With the Tampa Bay Lightning missing the NHL playoffs for the third straight season, this week brings about the closure of another hockey-hounding campaign down here in Hockey Bay. I'm not the least bit disappointed. It might mean the Dolts snag another top draft pick.
My stance goes beyond draft picks, too. Since late August, when players took part in informal skates, it's been a long stretch of prepping, homework, hounding and blogging. Now, toss in family, Colin's hockey and two jobs. I hope you can see why I'm ready for a break.
It's time to chill out. Kick back. Read the Sunday paper. Put away some pucks. And, yes, figure out what will happen to Hound Central 5.0. As for the future? Well, that's too far ahead. I've been kicking around some ideas with Moody, so we'll see what happens.
More than anything else, I want to take a step away from hard-core hounding. It's not like I'll quit cold turkey, so to speak. Certain teams, especially those from the Western Conference, will draw my appearance. For nothing else, I need the NHL to reload with new players. There are very few in the league who haven't signed something -- be it a puck, card, jersey or photo -- for us since 1997.
These days, I'm getting autographs for the sake of providing "fresh" content to HC5.0. To me, that's awfully darn close to hounding being a job. When a hobby begins to feel like that, it's time to walk away. That's why I'm glad this season is nearing an end.
Colin's hockey is also a major factor. As he progresses, it'll take a greater investment of time and money. Like most everyone else, we've felt the economic pinch. If I have $100 to spend, and that doesn't happen all that often, it's going to his hockey, not hounding.
Really, though, I shouldn't complain. It's been a good season, as we've racked up more than 1,500 autographs. We'll easily top 200 pucks for the campaign, which included a special milestone. Got to spend lots of quality time, too, with Colin. And that, my friends, is what it's all about.
As for baseball
Along the same vein, Baseball Mondays won't be reactivated over the summer. Doing so, I'm afraid, will dilute last year's Summer of Baseball campaign, where we took in more than 300 innings and loaded up on Florida State League team balls.
Now, that doesn't mean we won't take in a few games over the summer. Don't worry, we will -- Rays and FSL. The goal this summer is about 100 innings, and perhaps only a couple of team balls.
5 Big Sigs
Busy week here in Hockey Bay, as three teams help close another painful chapter in Tampa Bay Lightning history.
~ Carolina's Eric Staal on a Canada souvenir puck;
~ Carolina's Manny Legace on Carolina, Detroit and St. Louis pucks;
~ Ottawa's Jason Spezza on a Canada souvenir puck and a MacFarlane base;
~ Ottawa's Alex Kovalev on a McFarlane base (for Al); and
~ Florida's Stephen Weiss on an 8x10 with Colin.