With the injured Cam Ward staying back in Raleigh, Eric Staal playing peek-a-boo behind a hotel curtain and Alex Semin leading hounds on a short waterfront walk, our recent hounding adventure for the Carolina Hurricanes was, in a word, lackluster.
In fact, the biggest score, beyond Semin finally signing Colin's team sheet, was Jordan Staal signing a card.
For a moment, we all thought Eric Staal would make our day as he stepped outside the team's hotel. It didn't take long, though, for him to duck back inside. A few minutes later, we saw him through a second-floor window, snuggled up against a curtain, making a phone call.
Semin, continuing his hit-and-miss ways from his days with Washington, repeatedly refused requests as he walked slowly along the downtown waterfront before grabbing a seat on a bench. It was only after he was back at the hotel, inside the facility's garage, did he sign for a handful of fans.
Not that I'm complaining, but there were maybe 15 hounds out, far below the crowds that Original Six, bigger names or better teams draw. All told, we added 41 autographs to the collection, a decent amount given the day's events. Nearly half of the autographs came on cards. The players who signed:
Top row: Drayson Bowman, Patrick Dwyer, and Dan Ellis;
Middle row: Justin Faulk, Riley Nash and Justin Peters; and
Bottom row: Joni Pitkanen, Tuomo Ruutu and Jiri Tlusty.
Two players, Jamie McBain, top, and Bobby Sanguinetti, each signed four cards; and
first-year coach Kirk Muller, who had a long NHL career, signed these pucks.
Up next in hounding: Buffalo's Jason Pominville