Billboards On Skates? Not A Fan

Eli Manning, the Super Bowl winning quarterback for the New York Giants, has a bit of a dilemma. See, the team he plays for…the one that pays his salary… went and sold ad space on their practice jerseys to Timex. Problem is… Eli endorses Citizen watches.

So what’s Manning going to do about this situation? Well, according to Darren Rovell of CNBC

“Manning’s jersey has the patch on it and news crews might be able to film the small patch – 3½ inches by 4½ inches – from afar, but for this practice and all future practices, Manning is not expected to give Timex much love due to his conflict of interest. We’re told Manning will do interviews before practice in a t-shirt and will take off his pads for any interviews after practice”.

Well…I guess that takes care of that, huh?

Now, what does any of this have to do with the Thrashers and/or the NHL? Well, I’m glad you asked me that my friend.

Reading this story reminded me of a particular topic that has circled around the hockey world for some time now. It’s the one about possibly granting corporate sponsors the ability to place their logos on NHL team jerseys. If this is allowed, it would help generate more revenue for the teams and the league. It would also, in my opinion, simply pollute some of the greatest jerseys in professional sports.

Certainly, this isn’t a new idea as European hockey and soccer leagues allow such advertisement on the uniforms of their teams. Depending on the sport and the league, you could see jerseys with a single, large logo of a sponsor on the front of the uniform…or a smattering of smaller logos scattered all over it.

Needless to say…I’m not a fan of the idea.

(AP modified photo)

Don't we get enough of this alongside our interstate highways? (AP modified photo)

Obviously, corporate sponsorships are a necessary aspect of professional sports and the placement of product ads can be found all over the place. From the naming of arenas and stadiums…to ads on the boards and hanging from inside of them…to the word “official” stamped on everything from the teams airline to jock-itch powder…franchises in each league generate a lot of dough by selling space for advertisement. And certainly these ads help bring enough money for the teams and offset ticket prices and run the business end of the organization. So I’m not suggesting that there isn’t a place for logos, ads and sponsorships.

TV…fine.

Radio…no problem.

Billboards along I-75…blocks the natural scenary, but OK.

Internet sites…hey, it keeps the surfing the net free of charge, right?

Like I said, advertisement is fine in it’s place. But what I am asking…hoping… is that such a place not be located on the jerseys. That’s all. The last thing in the world I want to see is the ice surface at Philips Arena looking more like a mini NASCAR track than an NHL hockey game.

I was in a sports store the other day looking at soccer…I mean, football… jerseys from teams in England and Germany. there isn’t a one of them that isn’t displaying some type of corporate logo on the front of the jersey. I couldn’t help but wonder if the fans that bought and wore the shirts were supporting, say, Manchester United or AIG…just sayin’.

That plus the Manning story kinda got me thinking about how a Thrashers uni would look with…oh, I don’t know…a big Coca-Cola or Home Depot or Delta or maybe even UPS logo plastered on the front as the team’s crest. Then, of course, the Thrashers logo would be relegated to a small patch on the shoulder.

In a word…yeck!

See…I like Home Depot, dropped many-a-coin there since becoming a homeowner. I fly Delta whenever I travel…never had a problem with the airline. I enjoy the occasional Coca-Cola and I use UPS whenever I need to send a package.

Again…I like those companies.

But I am a fanatic of the Atlanta Thrashers. And that’s the logo I want to see on the front when watching them play. And when I buy a new jersey, I want the logo of my team to be on display, not necessarily some product or service that I may or may not use…or may or may not even like.

Besides, I think it’d just look tacky as hell…but that’s just me.

Now, I honestly don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to think that we’ll soon see the day when a small logo could be added to NHL jerseys for a corporate sponsor…much like the Kroger patch on those worn by the ECHL’s Gwinnett Gladiators. I suppose it’s inevitable…where there is a dollar to be made, a dollar will indeed be made…whether I, or anyone else for that matter, like it or not.

I hope it doesn’t, but if and when such a day should ever come, I hope the league officials will temper their enthusiasm and desire for the extra money that could be generated by advertisement with the wisdom and foresight of not allowing the sport to degenerate into nothing more than “Ads on Ice and turn the players into ”Billboards on Skates”.

216 comments Add your comment

GaVaHokie

August 7th, 2009
1:42 pm

Dwayne, if Mike Vick can lace ‘em up, by all means lets talk about him. Can he put the dog biscuit in the basket?

