Poll time: Are Thrashers destined for better year than Hawks?


Things are going so well for the Thrashers that Eric Boulton had a hat trick against New Jersey.


Joe Johnson has yet to hit his stride for the Hawks, in part because of injuries.

The Hawks have made the playoffs three straight seasons. The Thrashers have made the playoffs only once in 10 seasons and never have won a postseason game.

So why does it seem like the hockey team is the better of Philips Arena’s two tenants right now?

Seriously: If you had to choose, which team would be your pick to win more games and go farther in the playoffs right now,  the Hawks or Thrashers? I’ve got a poll up. Before you make your choice, here are a few things to take note of:

Which team is your early choice to have a better season?

View Results

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♦ TRENDS: Yes, it’s early. Neither the NHL nor NBA are even at the halfway point of the regular season. But the Thrashers (18-11-5) are one of the NHL’s hottest teams (11-2-2 in the last 15). The Hawks (17-12) are 11-12 since a 6-0 start. The Thrashers are coming off a 7-1 flattening of the once-mighty, now-decrepit New Jersey Devils (and Ilya Kovalchuk). The Hawks lost at New Jersey Sunday 89-82. (They play Orlando Monday night at Philips Arena.)

♦ COACHING: The Thrashers’ Craig Ramsay has to be the early leader for NHL coach of the year. He has a team with the league’s lowest payroll in first place. The Hawks’ Larry Drew, whom many considered a surprise replacement for Mike Woodson, actually has done a pretty good job. He has gotten the Hawks to share the ball a lot more on offense. The team also has had more injuries than a year ago (Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams, Maurice Evans).

♦ IDENTITY/CHEMISTRY/LEADERSHIP: We know what to expect from the Thrashers. They attack from the opening faceoff. They forecheck. They’re fun to watch. Despite the number of new players, they’ve how learned how to play well together. The Hawks have had largely the same roster as the last two years but at times still look like they lack flow and consistency (possibly because of the injuries). The Thrashers have great leadership from Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien. The Hawks’ best leader is Al Horford. That’s not really Johnson’s strength. (On a related note: Johnson made only four of 16 shots in Sunday’s loss.)

♦ FUTURE: The Hawks just watched the Orlando Magic remake their roster in trades because they didn’t think the team they had could succeed in the postseason. The Hawks had the entire offseason to make a major move but chose not to (declining one option: to bring in Shaquille O’Neal). Their most likely candidate to go in a trade is Jamal Crawford, who has value and is in the final year of his contract. But Crawford is a popular and effective player.  The big problem: Johnson’s contract precludes the team from being able to do much in the trade market. Rick Dudley has done a masterful job as Thrashers’ general manager. The possibilities for roster additions are limitless, given the Thrashers have tons of salary cap room, but ownership must be willing to increase the payroll first.

♦ BOTTOM LINE: The Thrashers have hit their stride. The Hawks are struggling to find theirs. February and March often are the telling months in NHL and NBA regular seasons. But in December, the Thrashers get the edge.

Agree or disagree? And what are your thoughts on the rest of the season?

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC and Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

67 comments Add your comment


December 19th, 2010
5:16 pm

pretty even for this season but the Thrashers roster is built for long term success


December 19th, 2010
5:17 pm

First? Neither!!


December 19th, 2010
5:18 pm

Give Byfuglien a long term deal

My Man Woody

December 19th, 2010
5:22 pm

Are the thrashers the atlanta WNBA team?


December 19th, 2010
5:27 pm

The Hawks suck.

They played MUCH better basketball when Joe Johnson was hurt. Thus proving the Ewing Theory in regards to Joe Johnson.

I know you think the Koncak contract was worse, Jeff, but I think the Joe Johnson contract is far worse, and far more damaging because it basically means this team can not get any better over the next six years.

Think about that. The Hawks are STUCK with Joe Johnson. NO ONE is going take that horrible contract. NO ONE.

They could’ve gone out and tried, just TRIED to work out a trade of Johnson for Carmelo Anthony. They could have tried to work out a sign and trade with ANY team, and then gone out and gotten good pieces for the bench.

