Ilya has left the building

By now I’m sure all of you have heard or read what 680 The Fan’s John Kincade had to say regarding Ilya Kovalchuk and his eminent departure of Thrasherville. He’s as good as gone, says the co-host of the Buck and KincadeShowwhich is heard on the team’s flagship station during the drive home.

Yesterday I discussed this with John and he told me, “I can’t reveal the sources, but have confirmed it from both sides of the story”. Continuing he said, “I am 100% certain Ilya Kovalchuk will be leaving the Thrashers…I think he will be moved before the Olympic break with almost the same certainty”.

In a nutshell, Kincade is stating that Don Waddell and the Thrashers have offered the pending free agent, “The largest contract ever to an unrestricted free agent and that he turned it down”.

The number I’ve heard kicked around is a long-term deal that would pay him about $10 million per season.

Ilya Kovalchuk may soon be shaking hands good-bye with his Thrashers teammates (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)

Ilya Kovalchuk may soon be shaking hands good-bye with his Thrashers teammates (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)

Even with this revelation, John wasn’t ready to toss the only GM the Thrashers have ever had underneath the next MARTA bus coming down Peachtree Street for this latest failure. Nope…instead he pins it right on the captain.

“I think it tells me that the Kovy camp song and dance about ‘wanting to be here’ was obviously a load of crap”, said Kincade. “All Waddell can do is offer him a great contract, if he wanted to be here as his camp has said repeatedly he would be here”.

Me? Well, sorry…I certainly see where my pal John can come to that conclusion. But the team’s inability to retain big-name players is a major issue in Thrashervilleand, in this fan’s humble opinion, responsibility rests squarely on the shoulders of the man who is paid major bucks to do just that…convince the Savards, Hossas and Kovalchuks to remain here.

Along with the Kovy bomb Kincade dropped on us yesterday, he also indicated the he has been led to believe Kari Lehtonen has played his last game as a Thrasher and he will be moved potentially to Dallas or St. Louis.

And none of these reports came with a (k3) disclaimer at the end of them.

Also reported yesterday was this line in Chris Vivlamore’s latest blog entry…

“Thrashers general manager Don Waddell had no comment other than to say that the franchise and Kovalchuk’s agent have not had any new talks in more than a week. Both sides currently have proposals on the table that differ in salary and length of contract.

Waddell was in Philadelphia last week scouting the Flyers and Islanders. It also has been reported recently that the Kings and Bruins are interested in obtaining Kovalchuk.

Several NHL teams, including the Flames and the Rangers, have cleared salary cap space recently.”

Now, let’s fast-forward to the Taco Mac Post-Game Show hosted by radio voice of the Thrashers Dan Kamal and TV color analyst Darin Elliot. As I was making my way home from the latest disappointing 1-goal loss of the season, I listened as they made reference to the number of close losses the team has suffered this year. I believe it was Elliot who observed that… and I am paraphrasing… “If the entire team was on-board for all these games, including the captain, then how many of those defeats could have been overcome”.

Reading between the lines…Ilya has left the building!

Given all of that, I don’t think it’s too far of a stretch to believe that the whole Kovy saga is just about ready to wrap itself up in much the same fashion that the Hossa saga of just two seasons ago did. Don Waddell…once again…is going to be forced to trade away a key player, maybe even the key player, of the franchise because he was unable to convince said player to remain with the organization he general manages.

Of course, many will say that Kovalchuk’s impending departure will actually be a good thing for the organization. Yeah…maybe. We could get this player…or that group of players, maybe even along with some draft picks…upgrade the team and continue to improve.

Uh-huh…and didn’t we hear the same thing just two years ago as well?

Since that time, the team tanked to finish the 2007-08 season with 76 points…finished the following season with 76 points…and, with Tuesday night’s loss, are heading towards something around 83 points this time around.

If Waddell “improves” the team as well as he did with the Hossa trade, the team should be closing in on the 90 point mark somewhere around…oh… 2015.

As I have opined before, I’m not really bothered with the thought of life in Thrasherville A.K., (After Kovy). If he’s looking to move on, then…see ya! But what does make my stomach feel kinda icky is the thought that we are going to be sitting here 2 years down the road with nothing, zilch, zero, nada to show for the transaction that sent him packing.

That, plus it will also mean that the Thrashers franchise will be starting over… yet again…building around another player or set of players. And that the same man who has been the architect of the first two “five year plans” will be sitting down to the drawing board to pencil up yet a third one.

Yes, I feel that Kovy has indeed left the building. Not just the “building” that is Philips Arena…but the “building” that has gone on for a decade now with so little to show for it.

And Now…About Last Night

I’ll keep this short and sweet. The Thrashers lost …again…to Antero Niittymaki, this time 2-1 to he and the Tampa Bay Lightning. He is now 16-0 against Atlanta. I fear we shall never break this Niitty-curse.

