As Afinogenov takes off overseas we return focus to another Russian

Happy Friday everyone… I hope you all have something good on the agenda this weekend. It should prove to be an interesting one, what with all the rumors swirling around about a couple of Russian players and their contract situations.

Yes, now that we’re hearing Maxim Afinogenov will not return to the Thrashers lineup…instead signing with SKA St. Petersburg for 5 seasons…we can return our focus on another Russian player’s contract status. Indeed hockey sites around the blogosphere have just been abuzz lately with chatter and speculation about this story… and I, for one, am just all a-quiver in anticipation of the official announcement.

But the wait may soon be over as rumors lead us to believe we’ll soon find out for sure whether or not Andrei Zubarev will be joining the Thrashers organ-I-zation. According to this report from Russia, he’s signed a 2-year deal and will be heading to North America.

This blog’s official Russian language translater, “Russian”, translated the story for us… ”Andrey Zubarev is coming here. He was 6 round pick ay 2005 draft. He will be in training camp and he will sign two way contract. Thrasher management announce this deal end of this week.”

As you’ll recall, Zubarevwas the Thrashers 6thround pick back in the 2005 entry draft and has since spent his playing days in Russia… the past two years with Mytishchi Atlant of the KHL. Last season he scored 7 goals and 9 assists in 55 games played and was a +11 with 58 PIM.

Hockey’s Future describes the 23-year old Zubarev as “a solid defensemanand skates well withabove average agility and acceleration. He is an above average puckhandler, but does not tend to keep the puck for long and hesitates to carry it up the ice. Zubarevhas a strong shot but is not always accurate. He has an impressive physical component to his game.”

I think it’s safe to say Zubarev would be brought in to provide defensive depth, playing in Chicago with the Wolves. One could think of it as replacing Ivan Vishnevskiy who was sent to the Blackhawks in the deal that brought Andrew Ladd here.

So, good-bye to Max and hello…possibly…to Zubarev.

There, I think that covers all of the Russian hockey players that are making news this weekend. ..though I can’t seem to shake this feeling that I’ve left someone out.

Anyone out there know of any other player from that country whose contract status is causing a bit of drama?

Anyone…?

Anyone…?

Yes…You. Stand Still Laddie!

New Thrasherville native Andrew Ladd took to the airwaves of Calgary’s The Fan 960. Ladd, who played in Calgary wit the Hitmen, talked to host Rob Kerr about winning the Stanley Cup last June with the Blackhawks, his day with the Cup and his recent trade to the Thrashers.

You can listen to the interview by clicking –>here<–

Tip of the hat to frequent blog contributor “kracker” for finding and posting this.

Allow Me To Say “Thank You, Thrasherville”

I was recently informed that you people out there…yes, you… funneled quite a bit of cyber-traffic around here. In fact, not only did last month’s page-views far outpace those of last summer’s month of July but they also topped the previous highs that were set last winter…you know, when the Thrashers were in the midst of their “March to the Playoffs”.

So please allow me this moment to express my deepest and sincerest gratitude for making this blog and Chris Vivlamore’s a part of your daily reading loop. This is especially directed at the ever-growing number of you who provide great insight and thoughtful opinion in the comments section below. I’ve always said that the real reason why this blog-thingy ticks is because of such great reader contribution. As happy as such news makes me, it is also quite humbling and I cannot thank you enough for making the ajc.com’s Thrashers blogs the place to go for the best hockey discussion in town.

You guys kick gluteus maximus!

Ok…enough of this sappy nicety-nice stuff. Those of you that post here regularly, get busy and provide your usual high-quality, thought-provoking and sometimes even humorous observations. Those of you who frequent the sight and just “lurk”…good to have you, but get busy and start posting comments!

149 comments Add your comment

Smitty

August 7th, 2010
10:33 am

ThrasherNY I agree with you that Kovy is one of the top players in the NHL. But I think you fail to realize the reason why so many here have been tough on Kovy. He was made captain at the beginning of the year and at first he played as a captain should. He came back early from a broken foot and helped the Thrashers get off to a good start.

But for whatever reason he quit on this team at the end of November. Lot of people were upset because he said he wanted to stay but his play dictated otherwise. The Thrashers were a young team and needed a strong leader. Kovy had the opportunity to take this team on his shoulders and lead them to the playoffs and had he played to his potential they would have made the playoffs. However his style of play proved that this team and this organization were not worthy of his best effort. I feel this is why so many quetion Kovy in this town.

