NHL teams employ new concept when dealing with RFAs: Common sense

With just over a month left before the puck drops on the new season, RFA forward Nic Bergfors and the Thrashers are still yet to bridge the gap in their ongoing contract negotiations. General manager Rick Dudley stated last week that the two parties “are not close” to a new deal. Bergfors is the last remaining Thrashers RFA needing to be signed.

But as Ken Campbell of The Hockey News tells us, Bergie isn’t alone in this little predicament. Players like Carey Price, Bobby Ryan, James Neal and Marc Staal and others are still yet to ink new deals with their respective teams.

Niclas Berfors is not alone in being a still et to be signed RFA (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Niclas Berfors is not alone in being a still et to be signed RFA (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The reason for this, according to Campbell, is because teams around the league are beginning to employ a novel new concept when it comes to locking down these players as they enter into their playing primes. Its something called…common sense.

Campbell explains, “In particular, their dealings with players coming off entry level contracts is far more in line with what they were trying to accomplish when they locked the players out six years ago. While some teams continue to sign outlandish deals they have no intent on seeing through with older free agents, they seem to have grasped the concept that they have young players where they want them and are using the leverage to their advantage.”

He also points out that the expiration of the current CBA in 2012 has a lot to do with why so many players are not getting more than two-year deals even when they are signed. In the case of the Atlanta Thrashers, Bryan Little was the exception to that rule as he received a contract that spans three seasons.

Rick Dudley seems to be one of those practicing this new-fangled common sense strategy. He let it known earlier this summer that he was going to make offers to free agents based upon the position or role of that player. He placed a value on it, sent it to them and has apparently not wavered far from that guideline.

You know, kinda like what you and I do when we sit down to create a household budget. Stick with it and you find there’s enough money to not only see you through, but maybe there’s some extra down the road when you may really need it. Stray from it by giving into to impulse and…well, the results are usually un-good.

Not even having a budget and living off borrowed money…even worse.

For some… like Eric Bolton, Ondrej Pavelec, Jim Slater and Andrew Ladd…the terms were acceptable. For others, not so much…see also Maxim Afinogenov and Pavel Kubina. Now I guess you can also count Nic Bergfors in with the latter grouping.

However, unlike UFAs Afinogenov and Kubina, Bergie has fewer options at his disposal given his RFA status. He can either take what the Thrashers are offering or choose to hold out in hopes of something better. However, if opts to sit out, he can only do so through November because come December 1 he’s not eligible to play for the rest of the season.

So like others around the league, when dealing with young players coming off their initial contracts…even with such promising ones like Bergfors who put up impressive numbers last year…Dudley hasn’t gotten, as Campbell puts it, “all goofy” trying to tie up an RFA. Instead, he’s employed a fiscally responsible game plan and held firm.

Sure, some may think this is the team being “cheap” or “low-balling”, but a few years down the road it could prove the wise path to take, keeping them out of serious cap issues. The same issues that the Vancouver Canucks, Boston Bruins and Calgary Flames now find themselves in, just to name a few.

Common sense and fiscal responsibility…what a novel concept.

99 comments Add your comment

Dwayne

September 2nd, 2010
8:08 am

Good Morning!!!

TableHockey

September 2nd, 2010
8:18 am

Coffee brewing early this morning Bill?

Rawhide

September 2nd, 2010
8:34 am

TableHockeysssssiiiiiiippppp……MMmmmmmmmm….Yes, and Trixie brews & serves it up just right.

Dwayne – G’mornin’ back at-cha.

Daculafan

September 2nd, 2010
8:37 am

I don’t argue at all with fiscal responsibility but playing devil’s advocate for just a second the one thing I do wonder is, how contentious negotiations at this stage may play out when the player becomes a UFA and we are still seeking his services. Players, and more importantly, agents don’t forget; and as a UFA players have enough leverage in some cases to make the contentious GM pay for his previous obstinance.

This is not to say that a GM should kowtow or fold at the first demands made by a player, but i think that a GM should have an eye toward the future if he thinks he may be trying to keep a player beyond his usually short term RFA contract.

Duds has stuck to his guns pretty good this off season, but at some times I get the feeling he may be a little inflexible at the bargaining table, I don’t know how well this will serve the organization in years to come…

/shrugs…or maybe he’s got it right..probably one reason I’m responding on a blog and not negotiating with Nic Bergfors.

Rawhide

September 2nd, 2010
8:41 am

Daculafan – Hey buddy…

Matt

September 2nd, 2010
8:50 am

The Thrashers are nowhere near the cap and not long ago, they were below the floor. I am all for smart spending but I hope they’re trying to lock him up for awhile. If not, what’s another million for the next year or two? We’re not exactly a hot destination for UFAs anyway.

Tom

September 2nd, 2010
9:22 am

Dudley would be smart to follow the game plan that Scheurholz used with the Braves back in the early 90s. Allow the young core of players to develop and lock them in, then bring in complementary veterans to assist them for a season or two.

The one thing we can all agree upon is Atlanta fans flock to a winner. Once the Thrasher’s provide the taste of victory for the fans, they will arrive because it will be the cool place to be, and the Bulb will be packed. Atlanta Fulton County Stadium went from 6,000 per game in the beginning of 1991 to packed by the end of the season when the team became a winner.

I look forward to the day when Dudley has me complaining how hard and expensive getting a game ticket will be….

