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

TableHockey

August 6th, 2010
9:07 am

glovesave29

August 6th, 2010
9:10 am

Thanks Bill…guess I am watching “Pink Floyd – The Wall” tonight. Time to see some kids ground into hamburger meat.

telfo

August 6th, 2010
9:12 am

no way an NHL team would have offered him a similar contract

Sports Climax

August 6th, 2010
9:13 am

They are really gonna miss Max’s offensive output. Was really hoping they stepped up and offered a longer deal to keep him. Maybe Dudley “Do-Right” has better plans for that money and he’s not telling us yet.

J.B.

August 6th, 2010
9:17 am

Posted this on the last blog. Didn’t realize Rawhide was already on the case and about to post anew…

I would have loved to have max back in the fold here but 5 years is just silly for someone of his age if you factor in his skill level. If those were his requirements for a contract, he was out of luck in the NHL from the get-go. I enjoyed him while he was here; best of luck to Max in Russia.

World Be Free

August 6th, 2010
9:19 am

Strong shot but not accurate-sounds like Zhitnik.

We all knew Max was gone when he didn’t get a competitive offer from ATL or anyone else this side of the pond. The Old Max could not overcome the New Max. Giving him 5 years was probably over committing to him, but I think the KHL is desperate to get players back to Russia that are not truly classified as “old men”. I’d go for a season or two but they would laugh at my equipment, look at my sticks and say “who is this Bossy guy on your stick”?

Flagstaff

August 6th, 2010
9:20 am

Good blog, Bill. The Zubarev situation will be interesting, but I’m still waiting on that trade Flames said might be going down… also sure to be interesting.

Somaatl95

August 6th, 2010
9:21 am

If I remember correctly the “inside man” we all know as “Flames” said something is brewing still, so I don’t think the ch-ch-ch-ch-changes are quite finished. Sad to see Max go, figured he would stick around because we gave him a chance no other team would last season… oh well. Hopefully we hear out of Boston that a certain greedy Russian becomes UFA again so he can go and join Max overseas.
It would be great if this was our cup winning season :)

Rockem Sockem Thrasher

August 6th, 2010
9:23 am

Here’s the article and the link on Zubarev

“Andrei Zubarev received an invitation from the “Atlanta”

05/08/2010 17:23
Defender Andrei Zubarev, speaking last two seasons for the Moscow Region “Atlant”, received an invitation from the club’s NHL Atlanta Thrashers.

In the coming days an agreement will be signed. According to the agent hockey player Valeri Matveyev, the contract does not provide for the return of Zubarev’s back in the first season, even if he does not fall into the basic structure “Thrashers”. Recall that Atlanta was drafted in the sixth round Zubarev under the 187-th number in 2005. ”

http://www.allhockey.ru/news/81520/

Darkhorse

August 6th, 2010
9:29 am

Agreed on Max. I was really hoping he was coming back for a year, maybe two. If his expectations were for a 4-5yr deal from us or another NHL team, and wasn’t backing down, then you would have to be Glen Sather in the head to give Max that long a contract.

The Max ship sailed for Dudley weeks ago I bet if terms like this and $$$ were what it was going to take. If we really are entering a manditory “win now” season from ownership, Dudley is working to make a much bigger splash at forward than Max IMO. More poaching from cap strapped teams to come?

Rawhide

August 6th, 2010
9:45 am

Per NHLSoursesSay tweet: “Afinogenov’s agent says his client chose the KHL because he liked the length of the contract (5 years) NHL offers were 1-2 year deals”

lemon drop the gloves

August 6th, 2010
9:45 am

zubarev’s weaknesses are postma’s strength’s-most notably puck retrieval/carrying skills and heavy accurate shot. i place him on the depth chart below postma without hesitation. time to go with the youth and build from within-especially since no major free agents have been acquired.

Smoothie

August 6th, 2010
9:45 am

“Glen Sather in the head”…nominated! Well done Darkhorse!

Tough to see Max go overseas, but 5 years is “looney tunes” for a nearly 31 y/o with a history of injury. I reckon Slava will be next to join SKA and Medvedev’s “expansion” team. Perhaps after the Ice Edge deal falls through in Glendale, the remnants of the Coyotes will be distributed between St. Pete, Moscow and Mytishchi to realize Medvedev’s dream of getting NHL hockey in Eastern Europe.

Smoothie

August 6th, 2010
9:48 am

Oh yeah, Custance gives us an update on Little and Bergfors RFA negotiations in his latest “Grinder” or “Grindhouse” column. Little’s talks are “active and ongoing” per a reliable NHL source. And CC expects Bergfors’ talks to resume in earnest early next week, which would make sense considering Duds is in Lake Placid watching his 3 Swedish sons make him proud.

kracker

August 6th, 2010
9:50 am

Off topic: From Brent Sopel’s Twitter page:

“Bio: Atlanta Thrashers Defenseman, but still Current 2010 Stanley Cup Champion.”

