Is there a For Sale sign in Thrasherville’s front yard?

Is there a For Sale sign posted up in Thrasherville’s front yard? Well, according to John Kincade, co-host of the Buck and Kincade Show air weekday afternoons on the Thrashers flagship station 680AM the Fan, the answer is “yes”.

Last Thursday he made it known on on-air that he is quite certain that the Atlanta Spirit, LLC will field offers from interested parties who are willing to purchase Atlanta’s NHL franchise. And he expects this to happen sometime in the next couple of weeks.

Obviously, this type of announcement is bound to raise an eyebrow or two around the Thrasherville community. Sure, it’s been known for some time that the group of eight owners of the Thrashers, Hawks and Philips Arena have bee actively seeking offers to join them…but selling off the Thrashers alone? Well, that’s an interesting bit-o-news.

Recently, I caught up with Kincade and asked him about his assertion that the Thrashers may soon be under new management.

“A am confident in saying that the Atlanta Spirit is fielding offers to just sell the Thrashers”, Kincade told me. “I expect them to receive an offer on the team in the month of July”.

As for what type of offer and whom it may come from, he could not comment on. But he did add, “The group that will make the offer is not the only one that is preparing potential bids”.

Now, every time these types of stories make their way around the NHL blogosphere, many jump to the conclusion that any proposed sale of the team brings with it the possibility of relocation. This stems from the fact that hockey fans in the area have already felt the heartache of losing a team thirty years ago. That, plus our good friends from Canada love to jump on stories such as this and insist that it will led to the franchise making their way up north. So it’s understandable way any such news of a reported pending sale is greeted with a certain amount of anxiety among the Thrashers faithful.

But Kincade points out that these fears are unfounded here.

“It is 100% my belief that [the AS. LLC] would only be interested in selling the Thrasher if the buyer was intent on keeping the team in Atlanta”.

The reason being…if the Spirit boys are able to sell the Thrashers, then they would see a good deal of cash put in their pocket from the transaction. However, they would not want to lose any money that would continue to flow into their cauffers in the way of rent.

As Kincade explains, “The current ownership would benefit financially from the cash influx of the sale of the team and being the landlord to the team for 41 home games a year”.

So, it’s still in the interest of the AS, LLC to have the Thrashers remain even if they are able to sell them.

And while such a scenario would not play to the wishes of the “make it seven” types to our north, it would actually be a positive turn of events for Thrasherville, I believe. If indeed the Thrashers were sold alone…separate from the Hawks and Philips Arena… then they would have an ownership that were not constantly having to decide how to divvy up capital between two different sports franchises. Their loyalties would be with the Thrashers and the Thrashers alone.

Also…and let’s be honest with one another here…the AS, LLC has been about as dysfunctional of an ownership group as can be imagined since they took over in 2004. Of course it’s tough to do a lot of good when most of one’s time and money are spent locked in a court case with 1/8 of the ownership group.

And while the infighting of the team’s ownership may not be the sole factor in why so many high-profile players have opted to bolt for the door the first time they had a chance… it certainly hasn’t helped, that’s for sure.

Either way…it’s just been un-good with those eight sitting at the top of Thrasherville’s totem pole.

As such, any sale of the team that rids the team of The Great Octocluster and keeps them in Atlanta would be welcome news indeed for me.

167 comments Add your comment

Brendan

July 5th, 2010
4:17 pm

Red Light, so let me ask you, “Do you think Ladd is worth $3.0 million?”

Rawhide

July 5th, 2010
4:18 pm

Rawhide, if Atlanta cannot come to terms with Pavelec, or opt to trade him, however unrealistic that seems, would you want 34-year Jose Theodore? Would $3.1 million be an acceptable price for him, in your view?

Brendan – Hmmmm….that would mean spending about $4.5 milion or so next season on goalkeeping. That’s not a “high” amount to be honest…but I would rather take that money and see about getting another winger or top-line defenseman in here.

If Opie were out of the piture, I’d had no issues giving Mannino a chance to prove whether or not he could handle backup role here.

Brendan

July 5th, 2010
4:24 pm

The RealThrash, WBF, Smoothie, if this team wins 10 games in October, or even 8, with a winning record, people will start buying tickets in November. It’s that, or they’re not really interested in hockey. Or, they can’t afford it, which is something I think everyone can forgive in shaky economic times. Sporting events reflect “discretionary” income, and not say, “a substitute for paying the mortgage.” That’s the line of demarcation between a fan and a fanatic.

I expect Ladd in the lineup in October. I expect Little, Bergfors, Eager, and Pavelec to be there, too. I hope we’re not done spending, just re-signing these players.

