Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Puckhound's new blog

C'mon now, did you really think I'd stop blogging about hockey and hounding? well, I haven't. If that disappoints you, well, oh, well. If it doesn't, feel free to check out The Hockey Life.

It'll be a little different that the Hound Centrals. A little less on hounding, but a lot more about living the hockey lifestyle.

With Colin embarking on another season of travel hockey, making the Tampa Bay Jr. Lightning Squirt A squad for the 2011-12 campaign, I'll share what it means to be a hockey parent.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

It's been a couple weeks

Well, a so-called soft launch of Hound Central 5.0 is about two weeks old. Thankfully, we've had NHL players and prospects filling rinks here in Hockey Bay as well as South Florida and Toronto before NHL training camps open, giving me and others something to cheer and, when the mood strikes, write about.

Heck, there's even a hounding report on the Oshawa Generals.

I imagine, too, I'll come back with a closing post, more detailed in plans and goals for Hound Central 5.0. Until then, feel free to peruse any of the many stories from the 2008-09 hockey hounding campaign here at Hound Central 4.0.

And, if you haven't visited it yet, Hound Central 5.0 has its own YouTube channel, HockeyBay Hound.

And, as always, please know that I truly appreciate your support. It's something I can't say enough. Thanks, folks.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Check it out

As promised, here's the big news: Hound Central 5.0 is up and running. A trip to Brandon earlier today marked the first hounding trip of the 2009-10 campaign.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Refresher courses

With more players taking to local rinks in preparation of NHL training camps, it's a good idea to brush up on your hockey-hounding skills:
~ Learn how easy it is to find teams;
~ The best way to get your cards ready for signing;
~ Make the effort to recognize players;
~ What's the best color Sharpie to use; and
~ Practice hockey-hounding etiquette.

Monday, August 24, 2009

All about baseball

Seeing that today is the last day of summer vacation, we're getting an early start on a full day of activities. We were pretty busy last week, too, taking in three baseball games within four days.

As a result, Baseball Mondays is loaded with new reports. Feel free to check them out.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Pleasant surprise

Like most every other hockey hound I know, the upcoming NHL season can't arrive soon enough. Allan, Hound Central 4.0's correspondent in Toronto, got an early start. Here's his report:

Well I'm happy to say that hockey is up and running in the Great White North! Leafs players, I hear, started showing up at their practice rink last week.

Recently, a local sporting goods store held a grand opening with Columbus goalie Steve Mason, who was signing for free. Imagine that? Free autographs from the reigning rookie of the year.

Because there were limits of one per adult and two per kid, I took my two kids. All told, we snagged five autographs - two pucks and the three 8x10s shown below. Mason also brought the Calder trophy with him.

We were about 25th in line and it only took about 15 minutes to go through the line. My kids wanted to go through again, but I didn't want to. I guess we could have, but it didn't feel right.

Mason was a nice kid and posed for photos with the kids. I wished him a great and healthy season, but asked him to take it easy on my Leafs!

Long live the Aud

Though Hound Central 4.0 does not condone acts of trespassing, I believe old-school Buffalo Sabres fans might enjoy one last look at the inside of the Memorial Auditorium.

Though it's been many years since attending a Sabres game there, I recognized many scenes taken during the clandestine trips of an urban explorer.

Special thanks, too, to Drew, one of Hound Central's faithful readers, for the head's up.

Different looks

Beyond signaling that the 2009-10 NHL season is right around the corner, the recent release of 2009-10 Victory also carries cards of players in their team's third jerseys. This sampling came from a couple 36-card packs we found at Target.

Tthis 200-card set boasts second-year cards for last season's rookies, creating autograph stock for such players as Columbus Steve Mason, the Calder Cup winner. You'll also find cards for Boston's Blake Wheeler, Chicago's Kris Versteeg and Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos.

Its low price point is easy on the wallet, too.

These three points earn 2009-10 Victory a buy rating.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Batting .917

Over the course of the summer, Colin has put together a remarkable collection of Florida State League team-signed balls. Recently, with the Daytona Cubs in Dunedin to play the Blue Jays, he knocked out the 11th and final team ball of our Summer of Baseball.

The only team we missed? The Palm Beach Cardinals, the Advanced A farm club for MLB's St. Louis Cardinals. Maybe next summer, okay?

While you're waiting, then, stop by Baseball Mondays for these posts:

~ A pair of Tampa Bay Rays players adding to a work-in-progress team ball;
~ Larry Herndon, a big-leaguer for 14 years, on the MLB Alumni ball; and
~ Taking a big bite out of the Clearwater Threshers team set.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

We're keeping these

It doesn't seem all that long ago that Colin was trying on this pair of skates. Really, though, it's been more than two years, and they've served him well as he's progressed from his first shaky glides across a rink to making hay, so to speak, in recreational league games.

And now that he's getting a little bigger and the skates are getting tighter, it's time to retire this pair. His new pair -- Nike Bauer Vapor XXVs -- are broken in and game-ready. In fact, he logged his first-ever hat trick yesterday wearing them.

But rather than toss out his first pair of skates or try to get a few bucks from Play It Again Sports, we're keeping them as souvenirs. Not only are they symbolic of all the time, effort and money over the past few years, but they also represent the first steps of Colin's fledgling hockey career.

That's what makes them priceless.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

NHL players reporting to rinks

From what I hear, NHL players are taking to rinks getting ready for the upcoming training camps.

I read on Facebook yesterday that Buffalo's Tim Connolly was skating at the Skanteateles (N.Y.) Community Center. I've heard, too, that incredibleICE, down in South Florida, might have a few familiar faces twirling around the rink.

Looks like we'll have to take a ride over to the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon, to see if anyone's shaking off some summer rust.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Take a look, won't you?

Just to prove that Baseball Mondays isn't just about collecting autographs during our Summer of Baseball, I've created a photo gallery that goes far beyond balls and strikes.

Flashbacks 08.10

Here's another player's-only stroll down hockey-hounding memory lane:

March 9, 2009: St. Louis' T.J. Oshie
Jan. 31, 2009: Hall of Famer Joey Mullen
Dec. 28, 2007: Montreal's Carey Price
Nov. 26, 2006: Ottawa's Daniel Alfredsson
Dec. 29, 2005: Toronto's Matt Stajan

Little Gray Box: Ryan Miller

In all honesty, I can't remember if Buffalo's Ryan Miller signed this cheapskate card in 2002 or 2003. I am positive, though, we got it during our time in Beantown. Either way, it was one of the first autographs we received from the Sabres' talented goalie.