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

Somaatl95

February 5th, 2010
10:50 pm

First? Wanted to annoy you guys with it!

Somaatl95

February 5th, 2010
10:50 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 help 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.

Smoothie

February 5th, 2010
10:56 pm

Damn it Bill!! I was bonding with stendec!! Geeez.

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.

Ashe

February 5th, 2010
11:02 pm

We didn’t lose a thing in the trade. We gained a new identity, and a new need for our players to show up and make their own way. we made out like bandits for a ufa. I support everything DW has done the past 3 years.

Smoothie

February 5th, 2010
11:02 pm

Oh yeah, please wake up Levenson and Gearon! Ur new GM is right there under ur nose!! Promote Dudley and sh!t can Waddell now!!

Sara

February 5th, 2010
11:02 pm

Rawhide, you have an amazing talent for understatement.

Oh, and I’m gonna tell my daddy what you said about him. :p

stendec

February 5th, 2010
11:08 pm

Hi Smoothie and Bill.

Wayne Gretzky, who may be a bit of an authority on ice hockey, did once refer to the New Jersey Devils as a Mickey Mouse organization. Not for the adorable Mickey Mouse Club ears either! That “first class organization” does not look so rodenty now does it? Oh well.

This pretty much sums up my feelings AK…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 bull#### act! Moose can get the Thrashers to the promised land. Cannot do so if he is on the ####### bench! Right John Petrino? You ignorant son of a #####! ++STENDEC++

Thanks for new forum Mr Rawhide sir!

Rawhide

February 5th, 2010
11:08 pm

Damn it Bill!! I was bonding with stendec!! Geeez.

Smoothie – Thanks so much for that visual.

Alan R.

February 5th, 2010
11:15 pm

Have we actually turned a corner here?

No, I don’t mean on an organizational basis. I mean this:

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.

Because I agree with every last word of it. Every. Word.

Pavelec needs work. Lots of work. Caps went glove side high on him for every single goal.

Thrashers had a ton of hustle, but they need to lift the puck. 22 shots against Washington in the second period? And nothing to show for it?? They kept shooting at the emblem. Think higher, guys, and we would have run away with this thing.

Scotty

February 5th, 2010
11:16 pm

I think what you’re trying to say is……

FIRE WADDELL!

Smoothie

February 5th, 2010
11:25 pm

Yes Scotty but I prefer to be a bit vulgar when being vehement. Perhaps me and stendec have more in common than anyone could have guessed.

Little looked rejuvenated out there. But Antro is laboring. The Little Russian iceBerg line seems to have good chemistry already. But I wonder if it wouldn’t be better to give Antro a breather and let Little have the more difficult assigment of center. And it might get Antro shooting more along with a slightly easier time till his hip heals more.

Tony C.

February 5th, 2010
11:26 pm

cranky?????
Understatement-thy name is “Rawhide”.

At least maybe we’ll see a PP that actually shoots the puck. Maybe?

Alan R.

February 5th, 2010
11:29 pm

Brendan Burke, Brian Burke’s son, was killed in an auto accident today.

My heartfelt condolences go out to the family.

Brett

February 5th, 2010
11:32 pm

I thought the guys looked pretty good tonight. I’m not sure it’s fair to emphasis the result tonight since they played the Caps. Pavs is worrisome! He needs serious work. I’d like to see what Kari has to offer in the crease when he returns. Kari is amazing when healthy. That being the key…HEALTHY.

The intermission interviews where very telling!!! Not thrilled to be here!!!! Do you blame them? I do have one question though?? Do you think Oduya and Bergfors cry themselves to sleep tonight? Just wondering.

Rawhide

February 5th, 2010
11:35 pm

Alan R. – God that is awful. Very sad…thoghts and prayers to the entire Burke family.

The intermission interviews where very telling!!! Not thrilled to be here!!!! Do you blame them? I do have one question though?? Do you think Oduya and Bergfors cry themselves to sleep tonight? Just wondering.

Brett – Gotta agree with you there. I think Oduya said “it is what it is”.

Not a ringing endorsement.

Viking

February 5th, 2010
11:38 pm

Swedish player report: Bergfors appears to be speedy, excellent passer and shoots the puck. Lived up to his name which means “Mountain rapids”!

Hedberg (Moor Mountain) was missed and Enström (Juniper Stream) scored.

Oduya played fine considering the circumstances.

Alan R.

February 5th, 2010
11:43 pm

Not a ringing endorsement.

Oduya is here til 2011-2012, so he’ll have to give it some time, eh? Bergfors is also here for a while, as he is RFA at the end of the year.

Lived up to his name which means “Mountain rapids”!

I guess I was close. I guessed his name meant “Mountain force.” Then again, my Svenska isn’t all that good. ;)

Smoothie

February 5th, 2010
11:59 pm

Awful about Burke’s son. That’s why one should never wish ill-will on someone. That hits a little too close to home considering we have idiots on this blog threatening and wishing bad things on Waddell and Co.

Oduya is prolly very disappointed as he saw himself as a vital cog on a Cup contender. The Bergie Rapids is young and wants his chance to play big minutes, there ya go son. Make us proud. Oduya will need time but he’ll be fine.

Is it just me or does it seem every goalie of late commits grand theft larceny on us? Neuvirth on Hainsey, you can’t be serious? Geeeeezzz.

Don Waddell

February 5th, 2010
11:59 pm

The fans aren’t happy about moving down twice in the draft, but I think, they just don’t know how good Alex Bourret will be.

Don Waddell

February 6th, 2010
12:10 am

The fans are upset but they don’t know how fortunate they are to be in a position to pick one of the top five talented players in each year’s draft.

Brendan

February 6th, 2010
12:22 am

I agree with Don Waddell. Alex Bourret is the guy the Thrashers wanted all along. Can’t believe he was still available at #16. What fortune!! What fate! And we picked up Chad Denny and Pavelec in the process! It all, pretty much, came together PERFECTLY.

Segue, gaze at the new standings! http://www.nhl.com/ice/standings.htm?type=con#&navid=nav-stn-conf. Yes! We’re back in lottery draft contention!! Woo-hoo!!

Don Waddell

February 6th, 2010
12:28 am

The fans are upset, but they don’t know just how good the talent is in the lottery draft picks this summer.

I think I’ll trade down and add a few more third round picks that might be fourth line AHL material.

Brendan

February 6th, 2010
12:30 am

Sorry. Wrong link. This is the one for the complete NHL Rankings. Atlanta is situated at #25. That’s just one place out of the “Sweepstakes” for the 1st overall pick. Here’s your link. http://www.nhl.com/ice/standings.htm?season=20092010&type=LEA

Brendan

February 6th, 2010
12:31 am

Wouldn’t it have been great to fleece Boston out of that Toronto pick, with Kovalchuk? Bygones.

Don Waddell

February 6th, 2010
12:41 am

The fans might be upset but they just don’t know how much money they save by not having to buy playoff tickets.

Besides, I like taking April and May off each year.

Brendan

February 6th, 2010
1:00 am

http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=516307. The link is to an article by our ol’ pal John Manasso, on the highlights of Kovalchuk’s career, on and off the ice.

Somaatl95

February 6th, 2010
1:15 am

“Besides, I like taking April and May off each year” LOL @ Don Waddell

The real DW reminds me of Biff Tannen from “Back to the Future”

So why don’t you make like a tree, and get outta here?

Marian Hossa

February 6th, 2010
1:26 am

Hey Kovy, follow my lead and you’ll be out of here in no time…

Whitaker

February 6th, 2010
1:44 am

Brendan – I would have loved Boston giving us the Maple Leafs pick, but I think even with Ilya Boston’s 1st round pick might have been just as good. They have problems all over the ice. I think Boston made a great offer, and Don referred to it when he said that they were great offers, outstanding offers but had bad contracts. I am thinking Ryder and/or Wideman were part of it as well as B. Bitz… Honestly If I was Peter I would have offered Bergie (big name, big body, and could have helped us), Ryder (get rid of the salary) and the B’s first round draft pick.Yes,there is alot of salary there about 8 mill, but we have the room.

Questions – I would love to ask Don:
Who are our core group?
What player(s) does he think he can build around?
Will he even bother sending an offer to Ilya in July?
Did he really think it was a good idea to make a statement about the money that was turned down, before he trade Ilya?
Is Kari really the goalis we should be shopping?
When will be get a TRUE #1 playmaking center, no a fourth liner hopeful (white) or a winger who can play center (Nik)?
In his mind what is the new idenity he wants to build towards?
Does he really believe the fans are so uneducated?
Why not hang on to Ilya and trade for the rights to deal with Ilya before any other team?
What game were you watching Friday night the Devils in the hopes that Ilya stunk the place up or your own masterpiece that did?
Where do you see this team at this time next year, and do not say the play-offs?
How many more L’s will it take for him to fire Anderson?
How does he sleep at night knowing that he is screwing us and the team?
How many more rebuilding/bad decision years will it take for him to relize it is time for him to step down, that he does not hold all the answers?
Does he care more for his self-image or the team?
Is his plan to grow from within or trade away more propects in the hope of getting a building block?
How does it feel to be the new Buffalo?
Does he think players would rather play for the Oilers or Thrashers more?
Why have a town meeting just to act like we are fools?
When will he relize that yes, smaller players can play hockey BUT one cannot have a whole team of them?
When will he start scouting the Adult Hockey league here in GA? some of them are not much worst than the players we dress.
How does it feel to know that the whole NHL is laughing at us yet again? and those that are not are trying their best to say the trade was fair. BS!!
If giving away Hummers, Cars, and a bunch of other crap did not get people in the seats, and with the downsizing of the “goodies” at the game what is the new plan to get people to come out?
How is he going to convince me that I should continue to be a STH, when we are still treated like CRAP!! (compare to other teams)??
In his opinion do the owners have their head so far up each others butts or his that they cannot see what has happened to this team?
and a buch of other dumb questions… that he would never answer straight.

In Don’s opinion we are all fools, uneducated, and have no business asking a “HOCKEY GOD” questions… **GAGGING**

R. Stroz

February 6th, 2010
1:52 am

In case someone is reading this from the ASG:

Here’s a political saying which explains why you have NEVER been able to retain a top tier UFA or procure one in free agency.

IT’S THE ORGANIZATION, STUPID!

D Dub fought the law... Kovy won- see Blueland Chronicle

February 6th, 2010
3:11 am

“White is now a –17 for the year.” Not only will we not have the services of one IK17, we won’t have the 2nd largest contract the Thrashers have given out in free agency EVER…. once White is bought out next year. What’s worse, we may actually have to keep this bum around just to hit the salary floor for 2010-11……. DW has ruined hockey in Georgia

World Be Free

February 6th, 2010
7:08 am

The refs sucked last night. They were looking for penalities on one team in the first period, weren’t much better in the 2nd or 3rd. Washington doesn’t need their help.

Chicago lost to Phoenix in a shootout 2-1; looks like they could have used Kovy. Chicago looks stail lately.

Stendec is gaining a following – too bad you are not a STH, I think you’d give Don a Dennis Miller-type rant tonight that he’d never forget.

Finally, the team and network did the right thing last night at the 1st intermission-they put Rick Dudley on to talk hockey. Duds has never been a dynanmic interview (look into the camera) but he is a very good hockey mind. For me, it was the highlight of the evening. If Duds sez something is good, then that’s good enough for me. I hope Duds is at the town hall meeting, for the fans sake.

Our prayers for the Burke family.

Pittsburgh Pirate Fan

February 6th, 2010
7:12 am

Whitaker-good questions, I have a few more to add!

Not sure how long the meeting will be and how many questions “Teflon Don” will take.
I’d like to be a fly on the wall for this one!

The Real Thrash

February 6th, 2010
7:21 am

That Kovy, bad defense for us last night. Oh wait we lost without him. He had 2 assists in his win.
And we had MORE shots on goal! WTF?

Yankee

February 6th, 2010
7:23 am

I don’t have any faith that the STH will give DW enough crap. It seems like they lap up what he is feeding (from what I read) at these things. Always trying to be the ‘good long term fan’. Well, good long term fans in other cities and other sports let their teams management hear it when they don;t like something.

We are sick of this. Give ‘em hell!!

Kovy's Agent

February 6th, 2010
7:41 am

Rick Dudley may not be a dynamic interview but his suit and hairdo sure made him look like a third-rate pimp. Was that from the Don Cherry Collection, Rick? Must be what Kovy meant by 1st class organization.

Kovy's Agent

February 6th, 2010
7:45 am

Speaking of threads, will Don will go with the mock turtleneck look again tonight or try something new in light of the team having to once again reinvent itself?

Sage of Bluesland

February 6th, 2010
7:55 am

Of course, I won’t be at the silly wittle “town meeting”–that’s for the true sheep only. I stopped subsidizing the incompetence many years ago.

However, I wish one of the suckers who actually bought season tickets ask that bumbling, lisping fraud of a GM a couple of questions:

What “Five-Year Plan” are we on now?

What will it take to force a change of GM?

When will he resign?

What exactly is ownership’s “Plan” with this team: a budget-bottom-feeder just happy to be in the league or a real Cup contender? (This is a very important question, as it could finally make some sheep realize that this ownership is wasting your time/money–well, if you’re interested in actually ‘winning’).

What am I saying?! I just caught myself thinking the TRUTH would be told at one of these Sara-Specials!!! Silly me!

The usual suspect sheep will come back and say a great time was had by all–and that Donny answered all of the tough questions and showed alot of heart…and their hearts will be glowing that Donny really, weally DOES care about this team…

(I just threw up in my mouth a little bit just then)

Hotrod

February 6th, 2010
8:07 am

That was a good lively effort the first 2 periods.
The Caps powerplay is an absolute work of art.

