Which ex-Thrasher do you find yourself missing most?

With any stroke of luck, the hockey gods will smile upon us sometime early this week and we’ll hear news of whatever decision the arbitrator has made in the Kovalchuk contract saga. Personally, I’ve been over his departure for some time now and I think this latest “As The Kovalchuk Turns” drama has long since jumped the shark.

And while I also believe that more and more Thrashervillians have come to say to themselves that Kovalchuk’s departure is The Best This That Ever Happened To Me, I Can’t Fight This Feeling that there are still a few of you that still more than a handful of fans still suffer from a sort of jilted lover syndrome when it comes to number 17. You know…loved him and told him You Are Everything while he was a Thrasher…then, through the bitter breakup period of last winter, many seemingly sang to him Don’t Give Up On Us and If You Leave Me Now you’ll take a way the biggest part of our offense. And once he ultimately took off for New Jersey, some among us felt Bluer Than Blue-Sadder Than Sad.

Since that time, many have gotten over the latest jilting of a star player. They’ve thanked him For The Good Times and moved on with their hockey lives. Sadly though, others still have not dealt with their Feelings and have been seen nightly in the Thrasherville Tavern drowning their sorrows while listening to breakup songs on the old jukebox.

But Kovy is not the first fling to take leave of us. ..and to that point, I wonder if there are other players out there you might like to play a song for. You know, as a way of letting it known you’d welcome then back to Thrasherville with Open Arms. If so, step on up and select a tune to send out to your favorite former Thrashers.

I’ll start things off with some song selections and players to dedicate them to. If you like them I’ll drop the record down onto the turntable and we’ll spin it for all to enjoy.

Selection K17 “Nobody Does It Better”– This number is dedicated to the aforementioned Ilya Kovalchuk, who is currently a New Jersey Devil. He’s the all-time leading scorer for the Thrashers and, while he would not be atop my list of players returning, many would still love to see him back in Philips playing for Atlanta. Let’s face it…50 goal scorers don’t just grow on trees, so once you land a good one ya gotta find a way keep ‘em. Unfortunately, former GM Don Waddell’s inability to keep such a good man is the reason why the Thrasherville Tavern has been kept so busy for the past decade.

Selection S09 “Baby Come Back”– This is my personal selection and it goes out to our old number 9, Marc Savard. Savy came to us back in November of 2002, acquired from Calgary in exchange for Ruslan Zainullin. While with Atlanta, Marc scored 63 goals and 133 assists in 184 games played. Although he was a –12 in the three seasons here, he has been a +30 player over the past three years in Boston…including a +25 in 2008-09. Imagine him between Kane and Buff right now.

Selection H18 – “Maybe I’m Amazed”– In his almost three seasons here, Marian Hossa dazzled us with his strong play on the right boards. Well, that is, up until the winter of 2008 when he seemed to hold a little back for whoever his new team would be after the trade deadline. As we all know, that was Pittsburgh. And after falling just short of the Stanley Cup there he then fell just short again the next season in Detroit. Last year, though, he finally caught up with the Cup and his name is permanently engraved upon it. While with the Thrashers, he netted 108 goals and 140 assists. In the playoff season of 2006-07, he amazed us with a 100-point performance.

Selection H01  “Unforgettable”– Johan Hedberg was certainly a player that fans loved having in Atlanta. And it’s hard to imagine just where we would have been last season without the Moose in net. Not only did he perform his job well on the ice, but he was well respected in the locker room as well. His time here will certainly be unforgettable.

Selection L32 “Precious and Few”– Not all of our ex’s live in Texas…but Kari Lehtonen does play there now. And I chose this tune for him because it best illustrates the number of happy memories he left us with…precious and few. The second overall selection in the 2002 draft has all the natural God-given abilities you can ask for in a goalie, and the potential for greatness in definitely there. But with Kari, the issue isn’t as much his play between the pipes as it is what’s playing between his ears. He’s has a new start in Big D right now and honestly that may be the best thing for him…maybe for us too.

