Pressing question regarding Thrasherville blogosphere

Should the Atlanta Thrashers issue press credentials to bloggers who write about the team?

This question periodically gets kicked around the blogosphere from time to time. Those who support such an idea believe it would allow them to gain certain insight and information for their readers and would help the team tap into this new form of online journalism. There are some who even feel that these blogs, specifically sports blogs, are a natural evolution from the so-call mainstream media.

As most of you already know, there are a number of Thrashers blogs out there that are set up and hosted by some very talented and entertaining writers. You can find a sampling in my Blog Roll normally located to the right of this column. Their styles of blogging vary from the very serious and insightful to those who take a more light-hearted and satirical approach. The beauty of these online forums is that the author can inject a great deal of his/her personality into them as they discuss the team.

Recently I asked a handful of these online journalists that make up Thrasherville’s “internet news agencies” what their thoughts were on the subject of press creds for bloggers.

Laura Astorian runs Thrashing the Blues…a blog that revolves around her two favorite teams, the Thrashers and St. Louis Blues. She favors of the idea of blogger access to the Thrashers…citing her desire for additional information outlets.

“I actually think that it’d be a good idea, since the only media in Atlanta that covers the Thrashers is the AJC”, she shared with me. “The bloggers are excellent free press. We can provide analysis and opinion that people who work for a newspaper can’t do”.

This is a feeling shared by one of the most sharpest and, in my opinion, smartest bloggers in the Thrasher community… the Falconer, who opines at Bird Watchers Anonymous . He feels it is only a matter of time before the blogging community is officially embraced by one and all in the journalism profession.

“I absolutely think that ‘bloggers’ will be recognized as part of the digital press”, says the Falconer. “The process has already begun with teams such as the Captials, Predators and Hurricanes leading the way. The NHL granted me press access last year to the entry draft and USA Hockey did the same during the U-18 Tournament. The NHL main office has embraced bloggers, YouTube and social media”.

However, the organization certainly has to walk a fine line between just whom it is that they allow outside the locker room and up on press row.

“Of course, you need to be selective with who you give press creds to”, Laura added. “Maybe bigger blogs or blogs that are part of a network that have a solid reputation and that the leagues and other teams respect and give credentials to”.

The Falconer agrees saying, “The challenge for each team is to figure out how to handle the array of blogs that exist. In the past teams could just assume that newspaper writers knew and understood journalism ethics and practices. In the future teams may find it necessary to draft a formal statement of acceptable practices before granting access. They might also consider hosting workshops in journalism for aspiring hockey writers as well”.

“The term ‘bloggers’ covers a wide range of internet hockey writers”, Falconer continues. “At one end of the spectrum you have those who have no desire for access. At the other end, you have other sites (such as my own or Hockey’s Future for example) that aspire to conduct internet journalism. Not all bloggers have the same goals”.

These points are shared by my good friend Smoothie, who is a frequent contributor to this blog as well as the host of As the Birds Thrash.

“As a fledgling blogger myself, I think the idea of press access for established bloggers is, in essence, one with strong merit, especially in the case of the Thrashers in which actual media coverage is limited and sometimes lacking. In bigger towns where there are multiple media outlets…not just papers… giving extensive coverage to their team, I don’t think the idea makes as much sense”.

“It can be a good PR tool for a team trying to establish more of a presence in the ever-expanding sphere of internet-blogging influence”, Smoothie goes on to say. “But, unless the blogger has a reputation of consistently frequent, thorough and fair coverage of the team, I’m not keen on the idea of letting every Tom, Dick and Harry have a chance to sit in the press box on a regular basis”.

The view from 'blogger row' in the press box of Philips Arena (photo/Laura Astorian)

The view from 'blogger row' in the press box of Philips Arena (photo/Laura Astorian)

“In a city where the TV media barely pays any attention to the hometown hockey team, I think bloggers can provide a valuable and important vehicle by which expanded media exposure can be achieved”.

Certainly not all on-line hosts are hip to the jive of rooting for the Thrashers from press box row. To them, they gain the best perspective from the seats that they pay for and that is where they would prefer to remain for the most part.

Such is the case with Big Shooter of the The Blueland Chronicle… a self-described “war blog” in which bombs are thrown and the bodies allowed to fall where they may. It’s not only one of my favorite daily reading stops, but is actually Trixie’s most favorite. In fact, pinned up in her office are several posters of Big Shooter in various…ahem…poses.

