23 June 2012

Is there a draft in here? (2012 edition)

After a one-year hiatus (perversely caused by my being in Canada), here is this year's attempt at a totally after-the-fact not-live live blog of the first round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft from the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh (the draft, not me), affording you to chance to re-live all the excitement of everything you already watched and/or read about. 


In his intro, TSN host James Duthie refers to the impending draftees as "the class of '94", immediately making any viewer over the age of 30 feel as old as John Muckler looks.

We then see a piece of VT (that's videotape, not an inappropriate shot of 2010 first rounder, Vladimir Tarasenko) in which a handful of the expected high picks are talking to camera while seated on a wooden chair in a sparse room featuring many dangerously low, dangling light fittings...Good practice for whichever player ends up playing in Nassau Coliseum anyway.

Next we see a clip of Oilers veteran, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, apparently being denied entry to the draft floor initially due to a total lack of credentials...Bafflingly, Oilers GM Steve Tambellini seems to have been allowed to overcome this handicap and remain as Oilers GM.

Our first visit to TSN Insider (and he is indeed inside tonight) Darren Dreger on the floor (though disappointingly standing up) with a Jordan Staal update...Jordan Staal update: There is no update on Jordan Staal

Now upstairs (up about two stairs, it appears) to Gord Miller, as usual accompanied by the universally respected Bob McKenzie and the universally bespectacled Pierre McGuire...Signs are that the Oilers will be keeping the #1 pick (possibly for eternity)

Just in case TSN were thought not to be occupying every part of the building, we finally get a look at the so-called "Social Lounge", where Alyonka Larionov will seemingly be doing the TwitBook type stuff with all the 18-year-old boys that come in...The set just misses the flashy VIP club area look it was going for, instead pulling off the moderately expensive private dentist waiting room motif

The hearty boos either mean Commissioner Bettman is approaching the podium to kick things off or Marc-André Fleury has just conceded another goal to the Philadelphia Flyers...It appears to be the former, sadly...Bettman routinely thanks the city of Pittsburgh, congratulates them on the 2013 Stanley Cup victory, routinely welcomes all the viewers across North America on various platforms and at draft parties and routinely ignores the watching inhabitants of Europånsyland

There follows a bit of a delay, apparently due to a "staging issue" with the podium...Must take a while to raise the microphone from the default Bettman setting

#1 - Edmonton Oilers select Nail Yakupov (Sarnia Sting - OHL)
Yakupov put up some "Stamkosian-like" numbers, according to Miller, which seems to be at least one simile too many...McGuire declares that the Oilers can now "amp it up, offensively"...Judging by the single 40-watt spotlight the arena staff have decided was sufficient to illuminate the whole stage, the Oilers might be asked to amp up the stage too, if they don't borrow some of those bulbs from the intro instead...In his interview with Duthie, Tambellini confirms that his goal is to add defensive depth "this spring"...Either he needs to hurry up, or the seasons work somewhat differently in Alberta to what I had thought

Away from the stage, we see a few fleeting glimpses of 2009 draft star, Brian Burke, but sadly no evidence of a microphone in his vicinity, of any flagrant intimidation of Bryan Murray or of any discreet barn-booking

TRADE: Ľubomír Višňovský and a pack of three energy-saving lightbulbs has been shipped to the Islanders for their second round pick in 2013

#2 - Columbus Blue Jackets select Ryan Murray (Everett Silvertips - WHL)
With no visible sign of Craig Patrick's hand up his back, highly-acclaimed GM Scott Howson calls out Murray's name...McKenzie: "not saying he's Nick Lidström", McGuire: "not Scotty Niedermayer", me: "not Ken Daneyko's third-grade English teacher"...Howson suggests that Murray is going to play with a lot of good players, presumably looking ahead already to him being traded away for nothing or next year's repeat appearance at the World Championships...Nothing to report on the Rick Nash front

TRADE: Mike Ribeiro is on his way to Washington to play the important role of second-line center behind Jay Beagle...Cody Eakin and a second round pick heading to Dallas

