Saturday, January 26, 2008

2008 NHL Super Skills Competition & Red Carpet Madness: The NHL Goes Hollywood.

Just got back from the Super Skills Comp.

Surreal.

Amazing.

Incredible.

Bigger than life.

Once In a Lifetime.

These are just a few descriptions of what tonight was like. Words... words truly fail to describe it. From tonight's Red Carpet with the mascots and players, to being shoved and pushed by tons of people trying to get autographs, to seeing a 45 min line just to get into the store... to seeing hockey fans from around the world... to the Skills Comp itself... tonight was truly a hockey fan's dream. The best hockey players in the world... minus a few hurt ones or ones who chose not to come... but to be able to have them in your home town... the city you grew up and and love... they are finally here. We've been waiting years since we were supposed to get the ASG in 2005... this weekend is the moment we've all been waiting for for years. And now it's here and half way over.

NHL GOES HOLLYWOOD -

Got a front spot at the red carpet and waited well over two hours. Of course I brought everything I needed... but a Sharpie. Thankfully, however, I didn't need one, the players had their own. I did not tear my two tickets apart... so I had the players sign all over the tickets. It's full of autographs... I think I ended up with more autographs then most there... for anyone behind those up front, they may have been lucky to reach over and get one or two... but if you wanted the autographs, you had to be there early. It was kind of weird because you'd think an event like this would be for Hollywood stars... but who needs Hollywood movie stars when you have NHL All-Stars?!? It was awesome to get so many autographs from so many of the world's greatest players. Of course it was impossible to get them all.... and the only thing that kind of sucked was the media took them away before they could sign for a lot of folks... some players came back, some didn't... but that's ok, I got as many as I could and I'll have to get it framed after this weekend. I didn't get Kovy or Hossa... they were both dragged away before I could get them... but I can always get their autograph at practice to put on the ticket... I got Toby to sign my hat. I wanted Hossa to sign my McFarlane statue... but I'll get him do sign it at a practice.

After the red carpet, I was going to go back into CNN Center to look around some more at the memrobillia.. but the doors were already open so I just went in. My ticket had a few autographs that went over the barcode... it didn't scan... but the ticket clicker lady didn't give me a hard time, she just clicked a handheld clicker thingy... I guess they were smart about it and figured fans might get their tickets autographed...

SUPERSKILLS -

Anyway after entering Philips... seeing hockey jerseys from all over was surreal. The amount of people was surreal. Hockey fans from other teams... actually getting along... talking hockey. Whoda thunk it? Tonight was truly a celebration of the best sport on earth - hockey. Tonight was one night... well ok tomorrow night too.... where you can cheer for those on other teams... even those you normally despise... well ok there are some exceptions LOL... anyway tonight was just... I don't know the right words to say. It was over way too fast.

It's a hard choice but the YoungStars game was the most outstanding event to me. I was hoping Toby was gonna score... but it was awesome to see the hometown guy in the lineup. The 3-3 hockey... that was awesome. Would I want to see that in a normal game for overtime? It might be over in 10 seconds or less, so no... but for tonight... it was great stuff.

All in all it has been so surreal. My seat was not the best, but it was lower level and still had a great view. My camera is older... so the battery is not the best, to say the least, and it decided to die on me... but that was also after hours of use at the Red Carpet. Oh well. I'm sure there will be plenty of better pictures than mine... I was able to get a few, but no really good ones during the events... but you know what... it's all good... I was able to sit back and enjoy it all and not have to worry about or mess with the camera. So it was kind of a good thing... but I did want my own pictures. Oh well.

THE BAD - Mostly Taylor Kitsch

Ok, this guy as a host SUCKED. He wasn't funny, original and did not make a good host. He was not a household name... I didn't know who he was... and he just sucked. He really lost it and any respect I had for him when he interviewed Kovy and asked him why he only made 20% of his shots in the shootout. Kovy immediately looked uncomfortable... and if I was Kovy, I would've dropped the gloves and slugged his head off for making a stupid, ignorant and way out of line comment like that... not on SuperSkills night, not in front of the home town crowd... it was a huge slap in the face to Kovy. Kovy handled it well and switched the subject to tonight. Very smart move on Kovy's part. He made Kitsch look really stupid. It was just really bad.... bad timing, it was stupid question, and whoever thought of that question to ask... should be fired and never be allowed to a hockey game at any level... EVER! How the @#$(@#$&#$ do you say that to the Hometown Hero!?!? WTF?

The only other negative thing I can think of was at the Red Carpet... when the media stole the players away from fans and made it impossible to get autographs... I guess this is what has to happen and the player interviews come first... it's understandable... I'm not mad about it, but it kinda sucks when you are JUST about to get an autograph... and they get whisked away to be interviewed... some of the players came back, but some didn't. But it's ok... no way you can expect to get autographs from every player.

The last negative thing I will have to say about tonight is that there were WAY, WAAAAAAAY too many empty seats in the lower bowl. Not enough to make it look bad on TV... and from what I was told a lot of those seats were NHL tickets... either for player's families or sponsors... but a LOT of those seats were empty. I spoke to a couple behind me who have had season tickets since day 1... and have season tickets a few rows up from the bench. Even the most loyal of fans... were originally given tickets upstairs. Sure that's fine, that's how it was, we all knew that. But the fact that those seats... their same season ticket seats were EMPTY... I can only imagine that being very frustrating after spending all of that money and beying that loyal since day 1. I'm sure those seats were sold and paid for... but I'm also sure that the people who had those seats knew they weren't coming...and could and should have been used for fans. There should not have been an empty seat tonight for any reason... paid for or not. I hope this is not the case on Sunday night for the ASG.

SUMMARY

All in all, tonight was just surreal. Amazing. Beautiful. Full of hockey love. It was NHL goes Hollywood. It was the best in the world. It was beyond fun, it was bigger than life, and it's something you'll remember for the rest of your life. I hope that someday Atlanta will get to experience it again. But I'll save the closing remarks for after everything is over. If I could go back and do it all over again... I would. All of the events were great. Everything is still a big, swirling mass right now. I DVRed everything in HD... oh yeah, gotta have it in HD... so I am watching everything again.. on TV this time... while I'm doing this blog. Hence, this is why it is taking me forever to write this post. But that's ok. I'd love to do this every year in every city it's held in. With next year's being in Montreal... that will be near impossible. But if it's somewhere in the South... Carolina, Florida... Nashville... then I'd love to travel to experience it all again. But Atlanta's ASG Weekend is only halfway over. Tomorrow night is the big night. I can't wait.

The worst thing about it all: It's all over way, way too fast!

Here are a few pics from today:











































































































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