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2010 NHL Entry Draft

L.A. Story blog

Saturday, 06.26.2010 / 1:55 AM / 2010 NHL Entry Draft

By NHL.com Staff

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L.A. Story blog
Adam Kimelman takes you behind the scenes as the top prospects gear up for the Draft
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06.24.2010 / 10:35 PM PT

Austin Watson is the oldest of nine kids -- soon to be 10. Mom is eight months pregnant, but that didn't stop her from flying from Michigan to Los Angeles with the rest of the family.

"Mom's here, doing a bunch," Watson told NHL.com. "She's a real trooper. She's hanging in there."

Airlines generally don't let women that far into their pregnancy fly, but after nine kids, she sort of has this thing down pat – and her doctor signed off on it. "She knows what's happening with her body," Watson said. "She said it was all good, and they signed the papers and everything and she's here now."

-- Adam Kimelman

From the prospects
06.24.2010 / 10:28 PM PT

Erik Gudbranson, when asked if he and Panthers GM Dale Tallon talked at all on the podium after he was picked: "He says, 'I thought tough guys don't wear pink shirts' (the 6-4 Gudbranson had a black suit with a pink shirt), and I said 'Tough guys wear pink shirts for a reason.'"

-- Adam Kimelman

Watching the prospects
06.24.2010 / 10:15 PM PT

One of the more interested observers of the first round was TV star Alyssa Milano, who I caught up to early in the night.

"I'm a huge fan of hockey," she told NHL.com. "Huge hockey family. We had Kings tickets before (Wayne) Gretzky was even here."

She said what amazes her the most is how quickly a young man's life can change just by hearing his name called.

"To see these guys, who work their entire life to get to this moment  ... I take the sentimental approach of how awesome it is to see their dreams come to fruition in one moment when they hear their name called," she said.

Milano, who was sporting an NHL Draft T-shirt from her own clothing line, said she knew a few of the prospects, like Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin, as well as local favorite Emerson Etem.

"I follow enough of the draft to not be completely lost in the first round," she said.

-- Adam Kimelman

The edge on dad
06.24.2010 / 10:05 PM PT

Mark Tinordi never was drafted, but managed to play 12 NHL seasons as a tough-as-nails defenseman . His son, Jarred, was picked 22nd by the Montreal Canadiens, with Montreal moving up to grab him.

Jarred said he wasn't going to hold it over his dad -- a good thing, as Mark tallied 1,514 penalty minutes in his career.

"I know he turned out to be a pretty good player," Jarred told NHL.com. "I'm just starting out and I have a long way to go."

That's what Mark wanted to hear.

"He's a step ahead of where I got," the proud father told NHL.com. "But as great as this day is, to get on the team, there's still a lot more work."

-- Adam Kimelman

Time to get excited
06.24.2010 / 1:08 PM PT

The site in Nokia Plaza here at L.A. Live has been transformed into an outdoor hockey mecca. There's a mini-rink for kids to play hockey, fans can play NHL 2K11, bounce in inflatable NHL jumping houses, see how fast their slap shot is and buy the same Reebok and Easton equipment the pros where. There's music and a few local radio stations will be broadcasting live.

And across the plaza at the Staples Center, statues of Magic Johnson and Oscar de la Hoya are wearing black Kings jerseys.

The entire scene is incredible. Full credit goes to Nick Gennarelli and his staff for doing a beautiful job.

We're about three hours away from the start of the show. Don't miss the first round, tonight at 7 p.m. ET on Versus in the U.S., TSN in Canada and on NHL Radio everywhere.

-- Adam Kimelman

Campbell is a first-round hopeful
06.24.2010 / 10:25 PM PT

Goalie prospect Jack Campbell admits he would be a tad disappointed if he didn't hear his name called in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft on Friday at Staples Center.

"It would be a tremendous honor to be drafted by any NHL club but my goal has been, for as long as I can remember, to be a first-round draft pick," Campbell said. "To be up there and be the first goalie taken would be a tremendous honor as well."

Campbell was also asked to compare his style with that of Calvin Pickard.

"I haven't really been able to see Calvin play that much, but I know he's a fantastic goalie and a great prospect for the NHL," Campbell said. "To be right up there with him is an honor and I'm more of an athletic goalie and he's a guy who plays his angles well and it's just great to battle it out with him."

