Thrashers in grave danger of crash landing in Lotterypickville…again

Like a doomed airplane spinning out of control due to its pilot and co-pilot becoming sick to the state of unconsciousness after eating tainted fish, the Atlanta Thrashers have fallen from the lofty altitude of playoff contention and are in grave danger of crash-landing into Lotterypickville.

Ah, Lotterypickville… It’s a rough place, the seediest dive on the wharf. Populated with every reject and cutthroat from Bombay to Calcutta. It’s worse than Detroit.

Most NHL franchises avoid this place at any cost. But not the Thrashers…they actually have a P.O. Box in the local post office.

Just a week and a half ago the Thrashers were riding a 4-0-2 wave after a 6-3 win over then Islanders on March 4, were resting in the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 66 points and many were telling me that surely they were ready to make a run at the post-season.

Well, it appears they weren’t…and don’t call me Shirley!

Since that time Atlanta has gone 0-5-1, coming just shy of cracking open a Thrasherville Six-Pack by at least taking Phoenix to a shootout before losing their sixth straight. In doing so, they’ve sunk into 11th place in the east with but 67 points and only six teams in the league have gathered fewer…Edmonton, Toronto, Columbus, Carolina, the Islanders and Florida. However, the Panthers are but a point in back of the Thrashers while New York and the CBJs are two behind…and Columbus plays the Oilers tonight.

I was asked recently by a friend of mine how it felt to be a Thrashers fan recently. My response…” Do you know what it’s like to fall in the mud and get kicked… in the head… with an iron boot? Of course you don’t, no one does. It never happens. Sorry, that’s a dumb question… skip that”.

Anyway…all this means, of course, is that we in Thrasherville may once again be looking at our logo on a certain amount of draft pick lottery ping-pong balls shortly after this campaign comes to an end. Depending on how they drop, we’ll begin anew the time-honored tradition in these parts of discussing just who the Thrashers should select with that early draft pick when the 30 NHL teams gather in L.A. on June 25.

But I say, why wait…let’s get the ball rolling right now.

Here is a list of the top five prospects available in the draft as ranked by TSN.com back in September 2009. Tell me what you can make of this. I mean, besides a hat or a brooch or pterodactyl…

Taylor Hall: 6’-1”, 185 pound Canadian left wing playing currently for the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires.

TSN Insider’s Take: Prior to the 2009 draft, several NHL scouts told me that if Taylor Hall were eligible they would take the Kingston, Ont., native ahead of John Tavares, Victor Hedman or Matt Duchene. Hall’s forte is as a tenacious goal-scorer who does everything at a high speed. He’s a dynamic game-breaker who is an excellent bet to be on Canada’s national junior team this year.

Cam Fowler: 6’-2”, 190 pound US defenseman playing currently for the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires.

TSN Insider’s Take: The scouts often refer to the young American as the “total package.” He has size, speed and skill and can be a force at both ends of the ice. Originally drafted by the Kitchener Rangers, the graduate of the U.S. national development program went back into the OHL draft when he didn’t report to Kitchener, only to be selected by Windsor, where he’s playing this season.

Tyler Seguin: 6’-1”, 186 pound Canadian centerman playing currently for the OHL Plymouth Whalers.

TSN Insider’s Take: I watched him play minor hockey in his very early years in Whitby. Along the way, he moved to Brampton, Ont., and the Plymouth Whaler centre has now fully blossomed as an elite offensive force who looks like a lock to be a top five pick in this draft. He’s probably viewed more as a playmaker than a goal scorer but he has an outstanding shot. Playing on a line with John McFarland and Tyler Toffoli, Seguin was outstanding at the U-18 tourney in August in the Czech Republic. Scouts raved about his play and he may have done enough there to get an invite to Canada’s final national junior camp in December.

Kirill Kabanov: 6’-3”, 176 pound Russian right wing currently playing for the KHL’s Spartak Moscow.

