Archive for the ‘Thrashers / NHL’ Category

I’ve moved — let me show you my new neighborhood…

Roddy White, Julio Jones and Matt Ryan are seeking a little redemption. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Roddy White, Julio Jones and Matt Ryan hope to be doing this Sunday. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Roddy White, Julio Jones and Matt Ryan are so excited because the the AJC has a new digital platform!

OK, not really. But we have moved. You can still find my old blogs on this site. But for the new ones, please go to ajc.com/weblogs/jeff-schultz.

Hopefully we can get through this transition period with a minimal number of hiccups. Also, please note that readers commenting on blogs now need to register first. Just go to my latest blog (about the Falcons) for all of the info.

Thanks for reading, Jeff

Continue reading I’ve moved — let me show you my new neighborhood… »

We give you odds on Braves’, Falcons’ or Hawks’ title parade

Forgot what a sports parade looks like? Here's Braves World Series hero Tom Glavine in 1995.

Forgot what Atlanta parade looked like? Here's 1995 Braves World Series MVP Tom Glavine.

It is that time of year when two leagues are close to determining new champions and every sports fan in Atlanta thinks, “There goes another parade.”

A potential NBA title in Oklahoma City? A possible Stanley Cup in Los Angeles (only slightly better than if Ilya Kovalchuk led New Jersey)? Are the sporting gods planning any more shots to the groin area? Is Mike Mularkey destined to lead Jacksonville to a Super Bowl? (On second thought, we’re probably safe.)

Not counting minor leagues or sports teams that would make you pause and think, “Wait, do they count?” Atlanta has celebrated only one pro championship since the Braves and Falcons theoretically lifted the city out of amateur status in 1966.

Depending on how generous you want to be with the math, Atlanta is 1-for-46 years, which equates to an annual parade percentage of .022, or 1-for-155 seasons (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL), which is a …

Continue reading We give you odds on Braves’, Falcons’ or Hawks’ title parade »

How they really stand, from Braves (1) to Weasels (12)

Hey look, the Braves have new uniforms. So how about a new finish? (AP photo)

Hey look, the Braves have new uniforms. So how about a new finish? (AP photo)

Welcome to this year’s edition of “How They Really Stand,” my ranking of all area sports teams, taking into account wins, losses, direction, potential, coaches, general managers, owners, recruiting coordinators and whether anybody provides us with more civic pride than, say, The Big Chicken (the bar is low).

I’m unveiling this a month earlier than usual because it seemed like a natural break in the sports schedule with the Braves getting ready to start spring training and the Hawks taking an off day between personalities. Two tweaks this year: I’m adding Georgia State football and basketball and replacing the Thrashers with a new entry. (Last year’s ranking in parenthesis.)

1. Braves (1): The best team in town lost 20 of its last 30 games. How about a nice embalming smoothie to go with those chicken fingers? But the Braves looked like a potential World Series team on paper last season until the paper …

Continue reading How they really stand, from Braves (1) to Weasels (12) »

Hawks owners want to know what you think of them (sort of)

Ed Peskowitz, Michael Gearon Jr. and Bruce Levenson look like they expect positive results from the survey.

Hawks owners Ed Peskowitz, Michael Gearon Jr. and Bruce Levenson look like they expect positive results from the survey.

(Update at 1:15 p.m.: The Hawks declined to comment on the survey.)

(Update at 9 a.m. Friday. The poll already has been shut down. Guess they got their answer.)

It seems the Atlanta Spirit’s past of running the Thrashers into the ground, selling them to a group that moved them to Winnipeg and possibly various decisions during their tenure with the Hawks have led them to wonder if that’s one reason fans aren’t going to basketball games.

Thanks to reader and former Thrashers season ticket holder Everett Duke for tipping me off to this: An Atlanta-based marketing research group, Alexander Babbage, sent out a survey via the Philips Arena account on Twitter Thursday morning, reading, “We need your help! Please take a moment to answer a few questions about the Atlanta Hawks.”

The Tweet includes this link to a survey, which is intended to gauge fans’ interest and …

Continue reading Hawks owners want to know what you think of them (sort of) »

Potential new Hawks’ owner can only be good news

That's a Thrashers' logo behind Michael Gearon and Bruce Levenson. They killed the team.

That's a Thrashers' logo behind Michael Gearon and Bruce Levenson. They killed the team.

There is nothing good about the fact Atlanta has lost its NHL team. There is nothing good about an NBA lockout. But here is one absolute positive that may come out of this summer: The Atlanta Spirit appears close to relative extinction.

According to our Chris Vivlamore and Tim Tucker, a potential buyer has emerged to purchase a majority interest in the Hawks and Philips Arena operating rights. Other potential buyers surfaced in the past several months for all or  specific parts of the three Spirit properties (including the Thrashers, who’ve since been sold and moved to Winnipeg). But there seems to be a greater degree of probability this time.

The potential purchasing process is said to be “moving fast,” according to Vivlamore and Tucker, who quote  people familiar with the talks saying the would-be buyer is “pushing very, very hard.”

A deal wouldn’t necessarily mean that Spirit partners …

Continue reading Potential new Hawks’ owner can only be good news »

Atlanta Spirit hammered again in all-sports franchise rankings

Braves fared well in rankings, current problems notwithstanding.

Braves fared well in rankings, current problems notwithstanding.

