Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Exit Thrashers

...and now it's official.

As for this stupid ramshackle blog, we're (cheerfully) laying dynamite around TBC headquarters as we speak. But before we blow it sky high, we'll cover the Thrashers-to-Winnipeg fallout for a little while longer, offer our farewells and "where you can find us" Internet directions, and publish the final installment of a certain violent Western film.

One other thing: we hope you don't let this sports team relocation destroy your life. Life is known to throw people some very rough stuff, and you'll be very lucky indeed if losing your favorite NHL team is the worst that happens to you.

We know (from experience) how much a person can love a sports team, but ultimately it's just a sports team. It shouldn't be the center of your life, and you certainly shouldn't feel that your life has lost meaning and/or purpose now that the team is gone. And if you've been using fanatical devotion to a hockey team---and reading and typing about it on the Internet all the time---as an escape from unpleasant realities (a miserable job or relationship, general ennui or emptiness, etc.) you really can change your situation and do something actually fulfilling and meaningful. Changing your situation is hard, we know (especially right now in the realm of jobs), but it's not like you get another life. This is it.

If It Looks Like A Duck, Sounds Like a Duck...

The Tweet Machine has, pardon my Quebecois, fucking exploded this morning. According to 60 Minutes Columnist/Producer Bob McKenzie, there's an announcement in place for 11 AM CST/Noon EST to formally announce that this is done. Even some "Darren Dreger" guy is on a flight with the same guy who's buying the Thrashers going TO Winnipeg.

What does it all mean? Or, better question, when will STHs get their money back?

Either way, I guess this means I'm done here. Any of you who have been silent readers on this website should follow all of us on Twitter. You know, to "keep and touch" and all that shit.

I guess this is what the kids would call "closure." Hm.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Is Tomorrow the Day?

Various reports are claiming that a "The Thrashers are GONE, suckas" announcement is imminent. Some say an announcement could come as early as Tuesday. Which is tomorrow.

All of this means...well, we're not sure. People will probably continue to act shocked that the Atlanta Spirit and the NHL are ruthless buccaneers, and various fans will type things on Twitter about how they've been driven to excessive drinking by their Hockey Sadness. Your editor has a hard time relating to this sort of thing, mainly because he drinks too much anyway, Thrashers or no Thrashers. A binge inspired by the relocation of a hockey franchise is barely breakfast.

Anyway. What will be, will be.

Friday, May 27, 2011

(End Times) Bossa Nova

New-fangled and old school alike, to relax your nerves and accompany your tasty caipirinha. What else does one need on this sweltering Memorial Day weekend?

Remember our fallen team.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Anson Carter, blah blah blah....

Carter has issued a press release:

Anson Carter, Principal of Atlanta Sports and Entertainment (ASE), withdrew interest in acquiring the assets of the Atlanta Spirit Group in early 2011...

Preliminary discussions were held in early 2010 with the Raine Group, representatives for the Atlanta Spirit Group and as a result ASE decided not to proceed. However, ASE is now focusing their interest on other markets.”

As you can see, Mr. Carter withdrew his interest well before the Atlanta Spirit publicly stated it’s
[sic] ’sense of urgency’ to find a buyer/investor for the Thrashers in February. The AJC investigated Mr. Carter as a potential investor/buyer months ago. It should also be reiterated that talks between Mr. Carter and the Atlanta Spirit never moved past the preliminary stage. According to several people familiar situation, Mr. Carter’s interest never moved past the level of his group supplying it’s financial ability to complete such a purchase.

You would think a PR writer would be able to spell the possessive form of "it."

At any rate, there you have it. The comments section is a goldmine of charmingly-phrased and incisive questions. "Whut is the rain groyp?" and "Why do you get to decide what's news? I make news! Why, just yesterday my wife's pomeranian escaped..." are pretty much the gist of it. Petty, bitter, paranoid, resentful. People seem to crave fake uplift and reassuring snake oil.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

"Swallowing one bulb after another in the city of electric light"

No hard news today, but it's still the End Times.

What will writing energy be used for, if not for the goddamn Thrashers? What should writing energy be used for?

You live 'til you die

Prepare yourselves.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Kasim Reed to Thrashers Fans: Nope.

Seems we have to interrupt the Bob Dylan birthday celebrations to type something about Mayor Reed's latest (and probably final) comments on the Thrashers situation:

Speaking to reporters, Reed said: “I think any time we lose a major sports franchise it is tough. It’s going to hurt the city, but we are going to withstand it just fine. We will get through it. We have a lot of positive things going on in the sports franchise space that I think we will be announcing pretty soon that will offset it a bit.”

