Could it be Thrashers are going nowhere soon?

According to this tweet by John Kincade, it would seem that there is possibly an ownership group interested in the Atlanta Thrashers…one that would be interested in not only taking the NHL team off the hands of the Atlanta Spirit, but keep them in Atlanta as well. Not only that, but this group is also interested in the Hawks and Philips Arena too.

I spoke with Kincade earlier this morning and he told me, “All I can say is I can confirm that there is legitimate interest in someone buying control of the Hawks, Thrashers and Philips”.

“Serious candidate”, the co-host of 680 AM The Fan’s Buck and Kincade Show went on to add. “Not like a guy like Rollins”.

When I pressed a little more for additional information, Kincade only said, “There are reasons of confidences shared as to why I am not naming names. I will let this scenario play out”.

OK John, you have our attention. Hopefully this story has some wings to it.

LeBRUN SAYS THE CLOCK IS TICKING

Also on the topic of the Thrashers and their current ownership crisis…last weekend, ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun indicated that the clock is ticking for new owners to be found for the Thrashers.

I did not listen to the “Hot Stove” segment on Hockey Night in Canada, but from what I’ve been told and have read, he indicated that the NHL league office is trying their best to keep the Thrashers in Atlanta, but that there must be new ownership found within the next 6-8 weeks.

Now, I don’t know if that means a deadline has been set to resolve this issue or the NHL will allow the team to be sold to anyone even if that means relocating them…or that the league will step in and take over the problem themselves. Maybe someone who did here the comments can shed some light.

What I do know is that the league is fully aware that the main problem down here is indeed the AS, LLC and they would like to be rid of them just about as much as we do.

NOW…ABOUT LAST WEEKEND

One thing we Thrashers fans have had to learn over the last several seasons is to govern our emotions. When the team is playing very well…as they were last fall…we have to keep reminding ourselves that they really aren’t that good. Eventually, things will moderate out.

The same is true when the team goes through rough patches, the kind every team experiences. Just like when things are going well, things will moderate out. 82 games is a long time and in the end, a team’s true talent level will emerge.

The Edmonton Oilers celebrate Taylor Hall's game winning goal Saturday afternoon. It was Hall's third goal of the period and first hat trick of the rookie's career (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, John Ulan)

The Edmonton Oilers celebrate Taylor Hall's game winning goal Saturday afternoon. It was Hall's third goal of the period and first hat trick of the rookie's career (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, John Ulan)

However, when we witness a stretch like the Thrashers are going through for two months now…going 6-14-5 over 25 games, winning only three times in regulation since New Years and only once at all since the all Star game…you can’t help but wonder if what we are seeing is indeed the true measure of this squad. And it’s disheartening to say the least.

Saturday’s latest debacle only adds to the general sense of gloom and doom in Thrasherville. The schedule affords the team a matchup with the worst team in the league…points-wise at least…and did so at a time they really needed it. Those two points in northern Alberta were as close to “must have” as it gets for a team looking to turn their fortunes around and try to get back on the winning track.

But it’s not just that they lost to Edmonton in as much as how they did. It was once again a game where they played well enough to take a lead…2-0 and 3-1…but also found a way to allow just enough mistakes to cost then dearly.

SAME SONG DIFFERENT VERSE

That old familiar sinking feeling began as it normally does, in the latter stages of the second period. With Atlanta up 2-0, Chris Mason, (getting his first start since being injured in Dallas a month ago), failed to shut the five-hole in time to stop Magnus Paajarvi’s shot from the right side.

However, that sickening feeling in the pit of our collective stomachs was eased a bit early in the third when Evander Kane danced his way through the Oilers’ defense and deposited the puck into the net past Devan Dubnyk. And with a 3-1 in the third on the Oilers this season, most teams can pretty much fill out the deposit slips to take the two points to the Bank of NHL Standings.

Yes, most teams…but not these Thrashers.

Just 7 tics of the clock after Kane’s highlight real goal, Chris Thorburn then takes a tripping penalty in the offensive zone…and then the Taylor Hall power play show was underway. The unraveling commenced from there.

“We gave them life”, coach Craig Ramsay said of the third period collapse. “Everything was going in our favor and then we take three penalties and give them those power play chances and get behind”.

“They walked them out and stuffed them in the net”, Ramsay continued. “It was really disheartening to see that. We didn’t get it done killing penalties and we didn’t get it done on the power play”.

“Disheartening” indeed.

It’s this type of loss in this type of fashion to this type of team that can kill off any hopes of climbing back into the playoff race. No they haven’t been mathematically eliminated, so they technically are not “dead” yet…but losing a game like that must certainly put them on life support. As such, whatever hopes they had of living life in the postseason is slipping away fast.

