The morning after in Thrasherville

So, the Kovalchuk era in Thrasherville officially ended last night. However, the sun still came up this morning. Well, at least I’m assuming so…it’s so rainy and cloudy out there today I can’t say that I’ve actually been able to eye-ball confirm that rumor.

Anyway…as widely speculated, Don Waddell and the Atlanta Thrashers dealt away Ilya Kovalchuk… their team captain, leading scorer, centerpiece and face of the franchise. Heading to New Jersey with him is young defenseman Anssi Salmela, who is actually returning to the Devils after coming here in the Nic Havelid trade a year ago.

Say good-bye to Kovalchuk and his potential 90-100 points per season (AP photo)

Say good-bye to Kovalchuk and his potential 90-100 points per season (AP photo)

In return for the pair, the Thrashers gain defenseman Johnny Oduya, forward Nicklas Bergfors, prospect center Patrice Cormier and the Devils first round draft pick this summer.

Let me start off with the two things I actually like about the transaction…first, there is the Oduya part of the transaction. If you tear apart the whole and examine this one part of the deal, we are swapping out Salmela for the 28-year old Swede. I think this is an immediate upgrade on defense. Certainly I think Salmela could turn out to be a fine player, but this helps in the “right now”, IMHO.

I’ll be curious to see how John Anderson shuffled the defensive pairing with Johnny in the lineup.

The second part of the trade that makes me happy…simply the fact that this whole sorted affair is finally over. The Kovalchuk contract drama that has hung over the team like…well, the rainy overcast skies that are with us today…and the team has been severely distracted by the proceedings, regardless of what some close to the organization may say. So, there is no excuse anymore…Kovy’s gone and so too the drama that sucked all the focus away form the players.

Now, with all of that said, what we are then left with is Ilya Kovalchuk…who is on pace for something like 95 points…being replaced in the lineup by Nicklas Bergfors…he of 13 goals and 14 assists in 54 games this season. He’s played a total of 63 NHL games with 28 overall points.

Really Don?…I mean, really?

Now, this isn’t meant to be a knock on Bergfors…and is it too soon to already start calling him “Bergie”? Fact is that it looks like he’s a player that can fit right into Colby Armstrong’s slot when Donny trades him away in the coming days. But how in the world can Don Waddell seriously look the fans square in the eyes and tell them that this helps us at all in any hopeful run for this springs post-season?

Then of course there are the two other pieces in the deal..a QMJHL player who cannot play in that league for the rest of the season given his suspension due to a flagrant hit to an opponent’s head…and a draft selection that will fall somewhere around pick number 26 or 27, if not higher.

Say hello to Johnny Oduya. He has 2 goals, 2 assists, a +2 rating and 18 PIM in 40 games this season (AP Photo/ David Duprey)

Say hello to Johnny Oduya, seen on left. He has 2 goals, 2 assists, a +2 rating and 18 PIM in 40 games this season (AP Photo/ David Duprey)

Those players may or may not work out in the future, and we’ll just have to wait and see how they eventually pan out…you know, much like the prospect and player Don obtained two years ago in the Marian Hossa deal.

Lastly, the two teams swapped 2nd round picks which…if I’m not mistaken…benefits New Jersey because I have a sneaking suspicion the Devils are gonna wind up a little better in the standings then are your Atlanta Thrashers.

So, as for the deal overall as a whole…color me unimpressed.

I guess what bugs the pure livin’ snot outa me the most this morning is the fact that the ONE thing I feared happening…seems to have happened. That being a trade that will more than likely leave us two years down the road no better than today and waiting to see how a couple of pick and prospects develop in order to deem the Kovalchuk transaction a “success” or not.

You know…just like we are now Hossa +2 years.

Now, let me respond preemptively to the most commonly used defense that I heard after the Hossa deal…and so far after the Kovy one. It’s the one that goes something like “But Waddell did the best he could considering the circumstances”.

Really?

Well, I just gotta be honest with ya…I am just sick and damn tired of see this Thrashers teams formed and shaped because Don Waddell found himself in a less-than-favorable circumstance. We have, for over a decade now, seen great players come and go…leaving D-Wad to have to clean up afterwards “the best he can”.

This organization needs a general manager that can direct the circumstances that make up his team…not simply “do the best he can” to make lemonade out of lemons.

After the Kovalchuk trade, the Thrashers are...

