Falconer seems to have unearthed a new rumor, and Mirtle maybe confirmed it (the rumor, not the factual basis). Waddell might be getting fired up to team president, and Dudley will take over at GM. This goes in line with Waddell telling Chris Vivlamore at the AJC that he expected to stay with the team, but he refused to name in what capacity.
Is a semi-housecleaning a la Tampa Bay coming to Atlanta? Waddell getting moved up continues the loyalty the organization has to the well-meaning but perrennially derided general manager. What about Anderson, though? Will he and Rick Tocchet have to compete for a job at the start of the next season with new teams?
This move could work. I’ve always wondered how much of what was going on this off-season was Dudley and how much was Waddell. Generally speaking I’ve been happy with the moves regardless of who did it, but I was hoping to pin it on Waddell to show he’s not totally incompetent.
Of course, I’ve never believed that he was – some bad decisions, some seemingly good ones that blew up in his face, no support from up top when it comes to important decisions (e.g. starting talks with Kovalchuk in a timely manner). He sounds like that teacher who is burnt out on classroom life and gets “fired up” to an administrator. I think allowing him to remain with the organization in a role like President would be a good move. It gets him in a new role with minimal day to day involvement, but still shows loyalty to him. I’ve felt for a while that loyalty to him led to some pretty positive relationships between him and the players – he was Ol’ Reliable, and they felt like they had open communication with him.
The housecleaning at coach, if it happens, should probably just consist of Weeks and Anderson. Kozlov’s comments about Anderson telling him one thing and Waddell telling him another soured me a little more on JA if it’s true – and I think it is, considering Waddell has nothing to gain from telling Anderson to bench Kozlov, and it goes against that whole "open communication with the players" thing. A real, legit goalie coach would be a Godsend. Weeksie needs to cease being a placeholder for Hedberg when Moose retires. We have never had a goalie coach, and that might explain the stalling of Lehtonen and the skittishness of Pavelec.
I'm not completely sold on totally changing the system after being taught it for two years straight. Going to a drastically new one might set the development back. If we can find a coach who still plays offensively minded hockey, but who knows how to adapt and not be predictable (and coach against the damn trap), a transition period shouldn't be bad. A lot of players who can't adapt well will be gone, and the guys who remain (and who hopefully will re-sign) seem to benefit as individuals from being given some sort of free reign. Let's see what the what is, but after this season's promise being flushed down the toilet, the times have to be a-changin'.