Florida Orange (NOT) Juice & Roy’s Rejection

While we watch to see whether the Detroit Red Wings or Chicago Blackhawks will provide opposition for the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Finals…here are a coupe of items that have caught my attention today.

We’ll start off with this story that broke in Lakeland, Florida…just down I-4 from where I am this week.

“Orange” Isn’t The Only Kinda “Juice” Comin’ Outa Florida It Seems

It’s not been a good couple of weeks for the Washington Capitals, has it? First they get dumped in the second round by the Penguins…being thumped in a game seven at home. Then they find out that two of their players are taking their pucks and going home to mother Russia…now we find out that the U.S. Attorney’s Office is looking into the possibility that two alleged steroid dealers were funnelling the product from their home in Lakeland, Florida to players belonging to the Washington Capitals and Washington Nationals.

Richard “Andy” Thomas and his wife Sara were arrested by Polk County sheriffs Tuesday. Sheriff Grady Judd indicated that an estimated $200,000 worth of illegal steroids were seized when they took the pair into custody.

Samara Sados of Tampa Bay Online writes that authorities are “still trying to determine whether Richard Thomas was telling the truth when he said he is the biggest steroid provider in Central Florida and that he sold mostly to professional athletes, including those on the Washington Capitals hockey team and Washington Nationals baseball team”.

In response to these allegations, the Washington Capitals’ President Dick Patrick has released the following statement:

“We have no reason to believe there is any merit to this story, but the National Hockey League and the Washington Capitals take all such allegations seriously. Capitals players have fully participated in the NHL’s random drug testing program, and at no point has a Capitals player tested positive. In addition our players have been tested at international events, such as World Championships and Olympics. We welcome and will fully cooperate with the NHL’s investigation.”

Also, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly has released this statement on behalf of the league:

“The Washington Capitals have no knowledge of any aspect of this allegation. Capitals players were subjected to no-notice testing three times in each of the past two seasons pursuant to the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and there was no indication of any improper conduct or wrongdoing.

“Even though there are no specifics provided in the story and we have no reason, at this point, to believe the allegations are true, the National Hockey League takes all matters of this nature very seriously and will conduct a prompt investigation.”

Roy Tells Avalanche “Thanks, But No Thanks”

Patrick Roy, who won a pair of Stanley Cup championships with the Colorado Avalanche, was offered the team’s head coaching position recently. However, Roy has turned down the offer citing family reasons…the story being confirmed by both the Avalanche and Quebec Ramparts, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League team he co-owns and coaches.

“He made the decision last night that he’s staying,” Nicole Bouchard, the Remparts’ director of media relations, told The Associated Press.

Appearently Roy and Avalanche President Pierre Lacroix back on May 7 to discuss the coaching position that…to the best of my knowledge…is still occupied by Tony Granato.

Hmmmm…if Granato hasn’t yet brushed off the ‘ol resume, he might just want to start considering doing so don’t ya think?

75 comments Add your comment

kracker

May 27th, 2009
7:39 pm

Woooo….I get to be first!? RH, I assume the draft party is still on for TJs? If you will run over the details again I will post it over on the thread on the team website about the Thrashers sponsored draft party at Jillians/Duluth. Maybe we can siphon off a few folks that don’t want to drive to that area or want to check out TJs….and maybe meet the fan blogger, too :)

Wasn’t there a beer/food special? Flames players attending?

Rawhide

May 27th, 2009
8:01 pm

Kracker – Yeah…TJ’s will be sponsoring a draft party on June 26. There will be $1 draft beers and Tim will see about some of the old Flames being there too.

There are a couple other things being pounded out and I’ll advise at they come into focus.

Wings fan in Ga.

May 27th, 2009
8:08 pm

There should be a law – all draft beer shall cost no more than $1.

Rawhide

May 27th, 2009
8:09 pm

I 2nd Wings fan in Ga’s motion…all in favor say “AYE”!

LAC

May 27th, 2009
9:02 pm

Rawhide, this comment from worthless waddell tells it ALL.

There will be NO improvement, there will be NO front line center, there will be MORE ECHL and WAIVER pickups, and the owners and waddell have
NO intent on improving this team, NONE.

waddell fiddles around like a drunk and we the fans suffer, We better enjoy watching #17 this season, because he is as good as gone !!!

And WHY NOT, I would want to play for a WINNER, a COMMITED OWNER and in a town where winning is the norm, not the exception.

The Thrashers will be DAMN lucky to assemble a point total that matches
this past season… They have ZERO intentions of improving this hockey team !

Thanks waddell you and the worthless owners are without question the ABSOLUTE WORST in professional sports today bar none !!!

Here is the waddell comment telling us all nothing will ever change !