The way I am coming to grips with the Kovy trade is that I am happy for the athelete that gets a chance to play for a playoff contender.

Look back at your little league sports days when the next year you were on one of those good teams after being on a bad team. It was just a better experience to win a few more games.

At first I was thinking we should pay the man, he said he wants to stay in Atlanta. But you know what, the price to stay with a struggling organization is always going to cost more, and Kovy was not going to budge.

So I am happy for him. He really deserves to be on a team that is not in a constant struggle mode. Under his breath, I think he is jumping for joy to be in a position to go deep in the playoffs.

Lee

February 6th, 2010
8:10 am

There won’t be a cranky crowd….because there won’t be a crowd.

Andrew

February 6th, 2010
8:26 am

As a Thrashers season ticket holder who has been fortunate enough to be at these meetings before, we can expect that some of the same rude, foul-mouthed, loud-talking, know-it-all-about-hockey, ill-tempered fans from up north who were raised with poor manners and little class by neglectful parents will (again) loudly speak out of turn, heckle and/or interrupt while Thrashers representatives and other fans are speaking (and who have politely waited their turns to do so).

suzy-q

February 6th, 2010
8:30 am

In my section all year I heard “Kovy, get off the ice”. And comments like “I don’t care- trade him. I’m sick of his lazy attitude.” So, Don trades him! We got rid of the slacker!

Kovy wanted OV’s money but does not play like OV. So, let’s move on and – hey AJC, it’s Saturday. How about a picture OTHER THAN THE GUY WHO DOES NOT PLAY FOR US ANYMORE? Maybe, Enstrom who gave us a tiny thrill up our leg last nite?

Don Waddell's mama

February 6th, 2010
8:40 am

Even I think Sonny Boy should be fired. The last person who overstayed their Atlanta welcome as much as Waddell has was a dude named Sherman. As far as the cranky crowd, you are right, all 12 of the fans at the game tonight will be in a bad mood. And rightfully so; the Thrashers have pi$$ed on their fans for over a decade now.

Go Thrashers Go! And take Waddell with you.

Thrasher Fan / just dont know why

February 6th, 2010
8:49 am

Lets take a leap and say somehow the Thrashers dont take the next train out of town..I can see the headline now on Feb 6th, 2020:

“Waddell to conduct town meeting to address the trade of Wayne Gretzy, Jr for a pretzel and a cold beer.. and the failure to make the playoffs AGAIN! In a related story, The Atlanta Spirit extends Waddell’s contract for another 10 years. “

Chick Fil A Cow

February 6th, 2010
8:54 am

tonights special, $89 for 4 tickets and 4 combo meals. Or you could drive thru, get the combo meals for $20, then go home and catch a real hockey team on the NHL network.

Remember

Eat Mor Crap (that Waddell is dishing out)

Pittsburgh Pirates fan

February 6th, 2010
8:57 am

Thrasher fans—Welcome to our world.

LAC

February 6th, 2010
8:58 am

What got me was the comment by The career Loser, was of 30 emails he got yesterday only 3 were negative. ANOTHER LIE.

DID you read that WIMP interview by the pip squeak beatwriter ? This chris proves everyday he is their tool and does what THEY tell him,
I always thought reporters were tough on people who are being dishonest.
Must be awful to be afraid all the time…

waddell did get blasted on Power Play yesterday, yhose guys just looked
real wide eyed, like “don lies and is a $hit GM” ? You could tell
they, like most all others who are not in Atlanta, think this Moron is doing a decent job. They did drop their collective jaws when waddell was called a LIAR, which is 1000% True !

Glad I don’t attend the games anymore, I like to think we will win everytime, not going to see if they don’t lose. Saving $ and not missing it at all. Ashame too, But it is what it is ! To coin a recent
Phrase…

Fortunate?????

February 6th, 2010
9:12 am

Andrew, you have been FORTUNATE to attend these meetings before? You probably enjoyed your last traffic court appearanc as well, you lucky guy. I dont condone rude behavior, but I do condone tough questions to the worst GM in the history of the NHL.

Hotrod

February 6th, 2010
9:42 am

I have just spent 15 minutes at the NHL website records section.

Names that keep appearing in the top 10 since Thrashers debut:

Heatly
Hossa
Savard
Kovulchuk

All come and gone. I guess I would have to conclude, even if we had the very best hockey player to ever play the game, odds are , we still would not make it to the playoffs under the current system.

We had Hossa and Kovy , at the same time, and could only get to the playoffs once with an 0-4.

Hey Smoothie what an assinine post

February 6th, 2010
9:46 am

Yours is the most idiotic post yet. How does Burkes tragedy indict those who think Waddell is an idiot? No one on this board is wishing tragically bad things on Waddell ..just for him to get fired. To imply that those of us who are justifiably critical of him are insensitive to the Burkes is just assinine.

East Point Bob

February 6th, 2010
9:47 am

hey smoothie, why do you always bash people and call them names when you disagree ? you always do that, is it a last resort of some type ?
who cares if someone wishes ill will on another, looks like you do that quite well. if there is an idiot on this blog it is you my friend,
I find most of your comments silly at best. so layoff the real fans and
grow up. as far as waddell I could carless what happens to him, hasn’t he done enough damage ? well smoothie hasn’t he ? just go away, makes the blog much nicer to read.

East Point Bob is right about Smoothie

February 6th, 2010
9:50 am

Smoothie, you are prob the pencil necked geek who flips people off in your car when you know they cant get to you.

Eileen

February 6th, 2010
10:01 am

A quote last night from Ilya Kovalchuk, “with the Thrashers, we got quite a few comebacks this year, but it’s great to play with that kind of crowd. They supported us all game long. Nobody left the building and it kept us going”. . . . . . Boycott anyone?

ben

February 6th, 2010
10:07 am

I wrote this in the New York Times blog:

Hockey is expensive in this city. Other than putting the team right where people don’t want to go; hiring and not firing Don Waddell; the other problem was that they didn’t immediately become a big spender. There are very knowlegeble hockey fans here, like myself, who refuse to pay the better part of one hundred dollars just to watch an AHL squad. And, quite honestly, people are afraid to come downtown. There are a ton of fans at the Gladiator ECHL games up I-85 in the ‘burbs. I read somewhere that Metro Atlanta is the 9th largest urban area in northern North America. The NHL is here to stay. It just to figure out how to market itself to people who see it not as some sort of fanatic obligation or birthright, but as an option for an evening’s entertainment. In my estimation this is a problem which they are having league-wide, not just in the south. Kovy is dynamic with the puck, but he won’t defend. He’ll need a tight defense to hide the fact that he refuses to back-check. He’s also a bit of a puck-hog, most of his assists are of the phantom variety. That said, he was my favorite player. I guess I’ve now adopted the Diablos as my second-favorite team.

Honestly, they should have spent mo9ney from day-one

HookyBob

February 6th, 2010
10:09 am

I’m with Lee,…Why would anyone want to go to the townhall meeting tonight? It has been noted on this blog before but bears repeating. How can you tell when Don Waudell isn’t telling the whole truth? Hint: His lips are moving.

A good way for fans to show their feelings is to not go to the townhall meeting. That would send a message,..eh? Those that do go maybe you could wear your Thrashers Stefan, Heatley, Hossa, or Kovy, Damian Rhodes, etc jerseys. I wonder if they would dare show Waudell’s face on the big screen tonight? Bet not.

On trade night (a day of infamy that will go down in Thrashers history) I posted that this team still doesn’t have an identity. Upon further reflection, and reading other blogs, I have come to the conclusion that by gosh we do have an identity. We are an upper end farm-team for the rest of the NHL. Players can come here, and learn by playing against the big boys. And we are darn good at it too. Earlier it was noted that 3 of the top 4 goal scorers since 2001 are ex-Thrashers. (One article went so far as to call us the Montreal Expos of hockey.)

Other benefits of this identity include getting to see NHL stars when the come to visit Philips (or whatever it will soon be called). They like coming here as it is a chance for two points and to add to their stats.

In keeping with that image,..or to rather to enhance it,..let me suggest that team jerseys now be sold with velcrow attachements to hold the players name in place. (Yeah, I know it would hurt sales.)

I want to note that I am in no way dissing the current Thrashers. I like you all,…with hard work and a little luck (ie Duprius & Salmela) someday you may find yourselves playing for team that is a contender for Lord Stanley’s Cup.

Go Blue,…beat the Panthers. (Before they beat themselves up.)

ThrashDawg

February 6th, 2010
10:10 am

In defense of Smoothie I did read a post on one of the AJC blogs yesterday by someone who wished DW would die in a car wreck. I agree this should not have been related to the Burke story, probably poor taste, but it does point out that maybe we should tone down the venom.

EA

February 6th, 2010
10:19 am

I read the posts about bodily harm and car wrecks also on the blogs yesterday which were a bit distubring. That is where Smoothie is coming from. Blogging should not provide an avenue for going over the top.

Nikita (in PA)

February 6th, 2010
10:21 am

Agreed, ben. Well, mostly — I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Phillips, and I would not come see the team if it was located in the burbs. But…there has been a marked decrease in the commitment shown by the ownership group over time to recruiting new fans. You guys know they laid off most of their promo guys last year, right?

And last night’s game was…eh. We lost, but we played fairly well. I wouldn’t take Oduya’s and Bergfors’s interviews to indicate anything other than severe jet lag.

I hope Bryan Little’s going to improve radically. He’s emotionally complex, and seemed to take his demotion quite badly. So maybe with more authority to act he’ll improve.

Get The Puck Out

February 6th, 2010
10:25 am

Someone mentioned the suit Dudley was wearing. Coach A was also wearing the same suit. What’s up with that?

Hanson Brothers

February 6th, 2010
10:36 am

Eileen, I don’t see anything wrong with Kovy’s quote. All he is saying is that making a comeback is more fun in front of a big crowd than a small crowd. Can’t blame him for that. I don’t think he was saying Atlanta fans leave early, they just don’t show up. That’s true.

Nate

February 6th, 2010
10:39 am

“Someone mentioned the suit Dudley was wearing. Coach A was also wearing the same suit. What’s up with that?”

GTPO – Getting ready for tandem job interviews ala Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly in Step Brothers?

EA

February 6th, 2010
10:42 am

Hanson Brothers, that was my point. Everyone has to do what they feel is right to send a message to DW and ownership. However, every time Kovy had an opportunity to thank the fans for attending the game and/or encouraging them to come back to the next game, he took it. I will always believe that attendance was a deciding factor in his decision to leave. Not all of his reasons, but a significant one. That makes me question whether we shot ourselves in our own foot. It is water under the bridge. So is my blogging today. Things to do. Go Thrashers! I hope you not only made it home safely from D.C. this a.m.. but also bounce back from a very tough week tonight.

Smoothie

February 6th, 2010
10:45 am

I don’t see how pointing out how boorish and ridiculosly insensitive it is to threaten people or wish that our GM would die is in poor taste. Obviously I struck a nerve with the person I was referring to and now he wants to call me out under an assumed name. I don’t call people names but I will call them out for insulting others or distasteful inappropriate comments that give Thrashers fans a worse reputation than we probably already have in the realm of public perception.

Really, how would you feel if it was Don Waddell’s son that had died tragically in a car accident after wishing death upon him? Mortified and terribly regretful I would hope. But judging by a couple of the posts above, I can see that may not be the case at all for certain people like the ones who are attacking me instead. What a terrible life that person(s) must lead that they would hate something so much as to direct such caustic anger at it in a message board or blog forum. Absolutely pathetic.

GaVaHokie

February 6th, 2010
10:53 am

Dudley looked like Mickey Rourke. :)

Well, I’m kinda happy where Dudley is right now. I think I’d rather have him on the road evaluating talent than sitting in an office dealing with operations.

As long as the combo of Waddell and Dudley are stealing World Junior stars, I’m happy.

Nikita (in PA)

February 6th, 2010
10:59 am

How can attendance not be a factor? Seriously — I don’t live in Atlanta any more, but I have attended games in EVERY season since the Thrashers started, and plan to do it again this year. I also, loving the team and the sport, attempt to bring other people along fairly often. And I’m not sure I’m ever going to do that again given my experiences in the last few years.

I brought my parents to a game…which cost me a fair penny (I seem to recall something like $200 for tickets, $150 for dinner beforehand, plus my parents and I coming in from 60 and 90 miles away, respectively) but was meant to interest people with the time and money to enjoy a sports team a view into the most awesome game ever. Hell, my dad is a Flames fan. And what did we get? A terrible experience. Not only did the Thrash lose, which really doesn’t matter all that much to me, but the team acted like they were on the Bataan death march and our $350 got us seats in an expanse of unpurchased seats and a handful of seats holding people who couldn’t seem to muster a cheer. We felt taken for a ride, quite frankly. Oh, yeah, I’m gonna do that again.

(I have taken girlfriends to games a number of times, but I always make sure to ply them with yards from the Tiki Hut. I can’t say that they like the game, per se, but they’re usually too drunk to be critical.)

I’m not blaming the fans for not attending, necessarily. I’ve ranted before about how much it pisses me off to see the team playing before an expanse of trophy wives and kids and corporate box holders and the few thousand dedicated fans who are always there. But it’s not the fans who are responsible in general. And i’m not the only one who feels this way — I have friends who, like me, put on their jerseys and watch every game. At home.

Phillips is a toxic atmosphere due to the complete lack of an appropriate audience. And if you want proof, just look at the road vs. home records — it’s killing the team as much as the fans.