That’s good enough for me. Welcome to Atlanta, Brent!

Zombie Steve

August 6th, 2010
9:57 am

I’ve been addicted to this blog (and C-viv’s) since I first wandered in about 2 months ago. Keep up the great work!!

This is definitely the premier spot for Thrasher news and insider info

Zoomo

August 6th, 2010
9:59 am

You had to throw that “march to the Playoffs” in there…still makes me queasy.

>>>zubarev’s weaknesses are postma’s strength’s-most notably puck >>retrieval/carrying skills and heavy accurate shot

You know, the first time I saw Postma in prospect camp 2 years ago, the thing that got my attention was the “sound” of his shot. Low, hard, and heavy. I immediately started to keep my eye on him, and loved what I saw. I’ve been impressed with his continued development and I think he’ll be with the big club for a good part of the season. Time will tell whether it’s out of camp, or as a mid-season call up.

Nate

August 6th, 2010
10:01 am

As others have stated, five years is too long for a player with Max’s injury history and age. It’s just too big of a risk. At this point it looks like Dudley is going to give the young guys a real chance unless Jersey or maybe Boston have to unload some guys for cap reasons. He might snag someone in that case. I dunno. Looking over the roster it looks as if goal scoring will be at a premium. I’m worried some of the guys are gonna collapse under the pressure of having to produce.

Paminski

August 6th, 2010
10:08 am

Good luck to Max. I would have liked to see him in Thrasher blue for another season or two, but I would have taken the KHL contract too. He was good for the Thrash last year and the Thrash was good to him. Things change.

Zombie Steve

August 6th, 2010
10:15 am

Anyone got any predictions on what Dudley’s next magic trick will be?? Who are the current forward ripe for the picking?? (we are running out of UFA’s)

J.B.

August 6th, 2010
10:22 am

not saying it’s a good idea, but i still think fedotenko ends up in atlanta. my gut tells me stempinak goes back to the yotes. ummmm anyone left after that who’s not a goalie?

kracker

August 6th, 2010
10:32 am

J.B. —> “…my gut tells me stempinak goes back to the yotes” Ya know, I wonder. I have no idea what is going on with Stempinak or the Yotes but it might be that a franchise with a bit more stability (!) would appeal to Stempinak.

I don’t know…that’s probably just wishful thinking. But here Lee could get a place to live lined up and know he will be using it for the next season.

Mikey

August 6th, 2010
10:34 am

Blogmaster: Like Zombie Steve I too have recently come to make this blog a regular stop. Same with C-Viv’s. Like you said, regulars like Brendan, govesave29, Smoothie,World Be Free and all the rest make this site must read material.

It certainly helps us get through the offseason. October can’t get here soon enough.

Monkey

August 6th, 2010
10:42 am

I’ll miss Max. I wish we could have kept him.

Mikey

August 6th, 2010
10:45 am

Oh and I think “that other Russian” winds up a UFA again after the arbitrator kicks out that ridiculous contract this weekend.

Somaatl95

August 6th, 2010
10:49 am

Hopefully the Arbitrator agrees, Mikey :)

Jack

August 6th, 2010
10:49 am

Depending on how the kchoke soap opera ends up, I feel we will get our scorer via trade vs fa. If devils keep him they will be forced to dump salary.

Smoothie

August 6th, 2010
11:10 am

Mikey – thanks for the mention. Just trying to help facilitate the process of procuring Thrashers’ news. I am thankful there are so many dedicated fans / bloggers here at this little corner of the web-o-sphere.

By the way, if anyone needs a Mad Max hi-lite reel fix, I’ve put up a good 4 minute video on my blog: http://thrashingbirds.blogspot.com/2010/08/do-svidanya-max-udachi.html

Enjoy! And of course, best of luck to you — and Elena! — Maxim!!

Cornbread

August 6th, 2010
11:15 am

Max did not fit the new look of the Thrashers. As good as he was offensively, the turnovers he gave up at inopportune transition moments were maddening and hurt the team. A year signing I could have lived with, much more than that would have caused me to question Dudley’s sanity.

As for Zubarev signing, I’d say he is a depth replacement for Kulda more so than Vishnevsky. The Thrashers have their Vish in Enstrom and Postma.

Postma, that guy can skate!

GaVaHokie

August 6th, 2010
11:17 am

I’d like to see us make an offer on Bobby Ryan… Little and Postma perhaps.

Riceowls

August 6th, 2010
11:19 am

I’m so Jonesing for hockey I actually watched how they make hockey sticks last night. Man I hate August.