A2B

September 2nd, 2010
9:24 am

I wonder if the problem between Bergie and Dudley is in years (term) or dollars, or maybe both. I can see Bergie being a 30 goal scorer in the future but he has yet to hit that plateau so he can’t demand that kind of money. If Dudley does a increasing contract similar to Little’s but at a slightly smaller cap hit for 3 years I say that is fair, and then pay the man his true worth after he has proven for 3 years that he is a true scorer in the NHL. The other problem we have to be careful of is that we have Kane and Bogo that are due raises soon after their entry deals are over and we can’t start just handing out extra millions to one because all will then demand the same thing. After 5 players all get one million extra a year, you just lost the ability to sign a top 3 winger with the $5 million that is being dolled out to players who don’t exactly command that type of money.

Thats just my 2 cents… sorry its been such a while since I have posted around here but good to hear from everyone.

rob

September 2nd, 2010
9:32 am

A2B,
agreed. while we are seen as a cheap team, if we are truly building something here this time around as opposed to the clouds Dumwad blew up everyones rear end, then we will need room to move forward. Let players PROVE their worth before giving into these demands. Of course that being said, it is a two way street so this team has to move in a different direction from where the last decade has gotten them.

John

September 2nd, 2010
9:37 am

Bergfors get only $800.000 from Thrashers. thats low. Bergie will play for Thrasher if i get 1milj. So whats the problem?

A2B

September 2nd, 2010
9:41 am

I’m not saying be a penny pincher, but don’t creat a contract that is a 3 year deal that is worth 6 million ($1 mi yr 1, 2 mil year 2, 3 mil year 3) because by the end of the deal if he isn’t a 30 goal scorer you’ve clearly overpriced the player and have to overpay him the rest of his career. Id rather start overpaying a player the first year and have smaller increments in salary so by the end of the term he is being underpaid. If it looked like 1.5, 2, 2.5 I’d say it would be fair because then he has to truly prove his worth. I mean isn’t that what dudley did to the PROVEN players we got from Chicago as well? Show me you want to player here and we will show you we want to keep you here.

Joe Friday

September 2nd, 2010
9:48 am

Au contraire, mon ami. It’s not as much common sense, I think it’s the owners preparing to blow it all up again. What say you? You didn’t read the NY Post this morning and the strong arm the league is trying to put on the union? Didn’t catch the news that the players put Fehr in charge of their negotiations?

I think we’re looking at another lockout, and this 2 year deals are in anticipation of that. They have seen that the last deal, obviously, didn’t put in the cost control they wanted, so now they’re going to go to war again and they don’t want any new deals signed to RFAs that take them past the negotiation of the next CBA.

I truly hope more rational heads prevail, but I fear not. I think the league has seen that they have not been able to take the new open skating/family friendly/instigator unfriendly NHL to the masses and they know we are the core that will follow the NHL no matter what. So they’re going to blow it up in an attempt to once again control the costs and make more money.

Michael B. Shapiro

September 2nd, 2010
9:48 am

Drop the puck already (but sign Bergie first).

Smoothie

September 2nd, 2010
9:52 am

As soon as we invite a veteran winger to camp who’s capable of scoring 15-25 goals or sign a player such as Kyle Wellwood or Bill Guerin, Bergy will get his butt to camp in a hurry. Sorry Nicklas, you don’t have any leverage. You’ve played one year in this league. Take your $4 or $6 M and start proving your worth more!

SomaAtl95

September 2nd, 2010
10:02 am

Good article Rawhide, but I’m guessing some GM’s aren’t promoting fiscal responsibility. See “Jersey Lou” on that one. Anyone else find it comforting that in that last 6 months #17 went from our star player to someone who “stabbed us” in the back to someone whose one sided greed has turned almost all of the other hockey fans in the US and Canada off towards him – and his greed was so insatiable that the NHL has given the NHLPA an ultimatum on ridiculous front loaded contracts. Just like the NHL had to pass a rule specifically for Sean Avery a few years back (nicknaming it the “Sean Avery” rule) they should call the new rules on contracts the “Kovalchuck Conundrum”. Hopefully the other players in the league hoping for long term contracts start to dislike him as much as the fans outside of NJ do.
And all of this would have been avoided if he were as “committed to winning in Atlanta” as he said he was before bolting and stayed here…
The other shoe is about to drop, my fellow Blueland Buddies. What is it they say about karma?

SomaAtl95

September 2nd, 2010
10:03 am

Trixie, for some reason my post was filtered, would you please release it? Thank you!

Daculafan

September 2nd, 2010
10:07 am

Joe I hear what you’re saying…and there may be some validity to it…but the players have not had the time since the last lockout to build any type of a war chest and they can ill afford another work stoppage. Though Fehr is by all accounts considered hard nosed he’s also very pragmatic and knows that the NHLPA does not have the strength and ability to stand up to management in the manner that the MLBPA does.

The owners and league are just now seeing a return to the pre-lockout attendance and media numbers and I don’t think they want to risk losing that either. I’m honestly not expecting a work stoppage when it’s time to renew the CBA, I’m just wondering if it will be a total re-work of the cap policies or if they will more or less just sign an extension on the existing frame work.

In fact….I think one of the bigger sticking points for the NHLPA will be participation in 2014 at Sochi

Trixie (Rawhide's Secretary)

September 2nd, 2010
10:08 am

Mr. SomaAtl95 – Your 10:02 am post has been freed from blog purgatory.

