The NHL Draft isn’t like the ones held by the NBA or the NFL. Work up whatever fervor you like; 98.9 percent of the the teens and foreigners awkwardly pronounced behind a podium won’t be making an impact on your favorite team this season. But hey, some people like to celebrate this sort of stuff, and many NHL teams want to help. So join MYFO in our rundown of all the league’s DRAFT PARTIES. Just don’t blame us when the prick in the back makes the jukebox blare Journey right when your team is about to pick.
Today, the Eastern Conference.
Atlanta – What is it about expansion teams that ensure an enjoyable draft party experience? Like in Nashville, A-Town isn’t new at this. With two first-round picks AND Eric Perrin (really?), you have no reason to decline the Thrashers’ invitation to join them at Philips Arena. Partygoers can pick their seats for next season, test their skills at the Goalie Station (Don Waddell’s calls this off-season training for Johan Hedberg), and if you’re feeling confident/drunk, try to rock climb Philips’ wall of club boxes. In other news, here’s part of the graphic that Atlanta is using to promote the party:
Answer: Technically, in 2003, they drafted Braydon Coburn, and left Hotlanta in exchange for Alexei Zhitnik. Drafts: Good. Trades: Not so much.
Pittsburgh – A poll on the Pens’ website asks, “Which of the following are you looking forward to the most: The Draft, Start of Free Agency, Training Camp.” Apparently, 11.54% of the vote isn’t enough to get a Draft Party, guys. As for the 58% craving free agency – I’m guessing 0.0% work for Fred Shero. Who likes trainwrecks?
Toronto – Sure, you could have thrown a Draft Party for your tortured Leafs Nation. Or…you could sell your credibility to Mike Myers and watch him destroy it in The Love Guru. Now I haven’t seen the movie, wait, yes I have. (Assuming I can piece together the eleventy billion commercials), but you guys are getting pwned by the LOS ANGELES KINGS. Not Detroit. Not Hockey Jesus. The KINGS. What, was Trinidad and Tobago from D2 already booked?
NY Islanders – What Ryan Miller is to Guster, John Buccigross is to NHL Draft Parties. That’s right, Long Islanders, Bucci is your master of ceremonies at the Nassau Coliseum this Friday. You’ll also be able to hang out with Islanders prospects Jack Hillen and Robin Figren, which is a clever way to avoid asking your real players to show up on vacation. The Isles pick fifth, and he’ll kill the time between picks podcasting with Shjon Podein and forcing you to look at other people’s babies in hockey gear.
Tampa Bay – Apparently, this Stamkos thing is getting out of hand. The Lightning will be having THREE Draft Parties come Friday. Boston’s in Tampa, Barnacles in Brandon, and Courtside Grille in Clearwater will be the trey-HQ for all ‘Ning draft consumption of beer and prospects. Apparently, the Ice Girls, Energy Team, and Thunderbug will make appearances. Of course, you can divide and conquer if you are a member of the Ice Girls or Energy Team – but what will become of Thunderbug? Can he be three places at once? Or will he just go insane and take it out on the children?
NY Rangers – The Rangers Draft party has been cancelled. And by cancelled, I mean it was smoten by Gary Bettman. All tickets will be magically turned into Mets tickets. Film at 11.
New Jersey – Eat it, Blushirts. The Atlantic Division does not disappoint yet again, as the Devils will be down the road offering you to select-a-seat whilst watching them draft the next Zach Parise. What makes this one special? You can skate on their practice rink with “your fellow Devils fans.” God, I hope that they let you bring a stick and shootaround. That’s the problem with public skating rinks – they never let you casually skate and stick handle. Look, it’s not my fault – it’s just human instinct to want to send a saucer pass directly into the skate blade of that 12 year-old doing spins and jumps in the center of the rink. Don’t disappoint us, Jersey.
Boston – Hi there. I’m Denis Reul, and last year, I was the 3rd pick of the Boston Bruins last year. This picture of me is currently being featured on my team’s website. I’m German, and very efficient. Granted, when I say the third pick, I wasn’t actually selected until the 5th round. Forgive me for being misleading. I’m not that good. But I was the third best German in this draft. I think Torsten Frings sounds like a delicious appetizer. Boston wanted me to tell you that they’re not having a Draft Party. Something about the Celtics needing the space to hang something in the rafters. Whatever. I’ll deal with them later. In the meantime, bask in my intensity.
Florida – God damn it, Florida. No draft party on South Beach, which means I need to fill this space with something else important about you guys. All year long, I tried to make you seem interesting. I gave your back-up goalie a Matrix makeover. I wrote a featurette on your only decent player. I’m out of ideas. As for the draft, you have no first-round pick because you have Tomas Vokoun. He’ll be just as good as Luongo, we promise.
Carolina – The Hurricanes have opted against holding a Entry Draft Party, for fear of you bastards tracking dirt in their house. You see, they’ve just signed a lease extension on the RBC Center through 2024, which means for better or worse, the Tar Heel State is going to have hockey for awhile. After ten years, they’ve decided it’s time to decorate. You know, hang those pictures you’ve always been afraid to because it would put nailholes in the wall and such. Carolina doesn’t pick until 14th, which is precisely the position a team would pick if they were, I don’t know, THE LAST TEAM TO MISS THE PLAYOFFS. It’s okay, Eric Staal, at least you have the Storm Squad to keep you company.
Christ, when did this turn into an Easterbrook column?
Montreal – Apparently, Montreal has opted to phone it in. After losing inexplicably to Philly, they’ve been quiet this off-season, and a draft party doesn’t appear to be in the cards. Instead, let’s throw the spotlight on Four Habs Fans. 63% percent hot chicks, 36% informed hockey reporting, and 1% Canuckistani snark, these guys have you covered in the off-season. You want to see them in their element? Get them angry. Like Hulk angry. Therefore, it’s time to urge you all to start a letter writing campaign to Teemu Selanne to don the Habs’ colors next season. Do it.
Philadelphia – Negative, Philly fans. And even if there was one, it’s not like you could get Vinny Prospal’s autograph. Back to Tampa with you, Vaclav.
Washington –Surprisingly, there doesn’t appear to be a party in DC – and I thought Uncle Ted would be all over this. Yes, they have Fan Fest coming up in July, much like the one in Chicago. Last week, the Mayor of DC gave Ovechkin a key to the city. Gee thanks, Fenty. A ceremonial key. That’s helpful. Next time, offer to refill his SmartTrip Card. Now that’s an honor.
Buffalo – Ok, so the Dallas crack didn’t go over so well yesterday. But to be honest, it’s the Sabres fault. They’re the only team to announce their draft party using an opening page to their website. Just listen to what you can do at the HSBC: Floor hockey, locker room tours, inflatables for kids, autographs with current players, and free ramp parking! Hell, I don’t even know what that means. So come on down and find out who, at the 13th pick, the Sabres will draft. No question, this future prospect will emerge into a goal-scoring team leader, and Edmonton will force you to overpay him once his rookie deal expires.
Ottawa – Wyshinski’s is all over this one. Party on, Greg. Party on, Garth (Snow).