Thrashers Math 101 – Statistics and Projections

Thrasher-Math 101 class at the University of Thrasherville…the rowdiest class on the cyber-campus assembles…Professor Rawhide takes the lectern

OK, class…settle down…quiet now, please, class… Class? …CLASS? …SHUT UP!!!

ahem…Thank you.

Ranallo, Tony C., Smoothie, World Be Free, Paminski and RiceOwls8891, if you’ll be so kind as to put away those hockey sticks and take your seats…Rstroz, please refrain from utilizing that bullhorn while inside the classroom… Sage, if you must bring sheep to the campus, please make sure they remain outside on the lawn.

Also… Spud Webb, Kracker and GaVaHokie…I will not tolerate another “Professor Chant” being started up today…do you understand, gentlemen?

Now then, before we….

ummm… Hockey Biltong, is that a Guiness you’re sipping on there in class? Uh-huh…and did you bring enough for everyone? No…no you didn’t? Well, you know the rule…if you didn’t bring enough for everyone, then you can’t drink one yourself. So just hand it over, young man. Thank you.

Thrasherville may soon see the return of Ilya Kovalchuk who had 9 goals and 1 assists before a puck to the foot sidelined him on Oct. 24 (AJC photo)

Thrasherville may soon see the return of Ilya Kovalchuk who had 9 goals and 1 assists before a puck to the foot sidelined him on Oct. 24 (AJC photo)

Now where was I…oh yes…before we begin class today, I’d like to acknowledge Professor Brendan who teaches our Thrasher Theory 101 class…Professor Sara of Thrasher Phylosophy 101…and Professor Bob who presides over Thrasher History 101. Thank you each for sitting in today.

Trixie will join us later, just as soon as her massage class concludes in the gymnasium. This must explain the obvious absence of Alan…even though he has signed up and taken that class seven times before.

And with that aside…on to today’s topic.

The Thrashers are now fourteen games into the season, so today we’ll take a look at some overall team stats as well as a few individual numbers as well. We’ll then project those numbers out over the course of the 82 game season to forcast possible results.

Please keep in mind, however, that these “projections” are not to be confused as “predictions”… this is just a simple exercise in stats and numbers to use as a particular point of reference…a snapshot in time, if you will…to be used as analytical data later in the course as actual numbers unfold.

First, the Thrashers have a record of 7-6-1 for 15 points, which equates to a points winning percentage of .536. If continued, that would put them on a pace for a record of something like 39-34-10 for 88 points.

Not now Slates, I'm trying to pay attention in Rawhide's class, (AJC photo)

Not now Joey, I'm trying to pay attention in Rawhide's class, (AJC photo)

Anyway…that .536 points winning % right now is the 19th best in the NHL and 9th best in the Eastern Conference, just below Tampa Bay’s .567 PW% and just above the .529 level of the Boston Bruins after their 3-0 win over Pittsburgh Tuesday night.

The Thrashers are scoring goals at a 3.36 per game clip, which would come to about 276 if sustained through 82 games…that is exactly the amount scored last year. They allow 3.14 goals per game, a projected 257 goals for the season… which would be 23 fewer than last season.

For historical reference, the fewest amount of a goals a Thrashers defense has ever allowed in a season is 243 in 2003-04. They let up 245 in the 2006-07 playoff season. Their best offensive output…281 during the 2005-06 campaign.

Last season defensemen scored 31 goals for Atlanta. So far this season the blueline has chipped in 16. If this pace is continued, they woul account for 94 goals.

Now, as far as individual numbers go…let’s take a quick gander at a handful of players and compare, contrast and project, shall we.

We recently learned that Ilya Kovalchuk, who had accounted for 9 goals and an assist prior to his injury on October 24, could be back with the team quicker than originally thought…which is very good news indeed. So, assuming he does return Thursday and misses only 6 games, he would be on pace for about 95 points in 76 games played.

Rich Peveley currently is on track to score 100 points (AP/Gregory Smith)

Thrasherville's triple-digit man? Rich Peveley currently is on track to score 100 points (AP/Gregory Smith)

Rich Peverley has 7 goals and 10 assists and his 17 overall points leads the team. This puts him currently on a pace for 100 points…41 goals and 59 assists. Compare that to his 20 goals and 32 assists in 66 games last season between Nashville and Atlanta.

OK, I’ll make you this one prediction here…if the Pevs Dispenser accumulates 100 points this season, the Thrashers will be in the playoffs. Just sayin’…

Second on the team in team points is Nik Antropov, who has yet to score his first goal as a Thrasher but has dished out 13 assists so far. It’s kind of tough to project goals and assists given his current stats, but 13 points after 14 games is a pace that would get him 76 points. Last season he netted 59 overall points in 81 games split between Toronto and the Rangers…a career high.

Then there is Maxim Afinogenov, who has provided 3 goals and 8 assists. Max’s best offensive season was back in 2005-06 when in 77 games his 22 goals and 51 assists made up 73 overall points. He’s on a course right now for 17 goals and 47 assists for 64 points.

That would not be a bad return for $800,000.

Also with 3 goals and 8 assists and on pace for 64 points in is blueliner Pavel Kubina. His career high for offensive production is 40, achieved during the last two seasons while in Toronto.

Evander Kane + 36 projected points = Good (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)

Evander Kane + 36 projected points = Good (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)

Combine Kubina’s numbers with the solid, dependable work in the Thrashers defensive zone and that trade last summer just looks all that much better for Don Waddell, eh?

Defenseman Zach Bogosian has led the way for a very offensive-minded defensive corps. 6 goals and 2 helpers have him on a pace for 35 goals, 12 assists for 47 overall points. In his rookie year he accounted for 9 goals and 10 assists for 19 points during an injury-shorted season in which he playing in 47 games.

As for Colby Armstrong…he has a pair of goals and three assists and is on a course currently for about 29 points. This is after a 40-point showing last season…but a lot of that time was spent on the top-two lines. I personally wouldn’t be surprised if he finishes closer to 40 than 29.

Marty Reasoner’s 6 points has him on a pace for about 5 more points than last season’s 30…which would be a bonus given his responsible play in the defensive side of the ice and his penalty killing prowess.

A player with 3 goals and 3 assists so far would be on track for an 18 goals and 36 points kinda season… if all 82 games are played in by said player. Is that good or bad? Well, I guess that depends on what player we are speaking of. In the case of rookie Evander Kane…whose 3 goals and 3 assists so far point him in the vicinity of 18 goals and 18 assists…that would be a very, very good total for the 18-year old playing in the NHL for the first time.

Todd White + 13 projected points = Un-Good (AP/Gregory Smith)

Todd White + 36 projected points = Un-Good (AP/Gregory Smith)

For Todd White, however…not so much. He’ s coming off a career-high 22 goal, 73 point season, and like Kane, also has 3 goals and 6 points at this time. I don’t think too many fans expected another 70+ season out of the 34-year old veteran…but these are un-good numbers early on by just about anyone’s measure.

This is especially true given White’s team-worst –6 rating.