It’s the ASG, which has tried to fill seats (or at least block purchases) without acknowledging the challenges in doing so. They have done a poor job of developing the grassroots social scene that keeps season tickets and television viewing going, they don’t invest in promotions, and as a result there is a visible and dispiriting lack of demand for the product. And of course they haven’t invested in the on-ice product, either, any more than they have to.

kracker

February 6th, 2010
11:00 am

Some clown seems to mistakenly think he’s being funny posting as Don Waddell. Umm, no, make that ‘wanna-be clown.’

Smoothie

February 6th, 2010
11:11 am

kracker – be careful man, someone may criticize as the anti-christ, always calling people names because you are incapable of inelligent rational discourse!

ThrashDawg and EA – thanks for the support. I reckon the majority of posters and lurkers understood where I was coming from.

Prayers to the Burke family during this terribly difficult time. God Bless.

PB

February 6th, 2010
11:12 am

Our Thrashers played well last night. Last time we played Washington, 8-1 loss in our house with Kovalchuk. Last night played Washington, 4-2 loss in their house. And this when the Caps are on fire, with a 13-game win streak. Thrashers scored first, 45 shots to 30 or so, and controlled the play for two periods against the best team in the NHL.

So – In our limited experience so far, the Thrashers are a better team on the ice today than they were two days ago with Kovalchuk. And I’m going to give them every chance to prove they can continue that.

Go Thrashers. Time to move on.

moriler

February 6th, 2010
11:15 am

When was the last time we put 45 shots on goal against a top-flight team?

We could come out ahead in this simply because there’s no longer anyone for the rest of the team to ‘wait on’ to save us — something that has been obvious for too long, some players have simply been sitting back and waiting for our superstar to kick in. The next month or so will tell — I even saw Antropov shoot a couple times, and I didn’t think he remembered where the net was.

StateBird

February 6th, 2010
11:16 am

Attendance is simple in Atlanta. Win and you will do extremely well. Lose and you will do extremely poor. Many will say this ia a bandwagon town. I disagree. IMHO we have more options here to spend discretionary income and we are more discriminating in how we spend. Unlike the sheep in Toronto who shell out thousands each year on a team that hasn’t won in 40 years.

Egbert

February 6th, 2010
11:16 am

I was a season ticket holder for the first four years of the Thrashers’ tortured existence. I attended one of the first town hall meetings with Waddell at the Iceforum, and remember him lying about one of the players. I know this because I knew the player, and he said so. That has been 10 years and nothing has changed. There is no credibility or accountability involved at any level of this franchise. I love hockey, but this group, from the ownership down, need to fire their chinless wonder of a GM, and shot or get off the pit. If they do neither, I guess I really don’t care if they move to Winnipeg, and I can’t believe I am saying that.

R. Stroz

February 6th, 2010
11:22 am

Why is teh Devils attendence higher than the Thrasher attendence?

Lets review.

Have the Devils won the Stanley Cup?

How many times have the Devils made the playoffs in the last ten years?

How many palyoff games have the Devils won in the last ten years?

Are the Devils currently more than 15 games above 500?

How many lottery picks have the Devils had in the past ten years?

Now, ask the same questions about the Thrashers.

Now ask why there is an attendence discrepency between the two teams, It sure isn’t the fans fault.

ITS THE ORGANIZATION STUPID.

Mrs. Zoomo

February 6th, 2010
11:24 am

does anyone know if the Thrashers actually got out of DC last night?

kracker

February 6th, 2010
11:28 am

Good point, EA. Petutantly boycotting games has negative consequences. Empty seats aren’t very loud and don’t inspire players to ‘bring it’ with that adrenaline-fueled extra effort that makes the difference in so many games.

‘Fans’ show up in good time and bad.

Todd White

February 6th, 2010
11:29 am

Nikita, I’m with you about ASG. Totally clueless, or just plain uninterested. Either way, bad for the fans and for the team. You are right about promotions. What happened to them. I remember when they would have several bobble head nights each year. The fans would be lining up at 5:00 p.m. two hours before the game to get one. Big crowds on those nights and a better atmosphere. I can’t remember any significant promotions the past few years.

Hockey Biltong

February 6th, 2010
11:31 am

Time to cheer the team, not the organisation………..I’m going tonight! And bringing 7 with me….
GO THRASHERS….

five_hole

February 6th, 2010
11:31 am

I frankly don’t care if Dudley dresses like Donald Trump or Flava Flave. I care about him doing his job (and my impression is that he’s good at it). He does not give a good TV interview, but he can work on that.

My impression is that the Thrashers played the best team in the east, and for the 1st 2 periods, it was a 2-1 game. Eventually, talent took over and the better team won. Did anyone expect differently?

As someone else pointed out, you shouldn’t judge the players by 1 game, but we’ve seen Oduya play plenty before, and I do like his game. Bergfors made some nifty passes and seems to have decent wheels. And as Bill pointed out, got off 4 shots on goal.

Here’s what I started thinking about; I’d like to see Max resigned, but there’s no guarantee of that. I love the Slavenator, but his best years are behind him and it’s time to part company as well. So, going into next year, out of our “top-6″, we’re returning Andropov, Todd White & Bryan Little (and I suppose Bergfors). Now, I have hopes for Bryan to bounce back from this season, but we’ve got some serious holes in our lineup. Of course, not resigning Kovy ($10 mil), Slava ($3.5 mil), Kubina ($5 mil)

five_hole

February 6th, 2010
11:33 am

Oops; I was gonna say that we’ll have money to spend in Free Agency.

kracker

February 6th, 2010
11:34 am

Oh, great, now he’s posting as ‘Kovy’s Agent’ and ‘DW’s Mama’. What a maroon…

Will

February 6th, 2010
11:40 am

Don – you are clearly on record as proclaiming that the Thrashers are a better team after this trade. Care to wager your job on that?

If we are not a better team from this point through the end of the season will you resign?

kracker

February 6th, 2010
11:44 am

I think you’re right, five_hole, we will have bucks to burn this summer and a lot of maturing younger talent returning. First things first, though. We have to re-work the game plan w/o Kovy and make the playoff push. Starting by giving the Panthers a good pay back beat down tonight!

kracker

February 6th, 2010
11:44 am

That’s a fair question, Will.

mike

February 6th, 2010
11:49 am

yes this trade is good i believe you don. is zhithick in our plans for future, by the way, nothing against bergrows probably ge is good man, but drunken distracted kovy still much much beter no compare never going to be. lou now it every in hockey world now it except small minority including idiot russian hater stendec. need attract 5 mil. man ufa on offense somehow to replace kovy. i affraid kane don’t have the skills to score consistenly at least 30. good luck donny, but i doubt some studs consider any more atlanta market after heatley, savard, hossa, kovy, unless we going overpaid a lot. again asg stinct to high heaven but cheap and stupid and not going to commit big money. so who is you next target stendec. you small brain never going to understand that only managment could blamed for bad team not players even you personally don,t like some race or nation.

LAC

February 6th, 2010
11:49 am

Statebird is 100% correct, WINNING is the BEST promotion any sports team can ever have. Just look at DC. A few years ago they were crap, and NOW look at them, they may very well WIN THE STANLEY CUP !
There was nobody in the stands, no sold out every game and Ted L. is a HERO in DC.

But here winning is NOT on the priorty list of things to do. Being CHEAP is, Lying to the FANS is, keeping a GM who cannot preform his job in an acceptable manner is and owners who I bet have not been at one game all season.

Attendence dropped off because of the way the team is run and thus the poor to average record. Nobody wants to go game after game and watch
the wheels fall off the cart again and see another in a long line of losses.

Some will say “we are still in the playoff hunt”, but facts are facts.
Toronto and Carolina, started very very slow, but they have been playing a whole lot better lately. We are 9-10 ahead of them, if they pass us and Edmonton catches a little fire down the streach, we will end up LAST IN THE NHL. Not all that likely, but it is not beyond the
relm of possibility… Just think of it, LAST PALCE, First overall pick, most likely, and we rebuild again.

We have been rebuilding for HOW long, every time we sink you hear this stuff. How many more 10 year plans ? If these owners cannot see the blind truth now about waddell and his inability to get the job done, when will they ? He is a complete failure from year 1 to now, he has shown he cannot build a hockey team and I firmly believe he IS the main problem the team is so bad. Why any owner/manager would retain someone with the record of waddell is simply beyond me. He’d have been gone after a couple years with me, but then I already have people who clean the toilet in my office !

Darkhorse

February 6th, 2010
11:52 am

Finding a way to track down and communicate your displeasure with the owners themselves is the only way I see their even being a remote chance the fans have in getting DW out of his GM position, and maybe persueding them to find a new buyer willing to keep the team here. Calling into Gary Bettman’s radio show and letting him know OVER and OVER their are fans here who care and are sick of the way ownership ignores the team is another way.

Letting DW know how you feel at the town hall is only gonna go so far anyway. He knows everyone is pissed about him, ownership and the team’s overall direction….and trading Kovy. He’s just gonna give the lip service everyone is expecting him to. If I was there, I would let him and any others know how they are sucking the life out of Thrasher fans, but I wouldn’t stop there. Everyone concerned about the state of the franchise needs to find other outlets to have your voice heard.

I remember posting on this blog or Knobler’s last year the link to some of the owner’s external company websites, with phone numbers and emails, including Levenson, Peskowitz, and Foreman. It took me about 10 minutes to find them. Not sure if anyone took advantage of that info then, but if you’re really that upset, take some initiative and action, find them again and call…write…email…whatever.

I’m surprised people like LAC and Sage haven’t done so already. Maybe you have. But if some of you took the same energy and fight that’s in your blogs here to other avenues(owners home/work phone in their residing city) you would feel pretty damn good you did your part as a fan.

R. Stroz

February 6th, 2010
11:55 am

This will take many by surprise, but seeing as how Dudley did the interview last night, this what I expect from the Towne Hall meeting tonight.

Before we can scream for Waddell’s head on a platter, Waddell will step to the microphone and annouce effective immediately Rick Dudley will take over the duties of the GM. Furthermore, Waddell will state that Dudley did the scouting on the Kovy tarde and that was what he was brought in to do. Waddell will then hand the microphone to Dudley, thus dodging any questions.

SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN

February 6th, 2010
11:55 am

Andrew: are you on the thrasher’s payroll? did you marry a woman from up north who beats you? take your thrasher frustration out on fellow fans. i’d bet that you weere the kind of kid in school that everyone else [including the girls] beat up on.

PeteyNice

February 6th, 2010
11:56 am

I’d love to go to the meeting tonight. Where else will you see an owner of a professional sports team call a paying customer a liar?

If I were going I would ask him something along the lines of…

You said, “This isn’t a knock on Kovy, but Kovy’s been here eight years and we still haven’t won a playoff game,” Don’t you deserve more of the blame for that? You put those teams together.

Or I would pull a Chris Russo vs Mike Milbury and just ask how Waddell still has a job.

Thrashers27

February 6th, 2010
12:00 pm

Was looking for the Kovy pointing at Cindy Crotchby video and came across this little tidbit. If you have kids around you might wanna put on the earmuffs, but it’s amusing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WHiV6weBaw

litz

February 6th, 2010
12:05 pm

Guy … try and remember … calling for someone to be fired … that ’s one thing.

Wishing for harm … That’s quite another. Don’t cross that line. It’s just not cool.

As for the team? They played a team that was just plain on fire. The Caps just aren’t human.

YET … they darned near almost played ‘em even … yes, without Kovalchuk.

They played w/out him when he was hurt. Guess what? They played pretty darned good.

Last month or so, they played w/out him for the 18 or so minutes he wasn’t sniping his one goal.

Guess what? They played pretty darned good (most of the time).

I dunno if we will make the playoffs. To be honest, I don’t think losing Kovalchuk hurts us in that aspect … we certainly weren’t setting the world on fire with him present.

Let’s see what the upcoming trades bring (we know there’s at least one involving a goalie-to-be-named-later), and hopefully we aren’t sunk too far out of the race to recover.

Lot will be told tonight w/Florida … we played darned good last night, but against a team that’s frankly unbeatable right now. FLA (and most of the rest of the conference) is beatable, and if we bring the same game, we should be fine.

- litz

JR

February 6th, 2010
12:13 pm

maybe it’s me, but mike’s postings always leave me confused. anyone else have the same problem?

besides the difference in talent and size, the other obvious factor that distinguished the two teams last night was the purpose of movement. washington played like a team whose movements were choreographed and well learned. the thrashers seemed to be each man for himself.

an enema is necessary for the whole organization. the ownership, the gm, the coach and several of the players [notably white sand koslov].

EA

February 6th, 2010
12:24 pm

Just read that the Thrashers are on a bus heading down I-95 to Richmond followed by 4 slow plows. They are the ones who will cranky tonight! Wow.

Dr. R

February 6th, 2010
12:26 pm

What difference would it make to get a new GM if you have the same owners? Bottom line is that you have a cheap team with no financial backing in a town with a limited fan base and no hope for changing that. I don’t know how a new GM is going to change that. In all pro sports, you have some franchises that are committed to winning and will do whatever it takes, and others that compete with one hand tied behind their backs. That’s the Hawks, Thrashers and Braves right now, so we might as well just get used to it. Fans can whine all they want but nobody is willing to lose money to make us happy.

R. Stroz

February 6th, 2010
12:30 pm

Harvey Schiller doomed this team with one decision, Don Waddell.