  • Closer to the Stanley Cup (3%, 7 Votes)
  • Further away from the Cup (70%, 174 Votes)
  • About the same (27%, 67 Votes)

Total Voters: 248

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Ya know…I don’t think Kovalchuk, or Hossa for that matter, rejected the offers Don Waddell made them when contract time came around. No, moreover I think it was more a rejection of what this team has become…and probably will be…under the management of Don Waddell and the Great Octocluster that is our current ownership.

In closing…I leave you with the one question that, to me, really is the only one that matters. Don Waddell possessed the crown jewel in this years trade deadline period…and we now see what he did with it. So I ask you, is this team any closer to the Stanley Cup then we were 24 hours ago…or are we a little further away?

It may be raining and cloudy outside today…but I think the answer to that is still clearly seen.

241 comments Add your comment

Not Blind

February 5th, 2010
6:56 pm

:thumbsup: Hey!!! My email got read on Powerplay !!! Here is what I sent them:

Guys,
Everybody talks about how great a player Ilya Kovalchuk is and there is no doubt that he is an amazing sniper BUT the guy plays no defense to speak of. He is MINUS 80 for his career. When he has been on the ice it’s almost like a powerplay for the other team as long as they keep posession of the puck.

Since the anouncement of the Russian Olympic team he has really been playing soft hockey. You guys that don’t watch an entire Thrasher’s game, you only see his amazing goals. You guys don’t see him doing figure 8’s at his own blueline.

I for one am ready to see how the Thrashers do in the new era.

Thanks
Ray from Atlanta

Not Blind

February 5th, 2010
7:01 pm

After they read my email the guest [ can't remember his name ] said that one game his team had against the Thrashers where the Thrashers were on the powerplay and IK was playing the point. The puck skipped past IK’s stick about 15 feet into the neutral zone and this guy hauled a$$ for the puck and had a breakaway and scored. He said that IK didn’t even make an effort to keep him from scoring.

It was pretty cool to have an ex-nhl player that played against IK agree with my thoughts on IK.

NASCAR Dave

February 5th, 2010
7:05 pm

FIRE WADDELL!!! FIRE WADDELL!!! FIRE WADDELL!!! FIRE WADDELL!!! FIRE WADDELL!!! FIRE WADDELL!!! FIRE WADDELL!!! FIRE WADDELL!!! FIRE WADDELL!!! FIRE WADDELL!!! FIRE WADDELL!!! FIRE WADDELL!!! FIRE WADDELL!!! FIRE WADDELL!!! FIRE WADDELL!!! FIRE WADDELL!!! FIRE WADDELL!!! FIRE WADDELL!!! FIRE WADDELL!!! FIRE WADDELL!!! FIRE WADDELL!!! FIRE WADDELL!!! FIRE WADDELL!!! FIRE WADDELL!!!
FIRE WADDELL!!! FIRE WADDELL!!! FIRE WADDELL!!! FIRE WADDELL!!!

NASCAR Dave

February 5th, 2010
7:07 pm

STROZ,

WE ARE COUNTING ON YOU DUDE! MAKE US PROUD! MAKE YOUR VOICES HEARD! LET’S CLEAN UP THE MESS IN THIS ORGANIZATION BY GETTING RID OF THE TRASH (WADDELL)!

Yung JB from MTL

February 5th, 2010
7:08 pm

Haha im watching kovy on tv and the thrashers online
The jersey doesnt fit him well

Mrs. Zoomo

February 5th, 2010
7:30 pm

While my guys were watching the start of the Devils game (damn NHL Center Ice) the Thrashers quietly scored a goal.

That Devils jersey just doesn’t look right!

Stay Thirsty My Friends

February 5th, 2010
7:32 pm

Kovy just got his first point as a Devil as Ovechkin just blasted one by OP – DAMN!!!!

LAC

February 5th, 2010
7:33 pm

Just watched to IK press confrence in NJ today… This on the NJ Center Ice feed. He said he is GLAD to be with a FIRST-CLASS Franchise where the coaches KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING.

Gee Whiz ! He already has an assist tonight and the fans in NJ are going crazy over him, I wonder how many of the 2,500 will be buying Odulya jersey’s Saturday night… Just pitiful to see, watch and hear.

Then you should have seen the IDIOT himself waddell, looking like a complete street BUM, blabbing somemore of his BS and making me sick to my stomach.

What in the HELL do WE have to do to RID the Thrashers of this THING,
hell he is not worthy of being called a human being anymore, what with all his LIES.