Also fighting it early on is Slava Kozlov. Like Antropov, he is yet to light the lamp this fall but has 5 assists. Given that level of production over 14 games, the current projection is 29 points. Ugh.

And finally, we come to Bryan Little, who by most accounts just hasn’t looked himself on the ice this season. His two goals have come courtesy of Rich Peverley banking the puck in off of his skate and a Toby Enstrom blast that ticked off his stick on the way in toward the net. Combine that with 6 assists and he has 8 overall points. This projects to 47 points over 82 games played.

Surprisingly, however, that is only 4 points off his total last season as he played in 77 games and looked like an All-Star for most of the year.

And now, the class participation portion of today’s lesson…

91 comments Add your comment

Smitty

November 11th, 2009
7:21 am

I still question why Kozlov and White are getting 2nd line minutes. Is Colby playing hurt? Kane is playing well but can he handle 1st or 2nd line minutes for an entire year while helping on the PK. I would like to see a Kane-Peverly-Max combo every once in-a while. Max has played well. He does seem as free-wheeling as he was with the Sabres and he has played well defensively.

The defense tweaking the other night against the Blues seemed to have awakened the defense from their sleep-walking effort against the Isles.

Good to see Kovy might be back tonight. Hope he sees the improvement in this years team. Improvement will be more significant when Kozzy and White wake up. Hope Kovy re-signs bfore December.

Jimbo

November 11th, 2009
7:32 am

Humorous, but strictly a “filler”. We all know that injuries, hot streaks, and other events are going to disrupt a logical line to the finish. In any event, we’ve started OK. It looks like Kovy is back to add energy, leadership and scoring to the forwards and we’ll have a team that is fun to watch. Good job, Rawhide. You keep us up to date on player news. Thanks.

World Be Free

November 11th, 2009
7:43 am

Biltong would only be sipping a Canadian brew, like John Labatt’s Extra Stock or Molson Brador.

Toby

November 11th, 2009
8:20 am

Kevin Allen:

Atlanta Thrashers have joined the Phoenix Coyotes as a team interested in Chris Chelios. Thrashers are merely watching him at this point.

JLH

November 11th, 2009
8:32 am

Thanks Bill, nice to wake up to. I guess the goalie stats are what they are. I’m wondering how many of the Little White Russian line’s points came on the power play last year? Which I’ve got to say has looked pretty inept the last few games, both the 1st and 2nd units.

A couple of corrections:
You got the team points right, but the record is 7-6-1;
Clever photo with Anderson, but I think that’s Crabb, not Sl

GaVaHokie

November 11th, 2009
8:34 am

Thanks Toby… I see Chris Chelios as a mid-season addition to some teams, ala Mats Sundin last year.

Which is better than having guys like Holik on your team for the full season… a lot of vets “dog it” during the first half because they know the final stretch is the most important.

That being said… I’m not exactly thrilled with the possibility.

Michael B. Shapiro

November 11th, 2009
8:56 am

Thrasherville U class?

Brother Rawhide: Young man, give me that knife!”
Zing, thwock, doyng as the knife imbeds itself in the classroom wall.
Brother Rawhide: “Thank you!”

Tom

November 11th, 2009
9:43 am

Here is a beg to Boulton.

If Mr. Avery get’s within 5 feet of Ilya’s foot, please smash his face into next week. Seriously.

Whatever fine and suspension the league offers you we, the loyal fans of the Atlanta Thrashers, will eagerly make up in good and services, and even some cold hard cash.

Sincerely,

Tom

Bob

November 11th, 2009
9:50 am

Good write up, sir. I think the boys held it together pretty well while Kovy was out. I have to believe that White, Kozlov, and Little are going to get it rolling, they may need to mix up the lines here to get those three going.

But mabye this club hangs around where they are now, and some kind of deadline deal is made to bring in a top 6 forward and propel them into a playoff berth.

I would like to see them tighten up defensively now with Kovy back, it seemed that Coach has been letting the D jump into plays recently with Kovy out and our 2nd line stagnant.

I also have to think that Pavelec is going to continue to improve this year, he can steal some games. I have hope for the club to make a run, we’re a middle of the pack club and our fortunes are going to rely on injuries and getting the 2nd line rolling.

Alan R.

November 11th, 2009
10:09 am

If I’m actually absent from class, does that mean I have to participate?

five_hole

November 11th, 2009
10:23 am

Love the “Sister Mary Elephant” reference Bill, but somehow I think I was much more of a Cheech & Chong fan than you were.

I agree with Tom If Kovy does play tonight, I’m worried that Avery will go after his foot.

Get The Puck Out

November 11th, 2009
10:24 am

The forwards will get hot soon and if the defense keeps gettin goals, the opposing goalie is gonna be real busy. Now if we could get the defense to help out OP and moose that would also be a plus. Injury may be the wild card that hurts this team the most. I always did like to cut class.

A2B

November 11th, 2009
10:26 am

Nice post Rawhide. I do have to be curious with Kovy coming back early if this team is going to get a serious jolt of enery and go on a run. I think the Thrashers are also smart to give Mr. Chelios a chance up here, maybe he can teach Valabik some pointers on how to move his feet and improve his shot.

World Be Free

November 11th, 2009
10:26 am

five_hole
Wasn’t the church “Our Lady of 114th Street”?

Spicoli

November 11th, 2009
10:41 am

Are we gonna’be like,responsible for this info for the final?

Putting On The Foil

November 11th, 2009
11:12 am

Anybody know the guy that’s always in the picture behind the bench? This guy gets alot of tv time too. Just curious.

Dwayne

November 11th, 2009
11:15 am

5 hole, Thrashers play tomorrow night.

Dwayne

November 11th, 2009
11:45 am

There was a beautiful Blonde their Sunday, I do believe. But, the guy your talking about is an American Indian named Chief Constipated Buffalo. Which translate to Mr. Poopy Pants.

Nate

November 11th, 2009
11:45 am

Rawhide – As a teacher myself, I find this blog entry both accurate and entertaining. Nice job. And let’s seriously hope Slava, Little, and Whitey’s current projections pan out better than the current numbers forecast.

Sadtoseeitthisway

November 11th, 2009
11:59 am

Keep Boris in drydock. And don`t even think of signing Chelios, he was pitiful in the token time the Red Wings gave him at the end of last season. He just needs to fade away and wait his time for the HOF.

World Be Free

November 11th, 2009
12:13 pm

Very nice Bill, good look forward to what we might expect for the balance of this season. We won’t talk about goaltending, because it is lunch time and we want everyone to be able to hold their food down.

The big intangible for me is coaching. This is where John Anderson and company earn their pay. Your “look forward” puts the Thrashers in the middle of the pack, fighting for a playoff spot. Leadership behind the bench will guide the team through the 3 games in 4 nights, the 1 goal games (wins we hope) and future, unexpected injuries.

I think John Anderson is one of the most underrated coaches in the league. We will see if this is the case, with the Thrashers in the mix for a playoff spot.

Can he get the team to play better in front of their own net?
Can the coaches find a way to reduce SOG by 5-7 per game and maintain the offense?
Can Bryan Little and Kozzy get going?
The numbers you have projected require John Anderson’s leadership.