Which ex-Thrasher would you most like to see return?

  • Ilya Kovalchuk (15%, 35 Votes)
  • Marc Savard (36%, 83 Votes)
  • Marian Hossa (17%, 38 Votes)
  • Johan Hedberg (12%, 28 Votes)
  • Kari Lehtonen (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Maxim Afinogenov (6%, 14 Votes)
  • Todd White (1%, 3 Votes)
  • Garnet Exelby (4%, 9 Votes)
  • Another player (8%, 18 Votes)

Total Voters: 230

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Selection A61 “Do You Know Where Your Going To?”– The latest player to officially cut ties with us is Maxim Afinogenov. His fling with us was brief, just one season. But his time here was full of excitement and thrills. He scored a career-high 24 goals playing in all 82 outings last year…quite a few of them coming late in periods and games. But Friday it was announced he was heading to play in the KHL…the league that Alexander Burmistrov called an old man’s league. While that may or not be true, last I checked it’s damn-near impossible to win a Stanley Cup Championship over there.

Selection W12 “I Was Only Joking” – Todd White. Again…I Was Only Joking.

Selection X02 “Never The Same”– Kind of tough to speak about ex’s here without at least giving some mentioned to Mr. X himself. Last season was the first time since 2000-01 that the Thrashers with without the services of the defenseman that was selected in the 8th round of the organization’s very first draft. He was definitely a fan favorite while here and the first few seasons we saw much promise in the hard-hitting blueliner. But Garnet just was never the same player after suffering a concussion a few seasons back.

There are my suggestions…but like I said, maybe you have other players you’d like to dedicate songs to as a way of letting us know they are still welcome. And remember, whomever you may desire back in a Thrashers uniform can be based purely upon emotion. Your choice is not tied to whether or not it’s feasible, practical or even possible for this player to be re-acquired.

So just for this one time, spare us the “this player doesn’t fit into our cap structure” and “that player’s team won’t trade them” logic. We are dealing with matters o the heart here!

However with that said, let me also acknowledge the one player we all wish was back with us… Dan Snyder. S37 will always be #1 on our play list and the song of Danny’s memory will always be in our hearts.

232 comments Add your comment

Badger Bob

August 10th, 2010
10:32 am

201.

In early August.

In Atlanta.

Amazing!

Badger Bob

August 10th, 2010
10:35 am

Nikita – Surely it’s Kovy. But then again, if it was you wouldn’t be posing the question.

BTW, I’d vote Pasi – I just liked the guy!

Red Light

August 10th, 2010
10:38 am

Hossa is my vote at the HHOF.

Joe Friday

August 10th, 2010
10:39 am

“The NHL has already approved these contracts and players have completed a season under these agreements. To open them up after this time has passed makes the league look petty and vindictive. If they felt the contracts were negotiated in bad faith to circumvent the cap, they should have been denied at the time they were originally submitted to the league office for approval.”

I agree with you, but there’s the problem. Precedent had already been set by the league when they accepted the Hossa contract, the Luongo contract, the Savard contract, etc. So the arbitrator went AGAINST precedent (which is why the majority of analysts are incredulous that he overturned the Kovy contract). So now, to make the Kovy decision valid, you have to go back and overturn Hossa’s contract. How the heck do you do that one? So Hossa didn’t play last year? Man, I hope everyone on the Hawks had their day with the Cup already, did the engraver use erasable carvings?

It’s completely ludicrous. The league can’t now say Hossa’s, Luongo’s etc is ok and Kovy’s is not. They all circumvented the cap, precedent had been set already, you can’t overturn Kovy’s and not the others. It’s a farce, but just like the farces we have to endure with the various league rulings, it’s what keeps the NHL a second class league, bush league nonsense like this.

