27 June 2009

Is there a draft in here?

A “not-really live” live blog of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft from Montréal, Quebec

This is the second of a possibly irregular series of low-grade scribbles formed as I watch something on TV. Tonight’s effort covers me covering ESPN America’s coverage of the Versus coverage of TSN’s coverage of the festivities of the first round of Le Repêchage 2009 de la LNH.

The opening features a shot of an Islanders fan holding a sign including the phrase “In Garth We Trust” – let’s hope the rest of the evening is as amusingly entertaining as that…Next is an over-dramatic montage of John Tavares, Victor Hedman and Matt Duchene, replete with over-dramatic voice-over by someone trying to sound like the guy who voices film trailers…Did the likes of Dave Chyzowski and Patrik Stefan get the same treatment in years past?…TSN host James Duthie welcomes viewers across Canada and the US…Hey, what about us gutless Euro pukes?!

Duthie quickly throws it down to “Hockey Insider” and general blowhard, Darren Dreger, a man whose every sentence includes news about his “multiple sauces” telling him something…Only me who has images of him whispering to ketchup bottles then?…Anyway, the breaking news is that Chris Pronger has apparently been traded to the Flyers, with details TBC

Even bigger news emerges – TSN have miked up Toronto GM and general blowhard, Brian Burke for the evening…I suspect Burke is too intelligent to give much away, so I doubt we can believe a word he’s saying, but interesting nonetheless…Hopefully, at some point we’ll see a clandestine discussion ending up with a distressed Kevin Lowe sprinting to the podium to announce: “He’s wearing a wire! Shoot him!”

A brief interview with The Big Three doesn’t reveal much…Hedman is tall, none of them know who is going #1 (would they say anything else?)…We go to a shot of Nassau Coliseum – it’s full of people! Is there a garage sale on? An “I was traded away by Mike Milbury and became an All-Star” reunion? A rare sight indeed…We “go upstairs” to join co-host (Sub-host? Vice-host?) Gord Miller, who’s alongside Bob McKenzie and fans’ favourite, Mr Ubiquity Pierre McGuire…P-Mac confidently states/shouts that Tavares should be #1

Boos ring out across Centre Bell – that can only mean the commish has appeared!…Bettman is flanked by Habs greats Yvon Cournoyer and Henri Richard, a human shield of sorts…Bettman manages a smattering of French (horrible accent, even to my untrained ear) and welcomes all the many viewers/listeners, once again failing to acknowledge anybody in Europe

#1 – New York Islanders select John Tavares (London Knights – OHL)
After managing little more than “Bonjour” for the home fans, Garth Snow ushers some Islander lackey (might even be one of their players – who knows?) forward to do the French bit…Snow then ends the suspense by picking Tavares…I await the news from Dreger that Tavares has been traded along with Josh Bailey, Kyle Okposo and a first rounder in 2010 for an Alexei Yashin hockey card (condition: fair) and a signed Oleg Kvasha jersey…Tavares shakes the hand of owner Charles Wang…my lip-reading might have failed me, but I’m sure the words “45-year contract” were part of the exchange

More details of the Pronger deal emerge – going to the Ducks are ex-Duck Joffrey Lupul, Luca Sbisa and two first round picks…seems like a pretty fair deal on the face of it…Prior to the next pick, Bettman is seen having a quiet word with the Tampa Bay Lightning brain-trust…Something along the lines of “Play nice, boys” perhaps?

#2 – Tampa Bay Lightning select Victor Hedman (MODO – Sweden)
About the only negative thing anyone ever seems to say about Hedman is that he is “not as mean as Pronger” – yeah, but who is?…Duthie diplomatically asks Hedman if he is OK with joining “a team with serious defensive issues”…Hedman diplomatically says he’s OK with it

Back to the floor, as we hear from Brian Burke for the first time…he mentions to Bob Gainey that he’d heard rumours that Vinny Lecavalier was going to be moving to either the Habs or the Isles…Gainey does nothing more than roll his eyes and grunt…classic Burke sh*t-stirring or valuable insight?…a chance for Bettman to hear positive sounds from the crowd: “We have a trade to announce”…he merely fleshes out the Pronger trade – the Flyers also managed to pry out a Ryan Dingle from the Ducks with a conditional pick going the other way…Bettman says “Jeffrey” Lupul – oh dear