Waddell said the Thrashers have not determined their budget for next season, but he expects it to be in the same neighborhood as last year. Last season, the Thrashers had a salary-cap payroll of about $43.5 million. That was $13 million under the top limit of the league salary cap

kracker

May 27th, 2009
9:10 pm

“AYE, AYE, Capt’n”!

HookyBob

May 27th, 2009
9:25 pm

Aye, Aye a thousand times aye.

Brendan

May 27th, 2009
10:35 pm

Congratulations to Detroit for repeating as Western Conference Champions. And no, they didn’t touch the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl trophy. Sidney Crosby did grab the Prince of Wales Trophy, along with Ruslan Fedotenko and Evgeni Malkin.

Ya know, there really is almost no correlation to touching either of those trophies and winning the Cup later on in the Finals. I don’t really understand the superstition.

Alan

May 27th, 2009
10:52 pm

Rawhide – AYE!

Brendan, interesting stat per CBC: This is the first time since 1983-1984 that two teams have met inthe SCF back to back.

Brendan

May 27th, 2009
10:59 pm

So, will Tony Granato be at the draft, when Colorado picks Duchene, 3rd overall?

Brendan

May 27th, 2009
11:08 pm

Are we ready to make our Cup Finals predictions?? I’m right on my average: 8.8 wins and 6.2 loses. I’m 8-6. And well, is 9-6 any better than 8-7, really? I might as well take the Penguins.

LAC

May 27th, 2009
11:15 pm

Would it be a good move to trade with Colorado a goalie for the third pick ?

We would likely get two TOP prospects in return with picks 3-4.

We need to make some type of splash here folks !

kracker

May 28th, 2009
8:11 am

Vivlamore’s latest article focuses on….Don Waddell. The most significant portion is the quote from who I assume is the Sara that posts here.

“I don’t know if it will make a difference if it’s Don or if it’s anyone else [in the general manager role],” said Thrashers fan Sara Ogden. “Everyone points to Don as being the one constant, but we’ve consistently had an issue with substandard ownership. First it was Time-Warner and now the [Atlanta] Spirit. At first things were going well with the Spirit, but then they started to fall apart and then the team started to fall apart. Sure Don Waddell has had missteps, but more than anything ownership has held us back.”

I agree with Sara. Don has certainly made his missteps but at least as big a part of the problem is the dodgy ownership and all their problems, such as their internal squabble and the ongoing lawsuit. Why would any quality GM want to come here until the owners stop fighting one another?

Sara

May 28th, 2009
10:32 am

Yeah that would be moi – you can thank/blame Rawhide ultimately for that though. ;)

Chris and I had a good talk – nice guy. We covered a few other issues as well, but mostly it was about the owners. Bottomline is this team was getting somewhere – not as fast as some impatient nellies around here wanted – but it was getting better. AOL/TW wouldn’t spend a blessed dime, which screwed any chance of building a team outside of the draft and that takes time.

The main thing I said to Chris was that when Spirit first bought the team – outside of the first season when payroll had already been set by TW for the season and there wasn’t really an opportunity to overhaul it weeks before the season started (nevermind the whole wreck issue) – things got substantially better pretty quick. Post-lockout we had a good season in ‘05-’06 and an even better one in ‘06-’07. But the lawsuit had blown up in 2006, Belkin’s money was gone, those stupid deadline trades got made (which Levenson has publicly taken some responsibility for personally) and the whole thing collapsed like a house of cards. Savard was gone, there was no money to replace him; Coburn was gone and Zhitnik turned out to be useless, KT went back to STL, and it was time to clean the mess up again.

We’ve re-stocked pretty quickly in terms of a core group with Little, Army, Bogosian, et al. But we can’t bring in top-tier FAs if we can’t afford to pay them. And we can’t really even trade for good RFA players because there is no guarantee we could pay *them* either. Little, Bogosian, Army, Pavs – these guys aren’t going to stay cheap forever. Based on our current payroll constraints I don’t know that we could keep all of them and Kovy as it is, much less trying to bring in even more premiere talent of any variety other than drafting.

Fact is, too many people have expectations from the GM that he just isn’t capable of delivering because ownership won’t back it up.

The one thing I wish Chris could have mentioned that we talked about was the Red Wings organization. Everyone talks about the phenomenal talent and depth, and the coaches, and Ken Holland. But none of that would exist if it weren’t for Mike and Marian Ilitch. That team was in the toilet – in a *far* worse place than this team is – and it all changed when someone came in who a) was deeply committed to winning and establishing high-standards for the organization and b) had the resources to back it up. These owners don’t act committed to anything but minimizing losses, organizations with high standards don’t call season ticket holders foul names in public or refuse to hire a new head coach because they don’t want to pay for one, and if the payroll for next season is anything to judge by, the resources are rapidly diminishing.

