Andrew Ladd is ‘true captain’ for this Thrashers team

On November 18 the Atlanta Thrashers found themselves with a record of 7-9-3. They had just come off a very disappointing 2-1 loss to the Florida Panthers the night before, had lost three straight and six of the last seven games played. Atlanta was also looking at upcoming games against such teams as the Washington Capitals, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadians and Boston Bruins, among others.

Times were tough and the waters ahead looked rough. Needless to say, there was much grumbling, griping, wailing and gnashing of teeth going on throughout Thrasherville at that time.

But that morning, the Thrashers also named Andrew Ladd as their team captain.

The Thrashers are 11-2-2 after naming Andrew Ladd team captain. But he's quick topoint out that has little to do with the recent run of success...rather it's the coaching staff and the team's chemistry (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

The Thrashers are 11-2-2 after naming Andrew Ladd team captain. But he's quick topoint out that has little to do with the recent run of success...rather it's the coaching staff and the team's chemistry (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

The next night the Thrashers went out and beat the division leading Caps 5-0, beginning the current 11-2-2 run they are currently on. It’s a run that had landed them, even if for just one day, atop the Southeast Division following Saturday night’s 7-1 slap down of the New Jersey Devils.

Let’s see…the Thrashers made Ladd the captain then they go off on a month-long tear. So, is this all just coincidence?

“It might be a bit of a coincidence…I don’t think it was me getting the ‘C’”, Ladd told me prior to the games against the Devils. But he then added with a wry grin, “But I’ll take the credit if you want to give it to me”.

In all seriousness, Ladd is quick to point to the men behind the bench as the main reason this team is experienced what many fans are calling the best stretch of hockey Thrasherville has ever experienced.

“Everyone starting here was brand new to the systems, coaches and players, and it took a little time to get everyone on the same page. But right about that time [when he was named captain] it started to click and it’s really started to come together since”.

“They’ve been good [with the team]. We’ve got a young group of guys and still learning a lot of little things it takes to be successful in this league. Rammer’s a patient guy. He takes his time and makes sure everyone understands what their job is and what they need to do on the ice.”

“It’s definitely been working well this year”.

Ladd, the fourth overall pick in 2004 by the Carolina Hurricanes, began his NHL career after the lockout playing for a ‘Canes that won the Stanley Cup…a team captained by Ron Brind’Amour. When I asked if that type of leadership experienced then is something he can draw upon now, Ladd quickly replied, “Yeah, definitely. I think being so young your eyes are really wide open and you look to some of the older guys to see how they hold themselves and prepare to games.”

“I don’t think there is anyone who prepared for games better and worked as hard as Rod did, so he was a big influence on me and what I do now”.

In his short time as team captain here, Ladd has already gained a great deal of the same respect from his teammates. Winning certainly has a lot to do with it, of course. But one can’t help but get the feeling that the guys in the locker room honestly feel that the right man was tapped for the job.

“He’s just a great person to be around”, Anthony Stewart said of Ladd. “He’s blends in with any group of guys or any one guy and I think that speaks a lot to his character”.

It may seem like the recent run of success has been as easy as a stoll through the park for Ladd, Johnny Oduya and the rest of the Thrashers. But the team is working hard for one another and it's been paying off the captain says. Here, the two celebrate one of Oduya's two goals against the Islanders (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)

It may seem like the recent run of success has been as easy as a stroll through the park for Ladd, Johnny Oduya and the rest of the Thrashers. But the team is working hard for one another and it's been paying off the captain says. Here, the two celebrate one of Oduya's two goals against the Islanders (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)

Continuing, Stewey added, “He’s a great guy. I played World Juniors with him and we won the gold medal there for Canada. We hang out together away from the rink.”

“He’s a true captain”.

To Stewart’s point about hanging out with each other away from the arena, Ladd feels this kind of comradery has played a big role in what this team has accomplished of late. Whether it’s on the practice ice, in the locker room or when they head out on the road, this group of players enjoy spending time together…and that can’t help but add to the team’s on-ice success.

“Everyone’s positive and upbeat and wants everyone to do good”, Ladd responded when asked about this team’s chemistry. “Everyone’s pretty close, fairly close in age”.

Then with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek he joked, “OK, we got a couple of old guys”.