Smoothie

September 2nd, 2010
10:16 am

Even in the 2nd go-around, the structure of Kovy’s deal is an insult to anyone’s intelligence. And it all starts with its poorly conceived assessment of Kovy’s actual market value. The fact that they have any notion of paying him close to max cap for 5 of the 15 years is ridiculous as he’s not worth that. Not to mention the fact that it still would pay him $90 M in the first 10 years. There’s no guarantee he’ll even make it to age 37 and he’ll still get $79 M or so in the first 8 years makes the last $21 M for 7 years pretty much irrelevant as there is nothing stopping him from walking away after pocketing his loot. The avg for the first 8 yrs of $9.9 M is still nearly $7 M higher than the avg in the last 7 yrs. Such a load of crap and NJ’s efforts to sign him do nothing but create ill-will between the NHL and PA.

Smoothie

September 2nd, 2010
10:17 am

Gonna be a busy morning Trixie as now I’m stuck. Thanks for your diligent and dedicated efforts Ms. T!

Chris

September 2nd, 2010
10:28 am

It’s an auction market for players services. A player should be signed for slightly more than the second most offer they recieve. If Bergie thinks he’s worth more, let him go find an offer sheet from another team and sign it. He’s free to play in the SEL if he wants.

Those are his two points of leverage – if he wants to use them, go ahead, if not, sign at Dudley’s price and show up at camp.

There are a lot of players being burned who have overvalued their services (MacArthur, Niemi -come to mind, and Kovalchuk may yet end up on that list.) It’s nice to see the Thrashers being run responsibly.

five hole

September 2nd, 2010
10:53 am

It was easier to give players bigger contracts a few years ago, when the economy was better. When everyone else is tightening their belts, it simply makes sense that more teams are playing ‘hardball’.

Funny how that debt clock didn’t seem important a few years ago (when we were racking up most of it).

As someone who negotiates their own contracts, I have some advice for Mr. Bergfors. Make your best deal and then sign. If you hold out, you are missing paychecks that you will never be able to make up.

Red Light

September 2nd, 2010
11:05 am

The owners, not the players nor their agents are to blame for this entire fiasco, and the NHL in its infinite wisdom is now trying to protect owners and GMs from themselves. The lockout, the CBA and the salary cap were intended to help owners be fiscally responsible and for players to share in the revenues from the teams and the league’s TV and merchandising contracts (such as they are or were).

Out of the lockout, numerous teams began locking up their stars with unheard of contracts, amounts, agreement terms, declining salaries, you name it. In the meantime, the players and their reps have been saying “pinch me, did you really negotiate a 15-year deal for me at $7 million per year?” Laughing all the way to the bank.

Bettman and his cronies let it happen 1-, 2-, 3-, 4-years ago and now they see the irresponsible error in their ways and need it to stop immediately. Meanwhile, fans point at the greedy players and say it’s Hossa’s fault, Luongo’s fault, Kovalchuk’s fault, blah, balh blah. The players didn’t cause this but they darn sure benefited from it. The owners locked the players out, the owners then began negotiating ridiculous contracts almost as soon as the lockout was lifted and what we have seen during this off-season is nothing more than collusion in regards to some contracts and the NHL stepping in to protect the idiots who thought it was a good idea to issue the long-term, career deals.

The salary cap has escalated from $39 million to $59 million in five years and you’re going to tell me in a recessionary economy with teams struggling to find sponsors, premium seat buyers, season ticket holders and a decent TV contract that this game has warranted a rise in payroll? Therein lies the idiocy.

Now, a mere five years after the issuance of the “new CBA” it already needs to be scrapped and re-negotiated. It’s called shortsightedness, a pure lack of fundamental leadership on all sides (NHLPA, NHL and team management) and being reactive rather than proactive.

Can’t you see it for what it is? MISMANAGEMENT!

Red Light

September 2nd, 2010
11:06 am

Another floater Trixie!

Tony C

September 2nd, 2010
11:17 am

Mr. T-great link… now I have this ulcer thingy kicking in… thanks!

Personally, while he’s not in the best negotiating position, I don’t think Bergfors is doing anything wrong-especially as the spectre of ANOTHER lockout looms larger everyday… couple that with the economic climate of The Great Recession (why our “leaders” are so afraid to say depression I will never know… that’s my problem with BOTH sides of the aisle-everybody is more concerned on how to best shine the turd rather than shoveling the ____ out of here), and I think you can hardly fault the kid for wanting to get paid now. We all have seen how quickly injuries can derail a promising career or even end a career-and Bergfors isn’t the most physically imposing player in the league.

That being said, and, having no direct knowledge of the negotiations, I’m fine with the guy taking his time and getting the best deal for himself and his family as he can-but-if he’s having what Han Solo called “delusions of grandeur” (you know, cuz it turned out that Luke WAS Jedi), then it’s refreshing to see the Thrashers GM not cave to outlandish demands.

The guy wants a multi-year deal? I say fine, he looks like a bona-fide top6 guy, it’d be nice to have some continuity and stability… I’m comfortable signing him for 2-4 years.

The team wants some “cost certainty”? Also very understandable-pro sports is a “what have you done for me TODAY” environment, and while Bergfors shows uncommon potential, there’s thousands of guys with “NHL potential” who’re tending bar nowdays…. no need to throw money around just because you have $ to spend.

THe player wants to get paid? Again, understandable-but it’s one thing to pull up a 60-second youtube highlight reel, and a whole ‘nother to be able to throw down cold hard facts like “this player hasn’t scored less than 40 goals a season these past 6 years” (which is why #17 is going to get paid silly money-like his attitude or not, the man is the best pure sniper in the game-also I think we’ve only seen 100% Ilya maybe 7-8 times in his career which is why more teams weren’t about to pay him the big $)….

