Welcome back to News and Views, the exciting new craze in the blogosphere that asks the question: Is there anything we can post at about 11 a.m. because there seem to be lot of people goofing around at work on the Internet who clearly have nothing else to do? Or something like that.
♦ NEWS: The Thrashers hire Rick Dudley as some kind of assistant under Don Waddell. (An official announcement will come later today.)
♦ WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Because it’s all clear now to Thrashers’ ownership. After nine mostly crummy seasons, the biggest problem was Don Waddell just needed a better assistant!
♦ VIEWS: I think I just articulated my view. But OK, a few more thoughts.
This should be an improvement. How much remains to be seen.
This is what I know about Dudley. He did some nice things in his three stops as an NHL general manager (Ottawa, Tampa Bay, Florida). His work with the Lightning planted the seeds for their Stanley Cup team. Most recently, he was an assistant in Chicago.
But Dudley’s also a close friend of Waddell, going way back. Waddell has a habit of hiring pals. Pals aren’t threatening. So this really isn’t about a franchise starting over, even if Dudley eventually ends up with the GM’s job and Waddell gets kicked upstairs, which is conceivable. (I don’t see another reason why Dudley would leave an assistant’s job in Chicago for an assistant’s job in Atlanta, except maybe the weather.) But if nothing else, Dudley is a legitimate hockey voice in a room that sorely needs one.
How close are Waddell and Dudley? Dudley was a coach and GM for a minor-league team in Flint when he needed a defenseman late one season. He persuaded Waddell to come out of retirement. (Waddell had gone into the porta-potty business, which you won’t find in his media guide bio). Waddell ended up staying on as coach and GM. That became his entry into hockey management.
Waddell (GM) later hired Dudley as coach for an IHL team in San Diego. The two later were rivals in the same league (Waddell with Orlando; Dudley with Detroit). Dudley also briefly was an unofficial consultant with the Thrashers after he was fired by Tampa Bay in 2002. I don’t think he got paid much, if at all. He might want to get used to that here when he deals with the payroll.
♦ NEWS: Braves commit two more errors! (only one official)
♦ WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Because as long as this continues, they’ll stink.
♦ VIEWS: They have 42 errors after Jair Jurrjens’ botch of a slow grounder Sunday in Boston. Even worse might’ve been a play that officially went as a hit – a pop-up that fell between Yunel Escobar and Chipper Jones in the fourth. Neither called for it. What is this, a Marx Brothers movie?
Both miscues led to runs. And, oh look: The Braves lost by one, 6-5.
The team’s cumulative fielding percentage (.984) ranks 19th in the majors and 10th in the National League.
I have a theory as to why the Braves seem to be getting worse on defense: osmosis.
If you look at fielding statistics in the major leagues, the National League East is by far the worst fielding division in baseball. Washington (64) has the most errors in the majors. Florida (56) is fourth. New York (45) is ninth. The Braves are tied for 12th (42).
Only Philadelphia, which has the second fewest errors in the majors at 27, seems to have a clue with the glove. By the way, Philadelphia won the World Series last year.