Earlier this week, I decided I have never wanted a franchise to finish in that nebulous zone of mediocrity between making the playoffs and getting a lottery pick for more consecutive years than I do the Winnipeg Whatevers.
The way the ownership group has behaved since that presser a few weeks back has been positively abhorrent. That's their prerogative, one supposes, but the handling of the transfer of the team from Atlanta to Winnipeg has been completed with a stunning lack of tact and what seems to be an broad contempt.
They jerked around the team's employees in Atlanta; it was reported somewhere or another that many weren't officially told the team was moving to Winnipeg until the day before the Board of Governors approved the sale.
Then after gutting an admittedly moribund front office, the team told Craig Ramsay, their very good head coach who briefly performed alchemy to make a subaverage team relevant in the division, that he would be welcome to interview for his own job.
This, of course, meant that he would not be able to keep it, but hey, it was the decent thing to do. If "decent" means "really awful." He ended up getting the boot, despite having done nothing wrong or even poorly, just because the franchise wanted to do everything in its power to rid itself of all that American South stink the team had around it.
Further evidence? Go to the team's official website and look at the franchise's all-time roster. Why, no one is on there. It's as if the Thrashers never existed. How remarkably arrogant and profoundly nationalistic.
Plus, the team recently revealed that it would not even give the kids it drafts this weekend a jersey to wear, which is just stupid. But hey, it might say what it's actually going to be called, so hooray for that, right?
Seriously, finish with 87 points every year for the rest of time. Although at this point, getting that many seems hopelessly optimistic.
In 2003-04, Chicago, an "Original 6" team, had the second-worst record in the league and ranked 27th in attendance at 13,253 (2,000 less than the Thrashers). Six years later, when the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup, they drew 21,356.
You could possibly make the difference right where you are sitting. Hildymac forwarded a tweet that indicated that our collective voice is being heard. Thrasher fans-Keep Pushing!
"I think we have a pretty good situation [with a core of young players]," Dudley said. "We obviously don’t have a perfect situation. What I see that we don’t have currently, that a lot of teams have, is a guy who scores with regularity. You look at a team like Calgary that made a run at the playoffs much because of Jarome Iginla. Take a look at Anaheim, who decided they wanted to play at a different level this year with three players [Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan], all of whom are basically superstars and they carried their team into the playoffs. We can go down the list and every team has one. We may have one in one of our young players like [Alexander] Burmistrov or [Evander] Kane. We should have one in [Dustin] Byfuglien, [Tobias] Enstrom. But up front, we could really use somebody who can score if we want to expedite the process."
"I have to watch exactly what I say here because a game of that magnitude to come out and play the way we did is completely unacceptable in my mind.
"I really can’t believe it. It’s disheartening to have a game like that and not be willing to pay the price and do the things you need to do to win, understand the magnitude of this game and the playoff implications. That was a terrible game."
I was here my first year and we had a really, really, really good team and we made the playoffs. We had high expectations of making a good run at it. The building was during the playoffs, it was electric. And this is a market when football and that stuff stops, you get more fans coming back, and it’s heating up towards the spring. There’s no doubt in my mind it can work. It takes time to build up the fan base. It takes time to build up the grass roots of hockey in a city that maybe hasn’t had hockey for a while.
If you just keep with it and keep growing the sport, I’m sure this is going to be, in years to come, a very strong market. That’s my thought.
The Atlanta Thrashers are aggressively seeking to upgrade their roster, but they aren't close to anything.They are desperate to make the playoffs.
It's never easy to sacrifice young talent or draft picks when one attempt to improve his hockey club in quicker fashion, but Rick Dudley went for it last summer. So far, it's paying off.
Dudley, who surrendered the likes of Jeremy Morin and first- and second-round picks to land Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Ladd from the Chicago Blackhawks during the offseason, and had the courage to give a 60-year-old his first head-coaching gig in the National Hockey League, is mainly responsible for the Thrashers' 180-degree turn in 2010-11.
The Thrashers have reassigned four players from their training camp roster to the Chicago wolves of the AHL. They are forwards Fredrik Pettersson and Patrick Rissmiller and defensemen Arturs Kulda and Andrey Zubarev.