Benoit Pouliot has dreamed about pulling on an NHL sweater on draft day. But with the postponement of the entry draft yesterday by the NHL, the Sudbury Wolves star may never know what it's like.
"It's disappointing because with the draft, the main thing is to go out and put the jersey on," Pouliot said. "If there is a draft by phone, it will still be good, but it won't be the same."
The draft was to be held in Ottawa June 25-26, but with the lockout chugging along with no end in sight, the league officially announced yesterday it has decided to put off the annual crapshoot. There will be a draft when the new collective bargaining agreement is completed, but there won't be the pizzazz that usually accompanies it. Although there is the idea the first two rounds of the draft would be held as they normally would, with the rest by conference call, it's quite possible the entire draft will be done via conference call.
It would make sense to ensure Sidney Crosby is drafted with the fanfare he deserves, not sitting in his agent's office or at home. After Crosby, Pouliot was ranked No. 2 among skaters in North America by NHL Central Scouting in its mid-term rankings for the draft.
Pulling the sweater on in front of thousands of people at the draft last year in Raleigh, N.C., sent a chill down the spine of Brampton Battalion forward Wojtek Wolski. He was picked 21st overall by the Colorado Avalanche.
"I feel bad for the guys who might not experience that," Wolski said. "You're thinking about that moment all the time. There's cameras, your family is there, all the excitement."