“We had him rated higher”. “He’s a leader”. “We are excited to have him”. These are all catch phrases that are very popular at this time of the year. Yes, it is “Draft” lingo time.

The NHL Draft will take place tonight and Saturday in Philadelphia. The NBA Draft was held Thursday. The MLB Draft took place earlier this month and the CFL, NFL and WHL held their annual Drafts last month.

18-year-old centre Sam Reinhart of the Kootenay Ice (105 points in 60 games) will hear his name called this evening by an NHL team. Naturally, whichever franchise selects him will provide accolades like “he’s the complete package,” “has terrific family bloodlines,” and of course “has great character”.

In Reinhart’s case, the aforementioned clichés may be true, however most prospects do not carry the same credentials, but that won’t stop team representatives from giving glowing reports about each of their players chosen, regardless of the round.

Two years ago the Edmonton Oilers selected Nail Yakupov with the number one overall pick. The Oilers GM at the time, Steve Tambellini, told the media after making the selection “We talked about having elite skill within our organization and he’s hungry to perform, hungry to score, he’s an emotional player, an explosive player.” Naturally this was hype at its finest. That hunger last season led him to a minus 33 rating (883rd in the league) and he was such an emotional player that he ended up watching several games from the press box as a healthy scratch. Yakupov is an example that despite what anyone suggests, no one really knows the future of these draftees.

It doesn’t matter which professional league, when describing their drafted prospects, team personnel have a tendency to use the same upbeat language; no one can blame them since it’s “sell” time to their fans.

To give a “tongue and cheek” perspective, here’s a dozen of the most often voiced rhetoric expressed in the PR campaign followed by one of my possible interpretations:

“We took the best player available”. Good for you. We were led to believe you would take the
second best player available or even go out on a limb and take the “worst” player available.

“He’s an honest hard working player”. Very astute to not take a dishonest player.

“He’s a great prospect”. Sure another longshot to make the team.

“He can score”. On the other side, he’s a defensive liability.

“He could be the steal of the draft”. Our fingers are crossed he’s not a dud.

“He has great character”. Speculation is he has a lack of talent.

“He comes to play every night”. This is very encouraging he can read a schedule.

“We are excited to have him.” One wonders how long that excitement will last.

“We had him rated higher.” Are the scouts wrong on your team or the other teams?

“We couldn’t believe he was still there”. Yes, what problem(s) does he come with?

“He’s the complete package.” Is the sizzle better than the steak?

“He’s a leader”. So was Adrian Dix.

Yes, an entire book could be written on these quips as part of the “spin game”.

Kidding aside, it is indeed a thrill and an honor for any player to be drafted by a professional team which is another example of hard work, dedication and determination paying off. Prince George Cougars goalie Ty Edmonds will be among those on the edge of his seat. He is ranked 18th by Central Scouting among North American goalies. And one never knows as Edmonds could certainly be that next “diamond in the rough”.

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He may be untested but more importantly the hiring of Willie Desjardins as head coach re-energizes the fresh start for the Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks front office big three now consists of president of hockey operations Trevor Linden, GM Jim Benning and Desjardins. All are new at their job at this level, and do not bring “baggage”. This most certainly does not guarantee success but emphasizes change. That’s what Canuck fans demanded and that is what they have received.

Desjardins, like Benning, was given the opportunity after paying his dues. The 57-year-old has worked his way up the ranks, winning at the WHL (Medicine Hat Tigers) and AHL (Texas Stars) levels. He has also been an NHL associate coach in Dallas in addition to coaching in Japan and at the University of Calgary (two national titles) so his background is extensive and resume impressive.

With the big “off ice” decisions settled, the Canucks focus has turned to “on ice” where once again a change of direction will be necessary to bring the team back to respectability.

From the Quote Rack:

Will the headline for Italy’s World Cup exit be “The Biter End?”

Luis Suarez says of his biting another player, for the third time, “these things happen.” Translation, if you’re playing Uruguay get a rabies shot.

Contributor Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com

Well, once again Italy’s World Cup team is on the receiving end of bizarre physical contact as Giorgio Chiellini gets bitten by Uruguay’s Luis Suarez. Giorgio didn’t insult Luis’ sister, did he?

Mark Brunell’s daughter recently won the Miss Alabama competition. I hear the first thing he did was issue a warning to Brent Musberger.

Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California

Brazilian model Andressa Urach welcomed Portugal to the World Cup by wearing nothing on top save for Ronaldo’s jersey in body paint. Is that unsupported support?

Uruguay blamed its World Cup loss to Costa Rica on airport officials seizing their dulce de leche, a caramel confection used on toast. Even worse, they didn’t beat the spread.

Comedy writer RJ Currie www.Sportsdeke.com

The Washington Redskins have had their trademarks cancelled by The US Patent Office as the term “Redskins” was disparaging to Native Americans. In related news The Irish Republic wants Notre Dame to change their disparaging name to the “Drinking Irish”.

Comedy writer TC Chong of Vancouver (http://alwaysfunny.com/)

The new quarterback for the New York Jets, Michael Vick, told the New York Daily News he can help the team get to the Super Bowl. Apparently he has a GPS system and a license to drive the bus.

Jim Barach of WCHS-TV in Charleston, W.Va. http://jokesbyjim.blogspot.com/

And in case you missed it:

A baseball game in Juneau, Alaska was delayed because a bear was roaming near the outfield fence. Apparently the bear thought the CUBS were playing.

Hartley Miller is the sports director for radio station 94.3 the Goat. His column appears Fridays on hqprincegeorge.com. Send along a quote, note, or anecdote to [email protected]
Follow him on twitter: @Hartley_Miller