The owners are the poison in the well – always have been. And judging by their immature refusals to speak with anyone at the AJC and their decision to not alter payroll for next season, nothings changing anytime in the near future.

h

May 28th, 2009
10:52 am

Not to change geers too much, but I was just reading ISS had Hedman possibly slipping to the 3rd pick….If that were the case, do you make a deal with the Avs to switch spots? What would you give up? One of our goalies straight up is too much, isn’t it? I think I would consider giving up a goalie to get Hedman, but maybe we’d need something in return as well….Things could get very interesting in the next 3-4 weeks…..

Darkhorse

May 28th, 2009
10:57 am

Sara-No question the ownership here masquerade as Ringling Brothers Circus clowns for the extra peanuts to pay everyone.

LAC-Would love to see us land the third pick, in addition to our fourth, but I see it taking alot more than one of the goalies to get it. I hate playing this game but….maybe…one of the goalies, a 2nd and a 3rd round pick, and Ex for the 3rd pick? The Avs could use another gritty dman on the back line. Not sure they’re interested in moving at all though. Could Toronto offer a better package than us that includes the 7th pick though?

Glovesave29

May 28th, 2009
11:03 am

Sara, I think you take too much credit away from Ken Holland. Yes, the Wings have fantastic owners. But the day-to-day operations and the face of the franchise to the players is Holland. We was able to get the Illitchs’ to invest into the team that for a long time was a laughingstock. They got some good fortune, in that Yzerman was not only a great player, but a great person and was the right guy to build a team around. He was a leader and players wanted to join him in his mission. Then add the good drafting and the shrewd trades.

We have a horrible ownership group that, certainly to an extent, handcuffs Waddell. But c’mon – calling those of us who have watched him meander from one type of team to the next depending on how the wind blows as impatient is silly. He has been in the job for 10 years. He’s had his chance, and now it is time to go in a new direction. Perhaps someone strong like Holland who can, instead of floundering under poor ownership, be strong and press them into action.

Think of Blank and the Falcons. Rich McKay had the same owner as Dimitroff…but we got better, much better when we changed to a strong gm who had a plan and a vision. This is what I want for the Thrash.

Darkhorse

May 28th, 2009
11:03 am

h-I hope you guys are right about it only taking a goalie to secure the 3rd pick, but I sure doubt it. I see the asking price being much more than that.

If you don’t do a deal ahead of time with the Avs, and Hedman is still on the board at three, you could ask them to not pick him by throwing a 2nd or 3rd round pick there way. That’s been done by us and other teams in the past.

N/A

May 28th, 2009
11:04 am

haha…yay Wings!

I read the Waddle article. Well written but ultimately shows me that our ownership group is a bunch of clueless basketball fans. Then again this is nothing new.

Ice Meister

May 28th, 2009
12:14 pm

Would Duchene move ahead of Hedman?

Steely Givens

May 28th, 2009
1:11 pm

The Wings, for a while anyway, also had a coach by the name of Scotty Bowman. If I remember right, he’s won a couple games here and there.

And if I also remember right, Don Waddell thought he was going to be able to lure Scotty out of retirement to coach the Thrashers – before finally hiring Bob Hartley. He was certainly on record saying that, anyway.

I’ve always thought that was the epitome of DW’s outright cluelessness.

polskidawg

May 28th, 2009
1:34 pm

Sara sorry – I’d have to go with glovesave29 on this one. I was in Don’s corner for the first 7 years, but not now. The truth is that he may have been hired too soon and needed a few more year working under Holland before landing a NHL GM job. I do think he has learned a few things, but this franchise needs a clean break – both from ownership AND management (GM).

kracker

May 28th, 2009
2:04 pm

No way can we acquire the Av’s 3rd pick on a straight swap for a goalie.

Glovesave29

May 28th, 2009
2:16 pm

Agree with ya kracker – too many goalies are UFA’s RFA’s and there are some NHL vets playing down in the A. We would CERTAINLY have to sweeten the deal. A goalie, our 1st this year and a second next might get it…but I’d be darn sure that either Tavares or Hedman are still available. It’s a draft day deal if it were me…

LAC

May 28th, 2009
2:32 pm

Good points Sara, Good points ! It just goes to show that REAL NHL owners or GM’s don’t take losing lightly and neither do their fans !

Look at Edmonton & Calagry & Rangers and Pittsburgh this season,
They were floundering and made a change and now look where they are !!!

Washington, San Jose and Ottawa last season… They made changes because they want to WIN…. Here ???????? They could care less
bruce levenson is a drunk little immature slob who cries when someone says you are a bad little owner. He is sicking, a typical nobody who
could NEVER play any sport, but had book sense and no common sense,
so he and his other LIARS bought a couple teams… underhanded I might add !, and now have zero clue as to what to do !