I acknowledge that we don’t need any more affirmation of the pecking order of Atlanta’s major pro sports franchises — or more specifically, their owners. But it’s always comforting when a national publication echoes the same sentiment.

And so, we give you ESPN The Magazine’s ninth annual “Ultimate Standings” of 2011. The magazine ranked all 122 sports franchises, including those who might be moving to Winnipeg. Their eight criteria were bang for the buck (wins vs.

Guess which team ranked No. 122 (last) in ownership?

Guess which team ranked No. 122 (last) in ownership?

revenue in the last three years); fan relations; ownership (the word “honesty” was invoked); affordability; stadium experience; players (effort and likability); coaching; and title track (championships won or expected in lifetime of current fans).

The Braves and Falcons fared well, ranking 19th and 20th, respectively. You’ll have to go lower to find the Hawks and Thrashers.

Lower. Still lower. Almost …

Continue reading Atlanta Spirit hammered again in all-sports franchise rankings »

Minus NHL, did Atlanta just drop to Triple A of sports towns?

Here's a word we didn't see in banners very often at Thrashers' games: playoffs.

There's a banner we did not see very often in Philips Arena for Thrashers' games: playoffs.

Good morning. Did Atlanta just drop out of the majors?

This probably would carry a little more weight if Los Angeles still had an NFL team (which remains the funniest thing in sports, only because it drives Roger Goodell nuts). But when Atlanta was officially mugged by Atlanta Spirit, LLC and the NHL on Tuesday and the Thrashers were sold and moved to Winnipeg, the city dropped out of an elite group. There are only 12 remaining metropolitan areas that still have teams in all four pro sports leagues (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL). Those 12: New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Francisco (San Jose), Boston, Washington, Detroit, Phoenix (until the Coyotes move), Minneapolis, Denver and Miami.

Atlanta is now the second-biggest market (behind only Los Angeles) that doesn’t have teams in all four leagues. The second tier group of seven cities with teams in three leagues: L.A. (no NFL), Atlanta …

Continue reading Minus NHL, did Atlanta just drop to Triple A of sports towns? »

Thrashers, Atlanta were never given a chance

Thrashers fans tried hard to keep hope year after year but the deck was stacked against them. (Hyosub Shin/AJC)

Thrashers fans tried hard to keep hope, season after season. But the deck was stacked against them. (Hyosub Shin/AJC)

(Updated: 12:30 p.m.)

This is how it ends: With the weasel of a commissioner not stepping foot in the city, with another season passing without a playoff game, with a lying ownership group maintaining it did all it could to save a franchise that in reality it spent most of seven years wrecking.

Atlanta has lost an NHL expansion team to a Canadian outpost for the second time. The Thrashers are going to Winnipeg just like the Flames went to Calgary in 1980. A press conference was held in Winnipeg, while the Thrashers sent out this warm-and-fuzzy news release: “The Atlanta Thrashers announced today that they have entered into an asset purchase agreement with True North Sports and Entertainment …”

This isn’t about the fans or the market or certainly Gary Bettman’s fictional “covenant” with fans, which I believe he left in the same sock drawer with his conscience. …

Continue reading Thrashers, Atlanta were never given a chance »

Cowardly Bettman ignoring evidence of Thrashers fans

Gary Bettman is blaming Atlanta hockey fans for not supporting a bad product.

Gary Bettman is blaming Atlanta hockey fans for not supporting a bad product. (AP photo)

In his most recent spoken example of the Wile E. Coyote/Acme explosives/NHL public relations disaster, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman somewhat admonished Thrashers fans for not buying tickets to what has been a crummy product for most of their 11 seasons.

Quoting here: “Demonstrating your dissatisfaction by not going to games is an interesting strategy. It’s your absolute right. But if it becomes a turnoff for anybody who might want to buy the franchise, the long-term consequences could be severe.”

Imagine if we applied this philosophy to other aspects in our life.

Buy a new car. If  the doors fall off two blocks down the street, that’s OK. Just make sure you support that dealership by buying another one next year. Eat at a new restaurant. If dinner makes your stomach feel like there are a thousand screaming piranhas in it, that’s OK. Eat there the following week, because you wouldn’t want …

Continue reading Cowardly Bettman ignoring evidence of Thrashers fans »

Countdown: Bettman, Spirit on Facebook and Monta’s tattoo

The Count must now acnowledge . . .

The Count must now acnowledge . . .

Every family has its skeletons, and it’s with that as a backdrop that The Count begins today’s blog with this confession: He has an evil twin brother whom he seldom talks about. His name is Gary. The Count loves numbers, as you know. He learned his times tables the old fashioned way in school. But not Gary. Sure, he promised his parents and teachers he would study and do things the right way. But he took shortcuts and stole test papers from his friends and then sold them on the black market in far away foreign

. . . his evil twin brother Gary.

. . . his evil twin brother Gary.

lands, like Winnipeg. Of course, nobody saw it coming. Gary is skilled in that way. Eventually he was kicked out of school and the family cave. But he didn’t care because by then he had made $60 million for math test relocations in Canada. The Count had hoped to never speak of Gary again. But unfortunately, then the photo on the left showed up on the Internet and he had to come clean. Everybody would …

Continue reading Countdown: Bettman, Spirit on Facebook and Monta’s tattoo »