Waddell could face a cranky crowd Saturday night

Thrashers fans have had a rough week, (duh1).

It started with the 4-3 loss in Nashville last Saturday night…continued with a lack-luster performance Tuesday during a 2-1 loss to Tampa Bay…then came the news that general manager Don Waddell had informed Ilya Kovalchuk he’s going to be traded…the promised trade Thursday and we saw yet another star player depart Thrasherville…all of that was then followed by Friday’s 5-2 loss in Washington to the Capitals, the Thrashers third straight defeat and fifth in the last seven.

So it’s understandable that Thrashers fans might just be in a cranky mood as they enter into Philips Arena for the first home game post-Kovalchuk.

And Waddell won’t have to wait for Saturday night’s  game to begin gauging the mood of his paying customers. Nope…he’s extended an invite to season ticket holders to attend a town hall meeting an hour prior to face off. And I’m sure there are some who are just chompin’ at the bit to tell Don just exactly what’s on their mind.

I’ll give the man this much…he doesn’t shy away from standing up in front of a crowd of people, many of whom that may be looking for his immediate firing, and take it. Regardless of what you or I might think of his performance as GM, that isn’t an easy thing to do…especially given what the fans of this team have been through recently.

I’m sure later on we’ll hear from those of you who will attend about what was said and discussed in the meeting…but what I would like to know now is what you are thinking of saying to/asking Waddell, should you get the chance tonight.

Are ya planning on telling him you are still behind him regardless of the circumstance?

Are you going to tell him you are sick of the constant “re-building” with little to show for it?

Are you planning on telling him just how much you think the team is closer to the Cup after the trade with the Devils this week?

Will you ask him if he thinks Rick Dudley will make a good replacement general manager?

Inquiring minds want to know…

Oh, And There Was a Game Tonight

As for the loss to the Caps…look, the Thrashers ran into the proverbial buzz saw. In beating the Thrashers, Washington has now won 13 straight and 16 of their last 17…the lone loss coming in Tampa Bay back on January 12. They didn’t seem to be bothered at all from playing in New York the night before, beating the Rangers 6-5.

Washington is now 40-12-6 and are making a joke out of the Southeast Division…their 86 points are tops the NHL. With the loss, the Thrashers are now 24-24-8….and Don Waddell along with the Octocluster are making a joke out of this franchise.

rim-shot…thank youuuuuuuu.

Ondrej Pavelec started and saw 4 of the 31 shots he faced get past him.

Johnny Oduya make his Thrashers debut Friday night (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Johnny Oduya make his Thrashers debut Friday night (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Rich Peverley had a multi-point night, assisting on Toby Enstrom’s goal that put the Thrashers up 1-0 early on. He then scored on a breakaway in the third to make the score 4-2. It looked like Washington goalie Kichal Neuvirth had stopped Peverley’s attempt…but his defender helped to knock the puck over the line following the play.

The newcomers that came over in the trade with New Jersey were able to see action with their new team on this night. It’s really tough to judge them after one game…after traveling to D.C. in the morning and having no real practice time with the squad.

Johnny Oduya had no points or shots and was a –1 during his 20:38 TIO. He, along with Enstrom, Ron Hainsey, Zach Bogosian and Pavel Kubina were called on to play more given the fact that Boris Valabik left halfway through the game with what was described as a “lower body injury”.

Nicklas Bergfors had no points and was a –1, but was able to get off 4 shots during his 12:53 TOI. Those four shots tied him with Rich Peverley for second most on the team…Zach Bogosian and Slava Kozlov each had 5.

Nik Antropov and Todd White were each a –2 on the night…White is now a –17 for the year.

228 comments Add your comment

Nikita (in PA)

February 6th, 2010
7:20 pm

Yes, let’s do move on….let’s go, Thrashers!

LAC

February 6th, 2010
7:27 pm

Puncher whatever, “first-class” Forget it, only when we have a NEW OWNER we will have that !

Flagstaff

February 6th, 2010
8:34 pm

Here I sit, brokenhearted, watching the Jumbotron feed on Center Ice. Anybody who went to the ‘town hall meeting’: How was it?

