Monday, November 26, 2007

Tricks of the Trade: Recognizing players

Now that you know how to find NHL teams in your city, it's time to learn how to identify the players. While some dealers and hounds, quite often the laziest individuals I've ever met, don't feel this is necessary, I believe it's an obligation to know who you're hounding.

For the most part, if you're willing to make an effort, that effort will be rewarded. Rather than stumbling around, asking "Who's that?" to anyone who'll listen, knowing their identities can help you get more autographs.

Besides, the research is easy:

~ Simply put, watch games on television, be it on Versus, NHL Centre Ice or whatever, that feature the teams coming to town. Forget the jerseys and numbers, though. Concentrate on the players' faces.

~ If you have access to a computer, visit a team's Web site and check out the roster. Most link to a player's bio where you'll find a crisp, clean photograph to download and study.

~ If you're handy with design programs (Believe it or not, I use Microsoft Word for mine), you can create individual player cards, or cheaps skates, like the ones we'll use this weekend for the Bruins, that also double as identification tools.

~ You'll also see that I used the same sheet to create a cheat-sheet strip of headshots for the players I might not immediately recognize. These serve as a handy field guide.

~ If you're simply too lazy to put forth this type of effort (and, if you are, you really should stay home), you can always work a team item.

Many of Tampa's know-nothing dealers, as well as a handful of collectors, use jerseys, sticks, helmets, arena photos or painted canvases for their goods.

Often, when Colin is hounding with me, I'll create a team sheet, like the one shown above for Saturday's visit to the Bruins, for him.

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