June 30, 2008

Gary Bettman Gets No Respect...Even With Those That Honor Him

Gary Bettman can't even get some love from the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and Museum website.

Apparently, the webmaster mixed up Bettman's biography with some Long Island lacrosse star named "Bill". Probably because "Bill" is much more popular than Gary these days in the lacrosse world than the NHL commissioner is in the hockey world.

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h/t to SI.com's Hot Clicks

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Interview with Spector's Lyle Richardson

Lyle Richardson, better known as Spector of Spector's Hockey, is your main source for all things rumors and speculation. Lyle scours newspapers and websites everyday bringing readers the latest in player movement. As you can expect, he's very busy this time of year. In preparation of Free Agent Frenzy day tomorrow, Lyle was kind enough to answer some questions about this off-season.

Is Ryan Malone going to be the most overpaid player this off-season?
He could be. The deal over the seven years is $4.5million but it's also front-loaded and he'll be making between $7-$8 million the next two seasons. That's a lot of coin for a two-way second line forward.

Marian Hossa is the hottest commodity right now. Do you see the Penguins making a serious at him now that they've lost Ryan Malone and Gary Roberts? If not, where will he end up in your opinion?
The Penguins are trying like hell to retain Hossa but in the end he could follow the money to another potential contender (Detroit? Rangers? Canadiens?).

Brooks Orpik: staying in Pittsburgh or moving on to somewhere like say, the New York Rangers?
I think they can retain Orpik, although he will attract interest around the league.

After last summer's offer-sheet controversy with Kevin Lowe and Brian Burke, do you see any general managers shying away from that tactic?
No, the only thing that could prevent that tactic this summer is the lack of depth in the RFA market this summer (so many were re-signed last season).

What team(s) do you think will be the biggest players in free agency?
Those with cap space and the willingness to spend, spend spend! The Rangers, Canadiens, Blackhawks, Blue Jackets, Red Wings and now apparently (judging by their recent moves) the Lightning.

How much more "aggressive" do you expect the new Tampa Bay owners to be? They've already picked up Malone and Roberts as well as the rights to Brian Rolston. Are you drinking the "Koules Aid" as Greg Wyshynski puts it?
LOL, I must admit I'm surprised by the rapid moves of the Koules regime but also impressed, although they've yet to address their team's more pressing needs: lack of depth in goal and on the blueline.

Sean Avery. What is Glen Sather thinking by not talking to this guy before July 1? Ranger fans loves him and he obviously loves being in New York City. Match made in heaven, no?
Avery's a valuable and popular player but his act also has a short shelf life as it tends to wear thin after a while, and Sather has obviously had his fill.I don't think this'll blow up on them, depending of course on who Slats brings in to replace him as well as other moves that could alter the look of the team.

The biggest newsmaker this summer will be Mats Sundin. What the hell is he going to do so I can stop seeing his picture on the front of TSN.ca everyday?
For Sundin to finally make a decision on his future. I don't blame him though, I blame the overly-excitable Toronto media. No wonder Mats hightails it back to Sweden each off-season!

With the salary cap rising and the floor now above the original cap ceiling in 2005-06, what does the future hold? Will the owner's try and fight their own CBA that they supposedly "won"?
The league and the owners painted themselves into a corner with this CBA. The big market free spenders (which now includes Canadian franchises thanks to the strong loonie) don't care, it's the struggling American based franchises in markets like Phoenix, Florida, Atlanta, and Columbus that aren't pleased. Any decision to re-open the CBA rests with the players, who can do so after the 2008-09 season but they won't considering how much this CBA (as I anticipated) is benefitting them. The only way I see the players doing that is if the league and the owners come crawling with a much better offer, which I doubt will happen.

Thanks a lot Lyle. I hope you get some rest. You've got a big day ahead of you tomorrow!

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My Day at the NHL Draft Combine

In late May, weeks after I declared my eligibility for the 2008 NHL Draft, I ventured to Toronto for the NHL Draft combine. The top prospects from North America and Europe made the trip in order to show their physical and mental attributes to representatives from all 30 NHL clubs. This is a chance for players to improve or hurt their draft stock. A good combine could result in a higher selection which in turn results in a bigger paycheck.

Here's a photo journal of my time at the combine.