I’m still waiting to see who my 2nd favorite NFL team, or possibly (and most likely) 1st favorite UFL team, is going to be. :)

I can’t help it… while he let me down big time as a human-being, i still like watching him play.

That’s all I have (and will) say on the subject.

The Earl of Bud

August 7th, 2009
1:45 pm

Brendan, players don’t want to leave Buffalo. If you got a $2 mil raise for your same job in St. Louis, you’d take it too. So it’s not that players want to leave the city, it’s that they get more money. For the players you mentioned, Drury could have been signed for around $5 mil as he stated he wanted to stay in Buffalo but Regier didn’t get it done.

As for whether it is Regier or Golisano that is holding things up, many believe it is Larry Quinn who should not be involved in hockey ops. But that is a problem that goes all the way back to the Muckler/Nolan saga. From what I read from up there Golisano is moving out of state and may let the hockey people handle things more so we will see what happens. It may take this whole season and the effects of next season’s free agency to see if things have really changed. My guess is that it’s Larry Quinn under the orders from Golisano but WBF or Pam on Weck may differ. And if Quinn is holding things up on orders from Golisano, don’t expect him to get fired. I think he even has minority interest now.

Alan

August 7th, 2009
1:48 pm

Alan, I have no idea what you are talking about.

Of course you don’t.

This post was brought to you by Johnson’s No More Tears baby shampoo and Planters Nuts.

I have it on good authority that Huggies is fighting with Pampers for sponsorship rights on this post as well.

(This post brought to you by Endo Pharmaceuticals, makers of Percocet)

The Earl of Bud

August 7th, 2009
1:52 pm

“I’m still waiting to see who my 2nd favorite NFL team, or possibly (and most likely) 1st favorite UFL team, is going to be.”

GaVaHokie, JP Losman of the Buffalo Bills has signed with the Las Vegas franchise of the UFL.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=4346612

Buzilla in CT

August 7th, 2009
2:00 pm

I hope Vick gets signed to the Hartford Whalers

Alan

August 7th, 2009
2:01 pm

Adam Proteau (THN writer, all-around D-bag) has listed his top five worst free agent signings.

Guess who is listed.

The Earl of Bud

August 7th, 2009
2:10 pm

I’m sure you guys have all heard by now about Vick going to UGA?

GaVaHokie

August 7th, 2009
2:15 pm

I hope Vick gets signed to the Hartford Whalers

Is the Hartford UFL team really going to be called the Whalers, or are you joking?

GaVaHokie

August 7th, 2009
2:16 pm

EOB… I heard the same thing, but on the UFL site, it shows that they signed Tim Rattay with no mention of Losman.

The Earl of Bud

August 7th, 2009
2:21 pm

GaVaHokie, that link is from ESPN so it has to be credible.

“Is the Hartford UFL team really going to be called the Whalers, or are you joking?”

I don’t know what the team is going to be called, but Ted Cottrel, former defensive coordinator of the Buffalo Bills, is going to be the head coach.

Hu Flung Poo

August 7th, 2009
2:43 pm

The Hartford team isn’t coming until year 2 of the UFL. I don’t think they picked a name yet. It’s a combined NY/Hartford team. I have to agree with you GAVA Pokie. If Vick gets on that team I will go to a game an watch. He was the most exciting player in the NFL. Just not the brightest or morally coherent.

This message was brought to you by Ron Mexico

Ron Mexico

August 7th, 2009
3:27 pm

Does The Earl of Bud have a job or is he just a blog hog?

This message brought to you by PETA

Glovesave29

August 7th, 2009
3:31 pm

Why don’t we just get the teams to wear green jerseys at home, and the TV can superimpose different sponsors onto the jerseys for each game, each period…hell, even every shift. I can see it now, Kovy flashing down the wing, looking for the seam to exploit and break in on the opponent net, the words “Congratulations on your Bar Mitzvah, Robert – love Nana and Pappa” across his chest.

Sean Avery can be sponsored by Lite Beer from Miller, ’cause it’s ubiquitos and has no taste.

Get The Puck Out

August 7th, 2009
3:40 pm

Has anyone even heard a squeak about Kovy’s contract yet?

Get The Puck Out

August 7th, 2009
3:43 pm

Oh yeah – the original Thrashers jersey always looked best to me.

Tony C.

August 7th, 2009
4:11 pm

Anybody remember that Powerade commercial from a few years back that showed Vick as a winger with the Avalanche???