TSN Insider’s Take: The Russian, who is awaiting the transfer paperwork to allow him to play for the Moncton Wildcats of the Quebec League, is a highly-skilled, offensive minded lanky centre. Whether he falls victim to the so-called “Russian factor” remains to be seen, because his skills are elite and he’s one of several Russians this year who have Top 10 potential. He was, however, shut down by his future Moncton teammate Brandon Gormley in the U-18 championship game.

Brett Connolly: 6’-1”, 153 pound Canadian right wing currently playing for the WHL’s Prince George Cougars.

TSN Insider’s Take: Injury limited his effectiveness for Canada at the U-18 tourney in August – he got hurt in the first game, sat out the next two before dressing for the gold-medal game — but his excellent production for Prince George in the WHL last year has demonstrated he’s a smooth and polished offensive performer who plays the game with a great deal of confidence.

Here’s a link to the site if you care to review and discuss those further down the list.

Elsewhere, the NHL Scouting Bureau’s midterm rankings show Hall, Seguin, Fowler and Connolly as the top North American skating prospects while Mikael Granlund…a 5’-10”, 176 pound Finnish centerman tops their list of Euopean skaters.

There is also a list of top goaltending prospects at the NHL Scouting Bureau, but if the Thrashers waste another top pick on a goalie like they did in 2002, I think I just might shout out at the person responsible for such a decision, “Jive ass dude don’t got no brains no-how”!

OK, you all chew on this for a while…seeing that it’s better for you than the fish served on flight 2-0-9’er from Los Angeles to Chicago. Meanwhile, I’ll be be doing some light reading….a couple leaflets titled ”Famous Thrashers Playoff Legends” and “How to Succeed as an NHL GM” by Don Waddell.

Today’s blog entry is dedicated in memory of Peter Graves and his portrayal of Capt. Oveur in the classic cinema comedy “Airplane”.

136 comments Add your comment

Everett

March 15th, 2010
2:12 pm

At least if we do hit the lottery pick, it adds to the fun of the draft party. Trying to be optimistic…

Bob

March 15th, 2010
2:14 pm

Yep, it’s that time again, let’s hope for the lottery pick! Hall could be our top line LW next year (don’t laugh).

Is Connolly’s weight correct as listed? We’re gonna have to buy that kid a sandwich if he comes to town.

Netminder

March 15th, 2010
2:16 pm

Sad state of affairs that once again we are talking about who we are going to draft. I don’t see how the Thrashers can keep DW for another season. We need to draft an American or a Canadian. I am tired of the Europeans/Russians.

Intro: I am one of the blog “Lurkers” from the front row of 219. My wife and I display our Blueland flag proudly throughout the year.

R. Stroz

March 15th, 2010
2:17 pm

Most NHL franchises avoid this place at any cost. But not the Thrashers…they actually have a P.O. Box in the local post office.

What do you mean P.O. Box?

The Thrashers have their own ZIP CODE.

Darren

March 15th, 2010
2:21 pm

That photo caption is brutally honest, I must say.

Begin Tankapalooza 2010, I guess…

J.B.

March 15th, 2010
2:22 pm

The captions on the Airplane! screen grabs had me laughing out loud in the office. Thanks for that Bill.

TeddyIceTime

March 15th, 2010
2:29 pm

Good Ole’ DW will be here until the trucks back up to Philips and takes the Thrashers north to Canada….
This team is not even worth the blog time anymore….from the owners to the management to the coaches to the players — this team is the worst in the history of Atlanta sports. The Thrash is even worse than the 70’s version of the Braves.
I feel sorry for Bogo, Kane and Moose…the rest of the team just does not seem to be able to whip their rears…
Can a Zamboni be converted into a paving machine? Maybe, the City of Atlanta can buy the Thrashers bonis and pave over potholes in downtown after the team heads to Canada….
Good bye forever hockey in the South.

