Thrasherville Six-Pack & Seventh Man Suggestion in Today’s Thrasherville Times

Thrasherville Times

- If it isn’t in the Thrasherville Times, it didn’t happen -

Sunday March 14, 2010

Before we spread this morning’s Thrasherville Times out all over the bed or breakfast table…or wherever else you take the Sunday morning paper… I’d like to take this opportunity to give a couple of shout outs to a pair of “Bobs” that frequent this little on-line forum.

Friday night I had the chance to meet BadgerBob as well as Bob…yes, the original “Bob” of this blog…while attending the game at Philips Arena. Oh, and I also had the distinct pleasure of also meeting the lovely and charming Mrs. Bob as well.

It was wonderful to have met ya all…and I certainly do hope to see you again soon.

And now, the March 14, 2010 edition of the Thrasherville Times…

Working On A Thrasherville Six-Pack

This afternoon the Thrashers will entertain the Phoenix Coyotes, who are 41-22-5 after winning in Carolina last night and currently hold the 4th position in the Western Conference. The Thrashers on the other hand are 28-29-10, only two points away from the Southeast Division cellar and three points north of 14th place in the Eastern Conference.

Also, as you are all also very aware of, the home team is currently mired in a five-game losing streak…and not one of those loses brought with it even a single loser consolation point taking an opponent to overtime. Earlier in the season, the team suffered through a nine-game losing streak, but at least three of those defeats earned an overtime loser point.

But such is not the case during this latest slide as they have five losses with zero points. That being the case, a regulation loss today to the Coyotes would bring with it the possibility of having a Thrasherville Six-Pack cracked open.

What’s a Thrasherville Six-Pack, you ask? Well, that’s when you lose six consecutive games in regulation…and then someone is sent packing.

You know, like was the case with Bob Hartley in October of 2007.

If you want to compare this current streak of un-success with that of the first half-dozen games in the fall of ’07, back then the Thrashers were outscored 26-8 in the six losses…22-8 in the first five. In their current losing streak…the “Free-Fall From the Playoffs 2010 Edition”… they have been outscored 19-6.

As you can see, the goals for/goals against difference was pretty near the same…-13 now and -14 then.

So much for “incremental progress” and all that jive.

Kiss-Cam Couple For Seventh Man Award

I was once told that the most hard to attain status symbol in America these days is that of a long-term, happy, successful marriage. The reason being is that in order to achieve such, you have to have someone else in your life equally as dedicated, driven and devoted to obtaining it. You can gain riches and fame on your own, theoretically, but to achieve successful marriage status…well, that is something you simply cannot do on your own.

I’m reminded of this beautiful though many times throughout the hockey season when I see that wonderful elderly couple that appear so often on the Kiss Cam during intermission breaks. They always receive a wonderful ovation from the crowd and I can’t help but don a broad grin each and every time they are shown. And I know so many of you enjoy seeing them on the big jumbo screen above the ice of Philips as well.

The other day I, along with a few of my fellow Thrashervillians, came upon the topic of the two charming Kiss Cam favorites and an idea popped into my head. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this season this lovely couple were honored with the seventh fan award, which is presented at the end of each season?

Personally, I think it would be a great way to honor their devotion to not only each other…but the Thrashers as well.

They have weathered life’s storms, endured hardships, troubles and tribulations…something we Thrashers fans case certainly relate is some measure to…as well as shared many wonderful moments in life as well along the way. And they still find a way to make it to so many home games…together.

I wish I new their names…and to that measure, I’m in the process of trying to learn them. But I thought I would throw the idea out there to the masses nonetheless so that when it comes time to decide who this year’s seventh fan recipient will be, they will be in the forefront of your minds.

Ya know, come to think if it…this may very well be the first-ever official endorsement by the editorial staff of the Thrasherville Times.

Has Anybody Seen My Old Friend John…or Tom…or Jim…or Anybody?

Back on February 6… as the Thrashers were making their way back to Thrasherville from D.C. in the midst of a blizzard … Executive Vice President and general manager Don Waddell, along with Atlanta Spirit partner Bruce Levinson, held a town hall meeting with season ticket holders to discuss the state of the Thrashers organization and the future of the franchise. By most accounts, there were about 250-300 fans in attendance.

Waddell fielded a few direct questions from some who were very disappointed that he was yet again forced to trade away another star player because he was unwilling to re-sign and stay. But from what I have heard of the event, most their seemed more than willing to express support for the only GM the team has ever had by giving him a giant pat on the back with “we’re behind ya, Don” and “Keep doing what you’re doing” type of comments.

Given that, a lot of people came away from the THM thinking that Waddell, Levenson and the rest of the Great Octocluster did indeed have the support and backing of the fan base in Thrasherville. I mean, if most of the crowd did not come to the meeting demanding a change in the front office, then surely the brain trust of the organization can take heart in that…right?

Umm…maybe, maybe not.

See, while it’s true Waddell and Levenson did not have to face the kind of angry mob that many thought they would, the real concern to me is that there were so few who were there to even take part in the event in the first place…250-300.

What does Philips Arena hold for a hockey game…18,000-plus? Uh-huh, and how many season ticket holders were there over a decade ago when the franchise came into the NHL? If I’m not mistaken, that number was 12,000 in March 1999… an NHL mandated minimum.

But only a couple hundred STHs were on hand to discuss the state of the franchise fresh off the most meaningful transaction in the club’s history. Which begs the question… just where did the rest of the season ticket holders go?

So that you don’t have to put too much cerebral activity to that question, I’ll answer it for you…they are indeed still around.  It’s just that those fans…fans that greatly outnumber those who remain…have simply stopped pulling out their wallets to shell out thousands of dollars a season for a product that they have completely and totally lost faith in.