Rawhide

August 6th, 2010
11:26 am

Oh and I think “that other Russian” winds up a UFA again after the arbitrator kicks out that ridiculous contract this weekend.

Mikey – I think most people “want” to see that happen as the contract looks to me to violate the “spirit” of the CBA. But does it violate the “letter of the law” regarding the CBA? That’s the question.

I predict the NHL loses this challenge, but they succeeed in their aim of taking a shot accross the bow of agents and teams who may look to do same in the future.

Smoothie - Nice post & great highlights.

As for Zubarev signing, I’d say he is a depth replacement for Kulda more so than Vishnevsky. The Thrashers have their Vish in Enstrom and Postma

Cornbread – Good point. I expect Kulda to be here this fall, so it reasons that a replacement in Chicago is needed somehow.

I’d like to see us make an offer on Bobby Ryan… Little and Postma perhaps

GaVaHokie – As long as it’s not Bergie and Kulda… OK.

I’m so Jonesing for hockey I actually watched how they make hockey sticks last night. Man I hate August.

Riceowls – Where did you see that? COOL!!!! :cool:

kracker

August 6th, 2010
11:28 am

Interesting, Riceowls. If it was a video clip, what is the URL?

Adam

August 6th, 2010
11:45 am

Other than signing FA Stempinak what trade do you guys see working. I don’t see Anaheim parting with Ryan, they’ll get him inked.

Cap troubled teams like Vancouver have a couple of guys I could see here like Mason Raymond or Alexandre Burrows. In Calgary you have Niklas Hagman. While I’d still like to see us make a move for Zajac I don’t know if Lou would work a deal with Duds again right now.

Somaatl95

August 6th, 2010
11:47 am

Riceowls – If you have the NHL network they are replaying this past seasons playoff games. Watched the Pens and Sens last night and was reminded just how much of a whiny little beyatch Cindy Crotchby is (He made sure to point out to the ref that he was cross checked in front of Ottawas Goal and looked as if he was gonna blubber up and cry when the ref didn’t care) Also, if you are a kid at heart and have a game console you can always play EA Sports most excellent NHL games – The new one comes out a month from tomorrow and hopefully EA Canada shows our birds some love. Thats how my friends and I get through the off season.

Somaatl95

August 6th, 2010
11:49 am

… and I forgot, Rawhide and C-Viv also help during the off season. Nice to talk puck 365 days a year :)

Badger Bob

August 6th, 2010
11:52 am

Re. Kovy’s contract and the letter of the law, here’s the law in question:

“26.3 Circumventions.
(a) No Club or Club Actor, directly or indirectly, may: (i) enter into any agreements, promises, undertakings, representations, commitments, inducements, assurances of intent, or understandings of any kind, whether express, implied, oral or written, including without limitation, any SPC, Qualifying Offer, Offer Sheet or other transaction, or (ii) take or fail to take any action whatsoever, if either (i) or (ii) is intended to or has the effect of defeating or Circumventing the provisions of this Agreement or the intention of the parties as reflected by the provisions of this Agreement, including
without limitation, provisions with respect to the financial and other reporting obligations of the Clubs and the League, Team Payroll Range, Player Compensation Cost Redistribution System, the Entry Level System and/or Free Agency.”

To me, there’s no question Kovy’s contract “has the effect of defeating or circumventing” the salary cap. Hossa’s probably did too, but Kovy’s exceeds his in duration, player age at the end of the contract, and laughability of final year $ amounts. It’s not just the spirit of the CBA, it is the CBA itself in question here. If his contract is accepted, then the salary cap becomes an utter joke.

Badger Bob

August 6th, 2010
12:00 pm

BTW, Rawhide you deserve all the commendations you get – you give us a terrific blend of insight and humor, and an oasis of hockey talk in the desert of the southern states. Well done!

Mikey, you gotta add RedLight to that list of uniquely insightful posters here.

Mikey

August 6th, 2010
12:06 pm

Badger Bob: I knew once I started naming some of the regulars I would leave someone out. Red Light, sorry for my oversight.

I should have put an “etc.” at the end of the list.

World Be Free

August 6th, 2010
12:10 pm

Smoothie-on top of everything else, 5 years is alot to give a guy who has a tendency to take “European Vacations” during the middle of the season.

World Be Free

August 6th, 2010
12:15 pm

Mikey-add Friday in there too, Sage for repetition.
Somaa-we are hockey junkies aren’t we.

ChippersLoveChild

August 6th, 2010
12:21 pm

Sad to see Max go… we are going to have to make another move somewhere, we are sorely lacking in goal scorers as it sits right now.