“Some blogs are really suited to getting a press pass, while others are not”, Shooter says. “Personally I would much rather be in the stands yelling and having a good time as opposed to sitting in the press box. I have no illusions that I’m a professional media member. I do the blog for fun and to bring a very unique perspective from a fan”.

Mr. Shooter isn’t opposed to having access to press row… just not at the expense of being able to openly cheer for them while enjoy a couple of cold adult beverages from the seats he and TBC foursome have purchased located in the upper deck front row of the attack twice side of the arena…dubbed TBC Perch. There, he and Mortimer Peacock, the editor in chief over at TBC, take up residence during Thrashers games like Statler and Waldorff…joined by other TBC contributors Razor Catch Prey and French Catalogues.

“I have enjoyed participating in non-game day events…helps us bring some insight to our readers that they won’t get elsewhere. But ultimately, I think game days should be left to the professionals”.

He also feels the Thrashers would be walking a fine line by offering up credentials to members of the new cyber-media. “I think they need to be careful about that, because anyone can start a blog and some may do so just to gain closer access to players and to get a press pass”.

Mr. Peacock is open to the idea of blogger creds… but he too takes a cautious approach to the mater. Also, he wonders if the access gained by some would be linked directly to how critical the writer may/may not toward the play of the team and the decisions made by the front office.

“It’s ultimately up to the Thrashers who they issue press credentials to, and in some cases whether or not they issue press credentials at all”, he told me. “My own opinion is that it’d be a fine thing to see blogs with a record of decent writing and reporting get press credentials, and I would hope that getting a press pass wouldn’t be conditional on how gung-ho about the Thrashers a blog may or may not be”.

“But as we all know, any idiot can start a blog. I’m not in favor of issuing press passes to just anyone who requests them. It’s up to the Thrashers…or to whoever handles their PR…to decide which blogs are worthy of being credentialed”.

As for his own online forum, Mr. Peacock went on to say, “If we’re making newspaper/blog analogies, the Chronicle tries to be more of a loud, colorful tabloid than an august daily. So I would understand completely if the Thrashers didn’t deem us appropriate for press credentials”.

However, I think Morty could be persuaded…if the situation was right.

“But if they would allow us to cover the Thrashers in our own style…my goodness, Rawhide, you’re putting crazy ideas into my head. I think I’m going to send the Thrashers an official request for press credentials, printed on official Blueland Chronicle LLC letterhead”.

Unfortunately for Peacock, I don’t know how persuasive a letter can be when it is printed in crayon on a brown paper bag that once covered the contents from a package store or adult novelty shop.

As for my thoughts on the matter…well, I would be lying if I said the thought of being credentialed doesn’t interest me. Last year the team did invite some of us in to chat with players and coaches after morning practice and later, we were invited upstairs to enjoy the game from “blogger row” atop the press box. For that, I am truly appreciative and hope I will be able to do more of that during the coming season.

The Thrashers marketing guys have also done a very good job of recognizing that there is indeed an alternate news format in the community…one that contains more than a few very talented, interesting and thought-provoking writers. Opening doors to them is a good way to promote their product in the community and they should receive kudos for doing so.

However, I agree with those who express that a certain amount of caution should be exercised when it comes to who is eligible for press creds. Since virtually anyone can create a blog, it could be difficult to determine who and who does not qualify…though the Falconer does make a compelling argument for such with his suggestion of a formal statement of acceptable practices being drawn up by the team.

I am also one who believes that the demise of the traditional newspaper has been greatly exaggerated…even though it’s true the mainstream media is undergoing a process of evolving from the “paper on the porch” format to an internet-driven media. But papers like the AJC and others have, in my opinion, recognized that fact and have taken steps to change accordingly…finding ways to generate revenue by way of online advertisement as opposed to subscription fees. As such, in one form or another, there will continue to be a beat writer from the local paper covering professional and collegiate sports for some time for the most part.

My belief is that the new cyber-media or will include the blogging community alongside of the traditional media…but not replace it.

94 comments Add your comment

J.K. Sockey

June 12th, 2010
8:48 am

Can’t believe you didn’t come to me for my opinion. I’m easily the best blogger in hockey history. Who gets you the inside scoop like this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Okb_CTmUNIE&feature=youtube_gdata

Mr. Whipple

June 12th, 2010
8:55 am

Tod White can’t wait to meet Rawhide.

Mr. Whipple

June 12th, 2010
8:57 am

Todd White can’t wait to meet Rawhide.

