Atlanta Thrashers Vs. San Jose Sharks
October 24, 2009


Prior to this game, the Thrashers held a "Rookie Camp" for us first time season ticket holders. We heard from Don Waddell and got to ask him a few questions. We also learned about how to use our online account and about other STH perks, and got a short tour of Philips Arena. Lastly, we were given access to one of the Party Suites, where we were given food and drinks throughout the game, if we so chose. We were joined for a while by our injured defenseman, Boris Valabik, who kindly signed autographs and took pictures.

The big topics during our meeting with Waddell were about the general direction of the team, contract talks with Kovalchuk, and the status of Kari Lehtonen. Waddell pointed out that this team is the closest of all of the Thrashers teams he's seen, and you can really see it on the ice. He pointed out some of the good moves we made in the off season and how some of the players are developing in the right direction. One of those players is Evander Kane, who Waddell said without a doubt is staying in the NHL and not being sent back to the juniors.

He said that talks with Kovalchuk and his agent were going well. Kovy wants to get more of the season done to get a feeling for where the team is heading. In short, Kovy has a lot of passion for the game, and wants to win. He also wants to win with Atlanta, since we're the team that drafted him, and he really enjoys living here. He's also proud to be our captain and takes the honor very seriously. Money won't be an issue when it comes down to the wire. It's really whether or not we can win, and win big.

Then, the topic of my biggest concern, Kari Lehtonen. It's no secret that I'm a big fan of his, so I'm on pins and needles about his status and when and how he's coming back. Waddell was very blunt about Kari and seemed to be rather done with it all. He really seemed to be tired of the drama surrounding Kari and his pattern of injuries. Kari had back surgery done in late July and was supposed to be back in the game in six to eight weeks. We've obviously gone past that time frame now. Waddell said that Kari was coming along very slowly. Another person in the crowd asked something like, "If Pavelec can continue to play as well as he's been playing, when Kari is healthy, will he have a place on this team?" Waddell said, rather quickly, "No. Absolutely not. He will have to earn a spot on this team." This has left me very concerned about his future with our organization. I adore him, so I'm almost exhausted waiting to find out what's going to happen.

We watched the warm-ups from the Party Suite, then went down to our seats to join our friends Mike and Judy, who had already arrived. Just like the previous game, the other team got a good start from the beginning, our starting goalie was pulled, and we had to rally back from behind. Yet again, we didn't quite make it, but it certainly wasn't for lack of trying. This team definitely has some drive, and San Jose just got lucky.

The program cover featured Ondrej Pavelec, who has been playing rather well lately.

This is Boris Valabik, signing pucks for the season ticket holders. I was very impressed by how well he spoke English.

This is the view from the Party Suite. It was nice for the catering and what not, but I definitely prefer our seats.

General warm-up action.

The boys line up to take few shots on the goal.


Me with Boris. He's the tallest guy on the team, at 6'7". I'm probably the shortest adult fan, at 5'0".

Warm-ups continue down below.

Lots of fans were stacked up to watch the action.

The Thrashers hosted numerous female hockey players for tonight's game. As each player was announced, one of the girls that played the same position was announced as well.

Goalies. Awesome.

Gotta get that first face-off.

Todd White breaks into the zone.

Tobias Enstrom is up-ended.

I couldn't see what happened, because it was right up against the boards in front of us, but Eric Boulton was sent to the Sin Bin.

Kovy is ready for the pass.

Sometimes it's the fans, and not the players, that make these pictures.

Afinogenov, actually using his stick, and not his feet, for a change.

Moose pounces the puck and Malhotra goes for a wild ride.

Moose always flips the puck in his glove when he makes a save. If you look closely, you can see the puck in mid-flip here.

A check is thrown on Dany Heatley.

Armstrong heads toward the goal.

"Hi yah!"

Moose crawled around on his knees for a minute. It scared me half to death. A replay showed that he was just struck in a, ahem, rather sensitive area. Poor little fella.

Angry hockey players meet angry fan mob.

Moose and Pavs talk about stuff.

Second period starts and Pavelec is left unattended with a goalie groupie nearby. (That'd be me.)

Replays show that the Sharks may have scored another goal, but the net was knocked off the moorings, so it didn't count.

Heatley tries to work one in on Moose.

Moose lets in a fourth goal, and is quite upset with himself.

Pavelec is called into action. As Moose did during the previous game, Pavs played flawlessly.

Here is the Moose, heading down the tunnel.

Evgeni Nabokov and a headless hockey player.

Bogosian clears the zone.

Nabby pounces on the puck with his feet in the air.

Dany Heatley was sent to the box for a few. He felt shame.

During the second intermission, the hockey girls did some shootout type shots.

Overall, they were very impressive.

Christine, a member of the Blue Crew, coaches youth hockey. Here, they are trying to act like she doesn't know what she's doing.

But she soon proves that she does know what she's doing. She scored! Go Christine!

More of the Blue Crew in action.

They move the nets around as the Zamboni smoothes the ice.

Getting ready for the third period.

This is our third period goal by Evander Kane that made it 4-3. Unfortunately, we didn't manage any more.

The Armenian Fans of Zach Bogosian.

Armstrong went down for a few moments, but eventually sucked it up and got back in the action.

Great. Thrash now has an even bigger drum.

Afinogenov pushes for the net.

Thrash gets some assistance from a young fan.

I love the flaming bird heads.

The final score and the three stars for the night.

A picture of the puck we had signed by Boris Valabik. The "Rookie Season" is referring to us, as rookie season ticket holders.