Draft Tracker

As much as I love ESPN’s Bill Simmons’s work, when it comes to hockey, anything he can do I can do better. With the NHL Draft’s first round tonight I couldn’t resist trying to prove this point. With that in mind, here it is, the 2008 NHL Draft running diary.

5:19 MT: The Lightning are at the podium, their GM is giving a speech. Because they know that everyone knows Stamkos is their pick, apparently they are dragging it out to make up for the lack of drama.

5:21: VS actually cut to Stamkos before the pick on split screen, leading me to hope that they went a different direction. Stamkos is being compared to Yzerman, and being expected to make an impact immediately, no pressure. Bigger news, the VS crew expects Barry Melrose to be named coach of the lightning, intriguing…

5:24 Biggest NHL news of the day so far while they are interviewing Stamkos (who; a. says that he is ready to play in the NHL right away, b. says that he can’t compare himself to an NHLer, and c. appears to be about 12 years old; a troubling confluence of circumstances if you are a bolts fa- er, uh never mind) is that Malkin has been offered $20 mil to play in Russia. I for one am not so surprised that the Euro leagues are starting to try and challenge the NHL. Honestly though, I think their window of opportunity was immediately following the lockout and that they missed it. Plus, Malkin defected in the middle of the night just 2 years ago; I doubt he will be eager to go back.

5:26: Just learned that Sharks don’t pick till 117, leading me to consider quitting now, but I’m going to stick with it anyways

5:31: A Canadian kid who worshiped 99 in the mid 90’s! Hard hitting reporting and interview tactics by VS in the Downy (the Kings pick at 2) interview, digging up that gem.

5:33 A trade is being announced, and it is a big one… Jokanin to Phoenix for Boynton and a few others. If you didn’t go to Kent in 2007 you won’t get this, but you have got to be Oli Jokanin’n me right now!

5:35: The Versus crew keeps asking what teams are planning to do with their picks and in free agency, but they are 0-6 as far as getting answers, maybe time to go with a new tactic there Pulitzer.

5:40: Bogosian is added to the core of prospects that are taking shape In Atlanta (joining Coburn and Esposito) in a “gigantically positive…cover up move” according to the play by play that we have tonight. 2 for 3 on foregone conclusions, not a whole lot of drama so far in Ottawa. Meanwhile Begosian hates losing and is glad he chose to play hockey, according to his interview, good to know I guess.

5:43 Another trade from Betteman, he has been traded (with cash) for David Stern!

5:43: Sorry, I just nodded off, had a great dream. The trade was actually Tanguay to MTL for picks.

5:48: Pietrangelo is the Blues pick, another offensive guy who will be great with Johnson. 3 of the top 4 picks have been defensemen (all 4 from the O). He was compared to “Pronger without the edge.” I think that Ryan Kesler would see this as an upgrade.

5:49: Hold on, I think that one of the guys accidentally referenced “Larry Zubov.” You can’t make that sort of thing up…

5:50: The crew is actually sending it from the host desk that is doing the play by play to another set where they are doing the interviews with the picks. This is presumably because the host play by play guys can’t ask unoriginal questions that don’t actually lead to anything interesting from the players themselves.

5:51: Pietrangelo actually made a number of jokes, and didn’t even stutter in the interview, charismatic kid…meanwhile VS just broke the news that the Blues would prefer not to have the 4th pick again next year, so basically, they would prefer not to finish 26th in the league again. Watch out Bob Woodward.

5:53: Gord Miller (the sideline reporter for VS) has said that the Islanders and Leafs have made a trade, the 5th pick for the 7th pick, but they couldn’t get the details. These GMs aren’t leaking anything tonight, Barrack Obama take notes.

5:55: VS is using Sum 41 as its theme music for the draft, I don’t even have a joke here. I hope that someone got fired for that, but that’s not even a joke.

5:58 Luke Schenn will be the Leafs best defencemen, but won’t ready to play in the NHL next year according to Pierre McGuire… does that make Brian McCabe an AHLer? Schenn should call Matt Carl, ask how it is developing as a defenceman under Ron Wilson.