Is Bergfors worth more than $800K/yr? I’d say yes. Is he [Bergfors] worth more than $2M/yr? I’d say maybe Worth more than $3M/yr?-not right now.

So I’m going to say Bergfors is signed to a 3-year $6-7M deal by the 3rd week of September. That seems fair, and do-able for both sides.

I am however, very interested in how the Ryan and Mueller cases go-not saying that there’s collusion on the GMs part (not big-time anyway), but I think all 3 of these players have similar “top 6″ potential, and I believe that what one of them signs for will impact the price and term of the others’ contracts.

Hope yall enjoyed the novella-see ya at camp!

Smoothie

September 2nd, 2010
11:30 am

“Funny how that debt clock didn’t seem important a few years ago (when we were racking up most of it).”

Oh boy, here we go. Inconvenient truths are inconvenient aren’t they?

1835 – 1849 — $63 M

1850 – 1899 — $1.93 B

1900 – 1949 — $250.6 B

1950 – 1999 — $5.4 T

2000 – 2006 (pre-Dem congress) — $2.8 T

2007 – 2009 (current confluence of policies) — $3.4 T

Nevermind the fact that 47% of the national debt racked up through 2009 was accrued before Bush took office. Pelosi and the gang have almost doubled the additional debt in 3 years (if you add in the $1.4 T they will add in 2010) that Bush & Co racked up in 6 years. I’d say the alarming increase coupled with the poor economy is finally waking the folks up.

But it is quite sad that roughly 96% of our natl debt has been accummulated since 1975…yikes! From $533 B to $12 T in 2009.

Hard to believe that through 1950 our national debt was still *only* $250 B!! Chump change. Wow.

Just thought y’all might like to empty your stomachs before anymore disturbing news comes out of New Jersey. I feel weak.

glovesave29

September 2nd, 2010
11:33 am

RL – agree the cap is to protect management from itself…well, sorta – it’s to protect the fiscally responsible (cheap) teams from those who want to win at all costs.

I bring this up just because we got off on a tangent earlier this week about music. Former Brave Adam LaRoche played a CLASSIC prank on teammate (and also former Brave) Kelly Johnson. Adam had the music played over the PA system when Kelly comes to bat changed from Rage Against The Machine’s “Bulls on Parade” to the Weather Girls “It’s Raining Men”. Long season – gotta keep it light somehow!

R. Stroz

September 2nd, 2010
11:35 am

When the debt clock takes the battle to the enemy (think WWII & Post 9-11), it makes some sense. When the debt clock is a derivitive of acquiescing control of our currency to George Soros, who is shorting the U.S. Dollar, as payback for campaign contributions, we have given up our sovereignty.

That is not what my relatives fought for in WWII or Korea.

five_hole – Congress makes the budget. Which party was in control of the Congress the last time the U.S. ran a budget surplus? Think Newt.

If you want to talk politics, I’m game. However, tell both sides, not the one the suits your needs.

Smoothie

September 2nd, 2010
11:39 am

More perspective…

Clinton admin – $1.6 T in 8 years

Reagan & BushI – $3.16 T in 12 yrs

Now we can see why Clinton is still so respected and admired. He’s the only one in the last 30 years to not have the debt completely skyrocket while he was in office. But then again, $1.6 T isn’t exactly an amount to take lightly. Hopefully, $13 T is enough and the next Prez, whomever it is, takes the situation more seriously than the previous 5 or so.

Wizard of Bluesland

September 2nd, 2010
11:41 am

*inserts inflamatory remarks about Don Waddell and sheep lovers*

Smoothie

September 2nd, 2010
11:42 am

Sorry, not trying to start a political battle on the blog. Just wanted to impart some perspective that there is plenty of blame to go around when it comes to our national debt / economic policies of the last 35 years or so. Interesting how the beginning of this crazy deficit-spending started in the wake of the first real energy crisis in 1973-5. Coincidence? Probably not. We need more energy independence, no doubt.

SomaAtl95

September 2nd, 2010
11:42 am

Oh lord, politics and hockey do not mix. Both parties do the exact same thing and could care less about the middle class, its just the way they present their BS to the voters. A turd in a pretty box is still just a turd and as long as we as a country still elect unflushables in both parties, nothing will change. Politicians found loopholes in the CBA with the American people and we let em do it!
I just can not wait till hockey season is here – seeing the same Thrashers commercial on SportsSouth is a million times better than the Barnes/Deal attack commercials that are running a million times a day now.
Now back to puck talk…

World Be Free

September 2nd, 2010
11:48 am

I believe Dudley wants to get Bergfors in a 3 year deal, similar to the one signed by Little. It’s not the value today that’s an issue for management, as much as whether Bergie’s contract will influence future dealings with Bogo,Kane and others when they come up for their deals. I know we are at the bottom of the cap$$ right now, but I still say, when it all said and done we will have $50M payroll.

glovesave29

September 2nd, 2010
11:48 am

Stop the politcal talk NOW! No place for it here…

World Be Free

September 2nd, 2010
11:55 am

Another potential camp invitee?
How about Darcy Tucker? The guy is old, I know, but he is sandpaper and he doesn’t wear a visor!

R. Stroz

September 2nd, 2010
11:57 am

Oh lord, politics and hockey do not mix.

Well, they both involve dropping the gloves.

I’ll return to hockey though after this one last thought…our brains have two hemispheres, right and left. If the two don’t work together, you die.

five hole

September 2nd, 2010
11:57 am

I’ll post this, then I’ll leave the politics alone.

