Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sunday morning homily XXIX

For a week devoid of hockey, I'm having a hard time remembering a better one in our time down here in Hockey Bay. From chasing trains to wearing 3-D glasses for a movie to watching race cars top 200 mph, we haven't missed hockey hounding one bit.

Yes, it was Colin's spring break last week. And though we didn't stray too far to home -- our work schedules had something to do with that -- we did the best we could to make it a memorable "stay-cation." Mostly, though, it was about spending time together and, hopefully, creating some memories:

~ Watching Colin's eyes light up as he heard the rumble of an approaching CSX freight train during our visit to the Train Depot Museum (shown above) in Dade City. It had been far too long since he'd seen a train;

~ Squirting some fruit-punch Powerade into his mouth during a break in our back patio hockey practices. Earlier in the day, we stumbled upon the final pieces of his rag-tag collection of goalie equipment. And you know we just had to try it out; and

~ Becoming more jacked-up about open-wheel racing by taking in the opening days of the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Among the highlights was having a brief "He's so shy" conversation about Colin with Indy Racing League star Danica Patrick during a nighttime parade down St. Petersburg's Central Avenue.

As much as I try to make this blog about hockey hounding, it's just as much about spending time with one's family. Hockey and hounding play a big role in our lives, but it doesn't consume us. Comes close at times, I'll admit, but there's much more to life than that.

Believin' in Steven

Hound Central 4.0 offers a tip of its roughed-up Cooper SK600 to Lightning rookie Steven Stamkos for tying Tampa Bay's rookie goals record of 21 in his initial NHL season. With a few games remaining, perhaps Stamkos will catapult past Brad Richards for his own team mark.

It's hard to believe, isn't it, that a few people didn't believe that Stamkos, the No. 1 overall pick at the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, wasn't ready for the rigors of a full season in the NHL. To be honest, his early play did nothing to dispel that notion.

Once he got into a training program, though, Stamkos has shown that he has the abilities to be a top-flight NHL player. I'm thinking, too, that he's only going to get better.

In a season full of disappointment, watching Stamkos make progress has been something to hold on to.

5 Big Sigs

It's the final week of the 2008-09 hockey-hounding season and two of the league's tougher teams -- the star-studded Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals -- are coming to town:

~ As always, getting Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby to sign Colin's Crosby #87 replica Penguins jersey;
~ Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin on Penguins and WJC-Russia pucks;
~ Washington's Alex Ovechkin on Colin's Ovechkin #8 replica Capitals jersey;
~ Washington's Nicklas Backstrom on a Capitals puck; and
~ Knocking out a Lightning team helmet during Thursday's red carpet festivities before the home closer.

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