Can Mark Pop A Surprise?

As the Thrashers players took to the ice at the Duluth Ice forum Sunday, one player that I had my eye on was former Atlanta defenseman Mark Popovic. Recently, the 6’-1”, 210 pound native of Stoney Creek, Ontario was invited back to tryout for a spot on the Thrashers blueline.

When we last saw Pops play at the NHL level, it was during that dreadful 2007-08 season in which Atlanta’s defensive corps  finished last in GA/A, (3.24), last in SA/G, (33.9) and fourth to last in killing penalties, (78.8%). I think we can all agree that was an era of Thrashers history that we all just wish could be ripped out of the hockey record books, shredded, burned and the ashes sent adrift down the river of forgetfulness and sent over It Never Happened Falls.

However, even though the Thrashers finished with a record of 34-40-8 that year, when Mark was skating on the blueline Atlanta played to a slightly better record of 15-15-3.

The 33 starts made by Popovic that year were the most games he played in Atlanta and he accounted for a pair of assists and 10 penalty minutes to go with his –4 rating. He appeared in 3 games in the year following the lockout and 7 the year after that. He also played one game with Anaheim in 2003-04 season.

So, if the 07-08 campaign is the only real year to make a judgment on his abilities, certainly that would qualify the man for a Mulligan, wouldn’t you say?

He played for two years with the John Anderson-coached Chicago Wolves where he played in 138 games scoring 28 goals and 50 assists in Anderson’s system and racking up 117 PIM. During 15 playoff games in 2007 he netted 3 goals and 9 overall points.

Will Mark Popovic earn a spot in the Thrashers' lineup?

  • Yes! He's good enough to play here. (26%, 15 Votes)
  • No! He's Chicago-bound. (37%, 21 Votes)
  • feh...He's got as good of a chance as the rest. (37%, 21 Votes)

Total Voters: 57

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Last year he played with the KHL’s St. Petersburg SKA where he accounted for 8 goals and 14 assists with 40 penalty minutes during 52 regular season games…no points and a single minor penalty in 3 playoff games.

Now, he’s back on the Thrashers’ practice ice and is looking to land a roll within the organization. If nothing else, Pops adds another level of depth for this defensive corps…one in which the term “depth” has more times than not been defined as “how deep in a hole its play can land the team in the standings”.

But this year is a bit different. With the acquisition of Pavel Kubina, the top two pairings of Hainsey-Kubina & Enstrom Bogosian are as solid as we’ve seen in these parts. Then there is Oystrick, Valabik and Salmela that could have easily made up the three D-men left to ice a third pairing and provide adequate patronage of the buffet spread up in the press box.

The team had also brought in Noah Welch earlier in the summer and had the likes of Arturs Kulda and Grant Lewis in the system as well. But you add in a player like Popovic to the mix…and now you’ve got yourself an all-out contest to see who can rise to the top of heap.

This is a good thing, my friends.

Another thing to consider here is, as discussed above, John Anderson is familiar with this player given their days in Chicago. Plus, the team has obviously seen something in his play that impressed them enough to give him a chance to play up here previously.

Personally, I think Popovic has a better than even chance of making the team when the season opens on October 3…rounding out the bottom 3 defenders that would consist of he, Oystrick and Valabik. Even if he doesn’t, he should be around to provide that certain level of depth that we just aren’t akin to in these parts.

So with that, I’ll open up the floor for discussion with the question… “Can Mark pop a surprise by making this squad”?

168 comments Add your comment

Sara

September 14th, 2009
7:06 am

I think the 6th and 7th D spots are pretty wide open for competition this year. I mean, every year they always talk about how the best players will get the spots but frankly we all know who’s going to get it. Even this year with the forward lines, they appear set (though I personally think there ought to be at least a real competition for that 4th line RW spot held by Thorburn but that perhaps is for another discussion).

I think we have to assume Boris will make the squad. His development goes nowhere really if he doesn’t. I’d say Salmela, Oystrick, and Popovic are the top three in the running for the last two spots. I’d prefer to see Oystrick get one of those spots. He had some rookie hiccups but overall he was a steady defensive defenseman who would occasionally play the body. Beyond that, I have no real preference between Salmela and Pops over who gets the last spot. They have both shown solid play over short spans and I don’t think the team would go wrong with either choice.

LAC

September 14th, 2009
7:51 am

Bill, Keys this season more than anything… WIN on HOME ICE, be tough to play against here and take as many points as possible.

Second, Cut down GA. If we could somehow be in the 210-225 range
we WOULD make the playoffs.

Our problem allowing more goals than most other teams in the NHL has been THE major problem since the team started.

Kubina helps, but he is not a shutdown defensman by no means.

Goalies, Leth’s better step up and make a name for himself this year period. If not he’s gone, I would not be upset to see Pav’s get the job,
the goaltender issues must be cleared up and a TRUE #1 goalie emerge to win those 2-1, 3-2 games on nights we don’t play our best.

Without that and at least one more proven NHL scorer, it does not look that promising.

ben

September 14th, 2009
9:02 am

Mr. Tiller I awoke to the news that Kovy wishes to resign, that Popivic may return, and that Letimin’s job is in doubt. Sir I am going to have good day as I study for my test today! I liked Poppy’s defense. If all are healthy, this team will make the playoffs.

Rawhide

September 14th, 2009
9:18 am

I’d also like to add this morning that it was very nice to have seen so many of you again yesterday, as well as some of you for the first time. Always good to spend quaility time with Eileen and her daughter…C-Viv, Falconer, Sara, Aaron, JLH, DWTOO, Puckwench, Gretchelby, Zoomo as well as Daculafan of “FanThrashtic” & his two sons… as well as a couple of “lurkers”.

A special shout out and thank you, however, goes to Goose…who presented be with a Randy Cunneyworth hockey card from about 1990 as a member of the Winnipeg Jets. Very nice of you, Goose!

Zoomo

September 14th, 2009
9:24 am

If Pops is better now than he was 2 years ago, I’d say he sticks. If not, I’d evaluate the 2008 Pops slighlty below Oystrick. I thought Salmela show some nice offensive prowess in Anderson’s system and I”d like to see him in 3rd pairing to start the season.

I think it”ll be a battle of Oystrick and Pops for the last spot with Boris and Salmela sticking. Although I’d have to think we’ll see the 3rd pair as a three man rotation – Boris, Salmela & Pops or Oystrick.

GaVaHokie

September 14th, 2009
10:00 am

I like Pops, but I’m not feelin’ he is the camp “upset special”… of course, i was wrong about Oystrick last summer.

Brendan… to answer your Zherdev comment from the previous blog… with Armstrong, Pevs, and Little needing new contracts, plus either resigning or replacing Kubina. I don’t see how we’re going to give Zherdev $5-7 million to stay if he has a successful year.

Again, just my opinion.

That’s why I want to give him a multi-year deal right NOW… you’ll never get him this cheap after a stellar season… match Antropov’s contract. If you’re gonna sign him, make it worth the while.

GaVaHokie

September 14th, 2009
10:04 am

Oh, and I’d rather resign Kozlov than resign Zherdev if that’s the option…IMHO.

Smoothie

September 14th, 2009
10:05 am

Rawhide – great write-up on Popo and I love the line about what “depth” has meant to the Thrashers in past years…you clever devil. You forgot to mention what an animal Popovic has become in his training…he is a beast as a result of a new workout regimen…check out this link and scroll down for some pics of Mark training: http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.defrancostraining.com/ask_joe/images/pics/week63-popovic.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.defrancostraining.com/ask_joe/archives/ask_joe_06-05-26.htm&h=247&w=347&sz=17&tbnid=_0TmSD4y4MXG-M:&tbnh=85&tbnw=120&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dmark%2Bpopovic&usg=__mLh5pG1ktVG0BZ0zMCTyGP1iZSY=&ei=mEuuSqrxFoaMtgfs67CfCA&sa=X&oi=image_result&resnum=5&ct=image

I think it will be very difficult to deny Salmela…the guy is as tough as nails and he moves the puck almost as well as Bogey when he gets up a head of steam. But if anyone questions his toughness, check out the video of him fighting with David Backes at the Worlds. Yes, he may get popped pretty good to the point of being bloody but he does not give up at all, he just keeps coming: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqNRsOWx5mA&feature=related (go to 23 second mark)

I think Popo will end up back in Chi-town, but that’s not a bad thing at all as he’ll probably end up being the first call-up in the event of an injury. Then Kulda and then Welch in my humble estimation.

Smoothie

September 14th, 2009
10:16 am

GVH, we need to give $3.5 M per season to Bryan Little before he blows up with 40 goals this season. Why we haven’t locked him up before his price-tag skyrockets is beyond me! To hell with Zherdev. We don’t need him if Little keeps improving, Slava can stay healthy, Army and Reasy click chemsitry wise and Antropov bangs home 35 goals playing with Kovy.

Rawhide

September 14th, 2009
10:23 am

The NHL network will televise 10 preseason games in the US…starting tonight when the NY Islanders play in Vancouver…giving us a chance to check out John Taveres in his first bit of action. Game starts at 10:30.

Unfortunatley, however… no Thrashers games are on the list of matchups that will aired.

Smoothie

September 14th, 2009
10:39 am

Jameson

September 14th, 2009
11:47 am

Looks like I’ll officially be at the game tomorrow afternoon. Didn’t get tickets in time for the game tonight, but if I’m only going to one, at least I get to help fill out the stands tomorrow.

docsbro

September 14th, 2009
11:54 am

I am sure you guys saw this article from last week. But it was just a reminder to me why I boo this POS every time he comes to town.

http://www.cbssports.com/nhl/story/12196206

GaVaHokie

September 14th, 2009
12:15 pm

To hell with Zherdev. We don’t need him if Little keeps improving, Slava can stay healthy, Army and Reasy click chemsitry wise and Antropov bangs home 35 goals playing with Kovy.

Agreed… in fact, I completely agree with how Waddell is handling the situation… getting camp started, evaluating where you are as a team depth-wise, and then decide if you need Zherdev.

If he gets signed by Edmonton in the meantime, so be it.

I love that Kane is playing with Reasoner and Colby in camp.