I’d sign Chelios in a heartbeat. Chelly on this team would be like having another asst. coach.

Paminski

November 11th, 2009
12:49 pm

Paminski surreptitiously passes a note.

By my count, our instructor has written 25 blogs since Oct.1 (42 days). Rounded up, that is a blistering pace of 0.6 blogs per day. If this pace continues, we can expect approximately 114 blogs by the end of the regular season. It may be a few less if he takes some time off during the Olympic break.

Please don’t check my accuracy. Math was not my best subject.

Riceowls

November 11th, 2009
1:06 pm

As its Stats class, here are three: Penalty kill 82.5 for 9th. Power play 22.8 for 8th. Combined 105.3. Conventional wisdom is a combined score of 100 or more makes for a playoff team.

And another number: we have yet to play any of our six games against Carolina and Florida who have minus real point numbers. (Thanks Falconer).

Little and Kozlov will come around and the Thrashers will make the playoffs.

Glovesave29

November 11th, 2009
1:10 pm

Jeez Bill, I feel left out. Can I apply for the open postion of Dean of Advanced Goaltending Studies? Since you have to be missing a few marbles to play the net, it could be part of the College of Psychology. I have Sgt. Stedenko as a resource. Dave could be one too, but he’s not here right now.

ThrasherTim

November 11th, 2009
1:14 pm

I really don’t think Chelios is in line to make the Thrashers big club. That would go against everything the Thrashers are developing into on D. Bigger, faster guys looking to jump into the play. Besides, we have 2-3 developing leaders already on defense with Kubina, Hainsey and Bogo.

Thrasher fans, we are 7-6-1 with the minimal output and all around poor D play from Kozlov, Little and White. I’m not saying they are going to magically turn it around and become one of the best 2nd lines in the league, but this goes to our depth on the team that we can survive without their production. Obviously, any kind of improvement will really make this team more dangerous. I know that Little has hit numerous posts lately and Kozlov has had a couple of rob jobs…still, they need to improve for sure.

Well said about not having played Florida or Carolina yet — but we can’t count those as Ws either. Two weeks ago I was probably counting 4-5 points for the latest 3 game swing against a struggling CBJ team, The Islanders and the offensively-challenged Blues and we only got 2 points…and those 2 points needed a lucky bounce to get it. Having said that, I like our chances in those games if we give a solid effort.

Alan R.

November 11th, 2009
1:30 pm

We interrupt this classroom discussion for some breaking news!

We’ve learned exactly how the NHL determines who should get suspended and for how long!

We now return you to this classroom discussion, already in progress.

Sara

November 11th, 2009
2:08 pm

Alan – I read that last night – DGB is always hilarious.

BTW, according to Ben Wright’s latest Tweet, Kovy is NOT playing tomorrow night in NY.

Philosophy huh? Totally subjective, which means I get to subjectively pass or fail whomever I want. Which means the “suck-up-for-an-A” line starts right over there. :P

Paminski

November 11th, 2009
2:17 pm

I hear it is a pleasure to breathe the very air Sara passes through.

Spud Webb

November 11th, 2009
2:32 pm

PRESENT!!!!!!!!!!! a little late though today!!! Story of my life!
I tend to lean against Chelios being here, Kubina is a good leader/model for the young guys. I also think Bogo is quickly becoming a STUD. It’s very, very exciting to think of bogo & kane together for a while at least!
I’m getting worried about Kovy signing. Anyone else? 11-11 and we got no news????????? Someone just say, “spud you’re being silly, Dandy Don will do something he has yet to do in 10 years, the right thing!!”

Alan R.

November 11th, 2009
2:37 pm

I’m getting worried about Kovy signing. Anyone else?

Not I. It is what it is. It’ll be a huge setback if Kovalchuk doesn’t re-sign, but I’m not concerned in the least.

Tony C.

November 11th, 2009
2:40 pm

That flowchart roolz.

I would say it’s official but obviously it’s a few years old-doesn’t have the seperate “crosby bubbles”/ but yah it funny me laugh mucho.

Sara

November 11th, 2009
2:46 pm

Y’all are screwed – Paminski just shot the curve to hell. :D

Tony C. the post-season one had me in stitches … is the guy dead – hahahaha!!!

I tell you what else still has me in stitches – that Halloween video where Army talks about egging Ovy’s house – and he comes out of his Orthodox-domed trailer with the “I <3 Crosby" shirt on …. man, brings tears to my eyes every time. That and Kovy's "Hainsey loves mirror and mirror loves him."

God I love our team.

Tom

November 11th, 2009
2:50 pm

Tony C.

The Crosby Bubbles do not even have to be added to the flowchart. If you do not know the Crosby exemption exists you do not get hired by the league to begin with.

A2B

November 11th, 2009
2:51 pm

That chart is awesome… It really does sum up how the NHL solves problems… well is it really solving problems? Anyways, Kovy news is not good, but hopefully its just swelling that will go away and he didn’t aggrevate anything.

rightshot

November 11th, 2009
2:52 pm

First, I’m surprised no one heard me snoring in the back of the class. It was a late night Rawhide, not your fault.
Second, I think the Thrashers are playing 500 hockey until either coach sits someone for not doing their job or until someone seriously lights a fire under the teams collective a$$. They have the ability, they could be faster, stronger, better.
Finally, Can we eat in here or does that fall under the you have to bring enough for everyone catagory. If so, I’m ordering pizza. Who wants a slice?

Riceowls

November 11th, 2009
2:54 pm

who says Leafs fans don’t have a sense of humour?

Jeff

November 11th, 2009
2:59 pm

Hey guys,

Always reading your comments… You’re my Thrashers hockey source…

Little question for you… I read somewhere at the begining of the season that we would see lots of Thrashers game on TV… What happened there? We hardly have any? Can’t always get down to Philips Arena so it would be nice…

Let me know if I misread this back in September…thought I read 45 games would be on SPSO…

Alan R.

November 11th, 2009
3:06 pm

More games are televised after the “other sports” are no longer in season. It’s a shame, really, but it’s business I guess.

Sara

November 11th, 2009
3:07 pm

rightshot the blog eats in here all the time (hint, hint Trixie) – don’t see why you can’t.

LAC

November 11th, 2009
3:17 pm

Yes Mr.Bill, it is starting to head into the holiday season, Thanksgiving TWO weeks away, and NO contract news for several weeks.

That means it is 6 weeks away from , “We will not be talking about this at Christmas”, coming from the biggest FOOL to ever be involved in professional sports The Loser/Liar/Idiot/Dumb don waddell.

This IS starting to become a clear distraction to the fans for starters and likely a number of players…

I guess it proves yet again waddell cannot do anything right in the hockey world, so don, PLEASE go back to detroit and sell used cars,
you likely could not even do that very well either, because you are
without a doubt The Biggest Career LOSER ever in sports history, resign and let someone else sign #17 Ok “don” ? Do THE Right thing for once in your worthless life !