World Be Free

June 12th, 2010
9:24 am

We have talked alot about goaltending, going to free agency to find our next number one. In Philly, it sounds more and more like Michael Leighton will not be back, the Flyers may opt for a short term upgrade which will require more $$$ that Leighton and Boucher made this season combined. So that opens the question, should the Thrashers target Leighton as their new number one? He’d be cheaper and younger that other options like Nabakov or Turco. Leighton could be next season’s Craig Anderson.

I keep hearing more and more that the Leafs may target Kovalchuk. If Kovy signs in Tronna, it would confirm that he has no desire to ever win the Stanley Cup.

Red Light

June 12th, 2010
11:31 am

IMO, Leighton doesn’t have nearly the upside that Pavelec does and as such I wouldn’t want him as a No. 1, plus he may never recover from the awful goal he allowed to Kane. Four good months doesn’t mean he’s a top-flight NHL goalie and the Thrashers already have invested the time and money in Pavs.

World Be Free

June 12th, 2010
11:35 am

R/L-he may be a short term solution in goal until Duds can fully evaluate Pavs.

R. Stroz

June 12th, 2010
12:15 pm

J.K. Sockey – Those Philthy folks just don’t have a very good sense of humor.

jen

June 12th, 2010
12:45 pm

Just to clarify @HockeyWench there was an OR between item 2 and item 3. Not everyone wants to be affiliated with a meta-blog conglomoration. Which is you would have the option of getting the references and blogroll listings, because I do read blogs like Blueland Chronicle, which for me personally are highly entertaining, are certainly not MSM-type journalism. It doesn’t make them any less valuable to the Thrash blogging community. In addition, if 15 different sites are referring them, then the chances of someone happening in on the site are greatly increased

@Fan From Carolina: Anyone with a website can set this up analytics with Google and have instant access to information on pageviews, clicks and location stats. So yes, bloggers, if they want to, can see how often their page is viewed, which articles are the most viewed and where geographically, the views are coming from

For the record, if I said anything about revenue stream generation from the blogsite, I didn’t mean to, becuase advertisings should not be a pre-req. for a “legit” blog. Many blog hosting sites force google ads onto pages and the bloggers have no control. I was referencing the statistics which are available to anyone who runs a blog.

And btw to all you bloggers out there. thanks for what you do. I really enjoy reading the perspectives you provide.

Dwayne

June 12th, 2010
2:05 pm

On another note…Hawks go cheap and promote asst. Coach Drew
What might this mean to the Thrashers?

Brendan

June 12th, 2010
2:14 pm

The Blackhawks parade and celebration is on the NHL Network, right now.

Smoothie

June 12th, 2010
2:18 pm

Dwayne – why it means their saving the big bucks for the Thrashers for a change!!

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiight. ;-)

Torch or even Ramsay may not be that expensive. They may just want the chance to be the “man”.

Brendan

June 12th, 2010
2:33 pm

If Philly’s fans and media push Leighton out of town, simply because he gave up a bad in overtime, they deserve to lose him from the roster. What’s the sense in making Leighton mad, and wanting to leave? If that’s even the case. In Philly’s shoes, I’d try to keep Leighton and Boucher and trade Ray Emery.

Can any post a list of the UFA goalies that will become available on July 1? I remember names like Biron, Ellis, Nabakov, and others. Let’s also not forget that there are RFA who can be had via trade. I would Carey Price is on this list. If you want Halak, it’ll take an RFA offersheet to pry him away. The possible compensation is 2 first rounders, a 3rd rounder, and quite possibly a 2nd rounder. So, think that one over, first.

World Be Free

June 12th, 2010
2:50 pm

Dwayne-not sure who was left for the Hawks to hire, though I think we’d all react the same way you did if the Thrashers hire any of the assistants they just fired other than Cunnyerworth (maybe).

World Be Free

June 12th, 2010
2:56 pm

Brendan-from what I see here is all the UFA goalies available July 1 and their age-

Joey MacDonald (30), Moose (36), Dany Sabourin (29), Patrick Lalime (35), Vesa, Toskela (32), Manny Legace (37), John Grhame (34), Marty Turco (34), Wade Dubielewicz (31), Curtis Sanford (30), Dan Ellis (29), Yann Danis (28), Martin Biron (32), Alex Auld (29), Steven Valiquette (32), Ray Emery (27), Johan Backlund (28), Michael Leighton (29), Sebastian Caron (29), Evgeni Nabakov (34), Chris Mason (34), Antero Niitymaki (29), Andrew Raycroft (29) Jose Theodore (33)

Dwayne

June 12th, 2010
3:29 pm

Avery would have been the right one…but the Spirit clowns went cheap. I know why clowns hired Duds, he basically said “the team I put together can be coached by a monkey and win” well, he didn’t say it that way, but you know what I’m saying. Can’t wait till the draft then July 1. Guess I’ll watch USA soccer.