TableHockey

March 15th, 2010
2:31 pm

If the lottery gods smile on Atlanta the pick would have to be Hall or Seguin. Either would be a great addition but I think Hall will be a special player. Though you would have him and Kane as left wingers. Wonder if one could move to center or right?

While it stinks to find ourselves in this position again I think I am okay with it. If we were to make it to the post-season I do believe this team would finally notch one in the post season W column but I don’t think they have what it takes to get out of the first round.

Would love this to be DW’s swan song but based on what I heard coming out of the STH town hall that is not going to happen. I imagine JA is done in Atlanta. Not sure if his system won’t work in the big leagues or if there is another issue but this team should have made the post-season (on paper anyways and given how weak the EC is).

It looks to be a pretty thin UFA market this summer and with the departure of Ilya we will probably have to overpay whomever we pick up (much like the summer after Hossa left). Probably better for the team if we get a good draft pick.

Rawhide

March 15th, 2010
2:41 pm

Oh no! Did Don Waddell just give John Anderson the proverbial kiss of death???

TableHockey

March 15th, 2010
2:46 pm

I believe so Rawhide.

MB

March 15th, 2010
2:50 pm

Well done on the Graves tribute/”Airplane” references. Many of us also remember him well for his work in “Mission: Impossible” back when Tom Cruise was in diapers…oh wait, he’s still in diapers.

Following up on a thread from the last blog, several were discussing what effect(s) if any would be felt if individual STHs did not renew, with comments along the lines that the ASG focuses more on corporate and club section STHs.

I managed tickets for a previous company several years ago. We had combined Thrashers and Hawks season tickets, along with first crack at other Philips events (concerts, circus, etc.). Back then those ran about $50,000. As the economy started to tighten and revenues dropped, we had to cut costs, and that subscription was an easy candidate for the chopping block once it came time for renewal. In the years since, the economy has gotten tougher and I have to guess that numerous other companies dropped their tickets…hard to justify keeping them when you’re reducing staff (and it was pretty easy for us to determine that those seats had relatively little with our ability to attract and/or retain customers).

While I think it’s fair to say that the ASG does place a higher value (and rightfully so) on corporate accounts than individual accounts, I also think it’s fair to say that they need every source of revenue they can get (even with the reduction in salary costs we’ve seen thus far this year…with more in the pipeline). Based on their reported responses of the past season + (THMs, more competitive package pricing, more STH benefits), it sounds like the departure of STHs has caught their attention and will continue to do so.

Long-winded way of saying to the STHs, as you look at your stack of mail and see that renewal package on the counter, that you DO have the ability to have an influence on the organization (in direct correlation to the dollar value of your season ticket package).

So, I’d be interested to know, and maybe Rawhide could post a poll, IF you have renewed or plan on doing so, what is your primary reason for renewing? I thought of numerous possibilities, but I’m sure there are many more (and no, “I love hockey” isn’t one…safe to assume that we all love hockey here).
- the enjoyment I receive from watching NHL hockey is well worth the relatively minor investment
- we lost hockey once here already, and I don’t want to be part of the reason it leaves again
- when and if we ever win the Cup, I want to be able to say I’ve been a STH from day one
- over the years I’ve been able to improve my seats and I don’t want to lose them
- I think the club is finally turning the corner and better days are ahead
- why deprive myself of live NHL hockey when I don’t think a “boycott” will have any effect
- that wacky J-Bird just cracks me up!

World Be Free

March 15th, 2010
2:56 pm

If you are old enough to remember-
Peter Graves and Leslie Neilsen were serious actors up until the release of Airplane! Neilsen did some MASH episodes, but for the most part he was a heavy. I was shocked to see them in slapstick roles. Will enver forget the “Jaws” music at the beginning when i saw this moving in the theater.

Bill-on Kane
Which is why he may be captain someday, assuming he stays that long.

I really thought we would be over the hump this year. Now we are moving back to the lottery. Ugh!

