen promise to fire Waddell if fans stopped doing it … probably wouldn’t make them stop. Eventually, people will research and learn the definition of “passe.”

As for retiring Flames numbers, I think Calgary would step in to say … “Retired numbers must hang in our arena, even if they were members of the Atlanta Flames, and only played for the Atlanta Flames.” But I think you are right, Glovesave, that recognizing that there was a previous NHL incarnation in this city would be something welcomed by Thrasher fans. I’m not sure that the Thrashers would be permitted to hang the “flaming, stylized A” of the Atlanta Flames in Philips Arena, as technically, those are Trademarks of the Calgary Flames organization. They even still wear them, as the “A” for assistant Captain, on their jerseys. But what I’m advancing … is that the organization could hold events that feature Plett, Clement, Lysiak, Vail, Bennett, Reinhart, Bouchard, Myre, etc.

I don’t know any Minnesota Wild fans. But if anyone does, I’d like to ask them if the Wild does embrace the North Stars history in their city? And if they hold festivities or events that recognize the players who played for the North Stars, in Minnesota, from 1967 to 1993. To the best of my knowledge, the North Stars “retired numbers” are #8, for Bill Goldsworthy and #19, for Bill Masterton. I’m not sure if they even retired Neal Broten’s number, #7, but if they haven’t, they surely will. Now, Broten played both as a North Star and a Dallas Star. Same deal with Mike Modano, whose number will also be retired at some point. Modano holds the North Stars/Stars records for most games played, most seasons, more goals, assists and points for the organization.

Cosape

March 9th, 2009
9:55 am

How do you think Thrashers could get any of free agents who really can help the team willing to sign with them in summer if they tank rest of the season and show nothing but all time looser team spirit just because of one pick. And taken into account this year draft should be pretty wide so drafting just a bit earlier might not be so big thing at the end of the day.

DWTOO

March 9th, 2009
10:01 am

Well Rawhide – you’re getting recognized at the tailgates as most were repeating your “title” as you and the tax dedection pulled up. And you’re going to have to continue as the team has not played a bad game when you appear.

And isn’t it funny to know that stendec is reviled on both sides of the Atlantic now.

Yesterday was a true 60 minute effort. One thing I noticed we’re getting better at is clearing the puck from in front of the net.

Alan

March 9th, 2009
10:04 am

As for retiring Flames numbers, I think Calgary would step in to say … “Retired numbers must hang in our arena, even if they were members of the Atlanta Flames, and only played for the Atlanta Flames.”

Indeed, Calgary very well may step in and say something to that effect. However, I would see nothing wrong with honoring former Flames with plaques around the arena, perhaps with an old sweater and a brief bio. I can’t see Calgary being upset with Atlanta honoring their hockey past in that sort of manner.

The same goes for the Knights championship. I can’t see hanging a banner in the arena as a good idea, but a plaque with the banner from the old Omni, along with a photo of the championship team would be a nice way of honoring that past.

Fun fact: The Atlanta Knights were the first professional team of any sort to win a championship for the city.

Rawhide

March 9th, 2009
10:08 am

Alan – The Atlanta Chiefs won an NASL title in 1969….

Dwayne Johnson

March 9th, 2009
10:17 am

read yesterday, somewhere, that the last place teams has a 48 % chance at the # 1 pick, 18% for the 2nd worst team, maybe 11% for the 3rd worst, etc.
last 10 games—6-3-1, good for a tie for 4rth best.
needed for next year–one top 2 d-man and one top center, back up goalie for KL

kracker

March 9th, 2009
10:20 am

This subject comes up every so often. Actually the Atlanta Chiefs were the first professional sports team to win a championship in Atlanta. They were the only top-level pro team to do so until the Braves finally prevailed in the 1995 World Series.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlanta_Chiefs

“Atlanta won the NASL championship in its second season of existence in 1968…..In that same year, the Chiefs twice beat Manchester City after the English Division One side’s manager Malcolm Allison described the local talent as “Fourth Division” standard.”

Glovesave29

March 9th, 2009
10:22 am

I can’t see Calgary caring if we had banners retiring ATLANTA FLAMES numbers. Has nothing to do with them at all. Calgary can continue to use the numbers WE retire…Calgary has their own history.

The Wild made a concerted effort to tie up all of the Minnesota hockey history with the Wild. That’s why they wear the colors of the North Stars and Golden Gophers.

We’ve been to a game together Brendan, you know my feelings…so being a former Knights season ticket holder, I CRINGE every time I hear that name yelled during the anthem. I just think that is is excessively disrespectful.