#3 - Montréal Canadiens select Alex Galchenyuk (Sarnia Sting - OHL)
As predicted by McGuire...In carrying out the podium formalities, a disappointing lack of pranks from new GM, Marc Bergevin, despite the perfect opportunity to leave a whoopee cushion for Trevor Timmins to step on...In a frankly shocking break from the norm, McGuire likes this pick...McKenzie suggests Galchenyuk is "more multi-dimensional than Yakupov", presumably meaning to say "multi-dimensioner than"...Amusingly, lots of talk about how the pick takes pressure of the some of the Canadiens' current centers (named) and prospects at the position, without a single Gomez mention...At the interview desk, Bergevin gets Duthie to pull his finger

Bettman steps forward again to formally announce the Ducks/Islanders deal, saying the name Ľubomír Višňovský as if he has got absolutely no idea who/what he is...Burke is spotted in conversation with Wild GM, Chuck Fletcher, presumably indirectly challenging Fletcher's old man to a mud wrestle in a Florida swamp

#4 - New York Islanders select Griffin Reinhart (Edmonton Oil Kings - WHL)
TSN's caption for Reinhart has him projected as a "Complete D", which seems a bit judgemental...I can see at least two Wangs on stage, plus coach Jack Capuano, looking like he just got out of bed. A bed situated on an aircraft carrier.

Dreger reports that Burke has been talking to Vancouver GM, Mike Gillis, about Roberto Luongo...Burke's tie still mostly done up

#5 - Toronto Maple Leafs select Morgan Rielly (Moose Jaw Warriors - WHL)
Burke offers some incredibly insincere congratulations to the Los Angeles Kings on their championship, plus some slightly more heartfelt thanks to Pittsburgh and an ingratiating hello to Leafs season ticket holders, whose empty platinum seats are sat in front of thousands of televisions across Ontario...Merely an "outstanding pick" this time, says McGuire...I enjoy the congruence of Burke saying the words "Moose Jaw"...Only 15 of the 25 Leafs assistant GMs appear to have made the trip on stage...A caption reveals that Rielly was ranked first at the combine in the right-hand grip test, but only third on the left-hand grip test, so something to work on...Burke explains to Duthie that he won't allow his draft picks to wear a ballcap on stage as it obscures their faces...He stonewalls a Luongo question, then threatens he would have to kill Duthie if he divulged anything at all (a joke, I think)...As we head to commercials, the camera panning away just catches Burke smothering Duthie with a ballcap

#6 - Anaheim Ducks select Hampus Lindholm (Rögle BK - Sweden)
 Another "Complete D" apparently...I have him down as being among the top five to ten Hampuses ever drafted...Lindholm exhibits a fine combover...McKenzie and McGuire discuss Bobby Ryan's reported disgruntlement

#7 - Minnesota Wild select Matt Dumba (Red Deer Rebels - WHL)
After hearing his name called, Dumba exchanges celebratory hugs with 300 people in his row before heading for the stage..."Hits like Scott Stevens" according to McKenzie, so a very valuable pick in 2003

TRADE: News coming through that Jordan Staal is moving, right before the Carolina Hurricanes were due to select...The deal announced as Staal to Carolina for the #8 pick, Brandon Sutter and Brian Dumoulin...McGuire amps up his excitometer to "Rabid Drooling", speculating that the Penguins will now be pushing hard to sign Zach Parise...I am left stunned by the realisation that the NHL seems to be using an electronic draft board for the first time

#8 - Pittsburgh Penguins select Derrick Pouliot (Portland Winterhawks - WHL)
McGuire boasts that he knew this pick was coming (yawn) and appropriately begins to gush like an oil derrick in Ray Shero's general direction...I wish he could transmit some kind of small indication that he likes the direction of the Penguins franchise...I blank out the next five minutes of Shero and Jim Rutherford being interviewed

#9 - Winnipeg Jets select  Jacob Trouba (U.S. NDTP - USHL)
Yet another big D-man - is there any other kind?..."Very good, smart pick" says McGuire - is there any other kind?...We are shown (repeatedly) a clip of an 11-year-old Trouba obliterating some Swedish kid with an open ice hit...Should make him popular in most of Canada

Calgary GM Jay Feaster is working the phones...I suspect he is checking if it is legal for the always re-building Flames to draft a 35-year-old free agent or he is negotiating with Olli Jokinen's agent

