Thrashers Prospect Games And Town Hall Meeting Roundup

First of all, I gotta tell you, living out here in the twin cities area of Kennesaw/Acworth while so much is going on in Duluthland and Philips these past few days has kept yours-truly on the road quite a bit. I’ve been zipping around the top-end perimeter in the big suburban assault vehicle so much that I’m afraid Al Gore is going to send me a nasty-gram about the carbon footprint I’ve been generating.

As you know by now, along with training camp opening up this past weekend, Atlanta and Nashville’s prospects split the two games played at the Duluth Ice Forum…the Thrashers taking Monday night’s matchup by a 6-3 score, Nashville then skated away with a 3-0 shutout win in Tuesday’s matinee. While unable to find the back of the net in game number two, the young Thrashers were able to ring shots off the post four or five times.

Jeremy Morin scored a couple of goals and added an assists in the first game…the first of which was a nifty one in which he took a feed from Andrew Kozek just beyond the blueline, zipped his way past a pair of defenders, moved right then left and slipped a backhand past the Preds keeper. Another goal that stood out to me was the one notched by Matt Anderson going into the corner to dig out the puck then, after winning it, making a bee-line to the goal to jam it home.

One thing about these kids is that they are a big bunch and they just don’t mind throwing their weight around out there. Very fast and aggressive…and they were very entertaining to watch this week. Morin, Eric O’Dell, Levko Koper and Drew Paris each played well in both games.

I can’t even begin to tell you how much fun it was to see so many familiar faces as well as how nice it was to meet a few others of you for the first time. Also, I have to say that the Ice Forum crew did an awesome job in making these two days a very enjoyable and fun time for the fans.

After Tuesday’s game…and chatting with Thrashers TV duo Darren Eliot and Matt McConnell…I again jumped into the suburban assault vehicle and motored my way through a driving rain to Philips Arena for the Thrashers Season Preview Party. This event was hosted by radio voice of the Thrashers Dan Kamal, who was joined on stage by John Anderson, Don Waddell, Rick Dudley and Colby Armstrong.

The Rawhide/Blueland Chronicle consortium were represented in full Tuesday night as I was joined by my alleys Razor Catch Pray, Big Shooter, Mortimer Peacock and French Catalogues… nesting ourselves along the top row overlooking the assembled masses that almost filled section 104 below.

After a few minutes of Q&A with Anderson, Dudley and Army, the stage was turned over to the general manager who promptly went straight the “The Big Question” of the evening…Ilya Kovalchuk and the negotiation process to re-sign him.

Waddell indicated, as he has before, that there has been an offer and subsequent counter-offer made…which is a level not reached during the Marian Hossa negotiations. He expressed his believe that a deal would be reached with the captain.

Oh, and in case you haven’t yet heard…Kovy and his wife are indeed expecting their third child. So, congrats to the whole Kovalchuk family.

Don also stated that the team’s salary cap projection is/would be just below the $50 million mark. If certain bonuses kick in, that could push it to just north of that mark. Regardless, he said this season the team will spend more on players’ salaries than ever before.

Mr. Big Shooter asked Waddell about his plans to utilize the depth in goal this past summer to use as trade material. Don responded that he was indeed open to doing so, but that the possible deals that were discussed weren’t in the team’s best interest and is now happy no keeper was move in light of Kari Lehtonen’s situation. However, given the fact that Manny Legace is in camp, they are even deeper now then when the offseason began. Thus, there are still options there.

During the Q/A session, Mr. Razor Catch Prey enquired as to John Anderson’s “system” and how it’s design is meant to play out. The coach explained that in his O-fensive scheme there are about 4 or 5 plays that are drawn up in relation to when the puck is moved out of the defensive zone. Much like a football quarterback, the puck handler has primary and secondary options in which to distribute the puck up-ice. The key, he said, is to not only perform the plays well…but to do so swiftly.

Another thing Anderson commented on was the way his team performed down the stretch of last season. He was very happy in the way they were winning a number of games against team that were “hungry for points”, as they were making playoff pushes. This helped bond the players together and is confident that it’ll translate to a stronger start this fall. To that measure, he’s gone ahead and formed his lines during traing camp in the way he sees them lining up during the season… Antropov centering Kovy, Little… Kozlov’s second line also including White and Peverley… Reasoner centering the third line with Kane and Armstrong on either side… Slater, Bolts and Thorburn forming the forth line…and the defensive pairings on Enstrom-Bogosian as well as Hainsey-Kubina.

Of course as the preseason plays out, lineups are subject to change…but the coach’s thought is to get them together early and allow them to get comfortable with one another sooner rather than later.

In response to the pre-submitted question I posed to Rick Dudley regarding what he thought he could do to help bring the measure of success seen in Chicago here…he stated that his mission with the team is to “best utilize the assets” the organization possesses. Later, he also expressed his belief that the Thrashers have the nucleus of a very good team and that the team here is further along than in other situations he’s stepped into… such as in  Ottawa. In his time there, an 80-ish point Sens team was improved to one that accumulated over 100.

Oh, and not to be overlooked is the fact that Dudley compared Evander Kane to another young player he’s seen up close…Jonathan Toews.

And lastly…during the proceedings Tuesday night, those occupying the stage did so down on the floor of Philips Arena which already has the ice surface prepared. I’m sure many of you will be relieved, as I was, to learn that the Thrashers tenth anniversary logo was NOT emblazoned on the surface.

Don Waddell alluded to the fact that it had been met with “mixed reviews”.

136 comments Add your comment

LAC

September 16th, 2009
1:37 am

Any word on Zherdev ???

Would be a nice piece to the roster… One that needs to be done.

Wayne stuck in AL

September 16th, 2009
1:55 am

Zherdev has already signed with the KHL.