EA

February 6th, 2010
12:31 pm

It does stink to be an Atlanta sports fan.

rob

February 6th, 2010
12:52 pm

To the HOCKEY faithful,
OK, the original plan some time ago was bring the kids to their first hockey game tonight…..not happening now cause I have a feeling things might get obnoxious……and they BETTER!!! Time to make a real statement to the owners here. From here on out I am calling on the REAL hockey fans to find a way to voice their displeasure EVERY opportunity that you get. Tonight is just the beginning……they will say it is only because of the Kovy trade. Don’t make this about Kovy……..make it about the way this team has been run from day one since the ASG has been in control. Make sure the PLAYERS are supported……no one wants to play this game in front of 4000 complacent people who don’t “get” the game. A lot of you have stated on here that you are tired of the way things have gone……so let’s all get together AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!!!! Make the ASG uncomfortable. Let the other NHL teams who are watching their team play here on Center Ice see what we think about ownership here. Empty seats only show them we are uninterested in hockey, which just plain isn’t the case. So let’s get together, cheer on the boys in blue, and blast those in charge who are so ignorantly ruining a good thing for the players and fans.

ASG – TAKING THE “SPIRIT” OUT OF ATLANTA’S HOCKEY YEAR AFTER YEAR.

JA – QUIT and let us get someone who can motivate a HOCKEY player to actually play with pride…..with a STRONG emphasis on defense and body checking please!!

WADDELL – YOU BLITHERING IDIOT YOU ARE FIRED, NOW BEGONE!

HOW ABOUT SHOWING UP EARLY AND GATHERING DOWN AROUND THE ICE FOR THE SHOOTAROUND AND SHOWING SOME EXCITEMENT?

LET’S GO THRAASHERS!!!!!!!!

Oh yeah, to andrew and mike,
you 2 should stay home tonight, cover your pretty little ears, and pray for the souls of all of the “vocal” fans who are going to start demanding a change here…..because it is WAY past time the FANS make some huge waves around here!!!

kracker

February 6th, 2010
12:53 pm

EA, I was wondering if they were able to get out last night. There will still be no morning skate for the new guys but they will have planty of time to discuss tactics on the bus lol

kracker. what is a maroon?

February 6th, 2010
12:57 pm

You must mean moron..as in kracker is a moron who cant spell.

rob

February 6th, 2010
1:00 pm

Oh yeah, and it is time to get together and find a REAL Thrasher reporter who will get on our side and help us do this, so before we try to do that………
I challenge ALL the Sports writers at the AJC to find a way to get it together and find a way to make the team better, from the top down. It means asking questions that put those you ask in difficult positions. OK. Just think of the calls you will be getting from other writers outside the ATL if the team is doing good. They might actually want to ask you for the scoop or something I don’t know. Or maybe a REAL paper in another town will notice your article because they are watching the good teams. Just an idea.

Dr. R

February 6th, 2010
1:04 pm

It’s not the newspaper’s job to make the team better, just to cover it. You clearly have no clue about how journalism works. You want cheerleaders, go dress up some girls and give them pom-pons. It’s the reporter’s job to cover the team and let fans know what’s going on, period, not “get on our side.” What the hell kind of newspapers do you read anyway?

Pittsburgh Pirate Fan

February 6th, 2010
1:10 pm

Alotta good posts today-
I hope somebody goes to the meeting tonight, so we outsiders can get a full report on what happened. I see Stroz is still on his horse-are you in your regular seats tonight?

Rick Dudley will never be a great dresser or great interview. He’s a good evauator of talent. I hope the organization has plans to expand his role in the future. Anyone who wants to knock him should do it to his face, if you are that brave!

five_hole

February 6th, 2010
1:11 pm

I think Kracker meant maroon. Ever seen a Buggs Bunny cartoon?

I won’t be there tonight, but I’d like someone to ask the following:
The 5 year plan failed. The 10 year plan has failed. Why should we believe in your 15 year plan? What is different in the Thrashers organization now that’s going to bring winning hockey to Atlanta. Is there some Nixonian “secret plan” to win the cup? And why should we believe you now?

At this point, I don’t believe it’s a question of talent. It’s more about organization and leadership. It’s in the best interests of the Thrashers for Waddell and Anderson to fall on their swords.

Alan R.

February 6th, 2010
1:12 pm

five_hole, I’d love to see him rock something this. Rick Dudley is a pimp!

Brendan

February 6th, 2010
1:22 pm

Folks, let me ask you something. And beeee honest. If the Columbus Blue Jackets offered Kovalchuk $121.2 million over the next 12 years, do you honestly believe that Kovy would take it? Well? Do you?

I feel pretty confidently that the correct answer is, “No, Kovy’s Stanley Cup dreams are not for sale, to play for a mismanaged club.” And Blue Jackets fans would scream to their beat writer, “Can’t believe we made such an IRRESPONSIBLE offer to begin with!,” missing the POINT entirely. Which is? It’s not about the money. It’s not about Kovalchuk GREED. It’s about Kovy … FINALLY … getting the chance to play for an organization that is well-run and is also committed to winning the Stanley Cup. And ladies and gentlemen, that just wasn’t going to happen here. Just like it isn’t going to happen in Columbus, either. Ilya Kovalchuk has made $47 million playing hockey for the Atlanta Thrashers. He doesn’t need to make another dollar in his life. He’s set. $47 million isn’t even a MegaMillions lottery pay out, most times. Ilya just didn’t want to stay in Atlanta, working for Bruce Levenson, who KEEPS GM’s the pedigree of Waddell in place, in perpetuity.

Now, believe it or not, Don Waddell isn’t a complete moron. He can walk and chew gum at the same time. He’s not a ‘differently abled’ person, with ’special needs,’ and a drool cup. (No, I will not segue to Kari Lehtonen at this moment.) Moving right along.

Witaker, great to have you back and posting again. I think the reason Waddell didn’t make the Boston trade … was, in part, due to the 8th and final playoff spot possibly being contested between Boston and Atlanta. So, if Waddell had given the Bruins the piece they needed to make the playoffs, Thrasher fans would have just screamed bloody murder. I wouldn’t have, though. Fleecing Boston out of their #3 overall and #15-17 overall pick, coupled with our #6 or #7 overall pick would have had us sitting pretty on Draft Day. Three (3!!) picks inside the top 17!! Sweeet! All that’s needed now, is a proper GM to make sure they don’t turn into assets that walk out the door within a decade (Stefan, Heatley, Kovalchuk, Lehtonen?, Coburn, Bourret).

Folks, I cannot lie to you. I’m not concerned about missing the playoffs. If we get in, we’ll get swept. Our franchise is run the way it is, and has been. I was watching the Sabres-Canes game, and in the intermission, Kevin Sylvester, Harry Neale and Rob Ray, during the “round the Whip” segment of the show, discussed the “Atlanta situation.” Not just, “The Kovalchuk trade.” They opined, unamimously, that the Atlanta franchise had to be redone, “from Top to Bottom.” And they cited the losses of Savard, Hossa, and Kovalchuk as proof that star players just don’t want to be there or have confidence that the organization can really succeed. And they really weren’t being smug, crude, rude, condescending or arrogant. They were genuinely concerned for the welfare of our franchise. One summed it up this way, “Guys, something’s got to be done in Atlanta. They just can’t continue like that.”

One last thing. Jay Grossman, I know you’re just doing your job, but let me tell you WHY it is that I dislike you. You TWITTER with fans in Atlanta. You tell them they need to call their team reps that “You want Ilya to stay!”

Do … you … know … what … that really means? Do you?!!! It means he knew that Kovy wouldn’t stay under any circumstance. At any price. But yet, he’d encourage you to push Atlanta’s offers higher. And who knows? Grasping at straws here, but once Atlanta agreed to pony up the money, Kovalchuk’s agent could then say, “Great. Thanks. We demand to be traded now. Per our “new” contract agreement, my client has up to six teams he’ll accept a trade to play for.” And if Waddell doesn’t trade him, he can, technically, walk to the KHL and never set foot in the NHL again. He’d be personna non-gratta over here. Ya sign a contract, ya gotta honor it. And truthfully, Kolvalchuk did honor his contract. Every bit of it. He didn’t bolt to the KHL during these last terrible seasons. Now I hear ya. With a “locked up” Kovalchuk, the returns could be higher than Oduya, Cormier, Bergfors, and a late 1st rounder. I just think sports agents are swarthy, smarmy people.

rob

February 6th, 2010
1:33 pm

DR,
Really? Then why aren’t they “reporting” on the problems that plague this team YEAR AFTER YEAR? I understand the whole deal. Don’t want to cause a disturbance or anything here. Only at what point to you say they are part of the problem for not trying to get to the heart of the matter? OK, I will put it this way for your sensitive side. CAN THEY JUST DO THEIR JOB then? Is that better? The only ones reading their articles are the FANS of the team. But are they reporting on things which effect the team in a negative way, and thus effect the FANS also? So before you make a petty little attack and name calling again, grow up already and put on some big boy pants.

POTF

February 6th, 2010
1:35 pm

Thrashers27- That you tube video was to funny. On another subject. How come every goalie we face here lately looks like the second coming of Patrick Roy? Anyone else noticed that $hit? Reminds me of the Bravos facing some kid just called up from AAA. Pitches like he’s Steve Carlton.

R. Stroz

February 6th, 2010
1:36 pm

I’ll be Section 222, Row E, Seat 9. If Waddell doesn’t re-sign tonight at the meeting, I’ll cheer for the team and scream FIRE WADDELL all night long.

No, its not about Kovy. Kovy is just the straw that should break the camal’s back.

I’ll also be at the Town Meeting. If I get the microphone, I’ll ask for Don to re-sign as part of changing the team’s identity.

The time has come, the fans deserve better, the players deserve better.

j nes

February 6th, 2010
1:36 pm

I am sick of blaming Wadidiot and the ownership. Yes they are incompetent. Yes they are foolish. Yes they are (insert deserving insult here). But, without the financial support of the season ticket holders and other fans, dwindling as they may be, these bums would not be able to further the destruction of the franchise.

Message to all Thrashers fans: If you want to end the incompetence, stop spending your money on tickets, refreshments, half-off Kovalchuck jerseys, hideous 3rd jerseys, or anything else with a Thrashers logo on it.

Your point will not be made on blog or message board! Our only hope is that the team bleeds enough money to decide to sell the franchise to someone who cares, or have Gary Bettman step in and save hockey in Atlanta.

Disclaimer: I never really liked Bettman, but he may be our only hope.

R. Stroz

February 6th, 2010
1:37 pm

I’ve typed too much, that should reead resign, not re-sign.

kracker

February 6th, 2010
1:39 pm

Saying moron as maroon is an old Vaudeville joke…it was one of Bugs Bunny’s favorite lines, etc.

POTF

February 6th, 2010
1:39 pm

Not to take any heat off Waddell, but as long as your only shouting “FIRE WADDELL”, the ASG feels like the moat is intact. “ASG SUCKS” should be more prevalent as a cheer.

Barry

February 6th, 2010
1:40 pm

While I don’t blame Waddell for the Kovy situation because honestly Jay Grossman wanted 11.3 mil a year and was willing to accept nothing less. I’m sorry but Kovy isn’t worth that much and Don is right…this franchise can’t tie up that kind of money into one player that’s not even worth it. Kovy is a one dimensional player. His lack of defense and many turnovers costs Thrashers as many goals as he scores. I do however blame Waddell for not being able to build a more consistent competitive team after 10 years. This is embarrasing.

I didn’t see the Bergfors interview but saw the Oduya interview and you could tell he was seriously lying through his teeth about “happy to be here”. Hopefully Thrashers somehow someway make it to the playoffs so it will help them to swallow this trade a little easier.

I also agree about Thrashers shooting. OMG how many times must they shoot right into the chest of the opposing goal tender? This team doesn’t seem to have many good NHL caliber players who can actually shoot the puck and score with any accuracy. Alot of the players on this team doesn’t exactly scare the opposition anymore with Kovy gone because nobody is a real talented threat to score.

Waddell better be fired after this season’s end no matter what happens. Enough is enough. Time to Dudley to evaulated talent and help bring in some better NHL players on this team.

kracker

February 6th, 2010
1:41 pm

btw, Stroz, I think most people will be happy if DW hands the reigns over to Dudley. From what I know of Dudley, though, and it’s not much, he prefers to do the prospect scouting, watching a lot of jr and college games, etc.

Dr. R

February 6th, 2010
1:46 pm

Rob, it’s not rocket science, hoss. You have a fractured ownership group that doesn’t have the financial heft, or the collective will, to pay for a winner. You have a hockey team in the middle of college football/NASCAR country with a loyal but limited fan base and thin revenue from marketing and TV rights. I don’t go around town and see a lot of folks wearing Thrashers gear, to be honest. It’s a weak franchise, and the only way to fix it is with new ownership. I’ve gathered that much from what I’ve read in the AJC, and it makes sense to me. If you think there is some great smoking gun clandestine secret that is keeping the team from succeeding, I would beg to differ. Sometimes what you see is what is, and I think it’s pretty clear in this case. Great players will gravitate toward the winning franchises and traditional fan bases in most cases in most sports. It’s why we baseball fans get blasted all year long with “Red Sox” this and “Yankees” that. Because their fans are numerous and they care, and their ownerships respond to that. Supply and demand, my friend. As long as 11K transplanted Yankees will show up to Philips to watch hockey, no matter how good the team is, there is little incentive to invest more in it. Face it, the team wasn’t that good with Kovy; spending millions more to keep him would not have brought in that much more at the gate to make it worthwhile from a business sense. The Thrashers either need a committed owner willing to go out on a limb to buy a winner, or a new city full of hockey fans that will demand it. Short of that, what you’ll have is a second-division club struggling to get by well into the future. It’s the business of sports, pure and simple, which is run on reason not emotion and why most fans don’t get it.

rob

February 6th, 2010
1:49 pm

might have to go to a Hawks game and chant ASG SUCKS, as I hear that is the only game in town they attend

John

February 6th, 2010
1:50 pm

The new guys had jet lag? From the draining 45-60 minute flight from Newark to Regan? With guys that fly almost daily 8 months out of the year? Methinks it’s not jet lag…Also Oduya was left off of the Vivlamore Olympic piece…welcome to the team we’re glad you’re here…

Dr. R

February 6th, 2010
1:54 pm

Well, we can agree on that. And forgive me if I sounded too condescending. I’ve worked in newspapers before and I’m a little defensive when people want to blame EVERYTHING on the reporters and the coverage, like they’re the ones out there playing. Buy the paper or don’t but don’t expect them to have anything to do with the success of a franchise, at least not in this day and age.

jared

February 6th, 2010
1:55 pm

As fans i think it is time to start writing and learning chants and cheers. We need to be aggressive, if 8000 of us can scream loud enough the arena will sound full. Im going to start writing right away. I hate how quiet we are as a fan base… GO BLUELAND.

