Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Unwilling to share

To me, it's a classic case of protectionism vs. expansion. Do we keep a possession close to home? Or do we share it with others?

When it comes to the NHL playing games outside of North America, Hound Central 3.0 readers, by nearly 2-to-1 margin, made it very clear: NHL game in Europe are a bad thing.

Down here in Humidity Bay, the Lightning will open their 2008-09 campaign against the Rangers on Oct. 4 in Prague, the Czech Republic. Add exhibitions in Germany (Sept. 28) and Slovakia (Sept. 30) and it means that the Bolts camp in Tampa Bay will be considerably shorter than others.

Despite that, I believe it's a good idea for the NHL to play games overseas. Beyond the much-needed exposure, it's a way to say thank-you to fans who, until recently, could only watch their favorite sons on television.

Question: NHL games in Europe?

Bad: 9 out of 14 votes cast (64.3 percent)
Good: 5 out of 14 votes (35.7 percent)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The puck has dropped

Consider it a promise kept: Hound Central 4.0 is now officially open for your review.

As always, folks, I appreciate all of the time that you've spent here. I hope Hound Central 4.0, even in its infancy, proves useful and entertaining.

In fact, Puckhound has already scored the first six pucks of his 2008-09 hockey-hounding campaign. Who signed? Click the link above.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Breaking news

Faithful readers of Hound Central 3.0 should take note that the wait for Hound Central 4.0's official launch can now be measured in hours, rather than days.

Look for the journal that will chronicle the 2008-09 hockey hounding season to open for business, so to speak, sometime Saturday night.

In the meantime, see how your hounding bag stacks up against mine.

As always, thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your patience. Hopefully, it will be rewarded.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Getting closer

Though we're still a few days away from its official launch, you'll find Puckhound's review of 2008-09 Victory Hockey at Hound Central 4.0.

Monday, August 18, 2008

A new preseason game?

I keep hearing reports about a Hurricane headed toward the Tampa Bay area. The last I knew, the Hurricanes aren't supposed to arrive until Oct. 11, the Lightning's home opener.

And who is this Fay character? I don't remember Carolina signing anyone named Fay, do you? Maybe it's some Finnish free agent who flew under the NHL radar.

Addendum (Aug. 19): Fay's only a tropical storm, not a Hurricane.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Consider it done

Given that more than 58 percent of Hound Central 3.0 readers want to see a Hound Central 4.0, who am I to disagree. That's why, even before the poll ended, the new blog for the 2008-09 season has, indeed, found its way into the hockey blogosphere.

Though Hound Central 4.0 is up and running, we're still a few days away from its official launch, when preseason features, such as fearless prognostications and my annual thoughts on the best young players in the game, will fill in the days until my first trip to the Lightning's training camp.

In the meantime, Hound Central 3.0 will continue to run its course. I hope you don't mind.

Question: Hound Central 3.0 or Hound Central 4.0?

Launch Hound Central 4.0: 10 out of 17 votes cast (58.8 percent)
Keep Hound Central 3.0: 4 out of 17 votes (23.5 percent)
Don't care: 2 out of 17 (11.8 percent)
Shut it down (Sorry, Johnny Boy): 1 vote (6 percent)

Friday, August 15, 2008

How can they resist?

Other than death and taxes, it's a popular belief that there are no sure things in life. I believe that adage goes far beyond that, namely a kid with a baseball at a minor league park stands a darn good chance to get some autographs.

Take Wednesday night at Bright House Networks Field in Clearwater, Fla., for example.

Staked out near the Clearwater Threshers dugout, Colin scored 14 autographs on a ball he retrieved from batting practice (drawing scorn from a grumpy old usher for running into a closed section) as well as his hand-drawn shark poster before the game's first pitch.

Among those signing were Michael Taylor (shown above), who crushed two home runs in the Threshers' 8-1 drubbing of the Lakeland Flying Tigers in Class-A Florida State League action.

Also signing the ball were Phillies prospects Quintin Berry, Gus Milner, Joe Savery and John Urick.

Granted, very few of these players will make it to the big leagues, but it didn't matter to Colin. For him, and me, it was another instance of quality time spent together during our summer break.

All about the sharks

All summer long, Colin's fascination with sharks has grown. We traveled to a marine research facility in Sarasota to check out their specimens. He just a got a book with 1,000 facts about sharks. Heck, he even has a pair of shark sunglasses.

But, I get the sense that his summer wasn't complete until he got a bunch of Clearwater Threshers players -- Single-A prospects for the Philadelphia Phillies -- to sign his hand-drawn poster before a game earlier this week.

As usual, the players got a kick out of the poster, nearly every one asking whether he had drawn it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Act now, save a bunch

I normally wouldn't pass along store specials, but if you're expecting to use any paint pens during the upcoming NHL season, you might want to stop by your local Michael's arts and craft stores.

It seems that DecoColor Liquid Silver opaque paint markers (paint pens for short) as well as other color are only $1.99 each, rather than the normal $3.49. I spent a little over $10 to get five, saving $7.50 (or about three pucks) in the process.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Hard at work

For those of you who may believe I've been talking to lawyers over the past few weeks, I now have proof that I've been busy creating the ninth and 10th titles to my suite of hockey collecting blogs:

Sweet Swatches: Fourteen of the sweetest memorabilia cards (primarily swatches of jerseys and patches) in our collection.

Young Guns: A look at our top-shelf Upper Deck Young Guns, the gold standard of hockey rookie cards.

Taken together, I believe all 10 offer one of the most comprehensive arrays of hockey hounding/collecting blogs on the Internet.

Check them out, won't you?

Also, keen observers may notice that Hound Central 4.0 has had its "soft" launch. The official launch is still a few days away, but the 2008-09 hockey hounding journal is up and running.

Design a mask

So, you think you're an artist, eh? And you love hockey. The Vancouver Canucks are offering a contest just for you, with the opportunity to design backup goalie Curtis Sanford's mask.

Personally, I'd rather design Roberto Luongo's mask. He's a much better goalie (a mild understatement) and, as the Canucks' starter, the design would get much more exposure.

With that in mind, perhaps the Canucks should let fans design Sanford's hat, seeing he'll be more likely to wear that from the comfort of the bench than his mask this season.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

It's been awhile, hasn't it?

Here you go, a handful of items to occupy idle moments.

Don't forget to vote in the latest Hound Central 3.0 poll, too.

Have fun.

Name this logo

From what I remember, the chance to identify this little quizzical visual usually drew some interest.

Heck, even my wife likes this one.

Let's see how many educated guesses we get with this logo.

Remember, too, that complete answers get full credit.

Hockey Word Association

New third jerseys =
Ted Nolan =
Detroit Red Wings =
Jaromir Jagr =
Best young defenseman =

Hockey Scrambled

Injo Kapentin =
Ancdnu Ethik =
Virast Jaacz =
Tigrebl Luber =
Striku Rofets =

Hockey math

Tony Toesave gave up 169 goals on 1,980 shots faced in 66 games. What is Tony's goals-against average and save percentage?

A.) 2.89 GAA, .905 SP
B.) 2.37 GAA, .921 SP
C.) 2.73 GAA, .911 SP
D.) 2.56 GAA, .915 SP