Wayne stuck in AL

September 16th, 2009
1:57 am

Follow-up:

Because of the chances that Evander Kane will make the squad, the Thrasher braintrust (an oxymoron) decided not to sign Zherdev.

BTW: How are the season ticket totals compared to last year?

World Be Free

September 16th, 2009
5:41 am

It would be nice to see the Thrashers do what the Columbus Blue Jackets have done-get their core players into long term contracts. It started with Rick Nash a few weeks ago, others followed.

It is better to get players under contract before October than muddle through the season with no commitments beyond next July 1.

HookyBob

September 16th, 2009
6:35 am

Hey, didn’t get this in the earlier blog but does anyone know what Slava’s workout regime is?

Russian

September 16th, 2009
8:07 am

Now it is official that Zherdev got contract with KHL team Atlant. Forget about Zherdev, Move On.
I do not understand, how we can get more than $50 mln????
Right now we got $44,322mln. Are we goignt o sign another players or two?

Sara

September 16th, 2009
8:15 am

Russian – the $44M figure does not include Army’s $2.4M salary or a salary for a 3rd line LW – probably Kane at $900K. So that brings the figure up closer to $48M. Given the number of available bonuses written into some contracts, that could push the total salary above $50M.

Big Shooter

September 16th, 2009
8:23 am

Rawhide

September 16th, 2009
8:47 am

BTW: How are the season ticket totals compared to last year?

Wayne stuck in AL – If memory serves correctly, A question came from the audience last night which asked, “where we are” in regards to ticket sales given the state of the economy…Waddell’s response included the phrase “we are down” in numbers.

Big Shooter – Hey buddy…

Sara & Russian – I have the cap at about $8 to $48-1.2 mil right now…so I don’t think Waddell was too far off when he cited that we’re “just under $50 million”.

R. Stroz

September 16th, 2009
9:59 am

WBF – You nailed that one. Columbus re-signed Nash, followed by Brassard, followed by Vermette, all before the season started.

That would analogous to the Thrashers having Kovy, Little, and Peverley re-signed before the season started.

But then, Columbus did fire their idiot GM a few years ago.

LSThrasher04

September 16th, 2009
10:09 am

I was happy that Atlanta Spirit has discussed upgrading the videoboards. Don mentioned everything was state of the art when Philips opened in 1999, but now a lot of stuff is outdated. He said it requires about a $12-13 Million investment in new equipment. Nothing is in place, but it is definitely something they’re aware of.

As for those season ticket sales, Waddell did say they are doing better than they planned. Suite sales are a challenge since many 10-year leases are expiring after this season. Philips Arena also had a 10 year logo on the ice.

Sara

September 16th, 2009
10:12 am

LS – I didn’t realize the suite leases were coming up after this season. And I’m just cynical enough to now wonder if it was really Kovy who motivated the Spirit to spend some money, or the prospect of lots of lost suite revenues.

Buzilla in CT

September 16th, 2009
10:18 am

Rawhide (Willy) did Darren Elliot mention that he reads this blog? Or any other person you spoke to?

Tony C.

September 16th, 2009
10:34 am

Are the going to have a new 10-yr. aniv. logo designed? The one I’ve seen is hands down the worst thing ever.

Ever.

LSThrasher04

September 16th, 2009
10:49 am

Sara- Many of the suites are also being completely remodeled and I’m sure that timing is no accident.

Tony C.- I doubt a new 10 year logo will be designed, but they may be more conservative in how they use it.

Russian

September 16th, 2009
10:56 am

**to Sara & Rawhide**
Thanks for explanation about Salary. I forgot about Bonuses, that include to Salary Cap.
Does anybody know who is going to play in Nashville? They said that roster will be cut today.

Rawhide

September 16th, 2009
10:58 am

LSThrasher04 – Thanks for the input. As for the logo, where was it… I, along with those I was with, did not notice it at all last night.

GaVaHokie

September 16th, 2009
11:05 am

Rawhide

September 16th, 2009
11:20 am

Hokie – Yeah…I know what it looks like…yeck.

My point is that I din’t see it on the ice…I was fully expecting to see it right at center ice or off the the sides.

Brendan

September 16th, 2009
11:29 am

I hope Darren Eliot and Matt McConnell do read these message boards.

Thrashers27

September 16th, 2009
11:29 am

Yeah, I thought they had gotten smart and did away with that awful logo too. I was disappointed to see it on some of the Thrashers’ staff members when I was at the prospect game yesterday afternoon. I’m so glad to hear that it’s not on the ice…Awful!

Sara

September 16th, 2009
11:55 am

Rawhide I got the impression LS was refering to a different logo – one for Philips, not for the Thrashers.

Russian – Ben tweeted earlier that they’ve cut down to two groups. All the junior players have been released (with the obvious notable exception of Kane). I imagine everyone will be making the trek to Nashville, with one half playing in the Thurs game and the other half playing on Fri.

World Be Free

September 16th, 2009
12:00 pm

Stroz-you know man, they gotta step up to the plate. This is bigger than just Kovy, it’s our future.

World Be Free

September 16th, 2009
12:02 pm

Was Duds at the town hall metting?

Smoothie

September 16th, 2009
12:05 pm

Per Ben: “Training camp has been cut down to two groups from three. Details later today. Most of the junior kids have been returned to their teams.”

I would not be surprised to see Postma, Morin, Kozek and perhaps even Koper get a quick look in one of the 2 pre-season games this week. Perhaps a reward for playing so well in the scrimmages. I reckon Paris & Looby are headed down the street to Gwinnett Arena and Anderson and Lehman may stick around til the end of the week before heading back to Chicago.

Smoothie

September 16th, 2009
12:13 pm

From Kukla’s Korner: “Devils forward Patrik Elias underwent surgery Tuesday in Philadelphia to clean up some scar tissue in his groin and will be out for three to six weeks, Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello said this morning (10:15 a.m).”