This isn't surprising. I'm not sure that it's the Mayor's job to rescue the Thrashers at a time when Atlanta is trying to fix its decaying schools and find some sort of answer to the Transportation/Traffic question. And as someone who actually lives in the middle of this wacky city and not beyond the Perimeter (and as someone who voted for the guy), I'm not especially keen on the Mayor shoving aside all his other responsibilities to focus on the Thrashers.

The Mayor also had this to say:

“The Thrashers, as you know, are in an extraordinary position because of the amount of losses that are associated with the team,” ... “So we have not yet seen a path where we can reverse those losses fast enough. If you talk to the Atlanta Spirit ownership, they will share the same thing. It’s not a lack of the city being willing to step up and do something about it. It is a partner with deep enough pockets to be willing to sustain pretty significant losses. We have not yet had any of the individuals in our community who are prepared to take that on. But it has not been for lack of trying, believe you me.”

So contra Important Man John Kincade and puppyish J.B. Smith enthusiast Jay Clemons, there never have been serious local buyers.

I am a little curious about what "positive things" are planned in Philips Arena. As I've written before, I don't think making up for lost Thrashers revenue will be particularly difficult. Concerts are a sure thing, but what else might replace the Thrashers? Soccer? An upgraded venue for the Atlanta Roller Girl league? Chariot races? Gigantic games of chess?

"People are crazy and times are strange..."

Thought we'd take a break from all the Thrashers Angst to wish America's greatest living poet and songwriter a happy 70th birthday. To which Bob Dylan might say, "Don't get up gentlemen, I'm only passing through..."

We're going to forgo the 60's and 70's material and post this recent-ish masterpiece instead. It's actually one of your Chronicle editor's favorites. The lyrics, strangely enough, sum up my current attitude towards the Thrashers debacle almost exactly.

I’ve been walking forty miles of bad road
If the Bible is right, the world will explode
I’ve been trying to get as far away from myself as I can
Some things are too hot to touch
The human mind can only stand so much
You can’t win with a losing hand


Oh what the hell, let's just post a bunch of other Dylan songs/videos for an after-midnight musical feast.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Atlanta Spirit Don't Want To Be Exclusive Anymore

No, they want to see other people. Or maybe see no one at all, and sit in their offices overlooking downtown while they cross the i's and dot the t's on the deal with True North. Which means they'd technically be "seeing" True North, we guess. Haha, "seeing." What a euphemism!

Tim Tucker at the AJC reports:

The Atlanta Spirit ownership group is on the verge of selling the Thrashers, but it will be holding on to the Hawks at least for a while.

The Spirit and outgoing San Diego Padres owner John Moores agreed Friday to terminate Moores' exclusive negotiating period on a possible purchase of the Hawks, Spirit partner Michael Gearon Jr. confirmed.

"We no longer have an exclusivity," Gearon told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "It was ended by mutual agreement after preliminary discussions."

Many have speculated that this means the Spirit were going out of their way to block any local buyers who wanted to purchase the Hawks, the Thrashers, and Philips Arena. Maybe. We don't think it's at all clear that there ever have been legitimate local buyers.

And "J.B. Smith" of Hollywood Stake fame doesn't count.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Happy Rapture! Tweet Us If Anything Major Happens.

As we all know, none of this Thrashers-moving-to-Winnipeg stuff really matters because the Thrashers won't ever move to Winnipeg. They won't move to Winnipeg because the Rapture starts at midnight tonight (at least on the East Coast). In all probability, your TBC editor will be Left Behind, and who knows whether he'll be able to reach a computer amid the plagues and earthquakes and divinely-sanctioned mass slaughter.

If anything newsworthy happens this evening, we'll try to type important blog postings about it. If tonight is free of Thrashers-to-Winnipeg news though, well, enjoy the Rapture!

The following video will be our soundtrack for the apocalypse. It's the only way to go out.

As the man says, "That's the way I pat my baby on the butt."

Wait a second. Isn't it already May 21st from, say, Australia to Turkey? Has that part of the world ended already?

"I can't sing and I can't dance, but I can make romance YEAH."

1st sign of the apocalypse: The Thrashers move to Winnipeg.

2nd sign of the apocalypse: "Macho Man" Randy Savage dies.


