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Swap Meet

SwapshopCHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Sitting here in the lovely Charlotte-Douglas International Airport terminal en route to the NHL Draft in the great state of Ohio. It's in Columbus, to be exact.

And your pal G is pretty excited.

Sure, I'm excited not only to visit Columbus and get to see the Indians play Monday night in C-Town, but I'm also fired up to see what this weekend may bring. The draft is usually a fun time for a hockey writer. Not the actual draft wherein young prospects few of us [the gathered media] have ever heard of much less seen are paraded out wearing the sweater of a team that just picked them, telling us how they can't wait to try and make an impact for said team despite the probability said player may never make it past the AHL*.


No, the fun comes in the trades that are on the horizon. You never know if this is going to be an active trading draft (like last year) or if it's going to be a little slow. I'm banking on the former. I think there is going to be plenty of wheeling and dealing -- including something involving the Panthers -- going down in Buckeye Country.

I just hope Maurice Clarett is there. Haven't talked to him since the 2003 Fiesta Bowl. Good kid.

(*) Actually I enjoy talking to these young players. They usually have great things to say on draft day because this is a huge day for them. They are starting a new chapter of their lives, and I get to share that with them. And that's cool.

-- Rumors are Doug MacLean is going to make an appearance at the draft. Dude built the Blue Jackets franchise so he should. Don't know if Ohio State coach Jim Tressel will make a cameo (like he did in the NBA Finals), but if he does, dude better be wearing a sweater vest. Expect nothing less.

-- Speaking of Dougie Mac, he has confirmed he will participate in the Panthers 1996 reunion next month. No word on whether Jeff Rimer is coming back or not.

-- Another player the Panthers had interest in is off the market as of Wednesday. According to reports in Canada, Carolina's Scott Walker resigned with the Canes for three years and $7.5 million. Walker had 21 goals and 30 assists for Caroliner last year.

-- Special props to my new wireless card. This is the first blog item filed from an airport terminal with the new card (bought in May). Hopefully this will keep us connected throughout the upcoming season. Have already given the card a nickname: The Cingular BlogMaster 6000.