Oh, they haven’t lost faith in the Thrashers or NHL hockey in this community per se. But they have lost faith in the current ownership and one other person, Don Waddell…the man that has promised them so much over the course of a decade-plus, but has delivered on so little.

What should be Don Waddell's fate at the end of the season?

  • Keep him as GM. He's doing a fine job so far! (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Fire him! The record speaks for itself! (25%, 37 Votes)
  • Keep him as EVP but take GM from his title (18%, 26 Votes)
  • What do you mean "at the end of the season"...FIRE HIM NOW! (56%, 82 Votes)

Total Voters: 146

Loading ... Loading ...

And these people are not coming back, or at least not willing to become season ticket holders again, until there is a change…and I’m talkin’ a serious change…coming from this Thrashers organization. They will not give this team any more of their hard earned dollars unless and until the Spirit Group shows the intellectual fortitude…the intestinal fortitude…and the testicular fortitude…required to actually part ways with Don Waddell and set this franchise on a different course.

Now, we can sit here and argue about “this trade” and “that signing” and “this player not re-signing” as reasons why the Waddell-era of the Thrashers has or hasn’t been a complete failure until we’re all blue in the face. But there are two cold-hard facts here that simply cannot be ignored.

One: The lack of success. Their overall record going into today’s game is 301-396-63-45. That’s a points winning percentage of .441. In the last two seasons, both ending with 76 points, that PW% has been .463. Right now, they are once again a sub- .500 hockey team. Nine complete seasons, seven with losing records, one playoff showing and zero post-season wins. And as the Thrashers continue to slide closer and closer to the land of lotteryville, it is clear we are really no closer to that first playoff victory than we were three years ago following the four-game sweep at the hands of the Rangers.

Second: The vast expanses of empty seats in Philips Arena on any given night. Take last Friday for example…a Friday night game in March. The team in the middle of a “March to the Playoffs’…and the building wasn’t full. Officially they say 15,000 +, but there were maybe 12,000 in the house.

And don’t even get me started on what weeknight attendance is like. Simply put, this is nothing short of embarrassing, folks. But it is also the most damning evidence pointing to the fact that the vast majority of potential paying customers have 100% totally rejected what Waddell and the Octocluster are selling.

So again I will say, this organization simply must change course and do it now. Not with just new players, or a new “thinking” of how to construct a team…not with just a new coach, as that has been tried before….not just with a new season campaign slogan or lower ticket prices, although that would be a good start as well…and not with new promises coming from the same source.

No…this organization needs a change in the fundamental foundation of it’s very existence. And that change can only come from the general manger’s office.

If the Thrashers ownership do not finally and once and for all move to make such a change…then those 250-300 season ticket holders that bothered to show up on February 6 will be all the Thrashers sales and marketing department can ever hope to collect revenue from on a season ticket basis.

And pretty soon…they’ll also be the only people showing up to the games at all.

Classy Way To Say Good-Bye

We here in Thrasherville are well accustomed to seeing players leave for other teams. Many times, we also have to endure a backhanded slap from them on their way out the door…a “it’s nice to play in a real hockey town”, or “it’ll be nice to play in front of so many fans each night” is not uncommon.

Certainly we are not alone in this, as many fans of all sports have felt the stinging rebuke of a departing athlete. But here is a case where the direct opposite occurred.

The New Orleans Saints, as you may have heard, recently won the Super Bowl…something many thought was as likely as the Thrashers winning a Stanley Cup. (And hey, it only took the Saints organization four and a half decades to do. So, using that as a measuring stick, we are about a quarter of the way there).

Anyway… recently, the NFL began their free agent signing season and, much like in the NHL, many players found new employers. One such player, linebacker Scott Fujita, left New Orleans to go play for the Cleveland Browns.

How did he depart Louisiana? Well, he gave the community a big virtual hug by donating half of his Super Bowl winnings to charity. Half of his generous gift went to the post-Katrina coastal restoration project in New Orleans and the other half to the relief efforts underway in earthquake-ravage Haiti.

“The people of this city and region have been so good to me and my family that we just felt strongly about doing something to protect the city we have come to love so much”, Fujita explains. “And helping on the coastal issues has been on the back of my mind since I first got here”.

Now that is a classy way to say good-bye. The sports world needs more people like that.

Quotes of the Week

“I think they were a little sharper, wanted it a little more” – John Anderson after last Saturday’s loss in Tampa Bay.

“The power play and the penalty kill are not doing a good job right now. It’s the difference in the game and being in playoff position or not” – John Anderson after the 4-0 loss to Carolina last Sunday.

“We’re not out of it. We’ve still got some games left but we’ve got to start putting some wins together instead of losses” – Chris Thorburn after the 2-1 loss to Nashville on Tuesday.

“I don’t think we were ready to play the first period and a half” – Nik Antropov after the 2-1 loss in Columbus on Thursday.

“This was a huge game for us. We knew how big of a game it was and we didn’t perform how we wanted to. It’s definitely deflating” – Jim Slater after the 5-2 loss to the Rangers Friday.

106 comments Add your comment

FormerIslesFan

March 14th, 2010
6:30 am

First? (That was for you, Stroz)…

The Real Thrash

March 14th, 2010
6:48 am

Why is there a need for this discussion?
What does the ownership keep Waddell?
The only logical reason is because no one else would come here and believe they would be successful. The financial constraints are too severe.

HookyBob

March 14th, 2010
6:52 am

Great read Rawhide.

This blog is to the Thrashers organization what the Tea Party is to Washington. We are tired of all the crap and want a meaningful change.

