Do The Thrashers Have Large Talons?

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Blogger Night in Review

First, I'd like to thank the Atlanta Thrashers organization and Ben Wright in particular for hosting Thrasher bloggers last evening. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and I feel that I gained some valuable knowledge about the team and the players from it. In my live blog entry I focused on the game, but in today's post I thought I would discuss some of the behind the scenes stuff we experienced that evening.

After we arrived at the arena we were given a tour of both the lower reaches of the building and the press area at the top building. I have attended the Meet the Team and Town hall Meeting events with Don Waddell in the past so I had already seen the players’ locker room and the Hawks practice court beneath the concourses. I was also one of those fortunate enough to win one of the Volvo leases last year and during that experience I was escorted around while I signed the necessary paperwork and then waited by the Zamboni entrance for the conclusion of the game.

It turned out that there were still several areas of Philips I had not yet visited. We had a chance to look at the exclusive bar that sits underneath the club seats. The bar is only open to people who have select club seats. I had heard about this location before and it is very nice looking, but a bit smaller than I expected. The bar area seated approximately 30-35 people and there were 3-4 large flat panel televisions above and behind the bar area. At either end of the bar were even more private rooms available for patrons.

When we rode the elevator upstairs a group got in our elevator on their way up to their box seats. All four of their party had their hands filled up with concessions. I didn't have the heart to tell him that most of the boxes have food provided inside them. Once we reached the top floor we walked through the massive press area, which has two levels. I asked them which team produces the largest press turnout and they said probably the Montreal Canadians because they have both French and English language media in that city. Last night I would estimate that press only used about 30% of the lower press row. It is very difficult to imagine the press box ever being filled unless this team reaches the Stanley Cup Finals (or perhaps at nest year's All-Star Game).

Also on that same floor are the GM's box, a box for the visiting GM, the radio and TV booths for both the home and road team, the official scoring folks, the video replay judge. One thing I found rather surprising is that most of these rooms have the door wide open. Strolling around you could see Kamal sitting in his chair or JP Delacamera preparing in the TV box. There is some security up there but I just assumed that they would keep the doors closed to prevent random noise from the hallway from reaching their mikes.

Ben Wright had warned us that we might miss the very end of the game because it takes time to travel from press row all the way to the basement for Hartley's post game press conference. However, once the game went to overtime we stayed to watch the conclusion and then made a hasty departure for the freight elevator. Inside the elevator were media folks such as Craig Custance of the AJC (who has been doing some good work since taking over the Thrashers beat), and Craig Cuthbert of NBC Sports who will be doing the play-by-play for Sunday's NBC broadcast. Cuthbert remarked about how exciting the Thrashers were to watch and that he was hoping for a good contest for NBC's broadcast.

Once we got down to the press conference area, I was amazed at how tiny the room is. There is a podium with nice team backdrop (which is what you see if you watch the press conferences on the Thrashers website). In front of the podium are about 10 chairs and then at an angle were another 8 chairs. They had us bloggers stand and sit in the angled chairs. We were also joined by one of the team owners and his friends and/or family. The reporters for the AJC, AP and local radio sat directly in front of the podium and Hartley strode to the podium. Hartley pauses looks over at us in the angled section and says "Wow, the second balcony today!" and then adds, "It is like church." Which I took to mean that is like church on a holiday when they open up the side sections to accommodate the larger turnout. Craig Custance asked 3-4 questions and Hartley gave his reply and then it was over just like that. If you watch it on the website you can hear everything that was said yourself.

After that we went to the players locker room which was deserted. Their hockey pants, shoulder pads and skates and gloves and helmets were there but no real live actual players. They explained to us that they were in the adjoining room where the showers and street clothes are located. Then a few players came out. Steve McCarthy was being interviewed by someone. Hossa went out in the hallway to talk to some (I'm guessing European press because they were not speaking English). Hnidy slipped up behind me to snap something out of his locker. Vigier came out briefly.

And that was it for the evening. It was an emotional game with the Hossa injury and then his return, the big lead and finally the OT winner. It was great to see some other aspects of the building and team. It was also nice to meet some fellow bloggers and put a face with a name.

3 Comments:

  • I think the Thrashers should trade ILYA while he still has market value. What is a blog anyway? Is where you just talk bullshit? I am not from this computer generation. I am a victim of the science age.

    By Anonymous David Lee, at 1:39 PM  

  • A "blog" is short for "web log". A blog is something like a public diary where a person can write about anything they like. Other people can read it, comment or just ignore it.

    By Blogger The Falconer, at 5:45 PM  

  • Good stuff, I enjoyed reading your blog. I'm suprised the press conference was brief, and the players change so fast...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:51 PM  

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