Smoothie

August 6th, 2010
12:24 pm

WBF – indeed, 5 years is a long time for anyone who is at a cross-roads of sorts. It’d be one thing if he had spent all ten years of his career in ATL. I could see rewarding Max with 3 or 4 more years after reviving his career in the wake of that 2 year disaster at the end of his Buffalo days.

But like many have said, the team is moving in a different direction. And the complexion is such that the young team can ill-afford too many inopportune momentum shifts that result from unnecessary risk-taking.

However, I will say this in Max’s defense: once Kovy was traded, he seemed to do less free-lancing and even seemed to work harder in the corners. Unfortunately for Max, his game is predicated on unpredictability and it doesn’t necessarily jibe with a more plodding, grind-it-out style that we are likely to employ. We will have to keep games close and try to win them on the power play or with relentless forechecking.

Riceowls

August 6th, 2010
12:26 pm

There’s a show on Discovery (I think) called “How do they make that.” The manufacturer had 6,000 sticks from professionals so they could make exact copies to sell. I was fascinated.

(What can I say, I’m still a geek when it comes to that stuff. But I went to Rice so you already knew that).

Somaatl95

August 6th, 2010
12:27 pm

WBF – Yup we def are junkies… and these blogs we frequent are our “Drugs of choice” Most readers of the AJC Sports pages are about UGA, The Braves, Falcons or Hawks. Its nice to know that due to the excellent musings of Bill and Chris the traffic to the Thrashers area of tha AJC is growing on a steady basis. Hopefully the bigwhigs at the AJC give the Thrashers proper coverage during the season instead of sports that are out of season. That is one step towards getting those team coveting fools in Canada to stop saying we aren’t a “Hockey Town” – remember, to those people “Perception = Reality” They think we are a joke and getting Atlanta media to cover the Thrashers (outside of Rawhide and C-Viv) is next to impossible.

Badger Bob

August 6th, 2010
12:35 pm

About a quarter of the posts on the Max story at tsn are “I wonder why no GM’s offered him a contract”. SE fans get accused of not being hockey knowledgable, but there is your proof that the Great White North sports plenty of uninformed hockey fans.

World Be Free

August 6th, 2010
12:47 pm

Smoothie-I felt all along he deserved another chance to be here. Max and Antro both played better overall games after Kovy left. Maybe they just had more opportunities, whatever the case we still wanted him back. But Dudley has his plan and Max was not part of it IDWT I guess.

Somaa-This is the place for good sports chatter, esecially with the quality of the contributors on the 2 AJC hockey blogs. Braves have too many contributors, Sports Vent is down right stupid. Can’t wait for the season to start.

Wayne stuck in AL

August 6th, 2010
12:59 pm

“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.”

Don’t we already have that in Toby (”I’ve never seen a shot that I’ve liked”) Enstrom?

Jack

August 6th, 2010
1:05 pm

Based off Ramsay’s idealogy and Zub’s weakness of pushing the puck up the ice, I see Zub n Chicago for awhile,

Michael B. Shapiro

August 6th, 2010
1:10 pm

Bye Max, you were great last year (so much for the naysayers) and we’ll miss you. Good luck in Mother Russia.

Cornbread

August 6th, 2010
1:46 pm

“Don’t we already have that in Toby (”I’ve never seen a shot that I’ve liked”) Enstrom?”

No “we” don’t. Enstrom is a puck moving offensive defenceman. Zubarev is more of a stay at home D-man who is always looking to get rid of the puck and make a good first pass. He has a hard shot that is not accurate and Enstrom has one of the weakest shots in the league but is accurate when he does pull the trigger. Other than that, I won’t know much more about Zubarev until I see him play. But based off of those and other reports, he and Enstrom are nothing alike. Teams need diversity on the blue line just like they do on the scoring and checking lines.

Bluestreak

August 6th, 2010
2:51 pm

Allow Me To Say “Thank You, Thrasherville” . . .

This section concerned me before I read it. I thought the IceMan was going to melt away…

There is a reason for the blog going through the roof…its quality.

We’ll miss Finny, but at least he won’t haunt us in the NHL. Now if someone could get that ‘other Russian’ to go to the KHL, we can quit hearing about him.

glovesave29

August 6th, 2010
3:27 pm

Shot accuracy can be fixed a myriad of different ways…weight transfer, addressing the puck, puck placement, a longer or shorter stick, change the lie or curve of the stick…even minor changes like skates can make a difference (some are higher in the heel than others). I feel confident that the coaching and equipment staff will work tirelessly with him to improve his shot. Once those components are addressed, then it is just work ethic. How long is Zubarev willing to work after practice to improve? Set some targets up after the others have gone and set goals for that day, i.e. – he cannot leave until he’s hit each target 5 consecutive times. Hockey sense is innate, you either have it or you don’t…skills like shooting and skating are fixed with effort.