Coyotes, today. I’m staying home. I am as enamored with the Yotes as I am disillusioned with the Thrashers. They have done a great turn-around despite issues more troubling than our inept management and disfunctional ownership. I’ll still cheer for our “Boys in Blue” but deep inside I now hear a voice asking “why?”.

nhlfan79

March 14th, 2010
7:48 am

I was at the town hall meeting, and to be fair, it was standing room only on the Hawks practice court. That low number was all the place could hold. Also, don’t mistake the fans’ agreement with the hockey decision not to pay Kovy max money over 12 years with approval of the Octocluster and DW’s overall performance. The fans clearly were frustrated with the team’s performance, the retention of DW, and ownership’s absence at the games, and quite a few made that known. Levenson’s answers to those criticisms, however, give me no faith that they’ll finally make any tough decisions this offseason. Therefore, I’m sitting on my ticket renewal until action is taken. The ball is in their court.

moriler

March 14th, 2010
7:51 am

I worry that a bigger problem than Waddell is about to become ownership. I am still largely optimistic that Waddell will step out of player-related duties completely and turn them over to Dudley, and our recent player moves certainly indicate a better direction on that front than in years past. I’m willing to give Dudley some time and see how things work out.

Unfortunately, the Thrashers are saddled with Philips Arena, and practices up in where, Duluth? Others have commented on this but I’ll go through it in slightly greater detail: The locations suck.

There are plenty of hockey fans in this city. A lot of them, like myself, are transplants from the North (though I’ve been here since ‘85 so I probably don’t qualify anymore). Where are most of those transplants living, though? Yup, that’s right… in a big wide are from slightly outside the west side of 285 allll the way over through Marietta and Alphawretched to Gwinnett County. And ticket prices are just a bit high these days … and where’s a huge hunk of the money living? Oh, right. Same place.

And we still start the weeknight games at 7:00pm. This, more than anything, is where the Octocluster needs to wake up and get a clue about what’s happening in their own city: The start time and location have rendered it literally near-impossible for the average fan to conveniently make a weeknight game. Consider that Joe WorkingBum CasualFan leaves work at 5:00. He heads towards his house outside the Perimeter to change out of his zoot suit, and doesn’t make it there until 6:00 on a good day because _traffic sucks_. Then he has to turn around and try to get back down to Philips Arena, smack in the middle of a major traffic blob, by 7:00? Yeah, right. He maybe does this once, twice a year ‘cos of how much of a pain it is. I am able to show up to a bunch of games because I live within walking distance of a stop on the MARTA north train line — zero traffic, almost-zero effort, and no risk if I choose to consume a few ginger ales at the game and bang on the glass. But that line doesn’t extend out into the places I’m looking at buying a house soon, and NO line does, so you can start watching _my_ attendance drop off as well… for reasons totally unrelated to the team’s performance.

I don’t even think that having the games start at 7:30 would be sufficient, honestly. The arena is, plain and simple, in the wrong location. Downtown’s too hard to get to from where your target market lives, and you’d think that the Octocluster would have bothered to employ at least one market research deadbeat to find that sort of thing out. Put an arena in northern Roswell and you’ll see it flooded with people, even those that show up wearing bags just to make fun of the team.

I also don’t think this will ever change, sadly. The city-proper of Atlanta hasn’t figured out how to draw people back to the downtown areas, and it’s so poorly mismanaged that it doesn’t have much of a hope of getting there anytime soon. But they’ll hold onto the arena with tooth and claw, because that’s one of their few bright spots, and trying to get Fulton or one of the northern mini-cities to fund an arena is going to be next to impossible: Fulton’s tax base is being taken away from it as we speak, and the mini-cities (John’s Creek, Sandy Springs, etc) aren’t big enough; they’re only incorporating to get out from under Fulton’s and Atlanta’s thumbs.

Anyway, I have digressed. Happy Pi day. :P

moriler

March 14th, 2010
8:03 am

(I had hoped for there to be some purpose updating that playoff projection spreadsheet, but with the latest couple losses, the projection for the Thrashers looks a lot more simple: “Win Out And Hope Someone Blows It”, and you don’t really need shiny numbers to figure that one out. :)

Tony C.

March 14th, 2010
8:06 am

Again, if anybody here can do decent accounting, I say go interview for the position-apparently, you don’t have to have too much in the way of hockey knowledge-just cook the books baby!

thasher fan

March 14th, 2010
8:11 am

for the poor fans who live out in the suburbs where there is no MARTA, well, quit complaining and get your local government to vote for the tax that could bring MARTA out to you. It’s the suburban folks who — and we all know why — don’t want MARTA near them but sure like to use it. the location is fine. it is the atlanta thrashers not the lawrenceville lads, by the way. so, vote for MARTA. as for waddell, fire him. glad kovy is gone but it’s time for don to go as well.

MB

March 14th, 2010
8:16 am

Fantastic idea to honor the Kiss Cam couple as the Seventh Fan…they do, indeed, bring a smile to many faces at the game.

Ya know, there is still a chance that we can play meaningful games this month. The way the Leafs have been playing of late, it’s not beyond the pale that the games against them on the 25th and 30th could be pivotal in determining which is the second worst team in the league. Yippee.

moriler

March 14th, 2010
8:17 am

If the location’s so good why does attendance suck again even when the team’s playing well? :D Oh, right — the people with the money are using it elsewhere. Can’t force them to use their money on your product; you have to make your product appeal to them. One way is to make it easier to attend your product.