As stuff like this happens, it will be very interesting to see if Don Waddell’s phone starts ringing to inquire about the services of say, Todd White? Other teams know about our issues in goal and may try to tantalize us with an offer. The next few weeks will be very interesting indeed…can’t wait for tomorrow’s pre-season radio broadcast!!

World Be Free

September 16th, 2009
12:15 pm

No Zherdev means that preseason will be even more interesting. Somebody’s gonna make the big team, maybe 2, just wonder who it’s gonna be.

Hope to go next Monday night and get a glimpse of the kids.

Darkhorse

September 16th, 2009
12:25 pm

Wow…..that 10 year logo is so horrible. Did DW switch into a leisure suit when the logo was mentioned last night?

Rawhide

September 16th, 2009
12:26 pm

Rawhide I got the impression LS was refering to a different logo – one for Philips, not for the Thrashers.

Sara – Ahhhhhh…now I see. Apologies then to LSThrashers27. I haven’t had much sleep these past few nights. Starting at 6:00 am Sunday on, it’s been run, run, run.

Was Duds at the town hall metting?

WBF – Yup…he took a few questions as well along with Anderson and Army before Waddell then fielded the bulk of the questions.

Wow…..that 10 year logo is so horrible. Did DW switch into a leisure suit when the logo was mentioned last night?

Darkhorse – HA! Leisure Suit Don!

Personally, when I first got a look at it last spring, I thought it’s inspiration came from the aftermath of eating a full bag of skittles, the taking a ride on the Scream Machine at Six Flags.

World Be Free

September 16th, 2009
12:36 pm

Thanks Bill-I am SO pumped to have Dudley here. He is a hard working and dedicated professional, always has been.

One more tidbit-Manny Malholtra, boy did he fall off the radar fast!
I do not hear his name mentioned anywhere. Back in July, the line was he wanted to field his options. Looks like he may have played his hand too heavy.

Manny may be Manny in Atlant, not Atlanta!

ben

September 16th, 2009
12:40 pm

I think the budget is a direct result of Belkin’s money being back. I don’t feel those ten-year leases have much to w/ it, because that’s a write-off. And now, more than ever, they’ll take that write-off and run. Their motives may well have more to do with a hope someone will buy this team and take it off their hands. Also, puh-lease tell me that the upgrade in video boards isn’t going to take place over the talent!

Rawhide

September 16th, 2009
12:42 pm

WBF – Agreed 1,000,000,000% on Dudley.

Daculafan

September 16th, 2009
1:02 pm

First off..I think that’s the first time I actually took a look at the anniversary logo…Hideous is being generous.

Second…glad to get a report from the town hall..was there any time line given to Kari’s return?

Buzilla – I was talking to Darren and Matt along with Rawhide after the game yesterday also..I got the impression that Darren is familiar with the rowdies!!..not sure if they follow closely…but I think they know that we’re here.

Gotta say…Matt and Darren were super cool…very approachable..they stood and chatted with us for a good 15 minutes..never a rush to get out of the conversation or anything…so next time when you think to yourself “Wow it’s like Darren is explaining this to me in my living room..” That’s just how he is off the camera too…great guys..

World Be Free

September 16th, 2009
1:03 pm

I met Eliot when he was playing for the Sabres-pretty cool back then, sounds like he’s the same today.

Toby

September 16th, 2009
1:09 pm

I saw on the Thrashers board that Donny will be on Hockeycentral today (noon – 2)…I just turned it on. Does anyone know if I missed him?

ben

September 16th, 2009
1:20 pm

i met matt and darren in the elevator years ago. good guys!

Darkhorse

September 16th, 2009
1:32 pm

I caught that too Toby. He was on at 12:30. By the time I started listening, the interview was coming to a close. But I did here him talk about a few tidbits.

-He told them he is still very confident in getting a deal done with Kovy. One of the things they have exchanged in negotiations is the term. DW says it would be between 5-8 years for sure. He said it would not be a “retirement contract”, refering to Hossa I believe. They asked him if he has the green light from ownership to get it done no matter what. DW said unless things change dramatically from what he and Kovy’s agent have talked about so far in terms of $$ or years, he has the go ahead to wrap this up as soon as Kovy agrees. Take that for what it’s worth.

-The suite renewal experation deals coming up are an issue in a possible revenue downturn this upcoming year. He did however let it be known that we were one of the few teams in the league whose ownership owns the building and the NBA team, which helps keep them in better shape.

-He says he knows this team has to win, win consistantly, and win in the playoffs to get Atlanta to notice and respond at the gate. But that the city and the fan support does get a bad wrap in the media, which he defended and said Atlanta has a lot of value to reap the benifits of. They just need to start winning again he said.

I may have missed other stuff. Someone feel free to post about anything else on the interview.

Smoothie

September 16th, 2009
1:39 pm

Wow, great recap Darkhorse! I wonder if DW feels more and more inclined to give out details (length of deal, Kovy’s new house etc) because he is in fact so confident that Kovy will sign. I still think there’s a chance they will do a 2-3 year contract (the old wait-and-see thing) if the team starts out sluggish in Oct / Nov. However, Kovy always surprises and I wouldn’t be shocked if he puts pen to paper before Opening Night.

BTW, Daren seems like a great guy. Chatted him up about Cornell / Bemidji St last year during a commerical at the Taco Mac post-game. He was “crestfallen”, but decided to drown his sorrows in a Corona Light.

Toby

September 16th, 2009
1:40 pm

Thank you Darkhorse!

Tom

September 16th, 2009
1:52 pm

I have to agree on Darren being personable. He was at a National Inline tourney over in Snellville last year when I got the chance to meet him. Absolutely gracious and straightforward. That is amazing for a Cornell guy, believe me… I spent 10 minutes talking to him and it was a pleasure.

A complete opposite to Perrin who was there and just sneered at anyone getting close to him when he was out of the tent. He was sitting in the main area and none of the kids even went up to him with the aura he was giving.