Tom

February 6th, 2010
8:35 pm

The Game is on Directv Center Ice Channel 787 with the rink feed and the radio broadcast. FTW.

Get The Puck Out

February 6th, 2010
8:43 pm

Nice comments Stendec. I agree.

stendec

February 6th, 2010
8:45 pm

Moose, Moose Moose! You let in a couple of marshmallow goals in first 20 minutes? On only a dozen shots? You know that is one goal too many to win! Still respect and admire ya big guy. Guess I was overly enthusiastic about your resolve down the stretch. Appears no one on club knows how to aim puck anywhere except at chest of opposing goaltender! Truly sad. I think an Andy Griifeth rerun is on. Bye bye. ++STENDEC++

stendec

February 6th, 2010
8:45 pm

Moose, Moose Moose! You let in a couple of marshmallow goals in first 20 minutes? On only a dozen shots? You know that is one goal too many to win! Still respect and admire ya big guy. Guess I was overly enthusiastic about your resolve down the stretch. Appears no one on club knows how to aim puck anywhere except at chest of opposing goaltender! Truly sad. I think an Andy Griifeth rerun is on. Bye bye. ++STENDEC++

Tom

February 6th, 2010
8:52 pm

2-1 Max scored a nice shot.

Tom

February 6th, 2010
9:07 pm

Great effort in the 2nd period by the boys. And a terrible call on Kane’s drive to the net.

Tom

February 6th, 2010
9:10 pm

They are simulcasting the radio broadcast with the in house feed. Listening to Kamal is making me really really hate Matt McConnell…

Wayne stuck in AL

February 6th, 2010
9:27 pm

“Listening to Kamal is making me really really hate Matt McConnell…”

It took you THAT long to hate McConnell? He’s the Thrashers version of Bob Rathbun; both McConnell and Rathbun sound like wannabe game-show hosts…

Brendan

February 6th, 2010
9:29 pm

My Comcast Center Ice feed has been down since 5PM. They cannot fix it. D’oh. So anyway, I’m watching NHL Network, and the worst GM in history, Mike Milbury, is on there … harpoon Waddell, stopping just short of saying of calling the man a total idiot, and not learning from the Hossa situation, and telling him that if he had a $10 million offer to make Kovy, it should have been done in August. He stated, “After this, no GM in the league will let a player get this far along, with pending UFA, unless they’re committed to riding the player to a playoff berth, like Florida did with Bouwmeester. Milbury said, “Look, there’s only one player here, and that’s Oduya. Cormier is a fine prospect. But this Bergsfors is just an unproven rookie who hasn’t scored in 13 games. And the 1st rounder Atlanta is getting … reflects only a 20-25 percent chance of ever playing in the NHL. This a bad deal, that should have been avoided. Atlanta would have done better to make the trade last August.”

Wow. Milbury doesn’t mince words, does he? And let’s face it, he’s an idiot. But even “the idiot” got it right, this time.

Tom

February 6th, 2010
9:41 pm

Wayne, I have always disliked McConnell. But listening to Kamal call the game while watching it with Darren backing him up is a pleasure.

Can we go to the same setup as Buffalo where they use one feed for both?

Please, Don? If you do this for me I will not call you a moron for a few days. Promise.

Nikita (in PA)

February 6th, 2010
9:42 pm

I’m really enjoying watching the Centre Ice feed this evening — it looks like there’s a pretty good crowd in Phillips.

I’m not thrilled with those goals against, or Bogo’s play in general (other than his fight). But they don’t look bad.

And if Ilya Kovalchuk’s so damn awesome, then why did NJD just lose to the vastly less talented Rangers? As the commentators on the Wild-whoever game noted, “Devils lose to the Rangers. Kovalchuk does nothing.”

Tom

February 6th, 2010
10:10 pm

I am going to say it.

The Thrashers effort tonight was the best this season.

It is almost like they are glad Ilya is gone.