“But we have a pretty good group who gets along really well on and off the ice” the captain pointed out as he returned to his natural serious demeanor. “Anytime you have that it’s a positive thing. It translates off the ice, on the road, to the game on the ice”.

Ladd has also noticed the fans in Atlanta are starting to take notice of the team’s good play. And he understand that Ws in the standing are what’s helping in the renewed sense of optimism around Thrasherville.

“[The organization] has been talking about getting people into the building and what we can do for them. The biggest thing we can do is winning and bringing an exciting brand of hockey. I think we’ve done our part and it’s fun to see the fans respond and get excited about it”.

11-2-2…not  tough to get excited about that at all.

149 comments Add your comment

R. Stroz

December 20th, 2010
10:12 am

JB

December 20th, 2010
10:21 am

I say Ladd re-signs before the new year. any takers?

Nate

December 20th, 2010
10:24 am

Yeah. Ladd was definitely the best choice and the choice of several posters on here before the season started if I remember correctly.

Now it’s time to lock him up long term and break the captaincy jinx.

injunjoe

December 20th, 2010
10:26 am

Dang you Vavuzala….errr….collapsible bullhorn blower. Foiled again for first. One day…….one day.

Dwayne

December 20th, 2010
10:27 am

That would be a nice Christmas gift.

Dwayne

December 20th, 2010
10:29 am

Stroznodamus will always be first.

Joe Friday

December 20th, 2010
10:30 am

JB, I don’t think you can extend an RFA before Jan. 1st, right? But I agree with your sentiment that it will be done soon (wasn’t there a comment by Dudley last month that they were going to start negotiations with Ladd and try to sign him on Jan. 1st?). I’d like to see a 5 to 7 year deal, then lock Buf up, but not sure that can be done with the current ownership cluster.

GRITS and Pucks

December 20th, 2010
10:31 am

Ladd is great, and what is even more wonderful is the respect and love the guys on the team have for Rammers and the coaching staff – and it shows on the ice and how they talk about him. I think that we will continue to see great hockey!

Alan R.

December 20th, 2010
10:33 am

This is the type of thing that really gives me hope for this team and its continued success. Ladd is a true leader, and reading the sort of things he’s saying really makes me feel good about where we’re at.

Hockey Biltong

December 20th, 2010
10:34 am

I just want to say how awesome it was to chuck my ballcap over the glass wall for Boulton…what a game!!!!

Darkhorse

December 20th, 2010
10:38 am

I hope they resign Ladd and Buff before long. That would go a long way for this franchise in proving it’s willing to find a way to keep the better players on the roster.

Looks like you’re getting to do more interviews lately Rawhide. Enjoy reading the players reactions to your questions. Great job as always!

I wonder what the players think of Bergfors? Is it the doghouse because he doesn’t play the way Ramsey wants, or does it go deeper? Maybe it’s just his personality, but he always seems gloomy and aloof. I wouldn’t care where I played in the NHL if the team I was on was winning and on the up and up. His personality reminds me of Hossa’s. A little too much ego and little natural comradery is how he seems to come across at times in interviews and on ice.

Think you could get a decent interview out of him Rawhide? Maybe that would help us understand his perspective on things.

World Be Free

December 20th, 2010
10:43 am

Ladd and Buff need to be the first guys resigned after Jan 1.

Good to gauge the value of a captain when the team is winning, but his tougher test will be when the team huts the skids and loses 4 in a row. That will be the real test, getting ht team back on the winning track. It is bound to happen again this season.

Hoof Arted

December 20th, 2010
10:51 am

Ladd ROCKS!

Best – Thrashers – captain – EVER!

Nice to see the team is opening up to letting you chat with players BlogMaster. Shows they know how to reach the fans. Great job.

Gotta take care of business in Toronto guys. Then a Blues team heads to town after having to fly in from a game against Vancouver.

*sniff-sniff* I smell 4 points for the taking!

litz

December 20th, 2010
10:59 am

“*sniff-sniff* I smell 4 points for the taking!”

The first two of those 4 points regain us the lead in the division.

The second two of those 4 points ensure we KEEP it …

No pressure, eh? :-)

JB

December 20th, 2010
11:21 am

i didn’t know that rule. Ok, I’ll say its very very soon after Jan 1.