Darkhorse

September 16th, 2009
1:57 pm

Toby-No prob…

Smoothie-I too was surprised when they asked him about details in the Kovy negotiations that he so causually discussed the years/terms they want to sign Kovy to. Maybe Rawhide or Viv can ask him about that same thing in the next few days if they get a chance to talk with him. Maybe they are getting closer…..who knows.

J.B.

September 16th, 2009
1:58 pm

Tom – Wow, I’m surprised to hear that. I talked with Perrin a number of times during his tenure with Atlanta and found him extremely friendly, personable, and quite pleasant to talk to every time. He must have been having a bad day or something…

Brendan

September 16th, 2009
2:00 pm

Darren Eliot, in my opinion, is a sharp guy. He’s able to be “freer” when not doing a Thrashers telecast. That’s the when the REAL Darren Eliot comes forward. How much criticism can Darren really heap at the Thrashers, when he’s on their payroll and wants to keep his job? There have been times … when I’d do a double-take at some of Darren’s comments. I’d shake my head and say, “That’s the effect of a pay check.” But I don’t any idiots who are Cornell graduates. I think he’s very intelligent.

If Kovy’s next Thrashers contract is anything longer than 2-years, then Don and the ownership have laid out a plan that Kovy likes. In my opinion, it’d be a GREAT THING! I’m sure Kovy asked for (1) more commitment to annual spending, (2) more vigorous pursuit of free agents, and (3) accountability. If there’s a way that the Spirit, LLC could address those three things to Kovy’s satisfaction, then I’m very excited about the future in Thrasherville. If Kovy signs for 5-8 years, it’s a pretty big achievement for the GM and the organization, moving forward.

Sara

September 16th, 2009
2:08 pm

I’ll second J.B.’s opinion on Perrin. But then again, he was having a bit of a rough go last season.

I gotta say, the more I hear Don talk and what I hear Kovy say, I’m smelling a “major announcement” for Opening Night. It would certainly blow the roof off the arena … plus allow all the fans to immediately show the love to the Captain.

Zoomo

September 16th, 2009
2:16 pm

Nice to see the term for Kovy might be 5-8 years. I sure hope so. DW is right that the fan base would be much better if we won. Hmmm.. who do we blame for that? Case in point tho’, the playoff games at Philips. The place was packed and ROCKIN’. Most fun I’ve ever had at an Atlanta sporting event.

Darren and Matt. Great guys. I’ve seen Darren in the hallway between periods of games that were not being broadcast, entertaining questions from every nut and looney that approached him, and never once cutting the conversation short or talking down. He’s a class act. And I think every parent with a kid in Junior hockey knows the guy. He’s done a lot with the jr. hockey programs in area.

Smoothie

September 16th, 2009
2:18 pm

Sara – that would make me do cart-wheels out in the concourse if that sort of special announcement was made!! And I would surely become “Saturday night high n’ dry!”

Shifting gears a bit:

According to thrashpractice.com, Legace is already showing how valuable he can be as a VOCAL veteran presence. Don’t get me wrong, Hedberg is a quintessential pro and has the respect of every player in the room.

However, Legace is quite animated and vocal on the practice ice and has even gone so far as to impart wisdom on the young Kane, who has been told to stop passing so much in practice. Legace hollered at Kane after a spoiled 2 on 1 drill “you’ve got a good shot so shoot it!!” That my friends is the kind of leadership we need.

Manny may in fact be just the guy we need filling in for, and hence pushing Kari, to come back better and more motivated than ever. Hopefully, with the trio of Moose, Manny and Pavy, Kari will have the time he needs to rehab fully and effectively so he hits the ground running when he does return.

Good luck Kari, we want you to be the greasiest and agile “karrpa” you can be!! Unfortch, Lehtonen may need a lot of luck.

Rawhide

September 16th, 2009
2:21 pm

I gotta say, the more I hear Don talk and what I hear Kovy say, I’m smelling a “major announcement” for Opening Night. It would certainly blow the roof off the arena … plus allow all the fans to immediately show the love to the Captain

Sara- Remember in June ‘08 when John Anderson was “announced/not announced” as having been signed as the new coach? That all happened the night prior to the draft…then the next morning the Thrashers had to confirm the hiring because someone had spotted JA in the lobby of a hotel downtown or where the draft was being held, (can’t remember which).

Anywhoooo…the scuttle that surrounded that fiasco was that Waddell wanted to make the surprise announcement to the masses that had gathered at Philips that Friday night to watch the draft…the one in which Bogosian was selected with the 3rd overall pick.

It sure would have had a dynamic “WOW” factor had he been able to pull it off.

Then, go back to this past January when, at Casino Night, he presented Kovy with a #17 jersey with the “C” on it…anouncing his being named as team captain.

Again, it had that certain “WOW” factor and he pulled this one off without a hitch.

Well, in that light, if a deal is reached by opening night…please everyone take note that I said IF a deal is reached…then don’t be too shocked if he announces it on the evening of Oct. during the open house down at Philips.

ben

September 16th, 2009
2:22 pm

Tell me the Letemin era is over! Can it really be!

J.B.

September 16th, 2009
2:29 pm

OFF TOPIC WARNING

Speaking of the open house at Phillips on the 1st, if there’s a season ticket holder out there who has a pass they can’t or won’t be using, please let me know. I’m willing to pay a reasonable price for it.

I think Rawhide has the ability to provide my email address to someone who does with my permission correct?

Rawhide

September 16th, 2009
2:32 pm

J.B. – Affirmative.

Glovesave29

September 16th, 2009
2:32 pm

Yes, both Darren and Matt mentioned that they are regular readers here.

