Thursday, April 06, 2006

Shhhhhh!! ... It's a secret

Forgive me, please, for whispering, but The Next One will be in Tampa Bay on Saturday.

Yep, none other than Sidney Crosby, who's looking up at Washington's Alex Ovechkin for Calder honors, will join his Pittsburgh mates when they take on the Lightning.

I'd love to tell you where Crosby and the Penguins are staying, but I'm afraid it'll only add to the fathers, mothers, sons, daughters and family pets, including goldfish, that will likely swarm the hotel is search of an autograph.

Having gotten Crosby to sign a Team Canada puck earlier this year in Beantown, I'll only have a Pittsburgh puck for him, provided the Penguins, who play the Panthers on Friday, take a morning skate.

In the meantime, I'll warm up on the Lightning at their practice facility. According to the team's schedule, it'll be the last regular-season practice at the Brandon facility.

I've got a ton of pucks waiting for them, including some 2004 Stanley Cup Champions models, as well as game-used sticks from John Grahame and Darryl Sydor. With any luck, I'll also finish my mini Stanley Cup (needs Brad Richards, Dan Boyle, Vinny Lecavalier and John Tortorella) and mini Lightning helmet (needs Richards, Boyle and Tortorella).

Looking ahead, I'll chase the Atlanta Thrashers at game time on Tuesday. Like the Lightning, I've got plenty of pucks for them. With such stars as Peter Bondra, Marian Hossa, Ilya Kovalchuk and Kari Lehtonen, it could be a very productive trip.


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