Smoothie You’re trying to compare debt from 1835 with debt from today. The problem with that is inflation. You need to adjust money to account for that (most people currently adjust to 2005 dollars). Try this site: brillig.com/debt_clock/faq.html The last graph shows how debt started really racking up around 1983.

R. Stroz

September 2nd, 2010
12:02 pm

five_hole – And who controlled Congress? Who sets the budget?

SomaAtl95

September 2nd, 2010
12:02 pm

OK – lets all talk about hockey before we get a “Game Misconduct” – I love the Hockey blogs because we all act decent towards each other – have you guys seen how brutal the non-sports blogs can get?
I still think Dudley should get Bergie a “final offer” and say “It is what it is”

five hole

September 2nd, 2010
12:03 pm

So, seems to me that we now will have several holes on our lines. I think Mr. Dudley is expecting that several of our youngsters like Burmistrov and Cormier will make the squad. Again, I think they want the youth to play because they’re cheaper than veterans. However, if they’re not ready (Burmistrov) or have other issues (Cormier has a court date) then we could have serious problems.

Smoothie

September 2nd, 2010
12:06 pm

I’m not really comparing anything before 1975. I’m quite aware of the time value of money. I’m only trying to illustrate that things didn’t start to really go off the tracks until 1976 when the the natl debt started to double within one term, something that hadn’t happened since WWII. I’m not arguing for either side. I just want the uncontrolled spending to stop. If states can balance their budgets, why should the federal govt be any different?

Smoothie

September 2nd, 2010
12:08 pm

WBF – pass on Darcy. I’d rather have Owen Nolan. I don’t think we necessarily need more sand-paper. Just someone who can jam home an additional 15-20 goals in tight spaces. Has Darcy scored more than 10 goals in 2 or 3 years? I haven’t looked, but it seems like his goal-scoring days are behind him.

Wayne stuck in AL

September 2nd, 2010
12:08 pm

I don’t mind GMs keeping salaries down; but I do smell collusion, not unlike MLB in 1985 (remember Andre Dawson’s negotiations with the Cubs?)…and with the NHLPA bringing in Donald Fehr as leader, don’t be surprised if they bring a lawsuit like the MLBPA did in the late 80’s.

five hole

September 2nd, 2010
12:14 pm

R. Stroz check your inbox.

five hole

September 2nd, 2010
12:17 pm

Collusion by owners? I’m shocked! Shocked I say!

There’s a story in USA today about how NFL teams are colluding to get around the rule that if a rookie is cut by the team that drafted him, they have to pay 85% of his salary into a ‘rookie pool’.

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/2010-09-01-ap-rookie-trades_N.htm

Dwayne

September 2nd, 2010
12:17 pm

I, along with the mutants at table nine have nothing to offer towards the political conversation.

World Be Free

September 2nd, 2010
12:24 pm

Smoothie-I would take Nolan too and you never have enough sandpaper. Fulnny how teams react on the ice when you have a number of guys that throw their weight around.

DWTOO

September 2nd, 2010
12:25 pm

If you want a political discussion there’s Wingfield, Tucker, and Bookman. Some of their posters make some of our “out there” posters look normal. We do a much better job of respecting one another also.

Smoothie

September 2nd, 2010
12:27 pm

Looks like the Carolinas are going to be living their nickname tonite. Praying for the folks on the OBX! Hope the damage doesn’t rival the $400 M in damages from Isabelle in 2003. Worked out there in 2004-05 so my part of my heart is still there. Looks like Hatteras is in trouble.

At least later today we can look forward to C-Viv’s “practice” report from Duluth-ville. Pretty sure he was planning on spending the morning up there and was hoping to talk to Eager and hopefully others.

Smoothie

September 2nd, 2010
12:29 pm

DWTOO – no doubt man, there are some vitriol-spewing nut-jobs on those blogs, but this was an “economic” discussion giving context to the issues facing the NHL in a post-recession economic climate. ;-)

kracker

September 2nd, 2010
12:37 pm

Politically, I am ready for some real “hope and change back” in two months so that, fiscally speaking, things will only be really bad instead of catastrophic.

Rawhide

September 2nd, 2010
12:41 pm

five-hole – Thanks for taking that discussion “outside”. I mean that sincerely, my friend.

Just about everyone who frequents this blog knows which way I lean in the winds of politics, and I certainly do not mind the occasional political/social references. But even though I do allow a good deal of latitude on what’s bantered about here, we must remember this is a blog dedicated to the Thrashers and hockey in general…and try to keep it somewhat in those bounds.

Now, if anyone wants to delve deeper into such topics with a fellow blog commenter, please let me know and I’ll be happy to facilitate the swapping of contact info so it can be done outside.

SomaAtl95

September 2nd, 2010
12:52 pm

Thanks Rawhide – I went on a mass Facebook deleting spree the other night because I go there to connect with friends and muse on life and lately it has become a place for people to talk/rant/complain about politics. If thats what this blog turned into I would hate to stop visiting here as well. I’m not saying anyone did it today but when it comes to that discussion common sense and basic respect for your fellow citizen flies out the door when people disagree.

The only way politics should ever be mentioned in a Hockey blog is if we go to war with Canada. I’d suggest the first 6 places to drop bombs on (Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Edmonton, Montreal and Ottawa) and then we’d have an interesting season ahead of us :)

kracker

September 2nd, 2010
12:53 pm

tweet – Chicago_Wolves Wolves Open Training Camp On Sept. 27: The Chicago Wolves will begin training camp in preparation for their 17th s… http://bit.ly/b50rTW

Is that the same main camp open day as the Thrashers? Or are they a week earlier?