Yung JB from MTL

February 5th, 2010
7:34 pm

he did have a point but hes not making any impact.
i mean Gustavson sucks

LAC

February 5th, 2010
7:55 pm

Boy rick dudley looks “HAPPY”…. Gee Whiz. Says trade a good one, WHAT ? It Stinks, It is ALL over in Atlanta, just MOVE THE TEAM,
and get an AHL Team here and let’s just have fun with that, and the THING will at least be GONE !

Bob

February 5th, 2010
8:01 pm

Nice to see the rest of the boys nut up and bring it tonight. Caps should wear them down eventually, but they’re bringing it to them tonight. That was a b/s instigator on Thorburn. Pavs brought it tonight as well.

Yung JB from MTL

February 5th, 2010
8:27 pm

hahahha Kovy’s no-backchek caused a Leafs goal! he goes to change while the pucks in the D zone

Stay Thirsty My Friends

February 5th, 2010
8:29 pm

Kovy’s first penalty as a Devil results in a Buds PPG – I think he was in the middle of one of his figure 8’s when he interfered!!

Harry Sinden

February 5th, 2010
8:35 pm

Goals are hard to come by with him, how is this bunch going to take up the slack? Litttle? Afinogenov? the rookie Evander Kane? Atl leads the league in 1 goal losses–and I don’t see the picture improving any this year. Look for us to challenge Carolina for the SE cellar, and maybe overtake them!! We got screwed, we got nobody in return and the chance to draft a couple more Let-em-ins or Stefans. The future is so bright….

buzzgt90

February 5th, 2010
8:53 pm

The Thrashers have been spiraling down since the firing of the coach that was actually making progress: Bob Hartley. Don’t get me wrong, I like John Anderson. But until we get rid of Wad-dell this team is going nowhere except another city, and it may not be very long.

LAC

February 5th, 2010
8:54 pm

Boy the two new guys looked like they were in the wild west and were getting ready to be hung.
If they could speak their minds…

Right The Coaster looked NTG, not too good after the first period… We look OK.

Rockem Sockem Thrasher

February 5th, 2010
9:15 pm

Andre looks terrible. No offense. What a nightmare

Rockem Sockem Thrasher

February 5th, 2010
9:23 pm

Peverly for captain

Yung JB from MTL

February 5th, 2010
9:25 pm

wow what a comeback by the devils!

Brendan

February 5th, 2010
9:31 pm

Anybody just see Kovalchuk lead the Devils to a superfast, 3-goal comeback win, in regulation time, over the Maple Leafs? Down, 3-1, Kovalchuk worked his magic. New Jersey won, 4-3.

Funniest thing of all? Glenn “Chico” Resch, the man who HARPOONED him relentlessly on a Center Ice broadcast, singing his praises. “With a sniper the caliber of Kovalchuk, all things become possible.” Boy, did he turn on a dime! Now “Chico” Resch is Kovy’s #1 fan.

Unbelieveable.

Alan R.

February 5th, 2010
9:40 pm

Boy the two new guys looked like they were in the wild west and were getting ready to be hung.

They could also be nervous, playing in a system they’ve never seen as Devils without any practice time at all with their new teammates.

Not to discount the theory. Anything is possible. Just giving an alternate viewpoint.

Rockem Sockem Thrasher

February 5th, 2010
9:41 pm

45 shots on goal for the Thrash. Maybe things weren’t as bad as it looked. Andre didn’t look sharp at all.

Brendan

February 5th, 2010
9:44 pm

Here’s your Thrashers-Caps boxscore. http://www.nhl.com/ice/boxscore.htm?id=2009020851

Newcomers Bergfors and Oduya were -1. At -2 were Nik Antropov and Todd White. At +1 were Rich Peverley, who had a short-handed goal, and Ron Hainsey. Toby Enstrom scored his 5th goal of the year. Atlanta managed 44 shots on goal. That’s a positive. The Washington goal, Neuvirt (sp?) really played very well. I simply must give him credit. Atlanta didn’t look like a team whose spirit had been trampled. In fact, they scored early in the 1st period.