Life Is Trouble.

Your editor was slightly out of the loop last night, so he's only now finding out about Stephen Brunt's Globe and Mail report:

An agreement to sell the National Hockey League’s Atlanta Thrashers to a Winnipeg group which plans to relocate the franchise to the Manitoba capital is done.

Sources confirmed Thursday night that preparations are being made for an announcement Tuesday, confirming the sale and transfer of the Thrashers to True North Sports and Entertainment...

As I tweeted a few days ago, True North investor David Thomson (Lord Thomson to you) owns an 85% stake in the Globe and Mail, so depending on how you look at it the report is either A) compromised by a conflict of interest, or B) probably accurate, because if any publication is the first to know it'll be the Globe and Mail.

Whatever the case may be regarding this particular report, I think it's safe to assume we're now witnessing the endgame. Heartbreaking, yes, but life is full of heartbreak. Feeling intensely about something---and many people do feel very intensely about their hockey team---means you're fully alive. Even when you're devastated. As Zorba says:

Thursday, May 19, 2011


By all accounts, the only reason this isn't done is because apparently every journalist has a different definition of what makes a deal "done." Apparently the word "done" means different things in the U.S. than it does in Canada.

We knew it was coming, but it honestly doesn't make it any easier.

I'm not sure where we go from here.

To be honest, I'm out of words.

J.B. Smith's New Venture Capital Firm Will PROFIT!!!!

The Hollywood Stake website is just marvelous. It looks like it was cobbled together in a day, and all of the text appears to have been written by William Shatner's secretary (loads of random words in ALL CAPS, for strange mega-emphasis). The overall vision ("PROFIT!!!!1!!!1!") is as empty and substance-free as you would expect (if you're a reasonable person).

There's also a locust flapping about, for some reason.

J.B. Smith Has a Press Release For You

And Marketwire has picked it up:

ATLANTA, GA--(Marketwire - May 19, 2011) - Hollywood Stake is pleased to announce that venture capitalist and seasoned entrepreneur J.B. Smith has officially joined the company as its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

It has also been announced that J.B. Smith has a sincere interest in ensuring the National Hockey League's Atlanta Thrashers remain in Atlanta. That news has sparked misleading media reports and releases as to Mr. Smith's professional and financial background. Smith plans to publicly address any concerns with the Atlanta media in the near future.

...and we're sure that'll clear everything up.

Hope? Fate? Rapture?


There is currently just one group in active negotiations with the Atlanta Spirit interested in purchasing the Thrashers and keeping the franchise in Atlanta.

The group, not from Atlanta, is working with team president Don Waddell. A deal is not imminent, according to Waddell.

“My job is to try to find a buyer who will keep the team in Atlanta,” Waddell told the
Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “As long as they keep taking my phone calls, I’ll keep working.”

Do you feel confident?

Autoresponse from Garry Bettman

In case any of you out there did not e-mail Gary Bettman at his e-mail address that obviously goes to some intern and definitely NOT to Gary Bettman, this is the auto response I received to the e-mail I sent early last week. The text of my letter was identical to the "Open Letter" I posted here at The Chronicle.

Begin Autoresponse:

Dear [RazorCatchPrey]:

Thank you for your e-mail. Commissioner Bettman sends his appreciation for
your interest in the NHL and your passion for the Thrashers.

As a League, we take all franchise matters very seriously because we
understand the emotional and financial investments you make in the game and
in our franchises. We make all reasonable and best efforts to maintain
franchises in their current locations, and we have approached the
Thrashers' situation no differently from that of any other franchise. We
have been working with the Thrashers' ownership for some time in quest of a
solution to their issues, and we continue to work with them because of its
importance to us and to you.

Again, we value your support of the Thrashers and the NHL. Thank you so
much for taking the time to write.


National Hockey League Public Relations

Doesn't that just warm your heart?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

J.B. Smith Not So J.B. Smooth

Jeff Schultz reiterates the implications of various reports about J.B. Smith (the long-awaited "Balkan"). Ever since all this stuff came out yesterday I've thought that the strangest aspect of the story was onetime Sports Illustrated writer Jay Clemons' sudden announcement that he was becoming Smith's PR man. As Schultz says:

Smith has been pimped by some as this shadowy, mysterious figure who was going to swoop in and buy the teams and arena and save the day. One of his mouthpieces is a guy named Jay Clemons, who has written about fantasy football for SI.com. Clemons, however, now doesn’t hide the fact that he is Smith’s spokesperson. He has informed all on Twitter that all media inquiries for Smith can go through him.

