Thursday, July 31, 2008

Rise Early and Boil Some Blood

So I wake up way, way early this morning and check the Thrashers message boards. A link points me in the direction of this.

Sigh. Where to begin?

Kincade is upset about the Hawks for some reason, mainly because that Josh Childress guy has gone to play in Greece and Josh Smith doesn't seem interested in staying. Eager to save his favorite basketball team, Kincade proposes a way to keep Smith: trade Ilya Kovalchuk. Now.

That way, you see, we get "maximum value" for a superstar. What what what?

The Hawks might get maximum value (this is actually quite debatable though), but the same couldn't be said for the Thrashers. Ilya Kovalchuk, it has be said again and again, IS the Thrashers.

It's something worse than ridiculous to compare the Czar, who happens to be one of the finest players in the NHL, with Josh Smith, who's merely a good NBA player. There's really no correlation between Smith and Kovalchuk. Almost as ridiculous as equating Kovalchuk to Smith is equating Kovalchuk to Marian Hossa.

Kincade is certain that the Czar "will walk the way of Marian Hossa" sooner or later. How did Kincade come to be so certain? Well, for one thing, he uses lots of capital letters and exclamation points. This contributes a lot to his argument. He also pats himself on the back for being as brave and forward-thinking as to recommend trading the Thrashers' star player, as if this half-baked notion is somehow original and unique to him.

But that's beside the point. The point, readers, is that the Hossa situation and the Czar situation can't be compared. Hossa came to Atlanta via trade; it was never "his" team. The Thrashers are Kovalchuk's team, and Kovalchuk is the Thrashers' one and only Czar. And no, I'm not confusing supporting an individual player with supporting a team. To have a team you must first have individual players--because teams are, like, composed of individual players--and we have one of the very best in the world. It would be insane to trade him...and what, exactly, would we be trading him for? Draft picks? Please.

It's true he hasn't explicitly said it, but Ilya Kovalchuk has made plenty of signals that 1) he thinks of the Thrashers as his team and of Atlanta as his home away from Mother Russia, 2) he wants to be the franchise player, and 3) he will sign a long and lucrative contract with the Thrashers a la Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals.

I've said it before, I'll say it etc. etc...When Ovechkin signed his contract with the Caps, the team was in third place in the Southeast, behind the Carolina Hurricanes and the terrible, hopeless, soon-to-be-Czarless Atlanta Thrashers.

Ovechkin is the Capitals. He wants to remain that way. I'm not certain, of course (that's one difference between me and the uber-confident Mr. Kincade), but I don't think it's unreasonable to think that Kovalchuk is the same vis-a-vis the Thrashers.

And by the way, too much has been read into his comments to Craig Custance at the end of last season. The Czar wants to see some changes, no doubt about it, but I don't think he was laying down an ultimatum (despite what I said at the time). Kovy was talking honestly and critically about the team, and Custance gave his comments a new, probably unintended context when he surrounded them with his own doom-mongering about the future.

But fearless truth-teller Kincade would be deaf to all this because he puts his head in things other than sand and wears things other than blinders, etc. etc. And he uses exclamation marks. Sometimes not just one but four or five in a row. That PROVES the man knows something.

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