Rawhide

September 2nd, 2010
12:56 pm

The only way politics should ever be mentioned in a Hockey blog is if we go to war with Canada.

SomaAtl95 – Didn’t the boys of South Park get us into a war with our neighbors to the north already? :grin:

SomaAtl95

September 2nd, 2010
12:59 pm

Yes Rawhide, but that was about freedom of speech, and stuff… :) God I love this blog. One of my favorite episodes of south park is when Stan has to coach a pee-wee hockey team and they are destroyed by the red wings. Matt and Trey must have really disliked Detroit to make them that ruthless…

SomaAtl95

September 2nd, 2010
1:01 pm

kracker

September 2nd, 2010
1:07 pm

I don’t want a lot of political discussion here, either. A spurt of comments here and there, like RH said, is one thing and let’s keep it to that.

However, politics do affect the sports scene and there is no way around that. Such as the general economic climate being a large factor in people’s decisions on buying tickets and going to the venues. The relative value of one currency vs another. Difficulties in obtaining work/residency visas. “East/West” relations. Or, considering the sometimes irrational zeal of our northern neighbors for all things hockey, “North/South” relations may sometimes matter just as much lol! National pride comes into play in world or Olympic competitions. NHL vs KHL has a certain political component.

And so forth….

R. Stroz

September 2nd, 2010
1:07 pm

Hopefully Dudley is offering Bergfors more than Mr. Hankey.

kracker

September 2nd, 2010
1:14 pm

Mr. Hankey = who?

Christy

September 2nd, 2010
1:30 pm

For those interested….Puck Daddy has the Thrashers preview up…http://yhoo.it/9Qz7Rb
and the run of ever-present original and insightful comments has begun…

R. Stroz

September 2nd, 2010
1:32 pm

kracker – It’s a South Park reference.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qu4AuQA50pg

AThrashrfan13

September 2nd, 2010
1:33 pm

Enough with the politics already!

I come in here to talk aout the silliness of a gam we are all crazy about….not t dicuss the silly and useless bureaucrats that run out country.

First off, someone earlier was quotig the New Your Post like it was gospel. The New York Post is a TABLOID….not unlike the National Enquirer or the STAR. If the NYP writers were any good, they be with a more reputable publication.

FIVE HOLE: Yes, we do hve some holes in our offense, but remember: (1) Camp has no started yet; (2) A deal has already been worked out in Cormier’s case. If he was going to jail, Dudley would not be as high on him or waste his time talking him up in the press; (3) Burmistov is supposed to be in INCREDIBLE shape as far as size, working his ass off since the draft to make the weight; (4) Therev are a bunch of teams that are over the cap…..not including the Devils who soon will be….that will need to unload to get under the cap. Dudley, if nothing else, is proactive. He’s probably got some trades all lined up in the event that the holes in offense remain at the end of camp.

Also, sevealcomments were made that at one time we were under the floor and now we are simply under the cap. Currently we are at 43.72…..still under the cap at 44 mil plus.

I think this team is going to surprise many this season. Do I think we’ll be in the playoffs? Possibly. What is more certain is that we are not going t be the doormat of the NHL this year. Visiting teams are going to HATE playing in our house.

Smoothie

September 2nd, 2010
1:35 pm

Speaking of economics that impact the NHL, check out the latest from Larry Brooks:

@NYP_Brooksie: #NHLPA exec board defers vote on Don Fehr as ExecDir after receiving employment conditions. http://bit.ly/dCzueJ

Keeps getting better and better. Have a feeling the deadline will get pushed back again. Does Kovy get completely fed up and head to KHL?

kracker

September 2nd, 2010
1:38 pm

Ya gotta love the youthful enthusiasm!

tweet – dankamal Long after the Thrashers skate ended today, young prospects Alexander Burmistrov & Freddy Pettersson were skating sprints. Love seeing that.

Hockey Biltong

September 2nd, 2010
1:43 pm

Mr Hankeys’ POOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO>

kracker

September 2nd, 2010
1:45 pm

Stroz – euwww Yep, I’m ready for Christmas!

Smoothie

September 2nd, 2010
1:51 pm

Uhhh, Larry Brooks is one of the few reputable things the NYP has going for it, but anyway.

As for the Puck Daddy review, it was fair for the most part, but I don’t think Wysh is giving enough credit when it comes to our acquisition of Chris Mason. I really think he will stabilize things between the pipes and help push Pavelec to a new level.

Check out the grades:

2010-11 Preseason Report Card:

Forwards: C (I think I would go with a B- on fwds and a C+ for D)
Defense: B (interesting considering how we perceive our past D issues)
Goaltending: C+ (think that’s a little low, but Pavs sunk the grade)
Special Teams: C- (definitely need to improve the PP for shizzle!)
Coaching: Inc. (guess he doesn’t think Ramsay’s history merits a grade)
Management: B- (I think I would give Duds a solid B, but tough to grade without a completed term paper for the semester at least)

Smoothie

September 2nd, 2010
1:52 pm

Awww damn, blog filter strikes again!

five hole

September 2nd, 2010
1:55 pm

Hey AThrashrfan13 no need to yell at me dude (the caps). ;-)

I’m just pointing out that they have “issues”. Cormier’s court date was postponed until after the start of camp. Do I think he’s going to jail? Probably not, but it’s a concern. So is Burmistrov, until he plays with NHL-ers.

