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

rob

February 3rd, 2010
4:32 pm

CAN I GET SOME SIGNS DOWN ON THE ICE SAYING “FIRE WADDELL” pretty please? And maybe another saying “WANTED: REAL OWNERS”? I would but no way am I forking over money for front row seats to these morons! Will Phillips allow signs to be taped to the walls around the arena? We used to do it ALL the time in Buffalo. If so there needs to be a “NEW OWNERS AND GM” theme night. Make it against a quality team that will be seen on TV around the league and make a statement to the ASG pansies and the NHL that we are SICK OF IT!!! Could have a FIRE WADDELL tshirt night and have a whole section get one saying that!

THAT would be “The Hockey Way”!!

Nuubuutu

February 3rd, 2010
4:32 pm

This is the second time we have lost our NHL expansion team to another city.Perhaps we could replace them with a nice AHL team.What about ECHL? That would be swell too! Either way,I will attend every game,preseason,regular and playoff,(home only),and be there for warmups.

James Brown

February 3rd, 2010
4:32 pm

Oh man…….who is negotiating a move to Quebec City?….that` funny………such a tiny market that couldn`t keep the Nordiques there…………..No American team is moving to any tiny TV market in Canada such as Winnipeg, QC or Hamilton(Toronto and Buffalo would block that move in a heartbeat) That is all talk from a bunch of snow tossers with nothing better to do………………the only market that has a chance in the future to get a new team is Kansas City and they have the worst economy in the US…….Look it up………….ain`t gonna happen folks.

Bobby

February 3rd, 2010
4:34 pm

WTF?! They are leaving after this season? We have no one to blame but ourselves.The team has never had fan support.The arena is half empty,and only 2-5,000 fans watch on TV!

Tincup9

February 3rd, 2010
4:35 pm

Don’t put this on the fans. 500 people drove to Nashville in the snow to watch this team. And what would you define as a reasonable timeline to achieve success? 10 years is sufficient by anyone’s standards. No one wants this team to move – ASG has put us on a collision course

Nikita

February 3rd, 2010
4:37 pm

What’s your point, Tincup? Also, I’m not digging it up, but somewhere back in the Bird Watchers Anonymous archives is an analysis of hw the Thrashers have done in terms of turning picks into players. The gist was about average.

Also, surely you’re not implying that losing Lehtonen is somehow a fault of management.

DWTOO

February 3rd, 2010
4:38 pm

Remember the Kansas City Scouts? Or how about several years ago it was supposed to be the KC Penguins. If the Phoenix didn’t move this year doubt if we are either. Although I do hear a retirement community in Florida is looking for a team.

Last time I heard we still have owners interested in keeping the team here. They may be horrible, but, it’s what we have.

Raider Fan

February 3rd, 2010
4:38 pm

I hate my life right now. Trading Kovalchuk is a new low for us. And that’s hard to do. Better get one helluva package back. But still, losing Kovy? The captain? The star of this team? Jesus.

Tincup9

February 3rd, 2010
4:50 pm

Nikita – Average is my point. With the high level picks the Thrashers have had, I would have assumed more success from the picks. We gave up on Couburn and Bourret. Stefan and Valabik were busts. And before you rattle off Enstrom, Little or Slater, or Kane and Bogo, I would simply point to 10 years, no playoff wins, one appearance. That isn’t average. How is this team still searching for an identity? I look at Chicago, the Capitals etc. My point is – I am frustrated like everyone else on this board. I love hockey, I love the Thrashers, and I am frustrated.

Moose

February 3rd, 2010
4:59 pm

Folks I don’t disagree with Waddell needing to go but I don’t care who the GM would/should have been from at the start they would still be handicapped by Turner Sports and the Atlanta Spirit. Hockey was an additional sport that would utilize the arena another 82 days of the year. It was never meant to be the #1 sport out of Philips compared to the Hawks. We need a new owner period I sure as heck don’t want another ownership group. You need the alpha owner, not a group of wannabees.

Chris16

February 3rd, 2010
5:04 pm

Man that sucks wait half a season and Kovy wants to go. I think Kovy knew he was not going to sign back in December. This team is done No one great will sign here, Sale the team so I can start to support a real hockey frachise that wins game Go Caps!!!!

