The Hockey Gods have smiled upon the Ducks. Either that, or they blew confusion dust in everyone else’s faces.
Well, at least, that’s how I see the outcome of Draft Day One.
Cam Fowler and Emerson Etem were both expected to go within the first ten picks.
Then the minutes dragged into hours and both kids were still squirming in their seats, surrounded by agents, family and friends.
Eyes started darting, “what ifs” began flitting through minds, shoulder pats and reassurances abounded.
But the trepidation of the kids was just the anathema the Ducks craved. The Anaheim table was all aflutter and the agitation escalated exponentially as their pick approached. Was the impossible possible? Did we dare hope? Position #12 finally rolled around and the Ducks hierarchy practically ran up to the stage, such was their glee, which of course rubbed off onto a very happy Cam Fowler – the “offensive defenseman” from the Windsor Spirfires (OHL) who says he has patterned his style of play after the legend that is Scott Niedermayer. So it was only fitting that Scotty handed the starstruck Duckling his brand spanking new jersey. Said Fowler, “I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s Scott Niedermayer.’ The rest kind of blacked out from there.” Niedermayer, who has agreed to stay on with the Ducks as a consultant, was overheard saying that Cam will be his first ‘project’. Dunno what that means. Sounds sort of Frankenstein-ominous if you ask me. Emerson Etem’s wait was even more agonizing. The Long Beach native had to wait until position #29 before the Kings fan discovered he had been selected by the royalty’s arch nemesis. The joy was absolutely palpable when his selection was announced. Even Kings fans applauded the kid from SoCal. He’s got one of the best stories around (more on that later) and trainer T.R. Goodman compared his work ethic to that of Sidney Crosby.
The next day, when Etem was asked about how he felt in his new Anaheim Polo shirt, he said, “I feel sort of like a fan, wearing this Ducks shirt, it’s so surreal right now.”Draft Day Hilights and Lowlights: Plus: Not only was the Stanley Cup there, but the NHL Awards hardware were all in evidence. Minus: Not enough space was allotted for viewing, the line was at least 2 hours long, a kid vomited while on queue and once you got up to see all the shiny stuff, Staples staff were yelling constantly “one picture! One picture only!” Plus: Even though I’m a Ducks fan, I still think Bailey is pretty cool and I seem to be a Bailey magnet (creepy, yeah?) I attended the Draft incognito, the better to get the full experience and chat freely with everyone without fear of reprisals. Minus: While waiting on line to enter Staples, Bailey appeared and started harassing a guy in a Ducks jersey. They guy didn’t know what to do so even I started heckling him, “You’re a Ducks fan man, are you just going to stand there and take that from a stuffed animal?!” **sigh** He did. It’s embarrassing, man! Plus: Of the 11,000+ people that turned up, a lot of black and gold jerseys in evidence. Great camaraderie and bonding moments. Minus: Everyone aside from Ducks fans aligning when Anaheim’s first pick was announced. I haven’t heard booing this loud since J-SG won the Conn Smythe in 2003. Minor Plus: I figure, intense animosity has got to be better than indifference and polite ‘golf applause’. Minus: Having to sit pretty much surrounded by Kings fans. Plus: Getting high-fived by Ducks fans when I yelled “SO WHERE’S YOUR CUP!?!?!” at the top of my lungs. Plus: A moment of quiet repose when the elevator guy accidentally dropped me off on club level. Minus: Security discovering I was just a prole. Plus: Cam Fowler is really cute! Minus: …from about 10 feet away… Plus: Living only a 30 minute bus ride away from Staples and avoiding paying $20 for parking. Minus: Taking the bus in Los Angeles.
Tags: Anaheim Awards Bailey Cam Fowler Conn Smythe Draft Ducks Emerson Etem Hockey Honda Center Ice Kings Long Beach NHL O2k OHL Scott Niedermayer Sidney Crosby Stanley Cup Staples Center T.R. Goodman Wildwing Windsor Spirfires