Hey Rawhide – don’t forget the 17 championships the Crackers won down at old Ponce de Leon park!

Alan

March 9th, 2009
10:30 am

Interesting, Rawhide. However, I had never heard of the NASL until today..

I was wrrr.. uh, I was wrrrrr… less than correct. I stand corrected.

Brendan

March 9th, 2009
10:34 am

Kracker, it’s possible for Atlanta to hold the #4 slot. If the Isles finish 30th, and the Bolts, 29th, and the Thrashers 28th, (AGAIN,) the lottery draft allows a team to slide back one position. Atlanta might just pick 4th.

I’m not worried about it, though. Atlanta could even STILL WIN the lottery draft, at 28th in the league. But here’s where I DISAGREE with some, that “winning is what will keep Kovalchuk.”

Yeah, it “might.” I must acknowledge that … “it’s a possibility.” But I think the REAL ISSUE is the status of the ownership. Name for me, a Tier I player, who would CHOOSE to come to an organization committed to the FLOOR of the salary cap? Sure, that Tier I guy … he’ll get PAID the league max. But what SUPPORTING CAST will he have around him?? And let’s just sayyyy, for argument’s sake, that the lawsuit ended tomorrow. Okay?

Still with me? Irrespective of who won, where’s the budget going to be set? Do either Steve Belkin or the Magnificent Seven fill you with CONFIDENCE that the ceiling of the cap is something this market will approach, on an ANNUAL BASIS?

Beeeeee honest, now. Every … single … blogger … is capable of being honest. The truth I believe is this. This market is cash strapped. It can’t charge a “mint” for tickets … because the product is subpar. And, in a non-traditional hockey market, the product has to be STANLEY CUP-WORTHY to sell out, at MAXED DOLLARS per seat. In short, I repeat, the team has a “cashflow” problem. And keeping Waddell in charge of a team that simply must succeed to put fannies in seats, is a DANGEROUS “game plan” moving forward, if the Turner descendants and relatives are left in charge. Belkin, I feel confident, would at least bring about change at the GM position. But I’m not especially filled with CONFIDENCE that Belkin will go spending to the cap limit, to give whomever is GM … the tools necessary to bring home the Stanley Cup, including luring some the league’s top talent to our market.

But even if “bringing in from the OUTSIDE” isn’t on the table of discussion, there still is the matter of RE-SIGNING our own draft picks. Yeah, we’re talking PROACTIVE-eligible contracts for UFA’s like Kovalchuk, Kozlov, and possibly even Colin Stuart (who won’t cost much). But there’s also the matter of the PROACTIVE-eligible RFA’s, like Pavelec, Sterling, and Bryan Little, come July 1, 2009.

Need I remind anyone that Bryan Little is going to reach THIRTY (30) GOALS this season. Well, HE WILL!! That puts him at a minimum salary of $4.5 million, for his next deal. And if we’re stupid-enough, as an organization, to not re-sign him early, imagine what the RFA offersheets will look like? We’re not there yet. So, no one should be worrrying about that yet, other than in the aggregate of how many UFA and RFA contracts will be coming due, very SOON. This is a topic which Sara has covered so well in the past. Allright. The issue is … this team spends to the floor, not the ceiling. And I’m very confident that the floor will be met. I have ZERO confidence that the Atlanta Thrashers organization will be “within $10 million” of whatever the cap may be for the 2010 season.”

And, before the topic is completely exhausted, Kari Lehtonen is an RFA this offseason. Marty Reasoner is a UFA this offseason. Boris Valabik and Nathan Oystrick are RFA’s this offseason. Colby Armstrong, Chris Thorburn, Jim Slater, and Joey Crabb are RFA’s this offseason. Mike Hoffman and Eric Perrin are UFA’s this offseason.

So?

So, the opportunity to PROVE that we have a GM … who is worth anything, who has some kind of VISION for this club, will be this OFFSEASON. AGAIN. Now, tell me, again, how winning a handful of games down the stretch of a meaningless season … is what will KEEP Kovalchuk???? It’s my stance that what will KEEP Kovalchuk is a “committed ownership” to player retention, free agent acquisition, and maxed cap spending, or as close to it as possible, while STILL ALL THE WHILE holding the GM and Head Coach positions accountable if FAILURE occurs. (Re-read that last sentence. Out loud. Then, once more. Sink in, yet? Then you’ll understand while it’d be great to win all these remaining games, but it isn’t the root of the problem, nor the solution to it.)