This is Marketing 101, really. Hockey fans are the vast minority of suburban residents; it wouldn’t matter if every single person who wanted to attend a thrashers game started supported the MARTA train line expansions, it still wouldn’t happen. So Thrashers ownership need to take action, not make excuses and pretend it isn’t their problem.

Bluenote

March 14th, 2010
8:23 am

I picked a bad week to stop sniffing glue. ASG: Another Season Gone.

Another in a series of missed opportunities as the team as has utterly failed to connect a flicker of post olympic hockey buzz to any success. Should/coulda/woulda. Wish I thought that a new GM was going to be the answer, and surely it can’t hurt, but the fish rots from the head. Anyone seen Michael Gearon at a game since his rousing Stanley Cup speech a couple of seasons back?

Neither have I.

As long as this franchise is an investment, not a passion to owners it’s hard to believe anything’s gonna change. And sponsors. What’s up with a 5 story pile of non-working, 10 year old video monitors Phillips? What a terrific way to raise awareness of your leading edge technology!

Great work, as usual, Rawhide. Really like the idea of giving the “old couple” some names and recognition. The arena always seems to enjoy it when they’re on camera. Applause for your thoughts there.

It made me consider the former regulars who are now MIA. The Braveheart guy. Beavis & Butthead. Rabid Fan. Grandma. Others. It’s one thing for the team not to be able to retain high dollar free agents. Speaks volumes that it can’t hang onto hard core fans. Sheesh one of the few remaining goofballs, the cowboy guy covers his face.

Can’t really blame him.

Not Blind

March 14th, 2010
8:44 am

Wasn’t that a GREAT NYI vs NJD game ? In the 2nd the Isles pinned the vaunted Devils in there own end for extended periods of time causing NJ to take penalties which NY capitalized on. It was some great hockey to watch.

My point is – I don’t think NYI has more skilled players than Atl. What they ARE is better lead and better motivated.

Tom

March 14th, 2010
9:10 am

I love the idea of the Kiss Cam couple. Back when we were season ticket holders they sat right above us in section 111. As nice of people you would want to meet. They moved to behind the benches, we moved to 122, but a hello was always in order when we saw each other at the games.

Now of course, thank you Don Waddell, we are ex season ticket holders, but they remain one of the bright spots of our Thrashers experience.

LAC

March 14th, 2010
10:38 am

Bluenote, I believe that was the sinister rutherford STUPIDNEL, Oh I mean snydel, who was on the ice when the SE banner was raised promising allsorts of BS and meaning nothing, in ordnairy
terms, LYING.

These clowns never go to Thrasher games, they are afraid. That is how people with book sense and NO common sense act. They would not know what to say to the common fan.

They act all “high & mighty”, but everyone laughs at them and knows they are complete FOOLS at running an NHL team. Come on Bill… Find out WHY these little boys are hiding from the fans and will not answer the waddell factor. Someone needs to, Jeff did a good job on the commissioner.
Why can’t you seek these IDIOTS out ? We All know the asg TOOL beat writer will not, he takes orders from them and when the fan asks, he resorts to his usual childish name calling !

So please see what you CAN find out… Thanks!

Junk not Trunk

March 14th, 2010
10:39 am

And there are plenty of hockey fans who live on the southside for whom a northern-suburb-located arena would be a huge hassle to get to. And out west, Douglsville way. And east, towards Conyers. Yep, there are hockey fans out there too.

And some like me, who live walking distance to Philips.

They’re trying to draw from the entire Atlanta region, not just Roswell. And the much bigger problem is that the product they have is so bad it can’t draw flies.

Bob

March 14th, 2010
11:08 am

Bill, great to meet you! And R. Stroz, great to meet you as well!

I like the idea on that couple from the Kiss Game for the 7th man. They always warmed my heart seeing them dressed up nicely and enjoying a game. I used to tell me wife “that’ll be us one day”.

As I was showing you Friday night, our old section was full of long time season ticket holders. We were some of the last to leave, there’s just one guy left in that section from the years there. All of the guys I talk to now say they’ll come back, when they get rid of Waddell. But most don’t even care enough to come to a game now, that’s very sad.

There’s some nice pieces in place on this team. A new GM could come in and spend the money wisely this offseason. I pray the Spirit Squad wakes up and finally does what needs to be done.

Red Light

March 14th, 2010
11:10 am

Thrashers all-time record vs Coyotes: 1-10-1. Their only win came with Pasi Nurminen in net back in 2003. Only Doan remains with Phoenix and Kozlov for Atlanta from that game.

EA

March 14th, 2010
11:11 am

nfl79, thanks for backing up what I have said on this blog numerous times. The applause at the STH was about the money involved with the Kovy deal, not the Thrashers season. I guess if your name is not Brendan or the other regulars (no offense to any of you great bloggers) , no one believes what you say. STH fans are as upset and frustrated as everyone else on here.

sisu

March 14th, 2010
11:11 am

I think there is always a lot of talk about the budget for this team but what about Nashville? They run their squad on a shoe string budget, changed owners and still compete very hard. I think what the real reason for failures is the draft picks, if the organization had a steady stream of prospects in the AHL it would be easier to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
One thing that could go a very long way is to finally find a true #1 goalie, don’t believe me? Look at the Swiss in the Olympics and what a difference their goalie made for them.
It is time for a change all around, the team never being able to win more than 5 games in a row speaks for it self.

August

March 14th, 2010
11:14 am

I really can’t believe that someone is on here whining about attendance being down because “the Thrashers play downtown.” You know, instead of building that stadium for the Atlanta Beat, maybe Kennesaw State should expand it and dome it for the hundreds of hockey fans that live in Kennesaw/Acworth.

