Atlanta Thrashers Face Off Event
October 1, 2009


On the Thursday before the home opener, they held an annual event they call the "Face Off Event." It's basically a big thing for season ticket holders to have access to the players for autographs. They've got a few other things going on too, like a silent auction and used equipment sale. They also fed us, which was nice. They had the players broken up into five different tables. We brought along our jersey to finish getting it signed. We only needed five or six autographs, but wouldn't you know it - they were all at different tables.

We're a little peeved about not getting to Table A in time. Table A was where Kovalchuk was, so it was by far the most popular table. We went through all of the other lines first, waiting on that line to die down some. We had about 10 minutes left, so we headed over there. We were on the arena floor, and tried to go up the stairs right next to the table to get in line, but no, the security person sent us all the way up and around the other aisle. So after climbing up stairs, running across the section, and going back down the stairs, we got stopped by another security person saying the line was closed. We told him that the lady at the bottom said we still had 10 minutes. He was sorry, but he couldn't let us in, cause then he'd have to let in these other people, blah, blah, blah. It was complete crap. I'm sure the players wouldn't have minded one more autograph. But whatever. We'll chase them down at practice sometime, I guess.

The itinerary for the evening, along with the break down of who was at what table.

The players for the 2009 - 2010 season. We were already in Line D when they announced them, so we could only photograph them from behind.

Kaptain Kovalchuk was handed the microphone and said very little.

This was my way of photographing the team from the front. :)

After all were announced, they returned to the locker room and were brought back out in groups. Table E came out first.

Table A was next. Boulton gives Thrash some dap.

Table C was next.

Then, the table we were in line for, Table D. I was so excited to see Kari!

Kari had back surgery over the summer and is still recovering. He had a bit of a limp to his step still. I hope he's back in the game soon!

Here he is, along with Bogosian.

I didn't get any pictures of Table B coming out, because I was distracted. This happens all the time, it seems.

Kubina and Peverley examine the challenge ahead of them.

Some of the line over at Kovy's table.

Hedberg was at Table E. No surprise that a later examination of the film shows Virginia in line. :)

The closest we ever got to Kovy. Butt nugget security guards.

Hahahaha! Nice. Is this the year?

Jim Slater.

Rich Peverley signs a tiny jersey.

Pavel Kubina.

Kari Lehtonen.

Zach Bogosian.

Some very kind people gave me a poster for autographs since I didn't have anything. Slater was the first to sign it, so I said, "Look! It's a blank SLATE!" He laughed and made fun of my cheesiness. We high fived. It was awesome.

The boys of Table D, minus Slater, who was off to my left. Kubina, Peverley, Lehtonen, and Bogosian.

Tables make pictures awkward. But it's a good picture of Kari.

Just as we were departing, Dan Kamal came over to interview Bogosian.

On to Table C! This is Bryan Little.

Ondrej Pavelec.

Ron Hainsey. He looks like he's mid-belch.

Todd White. He's like, "Dang, man. That was a good one."

Hainsey and White.

Ondrej Pavelec and Tobias Enstrom.

Cute little Toby.

Pavelec didn't smile at me like this. I think I scared him.

The boys of Table C. Tobias Enstrom, Ondrej Pavelec, Bryan Little, Todd White, and Ron Hainsey.

Now I'm over in Line E, looking longingly at Table A. There's still a ton of peeps over there.

But there's good stuff here too, like Johan "Moose" Hedberg.

Some of the coaching staff mingled with the fans on the arena floor. They're the guys in suits in the middle.

Another shot of Table A, that included Chris Thorburn, Eric Boulton, Ilya Kovalchuk, and Marty Reasoner.

Armstrong harassed Kane the entire time they interviewed him.

Back to the table at hand. This is Nik Antropov.

Josh Gratton.

Boris Valabik.

My amazing photographic timing strikes again! This is Mark Popovic and Johan Hedberg.

Someone brought the entire family's jerseys to the event.

Looking back over at Table D.

Antropov meets the fans.

The boys of Table E, minus Hedberg. Guess he was hiding behind Popovic.

This guy had a fun idea. It's trading cards inside a glass. Antropov asked, "Is that for cognac?" Too bad it wasn't mine - I would have said, "Yep, the doctor said I could only have one." That may have earned me another high five.

Next was Table B.

Vyacheslav (Slava) Kozlov, Maxim Afinogenov, Evander Kane, Colby Armstrong, and Anssi Salmela.

Another shot of the boys at Table B.

Kozlov and Afinogenov were constantly chatting away. In Russian.

Afinogenov is like, "What did you say about my mama?"

Travis moves the jersey down to Salmela, who I've decided looks like your standard issue punk kid.

After the butt nugget security guards blocked us from Table A, the players began exiting to the locker rooms. This is Hainsey.

Boulton and Thorburn were still at the table. We could have gotten to see them, but noooo....

Kovy stopped for lots of fan photos on his way to the locker rooms.

Boulton and Reasoner make their way to the locker rooms as well.

Reasoner wasted no time getting out of dodge.

At this point, I decided, "Screw it all! We're going to the floor! Butt nuggets be damned!" Hainsey re-emerged in his civilian clothes.

Missing a good hockey fight, Boulton punches an unsuspecting fan. (It was friendly, people!)

Don Waddell, Thrashers General Manager, likely answering one of the same 10 questions.

The reason I went back to the arena floor. Table D (and therefore Kari) was yet to escape!

Yay! I got my picture taken with Kari! He's so much taller than me! Oh my god! Hahaha!

The results of the evening's adventures. The jersey is now complete.

The poster, on the other hand, is not. I'm missing the guys from Table A. But I won't give up that easily! I'll be back!