17 October 2007

Illegal Curve asks about the Thrash

Richard over at Illegal Curve has a prettty awesome exclusive interview with Eric Duhatschek of Globe and Mail. They address the situation in Atlanta, and you should read:

Richard: Los Angeles does have a lot of good young talent and should be interesting to watch the next couple of years. I also wanted to ask you about the play of the Thrashers recently. I have watched them on a number of occasions and have read the rumours about Bob Hartley possibly being let go, but after evaluating their entire roster, does as much or more blame fall on the shoulders of Don Waddell? Is there a possibility of a shake-up in Atlanta?

Eric: Bob Hartley is a real tough coach, in the same vein as a Mike Keenan and Scotty Bowman, and I think that what ended up happening is that that approach works, if you are winning. That is why it worked in Colorado as long as it did; he had the Sakics, and Forsbergs of the world so I’m not sure if he has had the same situation in Atlanta. He did have an emerging Kovalchuk, but I’m sure Kovalchuk has to be a frustrating guy to coach, he has all the skill in the world, and they wanted him to evolve into a better two way player and a more consistent producer. Kovalchuk is one of those guys who will have three goals and an assist one night, then go weeks without registering a point; he is somewhat like what Jaromir Jagr was in Washington. As a coach it would drive you crazy because on the basis of his salary, he has to be the go-to guy and you want your go-to guy to be a model of consistency. Whose fault is it? When Kovalchuk was threatening to stay in Russia a few years back, Don Waddell wanted to play hardball but the ownership there decided they didn’t want to do that and they ended up giving him the money he was looking for. So, I’m not sure you can really blame that on Waddell and certainly when Kovalchuk was coming into the league, if they hadn’t taken him they would have been subject to quite a bit of criticism. Although now it is looking like Jason Spezza was the pick there. However, if things continue to go sour then it is possible that both of them could actually lose their jobs but I don’t think anything is imminent now as we speak.

Richard: One of the reasons I wouldn’t want to see Hartley go is that, in this day and age of trapping hockey, the Thrashers actually play one of the more exciting brands of hockey in the NHL today.

Eric: I agree with that, they are an exciting team to watch. On one night they win 8-1 and on the next night they can lose 8-1. I don’t mind that unpredictability, that is the nature of professional sports, isn’t it? From one night to the next you don’t know necessarily what you are going to get. Although I think that as a Thrasher fan that must be frustrating, because you want to see signs of them turning into a consistent winner after all the time they have invested in the building process; you would think at some point, they would become one of the upper teams in the league as a result of the even flow nature of professional sport. It doesn’t seem to be happening there, and if last season was the peak and they are regressing, that’s not a very long period of time to be in the playoff picture. I think that you could probably, in hindsight, question a couple of those moves at last season’s trade deadline.

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