Netminder

March 15th, 2010
3:00 pm

I have not renewed yet however I will be.

These reasons in this order:
- the enjoyment I receive from watching NHL hockey is well worth the relatively minor investment
- we lost hockey once here already, and I don’t want to be part of the reason it leaves again
- when and if we ever win the Cup, I want to be able to say I’ve been a STH from day one
- over the years I’ve been able to improve my seats and I don’t want to lose them

Plus
-

Alan R.

March 15th, 2010
3:03 pm

So… anyone know if D-Wad has ever been inside a Turkish prison?

Netminder

March 15th, 2010
3:03 pm

User error — finish below

Plus:
- I want to be there the FULL year they finally turn things around
- I do not care about other atlanta sports

MB

March 15th, 2010
3:05 pm

Alan R., he must have been…how else would he know how to torture us in this manner?

R. Stroz

March 15th, 2010
3:08 pm

Netminder – Please add the following:

- the content of the Blue Crew outfits.

J.B.

March 15th, 2010
3:09 pm

R. Stroz – Please add the following:

– or lack thereof

Netminder

March 15th, 2010
3:12 pm

R. Stroz and J.B. – I agree – fortunately the Ice Girls do spend a ton of time in front of my seats making up for the bad games that frequent Blueland.

Rawhide

March 15th, 2010
3:14 pm

WBF – Leslie Neilson was also the captain in the orginal Poseidon Adventure. Still cracks me up when I see that movie now. I keep expecting something like…

“A tidal wave…what is it sir”?

“It’s a big wall of water…but that’s not important right now”.

Netminder – Good to finally have you on board. Say “hi” to the lovely Mrs. Netminder for me, please.

Everette – Always good to try to find the positives, indeed.

Alan R.

March 15th, 2010
3:15 pm

Thrashers Fans: Mofo butter layin’ me to da’ bone! Jackin’ me up… tight me!
D-Wad: I’m sorry, I don’t understand.

Jeff

March 15th, 2010
3:21 pm

Funny blog!

By the way, STH since Day 1 (though I dropped to a 13 package this season). Not renewing at all…period. If the francise doesn’t want to pay for good players, at least manage the team in such a way that you make the most with less (see Nashville and, usually, Carolina). Since that is obviously not happening either, they are not getting any more of my $$$, other than a game or two. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, yet expecting different results. I’ve had enough insanity to last for a while, thank you Don Waddell.

Thrashers Traded Me

March 15th, 2010
3:28 pm

Need to trade Bogo and Kane. They suck.

DWTOO

March 15th, 2010
3:36 pm

There was an NPR interivew w/Peter Graves today and he was commenting on how hard it was to play the role straight.

“What’s our Vector, Victor” And please forgive me earlier transgression calling joey – billy.

Let’s not talk lottery pick yet. The fat lady’s warming up, but, we’re still hanging in there.

DWTOO

March 15th, 2010
3:39 pm

And don’t forget: “Roger, Roger”. Wonder how may takes they had to do to get that cockpit scene right.

Mission Impossible the TV series was still better. recent movies have ruined the classics. Just look at The Day the Earth Stood Still. The need to unleash Gort on Hollywood.

Ken

March 15th, 2010
3:41 pm

What is the use? whoever they draft will either be a huge bust, injured or leave after we can’t sign them. what’s the point. We are the Pittsburgh Pirates of the NHL

The Fat Lady

March 15th, 2010
3:41 pm

Oh DWTOO, dah-ling…I’ve been here for quite a while now. It’s only a matter of time before the curtain goes up for me. Certainly it has already come down on the Thrashers this season.