As for the logo…looks like it was designed after watching something being flushed down the toilet, although it would have been “inspired” south of the equator, as it is moving clockwise, and everything here in the northern hemisphere goes down counter clockwise. It’s ok, everyone up and go to the loo and check for yourself…

J.B.

September 16th, 2009
2:38 pm

Thanks Rawhide! Permission granted. Please have Trixie provide my contact information to anyone who indicates they can get me in Phillips on the 1st. I’m so excited for the season to start, I’m getting the shakes over here…

Brendan

September 16th, 2009
3:01 pm

Whenever I see the 10th Anniversary logo, I feel like rollerskating.

GaVaHokie

September 16th, 2009
3:22 pm

Open House is on Oct. 1st?!… crap, that sucks… I’ll be in Virginia.

Smoothie, thanks for the info on Legace. That’s a guy who knows how to earn a roster spot.

Smoothie

September 16th, 2009
3:23 pm

Rylan Kaip (kind of a surprise), Kevin Doell, Paul Postma and Andrew Kozek getting extended camp looks. Expect them to play in one of the 2 games over the next couple of days. Does Kozek have a year of college elig left?

ben

September 16th, 2009
3:23 pm

Sara

September 16th, 2009
3:31 pm

Rawhide – if you’ll also recall the last time Kovy signed a new contract, it was also announced at the start of the home opener – Kovy of course wasn’t present since he had been a hold-out – but yeah, the team is big on big announcements.

Smoothie

September 16th, 2009
3:32 pm

GVH, Thurs night VPI game? House should be a rockin’!

J.B.

September 16th, 2009
3:36 pm

Brendan- really? when i see the 10th anniversary logo, i feel like barfing.

Hokie- if you’re unable to attend the open house, please see if my posts at 2:29 and 2:38 apply :-)

J.B.

September 16th, 2009
3:52 pm

New Puck Daddy has an interview with Zherdev. he discusses negotiations with the Thrashers:

http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/blog/puck_daddy/post/Zherdev-on-media-lies-why-he-didn-t-end-up-wi?urn=nhl,189985#remaining-content

Why couldn’t it happen with Atlanta for you?

The option was very good. Nik Antropov(notes), my former New York Rangers teammate, is there. There is also Ilya Kovalchuk(notes) who I trained with together this summer in Luzhniki, he also asked me to [join] his team. But I think the problem arose because Atlanta has to urgently sign a new big contract with Kovalchuk, and there was simply no money left for other free agents.

ben

September 16th, 2009
3:56 pm

strong/YYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSS!/strong

ben

September 16th, 2009
3:56 pm

um . . . how do we bold?

J.B.

September 16th, 2009
4:02 pm

ben – If I’m not mistaken the tag is and yes while we didn’t get Zherdev, it sounds like the reason why totally kicks @$$

Disco Duck

September 16th, 2009
4:06 pm

Waddell is my cwusin.

J.B.

September 16th, 2009
4:07 pm

damn. the tag disappeared in my last post. now I want to know how to type an html tag without it actually working…

Anyhow, ben I think it’s a “b” between two brackets. Obviously the second one will have the “/” before the “b”.

R. Stroz

September 16th, 2009
4:07 pm

Eight to ten million under the salary cap and no money?

Sounds like the same cheap @$$ ASG problem to me.

Rawhide

September 16th, 2009
4:14 pm

ben – Looks like you need to take Trixie’s “Text Enhancement-101” class.

Smoothie

September 16th, 2009
4:25 pm

Zherdev must already be surreptitiously on the payroll as he is doing the ASG’s bidding by spinning the why behind his not signing with ATL.

R. Stroz

September 16th, 2009
4:25 pm

On Zherdev, it simply came down to the fact that Kane is cheaper. Kane’s base salary is around a million, with up to an additional two million in incentives. Zherdev would have cost somewhere between 3.25 to 4 million.

So, the ASG told DW to pick either Kane or Zherdev, NOT BOTH. Zherdev was a higher fixed cost; whereas, Kane is a fixed plus a variable cost. With the ASG, its always about saving a penny and forgoing a dollar of revenue.

World Be Free

September 16th, 2009
4:31 pm

Speaking of fixes, Zherdev is a quick fix and Kane is a long term investment. I still think one of the other younger guys is going to step up and make this club.

We will know more next week-can’t wait for Monday night!

ben

September 16th, 2009
4:37 pm

HA!!!!! Even Zherdev says Kovy’s staying!!

Midfield

September 16th, 2009
4:39 pm

I agree with Stroz. These couple of million or so may become very costly down the road.

Rawhide

September 16th, 2009
4:42 pm

There ya go, ben!!! Nicley done.

Everyone – In case you haven’t heard yet…tomorrow’s preseason game in Nashville will be aired on the Thrashers flagship station 680 AM The Fan. I’m assuming that it’ll be available via internet stream…so those of us OTP will be able to give it a listen as well. I’m also trying find out if the game will be picked up on one of XM’s NHL channels.

Next week’s home game vs. the Predators is scheduled to be on 680 as well.

ben

September 16th, 2009
4:46 pm

now if i could just figure out the smiley faces

Darkhorse

September 16th, 2009
4:46 pm

Here’s the link to the podcast interview with Waddell on Toronto radio earlier today. Good stuff…..thanks to poster on the Thrashers message boards for the original link.

http://www.fan590.com/media.jsp?content=20090916_131028_10444

Smoothie

September 16th, 2009
4:47 pm

It’s a gamble to go with Kane indeed, but so is signing Zherdev. Different levels of risk, but as Stroz points out, the variable aspect of Kane’s contract is more appealing to the penny pinchers than the fixed cost / risk associated with Zherdev. Zherdev may already have a gentlemen’s agreement with Waddudley to sign next year after working on his game in Russia. Perhaps Kovy is quite aware of this and is willing to stake his reputation on it by signing a new deal with Le Thrash.

Stay tuned to As the Birds Thrash as more titillating and mind-provoking storylines will surely develop in the coming days and weeks!