#10 - Tampa Bay Lightning select Slater Koekkoek (Peterborough Petes - OHL)
When the clock reaches zero, GM Steve Yzerman pops out and says Koekkoek...That makes seven D-men in a row...Coincidentally, that's also the name of the New York Rangers' strategy in their own zone

#11 - Washington Capitals select Filip Forsberg (Leksands IF - Sweden)
Copious amounts of booing from the Pens-loving audience (possibly including McGuire) as GM George McPhee arrives on stage, prompting him to disdainfully offer his sarcastic gratitude...He ends Forsberg's free-fall down the board...This pick having been acquired from Colorado and used to select a Forsberg surely viewed as the height of irony by any Canadian recording artists in attendance

#12 - Buffalo Sabres select Mikhail Grigorenko (Québec Remparts - QMJHL)
McGuire: "A sham, a disgrace and a cataclysmically dire selection by that amoeba in a suit, Regier"...(No, not really, believe it or not)...McKenzie notes that one criticism of the Russian scorer from scouts who watched the Russian scorer is that the Russian scorer is an enigmatic Russian scorer

#13 - Dallas Stars select Radek Faksa (Kitchener Rangers - OHL)
Faksa has "Bobby Holik qualities" apparently...Personally, I can't wait for his failed stint as a hugely overpaid checker in New York then...We learn that Faksa left home at 11, in which case, I'm more than impressed that he made it to Pittsburgh in time for 13

TRADE: The Flames trade down from #14 to #21, also obtaining #42 from the Sabres (the second round pick, not Nathan Gerbe)...Slightly less exciting a move than the Staal trade and McGuire is a bit upset with the Flames

#14 - Buffalo Sabres select Zemgus Girgensons (Dubuque Fighting Saints - USHL)
I have him down as being among the top five to ten Zemguses ever drafted...Also the highest Latvian player ever picked up, beating Sandis Ozolinsh's DUI arrest in 2006

#15 - Ottawa Senators select Cody Ceci (Ottawa 67s - OHL)
TSN are really starting to tip their pitches even more than normal, as Ceci's selection is pre-empted by a shot of his big red entourage (I thought that was Bruce Boudreau's nickname?) in the stands...TSN's final draft expert (with no chairs left to support him), Craig Button, compares Ceci to Larry Murphy...Must be something to do with how much he'll get booed in Toronto...Everybody pronounces his name "See-See", apart from Bryan Murray, who is forced to settle for "Shee-Shee"

#16 - Washington Capitals select Tom Wilson (Plymouth Whalers - OHL)
This year's Lucic comparable...McGuire notes that the Flyers were "salivating" - either at the chance of drafting the giant Wilson or because Bob Clarke has fallen asleep drooling at the draft table again

So we're just over halfway through the round, clocking in at a leisurely 2h 23m...No time to see anything from the Social Lounge on TV, if that was ever the plan, even though most of the GMs have avoided the pre-pick spiel

#17 - San Jose Sharks select Tomáš Hertl (Slavia Praha - Czech Republic)
Hertl joins Faksa and Koekkoek at the head of the class for bad pun potential in headlines, if nothing else...I've got nothing else

#18 - Chicago Blackhawks select Teuvo Teräväinen (Jokerit - Finland)
Some pre-pick spiel from GM Stan Bowman, as he says hello to the Los Angeles Kings, thanks everybody at the draft party in Chicago for their hospitality and congratulates the people of Pittsburgh...Cheap applause for Hawks prospect and Pittsburgh native, Brandon Saad, as he is given the task of announcing the pick, the hubbub enough to make his words almost completely inaudible...McKenzie drops a most welcome reference to stone-faced draft legend, Jarmo Kekäläinen

#19 - Tampa Bay Lightning select Andrei Vasilevski (Ufa Tolpar - Russian Jrs)
McGuire is enthused by how "pro-active" the Lightning are being...I must agree, what with the way they are picking players unlike the other teams who just stand around and wait for players to draft themselves

#20 - Philadelphia Flyers select Scott Laughton (Oshawa Generals - OHL)
Some extremely mild booing now from the crowd as the Flyers prepare to pick...GM Paul Holmgren stoically thinks back to happier times and assumes they are chanting for Brian Boucher as the noise intensifies when he approaches the podium...A pick not predicted by TSN for once...Laughton is compared to Mike Richards, who is also said to be a favourite player of his...Bartenders in Philadelphia (and Dean Lombardi) rejoice

