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Bitter Thrashers fans lash out at owners

ATLANTA — About 200 Thrashers fans gathered Saturday to tailgate outside Philips Arena for perhaps the final time.

With the Thrashers reportedly close to being sold and moved to Winnipeg, the fans blamed their ownership group, Atlanta Spirit.

"We've been lied to for six years," said Jenn Peters, 30, choking back tears as she flipped through a collection of ticket stubs. "It's hard to watch as a fan because … you can voice your opinion, and you can show up, but that's all you can do."

It didn't help the mood that showing up was Harry the Hawk, mascot of Atlanta's NBA team, also owned by Atlanta Spirit.

"It's the Atlanta Spirit shoving their other asset in our face, which is just deplorable," said Bryce McNeil, 33, a professor at Georgia State.

No-shows were members of the front office and ownership. The gathering was held in conjunction with the team's annual select-a-seat event for season-ticket holders. Salespeople were inside the arena processing credit card orders for games in Atlanta next season.

"It's a very poorly run organization," said Howard Baron, 54, a CPA and investment adviser, who bought four season tickets to push his total to 16. "And what (commissioner) Gary Bettman said the other night was true — that it's a funny way to show it by not buying tickets — but the problem is if you … buy tickets, you're stuck with this ownership group forever. It's a double-edged sword."

Blame also spread to Bettman for seemingly being complicit in rushing the team's sale and move. Around the arena parking lot, a Bob Dylan quote from his 1965 song Desolation Row was posted in several spots: "And here comes the blind commissioner. They've got him in a trance."

West final: The statuses of key Canucks defensemen Christian Ehrhoff and Aaron Rome didn't sound good heading into today's Game 4 against the Sharks.

Ehrhoff and Rome left Friday's 4-3 Game 3 loss after hits by San Jose wing Jamie McGinn. McGinn was given a major boarding penalty and a game misconduct for his hit on Rome, who was bloodied. He didn't receive additional discipline from the league despite it being his second game misconduct in five postseason games.

Ehrhoff and Rome sat out practice in San Jose, and coach Alain Vigneault wasn't optimistic about them playing today.

Sharks center Logan Couture, tied for third with seven playoff goals, skated after leaving Game 3 after colliding with a teammate.

West final

Canucks 2, Sharks 1

Game 1: Canucks 3, Sharks 2

Game 2: Canucks 7, Sharks 3

Game 3: Sharks 4, Canucks 3

Today: at San Jose, 3, Ch. 8

Tuesday: at Vancouver, 9, Versus

Thursday: at San Jose, 9, Versus *

Saturday: at Vancouver, 8, Versus *

* If necessary

Bitter Thrashers fans lash out at owners 05/21/11 [Last modified: Saturday, May 21, 2011 9:40pm]
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