Personally, I live in Stockbridge and I work in Kennesaw. I’m 20 miles from downtown with where I work and I’m 20 miles from downtown with where I live. Yet and still, I still go because I WANT to go. If the team played in Peachtree City, I’d still go because I WANT to go.

Heck, I drove downtown when the city was flooding for a frickin’ preseason game. The only reason I’m hesitant to go to games now (as I said last blog) is that the team doesn’t care to make the effort on the ice, so I don’t care to make the effort to show up. And I guarantee you that the people in Roswell, Alpharetta, Flowery Branch, Lawrenceville, Covington, McDonough, Hampton, Lake City, Villa Rica, Douglasville, Fairburn, Union City, Marietta, Cartersville, and all points outward and in between feel the same way. If the team was winning or if the team at least played with effort, those people would show up.

moriler

March 14th, 2010
11:16 am

“They’re trying to draw from the entire Atlanta region,…”

Yeah, see, that goes back to “failure to do market research”. The guys in Douglasville and Conyers have a heck of a drive no matter where you put the arena (excluding Douglasville and/or Conyers, of course) — and I-285 takes them to the northside just as well as I-20 takes them to downtown. The people downtown can go outbound (even on MARTA!) just as easily as the people near 285/400 can go intown; possibly easier.

I wouldn’t want to draw from Roswell specifically either, but Roswell is simply a central point that’s easier to get to for the north, west, and east Atlanta burbs. And rather than buying into the City of Atlanta’s failed once, failed twice, gonna-fail-again “downtown restoration project” (Atlantic Station: NO WAY), the Octocluster should’ve considered maybe something a bit better. (Don’t get me started on what they _need_ to do to fix downtown; I lived in Ormewood Park/Grant Park for a long time, and if it didn’t suck in so many basic ways, I’d be delighted to still be living there.)

If someone has market research that proves me wrong and shows that Philips Arena is the optimal ‘centralized’ location for Atlanta-area hockey fans, by the way, feel free to post it. But I’m inclined to say that the Octocluster wanted Philips for the events and the Hawks, and took the Thrashers as a sideline.

moriler

March 14th, 2010
11:18 am

August: Do bother to keep up. Attendance right now is in the toilet because the team is playing like my blind grandmother. But attendance wasn’t up that much even when the team was doing well.

“Heck, I drove downtown when the city was flooding for a frickin’ preseason game. ”

You don’t get it. You aren’t the fan they need to attract to have consistently high attendance. You _already_ love hockey. They need to get more than just the hardcore hockey fans.

Nikita (in PA)

March 14th, 2010
11:35 am

I love the idea of the Kiss Cam couple for the 7th Man.

As for the location, I no longer live in Georgia, but even as someone who lived relatively near Gwinnett I am absolutely never going to see any team located there. And if I, as someone who lived about 60 miles from downtown Atlanta, can manage to get myself to Phillips more or less on time, leaving at 5 p.m. from work, I’m pretty sure someone who lives 30 miles closer can manage it. The Rabid Fan and some others have done the same for, like, the entire team history, so it can be done.

a. It is the Atlanta Thrashers. It is not the Somewhere Near Atlanta Thrashers.
b. The downtown is part of the Thrashers experience. I, personally, like to get dinner or go to some other type of entertainment before or after, and that’s not going to happen in the ‘burbs.
c. Also, I ride MARTA. Not always, but when I do I see plenty of other fans on the train. I actually saw a guy hauling a keg, on MARTA, to a Thrashers tailgate. Its actually a pretty awesome way to get to the game, particularly if you plan to drink.
d. Technically, the wealth is not in Gwinnett. There is wealth in Gwinnett, but not as much as in two of the other metro counties. Plus, there’s no ambient traffic in Gwinnett.

As for the Ice Forum and 7 p.m. — meh. The Ice Forum is a manky little minor league facility. But hey, it is what it is. Yes, the Thrashers should have better, and they could probably use some presence in Cobb County. But a lot of the other teams have similarly incognito facilities and they do o.k. I don’t know that the time matters, either way. Basically, you give people more time to get there and they have to stay out later. Or they get to bed earlier, but have to hustle to be there on time. Six of one, half dozen of the other.

rob

March 14th, 2010
11:35 am

So what game might we suggest as ASG = Another Season Gone and FIRE WADDELL night?
And not every night should be that night.

Sage of Bluesland

March 14th, 2010
11:59 am

“…They [the fans] will not give this team any more of their hard earned dollars unless and until the Spirit Group shows the intellectual fortitude…the intestinal fortitude…and the testicular fortitude…required to actually part ways with Don Waddell and set this franchise on a different course….”

Couldn’t have said it better myself…Then again, reading some of this and the comments from those whose eyes have just recently opened, I feel like it’s deja-vu all over again…

It’s good to see another AJC writer joining Jeff Schultz in attempting to get the obvious message to the masses.

I’ve never seen a GM fraud in this town quite like it. Ken Herock [Falcons, late 1980s to mid 1990s] is in the discussion–but Waddell is the King of the inexplicable. Only in Atlanta…

drajax

March 14th, 2010
12:21 pm

if the team was any good fans would come even to downtown Atlanta, most of the NHL teams have arenas in the downtown and draw better than we do so that argument has no merit. Waddell and Anderson should be fired. Waddell for failing in ten years to recognize what it takes to put a winning team on the ice and Anderson for not being able to get any consistency out of the players he’s been given. To be successful you need to be consistent. Waddell keeps failing because he’s chosen the wrong guys to play under the schemes he envisioned for the team. First it was to be a Detroit style, European players with finesse, once he realized that with the players he had he wasn’t even close to a winning formula he chose the more rugged North American approach to the game but his coach can’t seem to coach the team Waddell has provided. Fire them both and start over. What’s the worst that can happen? We finish out of the playoffs again. The best, we do a turn around. It happens all the time. Regardless, we as fans after living with the sports teams in this city can take it.

