Pocket Rocket denied

DON BRENNAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 12:11 PM ET

MONTREAL -- Seventy defencemen, 53 centres, 29 right wingers, 28 left wingers, 21 goalies and nine "unidentified."

One from the EJHL, one from the NAHL, two from the WCHA, two from H-East, three from the AJHL, three from the CCHA, five from the BCHL, 16 from the USHL, 23 from the QMJHL, 31 from the WHL, 45 from the OHL and 78 from "others."

One hundred and two Canadians, 55 Americans, 24 Swedes, 10 Finns, seven Russians, five Slovaks, plus three from the Czech Republic, one from Belarus, one from Denmark, one from Germany and one from the United Kingdom.

A grand total of 210 players were selected in this weekend's NHL draft, and yet somehow, the best 18-year-old to step through the Bell Centre doors was completely overlooked.

Henri Richard.

Yup, the Pocket Rocket himself.

The former Habs great was born on Feb. 29, 1936. There's only one Feb. 29 every four years. That makes Richard 18.

Do the math.

"He's not drafted yet," Murray Wilson, another ex-Canadien, points out as the last round is winding down. "But Chicago's got (pick) 209. Maybe Scotty (Bowman, the Blackhawks senior adviser, hockey operations) will take him."

Alas, Scotty's team chooses another Quebecois -- some kid named David Gilbert from Chateauguay -- while the guy with 11 Stanley Cup rings went home, unwanted in his draft year.

STARTS AND STOPS

The Senators now have two billionaires. Owner Eugene Melnyk and left winger Brad Peltz. The latter, selected in the seventh round (190th overall) is the son of Nelson Peltz, the CEO of the Wendy's/Arby's Group and former owner of Snapple. Peltz is No. 647 on Forbes.com's 2009 list of world billionaires. Brad Peltz is a generously listed 6-foot-1, 185-pounder who plans to play one more year of junior and then go to Yale. An eruption followed his selection as the 20th-last player in the draft. It came from the 14 friends and family who flew to Montreal with him from his home in Westchester, N.Y. "It was just a good experience to show up," said Peltz. "I'd never been in a draft, so I just wanted to go and see what it's like. I loved coming here and witnessing everything first hand." ... Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau is looking forward to his Wednesday golf game with unbridled enthusiasm. "I'm playing with Tiger!" Boudreau said yesterday. That's only partly true. He's playing at the AT&T pro-am in Washington with Redskins Jason Campbell and Antwaan Randle El in his foursome. Tiger Woods is supposed to be in the group in front of them. "If he talks to me," said Boudreau, "I'll be a very happy man."

BETWEEN PERIODS

Almost 30 years after his father was a Sabres star, Marcus Foligno was drafted by Buffalo in the fourth round, 104th overall. "I'm more of a physical presence," said the 6-foot-1, 200-pounder, who had 96 penalty minutes, along with 30 points, in 65 games for a Sudbury Wolves team coached by his father Mike. "I'd rather go through people than around them." Asked if he'd ever fight his brother Nick -- like Wayne and Keith Primeau did in an NHL game -- Marcus replied: "I don't think Nick's too much of a fighter, so no, I wouldn't do that. Maybe just kind of rub him out once in a while." When informed of the comments, the Senators' Nick Foligno laughed and said: "Where is the little s--t. I'll beat the crap out of him." ... Los Angeles has a new scout in Alyn McCauley, who played for the Maple Leafs, Sharks and Kings before his career was cut short by concussion problems .... With their last pick, the Bruins snared Ben Sexton while the boy's father, Randy, sat a couple of tables away as the Panthers' interim GM. "We really feel Ben is a determined guy," said B's scout Wayne Smith. "We're really proud to have him in our stable. I think this kid is going to play in the NHL. His heart won't let him do anything else. This kid's got a heart the size of Texas. He's one of those kids, if he's going to be a dentist, he'll be the best dentist in the world. If he's going to be a hockey player, he'll be the best hockey player he can be in the world. I hope he becomes everything we think he's going to become. Because usually, when a seventh-rounder plays in the NHL, you win more than you lose." Ben wasn't at the draft, but dad walked away with a Bruins jersey for him.

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM...:

Of the intangibles that make a good pro, the Penguins are obviously counting on bloodlines. In the second round. they took D Philip Samuelsson, the son of former NHL D Ulf Samuelsson (1981-2000). In the fifth round, they took Alex Velischek, the son of former NHLer Randy Velischek (1984-1992). And in the fifth round, they picked Andy Bathgate, the grandson of former NHLer Andy Bathgate (1952-1971) ... Unless you're directly involved as a scout, player or relative of a player, Day 2 at the draft remains as dull as ever. "You should take some No-Doz before you come," Vancouver GM Mike Gillis suggested, a little too late ... Colleague Bruce Garrioch accidentally hung up on a scout who was helping him out in his excitement to get a photo taken with Youppi. I love the cutline that pic leads to: Youppi (left) was at yesterday's draft. Sun Media's Chris Stevenson made his own observation of the pair. "One is big, furry and cuddly," said Stevenson, "and the other is a mascot."

don.brennan@sunmedia.ca


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