Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Cujo was a real Pang

In the world of journalism, sources are your best friends. They give you scoops, point you to the trees that need to be barked at and, generally, make your life pretty easy.

The same, I’m glad to report, can be said in the world of hounding.

After getting a tip that the Phoenix Coyotes would be practicing at a local rink before checking in to the team hotel, I found myself among a handful of hounds who had heard the news (Next time, boys, I might not be so free with the information).

After getting over the disappointment that The Great One wasn’t traveling with the team, the fact that we were able to watch the practice and then score autographs from nearly every player was a bonus.

Most players were cordial, willing to sign multiples. Some signed, but couldn’t resist taking a dig at us. And then there was Curtis Joseph, or CuJo.

Though the goalie, nearing the twilight of his mediocre (at best) career, signed for everyone else, he refused to sign a couple of pucks for me. When I told him that I was a collector, and not a dealer, his response was "Yeah, buddy, everybody’s a collector." Later reports indicated, too, that CuJo signed the next day, too.

Needless to say, I wasn’t too happy. And I let the team’s security director, who seemed to be much more cordial than most, know that CuJo couldn’t have been more wrong.

A few minutes later, after some fellow collectors asked what happened, another goalie walked toward us. It was Darren Pang, former NHL goalie and ESPN hockey analyst, who now serves as a color commentator for the Coyotes. He willingly obliged (see above), putting my silver paint pen to the Coyotes puck I had reserved for CuJo.

Looking back, I really shouldn’t have complained. I had a great day of hounding, collecting more than 85 autographs, including 29 pucks, on stops to Wilmington, Boston and Lowell. And I learned I can live without a puck, or two, signed by CuJo.


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