I’d also like to see Anderson flip-flop Antropov and Little at C and RW a few times during camp.

Barry

September 14th, 2009
12:27 pm

Well as the old saying goes “may the best man win”. Those last 3 defenseman spots sure are going to be a tough decision. After Salmela got comfortable after being traded I thought he looked pretty good. He wasn’t shy to be physical, had pretty good skating and puck handling abilities. I’m also a big Oystrick fan and when he was allowed to play seemed to play a very solid and consistent defense. He didn’t make me yell at the TV like XLB did at times. Boris was kinda inconsistent. One game he would play great and another game would make bone head mistakes or take dump penalties. Perhaps after having played a full NHL season he can come back this season and be smarter and have a better sense on how to apply himself correctly and not cross that line.

Smoothie

September 14th, 2009
12:38 pm

“I’d also like to see Anderson flip-flop Antropov and Little at C and RW a few times during camp.”

Indeed! I hope JA will realize that may end up being a better iteration of that line combo. However, looking at the lines, it looks as though JA is trying to spread the face-off guys so that there are 2 on each line: Antro / Little; White / Pevs; Reasy / Kane; Slates / Thorby. This way at least, if someone gets booted, we’ll have a decent face-off guy to take his place. However, I still think for this reason Peverley makes more sense on the top line to complement Antro who is quite ineffective by NHL standards. And then you would have Little backing up White in the face-off circle.

World Be Free

September 14th, 2009
12:47 pm

It’s great to have competition in camp, on a team that is looking to really move up this season. I would really like to see Salmela make the team, even over Pops.

I believe Florida made a good signing in Seidenberg. He played well last year and has always been unrated in my book. Toss in Jordan Lepold and they have a pretty good defensive unit.

I also don’t think Florida is going to miss Bouwmeester as much as everything thinks they are. At least they won’t have to deal with the distraction that was Bouwmeester last season.

Glovesave29

September 14th, 2009
1:28 pm

I know I am a broken record here, but Boris needs to be converted to a forward. No one who skate like he does should play D in todays more wide open NHL. He would have been fine in the pre-lockout days when one could clutch, grab, can-opener and cross check all day long. Try to make him a winger where he can use his size and shot from the half wall and deep corners.

I personally WANT Zheredev here as Slava is getting older and is most likely playing his final NHL season. We’ve seen what can happen here once you buy into the system. Lets have Nikolai here to learn this season, then he’s GTG for next season with one campaign under his belt.

Anssi is a tough call. He showed flashes last season and certainly has some offensive flair from the back line. He has good hands. HOWEVER, he too, is blessed with the same skating ability as Boris. Once he has the puck, he stops moving his feet and coasted around in the zone. I remember watching a game last season with some team mates of mine after our game was done, we all thought he was playing at a speed far below those around him. We don’t know if he was at 100%…but I beleive in Lou Lamoriello much more than I do DW, so if he’s willing to part with the guy, they obviously found some fault in his game.

Midfield

September 14th, 2009
1:29 pm

I find it curious when posters jump into conclusions on Zherdev situation, particularly creating the artificial choice Zherdev vs Kane. I won’t speculate whether Kane is ready to play a full NHL season, because I don’t know if he is capable. If somebody here thinks that they do, I’m sure they’re doing much better job with the stock market than our treasury secretary. And another thing: if Kovy wants Zherdev, while ASG and Waddell aren’t sure, I say, to hell with ASG and Waddell.

Thrashers27

September 14th, 2009
1:56 pm

The following is an e-mail sent to me by a co-worker that just about gave me a heart attack. What an A-hole!…once you digest the info it’s clear that it’s a hoax, but at first glance I about keeled over.

Thought everyone here might get a kick out of this as well.
*********
Kovalchuk happy to land in Chicago
Monday, 09.14.2009 / 6:13 PM / 2009 NHL Offseason News

By Brian Hunter – NHL.com Staff Writer

Intriguing mix for ‘Hawks

With the trade of Ilya Kovalchuk, the Chicago Blackhawks added an intriguing player to the mix as they come off their first playoff season in over a decade. Kovalchuk, acquired Monday for forward Dustin Byfuglien, LW Kris Versteeg and two 2nd round draft picks in next years draft, joins newly acquired Marian Hossa on a super-charged Blackhawks 2009-10 squad.

“I think it’s a better team. I think we’ll be a harder working team,” Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman said. ” I’m hoping that when we look at the whole mix, with Kovi coming here and these two players we gave up, that we will make it up in other ways.”

The 6’3” Byfulien has career totals of 38 goals and 75 points in 178 regular-season games and posted 3 goals and 9 points in 17 postseason games.

Versteeg totaled 22 goals and 53 points in 78 regular-season games.

Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman made it clear that while he was ecsatic to acquire Kovalchuk, the Thrashers got significant value in return.

“We let two players of high character go the other way, but you have to give to get,” Bowman said. “We gave up two very good hockey players in Dustin and Kris.”

Smoothie

September 14th, 2009
2:05 pm

Midfield, all of the fanatical support of Zherdev is just as speculative as the assessment of Kane’s potential by those who are more inclined to trust the coaches on this decision. The one difference here is Kane’s well-documented coachability in addition to his work habits and determination.

There is no doubt Zherdev could join this team and score 25 – 40 goals, but our Top 6 is pretty much set. Even if Kozlov and White fall off a bit, we still have the potential for 1 50 goal scorer, 1 40 goal scorer in Little, and 4 other 20-25 goal scorers. But beyond that is the fact that Kane can more easily fit into the 3rd line LW role without disrupting the team chemistry.

If 29 other teams have passed on him due to his attitude, then why do so many people think he’d be perfect in Atlanta where attitude has been a problem as recently as last season (see Williams, Christensen etc)? It’s one thing if you’re crybaby Heatley and you have 2 50 goal seasons on your resume, but Zherdev has a lot to learn before he can be considered an elite player.

And for what its worth, I think I’d actually trust Don Waddell more than our current Treasury Secretary, but I digress…apologies.

Midfield

September 14th, 2009
2:28 pm

Smoothie, trying to emphasize a point by using modifiers like “fanatical support” and “well-documented coachability” – which is but a subjective assessment of a very young career at this junction – does not make it more sound, not to me anyway. You may trust Waddell over the treasury secretary, but I trust Kovy over the treasury secretary, Waddell and ASG.

R. Stroz

September 14th, 2009
2:28 pm

And for what its worth, I think I’d actually trust Don Waddell more than our current Treasury Secretary, but I digress…apologies.

Smootie – Actually I trust Larry Summers, the Director of the White House’s National Economic Council, even less. Summers was the idiot that advocated removing the Glass Steagall Act in the 1990’s. However, Congress went along and passed the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act which reversed the provisions of the Glass Steagall Act that prohibit a bank holding company from owning other financial companies. And hence, both sides of the aisle share guilt.

Now, back to Zherdev. There is no reason the team can’t accomodate BOTH Zherdev and Kane. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an insurance policy if Slava and White have off years again? Depth at the top six forward positions, that would be a first for the Thrashers.

I would actually roll four lines, put Kane on the fourth line, give the fourth line more ice time, and put Thorburn in the press box. That way, Kane could learn the marathon of a 82 game season, without the responsibility of having to shut down the other team’s top line, which is what the third line is suppossed to do.

But that’s just my opinion. We are so used to mediocrity as Thrasher fans that depth is a five letter word.

R. Stroz

September 14th, 2009
2:33 pm

if Kovy wants Zherdev, while ASG and Waddell aren’t sure, I say, to hell with ASG and Waddell.

Midfield – Agreed

World Be Free

September 14th, 2009
2:45 pm

I said it before, I am not even sure Kovy wants Zherdev here. Players know about other players and Kovy probably knows Z is a slacker on defense. This team came along last year due to hustle and hard work. The team leader knows we don’t need a slacker on the squad.

And I think that if management thinks they can get him, they’ll spend the money if only for one year. I’d hate to count out Slava, after the season he had last year.

Kessell-I am not in favor of Phil Kessel. Kessel benefits from playing along side one of the best playmakers in the league-Mark Savard. I doubt he will equal is Boston numbers with whoever he plays with this coming season.

DWTOO

September 14th, 2009
2:53 pm

Glovesave – I was thinking the same thing regarding Slava………and then I read were he nailed the VO2 test – which measures aerobic capacity. Highest on the team. Perhaps The Professor still has a few years left.

Sara

September 14th, 2009
2:54 pm

Smoothie – who says 29 other teams passed on him because of his attitude? You can speculate that, of course, but given how many teams are out of cap space, it’s quite possible there are other reasons why some teams chose not to pursue him.

Brendan

September 14th, 2009
2:58 pm

Well, if the team is going to sign Zherdev, then I support Hokie’s assertion that you sign him on a multi-year deal, at a discount. If any “discounts” are being offered. The advantage of the 1-year deal is … it won’t impact next year’s cap, if Zherdev turns into an unsightly, oozing cancre sore that no band-aid can contain.

To me, personally, I’m not in love in Zherdev. I see danger signs. And I see “up signs.” But, to me, the overriding thing would be if Kovy wants him. If that’s the case, (and it hasn’t been confirmed, only suspected,) then I support the Zherdev acquisition. As far as figures go, here’s what I’ve gleaned. Zherdev wanted roughly $4.5 million from the Rangers. They went to arbitration. The Arbitrator rendered a decision of $3.9 million. R.Stroz informed me that the Rangers declined $3.25 million, to try to re-acquire the player. There’s been speculation about Edmonton. If I were Zherdev, my only interest in Edmonton would be to get that $3.9 or more million. Edmonton is a market that has to overpay. Just like Atlanta. But if Zherdev could be had for $3.3 million, or LESS, I’d say that’s an easy decision to make. Of course, WHAT SAYS Zherdev would EVER, EVER agree to that? We’re not a market that draws skilled free agents. The one and only advantage we’d have … is if Kovy really wants him and Zherdev is doing it at Kovy’s urging. Which, again, we don’t know to be confirmed.