Nikita

February 3rd, 2010
5:12 pm

I’m feeling argumenatative today, so please bear with me:

*With the high level picks the Thrashers have had, I would have assumed more success from the picks.*

That’s the point, though — that’s not a realistic expectation. Especially for certain players in certain rounds, and depending on the depth of the talent pool each year. Also, I’m not really sure drafting takes a lot of discretion in the upper rounds. Sometimes people make more complicated decisions, but often the top pick consists of taking the best-ranked pick you can get — this was especially true as you go back in history, to the time when it wasn’t realitic to see any of your draft picks mature to the NHL for years.

*We gave up on Couburn and Bourret.*

I don’t agree with the Coburn trade, but I understand why it was made. Bourret — meh.

*I would simply point to 10 years, no playoff wins, one appearance.*

That’s also a completely different set of outcomes than the outcome you’re looking for in seeing how your picks do.

I’m frustrated, too.

R. Stroz

February 3rd, 2010
5:20 pm

Well, it’s time to sit back and see how bad Waddell gets screwed.

Get Those FIRE WADDELL signs ready for Saturday night.

Flagstaff

February 3rd, 2010
5:24 pm

Rawhide, I have been a regular lurker on these blogs since about 2008, and I have met you in real life (When I met you I was wearing a blank red third jersey, a goalie mask, and carrying a Blueland flag on a silver pole.). I love reading your blog, and this is my first post on it. I’m sorry it didn’t come on a happier occasion.

What I think is a bigger problem than the absence of scoring in Kovalchuk’s leave is the lack of a captain. Even though he obviously didn’t care enough about his team to sign here, a captain is a captain, and a team without a captain is like a ship without a rudder. (See fall 2008.)

The biggest question remains: Who would be this team’s next captain?

Examining this current squad doesn’t render very much possible captain material.

Kane: Way too young. Great work ethic and scoring potential, but a captain must lead be experience to a certain degree.
Kozlov: Too old. He will likely retire after this season, and this team needs a captain who cares enough to stay.
Hedberg: Goaltender. (No need to mention age or contract.)
Hainsey: He is not the most talented player on the team, and has made some costly errors. However, he does have some leadership capability, and could possibly be named captain.
Peverley: Seems like the most probable choice for captain, although he is not even an alternate captain. He likes Atlanta, and he scores regularly and puts in good effort, but perhaps lacks true leadership experience.
Reasoner: Again, a player with great work ethic who simply lacks experience in leadership.
Slater: See above.
Bogosian: Maybe someday. But today? No way.
Antropov: Good goal-scorer, and under contract for a while, but is he really captain material? I’m not sure. Perhaps. But still, probably not.
Armstrong: Only under contract for this season.

I know there are others who could step up and be the team’s captain, but the bottom line is this: Unless we trade for a real leader like Scott Mellanby or The Sheriff, the question will be more “Who’s better than the other guys” rather than “Who’s the best captain material player on the team”.

R. Stroz

February 3rd, 2010
5:24 pm

I wouldn’t be surprised if the ASG clowns see this as a postive event for two reasons:

1) It saves money.

2) New jerseys to sell.

Somaatl95

February 3rd, 2010
5:26 pm

Ever had that feeling that maybe the ASG wants DW to do so poorly so they can unload the team after all of the fans have lost their hope? My spirit is officially broken. Gotta love the situation we are in. Hopefully the ASG and DW are better lovers than they are owners and management. Why? Because they couldn’t find the G-Spot on a 12lb p***y. I’m so angry at the moment I am debating if I want to even watch any more hockey this season.

Hockey fan for life (Red Light)

February 3rd, 2010
5:45 pm

The best hockey fans in Atlanta know this is a 20-man game not a one-man game. Many of us said long ago that he was leaving. There are too many other solid teams with money and opportunity. Where he is traded is insignificant. What is significant is what the Thrashers get in return. It has been long ago said that the longer Waddell waits, the less he would get in return. There are still lots of players that can contribute to this franchise, certainly not with the offensive skills Kovy has, but as also has been pointed out by the savvy posters here, that Atlanta will support hockey. So, I say, rather than spend our time whining about Kovy leaving, Waddell still having a job and the owners potentially leaving us high and dry, that we embrace what we have.

