It's not too often that I've been able to try my hand at hounding during an Eastern Conference final. That changed last week, when the Boston Bruins came to town to play the Tampa Bay Lightning. And now that I think back, this is the first time.
After two trips in less than 24 hours, however, I'd call it a waste of time. Though the coaches and lesser-known players will likely sign, it's apparent that most of a visiting team's bigger-name players are in shutdown mode.
To wit, according to several Hockey Bay hounds who put in more time than me:
~ "I'm not signing this trip." Boston's Zdeno Chara
~ "C'mon, it's game day." Boston's Tomas Kaberle
~ "(Bleep) you, you fat (bleep)." Boston's Tyler Seguin, during a testy exchange with a Hockey Bay hound (not me, though)
Granted, it's easy to understand that the players are focused on the game, not signing autographs. At this stage of the season, players need to think about the task at hand. But to sneak out a hotel's back door to catch a ride, rather than walk out the front and politely decline requests, is, in a word, weak.
Because the Bruins were in town, Colin joined me for both of our hounding adventures. It wasn't so much to score autographs, but the trips represented opportunities for Colin to see his favorite NHL buddy, Patrice Bergeron.
Unfortunately, Bergeron was one of the Boston players who ducked out the back, meaning Colin didn't get his face-to-face with the reason why he wears No. 37. We had made a quick trip Friday to the hotel's Starbucks, hoping to see him there, like we did Milan Lucic, Nathan Horton, Johnny Boychuck, Shawn Thornton and Tomas Kaberle, among others.
To Bergeron's credit, though, he nodded at Colin as he stood along the glass during Game 3 warmups. Not exactly what we were hoping for, but Colin certainly appreciated the gesture.