Draftapalooza


So that was kinda boring. Sure, the 2010 NHL Entry Draft provided some exciting moments for both Los Angeles Kings fans and the fans of NHL hockey in general… but at the end of the day, going in person to the NHL Entry Draft as a fan is like going to the world’s largest sausage party.

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I haven’t seen this many ill-fitting suits since my last trip to Mens Wearhouse.
It’s ok if I steal my own joke from Twitter, right?

I ended up only going to Day 1 of the Draft, which was just the first round. I feel like I got my fill of men walking up to a podium to announce some 18 year old that I’ve never heard of was about to make a few hundred thousands dollars. But I do think I will be wearing a suit for my next fantasy hockey draft, even if I’m conducting it over the internet from home. Even though what was going on inside was painstakingly boring, there was a quite an atmosphere outside. For a complete Royal Half photographic experience of the NHL 2010 Entry Draft…
check it out after the jump!!!

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Magic Johnson points you in the direction of the NHL Draft Fan Fest.

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Is there anything more festive than giant, inflatable hockey players?
If so, I don’t want to know.

Like other Fan Festivals I’ve been too, this one had all the fixings.

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Kids playing hockey in the street.

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Adults thinking that they actually have hard slapshots.

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Video game nerds.

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Overpriced merchandise.

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The ability to take a photo of yourself dressed in goalie gear.
Not quite sure how fun it is to get a picture of your face covered up.

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And Edmonton Oilers fans.
Lots and lots of drunk Edmonton Oilers fans.

There was also a display that allowed you to try on the same gear that the professionals wear. I’m not saying that people have completely soured on Roberto Luongo after his so-so playoff run… but let’s just say that his gear went completely untouched by fans.

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I mean I know that Luongo has been faked out of his jock before, but this is ridiculous.

While Luongo’s dressing stall went untouched, the stall of Kings Goalie of the Future™ Jon Bernier looked like it was torn apart by animals.

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But to me, the greatest thing I saw at the entire draft were these guys.

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I think the same people who set up this display were also the art directors for Woody Allen’s Sleeper.

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There is no way this Michael Cammalleri was anywhere near to scale.

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And I’m pretty sure that Dany Heatley was coming onto me.

Eventually, I headed away from the Nokia Plaza and into Staples Center.

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It’s strange to go to Staples Center and see them not selling anything.

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But it’s even stranger to go to a memorabilia vendor
and see autographed 8×10′s of Warren Rychel for sale.

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There were some sort of trophies on display as well.

Once you made it to the lower bowl of the arena… then it got exciting.

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These guys were like out of a Disney movie that shows how people from all different backgrounds can be best friends. For those playing along at home.. Montreal, Calgary Alternate, Avalanche, University of Michigan and a Buffalo Sabres in front.

For Los Angeles Kings fans there were a lot of familiar faces in the crowd.

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NHL coach of the year and former Los Angeles King Power Play Genius, Dave Tippet.

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The winningest GM in Kings history and the man who drafted Anze Kopitar, Dave Taylor.

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Los Angeles Kings 1988 70th overall draft pick, Rob Bla… BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

In addition to former Kings greats, there were other NHL stars in attendance.

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GM of the New Jersey Devils, Lou Lamoriello.

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Whoops, sorry, uploaded the wrong photo.
That facial recognition feature in iPhoto can be screwy sometimes!

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Craig Button, star of NHL On The Fly.

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Even American Hero, Ryan Miller, took a few minutes off
from banging his movie-star girlfriend to check out the draft.

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Obviously there was a Dumb and Dumber Fan Convention in town as well.
And by Dumb and Dumber Fan Convention I do mean a convention of people
who are fans of the Oilers… not the movie Dumb and Dumber.

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“Come on Scotty… just one more year… for old times sake…
I mean, I already traded for Arnott. I’ll get Claude Lemieux back if that’s what it takes.”

“Lou, please leave me alone.”

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It was finally time for the Draft to begin. As a Half Season Ticket Holder, I was given a general admission ticket to the lower bowls. But the sections right across from the GM tables were reserved for the Draft picks and their friends and family. Being the risk takers Half Season Ticket Holder Buddy and I are, we stayed in that section and ended up getting a great look at all of the action.

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From where we were sitting we really had the best view of the draft… the one that clearly showed the Los Angeles Kings on the right side of the draft board… instead of the left. A view we had become used to the last few years.

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Way to do it, Deano!

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All the press was jammed into the rear of the arena. Earl Sleek from Battle of California and James O’Brien from NBC’s Pro Hockey Talk were in the first 4 rows of press seating. If those guys are in the first 4 rows… then what high school newspaper do the guys in the last row write for? Hey-oh!

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And then the draft began the same way it has since 1993… with a round of boos toward Commissioner Gary Bettman. For me, the excitement of the draft wasn’t about seeing Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin beginning their NHL journey… no, it was the way they matched the colored light bulbs of the stage with what team happened to be making their draft pick.

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Ooohh, pretty colors.

I don’t pretend to know ANYTHING about these drafts picks. If you want good analysis go to Surly and Scribe over at LA Kings News or Quisp at the SB Nation Los Angeles Kings Blog. But the one thing I do like about 15th overall draft pick, 6’5″ defenseman Derek Forbort? His first introduction to the fans of the Los Angeles Kings looked like this:

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The best moment of the Draft was when the fierce boo’s being thrown at the Anaheim Ducks during their 29th pick turned into rousing cheers when they selected Long Beach native, Emerson Etem. You don’t need to have the Draft in Los Angeles to realize that hockey fans here know what they are talking about.

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The other California-based great moment of the draft? When Gardena native Beau Bennett was selected as the 20th overall pick by the Pittsburgh Penguins… his buddies that were sitting next to me went crazy.

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At least I’m pretty sure they were his buddies.
They could have also been taping an episode of The Hills.

The remainder of the night was spent chatting with some of hockey blogging’s best… James O’Brien, Bird Watchers Anonoymous, Tapeleg, Earl Sleek, and even a quick chat with Puck Daddy. It was really great to meet these guys in person and mostly everyone made eye contact and didn’t even smell bad. The Draft was a great experience overall… but for fucks sake… is it October yet? Let’s play some hockey.

The Royal Half has been a Los Angeles Kings fan since 1988 and a Half-Season Ticket Holder since 2002. He has seen the following goaltenders play in person for the Los Angeles Kings… Kelly Hrudey, Grant Fuhr, Byron Dafoe, Jamie Storr, Stephane Fiset, Felix Potvin, Cristobal Huet, Roman Cechmanek, Mathieu Garon, Adam Hauser, Jason LaBarbera, Barry Brust, Sean Burke, Dan Cloutier, Yutaka Fukufuji, Jean-Sebastien Aubin, Erik Ersberg, Jonathan Bernier, Jonathan Quick, Ben Scrivens and Martin Jones.You can follow The Royal Half on Twitter @TheRoyalHalf.