MarriedASwede

February 6th, 2010
1:56 pm

Here’s a no brainer trade for the ole Wadster to pull off, and that would GUARANTEE 3-5 more wins a year:

Trade for Nittymaki. Have him wash cars, or something. Just get him off our schedule.

rob

February 6th, 2010
1:58 pm

DR,
I understand the whole ownership is the problem here, and that is why I questioned the writers to delve a little deeper into it all. It is painfully obvious that they care nothing about the team or the fans that support them. Before all the transplants moved down here, there was a team here which had a loyal following (so I understand at least). Now if you can incorporate that old southern base with the transplants there is a strong case for hockey in Atlanta. All that is needed is a committed team, top to bottom. Doesn’t have to win the Stanley Cup (right away) but it has to have a hard playing team philosophy. FANS want to see a team that leaves it on the ice every night, win or lose. Plain and simple. THAT would sell tickets, jerseys, hats, etc etc etc.
But in order to move forward, sustained pressure should be brought to the owners, which actually means coverage by the press.

Nikita (in PA)

February 6th, 2010
2:05 pm

I’m totally sick of hearing about how loyal, high-minded Kovalchuk just couldn’t sell his dreams to a bunch of pikers. It’s true to some extent, but please — he was on the team for 8 motherfreakin’ years. He’s part of the failure. In fact, arguably with his completely ridiculous +/- and his continual and easily-observed tendency to motivate himself for short bursts and lag/abandon/loaf the rest of the time, he’s a big part of the failure.

I wish the man luck. I wish the team luck. But I am tired of hearing about how a guy who was part of a failing team for 8 years is somehow not involved in the failure.

(And before you guys get into it, yes, I think that applies to more than just Kovy. But I’m not sorry to see him go. I think the trade was the right decision for both parties.)

Brendan

February 6th, 2010
2:10 pm

An open letter to those attending the Town Hall Meeting:

While I stopped paying for ticket packages long ago in disgust, (not over losses, but rather, over ‘direction and concept’ of the team,) I continue to care about this team and wish it well. I would like it to compete for and win the Stanley Cup one fine day. I have a closet full of Thrasher merchandise, ready to wear, on just such an occasion. I even have a recording of the very first Thrasher game ever broadcast. And yes, I was there for that 4-1 loss to New Jersey, where Kelley Buchberger, our 1st Captain, tallied for Atlanta. And the guy wearing #17 … was Matt Johnson. These owners don’t care about me and never did. I’m one voice on a blog. Frankly, they laugh at me and the non-luxury box/non-along the glass dollars I used to toss their way every year. I’m not their customer anymore because of that. And well, they’re perfectly fine with that, too. It’s their view that fans like me simply weren’t hugged enough as a child. They’re not interested in my business. They’ll replace me with a Flyer fan … when Philly rolls into town.

But I digress. There’s a scene in the movie the movie, “Jerry McGuire” that I find apt today. It’s the scene towards the end of the movie … where Renee Zellweger realizes that things aren’t going so perfectly in her marriage to Tom Cruise. And she suddenly has an epiphany, enough to utter these words to Jerry McGuire (Cruise):

“(With) My need to make the best of things, and your need to be responsible … If we don’t do something now, we could lose ten (10) years being polite.”

Ouch. That’s a direct hit. I apologize for it. I do. I apologize for that movie reference. But, ya know, it is really apt, isn’t it? So, if you are going to the Town Hall Meeting tonight, you might ask yourself if “being polite” is worth losing A-NOTHER 10 years. In Atlanta, we’re polite. We are. We’re passive. We’re docile. The organization can keep heaping steaming piles of excrement on us … and we sit there … grateful for an NHL venue in our city. When the truth is … all it takes to fix this whole situation … is an ownership committed to winning the Cup, who’ll hold GMs, scouts and coaches accountable for the decisions they make. They’ve got to stop being a bad joke throughout the NHL. They might really … even need to consider RENAMING the team and designing new logos and uniforms. For this club, from Top to Bottom, feels like a minor league franchise. It tries real hard. It’s just incapable, at this level.

So, please. You paid for this product. So your voice should be heard louder … and carry more weight … than mine. You have the chance, tonight, to tell this franchise, “No Mas. You must change. You must have a different business model. You must change GM’s. Do it now. Don’t wait.”

Dr. R

February 6th, 2010
2:11 pm

But, OK, if you know all that and you believe that’s the case, then the AJC has DONE its job by giving you that information. It has reported on the problems within the Spirit and its shortcomings. I just don’t think there’s anything there that we don’t see. Maybe I’m wrong, and if that’s the case, it’ll eventually come out. I hope you’re right that the team can succeed, but I’m frankly pessimistic. The NHL expanded into too many nontraditional markets in the 1970s and very few of those teams are in the same cities they started in. It did the same thing in the ’90s and the result is headed in the same direction. The economy is tough, the sports dollar is stretched thin, and as a result only the strongest leagues and teams will do well right now. It doesn’t help that hockey tickets are among the most expensive in sports. Most fans these days would probably rather pay half of that and go see the Gladiators, while not having to fighting parking and traffic downtown.

Yung JB from MTL

February 6th, 2010
2:11 pm

Im just eager to see what will happen at the trade deadline….
we have a lot of D depth, we could get some forwards

Go Thrashers

And Kovy is stupid saying there was a crowd supporting him… Yeah like 9,000 ! i saw the game and those empty seats freaked me out. They just landed a top notch sniper and cant get there seats full

Just saying… We have a strong fanbase, but bad owners…

Bugs Bunny

February 6th, 2010
2:15 pm

Ive never heard of a maroon..,but that Elmer Fudd is a moron.

JR

February 6th, 2010
2:15 pm

the northern transplants have been here longer than you think. much of the flames’ base was northerners.

the flames became the darling of atlanta when they first moved here and they never learned to market so that when the newness wore off, they didn’t react well. also, they failed to realize that their fan base lived in the suburbs and didn’t make the start time of games a bit earlier to accommodate these fans..

POTF

February 6th, 2010
2:21 pm

Plett, Lysiak, Bennett, Quinn, Bouchard, Da Boom, Jiggs, ah the memories.

POTF

February 6th, 2010
2:25 pm

Marketing the northerners hockey game with a little southern whoop ass mentality. That’s what put folks in the stands back in the day my friends.

Yung JB from MTL

February 6th, 2010
3:02 pm

Since OV was named captain:
WAS 16-1-0
OV, 32 pts during that span

Since Staal is C:
CAR: 6-3-0
14ots in that span, including 9game point streak

Kovalchuk is a bum

alex

February 6th, 2010
3:13 pm

i want just one question for the owners. on what merit they keeping DW. good team performance year after year, good drafting, good trades. it’s total faulure everywhere. who sincerely think that in 29 other nhl team similar result coul be firing long, long time ago. it’s biggest mystery for me unless DW working for free or paying asg to keep him on the job. just speechless need to take shot of wodka. it’s so depressing. waddell please resign. a lot of good hockey guys around will operate in same limited finance and get it done, for sure. atlanta is cursed, first stan kasten, now this jerk, enought.

Yankee

February 6th, 2010
3:21 pm

Brendan – I totally agree. Here in the ATL we have been too nice and polite but enough is enough. The STH and fans MUST let ownership and DW know how you feel. If not, they will keep crapping on us and taking our money. It’s one thing to be polite but another to get run over!

Whitaker

February 6th, 2010
3:31 pm

People want action, people want their voice heard, and right now the [National/local] media’s eye is still somewhat focused on the Thrashers. How can we take advantage of that? If the the Winter games were not this year or if we had one more home game before the break I wouls suggest a picket line, before the next game. We still could do that, thou the effect will not be as great as it would be now. I liked the shirt idea (putting fire don shirts on the empty seats around the arena), but as we know the ushers would tell us to take them down. Having a picket line, outside Philips is bothe legal, cheap (poster board and maybe a 2×4), and it will get media coverage.

How many of us have turn in to fans that were transplants, changed our colors for the Thrashers and because of the mismanagement have gone back to our first loves? How many of us loved the Flames in the 70’s – 80’s and were excited that the NHL was coming back to Atlanta only to have our hearts broken by Don, and the onwership; and now wish they were still dreaming of a team rather than living this nightmare?

How many of us were introduced to Hockey through the Thrashers? Fell in love with a player and when they were trade or sign with a new team moved our loyalty to that team? How many new Devil fans are there now?

The Season Ticket Holders are used, abused, and taken for granted. It does matter where your seats are, for the 2007 – 08 my wife and I sat in 113, due to the economy and me losing my job I had to get tickets in 411, the way I have been handled is night and day.

I will be a season ticket holder next season, because I love the game. It is my zen moment, I can have a $H!TTY day at work, and the fact that there is a game that night will brighten that day. I may not be as passionate for the Thrashers as I once was because of the terrible job of the front office, but I will be there for every game cheer for the team on and hoping that HUGE changes are coming.

I hope people know who’s fault it is that 17 is not in the lineup. As Brendan said it is not about the money, it is about the cup. If the Thrashers were moving in the right direction as far as getting to the play-off would he being on the ice tonight for us yes! Would he signed a contract for 101 million, maybe but I think he would be willing to take less to help the team. It is about the Cup and it is about his career. Ilya is as everyone knows is a stud, and I expect to see him take off, I would not be surprise to see him win the Rocket Richard outright by the end of the season.

AGS and Don knew what was coming this year. While some would argue that they brought in Max and Nik to show Ilya they are moving in the right direction, that just is not ture. Yes, I am sure ASG and Don did think that (heck they thought Todd White was a number one center), but what did Ilya need? Max did give us some depth that is true, and Nik gave us a big body who should have had a bigger impact. Maybe if Nik was on the wing he would have. The team since Savard left needed two things better defense and a puck moving centerman. The defenses each year has gotten better, bit by bit… guess they like babysteps. As for a centerman, we are somewhat weak up the middle our #1 is a winger, Peverley is a good number #2, Jimmy has shown that he can be a great #3 as well has Marty, but our top line is hurting. What can a Great centerman do, just look at Thornton and Cheechoo the first year Thornton was traded to SJ. Or what Savard has been able to do with Lucic.

I truely hope that the Thrashers fan are smart enough not to boo Ilya when he comes back with the Devils, that would be very unclassy.

I have rambled on long enough and it is time form me to leave to head to Philips… hope to see some of you there.

Thanks

Whitaker

February 6th, 2010
3:32 pm

Market Boults and Thorburn’s fights….

rob

February 6th, 2010
3:45 pm

Rawhide,
Now that the dung has hit the fan (or fans depending on which way we look at it), I was wondering what you and others think about the playoffs. Is it in the best interest of the team to make the playoffs and get biotch slapped as will surely happen or fall on its’ face and miss it all? I actually hope we can somehow miraculously make it in and here is my thinking. 1st I hope the players are all playing for that, even if the chances of going anywhere is null. But with the team being on the young and untested side, any playoff experience we can get them will help for the hope that when we actually have a chance at going anywhere (big jump there I know) it might help that they actually experience it. So is the experience worth missing out on picks?

Bob

February 6th, 2010
3:57 pm

they’re pushed the start time for the game tonight back to 7:30pm. Our guys are still on a bus heading south to pick up a flight back here

Get The Puck Out

February 6th, 2010
4:01 pm

YEA–What Brendan and Whitaker said.

Alan R.

February 6th, 2010
4:08 pm

Our guys are still on a bus heading south to pick up a flight back here

I knew about the change in start time, but really? They’re still on that bus??

Bob

February 6th, 2010
4:29 pm

darren eliot was tweeting pics from the bus ride, it was pretty funny looking. Kamal’s tweet said “still on bus, don’t ask me where we are, the signs are all covered with snow”

AJC article that just went up said they made the plane out of richmond about 4pm

donwaddellsuckssodoeskovy

February 6th, 2010
4:32 pm

First of all if the thrashers want to make their fans happy here is my opinion of how they can pack the stands like the good days when they ACTUALLY MADE THE PLAYOFFS!

1. Make coaching changes. Obviously, John Anderson’s pond hockey system does not work. Hire a defensive minded head coach. There are plenty of candidates like: John Stevens, Ken Hitchcock, or bring back the coach who led the thrashers to the playoffs! Please do this for your fans.

2. Hire a better goaltending coach. Period. If you give up 3 goals a game your chances of winning will always be low. Its simple math the thrashers executives don’t know about.