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My first attempt at the bike. I started out well, but the gear I was
wearing wasn't so great at being "dri-fit" so I switched

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The bike was killer. I didn't need to use "the bucket",
but I came very close to it

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I'm sorry if I made you blush ladies

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My vertical leap impressed a number of folks in attendance. Somehow, a
New York Knicks scout was there and offered me a 5-year deal. I thought I heard him utter, "Screw LeBron" under his breath, too.

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When you go through a lot of strenuous physical test, push-ups are a bitch.

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My wingspan is nothing like Michael Jordan's, but I
make up for it with a few extra inches on my stick.

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My reverse-blue steel pose

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Tossing a weighted ball sitting down. Tough stuff, but I was
able to impress the few scouts who saw my throw. Again, the Knicks scout was dreaming off cross-court chest passes and offered me another contract.

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The lady measuring my specs couldn't keep her hands off me. The woman
behind me was staring at my rear for about five minutes

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The photographer snapped my headshot seconds after I
found out they were out of Rold Gold pretzels.

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The media were on hand after hearing about my declaration.
Bob McKenzie was very interested in my contract demands if I was drafted.

(Ed note: I understand the photoshops are pretty crappy, I apologize. I'm definitely not up to par with the boys and girls that make ThePensBlog so amazing. This was my first time and well, there's much work left to be done)

Coming up tomorrow, my day at the 2008 NHL Draft

Previous: My NHL Draft Declaration

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June 29, 2008

Pavel Datsyuk "Feels Good"



I'm not sure what's more frightening; the fact that Pavel Datsyuk has James Brown's "I Feel Good" as his ringtone or his seizure-like dance movements.

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Malone and Roberts Move to Tampa Bay

Solid deal by Ray Shero. He deals two players that weren't coming back in the first place to Tampa Bay for a fourth-round conditional draft pick. The condition? If Malone signs, then the pick becomes a third-rounder.

Can't say anything more than it's a good deal for the Penguins. It could completely backfire on the "aggressive" new Lightning ownership. Tampa has until Tuesday to strike a deal with both players before they enter the open market. Roberts has long been rumored to wanting to play in either Toronto or Ottawa to be closer to family. Malone seems to be basically just looking for any team that wants to pay him $4-5 million a year. If both decide to not sign in "Hockey Bay USA", then a team that needs a facelift just lost a pretty decent draft pick.

UPDATE: Sportsnet is reporting that Tampa is close to signing Malone and Roberts to deals:

" A day after trading for their rights, The Tampa Bay Lightning are close to signing Ryan Malone to a long-term year deal that will exceed $30 million and Gary Roberts to a one-year year deal that has the potential to reach $2 million, Sportsnet has learned.

An announcement could come as early as Monday. "

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June 28, 2008

News?

I just worked a 16 hour day at a soccer tournament...so yeah, I'm tired.

Apparently Ryan Malone and Gary Roberts had their right dealt to Tampa today...

I'll have more on that after a 16 hour sleep session.

The Muppets and Hockey

Just because it's Saturday and I won't be around until tomorrow...



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June 26, 2008

2009 World Junior Hockey Championships Schedule

Thanks to Sportsnet.ca for having the schedule up six months ahead of time.

Group A: Canada, USA, Germany, Czech Republic, Kazakhstan
Group B: Finland, Russia, Latvia, Sweden, Slovakia

Friday, Dec. 26
Latvia v. Russia
Germany v. USA
Finland v. Sweden
Canada v. Czech Republic

Saturday, Dec. 27
Slovakia v. Latvia
Kazakhstan v. Germany

Sunday, Dec 28
Russia v. Finland
Kazakhstan v. Canada
Sweden v. Slovakia
USA v. Czech Republic

Monday, Dec 29
Latvia v. Sweden
Germany v. Sweden

Tuesday, Dec 30
Russia v. Slovakia
Czech Republic v. Germany
Finland v. Latvia
USA v. Kazakhstan

Wednesday, Dec 31
Sweden v. Russia
Czech Republic v. Kazakhstan
Slovkia v. Finland

Friday, Jan 2
1st Quarterfinal: Group B 2nd Place v. Group A 3rd Place
2nd Quarterfinal: Group A 2nd Place v. Group B 3rd Place
Relegation: Group A 4th Place v. Group B 5th Place

Saturday, Jan 3
Semifinal: Group A 1st Place v. Winner-1st Quarterfinal
Semifinal: Group B 1st Place v. Winner-2nd Quarterfinal
Relegation: Group B 4th Place v. Group A 5th Place

Sunday, Jan 4
Relegation: Group A 4th Place v. Group B 4th Place
Relegation: Group A 5th Place v. Group B 5th Place
5th Place: 1st Quarterfinal loser v. 2nd Quarterfinal loser

Monday, Jan 5
Bronze Medal Game
Gold Medal Game
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UPDATED: Marty Straka Not Leaving for Czech Republic Just Yet

Another NHL player is leaving for Europe. No, the upstart Russian Kontinental Hockey League has not claimed another NHL'er, this time, it's the Czech league luring a player to come home.