We have GREAT Fans here, who want to win so badly it hurts, but these idiot owners, are a bunch of little scared little boys afraid to make change because someone might say something bad about them…
Same with worthless waddell !

Got news for ya bruce, You are THE JOKE OF THE NHL, a complete WIMP, someone who needs the crap slapped out of them to make them realize CHANGE IS NEEDED.

BTW, My offer still stands, my 5 companies for your spot as owner,
one on one with Brenden or Rawhide as ref, fight for the team, Got
the GUTS levenson ? Hell no you are as yellow as it gets a loser in every respect of life itself ! Sure glad I’m not a loser like you !

GaVaHokie

May 28th, 2009
3:05 pm

I don’t see how Hedman possibly makes it past 2nd in the draft… Tampa has the worst defensive pairings in the league… they can’t possibly pass up a guy like Hedman.

R. Stroz

May 28th, 2009
3:14 pm

LAC – I have an idea of how your pugilistic overtures could actually benefit all.

Here it is:

LAC takes on Levenson in boxing match with all the proceeds from the event going toward the salary of a top line center.

If Leveson wins, highly doubtful, Waddell remains the GM. If LAC wins, Waddell is fired.

Now, that would raise some money.

Brendan

May 28th, 2009
3:28 pm

LAC, violence isn’t any sort of remedy to this situation. Really, truly, it’s an idea you should abandon. Of course, my idea, PRAYER and lots of it, doesn’t seem to be working too well, either. For what it’s worth, I think Waddell is TRYING as best he can, with the budget he’s been afforded and the abilities God gave him. Would Scotty Bowman do better with the same budget? YES, I would think so. Would Scotty Bowman win the Stanley Cup with the same budget? NO, I would think not. As critical as I am about Waddell, vis-a-vis his decisions, I never have thought he INTENTIONALLY tried to fail. The “truth I believe” is this, pretty much from Day One, the team has received the results it paid for.

Pay for a lottery draft team, and … chances are … you’re gonna get it. The exceptions to this rule were 2005-2006 MAXED CAP season, and the 2007 season, which saw a max cap, by season’s end. With maxed cap spending come higher expectations, that weren’t met, no matter the reasons behind them. At maxed cap, I would set the minimum bar of expectation at the Conference Semi-Finals (Round II).

As frustrated as you are, LAC … and I am, and as many Thrashers fans may be, Bruce Levenson lying in a pool of his own blood won’t accomplish anything but further clog our criminal justice system–with charges being brought against the perpetrator. Honestly, what I’d like Bruce to do … is sell the team to a local interest who’ll take better stewardship of it.

Amazing as this sounds, LAC, I’d actually like to see Waddell get another chance in the NHL with some other team, a committed owner, and then see what he can do. But, as you know, I think he’s MORE THAN HAD HIS CHANCE here. Truthfully, I think enough fans would be “fine” with two more years of rebuilding, so long as the architect isn’t Don Waddell, and that Kovalchuk were convinced to remain through ‘the project.’

Alan

May 28th, 2009
3:35 pm

Stroz, put me down for $20 on LAC winning.

h

May 28th, 2009
3:36 pm

Remeber Hokie……TB owners are nuts….you can’t predict what they will do. IMHO, they will trade that pick for an NHL player but who the heck knows. Those guys are way too impatient to wait a few years on another prospect to develop. Remember, they are like fantasy league players……

R. Stroz

May 28th, 2009
3:38 pm

After reading the Waddell interview with Chris, the following quote stood out like a HUGE RED FLAG:

“Waddell said the Thrashers have not determined their budget for next season, but he expects it to be in the same neighborhood as last year. Last season, the Thrashers had a salary-cap payroll of about $43.5 million. That was $13 million under the top limit of the league salary cap. The salary-cap figures for the 2009-10 season will be released by the league next month.

“You learn how to manage the cap, more importantly you learn how to manage your budget,” Waddell said.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the Thrashers doomsday scenario, Why?

1) The last two seasons a 43.5 million self imposed cap has resulted in a bottom five finish.

2) With a 43.5 million self imposed cap, Kovy doesn’t get the players necessary for him to re-sign.

3) Once again, the owners failed to understand a 43.5 million self imposed cap doesn’t produce a product which fans will pay retail price to see.

4) The owners failed to comprehend that their business model is broken even though sales retention dropped 50%.

5) The owners failed to comprehend that by increasing payroll that the chances of making the playoffs increases resulting in greater revenue.

6) The owners are maintaining the same budget, concentrating more on expense reduction than revenue improvement. That hasn’t worked for two seasons, why will the same budgetary strategy work now? What’s that saying about doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results? Isn’t it insanity?

I had truely hoped that the Great Octo-Clusterflop and their blusterbomb GM had learned from previuos mistakes: GUESS NOT.