Signing Joe Johnson to the absolute worst contract in NBA history (he got more than D-Wade and LeBron!!!) will prove to be the ruination of this franchise…

… proving once and for just how stupid and clueless the ASG really are.

Stinger 2

December 19th, 2010
5:28 pm

The way the teams are playing now, I would say the Thashers. The Hawks are having trouble against very weak teams….Nets/Pistons and have not won but a couple of games against quality teams. However, with Johnson back, and baring serious injuries the Hawks will probably slip in as a 5th or 6th seed.


December 19th, 2010
5:31 pm

The Thrashers…coaching and chemistry…the hawks have too many overpaid bums, too. btw thrashers games are a million times more fun than hawks games.

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Will vs Shall

December 19th, 2010
5:42 pm



December 19th, 2010
5:51 pm

Is there a worse entertainment product than NBA basketball?? It’s just boring.

Hockey, on the other hand, is end to end action, physical play with a minimum of “prima donnas” playing the game (Kovy and Ovechkin).

I never thought the Thrashers would be where the are at this point. Ramsey has got to be Coach of the Year to this point and Big Buff could make a serious case for MVP.

I have my tickets for next month. Support this team, you won’t be sorry you did.

The Bees Knees

December 19th, 2010
6:06 pm

Atlanta has Hockey and Basketball teams (sic) ???????

Alan R.

December 19th, 2010
6:09 pm

Are the thrashers the atlanta WNBA team?

Derp derp derp!!1!

On topic: I’m not entirely sure what to think. You know, it’s awesome to see the Thrashers sit alone atop the Southeast division for the first time since 2007. Still, I suffer from Battered Fan Syndrome. I love the team, and have been a hardcore fan since inception, but I still want to wait and see where we sit in February.

If we do well down the stretch and make the playoffs, Ramsay is a lock for the Jack Adams, and Dudley for GM of the Year.


December 19th, 2010
6:51 pm

Completely different feel to the two teams. Everything positive and growing for Thrashers. Very static feel to the Hawks. I think the Thrashers are positioned for immediate and long term success – great coaching, many young players who are no where near their peak, no payroll cap problems. Hawks are payroll restricted, only a small amount of room for internal improvement.

I am going to make a bold prediction, The Thrashers, will become before the year is out a very hot ticket. The way they are playing now is just plain exciting, fans will come and experience the fun and will be back again and again.

Whopper Dawg

December 19th, 2010
7:25 pm

There are many teams destined for better years than the Hawks. A bigger question is, with the Johnson millstone contract firmly around your neck and no point guard to speak of and no true center, what can the GM do to make this team a genuine contender? Tough duty that one, but it is his bed.


December 19th, 2010
7:44 pm

Thrashers by far and it’s not even close. In the NBA it’s all about stars and the Hawks stars are not as good as the Celtics, Magic, or Heat.

Bob Horner feels for JS

December 19th, 2010
7:47 pm

you’re gonna get beat-up by a few folks…The Falcons win is on everybody’s mind..but I’ll comment….the Hawks can’t get past the 1st round…the Thrashers I almost afraid to comment on..I’m too ignorant…but I’m thinking that they lack “something”???? maybe a “goon” defenseman and a dynamic scorer..?? the Hawks lack a dynamic Center and/or PG… but to answer the poll…the Thrashers advance further…


December 19th, 2010
8:02 pm

No contest. I can’t sit through a Hawks game these days, but I leave work early to catch every single Thrashers game! I support all Atl teams but only one of these teams is putting in the effort needed to win.

Saints Bleaux

December 19th, 2010
8:10 pm

How bout them FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


December 19th, 2010
8:16 pm

Why does it have to be either the Thrashers or the Hawks? What fans of both franchises want are totally different. Thrashers fans want their team to be relevant and thereby safe (in stability terms) until they can truly make Stanley Cup noise.

On the other hand, Hawks fans want the pain to go away. They know that the only way that happens is for this team as assembled to morph into a Conference Finals or NBA Finals team and not get embarrassed on a National stage…


December 19th, 2010
8:28 pm

Two years ago there was excitement that the Hawks could be on the verge becoming of a very good team for a very long time. Now they are going to be handcuffed with a ridiculous contract for the next six years and thus they will be stuck in the worst possible positions in the NBA, not in the lottery and not relevant in the playoffs. How aweful. The Thrashers have tons of upside and room to grow. So my vote is with the Thrashers. They can win in the playoffs now I believe while the Hawks are going to be bounced in the first or second round. How’s that for an elite team.

