Pre-Game: 6:30 LeafsTV
Broadcast: 7pm LeafsTV
Post-Game: 10pm LeafsTV
This is why I hate the Thrashers. That douche Bob Hartley sent his goons out to hurt the Leafs rather than telling them to stop getting owner. I was glad to see the Leafs run up the score to 9-1. That game also featured the first of two ill-advised fights by Jason Allison. This one resulted in a beating and the second one against the Habs in March basically ended his career.
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One of the things that gets lost in all of the talk of contraction and relocation is that there are fans that live and die with those teams that will be left holding the bag if their team disappears. The Thrashers, despite being awful for all of their existence, have managed to rope in a great blogger in The Falconer.
James highlighted some of his work this morning as he looked at the slow demise of the franchise. Most of it can be traced to the work of one Mr. Don Waddell:
Don Waddell has incredibly been the GM of the Thrashers for more than 10 years now, since June of 1998, and he's not a popular figure in Atlanta. The majority of his recent high-profile signings and trades have been busts, and Ilya Kovalchuk is likely to be the latest star to make his exit.
Waddell, however, is in tight with the team's troubled ownership group, and there were even rumours he would be promoted into a senior administration role prior to the season. He has hung on while 22 other NHL clubs have made a change (or two) in the GM position, outlasting all but Lou Lamoriello, George McPhee, Jim Rutherford, Darcy Regier, Ken Holland, David Poile and Larry Pleau.
Picture JFJ being the Leafs' GM for another five years and MLSE backing him regardless of results or pressure.
The Falconer has had a couple of really interesting posts in the last couple of days. The first examines population growth in the US and shows that the league has actually done a pretty good job of expanding into growing markets. In theory, there are a lot of former residents of northern states that are already fans in the southern markets. The major failing of the NHL has been in selling the game to the established population and immigrants that have not grown up with the game.
Mirtle took a look at the origins of NHLers recently and the findings seem to highlight that the league needs to have at least an 18 year plan for any southern markets. Why 18 years? Well, at least in California, it looks like it takes that long to get a foothold in the market in terms of producing NHLers. Dallas, in particular, has done yeoman's work in developing a fanbase through the support of local minor hockey.
At the end of the day, however, when your best fans are starting to do this rather than pay for season tickets you do not have much time to act and step one is firing Don Waddell.
This handsome fellow is making his first career NHL start. That can only mean one thing: the locals are ready to eat their young. To be fair, the commenters run the gamut from those, like us, that want to see what he can do to the Chicken Littles predicting doom because of his draft position to the anti-Leafs that need a life.
Will Pogge light the league up? Most people are torn because of his AHL numbers but here's a good reply to them.
Who Am I?
"I'm not going to go out of my way to hurt the team but I'm going to make it tough on every one of their players, Kovalchuk or whoever. There is some bad blood there. It might not take much to ignite."
"It happened a while ago, but we don't tend to forget what happened."
- Colby Armstrong who apparently has forgotten that he was the one that threw the cheap shot. Keep your head up, or don't, I don't care.