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Hedman on the cusp of realizing dream

by Adam Kimelman
MONTREAL -- With the 2009 Entry Draft closing quickly, it's a busy time for NHL Central Scouting's top-rated European skater Victor Hedman. Still, the big defenseman, the top-ranked European prospect, found time for a short Q&A session with We're 36 hours away from the start of the Draft. What's going through your mind right now?

Hedman: It's going to be a great feeling tomorrow. I've been looking forward to this day a lot. It's going to be great. To get it over with and to know where you're going, it's going to be great tomorrow when the team announces my name. What's that feeling going to be like, when you hear your name called?

Hedman: Good question. It's hard for me to imagine that kind of stuff. I'm looking forward to getting it over with and come to an NHL team. It's going to be great. I'm going to be excited, bat at the same time I'm going to be relaxed and have a good time. To become an NHL player is a dream come true, so I'm looking forward to it. When you started training for this season back in August, you knew this moment would come at some point. Now that we're here, is the draft experience what you thought it would be?

Hedman: It's been great. Taking it step by step, the World Juniors, the (NHL Scouting) Combine, then it was close. Now we're here, less than 36 hours away. It's going to be great tomorrow. It's going to be trouble sleeping tonight maybe, just going through everything in your mind, what it's going to be like. A fully crowded arena, the Bell Centre, one of the biggest hockey cities in the world, it's going to be great. I hope they don't boo me like they did in Ottawa. No one seems to know what the Islanders are planning to do with the top pick. Pretend I'm Isles GM Garth Snow and tell me why I should take you with the first pick?

Hedman: I've been playing against men for two years now, playing over 20 minutes (per game). I think of myself as an impact player, I can play in all kinds of situations. That's the biggest reason. I bring a winning mentality to the team. I do whatever it takes to win. I really hate to lose. I do whatever it takes -- if that means I have to fight someone, I'll do it. If it's a one-goal game, I want to play. If there's 10 minutes left, I want to play all 10 minutes. Just do whatever it takes to win." Besides being a hockey player, are you a shoe salesman, too?

Hedman: It's going to be great. It's hard to imagine that you can have a running shoe with your name on it. It's great. Being part of the Reebok family is great.

NHL Scouting Combine How much input will you have on the shoe's design and look?

Hedman: I'm going to have my opinion, of course. I'm going to be maybe choosing colors and designs. It's a great feeling. If I'm not, they can do the shoe.

If I have a good season in the NHL next year the product will sell well at home, and if I play bad it's not going to sell well. Now I have a lot of pressure on me to play well for my shoe.

Contact Adam Kimelman at

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