Picture This…

With the 2011 NHL Entry Draft all wrapped up in St. Paul and Minneapolis, I thought I’d finish up the task of trying to make FlamesNation followers back in Calgary a little more a part of the action.  This years draft was very significant for the Calgary Flames, among a number of other NHL teams, as player movement became part of the norm throughout the weekend.  With Kent Wilson, Robert Cleave and I all there, we got a ton of things covered and I managed to snap a few G rated pics along the way.

I’ll go through things chronologically, as the first real event of the weekend was on Thursday morning, when the top prospects went to a rink outside the city to work with young Minnesota hockey players.  It was a clinic put on by USA Hockey and saw a number of Wild players attend as well as Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke.  Seeing guys who would be front and centre the next day work with the kids on the ice was a pretty cool sight.

It was a pretty good thing to go to as a media member, as very few other media were there, which meant WAY more access to the prospects.  They’d go to a luncheon later on in the day when everyone else is there, and that’s a tad more frenzied…and by a tad, I mean it’s like a pack of hyenas fighting over fresh meat.  I’d take the laid back morning over that anyday.  After they were off the ice, the guys came off and had a little more time for interviews.

That’s first overall pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins a day before being drafted, while the below pick is the back of my colleague Boomer’s head and third overall pick Jonathan Huberdeau.

Boomer is actually winking and licking his lips during this interview, which was really quite unsettling.  That was Thursday, the same night Kent and I debuted FlameNation radio for the first time.  We were in a palatial studio, room 2302 of the Minneapolis Hilton, to react to your comments and phone calls.  Unfortunately, we didn’t get a picture of the two of us doing the show, but I can assure you it looked exactly like this:

Friday saw things get really busy, with the start of the first round that night.  I got into the building a number of hours prior to the proceedings, because I’m fancy people.

They did a really good job around the XCel Energy Center in St. Paul of making the Draft a big deal, and it carried a whole lot more buzz than the year before in LA.  Minnesota really is the state of hockey, and the first round was jam packed in the building.  I got onto the draft floor a number of hours before things started going, and while I tried to go streaking, they did have security.

So, it ended up being the Coilers taking Nugent-Hopkins first overall, which surprised almost nobody.  In all seriousness, Edmonton got a real player, this kid is an amazing talent.  The scene below is the mob backstage which tends to get bigger each and every year surrounding the top pick; this year, it was coined the Hopperazzi.

The seventh overall pick went to the unnamed Winnipeg team, but in very cool fashion, the team was named the Jets on stage to the delight of a good traveling contingent of Peggers.  They chose Mark Scheifele with their first pick since rejoining the NHL, and I was prepared, so I got right close to him backstage.  However, the media throng around him was BIGGER than the one shown above…

The Calgary Flames chose Portland Winterhawks forward Sven Bartschi with the 13th overall pick, so naturally I snapped a couple photos of him.  The first is him talking to the media backstage while the second is him right beside Sportsnet Radio FAN 960’s setup on the media risers when he came to chat with Boomer and I on the air.


That about wrapped things up for Friday, and we moved on to Saturday.  It was a whole lot more difficult to snap pics on the Saturday, just because EVERYTHING was happening.  News of the Regehr deal was made official one minute, and a few moments later we were chasing down term and money on Alex Tanguay’s new contract.  But, because it was a huge day for the Flames, I got in on the Jay Feaster scrum right at the Draft wall.


Overall, a pretty cool weekend, one that we will continue recapping in the coming days.  Of course, we also have to morph discussion into free agency, which of course opens on Friday.

  • wattree

    I’m actually quite jealous, would love to see that action up close. Keep up the good work.

    Oh and see if they’ll let you do FN radio on the weekends instead of the crap they usually play while I’m driving around.

  • Vintage Flame

    Pat, you and Kent.. and a shout out to Bob did a great job with FlamesNation radio. It was a lot of fun to listen to, and even more fun to be a part of.

    Hope you guys get to do a lot more of it.
    The live chat during the draft was awesome as well. Though we didn’t end up taking much about the draft due to the talks about Reggie and possible arrival of the Mulletard!

    Keep up the good work guys..
    Question? Why in the blue hell is all the Oilernation audio crap on FlamesNation? Does anyone here give a rats ass about hearing about their draft? .. Just being a homer!

  • Derzie

    According to a non-homer on si.com:

    Calgary Flames
    Why would Calgary want to get rid of tough, reliable defenseman Robyn Regehr? Plus Ales Kotalik and a second-round pick to Buffalo for…statistically-challenged Sabres scrap parts Chris Butler and Paul Byron? Seriously? Oh, and Alex Tanguay had a pretty nice season for Calgary, but a five-year, $17.5 million extension for a guy with a recent history of trick-or-treat play who will be 32 in November?”

    I am a homer and couldn’t agree more with this assessment.

    Fan960 team, thanks for the coverage. The content from Feaster was a mess but you guys covered it very well.

  • Derzie

    Great work on all the draft coverage guys. FlamesNation radio was a huge success and hopefully it can happen more frequently. Just a quick question: Are you guys going to do some posts on possible free agent targets for the Flames? Just a thought.

    Flames just hired John Weisbrod as AGM. Thoughts?