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POSTED ON Saturday, 06.23.2012 / 1:09 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012 NHL Draft blog

Nugent-Hopkins excited to get Yakupov

PITTSBURGH -- Edmonton Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins never skated with Nail Yakupov. He's excited about getting that chance -- and it could happen sooner rather than later.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
Center - EDM
Goals: 18 | Assists: 34 | Pts: 52
Shots: 134 | +/-: -2
Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini drafted Yakupov, NHL Central Scouting's top-ranked North American player, with the first pick Friday in the opening round of the 2012 NHL Draft at Consol Energy Center.

Nugent-Hopkins, who accompanied the team on the stage when Tambellini announced the pick, was chosen No. 1 last year at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.

"It's kind of neat to see things from this side of the spectrum and there's no pressure or nerves," Nugent-Hopkins said. "You just kind of watch all these things unfold.

"There's always talks and stuff going on before the Draft but ultimately it comes down to what the staff decides on draft day and we picked up a great player."

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POSTED ON Saturday, 06.23.2012 / 12:40 AM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2012 NHL Draft blog

Ceci staying home -- again

PITTSBURGH -- Cody Ceci knows for sure he'll be playing his home games in Scotiabank Place in Ottawa. Whether he's doing it as a member of the Ottawa Senators, however, is another story.

Ceci, taken by the Senators with the 15th pick of the 2012 NHL Draft, plays his junior hockey for the Ottawa 67s. With their home arena, the Ottawa Civic Center, under renovations, the 67s will play their home games next season at Scotiabank Place, home of the Senators.

And if he does eventually play for the Senators, it'll be easy for his family to see the games -- Ceci was born and raised in the Ottawa suburb of Orleans, Ont.

"It's a crazy feeling for me," he told NHL.com. "I never thought it would happen. To stay at home for major junior was crazy enough. Now doing it at the [NHL] level is indescribable. My mom's really happy."

Ceci said he met with the Senators in May at the NHL Scouting Combine, and said he was told then that if he were still available when the Sens' turn came at the draft -- he was No. 6 in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters -- he would be a player they would consider.

"When it got to be closer to them I was hoping that everything would work out," he said. "Just having everything work out is special. I'm really fortunate and I feel lucky that it did work out."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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POSTED ON Saturday, 06.23.2012 / 12:25 AM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2012 NHL Draft blog

Laughton gets first taste of rivalry

PITTSBURGH -- Oshawa Generals forward Scott Laughton got a rough introduction to the bitter Flyers-Penguins rivalry.

Philadelphia GM Paul Holmgren nearly was drowned out by the Consol Energy Center crowd, and Laughton said he never really heard his name called with the 20th pick.

"It definitely was loud, and I really couldn't hear my name being called," he told NHL.com. "But I heard Oshawa Generals and I knew it was me. We know the rivalry is alive and well. Pretty excited about it."

A 6-foot, 177-pound center, Laughton had 21 goals, 32 assists and 101 penalty minutes in 64 games with the Generals. He also had seven points in seven games for Canada at the 2012 IIHF World Under-18 Championship. He was No. 28 in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2012 NHL Draft.

"He came on strong at the end [of the season]," Holmgren said. "We had four or five guys over there at the Under-18 World Championships, and they all thought Scott was Canada's best player."

Laughton said he didn't mind getting booed by the Penguins fans on Friday -- but also said he wouldn't forget it when he gets to Philadelphia.

"I think I will try and pay them back," he said.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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POSTED ON Saturday, 06.23.2012 / 12:10 AM

By Jacob Trouba -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Jacob Trouba draft blog

Trouba chosen ninth overall by Winnipeg Jets

Hi everyone. What a day it was. I was chosen by the Winnipeg Jets with the No. 9 overall pick.

It was pretty nerve-racking. I hadn't really been nervous all day and finally being picked and becoming a Jet is pretty cool. They were excited that I'm a Jet and excited I was there. I'm very excited as well.

I'm headed to [the University of] Michigan next year to play there and I'm excited to get my education under way and play with coach [Red] Berenson and the players in that building.