New York Rangers forward Marty Straka is returning to the Czech Republic to play for Pilsen according to Thomas King from Denik Sport. The translated version can be found here.

The Penguins first-round pick in 1992 (19th overall) bounced around the league from Ottawa to New York to Florida before settling back in with the Penguins in 1997. During the 1998-99 campaign, Straka had a career year in goals with 35. It sure helped playing alongside Jaromir Jagr. After a few more seasons in the Steel City, including a career high point total of 95 in 2000-01, he spent 35 games in Los Angeles and then signed with the Rangers after the work stoppage. In his three years in New York, Straka saw his point totals and games played decreased. The 36-year old had a good NHL career and it must be nice for him to be able to go home again.

Best of luck to Marty.

UPDATE: Or not. TSN is reporting that Straka's agent, Ritch Winter, is denying any deal has been made.


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June 25, 2008

My Wish for the NHL Network US

When the NHL Network finally made it onto my Direct TV towards the end of last October, I was ecstatic. No longer would I have to search through the regional Fox Sports Net channels to find any programs on hockey. The NHL Network quickly became the default channel on my television.

It's been great so far having the NHL Network as a desired surfing destination, especially since they've begun simulcasting NHL Live!, showing the NHL Draft Lottery, carrying every game of the CHL Memorial Cup, and even brought you live coverage of Rounds 2-7 of the NHL Draft last weekend.

With the regular-season over, some might expect a lull in hockey news, but it's been anything but that since the Detroit Red Wings hoisted the Stanley Cup on June 4th.

There was an incredible amount of trade speculation leading up to the NHL Draft's opening round last Friday night (not to mention the "who goes where" talk about the Draft itself).

Who should have gotten in and not in to the Hockey Hall of Fame sparked a major debate last week.

The days leading up until the opening of the free agent period on July 1 will bring us a boatload of rumors to digest.

And plenty of coaches have been given their pink slips, while some new faces are taking the reigns in new places for next season.

With all of this happening, where's an American hockey fan to go on their television for the latest information? As of right now, the internet and if you're like me, you click on TSN a thousand times a day for the latest breaking news. You might even scour the blogs of beat writers around the league for any sort of nugget of information.

What I'm saying is that there's nothing for American fans to turn to for this type of information. Once the Stanley Cup Finals ended, the amazing NHL On the Fly left us. In it's place has been replays of playoff games and the standard programs seen on the NHL Network like Classic Series, Hockey Academy, and Top 10. The problem is I can only take so many Top 10 lists before I have the odd desire to see the "Top 10 Dan Pollard Suits from 2000-01" on my television screen.

This is why the NHL Network needs a nightly recap show, like NHL On the Fly during the summer months once the season is over. American fans would appreciate it since we're not able to get a TSN here. I don't know about you, but I would have liked to seen some of the press conferences live of new coaches being introduced, or a discussion on the current contract buyout period which we're in the midst of. How about some talk on the days trade rumors or even an update on the Mats Sundin to Montreal situation?

Like every other sport, hockey is no longer worthy to keep an eye on in just the regular-season. It's become a 365-day a year sport with news breaking just about everyday in some facet of the game.

The NFL Network does this perfectly with it's show NFL Total Access. Players, coaches, and newsmakers are interviewed just about everyday. They have live coverage from the owner's meetings, the NFL Combine, training camp and much more to keep the football fan happy.

I'm sure Gary Green would be available. I believe he sleeps in a cot right next to the NHL On the Fly desk and is always ready for the next show on time. How great would it be for American fans to see insiders like Pierre McGuire, Bob McKenzie, Darren Dreger and others come on to the discuss the upcoming free agency period? Instead, you get to watch the Rangers defeat the Devils again or Detroit dispatching Nashville or even, the Penguins dominating the Senators...though personally, that last one will never get old.

So, NHL Network people, if you're reading, please make this happen. You'll be doing a service to many American hockey fans who rely on the internet for their off-season news and would like to tune into NHL Network more than just during the regular-season.

