Memorial Day Weekend Reading Assignments

Greetings gang from bee-U-TEE-ful sunny and warm Florida. The Divine Mrs. R and I as well as the tax-exemptions will be down here for a week enjoying a bit of vacation-time fun. However, I’ll still be chimmin’ in from time to time…in between swimming in the pool, relaxing with cool drink in hand, soaking up some rays, taking part in some of the resort’s activities and generally enjoying the sights.

In the mean time, I’ll leave you with some reading assignments for this holiday weekend.

But first…let me please take this time to remind everyone of the reason we celebrate Memorial Day. We have countless blessing that are bestowed upon us simply because of the great country we live in. We enjoy such wonderful freedoms that come simply by being an American. These blessings and freedoms have been bought and protected throughout the past two and a third centuries via the sacrifice of our brave men and women who have paid the ultimate price. We not only remember and honor these soldiers who have fallen for our freedoms this weekend, but also we do the same for the family and loved ones that they have left behind.

Please take some time over the course of the next couple of days…between the barbecuing, shopping, hiking and other activities…to pause, honor and give thanks for those who have refreshed the tree of liberty with their blood.

And with that…here are some weekend reading assignments.

First off the bat…Pittsbugh took a two-OH series leadagainst Carolina last night with a very exciting 7-4 win as Evgeni Malkin scored a hat trick. Funny though…I don’t recall hearing about Sidney Crosby complaining to the refs about all the hats being thrown to the ice this time.

Here we have Don Waddell chatting with Ben Wright of the Blueland Blog. Among other things, Don discusses the possibility of Ilja Nikulin playing in Atlanta this fall

TSN is reporting that the Minnesota Wild will hire Pittsburgh’s assistant GM Chuck Fletcher to be their new general manager.

Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated writes that the Blackhawks won’t be able to out-skill the Red Wings…so, they’ll have to out-work them.

Ross KcKeon of Yahoo Sports believes that we will be in for a rematch of last year’s Stanley Cup Finals. If so, I’m rooting for Pittsburgh…even if only because of the sweet irony of the Marian Hossa angle of the story.

Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News is excited about a group of young players that may soon see action in the NHL. He also believes that the Lightning’s Steven Stamkos is poised to have a great sophomore season.

Wondering how the Thrasher may budget for Ilya Kovalchuk’s expected salary increase? Well, here’s a thought as to how it could be worked out. WARNING…if you’re a Slava Kozlov fan, you might not like this.

And finally…Jeromy Roenick believes that the reason Chris Chelios’ time on ice has been reduced is because Red Wings coach Mike Babcock has a “grudge against American players“.

97 comments Add your comment

Alan

May 22nd, 2009
6:56 am

Jeremy Roenick is just looking to create controversy. Mike Babcock responds.

ranallo10 (in AT)

May 22nd, 2009
7:29 am

“Wondering how the Thrasher may budget for Ilya Kovalchuk’s expected salary increase?”

I haven’t really been bothered by the monetary side of things, as I am confident that ownership and management will find a way to fit him on the roster. The problem, from the monetary perspective, is how they’ll fit him in.

However, right now the primary concern should be how they’ll convince Kovalchuk to stay, not how they’ll pay the bills once he’s signed.

Tony C.

May 22nd, 2009
8:28 am

You know, if I was VS. and J.R. really does hang ‘em up, I might just create a “roving rumor report w/ J.R.” segment…

ThrasherFan

May 22nd, 2009
8:48 am

Waiting for the Fraudell and Subsidizing sheep comments….

GaVaHokie

May 22nd, 2009
9:04 am

Well… looks like I was correct on my Defensive pairings… this is what I took from Waddell’s comments.

Bogosian Enstrom
Hainsey (big physical defenseman)
Exelby Valabik
Salmela

So, two UFA’s that fit that bill are Mike Komisarek and Hal Gill… and if Waddell is using players to make phone calls and recruit… I’ll say Colby Armstrong gives Hal Gill a call.