Yung JB from MTL

February 6th, 2010
10:16 pm

Im crying of happiness

Brendan

February 6th, 2010
10:18 pm

Here’s your boxscore for the 4-2, Thrashers win over Florida. http://www.nhl.com/ice/boxscore.htm?id=2009020862. Four un-answered goals, including the game-winner by newcomer Nik Bergfors, got it done. Evander Kane scored, as did Bryan Little and Max Afinogenov. Bryan Little and Nik Bergfors were a +2 for this game. Well done, Thrashers. This is the tent-folding that many expected. 35 shots against is still troubling.

Brendan

February 6th, 2010
10:22 pm

Make that, “isn’t” the tent-folding that many expected. Sorry folks. I should edit my posts.

Get The Puck Out

February 6th, 2010
10:29 pm

Man- i was hoping the town hall meeting was called to announce Rik Dudley as the new GM. Oh well- a fellow can dream can’t he?

Nikita (in PA)

February 6th, 2010
10:31 pm

I don’t think the boxscore is accurate. Specifically, some of the +/- look wrong.

Good game tonight, with good effort and mostly good play.

Brendan

February 6th, 2010
10:51 pm

It has stayed the same since the game ended, Nikita. By the way, Nik Antropov had three helpers. Kubina had two assists. In the Devils-Leafs where Kovalchuk made his NJ debut, he was named the 3rd star of the game, with his two assists, in the 4-3 win.

Wayne stuck in AL

February 6th, 2010
10:56 pm

As angry as we are, why are the people calling into the 680 The Fan kissing Waddell’s rear end? Everyone calling is congratulating him like we just won the Cup…

Makes me want to throw up.

Nikita (in PA)

February 6th, 2010
11:14 pm

Brendan, Kubina’s what I’m referring to. How can he be a -1 when he was on ice for at least two goals for? That would suggest he can’t be worse than even.

And whatever on Kovalchuk. As we all know, NJD is a very good team with a strong defensive system. It’s not shocking that they’d beat Toronto (which is playing well, but not that well). What’s shocking is the thorough drubbing at the hands of a completely inferior team tonight.

As for our team, I think we still need more players. What we have won’t make a playoff run. But with minor improvement they could make a strong run at the rest of the season.

Proud to be Southern

February 6th, 2010
11:17 pm

Tonight was a blast in Blueland. Huge crowd. Great game. What a tribute to how wonderful Atlanta people are to extend such a warm welcome to the new guys from New Jersey.

EA

February 6th, 2010
11:21 pm

The Thrashers were on the road and in the air all day. Including a wreck with a truck on the way to the airport in Richmond. They arrived at Philips at 6:30. Do you know what kept them going tonight? The crowd. What a show of support for the team post Kovalchuk. Every one of those guys deserved it and it was great to be a part of it.

Badger Bob

February 6th, 2010
11:28 pm

Great crowd – not at all what I expected but certainly what I hoped for. Bergfors goal was pure poetry! Penalty killers won it for us with hard skating and digging. Power play needs serious work, so the Oly break might be coming at just the right time.

And I’m going to call for the resignation of the next guy who posts “Make Dudley GM”. First, because he effectively is – he’s clearly been pulling the personnel strings since before the draft. Second, because he doesn’t want to be! He’d resign! Wouldn’t that be clever management – promote a guy to a job he doesn’t want. I’m no Waddell fan, but the good news is I don’t have to be, knowing RD is really steering the ship wrt talent.

And Rutherford Seydel was there, for the whole game, for once. That was a decent sign.

Badger Bob

February 6th, 2010
11:30 pm

EA – good points. There was great effort, helped by the crowd, and I think they were a little ornery too. Perhaps we should put them on buses and piss them off before more games.

dandylions

February 6th, 2010
11:31 pm

I’m calling it here – the Thrashers are the “Bad News Bears” of hockey – what as fans do we have to lose in supporting our team. Sage and others believe we should boycott the “Boys in Blue” but what does that accomplish. All I see from this “new” team is players that play together – they don’t focus on one guy to do everything. Sorry Stendec but Moose & Kari just might get us through.