Slater, Kane, Boulton, Thorburn, Reasoner, Peverly, Hedberg and others bust their butt to play to the best of their ability. Why get caught up with those who are leaving (more are coming) and support the hell out of guys who bust their butt and are still here. Have an appreciation for the work guys do along the walls, in the corners, in the defensive zone and forget about flash. You all say you remember the Flames and how the place was packed and the support they got. They were never the most skilled but nobody wanted to face them, particularly at the Omni. That’s because they were tough and came to play most nights.

I say rather than boo Waddell or Kovy, that you get out of your seat and cheer like Hell for the ones that are here and make them proud to be in Atlanta because you support them.

We all know the problems upstairs with this team but it’s not the fault of the guys left on the ice for this team. The few thousand that remain in the stands can’t make a big difference, but until the moving van pulls up outside of Philips Arena, we should embrace the fact that we still have hockey here and I’m glad of it. Quite frankly, I’m glad the Kancer is gone, talent and all, and hope that by some miracle the Thrashers get something in return.

And, if you just can’t stomach those ideas, start pulling for the teams you can stand and pull for them. It’s still hockey, maybe not the product we want to watch 41 times a year, but it beats the hell out of watching it only on TV.

By now, we all should have realized that our romantic notions about this game disappeared a long time ago. It’s a business with a game attached to it.

If you like burgers and you don’t like McDonald’s, there is always Five Guys, Burger King, etc. If you still like hockey, like many of us here, and don’t like the Thrashers, there are 29 other options for you to choose from. If you do still like the Thrashers after all this BS that has happened, then pull for the guys that really deserve it, not a Russian or Slovakian mercenary who couldn’t give a hoot about you or anyone other than the guy who signs his check.

Guys who appreciate the opportunity to play in this league are the ones we should cheer, not the ones who take advantage of their teammates’ hard work.

I think it would say a lot for hockey fans in this city if they filled the building Saturday night to make a statement to anyone who says Atlanta isn’t a hockey town.

I’m sure this isn’t a popular statement at this point in time, but to me, hockey is way too important to let Don Waddell, Ilya Kovalchuk or the owners to ruin it for me.

ukyo

February 3rd, 2010
6:12 pm

Careful, Hockey fan for life (Red Light), you are toeing the line of being a shweep. :rolleyes:

The reality of Kovy leaving has been sinking in on me all day. I still don’t want to believe it, but the larger part of me will be glad when the mess is over. I can’t blame Kovy for wanting out. I can blame him for the overall lack of effort while he was here. I don’t think I can boo him for wanting to be in a better run organization with designs on going deep in the playoffs and fighting for the cup. This is his one shot at life and his one shot at a dream career (to be in the NHL, that is), no one should fault him for wanting the best. However, we all should fault him for not giving his best… be it here or anywhere else. That is the difference.

Chris16

February 3rd, 2010
6:19 pm

So does Kovy change his jersery number like Savard and Hossa did?

Red Light

February 3rd, 2010
6:28 pm

ukyo: I think the word you were looking for is shepherd! Never a sheep to this franchise or any other.

DWTOO

February 3rd, 2010
6:32 pm

Good points by Red Light, and ukyo is right he’s being a bit of a sheople, but, the points are valid. If the true fan checks out now it just gives the hosers and other’s more ammunition. We’re fans of the Atlanta Thrashers, not an individual player. Yeah, it would’ve been nice if he stayed, but, that’s life – how many of us haven’t moved on from one job to another.

If you only go when things are good you’re just a fair weather fan. Your perogative. Fine, sit at home and post negative comments. However, it’s your loss. The rest of us will continue to enjoy some hockey. Someday this will all pass – the boneheads that call themselves the ASG, Don Waddell, et al will all be gone and we’ll actually have a team.

At least I can dream and we certainly need something positive today.

I’d really like to see new ownership and a new GM along with some more talent.

ukyo

February 3rd, 2010
6:50 pm

I look at it this way, in the past two seasons we have proven we can win at pretty much the same clip with or without Kovy (IIRC, our best winning streak last year was sans Kovy). The question becomes will the ~83 points we are on pace for now be enough to eek in to the playoffs? No. History tells a different story. There is no way the cluster of teams in the middle stays in a 1 point race to an exciting 85 point playoff dance with a series of tie breakers to decide who is in. A few teams in the middle are going to wake up now. Let’s hope we make the right moves to be one of those teams. We aren’t out of it, but we are getting further away by the second.

