2010 NHL Entry Draft: Brandon Gormley confident; Jack Campbell a Stars pick?

IMAG0049.jpgAs is customary every year the media had a nice session with a number
of the top NHL prospects here in Los Angeles, on a terrace that
overlooks downtown. Way off in the distance you could barely make out
the “Hollywood” sign through the smog, but it was still a fitting
backdrop for these players to discuss their future on the eve of the
draft.

It’s tough to really get a whole lot of information from
these question and answer sessions, but it is nice to be able to talk to
the players in a semi-informal environment. Some are very confident and
ready for the draft to start, others are starting to feel that
nervousness start to kick in as they wait to find out which organization
they’re headed to.

Here are some of the highlights from the
afternoon:

– Taylor Hall says that he’d be content with whatever
team picks him, saying that both Boston and Edmonton are great
organizations and he’d be proud to play for either one. He said that he
has no clue which way either team is leaning, and that he’s working on
really building up his strength this summer to gear up for what should
be his first NHL season.

“We’ve been fighting all the time,
it’s such a bitter rivalry,” Hall said with a sly grin when asked about
spending the past few weeks with Tyler Seguin. He said he hopes they can
build a great competitive rivalry against each other and that this
draft will link them together for the rest of their careers.


Brandon Gormley is very confident, and says that he’s ready for the
draft after spending the past few months under the microscope. He says
he’s most proud of his ability to stay composed, and that he thinks
that’s something teams would like to have in a young player.

“I’m
composed in all situations, something I’m proud of. I don’t make the
rushed decisions, and I can bring a strong sense of leadership to the
team.”

– Cam Fowler (who was a bit smaller than I expected) is
also confident, and says that he’s not really worried about where he
might fall. With Fowler, Gudbranson and Brett Connelly all right there
in the mix, Fowler says that he’s expecting to go anywhere from #3 to #5
and he’d be happy with whatever happens.

“I’m just trying to do
well in these interviews and show that I’m a good person, too. They’re
not just looking for good hockey players, they’re looking for good
people as well. You gotta be confident in yourself and know that it’s
going to work out in the end and you’re going to fall into the right
situation.”

Fowler has been shown a lot of interest by Florida and
said that he had another interview with them later this afternoon.

IMAG0050.jpg– Perhaps
the most interesting ‘development’ came while talking to Jack Campbell.
This was my first time meeting the American goaltender, and I have to
say that while some may be put off by his on-ice cockiness, he is one
great guy and really easy to talk. I had fun just chatting with him
about the World Juniors (“Best experience of my life, the American crowd
was great.”) as well as some talk about American junior hockey hero
Jerry D’Amigo.

What was eyebrow-raising about it though was when
he mentioned which teams had shown a lot of interest in him. Now, this
doesn’t necessarily give away a team’s intentions because anything can
happen on the draft floor, but Campbell said that the teams that have
shown him the most interest were Phoenix and Dallas.

He
specifically pointed out Dallas as a team that’s talked to him a couple
of times, and he mentioned how GM Joe Nieuwendyk had spoken with him
this morning. The Stars pick at #11, and while they are most likely to
take a defenseman like Derek Forbort, the organization is certainly
hurting for a blue-chip goaltending prospect like Campbell.

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    Talbot torments Ducks as Oilers take 2-0 series lead

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    Those who vehemently argued for Cam Talbot being a Vezina finalist likely felt vindicated tonight (even if postseason results don’t factor into the voting).

    In Game 1, Leon Draisaitl stole the show. Talbot was the standout of Game 2, snubbing a steady Ducks threat as Edmonton won 2-1 on Friday.

    And, just like that, the Oilers are up 2-0 in their second-round series against the Anaheim Ducks. Better yet for this young group: the venue shifts to what’s likely to be a rowdy scene in Edmonton for Games 3 and 4.

    The tone was set when Andrej Sekera scored just 65 seconds into the contest. That said, the Oilers could have sulked when a would-be 2-0 goal was called off (and they had to kill a penalty). Instead, they just kept battling, even after Jakob Silfverberg ended Talbot’s shutout bit with a laser beam on the power play.

    Speaking of the power play, the Oilers managed to match the Ducks (1-for-4 each on the PP), even as Talbot faced 12 shots on goal during Anaheim’s power-play opportunities.

    Talbot ultimately made 39 of 40 stops, and while the Ducks kept Connor McDavid from scoring, number 97 sure looked speedy and dangerous at times in Game 2.