Mrs. Zoomo

March 14th, 2010
1:37 pm

I too love the idea of the Kiss Cam couple being the 7th Man. We saw them before the game last Sunday in CNN Center, he was pushing her in a wheelchair. That is devotion.

10 yr plan

March 14th, 2010
1:38 pm

Great read Rawhide, love the idea about the couple. Good news, we’re finally ending the Waddell era. Time to give Dale Tallon a call in Chicago and see what him & Dudley can build. They did ok in Chicago. Team still has no identity. Only Waddell to blame. Schiller should have hired Burke! ASG, wake up!!!!!!!

Russian

March 14th, 2010
1:38 pm

I hope that after Game today Don Waddell and John Anderson will be FIRED. We are going to loose the game, even if we win a game those two Persons should be FIRED. Thrashers should play rest of games and FIND new GM and new COACH. If it is happend after this season, we can BUILD new Success Team. If everybody will stay a same position Atlanta Thrashers will not move in RIGTH Direction.

Supes

March 14th, 2010
1:55 pm

Rawhide, best blog of the year award (if the AJC gave them out) should go to you. Very well said sir.

moriler, couldn’t agree more with your point and argument about the location of Phillips arena, and the lack of foresight to do proper research and learn where the majority of the thrashers fanbase is located, and most of all…the fans who are considered (casual) and go maybe to 4-8 home games per year…which is my demographic. I live in Forsyth Co. and have been thinking the same thing…Marta or not I have friends who have season tickets and routinely can’t find ANYONE here to give them away to…b/c (lack of a consistent product on the ice resulting in winning, and how far away the arena is) esp. during the weeknights with the 7pm start and traffic.

One of these days, one of the major 4 will get smart and build an arena outside freaking 285 on the northern side. I know this wasn’t that far north, but even moving the Falcons to where the GM Plant used to be in Doraville would have been a major improvement over their current location. If Arthur has the money to go through with it, I can’t wait to see the Falcons outside of downtown in the future, in an open stadium with grass, the way football was meant to be played in the SOUTH.

Sherry Taylor

March 14th, 2010
2:15 pm

As season ticket holders since day one of the Thrashers franchise, my husband and I have driven down to Philips several times a week from Gainesville, an hour drive one way in good traffic. Location of the arena is NOT why there aren’t more fans in the seats. Frustration with how this team is managed and staffed and the consequent play of said staff is the issue. We have ownership that is less than confidence inspiring, a General Manager who from what I can tell doesn’t know for the most part, how to draft for the future or now. Now that Kovalchuk is gone, I don’t have much of an issue with players. I think most of them are playing up to their abilities, which may be the problem. Drafting is only a weapon if you have an eye for the NHL not the AHL. It seems to me that ownership and management have a keen eye for what will work in Chicago but not what will work here in Atlanta and the ‘big league’, which means something must change.

We did not attend the town hall meeting or that game because of the snow. Up here in Gainesville everything was saying don’t go out if you don’t absolutely have to, otherwise we would’ve been there and voicing our distaste for the current state of affairs. I, as a hockey convert and season ticket holder, lay the blame for this teams inability to move forward in ten plus years at the feet of ownership and the GM. The one consistent thing over all these years is management, which means something must change. Simple. Unless you are a member of the Atlanta Spirit.

Alan R.

March 14th, 2010
2:18 pm

The only six-packs we need should be in our fridges. Me? I’m prepared for yet another flat start, with inconsistent play through the first 30-40 minutes… after which time the team decides to pretend like they care, score a goal — maybe two, in a losing “effort.”

By that time, the beer should be gone and I should be at least a quarter of the way through the handle of whiskey sitting in my freezer.

Alan R.

March 14th, 2010
2:22 pm

But I’m inclined to say that the Octocluster wanted Philips for the events and the Hawks, and took the Thrashers as a sideline.

First and foremost, this is a false statement. Philips was there before ASG came in and bought the whole shebang.

Secondly, people who love the Thrashers and hockey live on the southside too. Stop trying to screw us!

Brendan

March 14th, 2010
2:40 pm

I don’t doubt that the STH’s were pleased that Waddell didn’t CAVE to $135.6 million for Kovy. But why on Earth can’t they see beyond that, to clarify something. As in, “that applause is for not being stupid with the Kovy contact, but … why do all our top Tiered player refuse to re-sign? That’s not good. We’re displeased by it.” In the case of Hossa, he wouldn’t even counter-negotiate. I think it’s relatively clear that Kovy’s salary demands were made in an effort to make re-signing him impossible. I always said, let’s take dissoluble ink to the 12-year/$135 million contract, explain to Kovy that it’s binding, and that he’ll spend the prime years of his career in Atlanta, then watch Grossman and Kovalchuk say, “okayyyyy. You called our bluff. We just don’t want to be here.” Then tear up the offer, explaining, “why didn’t you just tell us this last July?” Let Kovy answer, “Because I had a pregnant wife and didn’t want to spend the year apart from her, until I could choose my next team in July 2010.” See, I’d believe that, as an answer. That seems like honesty. Along with this statement, “I just don’t have confidence in this organization to do what is right and necessary, at the time when tough decisions need to be made.”