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June 22, 2008

Monday Required Reading

I'm pretty wiped from a long weekend from a bachelor party that featured white water rafting, paintball, and of course, other activities. So, while I recover, surf on over to the following sites for some good stuff.

Shane Igoe gives us The Love Guru's advice to real life celebrity couples.

Yahoo!'s Puck Daddy, Greg Wyshynski, caught up with number one overall pick Steven Stamkos during Day 2 of the NHL Draft and the newest member of the Tampa Bay Lightning would love to see himself in the next Saw movie.

Kevin Schultz over at Barry Melrose Rocks gives us all another "Handy Guide for Beginners". This one deals with the NHL Draft.

Taking One for the Team breaks down the Atlantic Division free agency situation.

Jesse Marshall over at Faceoff Factor lets us know about the Penguins fourth round pick, Nathan Moon.

Should the NHL worry about the Russian KHL? Eric McErlain from AOL Fanhouse says the NHL might want to keep an eye out.

The guys from The 2 Man Advantage had their television debut last week.

Lyle Richardson from FOX Sports discusses some names who could be on the move very soon.

The Globe and Mail has a cool article about scouting.

Hockey Reference (godsend) has the 2008 NHL Draft page up and running.



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June 20, 2008

Going Five Hole's Live Draft Blog

Welcome everyone and this should be an interesting draft. The internet is shaky, but it is what it is.

Secondly, the Flames, Kings, and Ducks made a three-way deal, which sent Mike Cammalleri to the Flames. Details are sketchy, but we’re working on getting them.

7:17 PM: Gary Bettman has walked onto the stage….and subsequently gets booed. He’s having some fun with it, and why shouldn’t he—he’s making some phat cash on it.

7:19 PM: The Tampa Bay Lightning are up. Oren Koules, the new owner of the Bolts makes the no-brainer and picks Steve Stamkos as their first pick. It was going to be tough to deny this, as many believe Stamkos as a franchise player. Wazz’s Pick Score: 1/1

7:24 PM: Breaking news, as Olli Jokinen has been sent to the Phoenix Coyotes from the Panthers for Keith Ballard, Nick Boynton, and the 49th pick in this year’s draft. Jokinen has been player who was traded about 50 times at the deadline and during the off-season, but now it’s reality. The Panthers get two great young blueliners and really beef up their talent back there. Whether or not it turns into results, we’ll have to see.

7:28 PM: The Kings are up now, and they go ahead and pick Drew Doughty. Doughty was interchangeable with some of the defensemen out there, but his ability to step into a uniform now is what helped the Kings make the decision easier. Wazz’s Pick Score: 2/2

7:33 PM: The trade was just made official, which could tell the end for Jay Bouwmeester's tenure in Florida.

7:37 PM: The final parts of the Flames Kings trade is pick #17 and next year's second round for Calgary to LA for Cammalleri and pick #48 this year. Anaheim and LA traded picks, but didn't get the details on it. I stink

7:38 PM: Atlanta is up and they pick Zach Bogosian. Bogosian is another one who was interchangeable, but should develop into the defenseman that the Thrashers need to have to be any good down the road and not have to pay a lot for. Wazz's Pick Score: 2/3 (Luke Scheen was my prediction for this one, kids)

7:43 PM: Yet another trade as Montreal trades pick #25 and second round pick in 2009 to Calgary for Alex Tanguay and their fifth round pick, #138. Tanguay was rumored to go to Montreal for the longest time and now it’s reality.

7:48 PM: The Blues are up and they pick Alex Pietrangelo. Pietrangelo makes the third defenseman in four picks. Though he had a rough start, his ability to work through the trying times got the Blues attentions. It should be interesting to see how he pans out and if he’ll need time before getting to the big club. Wazz's Pick Score: 2/4 (Kyle Beach).

7:59 PM: We have a trade, as the Toronto Maple Leafs acquire the 5th pick from the Islanders for pick #7 and either pick #60 this year and third round next year, or #68 this year second round pick next year.

8:03 PM: The Leafs go with Kelowna Rockets’ d-man, Luke Schenn. Schenn has been compared to former teammate Shea Weber and is very-level headed defender. With the issues the Leafs have had on the back-line, this will be a welcome addition to the Buds’ roster. Wazz’s Pick Score: 2/5 (Zach Bogosian)

8:08 PM: Columbus trades #19 and #67 for RJ Umberger and #118. Umberger heads back to Columbus, where he played for THE Ohio State in his college days. Umberger’s performance in the playoffs should help the Blue Jackets in the future.