Campbell won a gold medal with Team USA at the 2010 World Junior Championships while helping the U.S. to consecutive gold medals at the 2009 and '10 Under-18 World Championships. Originally slated to attend the University of Michigan, he'll play for the Ontario Hockey League's Windsor Spitfires in 2010-11.

"He's a very athletic goaltender," NHL Central Scouting's Al Jensen said. "He's very determined, has great drive and I like his intensity. When you're watching him, it's like he's ready to pounce. He is very good laterally and it showed on a big stage. I like his competitiveness. He gives himself a chance and he's capable of making the big save at the proper time which is a big asset for him."

Campbell credits the National Team Developmental Program with his rapid rise to the top of the goaltending charts entering the draft.

"It was huge playing for my country and representing USA on a day-to-day basis, working with the best coaches not only in our country, but the world, and playing with some great, great players in the U.S.," Campbell said. "You know what, it made me a better player and also a better person."

--Mike G. Morreale

What an event
06.24.2010 / 7:15 PM PT

The top prospects' brush with Hollywood has come to an end, but their heads still might be spinning.

"It's definitely something I've never experienced before," Emerson Etem told NHL.com. "Never had so much craziness going on at one time."

"It was something different, for sure," added Brett Connolly.

There were a few celebrity sightings.

"Jennifer Love Hewitt," Tyler Seguin told NHL.com. "I saw Kim Kardashian from far away." Connolly saw a few familiar faces from TV and movies, but couldn't put names with faces.

Seguin said he enjoyed his time as a Hollywood star, however fleeting it might be.

"It was awesome. Great experience. Got to see some movie stars, got to be a pretend celebrity, even though most of the paparazzi didn't know who we were. It was pretty fun."

"It's something that you never forget," added Connolly. "I'm happy that we all did it."

Now they can go relax, get away from the interviews for a night and get ready for their big day, when there's no wondering who the stars of the NHL Draft show will be.

-- Adam Kimelman

Dream to play the game
06.24.2010 / 7:10 PM PT

You kind of get the feeling both Tyler Seguin and Taylor Hall are tired of answering all the questions about who will be the No. 1 pick on Friday night at Staples Center.

But that didn't stop them from rehashing the usually responses on Thursday afternoon atop the Target Terrace at L.A. Live here in Los Angeles.

Seguin was asked if being drafted No. 1 overall is his dream.

"My dream is to play in the NHL and win the Stanley Cup someday," Seguin said. "Obviously I'm a hockey guy, I'm a competitive guy and I want to be the best. I want (to be selected) first and I want to be the best of my age group and some of the 91's, I guess."

Seguin was referring to the fact he was born in 1992 and Hall, in '91. And does Seguin have a preference of either Edmonton or Boston?

"I look at it as a win-win, it's a great opportunity and if no trades are happening and that's how it happens, that's a win-win for me with either team," he said. "I'm excited, I'm ready to get this over with."

Hall, named the Memorial Cup MVP for the second straight season, feels that while he and Seguin are attracting much of the media attention, the other top prospects are just as worthy.

"I feel a bit for Cam (Fowler) because maybe he doesn't get as much credit as he deserves but this whole draft class is tremendous," Hall said. "There's going to be some really good players here. Me and Ty are getting all the media now, but I'm sure there are going to be players further along the line that will get even more media than me or him.

"We (Hall and Seguin) got to know each other on the ice, but the situation we've been put in, it's been kind of hard to just laugh about it and be friends for sure. I'm sure when I get up on Friday morning I'll be alright  but once I sit in the stands and wait for my name to be called, it'll be tough."

--Mike G. Morreale

One lap
06.24.2010 / 6:19 PM PT

Brett Connolly said he's way out of his comfort zone, but this is certainly the most surreal thing any of them have done -- I'll even include myself in that group.

They walked right in front of Jennifer Love Hewitt, who wants a photo with them, but it's fairly crazy so who knows if it'll happen. And Lance Bass from N'Sync just walked by in a shimmering gray suit.

They've posed for the paparazzi and done a ton of interviews.

We're off to the theater for the movie.