6:00: Betteman almost fainted like the kid in the spelling bee a few years ago, attempting to explain the TOR-NYI trade. He even had to start over and explain it a second time. If only he could do that with his entire professional life. Suffice to say the Leafs gave up 2 picks (2nd and 3rd rounders), in order to move from 7 to 5. “This is the start of their rebuild” says one of the announcers…giving up 2 picks to move up and take an 18 year old is their first rebuilding step? That’s why you are in TV, not a front office, dude.

6:03: Toronto takes Schenn amidst boo’s from the Senators fans. Kid from Kelowna (awesome town, if anyone cares), was absolutely drooled over by the Versus/TSN crew, they have building this guy up for the past 10 minutes. I think Pierre is expecting this kid to be the next Nick Lindstrom. I was actually kind of hoping that they went with the Russian kid Filatov, just to see Pierre McGuire flip out like Kanye West at a Katrina benefit.

6:03: “JOHN FERGUSON DOESN’T CARE ABOUT SASKATCHWAN PEOPLE” screams McGuire, while Bob McKenzie nervously returns to the script. (sorry, I had to)

6:06: Speaking of Filatov, it is early but not for nothing, this is the second year in a row that the top Russian has dropped in the draft. I think that the Malkin affair opened a lot of eyes as to how hard it can be to sign the Russian kids.

6:08: Two of Columbus’s picks to Philly for Umberger…Betteman has the exact same mannerisms as George Bush…and the same track record of success.

6:09: Umburger was an Ohio State Buckeye, he has to be happy about going back to Columbus. Speaking of which, it has long been my belief that there is no reason for the Blue Jackets to play in front of half empty arenas. How hard would day of game student discounts be? How would this not work?

6:11: The Blue Jackets took Filatov, so much for the Russian slide. Filatov makes Stamkos look old. No joke, he looks like he is under 15 years old. The Jackets had a Filatov jersey made up, which raises questions at the 6th pick, does it not? Filatov wore a cage in World Juniors, tells me a lot more than the fact that he says he would like to model his game after Sidney Crosby.

6:15: I need to see a Nickolai Filatov birth certificate. No way is he more than 15 years old; this
kid won’t be able to grow a playoff beard until 2020.

6:15: Remembered that Filatov was drafted by Columbus, so barring trade growing a playoff beard won’t be an issue.

6:16: Seriously, Filatov looks like Harry Potter, only younger.

6:17 Thanks to VS, as a bull riding commercial reminds me why this league isn’t taken seriously, I had almost forgotten.

6:19: The Isles trade down again, this time to Nashville. It says a lot about the draft this year (not great about the top, but a lot of solid players), that the Isles have traded from 5 to 9, but compiled 4 extra picks in the process, good work by them.

6:21: The Preds took Justin Daniels, out of Kent School…just kidding, they took Wilson out of BU. First American, out of Greenwich, CT. I’m pretty sure he pulled the Preds jersey over a pink Lacoste dress shirt and a Vineyard vines tie.

6:27: Gretz got a 2 minute standing O in Ottowa before taking a Danish kid, a Kitchner Ranger who looks a lot like Bure in his highlights (my analysis not VS).

6:30 Versus neglected to interview Boedker (the kid), in favor of Gretzky. I’m not even mad…By the way the fact that Boedker could be the Desert Dogs third straight first rounder to play the next year says a whole lot more about the Coyotes than it does about Boedker.

6:32: Gonna have to wrap it up here in a second, I have to go umpire little league at 7.

6:33: The Isles finally make a pick, taking Josh Bailey, the 5th OHL player taken in the top 10, and the 4th OHL defenseman. He has a “great half court game.” I heard he also has great post moves and can create shots off of the dribble.

6:38: They just showed Luc Bordoun getting drafted, a sad moment. A little bit eerie, as Vancouver has the 10th pick again this year.

6:41: Hodgeson, a “hockey player’s hockey player” is taken by Vancouver. Hodgeson is another OHL kid, who is a little bit green, but is the captain of the U18 Canadian team. Should be a solid pick.

6:46: With the last pick of the running diary, the Hawks take Kyle Beach at 11. Beach had just taken an interview with the TV crew…not suspicious at all that the guys predicted all 11 picks so far…Beach was a strong power forward (an Iginla type), but a problem child compared to Sean Avery. There are worse people to be compared to, but probably not what you want to see.

Ok, I really have to go now…You were right Simmons, this is harder than it seems.