GaVaHokie

May 22nd, 2009
9:08 am

An interesting point on the draft… unless Waddell is posturing… he doesn’t consider the current rankings of Hedman, Tavares and Duchene as the Top 3 prospects… but he seems pretty high on Hedman and Tavares in other comments.

So, who does he see as higher than Duchene? … I’d have a problem with him drafting Schenn if he doesn’t project him as a Top Line forward. But he did mention him 3rd when discussing “in no particular order” the top prospects.

… I’m hoping it’s Kane or Cowen… I can live with those.

Mr. Heat Miser

May 22nd, 2009
9:58 am

Don discusses the possibility of Ilja Nikulin playing in Atlanta this fall – we could hear this same story for years………….

Tony C.

May 22nd, 2009
10:14 am

Wow. I just read that DW piece. I’m now convinced he’s going to trade the #4 pick for Briere and the rights to talk to Knuble.

Because that’d be the exactly wrong thing to do. I have complete confidence that Donni will do just that.

Or worse. The phrase that cinched it?

…I’d move right out of the draft if I was getting a good player to put on our hockey club right now.

This from the man who gave us Steve Rucchin as a replacement for Savard “He’s got experience playing with skilled guys…” to paraphrase Donni back then.

I was relatively optimistic about this offseason-going on the “a stopped clock is right twice a day” theory… comments like that have me worried.

ranallo10 (in AT)

May 22nd, 2009
10:47 am

Tony C. — If the return was somebody other than ‘Sir Flops Alot’ Briere would you be more accepting of a trade involving that #4 pick?

For instance, if Ottawa offered Atlanta Spezza and their first pick for Atlanta’s first and some prospect, would you be upset? I doubt such a trade would happen, but the point is I don’t personally see Kane/Schenn/any other #4-10 prospect as being BETTER than a proven NHL first line commodity, that in turn will help convince Kovalchuk to stay. Of course it’s a gamble because Kovalchuk could still leave and the traded player could leave after the contract expires…but in my opinion a shot at keeping Kovalchuk by giving him a top tier linemate for a few years is better than drafting an 18 year old and praying he develops as projected (you can call it the Stefan/Valabik Syndrome).

Hokie — What’s with the love fest for Gill? Personally I see him as a taller pylon than Sutton, with no upside to his game beyond bruising potential. He’s not exactly young (34), he’s slow, and I don’t personally consider him a top 4 defender in the NHL. Sure he’s physical and can block shots, but I think there are more rounded defenders that will be available for the same price, who are also younger. I agree on Komisarek, but I can’t ever see a Gill signing as something to get excited about.

Tony C.

May 22nd, 2009
10:48 am

I wouldn’t mind seeing us go after Komisarek-but would it be at the expense of a big-body fwd? I hear he’s looking for a big payday.

Alan

May 22nd, 2009
10:51 am

Tony, I’m scared Waddell is going to do something infinitely stupid.

When he does, we’re going to hear a loud “slap” all across the Atlanta area.

It will be the sound of a million people slapping their foreheads in unison, come draft day.

ranallo10 (in AT)

May 22nd, 2009
10:53 am

“I wouldn’t mind seeing us go after Komisarek-but would it be at the expense of a big-body fwd?”

UFA wise, I don’t think there are any top line big bodied forwards. If you were choosing between a top 6 big bodied forward and a top 4 big bodied defender, which do you think helps this team more? I’d argue the defender.

GaVaHokie

May 22nd, 2009
11:11 am

ranallo… Hal Gill is a very dependable, stay at home defender with shot blocking ability (as you stated), which is the one aspect we’re missing from Sutton’s departure… Hal Gill is much rougher than Sutton in clearing guys from the crease also. He’d be a great guy for Valabik to learn from.

Tony C.