There are few who would disagree with you in regards to Waddell. I am sure there are some here who do not like their supervisors or managers at work. But they still show up for work and at least try to perform to the best of their abilities. Kovy did neither at the end. I know it is naiive to compare sports figures and day to day workers such as ourselves but most people will realize an honest effort and we did not see that from Kovy

schroeder

August 7th, 2010
10:37 am

I respect the opinion of some who maintain that Kovy was an elite scorer,you don’t post those kind of stats without a lot of skill at this level. My opinion is based on the fact that when I have been to games and watched him without the puck float A LOT and hang the others on his line out to dry and then pick up the puck and charge headlong 1 on 4 and lose the puck while his linemates are dog-tired trying to play their end of the ice and have the other team bearing down 2 or 3 on one during a line change.This is not a new developement. I hope you do enjoy his play in NJ or Moscow or wherever he ends up.But I promise you I have played with guys like him(the me personality obviously not his skill set) and I got tired of seeing rubber constantly in my face until I could cover up or one of my defenseman could clear the zone with absolutely no help from a winger. IT AIN”T FUN!!!!!! It’s easy to pull for the flashy play that might occur,because thats all you will see from him,not cycling or digging in the corners or trying to stop rush by the other team.I wish I had a nickle for every puck he lost on the blueline during a PP or the one-timers he fanned on. I am sorry but as a former goaltender I am biased towards a winger that actually covers his point and doesn’t constantly leave me hanging out while he showboats. I guess I still believe that hockey is a team game,that is the reason I quit watching basketball years ago. IMO Kovy is hockeys version of Allen Iverson. Sorry but I guess I am still trying to get over being called a “bitter nancie” Still trying to figure that out. “HE”S NOT PININ” FOR THE FIJORDS,HE IS NO MORE…THIS PARROT IS DEAD!!”

lemon drop the gloves

August 7th, 2010
10:38 am

cheli has retired. heard he was going to work in wings front office. thrashers are lucky that he spent a year working with prospects in chicago and showing them what hard work will do. 3 cups, norris trophies, longevity records, etc… that was one hell of a team player who was a junkyard dog. he will be missed.

schroeder

August 7th, 2010
11:06 am

I’m sorry, I do not hate Kovy,he cannot help how he was taught to play. He was taught in the style of play that most russians play, all out offense. Please someone correct me if I am wrong,If say Kovy scores 40 goals and is a -27,does that not mean that he was on the ice while opponents scored 67 more times than his team? Let’s say Ovechkin scores 40 goals and is a +36,that also means that his team scored 76 more goals than the other team. That is why I believe that a 25 goal scorer that is a plus 5 is much more valuable than a 40 goal scorer thats a minus 27. If I am wrong please correct me,all I use to keep up with was Gaa and save %.

schroeder

August 7th, 2010
11:11 am

I meant to say “…scored 67 times on his team”, not 67 more times

glovesave29

August 7th, 2010
11:18 am

shroeder…plus/minus is easy. Its the goal differential while a particular player is on the ice withholding both power play and penalty kill situations. If Kovy is on the ice for 100 even strength Thrasher goals, and 125 even strength opponent goals, then he is a -25.

BlueSpark

August 7th, 2010
11:22 am

There’s almost too much traffic on this blog! By the time I get to reading it, there are always 100+ comments, and I have little to add. I also think the quality of writing, by both Rawhide and the majority of the regulars, is very high for a sports blog.

On Kovy: he is indeed an elite offensive player, but he IS one dimensional, and IS NOT a leader. He can carry a team for a game or two, but over the course of the season, will not be a difference maker. Contrast that to Crotchby or the Russian Menace Ovie.

I would also say the Hossa is an elite two-way player, yet he too is NOT a leader and will not carry a team. I think this was demonstrated last season in Chicago. Valuable, but not a difference maker. That’s what make his contract so onerous.

ben

August 7th, 2010
11:25 am

I think a lot of folks miss Kovy and are sour-graping this because he didn’t sign. But I think we’ll be a better team as long as we play defense. As far as lack of support, I support this team. Lots of places with lots of teams are like that. Take Pittsburgh as an example. Pre-Crosby they were going to move that team. And I mean that’s up north and all. I think the real issue is the NHL has a terrible business model that depends on near-full arenas all the time.

schroeder

August 7th, 2010
11:36 am

Thanks GS29, I was not even factoring in special team goals for or against. Too many pucks off the mask,man I still have nightmares about deflections,(starting to ramble again,sorry) Thanks again

The Smooth Spark

August 7th, 2010
11:41 am

Smitty NAILED IT!

