Folks here in Columbus are used to finishing second, be it in football or basketball. So it's only fitting that the NHL Draft is a two-day affair, one that hopefully will crawl to a completion sometime before Sunday.
Having a great time in C-Bus, and I hate to take cheap shots at the Buckeyes, but whatever. There are plenty of great places to eat and drink around the arena area, so if you're ever driving through stop on in for a visit. They'll welcome you with open arms.
Unless, of course, you are from Florida and are wearing some combination of orange and blue (not that I would ever, under any circumstance, ever wear that combo nor advise anyone to do so).
Now, onto the draft:
It's 9:25 a.m. and your friendly, neighborhood sports writer is hard at work. Had some breakfast, a cup of tea and am ready to roll, baby!
As for the Panthers, they'll pick tenth here in the second round (40th overall) and that will probably do it until the third. I'm hearing Florida will not use the 47th overall pick -- the one acquired in the Chris Gratton trade to Tampa Bay last week -- and instead save it until next year. Florida will have two second rounders next year, giving up one to Nashville as part of the Tomas Vokoun deal. Nashville is using Florida's former pick (58th) that was grabbed from Detroit for Todd Bertuzzi.
It's possible Florida will have three picks in which to chose in the second round next year because the Cats get another from Detroit if it resigns Big Bad Bert (sorry, no pictures today).
-- The Panthers just made their second pick of the draft, grabbing winger Michal Repik from the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League. Repik is a teammate of Panthers prospect Kenndal McArdle at Vancouver, and also has a blonde mohawk.
As Mike Russo says, he'll fit right in with Olli Jokinen (didn't have the heart to tell Mike that Olli got rid of the mohawk. To everyone's chagrin.)
Apparently this kid is pretty darned good. Helped the Giants win the prestigious Memorial Cup by being Van's leading postseason scorer. Even got the game-winner in the championship game.
And guess who happened to be scouting the Memorial Cup in person? Yep, one Jacques Martin.
-- In the third round, Florida selects forward Evgeni Dadonov from Chelyabinsk, Russia. Word from Central Scouting is such: A skilled forward with excellent agility and quickness; can good hands and can handle the puck in traffic; won Gold with Russia at Under-18s; Final ranking as 10th best European skater.
-- It's 11:31 a.m. EST and Minnesota hasn't unloaded bitter-pill Manny Fernandez yet. Apparently, Boston offered a first and second round pick plus P.J. Axelsson and the deal was about to go down before the Bruins got smart and pulled the offer. Let's just say Fernandez's price has dropped considerably since. Maybe Boston can go after Toronto's Andrew Raycroft? Ha!
-- Lots to read on the World Wide Web this day, and to help you, the loyal On Frozen Pond reader, I'm linking up some of the best stories I read about the draft and specifically the Florida Panthers. If you notice all the stories linked are from the Miami Herald and were written by me, well, you're pretty sharp there.
My version of Vokoun and Peace: YOU LIKA DA GOALIE?
My take on Florida's past draft history IT'S A CIRCUS OVER THERE
-- OK there was more on this subject for sure. Here's John Glennon's take from the Nashville Tennessean NASHVILLE'S A HONKY TONK TOWN
Eric Duhatschek writes in the Globe and Mail that JM makes the right move a year after Florida made the wrong one GLOBE TROTTERS
-- Some have asked 'G, why didn't you deliver photos of Columbus' new jerseys as promised? Is it because you are lazy, just don't care or is it a combination of both? By the way, keep up the good work.'
The reason I didn't post the Blue Jackets new look is because their new look is their old look. They didn't change a whole lot, in fact, to the naked eye (heh, said naked) they look pretty much like last year's jerseys. Trimmer, more water resistant, sure. But they look the same. Visit their website if you want and see for yourself.
-- In my effort to give you loyal readers a taste of all things Panthers, I had a friend send me a photo of last night's party at the Hard Rock. Sure, I wasn't there, and chances are neither were you. But this pic really makes you feel like you were, no?