So much for objectivity. At least now, he’s not pretending to not have an agenda.

Meanwhile, this J.B. Smith seems to be as much of a bullshit sideshow as I suspected yesterday.

I know how crushing this is, but I'm afraid it's time to let go.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

More News From Nowhere

Some night music.

"The Balkan" Is Some Guy

(updated below continuously)

Forget Lil Jon. John Kincade has finally revealed the identity of his shadowy "Balkan":

Yeah, we've never heard of him either. A quick Google search turns up a bearded, affable-looking "J.B. Smith" who teaches music at Arizona State University (presumably not the same guy) and a "J.B. Smith" who manufactures "oil country tubular fittings, swages, and bull plugs" (who the fuck knows?).

I don't want to be rash, but I'm going to assume the reason we're now hearing this is because he's given up.

Oh, wait, apparently this J.B. Smith runs an equity firm called Equity 11. The more you know! Actually, he's no longer involved with Equity 11. IN FACT, Equity 11 doesn't even exist anymore.

Apparently this same J.B. Smith tried to purchase invest in the Steelers a few years ago. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article about it here.

INSTANT IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS: Your TBC editor isn't sure that this is necessarily something to be ecstatic about. No one knows for certain what's going on behind the scenes, but it certainly seems that the Atlanta Spirit have gone from wanting to sell all three of their possessions to wanting to unload just the Thrashers. Apparently this Smith character wants all three, while True North are interested in only the Thrashers. You can see where this is leading.

UPDATE:...and then there's the question of just how much money Smith's group actually has. Craig Custance summarizes the situation here:

An NHL source told Sporting News that the belief is Smith doesn't have the necessary financial backing to make such a significant purchase, and questioned the validity of Smith's group. In 2009, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Smith announced that he would be a major investor in the NFL' Pittsburgh Steelers but sources later told the paper that there were never negotiations between Smith and the Rooney family.

SOOOO this guy might not have the financial backing to pull this off. And he never even negotiated with the Steelers-owning Rooney family? Strange.

UPDATE: AJC reporting that the Spirit are definitely trying to sell the Hawks and the Thrashers, but separately, so as to maximize profits. Apparently "the Spirit and outgoing San Diego Padres owner John Moores are in an exclusive negotiating period regarding the Hawks and the Philips Arena operating rights." Fancy!

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: In the most bizarre turn of events in this whole Balkan saga, that Jay Clemons guy is suddenly (?) working for Smith. To be precise: he's quit Sports Illustrated to handle all of Smith's dealings with the media. I'm sure everyone in the Thrashers Twitterverse will now take everything he says with a grain of salt, not allow themselves to be taken for a ride by a PR man, etc. Right?

ANOTHER: This Winnipeg Free Press report is probably worth considering. Apparently all of J.B. Smith's money is "in China."


Oh, and now True North is appealing to the Manitoba provincial government to assume some of the debt on their arena so they can free up more money to buy the Thrashers. In other words: If the team does move to Winnipeg, they'll probably end up just as comical a money-suck as the Thrashers. OR who knows, maybe they'll benefit from the relative strength of the Canadian economy, with its moose-shaped bathtubs full of loonies.


The Falconer surfaces, seems attuned to reality:

At the end of the day, pro sports franchises are very expensive toys owned by wealthy individuals (or corporations) and if nobody wants to buy this one and keep it here, it will be moved.


As for buying this particular toy and keeping it in Atlanta, USA Today's Kevin Allen tweets this:

Lil Jon, is that you?

Will Lil Jon and Jerry Bruckheimer Save the Day?

Atlanta Business Chronicle:

The latest talk swirling around the financially ailing Atlanta Thrashers has the team possibly staying in Atlanta courtesy of – wait for it – Atlanta hip hop artist and producer Lil’ Jon and big-time film and TV producer Jerry Bruckheimer, reports Atlanta Business Chronicle broadcast partner WXIA-TV. Might sound a little out there, but Bruckheimer has pockets deep enough to buy the team and several others, and Lil Jon, a big success in hip hop, and who has made many new fans courtesy of his run on the most recent installment of “The Apprentice” television show, has loved Atlanta hockey for years going back to the Atlanta Flames.

