In the days leading up to the 2012 NHL Draft, many of the top prospects already cut their teeth through the gantlet of international media that descended on Pittsburgh.
For a select few players, that crash course in media training includes taking over the National Hockey League's Twitter feed (@NHL) for a while to interact with fans.
Prospects Morgan Rielly and Jacob Trouba began the Twitter session, which ended later Thursday afternoon with an appearance from Sarnia Sting center Alex Galchenyuk.
The interactive exchange started with Moose Jaw Warriors defenseman Rielly (@Mriles4), who kicked off his time on the NHL Twitter feed by admitting he was "enjoying the heat in Pittsburgh," referring more to Thursday's soaring temperatures than the impending pressures of draft day.
WEAR WHAT THE DRAFTEES WEAR
After admitting he was asked in preliminary draft interviews if he had ever been married or had any kids, Rielly cited Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang as the player he'd be most excited to play against.
"He's sick," Rielly told one fan, before tweeting he was expecting to participate in batting practice with the Pittsburgh Pirates later in the day.
"Planning to go yard a couple times," Rielly wrote.
After Rielly fielded a few questions on Twitter from fans, U.S. Under-18 defenseman Jacob Trouba (@JacobTrouba) took over, allowing the League's Twitter followers to ask him questions.
The blueliner started by offering a "shout out" to fellow U.S. development team players Brady Skjei and Pat Sieloff, both of whom are also expecting to hear their names called this weekend, before expressing his excitement about being invited to the American national junior team's summer development camp, which will take place in August in Lake Placid, N.Y.
Following Trouba's appearance, Galchenyuk (@AGally94), the fourth-ranked North American skater according to NHL Central Scouting, answered some questions from fans posed through Twitter. A player who has rocketed up the pre-Draft player rankings, Galchenyuk said he would prefer to wear one of two numbers in the NHL -- 94, the year of his birth, or 55, the number his father wore as a pro.
"Lots of people ask me about maybe playing in Montreal," Galchenyuk tweeted, addressing the possibility of being selected by the Canadiens, who own the third pick in the Draft. "I'm happy just to get drafted -- Montreal or any other team."
For the three top Draft prospects, the opportunity to interact with fans was just the latest activity on a busy day that included batting practice with the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. As for the NHL's Twitter feed, the League will provide pick-by-pick coverage of the first round as well as fan photos and behind-the-scenes content from the draft, which begins Friday night at 7 p.m. ET.