Tony C.

June 12th, 2010
5:45 pm

Take Emery off that list-word out of Philadelphia is that hip injury may be career-ending…. I’d look at Turco, but I doubt he’ll sign with us-otherwise I think Dudley is right.

Considering that Pavelec is the “heir apparent”, and we don’t have the budget to bring in Nabakov-I don’t think there are any options on the UFA front that are a significant upgrade to a Pavelec/Hedberg combo. I would however look at seeing what it would cost to get Vokun in a trade (can’t imagine Tallon’d go for it-but it doesn’t hurt to make a phone call), or maybe Budaj…Budaj’s no great shakes but he makes the saves you want him to-let’s face it unless the goalie is freakishly talented, they’re going to look like crap behind your standard-issue Thrashers “defence”.

I guess what I’m trying to say is-Pavelec Hedberg is as good as any other option that is realistically available. Especially since Dudley seems to have made getting a dedicated “goalies coach” in here. That alone I think will do wonders. I doubt we’ll get Burke to let Francois come hang out with us at all, but I understand The Beezer has been looking into getting into coaching at the NHL-level, but the whole “n-word” thing while he was coaching the Greyhounds probably makes him a tough sell in ATL… IDK, but I would like to see somebody who knows what he’s doing come down here. Whoever the guy is for Jokeritt-seriously let’s just get a solid & committed person in there now.

In other news:

Thankfully, The Futbol Gods love Eminem A/K/A Clint Dempsey…

USA 1 England 1

HUGE point, and a good result for a USA team that didn’t play as well as I’d hoped, but still come away with a good shot to win their group.

Tony C.

June 12th, 2010
5:46 pm

“…Dudley seems to have made*…”

Smoothie

June 12th, 2010
6:36 pm

I like Budaj a lot as well, but I’m afraid he already re-signed a new deal with Colorado.

If not Moose, Ellis, Biron or Nitty would be good options.

Tom

June 12th, 2010
7:41 pm

Rawhide

You want the brutal truth?

I would not come to the AJC for Thrasher’s coverage if it was not for your blog and the people posting here.

Not to throw C Viv under the bus, but the coverage of the team has been lacking. Being the only paper in town and with the only full time reporter for the Thrashers, he still is scooped by the national press.

Not asking the tough questions and not getting the heads up is not a good combination.

Now I do not expect the Thrashers to give media credentials to the bloggers. Why, because who wants to face tough questions when you do not need to?

Now a group of business people that are focused on marketing would, because they would get added exposure and also be held to a standard on a daily basis. Smart owners would think that being under this kind of scrutiny is good for the GM, coaches, and players.

But when you can discount it as pajama wearing bloggers asking the tough questions and have a cowed local media, life is good if mediocrity is your goal.

Now saying all this, I see Dudley being much more open to bloggers than Waddell. He may tell the bloggers to F$#! Off, but he will tell you that. Don will hide behind the PR people and give you a his smile and a lie.

I would love to see access to bloggers for the Thrashers. An ideal compromise would be setting up a pool of blogs and have 2 a night be given access after the game. This way the pressure is off the bloggers to be “full time reporters” but still get the occasional access. With texting and email, questions could be submitted to the pool by those not covering the game and the audio and text uploaded afterwards.

HookyBob

June 12th, 2010
9:55 pm

No commenton the blog host access,…. other than,…… the devil is in the details.

As for hockey goalies,…how about we stick with what he have,..and get a a genuine goalie coach?

World Be Free

June 12th, 2010
10:43 pm

Tom-this is one of the best hockey blogs ANYWHERE. Most other team or media based blogs just blast their local teams. Here we have spirited conversations, agreements and disagreements on issues related to our team and the league. Helps having alotta people from different regoins and different perspectives.

Again on the goalies, I am worried about Moose duplicating this past season. I am hoping for a more responsible coach and responsible coaching system. Leaning towards Ramsay, which means it will probably be Torch and I am Ok with that.

I keep hearing Ellis is rumored to Philly.

