Slater Signs & Ring Around The Blogosphere

Jimmy Slater is officially back into the Thrashers fold. Wednesday, the 30th overall pick of the 2002 NHL draft accepted the team’s offer and will remain in Thrasherville, albeit for a yet-to-be-disclosed time and amount. Slates posted up 8 goals and 10 assists during 60 games played last season…two goals being of the short-handed variety. He has a total of 31 goals and 39 assists in 274 regular season games in a Thrashers’ uniform.

Ring Around The Blogosphere

OK kids, time once again to take a quick loop around the Thrashers’ blogosphere to see what some of the others are yammerin’ about.

First stop takes us to Big Shooter of the The Blueland Chronicle. Seems he had an issue with this piece by The Sporting News Rory Boylen and his opinion that the Thrashers are putting Ilya Kovalchuk above the team. For that matter, Ben Wright of the Blueland Blog seemed to scratch his head over the Boylen post as well.

Hmmm…given that Kovy is the player that “the team” is being built around…all this really shouldn’t be such a big deal…right?

Anyway…Big Shooter called on his readers to e-mail Rory and give him what for! Seems like it worked too ‘cuz Boylen popped in and shot back at him. It was an all-out blogosphere smack down I tell ya!

Regardless, I do give Rory some props for taking the time to respond.

From there…we now go to the Kiwi Wars that has erupted between the Thrashers of the NHL and SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL. As Aaron of the Blueland Outsider illustrates, it seems as though our Russian friends have taken issue with the fact that Joel Kwiatkowski has opted to sign with Atlanta.

My official response to the whining that emanates from overseas…”whatev”.

Here is a blog that my friends at the Blueland Chronicle turned me on to recently. It’ call A Yankee Whistles In Dixie and belongs to local sports writer John Manasso. In this piece are his thoughts regarding the acquisition of Pavel Kubina.

Then there is this from A2B of Just Straight Random who is greatful that Don Waddell did not cough up the amount of lettuce that Ottawa did to sign Kovalev.

And now… it’s on to the Bird Watchers Anonymous’ Falconer who calls upon fans in Thrasherville to “rejoice” at the fact that long-time Kari-killer and nemesis of the Thrashers Antero Nittymaki has chosen to head in the opposite than that of Kwiatkowski and play IN the KHL.

Bon Voyage indeed, Falconer. I will gladly volunteer to drive the man to the airport and see him off…and then lobby to have his passport revoked.

And Finally…Sean Grace…er, Garguilo…no…Grace…or is it…Gar…dammit! SEAN of the Blueland Roar seems to be very exited about The Next Wave Of Thrash. And I can’t say that I blame him for his optimism regarding our Thrashers!

66 comments Add your comment

Alan

July 8th, 2009
9:58 pm

I have a different take with the “Kiwi Wars” issue, Bill…

Let’s assume that Kiwi did, in fact, sign a contract to play there. And in that contract, there is no “out clause.” I would say Kiwi should play out his contract. I would expect the Russians, considering last years “agreement” in the aftermath of the Radulov incident, to abide by the agreement just as they would expect the N. Americans to.

World Be Free

July 8th, 2009
10:27 pm

The Sporting News article-

As a life long Buffalo Bills fans, I have to say that I grew a think skin long ago, especially when it comes to the national media writing about local matters. In most cases, these idiots spend very little time studying the subject matter, they are just looking to write something controversial to stir up the masses and sell their overpriced media.

I have been sufficiently stirred up in the past, enough to know that what the Sporting News has to say means very little.

I think Thrashers fans should try to think positive, but stay realistic of our expectations. Let’s not try and be swayed by the idiots from the national media, or the idiots from Canada who say we don’t deserve a franchise and all that stuff. Let’s get ready for the season and have some fun.

I don’t care about Kiwi-I’d rather have an NHL defenseman.

More wine please.

Andre Arshavin

July 8th, 2009
10:34 pm

For a hockey reporter you know amazingly little about things that happen in the international hockey. IIHF recently adopted a regulation that requires to respect contracts signed in all leagues under its jurisdiction and NHL. While NHL does not legally belongs under IIHF, Mr Bettman acknowledged that NHL will respect this regulation to keep international hockey sane (remember Radulov). Is all of this of no concern to a great Thrashers organization? (irony) Please, be more professional in your comments.

Alan

July 8th, 2009
10:53 pm

For a hockey reporter

He’s a blogger, not a reporter. A fan blogger at that.

