Everybody back to Square One
VANCOUVER--After two weeks of being jealous of Chris Young and Cathal Kelly bouncing around Germany covering the World Cup, I am officially over it.
This west coast city right here, you see, is quite possibly the most spectacular city on earth when the sun is shining.
It makes you forget all the times you come here when it isn't.
Sunny Vancouver, meanwhile, is made all the nicer by the fact that the NHL's annual entry draft is probably the one time of year when all 30 clubs are happy and optimistic about the future.
The depression or elation of last year's finish is already evaporated. A new season dawns.
There's lots of chatter here, most of it non-sensical. Once upon a time, the draft of top teenage kids was enough to fuel all the rumours, but nowadays its all about coach hirings, trades, buyouts and imminent free agent signings.
The Maple Leafs did some work already today, hiring a former Toronto player, Jeff Jackson, as the club's director of hockey administration, likely to be a capologist-type of job. The club also promoted scout Dave Morrison to chief scout, taking over from the fired Barry Trapp.
Dave Lewis, meanwhile, the former Detroit coach, is said to be interviewing with the Boston Bruins this morning, although Pat Quinn is believed to be in the mix and so might Peter Laviolette if the Hurricanes don't re-sign him. Lewis might also end up on Marc Crawford's staff in Los Angeles.
Goalies are in play, including Evgeny Nabokov of San Jose, Roberto Luongo of Florida, Jean-Sebastien Giguere of Anaheim and Marc Denis of Columbus. Columbus reports today had Denis going to Tampa for either Ruslan Fedotenko or Fredrik Modin.
And might this be the weekend the local Canucks finally cut ties with Todd Bertuzzi?
Leaf fans, meanwhile, would love to see GM John Ferguson do something creative a la Raptors boss Bryan Colangelo.
Coming west and making three picks in the top 76 then going home, it's fair to say, won't get anybody too excited.
The Star's Ken Campbell reports the Leafs are looking hard at either Giguere or Nabokov, possibly in exchange for Matt Stajan or other young players.
But wouldn't it make more sense for the Leafs to try to make a splash by moving up in the draft?
St. Louis is committed to taking American defenceman Erik Johnson first overall, but also say they'd be open to a deal.
Some say the draft is seven deep. Others say 12 deep.
The Leafs, naturally, are currently picking 13th.
Getting into the top five or six would possibly get them the kind of talented, young signature player to build for the future, rather than continuing to patch here and there in the faint hope Mats Sundin could still win a Cup in Toronto.