3. Re-up players like anfegenov, little, and bogo and kane. These guys are the team’s future. Do it now or sign a bunch of crappy AHL Level players and get ready to pack to canada.

4. FIRE DON WADDELL. MAKE DUDLEY GM. He was a major reason why the blackhawks are doing great. He knows what talent is about, don doesn’t because he’s to busy counting how many star players he has traded.

5. If trade get what you deserve. To my opinion the thrashers should have gotten at least Parise or Zubrus and Niedermeyer. Complete ripoff! Kovy for two unproven players in oduya and bergfors. Keep up the shitty work Don Waddell!

Pittsburgh Pirate Fan

February 6th, 2010
4:38 pm

New ownership and a new GM. Those are 2 steps in the right direction.

I don’t know how these owners have not figured this out by now. How many years has it been? Why do you want to lose money be attached to a loser franchise? Not caring is one thing, but pissing away millions of dollars every year is another.

They are so foolish with money, you’d think Obama owned the Thrashers.

LAC

February 6th, 2010
4:40 pm

I agree with Rob, Great idea, we sure cannot trust that vilimore or whatever, to ask the tough questions, he will start calling us fans names, just another controled tool of asg… Sad !

rick

February 6th, 2010
4:43 pm

the thrashers staff have to realize that a pond hockey system of play doesn’t work in the NHL. FIRE coach Anderson. Ever since day one of his coaching job he has brought nothing but inconsistency to an already bad hockey town. We’ve got good enough talent to compete but because of the shitty coaching staff our talent in the ATL is not developed. I bet if bogo, pevs, pavelec, antropov, even kovy would be in a team like the Capitals their talent would be 2x better than what they are playing rite now. Good for Kovy he deserves to be with WINNERS because his talent can only drive teams if that team is willing and ready to win. Get over it thrashers fans! Dont blame kovy blame the executives and owners and the coaching staff! THRASHERS SUCK 4 LIFE!

stendec

February 6th, 2010
5:21 pm

Having served as a newspaper news/sports reporter for over three decades before becoming physically disabled I wish to make a statement. Reporters depend on sources (people) for news. I know from experience that 99.9 percent of politicians are liars who cannot be trusted. From the local all the way up to the federal levels. Sports folks are generally straightforward. Normally. Ask Don Waddell a straight question. He will waffle, stretch the truth or lie. Why bother? Ask the owners something. If you can find the rocks they are hiding under. Same scenario. Ask DW about his daughter and he will speak for hours with the eloquence of Shakespeare. Most parents will. Do not blame him for that. Ask him why the highest paid player who had no intention of upping again was allowed the hold the entire team hostage for eight years. DW will shift conversation to the color scheme at Philips Arena. If hard questions continue the answers will become even more evasive. Answers are duly reported. Anything resolved? No. Fans appeased? No. What does that exercise in absurdity accomplish? Not a damn thing. Sorry. Just wanted to clarify. Damn sure hope Thrashers win tonight! That would show old what’s his name. ++STENDEC++

Get The Puck Out

February 6th, 2010
5:22 pm

Git ‘em tonight BLUEland fans. Let ASG and Don Waddie know how ya feel! Testify fellow Thrasher fans! TESTIFY!

Max Cap

February 6th, 2010
5:24 pm

Anyone got the start time for the Kovalchuk Memorial Ceremony tonight?

Snookie Puncher

February 6th, 2010
5:38 pm

WHO CAN BLAME KOVY FOR LEAVING? I certaintely cannot. What hockey player ever dreamed of playing professional hockey for just the money? I cannot imagine many at all. Those young boys dreamed of hoisting that Stanley Cup in the air, on the ice in front of their loyal fans. So while Kovy said it was all about money, I knew deep down that it was more than that. He is 26 and hasn’t played in one legitimate playoff run. Wouldn’t you be frustrated? Wouldn’t you think, “was this what I practiced and worked so hard to get to?” – NO. I have never played hockey and I am a girl. But I know one thing, he didn’t want to stay here and I cannot blame him. Thanks to Don, he watched talented player after talented player leave the Thrashers organization… leaving him behind. SOme of them went on to win Stanley Cups, while others simply went on to win. So can you blame Kovy for wanting to go to another team where he can play with those of equal talent? I cannot.

I am by no means trying to belittle or take away from the current Thrashers team. Kovy leaving might be the BEST thing that ever happened to them. This is a real opportunity for these young players (ha, except old Koslov) to really show what they are made of. It’s a chance for this struggling team to show to NHL and the world that it belongs in Atlanta and it can compete against the best of NHL teams.

So let’s get out there tonight – in front of a home crowd – and lets show everyone why the Thrasher ARE a FIRST CLASS ORGANIZATION that can live without Kovy and can THRIVE without Kovy.

GO Thrashers!!

Rockem Sockem Thrasher

February 6th, 2010
5:42 pm

I agree with those who are calling out the ownership. I understand that it’s a business, but being a fan is a passion. Put something on the ice that we can be passionate about!

Don’t forget Coach Anderson. We was supposed to have this fantastic system, what happened? He was supposed to be familiar with our AHL talent, we haven’t seen a single player from Chicago!

stendec

February 6th, 2010
5:44 pm

TO THE NEW GUYS:

If you bust your butts every second on the ice, take losing personally, want the team to win, do not fret personal stats as long as the team is successful, regard men in different colored uniforms as sled dummies to be pounded, take shots when appropriate, make passes when appropriate and accept losses grudgingly I welcome you with open arms!

If you coast on the ice, accept losses graciously, are apathetic to wins and losses, seek personal stats over team success, avoid physical play, always shoot, never seek to pass to open teammates and embrace defeats then go the Hell back to New Jersey!

Should be proud you escaped from that damn cesspool state anyway.

++STENDEC++

stendec

February 6th, 2010
5:56 pm

Snookie Puncher. Hello. Glad to have fairer sex active in posts. Understand your passion. However. Ilya Kovalchuk misled (lied) when he strung fans along. I could care less what he did to management. I am talking about fans? Fans like you, LAC, Sage, Smoothie and myself. IK knew he was not going to stay. Yet his abysmal play immediately prior to his departure (skating figure eights, allowing goals with defensive lapses, avoiding contact like a debutante in a prom dress) probably cost us critical points. A true captain has a way to elevate his team to one, if not two, points in single goal defeats. IK mailed it in. Think his teammates failed to notice? Think fans did not notice? I preached from the start that IK was looking to jump ship at the first available opportunity. I sensed it then. IK lied and reamed the fans. That is what I cannot forgive. To Hell with what he did to DW and the idiotic owners. I guess what I am saying is that the fans supported IK through thick and thin. Then he shet on them. Was that fair? No matter how anyone attempts to justify or sugarcoat it. Welcome. Hope to see more of your comments. ++STENDEC++

Thrashers27

February 6th, 2010
6:41 pm

What kills me is that there is so much speculation as to what did, or did not happen in the Kovy situation. The bottom line is that THERE IS NO WAY anyone on this blog has any idea of how it all went down.

I do agree that Kovy was lolly-gagging recently and I’m not sad to see his defenive lapses leave, but how did you expect him to play this? how do you think it would look if he were honest about his feelings? I can see it now “Um, this place sucks and I can’t wait to go to a real organization.” Nobody in their right mind would say anything like that even if that’s how they truly felt.

It’s clear that the biggest issue here is ownership and Kovy recognizes this. That’s why he made the “first time playing for a first class organization” comment. That was a huge shot at the ownership and nobody else. I guarantee you that Kovy really appreciates the fans, coaches, players and most likely the general manager here. I really believe that if the ownership didn’t have such troubles that Kovy would still be here, but hey, that’s just speculation and I don’t want to get into that.

Anyhoo, it’s time to move on. Let’s hope that Bergfors does well here Oduya finds his game quickly and that Cormier turns into what Waddell thinks he will. With Dudley’s fingerprints on this deal, I’m a little more optimistic.

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.

Eileen

February 7th, 2010
12:54 am

Brendan, with all due respect, and I really do respect your hockey knowledge, the accounting of the STH is for another day. I said Levenson admitted mistakes to let everyone who was curious about the STH meeting to know that ownership at least stood up and faced the fans. Tonight was a pat on the back to the team that without Kovy, we are still Thrashers fans.

Badger Bob

February 7th, 2010
12:54 am

Sage – “meaningless win”?? You think every loss or mistake is meaningful, and every win meaningless. Mr Lysiak gives some good reason why the win had meaning. Would you care to respond with logic, solid points, anything, Mr. “Sage”? Brendan at least backs up his points with facts. Get a life.

Wayne stuck in AL

February 7th, 2010
12:55 am

Dear MAX CAP:

“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.”

Okay, tell me what there’s to say good about only 1 playoff appearance in 9 (going on 10) years, and NO individual playoff games to boot?

Also, tell me what good there is to say about every talented player, starting from Andrew Brunette all the way up to Eel-ya, leaving this franchise.

The only reason Eel-ya did not put pen to paper was that he didn’t see much of an immediate future from this franchise, either in Atlanta or in The Great White North. If he had seen a future, he might not have asked for a max contract.

If the Thrashers were any other franchise in town where people actually knew the sport, you’d see and hear comments far more vicious than mine on this site and on sportstalk radio.

As for now, stop playing Little Miss Gretchen Sunshine and realize the problem starts with Waddell.

BTW: They played the Florida Panthers tonight, not the San Jose Sharks or the Pittsburgh Penguins.

–Wayns stuck in AL

Nikita (in PA)

February 7th, 2010
1:00 am

I didn’t say we’re a team now, but I have been — for at least a few months this year and at some points in previous years — pointing out the positives and negatives of maintaining Cherrychuk on our team. I didn’t think he should be captain and I didn’t think we should pay $10+million for him. I think the team will be better off without him, assuming that they can buy or develop sufficient scoring and defensive capability not to be overpowered. The maintenance of Cherrychuk has likely cost us many things, not least of which are: the development of Toby Enstrom and Bryan Little, the full implementation of Anderson’s system (which, unlike Hartley’s system, is a comprehensive system — having people decide they’re too good to put any defensive effort means the damn thing fails). So…we have work to do. But there’s no reason we can’t do it and compete.

Headberg Fan

February 7th, 2010
1:03 am

The Thrashers played a great game tonight. To me it was the best game of the season. So far I do not miss Kovy. I feel we needed a fresh start and now the other players can shine. Instead of everything being left up to Kovy. I hope New Jersey loses a lot and the Thrashers win.

Badger Bob

February 7th, 2010
1:03 am

Jason, I’ve been posting through thick and thin (though formerly as KovyRules, a name I retired for obvious reasons). I’ve been a STH through thick and thin. Did you watch the last two games? Can you tell when players are trying? Their level of effort is something we haven’t seen since, um, November. Coincidentally, about the time Kovy said “I’m ready to sign”, and then didn’t. That’s evidence that perhaps the contract talks were negatively affecting the players.

I’ll be posting even if we go 0-3. I have NEVER said keep Waddell, but I do try to help beat back the idiots who say things like “Make RD the GM” – a sure way to lose him. I have called for the Octocluster to mercifully sell the team, but even they seem to be getting there act together a bit. I still don’t like them, but I’ll be fairminded if it looks like they are changing their ways.

Previous Commenter

February 7th, 2010
1:06 am

If the Thrashers would win a Stanley Cup, someone on this blog would find fault. Done!

Sage of Bluesland

February 7th, 2010
1:14 am

Just wait until we beat the Lightning–the weak-minds will be in a real frenzy then!

Keep ‘em coming, sheeple! The humor is good for me!

Wow–it simply proves that P.T. Barnum’s belief was true and timeless…He had the wittle Bwuewanders pegged to a “T”…

(But it’s good knowing that good ol’ Don is a real “stand-up” kind-of guy…snicker…)

Max Cap

February 7th, 2010
1:18 am

Wayne stuck in AL

Actually, YOUR problem starts with Waddell, not mine. I don’t sign his checks and he doesn’t directly report to me. If he does report to you, then fire his @ss tomorrow morning….Otherwise, just STFU OK?

There is something POSITIVE going on right now in what has been a very difficult week. Then again, if you’re “stuck in AL” you can’t really participate very often and enjoy the atmosphere that was Philips Arena tonight. And that just makes you somewhat ignorant of what you speak.

As far as the past, live there if it somehow gives you and “the Sage” and others a way to bond with each other while you obsess over failure and try to project that into everyone else’s future. Why didn’t YOU call Waddell on the post-game show tonight? Why didn’t YOU show up at the THM before the game and voice your extreme displeasure in a “vicious” manner? Nut up or shut up dude!

And for the record, Waddell is CORRECT. It was all about money with Kovalchuk. He would’ve signed a max contract for a 10 or 12 year term. He wouldn’t sign a contract for less than max money. He demanded $136 million to stay, he was offered $101 million and declined. It’s all about the money.

If it wasn’t about the money, then why would he “give up his Stanley Cup dreams” and play out the rest of his career with a team that doesn’t have “much of an immediate future” for $136 million?? Make no mistake, he was ready to sign as a Thrasher for the rest of his career (to age 38) for $136 million. But he wouldn’t accept anything less. That’s a MONEY thing, pure and simple!!

Badger Bob

February 7th, 2010
1:19 am

Sage – I ask for facts, you give us drivel. Post on, oh wise Sage! Us sheep are waiting for your next words of wisdom. Our weak minds stand ready to be bent to your way of thinking.

Max Cap

February 7th, 2010
1:20 am

Sage, are you a teenager yet?

Badger Bob

February 7th, 2010
1:21 am

Sorry, Max Cap, it is now past Sage’s bedtime.