The Thrashers outshot the Bolts 27-24.

Ondrej Pavelec stopped 22 of the 24 SOG he face…all 21 shots after he saw 2 of the forst 3 get past him.

Wasted in this effort was a Todd White goal, score in the second period when he neatly deflected in a Mark Popovic shot. Not good at all when the team isn’t able to net a win on the night White scores his one goal for the month.

The loss drops the Thrashers to 24-23-8 and drops them to fourth in the Southeast Division and eleventh in the Eastern Conference. Boston is in twelfth place with 55 and they play in Montreal tomorrow night. The Islanders are in thirteenth place with 54 points and are in Tampa Bay Thursday night.

Happy Birthday Carly

I want to wish a happy birthday to the lovely and vicarious Carly…a.k.a. Tony C’s “baby-mama”. She was in attendance with Tony over in section 117 and I had the pleasure of spending some time with them in Taco Mac after the game.

That, Tony C., is a great gal!

211 comments Add your comment

Cup Guy

February 3rd, 2010
12:59 am

First! No comment other then, when you get down there behind the bench with the CUP beat on the glass players turn and look at you then make a bad smirk and turn away, I think I just lost respect for a lot of them. Slates nodded at me and Army cracked a smile. This is truly sad that this team acts the way it does. Kovy sucks and doesn’t deserve all that he has gotten. Hey I will skate in a circle for $50 for the entire season. Why do we have to pay him Millions to do it? Rawhide good seeing you and I agree on all your points in this blog. Time to move on. Good bye Kovy!

LAC

February 3rd, 2010
1:09 am

Bill, there are a number of other teams in both the East & West that are in the playoff picture WITHOUT a 30 goal scorer.

Look at Phoenix and LA, Who just beat NYR 2-1, and several others
that have only a few scorers over 20, but they are in the playoff hunt.
You CAN win without big scorers, but Defense comes first…

What WINS, Goaltending & Defense. We have average to good goaltending
but BAD defense, which lies at the feet of this “system” we play,
which should BE SCRAPPED ASAP. It is not working, so now what ?

I do agree #17 and his agent have played all of us and lied just like waddell. When is TEN MILLION A YEAR NOT ENOUGH ? Why do players need these idiot agents they then have to pay a ton to for something they could have done themselves.

Lastly, This ownership “group” needs to sell the team, with the specific
understanding the team stays here. don waddell MUST be fired, he has done more than any human being has ever done to destroy the game of hockey in this town, He is nothing but Human Street Trash, Total SCUM !
Got that “don” ? His lies and his failure to sign key players
to put togather a winning team… Have to be OVER ! He alone is killing this team more than anyone or any one player !!!!

It sure is funny how players want to leave here, the Stars and only the lesser ones come in. That alone is why this team needs a culture
shock to right the sinking ship and try to rebuild and mainly WIN BACK THE FANS ! If these “owners” have any brains, which we know they do not, putting a WINNING product on the ice will support itself with sellout after sellout. All you need do is look at Washington, empty arena, then they make BIG POSITIVE changes on the ice and behind
the bench and they are a top Stanley Cup Contender…

Look at the lack of improvement of our young players year after year,
what has happened to zach ? He looked great last year, this year,
really BAD. Same with Little, nothing…

So trades are coming, fine, but if they are they better net some BIG fish for us, and I have ZERO confidence waddell will do the right thing and he will futher destroy the Thrashers, I am starting to believe he
wants to destroy the team, as well as the owners, Why Do The Great NHL Fans in this city have to continue to endure this CRAP from drunk owners and a GM who is complete LIAR ? Damn Sad Right Bill ?

Phil Foley - Atlanta Thrashers Examiner

February 3rd, 2010
1:35 am

Ironically, Kovalchuk also left the building last night without talking to reporters. He sidestepped the awaiting media, which included two of the local TV stations, and duck out a back or side door after getting dressed.

Even if the contract question was so-called “off limits” in the scrum last night, it would have been good to hear from the captain on breaking his stick in frustration after the loss or how they can’t seem to break the Niittymaki jinx. Instead we got the two-step, leaving Anderson to be the only one answering any sorts of questions. Very poor.

Ace

February 3rd, 2010
1:41 am

This is going to destroy me I have a feeling

Brendan

February 3rd, 2010
1:50 am

What’s the bigger impediment to the future of this franchise? (1) Losing Kovalchuk or (2) retaining Waddell? Choice #2.

There are 29 other teams who don’t have Kovalchuk. Many of those teams are well-constructed and are headed for “decent” things. Even if the Thrashers could re-sign Kovalchuk, they wouldn’t know how, or be capable of finding the right balance, to make it work with this GM. That these owners can’t see that Waddell is the problem … is really rather staggering.

