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Bear Essentials: All-Star Sunday

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
John Bishop is the beat writer for He covers the Black & Gold hoping to offer a positive look at the team, not only from the stands and the press box, but also from inside the locker room. A graduate of Boston U. and Northeastern, 'Bish' grew up in Connecticut and moved to the Hub of Hockey in 1993. Since then he has made all four rinks at the Beanpot schools, as well as both Gardens, his icebound homes away from home. Prior to joining the TD Banknorth Garden staff in 2005, Bishop had written for several publications, with his primary focus being college hockey. He coauthored the book Bygone Boston in 2003 and hopes someday to pen a bio of Hobey Baker.
Read about All-Star Saturday, here...

7:16 a.m.

It's early and I am waiting for the world to wake up so I can grab some brekkie.

So I am just sittin' here thinking about some of the funniest things I saw yesterday.

The first thing that comes to mind was Marc Savard's face when, as he greeted his three kids in the Thrashers locker room after the Skills Competition, one of his sons yelled, "We can go on the ice!"

"No we can't," said Marc, with at least a little bit of panic as his two boys ran towards the rink.

"We already did," was the answer as a pair of blonde heads wearing Savard jerseys bolted out the door.

"Wait for me!" yelled Savvy as he and his daughter sprinted after the boys, who are the spitting image of their dad.

Another funny moment was just a bit earlier when Tim Thomas was explaining his "technique" for cross-ice goal scoring.

"Oh man, I never thought I would get booed in an all-star game," said Timmy, laughing.

"My game plan was to pretend that there was someone half way that I was passing to," continued Thomas. "But then I let go of the first one and I heard the boos and the game plan went out the window."

Tim was laughing the whole time as he explained what he was thinking to himself when his first offering went awry.

"Oh no, I look like an idiot -- just come close, within five feet, and don't hit the sign (along the side boards) again."

Milan Lucic had me in stitches when he described his move that led to his YoungStars goal.

"I kind of faked (the defenseman) out going left, but I went right," said Milan. "So I gave him the Kansas City shuffle, as they like to call it."

The Kansas City Shuffle?

But perhaps the funniest thing I heard was Zdeno Chara's deapan response to a question early on Saturday morning.

After responding to a number of questions about his build and basketball-like height Big Z was queried as to which event he would participate during the SuperSkills.

"The three-point competition," he said without even a hint of a smile.

All-in-all, it was a terrific day, and I really appreciate the four guys dealing with me following them around with a microphone. JB

11:37 a.m.
Brekkie was outstanding -- the Flying Biscuit. Outstanding

Next stop, the Coca Cola Museum. Yah, I am not sure what will be so interesting about pop, but hey, when in Rome. It should be fun.

Speaking of fun, Tim Thomas could not narrow the experience down when asked about what was the most fun part of the trip, thus far.

"It was a thrill just to be rubbing shoulders and getting to know some of these guys," said The Tank. "I don't know what my favorite (part of the day) was. I can't think of any one thing.

"I am just having fun.

"And I am always amazed at how nice and down-to-earth these guys are, because they are superstars, you know, so it's been lots of fun," he said.

12:29 p.m.
Speaking of superstars Zdeno Chara seems to fit that bill, doesn't he?

Speaking to last night's TV crew, however, it was clear that he felt as if the outcome was far from a sure thing

"It's not really easy," said Z. "(Especially) when you are waiting for your (event) it's just hard."

Chara broke down his approach, and said, "I just keep it simple...sometimes you just have to go in there and take a shot. Simple is sometimes the best option."

Sounds like a decent philosophy for most situations, doesn't it?

3:20 p.m.
This is a nice city. I've said it before, but I have to reiterate that everyone here seems very nice.

Today, I was able to see the non-hockey side of things and visited The World of Coca-Cola and the outstanding Georgia Aquarium.

