Apologies for the lack of posts recently. I’ve been super sick, kind of tired and stressed out at work, and frankly generally bummed out with the whole situation going on here in Atlanta with the Thrashers. It’s been tough to read unsubstantiated rumors (some of which have been published by local sources, some not) that have taken the place of actual reporting. It’s easier to ask Mr. Unnamed Source what’s going on than it apparently is to ask folks who work with the organization or who have some sort of tangible connection to the NHL.
I mean, hell – a rumor started by a high schooler was tweeted as gospel yesterday that the deal was done.
Anyway, the main issue a lot of Thrashers fans are having right now – aside from the fact that the ownership is jerking them around and they can’t get any legit news from any media source (except from Phil Foley of the Examiner) – is the odd silence of the NHL. It took Jeff Schultz of the AJC to drag some sort of statement out of NHL Vice-Commish Bill Daly, and it wasn’t exactly the “rah rah small market” statements that fans have gotten used to hearing.
Where’re the speeches? Where’s the rallying cry? Where’s what Bettman said regarding Phoenix and the Nashville Predators – who are a strong Southern team that works? Where the hell is this?
“Because we fight hard for every city,” Bettman said. “Because we owe it to our fans. Because if you’re a fan in any city and you watch what we do, or you watch what any sports league does, if we don’t protect you as fans in one place, then maybe you’ll start question how well we’ll protect you in your place. Because we have a covenant with our fans, and our fans need to know that we will stand by them as long as possible and that we don’t just run out.”
Aw, thanks, Gary. You give that to Phoenix. Atlanta gets this from Daly:
Q: Can you understand why Atlanta hockey fans might feel like the NHL is abandoning them, especially given the league’s silence?
A: “Again, what that opinion lacks is any real information as to what we have been doing over a number of years. There have been efforts to sell the club. We feel it is best that franchises not be relocated and we’ve made a commitment to keep franchises in the marketplace. Everything we’ve done with the Thrashers is consistent with that.”
Rally ’round the Blueland flag, boys.
Listen, I don’t hate Gary Bettman. I wonder about some of his decisions, but I also recognize that he’s the guy fans have to look towards if we want to keep our team. So, Gary. Could we get a little bit more of this, please? Thanks.