1. Ilya Kovalchuk for some creativity in the trick shot contest. He dropped to his knees and managed to get a good shot off. It's not the ideal way to release a puck, but it did have the element of surprise.
2. The amount of media that showed up. There had to be at least 200 media members there, from a wide variety of outlets.
3. Penguins mascot Iceburgh, for showing how a red carpet walk should be done. He worked the crowd the best I've ever seen.
4. Atlantans for their part in the event. I couldn't walk 10 steps without seeing someone I knew, especially behind the scenes, and everyone had a role in making the event a success. I met up with Gladiators team photographer Dale Zanine shooting the red carpet walk for example, and Jason from the Gladiators locker room working the Eastern Conference room. I may have some photos of the red carpet later, by the way. I had a good angle from a photo pen, but had someone else's camera for it, so I need to get the photos from them. I got Enstrom to stop and pose, so hopefully I'll get that shot soon.
1. The AJC for its coverage. Leaving aside the puzzling negativity surrounding a series of sold-out events and the constant mistakes on the website, it's astounding how they continually manage to do so little with so much staff. They had five spots in the press box, but I know of two items regarding the Thrashers that they should have mentioned this weekend but didn't. Beat reporter Craig Custance generally does a good job, but there's not much good to say about his employer. (Interesting side note on back-up Carroll Rogers -- her first foray into hockey was when the Gwinnett Gladiators went to Alaska for the ECHL finals in 2006. Six-foot-nine defenseman now turned basketball player Lane Manson spent a while teaching her about the game on that trip.)
2. Jeers to the selection of Scott Mellanby as a judge for the trick shot competition. A career garbage goal scorer who burned bridges with the Thrashers after retiring, that one was a head-scratcher.
3. General disorganization at the skills competition. The lack of recording of times for the fastest skaters is really inexcusable.
4. NHL.com for monopolizing some of the players during media availability. You would think that the league would arrange times for them to talk, and allow other outlets a chance.
5. The weather. It was a chilly weekend in Hotlanta, which put a damper on things, especially the red carpet walk.