If the Slava Kozlov decision were entirely mine, this would be his FINAL YEAR as a Thrasher, unless he’d agree to a discounted contract, and he would be SUBJECT TO TRADE, when and if I wanted to trade him. If any part of that isn’t there, (the discount, tradeability, etc.) then he doesn’t get re-signed here. He’s pushing 40.

Now, as for $6 million for Zherdev, he’d have to have a Crosby-like season to generate this kind of salary. Allegedly, supposedly, the cap is supposed to SHRINK next year. If that’s so, the GM’s aren’t going to open their wallets for $6 million-a-year players unless the proven track record is there. Zherdev is an impressive player, but he brings “baggage.” Would a GM, any GM, really offer him 4-5 years at $6.0 million per each? I have my doubts. To me, Zherdev is easily worth $3.0 million. Maybe he’s worth $3.5 million. $3.5 million is about what we’ll have to pay Bryan Little’s RFA contract, if Derick Brassards new 4-year deal, at $3.25 million cap hit, is any indication. Personally, I’d offer Bryan Little 8-years/$32 million, and hope he takes it. That’d be a cap hit of $4.0 million. That’s substantively overpaying in the early years of the deal, but drastically underpaying him during those UFA years, which he would be FOREGOING if he made this deal. That’s the point of a PROACTIVE contract. It’s to economize a bit on a player that you don’t want to risk to an RFA offersheet, down the road. In 2010-11, (that’s NEXT SEASON, NOT THIS ONE,) if I could add Kane at $3.1 million and Zherdev, at $3.3 million, plus Little’s $4.0 million, I’d say we’d have some quality depth, to keep Kovalchuk “happy” for re-signing with Atlanta. And my guess is, we’d still be under the “shrinking” cap, even with Kovalchuk’s big, fat new deal. We may not have Kari Lehtonen moving forward. It might be Pavelec, who won’t cost much ($1.5 million) until he establishes himself as something special. Kubina is almost certainly gone. But couldn’t he be replaced by something within the system? For LESS THAN $5.0 million? And if not, couldn’t something be found “comparable” to Kubina on the UFA market for $3.5 to $4.1 million? I keep hearing “good things” about Grant Lewis, Chad Denny, Nathan Oystrick, Zach Redmond, etc. Can we develop them into Top Two pairing blueliners? If so, that saves a bundle of cash.

In every sense, Zherdev is the OUTSIDER. And anytime you bring in someone from the outside, you’ve got to teach him what “Thrashers Hockey” is/means. It also means you’ve potentially blocked the ascendency of some prospect. Is Zherdev blocking someone, SPECIFICALLY, by name, in Chicago, who otherwise would have been ‘earmarked’ for the Top Six forwards in the 2010-11 season? If not, then Zherdev doesn’t seem like that bad of a move.

Midfield

September 14th, 2009
3:18 pm

On second thought, I would just add that, if in fact DW and/or ASG decided to put a stop on Zherdev negotiations, I would grudgingly accept this given sudden contingency need for some goaltending signing. At this point, the goal seems to be the biggest headache for the Thrashers.

GaVaHokie

September 14th, 2009
3:23 pm

would actually roll four lines, put Kane on the fourth line, give the fourth line more ice time, and put Thorburn in the press box

You’d have to take away ice time from the top two lines to do that… give Kovalchuk/Antro/Little only 18 minutes a game? No way.

Smoothie

September 14th, 2009
3:24 pm

Okay Sara, make it 23 teams then. The point was that if his talent was so overwhelming that you could overlook his shortcomings, then most of the GM’s probably would have made a move to get him. But not at his inflated price-tage of $3.9 M. The guy hasn’t even cracked 30 goals yet and he thinks he’s worth $4 M…sure thing! One last thing, if Kovy really does want Z as bad as many of you do, I think he’d be at training camp by now. But DWad doesn’t seem that desperate yet and it seems the dialogue surrounding his contract negotiations have been very positive to say the least.

Midfield – sorry to have used some adjectives in expressing my opinion…I’ll try to be more boring the next time.

GaVaHokie

September 14th, 2009
3:25 pm

Glovesave – I was thinking the same thing regarding Slava………and then I read were he nailed the VO2 test – which measures aerobic capacity. Highest on the team. Perhaps The Professor still has a few years left.

Exactly the point I was going to make… I’d give Kozlov a 3 year extension tomorrow if I could.

Smoothie

September 14th, 2009
3:29 pm

Stroz, bank de-regulation has not been one of the sparkling achievements of Congress in the last 15 years. Seemed like a bad idea when we were arguing its merits in business school and it has not turned out very well. Guess we didn’t learn much from the S&L crisis of the early 80s!! At least Don Waddell seems to have learned a bit from his past mistakes. Let’s hope his moves work better than the Community Reinvestment Act of 1979…ooops, there I go again. Sorry Rawhide, I’ll knock it off before Trixie slaps my wrists with a ruler!!

Brendan

September 14th, 2009
3:30 pm

Yes, but no matter how IN SHAPE a person might be, there’s just no denying that Kozlov has reached the age where he is particularly vulnerable to (injury.) (God forbid, and I didn’t say that. Which is why it’s housed within parentheses. I never said the “i” word.) I like Slava Kozlov. Truly, I do. I love him in shootouts, especially. But as I gaze at that calendar, I don’t think that’s the direction we need to be going. And Kozlov CANNOT get another “no trade clause” if he is re-signed.

R. Stroz

September 14th, 2009
3:30 pm

Rawhide – I have a poll for you to run by the AJC sports department:

Who has been the worst joke of an athlete in Atlanta sports?

1) Mike Hampton

2) Kari Lehtonen

3) Speedy Claxton

R. Stroz

September 14th, 2009
3:33 pm

Smoothie – You procured a good laugh on that one.

GaVaHokie

September 14th, 2009
3:34 pm

I find it curious when posters jump into conclusions on Zherdev situation, particularly creating the artificial choice Zherdev vs Kane.

I don’t think it’s artificial at all… I believe Waddell somewhat eluded to it himself in the Kamal interview.

At the 2:35 mark…

http://thrashers.nhl.tv/team/console.jsp?catid=656&id=46256

Smoothie

September 14th, 2009
3:35 pm

Midfield makes a very salient point: goaltending will be a much bigger issue than anything else this early season. If someone doesn’t rise to the occasion, all of our moves will be for naught and the season-ending improvement we witnessed last spring will become a distant memory by the end of October’s road trip.

lee

September 14th, 2009
3:36 pm

r stroz-hmmm, prob mike hampton, but thats hard.

-yes, i guess poppy could make the lineup, but i would really want to watch his prospect games first, i dont think he will be amazing, but perfect if one of our guys r out.

Rawhide

September 14th, 2009
3:39 pm

Thrashers27 – I think I’d have had a heartattack had that been dropped into my inbox!

RStroz – 4) Jeff George

Brendan

September 14th, 2009
3:39 pm

Rawhide, my apologies. This blog topic is Mark Popovic and it’s a good one. I vered off a little. I like Mark Popovic. I certainly don’t think Pops was the problem in 2008. To me, he is an “NHL-ready” defenseman. I’ve always liked him. I hope he wins a spot. I also like Nathan Oystrick quite a bit. I’m not entirely sold on Anssi Salmela, however. But that’s not to say he isn’t a good defenseman and wouldn’t flourish here. My Top Six are: Bogosian, Enstrom, Hainsey, Kubina, Valabik and Oystrick. In the pressbox: Mark Popovic or Anssi Salmela. As always, I defer to John Anderson and his staff to decide what is best. I still “trust” them.

(Is this John Anderson’s last year of his contract? Uhh, forget I said anything. I don’t want to discuss this topic unless things start going BADLY. Per Forbes magazine, Waddell’s contract expires in the offseason of 2010. But I’m not talking now since I’m in parenthesis.)

Smoothie

September 14th, 2009
3:40 pm

Don’t worry about Slava! He knows wine like he knows shootout moves! And all that wine consumption and clean-living will pay off this year as he and Peverley will torment goalies up and down the east coast.

Rawhide

September 14th, 2009
3:42 pm

Brendan – No apologies necessary, professor. I simply set the table for discussion with the invitation to all to bring your side dishes which add to the conversational bounty.

Brendan

September 14th, 2009
3:42 pm

R.Stroz: Speedy Claxton.

GaVaHokie

September 14th, 2009
3:44 pm

I personally WANT Zheredev here as Slava is getting older and is most likely playing his final NHL season.

No way is this Kozlov’s last NHL season… he can, and probably will (easily) play to age 42 if he wants to… I think he would emotionally check out, far before he physically checks out.

Gary Roberts is arguably the only guy who keeps himself in as good of shape as Kozlov.

Brendan

September 14th, 2009
3:45 pm

The discussions have been rather good today. Lots of variety of opinion out there, in Thrasherville. And there’s a lot of positive vibes headed into this season, if contest votes are any indication. At this point, more contestants feel the Thrashers are a playoff team than don’t.

Smoothie

September 14th, 2009
3:45 pm

Oooo Stroz, that’s mean. At least Karrpa has played ONE entire season for his team.

Rawhide – Jeff George did become quite the parody of a NFL QB, didn’t he? I’ll never forget Cornelius Bennet’s first game in Buffalo when he steamrolled George (as a Colt) into the Rich Stadium carpet…ahhh, good times.

GaVaHokie

September 14th, 2009
3:45 pm

Stroz… Peerless Price

Brendan

September 14th, 2009
3:46 pm

Hokie, let’s not forget Chris Chelios, Mark Recchi, Doug Weight, Bill Guerin. Keith Tkachuk. Some guys can do it. Even in their 40’s. I like Slava. I think he could play very successfully outside of Atlanta, in the future. And that’s what I hope he does.

Brendan

September 14th, 2009
3:47 pm

I second Hokie’s vote of Peerless Price. But to me, the biggest “dud” in Atlanta Sports is Bruce Levenson.

World Be Free

September 14th, 2009
3:47 pm

Dan Kolb the “All Star” closer has to be in there too.
Zhitnik, just cause he’s Zhitnik-not even adding what we gave up to get him.

GaVaHokie

September 14th, 2009
3:49 pm

Stroz… hmmm, or even Ed Hartwell.

Rawhide

September 14th, 2009
3:50 pm

Sorry Rawhide, I’ll knock it off before Trixie slaps my wrists with a ruler!!

