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Category: Atlanta-Thrashers

Salary Cap Era: Easy to be Good, Easy to be Bad

Former Atlanta Thrashers captain Bobby Holik talks to Tom Gulitti at Fire & Ice about his experiences with the Thrashers organization, and his disappointment with today’s news.  In the course of that interview, Holik also made some observations about how the salary cap era affects a team’s success:

Holik pointed to the Tampa Bay Lightning as an example of how getting a solid ownership (Jeff Vinik) and management team (headed by GM Steve Yzerman) working on the same page can turn around an organization quickly.

“Why do you think Tampa has done so well in such a short period of time?” Holik asked. “Two reasons: in the salary cap era, you’re never too far from being good and you’re never too far from being bad. It’s all condensed to the middle. There’s no great teams. They’re all just good or average.

“So, you get an owner who has full trust in the general manager, he hires the right hockey guy and you have a general manager who completely backs the head coach (Guy Boucher). Then, you have a coach who completely believes in his players and you go from not making the playoffs to one goal short of the (Stanley Cup) Finals. That’s the salary cap era. It’s not that hard to be good and it’s very easy to be bad because you’re never too far from each end of the spectrum.”

Full interview discussing the Thrashers is here.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The End Of Hockey In Atlanta

from Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,

This is how it ends: With the weasel of a commissioner not stepping foot in the city, with another season passing without a playoff game, with a lying ownership group maintaining it did all it could to save a franchise that in reality it spent most of seven years wrecking.

Atlanta has lost an NHL expansion team to a Canadian outpost for the second time. The Thrashers are going to Winnipeg just like the Flames went to Calgary in 1980.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: winnipeg

The Latest On Atlanta To Winnipeg

from TSN,

True North Sports and Entertainment has called a news conference for Noon et/11am ct today where they are expected to address their negotiations with Atlanta Spirit Group on the sale and relocation of the Thrashers to Winnipeg.


added 8:39am, The NHL Network in the US and Canada will broadcast the news conference beginning at noon ET today.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: winnipeg

Is Winnipeg Ready For The NHL?

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

Chicago. Philadelphia. Boston. Vancouver.

Four of the largest, wealthiest, most aggressive sports markets in North America, all represented by their local hockey franchises in the past two Stanley Cup finals.

Into this uber-competitive mix re-enters Winnipeg, a city big enough that U2 played on the weekend at Canad Inns Stadium, and a city small enough that the spectacular prices being extorted by ticket scalpers/companies for this week’s Stanley Cup final, some in excess of $1,500 per ticket, should scare the hell out of its citizens.

You have to wonder; does The ’Peg really know what it’s getting into here?


Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: winnipeg

Atlanta To Winnipeg Almost Finalized

Numerous reports claim a press conference announcing the move could be made tomorrow.

If not, then look to Thursday for the move to become official.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: winnipeg

Bettman on Winnipeg: “People need to take a deep breath and pause.”

From the Winnipeg Free Press:

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman went into fire-fighting mode again today with some cold-water words for those convinced the league has received a finalized deal to move the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg.

Appearing on Tampa, Fla., radio station WDAE this morning, Bettman was served the Atlanta-Winnipeg question with a little too much certainty for his liking.

“I think you’re being a tad presumptuous on what’s going on in Atlanta,” Bettman said. “Nobody’s announced anything and frankly if there is something going on nothing is going to happen until it actually happens, which means it may not happen.

“So I think people need to take a deep breath and pause.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, NHL Talk, NHL Business of Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Moving the Thrashers North Will Benefit NHL

From Ricky Doyle at NESN:

Fans of the NHL should welcome this move, which seems inevitable despite no official word yet. Hockey is the lifeblood of Canada, so therefore it makes sense for a league that struggles to gain recognition to welcome the return of a team to a market where it’ll be relevant.

The interest and passion for the Jets never evaporated from Winnipeg after the team’s 1996 relocation. The move was simply a financial one. It was impossible for the city, which was the NHL’s smallest market by the time the franchise relocated to Phoenix, to financially support the franchise.