Miami Screaming Eagle

November 11th, 2009
3:23 pm

Alan R-I am beginning to believe Kovy is close to being a goner. Only governments take longer to negotiate deals. This is the longest contract negotiation in modern history and that’s not a good thing at all.

Just get something for him before the trading deadline, before he’s characterized as a rental player.

World Be Free

November 11th, 2009
3:29 pm

Chelios is a winner and you never have enough winners. He reminds me a lot of Tim Horton. Horton came back to Buffalo in the early 70’s to mentor a young Jim Schoenfeld. Jimbo was younger than Bogo at the time.

Not sure if many of you remember Horton, but guys like Horton and Chelios are the kind of players are leaders and teachers.

Intangibles.

Sara

November 11th, 2009
3:34 pm

Don isn’t the one dragging this process out, Kovy is and with good reason. The whole point for Kovy was to evaluate the direction of the team/management commitment. That’s a tad hard to do after 14 games – especially when they are flirting with the .500 mark. There’s potential for this to still go any which way – up, down, flat … they haven’t even played a quarter of the season yet. Too soon to tell, so no decision isn’t surprising or alarming. He still talks and acts like a man committed and that’s good enough for me for right now. I’m not intending to worry until at least Xmas.

Miami Screaming Eagle

November 11th, 2009
3:52 pm

Sara-
Sign the contract, what more evaluation do you need?
When does he make his decision?
Are these the Kovalchuk Thrashers or the Atlanta Thrashers?
When does management make the decision to move on and at least get something for him?

He’s supposed to be the captain and the leader.
Lead by making the long term commitment.

End of story.

fes

November 11th, 2009
3:55 pm

@ Jeff: This season they took a slightly different approach. Instead of not televising games down the stretch in the spring, they’re not televising many games in the first half of the season. We get lots of coverage after christmas for a change. I’ll take that.

Can I have the hall pass?

Sara

November 11th, 2009
4:33 pm

Miami Screaming Eagle – ummm, yeah, you might as well call them the Kovalchuk Thrashers I guess. Cause it’s his team and he’s the heart and soul of it. Waddell may talk semi-tough by saying they won’t let this drag out but I’ll call BS right now. They’d let Ilya go until next July to make up his mind … as long as it takes. Hell would just about have to freeze over for Waddell to trade away Kovy. Unless this team totally falls out of contention and/or Kovy makes it 100% clear he will never ever sign a contract here, he’s not going anywhere before this season ends.

buldog/52

November 11th, 2009
4:48 pm

Chelios will not be a thrasher. He is going to sign with another team. It will be after this weekend. In the NHL he will be good for about 10 minutes a game at the most. Not enough speed to play more. Has the speed to play AHL and look good.

Miami Screaming Eagle

November 11th, 2009
5:07 pm

Sara-then trade him, get something for him vs. getting Hossa type return for him at the trade deadline or letting him walk for nothing at the end of the year.

If he’s the leader and the soul as you say, then he needs to act like a leader. This has gone on too long.

Brendan

November 11th, 2009
5:19 pm

Sorry I’m late. I was tutoring in my office. With the blinds shut. What? It helps me concentrate. Moving right along …

Sad news about Kovy not playing, but truthfully, I didn’t expect him back for 4 weeks, so he’s still a little ahead of schedule for a potential return. Segue, did the team IMPLODE in Kovy’s absence? No, no it didn’t. It didn’t put together a huge points streak, either. But all things considered, 7-6-1 is a decent mark, given the “totality of our circumstances” in this young season. Bear in mind, in my opinion, we’ve rushed two prospects, Kane and Pavelec, into the lineup. And so far, they’re doing very well. So, in this respect, I suppose a nod of the cap to John Anderson and his coaching staff for evaluating the talent is in order. The test, of course, will be that Kane plays 80-82 games this year. This presupposes any kind of prolonged injury, which was my initial concern. Every other time we’ve rushed a prospect from the draft into the October lineup … they wound up hurt in their rookie year. Even Kovalchuk. Look it up.

By and large, I am pleased with Pavelec. But he is by no means “polished,” as Glovesave29 might say. Pavelec continues to be a work in progress. But what have I always said about him? “He’s going to be a very good NHL goalie in the future.” I also always say, “Goaltenders take 5 years, generally-speaking, to fully develop.” Which means? Well it means Pavelec shouldn’t be being asked to be our #1 goalie until the 2010-11 season. But for a guy pressed into service, ahead of schedule, he’s doing remarkably well, all things considered. And part of that consideration is that the Thrashers defense still isn’t fixed. We’re giving up too many shots. This very well might be the most talented corps of blueliners that we’ve ever had, but it’s not as if we have Stevens and Daneyko back there, with Rafalski as a #3 defender. But I understand that this is YEAR THREE of a four year building project.

Segue to Kovalchuk’s contract … the way to keep him … is to convince him to buy into the building project, while at the same time, promising him robust budgets for the future. In his shoes, I probably wouldn’t trust the Atlanta Spirit. Back when the cap was $39 million, they were eager and able to field a league max opening night budget. Even at a $44 million cap, they “eventually” brushed up against the limit. But with a cap at $56.8 million, that’s not easy to do. I think the Opening night budget was a hair north of $53 million, which included $3.1 million worth of Evander Kane’s bonus, plus paying off the bought out Zhitnik, and Pavelec and the bonuses in his contract. Not to mention Bryan Little’s, too. So, the Thrashers were at least “pretty close” to being within $3 million of the cap limit. Allegedly, supposedly, the cap will FINALLY DECREASE next year. I’ll believe it when I see it. But if you’re Kovy, and you’ve been offered a 5-year deal, you’ve got to think about what the salary cap will be in 2014-15. And let’s be honest, it might be around $70 million. That’s $13.2 million more than it is now. Will Atlanta’s budget, for 2014-15, really be $67 million, for “opening night???” Stop. The cap in 2005-06 was $39 million and it grew, 5-years later, to $56.8 million. Do the math. It grew $17.8 million, or nearly $18 million, in just 5-years. If the next 5 years experiences similar growth, it will represent a serious challenge for this, or ANY future Thrashers ownership, to field a maxed cap team. Kovy’s agent knows that $11.36 million is the most that he’s currently allowed to get, in terms of “cap hit.” That’s 20% of $56.8 million. That’s in the CBA. He can’t get more than that, lest he try for the KHL, in Russia. Which he won’t, in my opinion. Let it go. Movin’ on.

What can the Atlanta Spirit, LLC do … to assuage Kovy’s fears that they simply cannot AFFORD to field the team he wants, moving forward? Well, for starters, they could actually buy out Belkin, and replace him with a contributing partner, to ease cash-flow. They could liquidate more assets from their other business ventures to show that “money won’t be an object,” moving forward. They could promise to hold coaches and GM’s accountable for the standings and playoff results, at the end of the season. They could put a clause into Kovy’s contact that guarantees that he can “walk out the door” if the team is ever more than $3.5 million from WHATEVER the NHL salary cap limit is, in any given season.