R. Stroz

August 7th, 2009
4:19 pm

For those of you who follow the Dead Wings, Jason Williams is getting 1.5 million on his one year contract.

http://tsn.ca/nhl/feature/?id=11850

Midfield

August 7th, 2009
4:51 pm

Perhaps, they should put ads on players’ undershirts. Once in a while they’d pop up during fights, or, soccer style goal celebrations.

Tony C.

August 7th, 2009
6:36 pm

Ok my bad it was a nike commercial.

Anyway, Urlacher and Vick on a line with Sakic….

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMsHTsEHnWE

R. Stroz

August 7th, 2009
6:56 pm

Speaking of Buffalo fans, Tony C. do remember running into any jerkoff Buffalo fans? I think that guy is still going the other direction.

The Earl of Bud

August 7th, 2009
7:14 pm

“Does The Earl of Bud have a job or is he just a blog hog?”

I guess I’m just a blog hog. I’ve never seen your name before, are you new? Welcome to the blog. You’ll see there’s plenty of other posters besides me as you read more.

“Tony C. do remember running into any jerkoff Buffalo fans?”

R. Stroz, how can you complain about Buffalo fans when you use crass terms like “jerkoff Buffalo fans”? If a fan in a Sabres jersey called someone a jerkoff at Philips Arena, would everyone here be up in arms about rude Buffalo fans?

ranallo10 (in AT)

August 7th, 2009
8:03 pm

Funny, Vick shot righty…

I think it would’ve been more fitting had his team been playing against the Coyotes or even the Hamilton Bulldogs. Michael Vick, 2 years for roughing.

Alan

August 7th, 2009
8:09 pm

R. Stroz, how can you complain about Buffalo fans when you use crass terms like “jerkoff Buffalo fans”?

Duke of Miller Lite, based upon my experiences with Buffalo fans in general, I see absolutely nothing wrong with what he has said. If you take offense to how a good many fans rockin’ the yellow slug act, then perhaps you should do something about it.

Or alternatively, you can sit here and play the victim for an entire fanbase that has been content with coming into Philips and crapping on the local fans for years. This appears to be your chosen path.

Apologies to the “good” Buffalo fans, of course. I think there’s three or four of you out here in the Atlanta area.

R. Stroz

August 7th, 2009
8:19 pm

Well EOB, while sitting with a few friends before a Thrasher v. Buffalo game last season, a jerkoff Buffalo fan and his friend came up to a person at our table in the food court area in CNN, put his finger in one of the people’s faces at the table, and stated that he was wearing a queer jersey. When I responded to said Buffalo fan with no more queer than yours, said Buffalo fan said “what are you going to do about it b!tch.” As soon as I stood up, the chickensh!t walked away running his mouth the entire time.

I would say that qualifies as a jerkoff Buffalo fan. Would you like a few more incidents?

This isn’t to say that all Buffalo fans are jerkoffs, but they do seem to show their backsides. After the same game, a few of the jerkoff Buffalo fans were taken off to jail after getting into a fight at Taco Mac.

Since you brought up the subject of new bloggers, even though not directed my direction, where did you blog before joining us?

The Earl of Bud

August 7th, 2009
8:41 pm

R. Stroz, seeing as that fan does not appear to be here now, you are only making yourself look like the bad fan. To refer to “jerkoff Buffalo fans” is no more fair to myself, World Be Free, Pam on Weck, Smoothie, Smitty than it was to you that night when someone treated you wrong.

By repeatedly using a crass term, you are unjustly classifying every Atlanta Thrasher fan and I don’t want to be put in that category as “showing my backside” even though I did no such thing.

Be the bigger man and don’t bring the battle here where no Buffalo people are looking for it. This goes for the Toronto, Philadelphia, New York, Detroit and every other team’s fans as well. If they act like jerks, leave it at the game, don’t make all Thrasher fans look equally as crude on our Thrasher blogs.

DWTOO

August 7th, 2009
8:50 pm

Like anywhere else there are good fans from Buffalo – the Sabres fan that post here all seem decent -but I’m sorry EOB the Sabres have attracted the worst. We tailgate in the Gulch and damn near every fan that roams over is a jackass. The Carolina fans always bring BBQ – Buffalo fans a big mouth. Hopefully some of you guys will show up and prove us wrong.

DWTOO

August 7th, 2009
8:54 pm

Be sure to go to tsn.ca to see the picture of Crosby in the armoured personnel carrier carrying the Stanley Cup!

fes

August 7th, 2009
8:55 pm

If Vick ends up in the UFL, the Orlando Sentinel have the rights to him. They are coached by Jim Haslett, a man that is quite familiar with Vick.

