Thursday, March 26, 2009

It wasn't easy

Of all the years that I've been pounding the pavement, braving the elements and dodging vehicles driven by inattentive drivers, this week's two-day adventure for the Columbus Blue Jackets was among the most challenging hockey-hounding opportunities I've encountered.

First off, my initial trip for Columbus, before a Monday afternoon practice, required dancing around raindrops. Lots of them. Big ones, too. My reward? Thirteen autographs, including a dozen pucks.

On game day, an ongoing paver project that just happened to be taking place right where Hockey Bay hounds congregate at the Blue Jackets' hotel presented another obstacle.

Still, though, after having the Blue Jackets add another 48 autographs, including 24 pucks, to the collection, all I can say is that overcoming adversity only makes the effort that much more enjoyable.

Signing pucks, shown above, were:

Top row: Kristian Huselius, from left, Manny Malhotra and Mike Peca; and
Bottom row: R.J. Umberger, from left, Antoine Vermette and Jakub Voracek.

Signing cards were:

Top row: Mike Commodore, from left, Wade Dubielewicz and Kristian Huselius; and
Bottom row: Manny Malhotra, from left, Mike Peca and Jakub Voracek.

The fun, thankfully, didn't end there:

~ Granting Top Shelf status to Rick Nash after he signed four pucks over two days;
~ Joining the crowd that gathered around rookie goalie Steve Mason any time he stopped to sign;
~ Snagging three pucks each from Danny Gare, Rostislav Klesla and Raffi Torres;
~ Having Michael Peca sign the 300th puck of the 2008-09 hockey hounding campaign;
~ Ending a lengthy wait to complete a hockey card;
~ Beginning another work-in-progress project; and
~ Preaching the virtues of fun with Colin's team and goalie sheets.

Even though it lacks images of Columbus' Nash and Mason, it's still worth the time to check out the Blue Jackets gallery.

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