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Galchenyuk soaking up Draft experience

by Alex Galchenyuk

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 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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