WBF – don’t know if you had a chance to read my blog about the Big A, but JA messed up by taking Little off that line. He panicked after Kane went down and we got our butts kicked in Tampa. The lone bright spot in that game being Nic-Nik-Lits. Put Little at C for the two Niks and see what happens in Oct / Nov. I think Bryan will have a pretty big chip on his shoulder this fall.

glovesave29

August 7th, 2010
11:55 am

schroeder…ah, you are a fellow goalie. If you are like me, when you dive into a pile to cover up the puck, you get smacked all around on your mask…the one thing that inevitably comes to my mind as soon as I hear the whistle, is that people used to do this without anything to protect their face and head.

schroeder

August 7th, 2010
12:19 pm

I like getting poked between mask and the back of the skull cover, Had to have 14 stitches behind my rt ear. The thought of playing w/o a mask (FULL BODY SHIVER) I wish I had one of those clear throat covers when I played ,caught a few in the neck. I won’t sleep tonite with that visual in my mind.

DWTOO

August 7th, 2010
12:25 pm

Sorry to see Max go, but, don’t think it would wise to offer him a give year deal.

Heard a truly fuuny remark yesterday on the Power Play (XM afternoon NHL Home Ice). In response to a media report about improving attendence in Phoenix Boomer Gordon states – “had to be a US paper because all the Canadian media do is B^TCH.” Well thought it amazing that a Canadian would even think that.

Thrashers27

August 7th, 2010
12:26 pm

ThrasherNY, I think Nikulin is an afterthought at this point. We’ve anticipated his arrival every year and every year he fails to show, so I think most have given up on him.

Besides, one of the regulars here “Russian”, who is the resident expert on all things…well…Russian, mentioned the other day that Nikulinn had just inked a five year deal with his team in the KHL. If this is true, then say “so long” to the second Ilya of the year.

kracker

August 7th, 2010
2:01 pm

Here’s another audio interview from The Fan960/Calgary. Listen to New Thrashers’ goalie Chris Mason talk with Peter Loubardias in this interview done yesterday on Loubardias’ morning show.

http://www.fan960.com/media.jsp?content=20100806_230513_7328

World Be Free

August 7th, 2010
2:01 pm

Smoothie-I am with you on your suggestion. Little getting going this year is crucial and I think Torch and Ramsay will get him there. All in all, I think this coaching staff has the ability to move this team to places that John Anderson never dreamed of.

Rawhide

August 7th, 2010
2:15 pm

Streethockey Oldtimer – Yes, indeed…I was speaking directly at you. :grin:

Thanks for piping up.

As for Max’s contract…shrugs…I dunno outside of that is was for 5 years. Your guess is pretty good though.

World Be Free

August 7th, 2010
2:36 pm

Rawhide, I think Dudley was not interested in Max from the get-go, maybe Max and his people thought he might change his mind. The players Dudley has brought in kinda mirror the type of play he wants and it should be no surprise that all of the new players are North American.

I think he has one more small transaction up his sleeve.

Cornbread

August 7th, 2010
2:49 pm

I agree totally Smitty. The first time I ever saw Kovalcuk play, I witnessed something I have never seen at the “elite” level much less the beer league level. The Thrashers were on the power play, Kovy was on the left half wall. The Thrashers left D-man took a pass and while settling it and looking for options, Kovy skated up and took the puck off his own teammate’s stick. The D-man literally shrugged his shoulders on the ice and lifted his hands as to say WTF? That type of selfishness is a team killer. Right then I knew what type of player Kovy was. Elite did not come to mind.

Then during the play-off year I began to see a small change in Kovy’s attitude. I was at Phillips for Game 2 of the play-offs when Kovy scored and witnessed his passion and the fan’s. The stands were actually shaking it was so loud. I have never witnessed anything like it nor since at an NHL game and it occurred in Atlanta, GA.

At the end of ‘08-’09 I saw that same passion and felt like Kovy had matured. My feelings about him changed. I advocated making him the Captain of his team. The beginning of last season Kovy was on fire. The team made some very good off-season moves to appease him. I felt for sure he was going to sign a long term deal. Then in December it all became very clear that that would not be the case and the selfish Kovy of old showed up. Kovy quit on his fans, on management and owners that brought him into the league, and worse, on his teammates. The results speak for themselves. Captains do not do this. Elite players do not do this. Selfish prima donnas do.

Sadly, I am not alone in that thought. His fellow pros feel the same, though you will never hear it in public. The topic of Kovalchuk has come up a lot in the past year among several pros I know, some current and former NHLers, and not one of them would want Kovy as their Captain. That tells me all I need to know about him.

The Thrashers had a good team last season. They should have gone to the playoffs and made some noise, especially with Kovalchuk. Instead, Thrasher fans were subjected to the drama and continued ridicule of the rest of the NHL for having a crappy team unworthy of the NHL or Kovalchuk.