As far as the contract is concerned, Mr. Medvedev has appealed to the IIHF to investigate the matter. Let us wait and see what the investigation yields?

Rawhide

July 8th, 2009
10:55 pm

Andre Arsavin – I appreciate your response…and your input. However, keep in mind I am not a reporter. I’m a “Fan Blogger” as the title indicates and give my “Perspective” as a Thrashers fan. i.e. … not a “professional”. The AJC employs a very fine beat writer named Chris Vivlamore for that job.

We tend to take a more lighthearted appoach to discussing the team and the sport here.

I am indeed aware of the agreement that stand with the NHL and KHL…however, my comments reflect my feelings that this is much to do over nothing. That’s just my opinion.

Now, if there IS an issue regarding Kwiakowski’s contract with the Thrashers and the one signed by him with the team in St. Petersburg, I’m sure Mr. Bettman will address it. If not…shrugs…oh well.

I know there’s been a appeal filed, so we’ll see how it works out.

I just don’t think Kiwi is the caliber of player that either side wants to got to the matresses on here…no offence to Joel.

Wings fan in Ga.

July 8th, 2009
11:19 pm

It says “A fan’s perspective” up top, yet some people still can’t comprehend that. I’m just shaking my head…

ben

July 8th, 2009
11:30 pm

keep it up mr. tiller. you do a fine job indeed! i too think the thrash will be here forever w/ or w/o 17. looking forward, kane may very well broaden the fan base if he’s good enough. that would improve the fortunes of the club a lot.

Crazy Ivan

July 9th, 2009
12:27 am

Andre Asshat – Learn to read titles, you stupid putz.

Wayne stuck in AL

July 9th, 2009
12:57 am

If the Kwiatkowski is forced to return to Mother Russia, will that hurt the Thrashers salary-cap wise?

English Teacher

July 9th, 2009
12:59 am

Give the guy a break, nobody’s perfect. Even I have trouble reading sometimes. I keep reading his last name as “Arseshavin.”

Barry

July 9th, 2009
3:51 am

Hallelujah Nittymaki will not longer be the Thrashers nemesis and perhaps we can finally break the Flyers curse!!! I say let’s beat the Flyers first time we see them, then we can all drink and rejoice like we won a playoff game! :)

kracker

July 9th, 2009
7:17 am

[toast] “To drinking and rejoicing!”

Nikita

July 9th, 2009
8:22 am

*raises her glass*

All the recent acquisitions are, well, good but not great. I’m very happy with the trades and draft acquisitions — I just realize that the guys we’re resigning are going to give us a fairly tight roster. Which is an opportunity, of course, since it gives us trade fodder and depth and replenishes the Wolves, but is also a challenge in that you’ve got to figure out who stays and goes, and you may get stuck not using some of the assets you acquired as much or as ideally as you planned.

I’m guessing we still have in our future a goalie trade, and down the road I think we’ll see several players traded or waived (Slater, Thorburn, Lewis — all fine in their own way, but maybe not what the team ultimately needs.)

World Be Free

July 9th, 2009
8:42 am

Tampa signs Kurtis Foster and we sign a dump of AHL players. That’s the difference between Tampa and Atlanta-they sign NHL vets and we sign AHL vets.

Tony C.

July 9th, 2009
8:51 am

Seriously, seeing the Nittymaaki’s gone is like the best news this week.

h

July 9th, 2009
9:22 am

World…..get real…..Tampa? you’re saying that Tampa is making better moves? Tampa? Talkin’ ’bout Tampa? I mean you’re talkin’ ’bout Tampa……Tampa….

Christy

July 9th, 2009
9:38 am

Evander is on 680 the fan right now, if anyone interested

Buzilla in CT

July 9th, 2009
9:46 am

Where did Nittymaaki sign?

World Be Free

July 9th, 2009
9:48 am

H, my point is simple-you need to sign veteral NHLers to fiill out your roster, not AHLers.

Talk to me about this in January or February when we have call-ups.