I was asked by reporters what I knew about the Jets. I know the city as pretty excited to get their team back last year. It's a great hockey town … I've been there in the past and it's a cool thing. I've seen the Jets on TV a few times but not too much. Whoever is playing on NBC is usually who I watch.

The team knows of my desire to play at Michigan so we're all cool with that. Right now I think getting bigger and stronger is the biggest thing for me, because I like to play physical and that's something I'll need to improve on at the next level.

It was pretty cool to be the first American drafted. There are a lot of great Americans that are in this Draft and I've played with a lot of them the last couple of years in minor hockey. I think it's cool to be here with those guys and be taken this high.

In closing, this is something I'll definitely remember forever and it's pretty cool thing. It's been a fun and exciting year for me and great week in Pittsburgh.

Follow Jacob Trouba on Twitter at: @jacobtrouba

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POSTED ON Friday, 06.22.2012 / 11:58 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2012 NHL Draft blog

Fairy-tale ending for Pearson

PITTSBURGH -- Barrie Colts forward Tanner Pearson was passed over in two drafts, but had a dominant season in the Ontario Hockey League, finishing third with 91 points and helping Canada win the bronze medal at the 2012 World Junior Championship.

He culminated his fairy-tale season by being selected by the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings with the final pick of the first round of the 2012 NHL Draft.

"I think it puts the icing on the cake, for sure," Pearson told NHL.com.

Pearson said as the final picks of the first round came off the board, he wasn't sure if he would have to wait until Saturday to hear his name called.

"It goes through everyone's head," he said. "If I didn't get picked today I don't think it would have been the end of the world for myself. I would have come in tomorrow with the exact same attitude I had today and hopefully get picked up. But I was fortunate to get picked up today. Last but not least, but it's going to be fun."

Pearson said he's already put his 2011-12 season behind him and shifted his focus to doing what he can to play for the Kings in 2012-13.

"Something new is starting," he said. "It was a great year, it happened, and now I have to focus on making the Kings. … I know it's going to be a hard team to make. I want to do everything I can to do that."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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POSTED ON Friday, 06.22.2012 / 10:16 PM

By Ryan Murray -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Ryan Murray draft blog

Murray excited to be drafted by Blue Jackets

Well, I'm proud to announce I'm a Columbus Blue Jacket.

I have to admit, I was really nervous and really excited at the start of the Draft. I was kind of ready to jump out of my seat there, but I'm just really honored and happy to be a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

While waiting for the No. 1 pick, I guess it crossed my mind that I could go first overall. I guess that's something you have to think about. I was pretty nervous before that pick and Edmonton got a great player in in Nail [Yakupov].He's a fantastic forward and has great skills, and he'll do great things for them.

It was a lot of fun coming down to Pittsburgh. I got to see some of the city and the NHL really took care of us. The League kind of toured us around and we got to do some fun activities and got to go hit some balls at PNC Park. We were on the river in a boat to see the city. It was cool and a lot of fun.

I just want a chance to play [in Columbus] and take I'll take it step-by-step and day-by-day. Obviously they're in a rebuilding mode right now and I'm really glad I can be a part of that. It's a young franchise so if I get a chance to play there, you can kind of write the history books.

Of course, I'll focus on making the team, but if I'm there I'd be very happy to work with [Craig Hartsburg] too. He's taught me a lot over the years and he's really been a big influence and a big part of the reason I'm here today.

Well, thanks for reading. Time to celebrate with my family.

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POSTED ON Friday, 06.22.2012 / 10:15 PM

By Matt Dumba -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Matt Dumba draft blog

Dumba excited to be heading to Minnesota


Matt Dumba is a defenseman for the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League. The 5-foot-11.75, 183-pound defenseman was named WHL Rookie of the Year after scoring 15 goals and adding 11 assists in 62 games. He also had a tournament-high 12 points -- all assists -- to help Canada Pacific win the bronze medal at the 2011 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. This summer, he played for Canada at the 2011 Ivan Hlinka Tournament and also took part in the 2011 NHL Research, Development and Orientation Camp in August. Dumba has offered to maintain a monthly blog for NHL.com that will chronicle his season leading up to the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

PITTSBURGH -- It's been a pretty amazing time in Pittsburgh.