And while we continue to look for someone to step forward to make sure this franchise does not go anywhere anytime soon, it’s seems clear that the team is certainly going nowhere fast…at least as far as the NHL standings are concerned.

367 comments Add your comment

Iron League 13

February 21st, 2011
9:14 am

I like this and I don’t. Let’s see. After all these groups here in Atlanta one can’t honestly be completely jazzed to here that it’s mutiple people with unknown interests rather than an individual with hockey love and an ATM for a colon.

telfo

February 21st, 2011
9:14 am

The Hot Stove segment basically said that after 6-8 weeks relocation would be “on the table”. we all now that True North is basically waiting with cash in hand to buy the next team available so at that point i imagine the team would be moved quickly. They did sound fairly optimistic in the leagues ability to find a buyer though.

as for the on ice product, we got lucky and the Canes and Sabres both lost yesterday so that debacle in Edmonton didnt leave us any worse off. Wednesday against Buffalo is a huge game that must be won.

Iron League 13

February 21st, 2011
9:15 am

hear (rather)

Joe Friday

February 21st, 2011
9:16 am

Did anybody watch the presser last night of Bettman speaking after the Heritage Classic? I watched and it and Bettman was really pissed off at this question and walked off the stage after it. Who else saw it? I don’t know how to take his reaction, he was so visibly pissed off at it (he seemed to get even more pissed after the reporter asked a follow up, not listed below that was something like “in reference to what Gearon said”, here’s the question and answer:

Q. A question about Atlanta, lots of talk about Winnipeg on CBC tonight, everywhere. What’s your take?

COMMISSIONER BETTMAN: I don’t think there’s any new news about Atlanta. I know there was an article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, but I hate speculation. I hate the stories, because it raises people’s expectations when they shouldn’t be.

If and whenever we have something to announce I promise you I’ll announce it. But let’s keep our eye on the ball. We just had a great event. And I don’t know what the CBC said. But if that’s what they were spending attention on during this game, I think they’ve taken their eye off the puck.

shootoutloss

February 21st, 2011
9:17 am

I don’t buy that whole 8 week deadline. Don’t you think we would have heard it elsewhere if it was true?
As for these new buyers, us fans need to show up the remainder of the games, to sweeten it up for them.

Red Light

February 21st, 2011
9:21 am

The Oilers have beaten the Panthers, Lightning and Thrashers this season. Their only loss to a SE Division team: Carolina, and they play the Caps March 9.

The only teams with a losing record vs. Southeast teams this season are: Rangers, Islanders, Sabres, Leafs, Senators and the Wild.

Flames

February 21st, 2011
9:21 am

As I mentioned earlier on CVIV blog,I spoke with Andrew Ladd and he told me that he is close to signing a long term contract and that he loves Atlanta… He wants to make this his home. Last nights Thrashers Casino night was a big success.

Iron League 13

February 21st, 2011
9:22 am

I don’t think the F.A.S., LLC are gonna be so easy to push out of the Hawks and all of Philips, plus the NBA doesn’t give two rosy red you know whatsabout them because last I checked they’ve IMPROVED the Hawks. No mystery how they did that either, using a hockey team as a means of self financing is easier nowadays than getting a loan and apparently easier than them agreeing to work together.

Kovy's Agent

February 21st, 2011
9:22 am

Well, at least the Canes and Sabres are losing lately, which keeps it somewhat interesting. The latest must win game, however, comes Wednesday against the Sabres and with the Devils coming on strong, a loss Wednesday is probably all she wrote. But even if the season is a flush, it would be uplifting to hear some genuine good news about new ownership, but with this crew it’s a “I’ll believe it when I see it” type of thing.

Joe Friday

February 21st, 2011
9:26 am

“I don’t buy that whole 8 week deadline. Don’t you think we would have heard it elsewhere if it was true?”

Our own owner said it as well, it’s true. He said, paraphasing, there’s a sense or urgency, we’re not going to take another $20m loss.

They’re losing $20m per year on the Thrashers, that means they’re not going to own the Thrashers after this season. I think it’s 100% clear that the Spirit isn’t going to own the Thrashers past this season.

Hopefully we’re not being fed false hope here by Kincade, I can’t remember the last time he made a call correctly, anyone else know of one?

Only thing I know of for sure is we have no control over anything other than our own reactions to it. Show up Friday night and give a potential new owner a reason to buy this club. And in the meantime, continue to write the emails, make phone calls, etc. to the Mayor’s office, the Governor’s office, the Chamber of Commerce, and the NHL front office. Flood the lines people, and get your tickets for Friday night, it’s all we can do.

