Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Why I'm Not Gonna Boo

It's pretty simple, really. Ilya Kovalchuk is the best player this franchise has ever had. And there is a good chance he will always be the best player this franchise has ever had. Are we upset with how it ended? Of course. Can we blame him for how it ended? Sure. A little bit. Kovy should have been up front and we could have traded him in the offseason for a better package.

But, in my opinion, the way it ended is no reason whatsoever to boo him considering all he did for this franchise. For eight years he gave us everything he had. Mr. Speaker will try and tell you differently, but he is wrong (it's OK though, Speaker, I don't hold it against you). People like to say Kovy checked out his last couple of months here. In his last month with us he had 8 goals, 8 assists, and was a + 1. Not exactly checking out, in my opinion. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I get the argument that he was the Captain and his contract might have been a distraction when it was clear he wasn't signing. News flash, this isn't the first time a Captain didn't sign with his team and was traded during the season. The losing streak we had in December had less to do with Kovy's contract and more to do with us just not being all that talented. And if it was a distraction it doesn't say much about the rest of the guys in the room (although I really don't think it was a problem).

As I've said before, if you need to boo tonight and take out some of your anger, direct it towards management. If we had the success of, oh I don't know... say the Devils, over the last 6 or 7 years don't you think when Kovalchuk was offered a $100 million contract he would have said, "Yes please!". The real problem and the real folks that deserve to be booed tonight are the people in Thrashers management that have been here from the start. You know who they are.

You can blame Kovy for not being 100% up front about these negotiations. But you cannot blame him for wanting out of this franchise. He gave us eight years and to put it bluntly, Don Waddell couldn't get it done. Look at the numbers he put up, you can't blame that on Kovy. I wish he was still here and I wish he had said in the offseason it would take a max contract. But he didn't.

In my mind, everything he did for the Atlanta Thrashers the past eight years by far out weighs that disappointment. And when people start to boo tonight, I'm going to applaud and thank him for all the great moments he provided us over the years. They were, in fact, the only great moments. So yes, I'll applaud.

Because he deserves it.


Razor Catch Prey said...

I agree that for all he's done for this franchise and for us as fans he deserves applause, not boos. Yes, I'm frustrated with the way things ended, but it is a business.

Shooter is right about where the blame should be placed. Put a little on Kovy for not telling DW last July that it would take a max contract. But is that even his fault? We know that the ownership situation delayed talks from commencing until a month or two into the season. So DW wasn't even able to ask until then what kind of money it would take to re-sign Kovalchuk. At that point, when he heard that Grossman and Kovy were asking for a max contract, he assumed that it was posturing and that he could negotiate down to something reasonable. He was wrong.

Maybe Kovy would have been willing to sign for less if we had played better in December, but we will never know.

Kovy played his heart out for us for years. We never saw much of it because the local media didn't give a damn, but he did a lot of local charity work with kids, too. You heard the comments from Luann Snyder earlier this year. She said Kovy is a very special person and that most people don't know what a good guy he really is.

Look at the major figures in Atlanta sports in recent memory. Who else provided both excitement in the game and provided a good role model in his private life? Vick? Chipper or Andrew Jones? (Sorry, but I don't know any Hawks players since Spud Webb.)

Boo if he scores a goal, but otherwise, we should be thanking Kovy for all the years he let us watch one of the most gifted hockey players we'll ever see in person.

Hell, if nothing else, let's make sure he knows that he's welcome back once he realizes on July 3 that nobody is going to offer him more money than we will.

Mortimer Peacock said...

People are upset with how things have gone for the last, I don't know, 10 years or so, and they'll boo to, as you say, vent some anger and disappointment and frustration.

And most of them will boo the most visible scapegoat and not the people who are actually responsible for the Thrashers' woes.

Dumb peasants, all of them. Boo the evil Kovalchuk bogeyman while the management continues to suck gloriously and ridiculously.

h said...

I don't think I will boo him, but I have no issue with people who want to do so. I cheer for the Thrashers and whoever wears the sweater. If you take it off, you're not on my team anymore. I only take offense to booing someone when their deaprture is not at all their fault. I think Kovy is at least partially to blame if not largely to blame for the mode of his departure, but having said that, I don't like booing a guy who played here so long and for the most part, played hard. Maybe I'll just be quiet.....I just hope we win and keep my delusions alive that we still have a chance, even if it is a small chance in hell.

h said...

on another note. I like what Max had to say here....

Unknown said...

I won't be booing him....in general I dont boo anyone except my own team when they are playing like shit and without any soul. I don't blame Kovy one minute for what he did. I get why he had to run PR the way he did. Its a crazy business...and business is what it is.