8:12 PM: The Jackets are up and they pick the first international by going with Nikita Filatov. It seems odd, especially considering the history with Russian picks (Nikolai Zherdev), but in a deep draft like this, you have to go with what you need—and Filatov is as a complete player as they come. Wazz’s Pick Score: 2/6 (Tyler Myers)

8:17 PM: These vignette's they play of the picks inbetween picks-- really, really.....interesting; to say the least.

8:20 PM: Another trade, the Islanders trade pick #7 to Nashville for picks #9 and #40. SHOCKING!!!

8:21 PM
: The Preds are up and they select Colin Wilson from Boston University. A tight pivot, Wilson will need to work on his skating ability to make an impact for the Preds. Though, his hockey sense put him over the top at #7. Wazz’s Pick Score: 2/7 (Alex Pietrangelo)

8:26 PM: The Coyotes are up and Wayne Gretzky gets a nice hand from the Ottawa fateful. The Desert Dogs pick Mikkel Boedker, who I didn’t even have in the top-30. Boedker has explosive speed and is able to get back into the play. Also, with a nose for the net, he helped the Kitchner Rangers get to the Memorial Cup Finals. Wazz's Pick Score: 2/8 (Nikita Filatov)

8:30 PM: Myself and Face Off Hockey Show PR gal Laura have made Mikkel Boedker the winner of the Draft for having the sweetest mullet. Those crazy Danes.

8:33 PM: The Islanders are up and Garth Snow, sans the 16-year-olds, and they pick Josh Bailey. Bailey had a quiet 96 points this season and has been a reliable cornerstone for the Windsor Spitfires club. Wazz’s Pick Score: 2/9 (Mattias Tedenby)

8:39 PM: The Canucks are up and assistant GM Steve Tambellini talks about the support of the Canucks with the Luc Bourdon incident. Tambellini then takes Cody Hodgson with the 10th pick. Hodgson doubled his point output from a season ago and was voted the OHL’s smartest player in a coaches poll. Wazz’s Pick Score: 2/10 (Colin Wilson)

8:46 PM: The Blackhawks are up, and they will take a chance on Kyle Beach. A lot has been said about Beach’s temper, but the Hawks will try their best. An agitator and scorer, Beach could be lethal if he can use his focus his temper and not get carried away with it. Wazz’s Pick Score: 2/11 (Kirill Petrov)

8:54 PM: Another trade, the LA Kings trade pick #12 to Buffalo for pick #13 and a third round pick in 2009.

8:55 PM: The Sabres pick at #12 Tyler Myers from Kelowna. A big boy at 6’7, Myers should be the cornerstone for the rebuilding defense. How much time he’ll need to adjust to the NHL game remains to be seen. Wazz’s Pick Score: 2/12 (Colten Teubert)

9:00 PM: The Kings make the 13th pick Colten Teubert. Teubert is a big defenseman and should be a sturdy addition to the youth movement in LA. Coupled with Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson, the Kings could be a force to be reckoned with in years to come. Wazz’s Pick Score: 2/13 (Cody Hodgson)

9:05 PM: The Hurricanes go ahead with their pick and get Zach Boychuk. Boychuk was a huge factor in the Lethbridge Hurricanes deep playoff run in the WHL and should prove to be a steal. Boychuk also had the best combine out of all the prospects. Wazz’s Pick Score: 3/14

9:12 PM: Another trade, Nashville traded #15 to the host Senators for pick #18 and a third round pick in 2009.

9:14 PM: Fan favorite Daniel Alfredsson is on the mic and has selected Erik Karlsson from Frolunda in Sweden, going off the board. Karlsson was rated 71st by the Hockey News, but could be a diamond in the rough for the Senators. On the smaller side at 157 pounds, Karlsson was selected the best defenseman at the Under-18 tournament. Wazz’s Pick Score: 3/15 (Josh Bailey)

9:21 PM: The Bruins go a little off the beaten path selecting Joe Colborne from the Camrose Kodiaks. Many thought that playing Junior A would hurt Colborne, but the Bruins will take their chances. Once he fills out his 6’5 frame, Colborne should be a big power forward for the Bs. Wazz’s Pick Score: 3/16 (Michael Del Zotto)