Brendan

July 9th, 2009
9:48 am

I, too, love that Niittymaki won’t be visiting Blueland twice a season. It finally explains a lot, why the Flyers were attempting to move vanRiemsdyk for Lehtonen. They KNEW they were going to lose Niittymaki. I didn’t know that, and couldn’t figure out what the motivation was to acquire a goalie, when they had Biron and Niittymaki as the tandem. What’s Biron’s status? He has a year left? Then they went and got Ray “The Headcase” Emery? I’m sorry, folks. But if EVVVVVER there was a player who was apt to leave the ice, not bother to shower or dress, and just leave the NHL, straight to his car, straight to the airport, straight into Moscow, it’s Emery. I hope that Emery signing works out for the Flyers. And if Emery does bolt on them, maybe that vanRiemsdyk deal will suddenly be back on the table, for Lehtonen. Of course, I don’t wish that. I still think Kari is a valuable goaltender, if his workload is managed properly. He has mental toughness issues, in my opinion. But with Pavelec competing for the #1 job, it ought to help Kari stay mentally prepared. I am not ashamed to advocate a “Lehtonen-Pavelec” tandem for the future. We so heavily invested in these guys, it seems foolish to try to give them away for a song. The market for goalies isn’t high. Keep them.

For the record, I think Antero Niittmaki is a very good goaltender. And I’m surprised by this move. I figured he’d slide right into the #1 spot in Philly. Clearly, I was wrong.

Buzilla in CT

July 9th, 2009
9:50 am

I found it. He is going to play in Russia for the “Atlant Moscow Oblast”. One more “A” in that and he would play for Atlanta

Alan

July 9th, 2009
9:59 am

hey KNEW they were going to lose Niittymaki. I didn’t know that

You didn’t? From where I was sitting, the writing was on the wall. He’s a starter playing second fiddle. He is what Pavelec would have become to Lehtonen, had Hedberg not re-signed last off-season.

Also, Biron has yet to sign in Philadelphia. He is a free agent at this time.

Alan

July 9th, 2009
10:05 am

Apparently, another bidder for the Coyotes has appeared.

For extra grins and giggles, read the comments. It’s like reading the crap spewed on Free Republic or Daily Kos.

Brendan

July 9th, 2009
10:19 am

h, we do have two teams to by which to measure ourselves, as the Atlanta Thrashers. 1) Columbus Blue Jackets, who in 2007, after 74-point and 73-point finishes, respectively in 2006 and 2007, elected to fire the village idiot at the GM position, in favor of Scott Howson. The Blue Jackets still haven’t won any playoff games, but they do appear to be moving in the right direction, and I don’t mean it in that gratuitous “Bruce Levenson style.” Columbus ought to be a 6, 7, or 8 seed in the West next year. 2) Tampa Bay Lightning – Yes, them. Why? In 2008, Tampa finished 30th and Atlanta finished 28th. The Bolts took Steven Stamkos 1st overall and we grabbed Zach Bogosian at 3rd overall. In 2009, Tampa finished 29th and Atlanta finished 27th. Tampa selected Viktor Hedman, 2nd overall, and Atlanta took Evander Kane, 4th overall. The point? If the Tampa Bay Lightning get to the playoffs before we do, it’ll be the 2nd time that happened, after Tampa finished beneath us. In 2001, the Tampa Bay Lightning finished DEAD LAST in the NHL. Need I remind anyone the Lightning won the Cup in 2004. And that housed without our own division is yet another shining example of a team that finished DEAD LAST in 2003, Carolina Hurricanes, who won the Cup in 2006.

So, the question to ask is, “Why are teams beneath us surpassing us and reaching higher levels of overall achievement?” That’s a fair question, not a loaded one. Another team to keep an eye out on … is the Los Angeles Kings. They’ve been bottom feeders for years. Are they about to break out and claim a playoff spot this season? The Kings last playoff berth occurred in 2002, a 4-3 series defeat to the Colorado Avalanche. L.A. King point totals coming into last season were 78, 81, 89, 68, and 71. The Kings drafted 5th overall, and took Brayden Schenn. Kings draft picks of note since 2002 include: Dustin Brown, Brian Boyle, Jeff Tambellini, Lauri Tukonen, Anze Kopitar, Jonathan Quick, Jonathan Bernier, Thomas Hickey, and Drew Doughty (2nd overall) and Colten Teubert (13th overall) in 2008.

Another team to watch is Chicago. Since 2002, the Blackhawk point totals have been 79, 59, 65, 71, and 88, before making the playoffs as the #4 seed in 2009. We can certainly argue that Chicago was BENEATH us while Atlanta totaled 74, 78, 90, 97, and 76 during the same period. And need I remind anyone, Atlanta finished with 76-points again last season. Who’s on a faster pace towards winning a Cup? Atlanta or Chicago? But, but, but, but Chicago’s had a change in ownership!! And they’ve had 3 GM’s (Mike Smith, Bob Pulford and current GM, Dale Tallon,) in that time. Yeah, well … rubbin’ chin … you might be on to something there. Blackhawk draft pics from 2002, forward, include these names of note: Anton Babchuk, Duncan Keith, James Wisniewski, Brent Seabrooke, Corey Crawford, Dustin Byfuglien, Adam Burish, Troy Brouwer, Jake Dowell, Bryan Bickell, Dave Bolland, Cam Barker, Jack Skille, Jonathan Toewz, Igor Makarov, Patrick Kane, and Kyle Beach. Free agent acquisitions include Marian Hossa, Cristobal Huet, and Brian Campbell. Andrew Ladd was acquired via trade with Carolina, for Tuomo Ruutu, in February 2008.