Of course, they could also make trades and sign Tier I free agents in the offseason, etc. I think Kovy was pleased with Antropov, Kubina, and Afinogenov as offseason moves. Would he have also wanted Zherdev? Or Zherdev INSTEAD of Max? Shrugs. I don’t know. Kovy and I don’t speak. I couldn’t rightly tell you what he wanted. But I do know this. In 2008, Bruce Levenson had seen enough, after a stretch of 11-4-1 to hand Waddell a new contract. That’s just 16 games.

And how many games have we played so far? Let’s see 7-6-1 makes … 14 games. Was Bruce Levenson RIGHT to hand Waddell a brand, spanking NEW multi-year contract after 16 games? After firing the second coach he hired? Well, the answer is … that the team finished with 76-points, following a 97-point season in 2007. What do you think? And for the record, the words “Bruce Levenson” and “right” should never appear within 5 words of each other. Personally, I’m not worried yet. I think I understand what Kovy is trying to do. As a fan, I share concerns and frustrations about why the contract isn’t done yet. By my way of thinking, a 1-year deal should give him the time he needs to figure out if Atlanta is a JOKE Sage of Bluesland says it is … or if the Thrashers will, indeed, actually become a force in the NHL. A one-year deal obligates Kovy to this market until June 30, 2011. He’d be 27-ish. And still have his prime years well AHEAD of him, to nail down some 8-10 year deal, at the league maximum. Keep in mind, Kovy’s $11.36 million future contract will look like a “drop in the bucket” when 2014-15 rolls around, and the league max contract looks more like $14 million. It’ll be a BARGAIN!!

Red Light

November 11th, 2009
5:38 pm

Good thoughts Brendan. I don’t think it’s about the money as much as it is getting to choose your team and city, although somebody will pay him $9 to $10 million a year.

It’s a pattern that developed a long time ago. Once a player enters the final season of an existing contract, they rarely sign with the same team. For his part, Don and the Thrashers signed UFAs like Reasoner, Hedberg, Slater and Thorburn, but obviously lost out on big money UFAs like Savard and Hossa. He couldn’t or wouldn’t sign deVries, Hnidy, Sutton, Belanger, Sim, Recchi and Holik, but of course they were much different circumstances.

But, this is not just a Waddell problem, although it is a recurring theme for him, because most UFAs test the market as it is an unbelievable opportunity.

During the past few years, few “name” free agents re-sign before or during the last year of their contract. The Sedins, Connolly, A. McDonald and S. Sullivan did in 2009, but are hardly the same type of name that Kovy is. Langkow, Rozsival and Liles did so in 2008.

Of course, Kovy and his agent are balking. Wouldn’t you? The money and opportunity in the traditional markets are too tempting.

Briere got $52 million for 8 years; Hossa got $62.8 million for 12 years; Ovechkin got an in-season $124 million extension for 13 additional years, but the Caps still held his rights because he was still under the entry-level deal; Crosby extended his contract in the summer of 2007, a five-year $45 million contract, and Pittsburgh re-signed Malkin for $43.5 million, an extension of five years when he still had a year remaining on his entry-level deal; Lucic got $4.083 before his entry-level deal was up from Boston; and even Anaheim inked Perry and Getzlaf before their entry level deals were up too; same thing with Staal in Carolina.

The point being, in-season negotiations rarely work with unrestricted UFAs, particularly those playing in non-traditional hockey markets during the season. Sure, there are exceptions, but Kovy saw Hossa play in the Finals two years in a row, and if he wants to win as badly as he says, then the quickest way to do that is through free agency or a trade to a contender this spring.

And, if Waddell gets value in return for Kovy, we might just see him in the 2011 playoffs.

Rawhide

November 11th, 2009
6:28 pm

Sorry if it seems like I abandoned everyone today…however, the Divine Mrs. R and I were out celebrating wedding anniversary #20.

Yup…Nov. 11, 1989 at 7:11 pm in a little church just north of Tampa, FL…she and I agreed to be man and wife.

We haven’t agreed on a damn thing since… :lol:

Also, given that today is Nov. 11, Veteran’s Day, please let me extend to all those who have served in the United States military a warm and heartfelt “thank you”!!!

Sara

November 11th, 2009
7:21 pm

Brendan I don’t think we’ll see that kind of growth from the cap. The initial cap was set artificially low IMO. It did most of it’s growing in the first few seasons, then had modest gains after that. There is likely still room for growth, but not, I don’t think, at the percentage we’ve seen thus far.

Red Light even as far back as last October, Kovy was distinctly differentiating himself from Hossa. As in, he stated he had no intentions of trying to chase a Cup. He’d prefer to pick a team and stick with it – and even moreso for that team to be Atlanta. If you could ask Kovy to script the next five years of his career, he’d instantly tell you that it would involve winning a Stanley Cup with the Atlanta Thrashers. The problem is, he can’t make that happen all by himself, much as I’m sure he’d wish it were so. Thus, he needs to see that the organization is going to provide him enough support to have a real shot at winning. On paper, coming in to this season, it appeared Don Waddell and Atlanta Spirit had done that. A roster of Kovalchuk, Little, Peverley, Kane, Bogosian, Enstrom, Antropov, Hainsey, Afinogenov, Kubina, Armstrong … looks pretty good. But as the Rangers can certainly tell you, what looks good on paper does not always turn out so good on the ice. Thus the wait and see approach from Kovy. We haven’t been as strong perhaps as one would like, but being over .500 means at least he hasn’t been scared off yet either.

Sara

November 11th, 2009
7:26 pm

WOW – not even 8 minutes into the Detroit-Columbus game and there’s been a goaltending change already. But then again, 3 goals on 6 shots will lead to that.

BTW, there’s an excellent video of a Montreal practice where they replicated some of the skills competition events. Metro was most impressive on the accuracy challenge. I miss that guy.

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

Glovesave29

November 11th, 2009
8:25 pm

Brendan – there is a world of difference between being “polished” and being technically unsound. He is getting away with pure athletic ability, instead of learning his craft. I don’t blame Ondrej here…it’s the organization’s fault that they do not give him access to a coach to help him to meet his potential.

Smoothie

November 11th, 2009
8:39 pm

Rawhide, congrats on ur 20th anniversary!! Hope u had a wonderful day and evening celebrating.

Caps just scored 4th goal to erase a 2 goal deficit versus the Isles. I’d just as well concede the SE to Wsh if they promise to sweep NYI, MTL and OTT!

Brendan

November 11th, 2009
10:08 pm

Happy 20th, Rawhide! Hope it was a great one!

Glovesave29, well put! Maybe they’ll yet provide Pavelec with a goalie coach? He’s got a lot of raw skills. But he needs work.