We may have enough talent, maybe not. But what if someone gets hurt? Seems to me we need more up front.

But, we’re going to have a BIG back end. I’m talkin’ extra junk in the trunk. You feelin’ me?

SomaAtl95

September 2nd, 2010
1:58 pm

So I quoted the NY Post, so did TSN.ca, ESPN and a lot of folks on Twitter. And the problem with that is??? If we had someone filtering every rumor that comes our way on anything hockey related, these blogs would have maybe 10 entries. Its not like I was saying I saw Elvis at a Preds game or sighted bat-boy in San Jose.

Smoothie

September 2nd, 2010
2:03 pm

Soma – it’s Larry Brooks so folks who follow hockey should know that his sources are generally good. NYP in general?? Who knows? Sketchy at best I reckon. This Kovy fiasco is getting way out of control.

Flames

September 2nd, 2010
2:24 pm

Politics and religion just stay away!!!! Please just drop the puck and lets PLAY!!!!

SomaAtl95

September 2nd, 2010
3:39 pm

and thus the conversation has completely stalled…For those of you that game, NHL 11 is out next Tuesday! Hopefully they show the Thrashers some love on their initial stats :)

glovesave29

September 2nd, 2010
3:41 pm

THN’s Adam Proteau has this to say about the Thrashers…

“The Atlanta Thrashers were one of the NHL’s most active teams in terms of roster makeovers this summer; they’ll be bigger, meaner and coached by one of the game’s best teachers in Craig Ramsay.”

But this is what really grabbed me…

“The Thrashers’ most expensive season ticket package costs $9,900 per seat. The Lightning’s costliest season ticket package will set you back $9,999. Meanwhile, the most expensive 2009-10 season ticket package for the Montreal Canadiens (sold out, of course) is priced at $8,459 (Canadian)”

Canadian Dollar is 95% of a US Dollar (per XE at 5:12 AM this morning) – thus in our currency, best ticket available to see the Habs is $8036.05 – that is almost 19% less for ST in hockey mad Montreal. Cue the Octocluster and inevitable D-Wad comments……………………………….NOW!

R. Stroz

September 2nd, 2010
3:48 pm

I’ve always wondered what the weighted average cost per ticket is in Atlanta compared to the rest of the league.

Since the Thrasher payroll is always in the bottom 25% of the league, the Thrasher weighted average ticket price should be in the same vicinity.

Smoothie

September 2nd, 2010
3:54 pm

Well, nothing from C-Viv and the crowd falls eerily silent!

SomaAtl95

September 2nd, 2010
3:55 pm

How do you guys think ASG is paying JJ that insane amount of cash? Screwing Hockey fans for Basketball fans…

Smoothie

September 2nd, 2010
3:56 pm

Nice job on the homework glovesave!

Of course, the avg of the rest of the seats at Centre Bell is probably quite a bit higher than le Bulb de Phillips!

kracker

September 2nd, 2010
3:59 pm

I guess that just goes to show that Canadiens don’t really value their Habs hockey? Or what?? Aren’t Toronto tix willed to their heirs like Green Bay tickets?

Smoothie

September 2nd, 2010
4:15 pm

Speaking of les Habitants, James Mirtle is reporting that Carey Price has a new 2-year deal avec Montreal. No terms announced yet.

glovesave29

September 2nd, 2010
4:31 pm

Kracker – I do know the Leafs have had to start gimmick promotions over the last few years to fill in all of the arena – they too offer 2 for 1 ticket nights for the mid-week games agains Columbus, as well as all-you-can-eat seats.

Gotta imagine that the tickets to the Leafs are among the leagues highest. Gotta make money for the Teacher Retirement fund somehow. They’ve gotta be going crazy there – not just 43 years since the cup, but they – along with the Panthers, are the only team not to make the playoffs since the lockout.

Tom

September 2nd, 2010
4:32 pm

There is one big difference between the best seats at Centre Bell and le Bulb de Phillips.

The best seats in Montreal are all sold while the best seats in Atlanta are filled with promos or seat jumpers.

kracker

September 2nd, 2010
4:50 pm

Wow, glovesave, I did not realize that TO and FLA were the only two non-playoff teams since the lockout.

And, yeah, I meant the premium seats are coveted in Toronto. I wonder what their 4-seat Chic-fil-a type special costs?

Red Light

September 2nd, 2010
4:57 pm

Touche’ Tom! Great point.

kracker…Chicago’s camp will start after the first rounds of cuts here.

Brendan

September 2nd, 2010
5:21 pm

For Pavel Kubina, the terms weren’t acceptable? Last season, he made $5.0 million. He AGREED to $3.85 million, for Tampa Bay. How on EARTH is that figure “unacceptable” for the AS,LLC” to pay? Now, I hear ya. “How do we KNOW that Atlanta didn’t offer that, AND MORE, to Kubina?” We don’t. We can’t. We don’t work at the offices of the AS, LLC. Furthermore, even if we had offered $4.0 million for Kubina, it’s Kubina’s choice where he plays. He wanted to go home to Tampa. And look, Tampa’s made what I consider to be “an honest attempt” at pursuing the playoffs and beyond. So, looks like Kubina made a good choice. But if I ever, ever find out … that Pavel Kubina wanted to STAYYYY … but the AS,LLC wouldn’t put up $3.85 million for the guy, then that’s when Sage of Bluesland really, truly becomes more correct. That’s just poor judgement on the part of management. If Kubina told the Thrashers, “Look, I appreciate the offer, but my answer is no. I’m committed to playing elsewhere next season,” then I don’t blame management … or not nearly as much. Yes, for those of you screaming, “But had management/ownership built a better team, Kubina would have wanted to stay,” I hear you. Your point is not lost on me. I’ve heard it. I understand it. And I respect it. But I’ll also say, “Nobody can FORCE a pending UFA to stay. Period, the end. It’s THEIR choice.” Sometimes, a player might even leave the Red Wings, by CHOICE.