Joe Friday

June 13th, 2010
12:02 am

“Tom-this is one of the best hockey blogs ANYWHERE”

why yes, yes it is!

Joe Friday

June 13th, 2010
12:03 am

watched Miracle tonite, can we resurrect Herb and name him coach?

Red Light

June 13th, 2010
9:36 am

12 days until the draft. 17 days until free agency. Slater only UFA signed so far. For the draft, you have to project what the make-up of your team looks like 2- or 3 years down the road, much more so than next year. So, in 2011-12, you will still have Antro, Kane, Pevs, Toby, Hainsey, Bogo, Oduya, Kulda, Boris and presumably Bergie and Little. Looking at those pieces, the Thrashers must look for a center first, a winger second, and then the dreaded “best available” player with the No. 8 pick.

And thus, if the draftee isn’t ready to make the NHL club, which is very likely, then you have to use that same logic in free agency until the young players are ready, don’t you?

Of course, many of us have said for the past five years the team needed a playmaker at center. Just wondering if and when that will happen.

rob

June 13th, 2010
9:43 am

I think it should be more than just 2 bloggers……..go to any hockey town where the media actually does it’s job and how many media people are there after every game? All the TV channels, the newspaper(s), and the radio station. Here???? Never saw much of ANYTHING. I think as long as the bloggers can ask questions appropriately, realizing they can ask tough questions in a non offensive way, and doing the job of INFORMING us about what is going on, this is a great idea. I DON’T think Standek, Sage, or any other bitter or vulgar hacks being granted access. The reward for being granted access to the team is actually being able to see what is going on, and why things are happening. If more people are given access, the better able we the fans are able to see what is happening with the team. Having someone who actually is concerned with the team and the sport would lead to better coverage and help the team IMO.

World Be Free

June 13th, 2010
10:53 am

Red Light-I agree with projecting out to 3 seasons. I think they will go for the best player at #8 and look to trade # 24 for an established player. As for free agency, we need to focus on a top 6 forward and my choice is Matthew Lombardi. Lombardi had 53 points last season, made $1.8M last season on a defense-first team. He has great speed and we will need to replace speed if Max is not resigned. Aside from goalie, center is the hardest position on the ice and the toughest to fill. Lombardi is only 28, with plenty of hockey left in him.

Next up-a coach
I think we will have a new coach by next weekend, no later.

Brendan

June 13th, 2010
11:03 am

WBF, thank you. Here’s that list again: Joey MacDonald (30), Moose (36), Dany Sabourin (29), Patrick Lalime (35), Vesa, Toskala (32), Manny Legace (37), John Grahame (34), Marty Turco (34), Wade Dubielewicz (31), Curtis Sanford (30), Dan Ellis (29), Yann Danis (28), Martin Biron (32), Alex Auld (29), Steven Valiquette (32), Ray Emery (27), Johan Backlund (28), Michael Leighton (29), Sebastian Caron (29), Evgeni Nabakov (34), Chris Mason (34), Antero Niittymaki (29), Andrew Raycroft (29) Jose Theodore (33)

Actually, I think there are several intriguing options there. The issue would, of course, be “at what price” and “how many years.” I do agree with Tony C. that Pavelec is the heir apparent. As I’ve said several times, Moose Hedberg is one of my all-time favorite Thrashers. But I just don’t think it’s realistic to expect a now 37 year old Hedberg to play 30 or more games-a-year. I thought the trade deadline was an excellent time to shop him for the best return possible. And if nothing better than a 5th round pick was in the offering, stand pat with him. Thrashers didn’t make the playoffs. Bygones.

Off that list, WBF, I do have some interest in Marty Turco, but my issue is price. I agree with Smoothie that Niittymaki is worth a second look. I don’t know what he’d cost, but I don’t think it’s cost-prohibitive. I’m intrigued by Ellis, but I think he’s out of our price range, and will want a multi, multi-year deal. Nabakov is my 1st choice, of course, but we’re nowhere near being able to seriously think of tossing our hat in that ring. And if Nabby’s agent tries to use Atlanta to drive up the price, then the GM calls their bluff. Plain and simple. “Okay, sign with Atlanta, then, if that’s our haggling partner.” See, that won’t work. Suddenly, Nabby’s agent is back on the phone, trying to invent a story about how Atlanta decided to go in a different direction, renigging on the offer they just made. Agents can’t bluff using Atlanta ANYMORE. Everyone learned from the Brian Campbell non-sense, with Atlanta. I was surprised to see Jose Theodore’s name on this list, WBF. I think he will be signed at a discount, where he goes. But I don’t know what his asking price will be. Jose’s a gamble. I wonder if he’ll want job security, or UFA money? The team opting to go longer with him, might score him for a nice price.