May 22nd, 2009
11:17 am

ranallo- If it was for somebody like say, Spezza-along with the other guy’s 1st-rounder back, then yes. But from this interview and some other comments by Donni-he’s looking to “vulture” up somebody that is priced out of his club’s budget-Briere clearly fits that description; I would be ok with getting Gagne from Philly, but I’m sure they’d rather get rid of Briere… Anyway, yes I’d be ok with other players but I would be very hesitant to give up a franchise cornerstone for a guy that’s on the downslope of their career-no matter if the player is great, I mean, let’s say SJ is really serious about blowing things up and offers up Jumbo Joe well, you gotta think that’d be a done deal…amd when I talk about Komisarek’s price tag, I’m thinking Donni is looking to trade for the Fwd-who probably has an ugly contract…. IDK, me I’d do some crazy stuff, but I really feel that trading the lottery pick means you’re trading a “franchise core” type player (yes development time is an issue but the value isn’t), so I’d be expecting the same sort of caliber player in return.

For instance, no chance in hell would I trade with Toronto for just player(s) & prospect(s)… I’d have to get their 1st-round pick also.

Dwayne

May 22nd, 2009
11:28 am

hossa, hossa, hossa…

h

May 22nd, 2009
11:39 am

I know Briere was injured last year, but you wouldn’t trade the #4 pick to have him on the top line with Kovy? To me, the only downside to that is that his current contract goes until he is 37, which means that if he starts to break down, then you have a 36-37 year old in 5-6 years with a big contract. Maybe I missed something on the guy and his injury, but that seems like a good trade to me…

h

May 22nd, 2009
11:44 am

I’d take Knuble too if we could get him for a 2 year deal….he’s a UFA this year I believe.

Spud Webb

May 22nd, 2009
11:47 am

WAIT A SECOND…good lord man-everytime i read something from Don i want to go puke. HOW IN THE WORLD IS THIS GOING TO HAPPEN:
“We were tracking at about $46 million last year and we finished a lot lower because we traded Schneider and we traded Havelid once we knew we weren’t going to make the playoffs. I think we’ll track someplace in that neighborhood next season, and as I’ve said many times before, if the team is in a position where we can make a statement I think we will have the resources behind us to do it.”

We have the “resources behind us to do it”, do WHAT? Were on track for that AGAIN???? Stay at the low end of the cap?? GOOD FREAKIN LORD. How do you expect to sign a TOP 6 O man and D man and Kovy and stay at that cap level??????????? I’m serious, can someone, anyone explain that to me??? WHAT WORLD DO THEY LIVE IN????
He and Levenson just discussed it? I would love to be a fly on the wall for that conversation!!!
Another classic from that quote, “once we knew we were out of the playoffs” ahhahahhahah, DUDE WE KNEW THAT FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE YEAR. WAKE UP. I hope Levenson reads these blogs today. This is just a bad joke.
Sorry, had to vent, this economy, women and this hockey team aren’t helping my mood!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Alan

May 22nd, 2009
11:53 am

Sorry, had to vent, this economy, women and this hockey team aren’t helping my mood

Sounds like the past year for me. Heh. I’m amazed I still have a head on my shoulders.

Only thing that will help my mood tonight is a Wings victory.

GaVaHokie

May 22nd, 2009
12:18 pm

Spud… well, we have about $16 million to do all that… seems feasible to me. Kovy is under contract, so he doesn’t factor into that.

Tony C.

May 22nd, 2009
12:27 pm

h-Aside from the fact that he’s a midget that flops? And is old, and is injury-prone (partly because he’s a hobbit)? AND he’s over-priced??? Nah, nothing to not like about Briere.

GaVaHokie

May 22nd, 2009
12:53 pm

Tony… so what you’re saying is, Briere’s nickname should be “Hobbit Flop”?

Tony C.

May 22nd, 2009
1:05 pm

Seriously, Briere is a gifted scorer, but for that type of money, I don’t want a guy that’s going to be on the shelf as often as he is.