Kovy provided many great memories for me and the dude still lives in Atlanta so NO...I wont boo him. He is a respectable guy who is a damn good hockey player. I'll applaud him when he steps out on the ice. I won't go ape shit and squeal like a little girl, but I'll let him know we appreciated his time here. He had to put up with the same sorry ass ownership\management that we did. Good for him for getting the F out.

Big Shooter said...

Thomas - EXACTLY.

j_barty_party said...

Does that mean y'all will boo yourselves for capitulating to the greed of a misdirected ownership group and renewing your season tkts year after year? If you're that angry with them, why do you subject yourself to this torture? I've never been a blind loyalist pollyanna fan, but I'm going to support this group of guys who have played hard all year before I support a guy who refused to rise above the madness and be a leader. He had more control than most players will ever exert in their lives and he took the easy road out by supposedly counter-offering with max salary demands. Ever hear of a 2 year contract? You're only 26 y/o and you should be able to make your big money by investing in Russian oil interests (snicker). But do you want to do something truly great or do you just want to chase the Cup like a certain Slovak with a sphincter that is apt to shrivel to the size of a proton under pressure? Where is the nobility in that?

BTW Shooter, you mention his stats over his last month and change, but has his production, which is roughly the same in Jersey, really helped his team? They have been lackluster to say the least and sport a record very similar to ours after the trade. Just sayin'.

Mortimer Peacock said...

Mr. Speaker-

I can't speak for Shooter, but in response to your question "If you're that angry with them, why do you subject yourself to this torture?"

I'll let you in a secret, publicly. You may or may not have noticed this, but I don't actually take this hockey business that seriously. I know how stupid and horrible the ownership/management is, but the folly of a group of hockey team owners isn't really enough to make my blood boil and start calling for boycotts and revolution. NOTHING hockey-related is that serious.

It's wondrous entertainment, an opportunity to admire human skill and strength and creativity, and more importantly it's a great social event (which CAN actually lead to more important things), but it's also a freaking game. I used to get super emotionally tied up in the Thrashers, and then 1) that became hella exhausting, and 2) I realized how funny the whole Thrashers farce is. Not saying you don't; just explaining my own perspective.

I go too easy on Kovalchuk and call his detractors peasants mainly for two reasons:

1) to provoke people, you included. It's probably a huge moral fault, but I do like pushing people's buttons, especially if you're a close friend


2) because for whatever reason I'm pre-disposed to admire people who are really, really good at something and aren't assholes. Kovy is really, really good at something and isn't an asshole.

But then again, maybe he is, what with his leaving the Thrashers and all. Who knows? Who cares? It's just the Hockey.

Now, wrestling...that's something I take deathly seriously.

Big Shooter said...

Settle down there, Speaker. We's just tryin to have some fun. Personally, I don't really care if Kovalchuk helps the Devils or not. I just don't think he should be booed due to how much good he did here. But here I go repeating myself so I'll stop. I mention the stats to help show he didn't quit two months before we traded him like people perceive he did.

As far as renewing every year, I enjoy the hockey. It's what I do for fun. Do I wish we had different management and ownership, sure. Do I take it so seriously and feel strongly enough about it to stop going to every game and deprive myself of what is my main entertainment every year? Not quite. As Morty stated, it's just a game. A game that I enjoy.

For fun.

j_barty_party said...

All he ever did was score goals during his whole career. Yes, he's a remarkable talent and dynamic player to watch ON OFFENSE. But he's been pathetic on the other end of the ice his entire career. He doesn't even know where to begin on the forecheck...does he know you can actually lift somebody's stick to get the puck?

My point is it's more about what he didn't do when he was here. When he comes back later and the wounds heal, I can graciously tip my hat to a guy who entertained us for 8 years in a way few players ever do. But more importantly, I want to see the team I support WIN! And he didn't really win all that much while he was here. He's not exactly Mark Messier in that respect.

But it's not like he had a lot of help for many years as well. So I can't fault him for that. But I can fault him for contributing to the demise of a potentially good year for all of the little things he didn't do while we were getting our asses kicked in the defensive zone...or perhaps you admire his figure 8 skating prowess as much as his goal scoring over the years!

Morty's post above pretty much sums it all up in a tidy little package and I know that I was being provoked because I have the balls to argue my weaker case cogently, intelligently and humorously (I give yee dunder-headed shit fuck!!) and thusly it is my obligation to argue my side as vehemently as possible, right or wrong. And I've done that.

Tonite I may not even boo that much, but I will boo some and I will certainly delight in any mistakes Kovy makes because afterall, this, like wrestling, is pure entertainment and I get lots of entertainment bang for the buck when I have the privilege of watching overpaid, spoiled athletes fuck up. Hopefully, Kovy will entertain us so just one more time...c'mon Ilya, I know you can choke under the pressure one more time!! Woooo hoooo I love me some playa hatin'!! Fuck yeah!