Okay, what does that leave, as a realistic option. Hmmn. What about Biron? Seriously. He wants to be a #1. It won’t cost the moon-n-stars. He’ll only want a 2-year deal from Atlanta, unless he’s made up his mind to retire early, and is looking at 2010 as his last, big contract. Okay. None of this will happen. But, it’s fun to speculate. I’ve always liked Curtis Sanford. I always saw him as excellent “bang for the buck.” He’s had injuries, though. And, in a new environment, I am also curious about Vesa Toskala, on a 1-year deal. We’re not Toronto. Our media won’t eat him alive. He’s not expected to do anything, so anything he does would be welcomed. What would Toskala cost? What I’m saying here is … come July 3rd … if we’re not going with Moose and Pavelec … for WHATEVER reason … then there are some alternative options, unless other teams swoop up this lesser, Tier II UFA goalies. Remember, Moose is a UFA. He can sign anywhere he wants, if he doesn’t want Atlanta. Pavelec is an RFA. He has to get a qualifying offer before July 1. All that means is … something a 10-percentage raise. At that point, it’s Pavelec’s option to either sign the qualifying offer, or elect for arbitration. If Atlanta fails to make a ‘timely’ qualifying offer, then we remember what happened to Chicago. They had to scramble to quickly sign those RFAs, at UFA pricing, to cover for the gaffe. Nobody is stupid enough to let Pavelec become a UFA, for failure to make a qualifying offer on time. Pavelec can make a counter offer, if he doesn’t like what he hears. If Atlanta doesn’t like that counter prosposal, the Thrashers can elect for salary arbitration. Any way you look at it, arbitration is bad. Hurtful things are said about the player, in an attempt to reduce the salary judgement. The player is angry over the comments. The player is “forced” to stay the season, unless the team REJECTS the artibrator’s salary award decision. At which point, the player then becomes unrestricted (UFA). I doubt any of this is going to happen with Pavelec.

But uhh … it will be telling what kind of contract Pavelec gets, no? Pavelec has YEARS to go before he can become unrestricted. YEARS. So, what will Atlanta do? In Kari Lehtonen-like fashion, he will get a series of one-year deals? Will this upcoming contract pay him ONLY THROUGH his RFA years? (I’m in this camp of belief.) Or, will the organization declare Pavelec is their “goalie of the future,” with some 7-8 year deal, that encompasses some of his UFA eligible years? Yeah, might be too soon for all that, no? Maybe it’ll be a 2-year deal, still leaving him restricted at its conclusion. This is ultimately what I think the Thrashers will do.

World Be Free

June 13th, 2010
11:34 am

Lots to think about Brendan. A few thoughts-

Ellis looks like he may be headed to Philly, if the Flyers decide not to resign Leighton. He’s projected at $3.5M/yr, which isn’t bad if you consider he’s pretty good.
Turco-I think he’s going to want to go to a winner. Turco and Nabakov with both be looking for $5M+ (if Nabakov doesn’t resign soon in SJ).
Theordore-I suggested him awhile back and it was not well received by our fellow bloggers. I still think he has some gas left in the tank, having put his personal issues behind him. He will want both UFA $$$ and job security. If Moose walks, any goalie that comes to Atlanta will have job security because there are another NHL caliber goalie in our system other than the new goalie and Pavs.
Moose-I too think we can’t ask for more from Moose than he gave last year. It’s a gamble to try, a big gamble.
Toskela-he seems to break down physically if he’s played too much. Vesa has never had the stamina to play alotta games in a short period of time. He was in a no win situation with the Leafs because they gave up alot to get him. I keep hearing he still wants to be a number 1, which means he may end up in Europe this season.
Pavelec-I am not sold on Opie yet, not even close. He needs a good goaltender coach, one that will deal with his temperment. The kid gets too emotional and he loses his focus.

I keep going back to Josh Harding. Harding has played well when he has had a chance. The Wild need help, they need players and cap relief. Harding won’t provide alotta relief, but we may be able to get Harding for a prospect so we can focus on guys like Lombardi and Asham on July 1, maybe a defenseman if we cannot resign Kubina. I still think not resigning Max is very risky.