Also, you look at the money he’s being paid-that’s the contract for a year-in, year-out 90+point-a-year guy. Briere could be that guy, but he’s only shown it for a season and a half. I would think to get the most out of Briere, you’d still need a big-body fwd to clear space for him and #17. hang on let me find some stats… He’s missed almost 100 games due to injury over the past 4 regular seasons (237 GP out of a possible 328), most often with the same area injured (abdominal strain/tear or groin pull/tear) this even despite his “legendary” offseason workout sessions with “Canada’s Strongest Man” Hugo Girad. So not only does he get hurt a lot, he already is taking remarkable precautions against injury.

I know his contract was front-loaded, which would make his contract a little more tolerable than say Gomez’ but still I think we’re good on Hobbits.

Tony C.

May 22nd, 2009
1:09 pm

Hokie- no, I like to call him by his rightful title “king of rhythmic gymnasts”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qI1sWlq-LDA&feature=related

N/A

May 22nd, 2009
1:28 pm

GaVaHokie

May 22nd, 2009
2:16 pm

Tony… Ugh, why did you make me watch that?

I’m thinking more and more that $4 million and a call from Kovalchuk, Antropov will be our big guy upfront.

Bob

May 22nd, 2009
2:32 pm

Tony, I’d love to have Briere. I agree with you on the flopping, but if he’s flopping for us and butting the biscuit in the basket, so be it.

I am in the same boat as you guys with economic trouble, but things will improve but Alan, I noticed that you made a typo, let me fix it for you here: Only thing that will help my mood tonight is a ‘Hawks victory.

Tony C.

May 22nd, 2009
2:51 pm

A healthy Briere? Absolutely.

Problem is, he’s getting older (which generally INCREASES the probability of injury), and seems to be taking longer to come back from injury.

He also costs a ton for a guy that you can only realistically count on for 45-55 games a year.

I wouldn’t be upset to see Antropov in thrasherbleu, but $4M/per? seems awful high to me. Now, $4M over 2 years? Run it.

So here’s a question, who would you consider trading that #4 overall pick for (let’s be reasonable, kids)???

Also, Hokie- does this make up for it?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqKEntpC3OE&feature=related

GaVaHokie

May 22nd, 2009
2:58 pm

Tony… that was slightly more entertaining. :)

I think $4 million to Antropov puts him out of reach for teams like Ottawa. And a call from Kovalchuk makes it hard for him to take less somewhere else.

I was just doing the math on Ben Wright’s blog… if we have $16 million to spend.

$5 million on Armstrong, Valabik and Salmela.
$3-$4 million on Kari Lehtonen if we keep him.
$3 million on Ilya Nikulin, if he comes over.

That leaves $4 million for a Center… might as well give it to Antropov, cause that won’t buy much better.

Alan

May 22nd, 2009
3:09 pm

Nei, Bob, I meant Red Wings. Not Blackhawks. ;)

(Call me a dreamer, but I hope by this time next year, I’m talking about a Thrashers victory instead.)

LAC

May 22nd, 2009
3:48 pm

Well after reading the waddell interview… He is more confused than ever. This guy cannot admit any mistakes, or poor players but mostly HIS mistakes !

I see where he plans on YET another bottom of the league, salary 45-46 million, which tells all of us, they do not give a damn about winning or making a commitment to the fans of Atlanta.

waddell is just nothing but hot air, he has zero clue as to how to build a professional hockey team, that has been shown how many times over the years ? How many plans ????? What is this plan D now ?

I look for Kovy to leave, why stay with a team that WILL NOT try to go out and get the type players to improve the team. How many players have
said this team is NOT moving in the right direction ??? How Many ?
Either by actions or their quotes. And did #17 NOT say the team MUST IMPROVE with UFA signings etc… Easy to see if not he will leave…

And again don waddell proves how DUMB he is, anyone on this blog would make a 100% better GM than him. Most all of us know what this team needs
but waddell is off in some never never land of fantasy hockey where
you only watch other teams win not your own !