If I’m wrong … and admittedly I could be, and Kovalchuk up-n-signs with Columbus for that 12-years/$135 million, then Waddell was actually right. “It was about the money.” But if Kovy takes a modest 8-year/$60 million deal with a contender, that is “Exhibit A” that it wasn’t about the money. It was about spending Kovy’s prime years with an organization with a realistic chance of winning the Stanley Cup. If that same 8 year/$60 million is signed by Columbus, then that’s “Exhibit A” that Kovy’s value is weak, for Columbus isn’t any closer to winning the Cup than we are, and GM’s just didn’t think he was worth $10 million, or even $9 million, or even $8 million. For that cap hit would be $7.5 million. Which is is “present salary.”

We can argue all day long about this trade, or that trade, or this UFA signing, or that one. Or this draft pick, or this other one, just like Rawhide said. But really, … and this is deadly honest, this organization fundamentally dropped the ball in April 2007. They did. That’s my opinion. But I think it to be fact. The truth I believe is this. At the trade deadline in 2007, Don Waddell should have come down to the bench to take over for Hartley. And if the team didn’t make the playoffs, the whole organization gets gutted. Instead, DW makes 4 moves.

1. D-man Vitaly Vishnevski (acquired for Atlanta’s 2007 2nd round pick in the offseason) to Nashville, for Center Eric Belanger. Belanger walked in free agency for nothing.

2. 1st round pick Alex Bourret to the NY Rangers for Pascal Dupuis and the Rangers’ 3rd round pick. (Note: 3rd round pick later used to acquire forward Chris Thorburn.)

3. 1st round pick Braydon Coburn to Philadelphia for 35-year old Alexei Zhitnik. Coburn plays 24-25 minutes a game for the Flyers

4. Atlanta’s 1st and 3rd round picks in 2007, their 2nd round pick in 2008, and a conditional 1st round pick in 2008, later returned, and Center Glen Metropolit, to St. Louis for center Keith Tkachuk.

Rolling the dice? Certainly. Expection level for mortgaging the future? High. The results: A division title hanging from the rafters, with no accompanying playoff wins.

For any other organization, the next step would have been crystal clear. Fire Waddell. Fire Hartley. Fire the Scouts. Etc. Instead, everyone was kept? Marian Hossa went into full-fledged WTF mode. And it didn’t end when Centers Eric Perrin and Todd White were added in free agency, to join Steve Rucchin. Hossa wanted out, right then. The organization wanted to sell tickets. Hossa was TRAPPED until the 2008 trade deadline, when he and Pascal Dupuis were dealt for the 2008 1st round pick, 29th overall, in the form of Daultan Leveille, forwards Erik Christensen, Colby Armstrong, and prospect Angelo Esposition, a 1st round pick, 20th overall, himself.

Kovalchuk, to his credit, said nothing. When the 2009 season came to a close, Kovy opened his mouth wide enough to say, “I think the organization should spend some money, bring in free agents, and try to compete for the Stanley Cup next season.” The organization at least met him half way. The internal team cap budget went from $40,000 to $53,000, but included bonuses for Bogosian and Kane. But really, and beeee honest, how was Kovalchuk supposed to simply ignore the state of the franchise? The ownership? His fellow players opting out, as pending UFAs. The slow, overprice defensemen, when Waddell sat on the “Rules Committee” during the lockout. The never-ending in net, from Damian Rhodes to Kari Lehtonen. And yes, yes … yes Kovalchuk himself was part of the losing. But Kovalchuk also scored 30 or more goals seven times, and 40 or more goals five times, soon to be six times, once Kovy scores four more goals in New Jersey. That’s not failure. Kovy’s -85 or something career +/- stat is something to which you can assign failure and blame. Kovy shares responsibility in that statistic, along with the organization.

Alan R.

March 14th, 2010
2:54 pm

Thanks, Brendan, for that depressing trip back through time. I think I’m going to go get started early on that six-pack.

Brendan

March 14th, 2010
3:19 pm

Rawhide, I don’t mean to put you on the spot. But let me ask you, personally, “What, in your opinion, was the single defining moment of failure (to act) by this franchise?” You can pick anything you’d like, from the 1st Thrasher ever signed, Damian Rhodes, to Curt Fraser, to Bob Hartley, to John Anderson, to Dan Marr as a scout, to the failure to retain Audette, Brunette, Savard, Kaberle, Hossa, or even now, with Kovalchuk.

But my vote goes to, without hesitation, the failure of the Thrashers organization to take stock of the situation in April 2007, and clean house then. Look where we might be, today, if he had? Who knows? Maybe Perrin, White and Rucchin never get here? Maybe Hossa stays???? Maybe Kovy “compromises a bit” on his UFA deal, and stayyyyys? We’ll never know. But, to me, the single, defining moment of failure … by this franchise is, without a SHADOW OF A DOUBT, standing pat in April 2007, doing absolutely NOTHING about the situation. In my view, not just Hartley had to go, but Waddell as well. That was the time to clean house. That was the time to do something about retaining Kovalchuk. The inaction that followed … was inexcuseable. The retention of Waddell … inexcuseable. Indefensible, from a sports perspective. What an opportunity April 2007 truly was … to change the fortune of this franchise. Bygones.

Actually, I retract those bygones. For it’s never too late to fire Waddell. There’s never a bad time to do that, as the NEXT BEST STEP towards ‘moving in the right direction.’

Sharon

March 14th, 2010
4:31 pm

At what point will former STHs outnumber current STHs?

I’ve gone from being a STH to walking out of the last game I attended (last Sunday vs Carolina, and that was my first game in ages). When the ASG invests in the team, then I’ll invest in the team.