Rawhide

August 6th, 2010
3:27 pm

This section concerned me before I read it. I thought the IceMan was going to melt away…

Bluestreak – Nah…I ain’t going nowhere. In fact I’ve been given the official Okee-Dokee to announce my new contract with AJC.com Sports. It’s a 17-year deal worth $101.

That’s $10 per year for the first 8 years…$7 per year for the next two…then $1 per year over the last seven.

The contract is pending review from Cox Enterprises, of course… but I don’t see where there’s gonna be any problem there.

Spud Webb

August 6th, 2010
3:32 pm

Bye Max!!
RedLight, your thoughts???????

Smoothie

August 6th, 2010
3:33 pm

Rawhide made a pertinent and funny reference…and I chuckled.

That is all.

Somaatl95

August 6th, 2010
3:35 pm

Thats a seriously front loaded contract there Rawhide. Be careful, you may have cox down your throat for announcing it so fast…. :) That didn’t quite come out right, but you know what I mean – would hate to have to go to arbitration, right?

glovesave29

August 6th, 2010
3:58 pm

Rawhide v. Cox

Sounds like a good porn name

Somaatl95

August 6th, 2010
4:06 pm

“Rawhide v. Cox – This time, one takes a beating!”

Couldn’t help it :)

Mr. Heat Miser

August 6th, 2010
4:09 pm

do svidaniya Tovarich

Smoothie

August 6th, 2010
4:10 pm

Geoff Pederson: Uh ohhhhhh! Bad boy!

Tom

August 6th, 2010
4:14 pm

Oh lord what a direction this conversation has taken.

Of course, it is right in line with “Dinner with Schmucks”…

alex

August 6th, 2010
4:17 pm

i don’t know is that dud blunder or asg playing cheap as usual. they new max not going to accept 1 year deal. what about plan “B”? poni played w/ big antr. many years, they been prodactive together, they friends, so you get 2/3 ready line. sign poni for 3.5 for 1 year (he got 3 in la) everybody happy: antr., fans, and your offensive much improved. maybe asg said noooo this exseed our limitations. i think now we not going to make playoff because off goal shortage. fedotenko is not answer for sure. but i will shut up if better option is coming. regarding zub. nobody seen him playing in russia, i don’t trust “hockey future” examination. remember same ovi exam saying he going to score less than kovy and not so flushy but more usefull. in fact he is better in evry department. so will see is he a stud or the bust.. for sure right now nikulin is better, zub. fail to make russian olimpik team.

R. Stroz

August 6th, 2010
4:23 pm

Is Trixie involved in the aforementioned festivities?

Somaatl95

August 6th, 2010
4:27 pm

Gotta love the double entendre. Thats “The Hockey Way”!

Frosty the snowman

August 6th, 2010
4:34 pm

You guys are a bunch of bitter nancie’s when it comes to Kovy. Kovy played his butt off for this terribly run franchise. You wanna bellyache about someone, do it towards Wadell. Kovy is not the first to walk away from this franchise, it happened with several different players. Not to mention the several other players who wouldnt even cosider coming here as a free agent. Year after year Wadell loaded the team with 3rd and 4th liners on the first and 2nd line, why would you be suprised at Kovy wanting to play somewhere else? Hossa did it the year before, same reason, they wanna play for a franchise that is serious about winning. You would want the same if you were in their position.

glovesave29

August 6th, 2010
4:39 pm

Uh, Frosty…we all DO blame Waddell.

Somaatl95

August 6th, 2010
4:39 pm

Hey Frosty – We were mad at D-Wad. Some of us were ticked off at Kovy telling the fans how much he loves it here and wants to stay. Ownership and management is one thing, telling lies to the fans is something completely different – and his reassurances last season “It isn’t about the money” were pure BS.

Somaatl95

August 6th, 2010
4:40 pm

If it weren’t about the money he wouldn’t be waiting for the arbitrator in Boston, would he?

hoosier_hoser

August 6th, 2010
4:46 pm

Rawhide:

I believe in the publish/subscribe (or Field Of Dreams) model. You publish something worthwhile and entertaining and and all the rest of us subscribe to it. You should take exceptional pride that your blog has reading value 52 weeks of the year. The credit is yours, not ours.

Your predecessor sold out to the Rags (or was it the Islanders). His predecessor, Ice Princess, dropped off the face of the earth. Are you finally able to give us assurance that if nominated by the Rags, you will not run, and if elected, you will not serve?

