I want to begin my blog this year, by sending our thoughts again to the family of Luc Bourdon, our staff is thinking of you as we go through this week.
Monday started out a bit slower then we would have liked as almost everyone traveling into Ottawa ran into weather problems and were either delayed or could not make it in at all.
Harold, Ray, Ron and I traveled together from Vancouver, and ended up stuck on the tarmac in Ottawa for 3 hours due to thunderstorms in the area. We still made out better than Barry was not even able to get to Ottawa last night, instead spending the night in Toronto. Barry finally arrived this morning, some 30 hours after leaving Regina, his luggage however took another 10 hours to make the short trip from Toronto.
Once we had all finally made it into Ottawa, we got down to the task at hand and started finalizing our lists and tying up any loose ends before Friday. With us arriving a day or so before most of the other teams, we have not really been exposed to the draft hype that will build as teams arrive and we get closer to Friday.
We began our meetings today going through the most recent information that we have on the players in the draft. We discussed the results from the fitness testing and interviews in Toronto, and any other player interviews that we have conducted recently.
Each of the past number of years, the results from the NHL combine have been getting better and better and the grouping of players getting closer and closer from top to bottom. This means that the players as a group are better conditioned each season, but also means that the results do not create as much separation between the players as in past years.
We then went through any medical issues on players and any other red flags that we have discovered through our research. We also shared with the group any discussions we have had with agents and scouts on other teams to see if we can get a feel for what other teams are going to do. This information will not influence our ranking of players, but will instead give us a feel for what player might be available for us on Friday.
After everyone was caught up with the most recent information, we then revisited the list that we created at our meetings in May. We started at # 1 and worked our way downwards, basically looking at every player on the list, and all of the players around him to see if a player should be moved.
Some decisions were relatively easy, while others required watching more video and longer debates to come to a decision. This process is long but really effective, and after 7 hours, we had tightened our top 25 players. Every player on the list has been voted against every other player on the list, and is in the place that our scouts feel they should be.
We will sleep on the results and then... well, revisit them in the morning, reaffirming the work from today, and continuing on through the rest of our list until our rankings are exactly the way we want them.
Today was a long day, and was mostly grunt work. Tomorrow, we will continue finalizing our lists and working the phones looking for scoops and any more player information. Things will start to get more interesting as more teams start to show up, and we move into player interviews on Wednesday and Thursday. I will continue to blog throughout the week and will let you know as things happen.