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Proteau's Blog: On the Hotlanta seat

• Quite the colossal embarrassment for the Thrashers Tuesday night in Manhattan.

The game reminded me of the white flag-waving effort the Flyers put forth a couple times in the first round against Buffalo last spring, which was a harbinger of awful things to come and led to the removal of Ken Hitchcock and Bob Clarke from Philadelphia's front office.

However, if the Thrashers get swept, Atlanta's ownership won't wait an entire summer to de-employ coach Bob Hartley – and, perhaps, GM Don Waddell as well. The first round has been that ugly for them.

• More good news for Senators fans: the 2-1 win they eked out over Pittsburgh Tuesday is exactly the kind of game that franchise has been infamous for collapsing in over the years.

Except for the second period of Game 4, the Sens were disciplined, patient and tougher to deal with than an ex-wife. I've been saying it all season and I'll say it again: this Ottawa team is different than any before it. Look out, Buffalo Sabres.

• Speaking of the Sens, does anyone still doubt goalie Ray Emery has the stuff to be a playoff powerhouse? No, you're not allowed to vote, Mr. Gerber.

• Even in the midst of what is turning out to be a great opening round of the post-season, the bad news about the NHL finds a way to turn up on the front page of Wednesday's Wall Street Journal.

The story is all about the woeful Chicago Blackhawks, whose longtime mismanagement will provide a fascinating case study at business schools for decades to come. And the non-reaction to the story that is sure to follow from league brass speaks volumes about the chances the Windy City's sad situation will change in the near future.


Yes Chicago's NHL team made the front page of today's WSJ. It's a fairly well-balanced presentation. It acknowledges that the team has, in general, done poorly under current ownership and some people perceive Bill Wirtz as getting a bad rap. I still find it somewhat insulting to my intelligence that their ownership can maintain that the team is losing money. With the business model they are operating under (part owner of arena; control concessions; salary cap; large metropolis; avid sports fans), the only way I can see them NOT making money is if they present the public with an inferior product. Which it pains me to say, they have successfully done that. I am a little upset that they gave a way free tickets and I wasn't aware of it. I would have been better able to afford the games. Could it be that their marketing department could use the help of, oh I don't know, some exposure for the team on the most common medium of all - television. How disturbing is it that they can't give away free tickets in a sports mad town like Chicago. I follow hockey and I was not aware of how/when they were giving away tickets.

- JR Remke


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