Spud Webb

May 22nd, 2009
3:57 pm

Tony C, classic line, “I think we are good on hobbits”.
GaHokie, I know Kovy is under contract for the season. I was/am hoping we get him to an extension this summer or I fear he won’t be back after next season, someone will come over the top for him. So I dont think there is anyway we sign him and add other “improvements” and stay at 46 mill?????????

Tony C.

May 22nd, 2009
4:06 pm

Even if we extend #17 on 1 July (who’s holding their breath?), it will not kick in until 1 July 2K10.

Alan

May 22nd, 2009
4:08 pm

So I dont think there is anyway we sign him and add other “improvements” and stay at 46 mill

Bear in mind Kovalchuk’s extension won’t kick in until next season.

That said, it’s hard to “improve” when you’re $16 million bucks under the cap. I sincerely hope the owners are listening to him, because from where I’m sitting, it appears our GM is too befuddled to sound cognate.

StateBird

May 22nd, 2009
4:16 pm

Identity??? So DW claims that our identity is “a young team that doesn’t quit”. Give that answer in any GM interview and you’d be shown the door without getting your expenses reimbursed. I’d take “big and physical”, “speed with skill”, “defensive minded” or any other reasonable approach to building a team. Personally I would characterize the Thrasher identity as “cheap”.

Brendan

May 22nd, 2009
5:29 pm

I’ve really enjoyed reading your comments today, folks. Keep ‘er going. At 8PM, it’s Chicago HOSTING Detroit. I am hopeful that the change of venue will bring about different results. The NHL announced the SCF schedule. And basically, if the CF are sweeps, the Finals start on the 28th. But if ANY of the two series go five games, the Finals won’t start until June 5th. Intesting. That could be as much as 9 days of … absolutely nothing, if the Hawks-Red Wings series goes 5 games, but the ‘Canes-Pens series ends in a sweep. Somewhere, somehow, that must make sense to someone.

Segue to crazy ideas, in the Waddell interview, he said, the team’s identity was in question. Or words to this effect. When was it ever “solidified?!” As Tony C. is fond of saying, “What is Thrashers Hockey?” No one really knows. I couldn’t rightly tell you what ‘the Plan’ was, from 1999 to the present. Other than, “smoosh together a hodge-podge roster of prospects and veterans, and hope for the best, within the budgetary constraints.” How’d I do?

Allright. I am loving the Briere discussions. I, personally, wouldn’t do it. I like Briere, admire his passion and determination to be a star in the NHL, but he’s overpaid. And not getting any younger. Or any bigger. He’s just coming off some minor eye surgery. And to my knowledge, he’s never ASKED to be in Atlanta. And quite frankly, I’ve seen enough of players who don’t want to be here and didn’t ask to be here, or sign to be here. Free agents who sign in Atlanta did so without a gun lodged in their backs or craniums. If they ‘guessed wrong,’ it’s by THEIR doing. Generally-speaking, I don’t like trades. I like them MORE when we fleece someone. And actually RE-SIGN that player when the contract is eligible for that. But, in the end, I’d much rather draft the preponderance of my roster and then re-sign it. That’s just good ol’ “handling your business.” If the #4 pick in the draft is to be traded, I’d hope it’s for a prospect who was drafted even higher than 4th overall.

There’s a couple of players who fit that bill. Stop. I’m not saying this is what we should do, okay? James vanRiemsdyk, former #2 overall pick, was “allegedly, supposedly” on the trading block, by Philadelphia, at the 2009 trade deadline. They “reportedly” wanted Lehtonen for him. Would anyone want him? I’m asking, not advocating. Huge difference there.