Sara, I’ve never wanted you to be more RIGHT about anything in my life! I hope the cap NEVER gets higher thant $56.8 million. I don’t want to see $70 million as cap, EVER. Much less 5-years from now. When the lockout ended, my guess was that it would be $42 million. And everyone I talked to said, “You’re crazy! You’re nuts! It’ll be at least $50 million. Minimum!!” But I counter-argued, what about the small and non-traditional markets? They can’t survive, going from $20 million a year to a floor of $34 million? When the actual number came in at $39 million, I smiled and reminded them all who said it’d be much lower than that. So, I think you’re right, Sara, that $39 million may have been a little low. Having said that, I still think the cap should be no higher that $47 million, even now. That’s rough on a lot of markets. Without those revenue-sharing dollars, it’d be GAME-OVER for a few markets. So, maybe it was a little artificially low to start, but I think it’s artificially HIGH now. If the cap just stayed right where it is for a while, I think it would make things better for those disadvantaged markets. But that’s meeeee, a guy who has no problem, conceptually, with Nashville playing Phoenix for the Stanley Cup, TV-ratings be darned!

Brendan

November 11th, 2009
10:15 pm

The NY Isles tied it up with Washington, 4-4, and it went 9 rounds of shootout, but the Capitals won. So, I guess the Islanders are 6-6-6. Hope they’re not freaked out about being thusly “marked.” Folks, the Islanders were the 30th place team last year. They’re on pace for 82-points. I think they had 61-points last year? (Don’t quote me. That might not be right.) If they go from 61 to 82, that’s 21 more points. Or 10.5 more wins. That’s pretty good. Do we call that, “The Tavares Effect?” I’m not an Islander basher. I don’t much care for their owner, Charles Wang. But I don’t hate on the Islander players, coaches, or the GM. The GM has my sympathy. That’s the worst GM job in the league. How is he supposed to overcome THAT KIND of ownership?

Brendan

November 11th, 2009
10:22 pm

Correction: 11 rounds of shootout between the Isles and Caps.

Guess who LOST, AGAIN, tonight? 0-10-3 in their past 13 games. Wow. What is going on in Raleigh? Carolina has to do something. This season is getting away from them. Paul Maurice has to be feeling the heat. That’s 20 out of 23 points that got away from them. As Thrasher fans, we should rejoice. But I tell you, I’m not feelin’ it. I’ve come to respect the ‘Canes. They were Conference Finalists last season, and Cup Finalists in 2002 and 2006. I don’t want Jim Rutherford to own the 1st overall pick in the draft, either.

Miami Screaming Eagle

November 11th, 2009
10:43 pm

Red Light-who is going to have $9-$10 Mil to give Kovy under the current cap conditions? Only Atlanta will pony up to those numbers, since we are the team that has experienced what Kovy can bring to a team.

Brendan-how much more time do we have to convince Kovy of the long term plan? This has been going on for weeks and monthes.

I’ve seen Congress move quicker. I’ve seen the pope selected faster than this.

When will we see three puffs of white smoke from Philips Arena?

Brendan

November 11th, 2009
11:21 pm

We have until June 30, 2010, to have exclusive negotiating rights with Kovalchuk, Miami Screaming Eagle. Now, I hear ya. That’s really, really, really “risky.” As a fan, I HATE THAT IDEA!! I wanted Kovy locked up back on July 1, 2009. And if we don’t have a signed contract within 24 hours of the trade deadline, I think the organization is more than within its rights to inform Mr. Kovalchuk that he will be traded. But that, we’re more than moderately interested in his services again come July 1, 2010.

In fact, rubbin’ my chin, I’d love to “rent” Kovalchuk, if that were an option. In other words, let’s say we’re out of it at the trade deadline. If we could get a 1st and 3rd, a prospect, and another conditional pick of some sort for Kovy, then re-sign Kovy on July 1, 2010, that’d be pretty good.

“World Peace” sounds pretty good, too. But how would it ever come about?

I see your point, too, Miami Screaming Eagle. I can plainly see that the owners of the team are named “The Atlant Spirit, LLC.” And not, sayy, Ilya Kovalchuk. And that, in theory, the organization should be run by the owners, not a player. But I believe the reality of the situation is one in which many STHs will bolt, if Kovy bolts. Many won’t. I definitely know people who will be STHs no matter what. For as long as the team is here. No matter who’s on the roster. But I’d have to believe that there’s percentage of STHs that is noteworthy enough to the Spirit, LLC, to show “concern” over a Kovalchuk loss.

I’ve heard the “Waddell rhetoric.” In the offseason, Waddell said words to the effect of, “Kovy will not be traded, no matter what. Period, the end.” And DW went on to say that UFAs “walk” in this league, and he cited Bouwmeester in Florida. Trying to downplay it, as something he sees as a common occurrence.

Well, I think we all know what a blow it would be if Kovalchuk left, for the organization. The rule of thumb is, “Kovalchuks don’t grow on trees.” He’s special. He’s a high commodity. He’s a Tier I player. He hasn’t even hit his PRIME yet. If Kovalchuk TELLS YOU “I’ll re-sign in the offseason. Don’t trade me.” Well, that’s a tough spot. If Kovy changes his mind, there’s nothing Atlanta can do. Well, they do have one option. They can trade Kovy’s exclusive negotiating rights to another team in June. Whether at the draft, or after it. But the return on that won’t be too high.

LAC

November 12th, 2009
1:19 am

Brenden, Bouwmeester did not really walk, he was traded for Leapold, who later signed with Florida, so it was a trade of sorts.

Boy Manny looked UNGOOD in net for Carolina, I cannot believe they have lost 12 in a row, WOW… But watch, they get #1 pick and rebound to return to the elite in a year or so.

Let’s hope for 2 BIG points at MSG, NYR banged up too, so we should be on aneven playing field…. LA will not get the free pass like they got in Raleigh, we should handle them without too much of a problem.

Just play OUT game. Bet #17 returns friday, maybe only on the PP.

Rawhide… Question, I would like to see YOU interviewed between periods to express the fans point of view. You ARE THE PRIMER
blogger in Atlanta, and it would only be fitting to hear you report to the fans on the air ! See if you can MAKE IT HAPPEN ! Thanks!!!!

Sadtoseeitthisway

November 12th, 2009
2:44 am

If you look at the Atlanta Spirit Group from a distance you have to ask yourself, are they commited, do they care enough about the Thrash, do they have the financial wherewithal to sign Kovy to a 5 year plus deal? One can only wonder. After all, who are you going to believe? This whole thing is somewhat similar to the quotes of one Reggie Dunlap. ” Negotiations are moving right along”, “Their should be an announcement very soon”. DW, knowing there`s not enough money in the pot to make a deal Kovy and his agent would agree to, just keeps buying time. We loyal supporters of the Thrash know we are the readheaded stepchild of the ASG. Therefore, we are left to wait and wonder. Seeing the ASG from a distance and hearing nothing from them its almost like “Who own da ASG?” “Owns, Owns.” Can`t someone in their midst step foreward and tell us they are commited to keeping Kovy. Their silence says DW is being left to try to fool the fans for as long as he can.

Dwayne

November 12th, 2009
7:11 am

Weather delay yesterday out of Atl. gave Kovy time to reconsider. He made the flight to NY, will skate this morning and see how it feels.

Miami Screaming Eagle

November 12th, 2009
8:02 am

The longer this thing goes on, the less value Kovy will bring in a deal. He has greater value today than he will in 2 mos, the trading deadline or June 20, 2010. A 1, 3 and a prospect is peanuts for Kovy, who as a player and a captain is the full package.