The only way the NHL can save face now is to let Lou take 2 years off the deal and move a little money around and make it apples to apples with Hossas, ending at 42 for Kovy. And then let it drop and take it up again in the next CBA.

Joe Friday

August 10th, 2010
10:40 am

“Surely it’s Kovy. But then again, if it was you wouldn’t be posing the question.”

I’m guessing it’s none other than Dandy Don Waddell . . .

kracker

August 10th, 2010
10:41 am

On whether or not should the NHL look into the other contracts: Yes, they should but it should be done something like this: Let what is apparently happening, happen. The aribitor will look at them. If he deems them to be violating the spirit of the salary cap, fine. Then Betteman can have his cake and eat it, too, by “allowing” these offending contracts to stand because the league has already approved them. The league statement allowing them should also contain language that teams and players are discouraged from entering into any new front-loaded contracts and such proposed contracts will be examined closely, blah, blah, blah.

This way the Hossa, Luongo, Savard contracts can go forward but the point is made to not do it again. Hopefully this situation won’t deterioriate into a league/union war that will imperil the negotiation of the next CBA.

glovesave29

August 10th, 2010
10:45 am

JF – “It’s completely ludicrous. The league can’t now say Hossa’s, Luongo’s etc is ok and Kovy’s is not”

They can, and they did.

And the arbitrator agreed.

Red Light

August 10th, 2010
10:50 am

“I think the Bloch decision is, in the long term, good for hockey. I am a free-market guy. Kovy went to the highest bidder, which is his right. But it was not in the best interest of the league and the long term health of pro hockey. Bettman and Daly drew the line in the sand and won. They felt what was good for Kovy was bad for the league. And they are right.”

I totally disagree. The decision isn’t good for hockey, it’s only good for Bettman’s dictatorial reign. This ruling doesn’t benefit the teams, their GMs or the players. What Bettman and the NHL did was try to protect the league and another GM who issued a ridiculous contract under the rules of the CBA. It all could have been avoided by stipulating within the framework of the CBA, that no long-term contracts can include that length of term, or past a player’s 40th birthday, but they knew if that language had been included, it would have been tossed out as illegal due to age discrimination etc.

In actuality, Bettman wants a strong central government, the NHLPA wants states rights and the owners are caught somewhere in between. The result: Civil War is coming in 2012 yet Bettman can’t get popular support because the slaves are already free.

The league has overstepped its bounds IMO, and I can guarantee you one thing: If this was Sidney Crosby’s contract and not Kovalchuk’s, the NHL would have remained quiet about it.

Red Light

August 10th, 2010
10:52 am

Trixie: Blog Purgatory alert to refute GS29’s commentary!

glovesave29

August 10th, 2010
11:00 am

See RL…even the computer agrees with me and put you into the “nether regions”!!!!

R. Stroz

August 10th, 2010
11:02 am

So Patricia Kane is taking the Cup to Buffablow.

I hope he pays the taxi driver this time. I’d hate to see the Cup dented because Kane was using it to beat up another taxi driver.

Dandylions

August 10th, 2010
11:17 am

Nikita – my vote is Waddell also – how sad if true.

kracker

August 10th, 2010
11:19 am

The league does not care about the length of a contract, per se. The league does not care about paying a player to play to 45. They do care about frontloading the dollars paid to the player and having the latter years pay virtually nothing to the player so that the player can retire and walk away from those last years. And when said player retires, the club is also relieved of the cap hit for those last years.

It’s all about these contracts that attempt to artificially lower a team’s cap obligation. The league didn’t bat an eye at Dipietro’s 15-year deal because he is due to receive equal compensation over the 15-year life of the contract. Which means the cap hit per year equals the salary amount per year. Which is the intent of the CBA. And it worked well until these bogus contracts came along.

Dwayne

August 10th, 2010
11:19 am

Wadell is my vote. Or Levenson with a drink in his hand.

Joe Friday

August 10th, 2010
11:24 am

“They can, and they did.

And the arbitrator agreed.”

