Sunday, January 31, 2010

F*ck Road Trips....Thrashers vs. Predators

I'm starting to think I should NOT go on road trips. This is the fourth time I've seen the Thrashers in an opposing barn and for the fourth time, they lost. This trip to Nashville has been planned for 6 months. Lisa Lewis, president of the Atlanta Thrashers Fan Club, did a fantastic job organizing this trip. As someone who used to plan corporate outings and events, I know how tough it is. I can't imagine doing it for 400 people. Nice job, Lisa.

Another concern on this trip was the weather. I'd been watching the Nashville forecast for days. A huge storm was heading for Nashville the day before we left and temperatures weren't going to climb above the freezing mark. Would 6 inches of snow, ice and freezing weather stop us? Oh hell no! Buses pulled up to Phillips Arena at 11:15 and we got on the road about noon. Originally, we were supposed to have 500 people going, but in the end we had probably close to 400. We had about 100 on the bus and the rest drove up themselves.

Me and my husband getting ready to take off from the arena.

Kerry and Randy, like me and Serge, were all smiles and sunshine as the buses left. I should have taken a picture when we finally got back home at 5:30 in the a.m.

Because the bus company and drivers feared that the roads through mountains (Monteagle) might be iced and closed when we got there, we went the long way. We went to Birmingham first, then up to Nashville. On a good day with no weather issues, it is a 4 hour hour trip from Atlanta to Nashville. On a good day with no weather, if you go from Atlanta to Birmingham to Nashville, it's a 5.5 hour drive. We made it in about 6.5 hours. The roads were fine until we go about 20 miles from Nashville. There was a lot of ice on the road and I'll be honest, a few times I thought "I must be out of my flipping mind for doing this." There were jack-knifed trucks and spun out cars all along the road. The driver of the other bus actually said that if he had known it would be like this, he wouldn't have done it.

Jack Knife! This was one of the moments I was thinking...HOLY SHIT!

Another motorist in trouble.

Finally we arrived to the Sommet Center!

You can see the snow on Music Row.

The buses pulled up to a roaring tailgate!

Honestly, I didn't stay long at the tailgate. It was cold, but I'm terrified of slipping and the ice was making me nervous.


Some Blueland Flag waiving.

Someone made this awesome "Welcome to Thrashville" sign.

The little plows were out clearing the parking lot so people could even get in.

We quickly left the tail gate and headed to the arena. I brought a ton of signs and wanted to get a spot on the glass. Last road trip I could barely get glass space, but with the way the Sommet is laid out, we had more glass space. I wish I had brought more signs! This was on both the Thrashers and Predators site. I felt silly putting my Bryan Little sign up, but I'm glad I did! It brought him great luck that night. My Super Moose is a super star!

Everyone coming in and getting set up to welcome the guys to the ice. Note Jager there with no sleeves on. It' s 20 degrees in the parking lot and he wasn't wearing a jacket of any kind. THAT is hardcore.

Is it ever a Thrashers party until Heatmeiser shows up??

Sally and her inflatable Moose head.

We were on the bus with Ben, the Blueland Blogger/web board moderator and the videographer for the Thrashers (sorry, I don't know your name. You can watch the video of the first part of the trip.

So the guys come out and hit the ice. It wasn't as awesome as the first time in Carolina when they weren't expecting it. I guess they were jazzed about it. I didn't notice much of a reaction.
Bobo stretching out and reading signs.

Pavs seeing some shots.

Army looks stunned.

Cup Guy. Do you know what kind of balls it takes to drag around a Stanley Cup when you are wearing a Thrashers jersey? I mean the Red Wings, Pens, Devils, okay. But the Thrashers? That takes guts.

Zach checking out my signs. Not one for you, sorry Bogo.

Ilya by the "Welcome to Thrashville" sign.

Hainsey: Holy Shit there are a lot of them here.
Moose: Yep, our fans rock.
Hainsey: I can't believe they all really risked their lives to see us play.
Moose: Yep, we really need to win for them, try not to put it in our own net tonight, okay.
Hainsey: I'll see what I can do.

Pops smiling and taking it all in.

The Pred head being lowered to get ready for the team to come out.

