Sunday, June 27, 2010
Boys of Summer & Winter. And the NHL Draft.
I spent a lot of time thinking about how this first post would go. Set the tone for the blog and let everyone know exactly how things were going to go. No point in any smoke and mirrors, I am going to come right out and say it.
I am a Tampa Bay Lightning fan. I am also a Boston Red Sox fan.
If you don't think those two things go together, well.. not first time I have heard that. My hockey friends don't really want to hear me going on about a pitcher's ERA or someone's On Base Percentage. Most of my baseball friends don't really want to listen to me talking about an awesome top shelf goal or how many penalty minutes Zenon Konopka had last game. This is going to be an outlet for that. There has to be other people like me whose sports affection is divided between summer, winter, ice, and grass.
Might as well jump right in. The NHL draft took place on Friday, the Lightning had the 6th overall pick in the first round. The team had a draft party at the arena, so I went down there with some of my friends. I have been very interested in seeing how the franchise will move forward under the new ownership of Jeff Vinik. So far we have a new coach in Steve Yzerman, a state of the art rink system to improve the ice surface, and brand new Zambonis. As fans, we got so used to seeing the prior owners take things away, downsize, or promise things that just never happened. It's nice to see someone doing something to improve they Lightning, even if it is just by painting the building. Someone is doing something for the first time in a long time. And I have to say I'm optimistic. Cautious, but optimistic.
The Bolts ended up drafting Brett Connolly of the Prince George Cougars in the Western Hockey League. Some people in attendance at the draft party saw this as a bad pick. Was his season hurt by hip injuries? Sure. I have a harder time seeing a team take a defenseman so high in the draft because the forwards are generally NHL ready. Defensemen and goalies usually take longer to mature and grow into their position. I'm interested in seeing what Connolly can do. I might be partial because he seems like a good Irish kid.
And because he can do this:
I need to take a closer look at some of the guys my team drafted in the later rounds, but overall I am feeling pretty good about the draft. The fact that this is the last hockey related event for a while doesn't feel as good.
Tomorrow: Red Sox are up.