R. Stroz

July 5th, 2010
4:31 pm

Guess Kovy found out no one wanted him at 10 million/year.

Reality Check, skating on ice is easier than walking on water.

However, I still haven’t ruled out the “ultimate rental” thesis.

Brendan

July 5th, 2010
4:34 pm

Rawhide, I still think we lack a true, Tier I center. And a true Tier I defender. With Kubina gone, we must look to 3rd overall pick, Zach Bogosian, to evolve into that guy. And then, we must ask Oduya, Enstrom, Hainsey, and Valabik to step up what’s expected of them, as well. It’s up the Spirit to spend the money. And to do that, post Joe Johnson re-signing.

Tom

July 5th, 2010
4:36 pm

Brendan

I agree the smart move is not to sign Kovalchuk from a team point of view. However, no has accused the Spirit Organization of being smart.

They are in a sh– storm financially. They need to build up the in arena revenue quickly as they are loosing too much money for the partnership to endure. That is why the Hail Mary on the Hawks side with Joe Johnson and the potential for Ilya Kovalchuk.

Making the team better will fall secondary to selling tickets and saving face. Remember that all ownership decisions are coming out of a committee of fractious and scared owners. These are the sons of power who made their money though connections. Now they are the suckers at the table in the NHL and NBA.

The smart move for the team would not to sign Ilya. When has the team actually made the smart move.

Again, as I have said before, this is still a long shot. But I could see the Thrashers coming in over the top to get Ilya.

Brendan

July 5th, 2010
4:38 pm

Now, now, R.Stroz. The Islanders wanted him, allegedly, at that price. Stupid is as stupid does, I suppose. In a market like New York, it’d be a gamble for the Isles, but it could pay off, too. Grossman was quick to leak that offer. I think the L.A. Kings should continue to spend, however. If they’re not looking at Simon Gagne, why aren’t they??? They’re not signing Kovalchuk, reportedly. They have lots of room.

Rawhide

July 5th, 2010
4:41 pm

Brendan – As for centers, I have no issues with Antropov, Peverley, Slater and Comier there. Then Little, Bergfors, Kane and Byfuglien would be on the top two lines as wingers. That would leave us with Ladd and Thorburn on the third line with Slates and Eager and MacArthur with Comier on the 4th line.

Given that scenario, I’d like to see Dudley upgrade MacArthur…possibly with an Artyukhin re-signing.

BTW…yes, you see that correctly. My lines assume a “White-out” scenario in Atlanta.

Red Light

July 5th, 2010
4:43 pm

Brendan: Worth $3 million? He’s only 24, has won two Cups, still has offensive upside with the right linemates. Maybe not, but that’s going to be the price. The question is, will he accept a deal longer than 3 years so he can’t leave as a UFA when he turns 27?

Brendan

July 5th, 2010
4:53 pm

Tom, that’s true. They’re not known as the “Octotards” because they are all members of Mensa, in good standing. Let’s see if they have to good sense to listen to Dudley, for recommendations that will make a real difference versus simply adhering to an internal budget.

Let’s not lose sight of something here, folks. If the attendance picks up this year, the Thrashers “revenue-sharing dollars” will go from $14 million back to $17 million, if not MORE. If the cap is $59.5 million, then the floor is $43.5 million. Add $17 million to that figure. What do you get? I come up with $60.5 million. Or, said another way, enough to spend to the MAX CAP LIMIT, if they so chose to. Now, I do realize that there are other expenses besides player salary. There’s staff salaries, coaches, scouts, ticket takers, ticket reps, and TRAVEL. I’m probably something else out. Mea culpa. But the point is, $17 million, with attending in the 13,500 range, offsets some of this salary expenditure, if they so chose to do it. I had hoped that the Thrashers 2010-11 budget would be $55 million, including the bonuses for Kane and Bogosian.

Midfield

July 5th, 2010
5:02 pm

Brendan, are you sure Grossman is still Kovalchuk’s agent? I saw somewhere in the wilderness of the world wide hockey web that he’d ditched Grossman in favor of someone with a Russian name. Of course, it may be just a rumor.

Brendan

July 5th, 2010
5:07 pm

Red Light, in Ladd’s shoes, would you sign any longer than your RFA eligibility, with Atlanta? It might turn out to be a one-year deal. But, who knows.

Rawhide, I think Antrov and Peverley are fine players. But is either a true Tier I center? Cormier might become something in the future. I see Bryan Little as a natural Center, moreso than a winger. And I see Antropov moreso as a winger, than as a Center. Teams that go far in the playoffs … are usually strong up the middle, with top flight talent. I don’t mean to belittle Antropov or Peverley, but are they in the category of the true Tier I centers of the league?

