Everything Else

Your Draft Day Primer

We recognize that some of you may have not been around all that long, and this may be the first time you’ve watched the NHL Draft tonight. Or you have before but need a little help making sense of it all. Well, having taken in a fair few of these now (and the resulting depression that I’m actually watching the NHL Draft), let me prepare you for what you’re in for tonight.

-First off, NBCSN just picks up the TSN feed, and the Canadian broadcast will act like this is the most important date on the calendar for the country. Probably because it is.

-The opening segment will have a close-up of the obvious first pick, this year it’s Auston Mathews. But they’ll also try and drum up some drama on whether it will be Mathews at all, so they’ll also have a close-up of Patrik Laine. Both of them will look extremely awkward, because they’re teenagers and that’s what teenagers do, and their suits probably don’t fit. Also, no one will ask Mathews why spells both his first and last name wrong.

-Then they’ll talk about possible trades, and there will be a camera following Brian Burke only, even though he’s not a GM anymore, as he wanders to every team’s table in no way aware of the attention being paid to him I’m sure. Brian Burke goes around to other teams’ tables asking about deals the way someone looks for a connection backstage at the Metro or something. “Hey you guys wanna party?” I’m sure the response he gets most is, “Brian what the hell are you doing here?”

-Yes, Bettman will get booed every time he takes the stage, Every. Single. Time. And the way he clearly revels in it will make you even angrier, but there will be a small part of you that appreciates it. And you’ll hate yourself even more than you already do for spending a Friday night watching this.

-Right, so now it’s time for the first pick, and everyone will try and act surprised that it’s Mathews, who will have an expression on his face of hidden horror realizing he’s headed to Toronto and is going to have to deal with shitheads like Steve Simmons for the next five years at least.

-He’ll walk to the stage, take a picture with Babcock, Lamiorello (who I’m sure he won’t also be terrified of), Dubas, and about five kids of some of the owners up there. Seriously, there’s always someone’s kid up there.

-You’ll notice before most picks whoever is announcing for their team will first congratulate the Penguins on their Stanley Cup win. I’ve never understood this and it only happens in hockey. Maybe it’s because the teams announce their own picks. Hey do they do that because they know Bettman has no chance of pronouncing the names correctly? I’m guessing yes.

-A few picks in, McKenzie or McGuire will lose their shit because they see two GMs talking or walking toward the table where you file a trade. Usually they’re probably just asking where the toilet is.

-Then there will be a trade, they’ll announce what two teams it is, you’ll start dreaming of what it could be, and it’ll end up being a third rounder or two for next year’s second rounder. And we start over.

-After the first five or six picks, you won’t have heard of any of these kids except for the ones who are sons of former NHL players, and that’ll only make you feel old. And then the panel will wax poetically for 10 minutes about what a great player this kid’s dad was and how we didn’t appreciate it at the time. They even did this for Max Domi, who was twice the player his dad was before he finished middle school.

-Each player will then head over to the interview desk, and you’ll notice that a fair few of them have complexion like a topographical map of the Andes. Apparently Clearisil isn’t something that’s made it to the hockey world.

-These interviews are generally punishing and consist of a frightened and nervous child saying something like, “I feel like I’m ready to help the team win now but if they want me to go back to junior/college I’m ready for that too. We’ll see, it’s out of my hands.”

-Yes, Pierre is going to slobber about the 26th pick the same way he does about Mathews. It’s just his way.

-The Hawks will make their pick, everyone will say it’s a great pick, and then three years down the road we’ll be wondering why we don’t see this kid and/or he’ll be traded to Florida.

-We’ll finally get a big trade somewhere between picks 7-10, and you can be sure the panel will get everything about it entirely wrong. Whoever got the bigger Canadian they’ll declare the winner of the trade. You’ll see.

-Players every pick will be compared to: Toews, Pronger, Keith, Stamkos, Benn, Nash, Vlasic. Notice a trend there?

-No, they seriously watch this much junior hockey and you will be creeped out by it. They will also focus on how much these kids scored in their respective junior league playoffs, because 17-year olds aren’t exhausted in April having already played 60 games or anything. And when they’re showing the highlights of these kids, make sure to take time to look at the people in the stands and ask yourself some serious questions about them that you probably don’t want the answers to.

-Then on Saturday you’ll realize you’ll find out everything you need to know through social media. But hey, at least you weren’t watching the White Sox, right?