The NHL Entry Draft is one of those annual “hope springs eternal” events. If the awards show bids farewell to a season gone by, the selection process for the latest prospect crop marks the league’s transition into next year.
Just like that, every club starts anew.
Just like that, the page is turned for all.
The Boston Bruins reign as Stanley Cup champions has just begun and yet, as of tonight, even they have work to do. 29 other teams are now gunning for what they have. And for some, reshaping their franchises to make a run at hockey’s iconic chalice will start with their first overall selection tonight.
Of course, it’s been said that there aren’t any immediate game-changers to be had among this crop – and certainly not beyond a half-dozen or so prospects atop most draft boards. But the draft itself has become such an integral aspect of building a championship-caliber team, even the late round selections will be a product of weeks and months of internal debate and study on the part of a team’s decision-making hierarchy.
For other clubs, the leap from 2010-11 to 2011-12 will be aided during draft weekend by trade. This year, with the Philadelphia Flyers kicking things off with a pair of earth-rattlers a day in advance, shipping key components Mike Richards and Jeff Carter out of town in separate deals yesterday, the expectation is that trade activity in St. Paul could be high. As teams gear up for free agency next week, some will look to get a jump on crazy season by filling holes and altering their salary scales with a deal or two and there is a wealth of big-name talent reportedly on the trade market already.
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Happy Father’s Day to all my fellow dads out there.
Waking up this morning to my two boys climbing all over me and giving me homemade Father’s Day cards (and a new pair of sunglasses, which I will try to spare from suffering the same fate as my last good shades, which now reside permanently at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico) was a happy and simple start to a nice little day we all have planned together.
In a moment, I’ll call my old man, who has always been my biggest influence in life and, as part of that, in hockey, to wish him a nice day. It’s “Pop-Pop” Jordan’s fault, you see, that I got as crazy about our sport as I did as a kid, despite being down here in Florida from age 7 on. My morning knee hockey games with my oldest boy in our play room already remind me of shooting pucks in the driveway with my dad, who even braved manning the pipes on occasion, at a time when I had no idea where any given shot might go (and a few, as I recall, rang off the ol’ “Jason” mask Dad wore, with few complaints…)
That sort of thing goes unappreciated at the time. Later in life, it makes its mark.
After this posts, when my almost 3-year-old talks to his grandfather on the phone and the pride from the other end comes through, I’ll try my best to understand what that means - but will only truly get it, if I am so lucky, many years down the road when I’m at the other end of such a call.
For now, I’ll soak in my two boys today as we venture out for some sun and fun. I know what they mean to me - and there’s just no describing being a dad, other than to say it’s far better than I ever could have imagined and, without a doubt, the most rewarding hat of the many I wear.
Anyone else feel like the Tampa Bay Lightning have enjoyed a mini-off-season of sorts lately?
Granted, it’s only been five days since the Bolts disposed of the Washington Capitals with the big broom of death, completing the four-game sweep at the St. Pete Times Forum last Wednesday to reach the Eastern Conference Final (and granteder, any kind of rest would do wonders for any team at this time of year) but, still, the first two rounds were quite the whirlwind and after a head-spinning couple of weeks, in all honesty, it’s been nice to have a little down time.
That’s all over for the Lightning, who returned to practice yesterday and hit the ice again today (with the addition of forward Simon Gagne, albeit in a red, non-contact jersey, now expected to be back for game one).
And it’s all over for yours truly as well as we’re close enough now to the start of the series for a comprehensive preview to post aaaaaaaaany time now and for game-by-game coverage to resume in short order, to boot.
With that, I’ll remind you of the upcoming collaboration with Matt Kalman of The Bruins Blog, who is working with me on the series preview and will be joining forces throughout the series for alternating Q&A sessions not unlike those I had the pleasure of doing with From the Point‘s Brian Metzer in round one.
Filed in: Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, Nashville Predators, Pittsburgh Penguins, San Jose Sharks, Tampa Bay Lightning, Vancouver Canucks, Washington Capitals, | Beasts of the Southeast | Permalink