Long flights worth it;Game, baby’s birth a continent apart; Hainsey made both.

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Two thousand miles couldn’t keep Ron Hainsey

from the birth of his child.

Another two thousand miles couldn’t keep him from a hockey

game.

The

Thrashers’ defenseman flew from Los

Angeles to Atlanta — and back — in a span of 33 1/2 hours.

He arrived in Atlanta in time for his daughter to be born

Thursday.

He arrived in Anaheim for the

Thrashers’ game against the Ducks on

Friday.

“I was always going to try to do it all,” Hainsey said Friday

after the

Thrashers’ 5-4 victory. The birth

“wasn’t supposed to be this week, obviously. . . . It worked out

where I could get back. I was there for all of it and for quite a

few hours after. I was able to get back.”

Alexa Marie, a 6-pound, 6-ounce baby girl, was born to Hainsey

and his wife, Hayley, but not before an early morning phone call

and some hastily made travel arrangements. With the

Thrashers on a six-day, three-game

West Coast road trip, Hainsey’s phone rang at 2:30 a.m. while the

team was in Los Angeles.

He booked and caught a 7 a.m. flight to Atlanta and was at the

hospital by 4 p.m., just as Hayley’s mother arrived. Her father

already was staying with the couple in case of such an emergency.

Alexa Marie, their first child, was born around 11:30 p.m., and

Hainsey stayed at the hospital until 3 a.m.

A brief stop at home, another plane reservation and he was back

in the air at 7 a.m. Upon arriving in California, Hainsey caught up

with the team at 4:30 p.m. Hours later he was playing an NHL game.

He missed only a bus trip from Los Angeles to Anaheim and two

practices. All along he was in contact with general manager Rick

Dudley and coach Craig Ramsay.

Do you get extra frequent-flier miles for logging the 4,354

miles in less than two days?

Hainsey said he slept on the plane with the help of a neck

pillow and fared just fine in the game.

“I’ve felt worse before,” Hainsey said after playing 14:32 in 22

shifts. “I was pretty wired” Friday.

Hainsey deflected the notion that it would have been acceptable

not to rush back. Knowing that defenseman Zach Bogosian was

battling a shoulder injury, he wanted to rejoin the team as

planned.

“He was intent on getting back and trying to play,” Ramsay said.

“He showed a lot of courage.”

Ramsay also knew that the impending birth was weighing on his

defenseman’s mind through the early-season schedule.

“You are a hockey player, you just go play, but there is no

question that having that in the back of your mind you are

concerned with your wife and expected child,” Ramsay said.

“There is no question. I’ve been through four of them myself.

It’s awkward and it does occupy your thoughts.”

With Hayley’s parents on duty, Hainsey traveled with the team to

San Jose for Saturday’s game against the Sharks. The team is

scheduled to return to Atlanta today. The

Thrashers don’t play until a home

game against Buffalo on Wednesday.

“She is in good hands for the next 48 hours or so,” Hainsey

said. “It was quite the day. . . . It’s very exciting. It’s quite

the experience in that room. Nothing really prepares you for

it.”