I was up late last night but once I went to bed, I got a real good sleep. We had breakfast with the families, that was fun. That was the first time we saw Gary Bettman. He talked to us for a brief moment, then we had orientation, just listening through that. I had lunch with my family and friends, that was good. Then it was just waiting the next four hours for it to all happen.

Walking the red carpet into the arena, that was awesome. Lots of fun. It was pretty cool to see all the fans on both sides going crazy. People asking for autographs everywhere. It was cool to see.

I tried to chill out and relax when things started, but at the same time anxiety is running through your body about when you're going to be picked where. At the end of the day I was just waiting for my name to be called.

When Minnesota said "Red Deer," that's all I heard. I knew it was me. That was cool. My family was really excited. They were saying just how proud of me they were. Mom was crying, she didn't say anything. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was talking to me and said congratulations. He was excited for me as well.

Going down the stairs, the cameraman told me to slow down because I was going too fast. I was racing to get up to the stage. It was pretty cool.

When I shook hands with the Commissioner, he said "Welcome to the NHL," and I squeezed his hand pretty tight. Sorry, but I was pretty excited.

Pulling on that Wild jersey, it was amazing. You stand on the little "X" and put the jersey on. It was so cool. Just everything, this whole experience has been awesome.

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POSTED ON Friday, 06.22.2012 / 8:51 PM

By Alex Galchenyuk -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Alex Galchenyuk draft blog

Galchenyuk happy to be part of Habs tradition


Alex Galchenyuk is a forward for the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League. The 6-foot, 198-pound forward was born in Milwaukee but is of Russian decent -- his father, Alexander, spent five of his 22 professional seasons playing in the U.S. Alex was the first pick of the 2010 OHL draft, and last season had 31 goals and 52 assists in 68 games. He had 2 goals and an assist in five games for Team USA at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, and returned to take part in the 2011 NHL Research, Development and Orientation Camp in August. Despite suffering a major knee injury that nearly ended his season before it really began, Galchenyuk has maintained a monthly blog for NHL.com that will chronicle his season leading up to the 2012 NHL Draft.

PITTSBURGH -- What a day it's been.

I slept pretty good last night, and today I woke up and had the weirdest feeling. It felt like I was playing my first game back from the injury -- the same kind of feeling.

Walking into the building on the red carpet, I felt like a movie star. That was a great experience. The NHL did a perfect job.

It was kind of an up and down feeling for me. I was kind of nervous but then I settled down. Then the teams started picking and I kind of got nervous again.

Hearing Yaki [Nail Yakupov] get picked first was great. He deserved it. He's a great friend of mine, and he's a great player. He deserved it a lot. I'm happy for him.

Then I was just sitting there. I didn't know what to expect. I was just sitting and waiting. Then when it was Montreal's turn, I didn't even hear my name called. I just heard Sarnia Sting and that was it. I just started hugging my parents and stuff. I was just so excited.

I was in my own zone walking down the stairs and up to the stage. It was just an unbelievable feeling. My heart was racing. I think the Commissioner said something to me, probably something like "Welcome to the NHL" and "Good job," but I don't really remember -- I was too excited.

Pulling that jersey over my head was unbelievable. They have the most tradition of any team in the NHL, they have the most Stanley Cups. It's an unbelievable feeling.

I'll just have some fun today and then get back to work tomorrow. There's a development camp to get ready for and we'll see where it goes from here. I know this is just the first step.

Follow Alex Galchenyuk on Twitter: @AGally94

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POSTED ON Thursday, 06.21.2012 / 5:16 PM

By Matt Dumba -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Matt Dumba draft blog

Dumba excited to start NHL journey

Matt Dumba is a defenseman for the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League. The 5-foot-11.75, 183-pound defenseman was named WHL Rookie of the Year after scoring 15 goals and adding 11 assists in 62 games. He also had a tournament-high 12 points -- all assists -- to help Canada Pacific win the bronze medal at the 2011 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. This summer, he played for Canada at the 2011 Ivan Hlinka Tournament and also took part in the 2011 NHL Research, Development and Orientation Camp in August. Dumba has offered to maintain a monthly blog for NHL.com that will chronicle his season leading up to the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

PITTSBURGH -- I'm glad to finally be in Pittsburgh after the last few days. Tuesday morning I had to take my diploma -- final exams in Canada. It was 60 questions, multiple choice, on social studies and civil liberties. Once I finished the first one I said to myself I got 59 more to go and it just went on from there.