The Earl of Bud

August 7th, 2009
8:57 pm

DWTOO, I think every team has good and bad fans. I’m just saying that calling people “jerkoff” makes us look no better, so why stoop to their level and make us look bad too? Now if you post that we should trade for Heatley, then I might get in your face like that guy did to R. Stroz. Besides, you wouldn’t catch me in Philips with a Sabres jersey so don’t expect me to prove you wrong on that count. Only Thrasher logos for me in that building.

The Earl of Bud

August 7th, 2009
9:00 pm

“Be sure to go to tsn.ca to see the picture of Crosby in the armoured personnel carrier carrying the Stanley Cup!”

DWTOO, if I were around Crosby, I would want a well protected cup too.

Yeah that was bad, after that one I am outta here.

Alan

August 7th, 2009
9:06 pm

R. Stroz, seeing as that fan does not appear to be here now

…is inconsequential to the point he was making. Stop moving the goal posts.

To refer to “jerkoff Buffalo fans” is no more fair to myself, World Be Free, Pam on Weck, Smoothie, Smitty than it was to you that night when someone treated you wrong.

WBF, Pam, Smoothie and Smitty are good people. The jerkoff Buffalo fans are not. Slight difference.

R. Stroz

August 7th, 2009
9:21 pm

No, I’m not the bad or crude fan, I’m the fan that stood up for the Thrasher fans. I’m providing a concrete example as to why many Thrasher fans have developed a disdain for Buffalo fans. That’s not to say ALL Buffalo fans are jerkoffs. It’s just to make the point that more than one blog poster than A27 has experienced problems with Buffalo fans.

Since I know Smoothie and actually discussed the incident with him after the game, he is well aware of the situation. We discussed the behavior of the Buffalo fans after the game at length. Also, World Be Free and I discussed the same situation on an earlier blog.

You should read what the VP of the Thrasher fan club says about Buffalo fans.

http://bluelandroar.blogspot.com/2009_03_29_archive.html

BTW, where did you blog before joining us?

World Be Free

August 7th, 2009
9:23 pm

ASG just gave that d-bag Marvin Williams $8+ mil a year to sit on the bench. Can we be assured that Kovy will get what he is worth? Let’s hope so

No further word from Manny Malholtra assuming he received a competitive offer from the Thrashers in the time frame noted in several media outlets. Move on to others, like Dom Moore, Mike Greer and such.

Finally, on this Sabre fans stuff and all that. I have been a Thrashers’ fans since day one, a Sabres fan for 39 seasons. I am a fan of both teams and have a tough time “cheering” for one or the other when they play. I just hope for a good game and let the best team win. I also believe other Sabre-Thrasher fans on this blog feel the same way.

I have been in a dozen NHL arenas throughout the years, some nice, others not so nice. To characterize one set of fans as “the worst” based on limited exposure is pretty ignorant or maybe not all together accurate.

I had my new Thrashers jersey on during the late season BUF-ATL game last year, attending the game with my family. Another Thrashers’ fan sitting behind me spent the entire evening smashed, shouting obsenities and calling Thomas Vanek a pussy for wearing a face shield. I did not have the heart to tell this gentleman that Vanek was playing with a broken jaw. I have more examples, but don’t care to share them at the risk of being like some of your nice folks on today’s post. We all hear it at games, NHL, College Football, NFL even MLB games.

The only was we will get visiting teams from dominating our home games is to get people to buy tickets and fill the stands with Thrashers’ fans.

Another subject please, Mr. Tiller.

World Be Free

August 7th, 2009
9:34 pm

Brendan-Sabres do not negotiate with their players during the season, team policy. So if the player is not signed long term before the start of the season you can rest assured they will be traded at the trade deadline or walk by the end of the Sabres season.

You can go back to the 70’s to find the first example-none other than Rick Dudley. Dudley could not get an extension, so he signed with Cincinnati of the WHA during his last season in Buffalo. Duds went out and had a 30 goal season, played hard every shift. At the end of the year, he moved on to Cinci, much to the dismay of the Buffalo faithful.

I realize this example goes back to the WHA days, but it is an example of their lack of effort when signing key players. Atlanta had the same issue when you look at guys like Marc Savard. Let’s hope that’s the last example we will have to refer to for some time.

There are alotta ex-NHLers residing in metro Buffalo, mostly because of the close proximity to Canada. Most players don’t want to leave, but also know Sabres management will not pony to keep them there. To add insult to injury, Sabres’ management finally changed their ways and signed Pominville, Hecht and Tallender to long term deals. My point-they locked up the wrong guys long term!

