Saturday, July 30, 2005

It's draft day

It'll be an anomalous year, as I'm likely not going to catch much of the draft coverage, but I did want to post my thoughts briefly.

There are all kinds of draft previews on-line leading up to the selection process, but I'm pretty impressed with the small, yet detailed package Inside Hockey's Kevin Greenstein has put together. It may be a stretch to see Kopitar fall to six, but other than that, he's pretty spot on with his analysis of who will go where (should Anaheim hold onto the No. 2 pick, that is).

Being that he's in New York, I'm not sure how many or how much of these guys Kevin has seen, but he's certainly well-read on the subject (aside from a few comments such as "Is the younger Staal's stock based mostly upon pedigree?" in regards to the multi-talented Marc, younger brother of Hurricane youngster Eric).

Of course, I'm always partial to the work of McKeen's Hockey, an organization whose dedicated staff and volunteers really put out an amazing list every year. It's too bad they don't receive as much fanfare as the more widely heralded ISS, Central Scouting and Redline Report. I haven't been able to contribute to McKeen's hardly at all this year due to my heinous work schedule (they graciously still list me as staff in the directory), but it was certainly an enjoyable start to my career attending games in Kamloops and filing scouting reports. They also offer the best poolbook on the market come September.

Blogdom has been strangely silent in the leadup to the draft, considering the event normally occurs during summer's dog days and attracts far more attention. This year, cluttered amongst buy outs, an impending UFA frenzy, a new CBA and, yes, Mr. Crosby, the entry draft simply isn't as sexy as in years past.

Jes Golbez, though, this guy defines sexy... entry-draft coverage. He also draws the ire of one lonely Hurricanes fan in the comments section, even though Jes already has his ticket booked for Raleigh to move his puck bunny patrol in the wake of his pal Gilbert (picture somewhere in this post).

Ahem, so, despite Tom Benjamin's assertion that the draft simply isn't worth what it used to be (a correct one, I might add for fear of retribution — I love you TB!), this is indeed an important day for many teams. Under the salary cap, should you be able to find a player who can contribute on an entry-level salary (as the Flyers have done with Jeff Carter and Mike Richards), your team will have a valuable player at a bargain — something every NHL GM will now be on the lookout for.

The Globe's David Naylor files a piece from Ottawa on Sidney Crosby that adds a few new touches to an already done to death story. It's interesting to hear from Vincent Lecavalier, a guy who has had a couple bumps on his road to stardom, with regards to the young phenom.
"I just told him don't put too much pressure on yourself. The day after the draft, it's over, but they'll always say you're first overall. Your priority has to be to make the NHL, not to try and justify the reason you went first overall."
Anyway, I'm headed to the Blue Jays game. For some reason, my friends think I get enough hockey.



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