Tell me I’m wrong. Tell me that … the budget doesn’t matter. Tell me that the GM position doesn’t matter. Tell me how the Head Coach position is irrelevant. Tell me how the Scouting Department is immaterial. Tell me how the ownership that DRIVES and STEERS it all … isn’t the OVERRIDING FACTOR of a Kovalchuk decision to be in Atlanta. Think about it. Now think HARDER.

Alan

March 9th, 2009
11:09 am

With the stagnation or possible decrease in the salary cap this season, and the almost certain drops in the salary cap in the future, tier one guys won’t have much of a choice when it comes down to picking where they go. Teams like Detroit, NYR, and Pittsburgh will have to move players in order to sign guys, or guys will have to “settle for less” so to speak.

That is where teams like NYI, Atlanta, TB, and Phoenix (to name a few) come in. If you’re a tier one free agent, where do you go? Obviously, you want to go somewhere where you can win. I’m sure there are some guys who are looking at the new direction of the Thrashers and saying to themselves “you know, if I can’t get in on ______, I’d love to help _____ rebuild.”

Will we land a tier one player during FA Frenzy? Probably not. That won’t help D-wad (or, hopefully, our new GM) from trying. And given the grim economy, it might just be more likely we land one now than it was last year.

As for Kovalchuk? I’m not expecting miracles, but I’d like to see him signed before the beginning of the season. Signed to a nice lengthy contract. Zetterberg became a “Wing for life” earlier this year. Kovalchuk could be a Thrasher for life. That’s something we all want to see for Atlanta’s best and one of the most electrifying players in the league today.

MashaPlayer7

March 9th, 2009
11:25 am

I too have been struggling with the “play better for next year” approach vs. the “tanking it for the high draft pick” approach. Even with the lottery system, the percentages are still in our favor to grab a pick that is relative to our place in the standings (1st or 2nd for last or second-to-last place). However, let me throw an idea out there to chew on…

Let’s figure that 80% or more of the roster is in place for next season…which makes sense given the young players on the roster and the desire to keep our UFA’s/RFA’s, etc. Finishing strong, playing some aggressive, play-off style hockey will be invaluable learning experiences. Perhaps we don’t land Tavares or Hedman..let’s say we land Duchesne or another one of the second-tier, high 1st round pick guys. Perhaps we’d be more inclinded to trade the pick for a high quality top 6 forward (Corey Perry?) who can complement Kovy, White, Little, Kozlov and Peverly.

If we had the opportunity to pick Tavares or Hedman, we would obviously keep them and they would be great additions. But don’t you just have the feeling that we have some young talent now (O’Dell, Esposito, Little, Kovy, Peverly) and it would better serve us to land a high end forward that can play now! (Yes, Tavares could play now, but you can’t expect him to immediately produce – see Stamkos).

What do you all think?

BTW, even though we are playing more aggressive (finally!), we still need to get bigger. I think we have some great 3rd and 4th line guys, but I would love to see a couple of 6′2″ plus, 200lb, plus bodies in the lineup. Did anyone notice the Montreal roster on Friday? I think they had 4 guys under 200 lbs. I think we may have had 4 guys over 200 lbs.

Glovesave29

March 9th, 2009
11:29 am

Alan – very valid point. There is just so much unknown in the upcoming offseason with regards to the salary cap. Teams like Atlanta and LA with a VERY young nucleus of players and money to spend might be more attractive place to sign. We need to keep on winning and change the culture around here. We may see much more movement this summer, not just of RFA’s and UFA’s, but trades of viable NHL calibre players that must be moved by some of the teams near the top of the salary cap to be able to fit within the new structure. My fear is that DW’s bumbling around over the past few years may in fact pay dividends and he looks good having put the team in this position by merely being incompetent.

Alan

March 9th, 2009
11:38 am

My fear is that DW’s bumbling around over the past few years may in fact pay dividends and he looks good having put the team in this position by merely being incompetent.

That would just make us all victims of circumstance. ;)

His incompetence has certainly placed us in a position to become successful, but when it comes down to the “15 minutes of fame” bit, Waddell’s time ran out a long while ago. Termination is imminent, and he knows it. It’s just a matter of when.

Glovesave29

March 9th, 2009
11:40 am

Hey, Brendan…do you foresee a lot of offers for the bigger RFA’s this offseason? With the cap going down, and the price of top tier talent going up, can you see teams offering multiple draft picks for these players if the agree to the offer sheet (and the current team declines to match)? I would imagine that now, more than ever, draft picks are a valued commodity…one of the only ways to truly control costs. If you use your $4.5M example for Little, how much would it cost a team in draft picks to make that transaction?