Calling Arthur Blank, calling Arthur Blank…

ranallo10 (in AT)

May 28th, 2009
3:38 pm

Talking smack and picking fights over the internet…wow.

Anyways, here are a couple things to think about when discussing the successes of Detroit (and a pretty timeline to boot):

1982 – Mike Ilitch purchased the Red Wings.
1982 – Jim Devellano was hired as GM, the first person hired by Ilitch. He served as GM for the next 8 years before being promoted to Senior Vice President in 1990 (he’s still with the organization in that role)
1983 – Devellano selected Steve Yzerman in the NHL Entry Draft
1990 – Bryan Murray was hired as GM to replace Devellano, he also coached the team
1993 – Scotty Bowman was hired as head coach
1994 – Devellano, Bowman and Holland replace Murray and split the GM duties
1997 – Red Wings win the Stanley Cup
1997 – Holland was promoted to General Manager (he served the previous 3 years as Assistant GM, and the 7 prior as the Director of Amateur Scouting). He was serving the role of Asst. GM and Goaltending Coach when the team won The Cup.

1997 was the first year the Stanley Cup was hoisted in Detroit under Ilitch’s ownership, a full 15 years after purchasing the team, and their first Cup since 1955.

In my opinion, all successes of the Detroit Red Wings can be directed to the first individual their newest owner hired…Jim Devellano. He was the person who decided Yzerman would be the cornerstone of their franchise, and with his insight and management helped the Red Wings ascend from the dredge of the league to become the model of how an NHL franchise can work when management and ownership are successfully working in unison.

Ilitch hired Devellano, who drafted the cornerstone of their franchise and helped guide the slow build of their franchise. Devellano made one so-so decision of hiring Murray, but hit homeruns by signing the proven winner of Scotty Bowman to lead his team, and by identifying Holland as a home-grown managing talent who could share his vision of building a successful franchise. Ilitch merely enabled this success, but Devellano, Bowman, and Holland lead the team there.

Atlanta, and any other city with an NHL team, would be lucky to have an ownership situation like Detroit has currently. Ilitch, to the best of my knowledge, does nothing but enable his team to succeed by allowing smarter individuals (hockey wise) to run his franchise.

It might take 15 years and 3 GMs, but the Atlanta Thrashers will never win a Stanley Cup if the ownership does not enable them to do so. If they cannot identify and eliminate problems within the higher levels of their own franchise, they are not doing anything but holding the franchise back.

I don’t care if Waddell is the person that leads the Thrashers to their first post season successes. I don’t care if it’s Rawhide or even Sage who does the leading…I simply don’t believe that anybody will leade Atlanta to success if the ownership doesn’t enable them to do so. Cutting funds and focusing on the bottom line is not enabling…micromanaging is not enabling…yet, this is all the Atlanta Spirit appear to be doing.

My hope is that one day the ASG will recognize how they’re not helping the team, and remedy it. My second hope is that if they cannot do such a thing (recognize their failures and the failures within the franchise), they decide to sell to a group or individual who can recognize such flaws.

R. Stroz

May 28th, 2009
3:46 pm

I actually believe Waddell prefers a low payroll for the team. With a low payroll, Waddell has a built in excuse for his performance as the GM. If Waddell had a competitive payroll to work with, he would have to answer for his failures. As it is, Waddell just shrugs his shoulders and says that is the best I could do with what I had to work with. Given a more competitive payroll, like he had a few years back, Waddell’s excuses dry up and he is exposed for the idiot GM he is.

If Waddell really thought he had any talent as a GM and could get hired elsewhere, he would have left this cookie stand a long time ago. Waddell knows he is a fraud, that’s why he stays here.

Tony C.

May 28th, 2009
4:11 pm

Hokie- I agree, the hodge-podge of defenders in Tampa was soooo bad I can’t believe they’d pass on Hedman.

Even if they pull off one of these crazy trades for big Vinny, they’re sure to get some good (possibly great) scoring in return, add that to the forwards they already have under contract-their D is still that bad. I don’t see Tampa not picking Hedman-unless NYI does first.

Brendan

May 28th, 2009
4:12 pm

R.Stroz, I think Waddell stays because he knows he’s got hoodwinkable owners. Why not suck all the milk out of that cow, before finding a new pasture? Waddell ought to seek out a situation where he could actually succeed. I mean, how “fun” is being the GM of the Thrashers? Sometimes, people quit because they’re FED UP. Jacques Lemaire quit for such reasons in Minnesota, as Head Coach. Former Lightning GM, Jay Feaster, got FED UP and quit. He even stated, “What do they need a GM for?,” a comment clearly born over frustration over the direction of the team and a lack of proper consultation. But Waddell puts up with it. Perhaps you’re right, R.Stroz. Waddell stays because he’s protected by plausibile deniability.

