ATLANTA -- The big game is still a week away, but at least we get some All-Star hockey.
Just listened to the Hives, a band from Sweden who sound pretty good despite their sound being a little distorted. Going to ask Magnum about these cats. Might have to check them out on iTunes as well.
I missed the Old 97s the other night, Usher too. All told, the music scene here in Atlanta has been pretty good. So has been the food and hospitality. All in all, a good All-Star Game experience for this guy.
And the in-house guy keeps dropping that the game is in Blueland. I wish they'd give that one a rest.
-- I'm sure I've written this before since we're in Atlanta every other week, but did you know Ted Turner has his own banner hanging from the rafters here? Actually, Ted's fingerprints are on just about every thing in this town. It's deserved. The Widespread Panic banner touting 17 sellouts? Not so much.
-- I also like Ted's Montana Grill. And TBS. Don't like the Braves.
-- Sign of the Times: Shaq and D-Wade are no longer the poster boys of the NBA All-Star Game. The large TNT billboard outside Philips touts LeBron, Kobe and Nash.
-- And congrats to the Heaters for finally snapping their losing streak last night. Was getting worried about them surpassing the 1988 losing streak to start the franchise.
-- Tomas Vokoun got a mixed response when introduced to the crowd. Hey, it's Blueland after all.
-- Still quite a few empty seats in the building....just saying...
-- Sounds like there are quite a few Wings fans in the house. They're getting a lot of love. Have also seen a lot of Calgary sweaters around town and in the hotel. They love their hockey in Keenantown...
-- The Wings contingency came to ATL in style. Parked at the Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson Chik-Fil-A Coke Zero Ted Turner Peachtree Ilya Kovalchuk International Airport was the Detroit Red Wings/Tigers jet. Not as nice as Air Huizenga, but pretty cool.
-- Luke D from Raleigh just asked me where Pavel Bure was. The Rocket was actually featured in a segment on Alex Ovechkin that played on the big screen before the game...
-- Tomas Vokoun now in for the East...has made a couple saves, almost gave up a goal as he misplayed a puck (remember Thursday?) and then made a kick save while getting back into the crease. East still leads 5-1.
-- T-Vo gives up a goal to Rick Nash, then makes a great save on Marian Gaborik while laying on his stomach. Afterward, Vokoun and Gabby trade high-fives. It was a nice save.
-- Calgary mascot Harvey the Hound is wearing a Flames jersey today. An ATLANTA Flames jersey. Very cool.
-- T-Vo has faced 18 shots this period. He must be thinking "what, is this a Panthers game?"
-- The second is coming to a close, the East still leading...
-- Did you know the Atlanta Hawks were once the St. Louis Hawks? Good for you if you did. No prizes today.
-- Ilya Kovalchuk picked up a loose puck and was off the races in the final seconds...got off a great shot, but a spectacular save by Evgeni Nabokov keeps the East off the board. Great buzz in the building for that. That's what the All-Star Game is all about. Anywho, 5-3 East as we head into the second break.
-- Ne-Yo performing on the ice now, backed by a 50-plus member marching band. Ever see a band high-step it on a hockey rink? I have now. Pretty good sound, even better visual.
-- Props to the NHL for realizing the mid-week All-Star experiment last year in Dallas was a big mistake. A lot more buzz surrounding this game for sure.
I'm already excited about next year's All-Star affair in Montreal. The Habs are celebrating 100 years of hockey next season and it's going to be quite the celebration.
-- Don't forget, the Panthers get back at it on Wednesday, playing host to Buffalo at the Big Bank. The team returns to practice tomorrow, might be nice to get the kids at school and head over. It's a late start, 3 p.m., so plenty of time to get over there. As always, it's free admission at Incredible Ice. Bring something to get autographs. The guys are pretty accommodating. Don't expect Vokoun to be out there though. I think he gets tomorrow off.