Also, Brian Burke, Toronto’s GM, has amazingly said that even Luc Schenn is available in a trade with Toronto. There are those who think Luc Schenn’s younger brother might be drafted 7th overall, where Toronto is slated to draft, I believe. If Toronto offered their #7 spot, PLUSSSSS Luc Schenn, would you do that deal? And at 7th overall, would you select Brayden Schenn, to keep the brothers together? I’m not advocating. I’m asking. This is a message board where fans come together to discuss ideas. Sometimes respectfully and peaceably. In theory.

What I’d do … is pick 4th overall, absent a better offer/deal to either move up or down. I’d love to move up! I’d love to have Viktor Hedman. I can’t imagine what that’d cost a team that ABSOLUTELY RELIES on its future draft picks as their primary means of ESCAPING THIS MESS, however. Hedman can’t be had, though. No way the Islanders trade their #1 overall to us. No way Tampa Bay trades within the division. And Colorado seems set on Matt Duchene. So, I don’t see a way to move up. Okay, there’s a way. But I don’t want to talk about it. It involves a player I want to re-sign. I won’t even discuss it.

Ranallo is right about Kovalchuk’s money. First you get him re-signed, thennnn you worry about managing the rest of the roster. The “phrase that pays,” from Waddell, is this one: “We’re only talking about dollars and cents.” That’d be GRRRREAT news!!! Woo-hoo!! When you hear, “We’re still discussing Ilya’s future with the team.” Not so much. And any trade of Kovalchuk is a LAST RESORT, 2010 trade deadline move. Any GM can still get a good return on Kovy at the deadline. A 1st and 3rd at a minimum, probably some conditional pick or other, be it 1st or 2nd rounder, and maybe even the choice between a roster player and a prospect in their system.

GaVaHokie

May 22nd, 2009
6:00 pm

Well, in 2010, when Kovalchuk’s salary kicks in, we only have $13 million on the books… this team is in great position to do whatever it wants. If it’s one compliment you can pay Waddell, it’s that this team is always flexible from a salary position going into summer time. As bad as the teams have been over the last decade, we’ve never been “stuck” with them.

But hopefully we won’t squander the $16 million, like years past on “penny stock” players… like Waddell said, we’re not at a point where we have to fill a roster. We’re only looking for key pieces to plug in.

ranallo10 (in AT)

May 22nd, 2009
6:20 pm

I hope everyone picked up on the big clue that Waddell sent our way about the way they could ideally fill the roster.

High cap hit players who have already played beyond the high salary years of a front loaded contract. In other words, a player who actually costs less than his cap hit indicates…thus allowing the franchise to pay less while still meeting the floor restrictions of the salary cap.

As StateBird said, “cheap”.

LAC

May 22nd, 2009
6:42 pm

I was very glad to hear Minnesota hired Chuck Fletcher as their NEW GM !

Son of The Great Cliff Fletcher, Harvard Grad, 12 years as assistant GM,
WOW !!!!

What is the REAL problem with this picture ? Why is he NOT ATLANTA THRASHERS NEW GM ? Why won’t $hit faced levenson and his band of idiots
help the Thrashers by dumping this bum waddell. Chuck would have brought an entire new fresh bright outlook, not the same stupid promises and lies and BS we will see yet again this summer, It will be one of nothing for the Thrashers…. AGAIN !

How in GOD’S name waddell can justify his job is beyond me, Fletcher
would be a ray of sunshine rather than this never ending storm that is waddell. Fletcher knows players,prospects and UFA’s… waddell knows nothing, nothing at all about this !

Well we missed another BRIGHT Young Talent to run the Thrashers and we the fans will YET AGAIN Suffer at the hands of waddell and Mr.Potty Mouth the two most STUPID people in professional hockey EVER !

Rawhide

May 22nd, 2009
7:17 pm

StateBirdPersonally I would characterize the Thrasher identity as “cheap”.

I’d have to agree…ya know, maybe a good third jersey design for the Thrashers would be the logo of a penny being “piched” between the thumb and index finger. :lol:

LAC

May 22nd, 2009
9:08 pm

Brenden…. Good point, BUT if we trade Kovalchuk to a first or second place team, what good is pick number 26 or so ?