GaVaHokie

February 3rd, 2010
6:52 pm

Don’t put this on the fans. 500 people drove to Nashville in the snow to watch this team. And what would you define as a reasonable timeline to achieve success? 10 years is sufficient by anyone’s standards. No one wants this team to move – ASG has put us on a collision course

Your 10 years argument only holds water if there was a consistent effort during that period… The team salary never broke the $35 million barrier until 2005-06… the very first season, the salary was $11 million… that’s just pathetic!

This organization was never going to spend the proper money until the league forced it to with the minimum salary cap.

World Be Free

February 3rd, 2010
6:55 pm

Not so sure this team is going anywhere. Bettman isn’t into moving teams, especially from a top 10 market to smaller markets like KC and outposts like Quebec City. He’ll do what he’s doing in TB, find an owner. Could moving happen? Maybe, but remember the M.O. of this commissioner and the league when it comes to relocations. Just ask Hamilton.

LAC-it is nice to see people come to their senses today.

Trading Kovy-be done with it; look at Florida without Bouwmeester, no real GM and a young coach-they are better!

Ken Hitchcock was fired today for underachieving-there’s a novelty!

LAC

February 3rd, 2010
6:57 pm

Time for some fans to corner waddell and beat the LIVING $HIT out of him, Then “maybe” he will get the message, GET OUT OF TOWN !

Lastly this grossman thug is as much to blame, is he blind ?
IK is NOT a complete player, not tough, no forechecking or backchecking little hustle, only waiting for an outlet pass or on the pp point.
He is NOT worth anywhere near the cap max, wonder what grossman drinks everyday ??? Because he is as blind as a bat.

I would not advise ANY NHL team to even speak to an agent, either the player does it himself or forget it !

Lastly we want to FORGET you waddell, WATCH OUT BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE
“don”. WE do not like you or YOUR LIES so GET THE LIVING HELL OUT OF ATLANTA NOW you F’ing FOOL !

GaVaHokie

February 3rd, 2010
6:57 pm

… Atlanta is the VERY reason Gary Bettman created revenue sharing and made the minimum salary $40 million… that doesn’t exactly make guys want to line up to play here.

It’s not exactly Waddell’s fault that agents and players are keenly aware of this notion.

I’m not trying to be an apologist… if someone else can do a better job on a shoestring budget, I’m all for giving them a shot… but I feel any GM is set up to fail here.

World Be Free

February 3rd, 2010
6:59 pm

English Teacher-totally agree, look at New Jersey and Buffalo, great goalies and decent skaters. I’d say both are doing pretty well this year.

Rawhide-excellent summary of our sorry draft history.

Biltong-great seeing you and Mr. B. last night, or as I stated to you “your better half”.

Miami Screaming Eagle

February 3rd, 2010
7:10 pm

This really stinks; another star player walking out the door. Where would this team be had we paid the key players and built a creditable team?

Doesn’t seem to be a problem with the Hawks, does it? Always plenty of money to resign players and keep the core together for a playoff run.

So what do you thing ASG’s priority is here folks? Gangster basketball

Scott in St. Louis

February 3rd, 2010
7:26 pm

TOOL Rules Somattl95!!!!!!!!!!! Nice my friend!!!

Somaatl95

February 3rd, 2010
7:38 pm

Thank you, Thank you! Now I could literally post the Lyrics to “The Grudge” about how ill we have all become at this mess. In fact, those of you whom aren’t familiar with the band can at least read the lyrics and somehow infer them to it all…

And for your time wasting pleasure I present “The Grudge”

Wear the grudge like a crown of negativity.
Calculate what we will or will not tolerate.
Desperate to control all and everything.
Unable to forgive your scarlet lettermen.

Clutch it like a cornerstone. Otherwise it all comes down.
Justify denials and grip ‘em to the lonesome end.
Clutch it like a cornerstone. Otherwise it all comes down.
Terrified of being wrong. Ultimatum prison cell.

Saturn ascends, choose one or ten. Hang on or be humbled again.

Clutch it like a cornerstone. Otherwise it all comes down.
Justify denials and grip ‘em to the lonesome end.
Saturn ascends, comes round again.
Saturn ascends, the one, the ten. Ignorant to the damage done.

Wear the grudge like a crown of negativity.
Calculate what you will or will not tolerate.
Desperate to control all and everything.
Unable to forgive your scarlet lettermen.

Wear the grudge like a crown. Desperate to control.
Unable to forgive. And sinking deeper.