Midfield

September 16th, 2009
5:06 pm

Here’s the transcript of the key part of this interview:

Q: This was the Hossa comparison that you’ve…
Don: Something like that, yeah…[you know, the guy with a big nose who talked funny. I never understood what he was trying to tell me, so we never really found a common language...]

Smoothie

September 16th, 2009
5:12 pm

Okay Bill, this time I REALLY am stuck in blog purgatory!

Brendan

September 16th, 2009
5:58 pm

R.Stroz, I just now read that Falconer blog on Evander Kane. Loved it. I think Falconer nailed it. I hope everyone reads it. There’s a link to it in the previous blog, courtesy of R.Stroz.

If there’s something Falconer omitted, it was this, (not to be critical,) but in evaluating Kane’s “el cheapo” capped, rookie contract, which compares the “value” of what Kane brings at age 20 vs. age 21, starting him at 18 also starts the clock ticking on his UFA eligibility. Atlanta’s rights to Kane may be long gone by age 27. And that could bear relevance down the road, if Kane isn’t eventually locked up on a PROACTIVE RFA contract that takes a bite out out of some of those ULTRA EXPENSIVE UFA years.

Of course, if the Atlanta Thrashers were a PREMIER FORCE in the National Hockey League, they’d just pay star players what they’re WORTH and not agonize over how much revenue-sharing they got, since they’d make it up in playoff revenues. What? They would. Moving right along.

So I agree with Falconer, it’s better to have Kane’s capped rookie contract for ages 19, 20, and 21, rather than 18, 19, and 20. Plus, I think it’s better for his development to delay NHL experience by one year. Let him tear up the WHL, in a fun, kick-derriere type year. It won’t hurt him and it won’t hurt the Thrashers. It’s not as if the “window of opportunity” is closing for Kane. He’s got a roster spot waiting for him in the 2010-11 season, and it’ll be playing “Top Six” forward minutes, which will be HIS LONGTERM ROLE for this club. Playing those Top Six forward minutes, in his “rookie year,” will allow him to more ably compete for the Calder Trophy, instead of being buried on the checking line, playing 3rd line minutes. Which will never be his role past this season. That’d be the better way to develop Kane.

It should be about “hockey decisions,” not “financial” ones.

Steven Tyler

September 16th, 2009
6:06 pm

…………………..i met matt and darren in the elevator years ago. good guys!…………………
Love in an Elevator….
The Logo is awesome….

Dwayne

September 16th, 2009
6:20 pm

I like the LOGO.

ben

September 16th, 2009
7:01 pm

I feel that this is the real world and the Thrashers must compete in an overcrowded market, ergo the have to do things that are not ideal. Zherdev would have been a proven commodity with a track record and a reputation. And all things being equal, I wanted him on Techwood 42 dates a year. And there is risk to this, but the greater risk is no Kovy. Look, the fact is Zherdev has not signed anywhere in North America. That is a clue, people. As to Kane not being here in seven years, very respectfully to all of you, do you know what the world will look like in eight years? Example: Politics aside, could any of you have seen the election results for 2008 in 2000? In sports, the high picks get thrust into less than ideal situations all the time. Some even succeed. If the kid blows, he’ll be back in the WHL. Maybe, he’ll pull a Little and be really good after a short first stint. All I know is I’D RATHER KEEP THE KID!!!!

Rawhide

September 16th, 2009
7:24 pm

Smoothie & Ben – Your posts have been freed from blog purgatory.

R. Stroz

September 16th, 2009
7:47 pm

ben – Little put another year in the juniors after he was drafted by the Thrashers. Then after a stint in Atlanta the next year, Little went back to Chicago.

Please remember, Kane is just 18 years and 1.5 months old.

World Be Free

September 16th, 2009
9:17 pm

Three questions-

Jason Williams signing with Detroit; what are they thinking?

Dubinsky getting seriously low balled by New York. The Rangers, a team that makes a habit of overpaying guys on the wrong side of the curve are playing “Buffalo Sabre Cheap” with Dubinsky, a real good all around player. And they signed Kotalik?

Where is Earl of Bud?

Bob

September 16th, 2009
9:18 pm

I can’t see them burning a year of Kane’s rookie contract this year, I still think they’ll let him see a few games, and go dumpster divin again on the waiver wire to fill out the forwards.

Red Wings Fan

September 16th, 2009
9:20 pm

Jason Williams has signed with Detroit?

The cup is ours.

Rawhide

September 16th, 2009
9:29 pm

I can’t see them burning a year of Kane’s rookie contract this year, I still think they’ll let him see a few games, and go dumpster divin again on the waiver wire to fill out the forwards.

Bob – I’m inclined to concur with that point. If folks want to see Kane play at the NHL level during the regular season, they had better do so on opening night. Since they are gone for the next five, he may not play another home game before being sent down.

If they don’t “dumpster dive”, then you’ll probably see Crabb or Stewart filling the 3LW spot.

World Be Free

September 16th, 2009
9:30 pm

You know Bob, that’s what i wanted to avoid when there were plenty of good UFA forwards to be had, a few weeks ago. Now there’s not much left.

We do not have NHL quality depth, if we get in injury trouble. Let’s hope they are spending their time resigning our core long term.

I can suit up, if ya’ll like leather helmets.

Brendan

September 16th, 2009
10:30 pm

Just curious, not advocating anything, but did Max Afinagenov ever get an NHL contract? Or did he sign in the KHL or some other European league?

The NY Rangers are known for their spending. Their market is a rich and viable one. They are an “Original Six” team. But GM’s have to be careful these days more than ever, since (1) the cap may be shrinking next season, however marginally that may be, and (2) the CBA expires in 2011. I think it’ll be renewed. But hey, I don’t own a crystal ball. If there’s going to be another Lockout, then that’s what happens. Having been through one lockout, with promises of, “Oh we’ll fix everything! The salary cap is coming! It will level the ice surface, and create 30 healthy franchises,” I’m even less in favor of listening to them argue. We’ve seen the results.