My seats weren't ideal for taking pictures, so I didn't take that many. We were all spread out between sections 102, 103 and 104. We were loud and had a lot of good chants and such going. According to facebook and the webboards, Nashville was appalled at us yelling "KNIGHTS" during the Star Spangled Banner. It's a point of contention in Blueland. Some do, some don't. For those that don't know, some fans yell KNIGHTS at the point in the lyrics when it says "gave proof through the night." It's an homage to our old IHL team, the Atlanta Knights. It's kind of like when Dallas yells "STARS" (twice), Carolina yells "RED" and Washington yells "O."

I've never had a bad encounter with an Nashville fan until this guy. He ended up being cool towards the end, but when the Preds scored the first time he jumps up and comes over to our section and stars flipping us off (didn't get that picture) and talking smack. When we'd score, he was all cool though. He was a complete ass until about 1/2 way through. After the game, he came up to my friend David and was friendly. Maybe he stopped flipping us off when he found out there were like 281 church groups there. He reminded me of Biff from Back to the Future...MCFLY!

Some action in front of Pekka!.

I'm guessing these guys are Suter fans.

Huh! You think it sucks down there, Moose? Try sitting up in the stands after you risked your life in an ice storm to get there, then your team goes down 2-0.

Gnash telling us we are rude and we need to be quiet. Rude? You are carrying around some doll that lowers its pants and shows a bare butt. Thrash is way better than Gnash, but Gnash has way better toys, like his 4-wheeler that he comes out on the ice with.

Gnash had fun with the fans though. He took pictures with them and then shook his finger at them.

Boris had a rough night. He was sitting on the bench and got hit in the neck with a stick.

Some action in front of Pekka.

Thrashers fans milling around during the intermission.

Jager getting the fans going! He had cards with the chants on them that he passed out.

Don't take any shit, Little! Little had a good night, he had 2 goals! It was my sign.

Boris and Arnott down. Boris gave Arnott a pretty nasty slewfoot and hurt himself in the process.

Arnott and Boris in the box. The only reason Jason got a penalty was that the refs had called 3,4582 penalties against the Thrashers. They both put towels over the penalty box cams.

Kane getting a little physical with Shea Weber.

Angry Preds Fan. He looks like he wants to shoot the tires out of our bus.

Gnash did some trick where he sledded down the stairs. That's gonna leave a mark.

Just a few minutes left in the game and the Thrashers are down a goal. Anderson calls a time out.
Anderson: Okay boys, when the game is over we are going to follow this play to get us the hell off of the ice before our fans revolt.
Pevs: Shouldn't we figure out a play to tie it?
Anderson: You know that can't work. We need to figure out how to get out of here alive. Those 500 people are going to be pissed.

Final face off.

A little bit of a scrum.

Thrashers lose. I'm road trip poison. It would have been nice to get a little more recognition from the guys while they were warming up. I know they are busy, but how long does a glass-tap or smile take? I've gotten more "thanks for the support" from opposing players. I've gotten more affection from Max Talbot, Marc-Andre Fleury, Tim Thomas, Marty Turco and Ian Laperriere and I didn't risk my life through an ice storm to see them. I did love hearing the comments from Moose, Little and Thor.

You can see the recap to the road trip here:

The game was a pretty good game. We went down early, 2-0 but battled back and tied it. What was absolutely deflating was that tie breaking goal off of the face off, 7 seconds into the 3rd period. That's just unacceptable. Another moment that had Blueland fans up in arms was when they waived off a goal from Evander Kane. Slater was having words with someone on the opposite end of the ice and the ref didn't realize we had a break away. Thanks assholes.

Road trip to Raleigh is coming up in late March. I haven't decided if I'm going or not. Maybe I'll do everyone a favor and stay home, lol. I'm poison on a road trip and the RBC Center has been nothing but a disaster for me.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Drum Roll Please!!!!

I am pleased to announce that we have a winner in our "Crazy Leafs Fan" contest! The winner is from Beth and it is Blame Canada! Beth and Kerry were neck-and-neck for the longest time, but Beth pulled ahead last night.

Beth went South Park on us and got all of the split-headed Canadians together. She had to do a little photoshopping and put our favorite "passionate" Leafs fan in scene. Another of my favorite touches is the "watch out Toskala" sign in the back.

