Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Gloom Mounts

Everyone knows that Jay Grossman met with Don Waddell yesterday. RDS, seemingly independent of that SovSport report but basing the claim on some nameless "source sûre," is reporting that talks have broken down. The report says that Kovalchuk and Grossman are demanding the league maximum, and that DW (rightly) doesn't want to spend that kind of money.

Obviously I hope the contract talks don't go off the rails because of simple greed (actually, strike that; settling for nothing but the league max would be an example of laughable, ultra-tacky, over-the-top greed that should embarrass all concerned), but we have no way of knowing whether this anonymously-sourced report is true or not. Nobody knows anything, except: It's boring to speculate at this point. Whatever happens, it's insane that talks have taken this long.


Jay said...

If the Thrashers sign Kovalchuk to the max amount and don't have a Hossa/Duncan Keith type contract with Kovalchuk, then they can kiss competing goodbye. How will they resign Bogosian, Kane, Little, Enstrom, etc. when their contracts come up? If Kovalchuk is truly about WINNING, then this team is one of the best setup for a longterm run. With all of the young talent, there are very few teams that can compete with them. Sure, a team can give Kovalchuk a max deal, but what else would they have left? If this report is true, then I say trade his ass and get some pieces that can help this year and in the future. The Kings have some nice assets. Who says that if he gets traded, the Thrashers can't resign him come July 1st, with even more pieces than they had before. Or, they get assets from LA and watch Kovy sign in the KHL. Either way, good riddance, non-defense playing greedy bastard.

Big Shooter said...

Wow, strong words based off a report from "sources". Truth is, none of us now what is going on. Let it play out. If after it's all over and he was traded because he wanted a max contract, call him a greedy bastard then.

Negotiations can be long and take lots of turns. I'm simply amazed at how many people are calling for Kovys head because he isn't the best on D. I hear people say he doesn't help the team in the end because he is a minus player. If you people that say that actually believe it, then your brain is too far gone for anyone to help you.

Deep breath. Let's see what happens and then debate and call ugly names at that point.

h said...

I hear ya Big Shooter, although I will say Kovy's play of late has been so lethargic, it is a little scary. If he is hurt, I would rather see him rest his foot than play like he has played of late. His lack of hustle is really disturbing. I truly hope we get this contract issue handled soon so the boys can focus on hockey and playing 40-50 minutes per game (I'm not greedy, I'm just looking for SOME improvement on effort).

Big Shooter said...

h - Yes, he is certainly not playing his best hockey. I sit in the stands and it's nothing but Kovy bashing from a lot of people.

Does he need to be better in his own end, yes. Do we need to trade him for Lauri Korpikoski because Lauri is a +1 on the year, therefore more valuable to his team because he is a plus player and isn't costing his team "all these goals"..... ummm, no.

People think we can trade Kovy for spare parts and we will be better. It takes a lot for my head to hurt, but that does it.

h said...

You can't get enough value for him no matter what you do. If you have to go to the ends of hell and actually trade him you better get a very very good player in his early 20s in return that you can sign long term and a good draft pick. The real problem exists if other teams think he really wants a max contract, then his value decreases as teams won't give up a ton if there is minimal chance to re-sign. Along with you, I try not to get too emotional about the contract negotiations, because you really don't know what is going on unless you are Don, Kovy or Grossman. I also agree with you about the whole +/- thing. The key is that Kovy can win a game at any time because he wants to.....Only about 6-7 players that can actually do that.....As long as he is not -10 when the rest of the team is a plus, then no big deal. Bottom line is that if they don't re-sign him OR they sign him to max money, it is bad for the franchise.

Razor Catch Prey said...

I hate to admit that the situation is getting to me, but it is. To me, not re-signing Kovy is a huge blow to this organization. Yes, if you get a good enough trade, we can end up just fine in the long run, but this team needs Kovalchuk. We need his excitement on the ice, we need his leadership, and we need to show that an elite player wants to play in Atlanta.

If Kovy were to walk, I think you could pretty safely say we don't make the playoffs for the next three years. Without their Czar, I think Kozlov moves on or retires, Army goes back to Pittsburgh or somewhere similar, Afinogenov signs somewhere else, and Kubina is out the door.

We turn into a team with likes that look like this:

Kane Peverly Little

Morin Antro Machacek

Crabb Marty Stewart

Boulton Slater Thorburn

Anybody want to tell me that team is going to make the playoffs? The best you can hope for in a trade is one player to plug in on the second line, someone to put on the top line in Chicago, and a draft pick that will be at best in the bottom half of the first round (because a team with a high draft pick won't be trading for a rental player).

If Kovy really is demanding too much (and I agree that paying him so much we can't build a team around him is pointless), I say we trade him to the Leafs for whatever they'll give us. Make him play on an awful team in a city where he is constantly under a microscope and see if he doesn't beg to come back home on July 1.

Anonymous said...


That, my friend, is the death knell for hockey in Atlanta if Kovy is NOT resigned. Sorry, but my position is, if the fact of the franchise leaves, the casual fan is not going to care and without the casual fan caring and coming to the games, attendance will continue to stagnat or decline leading to the eventual move of this franchise. (Lord, I am depressed!)

Anonymous said...

Sorry, that should read "face of the franchise" and "stagnate".
My bad.

j_barty_party said...