Good Riddance Kovy. And good luck with that Direct TV Russian spokesman-like contract.

A27

August 7th, 2010
3:21 pm

I sure hope Duds got something up his sleeve….it will make me feel better having another scorer on the team. IDWT!!

Lord Stanley

August 7th, 2010
3:40 pm

I will be very happy when we move forward and stop talking about Kvoke. Its almost as annoying as the political commercials.

Brendan

August 7th, 2010
7:41 pm

I’m not overly concerned that Max Afinogenov is gone. And truthfully, without knowing the rules and policies of the KHL, I cannot comment about what happens when and if Max Afinogenov is “cut” by his KHL team. Maybe, he becomes a UFA again, free to sign ANYWHERE on God’s green Earth. Personally, I wish Max Afinogenov nothing but the best with the rest of his career. I find it curious, however, that last season, his stated goal was “to play in the NHL.” Earlier this offseason, either he or his agent said, “We’d like to remain in the NHL.” So, for me, this is a bit of a surprise. I am not, however, surprised to learn Atlanta wouldn’t budge off its 1-year offer.

I think both sides did the correct thing. Atlanta is not utterly, utterly dependent on Finny. Nor is Finny legally bound to play in the NHL this upcoming season. So, this KHL signing, apparently, reflects Afinogenov’s wishes. I’ve always said, “UFA’s sign where they want to be.”

Segue to Kovalchuk, let me reiterate that I wish him the best. I harbor no ill will towards him. If he ever lifts that silver chalice over his head, I will be clapping for the guy. I’m sorry we couldn’t be the franchise he hoped we would become. But the Atlanta Thrashers do not live and die by Ilya Kovalchuk. Consider this. “Suppose we handed him 13-years/$135 million?” How would we field the rest of the squad? We couldn’t, and still be deep enough and competitive enough to win the Cup one fine day. So, in this regard, it is in the Thrashers best interest to embark on a new chapter and plan for its club. I won’t “boo” Ilya Kovalchuk. But I’m sure others will. I don’t “boo” Hossa. I don’t “boo” Savard, or Exelby or Andreas Karlsson. There’s very, very few players in the NHL that I would “boo.” Heatley, comes to mind. Is there “any” doubt about his character, now? He asked four (4) different teams for a ‘release’ or a trade. If ya gotta “boo” former Thrashers, there’s a good place to start. I think Jim Sim just re-signed with the Islanders. Good for him. Andy Sutton signed in Anaheim. Good for him. Kari Lehtonen re-signed in Dallas. Good for him. I hope all these moves are good ones for the players and their respective teams.

World Be Free

August 8th, 2010
7:09 am

Why do I believe that Max will be back in the NHL in less than 5 years?

Not Blind

August 8th, 2010
7:30 am

WBF, you forgot to add “With a 1 year contract” :)

Badger Bob

August 8th, 2010
8:06 am

kracker, another excellent find! Can you send that link to ASG and the twits at 680? They think we are going to get excited by an announcement that they are adding a coaches show. How about 10 minute interviews of our own players (let alone ones from other teams) during the off-season?

I’d like to see a station here take the “If you build it, they will come” approach to hockey (then again, not sure anyone can make a living selling ad space for a station like that).

Badger Bob

August 8th, 2010
8:08 am

Re. Max: KHL clearly has a long way to go when a Russian player takes days or weeks to contemplate a 5-year KHL contract versus what was likely a 1- or 2-year NHL contract…

Brendan

August 8th, 2010
10:36 am

WBF, Badger Bob, Not Blind … I’m forever being told that “the KHL is an old man’s league.” Finny is only 30. He’ll be 31 in September. Shrugs. I guess he’ll ‘tear it up’ there. Is Khabibulin the team’s netminder? I can’t remember anymore. Zherdev came back to the NHL this year. I think it was the Flyers.

In the KHL, if you play “poorly, badly, or irresponsibly” … they FINE YOU! The player loses money for poor performance. With that in mind, I’m taking a second look at WBF’s 7:09AM post.

World Be Free

August 8th, 2010
10:57 am

What the heck was I doing up at 7:09 AM-that’s the question.