Glovesave29

March 9th, 2009
11:42 am

I hope you are right, Alan. It is time to move in another direction (from someone with direction!) – but admit it that my hypothesis is not that altogether out of the realm of possibility, and that it scares the living &#$&% out of you!

Bob

March 9th, 2009
11:47 am

*Plus, its hardly a “can’t miss” proposition at #1*

yes it is this year. I totally agree with you re. Stefan and Daigle, but Tavares is a can’t miss, and Hedman looks pretty appealing as well, but won’t have as immediate an impact as Tavares. I watched both in the WJC this year and they are both the real deal, neither one is a Stefan or Daigle.

I don’t see anyway that a quality free agent comes here regardless of how we finish this season. Couple that with the ownership mess, and the only way we can be competitive is to have cheap young great players. Yes, it’s a lottery, but if you’re not in the top 2, your odds stink.

Kovy, Tavares, and Little would be one hell of a line.

five_hole

March 9th, 2009
11:47 am

Rawhide the advantage of “getting older” is that it becomes easier to forget names like “Jason Williams”. Please allow me a little peace in my senility.
As I look at the current roster; I frankly don’t see that much we need to tweak. If we put Peverley at RW; then we need the true #1 center we’ve all craved. I’d like to add a checking wing and put him on a line with Reasoner (assumes he stays) and Armstrong. Slater moves back to 4th line center. That really wouldn’t be a bad lineup. Outside of (and I know I’ll catch hell for this) Koslov is starting to be a liability. He just doesn’t have the legs anymore.
Defensively, we’ve got some young talent which could use a top-4 defensive-type defenseman (like Havelid, only younger).

Alan

March 9th, 2009
11:48 am

Your hypothesis, glovesave really isn’t all that outside the realm of possibility. And because of that, it scares the everliving crap out of me. I just don’t see Waddell as having the attention of the owners like he used to. Anderson is obviously a better hockey mind than Waddell (Isn’t that something they promised at last year’s STH meeting?), so I believe the owners are listening more to Anderson now.

Of course, maybe that’s just the optimist in me talking.

HookyBob

March 9th, 2009
11:51 am

Brendon: Neal Broten’s # has indeed been retired by the Dallas franchise. Interestingly, they retired it at an away game,…their first visit to play the then new Minnesota Wild. Before he left the ice,…Broten stripped of his Stars jersey to reveal a Wild jersey. As they are want to say in Minnesota “and the fans went Wild.”

Rawhide

March 9th, 2009
11:56 am

Cosape – I agree with your point that losing now hurts our cause this summer with UFAs as well.

Alan – NASL = North American Soccer League. Pretty fun stuff in the 1970s. I was a young-skull-full-O-mush living in the Tampa bay area during that time and was a huge fan of the Tampa Bay Rowdies. It was not unusual to get 35,000-40,000 fans at a game in old Tampa Stadium back in the day.

DWTOO – So…me attending the Nasty Nest tailgate parties are equating to Thrashers wins….Hmmmmm? Could there be something to this and, if so, can I utilize that to my advantage?

MashaPlayer7, Five_Hole and Bob…to all of your points, let’s say for grins and giggles that the existing lineup is what we see on opening night next October with the following exeptions:

Perrin is gone, (DUH5)…Moose is gone and Opie is here. This also assumes we retain all the RFAs as well as re-sign Reasoner, (which does not seem all that far-fetched now).

So…what is it we need? Well, we need to replace Perrin in the lineup. Do you do so via a free-agency signing…or does Crabb take Perrin’s place? Or…for Bob’s liking…what if Tavares is in his roster spot? Also, what of the blueline? Is Hainsey-XLB-Enstrom-Bogey-Oystrick-Valabick showing you enough right now to make you comfortable with them as your starting six next fall…or is there one more big piece to this puzzle that needs to be addressed?

What I’m asking really is…and I can’t belive I’m getting ready to ask this…is this team really just a player or two away from competing for a playoff spot next season?

TableHockey

March 9th, 2009
12:02 pm

I am a fan of the game but never played the game – I have a question for those of you that have in regards to Kari. I noticed that if you look at the current top 5 teams in the league that each of these teams has a coach listed on their roster as the Goaltending coach:

Boston – Bob Essensa
San Jose – Corey Schwab
Detroit – Jim Bedard
NJ – Jacques Caron
Caps – Dave Prior

But looking at the Thrasher’s coaching roster – there is only 3 assistant coaches and a video coach in addition to the head coach.