Look, I understand and respect with most of you who disagree with my view on the Kovy situation, but face it folks, this is a business. The Thrashers cannot afford to let the player hold them hostage on a deal with the option of letting the player decide the future and maybe the fate of the franchise. This has to be a team decision. If you consider how long this has been going on, at least one person in the room should be able to make a decision as to whether it is going to work or not.

The player DOES NOT hold all the cards. If he does, then we are sunk. It’s that plain and simple. The rest of the team is watching this situation.

Leopold and a 3rd round pick was not equal value for Jay Bow, Florida got robbed by a player that was thinking of himself ahead of the team that invested in him.

Ask the Braves on Mark Texiera. Kotchman and a low level prospect, that’s all the Braves got for Tex. If you remember the Braves gave up FIVE prospects for Texiera.

five_hole

November 12th, 2009
8:39 am

Congrats on 20, Bill. Hope you two have many more together.

People, I don’t think that they’re going to announce Kovalchuk resigned while he’s still on the injury list. A little patience is in order.

Dwayne

November 12th, 2009
8:57 am

Mi. Scr. Eagle….not saying what might be right or wrong, or who is holding who hostage…..but if anyone has the right to take a wait and see attitude, its Kovy. He has endured Wadell and losing long enough. I say, by what Kovy is doing, it forced “them” to get him some help. If he bolts, and leaves “them” hanging. I will hold no ill feelings. I do not believe anyone else will either.

Red Light

November 12th, 2009
9:19 am

Miami…
While Atlanta has the most available cap room not allotted for 2010-11, according to NHLnumbers.com, there are other teams with plenty of room to make a run at Kovy if they chose to do so. The following are those teams with the amount of salary under contract for next season. Surprisingly, Washington is on that list.

Atlanta $25.01
Anaheim $30.17
Colorado $31.04
Dallas $31.40
Minnesota $36.391
Islanders $31.94
Phoenix $28.15
San Jose $35.75
St. Louis $32.12
Toronto $36.83
Vancouver $39.80
Washington $34.45

LAC: It was a trade for JB, but certainly not one of equal value. Florida got what they could because he wasn’t going to sign there. In fact, it’s amazing they got the trade done.

Red Light

November 12th, 2009
9:21 am

Dwayne’s comment is on the money, in my opinion!

Miami Screaming Eagle

November 12th, 2009
9:43 am

Red Light/Dwayne and others-
I respect your opinions on this issue. I am just saying there is another side of the situation that cannot be overlooked. If you all decide to overlook this side, please don’t come back in August 2010 and complain about what we should have done with Kovy. If everyone accepts the current path, than we have no reason to question what happens, good or bad after Kovy walks for nothing. That’s on the money too!

Alan R.

November 12th, 2009
9:52 am

I’m having trouble figuring out what “side” we’re all overlooking. We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Kovalchuk could very well walk at the end of 09-10. However, we all also respect that Kovalchuk has the right as a player to take a “wait and see” approach.

Kovalchuk wants to win, and he wants to win here. However, he also wants to see progress. He doesn’t want to see us continue to flounder while he’s on the team. If Atlanta is going to flounder, he wants to watch from afar, and not be a part of the circus like he has been in years past.

So long as this team can show him that we’re “for real” this year, he will sign. This is much different from the Hossa situation, who didn’t want to be here in the first place.

Miami Screaming Eagle

November 12th, 2009
10:06 am

Alan r-thanks! You are correct, this is not Hossa.

All very general terms, I guess I am too much of a yes or no man. The whole situation seems alot clearer to me. What if we do well until February, he signs and the Thrashers go into the tank for whatever reason? The team is the team and we have already we have been able to prove we are competitive with a prospect goalie.

No body has been able to tell me when the wait and see ends. It’s all in the player’s hands which is very scary to me.

Alan R.

November 12th, 2009
10:07 am

As an aside, I feel awful for Carolina and their fans.

Putting On The Foil

November 12th, 2009
10:24 am

Five Hole- Finally broke down and bought the Samsung 52″ LCD 630 series. Now tell me again, what kind of scotch you recommended.

Alan R.

November 12th, 2009
10:28 am

Miami, since this is all in Kovalchuk’s hands, the “wait and see” ends when he ends it. Sure, it’s definitely scary, but what choice do we have? We fans have no choice at all, and it’s not like management can force him to sign a contract.

A plethora of scenarios could occur between now and the end of the year. However, keep in mind that we aren’t even a quarter of the way through the season. It’s far too early to start panicking. I’ll go further and say Christmas is still too soon to panic, in my opinion.

Based on my observations, if we tank, it’s not going to be due to a lack of talent. We’re lacking in some aspects, but we’re also much improved in others. I’m still somewhat confident that Kovalchuk re-signs.

five_hole

November 12th, 2009
10:36 am

Putting On The FoilI’m envious. Enjoy it. I recommend McCallums. 25 year old if you can afford it. It’s as smooth as a baby’s bottom.

World Be Free

November 12th, 2009
10:36 am

Congratulations to you and your wife-you have joined the 20+ club!
That’s a great accomplishment!

Smoothie

November 12th, 2009
10:41 am

Well said Alan R, what other choice do we have? It would be virtually impossible to get equal value for Kovy in a trade so no use in panicking and making a bad deal. If he were traded, I would prefer a deadline deal with a middle of the pack team desperate to make the playoffs (see Atlanta Thrashers circa 2007) and still have a shot at a Top 20 pick in the 2010 draft.

A trade in June similar to the one Florida did for J-Bo would be okay under the circumstances assuming we have a good run with Kovy AND make the playoffs. Things will get quite interesting by January, but till then, why panic right?

And so true about the Canes. How are they this bad? I can’t hate the Canes like the ‘Ning and Craps…they are the Whalers for god’s sake! I certainly want to beat them for a playoff spot, but I don’t want to see them fall to the absolute depths of futility…well, maybe this year. We need all the “easy” points we can get!!

A2B

November 12th, 2009
10:41 am

Hey guys ranting about the Kovy contract- You do realize that Jay Grossman has about 50 athletes that he represents in about 5 different sports. Kovy said wait, and Grossman and Waddell aggreed to meet right after the GM meetings because Grossman is dealing with a lot of FAs in baseball right now and other sports as well. Kovy wants to resign, he just needed to make sure what management was truly in order to make this team better. They went out and spent money and its showing right now.

Please als don’t forget that our schedule has only had 4 games against NON PLAYOFF teams so far, and we are over .500 (Isles, Ottawa 2x, and Lightning). That means we have a team that can win in the playoffs against good teams too, and win without Kovy.

I think he will be signed soon, but then again I’m just another blogger commenting on a blog and have no inside information about what is going on inside the closed doors of the ASG and Thrasher’s offices.

Putting On The Foil

November 12th, 2009
10:44 am

Five Hole. Thanks again for the input on the tv and scotch. I’ll toast you tonight during the game.

five_hole

November 12th, 2009
10:48 am

Putting On The Foil No problem. I’ll join you in toasting a Thrashers win.