#3 – Colorado Avalanche select Matt Duchene (Brampton Battalion – OHL)
Some intern steps up for the Avs..oh, hang on, that’s actually new GM Greg Sherman…after a few words of truly awful French (at least he tried it himself), Sherman predictably goes for Duchene…in his interview with Duthie, Duchene is revealed to be a “stick savant”, reeling off the stick preferences of a few of his future Avs team-mates without a moment’s hesitation

#4 – Atlanta Thrashers select Evander Kane (Vancouver Giants – WHL)
No attempt at French at all from GM Don “still in a job” Waddell…Fascinating Fact: Kane was revealed to have only 7% body fat at the NHL Combine…a weekend on the poutine might have changed that though

#5 – Los Angeles Kings select Brayden Schenn (Brandon Wheat Kings – WHL)
Dean Lombardi and his translator keep everyone guessing by offering a touching 25-minute bilingual tribute to impending Hall of Fame inductee Luc Robitaille…Eventually, the Kings get round to selecting Schenn…an amusing cut-away to Brian Burke shows him barely suppressing a scowl and shaking his head…I suspect the censors might prevent us hearing his immediate thoughts

TRADE: Dreger informs us that the Blue Jackets and Isles have exchanged first round picks, so the Fishsticks will now pick at #16 rather than #26…he also says that Burke is waiting for some movement in the Jay Bouwmeester sweepstakes before committing to anything

#6 – Phoenix Coyotes/Hamilton Hijackers select Oliver Ekman-Larsson (Leksands – Sweden)
After a cheap plug for the sponsors of the Coyotes draft party (money issues in Phoenix?) and no French at all, the Coyotes pick the first of the hyphenated Swedes…P-Mac is officially “not shocked” by the selection

#7 – Toronto Maple Leafs select Nazem Kadri (London Knights – OHL)
Loud boos for the popular Mr Burke – Bettman suddenly feels a bit better…Burke completely eschews the standard thanking of the host team and city (unless the TV coverage just missed it) and picks Kadri…Bryan Murray is officially “pissed off” by the selection…We hear a brief conversation between Burke and Murray from prior to the pick…Paraphrasing slightly, Burke said: “You want Kadri? We’re taking him. Eff you.”…When interviewed, Burke drops the highly-plausible line “My ego isn’t that big”…Sure, Burkie, sure

#8 – Dallas Stars select Scott Glennie (Brandon Wheat Kings – WHL)
No pre-pick spiel at all from the Stars…they spring a minor surprise in picking Glennie…Upstairs, B-Mac suggests that Dmitry Kulikov might be “a slider” due to his Russian-ness…Personally, I’d be happy if he slid all the way to #19

Another brief interview, this time with Ryan Ellis…nothing memorable, except for the fact that he looks about 8 years old

#9 – Ottawa Senators select Jared Cowen (Spokane Chiefs – WHL)
Very little in the way of platitudes from the Senators either…Have Bettman and the networks suggested that everyone speeds things up a bit?…They pick Cowen, who might have fallen a bit over concerns about a major knee injury…Murray tells Duthie that he’s not expecting anything to happen with Dany Heatley tonight

#10 – Edmonton Oilers select Magnus Pääjärvi-Svensson (Timrå – Sweden)
The second hyphenated Swede is picked…after a brief flirtation with Svensson-Pääjärvi, apparently everyone has settled on this form of his excellent name…no doubt all NHL announcers will just call him Svensson or Pääjärvi about 10 seconds into his NHL career (Don Cherry, of course, will call him “Puhjovski-Sandstorm” or simply “Lidstrom”)…the Oilers sweater he dons merely says Paajarvi (no umlaut things)…Fascinating Fact: M P-S has his own website – check out www.paajarvi.com

#11 – Nashville Predators select Ryan Ellis (Windsor Spitfires – OHL)
The Preds seemingly continue to build on their formidable collection of blueliners by picking the man-child Ellis…he’s said to have the hardest slapshot in the draft, despite his small frame…training camp contest with Shea Weber?