Downtown ATL

May 22nd, 2009
9:45 pm

Holy Collapse at United

Downtown ATL

May 22nd, 2009
9:47 pm

Chicago’s going to be looking for a Goalie.

Brendan

May 22nd, 2009
10:33 pm

LAC, the loss of Kovalchuk, in and of itself, is what speaks volumes. Nothing can replace that. So, a pick #28, #29, or #30, just means we get a “crapshoot” pick to try to improve our team. Hokie once advanced the notion that such a pick could be used to snare an RFA. People scoffed, but that’s precisely what the BlueJackets did to get R.J. Umberger from Philly at last year’s draft. So how “crazy” of an idea was it, really? If Atlanta could actually manage to procure an RFA player for pick #28, let’s just say, that’s still “something.” And even if Atlanta uses the pick to select someone, maybe it’ll be a player better than Jim Slater. Every year, there are “prizes” in the 2nd round. Good teams find them. If they can be found in the 2nd round, LAC, they can also be found at the very end of the 1st round.

Whether or not Dan Marr, and his staff, can pull of that feat remains to be seen. The loss of Kovalchuk would be substanial, since Kovalchuks and 1st overall selections just don’t grow on trees.

Brendan

May 22nd, 2009
10:53 pm

Dowtown ATL, can you help me fill in the missing pieces? It was 2-0, late in the 1st period. Martin Havlat got knocked out by one of the Red Wings, who got ejected from the game, along with a 5:00 major for boarding or interference. Or something. Truthfully, not trying to stir controversy, but I didn’t think the play even merited a penalty, much less an ejection. It was hard, but clean hit on an unsuspecting Havlat, who had his head down, looking at the puck between his skates.

A melee ensued, and players crashed upon the unconscious Havlat. What “regard” they must have for each other. But I digress. Kris Versteeg misses a wide open net, when he’s rushed by a Red Wing defender. That’s the BEST WAY to make Detroit pay for the hit on Havlat. But, it seemingly didn’t matter, since Chicago scored early in the 2nd period, to make it 3-0. But the Red Wings scored 3 goals in 4:25, late in the 2nd stanza, including the final one with less than a minute left in the 2nd period. Unbelievable collapse there. Just unbelievable.

But then, without explanaton, Khabibulin is pulled to start the third period. I presume as a “momentum changer.” Cristobal Huet looked shaky to start the 3rd period. Was Khabibulin hurt? Is he “sick?” Did he just walk out on the team? I’d love to hear an explanation.

Nobody has scored in the 3rd period. So, we are headed to overtime. A Red Wing goal here, and it’s time to shine up the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl. Because I’ll go on record, right now, as saying the Blackhawks won’t recover from a 3-0 series deficit. I wonder if Vancouver fans are sad or relieved that they are not now facing the Red Wings, who are looking awesome, right about now.

C’mon Blackhawks! Make it a series, at least.

Brendan

May 22nd, 2009
11:01 pm

LAC, I feel your sentiment. But, if you had a resume like Chuck Fletcher, wouldn’t you wait for a better opportunity than Atlanta?? I would. Tempered with the fact that I’d never been a FULL-TIME GM before. Even so, with his credentials, they scream, “Good bet.” He waited for a good situation. I think he found one. Certainly better than Atlanta’s. The Minnesota ownership, with the firing of Risebrough, signals a committment towards trying to do better. Chuck Fletcher, I suspect, will be given every opportunity to succeed. That doesn’t mean, necessarily, that he’ll have a MAX CAP SALARY with which to work. But where he needs a little “extra,” he’ll probably get from the owners. Minnesota is a fantastic hockey market. It’s the part of the culture there.

