NHL Draft dull, duller

JOHN SHORT, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:57 AM ET

Have you ever been exposed to a duller NHL draft?

I haven't, but there was one major positive attached for Edmonton Oilers fans.

For the last week or so there was a manufactured sort of conversation, but not much else.

Tavares or Hedman? Hedman or Tavares? Would the Islanders and Lightning confuse everybody and opt for Matt Duchene from Brampton.

By the time the names finally were called on Friday night, the only possible response was sheer boredom.

A couple of years will pass before fans and the Oilers find out how well Edmonton did with their 10th-overall pick and the no-names that followed, but there is some good news attached to the entire sleep-inducing stretch of time.

TSN was better off with Wimbledon tennis and the Shaw outlets benefited from a baseball commitment, even if the Blue Jays were on the way to a horrendous whipping from Philadelphia.

Oh, you wanna know what the positive is? No more beeping by the souls who deluded themselves that Rob Schremp is an automatic NHL all-star who should have been in the big leagues from Day 1.

Hurray!

REASON FOR EXCITEMENT

On Friday night while hordes of hockey fans were trying to get excited about the move of Joffrey Lupul to Anaheim and past-his-best Chris Pronger to Philly, a few hundred people in St. Albert found reason for real excitement.

They were part of the opening ceremony for the Alberta Summer Games of Special Olympics.

Spending a couple of hours with eager athletes, parents, coaches and organizers was much more fun than it would have been to figure out who, finally, would get the right to talk to Jay Bouwmeester's agent, Bryon Baltimore, about a new address for the proven NHL defenceman.

Finally, we got the earth-shattering news that Calgary has given up Jordan Leopold and draft details for the privilege of negotiating with no guarantees about a signing.

Oh, wow.

THE QB SHUFFLE?

Just a thought, but it seems reasonable to expect Jared Zabransky to stick around the CFL for a while.

The Boise State product was in tough at training camp but came through. Now, he'll have to wait for some sort of miracle to see game time in his first season.

Almost every young quarterback lining up behind proven commodities such as Ricky Ray and Jason Maas goes through a similar ordeal, but Maas has previously mentioned interest in a coaching career and he'll probably be a standout.

If Zabransky continues to catch on to Canadian rules and playing style, is this the year that Maas steps off the field and behind the bench or into a spotter's booth for the first time?

I wouldn't bet against it.

HONOURING A 'GOOD ONE'

As the real world interfered with sport last week, it was great to see so many old pros -- Johnny Young, Bob Solinger, Comet Haley, Brian Sutter, to name a few -- at the funeral of Pauline Hall.

Even more moving was the presence of Bob Plager, the former defenceman who still does community work for the St. Louis Blues and looks terrific although he's closing in on 70 and suffered numerous injuries. "You never forget the good ones," Plager said.

JCSHORT@SHAW.CA


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