If Don Waddell and the Spirit are serious about the playoffs, they’ve got to find some more players before the deadline. In fairness to the Thrashers, the Capitals are in the midst of one heckuva 13-game winning streak. GM George McPhee deserves a lot of credit for this roster. I still think the Eastern Conference comes down to the Capitals vs. the Penguins. I appreciate what New Jersey has done, in getting Kovalchuk. I’m just not convinced, yet, that the Devils are Cup favorites.

stendec

February 5th, 2010
9:53 pm

Time to sit Pavs down! Play Moose until he drops. Liked what I saw. Entire team was busting their a$$es against the Crapitals! Pavs was a complete embarrassment. Four goals? Four damn goals! Totally unacceptable under the circumstances. Weak links simply cannot be tolerated until team chemistry has an opportunity to gel. I foresee this group making a serious playoff run. Players displayed grit and fire. Two goal were about all they would have gotten even if you know who had played. Pleasure to watch this group. Actually had thoughts of a victory until Pavs pulled his Kari Lehtonen bullshet act! Moose can get the Thrashers to the promised land. Cannot do so if he is on the f#cking bench! Right John Petrino? You ignorant son of a betch! ++STENDEC++

Brendan

February 5th, 2010
9:56 pm

Okay, let’s talk Kovalchuk. Here’s the boxscore for the Leafs-Devils game. http://www.nhl.com/ice/boxscore.htm?id=2009020850

Kovy was “even” on his +/-, playing 21:43, including 4 powerplay minutes. He had no goals and two (2) assists, for two-points, with one (1) shot on goal. He also has 2 penalty minutes. Not a bad debut for the new Devil. No pun intended.

Brendan

February 5th, 2010
10:06 pm

Okay, folks. It’s gonna bother me if I don’t say it. Did you see the “glee” in Kovalchuk’s eyes when that game tying goal went in? Kovy “mobbed” his new teammates, as if they’d been together for YEARS and YEARS. I know I sound like the jilted lover here, but I don’t like seeing him ‘this happy, this quickly.’ When you break up with someone, you want a period of stagnation. You don’t want your “ex” to fall MADLY, DEEPLY in LOVE, twenty-four hours later, with a “1st class organization.”

Bobby

February 5th, 2010
10:06 pm

I’m from Vancouver, but I thought it would be interesting to see what Thrasher fans thought of the trade (almost all of yesterday’s comments were negative). So I was surprised to read this article on Sportsnet.ca http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/2010/02/05/waddell_trend/ Now I know why everyone seems to hate DW & the ownership group

LAC

February 5th, 2010
10:11 pm

Kovy in post game… “It is an HONOR to be here”. On the fly is spending ALL the top in him, makes me ILL !

Why can’t they be discussing don waddell’s firing or resigning or car accident… WHY NOT !

Brendan

February 5th, 2010
10:30 pm

Bobby, thanks for the link. Waddell comments usually push the bile to the tip of my throat. But with him actually saying, “Basically, we’ve been a one-man team,” it’s just exasperating. Then he says, “We already paid him $47 million. So, with the new deal, he’d make a lifetime salary of $147 million. We thought that would be enough to meet his needs.”

Do you see it? Do you see … just how CLUELESS he is? It’s just NOT about the money. It’s that no star player here … actually believes … that this franchise will ever amount to anything. It’s a minor league look and feel. Bobby, out in Vancouver, you guys fired a very good GM, in David Nonis. And the Canucks fired him … simply because he didn’t advance the team into the Conference Finals within 3 years. It was looking good for Vancouver, last year, under GM Mike Gillis, to be in the CF, but the Blackhawks took the series in six games. When you guys faced the UFA crisis, you did re-ink the Sedins. In Vancouver, hockey is very important. And the community would never tolerate Waddell and the Atlanta Spirit, LLC’s manner of running things. In Atlanta, hockey isn’t a major sport on the landscape. But it would be solidly supported, if the team had any sort of CLUE how an NHL franchise is supposed to be run. Our GM has been here since Day 1, with no accountability over results. A decade’s worth of seasons later, we still haven’t won a playoff game, and we still cannot keep any of our star players, once they can CHOOSE where to play. It’s a sad state of affairs. But yet, we hold out hope … that the NHL will step in and appoint someone to run the team for the next few seasons.

If properly run, this city will sellout hockey games. In its Inaugural season, before any Atlantan could possibly know the futility of what would come, Atlanta fans soldout Philips Arena 38 times in 41 home games. That’s where the ACTUAL interest in hockey was … before this GM and several incarnations of uncaring ownership got their meathooks into it.

stendec

February 5th, 2010
10:32 pm

The Thrashers will be in the playoffs! Moose will engineer the run as anchor. Pavs is sadly nothing more than a Kari Lehtonen choker! If they fail to reach the playoffs I will provide the rope and tar and feathers myself. Don Waddell and Thrasher owners will be serviced first! ++STENDEC++ Then I take my vigilante party up New Jersey way!