Max Cap

February 7th, 2010
1:27 am

Sage of Bluesland: The only blogger I’ve ever seen that has a lisp in his posts.

Have you thwaught pwofessinal help wif it Thage?

Whitaker

February 7th, 2010
1:27 am

Great game!! Great Game!! There was definitely a different team on the ice. Without Ilya, I think the team looked at the game as a way to prove that they did not need Ilya to win. They played like they had something to prove. This was great.

My highlights from the town Hall meeting. Yes, as a geek I took notes.

When Don walked into the square arena, to much of my surprise he was met with cheers, not many if any boos. I guess the boo birds were the ones that decided it was not worth going… shame their voices were not heard.

On Ilya:
We got the same lines from Don that he has been saying all along, Ilya is a good man, Don does not want to be negative, and it was all business. The facts that Don stated were that back in April Don met with Ilya and his agent to get the ball going informally. Ilya wanted “to see where the team was headed”. Before the free agent period Don met with Ilya to go over a list of players Ilya would like to bring have on the team, and see if any were possible and likewise compare his list of players to Ilya’s. When Ilya was reluctant to discuss a contract Don and the front office were taken back. Ilya wanted to “see how the season was going to start, what the chemistry was going to be like.” When the team was above 500 Ilya told Jay that he had the green light to start talks about a contract. The rest is what Don has said in the media over the past few days:
Ilya wanted more money than Ovechkin.
Want the max, 11.3 mil for 12 years
And so on…

What I took away from this was:
Ilya had a great deal of input into making the team what it is today. In my humble opinion, I think they gave him a bit too much input. I do not think roster players should plan the line up. As in the case of Ilya bringing Max to Atlanta, the “hey I know this guy who might fit our needs” approach I am all for it. But Ilya did not do too badly at picking guys. Ilya like everyone else knows that what looks good on paper may not be that good on the ice, so he wanted to see what kind of a monster he, Don, and the Ownership built. When the team started off good Ilya was willing to have his agent talk about a contract.
Then the story about the money, Don REALLY pushed the money issue home, IT WAS ALL ABOUT THE MONEY.

As I said before and was quoted, I do not buy it. Playing hockey is a JOB for NHL players. In this line of thinking there are people everyday (less now than a few years ago) who weigh different job offers against each other, some have a better salary but the benefits are not that good, some have great benefits but the salary is not that great, and a few have great benefits and a great salary. Now apply this to Ilya, if the benefits are the play-off and the Cup. He was at a job with good pay (current contract around 7 mil.) but felt the benefits were lacking. To make up for the benefits and to start negotiations Ilya asked for as much money as he could (wouldn’t we all??). He boss did not like this so Ilya was moved to a sister company till his contract is up. Ilya is not happy about this move because the benefits have been majorly upgraded. When he has to look for a new company to work for he may take a lower salary if the benefits are as good as he is currently receiving.

People may laugh but that is my stance and what I choose to believe.

Don and the owners have admitted to building the team around 1 player. Any educated fan knows you cannot plan a team around 1 player, in hockey there should be at least 3 goalies, a defender, a forward. If you pick only one to build around the team is going no where unless that player is VERY good and can carry the team by themselves. I do not think there is 1 player in the league that can carry a team on their own, not Crosby, Ovechkin, no one.

The locker room has welcomed this change, some are very happy about this change as they felt Ilya needed to be more of a leader. [Don] “They felt like at times they were not getting enough from him.” This is not something new this happens from time to time on teams, hey think one player would be a great leader and they promote them too quickly being the captain. I think Ilya is very much like Thornton in this regard. Thornton was giving the ‘C’ in Boston too quick. He knew how to lead, how to be a presence on and off the ice, but at times he did not want to be in the limelight, avoiding media after a bad lost. I never got the feeling that Ilya enjoyed the media or would get used to having to answer for the team. It is a tough task and only a select few can handle it and want it.

Let’s face Ilya wore the ‘C’ because the Thrashers were using it as a carrot in the hopes of keeping him here.

On the goalie situation:
Don all but confirmed that Kari is the goalie that they want to trade [Don] “There really is not much of a market for a goalie who has not played much hockey.” “We are looking to see how we can get him into games.” When asked why Kari, do did not shy away from the question by much, but one had to read between the lines. He compares Kari to Moose. “Moose has never missed a practice, and he has been here for what 4 years. Moose is the first one on and off of the ice. The players know that they can trust him in net to give the same performance night in and night out. The players in the looker room like playing in front of Moose.”

OK, So Kari is a slack butt and the players do not trust him to play well.??? Ok I seem to remember a goalie that looked like Kari (he wore 32) facing the amount of shot each night that goalies in the play-offs with over times sometimes see, playing VERY well. On night where he face 54 shot he would on average only give up 4 goals, I will take that save percentage.

Don made it clear that he has no intention on carrying 3 goalies for the rest of the season, so someone is going, going, gone and it is not Moose. So who should it be? The Goalie that starts off great each year he plays for us, but hit a wall and cannot play a full 60 minutes, or the goalie that acts a bit like a rock star and is a bit injury prone but has proven he can play 60 minutes under a hail storm of rubber? I am sure you can guess which I would pick out of these 2 options. My true pick is simple but going to be very well liked. Trade Moose, keep the 2 young goalies, have a 1 – 2 punch, and have them fight it out in net for who is number 1 and 1a.

The owners:
We were told how much the owners are involved and want the team to be successful. Bruce stated that yes, they have made some very bad mistakes, but they have learned from them and he is hoping the future will be better.

The Owners are 100% behind Don and the decision he makes. [Bruce] “I have heard from current Season ticket Holders that if we do not fire Don that they will stop supporting the team. I have heard from former season ticket holders that say if we fire Don they will come back. Well at the risk of financial lost I am going to state that Don is going no where.” So folks no matter how much people complain it really will do no good.

The lack of fans and how to bring them back.

Both Don and the Ownership are of the mind that at the end of the day the only way to get fans in the seats is to win it does not matter who the owners are or the GM people do not care about that stuff when a team is winning. True, the fans that come because you are winning are the fans that will not be there when you are loosing. Don broke it down this way: They believe there are about 5,000 hard-core Thrashers fans, 3,000 hockey fans that they lost that come to a few games a season, 3,000 fans that were thrasher fans but have decided not to return to the arena, and 7,000 (most fans) that do not know much about hockey and will not till the team is winning.

When ask to give a reason for STH that might not want to renew to renew Don, thought about it and said to support the team that is on the ice. “Fans should support the crest on the front of the jersey not the name(s) on the back.”

One season ticket holder said that he was unsatisfied with the way he was being treated by his rep. “I have spent over $100,000 in the past 10 year on premium seating, and I feel I do not get anything back for that.” Don said he was right that they do owe him something, he never said what. Don did say that he is very disappointed that STH do not feel like their reps know them or have a good relationship with them. He went further and said that any person who feels that their ticket rep is not treating them well to email him [Don] and he will make sure that it is fixed. I have had 3 (Kat, Barry, Brian) reps over the years and I feel none of them treated me well nor took the time to figure out what make me tick.

It appears their solution to the STH not getting what they want is to next year giving us a menu of options…. Does this mean we will be paying more base on the options we want? No one asked.

The only time Don lost his cool was when a fan brought up Hossa, Savard, and a few of the other top tear players that have left Atlanta. I was a bit shocked at the reaction as the question was asked very politely, no cursing, no anger words. Just how do you explain these players leaving and what will be done in the future to try to stop this? I am not sure if Don is just sick of us bringing this up or if he feels that these were personal failures and he hates to think of them.

This is getting wicked long, so let me end with some tidbits or quotes.

“A defensive system like Minnesota is boring to watch.” – This was in reply of why not switch to a much more defensive system while rebuilding. I say if wins are all you want then who cares if the system is boring you get wins fans come back right?

“We knew from day one that [the] Hossa [negotiations] was not going to work out.” – Really!!??? That was not the story back then.

Oh one more thing there will be more Molson Beer in the upper level since there keep running out.

Thanks

Brendan

February 7th, 2010
1:28 am

I appreciate that, Eileen. And, I think you’re right. The STH thing is best left for another time. Tonight’s win was a great one, and an important one, if the team is really going to remain competitive down the stretch.

For what it’s worth … I really think there’s a tremendous opportunity here, before this franchise, to embark on a whole new concept. Why not try a “depth” strategy? Atlanta might be one of the most IDEAL markets in which to try it. If anyone is wholly unfamiliar with a depth strategy, this is how it works. You basically have 6-8 forwards who will each score 18 to 20 goals. Some will pot 24, and other 16. The other 4-6 forwards score about 12 goals. Some will get 14, others will get 10. The goal is … to have your 4th line about as apt to score as your 1st line, rolling with something close to equal ice time. It presents a difficult challenge for the other team’s coach as to how to defend that. They cannot play their checking line all night. Eventually, the depth strategy catches the other team (with a tremendous payroll disparity) in a mismatch. Suppose the other team only plays their 4th line for 6-8 minutes a game? Well, maybe our coach sends out the 2nd line or 4th to match up with that. And in those 6-8 minutes, manages to score twice. Or even once. And that becomes the difference in a 4-3 win. The other team’s top line scores two goals, and their 2nd line scores one. That’s three goals for them. Meanwhile, Atlanta’s 1st line scores one goal. Its second line scores one goal. Its third line scores one goal. And its fourth line scores one goal. The whole equals the sum of its parts. It’s a “depth strategy.” It involves a “team concept.” Or “team identity.” Sometimes, it’s a “team speed,” or “team toughness/grit.” Or “team defense.” It can varied up any which way. But the only SUPERSTAR on the team … in such a strategy … is the goaltender. Every forward makes between $2.0 and $3.0 million. And has to be continually restocked, because every year, a few of them can hit the market and start to make $4 to $4.5 million as UFA’s. And, unfortunately, the depth strategy doesn’t really allow you to make that sort of pay adjustment to keep them. And if any of the guys wind up scoring 30 to 40 goals a season, they’re gone, for sure. Well, once their contract comes due, anyway.

I have always believed … that hockey is the ultimate team game. And I further still believe … that it’s a “thinking man’s game.” As in, the smartest players prevail, for they read and understand the play, and anticipate it, better than those around them.

But, I suppose, talk of the “depth strategy” is best reserved for the offseason, when the team can truly be reshaped.

Thrasher Mom

February 7th, 2010
1:33 am

Poor Sage. He needs his meds so he can go count sheep and fall asleep.

Brendan

February 7th, 2010
1:46 am

Let’s say the Columbus Blue Jackets offer 12 years/$136.5 to Kovalchuk on July 1, 2010. Does Kovy take the deal?

I say, “not a chance.” Columbus doesn’t know how to run its team. It’s not about money. It’s about playing for an organization that’s committed to winning … and knows what it’s doing. And that’s not the definition of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Or the Phoenix Coyotes. Or the Atlanta Thrashers. But I still hold out hope … that a new day of accountability is forthcoming. That continues to be my wish, along with this one. I want the Atlanta Thrashers to gain a foothold in this market. I want the Atlanta Thrashers to win the Stanley Cup. I think it would be HUUUUGE for this city. And I think the fans deserve it. They’ll sit through bad hockey, if there’s end goal in sight. But the ownership now has a very uphill battle to sway public opinion, that it knows what it’s doing. They say, “wins are the way.” And while I think that’s basically true, it’s really much MORE about competence and understanding the dynamics of running an NHL franchise. And if these owners need help in that regard, the league should provide it. I can’t imagine that this is how they saw the Atlanta market, when they commissioned a “think tank” to decide which cities would be best for expansion. I don’t it was wrong, by ANY stretch, that Atlanta made the list. The product should thrive here. It should. But it cannot be annually mismanaged. Without accountability. Once a strategy and identity for this team is found and implemented, I think it can become as popular as the Braves or Hawks. Really, truly. I don’t expect my team to win the Stanley Cup every year. That’d be wholly unreasonable. But I do expect it to be TRYING to win the Stanley Cup. Or at least be headed in the right direction, implementing Core Areas of “player development” and “player retention.” That much is “reasonable” to demand.

Badger Bob

February 7th, 2010
1:48 am

Good points, Brendan. And I think depth is the direction Dudley would have us go. We will have a potentially nice situation in July, with a decent core of dmen and young guys signed and perhaps $12 – 15M to spend on 3 or 4 forwards.

Whitaker, thanks for the THM rundown. I chose not to go thinking there wouldn’t be anything of substance said. Sounds like I was wrong.

Brendan

February 7th, 2010
2:13 am

Whitacker, thank you for that indepth post. You did cover a lot, and in some good detail. The goaltender segment of your post piqued my curiosity, as I agree with you. Moose is the goalie to be traded, UNLESS someone can really offer the Thrashers a package or deal that is just too good to pass up for Kari Lehtonen. Look, I don’t blame Waddell for wanting to trade Kari, if that’s what he wants to do. Obviously, this is NOT what Waddell envisioned when he drafted him in 2002.

I see Kari as a goalie who still brings some sort of value to the table. And Pavelec is just 22. I think it’s irresponsible to trade him. Moose is 30-what? And having a GREAT year. Meaning? His trade value will never be higher than what it is now. So, as much as I like Moose Hedberg, I agree with you, Whitaker, that he should be the goalie who is dealt. I think the return will be a whole lot better than some 7th round pick. I think it could be a 3rd rounder, especially if some team out there gets “thin” in net.

