Wow. It's really sad. I haven't updated my Thrashers blog since, well, let's just say things have changed quite a bit. But 08-09 is upon us and I figured, hey, you know what, I should fire this thing up again.
So here I am.
It's back to Thrashers Thrashings.
I'm no expert in player stats. I'm not a math student, I never claimed to be, and never will be. So if you are into stats and all that, there are plenty of other Thrashers blogs for that.
This is more just about the experience of it all. What it's like to be a fan.
Despite the fact we didn't win a single pre-season game at home... that first game back...there's nothing like it. The first thing that came to my mind was what it was like when my Dad took me to Braves games back in the day at Fulton County Stadium... seeing the field for the first home, just how awe-inspiring it is and how big it is... as little kid, it's huuuuuuuuuuuuuge. Well, when you walk back into Philips Arena and see that white ice, gleaming, for the first few moments when you walk into the bowl, you get that little-kid-seeing-it-for-the-first-time-wow-it's-so-awesome feeling. You just stop for a moment and it hits you... there really is ice down there. It really is hockey season again. You try to put all the negative stuff aside... all the crap with ownership, you don't think about what you read on the boards and how people think we won't be any better... you put all that away... and you are just thankful, that even though, yeah, the Thrashers have been here for many years now, you are thankful that we have an NHL team. There are plenty of big cities across this country that don't. There are millions of people around the world who never even get to see an NHL game in person... and here you are, in Philips Arena, about to watch an NHL game. You feel lucky that you were given awesome, free tickets in the Club section thanks to awesome co-workers. You are thankful that it's hockey season, but it hasn't really hit you yet that it's back. With the Thrashers up 4-2, you are hopeful for the win, even though it's just pre-season. Pre-season or not, you still want to leave with a win. Then reality hits you when we give up four unanswered goals. Will it be like this all season? It doesn't count, you put it behind you and a few minutes after the game, it's fine. But even for a pre-season game, I had that feeling. That feeling I haven't had since last season. That I-take-it-way, waaaaay too seriously feeling...we lost, and even though it's preseason, you have that sick feeling in your stomach... so very much you wanted to walk home with a win. Wins feel so good, they are such an awesome high... and a loss feels like the sky is falling, the world is ending and you it's the worst night ever. And then you realize that you take it way too seriously, but it's way too ingrained in you, so you are screwed, it will ALWAYS be that way for wins and losses... but there's nothing else in the world that makes you feel that way... so you come to the conclusion, that hey, it's a good thing that I take it that seriously... or is it? There's no fighting it because, damn it, that's the way it is, always has been and always will be. The hardest ones are the OT and SO losses. You don't feel THAT bad because, hey, your team earned a point in the standings. Yet it wasn't a win, so you feel kinda crappy too. It's a mix... it's better than regulation loss but not as good as win, so you feel half-and-half, so to speak. And then you ask yourself, am I the only one who takes it this seriously? Am I the only one who gets all pissed off when we lose and when we win, it feels like winning the lottery? (Ok, maybe not THAT good, but you know what I mean...) and you realize there are a lot of others just like you who take it just as serious if not even more seriously (how people can take it more seriously is beyond me, but I guess it is somehow possible...)... one of the reasons I love hockey so much is because of the mix of emotions you get before, during, and after a game. There's nothing like it.
Before every game, you are psyched, pumped, and all day at work you just can't wait... ITS HOCKEY NIGHT!!!!!!!! YEAH!!!!!!!!!... It's a high when we score first, and when we score first, you are so hopeful for that win. If we stay ahead, it's a great high all night. If the opponent ties the game or we blow a lead, it's a sick, horrific feeling. Gross. You don't want this feeling, trust me. But then, somehow, the Thrashers find their way back... a last-second goal right before the game ends. An overtime win. A shootout win....those are the moments you live for, the moments that make it all worth it, the moments you just can't live without. Ah, those moments. That's what makes hockey better than anything else.