Brendan

July 9th, 2009
10:22 am

Alan, honestly, I thought Philly’s plan was to make Niittymaki the starter if/when they lost Biron. Then they’d pick up a backup. If Biron can still be the #1 guy in Philly, why not re-sign there?

PUTTING ON THE FOIL

July 9th, 2009
10:33 am

Building on what I saw at the end of last year and the recent acquisitions, the Thrashers are 15 points better than last year and borderline playoff team. Add a Kovy new contract and your definitely in the playoffs because of no distractions.

Tony C.

July 9th, 2009
10:36 am

Brendan
Word I’m getting is that Biron was too inconsistent & Nittymaaki’s lack of english didn’t endear him to the team as a whole-total rumor, but I got it from a guy who works with sportsnet in Philly; he’s part of the Flyers broadcast ops team. Apparently Richards is brow-beating as many of the young/single guys as possible to move downtown. Biron has a family and elected to move waaay far from the city and apparently Nittymaaki didn’t really “hang” with the rest of the guys who lived w/in the city limits. They apparently gave Nittymaaki a no-confidence vote and Biron’s getting punished for the “big-ticket” contract and uneven play. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him back with Philly (at a much lower salary).

Alan

July 9th, 2009
10:43 am

I couldn’t see that, Brendan. I mean, sure, ideally that’s probably what you would want to do. But Nittymaki didn’t have all that great of a record against any other team in the NHL. Just Atlanta. If you’re Philadelphia, do you keep a goalie around to play against one specific team?

R. Stroz

July 9th, 2009
11:33 am

I’m just glad all the GMs in the league didn’t make a deal to trade Nittymaaki from team to team based on whoever was playing the Thrashers next.

Otherwise, the Thrashers would have been 0-82 on the season.

A2B

July 9th, 2009
12:16 pm

Rawhide, thanks for the shout out.

World Be Free

July 9th, 2009
12:33 pm

Brendan, I like your post on “teams like us” or teams that are going to pass us soon. We can look at the shortcomings of management, but must also look at the $$$ that ASG has failed to provide when acquiring free agents or compensating upcoming UFAs to get them to stay in Atlanta (i.e. Savard). The hiring of Dudley is the closest we are going to get to changing the decision maker.

As for Biron, he’s a former Sabre so I think I have an insight to his shortcomings. One night, Marty stands on his head-he looks like Hasek. The next night, he can’t stop a beach ball. Then there’s the wandering from the crease in close games. To me, Biron is a great backup, a guy who can play 20-25 games per season in a relief role. He’s also a great interview because he never shuts up.

I guess Boucher is Philly’s backup for this season, or until Ray Emery blows his cork. Boucher and Emery-2 basket cases.

Looks like Nick Boynton is signing with Anaheim. Another NHL quality defenseman that we could have had instead of Kiwi.

Alan

July 9th, 2009
12:53 pm

We’re not stocking the Thrashers at this point, though. We’re stocking the Wolves. That’s the only reason Krog and Kiwi were signed. They have the potential to stay in Atlanta for a few games if there are any injuries, but otherwise they’re for the Wolves.

ranallo10 (in AT)

July 9th, 2009
1:04 pm

So if Lehtonen loses his first game against Philadelphia this season, to whom (or is it who?) will the jinx be attributed?

R. Stroz

July 9th, 2009
1:07 pm

ranallo10 – The Blue Crew for not distracting the Flyers players.

Alan

July 9th, 2009
1:08 pm

ranallo, I will blame Pronger, Sir Elbows-A-Lot himself.

Rawhide

July 9th, 2009
1:18 pm

A2B – You’re welcome…I enjoy sharing some of the good Thrashers blogs that I come across. Keep it up!

ranalloSo if Lehtonen loses his first game against Philadelphia this season, to whom (or is it who?) will the jinx be attributed?

