THE NHL DRAFT
Allow me to take my unbiased hat off for a second and communicate the level of pride I felt watching Ryan Strome and Dougie Hamilton get drafted to the New York Islanders and Boston Bruins respectively. Watching these two young men develop over the past two years has been a jot and is one of the many fringe benefits of covering the Ontario Hockey League. Both Strome and Hamilton are full value for their draft selection and there is a school of thought that states that Hamilton was a steal at the 9 spot. Congratulations should also go to Mitchell Theoret who snuck in under the wire and got drafted in the 7th round by the New York Islanders. The real work begins now for Theoret because as a low draft pick, he will have to earn his professional contract. The betting here is that "Knuckles" is well worth the investment for a guy who flew under the radar this year.
The draft itself is a well-put together event that hits all the right notes. In particular Friday featured a very touching tribute to EJ McGuire who passed away in April. I thought it was very classy of the NHL to have EJ's family start off the draft. It was also a sure fire way for Gary Bettman to avoid getting booed! Methinks the diminutive commissioner likely gets booed at his own dinner table!
TSN had its usual myriad of analysts with James Duthie, Darren Dreger, Bob Mackenzie, Pierre McGuire and a cast of thousands breaking down every prospect. While the telecast did its usual solid job, I was not a fan of the profile on Dougie Hamilton which played off of Dougie's intelligence. The feature asked him to do silly things like memorize the top 10 prospects. We get it. Dougie is a smart guy! The feature also pushed brother Freddie into the background. Yes, its Dougie's feature, but the brother angle would have played out better than the one they featured.
Strome's was much better in its execution, and I'm not saying that because its my voice on his signature goal. It was light and really captured Ryan's personality well.
TIDBITS AND SNIPPETS
PIERRE MCGUIRE has relinquished many of his TSN duties and will mover over to NBC and Versus full time. McGuire, the best analyst in the game, will get to flex his creative muscles as part of NBC's Winter and Summer Olympic Games coverage. Can't wait to see McGuire's Monsters of Gymnastics and Synchronized Swimming!
CANADA'S MEN'S BASKETBALL TEAM will host Belgium in a pair of games headlining the annual Jack Donahue Tournament. August 13th the teams will duel at Ryerson U, while the next day the scene shifts to McMaster University in Hamilton. Canada can put together a pretty good squad if only they could maximize their NBA participation. Canada's basketball teams are sort of the red headed step child of national teams here in the Great White North. Everyone should come out and support this unheralded squad!
CHRISTINE SINCLAIR is one tough hombre. She bounced back from a broken nose to score a set-piece beauty in a 2-1 loss vs Germany at the Women's World Cup. It was the first goal Germany has given up in the competition since 2003!