Let’s have some Thrasher news! I am getting excited for the upcoming Thrashers’ season.

Smoothie

August 7th, 2009
9:56 pm

Thanks Alan for lookin out for me while I was outside lilting in the heat playing golf today. Looks like y’all are having some lively debate about Slug fans. Fun stuff.

Don’t get me wrong, I generally love Buffalo folk (in fact I will be sitting next to a Sabres fan — Thrashers fan 78 games a year — for 13 games this year), but I hate to say that I’ve had more run ins (three) with Sabres fans than I had in five years as a Vick-loving, black and red bleeding, drunk off my ass, die-hard season tkt holding Falcons fan. In fact the only near fight I got into was with an arrogant Saints fan who had more to drink than me that day.

I really think Sabres fans should direct their anger towards Sabres mgmnt for 1) their overall cheapness and failure to re-sign Drury and Soupy and 2) their decision to desecrate one of the best uniforms in all of sport for first a red, silver and black travesty and then a feeble attempt at a hip and fresh take on the blue, white and gold I fell in love with as a kid growing up in eastern NY.

I love the passion of Sabres and Bills fans but they really do have a bad habit of forgetting their manners when they walk thru the turnstiles clad in their slug-covered AHL uniforms.

Brendan

August 7th, 2009
10:42 pm

WBF, that’s a bummer for Sabre fans. I have never understood the policy of “not negotiating during the season.” Whatever happened to the concept of “wait-n-see?” I can understand indecision. (I sound like a song by Boston!) Truly, I can. If you’ve got some player, like a Kari Lehtonen or Tim Connolly, that is often injured and a question mark even after the return, I can see not wanting to be proactive. And waiting until Christmas or New Year’s Day to make a decision. But if what you’re telling me is … that Buffalo Sabre management/ownership makes its decisions in July for the season that will be ending in April of the following year, and resuming in October, they must have some kinda ‘Crystal Ball.’ Shaking my head. Don’t the Sabres want to save some money? Don’t they want to retain players?

For me, the whole deal is … if you draft a guy … and YOU LIKE ‘IM, you lock ‘im up. Early. Proactively. At a discount. Go long on the years, if you must. I felt terrible for Buffalo when I read that Edmonton was trying to poach Vanek. The Oilers’ offer was egregious. It turned out to be relatively okay, down the road. But had it not been for that RFA offersheet, would Thomas Vanek be a Sabre today? Vanek was drafted in 2003, if I recall correctly. He’d be hitting that UFA market pretty quickly, had he not been locked up, by a matched offer. When it comes to guys like Stafford and MacArthur Park, Buffalo’s got to show a little faith in their scouting department. And if they’re still unsure, wait until Christmas to make of the contract year. Then sign ‘im. By rule of law of averages, some of those proactive contracts will be a bust, as you say, WBF. (”We locked up the wrong guys.”) But it’s probably going to work out more times than it fails, if the scouting department and player development is working properly.

But to take a hardline stance like, “not negotiating during the season” is the first thing I’d change, if I were the owner of the Buffalo Sabres Hockey Club. That seems like a “no-brainer.” To fail to recognize the importance of continuity of roster and team chemistry, from a contractual standpoint, seems like a glaring error. Buffalo is hardly the only organization to go 30 or more years without a Cup, but this contract policy does help explain a few things. I’d always believed Buffalo struggled because it was a small market, trying to compete against the Detroits, Chicagos, Montreals, Bostons, Phillys, and New Jerseys of the league. If what I’m hearing is true, it’s more like … it’s its own INTERNAL MACHINATIONS that are the root cause of why the Sabres are Cupless in their history.

R. Stroz

August 7th, 2009
11:03 pm

WBF – I wouldn’t worry about the Marvin Williams(or as Hawks fans call him Duck Man)contract. Most of the money for that contract came from the savings on the Bibby contract.

Kovy’s contract money is probably still safe, but as far as the Thrashers adding more payroll, well, that may be out of the question now. Lets hope Kovy is happy with what the Thrashers already have on the roster as the likelihood of Malhotra, Pyatt, Zherdev, or Crazy Legs Max being signed just decreased.

The combined payroll of the Hawks and Thrashers hasn’t changed much over the last few years.

R. Stroz

August 7th, 2009
11:38 pm

WBF – Now, back to your original question, Which would you take?