TRADE: Bettman enjoys the cheers again as he announces that the Islanders have traded up again, taking the Wild’s #12 pick for #16 and a few later round picks

#12 – New York Islanders select Calvin de Haan (Oshawa Generals – OHL)
A bit of a strange move – de Haan was ranked as a late first rounder, so why trade up here to get him?…after his effusive praise of the Isles for turning things around by picking Tavares, first signs of disappointment/shock from P-Mac after this selection, as he calls it “off the board”

Duthie crams in a brief phone conversation with the hated Pronger of the hated Flyers…he is “looking forward to it” apparently…Is your wife looking forward to it though, Chris?…In the stands, we hear a few forgettable words from TSN employee Chicken Parm and draft-eligible Chicken Parm Jr

#13 – Buffalo Sabres select Zack Kassian (Peterborough Petes – OHL)
The midget Sabres pick the sizeable Kassian…a whole three seconds elapse before the first Milan Lucic reference from P-Mac…Kassian is said to be “legit tough”

Back to the floor and a slightly desperate-sounding Dreger…an update on J-Bo (nothing going on)…the Panthers have “nothing on their table” – sounds a touch unfair, since everyone else seems to have drinks, a phone, a little revolving logo ornament…several teams are interested in acquiring impending RFA Ryane Clowe of the Sharks

#14 – Florida Panthers select Dmitry Kulikov (Drummondville Voltigeurs – QMJHL)
B-Mac’s #1 slider is taken…the usual KHL contract issues are discussed by the panel

Stop the press! A Glen Sather sighting!…He’s talking to Bryan Murray while eating his customary cigar…a potential major fleecing of the Rangers in a Heatley deal or just idle fishing chatter?

#15 – Anaheim Ducks select Peter Holland (Guelph Storm – OHL)
Holland picked slightly higher than his rankings, but there’s said to be little consensus after the top 10-12 picks…B-Mac asks “Will he get his nose dirty?”…Hmm, welcome to Anaheim!…Fascinating Fact: Holland has a collection of miniature Zambonis

#16 – Minnesota Wild select Nick Leddy (Eden Prairie – USHS)
P-Mac and B-Mac get fooled by this one – they suspected it would be a home-state pick, but were anticipating Jordan Schroeder…This year’s “Mr Hockey” is the first American selected

#17 – St. Louis Blues select David Rundblad (Skellefteå – Sweden)
Er, struggling for anything to say here…Swede #4 taken so far…Jarmo Kekäläinen is a great name

Cheers of anticipation as the Canadiens are up next…will it be the Quebecer Louis Leblanc or another American prospect for the Habs?…the suggestion of my TV guide that this finished at 2.30am looks a touch optimistic at this point…thanks, Dean Lombardi…Where is Burke? Can we expect audio of him going to the toilet? Ordering pizza? Swearing at Al Strachan?

#18 – Montréal Canadiens select Louis Leblanc (Omaha Lancers – USHL)
Quite a popular choice with the crowd it seems…a chant of “Louis” is heard before he even reaches the stage…no pressure on the poor kid then

#19 – New York Rangers select Chris Kreider (Andover Academy – USHS)
Cheers quickly turn to boos as the evil Rangers step forward…We see a flashback to the 2007 draft and the Rangers’ selection of the late Alexei Cherepanov and Gordie Clark pays a short tribute before picking Kreider…Sather respectfully discards the cigar for a moment, settling for some chewing gum instead while on the stage…Kreider is said to be the best skater in the draft, but always some risk in picking a high school player…the Rangers don’t have a baseball cap for Kreider to wear in the obligatory group photo for some reason

TRADE: The Devils trade up to #20 with the Flames moving down…P-Mac speculates that the Devils really wanted Kreider…such a shame for the Rangers to have disappointed Mr Lamoriello like that

#20 – New Jersey Devils select Jacob Josefson (Djurgården – Sweden)
A “good pick” according to P-Mac…Is there anyone in this draft that he doesn’t like?…Josefson is apparently a solid two-way player…no idea why the Devils are interested then…why are all the Swedes dark-haired?