#21 - Calgary Flames select Mark Jankowksi (Stanstead College - Canadian HS)
A "legendary" pick, says McGuire, though his cackling suggests he means it is a surprise rather than anything else...As a Canadian high school player, Jankowski is expected to take several years before being able to face the step up in competition that the NHL presents but a significantly shorter period of time before being able to face the step down in competition that playing in the Northwest Division presents

#22 - Pittsburgh Penguins select Olli Määttä (London Knights - OHL)
I step away to slit my wrists during McGuire's latest genuflective essay about the Penguins, which produces more metaphorical oil spills on the floor of the TSN set

Since we are so far ahead of schedule (ahem), we get to see a brief shot of Cody Ceci using the Social Lounge computer, presumably booking himself in for a scaling and a minor filling...Dreger has been absent for a long while, suggesting he either has nothing to report or Marc Bergevin has handcuffed him to a skate sharpening machine

#23 - Florida Panthers select Mike Matheson (Dubuque Fighting Saints - USHL)
Looks a bit ginger

#24 - Boston Bruins select Malcolm Subban (Belleville Bulls - OHL)
Another pleasing (but final?) reference to the Phil Kessel trade, as the Bruins are forced to live off their own picks for a change...Brother P.K. graciously avoids what must have been a strong urge to slewfoot Malcolm on his way down the steps...In interview, Subban Jr reveals that he models himself on Henrik Lundqvist...My picture broke up sufficiently that I couldn't tell if he was referring to his game or the three-piece suit he was wearing

#25 - St. Louis Blues select Jordan Schmaltz (Green Bay Gamblers - USHL)
More technical difficulties chez LW - I'll blame Marc Bergevin...I presume this guy is completely different to fellow Blues prospect Jaden Schwartz?

#26 - Vancouver Canucks select Brendan Gaunce (Belleville Bulls - OHL)
Assistant GM Laurence Gilman avoids shameful embarrassment by remembering to praise the hospitality of Allegheny County rather than just the city of Pittsburgh...Things also speed up with a lengthy tribute to Stan Smyl for no real reason other than his retired number being on the back of the jersey to be presented to the drafted player...As Gaunce makes his way promptly to the stage along a spacious pathway, McGuire confusingly remarks that he "needs to get quicker, especially in confined areas"...Miller comments that "the retired #12 goes on his back", but I don't see the shot of Smyl jumping Gaunce from behind that I expected...In the Duthie vs Gillis confrontation, the Canucks GM (just) falls short of the death threat benchmark when faced with the obligatory Luongo question

#27 - Phoenix Coyotes select Henrik Samuelsson (Edmonton Oil Kings - WHL)
Samuelsson and father Ulf appear to be sitting with every single ex-Hartford Whaler teammate of Samuelsson Sr in the stands...Group photo on stage (for the Coyotes' front office, not the Whalumni) - definitely the first time I've ever seen a jacked-up Rick Knickle

Dreger is loitering by the Rangers' draft table and reveals that the Rangers had some discussions around Jordan Staal (under the league's compulsory Staal brothers trade requirements)...GM Glen Sather is staring in utter confusion at his cellphone as if he doesn't know how to turn it on or activate the cigar dispenser function

#28 - New York Rangers select Brady Skjei (U.S. NTDP - USHL)
Yet another U.S. player for the Rangers...Said to be a great skater, but "not Ryan McDonagh", three words that fill Canadiens fans with joy every time they appear on their team's line-up card...More apparent technical issues give me pictures but no sound for a stretch...The several minutes of televised NHL coverage without McGuire talking over it are possibly a world first

#29 - New Jersey Devils select Stefan Matteau (U.S. NTDP - USHL)
I can't see how anyone will think of an interesting angle to write about for this pick...

#30 - Los Angeles Kings select Tanner Pearson (Barrie Colts - OHL)
As we are past the four-hour mark now, Bettman wisely ushers Kings' co-director of amateur scouting, Mike Futa, to the podium...I'm guessing Pearson doesn't mind the wait, since he was passed over at the previous two drafts

Not even any time for the usual Canadian triumphalism this year or for the impending 1 July PariSutergeddon coverage, as the show wraps up almost as soon as Pearson gets his jersey on.