Bob

February 5th, 2010
10:33 pm

“Did you see the “glee” in Kovalchuk’s eyes when that game tying goal went in?”

Saw it. Saw it first last nite on Channel 2 as their cameras caught him leaving the restaurant with Grossman as they heard they out free at last, free at least, thank Gawd almight, I’m free at last

And Waddell believed since last summer they ever wanted to stay here, Grossman played Waddell like a fiddle

stendec

February 5th, 2010
10:40 pm

Wayne Gretzy once called the New Jersey Devils a Mickey Mouse organization! Look at them now. The Flames played tough hockey in Atlanta them eventually claimed a Stanley Cup in Calgary. Thrashers may capture top NHL prize in another city but roots started in Georgia! Don Waddell OR NO Don Waddell. I personally prefer the latter! The Thrashers will be in the playoffs! Moose will engineer the run as anchor. Pavs is sadly nothing more than a Kari Lehtonen choker! If they fail to reach the playoffs I will provide the rope and tar and feathers myself. Don Waddell and Thrasher owners will be serviced first! Then I take my vigilante party up New Jersey way! ++STENDEC++

Brendan

February 5th, 2010
10:42 pm

Strummed him like a guitar, Bob. When, oh when, will the NHL step in … to clean up this mess? In fairness, tonight’s game wasn’t a bad one. They played a great, playoff-bound team and lost, while registered 44 or 45 shots on net. But c’mon. This team doesn’t have the horses to get it done. And March 3rd will get here pretty quickly. Especially when you figure the roster freeze between February 12-28th. If Don really wants to be a BUYER, he’s got to start finagling deals now.

But truthfully, and sincerely … I hope he does nothing. I have zero confidence in him. I just wish … that somehow, some way … his influence over this team could end tomorrow.

Tom

February 5th, 2010
10:45 pm

Bobby,

All we have heard from Don Waddell over the past few years is lies. He promised he would spend what it took to make us a playoff team, then has to scramble to hit the league minimum.

Hossa played him, Kovalchuk played him, Savard walked without a fight. There is not a top level free agent that will come to town.

He has alienated some very passionate fans, my family included, and has steered a franchise onto the rocks of failure.

The only thing that makes Waddell look good is when you compare him to our absentee landlord owners. But that is for another rant.

Somaatl95

February 5th, 2010
10:45 pm

One of you “lucky” STH’s that are going to the Town Hall meeting while you are ripping Dip-Wad and the ANSG please do me one favor – bring up the Interview Dip-Wad had with the Washington media today where he made the comment that “The Fans are upset, but they don’t know just how good we got in this trade” Nice work Dip-Wad (Dip-head, Dip-Sh*t), now rip on the people who halp pay your SALARY. Hopefully tomorrow you and your Teflon hair announce you are moving on to destroy another team so we can truly, TRULY be a rebuilding team.

stendec

February 5th, 2010
10:45 pm

Wayne Gretzy once called the New Jersey Devils a Mickey Mouse organization! Look at them now. The Flames played tough hockey in Atlanta them eventually claimed a Stanley Cup in Calgary. Thrashers may capture top NHL prize in another city but roots started in Georgia! Don Waddell OR NO Don Waddell. I personally prefer the latter! ++STENDEC++

Rawhide

February 5th, 2010
10:48 pm

Good Gawd…236 comments in 12 hours. You guys ripped this blog up!! Way to go!

OK…here’s a new one for ya to destroy.

Smoothie

February 5th, 2010
10:52 pm

Stendec – u r crackin’ me up man! Hysterical. U r absolutely right about Pavs, he is good for stretches but I think he has focus issues. I liked the effort and hustle in the 1st period (watchin’ the replay) and I think folks will warm to Bergfors rather quickly. He’s a heckuva talent. And Oduya is SOLID.

East Point Bob

February 5th, 2010
10:59 pm

Well what has been said about this and Waddell has been said, what else is there ? We all want him fired and I guess that will not happen, do like me and boycott the games, I’m fed up and will not be attending any futher Thrasher games. I did notice tonight the interviews with the two new guys, they looked like they were in an Iranian jail about to be beheaded. It was awful, simply awful, just like everything with this asg group, a real freak show, right here in Atlanta.

LAC

February 5th, 2010
11:08 pm

Wow, Tampa got sold FAST, it came out of nowhere. Why can’t the NHL help us FANS find a new OWNER here ?

Brett

February 5th, 2010
11:14 pm

Is Pavs really the future of Thrasher goaltending? Puuuuuuuuuuuuuuhlease!!!!