Smoothie

June 13th, 2010
11:47 am

WBF – I like the idea of signing Lombardi to a L/T deal because not only is he a fast skating, potentially dynamic player capable of 60-70 points, he should have 6 to 8 years of good hockey left. Even if he slows down a bit into his 30’s, he seems like the type of hard-working player who would be able to solidify a tenacious, fore-checking 3rd line. We should be able to offer him what he wants without breaking the bank. I would hope we could outbid just about anyone if he is the “shoe that fits best”. We shall see.

Adam

June 13th, 2010
12:15 pm

There have been a lot of good comments on this topic. I particularly like Jen’s ideas but the common theme seems to be how to keep the hacks out. Other than meeting a set list of criteria the team could also just set a limit to the number of passes they issue. Say 10-15 and that’s it, no more. This will also keep the traffic down and easy for them to manage.

Brendan

June 13th, 2010
1:01 pm

WBF: Regarding Theodore, I don’t know that he can command such a high salary anymore. He’s not a spring chicken. He hasn’t delivered the goods, in terms of a Stanley Cup. He’s had roughly a handful of 30-win seasons. He turns 34 in September, and if it’s a 3-year deal he seeks, that pays him until he’s 37. How many GM’s especially want to do that? He’s won roughly 20 games in the playofs, while losing roughly 30. That’s a win percentage hovering around .400, in the postseason. I think, but don’t quote me, that Theodore has only won four (4) playoff series in his career. To the best of my recollection, Theodore has never played in the Conference Finals. As GM’s assess goalies in the UFA frenzy, while contemplating $5 or more million, they’ve got to be looking at things like … HOW FAR has this goalie ever taken a team?, and if he hasn’t taken them there yet, at age 34, HOW LIKELY is he to do that in the next few years?

As best I can recall, Jose Theodore made his “career” in a series of STINGING 1st round upsets of 1st place Boston, in 2002 & 2004. When you are a Montrealer, nothing tops eliminating Boston. So, naturally, Montreal’s press was quickly smitten with him. But Theodore, for whatever reason, has never won a series in the 2nd round. Now, at least in terms of those upsets of Boston, they ran into tough teams that would go far in those respective years, in the form of Carolina (won Eastern Conference in 2002) and Tampa Bay (won Stanley Cup in 2004). In 2006, Theodore’s Avalance lost to Anaheim, who went to the CF vs. Edmonton. In 2008, Theodore’s Avs lost to Detroit in Round II. Detroit went on to win the Cup that year. So, I suppose Theodore does have legitimate argument that, in latter rounds of the playoffs, he lost to clubs that eventually won the Cup or went to the Finals and lost. That’s sort of “forgiveable.”

My point? I don’t think Theodore, at this point, can expect to be one of the most highly sought after UFA netminders. But to a team like an Atlanta, he’s very attractive. He can get paid, and be the presummed # 1 goalie. In that regard, I think Biron would look at the Atlanta market. If Theodore and Biron want championships, I don’t know what to tell them. Beg Detroit to take them at a pittance of salary. Tell Chicago to trade Cristobal Huet, and they’ll be Niemi’s backup?

Jameson

June 13th, 2010
1:31 pm

Brendan- I’d want to leave at least one year of RFA eligibility for Pavelec. That way we’d still have one more RFA contract to try and lock him up long term if things are looking good.

World Be Free

June 13th, 2010
3:08 pm

Back on subject-I think it would be a great idea to give bloggers media access for the benefit of THE PLAYERS. Blogs give players greater access to the fans and visa versa, since we get most of our hockey news from alternative media outlets.

Brendan-I think Theodore has matured as a person. I also agree with your reality of Theodore’s true affordability, which is why I suggested him a few weeks back. Theodore and the Thrashers may be a mutual option. The biggest question here is Pavs, is he the long term solution? If he is deemed to be the long term guy, then a 30-ish goaltender as a stop gap solution is OK. Mason, Theodore, Biron or another 30 year old on a 2 year deal is fine. I am just not sold on Pavs, that’s why I prefer Harding, Ellis, Quick or Bernier – a goaltender with upside that can fill the position long term if Pavs does not progress.

Smoothie-I like Lombardi alot. I even see him in the #1 center role, moving Antropov back to wing, his natural position. A line of Lombardi, Bergfors and Antropov would be an improvement over the same line was with Max last year. I still wish we were resigning Max to a 3 year deal. I question the decision to let him walk, but if we are, then Lombardi would be the best replacement. Lombardi for Max, Asham for Armstrong. We would be a better team.

