It wasn't all that long ago that I swore I would cut back on my/our hounding efforts during the 2011-12 season. Not enough time, I figured, given Colin's hockey commitments. Money, as always, would be an issue. Having checked the Lightning's schedule, however, I'm backing off a bit on that statement.
Conditions exist, I believe, for a normal slate of hounding adventures.
The big change this campaign, though, will come with the different approach to getting items signed. As always, pucks will make up a major component of our efforts. Colin's team sheets, when he's able to attend, will also come into play. Cards, I'm afraid, will take a diminished role. They take up too much prep time. And, if I'm going to spend money, I'd rather buy pucks.
There will be a few projects -- items that fell off the radar the past few seasons -- that will enter the mix.
My goal is to increasingly focus more on quality, rather than quantity. Minimizing the time spent hounding, too, is high on the list. Full-day trips, save for the Boston Bruins and Los Angeles Kings, will be few and far-between. With any luck, 90 minutes will be our longest session.
Having said all that, we kicked off the campaign this morning, turning our attention to the Tampa Bay Lightning. With any hometown team, it's best to get them early, rather than often. Colin will have some 8x10s of himself with some of the players. I'll have quite a few pucks, most likely the result of my wishful thinking.
As for the rest of the season, we're splitting our 24 hounding adventures, mostly taking place on weekdays, into two divisions:
These teams receive top priority
Nov. 4, 2011: Chicago Blackhawks
Nov. 9: Philadelphia Flyers
Nov. 17: Pittsburgh Penguins
Dec. 15: Calgary Flames
Jan. 10, 2012: Vancouver Canucks
Jan. 17: Boston Bruins
Jan. 24: Columbus Blue Jackets
Jan. 31: Washington Capitals
Feb. 2: Winnipeg Jets
Feb. 7: Los Angeles Kings
Feb. 16: San Jose Sharks
Feb. 21: Anaheim Ducks
March 13: Boston Bruins
March 17: St. Louis Blues
March 19: Buffalo Sabres
March 22: Edmonton Oilers
Reserve the right to pass on these teams
Oct. 17, 2011: Florida Panthers
Oct. 20: New York Islanders
Dec. 12: New Jersey Devils
Dec. 31: Carolina Hurricanes
Feb. 28, 2012: Montreal Canadiens
March 2: New York Rangers
March 6: Ottawa Senators
March 15: Toronto Maple Leafs
Of course, this is subject to change. But, still, it provides a roadmap.