-- Adam Kimelman

Ready for the red

06.24.2010 / 5:45 PM PT

The next step of the top draft prospects is under way as they make their way to the red carpet for the re carpet premiere of the latest Twilight movie.

Joining the players is new tampa GM stevwe Yzerman.

You can hear the fans screaming 2 blocks away. And with a full all-star list of celebs walking the red carpet, our prospects are in good company.

I'll have as much as I can as we go.

-- Adam Kimelman

Team Tyler vs. Team Taylor

06.24.2010 / 3:34 PM PT

Top prospects Tyler Seguin, Taylor Hall, Erik Gudbranson, Cam Fowler, Emerson Etem and Beau Bennett will walk down the red carpet for the premiere of "Twilight Saga: Eclipse," along with Buffalo Sabres goalie and newly minted Vezina Trophy winner Ryan Miller and Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown.

The event should be one of the biggest of the year in Hollywood, and there should be a ton of celebrities. The prospects are OK with being the little fish in the gigantic pond.

"I'm just trying to see some celebrities," said Seguin. "Lauren Conrad and Jessica Alba."

The hook for the previous movie in the series was Team Edward vs. Team Jacob. So what about seeing fans engaging in a Team Tyler vs. Team Taylor debate tonight among the prospects?

"They're not going to know who we are," said Hall. "We're going to be five Canadian kids walking down the carpet. They're going to be saying, 'Who are these kids that don't belong here?'"

-- Adam Kimelman

What's that on your arm?
06.24.2010 / 2:15 PM PT

One media member asked Tyler Seguin about the tattoo he has on the back of his left arm. It's a scroll with his last name spelled out, which he got when he was 16.

"I was 16, and I wanted a tattoo," Seguin said. "Something meaningful. I always wear my heart on my sleeve -- my family, heart, passion, all that. So I decided to get it down my sleeve."

Two days ago, Tyler said his father got a matching tattoo.

"I tried to get my (grandfather) to get one, but he said heck no, he's not into it," said Tyler.

What about mom?

"I told mom to get one herself," he said with a laugh.

-- Adam Kimelman

Done on the ice

06.24.2010 / 1:05 PM PT

The top prospects have finished their fun on the ice with the kids from the junior Kings program, and a good time was had by all.

"It was fun to see the glow on their faces," Erik Gudbranson told NHL.com. "I remember when I was a kid and got to skate with the (OHL's Ottawa) 67s."

The other prospects felt the same way. The kids obviously had a blast, and were expectedly overwhelmed by the experience.

"They were anxious little kids," said Taylor Hall. "One kid was so anxious, he wanted real bad to tell me how he scored his goal. And I had just seen him score it."

Emerson Etem, who grew up in nearby Long Beach, had the closest connection with the little ones.

"Felt like I was one of them five, six years ago," he told NHL.com. "When I was their age we never would have gotten this kind of attention."

Etem said the skill level in the kids today was far higher than what it was like when he was their age. He said the stepped up level of coaching is a major factor.

"Just the coaching," he said. "Coaches have come here from all over the world and made it so much better."

Today, a few of the top prospects made it better for some very lucky little kids.

Next it's on to the Target Terrace for a top prospect media availability.

-- Adam Kimelman

Top Prospect Clinic

06.24.2010 / 10:53 AM PT

The six of the top prospects for the 2010 Entry Draft have arrived at the Toyota Sports Center, the Kings' practice site, for an on-ice clinic with about 30 kids.

Tyler Seguin, Taylor Hall, Brett Connolly, Cam Fowler, Erik Gudbranson and Emerson Etem were swarmed by media and autograph-seeking fans when they arrived.

Willie O'Ree, the NHL's Director of Cause Marketing, also is on hand, along with Kings broadcasters Jim Fox and Daryl Evans, and Bailey, the Kings' mascot.

Should be fun for both kids and players. I'll have some of the words of wisdom and a few photos right here, so check back here often.

-- Adam Kimelman

Game over
06.23.2010 / 7:15 PM PT

It was fun talking about something other than hockey with the prospects today. As Brett Connolly said, it's amazing what they're getting to experience.

Their day started with a tour of some of L.A.'s landmarks -- the Hollywood sign, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, even a bite to eat at an In and Out Burger. Then batting practice at Angels Stadium. And then getting to watch some major leaguers in action.

