Thursday, September 3, 2009

We all need the practice

Just as I'd thought, we've seen familiar and new faces as more Tampa Bay Lightning players -- from captain Vinny Lecavalier to 2009 No. 1 draft pick Victor Hedman to goalie Mike Smith, above, gather at the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon most weekday mornings for informal workouts.

As a fan, these sessions are a sure sign that hockey is just around the corner. Down here, the Bolts hold a rookie camp Sept. 8-11. The NHL camp opens Sept. 12. Beyond that, it's on to April, at the least.

As a hound, these informal workouts are an opportunity to work on your game or, in my case, kick off another hockey-hounding blog. By and large, the players are in great moods. Most stop when asked and are willing to sign multiples.

To me, it's the best time of the season to get the home team players.

Though I've missed getting Marty St. Louis on Wednesday (too busy taking videos and pictures), I can't complain about these additions to the collection:

Signing pucks were, from left, Jeff Halpern, 2009 No. 1 pick Victor Hedman and Ryan Malone.

Signing cards were, from left, Todd Fedoruk, Kurtis Foster, Lukas Krajicek and Mike Smith.

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