Smoothie – You ain’t kiddin’…believe you me, that Trixie is quite talented wielding a ruler in a disciplinary fashion.

GaVaHokie

September 14th, 2009
3:52 pm

Hokie, let’s not forget Chris Chelios, Mark Recchi, Doug Weight, Bill Guerin. Keith Tkachuk. Some guys can do it. Even in their 40’s.

I didn’t forget… those are exactly the guys I was thinking of… I think Slava can keep himself in better shape then those guys… add Messier and Mellanby as well.

Smoothie

September 14th, 2009
3:53 pm

GVH, bingo!! He didn’t have the injuries to use as an excuse…he just plain sucked for us.

GaVaHokie

September 14th, 2009
3:53 pm

I’m not even sure I’d put Lehtonen in the running over a guy like Damian Rhodes and Patty Stefan.

World Be Free

September 14th, 2009
3:57 pm

Aadd Nick Esasky, though it wasn’t his fault

Thrashers27

September 14th, 2009
4:07 pm

Sweet! Just got tomorrow off and bought tix for the prospects game! Finally, some hockey! Maybe the withdrawal symptoms will stop now.

Smoothie

September 14th, 2009
4:11 pm

Speaking of injury / busts, don’t forget Steve Rucchin…poor guy. Never saw it coming. I think it was the same game in which XLB popped three guys in one consecutive sequence at the blueline…awesome.

GaVaHokie

September 14th, 2009
4:15 pm

GVH, bingo!! He didn’t have the injuries to use as an excuse…he just plain sucked for us.

Sorry, which person are you agreeing with? :)

GaVaHokie

September 14th, 2009
4:17 pm

Speaking of injury / busts, don’t forget Steve Rucchin…poor guy. Never saw it coming. I think it was the same game in which XLB popped three guys in one consecutive sequence at the blueline…awesome.

I thought he was injured in practice by Andy Sutton kicking him with a skate, or a collision of some sort.

GaVaHokie

September 14th, 2009
4:18 pm

Sweet! Just got tomorrow off and bought tix for the prospects game! Finally, some hockey! Maybe the withdrawal symptoms will stop now.

I would have done the same thing, but I just took all of last week off. :(

Smoothie

September 14th, 2009
4:25 pm

Sorry, was talking about Peerless (hardly) Price!! I’m pretty sure Rucchin was laid out like Jeff George in Edmonton on the ‘06 winter road trip debacle.

Sara

September 14th, 2009
4:25 pm

Smoothie – actually it’s more like 11 teams…that’s how many have more than $4M of cap space left, therefore even room to sign a guy like Zherdev. Plus you can toss out a team like Phoenix – heck is anyone even answering phones over there anymore? LA Kings maybe could have thought about it but I think Lombardi’s already got “Kovalchuk” written all over his $9.4M of cap space (hope he wrote it in pencil *snicker snicker*).

My point is, I think you are over-exaggerating his character flaws. If that were as anathema compared to talent as you think, Heatley would still be a Senator.

GaVaHokie

September 14th, 2009
4:36 pm

So, on the Hossa and Heatley trade comparison…

Esposito, Armstrong, O’Dell and Leveille

vs.

Michalek, Cheechoo and a TBD 2nd Round pick.

Brendan

September 14th, 2009
4:44 pm

It’s a comparison between proven players vs. prospects, with the except of Colby Armstrong. Unless one removes O’Dell and substitutes Christensen back in.

I think Ottawa did well, all things considered. I don’t know what happened to Cheechoo after that 56 goal season. But if he could recapture that form and those minutes of ice time, who knows if he’s bloom in Ottawa?

Brendan

September 14th, 2009
4:52 pm

Dare I talk about how much Kovalchuk’s deal might be? If we’re going to adhere to “Self-imposed” budgets, Kozlov’s money has pretty much got to get tacked on to Kovy’s present deal, for his next contract. Now, it’d be “nice” if Kovalchuk would give Waddell and Co. a “hometown discount,” but that’s really asking for a lot. He doesn’t have to play in a market with “self-imposed” budgets. I’m sure he’d like a market with depth. And that means four lines, and defense, and quality goaltending. Which is going to butt-up against the cap, in any given year. Does Kovy really care about “revenue-sharing dollars?”

Let’s be honest. How many fans care about “revenue-sharing dollars?” Say … compared to … fielding the best team that the NHL’s budget allows? I think that’s what most fans want. They want to TRY, every year, to go as far as the hockey gods permit. I think this is what Kovalchuk wants, too. I just hope ownership will see it in time.

R. Stroz

September 14th, 2009
4:59 pm

You don’t have to worry about revenue sharing dollars if you put a good team on the ice, as your revenue will come from ticket sales.

Besides, revenue sharing is also based on improving attendence year over year, so winning is part of the equation.

Brendan

September 14th, 2009
5:21 pm

And those are all excellent points, R.Stroz. Will the Spirit Group, “get it” in time? Because if the light bulb goes on after Kovy signs elsewhere, it’s a bit “late.”

Yeah, yeah. “They’re real close to a deal. Any moment now. Everybody’s got ‘real good feelings’ about it.” And I want to believe that, too. I hope it is true. But the proof is in the pudding. And the pudding is the signed contract, ideally before training camp ends.

World Be Free

September 14th, 2009
6:25 pm

Glovesave-neat idea on Boris, I just don’t he has the hands or skating ability to play up front at the NHL level. Some guys can do it, others cannot. Dustin Byfuglien in Chicago made the transition up front. Alot others have failed.

World Be Free

September 14th, 2009
6:34 pm

Smoothie-all we Bills’ fans can remember are the old time.

Time to get ready to watch New England drill the Bills into the turf-this is going to hurt alot.

The Dick Jauron watch begins!

Dwayne

September 14th, 2009
7:41 pm

biggest dud…and I mean biggest…Tony Mandarich.

World Be Free

September 14th, 2009
7:54 pm

That kid Pickens that the Falkcons drafted 3rd overall, the shut down corner that couldn’t cover a sauce pan.

Eileen

September 14th, 2009
7:57 pm

Rawhide and Sara, I am a little behind with reading the blog. It was great to see you Rawhide and talk hockey. Sara, I am also so glad I finally met you. I have been reading your comments for so long. They are very thought provoking and informative.

Brendan

September 14th, 2009
9:17 pm

WBF, don’t look now, but it’s 17-10, Bills. And they haven’t looked awful. Their defense is better than we thought. And their offense has produced a TD, at long last, as well as a 40-yard FG by Lindell. Tom Brady looks disoriented. He doesn’t look like himself. He looks … hurt and tired. But he’s not having a bad game. The Patriots have shown the Bills D “no respect,” and failed to convert on both 4th down attempts. Bilichick’s response, “unbelievable.”

Bob, unless I missed it, you’ve been quiet on Zherdev. I also don’t have a points guess from you yet. Or Toby. Or Darkhorse.

Glovesave29

September 14th, 2009
10:29 pm

I don’t care if Slava got higher marks than everyone on some fitness test. That shows he’s in shape. Great. It doesn’t simulate game situations. The game is played faster than the level that test is administered. Don’t get me wrong…I like Slava, always have. Fantastic in the shootout. But his time has gone for us. He even stated after the last contract he should have moved on, but his wife wanted him to stay.

WBF – I made that suggestion because you must be a much better skater to play defense than to be a forward. The hands I can agree with you, but the skating I don’t. I truly do not know what to do with Boris, other than send him down to Chicago for some re-training.

Daculafan

September 14th, 2009
10:42 pm

Hey Rawhide!!

Was great getting to meet you at the training camp…now on to Pops!!

I think that Pops has a better than average chance to make the team also. He looked to me to be in very good physical condition..he was fast..and had very good positioning…I saw him deny Kovy once on a poke…and he made life difficult for several forwards driving to the nets during the drills. His endurance didn’t look to be a problem at the end session skate…

Like you said Anderson is fully aware of what he’s capable of..and so is Waddell..I think that he will catch on here..I think most likely with a 2 way contract and he’ll spend a good deal of it in Chicago…but I think he’ll be one of the defensive call ups when we need depth on the bench. I like his grit and I think he can carve a niche out in this group of defensive players.

Darkhorse

September 14th, 2009
10:43 pm

Brendan, I will give you my guesses by mid next week. I’m gonna catch both preseason games at Phillips to get a feel.

Anyone go to the prospects game tonight? What did you think?

Hockey’s back tonight if you have the NHL Network. Isles and Canucks preseason on right now.

Oh, and those poor Bills found a way to give Brady the spotlight tonight. Not quite as insane as the end to the Denver/Bengals game yesterday though.

Rawhide

September 14th, 2009
10:57 pm

The Thrashers prospects beat Nashville’s 6-3. Jeremy Morin with 2 goals and an assists. Scott Lehman, Daryl Smith, Eric O’Dell and Matt Anderson had the others for Atlanta. Peter Mannino was in goal for the Thrashers.

Smitty

September 14th, 2009
11:00 pm

If you think DW is bad it could be worse. They tell me Yale is a good school. How did Dick Jauron make it through? Thrasher fans do not despair. Someone always has it worse.

Brendan

September 14th, 2009
11:10 pm

Darkhorse, you could see how Buffalo was going to “choke” this game away. They got scared that they might win, so they played “prevent defense,” so they would lose. It worked. And the decision to bring the ball out of the end zone with 2:00 left … was … poor judgement and bad coaching. Didn’t they talk about the possibility of New England kicking it deep, with 3 timeouts and the 2:00 warning? Unbelieveable. Total choke job. Aside from the final 4:00 minutes, though, the Bills looked good. Their defense STUNNED me. I know. I know. “It’s a national TV audience, they’ll revert to their TRUE SELVES later.” Probably so. If you’re the Bills, … isn’t the 1st overall pick in next year’s draft something you’re at least “thinking about?” Detroit is bound to win one-game this year. If the Bills were to have won, that makes it a true “duel” for that top pick. In the Bengals/Broncos game, that was just a “fluke” play. In Buffalo’s case, it was a series of miscalculations at the game’s most critical point. Sorry Bills fans, I don’t mean to be dumping on you.

