Thrash Talk: Auld Lang Syne

Expected to be a light report due to the holidays, there has been quite a bit of activity with the Thrashers in the past few days. The axe finally falls and Atlanta fans now hoping for a new start.


Head coach Curt Fraser, along with assistant Tim Bothwell, were fired on December 26. This move has been expected for quite a while now. The question is: what now? In the interim, GM Don Waddell is taking over the coaching duties until a replacement can be found. He is helped by remaining assistant coach Steve Weeks behind the bench. Injured defenseman Uwe Krupp is serving as an off-ice assistant. DW has given no timetable for hiring a new head coach. Candidates include – Terry Murray, Larry Robinson, Bob Hartley, John Paddock, Kevin Constantine, etc. There most certainly has not been a lack of names mentioned in regarding this job, and as such I have only listed a few of the possible candidates. Waddell has received permission to talk to a couple of his candidates. No names have been specifically given, but based on the information given certain assumptions can be made which are likely close to the truth. The team has stated they are looking for a coach who is defensive minded and has good track record of working with youth. Whoever the new coach may be, DW will let the new man name his own assistants in due time. Waddell will remain behind the bench until he has found the coach he wants (which should help him to assess his team and pick a coach who can best address the team’s needs).

Injury Report:

Byron Dafoe should return to the lineup in the next few days after battling through a groin injury. Jeff Cowan and Lubos Bartecko are also close to returning to the Thrashers lineup, though no specific news of their return has been stated. Richard Smehlik continues to be sidelined with a bruised chest. He will be assessed again in hopes of determining how long he will have to sit with the injury. Uwe Krupp still out with back problems, no specific date of return given (the broken record continues).

Prospect Updates:

After a bit of a slip before Christmas, the Chicago Wolves look to be back and playing well. Here are some of the tallies for the last five games:

Zdenek Blatny – 3g

Kamil Piros – 1g, 4a

Dan Snyder – 2g, 4a

Mark Hartigan – 1g, 2a

Simon Gamache – 4a

Kurtis Foster – 1g, 2a

Garnett Exelby – 2g, 1a

Bit of a surprise that D Garnett Exelby has put in a couple of goals recently. Not that he isn’t capable, it’s just that he loves to play the physical side of the game more. It would be a great bonus for Atlanta if his offense comes around as well. As of now, he seems to be the best prospect the Thrashers have behind Kari Lehtonen. Speaking of…

In the World Junior Championships in Halifax, Lehtonen and the Finns have gotten off to a 2-0 start. Lehtonen pitched a shutout in a 4-0 win against an out-manned German squad. In the second game against Sweden, the Swedes came back from a dreadful performance in their first game. Lehtonen was, however, the difference. He made more than a few outstanding saves and the Finns pulled out a 3-2 win.

Rumors: Still no solid speculation about any impending Thrasher trades. The organization is now more focused on finding a good replacment for Fraser, so any trade talk is put to the back-burner. However, DW has shouted to the world that he is looking for a defensive dman for some time now. While it seems unlikely that such a player could become available, this is the only trade possibility that would be entertained by Atlanta until their coach-hunt has finished. Nothing else springs to mind, except the constant speculation about Shawn McEachern and Slava Kozlov. There is more than 2 months to the trade deadline and Atlanta still has to inquire about the possibility of signing these players to a new deal(s). We’re probably gonna have to wait a fair time longer before we re-visit this rumor again.


One monkey is finally off our back. For the first time in 18 meetings, the Thrashers beat the Carolina Hurricanes. In the three and half year existence of the franchise, Atlanta has always found a way to lose when these two teams face each other. After looking nervous and trailing 2-0, it looked as though another beating was coming at the hands of the ‘Canes. But the team relaxed and Milan Hnilicka actually looked like a confident goalie in the final two periods, in route to a 5-3 victory. I know that this may not seem like a reason to be excited, but for Atlanta fans it feels as though a curse has been lifted. Finally beating a team that just seemed to have our number, and what made it worse was that they are a divisional rival. One down, one to go. Next on the list of monkeys to purge are the Pittsburgh Penguins, another team that Atlanta can’t figure out. But now that we’ve solved the Carolina puzzle (at least this time), the lads can try their hand against the Pens. With the franchise trying to turn over a new leaf, I have a feeling about this one. We will see very soon.

