The Canadians scan the attendance figures for the NHL, grab hold of the numbers next to the Atlanta Thrashers, and adopt a view of hockey in the Sun Belt. They envision Philips Arena as a destination for tourists, not serious hockey folks.
The Canadians are waiting for the tourists to become so irritated they abandon the Thrashers completely and become content with football.
The Thrashers are in the midst of a reboot — with a new coach in Craig Ramsay, a respected teacher and tactician; a new general manager in Rick Dudley, who acquired five players from the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks in the offseason; and a new star in Dustin Byfuglien, who Tuesday signed a five-year, $26 million extension. Byfuglien is one of the former Blackhawks.