Friday, March 23, 2007

3/22 sharks 5, ATLANTA 1

WHATTT? YEAH!!! OKAAAYY! (Gratuitous Lil' Jon references[rapper from Atlanta with long dreadlocks, one of the mainstream "Crunk" Rappers] for being in Atlanta)

The Thrashers had a 7 game home winning streak coming into last night, but I don't think the Sharks much cared. Jonathan Cheechoo recorded a hat trick, his second of the year, to lead the way for the Sharks, winners of 8 of their last 10. Joe Thornton also showed little signs of fatigue (from playing the previous night in Chicago), tallying 3 assists for the Teal. Vesa Toskala made 18 saves for his 26th win of the season.

Strangely enough, those words I listed up top (in all their Crunk glory but relative broadness in nature) can accurately describe parts of the game, so, bear with me as I integrate these words into this post. In chronological order:

Pascal Dupuis got the game going for the Thrashers a few minutes in, (WHATTT??) taking a nice one-timer (quick shot that is timed and shot upon recieving) from Bobby Holik to beat Toskala. Later in the 1st, the Thrashers appeared to clear the puck from the defensive zone ever so slightly (easy to tell in super slo-mo), but the linesman, who only had the assistance of quick current time, wasn't able to see that, and the play went on, resulting in a Cheechoo one-timer from Thornton tie the game at 1, albeit controversially (WHATTT??, YEAH!!!) [28] (Thornton, Milan Michalek). Milan Michalek gave the Sharks the lead with just under a minute to play in the 1st [23] (Jonathan Cheechoo, Thornton). Cheechoo struck again midway through the 2nd, when he crashed the net on a Thornton shot, only to have the rebound bounce off his skate (WHATTT?? OKAAAYY!) [29] (Thornton, Milan Michalek). Bill Guerin made it 4-1 a couple minutes later when he found himself with the puck with just Lehtonen to beat, and beat him he did, with a nice deke (YEAH!!!) [34] (Mark Bell, Patrick Marleau). Cheechoo completed the hat trick on another one timer, this one from defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, who, upon gathering the rebound from the initial shot by Thornton, dished it off to #14 who wristed it past back up goaltender (and former Shark) Johan Hedberg (Lehtonen was pulled after the 4th Sharks goal) (YEAH!!!, OKAAAYY!) [30] (Ehrhoff). Much to the dismay of the hometown Thrasher fans, the 3rd was entertaining, but unfortunately scoreless, and the game ended 5-1. The final Crunk-speak of the game came after the game, when the 3 Stars were announced, and despite Cheechoo getting the 1st Star and Thornton the 2nd Star, the 3rd Star was strangely given to Pascal Dupuis (WHATTT??)

Thrasher Heads that spit fire, the P.A. guy announcing offsides, handpasses, icings and all other minor infractions (not penalties), and waaaay too much powder blue at a hockey game? Just another night in Blueland, the self-named home of the Atlanta Thrashers. Blueland makes it's home in a very nice arena called the Philips Arena adjacent to the CNN building in downtown Atlanta. Famous for the structural spelling of the city name (ATLANTA in fake beam looking things is very cool actually), the Philips Arena is a very one of a kind building. The main entrance to Philips is at the end of the CNN building atrium, a food court that is a very popular hangout for Thrasher fans before the doors open.

Once inside, the originality continues. Food in the Philips Arena is for sale everywhere, however, if you go to the right once entering the arena, you will find a food court with tons of different places and menu items, and plenty of tables to eat said menu items at. To get upstairs, one must go up the grand staircase, a set of stairs and an escalator to take you to the middle level of the building, where there are video games and other interactive stuff, like an inflatable shoot the puck thing. There are two escalators to take you up to the upper level of the arena, which seem to be the only way to get to the upper level of seating.

The seating area is also very unique, as the whole side of the arena behind the penalty boxes are club seating downstairs and 3 levels of luxury boxes above the lower level. It is why the arena is set up like it is, with the main entrance and upper level entrance across from from the luxury seating as it is. The concourses are also effected, as neither the upper or lower concourses are complete circuits, making it harder to walk around the arena, since the arena is not round. However, it is pretty easy to get to your seat, as each entrance from the concourses are marked with large signs, and each entrance is given a different portal number. Tickets have corresponding portal numbers, for the best way to get to one's seat. The concourses are very different from one another, as the lower concourse is stupid wide, while the upper concourse is wicked small.

The Philips Arena is a nice place, with a moderately loud goal horn, for those that aren't tucked away in the dark like I was. For the best seat upstairs, sit on the side, where you aren't behind one of two full endzone length video boards. The building could be worse as it is very nice, but it's not the Tank (maybe slightly biased). I would visit this building again gladly, as I now know a better place to sit.

The Sharks wrap up this roadie, and play their last road game out of the Pacific Division tomorrow night when they take on the defending Stanley Cup Champion Carolina Hurricanes (4:00 pacific). Relocated from Hartford, CT in 1997, the Hurricanes enjoyed recent success with their first Stanely Cup Championship last year over the Edmonton Oilers 4-3. This year has not been so rosy for the Hurricanes, as they currently sit in 8th place in the East, battling just to make the post season this year. The Sharks look to get one step closer to clinching a playoff spot, and keeping their great streak going. Get ready for some HNInC (Hockey Night in North Carolina).

Go Sharks (the Thrashers got Crunked)

Edited to include games through 3/23

Magic Number - 3 points
Next Avalanche game: 3/25 Colorado @ Vancouver

Guess what city this is in? Go ahead, take a wild guess.

The Georgia brown thrasher, encased in frozen H2O.

A full view of the Philips Arena. Suites to the left, peons to the right.

Giant fire-spitting thrasher heads. Scary stuff.


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