I’m curious if you guys who have played the game see this as a problem? It would seem to me that a goaltending coach would be beneficial but again I’ve never played the game so I may be missing something.

I have noticed that a lot of the young guys are hanging out on the ice for quite a while after the practice. One day last week they played a game for about 40 minutes where they tried to score on the opposing team shooting from the full length of the ice.

It’s kind of refreshing to see this as previously a lot of players come of the ice, sign a few autographs, shower and take off.

For those interested Salmela practiced today so I assume he is making the trip to Colorado.

MashaPlayer7

March 9th, 2009
12:07 pm

Rawhide..I believe we are 3 or 4 of the RIGHT players away. 1) A top 6 forward, 2) A forward with some size, 3) A forward with some size (purposely repeated), and 4) a veteran D-man that doesn’t have to play every game but would stablilize a talented, but young D-corp.

We could always use a litte more depth as well. The Thrashers have been surprisingly spared of injuries these past couple of seasons (except for Kari).

Dwayne Johnson

March 9th, 2009
12:09 pm

Rawhide—-repeat of my “SHORT” blog: read yesterday, somewhere, that the last place teams has a 48 % chance at the # 1 pick, 18% for the 2nd worst team, maybe 11% for the 3rd worst, etc.
last 10 games—6-3-1, good for a tie for 4rth best.
needed for next year–one top 2 d-man and one top center, back up goalie for KL
I feel we are 2 players from playoffs next year…how deep??? all you need is a hot goalie and some “D”. can the current group of “D” turn it up a notch?? I don’t think they can, they need that top 2 stay at home “D” man to anchor down that neutral zone.

Dwayne Johnson

March 9th, 2009
12:12 pm

Rawhide, you didn’t move your blog clock up one hour did you?

Glovesave29

March 9th, 2009
12:26 pm

Table Hockey – I did some research a few weeks back when a goalie coach was a big topic on this blog. The Thrashers are the ONLY team in this league not to have a goalie coach…and it shows!

TableHockey

March 9th, 2009
12:34 pm

That’s interesting Glovesave29 – sorry I missed that blog.

Is this something that you guys think JA will address in the off-season?

Tony C.

March 9th, 2009
12:37 pm

I’m not for “tanking” in general, buuuuut. Dude Tavares *IS* a “can’t miss prospect”. As in the kid can’t miss.

Think about this: Tavares has broken almost ALL of The Great One’s scoring records for Junior hockey, pee-wee, midgets, you name it, #61 is breaking them.

In fact yesterday, he broke the OHL goal-scoring record. Not to mention his play in the WJC (go youtube the goal he juggled into the net…search “Tavares World Juniors”).

Now, if we don’t land him, and have to “settle” for the younger Schenn, let’s say, I’m OK with that.

But let me tell you this: if the bird-head logo turns up at the top-spot, DW should get Tavares.

Tony C.

March 9th, 2009
1:06 pm

Also, the Chiefs kicked @ss. Rowdies were good too…ugly unis though.

Anybody remember the Georgia Generals???

Also, whoever suggested we’d be able to get Corey Perry, as much as I’d love to see that happen, I put the probability of it going down at aboout oh, 1%. Looks like Anaheim has made the call on which of their young wingers they’re going to keep, as Kunitz was dealt, Ryan has emerged and Perry has publicly been stated as a “building block for the future”. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them move Pronger though.

*IF* he were available, (and for less than our #1 pick this year, say something like Oystrick, Hoffman + this year’s 2nd rounder and next year’s 2nd rounder-this seems like a plausibe price to my biased eyes) would you take “the mean machine”?

Spud Webb

March 9th, 2009
1:27 pm

Maybe our “luck” is changing? Maybe even if we finish with the 4th worst record somehow we still land the #1?? WHY NOT? I’m giving this positive thinking thing a shot!!!! I LOVE the way the team is playing right now and cannot help but think that letting some of those vets go has helped. Keep up the hustle and hard work Thrashers!!!
I saw some highlights of Tavaras last night, wow. Kid looks good, they were playing what looked like a highschool team, but was still impressed.

Bob

March 9th, 2009
1:49 pm

*Is Hainsey-XLB-Enstrom-Bogey-Oystrick-Valabick showing you enough right now to make you comfortable with them as your starting six next fall…or is there one more big piece to this puzzle that needs to be addressed?*

No, they still need a #1 dman, badly, and will continue to struggle until we get a true shut down guy. Bogosian isn’t there yet, but may be that guy one year.