Russian

December 20th, 2010
11:37 am

I will be very happy if Ladd and Buff stay here for long time. But I am agree with *Joe Friday* that our Owners are cheap asses. They will not spend money. I hope that I am wrong.
About Berg. I hear a rumor that Dudly will trade him soon. Dudly open his phone line for best deal.

Joe Friday

December 20th, 2010
11:39 am

Shout out to the Smoothinator (did I do that right?) . . . for the good call on the game Sat. night being pivotal in terms of contender or pretender status. Earlier years, we would’ve crapped the bed, but that game Sat. night was a sign this club is for real.

Re. the Bergfors and Eager situations. It’s clear to all of us that this club is coming together as a tightly knit group who has completely bought into the coaches system. And most of you know that on any successful team, the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts when all on the same page. So, let’s say that one or two players has either A)not bought into the system and won’t follow the coach’s instructions or B) is not well liked by the other guys in the room. If that were the case, then a good coach would remove those players from the lineup to ensure the other guy’s continue to stick together and play within his system, no?

Ladd was named captain the day after Eager had an awful turnover in our zone resulting in a goal against and we had a complete 2nd period meltdown, and the following intermission break, we heard reports of players yelling at each other in the room. Eager also had a problem in Chicago last year of similar breakdowns in his decision making on the ice. So, for conjecture’s sake, let’s assume Ladd called out Eager in that break, the next period you may recall we kicked rear, and the next day Ladd was named captain. Choices were made that day, and doghouses were built. Another certain player continued to not follow coach’s instructions and while this player is well liked and did pot his share of goals, he’s not following coach’s instructions and you can’t have that or others may decide to jump off the system. A system that everyone is on the same page with and the results show it’s effectiveness.

Team. Together Everyone Achieves More.

Rawhide

December 20th, 2010
11:45 am

Regarding this notion that the owners might not be of mind to pony up the money needed to keep Ladd and Buff here long-term…Look, everyone here knows what I think about the Great Octocluster. But remember, they green-lighted Waddell to offer up $10 mil per season to Kovy last winter. Why would they noy OK allowing RD to do what is needed to kee these guys around?

I know we are all jaded from the past…but let’s not forget they were willing to ckoke up the money for Kovy.

Joe Friday

December 20th, 2010
11:57 am

Bill, I was hopeful for that as well, but a year has gone by since they made the Kovy offer and apparently the owner’s capital situation has gotten worse since then (per Daly, who referenced Levenson by name just this past Friday). A year ago, Levenson said they had a new investor lined up, today there’s no one, despite the efforts of a third party investment firm to drum up the money.

I think Ladd is doable, not sure about Buf as he’s going to cost a ton.

Rawhide

December 20th, 2010
11:58 am

JF – I guess time will tell. But I agree 100% that getting the two signed long-term is paramount to this team’s future.

BTW… updated the piece up top to add a few more quotes from Ladd that I had accedently omited.

Also, remember that you can still score some good seats and great prices for upcoming games. Just click –>HERE<-- and enter the promo code RAWHIDE. See ya down at Philips gang!

Alan R.

December 20th, 2010
12:33 pm

R. Stroz as Chick-fil-A Cow

December 20th, 2010
12:33 pm

BUY MOR TICKITZ!

R. Stroz

December 20th, 2010
12:42 pm

OK, here’s a wacky idea for a “Thrashers Related T-Shirt”:

On the front, in big bold letters, “BUY MOR TICKITZ”

On the back, “FRUSTRATE THE SHRIVELING DIQUES”

Heywood Jablome

December 20th, 2010
12:45 pm

Alan R. – Now that’s funny!

FormerIslesFan

December 20th, 2010
12:58 pm

Did anyone catch Rammer’s post-game conference on Saturday? He was asked about “accountability,” and he referenced a situation where one of the Thrashers had committed a turnover and when that player came back to the bench, before Rammer could even get over to him, another player was already talking to him and letting the offending player know where he had erred and what he needed to do to correct it.

THAT is what I’m looking for out of this team. How much do you want to bet that Ladd was the “instructing” player in question…? (Just my guess).

Can’t wait for my next game at The Bulb (probably Sunday v. Lightning at this point) so I can go to the Hat Trick Bin and see the name “Eric Boulton” forever etched upon it!!