We’ll do what we’ve always done…blame Don Waddell. :lol:

ranallo10 (in AT)

July 9th, 2009
1:22 pm

You can find an interview of Dale Tallon on NHL.com, or you may use this link. In this interview he speaks about the RFA situation that recently came to pass…

Here are a few quotes that popped out to me:

“No, I think we got them at fair market value” — I wish someone would’ve asked him “what market??”.

“Those [contract] numbers are right in line with what [the RFAs] possibly would’ve gotten in arbitration”.

“We should’ve filed earlier as we have in the past, and we didn’t, but the good news is that we got everybody signed and we’re moving forward [...]”

He knowingly f-d up (he admitted he was late filing) and then scrambled to cover his butt by signing the RFAs quickly (”it was a hectic week”)…it’s so obvious a rule was broken, but he’s getting away with it.

He was late filing thus the players should be UFAs to help set their fair market value, and only then should the players be able to re-sign with Chicago if they so desire. We’re seeing Chicago get off scott-free, this is silly.

Buzilla in CT

July 9th, 2009
1:34 pm

I found this in the Wall Street Journal today. I thought it was interesting….note number 6 on the list:

“Hockey Hot Stove
Here are the most important players who have switched teams this offseason, based on how often they are on ice when the game is in a clutch situation (two minutes left in a one-goal or tied game).

KEY PLAYERS % CLUTCH TIME ON THE MOVE
1) Marian Gaborik 65.90% MIN ø NYR
2) Jay Boumeester 63.10% FLA ø CGY
3) Chris Pronger 57.10% ANA ø PHI
4) Ryan Smyth 51.80% COL ø LA
5) Rob Scuderi 45.70% PIT ø LA
6) Pavel Kubina 43.10% TOR ø ATL
7) Mattias Ohlund 42.30% VAN ø TB
8) Jaroslav Spacek 41.40% BUF ø MTL
9) Scott Gomez 41.20% NYR ø MTL
10) Mike Knuble 40.70% PHI ø WAS”

Buzilla in CT

July 9th, 2009
1:34 pm

Buzilla in CT

July 9th, 2009
1:35 pm

Buzilla in CT

July 9th, 2009
1:35 pm

ranallo10 (in AT)

July 9th, 2009
1:37 pm

Rawhide — As the adage goes: “when in doubt, blame Waddell”

Stroz — Maybe the video crew needs to put more extreme close-ups on the jumbo tron, like the Hurricanes do with their cheerleaders. Perhaps then the opponents will pull an Ovechkin.

Alan — Now Atlanta has more opportunities to lose players to those “accidental” elbows…that sucks.

Alan

July 9th, 2009
2:03 pm

That was the point I was making, ranallo. Sadly.

As a Detroit fan, I’ve seen his elbow creep up many-a time. Especially when things start getting out of hand. I can’t recall — was there any late game penalties to Pronger in the game we stomped Anaheim in last year?

Buzilla in CT

July 9th, 2009
2:04 pm

Who is your favorite blue crew member?

Denny

July 9th, 2009
2:23 pm

EK has Niittymaki going to Tampa – so I guess that means (0-8) for the Thrashers versus the Lightning if it’s True?

Sara

July 9th, 2009
2:50 pm

World Be Free – listen, all these guys you keep mentioning that we should have been signing…they aren’t going to come to Atlanta and play on our 3rd D pairing or 4th line, or worse yet, risk the chance *they* might get sent to the AHL as a depth call-up. There’s also a good chance they are going to cost more and more salary = a bad thing right now. It doesn’t make one bit of sense to make those deals. You aren’t going to get any more significant signings this off-season (unless perhaps Tanguay gets really really desperate).

Randy

July 9th, 2009
3:02 pm

Who really cares? Kiwi sucks anyways. Let them have him, we don’t need him.

R. Stroz

July 9th, 2009
4:58 pm

Buzilla – My favorite Blue Crew member didn’t make the crew for the 2009-2010 season. I’ll give you one more hint, her first name starts with the first letter in the alphabet.

Russ

July 9th, 2009
5:11 pm

Ranallo – I would say a precedent has been set…Don’t follow the rules, get your qualifying offers in late. Then, use the time while the league is ruling on the case to your advantage to extend players at (possibly) a discounted rate. Kind of like when Malkin avoided suspension during the playoffs even though he instigated a fight in the last five minutes. The NHL…where rules are written in erasable ink, considered on a case-by-case basis, and enforced if/when they choose.

Dwayne

July 9th, 2009
5:14 pm

asshat….now thats funny