I understand that. Which is why it’s completely ludicrous. 100% bush league nonsense that has opened up a can o’ worms that is going to cause serious problems for the league going forward, not to mention completely foul up the next CBA negotiation. And we wonder why the NHL suffers in second class citizenship like we do . . .

I read something about this arbitrator who made this ruling being the same guy that made some inane ruling on a Terrell Owens deal in the NFL? Anyone know anything about that?

kracker

August 10th, 2010
11:36 am

2nd try: I seriously doubt “a can of worms has been opened.” Not even the sleaziest NHLPA representative or player can credibly argue that the ridiculous K’chuk contract was not structured to artificially lower the cap obligation to the Devils while paying substantially more money to K’chuk.

This will be one point of many to be hammered out in the next CBA negotiations.

kracker

August 10th, 2010
11:37 am

Trixie: It’s my turn in the blog post barrel.

glovesave29

August 10th, 2010
11:37 am

JF – I am glad the NHL stood up and fought this one. It was an obvious attempt to circumvent the cap and was negotiated in bad faith. If they don’t fight it, there’s no purpose to the cap, and thus we lost an entire season for nothing.

I agree NHL has some serious issues to work out. But each sport has. Football doesn’t have guaranteed contracts, nor do they take care of the people injured playing the game. Basketball has a cap, but about 8 million different exceptions. Baseball has no cap, so the Yanks can spend on one player the same as what the Pirates spend on their entire team. MLS franchises are run by the league to control costs, but it doesn’t allow for top talent to attracted to the league.

As much as I hate ESPN, until the NHL is back on that channel, regardless of how good a job Versus does with hockey, we will continue to lag behind the other sports…and eventually soccer may pass us.

Smoothie

August 10th, 2010
11:44 am

glovesave – agree with most of what you just wrote, but soccer will NEVER PASS hockey even with the help of TV. The game just doesn’t translate well to the tube…boring as hell. Almost as boring as golf!

Your Mammy

August 10th, 2010
11:44 am

I miss The Moose the most….and Bob Hartley….I hope he makes it back into the NHL as a coach.

R. Stroz

August 10th, 2010
11:54 am

Sparky (Smoothie) – This best thing ever to come out of futbol/soccer is the vuvuzela.

Zombie Steve

August 10th, 2010
11:57 am

I agree with Glove.

The line has been drawn with the Kovalchuck pwning. Further review and action upon past “questionable” contracts that have already been approved would be detrimental to the league.

Brendan

August 10th, 2010
12:01 pm

Guys, guys, guys. This invalidated Kovalchuk contract is GOOD for the league. How are they supposed to stay in business, with these “front-loaded” contracts? One of the stated purposes of the CBA was to create “30 healthy franchises.” Does a “front-loaded” contract help any franchise? Economically, I mean. Sure, fine … it helps the “rich” franchises land the coveted free agent player off the open market. But they’re not doing themselves any favors, economically.

I do not support invalidating the existing “bad, cap circumvention-oriented” deals have have already been consummated. It’s too late for that. The time to have done that has passed. They shouldn’t have ever let it get this far. Briere, Gomez, Drury … those were the deals back in 2007 that should have been rejected, due to front-loading. Hossa, Luongo, Lecavalier, etc. wouldn’t have been attempted, if they had.