But then, there's that smell. That smell...you know what I'm talking about. It's the best smell on earth. When the Philips Arena staff opens that door for the first time... it's that first big, huge whiff of cold NHL hockey ice, beer, and the mix of all the food in the arena... when you are sitting there waiting to get in in CNN Center, those doors open, and you get that smell... it's heeeeeeeeeeaven. It's better than a candy store, better than any BBQ, better than anything you could ever possibly smell... other than may a pile of $100 bills in front of you... if they could put that smell in a car sent hangy thing... I would buy them by the box. Of course once you are are in the arena, it doesn't ever smell as good as those few moments you are waiting to get in...because it's no longer a new smell any more. But damn does it smell good!
So, in pre-season we looked bad. You hope, you pray that's not a sign of things to come. Last season we were undefeated in pre-season and look where we ended up.... so hooooopefully it's not a sign of things to come. I'm sure it will take quite a few games for the Thrashers to get their shit together with Coach Anderson. I'm sure the first few games, we might look awful. But I hope I am wrong, I hope the pre-season was an indication of nothing.
But speaking of indications, tonight, at Faceoff, there was a very sad indication of the status of hockey here in Atlanta....at least seasonticket holder wise... Compared to past seasons, Faceoff was virtually empty. The only big line was, of course, the line with Kovy... but even that line was small compared to past seasons. I didn't bother with it because I know if for some reason I ever need an autograph, I can just go to practice. My goal was to hit the gear sale first. Of course, as my luck would have it, the ticket taker guy's scanner didn't work. We had to sit there and wait. Meanwhile, people are running down there. I was about to get REALLY pissed, waiting all that time then getting stuck at the door. But I got down there soon enough. I ended up with a pair of Dupuis gloves, a baby-blue practice jersey (I love those) and a Kari goalie stick.... I wasn't even gonna bother with autographs, but I was like well, it was a brand new stick, the sign said new sticks are $50, and the guy at the checkout sold it to me for $10. TEN DOLLARS for any hockey stick is a DEAL. SAAWEEEEEEET.... so I ended up getting it signed by Kari... I mean, the line was small enough LOL. They didn't have any skates for sale, which I was REEEEEEEEEALLY hoping to get, but no skates this year. (WTF?) No locker name plates. It seemed the gear sale wasn't quite as good as it has been in the past, but I got my Kari stick signed as I said and got some autographs on my black Center Ice jersey. I came with my friend Marisa and she seemed to have a good time. Anyway, it just felt empty this year at Faceoff. Then again, with the lines being so short, it was nice. To all those that didn't reup... you suck.
For those that didn't reup, I can totally understand your frustration with ownership, with all that has gone on with this team over the years. But in the end, you just have to throw that stuff out the door. It's a new season. It's a new year. It's still NHL hockey no matter what happens with the business side. Until the Thrashers move, god for bid, or they lock the doors to Philips Arena, I'll be coming... For those that left, thanks for the seats.
So that's it for now. I'm going to do my very best to keep this thing live and running during the season. I can't wait for the season to start on Friday. Everyone is psyched and you can hardly blame them. The game is sold out or damn close to it...let's just hope we keep the crowd in it and find a way to win. No one wants to go home on Opening Night with a loss because then all that hype, all that you've-been-waiting-for-months-and-are-psyched-feeling...will feel like it was all for nothing. The Craps will not be some easy cake walk and honestly I would not be surprised if we didn't win, I'm just being real. I hope I am dead wrong, I hope we skate away with a win on Opening Night. It will sure as hell make for a great weekend.
See you Friday night!
Oh, wait, yeah... the new third jerseys. Ok, well, I was not very impressed. I like it but I don't. The numbers on the front... Not sure who designed these, but man, someone needs to go back to design school. The numbers on the front suck. I'd much rather see the old batman logo back on the jerseys or some sorta new logo... but no, they stuck numbers in front. WTF? Other than the numbers issue, I did like the rest of the design.
Ok, that's it for now. Thrashers Thrashings is Back!