9:28 PM: The Ducks are up and Brian Burke goes ahead and gets really off the board to select Jake Gardiner from Minnitonka high school in Minnesota. A smooth handed defenseman, Gardiner will be a work in progress for the Ducks. Wazz’s Pick Score: 3/17 (Jordan Eberle)

9:36 PM: The Predators are up and they go with a goalie in Chet Pickard. Pickard is from the new goalie factory that is the Tri-City Americans and should help along the Predators. Though the development of Pekka Rinne has become in question, Pickard could very well push both Rinne and himself to challenge for the back-up spot behind the newly re-signed Dan Ellis. Wazz’s Pick Score: 3/18 (Colby Robak)

9:42 PM: The Philadelphia Flyers picked Luca Sbisa. Sbisa’s first year in North America was a decent one after playing in the Swiss Elite League. He didn’t take too long to adapt, and much like Boychuk, was a integral part of the Lethbridge Hurricanes’ run in the WHL Playoffs. Wazz's Pick Score: 4/19

9:47 PM: The Rangers are up with the 20th pick and go out and pick Michael Del Zotto. An offensive defenseman, Del Zotto can be very responsible with the puck and make things happen, while being able to catch up if he makes a mistake. Wazz’s Pick Score: 4/20 (Mikhail Stefanovich)

9:52 PM: A trade, the Devils trade pick #21 to Washington for picks #23 and #54.

9:55 PM: The Caps make it quick and dirty and go with lineage by picking Anton Gustafsson. Gustafsson has had injury problems, but when healthy—is a deadly center. Though, I have to say—I got the number pick wrong, but got Gustafsson going to the Capitals at #23. Wazz’s Pick Score: 4/21 (John Carlson)

10:01 PM: The Oilers are up and pick Jordan Eberle from Regina in the WHL. The small center will bring good fortune for the Oilers, who are going with a quicker, compact line-up. Wazz’s Pick Score: 4/22 (Yann Sauve)

10:12 PM: The Wild are up and they pick Tyler Cuma. Cuma grew into his own in his second season and will be able to help rebuild the Wild’s cabinet when it comes to the blue line. Wazz’s Pick Score: 4/23 (Anton Gustafsson)

10:16 PM: The Devils are up and they go ahead and pick Mattias Tedenby. The Swedish left winger has a quick first step and top rated puck control. Wazz’s Pick Score: 4/24 (AJ Jenks)

10:23 PM: The Flames are up and pick Greg Nemisz. He’ll need time, but Nemisz could become a solid power forward in the league, once he fills out. Wazz’s Pick Score: 4/25 (Daultan Leveille)

10:30 PM: The Sabres are up again they the pick Tyler Ennis. Ennis grew as a player, doubling his output from last season and showed tremendous upside from his rookie campaign. Wazz’s Pick Score: 4/26 (Jacob Markstrom)

10:38 PM: The Flyers traded their pick to the Washington Capitals and the Caps picked John Carlson of the USHL. Carlson is a solid defender and should fit well into the defensive scheme the Caps are building up. Wazz’s Pick Score: 4/27 (Joe Colborne)

10:44 PM: Another trade, Anaheim trades the 28th pick for 39th and 48th pick. The Coyotes picked Viktor Tikhonov. Tikhonov is the grandson of the legendary USSR coach Viktor Tikhonov. He plays in the super league and should be a star for Phoenix. Wazz’s Pick Score: 4/28 (Greg Nemisz)

10:49 PM: The Thrashers are up and they pick Daultan Leveille. The young speedster got a lot of press late in the season due to his emergence from the OHA. Of course, he’ll be attending Michigan State in the fall, but should be able to grow there and learn more aspects of the pro game. Wazz’s Pick Score: 4/29 (Tyler Cuma)

10: 52PM: The Cup Champion Red Wings are up to finish the first round and they decided on Thomas McCollum. The depth of the Wings goaltending needs help and McCollum should helpt that. Wazz’s Pick Score: 4/30 (Chet Pickard)

And that’s a wrap for the first round. There were plenty of trades and plenty of drama and it took a long enough time to do it. More analysis later on this weekend, but now—it’s time to drink.


Ballhype: hype it up!

NHL Draft Day is Here!


Tonight's the big night. The future stars of the National Hockey League will be ushered in and there's sure to be some player movement as well on the Draft floor.

Remember, if you're in the US you can catch all the NHL Draft coverage beginning at 7pm ET on Versus and TSN if you're in Canada. The NHL Network will pick up the remaining rounds tomorrow beginning at 10am ET.

