Sunday, January 27, 2008


I Got My Head Checked

by Greg

I think I can go the rest of my life without hearing that stupid Blur "Whoo-hoo" song, and not feel any sense of loss -- Philips Arena plays it after every goal, so I heard it at least 15 times (and possibly more) Sunday afternoon. I'm glad they steered clear of "Hey Now You're An All-Star," but seriously, enough with the Blur. I'm gonna be rooting for a scoreless draw next time I see a game in person.

At the last minute, I unexpectedly scored a ticket to the ASG. It was a pretty enjoyable spectacle -- nothing more, nothing less. I'm not in the "make the All-Star Game more relevant" camp. First off, I don't know how you would accomplish that (put the losing team to death?), second off, why expend the effort? Why not have a fun weekend of meaninglessness and pomp?

Granted, the game itself did largely suck (though with a few good moments -- Ilya Kovalchuk's mock-faint when Nabokov made a fantastic save, the heavily-booed Marc Savard scoring the winning goal), but the experience overall was pretty fun.

Random observations (not really about the game, as the best you'll get out of this one is "wow, Zdeno Chara really is big"):

* I ended up there two hours early, thinking that traffic would be a nightmare -- at least two hours before gametime, it wasn't. My ticket-bearing friend wasn't around yet, so I defaulted to jersey-scoping mode as I wandered around outside. Interesting jerseys seen: a few guys wearing Original Six Wings jerseys, which looked really cool, even if they revealed a lack of a soul. Some guy in a Brian Skrudland Canadiens jersey. A New England Whalers jersey. A few for Atlanta-area junior/youth teams that I haven't previously seen. And a ton of Predators jerseys -- no other regional team other than the Thrashers was so well-represented (saw a handful of Lightning jerseys, no Canes or Panthers jerseys) -- but bizarrely, at least ten people wearing those godawful crime-against-humanity mustard-colored alternates. Were those things actually popular?

* For Jes: I was wearing a Czech league jersey (Velvana Kladno, '99-'00) so two Slovakian dudes figured I must be from that part of the world, and let loose with a stream of delighted Slavic. I let them down easy. A bit later, an elderly Polish man asked if I was from that part of the world -- once again, I was a disappointment.

Sidney Crosby did find a way to be part of the festivities

* A measure of redemption: still wandering a bit more, some guys doing a radio show or internet broadcast or something proclaimed the Kladno jersey the best they'd seen all day, and gave me a free game (NHL Ice Breaker). I was too busy getting drunk post-game to try it out, but eventually I will, and since I really like free stuff, I am totally comfortable giving it my endorsement.

* Todd McFarlane was signing autographs there, which neatly brought together the nerdiness of my teens (I was a big Infinity, Inc. fan) and my twenties (when I bought all the hockey crap I could). Thankfully, in my 30s, I just watched from afar (though if McFarlane makes a Tomas Kloucek figure, all bets are off). In fact, being able to resist all the hockey merchandise on sale made me feel like I've made some progress in my life, on some sad scale.

* Still don't get the booing/taunting of Chris Osgood, though I certainly don't oppose it. Did he say Atlanta was a crap city or something? Or is it just because he's an integral part of the Red Wings, and all people realize that's a bad thing?

* Questionable moves: having the Hives (career last seen in 2001) play before the game, doing some big video presentation on Henrik Lundqvist (not actually in the game).

* Cool things: I couldn't hear word one of the Willie O'Ree jumbotron tribute, but the ceremony between periods was nicely handled. And not to repeat myself, but Kovalchuk's theatrics were great fun.

* Disturbing things: a giant man in a Red Wings jersey. I have nightmares like this.

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1) So thats what Chara would look like in a RedWings jersey, huh?! ; )
Aww, Sidney is soooo cute!

Kladno, eh? You should have broken out a few words of Czech and ordered them some Staropramen, or at least told them where to get some.

Glad you had some fun.
Did anyone see Tomas Kaberle? First time I've seen him without a helmet...I swear, with his head of hair, he looked like one of the plastic hockey players I had on a Coleco table hockey game back in the early 70's...
Jes -- sadly, there was no Staropramen to be had at the game -- otherwise, believe me, I wouldn't have been drinking Staropramen.

Wayne -- I missed Kaberle, because I was too busy staring in horror at Brian Campbell (who I'm pretty sure asked me for change on the street before the game). Also notable: Pavel Datsyuk, who looked like he belonged in Joy Division, not on a hockey rink.
Always look on the briiiiight side of life...

As for the mustard monstrosities, they're a sin to look at, but the material is fantastic. Seriously, I almost bought one in Nashville because it just felt that damned nice.
I'm a Thrashers part-season ticketholder and life-long Rangers fan. The Osgood razzing was just the pathetic provincialism of the so-called "Nasty Nest"...a group of bleecher bums who fancy themselves as super-fans. They do that at EVERY game, typically choosing the opposing team's star player as their target, and usually 30 seconds into the game. Who boos Sid the Kid??? They're like 2nd graders calling each other poopie-head and an embarrassment to the real hockey fans who support the Thrashers.
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