DawgDad

December 20th, 2010
1:02 pm

The core of this team and the exceptionally talented players are still very, very young in hockey life. Hockey rosters turn over, but when you have a nucleus like this of hard-working blue collar players willing to play the system and play for each other you typically see multi-year playoff appearance runs. Even when the Thrash made the playoffs I knew it wasn’t going to last, the core of that team wasn’t going anywhere together. This is different. This is Falcon-esque. Watching this team play is INSPIRING.

Joe Tess Fish House

December 20th, 2010
1:09 pm

I thing the Thrashres shoould not of have gotten rid of Kolvachock. I predict they finnish last in the divson this year B cuz they got ris of Kolvachock.

Paminski

December 20th, 2010
1:17 pm

When we are winning, I have noticed my own personal speculation vanishes regarding when players’ contracts will be re-upped. I don’t care. Just want to enjoy the ride. That said, some players don’t play quite so well when they have a shiny new contract in hand. I like to see the players locked in, but have mixed feelings on whether that is best.

World Be Free

December 20th, 2010
1:30 pm

Rawhide-let’s not forgot the $$$ is took to get Dudley, Ramsay and Torchetti here to begin with. None of these guys are K-Mart talent, I am sure they are making good money.

Smoothie

December 20th, 2010
1:32 pm

BRAVOOOOOOOOO!!! EXCELLENT WORK YOUR RAWHIDE-NESS! (bowing with hat sweeping the floor)

In fact, it was such a good write-up, I think I might just break out into the PAVELECTRIC SLIDE right here in my cubicle!! :cool:

R. Stroz

December 20th, 2010
1:33 pm

BUY SUM MOR TICKITZ!

Smoothie

December 20th, 2010
1:48 pm

Stroz – what are you now, the CFA cow’s blog agent?!

Smoothie

December 20th, 2010
2:03 pm

“tougher test will be when the team huts the skids and loses 4 in a row”

WBF – shame on you man, that shall never happen under Rammer! ;)

Joe – thanks for the props, but there is still much work to be done and I reckon Coach R is reminding them of this incessantly. Not to mention the fine Capt we have leading our team. I hope to hell we can lock both up for a very long time, but don’t we have an extra year on Buff’s contract to give us some time? Hopefully he cools off a bit and doesn’t start approaching Ray Bourque level production just yet! Nah, to hell with that, the more goals Buff scores (especially the dramatic GWG), the faster this town will forget about KovaLOLchuk and start buying tkt packages to pay for his salary! Before you know, SOB will be the only one left on the sideline bitching and griping. Oh, and that Fish house idiot can be his huckleberry.

Smoothie

December 20th, 2010
2:06 pm

Where the hell didja all go? This blog should have 83 comments by now!

Rawhide for POMPOM King!!!!!!!!

R. Stroz

December 20th, 2010
2:10 pm

You know you’ve been attending Thrasher games longer than most when you you’re yelling “WE WANT GROUPER” after five goals and no one knows what in the world you’re yelling about.

Manley

December 20th, 2010
2:11 pm

First off, I can’t believe Bolts got the hat trick! Well deserved for such a hard working member of the team.

Ladd is showing the humility required of a good leader, but I am sure his leadership has a lot to do with the chemistry in the room and the success that comes from that.

As for the coaches, I was excited when I heard that they hired Rammer exactly because of the kind of patient, teaching coach that he is. That is what is needed on a young team like this. His approach has been spot on: concentrate on a couple of things at a time until the team gets it right and then move on to the next priority. His comments about the shootout prove that this is his approach. Concentrating on too many priorities at once means that none of them get the attention they need. Of course, that method also requires patience from the fans, as we saw in OCT and early NOV, but once the pieces started falling into place…11-2-2 and a real contender!

I am getting more and more excited about this season. Remember guys and gals, I get most of my Thrash info from here so keep up the good work.

World Be Free

December 20th, 2010
2:11 pm

Smoothie-you can bet it will, along with a few short and long term injuries.

Joe Friday

December 20th, 2010
2:29 pm

“don’t we have an extra year on Buff’s contract to give us some time?”

Buf and Ladd are both RFA after this year. So, they’ll both be ours for next year, the only question is if it’s one year qualifying offer (no chance), arbitration award (let’s hope not), or long term deal (let’s pray so) that each will play under for next year . . .

