The event is about a month behind schedule and won't be the usual bit of theatre that brings together fans, players, media and owners. But in a few hours the NHL Entry draft will be under way and the future of a new class of NHLers will begin to unfold.
Originally billed as the Sidney show, young Mr. Crosby is now relegated to cheerleader as his fate was decided one week ago with the drop of a ping pong ball. Of course there is always the room for surprise, the folks in Pittsburgh could have temporary lapse of judgment and blurt out the wrong name. But one assumes that Craig Patrick has been spelling S-I-D-N-E-Y C-R-O-S-B-Y for seven days and nights now, we have a vision of a spelling bee held daily in Mario Lemieux's kitchen to make sure there are no screw ups.
So with Sidney Pittsburgh bound, the draft becomes the Brian Burke Show. Burke who has been "entertaining" offers for a week now will fish or cut bait right after Sidney dons his Penguin uni. There are many options for the new Ducks GM to take, he could make a selection, make a trade for a pick later on or engineer a block buster deal that will once again surprise the assembled media. Burke has a bit of a history with the NHL draft and surprises so anything is possible.
The draft is expected to be deep one with many players ready to make that next step along their career path. It all gets under way Saturday morning at Noon (EST) 9 AM (PST) on TSN as the draft order starts with Pittsburgh and continues on for seven more rounds. With that first pick by the Penguins we'll finally be able to say that Hockey's back!