That might change next season as the Thrashers have made some changes.
Internet betting handicappers became disgusted at the cheap commodity Atlanta has settled on becoming after they traded super star Ilya Kovalchuk in midseason. Atlanta has suffered from ownership group problems almost from the inception of the franchise. In 2005-06 and 2006-07 the Thrashers enjoyed a brief window of success with winning records and a playoff appearance in 2007 that had captured the attention of the notoriously distracted and dispassionate Atlanta sports market. With Kovalchuk they had one of the top hockey assets in all of internet betting but the team began to operate on the cheap, refusing to spend on upgrades, and then totally turned off what loyal fans they had remaining with the trade of Kovalchuk, who wanted too much money to stay.
Atlanta is going through the motions of making some cosmetic changes for 2010-11 as they have fired coach John Anderson. It was part of a major shakeup of the organization in which general manager Don Waddell was kicked upstairs to president with Rick Dudley taking over as general manager. Dudley has plenty of experience and now undertakes a major project in trying to revitalize a franchise that has one playoff appearance in its eleven Internet betting seasons while facing questions about its long term viability in the south. Atlanta had the third worst attendance in the NHL this past season as online betting statistics indicated at 13,607 per game. “We thought we should have made the playoffs this year, so obviously we expect to next year,” said Dudley. “We’re at the point now where we can evolve into something pretty good, and pretty quick.” Dudley was the associate general manager last Internet betting hockey season and will run the hockey operations going forward.
Dudley also believes that winning is the key to solving the box office issue.
“It’s very simple: You can’t sell tickets to a bad product,” said Dudley. “Right now, we’re focused on building a team that will hopefully become an exciting thing in this market. I think this market can support a good product.” Dudley compared Atlanta to what is going on in Chicago where interest in hockey was dead a couple of seasons ago and now the Blackhawks are regular top contenders in Internet betting odds and the building is sold out.