June 25, 2011
2011 NHL Draft unexplainable
By STEVE BUFFERY, QMI Agency
TSN broadcast the NHL entry draft but Rogers Sportsnet put together a solid pre-draft show. Strange start, though. Analyst Doug MacLean seemed oddly confused and agitated that the Winnipeg franchise took so long to officially confirm the name Jets. Not sure why that upset him ... Sportsnet panel talk about the Leafs trade for Colorado Avalanche defenceman John-Michael Liles. MacLean throws in a line that coaches don't seem to like Liles. Doesn't elaborate. Makes you want more ... We try explaining concept of hockey entry draft to a Filipino friend. Get a lot of smiles and nods, but not sure if she gets it.
THE KIDS ARE (ALL) RIGHT
Edmonton Oilers GM Steve Tambellini, who had the first overall pick, tells Sportsnet that "none of the top kids" in the draft have any character flaws. A pretty amazing statement, and pretty hard to believe. But then we remember that all hockey people are "great" and "unbelievable," so maybe the Oilers GM is right. Tambellini then says that Oilers know who they are going to pick, which is not exactly a major shock given that the draft is 35 minutes away. A much bigger shock would have been Tambellini saying they didn't know who they were going to take 35 minutes before the draft.
MACLEAN STILL AGITATED WITH WINNIPEG
Sportsnet anchor Ken Reid says that Nick Kypreos is reporting that Winnipeg will officially be known as the Jets. That's great, but we'd be hearing that on the radio all day ... One minute the Sportsnet panel is sitting, then they're standing, then they're sitting again. Getting dizzy watching ... MacLean still agitated that it took so long to settle on the name Jets. Still not sure why ... Kudos to MacLean for giving it to the Leafs for hiring another front office guy (Rick Dudley).
WHERE'S L'IL BURKIE?
Switch over to the Draft on TSN at the Xcel Energy Center and see Burkie working the floor. Sadly, no sign of L'il Burkie ... Nice gesture by the NHL to acknowledge E.J. McGuire, v-p of NHL Central Scouting, who passed away in April of this year ... Now convinced that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman gets booed when he goes to the bathroom ... Ryan Nugent-Hopkins selected first overall by Edmonton and TSN analyst Bob McKenzie -- who is an absolute stud as a hockey insider -- offers some nice insight on the kid growing up in the broken family and a dad who has had health issues ... TSN analyst Pierre McGuire says (almost angrily) that Nugent-Hopkins should have been picked for Canadian junior team this year ... Good work by TSN to confirm that Ryan Smyth will be going to the Oilers. Unfortunately, when TSN's James Duthie put that to Tambellini, the GM says nothing has been confirmed. But TSN lays out the details of the deal anyway.
TALLON TAKES ANOTHER HOMEY
The Colorado Avalanche draft Kitchener Rangers captain Gabriel Landeskog ... Another great nugget by McKenzie who relays the story about how Landeskog scored against Canada at a tournament and stared down the Canadian bench as he skated by ... Duthie points out to Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon, who selected Jonathan Huberdeau third overall, that his past nine first picks have all been North Americans. Tallon answers that it's just a coincidence and that if Huberdeau had been taken second, they would have picked Landeskog, who's a Swede ... Swedish defenceman Adam Larsson is selected fourth overall by the New Jersey Devils and McGuire says unequivocally that he's the "steal of the draft." Hope Larsson likes playing in front of small crowds ... The Ottawa Senators select Swedish centre Mika Zibanejad, whose dad is Iranian, mother is Finnish and half-brother Monir plays pro hockey in England. Swedes and Canadians dominate the first round.
JETS' PICK SURPRISE OF THE DRAFT
Excitement builds up as Winnipeg gets to select for a first-round draft pick for the first time since 1995 and lays on the first shock of the draft by selecting Barrie Colts centre Mark Scheifele who was ranked 19th -- in the OHL -- by Central Scouting last November. Scheifele said he's "excited" to go to Winnipeg. No punch line here. Love the 'Peg ... Boston Bruins pick ninth, the last vestige of the Phil Kessel deal, and select Niagara defenceman Dougie Hamilton, who many believe is another steal. The cameras cut to Burkie, who's chewing on something. Chewing really, really hard ... Calgary Flames pick Swiss winger Sven Baertschi 13th. Strange, a Swiss player selected before any Russian or American ... Good on TSN for also asking the GMs questions not just related to the draft ... Toronto-born defenceman Jamie Oleksiak of Northeastern University, all 6-7 of him, is taken 14th by Dallas, the first American in the draft. He's a dual citizen ... Nice gesture by the New York Rangers to have Aaron Boogaard, the brother of the late Minnesota Wild and Rangers enforcer Derek Boogaard, who died in May, announce their selection, 15th overall. Aaron was a 2004 pick of the Wild ... And, finally, Saint John Seadogs defenceman Nathan Beaulieu, who was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens 17th, says he doesn't speak French very well even though his dad is a French Canadian. That could spell big trouble for the young man down the road. If he doesn't work on his French, the Quebec media will be all over him.