So does 1 very loud rapper + 1 producer of countless horrible movies (though The Rock was pretty good, thanks to Sean Connery and an uncredited Quentin Tarantino/Aaron Sorkin script and Nicholas Cage at his goofy best) = SALVATION? No one can be sure.

Needless to say, we're all for this if it's an actual possibility. Lil Jon isn't exactly my cup of tea when it comes to Atlanta hip-hop, but maybe he could get Big Boi or Janelle Monae to be additional investors, which would be glorious. More importantly: he's a passionate hockey fan, so, uh, YEEAAAAAHHH.

And Jerry Bruckheimer. He could get Michael Bay to direct explosion-filled promos and commercials, and the Jumbotron would be full of clips from Con Air and Pearl Harbor. Every time the Thrashers score a goal, the arena sound system could play that Aerosmith song from Armageddon, or at least this clip:

"Goaltending is a myth."

Former Atlanta Flames goalie Dan Bouchard gave a remarkable interview to TSN radio last night. It's 11 or so minutes long, and well worth listening to.

It's full of revelations about both the Flames and the Thrashers, many of them centered around Don Waddell's refusal to recognize the Flames and include any of the former players in the Thrashers organization. This has long been common knowledge, but what really floors me is the fact that Don Waddell refused to give Dan Bouchard (Patrick Roy's boyhood hero, let's remember) a job as Thrashers goaltending coach, because, well, uh...????

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Call To Action, Of Sorts

Like so many Thrashers fans, I've become totally caught up in the overly hysterical and dramatic commentary that's come from the Twitter feeds of so many reporters (and non-reporters) in the last few days regarding the state of the team in Atlanta. In the day of rampant information sharing and social networking, it can be easy to get carried away with the truths, non-truths, and, in some cases, personal attacks on your intelligence and your general way of life. With this many emotions involved in a situation that people from all parts of the US, Canada, and abroad seem to have a vested interest in, it's difficult to have a rational conversation.

The bottom line is that, if you're reading this, chances are you've done your part to see this team stay in Atlanta. You've devoted your dollars, your time, and a part of your soul to seeing this team succeed in Atlanta. You've preached the gospel of how great it is to witness hockey at its highest level in person to as many people as you possibly can. With the news that ASG is looking to sell and is likely to sell to True North, we all feel let down and a sense of abandonment. It's only natural. We all feel betrayed, and it's not like the Atlanta Spirit ever seemed to put as many dollars, as much time, and as much of themselves into this team as we did.

But in the almost inevitable aftermath of the Thrashers, I guess I'm asking for the Thrashers community to continue to be just that. A community.

If we truly want to see the sport of hockey take hold here in Atlanta and the rest of Georgia and other parts of the Southeast, the responsibly falls not on the checkbooks and business practices of men and women who aren't ourselves. It will continue to fall on those of us who have seen all the good that can come from hockey, and the lessons that can be learned from the game and applied to our lives. I've never been a part of as passionate a group of people as I was at Thrashers games, and it was in the echoing halls of Blueland that I felt home. As much as the team drove me nuts at times, I've learned a great deal from Thrashers fans. Most of it hardly pertaining to hockey, but more to life itself. You know, the kind of stuff you see on a "Hockey Night in Canada" segment that ends with the dramatic slow-motion shot of an individual that overcomes and rises up and whatnot.

I don't know if there's any kind of "official" hockey fan club in Atlanta that doesn't pertain solely to the Thrashers, and I'm too weary from Googling false hopes pertaining to the Thrashers at the moment to see if that's the case. But the overwhelming message to take away from this situation is that despite The World's Worst Owners Ever, a Commissioner who used to "care," the jibes of fans in a city that I'll never travel to, and the "media" North of the Border, is that you do care. You absolutely give a damn, and you're not ok with this. So instead of sitting back and cursing other mens' actions, we should stand up and do something about this.

Instead of taking part in the Atlanta tradition of bitching about our sporting past, we should use this awful scenario to build on the future. I'm not a man of means (at least not yet), so lord knows I won't be building any ice rinks anytime soon. But maybe you are, or you know somebody who is. It doesn't cost $110 million to change your community. It just takes a few people with a common goal to get out there and make things better than they used to be. In our case, there's more than few people...there's a few thousand.

When the dust settles from this entire hullabaloo, I implore all of you who have or are having children to have them play hockey. Let the kids learn the lessons from a young age that so many of us had to learn in our 20s or 30s because we didn't have the chance to play the game as children. There's not many rinks, but there's some, and some's a hell of a lot better than none. There's also garbage cans in your driveway that can be used as goals, and there's kids down your block that would be interested.