Congrats Beth, I'll buy you a beer at the next game or something else if that's what you'd like.

Thank you all so much for entering! Now that I see how many people enjoyed this, I'll have to come up with another contest before the season is over!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Moose is so good, he can do it with his eyes closed

Well, maybe not closed, but he can do it with his jersey over his head!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Who Wants A Mustache Ride? Thrashers vs Ducks

Tuesday the Anaheim Ducks came to Blueland for the first time in 3 years. I was excited to see the whole team, but especially Jonas Hiller, JS Giguere and George Parros. I really wanted to see Teemu Selane, but alas, it wasn't meant to be.

I think George Parros is awesomeness on ice. He's hot, has a ridiculous mustache, is Princeton educated, kicks ass on the ice and cuts his hair for charity. Is their really anything NOT to love? I stopped at Party City and got a pack of fake mustaches for me and my buddies. I also made him a sign that said "Nice Hair Cut George" and had the orange ribbon (Leukemia Awareness) on it.

Warm ups!

Me and my buddies, Kerry and David. The Ducks are Kerry's 2nd favorite team and he's been jacked up for weeks about this. He loves Giguere so I made him a sign that says "Jiggy Kicks..." then it has a picture of a donkey (ass) kicking. Michelle got our picture.

Mustaches are on! Randy got this picture from the other side of the ice.

George approves! Kerry got this picture. George gave us a stick tap.

Just for Candace, a little Brookbank love.

Gum chewing and ass kicking, that's what it looks like George has on his mind.

And of course how awesome I am!!

Evgeny "The Tank" Artyukhin and Nick Boynton stretch it out.

H-O-T! Ryan Getzlaf. Ryan, as a fan, as a FEMALE fan, take my advice...SHAVE YOUR HEAD. You are losing that battle my friend and unless you buy some GOOD it.

Jiggy: Hey Kovy, how's it going?
Kovy: Pretty good. So, how do you like living in California.
Jiggy: It's awesome. Gorgeous weather, phenomenal fans, no hounding by the media.
Why do you ask?
Kovy: No reason. Does your wife like it? What do you know about living in L.A?
Jiggy: The wife loves it. L.A. is awesome. Why, you thinking of moving?
Kovy: Just wondering.

Jonas Hiller looking around. This was his first trip to Blueland. I'm sure he was surprised at how empty it was, although it was a decent crowd for a Tuesday.

Hiller in the net. I don't like his mask. It looks like a bowling ball.

Jonas seeing some shots.

Hey cutie!

The boys getting ready to fire some shots.

The Whiz, James Wisniewsky.

Some more Brookbank.

Gettin' Jiggy with it. (I bet he hates that song)

Jiggy seeing some shots.

Jiggy is an intimidating goalie to face in net. He's a big guy at 6'1'' and also wears some of the largest pads in the league. He always seems to go so low when he squares up. I really wish we could have seen him play.

A nice close up of the Duckenator on the top of his mask.

(click on the pic to make bigger)
Jiggy: At-elle appelez-moi seulement un âne?
No Jiggy, we didn't call you anything! It says "Jiggy Kicks Ass!"

(click on the pic to make bigger)
Jiggy: Oh, okay. That's cool.

(click on the pic to make bigger)
Jiggy: Hey guys, did you see my awesome sign??

Cutie-pie Bobby Ryan is having a heck of a season with 24 goals (10th in the NHL)

What's up, Whitney? I still forget he is here. I still think of him with the Pens.

Swarming the goalie.

Every time George would skate by, I'd bang on the glass and yell, he seemed to ignore. No eye contact, no smile no nothing. George was the last one to leave the ice, THANK GOD I waited around. He picked up a puck, motioned to me and tossed it over to me. AGH!!!! *swoon* Thank you George!!!

Well the good times didn't end there! For Kerry's birthday, Randy got his ticket rep to hook them up with some glass seats and they were nice enough to invite me along. MOST phenomenal seats I've ever had. Though sometimes not the best for pics, these seats were incredible. You can see where I was in the picture Mr. Fred took of Army's goal.

First Period!