When Marc Savard left … the cap was small enough that people could get away with making an argument that $5 million was too much for him, especially with Hossa, Lehtonen, Coburn, Little and Kaberle’s contracts still coming due over the next four years. But by the time Hossa refused to respond to a contract offer, with the floor now exceeding the previous cap limit, the owners should have fired Waddell and replaced him. Say … in April 2007, right after the NY Rangers sweep. A new GM might have been able to honor Hossa’s trade request during the 2007 offseason. Hossa could have been moved at the 2007 Draft. Ya know, the one where we gave up our 1st and 3rd round picks to “rent” Keith Tkachuk. Not to mention the very same draft that Atlanta coughed up a 2nd round pick to Anaheim for the services of Vitaly Vishnevski. Whom they traded to Nashville for center Eric Belanger. Trading Hossa at the 2007 draft might have returned a “higher than pick #29″ position in the 1st round of that draft. Instead, they got Daultan Leveille at #29, in the 2008 draft, as a result of hanging on to Hossa until the 2008 trade deadline.

It’s the GM’s responsibility to make the right moves … at the right time. This GM’s hallmarks are “procrastination” and “inaction.” Un-good. Very un-good. That these owners didn’t see this coming … is like not noticing that an Oak tree has fallen on your house, crushing the roof.

Segue, in the Scott Burnside proverbial “House of Thrashers,” Dany Heatley was the foundation (slab) of the house. And Ilya Kovalchuk was the roof. The foundation cracked. And the roof just caved in. Yet, the owners don’t think that the house is in disarray. They probably even think they can sell it as “a fixer upper.” So, it’s a “handy man’s dream,” right?

Oy. Well boys, you reap what you sow. And you’re not going to get nearly what you hoped for your ‘caretaker’ years of stewardship over the franchise at the closing table. The NHL had better step in. I stopped to ponder, “what would be worse?” The choices? (1) re-signing Kovalchuk for $11.3 million-per-season, for however many years he says or (2) renewing Waddell’s contract. And honestly, even at $11.3 million, I think Kovalchuk’s contract could be moved at some point in the future, for some form of return. But I cannot find one possible “positive” of renewing Don Waddell’s contract, which is said, by Forbes Magazine, to be expiring at season’s end. But rest assured, you cannot assume that the Atlanta Spirit, LLC are done with Waddell. They like him. A lot. They estime him. And they think him a “prize” for the GM chair. And really, what more is there to say?

Obviously, they don’t get it. Savard, Kaberle, Hossa, Kovalchuk … and the list of names will continue. Why don’t they want to re-sign? Isn’t the answer … because all of those players KNOW that Don Waddell is not the right man for the job. And how does one ‘delicately’ say, “Fire the GM, or I’m outta here?” When that GM is undertaking the contract negotiations. I refuse to feel bad for the owners, if they really, truly wanted to keep Kovalchuck. And thought that they would have been successful in that regard. Well … they might never understand it. And who knows? Forbes Magazine might come out with an article that states that Don Waddell is the #6 GM, of all four major pro sports. Forbes is a financial publication, not a sports publication. In that regard, you musn’t blame them for being athletically-challenged.

Avery

February 3rd, 2010
2:16 am

Keep him until the end of the season. Given the cap situation of most teams, no one can afford to offer him this type of contract in June.

On top of that, I have no confidence that D.W. can get anything in a trade.

So keep Kovy, have a shot at making the playoffs, and get him to resign for less in June. Win/win.

Hockey Biltong

February 3rd, 2010
2:27 am

If I was Kovalchuk, after 9 years or so in this organization, and I had a chance to test the free market, are you fr@#king kidding me…. I’m going like a boeing, grand like a piano and gone like a scone. Not one second thought, not an iota of hesitation.

Why would I stay??? Really? I’ve seen it all unfurl right in front of me. Heatly, Hossa, the coaches and of course Waddell and ASG.
There is no amount of money in the world that could keep me in this clusterf73k.

It’s too bad, cause they tried this season, moreso than in the past, but when ownership says, we really like basketball and would prefer to have another group buy out the Thrashers and keep them in town, Ilya does not have to be an expert tea leaf reader to know which side of the bread will be buttered.
Rankin Smith and the Falcons come to mind. Until Mr. Blank stepped in, they were a lost fart in a perfume factory….and so truly, are the Thrashers. Until a responsible and driven owner can step in and rectify all of the bungling that has buried this team, they are toast.

docsbro

February 3rd, 2010
5:42 am

Good points HB. I don’t put this on Kovy one bit. You can say what you want but I do believe he wanted to be here. I think he was waiting to see how things played out and it is clear that this team is STILL mediocre at best. As long as DW is in charge this team is toast. He has not done one thing in 10 years to make me think he can put a playoff team on the ice. The draft picks that succeeded where all “no-brainers” and the others where all BUSTS!! He tried to build Detroit south with small “skilled” players but he forgot one thing….Scotty Bowman.

