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Bear Essentials On the Road: Atlanta, GA

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
The Bear Essentials On The Road: Atlanta, Georgia (Philips Arena)

Good morning my friends. As you can see, this will be a bit of a work in progress this morning. I had to wake up a little early to run an errand and saw the city slowly spring to life. But I am a full-time reporter today, and I hope I can continue to provide some fun info for the Hub of Hockey. Atlanta is treating my just fine, thus far, and besides having to buy a jacket, Southern Hospitality is everything it is cracked up to be! JB

Where are we going?
We are in Atlanta for the 2008 NHL All-Star Weekend. proclaims, "Visit Georgia, and it’s impossible to miss the rich culture that’s so prominent throughout the state. Our history is woven in a tapestry of bold ideas, timeless icons and unrestrained spirit. From the battlefields of the Civil War to the center of the Civil Rights Movement, Georgia has been making history.

"There’s a certain pride within Georgia that makes this state unique. Since it was founded in 1733, Georgians have cultivated their own state identity filled with history, commerce, music and art. Walk through our streets and be inspired by the stories and legends that blow from the sweet pines of the Georgia Mountains to the warm coastal sands of the Atlantic.

"When you visit Georgia, it’s easy to see why so many choose to stay. With a comfortable climate, high quality of living, thriving business community and the rich culture that this state was founded upon, living in Georgia is easy and rewarding."

Okay I can see that.

As for the city, says, "Atlanta was founded in 1837 as the end of the Western & Atlantic railroad line (it was first named Marthasville in honor of the then-governor's daughter, nicknamed Terminus for its rail location, and then changed soon after to Atlanta, the feminine of Atlantic -- as in the railroad).  Today the fast-growing city remains a transportation hub, not just for the country but also for the world: Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport is one of the nation's busiest in daily passenger flights.  Direct flights to Europe, South America, and Asia have made metro Atlanta easily accessible to the more than 1,000 international businesses that operate here and the more than 50 countries that have representation in the city through consulates, trade offices, and chambers of commerce.  The city has emerged as a banking center and is the world headquarters for 13 Fortune 500 companies.

Atlanta is the Capital city of the southeast, a city of the future with strong ties to its past.  The old in new Atlanta is the soul of the city, the heritage that enhances the quality of life in a contemporary city.  In the turbulent 60's, Atlanta was "the city too busy to hate."  And today, in the 21st Century, Atlanta is the "city not too busy to care".

From my standpoint, Atlanta is a very pretty spot, with lots of skyscrapers and modern buildings, friendly people and, of course, hockey.

Who are we playing?

2008 YoungStars Roster
 West Defense     East Defense
 Alexander Edler  Tobias Enstrom 
 Erik Johnson     Kris Letang 
 Jack Johnson     Mike Lundin 
 Matt Niskanen    Marc Staal 
 West Forwards    East Forwards
 Sam Gagner       Nicklas Backstrom 
 Patrick Kane     Brandon Dubinsky 
 Peter Mueller    * David Clarkson 
 David Perron     Milan Lucic 

* Replaced Tyler Kennedy

2008 Eastern Conference All-Stars

Defense                   Forwards
 * Andrei Markov      * Vincent Lecavalier 
 * Zdeno Chara       * Daniel Alfredsson 
 Brian Campbell     Scott Gomez  
 Sergei Gonchar     x Evgeni Malkin 
 Tomas Kaberle      ** Marc Savard
 Kimmo Timonen    Marian Hossa 
                                   Ilya Kovalchuk 
 Goalies                    Alex Ovechkin 
 ^ Tim Thomas        Mike Richards 
 Rick DiPietro          Jason Spezza 
 Tomas Vokoun      Eric Staal 
                                  Martin St. Louis 

* Named starter by fan vote
** Replaced Dany Heatley (unable to play due to injury)
x Replaced Sidney Crosby (unable to play due to injury)
^ Replaced Martin Brodeur

2008 Western Conference All-Stars

Defense                       Forwards
 * Nicklas Lidstrom    * Jarome Iginla 
 * Dion Phaneuf          * Pavel Datsyuk 
 Ed Jovanovski            ** Mike Ribeiro 
 Duncan Keith             Jason Arnott 
 Chris Pronger            Marian Gaborik 
 ^ Scott Niedermayer  Ryan Getzlaf 
                                       Shawn Horcoff 
 Goalies                        Anze Kopitar 
 Manny Legace            Rick Nash 
 Evgeni Nabokov         Henrik Sedin 
 Chris Osgood             x Corey Perry 
                      Joe Thornton 

* Named starter by fan vote
** Replaced Henrik Zetterberg
^ Replaced Sergei Zubov
x Replaced Paul Stastny

Where are we playing?
Philips Arena. A little history from The site says, "Philips Arena has consistently ranked among the top-10 concert and event arenas in North America since opening in 1999, finishing fourth in the 2004 Billboard magazine rankings for gross ticket sales. Also in 2004, the venue was named a 'Prime Site' by Facilities Magazine, an honor awarded by industry peers.

"Philips Arena, named for founding partner Philips Electronics and home of the NHL's Atlanta Thrashers, NBA's Atlanta Hawks and AFL's Georgia Force, has hosted many of the top tours and events of 2005 including: U2, Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Kenny Chesney (three sold-out shows), Kanye West, Disney on Ice, Neil Diamond, Nine Inch Nails, Usher's Project Restart, Elton John, Coldplay, Scream IV Tour, Sesame Street Live, Joel Osteen, Green Day, Toby Keith, MegaFest 2005, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Summer Rehab Games, Destiny's Child, Tony Hawk's Boom Boom HuckJam, Reba McEntire, Harlem Globetrotters, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Josh Groban, boxing with Laila Ali and Champions on Ice.

The operating rights to Philips Arena are owned by Atlanta Spirit, LLC, which also owns the Atlanta Hawks and Atlanta Thrashers."

My take: A pretty nice building.

When are we playing?
Saturday night the skills competition and the YoungStars game takes place from 7-9 p.m. The NHL All-Star Game will be played on Sunday night at 6 a.m.

Who is playing?
Milan Lucic will play in the YoungStars game, while Zdeno Chara, Marc Savard and Tim Thomas should all make appearances in the skills competition and All-Star game.
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