Schroeder

August 6th, 2010
4:51 pm

Frosty,nice try.The ONLY person Kovy played for was Kovy.Yeah he worked his butt off when the puck was on his stick.The rest of the time he was picking his nose between the blue lines.I blame the previous coaching staffs for not holding him accountable for his side of the defensive zone. I promise you if he lands in NJ or any other contender in the NHL he will have to play both ends of the ice and I will bet a dollar to a doughnut that he will not score over 35 goals. I bet your favorite baseball player was Barry Bonds,ONE DIMENSIONAL,hits homeruns,can’t run can’t throw,can’t catch,can’t hit for average.One Dimensional players do not win championships,in any sport!!!! BITTER NANCIES? WTF is that?

Jack

August 6th, 2010
5:00 pm

Frosty really???? Bitter Nancies?? We all agreed that Wadelll sucks, but the common factor is Kovy played when he wanted to and as hard as he wanted to. Oh yeah and he played no defense,

kracker

August 6th, 2010
5:07 pm

This is rather odd….isn’t it?

mirtle Gerber was 15-6-6 with a 2.19 GAA and .914 save percentage in the KHL last season. I wonder what this means for Khabibulin.

mirtle Here’s an interesting move: Oilers have agreed to terms with goaltender Martin Gerber on a one-year contract.

ThrashDawg

August 6th, 2010
5:11 pm

In all fairness to Barry Bonds he is/was considered a five tool player and certain Hall of Famer. The only thing that kept Bonds from being adored by fans and media alike is his sour attitude and use fo PEDs. I would not consider Kovy in the same light as Barry Bonds other than his selfish attitude towards team play. Oh and by the way, I am no fan of Barry Bonds…just thought the record should be clear, he was an all around ball player unlike Kovy.

ThrashDawg

August 6th, 2010
5:17 pm

Maybe a good comparison to Kovy would be Dave Kingman? Although I will have to say I don’t think you can really compare baseball and hockey…because I enjoyed watching Kovy play while he was here although it was frustrating at times…I cannot say the same for Dave Kingman…but of course I am a Cardinal fan so that might explain it.

kracker

August 6th, 2010
5:18 pm

Ok…Gerber is a depth signing.

mirtle Nick Kypreos confirms that Gerber’s contract is a two-way deal, meaning he comes in as insurance for Khabibulin.

DB

August 6th, 2010
5:19 pm

Bonds a five tool player? 3 hypos, a bottle of drops and a pill. He certainly didn’t have an arm and was a liability in the field.

ThrashDawg

August 6th, 2010
5:21 pm

Early on in his career he certainly was considered a 5 tool player. I certainly agree he was not at the end of his career. I would have to say I would question his arm out of the five, but he certainly was not a one dimensional player.

Schroeder

August 6th, 2010
5:31 pm

I agree with the “TOOL” part,especially when he could not throw out Sid Bream,who was deceptively slow,(he was much slower than he looked)When he went to San Fran and shortly thereafter you could use his batting helmet as a hot tub,I lost all respect for him. The same way I lost all respect for Kovy and his charade about it not being about the money. I would had a lot more respect for him had he just said ” I want to be the highest paid player in the game and I don’t care who pays me!!”

Flames

August 6th, 2010
5:40 pm

Rawhide you are the man! No news yet guys! I will miss Max as well. He just wanted a long term contract. One good year here doesn’t transpire into a long term deal. This blog is the best. I really enjoy reading your posts. You guys are awesome.

Not Blind

August 6th, 2010
5:40 pm

Re Max’s 5 year deal: If it don’t pan out after a year a two they will tell him to take a hike. It’s already been done.

Cornbread

August 6th, 2010
6:09 pm

The fans have every right to be pissed-off at Kovalchuck. Everyone new Hossa was not going to sign with the Thrashers when he quit playing for the team long before being traded. No one expected Captain Kovalchuk to pull a Hossa after all the smoke he blew up everybody’s butt. Kovalchuck is the main reason the Thrashers did not make the playoffs last season.

Hossa was the most complete player the Thrashers ever had even if he was selfish in his goal to win the Cup. Kovalchuk was far more selfish in his play, the way he treated his fans, and the team that drafted and was built around him. Good riddance. This point is clear, this team will win more playoff games without them than they did with them.

Dwayne

August 6th, 2010
6:21 pm

Rawhide, I liked your music based blog the most, then the posts by all you guys afterwards was fun reading. Do that more often and do one with a movie title theme, or movie character theme.

Thrashy Thrashy

August 6th, 2010
6:27 pm

Ilya’s a 27-year-old with 338 goals. If healthy, he’ll probably end up potting 600 or so in his career. Only 18 other guys have done that. In baseball terms, that makes Ilya more of a 500 HR guy than a 400 HR guy. That puts him in elite company, which is exactly what Ilya is: an elite goal-scorer.