Until next time, enjoy your New Year’s celebration!

26 Responses to Thrash Talk: Auld Lang Syne

  1. mikster says:

    I was gladly watching CBC again last night and i am thrilled to have that channel sometimes.

    Anyway, there was John Davidson and three other guys whose names i do not know but they were talking about various topics, including Thrashers coaching job.

    I think that if Waddell does double duty, but his team keeps playing solid hockey, and allowing one goal against the Bruins is smart hockey, then he should definitely stick.

    However, if he must hire a coach, and the team does not improve, then i would definitely go after John Paddock. The guy did wonders with the Wolf*Pack last season. He knows how to coach a young group of players and i bet Kovalchuk will love to play under Paddock.

    Terry Murray would be the biggest mistake, if they hire him then the Thrashers won’t be as strong as they should be.

    Paddock (maybe too weak defensively), Constantine (too weak offensively), Robinson (might be called up to help coach the Devs), Hartley (Won’t be interested in Atlanta), Ted Nolan (blacklisted).

    Tough choice, but i’d go with Paddock as Head Coach and Constantine as Assistant Coach since he did say he really wants a coaching job.

    Or, as they even mentioned on CBC, if the Rangers keep losing, Trottier will get canned as well. Is it his fault? No, i think he will be a very good coach…needs more motivational skills, but this is not the team for him. It’s not easy to come in as a Rookie Head Coach and coach egos, 11 new players on the roster, and then dealing with long-term injuries to key players. Either way though, Atlanta wouldn’t be Trottier’s fit either.

  2. Leaf_Expert says:

    You guys need Nolan in NY….

    He’ll be exactly what the team needs to motivate them…

    Or he’ll literally send em them to the minors!(including the star players)…..

  3. titans says:

    Wow…I’ve never seen so much writen about so little.

  4. mikster says:

    I’ll take Schoenfeld instead, thank you.

  5. Leaf_Expert says:

    You can have Schoenfeld, your welcome.

  6. cwhockey says:

    If you have something constructive to say, please. I’ve got no problem if someone adds a comment or is critical of what I write (makes the writing better next time).

    But if that’s all you have to say, go away.

  7. titans says:

    I thought that was constructive. You wrote way too much and said way too little. It’s not quantity it’s quality. Fact is these days people have the attention span of a gnat. They won’t sit there and read a War & Peace size article about of all things the Atlanta Thrashers. Try and keep it a litle more short and sweet.

    So there ya have it…douchebag.

  8. cwhockey says:

    Believe it or not, some people are interested in news about Atlanta. Not many, I’ll grant you. But the only way to attract that interest from others is to post the happenings of the team in a place like this. Coverage of the team isn’t that good; even down here in Atlanta the coverage is minimal.

    If someone is interested, they will read the article regardless of its size. They may agree, they may disagree, they may be critical, they may be content. I have no problem with the views of others. In the end, seeing the views of others will help me to get the bigger picture and a better understanding.

    If you don’t like or care about the Thrashers, there is really nothing I can do about that. But others who come here are interested and will be somewhat happy for the info I’ve given. Personally, I’ve seen more than a few articles here about teams I don’t really care for. But I have a respect for the fan who writes the article.

    I’m sorry if your attention span is not what it should be. And your last comment gives me the distinct impression that your maturity level isn’t what it should be either. Many of us adults are patient enough to read articles with more than a paragraph or two. If it merits a comment, then we make one. If it doesn’t, we move on. Fairly simple and not time-consuming at all.

  9. titans says:

    1. No, nobody is interested in the Thrashers. Nobody!

    2. The reason there is minimal coverage in Atlanta about the Thrashers is again nobody’s interested, and second the people of Atlanta are a buncha illiterate hillbillies!

    3. My maturity level is fine, don’t get all teary eyed everytime somebody gets a little chesty with you Billy Bob, Cletus or whatever the hell it is you call yourself.