Look out, Moose! Goalie Girl behind you.

Moose was wearing a different mask tonight (more about that later) This one had a bird with a moose head and an old school goalie mask. My favorite part is the little quote "Trust Your Instincts."

Moose loves to put on a water show.

It reminds me of this video. Moose in the water!

First Period! Face off looks a little different in these pics.

Taking some action to Hiller.

Moose made a stop.

Corey Perry must love goalies, too. He hangs out with them in the crease a lot.

Woah! Hey now Toby, what's going on with you and Sexton. I know they call him "Big Sexy" in Anaheim, but there is a time and place for everything.

Reasoner taking it to the net.

This spot on the glass was making me nuts. The camera would focus on it instead of the action.

Moose is looking longingly at his water bottle.

Moose: Oh water bottle, I love you.

Boris yelling at someone.

Thorburn decides to spice it up and dance with Mike Brown.

Getzlaf getting ready for the face off.

Some action in front of Moose.

Moose looks like he's hissing like a cat.

Atlanta out shot the Ducks 14 to 9, but both goalies held the teams off of the score sheet and we went into the 2nd period with no score.

Second Period!

Welcome to my end, Jonas Hiller and your bowling ball mask! Jonas flips his lid a lot. He drinks a lot of water and never drinks it through the mask. He also looked up into the stands a lot.

Hiller makes a stop.

Peek-a-boo, I see you, Jonas!

More water, more looking up.

Doing a little crease keeping.

Time for water swishing.

I'm not sure if this was a goal or not, it looks like it from here. If you look between Thorburn's legs, you can see what looks like to be the puck in the net.

I was shocked at how small Niedermayer was. He looks bigger on TV.

Getting chippy with Chipchura and Boris and about 5 other people.

Thrashers out shot the Ducks again, 14 to 11 and both teams showed up on the board. Army had a nice little wrist shot and Eminger answered with a wrist shot of his own to get the Ducks on the board.

Third Period!

Look out Moose! Here come the Ducks!

Bogo getting a shot on Hiller.

Max scored a nice power play goal and put the Thrashers ahead. Thrashers win! That's all I have for pics in the 3rd. I got into watching the game. The last few minutes were fantastic. I had such a good view of Moose and could really watch him work. Nik and Kovy had a bit of a miscue in the final few seconds of the game that almost cost us. Nik was visibly angree at himself and smashed his stick when they came out to congratulate Moose.

Nik angry, Nik smash.

Nik heading off.

First star of the game, Johan Hedberg!

A puck from Parros and amazing seats, there was still more good stuff to come! It was blogger night and we got to interview the winner of the Fan Club's December Player of the Month. And, that just happened to be...Moooooose! I usually take the pictures for the awarding of the plaque, but Lisa actually had someone there with a REAL camera. I didn't want to blind the Moose, so I didn't take pics. There were lots of good questions. They asked about what it was like to be "in the zone" as Moose has been lately. Johan talked about getting good support and seeing the puck well. They asked him about the goalie situation, with the possibility of 3 goalies soon, does that enter into his play whether it fire him up or make him nervous. As all good players answer, he said he couldn't control that. Mr. Real Photographer (sorry, I forgot your name) asked what I was wondering, what's up with the different mask. Sponge Bob Moose Pants got damaged in practice and he is wearing an old mask, it's actually the one that he wore the season we made the playoffs. Good Karma! That spun off my question, "What was the inspiration for Sponge Bob." He said his artist pretty much has free range. He said he and his daughter were big Sponge Bob fans and that when the mask arrived, his daughter was delighted. We also told him about the Nashville trip, he was impressed. He also said something that delighted me, he said that "even if we don't have the biggest crowds, we have good crowd and great fans and that he hoped those numbers would increase when the fans had something to cheer for.

Seriously, could the night get any better? Uh, yes it could. I hauled ass over to Taco Mac after chatting with my BFF, Johan (joke) for the post game show because guess who the guest was??
Boris Valabik!

I have no idea what Boris was saying, he was very soft spoken and the audio was awful.

Discussing something that I'm sure is greatly important with Darren Eliot.

I guess it doesn't matter I couldn't hear him, lol.

One of my best hockey nights EVER!


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