Jack

August 6th, 2010
6:47 pm

elite goal scorer should not be in quesstion, However he will never be a elite hockey player or team player for that matter

ex-ex-STH

August 6th, 2010
6:49 pm

Hate to see Max go to Mother Russia but I think if Duds really wanted to sign him, he easily could have. He’s got something else “up his sleeve” (a “Plan B”). I hope Kovy gets his contract in NJ so we can start picking thru their lineup like Duds did in Chi-town! NJ has been a willing “dance partner” the past couple of seasons.

Rawhide….this has always been the most entertaining and enlightening blog out there! Your informed and knowledgeable followers make it the best read on the web!! especially during these wicked hot dawg days!

Midfield

August 6th, 2010
7:59 pm

Cornbread never fails to impress me with his logic as well as his (?) prophetic abilities. It’s ok for Hossa to cost for the most of the season while collecting his pay; but it’s not ok for Kovalchuk to hint his intentions by declining to resign. No other player in this franchize’s history sold as many seats and season tickets. Would this franchize even still be here had it not for Kovalchuk? I’m not asking Cornbread to answer (in all likelihood, he’s convinced himself that Thrashers would have won the Cup without Kovalchuk by now).

NHL Ready

August 6th, 2010
8:58 pm

I have to go along with Thrashy Thrashy on the Kovy talk. He is a outstanding player who has never been on a winning team (1 year wow) and still he pulls in these numbers. I do not blame him for leaving Atlanta and in the long run I think it was also good for Atlanta to part ways. We have a different team now and I am excited about the new season coming up. I hope he gets his contract with NJ and we can see him twice this year and if you want to boo go ahead but remember all those times when we were all cheering when he would score one of his highlighted goals. You all forget to easy.

SomaAtl95

August 6th, 2010
11:09 pm

NHL Ready & Thrashy Thrashy – look at it like this. Kovy is that girl (or guy, whatever floats your boat) that you had an incredible relationship with, starting out. As time passed on you started to think maybe they just weren’t that in to you. You keep asking, only to hear “Baby, its all good… I want to be here… I couldn’t imagine being with anyone else” so many times that you finally start to think its true.
Then they leave you and the next time you see them they are with their new sweetheart, talking about how the new person in their life is their one and only, and they finally want to settle down and lead a “first class” life.
You’re hurt, you’re angry, and you keep asking yourself where you should have made a better decision sometime during the whole relationship. It hurt so bad that you make a BIG change yourself to make that next big step come even faster. You hope all your effort is worth the payout but as of now you have no clue what will happen. So here you are, eagerly looking towards the future but always keeping in the back of your mind what led your ex to leave you. You remember the good times and wish things would have worked out, but most of all you wish they just had been TRUTHFUL.
Thats the best way to understand in the most non-hockey way possible why most of us are upset at being lied to by someone we had so much stock in. Sure, we’d still be upset if he were honest and left (like Hossa) but at least we would have respected them for having the balls to say they were going.
A man once said “Know thyself” That mans name is Rawhide v. Cox. :) October cannot get here fast enough!

Streethockey Oldtimer

August 6th, 2010
11:26 pm

Had to say something, as I felt like Rawhide was talking directly to me, as one of those who “lurks” around every day for the insight and humor, but never posting anything. And I certainly agree that the regulars make this a great blog. I am very proud that the Thrashers fan base is “high quality”, if not yet “high quantity”. Thanks for getting me through the off season everyone.

By the way, has anyone heard the terms of Max’s contract?
I’m figuring millions of rubles the first two years, some meat pirozhkes the next two, and a bottle of vodka the last. Or is that just the American way?

ThrashFan23

August 6th, 2010
11:30 pm

Hey you all should check out the nhl.com preview of the Thrashers…it’s actually really good. http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=535218

Cornbread

August 7th, 2010
1:27 am

Wow Midfield 9 rebuttals to Frosty’s post and you singled mine out… again. I’m flattered. Me thinks you have a crush on me.

But, you really do assume too much about me and infer far too much from my posts, much of it wrong. It’s not that serious of a relationship dude. Let it go.

meaningful posts???

August 7th, 2010
1:27 am

when? who? where? Glad there is a UGA blog to talk about a real sport!!!hahahahahaha…

ThrashFan80

August 7th, 2010
2:07 am

Screw you Afinogenov. If it weren’t for the Thrashers, your sorry ass would have been kicked to the mediocre KHL last year. You freakin’ owed the Thrashers on that one. Couldn’t have taken the one-year deal from us as a sort of “Thanks for saving my damn ass?” Have fun in a financially troubled league where there are absolutely no stakes at all and winning is meaningless.