StateBird

February 6th, 2010
11:32 pm

I have to eat some words tonight. I didn’t mind trading Kovy but I wasn’t thrilled with what we got in return. However after seeing Oduya and Bergfors in person for the first time they are much better than I expected. Oduya doesn’t look spectacular but he does look solid. That’s something we can use around here. Bergfors looked like a poor man’s Hossa. At first I thought I might be influence by the “18″ but he is a solid 2 way player. You can tell that both of them were well schooled in the Devil system.

As for the rest of the team Hainsey gave the best effort since he has been here. Was also very vocal from taking the ice in warmups. Kane keeps getting better with each game. Look forward to when he will start getting some respect from the refs.

Was pleasantly surprised with the crowd. Good size, great energy. I think the delayed start helped in getting some early energy during warmups.

Look forward to hearing comments from the STH meeting. Like others I was surprised by the callers on the postgame show. I can only speculate that 680 screened the calls very carefully.

EA

February 6th, 2010
11:34 pm

Bruce Levenson was a stand up guy at the Town Hall. He took the heat and was very gracious.

stendec

February 6th, 2010
11:41 pm

Way to go guys! Four unanswered goals. Thanks for finally being able to come all the way back from an early deficit to win! Never able to do so with another certain guy weating the C. How did the Devils do? Lost to who? Ranjerks? Hardly an NHL super power! Oh well. Forgive my earlier concerns Mr Johan Moose Hedberg sir. You allowed two first period goals then played like a man possessed over the last 40 minutes. Well done my friend! Anyone else notice the team energy now that the cancer has been removed permanently? Wonderful to see! Players are actually taking shots on goal. Some of them are even going in! WOW! Watching Thrasher hockey is enjoyable once more. Viewing New Jersey hockey is now a chore. Congratulations guys in blue! No time like present to begin winning streak. ++STENDEC++ That one was for who know who!

Season Ticket Holder

February 6th, 2010
11:42 pm

State Bird and others, the calls were not screened. Don took a lot of tough questions at the town hall. He is well aware of the fans who “hate” him. The general consensus was Kovy was asking too much and it is time to move on.

ben

February 6th, 2010
11:43 pm

We are going to get new owners. I would be amazed if Bettman doesn’t haul them into his office and scream at them till he’ purple, collapse, rest, and scream some more. Why did they buy the team if they didn’t care?

FlamesFan

February 6th, 2010
11:48 pm

Awesome game. Awesome crowd. I like Oduya. Tight D.
On another subject, driving home after the game tonight, when I got on the Northside Drive entrance to I-75N, getting off at Northside was the Kitchener Rangers team bus. I checked their web site and even the Atlanta Jr. Knights (out of the MIC), but couldn’t find out any info. Anyone got any ideas?

Eileen

February 6th, 2010
11:51 pm

I have never been more proud of the Thrashers and their fans tonight. Beginning with the Season Ticket Holder Meeting. Don, coming in after a very long week and day, could not have been more open to any question thrown at him. Love him or hate him, he is a stand up guy. Without a doubt, the mood about Kovaluchuk was that everyone was glad it is resolved. Levenson and Waddell both admitted mistakes in developing the organization. I think it is fair to say that most people thought Kovy was not worth the money he was asking. DW stressed the pride the rest of the players have to win and represent this great city we call home. My detail ends there. Let someone else take the reigns. All I can outside of DW and management, is that I am so proud of the fans who came out tonight to show the other guys on the team that we are behind them. The two new guys both received a star tonight. I could not help but notice that they had to crack a smile walking off the ice.

Max Cap

February 7th, 2010
12:01 am

++ STENDEC++

How was the Andy Griffith rerun you LOSER????? Get on the Blog, b!tch & moan, then you can’t even watch the friggin team on TV past the 1st period! With fans like you, it’s amazing there’s hockey in this town at all. Please STAY AWAY from Philips Arena!