  10. SabresFanB says:

    Lets take it easy ladies. If you want to bash a team that no one is interested in make it the Sabres. I don’t mind.

  11. cwhockey says:

    I was just trying to make a point or two. Afraid it won’t stick though. The bashing I can take. In the last 3 1/2 years supporting the worst team in hockey, I’ve pretty much heard it all.

    For the record, I’ve spent most of my life in Georgia but I was born in California.

  12. mikster says:

    Great, i just said to not hire Murray and they are close to hiring him.

  13. cwhockey says:

    As long as they don’t sign him to some multi-year deal right off the bat, I don’t see a big problem with him. They very much need flexibility in case he isn’t the right coach (have to cover all the bases).

    Given the available candidates, he has what they are looking for, the attributes I mentioned in the article. A teacher with a decent system would help right now, anything. Although Waddell is probably more picky than that little desperation statement by me. Well, at least the next guy couldn’t do much worse.

  14. titans says:

    Well than I feel twice as sorry for you.

  15. mikster says:

    Look at his record, it’s starts off nicely, and ends horribly. He is not worth it and he’ll have to prove me wrong this season and next season.

    I say hire Paddock and Constantine.

  16. cwhockey says:

    Realistically, I couldn’t say one way or another. I really don’t know that much about coaches or what goes into their jobs. As with just about anything, it depends on the timing and the situation. Which available candidate fits best right now? With DW being behind the bench, he can get a better picture of what the team needs, and pick the best coach to solve those problems.

    Not saying it will be the number one best long term solution, but you have to admit that just about anything would help Atlanta right now. Obviously the GM and his staff can’t have that approach. But from a fan’s perspective, Atlanta could do a lot worse than Murray.

    From what little I know of Paddock and Constantine, they could also be suitable candidates. But my opinion on this is not worth much. That’s why I didn’t offer up one in the article.

  17. cwhockey says:

    Sapiens nihil affirmat quod non probat.

    Just a general statement to this whole conversation.

  18. MossRocks says:

    Ironic. That statement pretty much sums up your career on this site.

  19. MossRocks says:

    Why is Waddell still employed? When does he get the axe? Who really cares about the replacement anyway? Once somebody at AOL/Time-Warner finally figures out that Waddell is a total embarrassment, he’ll get canned and the new GM will want his own man in place. Any coach Waddell hires is merely an interim solution. Might as well keep Waddell behind the bench so he can totally appreciate the pile of shit he gave Fraser to work with.

    I love the Bothwell firing too. I can see it now…

    DW: “OK, Tim we’ve got six d-men in the organization with all of their limbs. We’ve got a couple of promising prospects in our War Amps program, but they are developing slowly. What is your vision for the blueline?”

    TB: “We are fucked.”

    DW: “We also have developmental agreement with the Dominican Republic and we’ve contacted some Yinka tribesmen, too. I’m doing my very best, you know?”

    TB: “We are double-fucked.”

    DW: “I also have my scouts combing through the Atlanta Journal-Constitution classifieds. So far, no luck. Some good ballers though… Anyway, what should we do with this defensive core for the time being?”

    TB: “Just fire my ass, you moron. I can’t believe you signed Smehlik AND Krupp!! You should have canned me then and saved me the trouble.”

    DW: “Oh that’s too bad. But… Krupp was great in a dogsled… How was I to know about his injury problems? I’m not clairvoyant, you know… You can’t believe those doctors, they’re like weathermen with those medical reports and their fancy talk.”

  20. cwhockey says:

    My original reply to the post or the one in Latin?

  21. titans says:

    Sorry I speak French, German, Sign and English but no Latin. But I’m pretty sure with my knowledge of the first two languages what you said wasn’t very nice…and I gotta tell you I’m hurt.

  22. cwhockey says:

    Actually it wasn’t a hurtful comment, more like advice than anything else. Just an old saying that people who post on boards like these should keep in mind.

  23. MossRocks says:

    Neither. The original comment.

  24. MossRocks says:

    Sorry… and therefore not directed at cwhockey

  25. cwhockey says:

    I probably made that mis-understanding even worse. My bad.

  26. Tradedude says:

    Which Channel are you talking about? Is it on Directv?

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