NHL Draft: First Round

I’ve staggered home after a long afternoon and evening out and about. I have many blurry cellphone pictures to share, but I will probably not get around to putting those up ’til tomorrow.

I hit Comfest first, scoped out what the vendors had to offer, then headed down to the R Bar to meet friends. Special thanks to Clint (the mack daddy of CBJ tickets) for giving me a ticket not only so I could get into the lower bowl, but so I could get in at all, since I realized while walking from Comfest to the draft that I’d left mine at home. Doh!

Nice meetup with some bloggers at the Bud Light Arena Pub. Got to meet Michael from Army of the Ohio, Drew and Truth Serum from End of the Bench, The Acid Queen, Tapeleg from Jerseys and Hockey Love, Keith from instones.org, Eric from Off Wing Opinion, and Greg Wyshynski from AOL Fanhouse. It was nice meeting everyone. We also got to share the pub with a radio show — Ken Hitchcock, Rick Nash, Pascal Leclaire, and Manny Malhotra were interviewed.

Then it was off to join my friends in the seats and wait. The arena filled up pretty nicely, both upper and lower bowls. I’d say Columbus put on a good show. They had some thing going on where you could send text messages to be put up on the Jumbotron. My friend Elena and I both sent “Keep the Preds in Nashville” several times, but they never put it up. NHL censorship! And yet the arena was repeatedly subjected to someone’s Ron Hainsey obsession…

Before they got down to business, John McConnell gave a little speech from his suite. He got the usual standing O from the Jackets fans. Do any other owners in the NHL get shown as much love? Maybe Mario?

Next, Dan Fritsche and Jody Shelley came out to model the new CBJ sweaters. I have to say, they’re not bad at all. Pretty restrained.

Finally the picks started. Kane went first to Chicago. I was disappointed to see Alzner go to Washington, as I was hoping he would fall to seventh, especially after LA went off the charts with Hickey. When #7 finally came, lots of people around me were anticipating a trade perhaps, but they went with the pick. Howson got a big ovation (wonder how that felt to Doug MacLean, who was in the building working for TSN?) and then picked Jakub Voracek. I admit to being a little let down, if only because I’ve wanted a defenseman in the first round for, oh, about five years now. But it looks like Voracek is a solid prospect who can someday contribute to the team, so I can live with it. Welcome to Columbus, Jakub Voracek.

We hung around for a few picks after the CBJ, and then my friends decided they’d rather go drink cheaper beer elsewhere. I decided to take my leave and swing back through Comfest. So I still have to fire up the DVR and see what happened in the rest of the first round.

Rounds 2-7 tomorrow. I admit, I’m contemplating just going to Comfest and not back to the draft, which I suppose makes me a terrible hockey fan. I may yet swing by, though. See how my feet feel in the morning after all the walking I did today (although seeing the snarled traffic along Park St after I left the draft made me thankful yet again to live where I do, since my car’s been parked at home all along.)

Look for pictures tomorrow morning.


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