Chillin on Paradise Island

December 19th, 2010
8:52 pm

ANY team is destined to be better then the Hawks. They suck. Plain and Simple suck. No way around it.


December 19th, 2010
8:57 pm

Edge to Thrashers … they are overachieving, well coached, and exciting. Hawks? Not so much. The Kovalchuk trade and the subsequent deal(s) with Chicago, along with new GM and coach, have transformed the Thrashers into a legitimate “team”, something that’s never before existed (except briefly in 06 amd 07). Well, that and a hot goalie the last month which hopefully will continue. Sense the beginning of a “buzz” about this team which hopefully will gain momentum.

Will vs Shall

December 19th, 2010
9:14 pm

I prefer seeing the Thrashers. You don’t get the pat down for weapons for a hockey game vs the Hawks basketball game.


December 19th, 2010
9:15 pm

Thrashers! … now if the ASG will ever figure out they have a gold mine on their hands. Sad I gave up my share of season tix 2 yrs ago … the current version of NHL hockey is tons of fun to watch (esp. when we’re not getting outshot 42-19) plus the Trashers’ office does their dangdest to make sure you enjoy the game! I love to take clients to a game…


December 19th, 2010
9:16 pm

I used to be a huge Hawks fan (my Dad took me to a bunch of games when I was young) but then they moved the franchise out of my hometown St. Louis and I swore off of them forever. I haven’t seriously followed the NBA since. Thankfully, hockey came to town (the Blues) and I was hooked.

The Thrashers are for real. There are a lot of similarities between the Thrashers and the Falcons, each losing the star face of the franchise and starting over with new GM-coach tandems. Their work ethic and focus on fundamental play and team results is refreshing and inspiring. If you haven’t been to a hockey game this year the Thrash deserve your support – they are earning it on the ice. This is the team we’ve been waiting for, for years.


December 19th, 2010
9:25 pm

Hawks just aren’t built to win, and Sund so far has not seen fit to change the mix. Assuming that continues to be the case, the Thrashers get the nod on wow factor and the chance to generate a little excitement.


December 19th, 2010
9:44 pm

Go Thrash! Go Falcons!


December 19th, 2010
9:57 pm

Simple test, go to one game each for the Thrashers and the Hawks. Then tell me which team and sport is more exciting and fun to watch.

My guess is you will then look into tickets to the Thrashers to go again and again!


December 19th, 2010
10:28 pm

The Hawks suck…..Josh ( Schmoove ? ) shoots too often from out of his range, which is 2 ft from the basket. They don’t have consistent playmakers, nor do they have dominant rebounders – outside of Schmoove ( whatever that’s supposed to mean ).

The Trashers could probably beat them in basketball.

Tom Brady's Hair Cut

December 19th, 2010
10:39 pm

Ya Ya Pratrolia and all them are never going deep in the Playoffs. Why bother wasting your time?

Gen Neyland

December 19th, 2010
10:45 pm

Season is early but IMO the Thrashers are skating and playing the game extremely well at this point of the season for a team that has many new faces coming together. I tip the cap to Ramsey and the line rotations he plays. Give Pav a little pat on the back too…If they continue to progress, there’s no telling how far they will go. May the injury bug avoid them. The Hawks..? Well, got my fingers crossed…

NoCoach Blewitt

December 19th, 2010
10:47 pm

Another ensightful article … if it was written 3 months prior. Of course they will have a better season. The Hawks are in the purgatory of the N(on) Basketball Association .. where they will remain until the reach the lowest depths possible again .. The Thrashers were supposed to be terrible but have shown what playing AS A TEAM can do.

Gen Neyland

December 19th, 2010
10:48 pm

JS : The question as of today may be, ‘Who has the better HC and coaching staff, the Thrashers or the Falcons..?’