Little has regressed, Bogo has regressed, why would you sign here. Coach JA has really dissapointed this year, he has stuck with players(Kozzy) too long and combinations too long(Hainsey, Bogo). I don’t get the feeling this team respects him and they definitely don’t “fear” him. As for “all these players signed to appease Kovy” how bad would we be without them. Good luck Kovy I will still support him. He has put in too many years beating his head against the glass not to support him. Lets face it people it’s not like Hossa or Savard who where here briefly…this guy has left a lot of himself on the ice for this team and I appreciate that.

ben

February 3rd, 2010
5:52 am

Honestly, why did they wait this long? If all the smart money said he was leaving, why wait? What were those outlets doing when they reported he was staying? I’ll still watch, because it was going to end anyway, but what really happened?

World Be Free

February 3rd, 2010
5:53 am

Marc Savard
Dany Heatley
Marian Hossa
And now, Kovy-they are all doing the same thing
So tell me what’s wrong with this picture?
You can also line up every Tier 1 free agent.
Even Manny Malholtra!

Tell me the one destination they are all avoiding…..

In the end, I really can’t blame Kovy. If things were ran correctrly, the ink should have been dry on the contract a long time ago OR the player should have been moved. Kovy has given enough of his prime. Now he’s going to do what the rest of these guys are doing—getting in the mix for the Stanley Cup.

And all we can do is watch in envy.

KovyRules

February 3rd, 2010
5:53 am

Amen (to all posters above except Avery). Goodbye Kovy, and no one will be paying you more than $100 M in July, so good luck with that. I was a DW defender until as recently as November, but if he’s not gone then this franchise has no hope. It’s a dark day in Blueland…

Lee

February 3rd, 2010
6:41 am

Why don’t we give up the rest of the team as well?

Rightshot

February 3rd, 2010
7:17 am

When this all started I was thinking, we really need to resign Kovy. A few weeks ago, it was I would be great if he resined, but if not ok. After watching him the last 2 games and reflecting how he has been mailing it in, (4th class) I was wondering what he was still doing here.
The problem is, since most teams aren’t willing to give up what donny is reportedly asking for, a big name player who can help right now, he will most likely just take whatever he can get and claim it’s the greatest trade ever because he got something for Kovy and he didn’t walk for free. Hey don, a bunch of 3rd and 4th liner and prospects will not cut it.
I would suggest that during Saturdays game, we start another round of “Fire Waddel” I know it won’t do any good, but at least we can protest somehow.
There is one good thing about Kovy on another team. When the Thrashers play LA, (or who ever), when Kovy is on the ice, it will be like a five on four.

Russian

February 3rd, 2010
7:48 am

Блять. Дон-Пидор!!!!! :-(

World Be Free

February 3rd, 2010
7:54 am

On the lighter side, good to see so many of my fellow bloggers last night. And it was great to meet Russian, who despite my original doubts is really a Russian!

LAC-Bogo totally blew the first goal last night. I have not been as harsh as you have been concerning his play, but that one was so obvious it made me sick.

What’s the right thing to do with Bogo during the Olympic break? Send him to Chicago for 2 weeks to work with Chelios. His game will not correct itself on it’s own.

Nice game by Bryan Little, he drove the net and worked very hard.
Jimmy also had a good game; is Jimmy our #1 center?
And finally, Marty was Marty, again. He is one of THE best penalty killing forwards in the league.

James Brown

February 3rd, 2010
8:10 am

Kovy has always scored lots of goals but has done little besides that…….He plays no defense whatsoever and will not mix it up in the neutral zone to win pucks. He pouts when things aren`t going his way and is no where near being worth 10 million a year……He is no where near the player Ovechkin is and never will be……..I`ve heard Boston is interested also……………If I`m not mistaken they own Toronto`s number 1 this year…….Grab that pick and a couple of young NHL ready players………this is the deal I would shoot for. Trade Kovy…………..he will never be any better than he is now.

On the other hand a total house cleaning is needed upstairs…..duh………….ASG needs to fire Waddell,Anderson and Dan Marr……………..let Rick Dudley try his hand at it………….We need a defensive minded coach and not this minor league system we are running…………..I will still go to the games and back the team………………………..Things need to change………….they can`t get any worse!

