Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday morning homily XVI

As Colin nears the start of his second full hockey season, I've been thinking about players to point out for him to emulate. Someone who plays a solid all-around game. Someone who knows the best offense is a great defense. Someone who knows hard work is tantamount to success.

Granted, Boston's Patrice Bergeron is Colin's best NHL buddy. But he sees Petey only twice a year. Closer to home, Tampa Bay's Marty St. Louis would work, too, given how much he brings to the rink each night. But what I was looking for was a center who made a couple trips a season to Hockey Bay. It wouldn't hurt, too, if the player was personable.

Enter Florida's Stephen Weiss. From watching him play over the past few seasons, it's easy to see how much he cares about each shift of every game, despite playing for a team that's missed the playoffs for quite some time.

He doesn't cut corners. He doesn't float around the ice. He's not afraid to get his nose dirty. To me, and this is written with the utmost respect, the kid's a gamer.

Even better, from a hound's point of view, is how gracious he is toward us. I've never seen him turn down a request and he'll sign as many items, within reason, as anyone offers.

Last Thursday, with the Panthers in Hockey Bay, I asked Weiss for a favor. Could he spend a few moments with Colin, my hockey pest-in-training, sharing with him how important it is to play hard and, as a center, playing defense? "Sure," he said. "No problem."

Weiss delivered, in spades, before walking over to the St. Pete Times Forum. After introductions were made, he told Colin in very simple terms about playing defense: "It's the most important part of the game." As for playing hard? "There's really no other way to play." Sound advice, from an NHL player, if you ask me.

Colin, I believe, has another role model.

Go ahead, you call him a fairy

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, who made a name for himself in so-called "professional wrestling," must have lost a bet. That's the only reason I can think of that he would portray a rough-and-tumble hockey goon who sprouts wings in the upcoming, and appropriately named, Tooth Fairy.

Though I know this movie is geared toward children, adoring fans and those who believe wrestling isn't a scripted farce designed to separate fools and their money, it's such a ridiculous concept that I can't believe anyone, including Johnson and fellow stars Julie Andrews, Billy Crystal and hockey fan Ashley Judd, would even think, for a moment, that this is a viable entity. Still, it's a hockey movie. A classic? I don't think so.

5 Big Sigs

Early weather forecasts -- and we all know how accurate those can be -- call for rain on the only day this week I have a hounding opportunity. That being said, if it doesn't rain, here's what I'm hoping to add from a cards-only adventure for the Toronto Maple Loafs:

~ Winger Jason Blake on an Ambassadors of the Game card from 2009-10 UD Series I;
~ Goalie Jonas Gustavsson on an 2009-10 Ovation rookie card;
~ Defenseman Tomas Kaberle on a Draft Day Gems card from 2009-10 UD Series I and a 2002-03 Topps Total card showing him wearing a Toronto St. Pats jersey;
~ Defenseman Mike Komisarek, who is making the trip to Florida, on at least two cards from his days with the Montreal Canadiens (we never saw him); and
~ Defenseman Luke Schenn on a (highly unlikely, I believe) Hart Candidates card from 2009-10 MVP.

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