A) Malhotra

B) Zherdev

C) Other – Other Player

D) Wait Till Next Season

I’ll give a flow chart type answer of sorts:

If the Thrashers aren’t Malhotra’s “sloppy seconds” choice combined with Kovy, Antro, and Hainsey saying nyet and no to Zherdev, take A.

If the Thrashers are Malhotra’s “sloppy seconds” choice combined with Kovy, Antro, and Hainsey saying yeah to Zherdev, take B.

If the Thrashers are Malhotra’s “sloppy seconds” choice combined with Kovy, Antro, and Hainsey saying nyet and no to Zherdev, take C. And with choice C, I’d make a run at Pyatt. The young man could use a change of scenary as his fiancee died in a car accident last season. Pyatt was not involved in the accident.

The next, and more difficult decision occurs if Malhotra wants to play in Atlanta combined with Kovy and company wanting Zherdev, as this decision is based on a risk/reward ratio. Malhotra is a known quantity; whereas, Zherdev, mainly due to age, is a wild card of infinite proportion. The only player on the Thrashers who has played with both is Hainsey.

If Kovy said I’m not re-signing with the Thrashers unless you bring Zherdev, bring in Zherdev, if affordable. If Kovy wants Zherdev, but isn’t demanding Zherdev, I’d seek Hainsey’s advice as the swing vote.

Then there is choice D. Do nothing, wait till next season when teams will be forced to dump salary due to a lower salary cap and poach the other teams players. However, no one knows what will be available.

Brendan – you should be proud of the length of this post.

(This post has been brought to you by Cliff Notes)

Sara

August 8th, 2009
12:20 am

If I polled every other Thrasher fan I know about which team had the crappiest fans – every last one is going to say Buffablow. No other team’s fans comes to this arena with as much attitude as they do. Does that mean all Buffalo fans are bad people – no. But they seem to have the greatest percentage of d-bags in their totality. Heck, all you have to do is read through this entire blog to see how many different people have said Buffalo fans are the worst and not because they are loud and vocal.

Not that that prevented me from flirting with the really cute Sabres fan in front of me in the concession line last time they played here. ;)

And I’ll second Alan on the whole “Red Wings discussion on the ajc blogs” thing. I’ve gotten “hollered at” on multiple occasions for bringing them up – nevermind it either a) was a statement that pertained to the current discussion at hand or b) was play-offs/off-season when talk tends to gravitate to what’s going on in general around the League. Nevermind I have never once done it in a way that was hateful toward the Thrashers. Heck, I even had Stroz wipe his nose on my Wings Championship shirt once. :p

I’ve never thought it was a big deal to have two teams that a person cheers for. You have love for something, and that doesn’t generally just go away. I’ve never had any problem giving my whole support to both the Wings and the Thrashers. I love it most when they play each other cause I get to spend the entire game happy – I cheer for every goal, every big save no matter who does it and all I hope is that each game goes to a shoot-out so both teams get at least a point and I get a little more hockey nirvana (though if god forbid they ever met in the finals I’d probably drink myself into a stupor). And I don’t have a problem with fans from other teams coming to Philips in support of their team cause I’ve done it as both a Thrasher fan and a Wings fan (not to mention if they want to contribute to Kovalchuk’s salary, that’s fine by me). But I don’t ever talk smack to the home fans and I don’t gloat. In fact, I’ve always gone out of my way to be complementary of their team, fans, and city. And that’s all I would ask of other fans in return.

Sara

August 8th, 2009
12:22 am

Oh, and the above post was brought to you by Little Caesar’s Pizza. :p

World Be Free

August 8th, 2009
9:03 am

Sara-I think the entire discussion has gone on too long. In addition, I am just not buying the crying from some of other bloggers. And it’s not because I look through the discussion with “Sabre-colored glasses”. I sent a few of the messages to my buddies in Buffalo and they just laughed. After years of dealing with opposing Canadian (Montreal/Toronto/Ottawa/Quebec City) fans in the Aud, we just learned to live with it. Add Dolphin and NY Jet fans in the Ralph. I just think the subject has bought on way too much drama.

The REAL problem with Sabre fans is that they makeup 50% of the fans that attend most Sabre-Thrasher games at Blueland. The numbers are just a lot greater than any other visiting team for our games. There are alot of us transplants that have gone over the wall and escaped western New York.

Finally, congratulations to Ralph C. Wilson Jr. for his 50 years of dedication to professional sports. He should have gone into the Pro Football HOF 15 years ago.

