Editor's Note: Before any Atlanta Thrashers fans lose their shit please take a look at SkinnyFish's inspiration. It makes this about 100 times funnier and keeps you from looking like an idiot when you freak out. Plinkett reviews from redlettermedia.com
Don Waddell's management of the Atlanta Thrashers is the most disappointing thing since Kyle Wellwood. I mean, how much more could you possibly screw up an NHL team with such talent? And while Kyle Wellwood eventually ate himself to death in the bathroom of an Old Country Buffet; the unfortunate reality of the Atlanta Thrashers is that they are going to be terrible forever; they will never get any better; they will never win a Cup.
Now if some of you out there say the Toronto Maple Leafs are the worst team in the NHL because they haven't won a Cup since 1967, then I suggest you stop reading this review right now before I carefully explain how much of a fucking idiot you are. So where do I possibly start; nothing about the way he manages the Atlanta Thrashers makes any sense. The team comes off looking like it's managed by an 8 year old. I mean it's like Don Waddell just makes decisions on a whim, without anyone else stopping to question him to see if his moves make any sense at all.
It's just a terrible, incoherent mess. But I mean at this point, who's going to question Don and tell him what to do? He controls every aspect of the team, and probably got rid of those people who questioned him managerially a long time ago. I also think that everyone just assumed thought a team with Ilya Kovalchuk would be an instant success, regardless of the surrounding players. I mean really, how hard could it be to screw up?
It's like screwing up instant mac and cheese. 1) Boil the water, 2) Put in macaro......
Number 1: The Star
The biggest and most glaring problem with the Atlanta Thrashers right now is that they lack a star. This is like the most obvious part of building a team, but I guess I got to explain it when talking to Don Waddell. Let's start at Team Building 101 shall we?
You see, in most markets the fans need a player to connect with; typically this player is something called a SU-PER-STAR. When you have a team of random players like goalies, pluggers, enforcers, rookies, and veterans; the fans need someone with exceptional skills to guide them through the season. Now this doesn't apply to every team, but it works best in small market, less accomplished, non-traditional locations. I've picked a few examples to illustrate this point: Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby, Anze Kopitar, Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, Zdeno Chara, Patrick Kane, Marian Gaborik, Ryan Getzlaf, Zach Parise, Pavel Datsyuk, and Bryan McCabe.
So in addition to being an everyday kind of hockey player, usually the su..pah...mastar is someone who has exceptional skill, playing at a high level, or someone who just seems to have things happen just right for them. Eventually they'll be confronted with having to lead a team into the playoffs and making a Cup run. If we like them, we hope they succeed. The drama during games is the result of us rooting them on against opposition.
Eventually our supr....man, will find themselves at their highest point, where it seems like their amazing cap hit to quality ratio will never change. But eventually they will reach a point where they earn that big raise. It's satisfying to see a player do so well that they deserve a great contract; and often times they get it for a very long term. This is called Free Agency.
Now I'm not saying that having a superstar works for all teams, but unless your GM is Ken Holland, Brian Burke, Lou Lamoriello, Doug Wilson, Bob Murray, Greg Sherman, Mike Gillis, or Stan Bowman; you really shouldn't stray away too far from this kind of formula; especially if you're managing a team that's aimed at casual fans in a Southern US market. This is of course completely applicable to the former Atlanta Thrashers and the superstar of Ilya Kovalchuk. Their success was accomplished even without the wonders of playoff victories.
Now with all you've just learned (In this review that I've totally made for educational purposes only), I want you to tell me who the superstar of the Atlanta Thrashers is. I can tell you it's not Nik Antropov; he's just some boring player that you don't really care about and he probably even bores himself. It isn't Rich Peverley because he was just the guy who passed to Kovalchuk, so he really wasn't the guy scoring goals. You might be thinking that it's Evander Kane, because he's the 1st round draft pick, but he's just a rookie and really just has things go on around him without him knowing it. If a player can't fully understand the game around him, then he isn't a star. So the conclusion is that Atlanta doesn't have a star. Before the 2008-09 season, I was very excited to see Zach Bogosian play. I mean he'd be perfect to be a superstar. But he isn't really; he's just some boring defenseman who just stands at the blue line and dumps the puck in alot.
So you may like the Thrasher; ya know, if you're stupid. But let's ask some other bloggers to describe some NHL players and see what they say. I proposed this simple challenge to them:
Describe the following hockey player without saying what they look like, what jersey they wear, or what their position or role on the team is. Describe this player to your friends like they ain't never seen hockey.
Fergus30: Alex is a dynamic, cocky, fast-paced ladies man, who has a distinctive risky style of play. He's fun loving, completely out there and full of vigor.
blurr1974: Imagine the "bull in a china shop" metaphor and think of what it would be like if there were a ballet to describe it. The bull would still invoke thoughts of power, but in a graceful and artistic manner. That's what a game with Ovechkin is like on the ice; a full contact ballet, minus the tutus and pirouettes.
TravisHair (aka OdinMercer): The NHL's wildman. The most charismatic player in the game.
PPP: Powerful, fast, strong, passionate, deadly, ugly as sin. Can take over a game by himself and create something out of nothing. Lethal wrist shot and a colorful personality.
Fergus30: Never heard of him. Then again, I don't make a point to follow the Thrashers.
blurr1974: You know those guys in gym class who never get picked last for dodgeball, but come close? That's Todd White. Mild and unassuming. He's vanilla. Nothing special. I'd say more about him, but there's not much else I can add.
TravisHair (aka OdinMercer): Who?
PPP: Anonymous but productive. Could be your dentist.
Fergus30: Sid's controlled, skillful, reserved, bright and slightly aloof. He's well groomed, and carefully planned.
blurr1974: Sid is hard to categorize. Chances are if you're seeing him play, you're seeing something incredible. What Crosby lacks in the shock and awe of Ovechkin, he makes up with a methodical adherence to fundamentals. Crosby is far and away the most complete player in the NHL. Think Jason Bourne, minus the amnesia. When situations present themselves, Sid reacts to the play as if he'd trained for it his entire life. Sticking with the Bourne comparison, I'm fairly certain Crosby could pot a point a game using a rolled up newspaper.
TravisHair (aka OdinMercer): Some people says he's a winner, but his skills cannot be denied. Has a bit of an anger problem, and is deadpan in interviews.
PPP: Tree trunk legs, shifty, yappy. Can take over a game by himself and create something out of nothing. Incredible vision, wooden personality, media darling.
*sound of crickets
(continued in Part 2)
(there is no Part 2)