Mr. Heat Miser

February 3rd, 2010
8:13 am

This team needs an enema

Mark

February 3rd, 2010
8:17 am

If Kovy wants to be a $11+ million a season man, then he needs to step up and do all the things that come with such a price tag. I don’t think Alex Ovechkin would mail it in as bad as Kovy has of late. In fact, Alex was pushing his game BEFORE the big contract and his play has elevated to new levels AFTER his big payday. IMHO Kovy hasn’t truly been the captain he should be because he doesn’t understand what being CAPTAIN truly means to a team. Steve Yzerman, Joe Sakic, Mark Messier – these are players that understood what was expected of them as captain and even when they had off nights they were still motivating their teams towards greatness. Yes…someone will pay Kovy’s price tag this summer, but as to what value they’ll get is a mystery.
The Thrashers need to go ahead and deal Kovy, announce that Waddell is either being fired (which is highly unlikely)or being made into Executive VP of Paper clips for Thrashers and elevate Dudley into GM position. Thrashers ownership needs to stop handling the team lika an unwanted science experiment. Get serious about winning, not worried about tax write-offs and losses. In Atlanta, winning teams put people in the seats and cash in the coffers. Support for the pro teams in Atlanta has always been like that. Teams winning: people come out of the woodwork to watch. Teams not doing so good: so we have most of the core fans only watching. There is a very good core of hockey fans in Georgia. Some of them have been in love with the game since the Flames, some grew up on the play of the Knights and others discovered it through the Thrashers.
Star players will always be on the move. No one is ever untouchable. Life will go on after Kovalchuk.

Boris

February 3rd, 2010
8:20 am

Hey Stendec you are so stupid!!!!!!
Kovy will play for good team.
So kiss his Siberian ass.

The Real Thrash

February 3rd, 2010
8:22 am

Again supposed hockey fans with no clue. Does LAX and PHX have no 30 game scorers? Yes. But here is the rest of the story: LAX GAA-2.54, SAV%-0908. Phx GAA-3.25, SAV%-.919. ATL GAA-3.43 SAV%-.903 (Pavelec). We have to score goals AND play defense. So let’s again let our best scorer go and start over. How many more years will we real fans accept this drivel from Waddell?
By some of the blogs on this page it looks like we will continue to get the hockey we deserve, until the team leaves town.

Matt

February 3rd, 2010
8:22 am

Man, what a depressing way to start the morning!

Rawhide-Agreed that the responsibility falls directly on our inept GM for failing to make this team one on which players want to play. For 10 years this GM has tried to do things on the cheap and hope the lightening would strike as it did for Todd White last season. That is s recipe for disaster.

I’m just waiting to see how badly we get hosed in this deal. *face palm*

How long have we been talking about Kovy and his extension, since last April?? Ridiculous, utterly, utterly ridiculous.

Toby

February 3rd, 2010
8:26 am

I agree that this franchise and the people who run it are a huge joke, and no I don’t blame Ilya for wanting to play elsewhere….but….what I do blame him for is stringing this along for a better part of a season saying he loves Atlanta and wants to finish his career here, and then turning down more money than the entire franchise is worth! Trade him today and lets move on.

Russian

February 3rd, 2010
8:33 am

I can not takeit anymore. Kovy gone – First pick, then Kari gone, that another first pick. What’s Hell? I hope Don and Anderson will be FIRED before Olimpic Break.
I see a next season and Thrasher will bring lot of young players. Anderson will not give them support. He is not NHL Coach. I hope Dudly will build a team as he did in Chickago.

hip czech

February 3rd, 2010
8:35 am

further proof about building from the net out…Toronto shuts out NJ last night. I know the Devils are offensively challenged with Elias and Clarkson out, but still for Phaneuf and Giguere to come in and lay put up a goose egg must have Burke smiling.

Phaneuf got into a fight, engaged the media, and won over the fans in 60 minutes.

I agree whoever commented that the players don’t respect Anderson. I watched the program on SS last night after the game…Anderson is a nice guy no doubt, but you could just tell in the meetings and in the locker rooms the players were tuning him out.

Dump Waddell, get a coach in here to shake this mess up and get some players who want to give 100% every night.

EA

February 3rd, 2010
8:36 am

In addition to ownership, the team’s stability etc. I believe that the attendance at Philips has something to do with Kovy wanting out. It just can’t be a fun place to play. As a fan, it is depressing.

Nikita

February 3rd, 2010
8:45 am

Various thoughts:

1. I’m sick of hearing about how Saint Kovy is less culpable than Don Waddell. And don’t get me wrong — I agree that he’s made some stupid mistakes over the years, and I would thoroughly agree with you that at various points he should have been unemployed. But I don’t think he’s made any egregious errors in the last two years, and I think he’s done an o.k. job given what all he has to work with. So…ok, Fire Waddell and all. But…
2. Ilya shouldn’t let the door hit him on the way out. This franchise has done almost everything that it can to retain him. And therein lies the problem — the franchise listened to fans and held onto a player that is actually not the best fit, is not a net asset, and shouldn’t be here. Kovalchuk still isn’t mature enough to be captain. But he’s also not responsible and not interested in the cohesion of the team or the holistic wellness of the team. Eff him. Also, when you’ve been on a team for a majillion years, and you’ve been allowed to weigh in on the composition of the team, it should be your team — and furthermore, if the team isn’t winning, then the problem is probably at least partially you. But it’s not Kovalchuk’s team, and he’s not taking any responsibility for anything. And that’s why I wish him luck finding another team.
3. Ancient history is what it is, but I was looking at my Heatley bobblehead the other day, and I can’t fault anyone for dealing him. It was the right thing to do, and furthermore Heatley is a toxic, if talented, asset. Ditto Marian Hossa, who never wanted to stay anyway. We need to stop pretending that we have neutral assets — they have opportunity costs, and sometimes those aren’t worth assuming.
4. You know, the team played pretty well while Kovalchuk was injured. I think this indicates what the problem is with Anderson’s “system.” It’s 800-lb. gorillas who get to pick their linemates, cherry pick, and not play any more of the system than the portion that benefits them.
5. And you know our youth movement? It’s probably doomed if Cherrychuk stays. It’s based on individual accountability and team play, and it’s very hard to get people to buy into it when the members of the team aren’t treated equally.
6. As a corollary to #3, I don’t want to hear about how Don Waddell blew the Hossa trade when the fact of the matter is that Hossa was unhappy from early in his tenure here, and it was due partially to tension with our little ice princess captain. When does Kovalchuk take responsibility for his actions?