My good buddy Scotty Wazz will in Ottawa with his Faceoff Hockey Show crew and will be live-blogging the first-round tonight, that is unless Kevin Lowe decides to draft him (I kid, I kid!). He posted his mock draft back on June 5th, but if you're too lazy to click there, here is what Scotty thinks will go down tonight:

1. Tampa Bay Lightning: Steve Stamkos, C, Sarnia Sting (OHL)
Great hockey sense, great vision of the ice, and leadership. Stamkos is the real deal and should be able to learn from the other franchise player, Vincent Lecavalier.

2. Los Angeles Kings: Drew Doughty, D, Guelph Storm (OHL)
Doughty’s ability has some questioning whether he could be a #1 overall pick. If he falls to the Kings, they’ll bolster their defense with him and Jack Johnson, sans Curious George.

3. Atlanta Thrashers: Luke Schenn, D, Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
After losing Braydon Coburn, the Thrashers need to build their defensive defensemen, which Schenn can be. His play is simple, but effective and should fit the Thrashers for years to come.

4. St. Louis Blues: Kyle Beach, LW, Everett Silvertips (WHL)
Beach can be described as another Blues’ left-winger by the name of Keith Tkachuk. He can score, muck it up, and be a leader. He’ll be a great asset for the Blues’ youth movement.

5. New York Islanders: Zach Bogosian, D, Peterborough Petes (OHL)
Bogosian has raised his stock this season by expanding his game into a well-rounded one. Not only will he be a force along the boards, but he’ll help start the rush up ice after winning the battle in the corners.

6. Columbus Blue Jackets: Tyler Myers, D, Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
The Jackets don’t have too much in blue chip defensemen, but Myers could change all of that. He’s a shut-down defenseman and once he fills out his 6’7 frame, should be the cornerstone to the Jackets’ blue line corp.

7. Toronto Maple Leafs: Alex Pietrangelo, D, Niagara Ice Dogs (OHL)
Pietrangelo is a mature defenseman who shows plenty of poise under pressure and lets his hockey sense make up for a lack of physicality.

8. Phoenix Coyotes: Nikita Filatov, LW, CSKA-2 (Russia)
Though getting Filatov out of Russia could be a hassle, he is worth it. He has amazing hands, can stick-handle in a phone booth, and has the ability to create time and space for himself.

9. Nashville Predators: Mattias Tedenby, LW, HV 71 (Sweden)
Likened to Martin St. Louis, Tedenby is small in stature, but has the game-changing ability just by his ability to create offense.

10. Vancouver Canucks: Colin Wilson, C, Boston University (NCAA)
After a year at BU, Wilson shown that he can be a very effective centerman, something the Canucks needs to build up for the future.

11. Chicago Blackhawks: Kirill Petrov, RW, Kazan (Russia)
With a quick first step, Petrov has been looked at as a deadly sniper. Though he may not like to dish the puck that much, Petrov’s speed and ability to make defenders look silly will help his cause.

12. Anaheim Ducks: Colten Teubert, D, Regina Pats (WHL)
Teubert has been touted as the next Chris Pronger due to his size, physicality and frame; it’ll serve the Ducks and Teubert well to be brought up in an defense that has plenty of future Hall of Famers on it already.

13. Buffalo Sabres: Cody Hodgson, C, Brampton Battalion (OHL)
Hodgson has been moving up the draft board thanks to his ability to be used in any situation on the ice and to recognize and adapt to situations very quickly. It also helps that he can score from almost anywhere.

14. Carolina Hurricanes: Zach Boychuk, C, Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL)
Boychuk has plenty of speed and skill to put out onto the market and has been amazing since stepping on the ice as a 16-year-old. His display at the Top Prospects game could put him even higher, but for now—he’ll sit in the middle.

15. Nashville Predators: Josh Bailey, C, Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
Bailey has the ability to become a great two-way center for the Predators, especially since they have enough scoring talent for the future already. Bailey's hockey smarts will make him a very reliable forward and a safe pick.

16. Boston Bruins: Michael Del Zotto, D, Oshawa Generals (OHL)
Though a knock on Del Zotto is his ability to overhandle the puck, the upside of being able to create plays from his own end. With taking on more responsibilities this season in Oshawa, it helped to round out Del Zotto's all around game.

