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04-07-2010, 07:28 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Country: United States
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For the first time, there's a chink in the armor.

For ten years I've been a Thrashers fan, following this team through its few highs and many lows. Across that stretch of time I've laughed at the disdain that people display when they say that NHL hockey can't survive in the Sun Belt. Not just particular markets--notably Dallas and LA, where it has thrived--but all southern regions. I note to myself how the Islanders' attendance has been awful for years, for example, yet you don't hear cries to move that team.

But after what I witnessed last night, for the first time I wonder if the naysayers just might be on to something. And it KILLS me to say that, but unfortunately they may have a point. Reason being the following: (1) Attendance was barely over 12,000. Folks there should have been a line at the ticket window stretching all the way to Alpharetta. There is simply no excuse for a metro area this size not coming to support their team, on the last week of the season, while we were in the middle of a playoff race, when the team's best former player ever is back in town for the first time. (2) At first I found all the Kovalchuk booing amusing, but the more I think about it, the more I feel that it was just wrong on so many levels. People, he didn't re-sign with them, he was *traded.* The way the fans acted, you couldn't tell the difference. And he repeatedly said that he wanted to play for a winning team. What exactly is so bad about that? Really, signs across the arena should been thanking Kovy for being one of the few very good things that's happened to this franchise, not deriding him for being some sort of traitor.

Now just to clarify, I don't mean that one poor attendance night or one poor showing of sportsmanship qualify as reasons to move the team. Far from it. Instead, for me they were the straws that broke the camel's back. The attendance thing especially, this would have been unheard of in a strong hockey market such as Detroit, Minnesota, or Philly. It just doesn't look good when we pull something like we did last night.

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