“We just need to work, and we need to be consistent,” Kovalchuk said. “That’s the key, because we don’t have any superstars on this team. We have to be the hardest-working team on the ice every night. Then we’ve got a chance to win.”
Wait a second. Isn’t Kovalchuk a superstar?
“I have to win something [to become that],” he said.
This really needs to be addressed.
Recently, there have been a number of calls for Don Waddells... um... attention, at the very least. From the obvious, to the sublime, to the down-right "funny-because-it's-true," the message has been getting out publicly: Don Waddell has a no-confidence vote amongst the (even mildly) hockey-aware in Atlanta. That alone should stike one as an ominous sign. This isn't Toronto, Montreal, or even Columbus - according to Canuck media, we shouldn't even care about hockey, what with being NASCAR-obsessed cousin-marriers, and all.
My impression of the Waddell-Kovalchuk relationship has been thus: it seems Don is much more hands-on with Kovy than with any other player (and rightly so, I might add). Kovy maybe has Don's ear a little more than anyone else. From draft day forward, it has seemed that Kovy has been Don's number one priority. After all, what else would you with a potential franchise player? Hopefully, this little nugget gets through to the GM's office before too long, and nets us some kind of respectable gain. Let's hope Don wakes up in the middle of the night with the cold sweats, lingering remnants of a nightmare involving Kovy and a certain former #18 laughing as they trade SCF war stories wearing other teams' sweaters. Let's hope Don decides principles and doing a job right are more important than job security and stands up to the Atlanta Suck Group and demands a little more latitude.
Of course, this is all assuming quite a lot. This is assuming this whole mess is the result of an inept hockey-ignorant ownership group, and not an over-his-head GM floundering for anything that works. Yes, Bruce Levenson can be a pompous, arrogant, discourteous blowhard - but this mess is big enough for lots of blame to be tossed around. I've resisted saying this for quite sometime: Don Waddell is quite possibly a bigger Ringo than Ringo, and, on some level, he must know this. Yes, I know, he did come from a Detroit operation fresh off a Stanley Cup victory. Yes, I know he was picked to head this franchise instead of Brian Burke(!!!!1!). Yes, I know USA Hockey thinks very highly of him, placing him in very important positions of responsibility over the years.
I like ribs alot...
Follow me here. I promise, this is going somewhere useful.
I like ribs alot. You don't? Well, then wings work too. If wings don't work for you either, you're clearly not a red-blooded North American, and should go back to eating whatever braised foie gras quiche you've got in front of you. Every time I eat ribs or wings, I can't help but make a gigantic freaking mess all over my hands. To some, this is a bad thing. To me, I just call it the cost of doing business. Anyway, point being, my tastbuds get this awesome explosion of BBQ goodness. My fingers, they get the residual mess. If you asked my fingers to descibe the flavor of the charred animal part I just consumed, they would be hard-pressed to give a coherent answer. They may mumble something about "this wing was a better wing than we had last year" or maybe some crap about a five-year rib, but nowhere, no how can it tell you how it tasted. What that means is my fingers can be right in the mix of things, looking like they're soaking in everything, but really be missing out on the most important part, the magic that makes the whole expreience worth it. Ergo, it's entirely possible that Don Waddell, even with his Detroit-system-Stanley-Cup-winning experience (consisting of One. Whole. Year.) is entirely clueless on how to build a Cup-contending franchise.
Yea, I just did that.
In conclusion, it's time for change in Blueland. Kovy knows it, the fans know it. It's time the organization knew it.