Brendan

August 8th, 2009
9:10 am

R.Stroz, yes I am proud of your lengthy post. Make ‘em all like that. I don’t know why this blog doesn’t like the talk about the Red Wings, but does seem inclined to discuss the Sabres. My guess is … Atlanta feels like it’s sort of in the same boat with Buffalo, as a smaller market team, just trying to its “fair shot” at winning a Cup. Whereas, perhaps, Detroit has every advantage, and the bloggers just wash their hands of talking about it.

Personally, I don’t mind talking about the Red Wings. They’re one of the most storied franchises in the league, and serve as an excellent blueprint for other teams and GM’s to follow. Sara once mentioned how “you just don’t question Ken Holland.” And I’d love for Atlanta to experience what that is like, one fine day. I’d love to have “total faith, unwaivering” in the way the Thrashers business is run. Needless to say, I don’t experience that. But I can appreciate what Ken Holland has done with the Red Wings. His decisions, overall, tend to be the correct ones. And, some things, like a player defecting to another league, are out of his hands. I try to avoid words like, “let or allow” a player to leave. When a player controls all the cards, it’s HIS OPTION where he plays.

UFA and even RFA status, to a certain extent, is one of those slippery slopes where, as fans, we get UPSET if things don’t go the way we’d like. I can remember when I was hopping mad that Kovalchuk’s agent, Jay Grossman, had DW by the short hairs. And I actually found myself, as a FAN, BLAMING Grossman for simply doing his job. That’s right. I got MAD at him for making a living! It’s HIS JOB to get the most money out of the Atlanta Thrashers that he can, for his commission and his client.

At some point, some blogger is going to pose the question, “Did we OVERPAY for Kovalchuk?” Assuming his re-signs with Atlanta. Allllright. It’s a fair question to ask. We’ve been debating whether or not is was RIGHT for the Sabres to rid themselves of Drury, Briere, Campbell and their ridiculous salaries. Would Atlanta be RIGHT to let Kovalchuk walk, if the UFA price paid by another team for him were $10-11 million? Orrrrrrrrrrrrr, was it RIGHT for Atlanta to pay WHATEVER THE PRICE was necessary to keep him, “for player retention/continuity of roster purposes.”

Discuss. :)

Brendan

August 8th, 2009
9:18 am

The Sabres-Thrashers games of the past, like the Maple Leaf-Thrashers games, have been some of the best in Atlanta’s brief existence in the league. I look forward to the Maple Leafs and Sabres at Philips Arena, maybe most of all. After that, I like the rivalries with the Capitals, Bolts, and ‘Canes. Panther games never particularly excited me. I can’t wait to see Ovechkin come, when the Capitals arrive. It’ll be interesting to see if they start Varlamov or J. Theodore.

I see Olaf Kolzig is still un-signed. If the Capitals do trade Theodore, I wonder if they’d bring back Ollie the goalie to be the backup?

Smitty

August 8th, 2009
9:20 am

If you wonder why Buffalo fans are so loyal all you have to do is look at Ralph Wilson. Unlike the first Cleveland Browns or the Baltimore Colts he has kept his team in one of the smallest markets in the NFL. The Falcons seem to be on the right track with Arthur Blank. As for the Sabres and Thrashers, their upper management and ownership must have gone to the same school.

World Be Free

August 8th, 2009
9:20 am

Stroz, I don’t know what to do. I have been both positive and negative about Malholtra. Positive, because I think he could help us more than any other available UFA. Negative because of the time it has taken him to decide or find a better situation. I am worried about commitment.

Commitment is what got the Thrashers to where they were the 2nd half of the season. If you take the 2nd half and double the effort into a full season, they would have been in the playoff hunt. They were fun to watch after January 1. So are we going to commit more to Malholtra than we have to Reasoner? IF what’s reported is accurate, then this would be the case. This is my issue with Malholtra. The players aren’t stupid. Successful teams reward their players and bring in character players who are equally committed.

Zherdev has burned bridges in 2 placed, Columbus and New York. The only reason teams are looking at him right now is based on pure talent. But who is going to bring this talent out, or get him to play 82 games + playoffs? That’s a big if that some team will probably gamble on, I just don’t know who. Can Kovy effectively kick him in the butt?

I am still a big Mike Grier fan. I have liked his game since he broke into the league. He’s Travis Moen from the right side; sorry to see Moen go to Montreal. You gotta have grit and toughness and MG has what it takes.