World Be Free

June 13th, 2010
3:19 pm

Zherdev to Thrashers rumors are starting again. Which begs the question, if Max is not Duds kind of player, how could Zherdev be?

Brendan

June 13th, 2010
9:39 pm

WBF, what Russian players are left on Atlanta, if Max leaves? Russians in Atlanta buy hockey tickets. I’m not too sure Zherdev would pack ‘em in like Kovalchuk could, but it is interesting to think that Zherdev could possibly be considering Atlanta as an option.

WBF, I guess I just don’t know enough about Josh Harding to be sold on him, either. If, for whatever reason, Bernier is the odd man out in Los Angeles, I say we scoop him up! But, I think he’s staying in L.A. The Kings invested a high-end 1st round pick in Bernier. If they don’t want Quick, I think he’s got potential.

Jameson, I think your wish is exactly what the Thrashers are planning. Anyone think there could be RFA offersheets for either Pavelec or Little? My guess is, “no.”

World Be Free

June 14th, 2010
5:49 am

Brendan-Russian newspaper indicate that Zherdev is coming back to the NHL and that Atlanta may be a destination, since we must have had contact with him last summer. His contract in the KHL has been completed and there’s no indication he is going to resign. Kings have Ensberg in goal too.

Offer sheet? Little maybe, Pavs I don’t think so.

R. Stroz

June 14th, 2010
8:29 am

Ten business days till the draft…one player re-signed…less than half a team under contract…TICK TOCK…TICK TOCK

Anyone else getting a little concerned?

World Be Free

June 14th, 2010
8:35 am

Stroz–if you look at the long list of UFA league-wide, there are very few UFAs that have resigned with their current teams. I’d like to have Kubina resigned by now, but I think teams are jockeying for position, ready to poach the cap-stressed teams.

GaVaHokie

June 14th, 2010
9:27 am

Rumor: It seems Atlanta has signed Fredrick Pettersson of the Swedish Elite League. If true, it’s a great signing… I forwarded the rumor to Viv for confirmation.

http://www.birdwatchersanonymous.com/2010/6/14/1517046/thrashers-sign-frederik-pettersson

Smoothie

June 14th, 2010
9:40 am

Stroz / WBF – the good news is we haven’t heard or seen any other rumors about Kubina testing the UFA market come July 1. It seems that when talks break down, agents are very quick to leak to the press their client’s intent to test the market. We’ve heard about Max and even Arty very early on going to KHL possibly, but I have yet to read any rumor or report regarding Kubina. That may be a good thing for the Thrashers.

But just like WBF said, we have seen very few UFA’s signings thus far. I think there have been about 7 or 8 “big name” signings (top 9 forwards or top 4 D-men) since the end of the season. Last year, we signed Reasoner on June 8th. This year, Slater. Other than that, I don’t recall a heckuva lot of activity for the Thrashers until the week of the 25th of June when RFA contracts are tendered.

Hopefully this week we lock up our coach and then next week we get our 4 RFA’s under “tender” so we can at least have the upper-hand in negotiations should another team even think about an offer sheet.

The next 10 days or so should start to pick up in terms of activity and intrigue. And the fact that we are reportedly involved in an attempt to bring over one of Klingberg’s teammates shows that our GM is very high on Carl and his prospects of playing in the NHL very soon.

World Be Free

June 14th, 2010
10:17 am

Smoothie-I think we will have a coach by the weekend. No need to stretch this out, especially if it is a coach who could be used to persuade existing UFAs and July 1 candidates to be in Atlanta for the future. I think Ramsay is that kind of coach; we will see.

Lee

June 14th, 2010
10:22 am

According to C-Viv, Afinegenov is not close to deal.

Dwayne

June 14th, 2010
10:33 am

I’d love to see Kubina and Max in a Thrasher uni for at least 3 more years. Continuity with a new Coach might be a key. Even tho Duds was here last year, this year seems different. I’m an optimist, not a sheep(sage). I still feel Coaching, (head n goaltender) might be more important than who is signed. Thrashers lost a lot of 1 goal games last year, we all know JA did not know how to make any adjustments in game. I wonder how much Duds will “coach” his new team. I’m having hockey withdrawls, looks like I picked a bad week to stop using amphetamins.

World Be Free

June 14th, 2010
12:35 pm

Not too sure what to make of the Max negotiations. This team (and fanbase) could use a couple shots of good news to ensure we have plenty of interest going into the draft and free agency.

No updates on Kubina negotiations