Rather than joining the masses traveling great distances for the Thanksgiving holiday, we opted to stay close to home. No jammed airports. No clogged highways. No dysfunctional family gatherings, thank you very much.
Sure, having to work on Turkey Day (at holiday and overtime pay, mind you) played a major role in our close-to-home holiday activities. What we did do, though, was put one of Colin's days off from school from extremely good use by hounding the team that Sabres fans, such as myself, love to loathe -- the Toronto Maple Loafs (Sorry, Al, I can't help myself).
After tending to some car repairs (two new tires for the Houndmobile) and ignoring early morning showers, we found ourselves inside the St. Pete Times Forum on Wednesday watching the Loafs take part in their pregame morning skate.
It wasn't long, though, before Colin took over, snagging, in total, 37 autographs, including these two pucks from rookie goalie Jonas "The Monster" Gustavsson, for the collection. My contribution? Identifying players. After all, it was my only day off of the week.
Among those signing cards:
Top row: Francois Beauchemin, Jason Blake and Garnet Exelby;
Middle row: Jeff Finger, Mikhail Grabovski and Phil Kessel; and
Bottom row: Nikolai Kulemin, Jamal Mayers and Colton Orr
Other highlights of the trip:
~ Colin getting a used goalie stick from Joey MacDonald;
~ Seeing that Luke Schenn's autograph hasn't improved that much; and
~ getting an autograph from the man credited with inventing the butterfly-style of goaltending.