Seen and heard last night at Philips Arena in Atlanta:
ARE YOU LISTENING? It is said that eventually players stop listening to the messages their coaches are trying to send. The operative phrase is that “players tuned him out.”
Atlanta would appear to be a prime example of one message getting very stale and another propping everyone up. Curt Fraser was the only coach in the Thrashers history until Dec.26, when he was fired by general manager Don Waddell after posting a record of 8-20-1-4. Waddell took over on an interim basis and went 4-5-1.
Then Bob Hartley was brought in after his message got stale in Colorado. Apparently somebody was ready to hear it in Atlanta, because Hartley was 7-3-1 before the Caps paid a visit. The team already has 19 victories this season, one short of the franchise high. It also has allowed more goals (191) than any other team in the league, but Hartley has lowered the average allowed from 3.8 to 2.5 in just 11 games.
That’s a pretty convincing argument for one message being received while another was going in one ear and out the other.
GOT THE MESSAGE: Right wing Vyacheslav Kozlov will become an unrestricted free agent this summer and originally had no burning desire to sign with Atlanta again. Then Hartley hit town, and now the subject is up in the air.
“We have a new coach and he knows how to win games,” Kozlov told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We didn’t make any big trades but he knows how to put a team together. His coaching style reminds me of Scotty Bowman. They have the same discipline, and they both use video every day.”