AWESOME! AWESOME! AWESOME! What a crowd!!!! My ears are still ringing! Bergfors scores the winner and Kovy gets the goose egg again. How apropos! This team has SPUNK and alot of $$$ to go shopping with. Hope they get a couple of beasts up front. I want Cormier on the ice! Can’t imagine the other team’s pucker-factor when they see him skate out with his elbow chest-high…LOL

Yung JB from MTL

February 7th, 2010
12:12 am

I have to say WHAT A CROWD
that boosted the team since they were called out after losing IK, but the fans boosted them and made them know they were behind them no matter what! What a night and i must remeber that poster that a woman was holding up saying ‘We still believe in Blueland”

IK eat it! Go Thrash!!

THM

February 7th, 2010
12:12 am

Levenson said he is “not Arthur Blank”, but he is at every game taking notes and watching the game. He was very kind and open to the fans who asked questions.

Shannon

February 7th, 2010
12:14 am

I am on such a high after the night at Blueland. It is like we all weathered a huge storm together. The Thrashers really weathered the storm traveling all day today. Hainsey said the crowd was “hot”. I like that.

Max Cap

February 7th, 2010
12:19 am

Wayne stuck in AL

Because apparently there’s a dozen or so of you who routinely meet and post at the AJC and you can’t find anything good to say about Waddell, the Thrashers, etc. The rest of us were down at Philips supporting the team tonight! Waddell isn’t running from anybody…..Especially you blog guys who can’t get past your keyboard with your grand ideas of boycotting and picketing Philips and wanting “Waddells head on a pike” and other crap like that.

For a team that just lost their top *everything* player, they took it to the Caps last night and the Panthers tonight! Even after having to bus to Virginia to catch a flight here this afternoon and go straight to Philips. I respect that. I also admire that the new guys stepped up tonight and showed Waddell actually DID get something for the dude that thought $101 mill was too light for his talent.

If this team can consistently play like they have the past 2 nights, then the playoffs are likely. Nobody knows the future, but I’m PROUD to be a Thrashers fan, as are the other 17,000 or so fans that showed up for the Kovy-less debut tonight. Atlanta has nothing to be ashamed of. There are plenty of true NHL fans here and they came out saw a team play in your face hockey tonight!

Some of you guys would do well to take a cue from them.

goose

February 7th, 2010
12:20 am

Brendan it was 28 shots against we had 34 shots. Great game, Great energy. We are finally played a game as a team. I like the defensive pairings much better. The penalty kill was a beast tonight. We need to but Bergfors on the Power play he scored most of his goals there. Before tonight 5 of his last 8 goals came on the power play.

Badger Bob

February 7th, 2010
12:28 am

Max Cap – right on! After reading all the “I’m making fire Waddell t-shirts” statements on the blogs, I was braced for some protest. But it was a vocal crowd strongly behind these guys who really want to play! Four goals from four guys each making less than $1M/yr. Sounds like some good talent at a good price. In some cities they call that good management…

Badger Bob

February 7th, 2010
12:30 am

Outshooting them considering all the penalties we killed is even more impressive. Tough road trip coming up, but I’m thinking March will be fun!

Sage of Bluesland

February 7th, 2010
12:33 am

Wow–amazing what a meaningless win does for the sheep mindset, isn’t it?!

It’s precious, I can tell you…I can’t stop laughing!

Please, keep it coming!!!

(I knew the “Don is a stand-up guy” garbage was coming…funny, he ALWAYS is–but I guess that’s good enough for the lambchops? How sad–and funny…)

Brendan

February 7th, 2010
12:34 am

Nikita, I think one of Atlanta’s goals was a PPG. He doesn’t get credit for a + when his team enjoys a manpower advantage.

What surprises me about Levenson in the Town Hall Meeting was … that … he still doesn’t get it. (Actually, that’s not surprising.) It’s all fine and good to admit mistakes. That’s why pencils have erasers. But, c’mon. It’s time to fire some people.

