Sunday, January 26, 2014

Hounding Report: Stars' Practice and Rangers' Caravan, January 26

It's been 13 hours since I left home this morning. My weekend has been spent graphing, hanging with graphers, traveling to and from graphing outings, or watching something sports-related for 22 of the 48 hours of this weekend. And I am beat.

As much as graphing is certainly a hobby, sometimes it almost feels like a second job. This is why from here on, I am going to drastically limit any items I get signed for other people.  I only got to maybe half of the people who wanted me to get things done for them by Stars and Rangers this season. And even doing that little kills me. I want to concentrate on my own collection in 2014. I'd rather just buy the cards myself, get them signed, and trade later. There's less pressure that way.

Anyways, I went to the Stars' practice this morning. Upon arrival I saw no one there at the main hallway entrance, but saw a few by the backdoor. I figured this was as good a time as any to finally try it out.

And am I ever glad I did.

I've been carrying a photo of Kari Lehtonen with me for months now. My friend Mike in Ottawa sent me a Bobby Ryan signed Rookie Class card for the set I'm doing in exchange for me getting Kari for him. Finally today I got it signed, as well as a game-used puck for my own collection. It was my first time using my bronze Sharpie, and both turned out excellent with it.

FINALLY! Mike's on the left, mine on the right.
From there, the usual toughies were like shooting fish in a barrel. We also got a few surprise bonuses. Several guys who normally go in the main entrance actually came in through the back-- Valeri Nichushkin signed two photos for me (Chris dropped them off with me as part of a 50/50 deal he had with a member at The Bench; since I had nothing for Nichushkin, I had no problem getting them signed, and Nichushkin is an automatic anyway).  Kevin Connauton also FINALLY signed the RIC I've been holding for Paul in Washington. I also got Sergei Gonchar on four cards, Ray Whitney on two (one for Nathan in Nova Scotia), Jordie Benn on three (one for Paul in Washington), Jamie Benn on four, and Alex Chiasson on three (two for Liz in Missouri).  Chiasson totally hacked though-- his sig was something that looked more like a capital D than anything resembling his name. He's joining Rich Peverley on the list of players I'm not going to even bother asking anymore. Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin are close to joining that group.

Seguin ducked us, going in the front on his way in. I didn't know he even knew where that entrance was located.

I decided to stick around afterward and wait on going to the Rangers' signing.  Glad I did.  Kari signed again on his way out, doing four cards (two for Eric in Rhode Island). Seguin signed one, trying to tell us we couldn't be back there.  Sorry Tyler, it's a public street, and the parking lot is owned by Dr. Pepper Ballpark, not the Stars. Besides, if you don't want us there, then suck it up and go through the front entrance. Shawn Horcoff signed one (goes to Eric as well) and Whitney signed two more, asking "Didn't I sign for you earlier?" I admitted he had, but he still did it anyway. Those two go to Gregg in Ohio and Eric. Lastly, I finally saw Curt Fraser for the first time all season and he signed all four cards I had, even commenting "Wow, going through the old ones, eh?"

Funny story, Fraser was assistant coach of the New York Islanders when I first started hounding teams in college, and he signed an old Topps card for me then, just looking at it going "Wow!" before signing it.

Stars Totals: 33 autographs (20 for me, 13 for others)

From there, it was a short drive to Plano for the Rangers.  Matt had been messaging me with updates throughout the morning-- the signing had been moved back to 1:30 and there were about 120 in line when I was leaving. I got number 154.  Unlike the other events, the handlers were enforcing a hard limit of one item per person per player. Having 8 cards of Matt Harrison, this was not good.  I figured I could likely loop the line twice if I wanted to though.  It took about 40 minutes to go through the line, but Robbie Ross signed my Caravan photo that I had from the Frisco signing two weeks ago, while Harrison signed a card.  I went to go get a second ticket (as I saw several graphers get in line a second time) and was told that no, once I got them once, I couldn't go back again. Frankly, I wish I hadn't wasted my time.

Rangers Totals: 2 autographs

Day Totals: 35 autographs (22 for me, 13 for others)

WEEKEND TOTALS: 166 autographs (148 for me, 18 for others)

Oh yeah, I went to Allen for an Americans game as a former Wichita Falls player, Zach Josepher, plays for their opponent, the St. Charles Chill.  As my wife, our friend, and I wanted for him to come out after the game, who did I find myself standing next to but Antoine Roussel, there to watch a former teammate of his play.


  1. Thanks again for your help with my RIC!
    Just wondering, was graphing in Allen pretty easy? I always wonder about the accessibility of new minor league arenas.

  2. No problem. I didn't graph Allen, but it looked like it would be easy. If you have tickets for a game, you often will see players coming out near the locker rooms behind Section 113. For the opposing teams, it looks like they just bring their bus around back, within a stone's throw of the In N Out nearby.