La-la-LA-LA-LA-la-laaaaaaa….

da trashers ain't real hockey

March 15th, 2010
3:44 pm

The Trashers don’t just have a P O box in Lotterypickville, they must own a timeshare there, since it seems that they spend time there every year! I’ve seen Taylor Hall, Cam Fowler and Tyler Seguin play in person and they are indeed the real deal, which of course means that the Trash will take the Russian. The Trashers are the NHL version of the LA Clippers, so continuously bad, that you’d almost wonder if it was on purpose.

j nes

March 15th, 2010
3:48 pm

DWTOO-the fat lady is not warming up. She is cooling down from her second curtain call last season.

j nes

March 15th, 2010
3:58 pm

You know how you hear stories about people having relationships so bad it turns them gay. I think I am in danger of the sports equivalent-I am losing my life-long interest in hockey. Thanks ASG/Don Waddell. Maybe I will start watching NASCAR or something-those rednecks seem to reckon it’s dang good entertainment.

BubbaDaStickman

March 15th, 2010
4:02 pm

D-Wad must GO! D-Wad must GO! D-Wad must GO! D-Wad must GO! D-Wad must GO! D-Wad must GO! D-Wad must GO! D-Wad must GO! D-Wad must GO! D-Wad must GO! D-Wad must GO! D-Wad must GO! D-Wad must GO! D-Wad must GO! D-Wad must GO! D-Wad must GO! D-Wad must GO! D-Wad must GO! D-Wad must GO! D-Wad must GO! D-Wad must GO! D-Wad must GO! D-Wad must GO! D-Wad must GO! D-Wad must GO! D-Wad must GO! D-Wad must GO! D-Wad must GO! D-Wad must GO! D-Wad must GO! D-Wad must GO! D-Wad must GO! etc………………

World Be Free

March 15th, 2010
4:13 pm

Rawhide-won’t it be great if Leslie remade his 5 minute part from Posidin? That’s back when he was a stiff.

Pavs blew his chance to win the game in the shootout-he was beat with the same move that beat LaBarbara on hte previous play! Didn’t he learn? Pavs is not a number one goalie, not with this team’s defensive makeup.

FYI- I caught a lottery T-shirt at lasts night’s game. What does that mean?

DWTOO-the fat lady’s eating her cheeseburger and Louie Anderson-size mega fry. She’ll be warming up soon…..

minus whale

March 15th, 2010
4:19 pm

whoa! Rawhide, did you commit a huge minus whale (you know, when you misunderstand something like “might as well” to be “minus whale” ) did you really type title wave???? you know it’s a “tidal wave” right ?? tidal as in tide…. LOL. NEway, why should we talk about next season since there won’t be one (in atlanta anywayz) j/k, philips arena needs to thrashers or else the philips company can break their contract and that means the loss of a lot of money. srsly though, why all the indian stuff (from bombay to calcutta)? whazup wit dat?

Falconsforlife

March 15th, 2010
4:20 pm

Fire Waddell.

I will not attend another game until he is gone.

Kevin

March 15th, 2010
4:24 pm

Can we trade Tody E. and move up? I would love to get someone who isn’t afraid to shoot to add to our team that is struggling to score. We was all by himself in the slot with the puck in a tie game against PHX and passed. WTF!

Rawhide

March 15th, 2010
4:26 pm

minus whale – HA! Indeed I did…just fixed it.

Rawhide-won’t it be great if Leslie remade his 5 minute part from Posidin? That’s back when he was a stiff.

WBF - Remember this line of Neilson’s from the Poseidon Adventure?…”You arrogant bastard…you’ve killed us all”

I wonder if that is anything like what Bob Hartley told Waddell the night he traded Zhitnik for Coburn. :lol:

Marketing Master Plan

March 15th, 2010
4:34 pm

Since Philips has intimated that they would would like out of the naming rights contract, there is this new retail company in town called “The Dump”, maybe they could buy the naming rights to Philips Arena.

Smoothie

March 15th, 2010
4:38 pm

WBF – seriously, you would think practicing and watching Moose play, he would know a poke-check is quite effective on that play. Better than falling on your ass backwards with your pants on the ice.