Darkhorse, you can make your pick as late as “puck drop” on Opening Night, so there’s no rush. Eileen, if you want to get in on the fun, have at it. Pick the points, place in SE Division, and Conference rank when making a submission. So far, guesses have ranged from 80-100 points.

I’m watching NYI vs. Vancouver from some local rink. I just saw Center Josh Bailey take a fine hit. He was okay.

Sean

September 15th, 2009
4:32 am

GaVa – Big difference: Hossa was a deadline deal. Heatley is on a fresh contract. Look at it the other way around. What did Pitt give up for March-June of Hossa? What did San Jose give up for 3 or 4 years (maybe more? I don’t feel like looking it up) of Heatley?

World Be Free

September 15th, 2009
5:44 am

Brendan-we’ve heard it and seen it before. Your posts normally touch on new material, not the SOS. We can expect no less from a Dick Jauron coached football team.

Like I said last night-the Dick Jauron watch is on. 3-4 more losses and he’s out the door.

DWTOO

September 15th, 2009
7:01 am

Brendan – 92 Points 2nd Southeast 5th Conference

Zoomo

September 15th, 2009
7:31 am

Morin had a nice game last night. Lehman’s goal came from the work of Levko Koper. Koper had the best up ice rush of the game, went behind the net and did the dirty work to move the puck out to Lehman for the score. Play of the game.

I also thought that Kozek looked decent and I was pleasantly surprised by Ben Chiarot on defense. Postma had an OK game too. Postma plays with his head up and really looks like a guy who understands the nuances of the D position.

Midfield

September 15th, 2009
7:42 am

There’s a report on a Russian web site that Zherdev has just signed with the KHL club in Russia.

GaVaHokie

September 15th, 2009
8:21 am

Sean… I wasn’t stating one deal was better than the other. :) I just merely posted what the difference was.

I think it still looks pretty even myself… minus Heatley and Hossa, it’s still an even swap to me with the current players involved. Could you trade Armstrong, O’Dell, Leveille and Espo for Michalek, Cheechoo and a 2nd Round Pick?… sure, why not.

Brendan

September 15th, 2009
8:25 am

DWTOO, you’re registered with 92-points, 2nd in SE, and 5th in Conference. So that you know, “ben” has 92-points, 2nd in SE, and 4th in the Conference and “mutton” has 92-points, 3rd in SE, and 9th in the Conference, and Alan has 91-points, 3rd in SE, and 8th in the Conference. DWTOO, at 91-points, 2nd in SE Division, and 5th in Conference … is Hockey Bilton. So, for you and Biltong, your tie-breakers are the same, it’ll come down to 91 vs. 92-points in your battle with him. “Scotty” has 91-points, 3rd in SE, and 9th in the Conference. If the T-birds are sitting at 90 or 91-points after 81 games, it’s going to be very, very close for our winner.

WBF, the Jauron watch is on. Didn’t Buffalo just fire its Offensive Coordinator a week before the season?

GaVaHokie

September 15th, 2009
8:27 am

I don’t care if Slava got higher marks than everyone on some fitness test. That shows he’s in shape. Great. It doesn’t simulate game situations. The game is played faster than the level that test is administered.

http://tsn.ca/nhl/teams/?hubname=nhl-thrashers

But his time has gone for us. He even stated after the last contract he should have moved on, but his wife wanted him to stay.

Actually his dogs liked it here, but I don’t recall him saying “I should have left”… do you have a link for that?

Smoothie

September 15th, 2009
10:08 am

I call BS on the Slava comments as well. That doesn’t even make any sense as there were only two teams interested in him during the summer of 2007, Dallas and ATL. Even if Slava was thinking that it was “time to move on”, he’s too stoic to ever say it publicly. Other than moving on to retirement, what should he have moved on to?

GaVaHokie

September 15th, 2009
10:11 am

Exactly, and he visited Dallas, got wined and dined, and chose to stay with Atlanta.

Smoothie

September 15th, 2009
10:24 am

Zoomo – great summary of the game last night in Duluth. Koper and Chiarot (how in the world do we say his name…Chee-a-rot??) were very pleasant surprises. Chiarot especially as I was not expecting much from him at all; he seemed very aware and poised and always seemed to make the smart play.

Also, Drew Paris seemed to show some very astute hockey sense and great hands in front of the net blocking several shots during the PK. Mannino was very solid with good positioning all night. He was only truly beaten once as the first goal was redirected off a stick and the second goal was thru a screen (I was right behind the shooter) as it looked like it went between a D-man’s arm and side on its way to the top right corner.

Morin surprised me with his motor and he even passed the puck a few times. His feed to O’Dell on the PP for the re-direct was a very good play from the corner.

Lastly, the hitting in the first 5-10 minutes of the game was ridiculous! Guys were taking serious runs at one another in the hopes of making a statement. It was as intense as a Stanley Cup playoff game. For awhile there, I thought someone was going to get hurt and the refs weren’t calling a thing. But luckily, the reckless play led to a 2 on 2 rush for Morin and Kozek and Morin made the D-men look silly on his way to making the goalie cry for his mommy…sweet goal (check out the highlights posted by Ben on the Blueland Blog).

As always, it was great hanging out with Rawhide in the midst of a large and passionate group (def 500 strong) of hockey fans. Had the privilege of meeting Libby and her husband “pinhead” (very nice people indeed!) and met the esteemed blogger and creator of the Pevs Dispenser, Aaron, formerly of Blueland Roar and now part of the growing team at Birdwatchers Anonymous.

Also, was surprised to see our beloved poster PJ who must’ve offered up a few silent prayers for our young Thrashers before the game ensuring none of them got hurt during the physical exhibition…very good to see you again. And it was a pleasure yukking it up with you, Tillzy and your friend Stacy (I’m terrible with names so forgive me) who tipped me off about Patrick Swayze’s passing (RIP Derek Sutton…we’ll miss you long time!).

A great night all around!!

PS — Evander Kane was there for the entire game watching in street clothes from the far corner to support his Traverse City teammates. A class act indeed!!

Pam on Weck

September 15th, 2009
10:28 am

Sheesh, Brendan. You might have to add a rock-paper-scissors clause after the tie-break questions.

I disagree on Kozlov. As long as he’s got the legs and buys into the coach’s system, he is worth having here. He is adaptive and has a crazy-good work ethic on and off the ice. That’s a role model. Of course, the compensation should reflect a player in his twilight years (Twilight! What am I saying? He’s the same age as me!).

As for Pops, I am really enjoying that he and so many other young players are trying hard to make the team. The competition is exciting and can inject enthusiasm into everyone’s game whether noob or veteran.

Rawhide

September 15th, 2009
10:34 am

Zoomo – “Ditto that” in regards to Kopar’s feed from behind the net to Lehman. I also like Matt Anderson’s goal in which he went into the corner to win the puck…drove to the net and beat the keeper. Nice work.

It looked like our guys were a lot more in sync with each other than Nashville’s guys. Of course, they just came of the Traveres City Tournament games, so that helps.

Nice to see you last night…tell Ryan I said, “Hello”.

Smoothinator – Wonderful to have spent the game with you and the lovely Ms. Ten as well. Libby and “Pin head” are indeed a wonderful couple to spend time with…yes, ranallo10 in AT, those are the two you think they are. Obviously we picked the “cool” section to sit in, what with PJ and her friend Wendy there as well as Aaron, Razer Catch Prey of the Bluelnad Chronicle, Zoomo & Ryan, Sean Grace of the Bluland Road and his lovely wife Stacy in front of us…also Wayne the “lurker”.

Definately a good time!

Bob

September 15th, 2009
10:38 am

“Bob, unless I missed it, you’ve been quiet on Zherdev. I also don’t have a points guess from you yet. Or Toby. Or Darkhorse.”

Sorry, actually been busy at work (doing more work with less staff) and haven’t kept up on the blogs much. Zherdev doesn’t do much for me, I read a couple people say “why’s he still available with those #s?” and I agree. there must be some locker room issues with the guy. Now we do need another top 6 guy and I would be suprised to see Kane be the one to fill the slot at barely 18 yrs old. I would guess old Don is going to fill that slot via the waiver wire near the start of the season.

Are we guessing points on the season this year? Didn’t see that, but I don’t have a feel for it yet, when is the guess due by?

Rawhide

September 15th, 2009
10:48 am

Sorry, actually been busy at work (doing more work with less staff) and haven’t kept up on the blogs much.

Bob – Boy…ain’t that the truth for many of us these days!?! As for the points predictions, Brendan is taking those right now…projected points, place in SE and conference. We have until the drop of the puck on Oct. 3 to make and ammend such predictions. Personally, I’ll provide mine during the week leading up to openening night.

Smoothie

September 15th, 2009
11:26 am

I feel a tingle in the base of my skull…what’s that? I feel a ranallo alert coming on! T-minus 10 – 9 – 8…

Russian

September 15th, 2009
11:27 am

It was a news that Zherdev got contract with KHL team “Atlant”. I read it, but it is official yet. He is in Moscow now. His agent are still working to get contract. I do not know all details, but I want to see official notes about it. Damn, I do not want to loose him. :-(

Rawhide

September 15th, 2009
11:32 am

Smoothie – Actually…what you are experiencing is “Premature Ranallo-Alertation”, as a new blog is not yet immanent.

R. Stroz

September 15th, 2009
12:01 pm

GaVaHokie

September 15th, 2009
12:17 pm

re: Zherdev… still sounds like Agent tricks to me… Eklund reporting “Edmonton close to signing Zherdev” and Russia reporting “KHL close to signing Zherdev”.

World Be Free

September 15th, 2009
12:21 pm

Eklund sez that the Leafs are offering 2 first round picks and 1 second round pick for the rights to Phil Kessel. Kessel is a restricted free agent without a contract for the upcoming season.

You wanna screw the Maple Leafs? Let them make the deal and drop an offer sheet on Kessel. It would cost you first, second and third round picks.

Toronto gives up 2 first and a 2nd and gets and 1st, 2nd and 3rd in return!

Now that would be nasty! Wonder what Brian Burke would say about a GM if that happened?!