Let’s face it. GM’s not named Lamoriello, Holland, Rutherford, etc., don’t exactly have a pension plan all lined up from 30 years of service with the company. The goal is to grab all the money they can, while they do have employment. GM’s hope to get 2nd, 3rd, 4th opportunities elsewhere in the league.

R. Stroz

May 28th, 2009
4:18 pm

Brendan – Where were your quotes in Chris’s article? Did you actually speak with Chris?

Sara

May 28th, 2009
4:23 pm

glovesave – Ilitch came along way before Holland, and the Red Wings were already competitive with a trip to the SCF under their belt before Holland was promoted to the GM position in 1997. So it’s about more than just him. Do not get me wrong – I think the guy is absolutely brilliant as a GM. But what makes that whole organization work is the fact that they are committed to excellence because the Ilitches decree it so and also because they are able to hire the best. Holland is only as good as the people around him are – that’s going to be true of any GM. They rely on their scouts, their consultants. They also need the ability to sign the best coaches and players – something that requires $$$ – all of that requires $$$. Case in point – as an example – the Falconer posted some information today about PHX’s budget that has become public – their scouting budget for a whole year is $1.9M. For 12 scouts. That’s probably what the Red Wings spend in Sweden alone. I’d be willing to bet the Thrashers scouting budget is similar to PHXs. So how many really well qualified scouts do you think you could afford under that kind of budget (realizing that also includes covering their expenses)? Get my point? Folks complain that Waddell always hires AHL talent on and off the ice – but if that’s all the organization is willing to pay for…..

And your point about the Falcons further illustrates my point. Arthur Blank was already committed to seeing the Falcons succeed. Think about everything that man has done for the team, with the team, and for the fans since he took over. Does any of it even *remotely* sound like Atlanta Spirit? Heck no. Sure in a case like that it makes sense that the GM makes a big difference. But do not think for one second that Atlanta Spirit is suddenly going to start spending money and showing real dedication just because the name might change in front of the letters “GM” – if they cared, they would have done something when the team completely regressed after the ‘07 play-off run. And I guess they kinda did – since they slashed payroll to the cap floor. If they cared, they would have done something when attendance dropped like a bomb – revenue and ticket sales are things any owner gets, regardless of how ignorant they might be about a sport. Fans have been good and ticked off for two straight seasons now – what has that accomplished? Have they made a GM change? Nope. Have they agreed to increase payroll to get the linemates our top star is demanding? Doesn’t sound like. What is one thing they have ever done to show they give even the smallest rat’s behind about truly making this team competitive? Nada.

Waddell has limited courses of action to make changes here – any GM would be stuck with the same. What GM could make this work? Holland couldn’t – Lamoriello couldn’t. Crap I don’t think Scotty Bowman could make this work and I worship the ice he skates on. The owners are just really *that bad* and that big of a hindrance. Honestly – who are the only other owners you hear this much crap about in terms of stupid ideas and dictating terms and who should get traded, yadda yadda? Charles Wang? Those buffoons down in Tampa? That’s what you get when you get owners who are off their rockers and come up with great ideas like trading Coburn for Zhitnik or trading for an overpaid guy with a front-loaded contract so we can actually get the cap above the floor but don’t *really* have to pay that much money out. It’s nuts.

And now I’ve thoroughly depressed myself. Time to go whack some penguins (god I love that game, especially this time of year).

Glovesave29

May 28th, 2009
4:39 pm

I don’t see how my point about the Falcons illustrates your point, Sara. Arthur Blank was (and is) committed to winning. True. But until the right person was in place, we floundered. Rich McKay had no game plan, he just kept drafting and trading at random. Coaches systems did not fit the talent we had. Dimitroff came in, and with the same organization in place, is building a winner.

The ASG is an awful ownership group. Cannot argue that point. But a strong GM (say a Burke or a Sutter) will come in and raise cain. If they don’t get their way, or they see the owners constantly holding the team back – they walk away. Their reputation and future employability would be damaged by staying on board a ship such as this. Don has had 10 years. It’s time to try a new direction.

GaVaHokie

May 28th, 2009
4:51 pm

I don’t see Tampa not picking Hedman-unless NYI does first.

I agree… he’s going #1 or #2, and so is Tavares… I don’t believe there’s any drama there.

Wings fan in Ga.

May 28th, 2009
8:39 pm

Both Sara and ranallo10 (in AT) are right – Detroit’s success starts with ownership and Devellano (this week’s Sports Illustrated has a great article on how the 1989 draft shaped the Wings). And now Holland and his staff are doing brilliant and didn’t miss a beat after taking over for Devellano. I don’t see that many smart people in the Atlanta organization. But the thing that confuses me about Mike Illitch is how he let the Tigers suck for so long.

