-- Day One of the 2012 NHL All-Star Weekend featured a full itinerary of travel and plenty of Sharks making headlines, culminating in the 2012 NHL Molson Canadian NHL All-Star Player Fantasy Draft.
Sharks center Logan Couture
, who played his junior hockey locally for the Ottawa 67's of the OHL, was the center of attention on Thursday night selected by Team Alfredsson with the final pick of the fantasy draft. Despite the dubious honor, Couture remained in good spirits earning a 2012 Honda Crosstour and $20,000 for the grassroots hockey charity of his choice.
|Couture racked up 287 points in 232 career games over four seasons with the Ottawa 67's |
Thursday night posed a unique situation for media covering the event. Due to the intimate size of the theatre where the draft show took place, there was no on-site media access but instead a media workroom setup to watch the draft show via television.
Fortunately, Sharks Director of Media Relations Scott Emmert was able to catch up with Couture and ask him about the experience so far.
"Guys have been blowing up my phone the past hour, asking if they can have the car," Couture said. "I had fun with it. You can’t take it personally. Being the young guy here, first time and playing on the West Coast, I knew it was a possibility.
"I just wanted to have a good time with it and I and I did. Jumbo (Sharks captain Joe Thornton
) has been all over me, he loves it. They are pretty happy for me."
For Couture, it was a hectic 48 hours beginning with San Jose's 1-0 shutout win in Calgary on Tuesday night and ending with Thursday night's festivities.
"We left Calgary after the game and got back late because we got caught up with customs," he said. "But had a nice day on Wednesday to relax in San Jose. Flew out early this morning to the East Coast just before the draft."
At just 22 years old, Couture is at his second All-Star Weekend, participating as one of the rookies last year in Carolina. He resumes his busy schedule on Friday evening, first heading to the All-Star Media Availability, then he will have a special opportunity to see some familiar faces.
"It’s awesome, something I have definitely looked forward to since I was named to the team," he said, on returning to Ottawa. "I'm planning on going to the 67’s game tomorrow night. Hopefully see Killer (the legendary 67's coach Brian Kilrea) and my billets who I lived with here for four years. I love this city and the fans were great to me so it’s exciting to come back here."
FROM SAN FRANCISCO TO OTTAWA
Quite a journey on the way out to Ottawa, and as I said earlier, plenty of headlines featuring the Sharks along the way. My morning began at SFO as Emmert and I boarded a Toronto-bound flight and departed at 8 AM Pacific.
Unfortunately our plane did not have WiFi, so it wasn't until we landed in Toronto that I heard of the trade between the Sharks and the Panthers. In case you missed it, San Jose acquired forward Tim Kennedy from Florida in exchange for defenseman Sean Sullivan
. Sharks fans may remember Kennedy from his time with the Buffalo Sabres, when in 2009-10 he posted 26 points in 78 games while skating most of the season on a line with former Shark Mike Grier.
Despite a 90-minute scheduled layover in Toronto, my time was spent clearing customs, claiming luggage, checking luggage back in for my connection and another security screening. I had anticipated having about an hour to catch up on news and email, but instead got to my gate with about 10 minutes to spare before boarding my flight to Ottawa.
A quick flight, another round at baggage claim, a cab ride in from the airport and check-in got me into my hotel room around 7:30 PM Eastern. Had enough time to unpack the work bag and turn on the TV just in time for the start of the All-Star Fantasy Draft. The Draft was held in the theatre of our hotel in Gatineau, Quebec, about a 15 minute ride from downtown Ottawa, Ontario.
With no media access at the theatre and with Couture tied up with TV responsibilities, I finally caught up on email and the report filed by Mercury News reporter Mark Emmons. Filling in for beat writer David Pollak's 'Working the Corners' blog, Emmons reported that Sharks goaltender Antero Niittymaki cleared waivers
and talked with him candidly about reports that were published earlier in the week.
With all of that news in the books, I published a few videos from the Fantasy Draft and called it a night. You can watch all of the videos from the 2012 NHL All-Star Weekend on the SharksTV video player
. More to follow later this week.