Does anyone here seriously think we have more than 5,000 current STH? I would think that’s a pretty generous figure actually based on weeknight attendance figures. When they announce 10 – 11 k in the stands, it usually looks like there are 5 to 6 k at most.

If economic factors are truly at play this year and the ASG is that hard up to make money all of a sudden, then y’all should get your wish with respect to our esteemed GM (lol). But I doubt anything will happen until this ownership mess is completely resolved.

If you are a qualified candidate to replace Waddell with a reputed track record, would you honestly consider coming to work for the ASG as long as the specter of the Belkin debacle still looms large over your head as the primary hockey club executive?? Puuhhhleeease.

PensFan

March 15th, 2010
4:40 pm

Can I thank Wadell for DuPuis? The guy is playing the best of all our wingers this year. He is actually playing better than Colby. Great on the penalty kill and his hustle from end to end is just great. It’s too bad he is not the most accurate shot. Still, he has 17 or so goals.

Sean Grace

March 15th, 2010
4:49 pm

Well done Sir!

World Be Free

March 15th, 2010
4:54 pm

Smoothie-I coulda done better than Pavs on that shootout goal-that’s 1 point lost over that stupid play.

Rawhide-check out Leslie Neilsen in “Forbidden Planet” from 1956, as Captain JJ Adams. Sssooooo campy, typical 50’s sci-fi garbage. He came a long way. Neilsen is actually older than peter Graves, turned 84 last month.

Lou

March 15th, 2010
5:54 pm

I have been a loyal Thrashers fan since they began play here and average seeing 20 games a year. They were awful against the Rangers Friday, and the arena had the feel of a pre-season game. If I performed in my job like Don Waddell does in his, I wouldn’t be allowed to keep mine. His job is putting a quality team on the ice and he isn’t doing that. People won’t continue to pay 75 dollars and up for lower level seats for this product. The ownership is more committed to basketball. Trust me, this team will be playing somewhere else in a few years. Atlanta won’t support this product. The owners of this team missed a great opportunity years ago when this team was in the playoffs of building on that but they chose not to.

Sage of Bluesland

March 15th, 2010
6:11 pm

Great blog, Rawhide–one of the most creative I’ve seen. I hope you don’t waffle back into the Waddell camp.

So, don’t listen to the BullSmoothies of the world…you should know better and appear wiser than that…but, the sheep have the emotional allure which pulls at the heartstrings…It’s just, quite simply, not backed up by fact or logic…

Waddell must go. I’ve never seen such egregious incompetence actually be ‘rewarded’ every year…and defended by the ignorant…

Someone asked for a turning point in the Thrashers lifetime a blog or two back–and my first thought would have been the Heatley-accident, as that was extremely traumatic. However, I think the choice isn’t even close anymore: the initial hiring of the exact wrong at the inception of operations. Heatley would have been gone early, as well–as his actions in Ottawa have proven it. He would have been absolutely no different than Hossa and Kovalchuk–and would have left as soon as he humanly could.

We were doomed from the start with Waddell at the helm. His hiring was bad enough–but his continued employment has rotted the entire foundation with disastrous effect…

Savannah Blueland Fan

March 15th, 2010
6:17 pm

That’s the draft pool to pick from? 4 North Americans and one Russian? Bet you a dollar to a doughnut they’ll pick the Russian. Getting quite sick of them myself. With the exception of Antropov (who technically isn’t Russian). As bad as the Thrashers have been lately, he seems to hustle and play hard. He should be named team captain next year (because this one is done as far as I’m concerned).

Talk of the Poseidon Adventure harks me back to my college days when we would sit around and have profound discussions about that movie and its implication of modern day organized religion vs humanism. The fallen preacher saving the gang while the rest followed the priest to a certain death. But then the buzz would wear off for us and we would just get the munchies.