Smoothie

September 15th, 2009
12:24 pm

Seems like Zherdev’s agent is throwing up smoke signals again. The guy loves to blow more smoke than Whitney Houston! Even if Z were to sign in Russia at this point, you get the feeling his agent will try everything he can to get an “out” clause written into that contract.

Rawhide – sorry for the PRA, but it must be residual teeth rattling I was feeling in the wake of all that hard-hitting, bone-crunching checking we experienced in Dooo-luth last night….yowzers!!

World Be Free

September 15th, 2009
12:28 pm

Brendan-yup, the Bills just tossed the offensive coordinator under the wheels. It’s Dickie Boy’s turn next! Last night was a major league “wide right”.

Zherdev-hey, if it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. Maybe management thinks Kane is ready and they don’t need Zherdev? Or maybe one of the other kids that’s playing well?

Edmonton is desperate to have somebody, anybody to play with Hemsky. Zherdev would be that anybody, but they has prospects too. I would take Cogliano in a minute.

Sara

September 15th, 2009
12:30 pm

Edmonton is supposed to sign Zherdev with what cap space exactly? They have less than $1M available. No chance cause if Z were willing to sign that low, he’d already be a Thrasher.

World Be Free

September 15th, 2009
12:31 pm

Smoothie-are we starting a list of well-known “burners”?

J.B.

September 15th, 2009
12:36 pm

The Zherdev signing by Atlant of the KHL and not Atlanta has been noted in allhockey.ru and khl-news.com as well as Sovetsky Sport. I have no idea which of these if any are credible…

Smoothie

September 15th, 2009
12:42 pm

WBF – how about Bunsen?!

Zoomo

September 15th, 2009
12:59 pm

Someone noted Kane as a class act above. As we left the rink last night he and his dad were heading out at the same time and he took the time to exchange pleasantries with my son and give him a pat on the head. Up close, the kid has that certain star quality/charisma.

Then as we were walking to our cars it was apparent that the Kane’s were parked in the lower lot where we were – I wished Evander luck and told him I hope he sticks with the big club, but in any event we’d be seeing a lot of him soon. He seemed genuinely happy to have the fan support and gave be a big thanks!

I also noticed as we arrived at the rink before the game, Mr Kane was wearing a Vancouver Giants pullover and as we lest he had a nice new Thrashers pullover on. Nice move by the staff!

This kid will be a marketing dream for Le Thrash if he’s half the player we think he’s going to be.

Smoothie

September 15th, 2009
1:12 pm

Zoomo, twas me. Look forward to making your acquaintance at some point. Glad you had a chance to chat with Van and his Dad Perry. I saw his dad there in his Giants regalia and I was tempted to tap him on the shoulder and welcome him to the ATL, but I didn’t want to scare him with my exuberance. I’m sure the Kanes are feeling quite welcome here in what is hopefully their new, semi-permanent home away from home.

Marketing dream indeed…don’t eff this up ASG!!!!

World Be Free

September 15th, 2009
1:28 pm

Smoothie-Bunson, speed, wood burner, stuff like that.
Best burner or one to get burned- D Hall!

Pam on Weck

September 15th, 2009
1:42 pm

*Completely Off-Topic Warning*

I have an idea for the Rawhides Rowdies logo, however, there are two problems.

1) The idea probably violates all copyright and licensing laws surrounding current team logos.
2) I am no artist, graphic or otherwise.

That said, I am picturing the Thrasher of the main logo wielding the alternate logo (overhead view of a Thrasher flying from original blue-fronted jersey) in both hands like weapons.

Russian

September 15th, 2009
1:45 pm

Latest news from Russia about Zherdev.
Contract should be sign at Wednesday 9/16/2009. GM “Atlant” will return from Magnitagorsk. My opinion is something will happendvery soon. I do not lost my wish to see Zherdev in Atlanta, GA in NHL, not Atlant in KHL :-)
“Контракт Жердева с «Атлантом» будет подписан в среду
Контракт подмосковного «Атланта» с российским нападающим Николаем Жердевым будет подписан в среду, после возвращения генерального директора клуба Андрея Веревко из Магнитогорска, где «Атлант» во вторник проводит матч чемпионата КХЛ, сообщает Sports.ru”

Troy

September 15th, 2009
1:49 pm

Brendan – You can scratch Chad Denny off that prospects list, he can’t even crack the top 6 in Chicago after 2 years there, and makes Valabik’s skating look like Dan Jansen.

J.B.

September 15th, 2009
2:23 pm

Dmitry Chesnokov of Puck Daddy is tweeting that Zherdev to Atlant (KHL) is done and will be announced by the team tomorrow.

Sorry Russian.

Russian

September 15th, 2009
2:38 pm

**to JB**
Damn! It is too bad. I guest Don put all his money on Kane. I hope kid is going to be good. Any way I am not agree to put Kane to 3 line. He should be on 1 or 2-d line. He is offencive forward.

R. Stroz

September 15th, 2009
2:47 pm

Well, all bets are off for a Kovy signing anytime soon.

DW just called Kovy’s bluff with a pair of twos.

The ASG may make their full revenue sharing number, but at what long term cost?

If this team doesn’t come out early and win, things are going to get real ugly.

Earlier in the summer, didn’t DW say that Kovy would be re-signed by opening day. Two weeks and counting…TICK…TOCK…TICK…TOCK

Smoothie

September 15th, 2009
3:02 pm

No one knows if Kovy made any overtures to management about Zherdev. I think he is already pretty excited about Antropov, a bigger & stronger Little, a full year with Pevs, Marty and Colby coming back and the addition of his old bud Kubina on the blueline. After seeing the team gel after he was appointed Captain and the dead weight had been jettisoned, I think he realizes there’s more to hockey success than simply signing every big-name FA that comes along (see Tampa & NYR).

J.B.

September 15th, 2009
3:05 pm

Stroz~

DW just called Kovy’s bluff with a pair of twos.

Just for clarification, what does this mean? I haven’t seen any new news today on Kovy…

Are you referring to Zherdev signing in the KHL? If so, we never did find out whether Kovy wanted Zherdev here for sure. He may very well have told DW that he liked the kid but it was too risky considering his past performance, attitude, etc. Ilya probably also knows that if Z was signed to a multi year contract with us, that $$$ hit might cut into the raise he’s sure to get if we re-sign him.

Note: I am well aware that Kovalchuk is more interested in winning than a paycheck, but money still a salient point…

J.B.

September 15th, 2009
3:11 pm

…what Smoothie said; +1

Tony C.

September 15th, 2009
3:22 pm

Seems to me that #17 lobbied pretty hard for Antropov, but was kind of ambivalent regarding Zherdev-kind of like the guy at the car dealer when he’s being sold “premium” floormats:

SALESMAN(Read Z & agent): *These floormats are a leather/ShamWow hybrid that actually dry your feet before they touch the mat and give the car that rich leather aroma everyone loves”

KOVALCHUK(Car-buyers son): Really? They dry your feet automatically?? Yeah, but y’know we could just go with the regular ones…we got the sweet 20″ wheels already… But that leather/ShamWow stuff is pretty cool

WADDELL(Car-buyer): Howabout you do these “premium” floormats for 15% above the regular ones?

SALESMAN: These floormats are highly regarded the world over-I couldn’t put them in the package for less than 45% over.

WADDELL: Uhhh-huh. Tell you what, Let us take the car home for a test-drive first…I mean those are pretty impressive floormats… Me and my boy could…- Son?

KOVALCHUK: riding on DUBS son!!! Dayum! I think this is gonna be the first car I can actually not get laughed at for driving up to schoool… Rollin on DUBS!

WADDELL: You know what? We’re just going to go with thee floormats I found at autozone… They’re made here, in North America-not in Germany or where-ever…

SALESMAN: But these floormats are all the rage in Moscow!

WADDELL: Mmmmm-Hmm! Well, enjoy the snow! Son? SON!?

KOVALCHUK: THEY’RE SPINNIN’ B!TCHES!!! THEY’RE SPININN’!!!!!

It went down just like that. I have a realiable source (E99).

Tony C.

September 15th, 2009
3:23 pm

Smoothie

September 15th, 2009
3:26 pm

J.B. – keen use of the word “salient” ;-)

I still think we have a good shot at picking up a PK specialist, which we need FAR more than Zherdev at this point, either during the pre-season or right before the reg season starts if the coaches aren’t please with Kane’s 2-way game and / or Fritsche, Crabb or Macho-check don’t step up and show some serious “jam”…we got some hearty bread and lots of smooth peanut butter, but now we need some JAM!

Brendan

September 15th, 2009
3:26 pm

Pam on Weck, I toyed with going with GF vs. GA, that’d only be needed by identical guesses of points, rank in SE division, and Conference rank, or a situation of being “equidistant” to Conference rank. In such cases, I’d just want to see both posters win.

In case anyone’s curious, the “rock,paper,scissor” method deciding outcomes … is always a best “three out of five.”

The deadline for Points contest guesses is, as Rawhide said, “puck drop” of Opening Night. Now I hear ya. “Like it’d reeeeeallly matter if the pick were made during the 2nd period intermission, or even after the game. It’s an 82-frekkin-long game season!!! What does one game in October matter?!!!” Yeah, well … we’ve got to set a cut off sometime. How would you feel if the contest ran until Christmas? Allriighteee then. “Puck drop” of Opening Night it is. Still plenty of time to get your vote in. This contest is the exception to rule: “Abstinence works every time.” If you abstain, you cannot come … to be the winner. Of the contest. And not Seinfeldian-style.

J.B.

September 15th, 2009
3:35 pm

Wow…just wow. It must be a slow day at work for Tony C. but A+++++ for creativity on that little dialogue. I’ll never look at contract negotiations the same way again. Not sure what else to say…

Smoothie – thanks, i was happy with it.

Tony C.

September 15th, 2009
3:37 pm

90 pts 2nd in SE, slides into 6th spot of the final 8 in the East. #17 pots 63 ties for Richard trophy. Adams trophy for the walrus, and after a 3-goal, seven assist explosion in the playoffs SlavaMatic wins the Masterson.

