Chicago grabs spurned Aliu

MIKE ZEISBERGER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:33 AM ET

COLUMBUS -- Akim Aliu had a huge Chicago Blackhawks logo on his chest and an even bigger chip on his shoulder.

Frustrated at dropping to the 56th overall pick, the oft-times controversial Aliu vowed to leave all those doubters who passed him over with egg on their collective faces.

"I'm going to go out and prove all those people wrong," Aliu, 18, said yesterday. "I thought I had the ability to be a top-five pick and, one day, I hope to prove that."

There were scouts who figured the skilled winger, who was born in Nigeria but learned to play hockey at age 10 in Toronto, would have been selected perhaps as high as the first round.

According to Aliu, one team had assured him that he would be its first-round pick. When that didn't happen Friday night, Akim and his parents were crushed.

"My parents didn't get much sleep, especially after that," Aliu said. "Sitting through that was one of the toughest things I've had to do."

Selected sixth overall by the Windsor Spitfires in the 2005 OHL draft, observers began questioning his character when he became involved in a highly publicized fight with then-team captain Steve Downie. A handful of subsequent incidents during his OHL career helped strip the bloom off the rose in the eyes of some NHL types.

"I don't really care about the questions about my attitude," he said. "Those people don't know me. I just care about the Chicago Blackhawks and the people who supported me."

Traded from Sudbury to London, Aliu hopes to play alongside Patrick Kane with the Knights. Kane went first overall to Chicago.

"I'm excited," he said. "We have an unbelieveable core of young guys in Chicago."

Aliu scored 20 goals in 52 games for the Wolves last season.


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