    Anaheim came into the second round with home-ice advantage through the West side of the playoffs, seemingly enjoying a golden opportunity when other conference powers fell. Instead, it’s looking like the Oilers might just have a chance to prove that they’re big-time contenders, too.

    Game 3 airs on NBCSN at 7 p.m. ET on Sunday. You can watch online and via the NBC Sports App; click here for the livestream.

    Latest goalie interference mess: Oilers get penalty, not goal

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    Ah, goalie interference. Does the fun ever start?

    Arguably the most irritating facet of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs reared its pesky head once again on Friday, as the Edmonton Oilers saw a would-be 2-0 goal disallowed in the first period of Game 2 against the Anaheim Ducks.

    The goal wasn’t just disallowed, either, as Mark Letestu was given a minor penalty.

    One would imagine that there are opinions for or against the goal (and penalty counting); there are also many who are just getting a little worn out by the uncertainty surrounding such calls. Tomas Holmstrom is nodding his head so hard right now, everyone.

    Here’s one unhappy take:

    Moments after this post went up, the Oilers made it 2-0 for real this time. Check out the game here.

    Math may help build Vegas Knights, but biggest aim is not being boring

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    Unlike Pierre Dorion, it sounds like Vegas Golden Knights GM George McPhee would rather listen to analytics-minded people rather than … you know, hit them.

    As McPhee readies for the expansion draft, he told The Star’s Kevin McGran in Q&A that they’ll at least be factored into decisions.

    I’ve been really fascinated by how revealing that data can be. You have these kids speaking a different language. But I’m convinced it has a really important place in this game. You have to pay attention to it, and you have to use it.

    Naturally, the real question with McPhee and other executives comes down to how much they will lean on analytics. Some teams seem to pick and choose when to listen to such voices, ending up with an odd mix of moves that please and unnerve the “fancy stats” community.

    Owner Bill Foley gave a good idea of how much they’ll lean on stats vs. more traditional approaches in an interview with the Vegas Hockey Hotline back in February, which was transcribed by The Hockey Writers’ Keith Scheessele.

    “Analytics is not going to drive how we draft,” Foley said. “Analytics are going to supplement what the scouts are seeing. We’re going to rely on the scouts and what they recommend.”

    (Foley also spoke of rating players in 10 different categories, which started to make one think about how old sports video games could only quantify skills in so many ways. Anyway …)

    So, it sounds like McPhee & Co. will take a modern approach – a mixture of the old and the new – rather than going full-on bold and revolutionary like, say, the Cleveland Browns or Golden State Warriors.

    Considering the mystery of roster quality one faces with the Vegas Knights, it honestly might be most important that McPhee is repeatedly stating that he doesn’t aim to put together a boring hockey team.

    Hey, if it takes a while to be good, at least the Vegas Knights might fit with their environment and put on a show.

    Tarasenko’s two goals help Blues tie series with Predators

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    One of the (many) remarkable things about the St. Louis Blues dispatching the Minnesota Wild was that they didn’t need a ton of production from Vladimir Tarasenko. He didn’t score a goal until the clinching game of that series.

    The Blues needed more from him tonight, and he responded with two huge goals to help St. Louis win 3-2 in Game 2, tying the second-round series at 1-1.

    Tarasenko scored the opening goal on that major power-play opportunity from the Vernon Fiddler knee on Colton Parayko, while Joel Edmundson wisely got out of the way to let Tarasenko nab the game-winner.

    That ended up being the decisive factor as the Nashville Predators finally lost their first game of the postseason.

    St. Louis must be breathing a sigh of relief for a number of reasons. The series shifts to Nashville for Games 3 and 4, so going down 2-0 might have been lethal.

    Even beyond that, the Blues had some breaks go their way that likely won’t repeat to the same degree in future contests. The Predators didn’t receive a single power-play opportunity while St. Louis spent significant chunks of the contest on the man advantage, going 1-for-5 (but again, that includes a major).

    The Blues also won despite what must have been a frustrating start. They only managed a 1-1 tie after the first 20 minutes despite holding Nashville to a mere three shots on goal.

    The Predators also managed leads of 1-0 and 2-1, yet the Blues kept fighting to get back in this series. Game 3 will air on NBC at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday. You can watch online and via the NBC Sports App (Click here for the livestream link).

    * – That said, he made a lot of commotion to set up Edmundson’s overtime game-winner from Game 1. That connection continued on Friday, as you likely noticed.