Brendan

September 15th, 2009
3:43 pm

Do KHL contracts have an “out clause?” Is that standard? Or possible? I’m asking … because I don’t know. All I know is this. If Atlanta did acquire Zherdev, it wouldn’t cost anything but money. No prospects would be lost, and no draft picks would be surrendered. And there’d be a pretty good chance that Zherdev would ‘outperform’ a prospect. Not to mention that Zherdev could be DEALT at the trade deadline for picks and prospects, if the wheels feel off.

Bygones?

I can’t say. But “penny wise-pound foolish” strategies rarely work. I’d love for Kane to make the club, be a Top Six forward, and win the Calder Trophy. Truly, I would. But I am not wanting to heap pressure on a eighteen year old (18) to “cover the GM/Ownership decisions” as it relates to OVERSIGHT of the franchise. To quote David McDavid, “Do you know what a camel is? It’s a HORSE designed by a committee.” I actually feel sorry for Don Waddell. He has to put up with a lot. This is not a GM chair that many would want to occupy.

Tony C.

September 15th, 2009
3:46 pm

J.B.-Now you know why I have such a high opinion of my aptitude as an NHL GM.

Brendan

September 15th, 2009
3:47 pm

I want whatever Tony C.’s having. ‘Cuz his creativity is boundless today! You are registered, at 90-points, 2nd in SE Division, and 6th in the Conference, with Kovy winning the Rocket Richard Goal Scoring Trophy, John Anderson winning the Jack Adams “Coach of the Year” Award, and SlavaMatic winning the Masterton Trophy.

Midfield

September 15th, 2009
3:56 pm

You’re right again, Brendan. Besides, if Waddell does not explain clearly why Zherdev was not signed, he would be blamed for not signing him – among all other things he did, would, did not, or would not do. And rightly so. Like I said, not only he looks inept by his actions, he looks inept by his communication skills. Being “likeable” does not cut it for an NHL General Manager, Don.

Rawhide

September 15th, 2009
4:11 pm

Thrashers prospects dropped a 3-0 decision to the Preds today. Two goals in the first period…the second coming with but 8.5 seconds left on the clock. Nashiville’s third goal was an empty-net job toward the end of the game.

Josh Unice was in the nets today.

Toby

September 15th, 2009
4:18 pm

“I haven’t seen any new news today on Kovy…”

Well…here ya go.

http://today.sportingnews.com/sportingnewstoday/20090915/?pg=39&pm=1&u1=friend

Toby

September 15th, 2009
4:18 pm

…nothing big…just a Custance update

Darkhorse

September 15th, 2009
4:23 pm

Tony C-I thought Paul was the walrus?…. goo goo g’joob

http://www.morethings.com/pictures/music/beatles/walrus-sheet.gif

R. Stroz

September 15th, 2009
4:24 pm

J.B. – This is largely from a previous post.

Zherdev was largely a trial balloon used by Kovy to gage whether the ASG was committed to hockey in Atlanta. If Zherdev had been signed, the ASG would have exceeded the full revenue sharing cap number.

At this evening’s Thrashers towne hall meeting, I hope someone asks Waddell whether Kovy wanted the Thrashers to sign Zherdev. It’s a simple yes/no answer. If Waddell dodges the question, we can take that as a yes. If Waddell answers no, then Waddell either pisses Kovy off by lying or actually gives us the answer to the question.

Don’t you know Jay Grossman, Kovalchuk’s agent, has pointed out to Kovy that the ASGs willingness to exceed the “full revenue sharing” cap number is a “tell” as to whether the ASG will ever be committed to hockey in Atlanta.

If the ASG isn’t willing to exceed the full revenue sharing cap number this year when Kovy has leverage, isn’t it obvious that they will not do so in the future when the leverage is removed?

Waddell and the ASG are trying to bluff Kovy with a pair of twos. And when bluffing with a pair of twos in poker, you will lose money nearly every time. If the ASG loses Kovy, they’ll be lucky to have revenue at all.

Smoothie

September 15th, 2009
4:25 pm

Preds prospects get their revenge and take down the Baby Birds 3 – 0.

GaVaHokie

September 15th, 2009
4:25 pm

Wow, this Zherdev thing is being WAY over hyped and over evaluated as far as Kovy is concerned… the only reason Kovy is involved in this discussion is because Zherdev brought it up. I seriously don’t think it has any baring on the Kovalchuk negotiations. Kovy could have been fluffing his balls for all we know. “Uh yeah, Nik, we’d love to have you in Atlanta” *snicker* …and then behind his back Kovy says “not a chance in hell, prick”.

When I was sticking up for Zherdev a few weeks ago it was because he has pretty mad skills and gets a lot of shots on net, I think it would be a nice experiment but it’s hardly spilled milk.

We’ve got the best Thrashers camp in history going on right now and people are still grasping at straws to throw Waddell under the bus.

Midfield

September 15th, 2009
4:47 pm

GVH, you’re right too, if your point is that it is more about Waddell than it is about Zherdev. Guess what, the way I see it this far, Don has moved just a step closer to this very upcoming bus. Unless of course, he clarifies the situation in some semi-decent manner.

Alan

September 15th, 2009
4:49 pm

KOVALCHUK: THEY’RE SPINNIN’ …

Thanks for the laughs, Tony! Best laugh I’ve had all week!

R. Stroz

September 15th, 2009
4:56 pm

Waddell has been standing in front of the bus for years, but Levenson is driving off the road.

GaVaHokie

September 15th, 2009
5:01 pm

Guess what, the way I see it this far, Don has moved just a step closer to this very upcoming bus. Unless of course, he clarifies the situation in some semi-decent manner.

I don’t see why it needs any clarification at all.

Tony C.

September 15th, 2009
5:19 pm

Darkhorse-I beieve he has studiously gone and erased the image from the web, but back in ‘08 during the Wolves Calder Cup run, they grew “playoff mustaches”…anyway, Coach Anderson’s was magnificent-his viking forefathers were done very proud-hence the nickname of “Coach Walrus”

If anybody has a copy of the image (or can get some former Wolves to fwd one) of Coach Anerson with the mustache, I’d be happy to give them $5.

BTW Brendan I’m on something called “I don’t work in a cube anymore”-it does wonders for your creativity…although your bank account fluctuates like a drunk sailor in a typhoon.

Tony C.

September 15th, 2009
5:21 pm

Ok I found a pic finally…not the best but you’ll get the idea.

http://www.chicagowolves.com/news/features/?article_id=962

Funny article.

Brendan

September 15th, 2009
5:44 pm

Maybe a different approach is needed. Maybe the question should be, “Did the Thrashers do ENOUGH?” Which then begs the question, “Enough to what?” Well, I think Kovalchuk made his intentions clear. We can go by what he said, not what ‘we think’ he said or what ‘we think’ he meant. Or by what ‘we think’ he wanted.

I don’t think it’s remotely REASONABLE to ask a team, from 76-points last season, to be a Stanley Cup contender in the space of ONE YEAR. But that’s what Kovalchuk asked for. (Well, it is.) So, in your deliberations, was Nik Antropov and Pavel Kubina ENOUGH, in addition to what was a GIVEN (#4 overall pick in the 2009 Entry Draft)? Keep in mind, that a guy like Saku Koivu was out there, willing to sign a 1-year deal out in Anaheim, I think. Zherdev was there, as something to consider. Atlanta did not get Komisarek, in what might turn out to be a good non-acquisition. There is the matter of Kessel, and the draft pick compensation that that would require. Players like Marcel Goc and Mike Grier went ELSEWHERE than Atlanta, as did Steve Montador, in terms of players that might “fit” within the economic framework and general “concept” of the Atlanta Thrashers.

Was Antropov and Kubina enough? Keep in mind, Kubina was part of a Maple Leaf salary dump and a means to help the Thrashers stay over the FLOOR of the cap, at the time that move was made. And Colin Stuart got tossed in as a bonus to Toronto. For their part, Toronto tossed in Stapleton. Many of us will miss Exelby, but plenty won’t. This is an upgrade and GOOD JOB by Waddell. At the trade deadline last year, Waddell moved Christensen for Eric O’Dell. I loved that move. I’m not too sure O’Dell can contribute right away. But I think it’s reasonable to project that he’ll be a Thrasher … down the road. Waddell re-signed Lehtonen, Crabb, Thorburn, Salmela, Colby Armstrong, Oystrick, Slater, etc. I don’t think these moves were disasterous. I’d say they were good moves. If this were a Stanley Cup contention season, I would be right there with WBF protesting the Slater re-signing. But, see, that’s another matter.

Does it sound like I’m throwing Waddell under the bus? The poor guy is trying as best he can, given his situation. But be honest, did he do ENOUGH? Or rather, did the OWNERSHIP “enable” him ENOUGH? Is this a team that is a ’sure lock’ to make the playoffs? So far, no major hockey publication thinks Atlanta is in “sniffing distance” of a playoff berth. That’s why they play the games, of course. But was ENOUGH done … to get to the playoffs … and CONTEND … AND send the message to Kovalchuk that, “Play time is OVER!! We’re going to be taken seriously now, as an organization … and DRIVING FORCE in the National Hockey League.” Kovalchuk no longer has to WAIT or HOPE for the organization to grow a set. He doesn’t have to play here … past April 2010. He can opt for franchises that DON’T CARE about “full revenue-sharing dollars.” He’ll get his money, FRONT LOADED, by whatever team signs him. Have the Thrashers done ENOUGH to convince Kovalchuk that they are going to win the Stanley Cup, now or down the road? Your thoughts?

ben

September 15th, 2009
6:03 pm

how do we know the Zherdev thing was ever real? Is there any evidence at all. Maybe it was Atlant all along. Just chill! The season is coming, and Kovy appears to want to be here.

R. Stroz

September 15th, 2009
7:45 pm

ben – Enjoy reading about the Zherdev situation:

http://www.beyondtheblueshirts.com/2009/09/another-zherdev-to-the-khl-rumor/

and why the Thrashers didn’t sign him:

http://www.birdwatchersanonymous.com/2009/9/8/1021635/can-the-thrashers-afford-nik

and why rushing Kane isn’t a good idea:

http://www.birdwatchersanonymous.com/2009/9/10/1024105/should-evander-kane-play-in-the

Now, lets just hope if White or Kozzie get injured, Esposito is ready to play in the NHL sooner than later.

