Hockey Bay hounds, myself included, learned a pretty good lesson in preparation Saturday when the Atlanta Thrashers came to town. Thinking that the team would fly in late on Christmas night, we were a bit surprised to learn, through a flight-tracking Web site, that the team flew in early Saturday and took a bus to the St. Pete Times Forum for its morning skate.
Watching the bus drive by answered plenty of our questions, then, as to why we didn't see the team's training and equipment staff, as well as the coaches, head out earlier than the players. In fact, the lack of a bus at the team's hotel was another sign that something was up.
Even seeing Thrashers captain Ilya Kovalchuk walk out by himself, being the only player to sign before the morning skate, raised questions. Apparently, he flew in on his own.
But, as you can see, we didn't miss out. After we added only two signatures (Colin's team sheet and a puck) in the morning, Hockey Bay hounds stepped up to help (I was at work) the Missus and Colin.
All told, they added another 36 items, including another six pucks, later in the day as the players headed out for the gametime bus:
Signing pucks, shown above, were:
Top row: Nikolai Antropov (who also signed a New York Rangers puck), Tobias Enstrom and Evander Kane; and
Bottom row: Ilya Kovalchuk, Vyacheslav Kozlov and Pavel Kubina.
Signing cards, shown below, were:
Top row: Maxim Afinogenov, Ron Hainsey and Johan Hedberg; and
Bottom row: Ondrej Pavelec, Rich Peverley and Christoph Schubert.
The other highlights from the day:
~ Colin snagging 15 signatures on his team sheet;
~ Ilya Kovalchuk adding to the Threads project; and
~ Moody's report from a family outing with the Thrashers.