Thursday, September 12, 2013

Hounding Report: Stars Training Camp, September 12

Ever have a multi-day hounding session planned and it goes so well that you decide to cancel the rest of the days?

That sort of happened today. Granted, since I'm going to Oklahoma for a Weezer concert tomorrow and Saturday is my wife's birthday, the less I have to do extra the better off I am.

After the Ice Breaker, I realized I was already running low on Stars cards.  I put out a call on Facebook and a couple trading sites I'm on offering 50/50 deals, or to trade for peoples' Stars cards.  If I didn't, I would have been up the creek on a lot of players.

Fortunately a number of people came through for this week or for the season at-large, and two friends, Gregg in Ohio and Lee in Alabama were able to get their cards to me in time in a couple of trade deals.

And so with hounding board full and cards prepped, I mad my way to Fort Worth early this morning, arriving at the Convention Center at 7 am.  I took a walk around to try to find the most appropriate entrance to wait at. Unfortunately, nothing was labelled and there were about 50 entrances, so I waited outside a nearby hotel as I knew the players were staying at it.

The move paid off. Within ten minutes, new coach Lindy Ruff walked out and signed the two cards I had of him.  A group of three or four players came close behind, with Shawn Horcoff being the most prominent one I could easily identify.  He signed four cards, but unfortunately due to his being left-handed and signing the left-most cards first, two got smeared.  Gregg's card was the worst-smeared one.  Fortunately, I had my white click-eraser with me, and I was able to remove the autographs without a problem. I'll get it signed later.  Of the three remaining Horcoff cards I got done, two go to Lee and one is mine.

Flying solo while graphing is both a blessing and a curse.  It's great not having to deal with a crowd, but it also makes identifying players much harder.  You can be 99% certain on who a player is, but not having any backup to verify it for you, that last 1% can win out in the end. This was my situation in the morning and why I didn't get many more. I did get Cody Eakin on two cards (one for me, one for Gregg) and Sergei Gonchar on four (2 for me, 2 for Gregg), but that was it for the morning.  Had I been more confident on everyone (and not been looking at a text when Kari Lehtonen walked out, or on the phone with my father in law when Erik Cole came out), I could have had thirty in the morning without even trying.

After the majority of the crew had already left, I went inside to watch some of the on-ice session.  I'm glad I did: after the first period of the scrimmage and a quick Starbucks run, I ran into Craig Ludwig watching the events right behind me. Typical of my over-preparing for any player who has any remote chance of being there (I even carried Kari Takko and Jiri Hrdina), I had four cards of him, and he signed them all.

After the on-ice session, a group of us (including Big Anthony, a reader and commenter here) headed for a good spot to wait for the players to emerge.  We picked a perfect one: shaded, with a spot to sit where we could easily see every exit from the Convention Center.  Trevor Daley and Dan Ellis were the first ones out, each signing four cards (all of which go to Gregg).

I was also able to atone for missing Lehtonen earlier as he walked over and signed and chatted with us all. I said it after the Ice Breaker, and I'll say it again here: THERE IS NO NICER BIG NAME PLAYER IN THE NHL THAN KARI LEHTONEN. Even saying he had to make it quick as the team was doing a Fantasy Football draft at 3 pm, he signed all 8 cards I had in my book. I even debated pulling out more, but I'll wait.  I have plenty of time on him.  Five go to Gregg, one goes to Lee.

Scott Glennie came by signing 2 (one each to Lee and Gregg), as did Ryan Garbutt (same deal).  Ray Whitney did 2 of my 4 cards (one to Gregg, and one is an upgrade for the Topps Total set, as I had him already, but TTM and signed in black whereas I prefer IP and blue whenever possible).

Vern Fiddler was walking with Whitney and he signed the two cards I had of him (one to Gregg).  The next group featured Tyler Seguin and a couple prospects.  I didn't hold out much hope, but Seguin seemed to be in a pretty good mood, signing 2 of 4 cards for me as well (one goes to Lee).  He seems to be a two-per signer from what I gathered.  Here's to hoping that keeps up!

Lane MacDermid came by walking alone, signing the lone card I had of him (goes to Gregg).  Sergei Gonchar did another four cards for me as well, while walking with top draft pick Valeri Nichushkin. I don't have anything for Nichushkin yet, but I should soon, I hope.  At worst, I'll get a few new-logo pucks.  Of the second set of Gonchar cards, Lee gets two.

The afternoon was finished off by Stephane Robidas signing four cards I have for Gregg.

Oh yeah, I also got a puck during the on-ice session.  The Stars used their old-logo game pucks for the event.  I will likely get Lehtonen on it eventually. Or Modano, if I ever see him.  I'll keep the options open there.

25 of Gregg's
8 of Lee's
17 of my own

The deals I made are a little different.  Gregg's cards all go back to him.  The deal with Lee basically is that he gets at least one of each player he sent, so I may end up keeping a few here and there.  Not sure which ones yet, I'll work all that out once I get it all done.

I still have more to get done for both-- 29 for Gregg and not sure how many for Lee.  I'm just glad I was able to knock out a big chunk of them today despite my slow start in the morning.

Looks like I'll STILL be hitting up SportLots in the next few weeks/months to restock!  I do have a few other potential deals coming in as well though, so we'll see what happens there.

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