BG33Brown

March 15th, 2010
6:26 pm

Regarding lotterypickville. I’d rather spend a few years there than be the Maple Leafs/Panthers that never make the playoffs but are always too close to end up with a great top 4 pick.

Plus, maybe if we lose more and more games down the strecth Levenson, will finally see the incompetence of the SOB GM and fire him.

Red Light

March 15th, 2010
6:51 pm

Trade the two first-round picks, Bogosian and Bergfors for the Caps’ Nicklas Backstrom. Or, trade the two first-rounders for Devin Setoguchi, David Perron or Ryan Kessler, all of whom are restricted free agents.

There have been around 40 contract extensions negotiated since July 1, and the only one extended by Waddell was for Peverley.

Whitesnake Reference: “An’ here I go again on my own, Goin’ down the only road I’ve ever known”

Robert

March 15th, 2010
7:02 pm

Players – Coach – GM – Owner (whoever it is at the moment) – where do you atart? I say pack the whole lot of them north, wait a few years, and start over. It just isn’t worth the constant disappointment.

Brendan

March 15th, 2010
7:11 pm

DWTOO & ben, I certainly welcome a diversity of opinion regarding the defining moment of failure for this franchise under Waddell. I also gave some thought to the Heatley crash. But let me tell why I definitively rejected that as my choice.

1. We traded Heatley for Hossa and deVries. With them, we won a division and made the playoffs. It seemed to be a relatively good exchange for Heatley. Dan Snyder was a 10 goal-per-season player. That’s not impossible to replace.

2. Many years and much opportunity later, the crash is but a distant memory. Most of the today’s Thrashers never met Dan Snyder to know him and miss him.

3. Had Dany Heatley been forced to stay and play, I fear what happened in Ottawa would have happened here. Namely, that Heatley would have said, after seasons of losing, “I’m not being properly utilized. I want to be traded.” And even if that didn’t work, he’d just refuse to re-sign here, once he reached UFA status.

There’s no doubt in my mind that the Heatley crash was something terrible for this team and its fans. But I’d counter-argue that by 2006, Waddell had assembled a team capable of making the playoffs and winning a round of playoffs. Imagine if Kari Lehtonen had been healthy? And Pasi Nurminen hadn’t blown out his knee. There would be no need for Steve Shields, Michael Garnett, Adam Berkhoel, or Mike Dunham. It would have been Nurminen and Lehtonen. Plus, we had Bondra. Holik was at his youngest point as a Thrasher, and Holik was signed, in my opinion, for his playoff resume, not his regular season one. Mellanby would have provided the senior leadership, as Captain.

Here are some of the other times I considered, before deciding on April 2007, standing pat. I gave some weight to the 2002 Draft. I saw no need for drafting a goalie who would take 5 years to develop at that juncture. To me, that reflected a fundamental error in judgement, at a critical time in the evolution of the franchise. There are precisely two (2) scenarios in which I would have permitted the Lehtonen draft, as a fan or owner. One, if we were flat broke, and our financial outlook wasn’t any better for the coming seasons, such that we couldn’t afford a goalie out on the open market. And two, that the plan was to snare a Tier I goalie out on the market, but that we’d only sign that goalie for 3-4 years. And just as the Tier I free agent goalie’s contract was expiring, Kari Lehtonen would be developed to the point where he could step in as the new #1 goaltender. But I’m not particularly buying either scenario there. To me, drafting a goalie in 2002 didn’t make any sense. And it hamstrung the franchise for years.

I also considered the 2008 offseason, where we couldn’t come to terms with Hossa. That was a severe blow to the future of the franchise. Not that losing Marc Savard wasn’t. In fact, that’s where I’d headed next. Letting Marc Savard walk for nothing may have been a necessary risk to take, but … to me … having Marc disinterested in staying was cause for MAJOR CONCERN. Marc was on the NHL leaderboard for assists. His winger was Ilya Kovalchuk. And yet, Savvy didn’t want to stay here? That’s a very telling and disturbing sign. It was the snowball that created the avalanche of departures.