When I was finished I was so relieved. We headed right to the airport from there, and we had a good flight with my family from Calgary to Toronto.

We stayed overnight in Niagara Falls, which was awesome. We went on the Maid of the Mist the next morning and then came down to Pittsburgh on Wednesday afternoon. It's been a whirlwind with my family, but it's been awesome.

Last night it was a good day off. I just hung out at the hotel with the guys. Then this morning I had interviews right from the start of the morning, and then we had lunch on the boat with the media.

People ask if I'm nervous or whatnot, but I think it's anticipation more than nerves. I think I've gotten over the nerves. Now it's just wanting to figure out where I'm going to start my journey to the NHL.

As far as which team picks me, I really haven't put too much thought on that. I've kind of stayed out of that. I'll just let it happen. It's out of my control anyway. Going into Friday, it's just exciting knowing I have this opportunity in front of me and that's it's going to happen. It's only a day away, so it's pretty cool.

Tonight might be tough. I'll probably be hanging out with the boys, just having a good time. I doubt I'll get any sleep. The time change already is giving me some hard times last night, and the anxiety and the anxiousness of everything happening tomorrow, I won't sleep much.

But I'm having fun, and I can't wait for things to start tomorrow.

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POSTED ON Thursday, 06.21.2012 / 4:53 PM

By Alex Galchenyuk -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Alex Galchenyuk draft blog

Galchenyuk soaking up Draft experience

Alex Galchenyuk is a forward for the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League. The 6-foot, 198-pound forward was born in Milwaukee but is of Russian decent -- his father, Alexander, spent five of his 22 professional seasons playing in the U.S. Alex was the first pick of the 2010 OHL draft, and last season had 31 goals and 52 assists in 68 games. He had 2 goals and an assist in five games for Team USA at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, and returned to take part in the 2011 NHL Research, Development and Orientation Camp in August. Despite suffering a major knee injury that nearly ended his season before it really began, Galchenyuk has maintained a monthly blog for NHL.com that will chronicle his season leading up to the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

PITTSBURGH -- So it's been a pretty busy time for me since I got to Pittsburgh two days ago. We got in about 10:45, and I just settled down in the hotel and saw a few people. But I could feel the draft atmosphere coming up.

It's been a busy last two days. I met with a couple teams and did a lot of media stuff. We had the hockey clinic yesterday and then we played ball hockey on the bridge. Then today we had more media stuff on the boat and then we did batting practice at the Pirates' stadium. So there's been a lot of activities going on. It's an exciting weekend for us.

Taking batting practice was tough. I hit in batting cages as a kid, but they didn't pitch that hard. It was hard, for sure. I hit maybe one or two. It was real tough.

I figured out one thing -- I should stick to hockey.

But I wasn't the worst out there. It was Yaki [Nail Yakupov]. I knew I wouldn't be the worst because I knew Yaki was the worst. But it was a great experience.

People ask me if I'm nervous for the draft, and I don't think I feel nervous. I had a tough year. I want to have fun with this experience. Nothing about nerves, I'm just thinking about the fun. Having fun with my family and just enjoying this whole process."

I'm preparing myself for anything because it doesn't matter where I go. You always think about where you're going, but I'm just like, have fun with it, have fun with this experience. It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Not a lot of people can have this experience. I'm thankful and grateful to have this experience.

Hopefully I'll get a good night sleep tonight, but I don't know. I might say I'll get a good sleep and then I'll go in the room and I won't fall asleep at all. I don't know. We'll see what happens.

Follow Alex Galchenyuk on Twitter: @AGally94

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Once again, it shows character in this dressing room. Once again, there's no quitting in here. We all wanted this so bad and we worked so hard to get home-ice advantage and we weren't going to let this one slide.

— Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog on his team's OT Game 1 win vs. Minnesota Wild