Iron League 13

February 21st, 2011
9:27 am

Flames – That’s excellent news on Ladd, cross your fingers for that too. I love that guy….you know what I mean.

Joe Friday

February 21st, 2011
9:30 am

“I don’t think the F.A.S., LLC are gonna be so easy to push out of the Hawks and all of Philips, plus the NBA doesn’t give two rosy red you know whatsabout them because last I checked they’ve IMPROVED the Hawks.”

Yep, that part of it makes little sense unless you consider that mabye these jamokes have burnt so many bridges and this whole experience has been so painful for them that they just want out. Mabye Gearon remains as a minority owner and a new group comes in as majority.

Mabye I should quit speculating and start sending out more emails and phone calls to the ones who can influence this. Mabye I picked the wrong day to give up smoking . . .

I’ll tell you this, the playoff race has gone out the window in my mind. I could not care less, only thing that matters to me is keeping the club in town, that’s the only win I want for this year, a playoff birth would be the cherry on top . . .

Iron League 13

February 21st, 2011
9:31 am

I gotta say again, one of the saddest parts of this franchise has always been the fact that they are package deal. Right from the get-go that’s what they were and I THINK THAT SUCKS!!! Again, I will remain cautiously optimistic just to keep them in town, but this doesn’t sound as sweet as it could thus far.

Tom Lysiak

February 21st, 2011
9:32 am

Hear, hear Joe Friday! Sign Ladd, find new buyers that keep the team here. Life is good……

Blueland Buddha

February 21st, 2011
9:35 am

Having someone buy the whole lot makes me feel more comfortable that it would actually happen, I think. I just cant imagine someone would be able to come to terms with BOTH buying the Thrahsers from ASG AND coming to a lease term with them on the arena. Unfortunately, I find that scenario highly unlikely.

Iron League 13

February 21st, 2011
9:37 am

Joe Friday – The thing about them is that they are great owners for the Hawks so far as I can tell, because they bought this team ALMOST soley for them as basketball afficionados. To me the Hawks were THE attraction for them for childhood fantasy fulfilment, then renting to yourself has many pros (money from right pocket transfers to the left), and the Thrashers are like a booster club for the Hawks. SOunds great for them, bucause I don’t think any of them are billionaires, maybe not even as a whole. That’s why this was enticing, how leagues (cough-NHL-cough) don’t see through this crap before signing off is beyond me.

Iron League 13

February 21st, 2011
9:38 am

because rather

GaVaHokie

February 21st, 2011
9:40 am

I can’t see ASG giving up the entire package of Philips, Hawks and Thrashers. We all know they’re cooking the books on the Thrashers anyway.

put me on the pk

February 21st, 2011
9:49 am

If we find a new owner and keep this team in Atlanta, I say we get a new logo and new jerseys to symbolize a new era of Atlanta hockey! We need to put these past seasons behind us and move forward with the great potential we have on this team.

Hockey Biltong

February 21st, 2011
9:50 am

It is interesting to note, how poorly the Hawks draw as well. Unless everyone parties in the corridors[which I have heard], you hardly see anyone in seats during the game.
Which brings me to the inept marketing that would change in the light of new ownership, one would hope.
Perhaps the Clowns would be minority owners in the whole deal, happy to leave the driving to the adults?
I hope that would be the worst case scenario.
Best case would be a complete sellout to a new entity.

hockeymom92

February 21st, 2011
9:51 am

Was listening to the game on radio Saturday and Dan Kamal made a statement that to me summed up the Thrashers’ season. After we fell behind he said that this team seems to have an aversion to winning or success – can’t remember which word he used, but it sure made a lot of sense. Not sure if these are words he has used before as I cannot usually pick up the radio broadcast. It is like the team has been told so much that they are not playoff material that instead of proving otherwise, they are beginning to believe it themselves.

da' boomer

February 21st, 2011
9:52 am

put me on the pk – AMEN!!!! those blue home jersey are the worst. i’d be embarassed to come out of the locker room wearing that thing

Doubt it

February 21st, 2011
9:52 am

I stopped listening to any “reports” that station had after they declared Shaq would be a Hawk this season. Kincade was bitter a week ago that people were citing his interview with the Spirit co-owner as “a local radio station” and not “680 the Fan.”

Anything to get the station’s name out there, at this point.

Hockey Biltong

February 21st, 2011
9:53 am

Sqeaky Frommage and I are considering the “aints” approach to hockey on Friday. A couple of paper bags with some artwork…where can you find paper bags nowadays????