They said if we wanted to keep the Thrashers at all, it would almost have to be a "grassroots" movement. It may well be too late for the Thrashers, but formally organizing ourselves as a collective would sure be a good way to start building a hockey foundation in Georgia for the future. The more of us who take the overwhelming negatives of this situation and somehow convert it to a positive, the better.

While You're Waiting for the Apocalypse...

Via Puck Daddy, a VERY important Thrashers-related news item guaranteed to bring you joy and refreshment.

Atlanta Spirit and True North in Negotiations, Probably Drinking Bulldog Amber Ale and Laughing


The Atlanta Spirit has begun negotiations with True North Sports and Entertainment on the sale of the Thrashers, which would result in relocation to Winnipeg, according to a person familiar with the NHL’s sale process.

A deal has not been completed and it is also not known how long the two sides have been negotiating. However, the fact that talks are on-going could mean the Thrashers would relocate to Manitoba perhaps as soon as next season.

What to do? Why not watch a film about Winnipeg and sadness?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Picture Shows

So here's a thing (a curious video making the case for the Atlanta Thrashers' continued existence and responding to various criticisms; it seems to be the work of Keep the Thrashers proprietor Chris Ciovacco):

At one point in the video, the mysterious narrator asks, "Is this about the integrity of the game, or MONEY?"

Surely no one will be surprised by the answer. All huge business organizations, at some point, engage in shady deals. They all engage in cutthroat practices of varying degrees of irresponsibility and destructiveness.* To think that the NHL, a gigantic business organization, is more interested in "integrity" than money is an example of touching idealism, I'd have to say. Your TBC editor wonders why people are suddenly shocked that a gigantic business operation doesn't care about them as Humans.

*Okay, maybe not ALL of them. But the phenomenon is hardly unknown.

Friday, May 13, 2011

A Few Economic Notes on the Thrashers Apocalypse

- Back when it still existed, before it vanished into cyber-oblivion, I believe yesterday's post said something about how we're living through an era of desperate consolidation. The economy is in a strange/sad state where even popular companies are merging into other companies, or being sold off to some other company, or disappearing entirely if they have the misfortune to be a small operation. This is the scenario in just about every industry, from teevee to sports to energy to the Internet. Think NBC-Comcast, AOL-Huffington Post, etc.

Given this environment, the NHL might find a Thrashers relocation to be reasonably tempting. At the very least, it makes more (grim) economic sense than, say, expansion.

- A few people have raised the question of how the Atlanta Spirit are going to fill their pockets on those nights when the Thrashers used to play. Your TBC editor reckons they'll try to wrangle more concerts, which wouldn't be that hard, as the touring revenue (and its accompanying merchandising revenue) is now the main way artists and record labels make their money.

- A curious news item: the merchant bank that the Spirit have been using to find a buyer for the Thrashers, the Raine Group LLC, is currently helping News Corp in its bid to take over Formula One racing. What does this mean? Clearly, that the Thrashers aren't moving to Winnipeg. They're actually going to become a Formula One team.

Evil Blog Machinery Going Haywire


Yesterday the Blogger network was doing some sort of maintenance on its Blog machinery, and in the process several odd things happened, the most annoying being the disappearance of my post about the Mayor's comments about the Thrashers ownership situation. A large number of comments disappeared too, sadly, so your TBC editor just wanted you kids to know that he DID NOT delete any critical comments or incriminating posts; they just vanished into the cyber-ether, like Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

But What Does the Mayor Think?

So you've probably been wondering, throughout this exciting "Is the Thrashers a-movin?" news cycle, what your TBC editor's favorite current Mayor of Atlanta, Kasim Reed, has to say about a possible relocation.

AJC, folks:

Reese McCranie, spokesman for Reed, said Atlanta has not been approached by the NHL about making a financial deal such as Glendale’s. Even if approached, the city — in the midst of pension reform and possible layoffs in 2012 — would not consider it, McCranie said.

“We are aware that the ownership of the Thrashers is having difficulty and they may leave,” McCranie said. “The mayor has had robust discussions with business leaders in the metro region [who might] potentially buy or join a team of buyers to keep the Thrashers here.

“He has gone through extraordinary lengths to ensure that the Thrashers can stay in Atlanta, but at this moment there is not a deal on the table that we can present.”