Great idea on the Kiss-Cam couple, we just love them :)

Sharon

March 14th, 2010
4:43 pm

Oh, does anyone know where to buy Thrashers pucks (other than the arena)? I live in the Smyrna area, if anyone knows of a sports shop. I might go to next Sunday’s practice to get some autographs since almost all of my memorabilia is signed by former players. It would be nice to have something current.

stendek

March 14th, 2010
6:54 pm

Quit bellyaching. Atlanta hockey fans are honored! They have the privilege of watching the most heartless group of untalented nobodies in the National Hockey League. Total oxygen wastes! All Thrashers except for Johan Hedberg should handle ditch digging shovels not hockey sticks for a living. Certainly overpaid for their current (non)production! Spare be about shots off iron. Boo hoo! Spare me the bad bounces excuses. Wah! Spare me the playing hard fantasy. Been a lie since it was first uttered! Glad Coach John Petrino is such an offensive genius. Sure is obvious by last few outings! Wonder if jerk is related to that other offensive genius Dan Henning? Another loss at Loseland is moments away. Home team has been it in again! Visitors up 1-0 as sieve Pavs Lehtonen surrendered a tally any halfway average high school goaltender could stop. Probably by 2-0 final on empty netter! Such is life for a team already in tank with games remaining. It is all right losers. Only a few more matchups then tee time! Uh oh. Score now tied. SHOCK! Await further news reports. ++STENDEK++

stendek

March 14th, 2010
7:16 pm

Now that reality has set back in. Thanks Pavs! Worthless piece of commode residue. Final score in a few minutes will be 3-1 on empty netter. Thrashers threw me off with that one in a million fluke goal they scored. Total scumbags! Losing streak intact. Tankers remain firmly in tank! Thrashers do not want to earn playoff berth. Would interfere with their time on greens or in bars! Most heartless alleged professional athletes anywhere. Except perhaps in Michigan! This group of quitters belongs at very bottom of NHL standings at end of season. If there is any justice in sports that is where they will finish! Thrashers worked hard to be this putrid. They DESERVE last place! ++STENDEK++ Darn. Game tied again. Tune in same bat time same bat channel for additional update. Whadda ya say Pavs?

stendek

March 14th, 2010
7:18 pm

Now that reality has set back in. Thanks Pavs! Worthless piece of commode residue. Final score in a few minutes will be 3-1 on empty netter. Thrashers threw me off with that one in a million fluke goal they scored. Total scumbags! Losing streak intact. Tankers remain firmly in tank! Thrashers do not want to earn playoff berth. Would interfere with their time on greens or in bars! Most heartless alleged professional athletes anywhere. Except perhaps in Michigan! This group of quitters belongs at very bottom of NHL standings at end of season. If there is any justice in sports that is where they will finish! Thrashers worked hard to be this putrid. They DESERVE last place! ++STENDEK++ Score tied again. What do ya say Pavs?

Brendan

March 14th, 2010
7:31 pm

A point!!! We got a point!!! Let’s go Thrashers, in OHHHHHHvertime. C’mon Blue. Get a win.

Brendan

March 14th, 2010
7:36 pm

Lots of chances in Overtime. Bergfors, Peverley, Finny. It’s been there. 1:34 left in OT.

Brendan

March 14th, 2010
7:37 pm

Okay, it’s time for the shootout. Time to put in Moose. :)

Brendan

March 14th, 2010
7:51 pm

Peverley put us up, 1-0, as the 3rd shooter. All Pavelec needed to do was stop Vrbata. Vrbate removed Pavs from his jock strap. Atlanta couldn’t score again, so it was up to Adrian Aucoin to win it. Which he did. Perfect shot, high over the glove. I can’t and won’t blame Pavelec on that one.

Pavelec made 32 saves on the night. But it wasn’t enough. And really, Atlanta must win every game, including this one, so … ya know … it’s over. At this point, we’re playing for roster spots. And as soon as we get to 9 games left, we can start to bring up the guys from the AHL for those 9 game auditions.

Matt

March 14th, 2010
7:51 pm

SIX loses in a row!!! Woo-hoo awesome. Go Thrashers (preferably somewhere far, far, far away)

stendek

March 14th, 2010
7:52 pm

Way to go Pavs! Knew you would not let us down. Miserable piece of commode residue! All you had to do to put a halt to the skid was to stop one shot. One miserable shot! Could not even do that. Sheep baa that they got a point. Whoop dee do! Being embarrassed at Loseland by the Phoenix Coyotes is not a cause to celebrate a darn thing. Absolutely no positives from this fiasco. Pavs sucked! Forwards sucked! Defenders sucked! Coach John Petrino sucked! Assistant coaches sucked! Any idiot in stands NOT rooting for Coyotes sucked! Hit posts? Spare me! Played hard? Spare me! Fought to end? Spare me! Quitters? Now you are talking! ++STENDEK++

HookyBob

March 14th, 2010
8:02 pm

Tough loss, Let me rephrase that “Another tough loss.”

No matter how the remaining games play out,..I am so disheartened (for next season).

Bloggers,…. while I truly like Rawhide’s vote for the elderly couple,…. have you given any thought to Rawhide being the the 7th fan? In my mind he is more as loyal/valuable.

stendek

March 14th, 2010
8:03 pm

I was wrong! Pains me to say so. I really believed team bound for playoffs after Ilya Kovalchoke jettison! Guys played as a unit for a few games. Then they quit! Just gave up. That remains a mystery to me. Most pegged Thrashers as a playoff team. I did. Ask them about that projection now! Is last place in NHL out of reach? If not, I hope Thrashers finish dead last. Then relocate to Hamilton! Heartless quitters. ++STENDEK++

stendek

March 14th, 2010
8:04 pm

As much as I hate Kari Lehtonen. And I do! The Finn would have won shootout today. That is all I am going to say about that! ++STENDEK++