The World of Coca-Cola was a surprisingly kid (of all ages) friendly museum/tour that literally introduces the visitor to the world that is Coca-Cola. From cartoon entertainment, to World War II memorabilia to works by Andy Warhol  and Norman Rockwell.

The best part, however, was a chance to taste test Coca-Cola products from around the world. Bibo from South Africa tasted like a pina-colada to me, and next to a Cherry Coke, was my favorite drink.

The Georgia Aquarium was astounding and that had nothing to do with the nice reception the NHL folks threw in one of the ball rooms (where they served, amongst other things, chilled Asian-style noodles and peach cobbler).

Most notably, the Georgia Aquarium boasts four Whale-Sharks -- plankton eating fish that can grow to be over 20-feet long.

Look for a photo gallery of my adventure in Georgia very soon.

4:35 p.m.
Just got lost looking for the Thrashers Pro Shop. It never fails. "Lost" should be the name of my blog. Keep your comments to yourself.

And, even better, as I sit here typing I am in frame of a camera filming an interview.

Self esteem plummeting..

6:03 p.m.
Sorry for the momentary lapse.

We're back at full Yaaaaaaaaaaah strength and I have moved into the auxiliary press box -- in the stands -- very cool seat. The press box is PACKED and it is not like the TD Banknorth Garden where there is a continuous press box around the entire top floor. So, I bailed.

The Hives are a strong baseball peg from third to first away from my position, but their speakers are pointing in the other direction so I might actually survive with my hearing intact.

The atmosphere is very good for a town that is not normally considered a hockey town. I think that they put on a pretty good show and the arena is gorgeous.

Why haven't I heard The Hives before? These guys are pretty good and they are actually singing, which is a nice bonus these days. Maybe I am misreading the band, but they just seem like an old school rock band.

The two teams just hit the ice and I think we are going to have the fire breathing intro of the starters. Zdeno Chara fits that bill.

6:14 p.m.
Both Timmy and Savvy were given nice rounds of applause. As did Z who raised his stick to the crowd.
6:22 p.m. The Atlanta fans startled the heck out of me when they screamed "Knights" in when the National Anthem hit the word night. Obviously, it is a reference to the Atlanta Knights of the IHL who patrolled this area for several years. A lone Dallas Stars fan did the same for the word star.

6:27 p.m.
Savvy's line just tied the game. Some nifty passing, from Savard started the play that Stahl finished.

6:46 p.m.
Alex Ovechkin is pretty good. I just wanted to put that out there.

7:10 p.m.
I am looking at the first period stats and they confirm what I thought I saw -- Ed Jovanovski threw a hit.

I wonder how scared GM's would be if the guys played basketball-type contact. The offense in the game is impressive (with six goals in the first), but a little work behind the net wouldn't hurt.

Jovo, on the other hand, stopped someone with an open ice check.

And frankly, it is just odd to not see Big Z clean someone out at least once a period.

Wilie O'Ree is being honored by the All-Stars as we speak. Jarome Iginla and Vincent Lecavalier just presented him with what looks like a crystal stick. A fitting ceremony for a very important man.

7:56 p.m.
A pretty nice game through two. But the third may be a little nerve wracking as Timmy may have to work some magic to keep the East in the lead -- the west is coming on strong!

8:17 p.m.
Timmy just made an amazing save that led to a goal.

8:34 p.m.
Savvy had an assist on the East's 7th goal, and Timmy is playing well.

8:40 p.m.
Big time goal for SAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAVY! East is in the lead...with 20-seconds to go. The house is rockin'.

9:25 p.m.
That was one of the biggest collections of media I have ever seen, and with all three Bruins in demand, I am a little behind.

Sufice it to say, everyone had a very good time and seemed very, very pleased with their weekend in Atlanta.

So, I am going to work on some other things on the site and will update this page in when I get back to the hotel.

12:42 p.m.
Not much of an update, but I added video to all of the front page stories.

But it's time for some rest. The airport calls in about six hours and tomorrow means back to practice! JB
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