DOOM AND GLOOM, Mr. Mayor, doom and gloom. Why do you insist on being honest about what's actually going on?

For whatever reason, your editor suspects the Thrashers will stay in Atlanta (for at least a little while longer), but he also sees that a relocation could be Feasible and even Tempting to both the Atlanta Spirit and the NHL. We're living through an era of desperate consolidation, comrades. Sales and mergers of even huge and popular companies is the order of the day in just about every industry (with smaller businesses/properties closing up shop forever). To expect the NHL to expand in this economy (so that everyone from Phoenix to Winnipeg to Atlanta can have a team) just isn't realistic.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Open Letter to Gary Bettman

Commissioner Bettman,

Thank you for your efforts thus far to bring NHL hockey back to
Atlanta and to keep it here. I know you have a lot of pressure from
north of the border to relocate our team to a snowier climate, and Iam writing to ask you on behalf of all of us who love hockey here to help us keep our team.

Obviously attendance has been an issue over the past ten years, but weproved in the only year that we made the playoffs that this city will support a winning team. As much as I admire Don Waddell personally, I do have to admit that the team has been poorly managed since its inception with awful marketing and bad results on the ice.

With a population of over 5 million in our metro area, Atlanta is more than 7 TIMES THE SIZE of the largest Canadian city in line to receive an NHL team. If every person in the Quebec City metropolitan area bought a single ticket to a single game each season, they would not have 41 sellouts in an 18,000 seat arena. On the other hand, if only 14% of Atlanta's population each bought one ticket to one game each
season, we would sell out every game in that same arena.

Hockey needs a chance to catch on in Atlanta, and it will take winning
to gain the foothold that it needs. When we ice a winning team or
several years in a row, hockey will explode here. Winnipeg, Hamilton,
and Quebec City have a maximum potential of 700,000 fans buying tickets, merchandise, and watching on tv. Atlanta has 5,200,000.

It doesn't make long term business sense to abandon 5 million
potential fans for seven hundred thousand fans who are already buying
merchandise and contributing to the tv audience of the other NHL
franchises. If the NHL leaves Atlanta, ratings for NHL hockey among
these 5 million people will bottom out and never grow. If NHL returns
to Quebec City or Winnipeg, the same people who are watching hockey
right now will continue watching it.

I don't want to deprive people who love hockey. Please look into
either expanding to Winnipeg and Quebec City or relocating a team with
an over saturated market like the New York area.

Thank you for your time and again thank you for your efforts on our behalf.

Dudley Realized the Obvious

So remember all that talk about "goal scoring by committee" where the Thrashers were going to employ a handful of 25-30 goal scorers to do the job of that Russian guy who used to score 40-50? Apparently that plan has gone out the window.

After one season without a true goal scorer, Rick Dudley has given up on that strategy and is actively shopping for someone who can put he biscuit in the basket. Unfortunately, if you peruse the UFA list for this offseason (please don't waste your time talking about RFA offer sheets) there isn't a whole lot out there to get excited about. Brad Richards is the only real top tier talent, and to get him, we would end up paying way too much money.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining that Rick Dudley has had this epiphany. In fact, as I see it, the team needs two top-six forwards to complement Ondrej Pavelec (have you seen what he's doing in Slovakia right now?), a very solid defense, and complete the top two lines along side Little, Wheeler, Ladd, Antropov, and Kane. If one of those five could be bumped down to the third line by superior talent and we didn't have to fill a hole up front with an Anthony Stewart or Tim Stapleton, then Ramsey's affinity for rolling all four lines would be much more successful than we saw in the most recent campaign.

Monday, May 9, 2011


No, not dead. Just watching the playoffs and biding our time until there's meaningful Thrashers news to talk about. But just for the hell of it, let's wonder: what Thrashers news items are floating around the Internets right now?

- Chris Vivlamore has typed a useful summary of the issues surrounding a possible Thrashers relocation. He posted it today not because there's a BREAKING INFO FLASH or whatever, but because there's an important vote going down in Glendale, Arizona tomorrow to decide whether the city will pay the NHL another $25 million to keep the Coyotes in town for another season. Obviously, this vote could have a noteworthy impact on the Thrashers' situation. Predictably, morons in the comments section complain about Vivlamore's "doom and gloom" and "taking a leak" (?) on various dreams and wishes.

- John Torchetti might become head coach of the Florida Panthers, again.