Defining, confining, sinking deeper. Controlling, defining, and we’re sinking deeper.

Saturn comes back around to show you everything
Let’s you choose what you will not see and then
Drags you down like a stone or lifts you up again
Spits you out like a child, light and innocent.

Saturn comes back around. Lifts you up like a child or
Drags you down like a stone to
Consume you till you choose to let this go.
Choose to let this go.

Give away the stone. Let the oceans take and transmutate this cold and fated
anchor.
Give away the stone. Let the waters kiss and transmutate these leaden grudges
into gold.

Let go.

And I promise to not make this a habit, I’m just 110% pissed at IK, DW and the ASG and can’t rationally discuss hockey now – and I am confident Rawhide will be starting a new thread soon anyways.

World Be Free

February 3rd, 2010
7:45 pm

This kid, #8 from TB Matt Walker was hitting everything last night, old time hockey. He nearly knock Thorny into the cheap seats.

Hey, I have some good news from last night; by allowing 2 goals, Pavs goals against will actually go down a bit.

Tom Lysiak

February 3rd, 2010
7:48 pm

Kevin Allen from USA Today on Twitter about an hour ago:

1.Kovalchuk deal won’t happen tonight. 2.Surprise teams in the mix; 3. Atlanta will get better return than it got for Hossa. Go watch hockey

Rightshot

February 3rd, 2010
7:56 pm

TABLEHOCKEY – Practice was lighthearted, every one enjoying themselves except Reasoner, he seemed to be having a generally bad day.

R. Stroz

February 3rd, 2010
8:33 pm

I wouldn’t be surprised if the ASG and Waddell are just trying to get payroll down to sell the team. They’ll claim they were forced to sell due to poor attendence. They’ll fail to mention that their ineptitude, or possibly their intent, was to demoralize the fan base.

Since Philips is trying to get out of the arena licensing agreement, this is an opportune time for the ASG to flip the team. Dump the team’s only premiere player and boom, the fan base dwindles some more.

Get ready, Kubina and Armstrong are the next to go. With Kovy, Kozlov, Kubina, Armstrong, and Zhitnik off the books next season, we’ll easily have the lowest payroll in the league.

Lets hope Bettman steps in and gives hockey “a real chance” in Atlanta.

Brett

February 3rd, 2010
9:19 pm

I know we’ll never hear anything. But I’d sure love hear what the players have to say about Kovy once he’s gone.

B. Thenet

February 3rd, 2010
9:20 pm

The only thing left to do is wait to see just how poor the return for Ilya and whoever else DW pisses away is.

I have to give DW a little credit, at least he started real trade talks several weeks before the deadline, instead of several hours before the deadline like he did when Ray Shero fleeced him several years ago.

Eileen

February 3rd, 2010
9:28 pm

Last year we all would have been happy if the Thrashers were still competing for a playoff spot at this time of the year. I just want to interject a positive point in an otherwise upsetting situation. The rest of the guys deserve our support. It is not their fault, nor ours, that we are stuck with this lousy management team.

James Brown

February 3rd, 2010
9:41 pm

Stroz…………..if Bettman kept a franchise in Phoenix he`ll keep one in Atlanta. The Southeast market is where the growth in advertising dollars are. The Versus TV contract is a joke and Bettman wants back on ESPN……..I`ve said this time and time again……………….you don`t trade a top ten tv market for a small Canadian market…….In the big picture Montreal and Toronto are small players when it comes to getting National TV coverage in the US……….TSN and the Rogers networks are small frys when compared to NBC and ESPN Numbers………….fact of tv sports ratings………In Canada its the only game in town and in the US its just a niche sport……but…………….the amount of homes that American tv can be seen in just blows Cananda away and that is what sways the advertisers……….Empty seats don`t mean that much except for public perception and playoff money(then your seats are filled)…….Philips will take a royal bath trying to get out of this deal…………don`t see it happening

R. Stroz

February 3rd, 2010
9:50 pm

James Brown – There is a difference between selling the team and moving it. After reading some of Jeff Schultz’s recent articles, it sure doea sound as if the ASG is trying to offload the team.

Philips wants out of the naming rights deal.

We just need properly capitalized new ownership with a good management team. Translation: No more ASG or Waddell.

Brendan

February 3rd, 2010
10:16 pm

I tell you, even with this inept group of owners, I’d be energized by the prospect of a real GM gaining control.