17. Calgary Flames: Jordan Eberle, C, Regina Pats (WHL)
The size could be the only thing that kept Eberle being a higher ranked prospect. Eberle possesses a great scoring touch that could help become an elite scorer. His ability to get into scoring position only helps his cause.

18. Ottawa Senators: Colby Robak, D, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
With the threat of Andrej Meszaros leaving, Robak would be a great fit for the Senators young blue line. Robak is strong on the puck and a superb skater, which will allow him to become a shut-down defenseman for years to come.

19. Columbus Blue Jackets (From Colorado): Luca Sbisa, D, Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL)
With the Blue Jackets needing some defensive help in the future, Sbisa could be the one they are looking for. He has the ability to move the puck or play a tight-defensive game when called upon. As they build for the future, Sbisa could be a great piece to the puzzle.

20. New York Rangers: Mikhail Stefanovich, C, Quebec Remparts (QMJHL)
The talent is there for Stefanovich, but the question of whether he will use it or not still remains. The comparisons to Nik Antropov has been thrown around, which is a backhanded compliment; though many see the similarities on devotion and desire.

21. New Jersey Devils: John Carlson, D, Indiana Ice (USHL)
The Devils can find gems in the draft and with Carlson, a New Jersey native, still on the board-- this will make this pick easy for the Devils. With the deep defensive talent pool, Carlson isn't ranked higher even though he has the skill set and size to play now.

22. Edmonton Oilers (From Anaheim): Yann Sauve, D, Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)
A solid shut-down defenseman, Sauve's stock has dindled a little after being the #1 pick in 2006's QMJHL draft. His offensive numbers have taken a hit, but it was due to him playing a safer defensive game, which will have him fit in well for any team.

23. Washington Capitals: Anton Gustafsson, C, Frolunda (Sweden)
Gustafsson plays a game as his father, Bengt, did when he was in his playing days. A strong, defensively responsible center with an ability to find the net will allow Gustafsson to flourish. If he goes to the Caps, it could be a great chance to see Gustafsson in a #16 sweater.

24. Minnesota Wild: A.J. Jenks, C, Plymouth Whalers (OHL)
A solid defensive game makes Jenks a desirable shutdown forward. Granted, something that will need to improve is his footwork and speed in order to be a decent forechecker. He has flown under the radar, but any team would reap the benefit of Jenks.

25. Montreal Canadiens: Daultan Leveille, C, St. Catharines Falcons (Golden Horseshoe Junior B)
The legend of Leveille has grown this season with an impressive performance in Junior B. With his commitment to Michigan State in the fall, it will give Leveille the ability to get stronger and faster, as well as help him with playing against better competition.

26. Buffalo Sabres (From San Jose): Jacob Markstrom, G, Brynas (Sweden)
Markstrom has the ability to be a starting goaltender soon, but with the amount of depth ahead of him, he could fall by the wayside. With lack of prospects, the Sabres could be able to snatch him up in the late first round.

27. Philadelphia Flyers: Joe Colborne, Camrose Kodiaks (AJHL)
Though many question his dedication, Colborne has the right stuff for the NHL. At 6'5, he only needs to fill out his 190-pound frame to make it big. Heading to the University of Denver next season should see him in the weight room more and allow him to prove that he has the desire for the NHL.

28. Los Angeles Kings (From Dallas): Greg Nemisz, C, Windsor Spitfires
Nemisz needs time to fill-out, but in the end-- he'll be a solid power forward in the league. He played much better this season on a better team, but was able to play better defensively this season. With his strength on the puck, Nemisz will be a solid pick at 22.

29. Atlanta Thrashers (From Pittsburgh): Tyler Cuma, D, Ottawa 67s (OHL)
Cuma played well in Ottawa in a shutdown role. With no noticeable flaws, it's hard to see a downside for Cuma. The Thrashers will need some defensive help for the future, so Cuma seems to be a no-brainer.

30. Detroit Red Wings: Chet Pickard, G, Tri-City Americans (WHL)
Pickard followed the way of Carey Price in Tri-City, which will only help his stock for the draft. With great stick-handling ability and a solid endurance level, Pickard could be another amazing starter in the goaltending factory known as the Tri-City Americans.

If you like to incorporate drinking games into events like this, for every selection that Scotty does not hit perfectly, take a drink. To make things interesting, take a drink for each spot in the Draft that said player falls from his mock draft.

That'll keep things entertaining and be sure to get you drunk before the first "monster" declaration from Pierre McGuire.

Ballhype: hype it up!