World Be Free

July 5th, 2010
5:07 pm

I thought this was the off-season?

On a lighter note, right before dinner Mrs. WBF asked “why don’t you get away from the computer for while?” I think she had had enough of the blogging marathon for one day.

Midfield

July 5th, 2010
5:09 pm

…not to mention the tax write off, Brendan. All these big companies they write off everything. They do, and they’re the ones writing it off.

Brendan

July 5th, 2010
5:12 pm

Midfield, I’d heard nothing of that. But deep down, GOD HOW I HOPE IT’S TRUE!!! Hasn’t Jay Grossman done ENOUGH to the Thrashers? The sweetest plum would be … that after all that posturing … he didn’t so much as collect a nickel!! HAHAHAHAHA. Exhales, with a sigh. Thanks, Midfield. Your post might have been the happiest part of my day.

Brendan

July 5th, 2010
5:15 pm

WBF, I will join you, in getting out and away from the computer for a while. Though, I have really enjoyed the chatter today. Great job, everybody. I’ll peek, sometime before bed, to see if Kovy to NJ has become “officially official.”

Midfield

July 5th, 2010
5:16 pm

Let’s wait for the confirmation first, shall we?

Tom

July 5th, 2010
5:22 pm

Kevin Allen is reporting Bob Probert died today. He was on his boat and collapsed.

Red Light

July 5th, 2010
5:23 pm

Sad news to pass along, if no one else has, former Red Wings and Blackhawks forward Bob Probert has died at the age of 45 today.

Red Light

July 5th, 2010
5:24 pm

Brett Clark signs for two years at $3 million per season in Tampa Bay.

World Be Free

July 5th, 2010
5:25 pm

Good healthy talk, led by our leader Mr. Rawhide. Just saw the twitter on Bob Probert too, Probert and Willy Huber in the same week, gone way too soon.

Red Light

July 5th, 2010
5:44 pm

According to Ben Wright, two more Thrashers have filed for arbitration, Ben Eager and Clarke MacArthur. All previous filers for arbitration came to terms before a hearing.

Alan R.

July 5th, 2010
5:57 pm

Wonder what low-ball deal the Thrashers offerred him?

Try the “hometown discount” deal that Tampa Bay offered, instead of concentrating on what “low ball” off the Thrashers may or may not have made. Consider, for instance, that Kubina still owns his house in Tampa Bay.

Things are not always about the Thrashers, you know. It would do people well to understand this.

Putting On The Foil

July 5th, 2010
6:41 pm

While I threw my comments out there playing devil’s advocate concerning Kovy, I personally have moved on and feel the team is headed in a more positive direction. Still, I think most fans, knowing how exciting and how more a complete a player Kovy could have been in Atlanta, have a deep seated wish that Kovy could be a part of this moving forward process as a piece instead of the centerpiece.

World Be Free

July 5th, 2010
7:08 pm

Kovalchuk’s Russian agent is Yury Nikolaev.

Eklund is so much fun to read, don’t you just wonder sometimes if he writes some things just to mess with people? The dominos are falling!!!!! Brett Clark for $3M/season? My equipment is still pretty good, I wonder how much I can get if that stiff can get $3M?

Rawhide

July 5th, 2010
7:13 pm

Rawhide, I think Antrov and Peverley are fine players. But is either a true Tier I center?

Brendan – I see it this way…I’m not really concerned anymore about players being labled a “top-line center” or “top-line winger”. What I’m more concerned with are two/three productive lines.

If you put Antropov between, say, Bergfors and Byfuglien…then Peverley between Kane and Little…then ya got two good lines, regardless of which one you lable “number one” and “number two”.

If Afinogenov were to re-sign, then you could run Bergie-Antro-Max…Kaner-Pevs-Buff…Ladd-Slater-Little. There ya got three decent lines.

So again, I’m looking more at how many good lines we can run and less about a “true top-line center”.

Thrashers27

July 5th, 2010
7:25 pm

The lack of talent on the right wing makes one wonder if Antro may find himself moved over to the RW. If either Espo, Burmistrov or Cormier prove themselves NHL ready this season that may well be a possibility.

Hopefully, Little has gotten over his sophomore slump and will light it up this coming season, but if he doesn’t return to the form of his rookie year we’re hurting on the the right side.

Not Blind

July 5th, 2010
7:35 pm

I don’t think you can make money with the Thrashers unless you also own the arena. Even the Caps owner Leonsis is losing money. Once he gets to buy the other user of the arena AND the arena rights he will start to make money.