Things get a little busier tomorrow, as a few players will be taking part in a clinic at the Toyota Sports Center, the Kings' practice site, and then they'll be walking the carpet for the "Twilight Saga: Eclipse" premiere. NHL.com will be on hand for both events, so keep checking this blog for stories and photos.

-- Adam Kimelman

Back on the field
06.23.2010 / 5:15 PM PT

The Angels are taking batting practice so it's time to head onto the field. We watch as Torii Hunter and Bobby Abreu take turns spraying balls all over the park, and into the stands. Manager Mike Sciosia comes by to say a quick hello. He asks about how the players did taking batting practice, and wishes them luck for Friday.

As we watch the Angels hit, the Dodgers make their way onto the field, getting loose while waiting for their turns in the cage. Cam Fowler and Tyler Seguin take note of Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, but not for his playing ability -- they're more impressed by the fact that he's dating pop singer Rhianna.

When Manny Ramirez makes an appearance, he draws all the attention like dreadlocked magnet. From his hair to his head size to his hockey-esque No. 99, the prospects love everything about Manny. Especially when it's his turn to hit and the balls start flying.

-- Adam Kimelman

It's Tommy Lasorda!
06.23.2010 / 4:45 PM PT

The generation gap can be a funny thing sometimes. When I asked the prospects if they knew who Tommy Lasorda was, I got a bunch of blank stares. But when the baseball legend and Dodger royalty came by to say hello today they certainly got a handle on just who they were talking to.

Lasorda, dressed in a sweater vest, long-sleeve shirt and khakis, entertained the prospects for about 10 minutes. He talked about his nine years as a minor leaguer in Montreal during the 1950s and how he remembered meeting some of the legendary Canadiens, like Rocket Richard and Jean Beliveau.

He also said how he told his players there are three types of people, but it didn't matter what sport or job, for that matter -- it applied. You're either making things happen, watching things happen, wondering what the heck just happened. You have to be the kind of person that makes things happen, he said.

The prospects might not have known who Tommy Lasorda was before he came by, but they certainly won't forget his visit any time soon.

-- Adam Kimelman

In the tunnel
06.23.2010 / 3:11 PM PT

After BP, the prospects sat in the dugout, then went down into the hitting cage and video room with Mickey Hatcher.

The players also compared hand injuries. But they're still hanging onto their bats -- pretty nice souvenirs.

Angels will be coming out for BP soon, so we can all see how the real pros do it.

--Adam Kimelman

Hatcher said it was out
06.23.2010 / 2:43 PM PT

Angels hitting coach Mickey Hatcher said there's no disputing Brett Connolly's drive through the open fence in left field. It hit the back part of the fence and would have been gone if it was closed.

He also said the players were getting better and better as they went along. Another bucket of balls, he said, somebody would have gone yard.

­--Adam Kimelman

Don't quit your day job
06.23.2010 / 2:42 PM PT

For baseball players, well, they make pretty good hockey players.

Cam Fowler, who was a pretty good high school player, hit some pretty good shots, but the winner had to be Brett Connolly, who put one over the fence in left and killed it in general.

"I haven't worked this hard since the season ended," said Taylor Hall.

Mr. Easton did better as each of the three rounds wore on, however.

On his last swing, he won the long-ball contest by bouncing one on the warning track in right-center.

Emerson Etem had what Fowler called the "Ryan Howard leg kick," but the similarities stopped there.

"It was fun," said Hall. "I wanted a home run. Those rocks (the famed rock pile in left-center) is really far."

­--Adam Kimelman

Play Ball!
06.23.2010 / 2:15 PM PT

Five of the top prospects for the 2010 Entry Draft have arrived at Angels Stadium to take batting practice prior to tonight's Angels-Dodgers game -- Tyler Seguin, Taylor Hall, Brett Connolly, Cam Fowler and Emerson Etem.

Taylor Hall is decked out head-to-toe in Easton gear, courtesy of his new sponsor: shirt, bat, hat, batting gloves and wrist bands.

Angels hitting coach Mickey Hatcher is throwing BP.

"I just hope I make contact," Seguin said.

--Adam Kimelman