If the Thrashers move to Winnipeg, itself a ‘failed’ NHL market becomes a reality, it will be for much the same reason. Not because of a failure to draft well, not because some inviolabe law of the universe prevents winning in that location. It won’t even be because no one cared. Hell, we can all name quote unquote bad sports markets that have had teams win championships.

There’s a movie, about a much lesser sport that has is famous for the line “if you build it they will come” this truth is of course how hundreds of towns get on the map and draw tourists and their willing wallets all over the continent. Everything from the biggest ball of yarn, to corn mazes, and all manner of other things people might find interesting if they are in the area, or can make an excuse to be there. The owners of the Atlanta Thrashers have failed to heed this truism. They didn’t build, they didn’t retain, they simply expected people to show up for something. To create a new tradition, you must first make it attractive. Winning is the most attractive thing possible in sports. The Thrashers never have. They had Ilya Kovalchuk, Marc Savard, Marian Hossa all at once. All. At. Once. ALL! AT! ONCE! What did they do with this embarrassment of riches? They embarrassed themselves. They failed to secure the additional talent to put them over the top. They then failed to secure any of the three franchise quality players to long term deals.

Instead, what they did was squabble, bicker, name call and engage in litigation against each other. Another truism I think everyone is familiar with is “a house divided against itself cannot stand.”, business men are supposed to be in the business of making money not headlines. Atlanta Spirit, unlike the ownership in Phoenix weren’t saddled with an atrocious lease, they owned the building. They weren’t a driving force behind the team, they weren’t even the quiet spider at the center of a web quietly pulling strings. They had celebrity fans who with even a little bit of success could have helped turn the Thrashers into a cash cow.

Insufferable arrogance, breathtaking ignorance, grotesque levels of laziness are a recipe for failure and in this case the brain trust that is Atlanta Spirit have contrived to brew it to excellence.

Off the Faceoff is a semi-regular feature filled with a varying number of one line thoughts, mostly on hockey.

Faceoff 1: It’s hockey day in America and the NHL has kindly made it impossible to watch all the games, or even most of the games since three of them start at about the same time.

Response: Great, next time just schedule them all at 6:30 AM ‘PT, the ratings will be about the same. And why aren’t there any sunbelt teams scheduled? I realize a lot of the south thinks of the Mason Dixon as the natural border but there’s no sense in helping the delusion.

Faceoff 2: The Calgary Flames and the Montreal Canadiens square off today in the Heritage Classic. Who are you rooting for?

Response:  As a hockey fan, a Bruins fan, and someone who wants to see more of Jarome Iginla on TV, I want the Flames to roast the Habs. Maybe if they do NBC, Versus, and the NHL will show more of their games on tv in the east and I won’t have to sit through the same four western teams all the time.

Faceoff 3:  There has been lots of comment on Twitter about the possible relocation of the Thrashers to western Canada.

Response:  !) Not happening soon. (Sorry Winnipeg.) 2) Detroit and Columbus would make decent choices to relocate to the East to rebalance the conferences, but the natural choice with the minimum amount of redrawing of the division lines is neither, it’s Nashville.  Weber against Stamkos or against Ovechkin would make great tv and spark some rivalries in that division.