Smoothie

December 20th, 2010
2:34 pm

WBF – well yeah, if we suffer some key injuries, but I don’t see this team straight up losing 4 in a row in regulation. Perhaps I’m drinking too much kool-aid, but seems like Rammer is too good at making adjustments to avoid long losing streaks. Also, since our last 3 game slide, we are 11 – 2 – 2 with an avg of 32.5 SOG vs 31.06 allowed. This team is applying what Rammer is teaching them and their keeping the shots down which is keeping Pavelec extra sharp. If we can get through December without losing 3 or 4 in row, then look out cuz the schedule actually gets a bit easier. But then again, other than Kovy’s team, it’s pretty much parity across the board! :-)

World Be Free

December 20th, 2010
2:43 pm

Smoothie-Rammer can make the in-game adjustments that Anderson was incapable of making. He has been there before, at the NHL level.

Back to contracts-I still say the best way to show people that this team is serious for the long haul, is to get Buff and Ladd inked to long term deals. Show the commitment, pony up so we close the door on talent leaving town. That will put people in the stands.

Smoothie

December 20th, 2010
2:43 pm

Manley – good to see you posting! Hope everything is well where you are and all are keeping safe! God Bless!

Manley

December 20th, 2010
3:02 pm

Smoothie – Thanks. All is well in AFG. Unfortunately, I can’t listen to Kamal do the games like I could in Iraq. If he made the 07-08 season sound exciting, I can only imagine how he is this season! I can see the box scores and read the blog every couple of days to keep track. Fortunately, American Forces Network plays quite a bit of the playoffs, so I am hoping to see the Thrashers on TV this spring!

Smoothie

December 20th, 2010
3:16 pm

http://bluelandchronicle.blogspot.com/2010/12/game-day-toronto-maple-leafs.html

More Laughs humor.

Manley – that would be the best gift ever for our troops in AFG if the boys in blue could give the boys (and ladies) in uniform an April playoffs present! Stay out of harm’s way and Godspeed for continued success over there in your mission. We are all behind you!!!

DB

December 20th, 2010
3:41 pm

One thing you never hear from ownership is about the fans who threw money into this team for years when they refused to do so. All we got back was a “Deal with it.” I’d hate to see hockey go in ATL, and I’ll probably return in some sort of fashion but why would any outside investor want to be a partner with this group?

Zoomo

December 20th, 2010
3:48 pm

Dudley was on the post game show after Saturday night’s win. Mentioned a few times that he wants character guys that can skate. Wonder if Bergie’s character is in question.

Also, I can’t help but wonder what Bob Hartley was thinking as he watched that game on Saturday. He was the guy that preached to Kovy over and over and over about becoming a plus player and he’d be the best player in hockey. Kovy seemed to be buying into that until Hartley was let go, and I think we can almost trace Kovy’s offense only mindset to Hartley’s departure.

Zoomo

December 20th, 2010
4:00 pm

Kamal tweets that the Thrashers on the cover of the latest Hockey News.

Joe McGrath

December 20th, 2010
4:26 pm

I was coaching in Omaha when Eddie Shore sends me this player who was a chronic masturbater…..He would deliberate penalties just so he could be by himself and damned if he didn’t……

[...] for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Bill Tiller pegs the Thrashers naming Andrew Ladd captain on Nov. 18 as something of a turning [...]

cousin Eddie

December 20th, 2010
4:41 pm

Was just looking the GA avg for the other teams in the league and thought what would the thrashers GA be if we take the statistics from the last 15 games and spread it over 34 games. The GA would around 64, just below Boston. I love that we are defensive minded like Boston but I think our scoring power far exceeds theirs. Looking forward to dominant win tonight!

litz

December 20th, 2010
4:45 pm

“Kamal tweets that the Thrashers on the cover of the latest Hockey News.”

I have nothing to do with the actual magazine, but if you want to buy a copy, and don’t want to hit a local news-stand (heck, is it even carried in this town? No clue …) you can buy a digital copy online:

http://ca.zinio.com/browse/issues/index.jsp;jsessionid=CA21FBA13B3BCBF0F8C013EBDE691612.ns103-e03?skuId=416149517&pss=1

There’s also a link for a preview (flash required) : http://www.zinio.com/reader.jsp?issn=0018-3016U