If Bergfors is having illusions of grandeur, then I support Dudley and Waddell in making responsible contracts. But if we’re just being cheap, then that sends a message to players and their agents … that isn’t going to help us out any, moving forward. Players flocked to Chicago, because there was a clear intent to spend and win. We can sit here, now, AFTER their Stanley Cup victory parade, and claim that the team is now GUTTED … if it makes us feel better to say that sort of crap. But the truth is, on opening night, they’ll raise a banner to the rafters of the United Center, or whatever their arena is called, that says “2010 Stanley Cup Champions.” Ask a fan of the Sabres, Capitals, Kings, Blues or Canucks how it feels to NEVER have one of those hanging from the rafters. Until and unless we open the gates of intent and spending, with accountability, we’ll continue to be treading water.

Red Light

September 2nd, 2010
6:20 pm

Brendan: My thoughts on Bergfors are pretty concise…proved he can score, came over in Kovalchuk trade, which means signing him should be a must since the fan base rues a similar unproductive Hossa deal, he simply couldn’t be that expensive and it’s not like this team doesn’t have cap room. Like I pointed out, his agent is Heatley’s so that could be a hang-up in some regards.

HOWEVER, why play hardball with him unless the demands are just totally unreasonable?

kracker

September 2nd, 2010
7:01 pm

Thanks, R/L. I thought that made sense. So the Thrash camp is a week or so earlier. Good.

Nate

September 2nd, 2010
8:11 pm

Soma – Will you be online with PS3 or Xbox live with NHL 11? If so, mine sharing your gamertag?

SomaAtl95

September 2nd, 2010
9:47 pm

Nate! Same tag as on here. I have both consoles but let Xbox Live expire. Once they made it so you could do your own soundtracks and I learned how easy it was to make playlists with the PS3 I’ve been playing hockey on PS3 exclusively. I’ve got NHL 10 on PS3, will be getting 11 on PS3 as well – my best friend and I play on his Xbox, he has live and NHL 10 – his tag is PARKER 42. At the release of the game and up until the programmers @ EA make the Thrashers awful with their final 2 or 3 roster releases in the spring, we always play as the Thrashers online.
I’m simple. If you look for SomaAtl95 on PS3/Xbox Live/Twitter/TSN.ca you’ll find me :)

Sparky (Smoothie)

September 2nd, 2010
10:09 pm

Per Adrian Dater of the Colorado Avs beat: “Chris Stewart contract: $2.5 mil and $3.25 –Avs sign chris stewart to two-year, $6 million deal, sources tell Denver Post. Announcement later.”

Okay, there you go Bergfors’ agent…there’s another comparable deal. Stewart had 28 goals in his first full season as a starter. Bergie may be worth that simply due to the fact that he is the centepiece of the Kovy deal. But unless you are looking to get your client a 4 or 5 year deal, please just give us a break and get Nic’s butt to ATL with a 2 year deal worth $5.5 – 6 M. Simple as that.

alex

September 2nd, 2010
10:39 pm

OK sparky you thinking make sense, but what if berg. so dislike this organization (like kovy) and his demand purposely over the top, by the way ceo this organization clown don had something to say this afternoon on 680 am. turn off radio when they announced this.

HookyBob

September 2nd, 2010
11:02 pm

Isn’t Waddell one of the best defensemen in Thrasher history?

He’s been “creatively” defending his decisions for ten years.

Much to some folks dismay I am a faithful reader of this blog,…and the above comment is among the most creative I have seen in a long, long time. Unfortunately it was posted near the end of an earlier blog. It is definitely blog of the year material in my mind. I’d like to hear other bloggers thoughts.

The Smooth Spark

September 2nd, 2010
11:28 pm

Alex – I suppose its possible that he hates ATL but I would’ve thought he’d adjust well to the team considering the presence of Oduya and Enstrom and Moose last year. Beyond that, what options does he have unless he demands a trade. In that case, Duds would be wise to play hard-ball and not overpay him before trading. But sign and trades are rare anyway. So in short, get ur Swedish butt to Doo-luth NOW! :-)

kracker

September 3rd, 2010
7:23 am

Why do I have this idea that Bergfors and his agent have only been available for negotiations for the last two or three weeks? Making these “protracted” negotiations actually shorter to this point than it might seem? Regardless, it will make us all smile if this gets done before the end of the Kovalchuk kontract kerfuffle.

Zoomo

September 3rd, 2010
7:54 am

NHLSources tweeted that Kozlov has signed in the KHL. Good for Kozzy since he obviously still wants to play.

R. Stroz

September 3rd, 2010
7:58 am

HookyBob – That is an awesome comment.

kracker

September 3rd, 2010
8:19 am

C Viv tweeted he is heading out to DIF and will report later.

Rawhide

September 3rd, 2010
8:30 am

Good morning, Thrasherville!!!

It’s only 8:30 am here, but it’s 5 o’clock somewhere. So what say we kick this holiday weekend in gear.