Fan from Carolina

February 3rd, 2010
8:58 am

Not signing Kovy to a long term deal is probably a good thing. It can take the ‘edge’ from the player and you don’t need a player coasting for 10 years. Look at Lecavalier since his contract. He just isn’t the same great player. He is good, very good, but not the hungry Stanley Cup winner everyone saw in the past. Last night he hit a skate with a gaping wide open net. He has done that all season, not a guy worth HUGE $$$ and a big signing mistake by the Lightning. I think Kovy would be even worse if locked up forever. Watching him coast for years would drive all the remaining fans away. Quality players in return might actually benefit the Thrashers, even this year, but not the average type player that we saw in the past season like the Maple Leaf rejects that were supposed to help this club.

ChippersLoveChild

February 3rd, 2010
8:58 am

So in the history of this franchise we will soon have next to nothing to show for these first round draft picks; Heatley, Kovalchuk, Lehtonen, Coburn, Stefan, and the kid we sent to the Rangers…. which tells me in about three more years we will have nothing to show for Valabik, Little, Bogosian, and Kane….. but don’t worry, the one constant is Jimmy Slater will still be here… and oh, so will Teflon Don…. depressing.

Tom

February 3rd, 2010
9:00 am

Why Ovechkin is worth 10+ million In 48 games he is a +36 and has 77 points . The biggest concern is that he plays 2 way hockey too hard and risks injuries.

Why Kovalchuk is not worth 10+ million, In 49 games he is a +1 and has 58 points. And we know the biggest concern is that he plays 2 way hockey. He rarely visits the defensive end and still scores 20 points less that Ovechkin at this juncture.

A team would have to be STUPID to pay him Ovechkin money, but that is what Kovalchuk is looking for.

Miami Screaming Eagle

February 3rd, 2010
9:00 am

EA-attendance is directly related to what people feel about commitment from ownership. We as fans have proven that we will open our wallets and support the team. Problem is, the team has not supported us. It works both ways; the idiot media in Canada has not figured this out yet.

I think of all those people that plunked down big dollars for Kovy jerseys. They were all over the arena last night. These people have a tough time accepting the statements that they do not support their team.

Give us a team that has ownership commitment. The people of this city, 65% of which are Yankees, will come out and supprot the team.

R. Stroz

February 3rd, 2010
9:05 am

Yep, Waddell did everything he could to keep Kovy.

Lets review:

1) Last summer, the Thrashers weren’t willing to bring Zherdev when Kovy all but signed him himself.

2) Kovy recruited Mad Max and what did Waddell do, offered him $800,000 for one season. Wow, I’m sure that offer showed Kovy the level of commitment the Thrashers have toward respecting his recruiting efforts.

3) Why did it take UNTIL THE LAST YEAR OF KOVY’S CONTRACT TO TRY AND IMPROVE THE TEAM? Waddell is like a used car dealer, he waits till you’re walking out the door before you get taken seriously.

Waddell is an idiot. Waddell always has an excuse. When players waive their no trade clause to avoid hitting waivers (Dan Boyle) and ending up in Atlanta, that speaks volumes as to the vote of no confidence about the Thrashers.

Oh, and should I remind all, WADDELL HAS NEVER RE-SIGNED A TOP TIER UFA.

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER. Why, because everyone, players, agents, zamboni drivers know he is a moron of epic proportion.

FIRE WADDELL!

ChippersLoveChild

February 3rd, 2010
9:06 am

Pretty much agree with Miami Screaming Eagle… I’ve supported this team with blind loyalty, despite all of its bonehead moves, spent my money on tickets, merchandise, even purchasing Centre Ice just to watch the games that aren’t broadcast locally, but these moves may be the final straw that breaks my back. I will continue to love my Thrashers, but they will no longer get my money until the prove to me they are committed to winning and getting good talent in here, and not just because their superstar player demands it, but because they really, truly want to build a winner.

