67's numbers come up at draft

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 2:21 PM ET

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The wait is finally over for winger Bryan Bickell and defenceman Kyle Wharton.

The Ottawa 67's prospects breathed sighs of relief yesterday after they were taken in the second round of the NHL entry draft.

Bickell was selected 41st overall by the Chicago Blackhawks, then Wharton was picked by the Columbus Blue Jackets at No. 59.

They had every right to be happy. Both players could have waited all day before being selected, or it could have been all night if they weren't selected in the first three rounds.

Instead, Bickell and Wharton wore new sweaters and big smiles yesterday.

'GREAT NEWS'

"To be sitting there and hear your name called is a real relief," said Wharton, a Stittsville native. ''That's nice for me. I wanted to get selected and I had kind of expected to go earlier.

''It's tough when you've got to sit there. This is just great news for me."

The 6-foot-3, 190-lb. rearguard has been described as a fluid skater who can read the play well.

Bickell joins former 67's defenceman Mark Bell in the Blackhawks' organization. Bell was drafted by Chicago four years ago.

Bickell said he'll call Bell for advice before training camp opens in September, assuming camps will open in light of the NHL's impending labour war.

"I'm really excited to get drafted by a team like the 'Hawks,'' said the 6-foot-4, 215 lb. Bickell, a native of Orono. ''I've been thinking about this and talking about this for the last couple of months and it's just nice to have it done with. Now, I can just focus on trying to get ready for training camp."

"I like to compare myself to a guy like Gary Roberts. I like the way he plays and the way he moves the puck.

''To hear my name called was a big relief. This is a great opportunity for me, and I just want to go in there and see if I can get the job done."


Photos