Now, I don’t rightly know who that is. A logical choice is Rick Dudley. Pat Quinn is struggling mightily in Edmonton as Coach. He’ll probably survive the season. Neil Smith may not exactly be anyone’s top pick, either. But he’s out there. Would Darren Eliot be a disastrous choice? He’s pretty sharp, when his tongue isn’t censored. There are only a couple of names that would reflect a step backwards. Pierre McGuire and Mike Milbury are those names. “Iron” Mike Keenan is out there. Of course, I don’t recommend that, either. If Waddell is “too soft,” then Keenan is “too tough.”

What about giving another minor league GM a shot? Uhh, no. And who knows? Maybe there really is someone deserving of a chance. But really, it’s got to be someone with prior NHL GM experience.

R. Stroz

February 3rd, 2010
10:19 pm

James Brown

February 3rd, 2010
10:34 pm

Stroz…………next few days are gonna be interesting………..Schultz agrees that the NHL wants this team here………hell what do I know…………….Las Vegas wants a team too……..uh………….nah…………..

James Brown

February 3rd, 2010
10:36 pm

Big Ken Hitchcock became available today…………NHL channel says he is too sarcastic to last long anywhere………..I guess he`s like a fat Bob Hartley

Miami Screaming Eagle

February 3rd, 2010
10:39 pm

Attendence-watch any Hawks games lately?
It doesn’t look like the Hawks are doing much better than the Thrashers when it comes to putting fannies in the seats. Ironic, considering that we all believe (me included) that ASG it TOTALLY commited to basketball and doesn’t give a heck about hockey.

Eileen-right on, couldn’t have said it better myself. Give the rest of these guys a chance, maybe they’ll surprise us with a new attitude. Waddell better not blow this one, that’s for sure.

World Be Free

February 3rd, 2010
10:57 pm

How bout the Chicago Cubs? Haven’t won a World series in 102 years. Now that is sad!

Here are some rumored deals and my grades-

Anaheim – Lupul, Mitera, 1st in 2010 (ANA), 2nd in 2010 (ANA) grade-F garbage dump

Boston – Ryder, Ference, Bitz, Hamill, 1st in 2010 (TOR) Grade-D+ Mini garbage dump, Bitz and Toronto pick OK

Calgray – Langkow, Boyd, Backlund, 1st in 2011 Grade-D- no impact players or high picks

Chicago – Barker, Versteeg, 1st in 2010 (CHI), 1st in 2011 (CHI) Grade-B- 2 now players and no 1’s

New Jersey – Zubrus, Bergfors/Clarkson, Cormier, 1st in 2010 (NJD) Grade-D garbage dump and potential players

Philadelphia – Gagne, Coburn, 1st in 2011, 3rd in 2010 Grade – F an old injured player, a guy we got fleeced for and 2 future picks

Chicago has the juice to make this deal, so does LA. LA needs to make the deal to make an impact in the LA sports scene (just like getting Gretzky). CHI needs to make the deal if they are going to compete with San Jose. That’s why they got Hossa, isn’t it?

Smoothie

February 3rd, 2010
10:58 pm

Stroz – why do you put so much faith in Jeff Schultz? He has no real sources anymore and he has no reason to present a fair and balanced story as all he does is harp on the negative. We as fans already do that; we don’t need him piling on. Do you really have any sympathy for Kovy if in fact what Grossman told Schultz is true? That they never came off the counter-offer of max cap for 10-12 years?? That’s absolutely absurd. You can’t tell me Kovy advised Grossman to do that just because the negotiations didn’t start in earnest in October when Kovy was sooooooo ready to talk turkey at the negotiating table. Like Kovy had any involvement. All he ever says is that it’s his job to focus on hockey and that’s why you have agents. Blah blah freakin’ blah. He’s been saying the same line for 7 months straight. None of Jeff’s arguments really make any sense and are easily countered. His arguments only fit his agenda and that is to simply bash Waddell and the ASG. Rightly so perhaps but he could’ve done that AND used his noggin’ at the same time. Utter and complete tripe.

Harry Sinden

February 3rd, 2010
11:45 pm

Hey Don Waddell, YOU’RE FIRED!!! 10 years of cheapskate losing ways will doom NHL hockey in Atlanta for a 2nd time! This ownership rivals the Charlestown Chiefs of Slap Shot fame.