I think the Octocluster is playing a shellgame with the money. They ain’t losing what they are saying they are losing or they would have sold the whole thing already. They are just looking for a rich dumbass or group of DA’s to buy just the Thrashers.

former AIZer JD

July 5th, 2010
7:40 pm

Doing well Mr. Tiller thanks for asking..
I was not questioning your source, simply pointing out that I don’t think the Devils have come to terms with Kovy. I think that TSN and others have jumped the gun on this because of that original erronious NYP story which was changed immediately. They originally said it was a done deal, then quickly changed it to Devils being frontrunners.
Just strange that nothing has been “finalized” yet, when according to the agent it would happen today. I just have a feeling the Devils will not be the final destination when it’s all said and done.

goose

July 5th, 2010
7:44 pm

cap geek has stapleton as a UFA

R. Stroz

July 5th, 2010
8:00 pm

MacArthur filed for arbitration? That’s a hoot. He’s just a younger version of Charmin.

MacArthur will be lucky to get 1.2 million in arbitration.

The Octotards

July 5th, 2010
8:10 pm

Daddy, can we have some more money.

We spent our allowance on our Johnson.

Not Blind

July 5th, 2010
8:23 pm

Re-signing Kovalpuke would be a disaster for the Thrashers, or any NHL team. His paycheck is going to be out of proportion to his genuine worth to a team. Another over hyped Russian like Kovalev.

R. Stroz

July 5th, 2010
8:30 pm

If Dudley does a deal with the Devils to clear cap space for Kovy to sign in New Jersey, do the Thrashers get Salmela back again?

Tom

July 5th, 2010
8:33 pm

No Ilya tonight from Grossman on Twitter.

Octotards Parents

July 5th, 2010
8:35 pm

You spent all your money on your Johnson and it didn’t enhance anything.

Putting On The Foil

July 5th, 2010
8:42 pm

Thrashers27 -Agree. Hopefully Little is over the sophomore slump and also hope Slater is really finally starting to catch on as in his end of the year surge.

World Be Free

July 5th, 2010
8:58 pm

Stroz on MacArthur’s arbi-case, I canjust hear the dialogue-
“I stunk in Buffalo and Atlanta-can I have a 20% raise anyhow?”

I wondered when the “your Johnson” jokes would start.

Brendan

July 5th, 2010
9:15 pm

Rawhide, I feel what you’re saying. How long has it been since the Thrashers had two solid lines, much less three? I think the only times we had two full NHL-level lines occured during the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons. And it came with a hefty price, and league max capacity.

I put a link on Viv’s blog on Probert’s death. He was a memorable player. When I think of genuinely tough players, he’s one I list about Davd Schutz, Dave “Tiger” Williams, Dave Semenko, Moose Dupont, etc.

WBF, Smoothie, Rob, Tom, Spudd Webb, are you enjoying watching Dudley play in the NHL Networks “Raising the Cup” series, which debuted tonight with Philly vs. Buffalo, Game Six, from 1975. Dudley just lost his headband. You’ll also notice the tandem of Don Luce and Craig Ramsay performing checkline duties. If you’re never seen play, tune it NOWWWWWWWW. It’s one RIGHT FREKKIN NOW. Take a good look at how Luce and Ramsay worked together, during this wide-open era of hockey, that was the 1970’s.

It’s Comcast channel # 296.

Brendan

July 5th, 2010
9:17 pm

Red Light, Ben Eager I anticipated to file. But MacArthur Park, too? Well, as you say, maybe it’s just a move to ensure he gets paid what he’s worth.

Brendan

July 5th, 2010
9:25 pm

At 8:51 PM, the NHL.com updated their Kovalchuk story to say that no decision was forthcoming tonight. Here’s the link. http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=533836

Brendan

July 5th, 2010
9:40 pm

If you want to see what Joey Kocur, Ed Olcyzk, Tony Amonte, the Ilitches, and Devellando had to say about big Bob Probert, here’s a link. http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=533819

R. Stroz

July 5th, 2010
10:07 pm

Red Light

July 5th, 2010
10:35 pm

Lebrun said that Brett Clark got $3 million total, not $3 million per year. That’s a big difference and a little disheartening that Yzerman pulled Kubina and Clark in to replace Meszaros by adding just $1.3 million and Eliis in place of Niitymaki. Lightning still have only four forwards under contract at this point and $22 million in Cap Space. That doesn’t include RFAs Downie, Thompson, etc.

What about Ilya to Carolina? Cap space for it. Babchuk just signed there again and he’s a Grossman client. They desperately need scoring and have 8 expiring contracts for the 2011-12 season. They have lots of young players who can soften the blow on the cap. Imagine the top line with Staal, Kovy and Jokinen.

