Just in case . . .

In making my first-ever two-team trip in Tampa, I was looking to take the easy way out. Rather than packing a dozen pucks and a book of cards, and putting in all of that prep work, I opted for bigger items.

A full-sized team helmet (which now has 14 signatures, including Vinny Lecavalier), a vintage Riddell Tampa Bay Lightning goalie mini mask (which now sports silver signatures from Marc Denis and Johan Holmqvist) and a Springfield Falcons mini stick (which second-year defenseman Paul Ranger signed) all fit into my bag

As an afterthought, and only after remembering to pack a Philadelphia Flyers puck for Bill Barber, the Lightning’s director of player personnel, I did bring along one Lightning puck.

Though Barber wasn’t there, the other puck was put to good use.

At the end of the morning skates, as I was walking back to the car, I saw a man with an old black-white-and-red Sabres jersey standing outside a restaurant. I thought to myself that the guy looked, from a distance, like Dave Andreychuk. It was logical, too, as the guy was standing outside of Andreychuk’s Grille, the future Hall of Famer’s restaurant that sits across Channelside Drive from the St. Pete Times Forum.

No sooner had I thought that but who steps out of the Lightning’s administrative offices? It was Andreychuk himself. I did a double-take, but quickly recovered to grab the Lightning puck and have him sign it, giving me my 38th autograph of the morning, including the 20 I scored earlier from Atlanta.

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