It’ll be interesting to see if Bob Gainey does eventually get fired during this offseason. If so, that’s a double-edged sword for the next GM. It reflects a tremendous opportunity to make a reputation. But it also invites media scruntiny over your choice of ties and socks. They’ll pick you apart, and second-guess you, at every opportunity.

Overtime has started!

Scores!!! Patrick Sharpe!!! Blackhawks win!!!! WOO-HOO!! This will be a series after all!!!

Brendan

May 22nd, 2009
11:05 pm

It was a tough break for Lidstrom on the Blackhawks overtime winning goal.

Wayne from AL

May 23rd, 2009
12:12 am

I still go with Kane at #4, and go with a veteran D-man via free-agency or trade; I think the learning curve for a defenseman is greater than that for a front-liner (think playing CB in the NFL).

LAC

May 23rd, 2009
1:04 am

Did everyone see the photo of waddell in the blog story on the Thrashers site ?

Itlooks like he is a headless head in a horror show which the Thrashers are with waddell in charge.

Heard Chuck Fletcher on NHL On The Fly, confidence, direction, and a man who knows what he is doing… But he is not here… Career LOSER waddell is still around to ruin the Thrashers even more !

Brendan

May 23rd, 2009
2:19 am

LAC, when a person has a resume as strong as Chuck Fletcher’s, that is, someone clearly GROOMED to be a GM, he can wait for a good opportunity. If presented with the chance here, in Atlanta, he’d likely PASS on it. With Minnesota, he’s in a traditional hockey market, with excellent hockey roots and a well-established hockey community. I’m not saying Chuck Fletcher will get a MAXED CAP for “Opening Night,” but the decision to fire Risebrough, alone, shows CARING and COMMITMENT towards changing direction, towards winning the Cup. Chuck Fletcher probably took stock of that situation and felt it was the right fit for him. Without knowing that man, whatsoever, my guess is that if he didn’t feel like he’d get a ‘real opportunity’ at winning a Cup, he wouldn’t have taken the post.

With a degree from Havard, experience as an assistant GM, experience being a minor league GM, with YEARS and YEARS invested in learning the trade, plus being the son of a Hall of Fame GM like Cliff Fletcher, he’s OVERQUALIFIED for the post.

In my opinion, LAC, the only way someone like that would be coming here … is if he thought he’d truly be put in a position to succeed. And that means commitment from ownership towards acquiring and maintaining the pieces of the roster necessary to win the Cup. With a genuine window of opportunity. Does that even ’sound’ like FUBAS?

The two things I think FUBAS has going for them, in terms of attracting a GM candidate, are (1) the willingness to provide longevity at the post and (2) the ability to turn the hockey decisions almost entirely up to the GM. I know, they sayyyy they have this “by committee approach.” But really, these owners couldn’t identify Devin Setoguchi in a police lineup. They didn’t know who Alexei Zhitnik was, at the 2007 trade deadline. My ‘outsider guess’ is that they, by committee, agreed that help was necessary along the blueline, to make the playoffs, in 2007. So Don was “tasked” with providing IMMEDIATE HELP. Waddell’s decision?: Trade Coburn to get Zhitnik. It worked. Short-term gain, longterm loss. But it worked. So the owners were happy, but foolish. With benefit of hindsight, perhaps the solution wasn’t to make a rash of deadline moves, but rather, to make Waddell come down behind the bench to coach what he, alone, assembled. When he did it the next season, the team went 11-4-1 in a 15 game stretch. Sadly, it led to a new 2-3 year contract extension for Waddell, as ownership was satisfied that ‘the problem’ was recitified. The Thrashers would finish 28th that year. And get to pick 3rd overall in the 2008 draft. Bygones.

I think, to get Chuck Fletcher here, the ownership would have basically had to promise him FULL CONTROL AND AUTHORITY over ALLLLL personnel decisions. From equipment manager, to scouts, to assistant coaches, to drafts, trades, and free agent signings. And provide him a budget that might allow him to remain competitive, with a true ‘window of opportunity’ to win the Cup.