Hotrod

August 7th, 2010
7:08 am

Are we still a few short to be so close to camp, or do we just round it out with some young’uns?

alex

August 7th, 2010
8:01 am

compare: we got ladd, byf, eager from chicago. who they played with – kane, toews, hossa, sharp, wersteeg. who they going to play now – antr, bergr., little, pev.,kane. we not even close offensivly. how we going to make playoff with this bunch that means surviving this franchise (fill more than10000 people, keeping future ufa, avoid been hockey siberia). sorry i am not excited so far. emergency need offensive help. do ypu see dud+dw+asg. hope so. untied purse pleas.

ThrasherNY

August 7th, 2010
8:56 am

Been a while since I piped up with a comment on the blog but I am proud to be contributing to the page views day in and day out. As someone said before me above, it is the quality of the discussion that makes this a must stop on my daily internet stroll. I will also add that the frequent posting makes this blog a one stop shop on the latest news which also adds to the views. That is my tribute to both Rawhide and the long list of informed bloggers. Thank-you!

I have long been a Kovalchuk fan and it is a little disturbing to see him being trashed by some of the fans on this blog. He is clearly an elite player in spite of the garbage he was surrounded by because of the bumbling idiot of of GM we have all had to endure. I did say player and not scorer for a reason. I respectfully disagree with Schroeder above and would take that bet. While I agree he will be required to be more of a two way player, which I feel he strives to improve at due to personal pride, I feel strongly he will continue to pot 40+ goals just because he is that talented a scorer. I also expect his point production to increase over the last few seasons as he will be surrounded with talent intended to maximize his potential. That is what great GMs do. He has never enjoyed that type of dedication. DW did nothing but leverage his talent to keep the payroll low by marching in a parade of 3rd liners to play his line. I think it is short sided that any long standing fan sees his departure as his legacy here in Atlanta. Before my job took me to NY I had near perfect attendance and Kovy carried the show many of the games. He is not a Datsyuk or a Gretzky type elite two way player but he is elite and he long ago gave up the cherry picker role for a more responsible style of play.

In our history we have had three elite players. All three of them left for the exact same reason and that reason is named Don Waddell. Heatley is the worst offender in my opinion for his comment about the cities dedication to hockey and the cowardly exit. But with regards to a pure business decision I can place no blame. Hossa didnt want to be here in the first place and as such his weak exit is not unexpected. These two elite players saw clearly what we all saw which is that DW had no clue how to build a winning franchise. I dont see Kovy telling the fans he wants to stay as a complete farse because he started saying it in the off season when he was likely behind the scenes begging someone to grow a brain and start making moves to make us show promise. Do you honestly think if Dudley were here a couple years ago organizing the talent and setting up the core of players Kovy wouldnt have signed back with us? Sighting it was all about money is just silly. We supposedly offered him the exact same amount for less years. NJ is a proven winner with a dedication to being an elite franchise. Kovy wants the same thing that most elite players want, to play for the Cup while earning the money they have worked hard to procure.

Sorry for the rant but as I said I am a fan of the guy and even look forward to seeing him play in NJ just to see the talent. Optimal would be for us to beat them by 5 goal margins both games up here so I can see Kovy score a couple great ones at no cost to our beloved Thrashers.

Last couple random comments:

Dudley, hope you read this, you are making great moves man and I am still optimistic you have a card up your sleeve. Exciting about next season and even more so about the future, talk about building a core.

Lets all hope Opi shines this season. He has all the talent and just need some refining on technical aspects.

I hate to even say it but is anyone else hopeful that Dudley could actually convince Nikulin to make the jump? I am not all that well versed in the pay situation but I know it sucks for a guy like Nikulin but a part of me thinks DW is what kept him in Russian all these years. Make it happen Duds and I will give you a dollar and a doughnut!

Go Thrashers!

World Be Free

August 7th, 2010
9:01 am

The concern that I have by losing Max is how the team will function out of the gate. Max/Nik/Bergfors really jelled together when assembled late in the season, they fed each other really well. Now we need a RW that will p;ay European hockey the way these 3 guys played together. As several of us have noted, this team has to get out of the gates and get moving our doubts will set in. With so many new players, this is still an experiment. Max’s speed kept defenses honest as well. So who will take over this role?

Kovy lied

August 7th, 2010
9:03 am

Enter your comments here

World Be Free

August 7th, 2010
9:09 am

ThrashyNY-nice post, but I think Nikulin is anchored in the Homeland-he is not coming. People in ATL pile on Kovy cause we went through a LONG divorce. By the time it was done, even the biggest Kovy fans were done with him, his agent and the entire process.

I was watching the HBO special on the Brooklyn Dodgers the other day. The long, drawn our Kovy departure was similar to Walter O’Malley’s long, drawn out courtship dance with Los Angeles leading to the the eventual departure of the Dodgers from Brooklyn. The process was so long and consuming that even the most devoted Brooklyn fans gave up before the team left. In the end, Kovy fans felt the same way.

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!