Bygones, on that account. The NHL is so very, very late to putting the kibosh on these deals. I personally found them to be highly irresponsible, on the part of the league. Obviously, I don’t blame players and their representation for TRYYYYING. It’s up to the league to deny ridiculous contracts like Kovalchuk’s, and others. I think the straw that broke the camel’s back was the CLEAR intent not to play, for the price of the league minimum, at the back end of the deal. If those years where Kovy were 41, 42, 43, and 44 were to be paid out at $3.0 to $3.5 million, perhaps this thing could have squeaked through. It was just so BLATANT. So FLAGRANT. Hossa’s deal is egregious, to be sure. But it at least has the “appearance” that he **might** play, and for a decent amount of money. (More than the league minimum.) I can’t support invalidation of existing contracts. The statute of limitations has run out on that one. But from this point forward, all deals structured this way should be invalidated, and the player’s agent BARRED from NHL players. There’s a right way and a wrong way to go about signing a player. I’m perfectly “A-okay” fine with letting the market set the value. Meaning? Well, if some GM wants to pay Jeff Finger $4 million to be a middling player, or offer a $4.25 million RFA offersheet to Dustin Penner, then “buyer beware.” Don’t make stupid deals. If the GM wants a coveted UFA, he’s got to do like Los Angeles did … and know when to “bow out” of the process, in favor of fiscal responsibility. I hope Kovy gets every nickel he can, while finding a conteder to play on. But I cannot support FRAUDULENT contracts like this 17-year fiasco, clearly set to circumvent the rules of the cap. I say let Lou pay him $8 million for the next 10 years, and be done with it. I don’t even think the NHL would have a problem with NJ paying Kovalchuk $6 million-a-year for beyond 10 years, so long as they understand the consequences of that. Namely, that if the player retires or becomes unviable, it’s still gonna hit NJ’s cap, HARD and detrimentally. And that, if the Devils attempt to buy him out, Kovalchuk is still owed his money. I know you don’t like to hear about or see the NHL as a “watchdog,” but sometimes … it’s in the best interest of the entire league to intervene to stop bad contracts. I remember feeling that way when Rick DiPietro’s contract was announced back in 2005. 15-years at $4.5 million per season. That seemed outrageous to me, at the time. But Gary Bettman said, “We’ll see, in time, if this was a good or bad decision.” But at least the Islanders were still paying him $4.5 million in those final years, and not say, the league minimum. We all laughed at Charles Wang (Islanders owner) as a “dope,” who screwed his team for years to come. I felt, at the time, that the NHL should step in … for the good of the league … to invalidate these freakishly long deals. I’m not sure, but I think the NBA has a policy that no contract can be longer than 7 years. I’m not too sure I support that, but at least that policy reigns in some of this lunacy.

kracker

August 10th, 2010
12:02 pm

Two capgeek tweets:

(1st) capgeek If the #nhl finds Pronger’s contract to be cap circumvention, it would do the #flyers a huge favor in the event he retires early

(2nd) capgeek Pronger’s salary is worth just $525,000 at age 40 and 41, but counts as $4.9m against the cap even if he retires. http://bit.ly/aq3rth

If that is correct, my understanding of the retiring player and the cap obligation may be all wrong.

Brendan

August 10th, 2010
12:07 pm

Trixie, I’m in purgatory.

Hockey Biltong

August 10th, 2010
12:11 pm

Time for a new blog. “Trixie, give Bill a nudge…”

Trixie (Rawhide's Secretary)

August 10th, 2010
12:13 pm

Mr. Biltong – Ask, and you surley shall receive, hon… :wink:

Nikita (in PA)

August 10th, 2010
4:37 pm

It’s Todd White, actually. Though Kari Lehtonen is well represented WRT the olympics.

EB

August 10th, 2010
5:23 pm

I’d really like to have all those great players we DIDN’T pick on draft day and let another team pick after us! But seriously I have to go with Kovy just because he will always be the best player to ever wear a Thrashers jersey!

Rhythmpenguin

August 10th, 2010
6:25 pm

“I have to go with Kovy just because he will always be the best player to ever wear a Thrashers jersey!” What?!? I hope and pray to anyone and everything (especially the hockey gods) that we will have another player just as good (if not better) than Kovy! Especially on defense!

Badger Bob

August 10th, 2010
6:28 pm

Brilliant stumper, Nikita! We’d have gone to page 5 on these comments before anyone guessed Charmin!

JR

August 11th, 2010
11:54 am

who are the remaining free agents? does anyone know?