Really, all it would have taken was a little extra effort on my part. Perhaps I could've shown Sam Gagner four cards, rather than only two. I could've asked Zach Stortini if he minded signing another pair of cards. Then again, Jeff Deslauriers could've signed before the game.
Unfortunately (in the most liberal sense of the word), none of that happened. As a result, we missed setting a season high Wednesday with the Edmonton Oilers. All told, Colin and I came home with 79 autographs after two hounding adventures -- I netted 44 before the morning skate and we tag-teamed Edmonton for 35 before the game.
Still, though, only two more autographs and we would've topped the 80 we received hounding the Los Angeles Kings and Colorado Avalanche. Each team signed 79 autographs for us, but we managed to snag one additional signature those days from Hall of Famer Tony Esposito and Lightning assistant coach Adam Oates, respectively, to hit 80.
For most of the ride home Wednesday night, save for a foggy stretch along the Gandy Bridge over Tampa Bay, we wondered whether we'd set a record. It wasn't until we got home and conducted a careful count, did we learn that we came oh-so-close. Honestly, though, we're pretty stoked about the day's efforts.
Next time we get close, however, I won't be as shy about asking.
Among the 50 cards we got signed, shown above:
Top row, from left: Gilbert Brule, assistant coach Kelly Buchberger and Tom Gilbert;
Middle row: Shawn Horcoff, Ethan Moreau and Sheldon Souray; and
Bottom row: Steve Staios, Zach Stortini and Lubomir Visnovsky
There were quite a few specialty cards within the day's haul, too:
Top row, from left: Andrew Cogliano, Jeff Deslauriers and Devan Dubnyk;
Middle row: Sam Gagner, Denis Grebeshkov and Robert Nilsson; and
Bottom row: Patrick O'Sullivan, Dustin Penner and Ladisalv Smid.
There's a neat little story about this puck, part of the Colin's Pucks project, that was signed by Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk.
Colin got it during a recent morning skate for the Toronto Maple Leafs here in Hockey Bay. He got it from Colton Orr's billets from the tough guy's days in the Western Hockey League.
Why it's an Oilers puck, I have no clue. But it is an official game puck and, as you can see, it shows some pretty significant wear.
Colin asked Dubnyk to leave room for Jeff Deslauriers, the Oilers' other goalie, to sign it, but Deslauriers did a disappearing act after putting his bags on the team's gametime bus. I guess he's not a big fan of signing in the hours before a start.
Other highlights from a near-record day:
~ Getting 22 autographs, including captain Ethan Moreau, Dustin Penner, head coach Pat Quinn and Sheldon Souray, on Colin's team sheet; and
~ Having Sam Gagner sign a pair of pucks.