February 5, 2010

The death of hockey in Atlanta

by Dan Bilicki In: Ice Hockey

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse for the few fans of the Atlanta Thrashers, they went out and did something completely idiotic: They traded Ilya Kovalchuk.

And not only did they trade the best player that their franchise has ever had, they gave him away for next to nothing. Here is who and what the Thrashers got in return for one of the most prolific goal scorers the league has seen recently…

— Niclas Bergfors, a rookie forward with some promise. Former first rounder has 27 points this season.
— Johnny Oduya, a 28-year-old defenceman with four points and plus-2 this season.
— Patrice Cormier, who was recently suspended for the rest of the QMJHL season for trying to take off another player’s head with his elbow.
— A first-round draft pick that should be in the 20s, at best.

Does that sound like a fair haul for one of the premier players in the league? Of course not. If people actually cared about the Thrashers in Atlanta, there should be an outrage.

This deal could go down as the beginning of the end of the NHL in Atlanta (again). With no marketable star and a clear move into rebuilding mode, will the fan base stick around to watch more youngsters try to grow up in infertile soil? If they had trouble selling out the Philips Arena with Kovalchuk, imagine the grim reality now.

1 Comment

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