Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sunday morning homily VIII

For the better part of last night's game between Ottawa and Tampa Bay, I loudly and repeatedly questioned the Lightning's decision to bring back Evgeny Artyukhin. Up until last night, it was my belief that the Russian locomotive had been a complete waste of money.

Well, the big guy (6-foot-5, 254 pounds) made me eat my words, scoring the game-winner in the eighth round of a shootout, giving the Bolts a thrilling 3-2 come-from-behind victory. According to our local newspaper, Artyukhin may have played the best game of his NHL career, putting eight shots on net and delivering six hits.

So, did he hear by pleadings for his return to Russia or my willingness to take up space on the ice for far less than what he's making? I doubt it. We were sitting way too high up in Section 322 for my voice to filter its way down to ice level.

Still, though, I'm certain I wasn't alone in my assessment. Given the Lightning's rough early season start, it's incumbent upon every Lightning player, from those at the NHL minimum to those holding a lifetime contract, to step it up. As of late, the Lightning, winners of three straight games, have started to do just that.

And, as much as I despise making mistakes (it comes with the territory of being an editor), last night's performance by Artyukhin was one time when I was more than happy to be wrong.

Blowing smoke?

Given all we know about the health risks associated from secondhand smoke, was I wrong yesterday in asking a stogie-smoking hound to take his stinky butt, er, habit, and move it elsewhere?

I mean, you could smell this guy and his smoke from 20 feet away. Hounds noticed. Passersby noticed. Even some Ottawa Senators noticed. And, yet, here's this guy puffing away like no one else mattered.

While I'd never question one's decision to inflict a long and painful death upon themselves, to smugly subject others, including children, to exhaled toxins is downright rude.

5 Big Sigs

With the Lightning heading out for five-game road trip, and no hounding adventures until Nov. 13 when the defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings travel to Humidity Bay, I'll be using the next 10 days to catalog and put away pucks, add cards to binders and prepare for the rest of November.

But, if I were to accompany the team on the trip -- something that surely won't happen -- these are what I'd like to add:

~ Nov. 5, New Jersey Devils: Future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur on my Devils' replica No. 30 jersey;
~ Nov. 6, New York Rangers: Captain Chris Drury on a Rangers puck, the Team USA jersey and a Little League baseball;
~ Nov. 8, Philadelphia Flyers: Forward Simon Gagne on a Quebec Remparts puck;
~ Nov. 10, Washington Capitals: Superstar Alex Ovechkin on Colin's Capitals replica No. 8 jersey; and
~ Nov. 12, Florida Panthers: Defenseman Keith Ballard on Panthers and Coyotes pucks.

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