But still, to me, anyway … the UNCONSCIENABLE ACT … was standing pat, doing AB-SO-LUTELY NUTHIN after the playoff sweep. Shaking my head, in disbelief. I couldn’t believe that THAAAAT was the response. No Hartley fired. No Waddell fired. No Dan Marr fired. It was … theatre of the absurd.

And I just can’t and won’t accept that … tax liabilities being an act of SERENDIPITY for the ownership … is what keeps Waddell here. Someone once wrote a book called, “Useful Idiots.” I wish I could recall the author’s name. But Waddell very well may be such a “useful idiot” to the ownership. The most distasteful thing of all, however, is dismissing ANY fan, I repeat ANY FAN, because they don’t sit along the glass, at $200 a seat. Or $150 a seat. Or $125 a seat.

To me, being a GOOD FAN … AT PHILIPS ARENA … has EV-ERY-THING to do with how LOUD and how INVOLVED you are with the action. It has NOTHING to do with HOW MUCH MONEY YOU PAID FOR YOUR SEAT. If you paid $175 for that seat, but you’re silent as a church mouse during games, you take YOUR NAME right out of the hopper for the 7th man award. You didn’t do ANYTHING but overpay for a seat. And that fan, sitting in section 413, screaming his or hear head off, is the one that matters. Ohh, not to ownership. But to the players on the ice, seeking inspiration. That’s what the players say, anyways. When you ask a player, “what do you want from a fan?” They don’t say, “for them to PAY A LOT for their seats.” They say, “We want the fans to be loud and to give us the edge. We want a hostile environment for the opposition.” It’s true. That’s what they say. So, paying a lot for a seat, only to wear white gloves, to politely clap, using doiles, isn’t cutting it. Try tennis, instead.

In my decade of experience at Philips Arena, I have NEH-VERR, EV-ERRRR heard the SUITES chant, “Let’s go Thrashers!” NEVER. EVER. EVERRRRR. Please do explain it. And yet, that’s the MONEY that counts??? Pfft. Well, that’s economics for you. And it’s also why you never want businessmen or corporations running your team. They just … DON’T CARE. When the truth I want to see as REALITY is … “every fan, even the $10 seat fan, should MATTER to ownership.” Every last one. Every person is another voice … to cheer on the Thrashers and to be part of the experience. It’s a shame, really, that ownership doesn’t see it that way. There are 18,545 seats at Blueland. If I were the owner, I’d want each and every seat cheering. Just like the suites, I’ve never heard an empty seat cheer.

Brendan

March 15th, 2010
7:18 pm

Hold on to your hats, folks. The #14 and #15 seeds out west, are CLASHING tonight!! It’s Edmonton vs. Columbus. Sadly, even if the Oilers win, they’re going to get the #1 overall pick, barring something very unnatural occuring in the Draft Day hopper. Hey, don’t say never. We remember 2001, when Tampa Bay was supposed to pick 1st overall. Atlanta won the draft, and selected some Russian fellow or other. Rumor has it, the guy would later go on to score 40 goals a season for six years. But who would care about that??

Right. So, how about 2007, when Philadelphia finished DEAD LAST, but did not get to pick 1st overall. Remember who won the lottery draft? That’s right, the team that was supposed to pick 5th overall, the Chicago Blackhawks. They took some kid named Kane. Word is, he’s fond of dimes as his favorite form of currency.

I don’t have a problem with Atlanta in the lottery draft. They’re not making the playoffs. So, what would it hurt to get a higher pick? I’m not saying, “fold like Superman on laundry day.” What I am saying is, “let’s not cry after every loss in a lost season.”

BG33Brown

March 15th, 2010
7:22 pm

DIRECT TV AND VERSUS FINALLY WORKED IT OUT!!! Thank God, I was getting really worried about missing playoff hockey.