Although Rutherford said he wants to stay in the $43-$45 million range, remember he’s the same guy who issued the contract a decade ago to Federov that was matched by the Red Wings.

Mere conjecture of course, but interesting to think about. He’s looking for investors and would that scare them away.

Going back to my hole now.

Alan R.

July 5th, 2010
11:03 pm

Thanks for that link, Brendan. Probert was one of my favorite players growing up. Even after he got traded to the Hawks, I was still a fan of his.

Cocaine is one hell of a drug. If it wasn’t a direct result of his passing, I imagine all the years of using the drug had something to do with it.

Jay is A Gross Man

July 5th, 2010
11:28 pm

You Want The Truth, I Can’t Tell The Truth

Teflon Don

July 5th, 2010
11:33 pm

I’m helping Hawks GM Rick Sund at his job too. I told Rick about this NBA center who was a real star back in the 1980’s, and at 38 years of age, Shaq can still run slow…on good days.

That’s my type of player.

Brendan

July 5th, 2010
11:58 pm

Alan R., you’re welcome. Probert could put a world of hurt on someone. Smart players learned to duck. Devellano was kind of harsh on him, but in his position, he’d have to be. I can’t believe it was 2002 that he did retire. He had his off the ice issues, to be sure. But when I think of the Lawrence Phillipses and Darryl Strawberrys of the pro sports world, Bob Probert wasn’t nearly that kind of problem. Unfortunately for Probert, he was caught with cocaine at the border, per the article. NHL teams cross borders all the time, much moreso than the NBA and MLB, with Toronto being the only Canadian city left. (Expos are gone, and so are the Grizzlies.) When I think of NHL players with alcohol or substance abuse, for some reason, I think of Theo Fleury first and foremost.

Wayne stuck in AL

July 6th, 2010
12:28 am

Is ASG gonna get around to replacing the replay board over center ice/court yet?

Brendan

July 6th, 2010
12:29 am

Red Light, that’s interesting insight into the machinations of Stevie Y, down there in Tampa. I still think their goaltending situation is not fully fixed. In their shoes, I would have targeted Theodore, and paid the $3.1 million-per-year. I think they’re going with Smith and Ellis. That seems risky. Boston is hanging on to Tim Thomas, at this point. But, at some point, they’ll need to shed payroll, and Tuukka Rask has got that # 1 spot nailed down. The good news for the team that gets Thomas will be … that each year they have him, he gets paid less and less. It’s still a large contract, however. In Thomas’ shoes, if I’m the backup, and clearly I am at this point, with Rask owning the best GAA in the NHL and nice save percentage, I’d opt to waive an NTC to pick a group of teams where I could be the #1 guy. If it becomes clear that goaltending is the main obstacle for the Lightning, I might opt to go there, to be the # 1 guy. Likewise, at the trade deadline, if SJ doesn’t like the job Niittymaki is doing for them, they could opt for a high-priced goaltender, at a pro-rated salary. They’d be forced, potentially, to put Thomas on waivers at the end of the season, as he has two years left on his deal, after this season. Of course, maybe Thomas loves it in Boston, thinks the Bruins are close to a Cup, and wouldn’t dream of leaving? Thomas was not in net when the Bruins blew a 3-0 series lead to the Flyers. Who knows how that is potentially affecting young Tuukka Rask, as the long, long offseason weighs on his mind. It was 35 years between teams overcoming a 3-0 hole. It’s not all Rask’s fault, but I’m sure he’s eager to finally start another game.

Carolina, you’re right, does have ample cap space. Is hockey the # 1 sport in Raleigh? Or is it more like Duke basketball, and Wake Forest football? It’s the only pro game in that town, and the Caniacs are loud. I must give them that. Red Light, I can’t see Kovalchuk there, even though they have the cap room. Down the road, paying Staal, Kovy, and Cam Ward … might gobble a lot of cap space. Brind’Amour did just retire. I think Carolina bought out his last year, and Roddy was retained in some front office capacity, if memory serves me correctly. Red Light, I always love your posts. They make me think things over, that’s for sure. For TB and Carolina, they can point to recent Cups (2004 and 2006) as reasons to believe it could be worth signing there. However, players agents’ all have a handle on which ownership is strong and a good bet. Coming straight out of the lockout in 2005, how many free agents would have looked to the Chicago Blackhawks as a good bet to win the Cup? (Not too many.) It took Rocky Wirtz gaining majority control of them, changing the philosophy, climate, and direction of the team, to lure top tiered UFAs to their market. Plus, the players talk amongst themselves. They know which markets are good ones, in addition to the reseach surely conducted by their representation (agents).