But without great owners, teams aren’t going to succeed 99.9 percent of the time. Look at the Braves – it took a while but they turned out to be great under Turner, not so much when the evil corporations took over. Look at the Yankees – great under Steinbrenner. The same with the Patriots. Also, look at the Blackhawks – their cheap owner dies and boom, they are in the conference finals and all of a sudden, have a great future. I would love it if all owners cared as much about their teams like Mark Cuban in Dallas.

Although I do disagree with you Sara about Scotty Bowman failing here. If he was here, the players would try their damndest to succeed because of the respect for him and if they didn’t listen to him or play hard for him, they would be shipped out.

But if I was a GM and the job in Atlanta became open, I would look into it just because of the challenge. Most people in that spot are competitive and want a challenge to prove people wrong.

Sage of Bluesland

May 28th, 2009
8:52 pm

“I actually believe Waddell prefers a low payroll for the team. With a low payroll, Waddell has a built in excuse for his performance as the GM….”

Spot on. I agree completely.

It’s funny how ownership is identified as the number-one problem with the organization–and I generally agree as the old saying, “It all starts at the top” is as true as it gets. What other ownership group would continue to employ the blustering buffoon Don Waddell? None is that answer.

However, the fans who continue to subsidize the pitiful product begin to become part of the problem as well. What incentive does the organization have if they continue to meet their ‘low’ thresholds for performance–as long as ‘enough’ money is coming in?

They must laugh–at the people waving the wittle fwags and with the paint on their faces and say to themselves, “Sucker!”. What, you actually think this group is striving to win a Stanley Cup? For the love of all that’s holy, ask yourself that and answer the question honestly. Stop with the ‘love of the game’ and the fear of the team leaving, please–all emotional rot.

Then ask yourself why you are continuing to feed their fraud. Stop with the emotion. Start with the common sense–and the common good.

If not, then the most powerful part of the entire equation (the fans with the DOLLARS in their pocket) deserves all of the underperformance that they are paying for.

Suckers, indeed. But, it does make me laugh at the sheep…as there always are some out there (and in here)…

Bob

May 28th, 2009
10:59 pm

“Sara sorry – I’d have to go with glovesave29 on this one. I was in Don’s corner for the first 7 years, but not now. The truth is that he may have been hired too soon and needed a few more year working under Holland before landing a NHL GM job.”

Waddell is the main problem and has been since day 1. We’ve had different owners, same result as Waddell is the issue. The new owners gave Waddell max cap to work with, same result. They handcuff him with low salary, same result.

I guarantee you that a competent GM will come in here and turn things around, even with the same owners.

Fixating on the owners is so myopic and misplaced, guess what? We can’t fire the owners, they are going nowhere. The GM can (and will once the suit is settled) be fired.

The new GM will come in under the same owners, and that will be the catalyst to progress here. Nothing will change as long as Waddell is calling the shots. To expect different results under the same GM is insanity.

ranallo10 (in AT)

May 29th, 2009
4:32 am

Exactly how is fixating on the owners myopic? It’s short sighted to say “all that is bad flows from the top” and then focus on the second or third rung in the ladder, and not the top. That’s myopic.

To expect different results under the same ownership group is insanity…thus I can understand why you can continue to pin your hopes on the lawsuit. Slight change and a potential new owner in the mix could be the change needed to right the ship. However, until the ownership group as a whole decides they care more about the on-ice product than the annual bottom line, nothing will change.

Sure, any great GM coming in could have a little more success than the current GM…there’s no way to argue against that point. However, is the successes of other financially bottom dwelling teams something to aspire to?

I always like this quote:
“The new owners gave Waddell max cap to work with, same result. They handcuff him with low salary, same result.”

Well technically speaking, it wasn’t the same result. The two years you are talking about where they “maxed the cap” the team was it’s most successful, making the playoffs and coming a few points shy the year prior. The difference between those two seasons and the two following seasons (when they pulled finances) is glaringly obvious, results and bottom line wise. Yet, nothing is changing…no firings are taking place, no injection of money to right the downward spiral of the team, etc. The GM has fleeting success with max cap, winning a division title but being swept in the playoffs, and the ownership group pulls funds. The GM could’ve been fired, but instead they stuck with him.

A new GM could come in and definitely right some of the things that are wrong here…but what will that bring us? We’ll possibly see a few playoffs, maybe a playoff round win or two, but with bottom of the league spending we are depending on the stars to align in order to see a Stanley Cup berth.

Sure, put a bandaid on the wound and fire the GM, I really don’t care. But to expect glaringly different results simply because Waddell is removed is wishful thinking. I try to stay realistic, and that means I don’t see that GM change as being the catalyst to many improvements unless it’s due to the ownership group making a fundamental change in their business model away from focusing on the bottom line.