ChippersLoveChild

February 3rd, 2010
9:09 am

“3) Why did it take UNTIL THE LAST YEAR OF KOVY’S CONTRACT TO TRY AND IMPROVE THE TEAM? Waddell is like a used car dealer, he waits till you’re walking out the door before you get taken seriously.”

Bingo, R Stroz hit it right on the head. This is why I don’t blame Kovy for leaving… It takes more than one last ditch effort to prove you want to win. Then what? He re-signs and we go back to signing next to no one, only getting enough so we hit the cap floor on spending? Good luck with a real franchise Kovy, we will miss you.

Tom

February 3rd, 2010
9:15 am

We are the Los Angeles Clippers of hockey.

Nikita

February 3rd, 2010
9:19 am

*1) Last summer, the Thrashers weren’t willing to bring Zherdev when Kovy all but signed him himself.*

I’ll give you that.

*2) Kovy recruited Mad Max and what did Waddell do, offered him $800,000 for one season. Wow, I’m sure that offer showed Kovy the level of commitment the Thrashers have toward respecting his recruiting efforts.*

I agree with that decision. Mad Max is flukey, and also displays sucktastic two-way commitment. Dollars aside, the time period is right.

*3) Why did it take UNTIL THE LAST YEAR OF KOVY’S CONTRACT TO TRY AND IMPROVE THE TEAM? Waddell is like a used car dealer, he waits till you’re walking out the door before you get taken seriously.*

That’s not true. Unless you meant “why did it take until the last year of Kovy’s contract to let Kovy dictate the composition of the team?”

We’ve mentioned all these players that we lost, which I assume we acquired to improve the team. If we didn’t have that intent, then why bother drafting? Why bother trading? Why not just take what you get and raid the scribs from Chi-town?

The fact of the matter is that at least two years ago Kovalchuk was dictating his linemates, which was probably an effort to keep him happy. It’s only in this last year that he gets to pick the roster as well, and that’s an extraordinary concession to make.

Incidentally, I’m not opposed to resigning Kovalchuk if that’s how it plays out, but I don’t think that’s the best outcome. The second-best would be to have Kovalchuk on contract for $7-9 million/season, with a short-term (2-4 years) commitment.

World Be Free

February 3rd, 2010
9:21 am

Chipper’s L-C
I wonder if Chipper was a Thrasher, if he would have resigned and given the Trashers a hometown discount?

Tom-The Clippers have been a job for an entire generation of basketball fans. I remember when the Clippers were the Buffalo Braves, went to many Braves games as a kid. They were good for a time in Buffalo, in the mid 70’s. That’s a very long time ago, back when I was in high school. I am alot closer to a AARP card than I am to high school!

Toby

February 3rd, 2010
9:24 am

Stroz…Then why didn’t Kovy ask to be traded last summer. This has been a complete waste of a year now.

I do agree though…Fire Wads and give Duds a shot!!!!!!!!

hip czech

February 3rd, 2010
9:32 am

If you believe the reports that the Thrashers offer to Kovalchuk was 100 million for 10 years I cannot fault the Thrashers for ‘not trying to sign Kovalchuk’. That is a ridiculous amount of money for a one-way player. If anything, I’m glad he DIDN’T sign for that length/amount.

Maybe Kovy really DOES have the franchises best interest in mind by NOT signing :-)

I just can’t stomach the hypocritical statements about ‘loving it here in Atlanta’ and ‘wanting to only play for one team’….blah, blah, blah…hypocritical BS. If the Thrashes offered him 80 million for 10 years Kovalchuk should have been flattered and signed that.

Not Blind

February 3rd, 2010
9:41 am

Why would any good player [ Savard or Hossa ] want to stay here knowing that their fortunes were tied to a slacker like Kovalchuk ? Also, this team has NEVER had a decent coach. If Hartley was so great he would still be in Colorado. His cup was won with a team that needed no coach.

LAC

February 3rd, 2010
9:42 am

WOW !!!!! Everyone is ON TARGET this morning… Just how sinister do we need to get to get rid of LIAR waddell HUH ?????????????

HE HAS TO GO !

Somaatl95

February 3rd, 2010
9:44 am

To quote on of my favorite Tool songs:

Fret for your owners and
Fret for your skating and
Fret for your defense and
Fret for your G.M. and
Fret for your Goalie and
Fret for your scorer and
Fret for his contract and
Fret for your star.

It’s a
Bull-spit, three ring, circus sideshow of
Freaks

Here in this hopeless freaking hole we call Phillips, eh
The only way to fix it is to flush it all away.
Any freaking time. Any freaking day.
Learn to win, We’ll see you there one day.

Some say a comet will fall from the sky.
Followed by meteor showers and tidal waves.
Followed by faultlines that cannot sit still.
Followed by nine of the dumbfounded Spirit.

