2012 Draft blog: June 21st
With the draft just one day away, some of the top prospects took some time away from hockey.
Thursday, June 21st
Well it's day two in Pittsburgh and things are starting to heat up as the 2012 NHL Draft inches closer and closer...no literally, it was a scorching 86 degrees Fahrenheit today in downtown Pittsburgh but it FEELS like 95 with the insane humidity levels. That is 35 degrees Celsius. (Yesterday was a record breaking 95 degrees!)
Anyways, besides the weather, the city itself is starting to fill up by the minute it seems. There are media everywhere you look around the hotels and the Consol Energy Center, all on a mission to get somewhere to talk to someone. Prospects are arm in arm with their agents walking into the NHL hotel lobby to begin their meetings with NHL teams.
JetsTV and a couple other local media were able to steal Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff for a few minutes to chat about how things are going so far and how he thinks the next couple days will unfold. Although he was not able to give us much feedback, he still gave us a good idea of what the last few days have been like and what he might expect for tomorrow.
"I think it will be a very interesting first round," said Cheveldayoff. "And I think as you keep on progressing, I think it will continue to be interesting as well.
"I think if you pooled all 30 teams together and they were honest with you they'd have a lot of the same guys in the top ten but probably in a different order."
Scouts meetings and prospect meetings were the bulk of the day today with a little bit of fun for the prospects to help lower their stress levels and calm their nerves... if that's possible.
15 of the top ranked prospects boarded a boat for the prospects lunch and took off down the Allegheny River for a nice afternoon on the water. After the lunch was over, they were available to media for final interviews before the big day. Following the interviews, a few of the top athletes continued to PNC Park, the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates to test out their batting skills.
Nail Yakupov, Ryan Murray, Morgan Reilly, Mikhail Grigorenko, Filip Forsberg and Jacob Trouba each got a handful of pitches to see where their baseball skills were at and the media gathered around for a few laughs and a few surprises.
"It's been good, getting to come out here on the field and hit some balls," said Murray. "I couldn't hit them too far but it was still fun. I played up until I was 14 but haven't touched a bat or a ball ever since."
The media were allowed to go on the field to film the prospects which was a very special occasion and a lot of fun for everyone....despite the scorching heat!
American born Trouba was the most impressive at bat knocking a few balls all the way to the warning track while Yakupov and Grigorenko only connected a couple times having very little baseball experience.
When we returned to the hotel, the scouts were still in meetings preparing their lists in preparation of tomorrow's events. The Winnipeg Jets coaching staff, management and scouting staff then met up for a nice dinner in the heart of the host city to try to relax before the big day.
Tomorrow... it's all business.