I think criticism and cynicism re: Kovy is reaching its highwater mark because we're quickly closing in on the point at which trying to trade Kovy for even close to fair value is going to become very difficult. I don't think anyone *wants* to lose Kovy, but it seems pretty obvious that he is not playing up to his capabilities right now and that smacks of contempt for the fans who essentially pay his salary.

If the two sides are at a definite stalemate in negotiations, then we may have to pull the trigger on a trade very soon in order to maximize what we get back. If a team like LA, for instance, feels like they have a real shot at signing him long-term, then we may get more than just "spare parts".

Problem is that potential suitors may be turned off by the fact Grossman is Kovy's agent. Doesn't he have a Scott Boras-like reputation in hockey for always pushing the limits in his demands?

Big Shooter said...

Ohhhh, the death bong!!! Let's hope it doesn't come to that.

I think hockey will survive in Atlanta if Kovy goes, but it will be a big perception problem. People already laugh at us. If we lose Kovy it shows that we haven't kept any of our elite players over the years, and will have an even harder time attracting them. We have a good, young, core of players. I don't think the wheels fall off the franchise if he leaves, but we certainly need our best player, no matter what I hear some of these idiots in the stands yelling.

Speaker - In response to your comment on your blog, yes I get a little touchy on this! It just flat out knocks my fu$%$#g socks off when people think our team would be better if we trade Kovy. Remember, as good as he is, we would be trading a UFA. I think we all saw in the Hossa trade what kind of long term value can come out of a UFA trade.

Big Shooter said...

By the way kids, commenter "h" nailed it:

"The key is that Kovy can win a game at any time because he wants to.....Only about 6-7 players that can actually do that.....As long as he is not -10 when the rest of the team is a plus, then no big deal."

j_barty_party said...

I agree with the sentiments expressed by "h" regarding his ability to take over a game.

Let's hope to God it's his foot and not his contract that is causing him to play like crap because I haven't seen THAT Kovy since the 11/12 game in MSG.

But where do you draw the line so you don't risk becoming a hostage to the player and his talents? Or have we already passed the point of no return?

I agree that we will not receive "market" value for Kovy in a trade. But I feel as though we will get better value in mid-January (especially if Lehtonen is healthy for a "throw-in") than we will at the deadline when we might be in 12th place looking to sell.

I know there are a lot of ignorant folks out there who think we will be better without Kovy if we deal him. False. We may be better off long-term now that we have more building blocks in place. During "Hossa-gate", we were an aging team that was leveraged to the max for the playoffs in '07.

I just don't think the two scenarios are the same...YET.

Let's hope we are all surprised this week and none of this matters cuz' Kovy and Waddell sit down at a mic and table to tell everyone he just signed in perpetuity for an avg of $9.5 M / year.

Does 20 yrs / $190 M with 20% ownership stake sound right? ;-)

Razor Catch Prey said...

When Kovy was an RFA, negotiations lasted until after the first game of the season. He missed training camp because DW and JG couldn't come to an agreement in time.

In the end, DW said he just had to look at what Kovy does for the team and say "what am I doing? He's WORTH IT!" But that wasn't in a salary cap era. If Kovy wants 20% of the team's salary to go to him, then he is going to have to settle for playing on a line with Chris Thorburn and Joseph S. Crabb because they're the best forwards we can afford to put along side of him.

He would be smarter to sign for $9.5 plus incentives. That would let the team put some pieces around him to make the Thrashers a play off team year after year. Once he is a fixture in the post-season, the endorsement deals that Crosby, Ovechkin, Malkin, and Thornton get will start coming his way and add another five million a year to his income.

Athletes can make a lot more money off of endorsement deals if they get themselves in the spotlight and conduct themselves in the right manner than they ever would off a big time contract.

j_barty_party said...

Razor - I am recommending you to be his agent should Kovy end up firing Grossman for breach of client confidence and trust!!

Razor Catch Prey said...

Mr. Speaker- That would be poetic justice considering Jay Grossman once told me he didn't have any openings for a Georgia based attorney.

j_barty_party said...

Seriously? Should I know that you are an attorney? Apologies if you've already told me. I can barely remember what happened yesterday.

In that case, perhaps you can "represent" me in Florida traffic court!! Eff Dade County!

Razor Catch Prey said...

No, I don't advertise it very much due to my shame and the fact that I hate lawyers.

Since it's in Florida, I can give you some advice. In fact, it's possible I could even know the prosecutor.

Big Shooter said...

I wouldn't take advice from Razor Catch Prey.

Then again, I've had my driving privileges revoked in the state of North Carolina, so what do I know about Traffic court.

j_barty_party said...

Razor - I think my tkt may be indefensible as I was driving on the shoulder trying to get off the damn interstate near an accident. Probably not as bad as what Biggie did in NC but prolly nothing worth fighting, but we'll see. If I can pay you to have it thrown out or reduced, it's money much better spent than giving it to that shit-hole known as Dade County. Or is it "Wade" County now? Idiots.

Guys, we can discuss our driving mishaps and adventures later this evening over "cocktails" down at Blueland. We'll be in Section 317 tonite thanks to our tkt swap-out deal. Don't give me crap if I don't have my "Moose" socks on because they took a big, fat hairy "L" on Saturday night. I even wore them shits to dinner at Woodfire Grill!

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