Some say the end is near.
Some say we’ll see no D-Wad soon.
I certainly hope we will cuz
I sure could use a vacation from this

Silly twit, stupid twit…

One great big festering neon distraction,
I’ve a suggestion to keep you all occupied.

Learn to sign.

NHL’s gonna fix it all soon?
NHL’s comin’ round to put it back the way it ought to be?

World Be Free

February 3rd, 2010
9:44 am

The Lightning have a bigger problem-Vincent Lacavalier
Did anyone else notice how invisible Vinny was last night?

This is Stamkos’ team now. Vinny looks over the hill and TB has that huge contract to try and move or eat. Lacavalier has 14 goals, 39 assists in 55 games. Almost a point a game, but not worthy of the jack he’s making.

Bring Back THE SLAVA !

February 3rd, 2010
9:46 am

Ilya is to Defensive Consistency what Michael Vick was to Animal Rights.

Good Riddance, Kovalchuk!

EA

February 3rd, 2010
9:47 am

Miami, I could not agree with you more.

10 yr plan

February 3rd, 2010
9:48 am

Bill, great read as always. Time to say goodbye to Kovy. Unfortunaty, we’ll see Kovy’s true talents on display during the Olympics. He will be a man posessed, backchecking, hitting people, blocking shots, etc…. This is his ultimate goal, to win the gold medal for his country. The Stanley Cup is probably 3rd behind the World Cup. It is time for this franchise to have a North American roster built on toughness, grit and a passion to play the game hard every night. Waddell will be a topic for another day, Brendan always does a fine job detailing his “accomplishments”. Thanks again to Harvey Schiller for hiring DW over Brian Burke or Cliff Fletcher. What could have been!!!

R. Stroz

February 3rd, 2010
9:56 am

That’s not true. Unless you meant “why did it take until the last year of Kovy’s contract to let Kovy dictate the composition of the team?”

Well, why shouldn’t Kovy try and improve the team?

How well has Waddell done over his ten year tenure? How many years have the Thrashers made the playoffs in a league where half the teams make the playoffs each and every season.

Waddell has brought in Niko Kapenen, Glen Metropolit, and Todd “Insert name to describe Bucky Dent” White to replace Marc Savard.

Who else has Waddell bring in the last few years…Ken Klee, Jason Williams…What a joke…What a commitment to winning…bringing in Jason Williams to replace Marion Hossa…bringing in Todd White as a top tier center to keep Marion Hossa on the team.

Waddell always has an excuse, never a solution.

Paminski

February 3rd, 2010
10:00 am

Kovy left the building in the beginning of December. He’s been about as efficient as a holographic projection of himself since then, so I propose the theory that he’s really been relaxing on a beach somewhere and allowing an illusion to take all the heat.

The owners and Waddell should be ashamed of their handling of business matters. However, Kovy also should at least put in some effort. He IS still being paid. If I didn’t show up for work, I’d get written up. I can’t fault him for not signing on to such an inept organization, but he’s still being a bit of a diva.

GaVaHokie

February 3rd, 2010
10:02 am

Nobody wants to play for an empty building… how can any player get excited about that? Guys aren’t trying to leave because of Don Waddell… they’re trying to leave because Atlanta is a shitty hockey town.

Furthermore, there is zero merit in saying the building will be packed all the time if the team is a winner. You can only say that for cities like Boston and Philly. How many division titles did the Braves win in a row and still couldn’t sell out the playoffs and World Series?

The most important thing is to keep hockey HERE… paying Kovy $125,000 a game is a bad idea.

Get a group of players that care about the logo on their chest… it’s about finding the Peverley’s of the world… guys that know the “grass isn’t greener” in other cities. The Kane’s and Bogosian’s that know in any other franchise, they’d be in the Juniors right now.

That’s why a Kovalchuk trade needs to get some guys in here that aren’t getting a fair shake in other cities… Jack Skille, Oscar Moller, Andrei Loktionov, Jonathan Bernier, P.K. Subban… guys getting buried in the depth chart like Dave Bolland, Kris Versteeg, JVR, Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds, Peter Mueller… on and on.

Will it work in every case… probably not… but you don’t cripple the franchise in doing so.

Atlanta will always be a revolving door for superstars like Hossa, Savard, Heatley and Kovalchuk… at some point, you have to stop relying on those guys.

Nikita

February 3rd, 2010
10:07 am

*If Hartley was so great he would still be in Colorado. His cup was won with a team that needed no coach.*

I like Hartley, but not as Atlanta’s coach. He seems like a nice guy, and he was willing to hold players accountable. Unfortunately, though, Hartley didn’t know how to develop talent. Which has a lot to do with some of our ill-considered trades in his era — if he’d gotten an up and comer, he wouldn’t have known what to do with him.

GaVaHokie

February 3rd, 2010
10:09 am

Nikita… You could replace Kovalchuk with Zherdev next year for half the price and still get the same results.