Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Update: Air Canada Centre

Professional courtesies are cool. They certainly help you get into places that others less connected can not. Given that access, any hound worth his or her salt needs to be put the target-rich opportunity to good use. Anything less, I'm afraid, is unacceptable.

For instance, there's Al, Hound Central 4.0's correspondent in Toronto. From time to time, he's able to gain postgame access to the visiting team locker room area at the Air Canada Centre. As a result, he and his children have added some pretty sweet autographs to their collection.

How close do they get to the players? Want a slice of pizza from Washington's Alex Ovechkin? Go ahead, ask.

In a stellar example of practicing quality over quantity, taking place a little more than a week ago, Washington's Alex Ovechkin and Sergei Fedorov signed following a game against the Leafs.

A closer look at the latest haul. Ovechkin's auto is much different than his rare road "AO8."

Another postgame visit, taken place earlier this season, yielded these items from Philadelphia Flyers players: 8x10s signed by, clockwise from top left, Mike Knuble, Mike Richards, Martin Biron and Simon Gagne.

Hall of Famer Bob Clarke signed the Flyers puck.

Here's the end result of some real hustle, a Philadelphia Flyers team helmet signed after a game in Toronto.

Players signing the helmet were Jeff Carter, Matt Carle, Scottie Upshall, Luca Sbisa, Knuble, Antero Niittymaki, Andreas Nodl, Richards, Andrew Alberts, Kimmo Timonen, Scott Hartnell, Riley Cote, Joffrey Lupul, Josh Gratton, Biron, Jon Kalinski and Braydon Coburn.

From what I hear, though, not everyone in the vicinity was as thrilled with the effort shown in putting together the piece. From that point forward, quality took precedence over quantity.

Still, though, some things are worth a little grief.

Here's a nice haul from another instance of postgame access: three 8x10s and a puck from Ovechkin. The bottom puck is signed by teammate Michael Nylander.

Bounty from earlier trips include McFarlane bases signed by Ovechkin and Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby, who signed as he walked from the visiting team locker room to the team bus.

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