Sweeping changes start from the top. We need owners who enable success, not hinder it. My optimist in me hopes that one day these owners will become and remain enablers to their management team.

Sage of Bluesland

May 29th, 2009
8:13 am

“…hopes that one day these owners will become and remain enablers to their management team.”

This is what makes me laugh–and feel sorry for a person at the same time. Some good all that “hope” has done lately, hasn’t it?

Thank goodness most folks aren’t sheep–and stop subsidizing sheer incompetence when it slaps them in the face multiple times.

But, there are still some who shrug their shoulders and “hope” for the best–all the while waving their wittle bwuewand fwags and calling on “real” fans to “man-up” and support the team, no matter what.

Delusion, really.

No, it’s true that we cannot fire the owners–but we CAN cut their funds (at least those variable funds attributed to the fans’ spending). Watch how fast things change if 1,000 sheeple show up at a weekend game!

Stop with the “hope” and start with the fiscal accountability! “Hope” has gotten us, oh, precisely nowhere (except insulting comments from an owner such as, “Deal with it!”).

Wake up. Stop being part of the problem. Stop supporting the ridiculous fraud which is so easy to see.

At least all of the prices could be lowered to “fodder” or minor-league level if that is indeed the product being shoveled down our throats.

Oh well. Deal with it. I’ll keep laughing at the fwag-wavers…

Sage of Bluesland

May 29th, 2009
8:18 am

“…My optimist in me hopes that one day these owners will become and remain enablers to their management team.”

Still makes me laugh! Some good “hope” has gotten us.

As one of the owners had the nerve to say, “Deal with it!”.

Keep on waving the wittle Bwuewand fwag and keep on “hoping”…I’ll keep on laughing!

Stop subsidizing the fraud–that is the ONLY way to effect change. True, we cannot fire the owners, but the fans CAN cut their funds and force a change.

Oh well–enjoy the ‘minor-league’ product at full price. If ever frustrated, just deal with it.

GaVaHokie

May 29th, 2009
8:48 am

Nice… I’m glad to see TSN is playing up the Hossa angle on the Stanley Cup final. Check out the headline story.

http://tsn.ca/nhl/

ranallo10 (in AT)

May 29th, 2009
9:02 am

I guess you didn’t read the sentence prior where I talk about the realist in me. Typical really, I shouldn’t expect much more from you.

Let me simplify it…as Bob likes to say, we can’t “fire” the owners. Thus, the truly unlikely optimistic side of me– the one wanting the ownership group to sell to a local individual interested in keeping hockey in Atlanta — isn’t a realistic approach. Thus I’ve tempered my expectations by considering the likelihood that we’re “stuck” with this ownership group, and the only possibility of positive changes is by them changing their business approach. If that means firing the GM, so be it. Positive movements are all I care about, so I’m “hoping” they do one in the relatively near future.

But yeah, clearly that makes me a sheep. I spent about $10 on the Thrashers this season..so I must also be completely subsidizing the incompetence. I think my $10 paid for a squirt of Windex on a toilet rim in Philips Arena. I’m so embarrassed.

Rawhide

May 29th, 2009
9:16 am

SageNo, it’s true that we cannot fire the owners–but we CAN cut their funds (at least those variable funds attributed to the fans’ spending). Watch how fast things change if 1,000 sheeple show up at a weekend game!

If only a thousand fans started showing up for weekend games, there would be changes made indeed…the franchise would indeed CHANGE LOCATIONS!

That would be the worst type of change I could think of…a type of change I will not willingly play a part of.

Ranallo – As one who utilizes those bathrooms on a regular bases…I thank you for helping to subsidizing the cleaning of them. The “squirt” you help pay for…the “squirts” I help pay for….the “squirts” from everyone else help to make Philips a better place for us all!!!

GaVaHokie

May 29th, 2009
9:43 am

Too bad that “squirt” was ruined when Sage peed on the toilet seat to get back at the owners… “I will not subsidize the incompetence”.

GaVaHokie

May 29th, 2009
10:21 am

Watch how fast things change if 1,000 sheeple show up at a weekend game!

You’re dreaming… Unfortunately for you, as long as the Sabres, the Rangers, the Flyers, the Islanders, the Red Wings, the Penguins and the Leafs come to Philips Arena, there will always be asses in the seats. And as long as people like you stay at home, those fans will always be the loudest, and the current spending plan stays in effect… and the current ownership will start to realize what Ted Turner realized… “hey, I don’t have to spend a dime. I can fill the arena with fans of the OTHER team.”

The team will stay at a budget that suits it’s poor market and if they are in shape to make the playoffs come March, they will THEN spend to the cap for the two months leading up to the playoffs.

But yep, nothing “meaningful” can happen until something “meaningful” changes… like having more fans than the visiting team.