Regarding the waiver wire, I hope we can find something good, as a bottom feeder with cap room. I’m keeping an eye out for the Toronto Maple Leafs and how they use Colin Stuart. If they put him on waivers, I’d like to have him back. What? I would.

R. Stroz

September 16th, 2009
10:45 pm

Brendan – The Leafs traded Colin Stuart to the Flames.

World Be Free

September 16th, 2009
11:13 pm

Max is in limbo right now, not even a camp invitee.

Sage of Bluesland

September 17th, 2009
12:39 am

That logo represents everything that Don Waddell has done to hockey in Atlanta….I just wish we could have put some of his more infamous blusters around the outside…”Five-Year Plan”; “Building through the draft!”; Playoff “guarantee”; We’re ahead of the Flyers’ progress; “We got the player we wanted all along!” et. al. ad nauseam.

Stop subsidizing the utter incompetence of that fraud of a GM and that uncaring ownership group.

Rawhide

September 17th, 2009
8:43 am

I was listening to Laughlin and Lovignle on XM’s NHL This Morning driving in and they made the comment that Manny Malhotra is thiiiiiissssss close to signing with the San Jose Sharks.

GaVaHokie

September 17th, 2009
9:16 am

Check out Ben Wright’s latest blog… read Steve’s comments under the comment section. He gives a good recap of the STH’s breakfast with Waddell.

http://www.bluelandblog.com

GaVaHokie

September 17th, 2009
9:26 am

Rawhide

September 17th, 2009
9:37 am

Hokie – I just read that from the Falconer. The following comment from Waddell tells the whole story:

“Even when Lehtonen is healthy, he should not assume that the #1 job is his. At this point, I don’t think he has earned the right to expect that.”

GaVaHokie

September 17th, 2009
9:50 am

Rawhide… I love that comment!

Rawhide

September 17th, 2009
10:02 am

Hokie – I agree. It’s as if Waddell, Anderson and Dudley, (or the W.A.D. squad), are ready to see the Kari Lehtonen experiment come to some sort of resolution.

Nothing is “given”…everything is “earned”. I like that.

World Be Free

September 17th, 2009
10:03 am

Bill, don’t know why San Jose would want Malholtra, unless he signs a 2 way contract. They seem pretty stacked already.

Smoothie

September 17th, 2009
10:13 am

http://www.kuklaskorner.com/index.php/hockey/comments/report_malhotra_will_sign_with_sharks/

Well Bill, looks like XM NHL was on top of things. Don’t really know how the Sharks can afford him unless he is agreeing to roughly $1.25 M per season. Enjoy your time with cry-baby Heatley Manny!

Sara

September 17th, 2009
10:36 am

Tonight’s line combos courtesy of the Thrashers website:

Forwards

21 Brett Sterling- 40 Jason Krog- 22 Anthony Stewart
9 Evander Kane- 57 Angelo Esposito- 46 Spencer Machacek
36 Eric Boulton- 16 Dan Fritsche- 27 Chris Thorburn
24 Josh Gratton- 41 Tim Stapleton- 15 Joey Crabb

Defense

5 Boris Valabik- 3 Mark Popovic
44 Arturs Kulda- 48 Mike Vernace
7 Nathan Oystrick- 25 Anssi Salmela

Goaltender

30 Drew MacIntyre
31 Ondrej Pavelec

GaVaHokie

September 17th, 2009
10:43 am

Here’s the whole primer for tonight’s preseason game, including Sara’s posted line-ups above.

Wish we could actually watch it… grrrr.

http://thrashers.nhl.com/club/preview.htm?id=2009010017&navid=atl-home-dl

GaVaHokie

September 17th, 2009
10:44 am

Looks like I was fairly close on my line combo’s yesterday… thought Crabb would get the look with Krog and Sterling.

Very interesting that Fritsche is playing in Slater’s spot.

GaVaHokie

September 17th, 2009
10:49 am

Enjoy your time with cry-baby Heatley Manny!

Yeah, enjoy your linemates, Jed Ortmeyer and Torry Mitchell because you’re never seeing Lines 1 and 2.

GaVaHokie

September 17th, 2009
11:00 am

I’d say the biggest disadvantage goes to…

Gratton Stapleton Crabb
Kulda Vernace

Zero familiarity between those guys, Crabb should hope to swap out with Stewart at some point in the game… my early verdict is, “grab a coat guys, it gets cold in Chicago” to Gratton, Stapleton, Kulda and Vernace.

Smoothie

September 17th, 2009
11:17 am

Yeah, I’m not sure why Crabb is playing with those two instead of Krogger and Sterling. If Stewart is already ahead of Crabb due to performance in practice, Joey could be in trouble. But then again, this could be Stewart’s one oppty to prove he can do something on a “scoring” line. Or JA is simply trying to put some “nasty” on each line: 1) Stewart 2) Macho-man 3) Boults / Thor 4) Gratton / Crabber

Smoothie

September 17th, 2009
11:28 am

AFINOGENOV!!! TALK ABOUT YOUR GAME OF RUSSIAN ROULETTE!!

Sorry, couldn’t resist.

R. Stroz

September 17th, 2009
11:39 am

Holy “Crazy Legs” Batman

Rawhide

September 17th, 2009
12:11 pm

Hmmmm. a Kovy – Antropov – Afinogenov line????

Possibly the “Alias” line?…(a.k.a).

Or maybe…the “Bill the Cat” line….”aak”!

How about…The Comrad Connection?

World Be Free

September 17th, 2009
12:35 pm

This keeps up, we may run into a Vodka shortage in metro Atlanta

Sara

September 17th, 2009
12:59 pm

“This keeps up, we may run into a Vodka shortage in metro Atlanta”

That would be completely unacceptable.