Hockey Biltong

February 21st, 2011
9:57 am

No media outlet in Atlanta is a fan of the Thrashers. Not like the pub that UGA or Braves or Falcons get.
680 is so bad they will not accept Thrasher fan calls. The board-op/show producer will flat out tell you they are not interested….that is why 680 sucks as they are not living up to their moniker The Fan….

Red Light

February 21st, 2011
10:00 am

The only reason the Hawks are in better shape financially than the Thrashers is tied to the $30 million-plus national TV revenues that NBA teams get. Otherwise revenues are virtually the same for both teams but the Hawks salary costs are much higher than the Thrashers. And, the valuation of the Hawks, according to Forbes’ somewhat mythical figures, is more than twice that of the Thrashers, and let us not forget that the Spirit refinanced the $123.5 million debt on Philips Arena through the NBA Credit Facility.

The only money maker is the arena itself, due to concert and special events revenues, and of course, the season lease agreements with the two teams.

kracker

February 21st, 2011
10:07 am

As for Kincade’s breaking stories, he told us the year before his final year that Kovalchuk would not now ay, no how sign again with the Thrashers. Nobody wanted to believe Kincade but he was right and as we see now, it was for the better.

Let’s get Laddie long-term signed and another trade done. Anyone assuring us that the Thrashers are dead this season is simply playing the odds and figuring they will be shown to be right. They may well be correct, but the Thrashers still have a few winnable game before the schedule stiffens a bit. Like that cable guy says, they simply have to git ‘er done.

So….sweeten the pot a bit for Ladd to get him signed and try to make that trade, Duds!

Hockey Biltong

February 21st, 2011
10:10 am

Tom Lysiak

February 21st, 2011
10:15 am

Got my tickets for Friday night. Thanks Rawhide!

Subsidizing the drive for new owners!!!

kracker

February 21st, 2011
10:21 am

Oops, sorry, if you didn’t figure it out already, that typo says that “Kovalchuk would not no way, no how” sign here.

Joe Friday

February 21st, 2011
10:24 am

“that Kovalchuk would not now ay, no how sign again with the Thrashers. Nobody wanted to believe Kincade but he was right”

Nobody wanted to believe? It was clear Kovy wasn’t going to re-sign with us and I was advocating trading him before that season to maximize our return. There were probably half of the folks around here who didn’t want to believe Kovy wasn’t signing here. but certainly not everyone, many of us saw Kovy wasn’t re-signing. I’d love to believe Kincade but to me he’s the Eklund of the Thrashers for his many years of calling trades that were pending that never occurred so I wouldn’t give up the efforts now hoping his news comes true, we need to keep pushing, buy tickerts, email/phone the NHL and local officials.

tonyb

February 21st, 2011
10:25 am

We are starting to see the league back us. I think that if we get down to a deadline, the NHL will not allow the Thrashers to move. They disparately need this market towork. The population, the scope of the TV market, a new building. Everything the NHL needs to make Hockey work in America is in place. I think when push come to shove, the NHL will not let Atlanta be without a team. If the Thrashers do leave, don’t be shocked if another struggling team moves here within 3 years. There are probably a dozen teams is bad markets that would trade places with Atlanta in a second.

Hockey Biltong

February 21st, 2011
10:28 am

“Ownership that cares” should be the mission statement of the next owner…

kj

February 21st, 2011
10:31 am

Saturday’s game pretty much summed up that no one seems to be on the same page, especially defensively. You’d think that a conversation between coaches and D men or D men to D men would have gone something like this, “The next time number 4 goes to the net from down low, take the man NOT THE PUCK and knock him on his ass – maybe he’ll think twice about it the next time”. Hell, you teach that in Squirt hockey! Can you see Chris Pronger standing for that? That was flat out embarrassing. Maybe Stuart would have taken care of business if he was out there on the PK but neither Sopel or Oduya seemed to have a clue (and I like Oduya most of the time actually). Where has the toughness gone with this team?

Rammer, your team is playing like a no-check men’s league. Somebody please wake up!!!!!!!!

Buff-n-stuff

February 21st, 2011
10:32 am

the only question i have is “WHY” was Mason in goal on a must wine game, with four days off coming? Now is “not the time” to get him some work. He was awful. Those goals between the wickets were unforgiveable. Pavs should have been in net, especially playing w/ the 2 newly acquired guys from Boston. That was the first “BAD COACHING” I have really seen from Ramsay. There, I said it….jump on me if you like, but I am right on this call !!!