Brendan-you see the Sabres’ picture for what it is. We can look at Buffalo as the bad example of how to do it. Then look at Detroit as how you recognize your good players and lock them up long term. Wait and see doesn’t work in the NHL; the closer a player gets to UFA status, the more leverage they have to get the best deal out there. July 1 is the standard bearer date for overpaying guys and players like to be overpaid. Wouldn’t you want Brian Campbell’s contract? Nobody put a gun to Chicago’s head.

How 2nd class is Buffalo? Teppo Numienem was one of their leaders 2 years back. He gets into some health issues and the Sabres suspend him so they wouldn’t have to pay his salary. How low class is that? If you were a tier 1 or 2 UFA, would you want to go to a team like that? They deserve what they got with Vanek, left him out there so somebody could offer him an offer sheet. Now they are doing the same with Stafford. Just plain stupid.

Which is why I like what the Thrashers have done with guys like Toby. A good example of how you lock your young guys up for the future-it’s called commitment. You ask it of the players, why not management?

Brendan

August 8th, 2009
9:34 am

Generally-speaking, the worst fans I’ve run into were Flyers fans. But, I’ll say in total fairness, that I know several Flyers fans, personally, and they are the very knowledgeable, “die-hard” types, who conduct themselves at least “adequately.” Next up, Ranger fans!

Honestly, I sat in a row with a guy who reminded everyone around him that, “I’m from New York City” twenty-two (22) times during the event. As if “being from New York City” made him smarter or more distinguished than those around him. And before you say, “Well, after six beers, whattaya expect?” This guys didn’t have a “sip” of booze all night. No slurred speech. No glassy-eyed stares. He was just his own P.R. machine that night. I felt horrible for the woman with him that night, who mostly just wanted to crawl under a rock, God Bless her. It might have been a “blind date.” From HELLLLL. We also call those, “set ups.” In every sense of the word. Buffalo fans? Well, they love their Sabres. Live and die with them. Perhaps they do cross the line every now and again. I haven’t run into the lot of Sabre fans you guys have; I’m sure they’re out there.

The single most annoying night I ever had at Philips Arena was with a fan of the Dallas Stars, sitting one row behind me. Nursing a beer from the 1st period, he managed slurrr “Go Stars!” 150 times. It sounded like, “Schtars.” I seriously wanted to switch seats. People commented, “Somebody get a usher.” But, what had the guy seriously done wrong? He didn’t throw anything. He didn’t hit anyone. He didn’t use foul language around children. He wasn’t even screaming loudly. All he did … was manage to be the single most annoying person at Philips Arena that night. That’s not against any rules or laws.

Brendan

August 8th, 2009
9:48 am

WBF, I posted about Brian Campbell and overpaid salaries in an earlier post this morning, but it got gobbled up by SPAM filters, I guess. But basically, I ask which is worse, “losing the player” or “overpaying for him?” And then I asked, “Will people say Atlanta OVERPAID for Kovalchuk,” if he re-signed here? And, as a follow up, I asked, “If some other team paid $10-$11 million for Kovy, would you sit there and say, ‘he’s not worth that kind of money, Atlanta was RIGHT to let him walk.’”

What the heck, I’ll even throw this out there for discussion. If Kovy gets $11 million from a DIFFERENT TEAM, out there on the open market, on July 1, 2010, and Atlanta takes the $11 million it ‘earmarked’ for Kovalchuk and lands three UFA players, each paid $3.5 million, each good for scoring between 27-32 goals a season, would you say Atlanta was wise. In that example, Atlanta fielded an entire line … for the cost of one (1) player. And that line produced 81-90 goals, which will certainly be more than Kovalchuk’s 2010-11 production, barring something phenomenal. Would the argument then become how much more Depth and Balance Atlanta now had? Or, would the discussion be about “how much further back the Thrashers organization stepped … by losing Kovalchuk?” Or … about how losing Kovalchuk is the supposed death knell for the franchise? Sometimes, perhaps, it makes SENSE to overpay a player, to keep the momentum of what you’re trying to achive … on the right path. In the case of Kovalchuk, perhaps his presence will be what helps to attract other Tier I players to the Atlanta market.

Trixie (Rawhide's Secretary)

August 8th, 2009
10:03 am

Mr. Brendan, your 9:10 am post has been freed from Blog Purgatory.

Everyone, I must say…almost 200 comments on a blog entry in early August is very impressive. Nicely done everyone!

Keep the discussion going one this new blog entry.

Consider this your official Ranallo Warning!

R. Stroz

August 8th, 2009
10:27 am

R. Stroz

August 8th, 2009
10:27 am