Okay, stop. Imagine … you’re drunk and ya got caught speeding. You definitely endangered community property and lives, including your own. You stand before the judge and say, “I admit it. I’m guilty. And I used poor judgement.” Is that “good enough?” I’d say the next thing that happens is … the judge sentences you, in lieu of issuing a writ of “boys will be boys.” You’ll do some community service, even as a 1st time offender. Etc. Where am I going with this?

What’s the sentence for Waddell? Hmmn? Probation? Is he, “out with time served?” What’s his punishment? Why hasn’t he been fired? For this organization to have squandered Audette, Brunette, Donovan, Pothier, Staios, Heatley/Hossa, Kaberle, Buzek, Tkachuk, Belanger, Savard, Stefan, Coburn, and now Kovalchuk, and maybe Lehtonen, too … is unconscienable. It’s unthinkable. What other GM … could get away with it?

So, Levenson admits “mistakes” were made. What does he want, a medal? Do something about it. I got news for Levenson, every team makes mistakes. Every single one. The difference is, they send a message to their shareholders and fans alike that there will be accountability for those mistakes. Even Don Waddell, himself, said … back in 2005, “I don’t much care for the ‘name calling,’ but as GM, I’ll answer for wins and losses.” Well?? Answer for it!!! The team is below .500 for the Decade. Answer for that! Answer for the departed players. Answer for the three Head Coaches you hired. And your own 86 or so games behind the Thrashers bench. Answer for the draft picks. Answer for the inability to re-sign a major pending UFA. Answer for the playoff drought and playoff failure. My God, answer for something.

Unbelieveable. Okay, I’m gonna stop it right now. Tonight was a great win, and the mood should be positive. It was a packed house and the franchise is trying to turn the corner. The team displayed some CHARACTER tonight. Think about it. Now think HARDER. Down two goals, in a “must-win” game, (gaze at the standings,) the Icebirds now only got the W, it was a “4-point swing” against a SE Division rival, who is neck-n-neck with us. That’s GREAT NEWS. I repeat, that’s GREAT NEWS. It’s a new time. But it’s not really a ‘new day.’ That day comes … when there’s a new Sheriff in town, not named Waddell.

Tom Lysiak

February 7th, 2010
12:38 am

Awesome crowd, awesome game. It’s been a long time since a game with that much enthusiasm from the team and the fans. Completely different atmosphere to me. After the trade, losing last night, getting stuck in DC, riding a bus and then catching a plane, arriving at 6:30, and then going down two goals early they could easily have mailed this one in. They didn’t. They played with a lot of heart and deserved a great win. Go BLUE!!!

Thrasher Mom

February 7th, 2010
12:42 am

I came home after the game with the same energy I felt after the Thrashers made the playoffs. Those guys out there tonight gave it everyting that had. Most especially Ron Hainsey. Sometimes change is the best thing that can happen. My daughter just came in and asked me where the hockey schedule is. I hate to tell her it will be a month before another home game.

Blueland Fan

February 7th, 2010
12:44 am

Sage, if you don’t care, give it up. Your sheep act is very tiring.

dandylions

February 7th, 2010
12:45 am

Sage – you really piss me off – the players on the ice are the ones true fans support – we can’t change the management or owners – but if you gave a crap about this team you would support them – if I was a player on this team all I could say to you is BITE ME!!!

Jason

February 7th, 2010
12:52 am

I just find it funny how people who never say anything AT ALL on the blogs are now coming out in droves supporting the team. Yes, great win, but I’m tired of the whole, “Now, we’re a TEAM!” mentality. If I’m not mistaken, with the exception of two subtracted NHL players and two added NHL players, this is the same team that was out there every night before this trade happened. But now, because four guys scored goals that aren’t making a ton of money, we’re a team? Really? “Now that’s good management!” What a joke.

Honestly, it’s as if all of the season ticket reps are sitting at their computers tonight posting every single great thing they can think to say on this blog. I hope all of these people that are posting still keep posting if the Thrashers go 0-2-1 on the road trip before the break. That’s not to say that I want them to lose, because I’d prefer 3-0-0. But don’t act like trading Kovalchuk is going to cure every ill of this team.