EB

August 8th, 2010
11:19 am

With Mad Max wanting too long of a deal, I’m glad to see Dudley not cave on this, with some nice talent waiting to come up and take a roster spot anyway. Love to see Klingberg and Cormier make the team this season, move Little up to take Max’s spot with Antropov and Ice Berg and hopefully play up to his potential after last years issues. With Kane and Pevs anchoring the second line with big man Dustin! That would leave Kingberg and Cormier on the third with Ladd and Eager on the fourth with Slater and Thor/Bolts. I don’t know about you but to me that is a MUCH improved offense who I think will add much needed defensive play as well!! Also glad to hear this new Russian may be coming up after Vishnevsky’s departure, hope he also brings more of a physical game to the ice with him. That fits with the other pieces Duds has already brought in, not to mention the extra depth for sure

World Be Free

August 8th, 2010
12:15 pm

Will we see Arty back?

alex

August 8th, 2010
12:57 pm

you can’t be serious (like former tennis great said), you sure add some 4 liners to existing 8 and we going to compete with capitals, penguins even current tampa with gagne addition for spot in the playoff? only stupid asg and very small minority in this blog think this way. cormier or klindberg not going to pull this franchise from the hole. much, much bigger star – crosby, ovy, kovi not been abble to do this unless been surrounding with real deal (semin, green, knuble, malkin, gonchar guerin) kovi did’t get similar here and left. for sure more have to be done if not same result

kracker

August 8th, 2010
1:30 pm

BenThrashers 6-3 Thrashers draft pick Tanner Lane who scored 90 points in 26 high school games will play in the USHL this season. http://bit.ly/9nReoU

Red Light

August 8th, 2010
4:41 pm

Wow, I missed a lot on my coastal respite.

Spud: Max was a great one-year value. Could have repeated last year’s effort? No way. Classic example of a guy playing for a contract. Made more than $3 million, then nothing. Got $800k, then wants two years or more because he decided he needed the money again because his girlfriend makes more than him. A slap to his Russian ego?

I harbor no grudge with anyone who leaves for greener pastures. The cap, pro sports in general, has turned 79 percent of all players into whores. 11 percent just wish they were good enough to be a whore and the rest are actually decent humans. Afinogenov is perfectly suited for the pretty offensive game but he’s not the kind of guy you want for a playoff run. He can score but what else can he do? Check? Nah. Kill Penalties? Nah.

For the money $800k was a great deal. For the money $1.6 million would have been a great deal. Two years, good deal. Anything longer, pass. Dudley made the right call IMO.

HookyBob

August 8th, 2010
5:16 pm

So,..counting players and coaches,..we have had at least a 50% turnover in staff and players from last year. Methinks it may take awhile for the team, both players and coach’s system, to gell. So,..how soon do you think we’ll have a good read on how good this team is, or can be? I’ve heard mid Nov (Brendan?), but (how profound is this?) time will tell.

I like the idea of a team that is “improving” or “growing” and I think we have the mix to do that. So my timeframe is Jan 1st,… at the earliest. Even if we are getting better with each game we should have a good view by the new year if this team is going to the “2nd season.”

I’m still hoping Duds is working a trade that gets us someone like Iggy. To me that would make us legitimate when it comes to contending for the Cup. Do you folks agree or disagree that we are one critical player away from being a contender?

Brendan

August 8th, 2010
5:18 pm

WBF, Arty may be holding out for a contending team. I’m not sure that Atlanta even has a standing offer on the table for R2Kin. Maybe Flames could confirm that. Malhotra sat on Atlanta’s offer last year, until he ultimately decided upon the Sharks. SJ did, after all, make the CF for the 2nd time since 2004. I don’t think Artyukhin is holding out for more money, (he’s not a commanding UFA,) so much as a team that might go farther into the playoffs. I can’t blame him for that. And I really don’t know if Waddell/Dudley wants him back. Though, he struck me as the type Dudley would like. Atlanta did make the effort to acquire him, so they must have some interest in this player.

Brendan

August 8th, 2010
5:40 pm

HookyBob, by the time Veteran’s Day is here, the team, historically, has played around 18 games. I haven’t peeked at the schedule to see what it would be this year. If this team is 5-6 games over .500 by Veteran’s Day, then things are going well. I don’t want to confuse geled with peaked. Certainly, by Thanksgiving, we’ll know what we’re doing right and what’s still a problem. I don’t own a crystal ball. But my guess is … that as assembled … we won’t have the goal scoring production that previous Thrasher squads have had. But, hopefully, the goals against, through “team defense,” will be much improved. While no one should be talking about the Stanley Cup this season, the truth is … I can think of a couple Stanley Cup winners that were below .500 at Christmas. The season is so very long. Look how Penguins did it in 2009! They weren’t EVEN in the playoff picture the year they won the Cup, at New Year’s Day. The 2004 Tampa Lightning were mired in mediocrity at the Holidays. They won it all. In 2006, the New Jersey Devils were 17-points out of 1st place in their division. In the final hours of the season, they won the Atlantic. But only teams of that caliber can pull that off.