*What I’m asking really is…and I can’t belive I’m getting ready to ask this…is this team really just a player or two away from competing for a playoff spot next season?*

Thanks for the laugh. I’ll say this, we’re 1 GM away from heading in the right direction. We need 2 top 2 centers, a 2nd line RW, a 2nd line LW (Kozlov is fading), and a #1 dman.

Tavares could be one of those centers (believe me, you will rue the day we won these meaningless games if we let him get away). Where we get the other guys is going to take a GM greater than DW’s ability to handle.

Dwayne Johnson

March 9th, 2009
2:10 pm

Kozlov is fading a little, and he has lost a step, but its a step that alot of other players do not have. He makes up for it with “smarts”. He is needed in the locker room.

LAC

March 9th, 2009
2:46 pm

Rawhide, I watched the Minnesota-Anaheim game the other night…

Eric Christiansen wa AWFUL ! Period ! He failed to make a simple clear which resulted in the Wild first goal and was stripped of the puck on their third goal when he”lost control” in the nutural zone… He will bea complete NON-FACTOR for the Ducks !

In the recent NYI 7-3 whipping of NJ, they scored on Havilid’s second shift. He was a minus 3 that game, he must have been thinking this never happened to Atlanta on the Island… Hummmmmm…

Just kinda funny how those two guys first games were no very good…

Brendan

March 9th, 2009
3:41 pm

Glovesave, I need to solicit the help of the bloggers here. I have forgotten what the RFA compensation is, per increment of salary, for RFA Offersheets. Without knowing, I’d say $4.5 million sounds like a 1st, 2nd and 3rd round pick. It ‘may’ be that once the offer gets up over $5 million, that it’s multiple 1st round picks. And in the case of some $7 million offershet, it’s like 4 first rounders.

But, I don’t want to get all wrapped in that (RFA compensation) talk. Instead, I’ll make my commentary on the RFA offersheet. Plain and simple, “it’s pure poaching.” So, you must ask yourselves, “why do it?” There are a couple of reasons why a GM might try an RFA offersheet. (1) He has trouble attracting players to his market. (2) He’s trying to “cover up” for mis-drafting in the past. (3) He’s examined ALLLLLL of the other possibilities to remedy his team (waiver claims, trades, firesales at the deadline, free agency, etc.), and out of BETTER options, he’s decided that sacrificing the draft picks for this player is ‘worth the risk.’ But that gets tempered with (4), the Poaching GM should only try it … if he really thinks he can pull it off.

What does that mean? It means, he’s targeted some teams flush against the cap who cannot match the offer or he’s identified a “weak” market, financially, and thinks he can go shopping there, because the rights holding team cannot match, or will not match, the offer or years of commitment, on the contract he’s proposing. In short, a “reasonable” RFA offersheet will simply be matched by the rights-holding team, making the whole process an exercise in futility.

I cannot speak to trends on RFA offersheets. In the end, I think RFA poaching comes right down to … “I don’t think we have a better opportunity to fix our team other than to poach from another, and we have the draft picks to do that.” In my opinion, such a move reeks of desperation. And the poaching team MUST have the requisite draft picks to give.

From the other perspective, the GM must weight what is PROVEN COMMODITY versus what it is ‘merely POSSIBLE in the world of opportunity.’ Imagine if someone pulled off the RFA offersheet in 1999, and, as part of compensation, got that 1st overall pick, then selected Patrik Stefan. On paper, the team that lost the RFA player gained the 1st overall pick in the draft. Sounds good, right? Yeah, well, they didn’t make their team much better with that Stefan pick. They might have been better served by matching the RFA offersheet.

Alan

March 9th, 2009
3:54 pm

Brendan – According to nhlscap.com, this is the offer sheet compensation schedule:

$863,156 or less — None
$863,156 – $1,307,812 — 3rd round pick
$1,307,812 – $2,615,625 — 2nd round pick
$2,615,623 – $3,923,437 — 1st and 3rd round pick
$3,923,437 – $5,231,249 — 1st, 2nd, and 3rd round pick
$5,231,249 – $6,539,062 — Two 1st’s, one 2nd, one 3rd round pick
$6,539,062 or more — Four 1st round picks

Alan

March 9th, 2009
4:10 pm

Interesting story: Carbonneau fired. Gainey climbing behind the bench in MTL. http://tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=270525&lid=headline&lpos=topStory_nhl