DWTOO

September 17th, 2009
1:10 pm

Good Move – Max has good speed, good stick handling, problem is putting it in the net. But, with Kovy and Nik there may be some chemistry. Second line would be Pevs, White, Little. Slava moves to the open spot on the third line. Would give the checking line some scoring punch along with Slava’s defensive ability.

Kane gets another year in Juniors.

Daculafan

September 17th, 2009
1:34 pm

One thing is for sure…they are generating a lot more fan excitement than they were a year ago…BOOM bring in Manny for a try out…BOOM bring in mad Max…they really are making it more interesting that last year’s off season and camp..

To be honest….they really are keeping the heat cranked up on the players this year in camp..there may be only a half dozen guys in this camp who really aren’t sweating any of the moves being made…I have to imagine everybody else is feeling the tension…it’s really good to see that

Zoomo

September 17th, 2009
1:34 pm

It’ll be intersting to see how this works out. Max was a turnover machine last year. Seemed lost on the ice. I wonder if Anderson thinks he can get more out of him and cut down on his turnovers by playing Andy’s ssytem.

Hockey Biltong

September 17th, 2009
1:46 pm

Zoomo, that is the key. Will he fit the system???? He may inspire the youngsters to play at a higher level, but I have my doubts that he’ll be a responsible 2 way player….

Old Man Jenkins

September 17th, 2009
1:49 pm

Maxie AffinEEgenoff? Bah, who needs him or that Nikkie Andropoff guy? Same with that Manny Legicing character.

Since when did we need to bring in talent around here?

Why, in my day, we were given players like Norm Maracle, Niko Kapanen, Serge Aubin, Uwe Krupp, Zhitnik and that Stevie Rucchin boy.

And we were THANKFUL!

Took our beatings like real men, we did. And at the end of the day we took our 60 or 70 points that we earned and were proud of it!

Maxie AffinEEgenoff? BAH!

ben

September 17th, 2009
1:50 pm

If he makes the team, our line-up could get scary! I hope this city proves me wrong and shows up. Come on down you guys! It ain’t scary down here. Just give it a whirl!

Alan

September 17th, 2009
2:27 pm

I hope Afinogenov proves me wrong and shows up. Or else this is going to be very harsh.

Toby

September 17th, 2009
2:46 pm

Why does this have to be bad or harsh? It’s a free tryout…If he sucks in the preseason games, he’s gone…

TableHockey

September 17th, 2009
2:48 pm

Could we actually have some depth this season???

Bob

September 17th, 2009
3:10 pm

“This keeps up, we may run into a Vodka shortage in metro Atlanta”

No worries. We’ll just wring out Levenson’s liver if we run low . . .

Alan

September 17th, 2009
3:21 pm

It’s a free tryout…If he sucks in the preseason games, he’s gone…

Because he’s not here just for a brief reprieve from Buffalo. I believe he’s going to be extended an offer, he will sign it, and he will change from Buffalo’s Human Turnover Machine into Atlanta’s Human Turnover Machine.

lee

September 17th, 2009
3:24 pm

toby-exactly, waddell made a good point: it wont hurt. i actually think he could help us out a little, i mean no kovy or antro, but fair guy.

tablehockey-no offense dude, but where u been??? r u new??? if u r i totally understand, but most of these blogs have been bout depth. if u haven’t been following the offseason, we traded ex for nik antropov and pavel kubina. we got some fair free agents, we hav players such as max afiniganov, many legace, dan fricthe and others for tryouts, and i personally think we got a fair amount of new players this season. im down for the thrashers finishing 3rd in division and 9th in conference. (wait, maybe it’s 8) oh well.

bob-heck, im in!

lee

September 17th, 2009
3:26 pm

sry tablehockey i meant (wait maybe its 8) typo!

lee

September 17th, 2009
3:27 pm

ugh!!!!! i meant eight not 8

Brendan

September 17th, 2009
3:28 pm

I only asked if Afinagenov had a contract. I didn’t tell Waddell to invite him to camp!

R.Stroz, maybe the Flames will put Colin Stuart on waivers.

lee

September 17th, 2009
3:29 pm

wat the crap!!!! ???

i meant eight not smilie face!!!!

Brendan

September 17th, 2009
3:30 pm

Does anyone know if Kovalchuk “wanted/asked” for Afinagenov? Just curious, is all.

Sara

September 17th, 2009
3:43 pm

“No worries. We’ll just wring out Levenson’s liver if we run low . . .”

Brilliance

Brendan I’m beginning to think Kovy asked for the entire Russian Olympic roster.

Bob

September 17th, 2009
4:28 pm

Is Fetisov in game shape?

GaVaHokie

September 17th, 2009
4:45 pm

I think it’s all just a ploy to get Nikulin to come to Atlanta. :)

ben

September 17th, 2009
8:46 pm

ya’ll, it’s pouring out . . . i foresee a lot of blogging tomorow

Brendan

September 17th, 2009
10:41 pm

Anyone know what Nikulin is making, converted into U.S. Dollars, in the KHL? I’d bet we can’t even touch that figure. But, I could be wrong. And even if I am wrong, Nikulin wouldn’t sign in Russia and play in Russia … if that weren’t where he wanted to be.

I’m done waiting for Nikulin. I’d still take, Federov, however. But that ship has sailed, correct? He’s all signed and sealed in the KHL for next year, right?

Junk not Trunk

September 17th, 2009
10:58 pm

Holy crap. That ten-year logo is just atrocious. Perhaps even worse than those red third jerseys they came out with last season.

This team can not do anything right when it comes to branding. I mean, they are just plain awful.

Don Waddell

September 17th, 2009
11:15 pm

After a start like that, the Cup is ours. Well, then again, on second thought, we are still one or two players away.