Thursday, January 29, 2009

You won't break a sweat

Now that he's got into a rhythm in his new assignment, Moody, Hound Central 4.0's roving Southeast correspondent, reports that he was finally able to visit Atlanta IceForum, the Atlanta Thrashers practice facility, above, in Duluth, Ga.

"Man alive," he writes, "they made it too easy."

Players are accessible inside and outside the arena. In fact, most of the cards Moody snagged -- and there's a bunch of them -- were scored inside the barn. The best place to hang out outside is this corner of the parking lot.

Also, former NHLer Yan Kaminsky is the rink's youth hockey director.

Dress warmly, too. Moody says the IceForum is colder than any arena he's visited, including some in Alaska during the winter.

Crowds should be expected. On the day Moody attended, there were about 20 people out by the end of practice.

Beyond missing out on Thrashers stars Ilya Kovalchuk and Bryan Little, both of whom were in Montreal for All Star weekend festivities, Moody had a pretty good day, adding more than three dozen autographs and having an adventure with goalie Kari Lehtonen.

Though Lehtonen signed four cards, Moody said he initially made, as he put it, "a royal hounding NO NO." When the goalie came over to sign, Moody didn't realize his card book was open to the wrong page until Lehtonen pointed it out. A step back and a flip of the page put him back into position, albeit a bit red-faced.

"I really felt like my homework was incomplete, but it was only a matter of a page flip," Moody writes. "So I will redeem myself next time. "

To be honest, I think he's being a bit hard upon himself. You shake it off, learn the lesson and wait for the next player.

Beyond Moody's "misadventure" with Lehtonen, here's his breakdown:

Top row: John Anderson, Erik Christensen, Niclas Havelid and Garnet Exelby
Middle row: Kari Lehtonen, Slava Kozlov, Johan Hedberg and Tobias Enstrom
Bottom row: Hedberg, Exelby and Zach Bogosian

Top row: Marty Reasoner, Chris Thorburn, Matheiu Schneider, Boris Valabik and Todd White
Bottom row: Colby Armstrong, Zach Bogosian and Todd White.

The neatest item Moody got signed was this program from the 1998 International Hockey League's All Star Game in Orlando, drawing comments from Anderson and White.

Beyond complimenting Moody on his knowledge, White told him that it may be the only All Star game that he and Tampa Bay's Marty St. Louis appear together.

Anderson was surprised to see the program and asked who else, besides St. Louis, had signed it.

Pucks came from rookie defenseman Zach Bogosian, left, and veteran defenseman Mathieu Schneider.

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