Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Big, (and getting) Bad Bruins

When the Tampa Bay Lightning's 2009-10 schedule came out this summer, the Dec. 28th game against the Boston Bruins was circled in red. Not only would it be one of the handful of games we'd attend this season, but it would be one of the more important hounding adventures of the campaign.

By now, we're all familiar with our ties to New England. Colin was born there. So was The Missus. And, of all the locales I've lived, it's where I feel most at home. As a result, there's an affinity within our household for certain New England based-teams. And for the youngest member of the household, the best team in New England is the Boston Bruins.

That's what made the trip out for the Bruins a special day. Thankfully, most of them, including one particular Bruin, played along.

And though the team is becoming a bit rough to hound (expect a lot of one-pers from players you wouldn't expect -- think Vladimir Sobotka, Shawn Thornton, Blake Wheeler and Dennis Wideman, and, for the first time in recent memory, the team bus pulling up under the hotel entrance), we didn't walk away disappointed. No, not in the least bit. Not only did we add 56 autographs during the day, but, yes, we reached a certain milestone within the autographed puck collection -- No. 2,000.

Among those signing pucks, shown above, were:

Top row: Zdeno Chara (a strict one-per), Andrew Ference (on a puck he gave Colin two seasons ago during warm-ups) and Derek Morris; and
Bottom row: Mark Recchi and Michael Ryder.

Those signing cards, shown below, were:

Top row: Byron Bitz, David Krejci (another per) and Milan Lucic;
Middle row: Daniel Paille, Tuukka Rask (who, despite protestations, finally relented and signed) and Vladimir Sobotka; and
Bottom row: Marco Sturm, Blake Wheeler and Dennis Wideman.

The other highlights from a long, but wonderful, day of hounding the Bruins:

~ Having Patrice Bergeron sign the 2,000th puck of the collection;
~ Colin filling up a team sheet with 26 signatures;
~ Getting into the 2010 Winter Classic spirit;
~ Having Marc Savard add to the Threads project; and
~ Pulling a photo gallery out of the Bruins' pregame warm-ups.

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