Sara

September 15th, 2009
7:55 pm

Instead of just assuming that no Zherdev means no Kovy or presuming to ask Waddell to explain himself and justify the non-signing, how about we wait for the writing on the wall? As in, Kovy’s signature on a contract (or lack thereof). If you honestly think Waddell would personally make the decision to not sign Zherdev if Kovy had made it very clear he wanted him here, you haven’t been paying attention. Waddell would swim across the Atlantic Ocean, then walk the breadth of Europe to Russia if Kovy told him he’d sign a contract upon arrival.

Kovy said himself he is now out of the negotiations…it’s between Grossman and Waddell. I can guarantee that means contract amount and length. Now that doesn’t preclude the idea that Kovy gave Grossman special instructions, ie. only bring me the paperwork if they sign Zherdev. But I’m more inclined to think that if Kovy is out, he feels his personal requirements have been met and he can let his agent get him the $$ he wants.

Though I am also inclined to wonder why there is a negotiation going on at all – as far as I’m concerned, whatever counter-proposal Grossman sent back should be signed immediately by management. :)

ben

September 15th, 2009
7:56 pm

Brendan,

Maybe. We need to wait and see, but the fact that Kovy is swapping numbers is a good sign. I still stand by what I said about Zherdev and improving the team longterm at their current address in-town. People will not go where they don’t feel is safe. It’s a problem of perception.

Sara

September 15th, 2009
7:59 pm

BTW, for the Dudley enthusiasts in the bunch, courtesy of Ben Wright’s twitter:

Rick Dudley builds profiles on every player in the NHL so he’s prepared if they become available.

Sara

September 15th, 2009
8:01 pm

Actually I might as well post his whole series cause it’s lots of good stuff – especially the last one (again, courtesy of Ben’s Twitter)

Rick Dudley says Evander Kane reminds him of Toews. Says Thrash are set up better to succeed than CHI and FLA were when he took over there.

What do you do for fun on the road? Colby- me and Rich Peverley sit in our room and go over John Anderson’s systems.

Anderson says the coaching staff has been watching tape of the top PK teams to see if they can borrow ideas from them.

R. Stroz

September 15th, 2009
8:28 pm

Sara – Who do you think is tying Waddell’s purse strings?

I’ll give you a hint:

He drinks too much and never shuts up.

I just want to know the truth: did Kovy want Zherdev signed, did Waddell or did FUBAS nix the deal?

In other words, accountability.

World Be Free

September 15th, 2009
9:56 pm

GaVa-I am with you and others about Zherdev. It would have been nice, but it’s not the end of the world. If Kovy would have been all for it, I am sure the Thrashers would have made the effort. You notice no other NHL teams were jumping over Atlanta to sign Zherdev before the Thrashers. That tells you how he’s perceived throughout the league.

Signing or not signing Zherdev will have no impact on whether Kovy resigns with Atlanta. He already has enough Russian “hommies” to hang with.

ben

September 15th, 2009
10:34 pm

i’ve read the posts now and i don’t feel he’ coming.

Sara

September 15th, 2009
10:57 pm

Stop the presses!!!

OK, Ben had a tweet tonight that said Waddell pointed out the Thrashers were going to spend the most $$ this season that they have ever spent – over $50M. And I thought to myself, how’d they manage *that* math. And then I went and checked some cap websites and realized, Don’s right (potentially, give or take the bonus issues).

nhlnumbers.com shows a current cap hit of $44.3M with $1.85 in bonus cushion. What it does not show is payroll for Army ($2.4M) or whomever fills that 3rd line LW spot. If it is in fact Kane, his contract is bound to be pretty much on line with Bogosian’s. Which means a $2.725M cap hit. Add all of that together and you get a total gross payroll of $51.3M.

I went to capgeek.com and same revelations. They show a cap hit of $48.9M without Kane, who they say would add $3.1M. That’s $52M.

Holy cow…..someone pinch me.

Brendan

September 15th, 2009
10:59 pm

I’ll never be able to prove this, but I think Kovy HAS given Jay Grossman “specific” marching orders for negotiations. He is THE CLIENT, after all. He pays his agent to represent HIM. I agree with Sara that if “numbers” were exchanged, the should NOT be any “counter-negotiations” going on.

Here’s another way of thinking of that. Pretend Kovy was a pending RFA instead of a UFA, and some team made him an OFFERSHEET, and now it’s up to Atlanta to match the offer or lose him. Well, duh. The negotiations should be over and the offer MATCHED. If it were “numbers” that were exchanged, it ought to be a matter of holding a press conference to announce the signed deal.

So, here’s my wild-haired speculation of the “counter-offer.” Kovalchuk submitted a list of names. He said, “Get these guys here and my name goes on this contract. Perhaps, Kovalchuk ‘may’ have even (wilder speculation ALERT!) said, “I’ll even postpone signing with ANY CLUB until July 3, 2010, just to give you TIME to go get the names on this list.” I don’t know. I have no idea. I wish did know. But if Jay Grossman and Don Waddell are talking about “dollars and cents,” the negotiations should be over. Agree to whatever his demands are, financially. Well, what if it’s the league max?

Sigh. Look, Atlanta is one of the unfortunate markets that has to pay more. And if ever a pending UFA were going to get the league max out on the open market, it’s Kovalchuk. There are GM’s out there, salivating like a Pavlovian dog, ready to CLEAR SPACE, if need be, to accommodate Kovy’s LEAGUE MAX deal. I’m not a big fan of league max contracts. Honestly, I think they’re a bit irresponsible. But in Kovy’s case, I’m prepared to make a HUGE EXEMPTION from that philosophy. Kovy’s the pot of hunny that will bring all the other free agent bees to Atlanta, down the road. Think of his contract as a downpayment on those future Free Agents. If that helps any.

Darkhorse

September 15th, 2009
11:07 pm

Well, I was wrong on my guess of 48.1 for the cap. Surprise, surprise…And what happens to that number if they sign one of the tryout guys?

ben

September 15th, 2009
11:21 pm

Darkhorse you answered your own question. Either lg min or they won’t

Brendan

September 15th, 2009
11:26 pm

Darkhorse, remember the rules of the Budget guess contest? For OUR Purposes, it’s whatever the CAP NUMBER SAYS at http://www.nhlhumbers.com at the moment of puck drop, “Opening Night.” It could say $48.l million at that time, and YOU’D BE THE WINNER!! Even if Colby Armstrong’s contract NEVER gets listed, and the number is PATTENTLY inaccurate? YES!! The rules were spelled out on August 28, 2009, between 11AM and Noon. Roughly. It doesn’t matter what Capgeek says, the Thrashers announce, hockeybuzz says, etc. That’s why we had rules. Posters were supposed to adjust their guess, per that nhlnumbers.com site. Even if the Thrashers Accountants published their confidential budget, in violation of league policy, the rules of the contest were SPECIFIC. The poster who guessed CLOSEST to that number, whether above or below, is the winner. Period, the end. And all entries concluded at 11PM, on September 11th, and had to be posted at ajc.com to count. Allrightee then.

R. Stroz

September 15th, 2009
11:32 pm

Sara – Kane only gets 3.1 million if he achieves ALL of his bonus clauses. Otherwise, if memory serves me, the Falconer stated that his base pay is just over 1 million/year.

R. Stroz

September 15th, 2009
11:35 pm

Someone needs to tell nhlnumbers.com to put Colby’s contract in at 2.4 million.

Sara

September 15th, 2009
11:44 pm

Stroz – hence my plus/minus any bonuses stipulation. But I’d wager a guess that both Kane and Bogosian will get at least some of their bonuses – it’s not like they set those target numbers ridiculously high. Bogosian’s cap hit shouldn’t be $2.725M for the same reason – his base salary is only $850K. Both are looking at nearly $2M in bonuses a piece. So there’s nearly $6M in bonuses running around based on the nhlnumbers.com site (Kane’s + Bogo’s + the other $1.85 bonus cushion). Assuming the team pays none of it, payroll will be around $46M. Odds are though, enough of those bonuses will get met to shoot the team over the revenue sharing threshold. Whoops. :p

Smoothie

September 15th, 2009
11:47 pm

The $50 M comment is intriguing but it could be posturing on his part to spin things favorably for the ASG by pointing out they are willing to spend money if certain bonuses are met. And I think we can expect at least one more moderately priced FA or Legace to be signed by late September.

Of course, some here object to spending so much money on an unproven 18 y/o rookie. But if he tanks and goes back to JR, then the ASG is only out 9/82 *$900 K. And then we can bring in one of the 20 or so still unsigned veteran FA on the market.

Also, the Zherdev rumor hasn’t been confirmed or denied and could be another ruse by his agent.

Smoothie

September 15th, 2009
11:51 pm

Per the CBA, the ELC max for base salary is $900 K in Kane’s draft year and next.

Dany Heatley

September 15th, 2009
11:55 pm

This cap rules contest is unfair. I should be able to pick the website which best serves MY salary cap guess. I’m getting emotionally distraught just thinking about it. Where’s my pacifier?

Brendan

September 16th, 2009
9:03 am

It’s in San Jose. :)

CWP

September 16th, 2009
10:46 pm

Jacksen, Justus, and I think Popovic has what it takes this year.

mike a

September 17th, 2009
3:46 pm

Enter your comments here
I think that Jacksen & Justice might have to beef up a little more, to make the team but who knows

Jordan

September 18th, 2009
11:42 pm

Keep in mind that Popovic has succeeded at every single level he had played at and has won at the international level (Spengler Cup, 2 World Junior Silver Medals). Add his KHL experience to this and he’s as well rounded and experienced as you can ask for a player at his age and skill level. For a team like Atlanta that is still very young, he’s the type of presence that contributes intangibles that can’t always be quantified, especially if the team is successful and battling for a playoff spot.

The bottom line is that he has had success at every level because the coach and organization had faith in him and provided him with enough ice time to build his own confidence which ultimately led to personal and team success. If Atlanta, and his former Wolves coach John Anderson display this faith again, I think everyone will be pleasantly surprised.