In hockey, it’s very important to be playing your best hockey as the playoffs arrive. Championship teams base very little on the months of October and November. Those kinds of teams pour it on down the stretch. For Atlanta, October and November are critical months, because (grab a metal pot for your head and wooden spoon to bang during the next sentence,) “points in October count just as much as they do in March and April.” Sorry. I may not do that again.

I usually reserve the metal pot and spoon for “Spending money doesn’t guarantee success. Look at the Rangers and the Leafs!” And so forth. Ad nauseum.

But yes, I stand by the comment … that we’ll know if this team is a capable one by November. If we’re averaging 1.8 goals a game while giving up 2.9 or more, we’re not going to like our record. But, if it’s the other way ’round, I suspect we will. For me, the issues will be how well Ramsay instills the defensive system and if ALLL the players will buy into this team concept. And, perhaps, how well our goaltending is holding up. I like the tandem of Mason and Pavelec. But, if Pavelec struggles again, and God forbid Mason has a health issue, could we really count on Mannino to come in and save the day?

This is why we play the games. And when the season is seven months long … almost any team can overcome a poor start. But only select few Championship teams can be “middling” at the Holidays. Look at Detroit last year. The talk in February was if they’d get the #8 spot. They finished 5th. We don’t have that luxury. We’re gonna have to bank points in October to be talking about the 8th spot in March. I’d prefer not to hold the “firesale” of free agents at the trade deadline. But if we’re out of it, there’s no point NOT to.

Darkhorse

August 8th, 2010
6:37 pm

Joe Friday

August 8th, 2010
8:07 pm

“Maybe a good comparison to Kovy would be Dave Kingman?”

Whoa! Dave Kingman? Dave “I gave myself a hernia and fell down, but I’d hit it outta da park at least once in my next 113 swings” Kingman? That Dave Kingman?

I have not thought of Dave Kingman in years but this comparison is cracking me up, in a good way, nice. Was Kingman a Card? He was a Cubbie, I thought he was a SF Giant as well?

Dave Kingman and Kovy. Sure, I like it. Neither one is ever going to have a ring . . .

ThrasherNY

August 8th, 2010
8:08 pm

Smitty: I will not argue that Kovy was playing at his best in November but I surely didnt see him mailing it in like I did Hossa. While deplorable as a fan it seems to happen more than not when a team and star player go through a protracted negotiation and ultimately decide to divorce. I agree his work ethic, pride and responsibility to the fans who ultimately pay for his salary should have prohibited him from leaving anything but his all on the ice but alas. With regards to the Captaincy I share a different opinion. I feel it was irresponsible to give him the C in the first place when we were all but certain he was leaving after not signing prior to the season. It was a nice gesture but a weak bargaining chip. With regards to Waddell, I konw there are those who think he was not the problem. I cant tell if you are in that group but I would ask to anyone in that group do you not see a marked difference between the moves being made by Dudley and the moves made in prior years?

Most people who dont fault Waddell sight the ownership situation as the root cause. I obviously cant argue they are not a complete and utter cancer as well. But what Dudley is working on right now is proof that a GM should have been able to build within even those constraints.

Waddell had four solid years of top two picks and while I give him some credit for the like of Kane and Enstrom who are now part of the core the exit of Kari and Kovy marks a lot of squandered opportunity. The Pens and Hawks have won cups with less and that should show you the power of the draft in the new NHL.

Schroeder: The only real point of serious contention between us is the less than 35 goals part. I agree that Kovy is not a complete player. I think he will get there by age 30 but he is not now. I also watched him do some selfish and idiot stuff out there and I suspect you are correct a lot of it boils down to the Russian hockey of his youth. I just feel Kovy grew each year and stopped the puck stealing crap seasons ago. Now he still rushed in ahead of his line but I go back to the fact he was surrounded by 3rd liners with no speed and barely any talent. All that speed is wasted if you only advance as fast as your two weak links. Heck I would go so far as to say that some of those rushes are what kept defenses honest as they had to be prepared for a rocket booster right at you attack. I am sure you will also admit the few times it worked you jumped out of your seat with joy and likely told a friend about how awesome it was. I also hope you dont think I called you anything as severe as a bitter nancie. I was just reacting to the hatred factor for a guy who was our franchise player.

Brendan: As much as I like the guy a fully agree letting him go was the only option. Paying him $10m a year is nuts for anyone let alone a team operating just above the floor. His contract may not have been an anchor in the first four years while he is still ascending to 30 but the last years we would have been done for before the season started.