R. Stroz

February 4th, 2010
12:24 am

Would we even be having this conversation if Waddell hadn’t traded down in the 2005 draft for Alex Bourret thus passing on Anze Kopitar?

I’m sure that decision showed Kovy the level of Waddell’s hockey acumen.

As Brendan would say…Bygones.

stendec

February 4th, 2010
1:06 am

Do not fall asleep on me Rawhide.

Most on this site will disagree/become infuriated with the following. I believe it to be true. I did warn long ago that the player was looking for whiter ice elsewhere. First these unedited comments from Captain Ilya Kovalchuk (thanks Chris):

“I’m the player and my job is to go on the ice and play hard. We are all professionals. I’ve worked here for eight years and hopefully I will stay but you know it’s a business and you never know what’s going to happen. I talked to some guys. You don’t want to be a distraction. We are in a playoff race and we are only one point from the playoffs. Whatever it takes. That’s why we have agents. They talk to management. Hopefully, we are going to figure something out.”

I believe those comments to be completely dishonest and manufactured but I will not comment on them at this time.

The Thrashers will be a much better TEAM without IK. The talent on this club has been stifled in an effort to appease the captain who was not only underperforming but deadened team morale. How? Glad you asked.

Know why Thrasher power play is one of worst in NHL? All attempts are made to feed the captain so that he can score. Opponents discovered this then proceeded to make necessary adjustments. Can any other Thrasher score a power play goal? Hard to tell because no one fires a shot toward the net. All feeds find their way to one player. It is placate IK. Let us let IK get his goals and points. That will now change out of necessity. A few of the Thrashers will surprise!

A premiere player in my personal opinion does not accumulate a minus rating approaching minus 100 (-100). IK has!

IK almost cried during a recent rare victory when he was not allowed to score into an empty net. A teammate did instead. Honest fans still remember that moment. Selfishness does not benefit a captain!

Johan Moose Hedberg and Pavs have a hard enough time already. Imagine how they feel when under siege as IK merrily skates circles awaiting a breakout pass. How many times has IK failed to impede his man or go to the bench for an ill timed line change which resulted in a goal? Too many!

When was the last time the captain got really physical with an opponent? Blocked a shot? Cleared a puck out of his own crease? Crashed the net in an effort to score? So long I cannot remember!

What gripes me? REALLY GRIPES ME? The consensus among many is that IK is a premiere scorer. How many times has he misfired on completely open nets? How many breakaways has he frittered away? How many shootout attempts were worthless duds? How many shots clanked iron? These failures cost the team valuable points in close defeats. Close does not count!

The Thrashers will be a stronger club without him! Of this I have no doubt. His uncaring attitude has become a cancer to a young team. The youth of the group makes this doubly disastrous!

Bye bye Mr Kovalchuk. I do wish you well elsewhere. I WILL root against your new team! I will boo you like blue blazes whenever you are within earshot of me. Only because you quit on the fans and your teammates!

Please forgive post length but I saw this coming since early in the season when IK sustained the injury which put his mind squarely on the Olympics. Know few of you put that two plus two together! Remember? Remember how Thrashers hustled without IK in lineup? Remember? Glad most fans finally woke up. Best. Regards.

++STENDEC++

Brendan

February 4th, 2010
2:09 am

Bygones, indeed, R.Stroz. Nothing we can do.

Alex Bourret. I don’t know why… but when I think of Draft Day ineptitude by Waddell, it’s not Patrik Stefan’s face that I see. It’s this fat, unkempt Alex Bourret who pops into my cabeza. At 8th overall, you either find someone to select … or you trade the pick for a PROVEN COMMODITY PLAYER. We traded that pick for, if I recall correctly, Chad Denny, our 2nd round pick, who is a guy that is still in the ECHL. At #12, I think we still had some shot at Marc Staal. And truthfully, not knowing any better, I probably would have selected Marc Staal with pick #8 overall. And been wrong? Yes. Sadly. But, we’d have Marc Staal. That’s not so horrible. Yeah but, I hear ya. Then we’d have missed out on Chad Denny and Ondrej Pavelec. D’oh! Truthfully, I do see Pavelec as a worthwhile goalie. Pavelec was drafted at about the “right position” for finding a goaltender. But, wouldn’t a free agent goaltender have been a better way to go? Waddell and good goaltender decisions are like oil and water. They don’t go well together.