This was anything but the smoothest start to any trip I've ever made. Thankfully despite my minor credentials mix up and lost passport I finally arrived safe and sound in St. Paul Minnesota. Thankfully I was here in February, so this trip feels a lot more comfortable. The city is just as friendly as I remember and the absence of snow is something that I can deal with.
In case you have been living under a rock, the 2011 NHL entry draft is this weekend and in St. Paul Minnesota. This is an excellent experience because Minnesota is the "State of Hockey." Upon arriving everyone who sees my Oilers luggage tag, or asks me why I am in town knows immediately. Most get the same goofy grin that I must have on my face all of the time. They often ask who I think that the Oilers will take, and then follow that up with who the Wild will take. It's fun, people are and can get into this. I do feel like a little fish in a big pond, maybe a little out of my element to start, but so far I have found the familiar faces of Oilers media to be welcoming and kind, Especially 630 Ched's Dan Tencer. With that said, let' get ready for round 1!
As I write this, I am trying to prepare for what I expect to be a busy day. Round one will be in my favourite NHL arena (so far), the Xcel Energy Centre. There may or may not be a few moves and trades occurring, there may or may not be some heartbreak and heart ache for Oilers' fans. (Of course I am talking about where Ryan Smyth may land)
Please keep checking back for details as I will update with happenings, quotes and any draft news I can share.
All updates will be in MST, or Central Time if I make a mistake. I will of course try to correct any mistakes.
4:15 There is a lot of rumbling and some people who are still smiling. People are trying to find their places and getting ready to play the waiting game. Everyone is saying that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will be the first pick, they are not even saying where will the first pick go for interviews, it's where will Nugent-Hopkins go.
4:30 The Winnipeg Jets fans have arrived in droves. They are filling the building and maybe even more excited to be here than me.... maybe.
5:00 still waiting.... people are getting anxious. Hearing some stories, and talking to people but I want them to like me, I can't post them...
5:10 All Ryan, all the time. All we can talk about is Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Ryan Smyth.
5:15 I'm being told it's go time. We're ready to start!
5:20 boos for Bettman
5:25 The Edmonton Oilers< with the first overall selection take Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
5:25 RNH"s mom wears lucky earings for her boy she is wearing them tonight.
5:30 The Avs take Landeskog and I wait for RNH to talk to the media.
5:40 The Panthers take Huderbeau (Likely spelt wrong, its busy and I don't have much time now, the NUGE will speak soon)
5:50 RNH just left the podium. All of Edmonton media and most of Canada were happy to speak with him. He felt honoured being the first, first overall selection from BC. He is excited to play in Edmonton, loves the retro jerseys and hopes to make the world juniors if he does not make the Oilers.
Everyone I speak with says that Smyth deal is done.
5:50 Feeling like all of you at home are more in the loop, listening to TSN. It is extremely busy back here in the interview room, Puck Daddy's Greg Wyshinski is my favourite media person for today. What an amazing, down to earth man. He knew who I was upon sight.
6:05 Just had a nice talk with Jack Michaels, he's trying to get a one on one with the Nuge that I will be happy to link here as soon as it becomes available. Moving to the press box for sure now.
6:25 Tried sitting in the stands instead, way more fun, but no internet access... so updates will be less frequent. I thought that the building would shake with the excitement about the first Winnipeg Jets pick in 15 years. I nearly cried it was so amazing. I know that sounds corny, but I want to believe in the Winnipeg team, I love that the Jets are back. This was a lost opportunity by the Jets for marketing. They could have released the new jersey today too, sold a million of them tomorrow. *This figure may be rounded up substantially.
6:28 I was right about Coturier, sorta. I thought he would go sixth
I was also wrong about volume in here, the crowd went wild when Minnesota stepped up to the podium.
7:35 Mike Babcock's hair looked especially magnificent this evening as he brushed past my arm.
7:37 Major boos for the Colorado Avalanche as they were called. I was very happy that the crowd still cheered for the pick, that's what you would like to see.
Boos for Carolina which I can only assume are my fellow Oilers fans in the building.
7:45 Brodin looks shark in that all green jersey, so much better than the red and green ones.
Also of note, I have taken the Global TV spot on the media riser, I'm now connected again!
7:48 Biggest boos of the night, they're for you Calgary.
8:10 The media, everyone stood for the memory of Derek Boogaard. They loved him here. The crowd is quickly dispersing as the top picks have been made.
8:13 Boos for Bettmen will never ever be old for me. I'm a child in many ways.
Finally able to look back at some of the comments now. Yes, RNH's mom wore her good luck earnings to many of his games. No, I have not been able to speak with Tambellini, so long as he does make the Smyth deal I will have nothing but happy things to say to him tonight.
8:16 Oilers video with RNH available.
8:21 I like my seat, it's next to a lot of Oilers' media. We all like Klefbom
8:36 Wild fans are sure they won that trade
8:41 so excited that the Oilers were able to get Klefbom. I have been told that this kid is hilarious to talk to
9:08 just back from the Klefbom scrum Big smile, excellent English and he likes his fellow Swedes. I was about to ask him about his toughness and physical play when the Oilers' Tom Gazzola asked him about that. With a huge smile on his face, Klefbom said that he will definitely fight when the need arises. As soon as I can transcribe his interview I will add some quotes for you all.
9:20 the kid in the Lightning jersey seems to be good friends, or has made friends with the kid in the Canucks jersey. It's fun to watch them run around and talk to each other. I'm totally jealous that this was not the picture of my childhood.
9:57 These people are not Vancouver Canucks fans. I am not at all surprised. Most of the media is packing up and leaving now too. In fact many that I spoke with will not be here tomorrow and are leaving on 9 or 11 am flights.
10:03 Oscar Klefbom video. This needs to wrap up since I forgot my power cord and I have about 25 mins of juice left in this netbook battery.
10:06 and that's all she wrote. What a great day, a fabulous first round with trades and booing. Hopefully this was just getting my feet wet, but I don't want to see the Oilers selecting first overall again anytime soon, if ever.
I'll be back here tomorrow morning, so you can check in here instead of watching the internet video or TSN, I mean you have things to do right?