Red Light

November 12th, 2009
11:18 am

MacCallan 18 is better for the money than 25!

Spud Webb

November 12th, 2009
11:24 am

Brendan, I vote for you to buy out levenson and take over acting GM, PLEASE? I’ve got like $23.67 to give to your cause.
All excellent points!

Dwayne

November 12th, 2009
11:26 am

I love scotch. Scotchy, scotch, scotch. Here it goes down, down into my belly… Ron Burgandy

World Be Free

November 12th, 2009
11:57 am

A2B-let’s hope he signs soon too. It would be good to put this all behind us an concentrate on the team making playoffs. There’s alotta teams in the hunt this season.

Smoothie

November 12th, 2009
12:50 pm

I really appreciate Kovy’s enthusiasm and sense of urgency in wanting to play again so soon. After tonite, we have a huge 5 game homestand in which we must start making some hay if we are to get into position for a playoff run. With all the other teams still having 3-5 games in hand, we need to win 7 or 8 points on this homestand to avoid falling too far behind. I think Kovy realizes that and wants to be the human momentum swing for this team after their potential turning point win vs St Louis.

Brendan

November 12th, 2009
6:07 pm

Thank you, Spud. If I ever hit that MegaMillions lottery … and could get paired up with the right investment advice, then grow that into something where buying Philips, the Hawks and Thrashers were doable …. hehehehehe. Well, we wouldn’t worry about anything OTHER THAN being OVERRRRRRRR the cap limit for Opening Night. It’s fun to dream, right? We’re talking about $700 million to make reality. Maybe more.

In this respect, I can completely see things from the Spirit’s side. It’s THEIR money to spend as they see fit. And to make personnel decisions, as they see fit. And I wouldn’t, like Miami Screamin’ Eagle suggests, fault them (ownership) for setting a date for a Kovy contract decision. Miami Screamin Eagle is right that the Atlanta Thrashers is a business. It’s a sports business. And the owners should try to operate with their best shareholders/financial interests in mind.

Now, if you asked me, “Brendan, what’s a good trade for Kovalchuk?,” I’m not going to say a 1st, 3rd, a conditional 1st, and a prospect.” The truth is, as someone above said, “There is no such thing as an equal return on Kovalchuk.” I just don’t think it exists. Draft picks represent opportunities. But, even owning a Top 5 pick is no guarantee of longrange success. We can point to Patrik Stefan, Kari Lehtonen, even Dany Heatley. Now, don’t misunderstand me. I’m not, even remotely, suggesting that Dany Heatley is some bust of a draft pick. But the truth is, the organization couldn’t keep him–and also couldn’t find suitable longrange replacement for him.

So, the question to keep in mind is this: “Who or what would replace Kovalchuk for the next 5-10 years in a trade?” Crosby. Ovechkin. Maybe even Staal, Stastny, Kane or Toews, depending on how things play out. But the bottom line is … those aren’t options that will ever be laid upon our table. We just CANNOT get equal value. Now, I’ll listen to an argument that says you can POTENTIALLY get more value by trading him sooner, rather than later. But, by how much? It would have been one thing … if after being swept in 2007, the Thrashers shopped Kovy to the highest bidder. That return would have been better. But how many Thrasher fans really wanted that??? They don’t want to see Kovy traded, well … EVER. They want him to retire in Atlanta, by and large.

In terms of the contract signing, the pending UFA does, indeed, hold ALLLL the cards. Don Waddell cannot FORCE a re-signing. Now, I hear ya. Failure to sign can result in an unwanted trade for the player. How does Kovy feel about Edmonton, for example? Or Phoenix? In that respect, the player doesn’t have any control. But come July 1, 2010, the UFA will decide where he wants to play, for how long, and how much money. There’s nothing Waddell can do … but bid on his services, like any other GM. If Waddell chooses to hang on to Kovy, right to the bitter end, he can attempt to do a “salvage” trade for whatever is out there, for exclusive negotiating rights prior to the free agent frenzy. But no matter if Atlanta trades Kovy at the trade deadline or at the draft, it’ll never get anything resembling equal value.

In that instance, you call it what it is. An organizational FAILURE. And not an unforseen one, either. But we’re not there, yet. We haven’t crossed that bridge. Kovy might wait until President’s Day, sometime in February, to re-sign. And, if that happens, who will BOO? It’ll be nothing but rejoicing, for the most part. I’m sure … there are a smattering of Thrasher fans who want to see Kovy gone. For whatever their reasons. But I’d say they’re in the minority.

For me, and my comfort level, I’d say the “drop dead date” for Kovy re-signing is 12 Noon on the day of the trade deadline. If he’s un-signed at that point, and the Thrashers are, for all intents and purposes, OUT OF THE PLAYOFF HUNT, then I think it’s irresponsible not to trade him … for whatever can be salvaged. To hang on to him … just to say … “We never traded Kovalchuk. He walked out on us. Boo him!” is a little bit ridiculous. If Kovalchuk remains “undecided” at the trade deadline, then he’s probably not going to re-sign with us. By then, certainly, he has to have a better feel for the organization’s future.

If not, then what’s the rule? “For those who cannot make a decision, life will make the decision for you.” Who wants to be in that boat? I’d like to think that each of us wants to control our own destiny, such as it CAN be controlled. By not re-signing with Atlanta, Kovalchuk has forced LIFE to make the decision for him. He must live with Atlanta’s right to trade him, to Edmonton, Columbus, Phoenix, Nashville, Calgary, or wherever. And he cannot claim he DIDN’T KNOW that was a possibility.

LAC

November 12th, 2009
8:11 pm

Boy we should have at least 5 goals !!!!

And WHO out there has seen ENOUGH of Bryan Little, I have, simply nothing in the tank game after game, I say TRADE him soon !

Has he scored yet this season using his stick ? He scored NYR first goal tonight, darn…

Nikita

November 12th, 2009
9:07 pm

End of the second and all looks o.k…can’t wait to see the third. Incidentally, I think this game tonight was the best first period that I’ve seen so far this season.

Bluenote

November 12th, 2009
9:41 pm

Pro-fesssssssss-oooor…….Pro-fesssssssss-oooor…….Pro-fesssssssss-oooor…….

WE WIN! 2 points at MSG is a good night in anyone’s book

Congrats to the Rawhides on your milestone and to Kovy’s podiatrist on a job well done!

Bring on the Kings

LAC

November 12th, 2009
10:10 pm

Bryan Little’s line from tonight’s game… This is AWFUL and it is a game after game thing, this kid has lost it…

Bryan Little 0 0 0 0 0 0 -1 0 15:33 18 0 0

No SOG, No NOTHING… He needs to be moved while he has a “little”
trade value…

But gutsy win, we stopped playing in the third for long periods…
ungood, but carried play in first & second, a good sign, Friday night will not be easy…

Rawhide

November 12th, 2009
10:37 pm

Bluenote – Thank you very much for the anniversary congrats…and everyone else who offered them up as well.

Now…a new blogity-blog to discuss tonight’s great 5-3 win.