R. Stroztradamus

February 21st, 2011
10:39 am

kj

February 21st, 2011
10:39 am

Bad coaching + bad goaltending + soft defense. And I keep watching? What the hell is wrong with me????

Fan from Carolina

February 21st, 2011
10:43 am

An owner to buy the Thrashers and keep them in Atlanta. Wouldn’t that be something. I wonder if Jeff Vinik has any friends that are just like him and wanting buy into the NHL? You can always dream anyway.

Matt

February 21st, 2011
10:46 am

looking on the bright side, both Carolina and New York are doing all that they can to keep the Thrashers in the playoff race… thanks to their poor play as of late, we’re still in this.

on the not-so-bright side, I haven’t seen anything from the Thrashers in 2011 that say they can make the necessary push to get to the post-season.

AtlFlamesFan

February 21st, 2011
10:48 am

“Hell, you teach that in Squirt hockey!”

Actually, that would be PeeWee hockey. They still are not allowed to bodycheck at the Squirt level. :-)

A2B

February 21st, 2011
10:48 am

Anyone up for making some signs that mock the ASG and call for the NHL to put in an ownership group that cares about the team? If we have 18,000 people that have signs like that and it gets out to any media outlet, that would crush any ASG argument that we as the fans don’t care. Also, it will show the players that we have their backs and want them here and want them to win IN ATLANTA. Just a thought…

kj

February 21st, 2011
10:52 am

AtlFlamesFan – thanks for the correction! But even in Squirt’s, they end up at least standing in their path and somebody skates into them and they all fall!! The Thrashers D can’t even get in front of them to get run over!

Alan R.

February 21st, 2011
10:57 am

I’m going to put this out there right now. You don’t have to believe it if you don’t want to…

Remember back in December, when we were still winning games, but looked tired? Remember that game on 20 December that we won in Toronto?

Fun times.

Remember shortly thereafter, when the word came out that the idiot monkey boys “bought out” Belkin?

Now, remember when we started playing like dried dog crap on a city sidewalk? It was right after that announcement.

The team has known for longer than we have that our owners weren’t on solid footing, and seems to have known the plan. If anyone thinks this team is not affected, or should not be affected, by the prospects of them moving to Winnipeg, you’re full of excrement. Simply put, these boys are quite affected by all this. It’s evident in how they play, how they celebrate their on-ice achievements, and their post-game interviews. All you gotta do is listen and watch to the way the players handle themselves, and you’ll see many of them have no interest in leaving.

Another thing is the revelation from HNIC that players are adding Atlanta to their no-trade list because they don’t want to end up in Winnipeg. This should be rather telling to the NHL brass who’ve “promised” Winnipeg a team. Friends of mine there in Winnipeg tell me that people are going nuts for getting the NHL back, but there’s nothing solid to get their hopes up for. People there are even buying Atlanta sweaters, looking forward to the move. They’ll be quite disappointed, if their expectations are not met.

kracker

February 21st, 2011
11:07 am

Buff-n-stuff, I agree Pavs should have been playing in Edmonton. Mason was in because he grew up in Red Deer, Alberta, which is midway between Edmonton and Calgary.

kj

February 21st, 2011
11:17 am

He grew up in Red Deer and threw up in Edmonton. He’s been awful all year which I’m sure gives the team little confidence when they find out he’s between the pipes.

kracker

February 21st, 2011
11:32 am

Very interesting, Alan R., that we hear that players are putting Atlanta on their no-trade list so they don’t end up moving to Winnipeg! Oh, how we need some decent, hockey loving owners!!!

If they can work it out, let the Spirit boys keep the Hawks and maybe split the arena, something like that, then everybody will be happy. Something tells me, though, that nobody will want to crawl into the corporate bed with these guys.

Dwayne

February 21st, 2011
11:37 am

I.K.W.T….In Kincaid We Trust

Blueland Buddha

February 21st, 2011
11:44 am

While people were throwing around the name of Arthur Blank when he has no connection with the sport, how about Tom Glavine? Not likely as a majority owners, but possible as part of a group, no? He is a high-profile local celeb, he loves Atlanta, he loves the sport of hockey, and he probably knows tons of people with the cash to pull this off. Throw Smoltz in the group with him. Thoughts?

KLS1

February 21st, 2011
11:56 am

I’ve never heard the ASG mention that want to sell it all…? Sure would be nice if they did.

If they can make a bigger profit shipping the team to canada than selling them locally, they will. Count on it.

kracker

February 21st, 2011
11:57 am

Glavine could work nicely as a well known front-guy, just as you proposed. But don’t cut Glavine short on the money front. I’m sure he has invested wisely…even so, he would probalby could at best be a minority owner.