On Nikulin: I did preface with, “I hate to ask” as I know we always bring up the pipe dream situation. But as you can tell by these posts and if you remember them from the way back my earlier stuff I truly feel Waddell was inept. This is why I broke out the itty bitty hope factor that he may journey over now that we are starting to show promise and he would essentially be a top 2 Dman for us.

World Be Free

August 8th, 2010
9:07 pm

Kingman, maybe Gorman Thomas? I once saw Gorman Thomas ground into double plays in 3 consecutive at bats in a game in Tronna at the old Exhibition Stadium. Pete Incavigla in the same sentence.

Brendan-we have heard nothing about Arty anywhere. I really liked his game last year, great speed for a big man. I’d hate to have to handle him one on one in the corner, or in front of the net. But you wonder what’s up with the big guy and what his plans are? Duds need to get the RFAs signed up and get one more role player.

Brendan

August 8th, 2010
9:31 pm

DarkHorse, that was a nice find on Bogosian. I just hope what they wrote about him is true.

Joe Friday, I haven’t even heard the name Dave Kingman in at least 15 years. He did have a mighty whallop.

ThrasherNY, that’s a good post. It gave us a lot to think about. I agreed with most of it. I’m not sure offering Kovalchuk the Captaincy was such a horrible idea. I would have felt worse if they hadn’t. At least this way, fans couldn’t say, “And they didn’t even think to offer him the Captaincy, after all these years of being the face of the franchise.” And so forth. Now, I blame ownership more than Waddell for the reason Kovalchuk left. Let me explain why. Kovy cannot demand Waddell’s head, in favor of someone like Dudley. Or whomever, as GM. It’s up to ownership to recognize and correct the problem. And they didn’t. Or wouldn’t. Or couldn’t. The bottom line is … they kept a GM without a playoff win for a decade’s worth of seasons. And he’s still there, in the capacity that he is. How was Kovalchuk supposed to ignore that, along with league minimum budgets, and an overall lack of accountability from top to bottom? But you’re right, offering him the Captaincy, in and of itself, wasn’t that great of a bargaining chip. But it was at least “something” they did to try to make him feel important and needed here.

The thing that bothers me the most about the ownership and Waddell is this. It’s hard to tell if they’re genuinely stupid, or if they prefer to be seen that way, because it conveniently serves their purposes. That, and that we once sent a “clandestine operative” into the offices of the AS, LLC to confiscate a dictionary. And sure enough, the word “accountability” wasn’t there until Dudley hand-wrote it in, in a clear “cover-up.”

Brendan

August 8th, 2010
9:51 pm

So, I’m watching Comcast’s “NHL on demand” and I see, among other things, Kovy’s first game as a Devil, where they beat the Leafs by scoring 3 goals in the final 3:04 of regulation. The thing that stood out in my mind was how happy he was … and how he looked as if he’d been a Devil for months. Kovy made a seriously nice play on the Devils 3rd goal, that tied the game with less than a minute in regulation.

One of the other games they had … was Carolina vs. Boston. The game was featured because an NHL-record was set for most short-handed goals on a single powerplay. Boston, on a fresh, new sheet of ice, scored three (3) shorties in the span of 1:04. But in typical Bruin fashion last season, they couldn’t play with the 3-0 lead. By the end of the 2nd period, Carolina was within one. Boston did win that game, 4-2. But Claude Julien does not have a solid game plan for holding on to a 3-0 lead. Whether in a playoff series or a playoff game, or a regular season game.

Sage of Bluesland

August 8th, 2010
10:13 pm

What’s that old saying–something along the lines of “Heck [sic] hath no fury than a woman scorned”…Maybe Shakespeare penned it? I don’t know.

I DO know that after wading through the sheep-tripe of Cornbread’s latest “Love/Hate Kovy” comment, I would like to propose a change to that age-old quote:

Heck [sic] hath no fury than a sheep scorned.

(Yep, that’s about right)

Lord Stanley

August 8th, 2010
10:26 pm

Can’t wait for the kchoke announcement, Although I am afraid he will win the hearing, Will be interesting if alot more signings occur,

kracker

August 8th, 2010
10:43 pm

ThrasherNY…With regards to the Captaincy I share a different opinion. I feel it was irresponsible to give him the C in the first place when we were all but certain he was leaving after not signing prior to the season.

I wouldn’t mention this but you seemed to be baseing a lot of your opinion on Kovy being the captain. Kovy got the C midway thru Anderson’s first season so it was unlikely for him not to continue as Kaptain if he remained on the team which, of course, he did.