TRADE: Burke is pictured on the phone shaking his head again…“No, I didn’t want goddamn anchovies!”…the Blue Jackets trade up to get #21 from the Ducks, with the #26 pick going the other way…#26 has now been in the possession of more teams than Mike Sillinger

#21 – Columbus Blue Jackets select John Moore (Chicago Steel – USHL)
“Nice job” says P-Mac (shocker)…Moore is due to go to college, but might be persuaded to play major junior with the Kitchener Rangers instead…I might follow this guy with some more interest then

#22 – Vancouver Canucks select Jordan Schroeder (Minnesota – WCHA)
The locally popular Roberto Luongo makes the pick on behalf of the Canucks…he manages to pronounce Schroeder’s name wrong…guess he’s confused after having faced Byfuglien and Toews in the playoffs…“a steal” according to P-Mac and B-Mac, who likely dropped due to concerns over his size (I thought the NHL was largely past this?)…GM Mike Gillis tells Duthie that he expects the Sedins to stay in B.C.

#23 – Calgary Flames select Tim Erixon (Skellefteå – Sweden)
Amazingly resisting the urge to draft someone miserable called Sutter, the Flames take son-of-a-Ranger Erixon…another “good one” says P-Mac…another non-blonde Swede…the ever-loquacious Darryl Sutter gives a disdainful yet highly-revealing interview to Duthie

Back to Burkie on the floor for a moment…slightly disheveled-looking, he is not impressed with the trading habits of his fellow GMs…always the smartest man in the room

#24 – Washington Capitals select Marcus Johansson (Färjestads – Sweden)
Dark-haired Swede #7 takes to the stage…Johansson and his family are shown to have landed the prestigious seating spot right by the Toilettes des Hommes

#25 – Boston Bruins select Jordan Caron (Rimouski Océanic – QMJHL)
“He plays better when the game gets ugly” according to P-Mac…Peter Chiarelli immediately puts out a call to Adam Foote, Derian Hatcher and Mike Ricci…Caron is wearing a yellow shirt – did he know who he was going to?

Dreger’s multiple sauces confirm that everyone is surprised by the lack of trade action…Gord Miller compares Dreger to Paris Hilton…something to do with the quantity of Twitter followers rather than any embarrassing videotapes of Dreger that may be out there

#26 – Anaheim Ducks select Kyle Palmieri (US NTDP)
Palmieri mistakes Bettman for a cloakroom attendant, passing him his jacket as he reaches the stage…the commish dutifully disappears to a backroom for a second (or more likely, throws it at Bill Daly)…Palmieri was kicked off the US U-18 squad for alleged teenage girl shenanigans…some scouts impressed by that apparently

#27 – Carolina Hurricanes select Philippe Paradis (Shawinigan Cataractes – QMJHL)
Nothing much to note here apart from Paradis’ ability to shoot the puck through a wall

#28 – Chicago Blackhawks select Dylan Olsen (Camrose Kodiaks – AJHL)
The great Scotty Bowman is invited forward to make the Hawks’ pick…he’s clutching a Post-It, suggesting the master will avoid a potentially embarrassing Clarke/Giroux scenario…Bowman somehow manages to congratulate Brett Hull, Steve Yzerman and Luc Robitaille for their Hall of Fame selections in both English and French while ignoring Brian Leetch entirely both times!…I’ve suddenly lost a lot of respect for Bowman…Get a larger Post-It next time, Scotty…Fascinating Fact: Olsen is the son of one-time British league player, Darryl Olsen

TRADE: The Lightning stop squabbling long enough to trade up a couple of places, getting #29 from the Red Wings…steam is visibly coming from Brian Burke’s ears

#29 – Tampa Bay Lightning select Carter Ashton (Lethbridge Hurricanes – WHL)
Len Barrie and Oren Koules are now not interested enough to make an appearance for this pick…controversially, P-Mac declares it “a very good selection”…Ashton follows convention and sends Bettman to the cloakroom again

As the camera focuses on Ray Shero at the Penguins’ table, Glen Sather is seen is the foreground, looking like he’s fallen asleep with his cigar in his mouth…Don’t choke Glen!

#30 – Pittsburgh Penguins select Simon Deprés (Saint John Sea Dogs – QMJHL)
A loud cheer as one of the biggest fallers of the first round hears his name called…at around 4am my time, the first round is finally over

1 comment:

  1. Bravo! Well done. I didn't watch it, but instead watched the Twitter traffic over it - which was fairly entertaining in itself. Loved the play-by-play.