Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sunday morning homily XXVI

As Colin started playing youth hockey, I thought I understood most every aspect of the game. I've played the game, more street than ice. Won. Lost. Tied. Reffed a few games, too. I've even driven a Zamboni.

We also knew it would be costly. Ice time, gear, skate sharpenings and G2s add up. It's worth every penny, though. There's also the investment of time, back and forth to practices and skating sessions and road trips to Ellenton across the $1-a-ride Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

What we didn't expect, however, is the emotional attachment felt by parents, ourselves included. We've had great moments, watching the Stars win on road ice and Colin scoring his first goal in organized play. There's been some bummers, too, but there's no need to digress.

Bottom line, it's all about everyone having fun.

Later today, Colin wraps up his second season of rec hockey for the Pinellas Police Athletic League Stars. Two games, down in Ellenton, with a chance to top last season's victories. Win or lose, we all get a well-deserved break.

I'll be honest. It'll be nice to get back to a less-hectic hockey pace. After a little time off, he'll have a pair of practices a week -- great opportunities to take in-game experiences into training so he'll recognize good decisions in future games. After that, he'll get into some 4-on-4 games. And, if the money's there, a week at hockey camp.

Believe it or not, that's a step back from the usual pace.

Come this fall, though, the hockey game bug will be back. New gear. Long Sundays. More predawn rides across the Skyway. I can't wait.

No great loss

Depending upon your perspective, Buffalo's 7-1 drubbing of the Tampa Bay Lightning last night was one of two things: 1.) sheer, unadulterated enjoyment; 2.) the final nail in the Lightning's season. Given my allegiances, I rather enjoyed the game. Goalie Patrick Lalime needed it. Now, let's see if the Sabres can make some noise.

For the Lightning, it marks the third straight season of missing the playoffs. For the fans, it'll be time to forget another frustrating season. Flashes of brilliance, namely Steven Stamkos and Marty St. Louis, dulled by inconsistency, especially captain Vinny Lecavalier.

For Hockey Bay's hounds, it means another season of shutting it down until late summer. Good thing, too. Had the Lightning made the playoffs, they would have played the Capitals. No matter where you're from, we all know the inevitable outcome. Oh, yeah, the Capitals would have swept the Bolts.

5 Big Sigs

With the Lightning still on a road trip, this week's hounding opportunities are limited to the New York Rangers. With decent luck last trip, I'm hoping that's a continuing trend and we add these items:

~ a McFarlane base signed by goalie Henrik Lundqvist;
~ Marian Gaborik on Minnesota Wild and 2007 NHL All Star Game pucks;
~ rookie defensemen Matt Gilroy on Rangers and Boston University pucks;
~ Erik Christensen and Olli Jokinen adding to the Threads collection; and
~ a nice, full team sheet from the Rangers.

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