Can you feel it?

Ever since the Ottawa Senators dispatched the Tampa Bay Lightning last April, I've been waiting for the days to pass by.

Went to a bunch of Tampa Bay Devil Rays games, including two when they beat the Red Sox. Created the family's 2006 Sunburn Beach Tour, including a stop at North America's No. 1 rated beach, Fort DeSoto Park's North Beach. Even tried my hand at fishing for some snook (No luck yet).

But now, as the hands on the clock on my desk race to midnight (it'll be a tie), the waiting will soon come to an end. Like a child on Christmas morning, I'm excited by the opening day of the Tampa Bay Lightning's training camp. For me, hockey season has begun.

That's right -- the HOCKEY SEASON!

I've been homesick for hockey-rich New England, and a couple wicked Bruins fans, for the past few weeks. And though I wish I was back there, to visit friends as well as enemies (eBay-dealing scum) I really ought to ignore, this will be my first full season of hounding in Florida.

No more bitter-cold nights on Avery Street in Boston. No more hassles with security at Copley Place. No more wondering why one hound (Nope, it's not Eddie) always slicks back his thinning hair and bathes in strong cologne, like a hounding trip is his first date. No more wondering why one kid isn't working toward college, rather than working in a card store. No more waiting, either, for one hound's hairpiece to come flying off. And, sadly, no more hypotheses on the reason why women wear knee-high boots.

Instead, though, it's T-shirts and cargo shorts. Sunscreen and Gatorade. Palm trees and warm breezes. Convertibles and sailboats. Thankfully, the idiocy of Tampa's dealers can be found here, too. They're just as dumb as Boston's bozos, not knowing anyone beyond the stars, using their children to load up on 8x10s and trying to justify the miserable existence for what passes as a life.

Yes, my friends, it's going to be a fun year. Maybe I'll send you a postcard.


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