Counting down to 1,250

Going into this morning’s hounding sessions, I was pretty confident that I’d get the 1,250th puck of the collection and, rewardingly, the goal for this season. Having Florida’s Martin Gelinas sign four pucks cut the countdown by half. Olli Jokinen signed a 2003 NHL All Star Game puck. The magic number was now three.

About an hour later, outside the St. Pete Times Forum, the Lightning has completed its morning skate. Coaches and players straggle out.

Dan Boyle narrowed the gap to two, signing a Florida Panthers puck.
"What am I signing this for," he said.

"It’s part of your career," I told him.

A few minutes later, Shane O’Brien, a defenseman acquired from Anaheim before the trade deadline, rolled his truck to a stop. Having watched him play in Portland, with the AHL’s Pirates, it’s easy to see how he’s seen as a good fit with the Lightning. Here’s something funny, too. Watch him skate. He looks like Popeye.

He noticed, and signed, the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks puck first, for No. 1249.

The Lightning puck? Yes, that is No. 1,250. I picked up a couple more later. It stands at 1,252.

With at least two more sessions (Washington and Carolina), it’s conceivable to add another 10 by the end of the regular season. Beyond that, that’s up to the Lightning.

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