Last night was opening night at Philips Arena here in Atlanta; Blueland, after a pretty bad preseason, was packed with rabid hockey fans and non-hockey fans who happened to get tickets from their bosses. It was a grand spectacle, but a little like trying to ride a bike after letting the two-wheeler collect dust in the garage for a good while. Following the action was, at times, an ADD nightmare. Remember the names and numbers of new and returning Thrashers unfitting for my neatly designed mind. The distraction of my fellow fans, so eager to spew out the hockey trivia they had been hoarding all summer, was annoying.
I would not have it any other way (save, perhaps, in Montreal with a big beer and a full plate of poutine).
The Thrashers performed beautifully, as a team now and not as assistants to a big name burdened with the weight of a city full of hockey fans. They worked the way they were supposed to work; supporting each other, making plays for the better of the team and not for the sake of statisticians.
It was a sweet, sweet victory and an interesting turn: in the last home game of the previous season the Thrashers shut out the previous years Stanley Cup winners, the Pittsburgh Penguins. Season opener we beat the best team in the Eastern Conference. The sad truth is that a night later the Thrashers would lose to Tampa Bay (who are having a great start…but still…)