But if the economic support is there, which it would have to be in order for the move to become a reality, it’s a fantastic move for the NHL at large.The Thrashers have only made the playoffs once since entering the league in 1999. A change of scenery, and subsequently identity, could prove to be beneficial.

But success—or lack thereof—is only a minor reason why the Thrashers moving would be good thing for the NHL.

read on

Update 12:24am ET:And not just the NHL. Winnipeg realtors are a happy bunch, too. From the Winnipeg Sun:

High-end home sales could see a dramatic increase over the next year, if an NHL team is on its way back to Winnipeg.

Realtors are thrilled at the prospect of 25 millionaires looking for homes in the city.

“That’s going to have a huge impact, not only on the real estate market, but on the whole economy itself,” said Ralph Fyfe, Winnipeg Realtors president.

“These fellows will be buying nice houses, in nice neighbourhoods and it’s only going to be good for our real estate market. There’s no question about it.”

And it’s not just the players realtors are considering.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, NHL Talk, NHL Business of Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Rallying in Atlanta

From CBC.ca:

About 200 fans of the Atlanta Thrashers showed up for a rally Saturday in the face of expectations the team will move to Winnipeg.

“The people I talked to are passionate,” CBC News reporter Lyndsay Duncombe said from the parking area near Philips Arena, home of the NHL team.

“There is a sense of resigned disappointment here. I do think a lot of these folks believe this could be the last time they get together with these jerseys on in the hot Atlanta sun.”

Saturday was also select-a-seat day for season ticket holders.


Update 3:25pm ET: More from Jennifer Leslie at 11Alive, NBC:

“The hockey community is a huge hockey family,” said Lisa Lewis, president of the Thrashers Fan Club. “We all know each other, support each other, do what we can for each other. This is devastating for us.”

It’s also very personal for fans who have been around the longest.

“It’s kind of like the NHL saying the last 10 years of my life I’ve invested in something is not worth anything,” said another fan, who was moved to tears.

Update 6:30pm ET: Fair Weather Report provides the video below, a Thrashers’ fan reflecting on his experience of the team.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Gary Bettman, the Puppet Master

From David Shoalts at the Globe & Mail:

Bettman’s maneuvering could have backfired, but he had luck on his side. When Glendale politicians kicked in another $25-million recently toward next season’s Coyotes losses, Bettman won another year to sort out the sale of the Coyotes to Chicago businessman Matthew Hulsizer. The Goldwater Institute has effectively blocked that deal by threatening to sue if the sale of $116-million of municipal bonds is allowed to proceed. Revenue from the bonds is meant to finance the sale, along with $97-million in arena management fees that would be granted to Hulsizer.

Glendale’s second consecutive $25-million gift allowed Bettman to redirect True North from a brief dalliance with the Coyotes, and back to the Thrashers.

It is now conceivable that Bettman will deprive the Atlanta Spirit group - nine partners led by Bruce Levenson and Michael Gearon Jr. - of any proceeds from the $60-million relocation fee. He may even insist that the league deserves a $30-million cut from the $110-million franchise price, too.

The commissioner can argue that he, with the help of Hulsizer, created artificial value for the Thrashers by keeping the Coyotes in Glendale. Bettman may also claim a finder’s fee of sorts, by arguing the league brought True North and its $170-million to the table after Levenson and partners failed to sell the Thrashers after several years forlornly seeking a single credible buyer.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, d, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Winnipeg is a Step Back for the NHL

From Chris Stevenson of QMI via the Toronto Sun:

The NHL is going back to Winnipeg for one reason and one reason only.

It’s not because it is a place where hockey “matters,” as so many like to say.

It is not because of Manitobans love of the game.

Or because it is a desirable market (quite the opposite).

The reason is this: Faced with the choice of contracting the Atlanta Thrashers or moving to Winnipeg, the NHL is holding its nose and will back up the moving vans.

Not that the good people of Manitoba should care why they are getting an NHL team back, only that they are.

Make no mistake about it: As much as this is good news for the people of Manitoba, this is a setback for the league.


Meanwhile, Thrashers fans have a last-ditch rally planned for tomorrow.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com



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