I like Pavel Kubina. Earlier in the season, I think in mid-November or so, we each cast our early MVP balloting. At that time, Moose, Kubina, and Peverley were all “neck-in-neck” for the balloting. Surprisingly, Kovalchuk was nowhere to be found on that list. Max Afinogenov got some votes, too. But I picked Pavel Kubina. If Atlanta can really get a playoff berth, they have to hold on to Kubina. But if the opportunity for playoffs diminishes, Kubina will fetch a nice 2nd round pick. Maybe more. Max will garner interest at the deadline, this time around. Colby Armstrong should probably be moved at the deadline, too. I’m not too sure how much more the Thrashers would be able to package beyond that. There won’t be interest in Slater, Thorburn and Boulton.

And, in my humble opinion, there could be an opportunity to do a 9 game audition with some of the Thrasher prospects in Chicago. I always like to see what some of the young kids would do with their 1st opportunity to try out the NHL. Whitaker, again, thank you for such an indepth post about the THM.

Tom

February 7th, 2010
2:16 am

Me thinks some Astro-turfing is going on tonight on the site. Lots of new posters all on the same point.

Rawhide, can you check the IP addresses of these new posters? My guess is they might all be the same and share the IP address of the Atlanta Spirit main offices.

#justsayin

Max Cap

February 7th, 2010
2:24 am

Forget hockey team names for a second. Forget perceived failings of ownership/management, as real as they may be. Forget team history and imagined team futures. Now consider this:

A hockey player currently plays for a team, but becomes an UFA on July 1st. He publicly says he wants to stay with his current team for the rest of his career. He states he will sign a contract to keep him with his team for the next 12 years if it includes max money at $11.35 million per year. He won’t sign an extension for anything less. He’s offered $10 million per year for 7 years. He still demands $11.35 million per year for 12 years to sign. Is it all about the money or not?

Everyone has their own opinion and here’s mine. Joe Johnson is the pure “I want to go somewhere else where I can win a title” UFA, not Kovalchuk. Joe Johnson pretty much said before the season started that he won’t be back in a Hawks uniform next year. That’s a guy you can’t sign for ANY amount of money. Offer him $20 mill, he walks. $50 mill, he still walks. $100 mill, he just walks away faster.

The fact that Kovalchuk would’ve signed for 12 years at $11.35 mill per year is different than JJohnson. Pay Kovalchuk what he wants, basically $136 mill, and he signs. Offer anything less and he walks. Offer JJohnson anything and he won’t sign. One is about MONEY, the other is about leaving for a team that he believes can win it all. Clear as night and day, to me at least.

Long night……I’m out.

Brendan

February 7th, 2010
2:37 am

Tom, of course I do think the employees of the Atlanta Spirit have the right to be flustered and angry, too. Who, at the offices of the team, wants to be bashed? Yeah. They don’t want to hear it. I can respect the fact people don’t want to be criticized and nit-picked.

The one thing … that I just cannot support … per Whitaker’s post, is the unconditional backing of Waddell, by Levenson. That’s just utterly exasperating. That’s wantonly and brazenly irresponsible, at this point. What has that man done … to deserve MORE TIME in the GM chair? It is an indefensible position, from a sports perspective. Is it the laundry list of marquee players who all thought their futures looked brighter elsewhere? Is it the isolated playoff berth in 2007, that set the team back 4-5 years in its progression, with a series of regrettable trade deadline moves? Look, I’ll just stop right there. It’s a broken record, at this point. But I just cannot see … how Bruce Levenson is going to convince people out there … to spend money, in a BAD ECONOMY, on a team run by a GM … without a playoff victory in decade’s worth of seasons. I don’t mean to come off mean-spirited. Or flippant. Or rude. But John McEnroe said it best, “You CANNOT be serious.” And well … I don’t see how Bruce can maintain this, “We’re 100% behind Waddell, even if the STH’s don’t re-new” policy. As is with any business, if you don’t move the inventory … you don’t make any money. And if HALF or even a THIRD of the STH’s say, “See ya. If Waddell’s still here, I’m not.” In time, like it or not, Bruce may have no OTHER CHOICE but to relieve Waddell of his duties. STH’s are the PAYING CUSTOMER. I think anyone and everyone in the world of business … understands the word, “Cancellation.” There is just no denying what “cancellation” means … in business.

Brendan

February 7th, 2010
3:37 am

Max Cap, for as painful as it is for both you and me, Kovalchuk’s salary demands were a “smokescreen.” He just didn’t want to re-sign here. In short, he lied about wanting to be a Thrasher-for-life. He misrepresented himself, and his interests/intentions, publicly. Here’s where Kovy can technically get a pass. “I Love Atlanta. I want to stay here.”

Huh?? Well, is there a “for sale” sign on his house? No. Is he moving his family away from Atlanta? No. Does Kovy have the right to live in Atlanta, while paying in Los Angeles or New York or Boston, or Detroit, Chicago or Toronto? Yes, he does. Where he maintains residences … is … well … entirely his call. I can’t blame him for liking Atlanta, in terms of where he lives. He enjoys something close to total anonymity in this town. That’s part of the reason Kozlov lives here, stays here, never wants to leave. The press doesn’t hound him. He has a great life, good weather, low taxes, magnificent home, and an accountability-free job, etc.

Did Kovy “lie” about loving Atlanta? No. Did he “lie” about wanting to stay here? No. Did he misrepresent his intentions to remain with the Thrashers? YESSSSS! He lied!! He and his agent played Don Waddell like a fiddle. Strummed ‘im like a guitar. His wife was pregnant. The last thing he wanted to do was uproot himself early. He figured that if he could commandeer the GM chair … to get himself the pieces he needed, that he could even keep the Thrashers in contention for a playoff berth … to the very point where … Atlanta couldn’t trade him without jeopardizing its playoff berth. And then … he could sign with his true intended team in July. That was, quite possibly, Kovalchuk’s line of thinking.

As painful as it is for me to say … but I believe … that Don believed … that Kovy would really sign. Waddell “bought it.” Waddell really thought Kovalchuk would ignore zero playoff wins over a decade. Waddell really thought … that Kovy would ignore that Hossa and Savard left, too. Waddell thought … that Kovy would ignore that Eric Perrin and Todd White or Steve Rucchin were the team’s solution up the middle. Waddell really thought … that Kovy would just ignore that Waddell coached 76-games in 2008, without naming a Head Coach. Waddell believed … that his offseason moves of Antropov and Afinogenov would convince Kovy about how SERIOUS the team was about winning. Waddell really believes … and still does … that he’s a GOOD GM. And that Kovy “thinks” he’s a good GM.

When the reality is … here’s what players think of GM Waddell and the ownership. Savard said, “no.” Kaberle said, “no.” Hossa said, “no.” Potential free agent acquisitions Manny Malhotra and Brian Campbell said, “no.” And now, Ilya Kovalchuk has given his “no confidence” vote.

This negotiation was never about money. It was about buying time with his family, so he didn’t have the spend the year apart from his wife, during her pregnancy. He probably hoped that he could stay all year. If you really think about it, who wants to spend a year … “God knows where?,” apart from your family … before you really get the chance to pick which team you want to play for.

Seriously, Waddell could have traded Kovy to Edmonton or Phoenix, way back in July or August. He really could have. Like WBF and others posted, Waddell could have said, in July or August, “Here’s the final offer. $101 million over 12 years. And this offer expires on July 14, 2009. If you don’t take it, you’re gone. To where I say, for the BEST POSSIBLE DEAL for Atlanta. Sorry Ilya, but that’s the way it goes.” Instead, Don … who is a very nice man … patient, tolerant, conscientious … let Kovalchuk hold the cards. He tried his level best … to get Kovy’s signature on that contract. No doubt about it, Waddell tries as hard as he could. But even if he had offered 12-years/$135.6 million … Kovy would have passed on it. Don’s face would have turned white as alabaster. For in that moment, Don Waddell would experience his LONG OVERDUE epiphany … that Kovy just doesn’t have faith in him or this organization to win the Stanley Cup. No matter how much he might like Don Waddell, the man, PERSONALLY.

Stop. We all know people we like very much. Truly, we do. But we’d never hire them. And if already on the payroll, we’d FIRE them. Irrespective of how much we like and care for them. Business is business. And for Ilya Kovalchuk, he’s in the business of trying to win the Stanley Cup. He’s actively looking for a franchise that’s close. Maybe he’s found it in the Devils. Maybe, he hasn’t. We’ll know on July 1, 2010. But, really … truly … it won’t be us. It won’t be the Atlanta Thrashers. And Kovalchuk has a 101 million reasons not to believe in this franchise. And truly … he’s putting his money where his mouth is. I don’t have the constitution to do what Hossa and Kovalchuk did. Then again, I’m not an established millionaire, who doesn’t need to make another DOLLAR in life. Kovalchuk and Hossa alike … turned down TENS OF MILLLIONS of DOLLARS … just to pursue their Stanley Cup dreams. For they knew … none would be forthcoming here. That’s what it boils down to. Nothing more. Any “talk” of, “I would have signed for the MAX” … is just a smokescreen. Nothing more. It was to avoid being traded to the barren, frozen wasteland of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, for the 2009-10 season. Don tried to work with him. And Kovy paid him back in SCORE! It wasn’t “right” for Kovalchuk and his agent to do that to Waddell. But at the same time, Waddell had to know, like Miami Screamin Eagle said, “the longer you wait, the worse the return will be.” And MSE … and WBF … and Bob and Russ and Red Light … were all CORRECT, Max Cap.

If you’re angry at Kovalchuk, I think you’re right to be flustered with him. He should have been “honest” with Waddell. Waddell was honest with him. Waddell tried to work with him. Waddell tried to appease him. But in the end, Waddell never really took stock of the situation. Perhaps, just perhaps, Don Waddell really BELIEVES all the spin he pushes about the state of this franchise. That, “we’re close, REAL CLOSE,” to being a playoff team. To turning the corner. To making a DEEP RUN into the playoffs. Maybe Waddell is, in fact, this delusional about himself and this franchise. Maybe Waddell just ignores … that his star players all walk away. And that free agents only use his contract offers to drive up the expense for their true, intended destination. God Bless Don Waddell, if that’s the truth. For it means that he’s William Hung, the “American Idol” wannabe, who truly thinks he’s a talented singer. Nobody’s been “kind enough” to tell ol’ William, “You’re uhh … you’re not GOOD. In fact, you stink. You’re awful. And people are laughing at you.” Who wants to be the one to tell William Hung that?

Not Bruce Levenson. That’s for sure. Bruce is the guy who is ALSO USING Waddell, Kovalchuk-style. For Waddell is useful (idiot) for his means. He’s the perfect Patsy. Waddell is the ‘yes man’ who carries out his every whim. Keep the payroll low, Don. Keep us in striking distance of the playoffs in February/March, Don. We gotta sell tickets, Don.” But don’t feel too terrible for Waddell. For unbeknownst to Bruce Levenson, in this parade of idiots, Waddell is USING HIM, too. Waddell’s getting paid $900,000 to $950,000 a year. Maybe more. And he’s a GM who has as many playoff victories to his credit as any blogger here, after a decade at the helm. You tell me. Who’s usin’ who, WORSE?

Don’t say Waddell. Don’t say Levenson. For the biggest Sucka is the innocent fan, caught in the crossfire. The Atlanta hockey fab deserves NEITHER Bruce Levenson as an owner, nor Don Waddell, as a GM. But we love our hockey. We love it so much … we’ll take steaming pile of excrement after steaming pile of excrement … and BE GRATEFUL the NHL is here. It’s maddening, folks. Just maddening.

Sage of Bluesland

February 7th, 2010
7:55 am

It IS funny how there are a bunch of silly new sheep around these parts after such an emotional week…Dollars to donuts they are from the ASG or associated in some way, however remote.

Brendan is absolutely and obviously correct–the Kovy “jilting” was NOT about money; my goodness, how dense some of you are! I’m of the opinion that a part of Kovy did indeed want to be a “Thrasher for life”–the idea of playing for one team your entire career is an enticing thought on many levels.

However, if he would have done that, he will NEVER win a cup–which, sheep, that IS the ultimate goal. The money–after so many millions–is irrelevant compared to legacy. How many yachts can one ski behind? How many opportunities do you have to get your name on the Cup?

Oh well, I recognize these ignorant tools for what they are…they’ll be gone when the emotional “high” of our “coming-out” victory against the woeful Panthers is replaced by ever-increasing losses…

Badger Bob

February 7th, 2010
8:55 am

I guess Sage’s mommy woke him up early. Still no facts in your statements, man! (or boy). See Tom Lysiak’s last post and take that on, point by point, or just shut up. My emotional high has passed and I’m still here, asking you to post something meaningful.

Brendan

February 7th, 2010
11:32 am

Sage, had Waddell offered Kovalchuk $201 million, his answer would have been the same. “Nyet.” And then what would Waddell do? He’d throw his hands up in the air, proclaiming, “I had NO IDEA of the BOUNDS of Kovalchuk’s greed!” Which means?? That’s right. That Waddell just doesn’t get it. It’s not about the money. And it never was.

Thrashers27

February 7th, 2010
1:56 pm

Great game last night! The crowd was excellent and the team played as a team. Great to see!

Anyone else notice that the talked about the prominent olympic teams…went through the Canadian Olympians, the Americans and the Russians making mention of the NHL stars who were set to participate, but not a single mention of our dearly departed figure skater.

How incredible would it be for the Thrashers to make the playoffs and sweep the Devils out in the first round. That would be hilarious!

Brendan

February 7th, 2010
2:21 pm

Thrashers27, I would love it!!! But first things, first. Atlanta has to make the playoffs. And chances are, they’d draw the Capitals, not the Devils.