Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Hossa was Grand

Earlier this season, an acquaintance said it would be simple to reach 1,000 autographed pucks. I didn't believe him. Want to know something? He was right.

When Atlanta's Marian Hossa signed the first of two pucks, one depicting the 2003 NHL All-Star Game in Sunrise, Fla., it became the 1,000th of the collection. For the record, he also signed a 2004 World Cup of Hockey puck.

Just like my 500th puck, signed Feb. 13, 2005, by Ottawa's Jason Spezza at the 2004-05 AHL All-Star Classic in Manchester, N.H., I was psyched to have Hossa, one of my favorite players, sign the 1,000th puck.

The milestone came as the Thrashers were boarding the bus Tuesday to play the Tampa Bay Lightning. The pucks from Hossa were two of 11 signed, including a pair from Garnet Exelby and singles from Petr Bondra and Marc Savard.

As an aside, Ilya Kovalchuk, the Thrashers' star forward, didn't sign at game time. Despite repeated requests, the sullen Russian only grumbled something under his breath.

Another disappointment, too, was that an injury sustained against the Lightning on April 6th kept Kari Lehtonen back in Atlanta.


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