Sunday, June 22, 2008

Now sit on the egg for 10 years

NHL entry draft week is over in Ottawa. Ask any team and they believe they got nothing but future stars and diamonds in the rough. That’s the wonderful thing about the draft; there is no way of knowing for 5 or 10 years whether it was a good draft for your team or a bad one. Every team believes it now has great potential which will evolve into promise and eventually production and ultimately a proven winner.

A couple of random thoughts about draft week in the Capital. A record 13 deals in the first round with 12 defencemen selected and 8 of them are right handed shots. It is rare that this many blue liners are good enough in one draft year to all go in the first round. Rarer still is this many right handed shots. It is one of the toughest things to find in the NHL with some teams unable to find even one good right handed shot for their team. To have this many in one draft in one round is unbelievable.

On Wednesday and Thursday the NHL staged its yearly broadcast meetings. These are for the on-air people along with all the producers and directors in TV and radio who broadcast NHL hockey. A wide range of topics are discussed over 2 days including content related issues and technical stuff which I don’t pretend to understand. We also get to have direct question and answer sessions with director of officiating Steven Walkom, Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell and Commissioner Gary Bettman. These are very frank and open debates about things where the broadcasters and the league must co-operate and there are some where the broadcasters and the league clash. Sometimes the discussions get very heated and that’s a good thing.

The one topic that drew the most debate and some of the more heated exchanges was about developing some system to get explanations of video reviews in a timely fashion. Broadcasters (as we always do) want a system that is immediate and there was even talk about having live cameras’ and microphones in the NHL’s War Room in Toronto where these calls are made. That will not happen, nor should it, but the league understands complete explanations are required as quickly as possible for the viewers and listeners but I am not sure they can ever be delivered as quickly as broadcasters want those answers.

I must say the one presentation that blew me away was from the people who run the NHL’s broadband department. When you see what the league is going to start rolling out on their website and the NHL on the Fly website you won’t believe it. It will be the best, most interactive and complete website of any of the major pro sports. If you want to see a goal that Daniel Alfredsson scored in a game 5 years ago it will be just a few clicks of the mouse.

All in all it was a great week in the Capital. There were a few glitches as there will always be with events of this size, but Ottawa looked pretty good on the NHL stage. Now all we have to do is wait for 2018 to figure out which team got the best picks of the 2008 draft.

See you at the rink.

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