Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Don't listen to Cujo

Though the team's star power may have dulled a bit over the past season, with Mats Sundin's move to southwestern Canada and the deadline-day trades of Nik Antropov and Dominic Moore, that's no reason to take a pass on hounding the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The roster still has a few big names and, despite goalie Curtis Joseph's best effort to ruin our days, not every Leafs player is opposed to signing autographs. In fact, I believe the three pucks shown above -- signed Tuesday before Toronto's morning skate by, from left, Tomas Kaberle, Jamal Mayers and Luke Schenn -- prove otherwise.

All told, another 18 autographs, including a dozen cards, joined the collection. A dozen from the Bolts pushed the day's haul to 30.

Still, though, there was no need for Lord Cujo's vitriol. If a player doesn't want to sign, all they have to do is say no. We're all grown-ups here, except, of course, a certain goalie. We've heard "no" before and we'll likely hear it again.

Dishing out grief while still signing, I'm afraid, is a bush-league move.

One player, however, whose reputation may be in need of changing is Jason Blake. Though I've heard that he's a less-than-willing signer, I've yet to see him decline an autograph request over the past two seasons.

This trip, Blake signed the work-in-progress Team USA jersey. Last trip, he signed a University of North Dakota puck.

Then again, I'm not asking him to sign a stack of 8x10s. I'm not so sure the grumpy label is worth sticking on Blake anymore.

Signing cards were, from left, Nikolai Kulemin, Matt Stajan and Anton Stralman.

Beyond dealing with Lord Cujo, here are the rest of Tuesday's memorable moments:

~ Getting four cards each from Boyd Devereaux and Lee Stempniak;
~ Honoring Brad May's contribution to Buffalo Sabres lore; and
~ Getting some quick positive reinforcement from Tampa Bay's Vinny Lecavalier, Marty St. Louis and Steven Stamkos.

Need a chuckle? Check out the Loafs gallery.

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