Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sunday morning homily II

While baseball fans love February and the promise it brings, hockey fans know that September is the best month of the year. The leaves may be turning, but it is our spring, our time of rebirth. A time, as we always do, to look ahead with anticipation.

On Tuesday, the 2008-09 NHL campaign opens in Tampa Bay. Players, many of them new to the team, report for physicals and on-ice testing. Trips to Brandon notwithstanding, it's the official Opening Week of the hockey hounding season.

It should be noted, though, that the appeal goes beyond the accumulation of autographs. No, it's more of the game's sights, like watching No. 1 pick Steven Stamkos pick corners and saucer passes, and sounds, like steel scratching ice and rubber striking iron, that will occupy this week's days.

And that's just the beginning. Though my first steps of this season's journey took place a few weeks ago, the next 10 days represent my annual devotion to hockey. And, if I happen to add to the collection, well, then, so be it. It's something I'm happy to live with.

Last laugh

Matt Carle surely got a chuckle out of a comical scene he caused last week, as he sped up to get his shiny blue truck past a gaggle of hounds/dealers, including one who was resting comfortably in his camp chair, after an informal scrimmage last week in Brandon.

From where I was sitting, that's not how someone replacing Dan Boyle should behave. One would think he's already facing pressure. If the trade from San Jose wasn't enough, there are the expectations that he rebounds from a rough sophomore season.

5 Big Sigs

Training camp offers the best opportunity for these items:

~ No. 1 pick Steven Stamkos on the Lightning and Team Canada jerseys;
~ Bolts hockey boss Brian Lawton on Lightning and North Stars pucks;
~ Lightning and Sharks pucks from defenseman Ty Wishart;
~ an old logo Lightning puck from goalie Riku Helenius; and
~ defenseman Matt Smaby on those four pucks I screwed up

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