Craig Ramsay

December 19th, 2010
11:05 pm

Pardon me boys, but my name is Ram-SAY! You might want to get to know it and remember it as it is already etched in the Stanley Cup as well as the Selke Trophy for best two-way forward. It is always important that we pay close attention to the little details and plays that add up to a winning effort. And it starts with GETTING MY FREAKIN’ NAME RIGHT!! Thanks, and don’t be a hoser son.

ATL Sports Expert

December 19th, 2010
11:23 pm

Definitely Thrashers. Their games are only 3 quarters, Hawks have to play 4 so fatigue’s more of a factor.

The only way to settle it for sure is a one on one @ Philips Arena. Hawks would have the advantage on the boards, but would probably struggle on the ice. Plus the Thrashers could use those stick things as weapons.


December 20th, 2010
5:03 am

The Hawks suck…..Josh ( Schmoove ? ) shoots too often from out of his range, which is 2 ft from the basket. They don’t have consistent playmakers, nor do they have dominant rebounders – outside of Schmoove ( whatever that’s supposed to mean ).

Funny you say that about Josh considering he is in the top 20 in 3 point shooting. But, you know, don’t let facts get in the way of your little rant. (And it’s Smoove, dumbass)

One and Done

December 20th, 2010
6:29 am



December 20th, 2010
7:00 am

MJC, I guess you set me straight.

I had no idea Josh was shooting 3’s so well…..every time I get to watch a game I see him clanking 3’s that bounce to Midtown.

Smoove…..got it. I’ll let you NBAers comment on the Hawks, and I’ll stick to football.

BTW…..I’m happy to see the Thrashers playing so well; I just wish they had more support.


December 20th, 2010
8:25 am

Wake up crappy ownership!! The answer here is the Thrashers!


December 20th, 2010
8:45 am



December 20th, 2010
8:59 am

Both have talented young players but the Hawks appear to lack the teamwork that characterizes this Thrasher team. Also, the Hawks bump up against Miami and Orlando more than the Thrash face the Pens. RIGHT NOW, THRASHERS ARE MORE FUN TO WATCH.

Mike W

December 20th, 2010
9:05 am

To the ones making the comments about the Thrashers being a WNBA team:
Let me guess. Typical southern football lovin sports fan, who thinks hockey is a dumb boring uneventful Canadian sport. Let me ask you this. Have you ever been to a game? No. So how about you go see what its about before you go and make stupid comments like that – especially about a dominant team like we have.


December 20th, 2010
10:16 am

I think both will make the playoffs and win one round but get bounced in the 2nd. The Thrashers will do this with exciting players, the lowest payroll and low expectations. They are the better team and have room to grow


December 20th, 2010
10:16 am

Didn’t realize Atlanta had professional hockey or basketball?

Alan R.

December 20th, 2010
10:42 am

Didn’t realize Atlanta had professional hockey or basketball?

You must not read the sports page or watch the evening news.

It must suck to live in a bubble where you can seemingly access the AJC website, yet not see the headlines showing the Thrashers successes over the past month, or even the fact the Hawks are winning games.

This ignorance stuff was trendy and possibly amusing a couple years ago, but today? You look like a moron.

Tom Brady's Hair Cut

December 20th, 2010
10:45 am

Worm: you have to be the dumbest SOB here on the interwebs.


December 20th, 2010
10:46 am

Much to the chagrin of the ASG octo-ownership cluster …uck the Thrasher are by far superior to the Hawks. Even ownerships miss-management and arrogance can’t keep the Thrashers down this season. Good young core of players with leadership.


December 20th, 2010
10:48 am

Thrashers by far. Pro basketball must be an acquired taste. Regular season games are so boring they are difficult to set through. On the other hand, hockey is non stop action. Rarely do you see teams take a night off like you do in the NBA.

That being said, I hope that people will get behind the Thrashers and start coming out to see the team. I really believe this team has a legitimate chance of making a deep run in the playoffs. And who knows, they may go all the way. Trust me, if you start going you will get hooked.



December 20th, 2010
10:53 am

Hockey, Smockey


December 20th, 2010
10:55 am

Thrashers by far, and the best pro sports entertainment in Philips. Buy your tickets and go support the team!