Hindsight says he should have been traded prior to the 09-10 season but for the first few weeks keeping Kovy as Kaptain was looking like a winning decision.

Brendan

August 8th, 2010
11:43 pm

Sage, Sage, Sage. You, too, are a Thrasher fan scorned. For if the team were better, you would be out attending games. I understand completely. You’re withholding money in hopes of inspiring necessary changes. The amazing thing is, even as bad as they’ve been, and as far buried in the sports section as the Thrashers (and other hockey coverage) are … they still manage to survive. And that is amazing. If I owned the Thrashers, I’d be really upset about how much money I’d lost, through ten seasons. But these guys aren’t. And they’ve owned the team since 2004. I can’t imagine why. They don’t try to turn it into a money-maker. At least now, I suppose, they have a more competent decision-maker/talent evaluator in Dudley. But he’s still hamstrung by a budget still closer to the floor than the ceiling.

Sage, you would think … that the GM’s of the National Hockey League principally have one (1) job: to make MONEY for their owners. They do that … by assembling a strong team based on the budget they’ve been given. So far, the only “free profit” the Thrashers have had … is the $4 million they made hosting Games One and Two in the 2007 playoffs. And in court documents, they claim to be losing $20 million annually.

And whether fans attend games or not … doesn’t seem to much matter to them. They survive with their revenue-sharing dollars and league minimum budgets. As fans, Sage, I can see why you feel that the hockey is very disrespected in this town. They were asked to incur price increases without a commeasurate improvement in the product. I know. We’ve heard it all. Owners who are happy to lose money, annually, are a small group. I’ve always thought that this bunch (Octocluster) saw the Thrashers as an investment opportunity to ‘buy low’ … then ’sell high’ when the market conditions were favorable, for about a $10 million-per-year average when the deal finally came to the closing table. I’m not too sure they’re gonna see that payday. Even if it happens for them, they’ve lost lost millions in lawyer fees and court costs, etc. I’d love to ask them, privately, if they regret ever buying these teams and the venue. I think they’d say, “Well, we love the venue. That’s our moneymaker. And, had we NOT had in-fighting, then maybe things could have been different.”

World Be Free

August 9th, 2010
8:05 am

Sage, Sage, your last post was a total disappointment, a waste of typing. You can do better than that.

ThrasherNY

August 9th, 2010
8:06 am

Kracker: I dont base any of my opinions on Kovy being the Captain. While we didn’t have a lot of better options at the time and thus I must admit I cant definitively speak to why he was made Captain, by default or by decision (read: with pressure), I do remember there being chatter about it being a ploy to retain him which is a weak reason to make someone a Catain IMO. I did a little Googling to discover it was our boy Craig C who wrote the article I recall about Kovy being made Captain. Here is a telling paragraph which eludes to the overall theme of the piece “Nobody knows him better than fellow Russian and teammate Slava Kozlov. Kozlov, an alternate captain, said keeping Kovalchuk in Atlanta has more to do with improving the roster and showing signs of winning rather than handing him the C.”

Now I sound like I am bashing my man Kovalchuk?? In the interest of clarity I will restate my original point which is that Kovy is an elite player (there are multiple kinds) who I have enjoyed watching all these years and whom I feel deserves a better send off from Blueland than he is getting (with valid reasons I admit) from the general posting public.

Brendan: First, I agree the ownership is at the top of the food chain and thus is accountable for all that below, most importantly the hiring and firing of the GM. I give them (all parties) a pass though as there motivations appear to be plain to me, keep hockey losses low so we can invest in winning basketball franchise. Basketball was the money maker and hockey the afterthought IMO. I feel a GM has to work with that constraint to produce and that a better GM could have done it with all the lottery picks. I think I met you half way in that for the first couple years of incompetence it was Waddell and the latter it was the ASG for not firing Waddell.

rob

August 9th, 2010
10:19 am

WBF,
Sage “im-post-er”? I didn’t think it sounded much like him either! LOL Too much talk on here about Kovalsux and the Octotards.
A SOLID forecheck will cause turnovers and lead to the goal differential everyone is so worried about. No need for an “elite” prima dona to come in here and ruin what is a working mans game. 4 hard working lines will be fine. If they can do that, then it may in time bring in HARDWORKING “elite” players. THOSE are the ones you want. The ones with the drive and spirit, the “will” to win who bring everyones game to the next level. Filling a spot with a goal scorer without that mentality will only get you some pretty goals, nothing more. All those who see Kovalsux as an “elite” player……he has never LED a team anywhere…EVER. Giving him the kind of money they are throwing at him is an afront to the game of hockey. What will his legacy be? The highest paid player. BFD!