I believe I mentioned quite recently that no other player has been booed quite like #17. The Atlanta Thrasher fan base definitely has no problem voicing opinions, and every time that guy has the puck, the fans are drowning. “Money Hungry”, “Greedy”, “Spoiled”, “One Man Team” and words of that sort are words that pop into many heads when the words Ilya Kovalchuk are mentioned. I will be honest, I have been one of these people, even before he left town.
But in this recent article written by John Manasso regarding potential relocation, it seems like perhaps Kovalchuk might have gotten a pretty bad rep by those of us eager to change his name to KovaSux and the like.
“It’s tough. For me, I’m sure if they will sell to the guy who loves hockey and they’re going to keep the team here because it’s a beautiful city. I remember when we make playoffs the whole place was crazy about hockey and they deserve that and they’re not far away this year but, it’s still, I’m sure, you know, they want to go deep and see real playoff hockey.”
Sell it to the guy who loves hockey. Seems like a no brainer.
In reference to ownership, not hard to believe one of the reasons why Kovalchuk did not accept the offer, “I work here eight years and they never really make any moves to get guys or make our team better. We always got the first picks but it seems like we always let them go.” Are you really suprised that we didn’t hear any of this regarding the trade? Instead we heard from Don Waddell, “It’s a bittersweet day but it’s behind us and now we have to move forward,” Atlanta general manager Don Waddell said of trading the Thrashers’ captain. Only to, more recently learn that ownership was “relieved” he didn’t accept the offer.
I will be the first to admit, I was ready for Kovalchuk to go. I thought he was a one man show and rather pompous in his demeanor. But, just over a year later, I see that, it wasn’t all in his head. Unfortunately, we were the ones being misled. It was only in the more recent months that we really saw where we stand with the Atlanta Spirit Group. I guess some of us were a little more blind than we thought. Me in particular. Pucks and Pitchforks – you can take it and run with it. I admit, I was wrong and I am sorry.
Our much loved Moose said the following, “I was here my first year and we had a really, really, really good team and we made the playoffs,” Hedberg said. “We had high expectations of making a good run at it. The building was during the playoffs, it was electric. And this is a market when football and that stuff stops, you get more fans coming back, and it’s heating up towards the spring. There’s no doubt in my mind it can work. It takes time to build up the fan base. It takes time to build up the grass roots of hockey in a city that maybe hasn’t had hockey for a while.
“If you just keep with it and keep growing the sport, I’m sure this is going to be, in years to come, a very strong market. That’s my thought.”
We just need someone who cares enough to do it. And we need them sooner than later. Before everyone else decides to leave as well.