This shouldn't even be a freaking discussion. Even if Casey Pierro-Zabotel beat Tavares in scoring in the CHL this year. Even if the most stunning season of JT's junior career was the 2006-2007 season when he beat Gretzky's record for scoring as a 16 year-old. Even if Victor Hedman had had a better season.
The draft is in two days. This is... well, okay this year Draft Day is not in the top 10 days of my year, but that's only because of March 7th-9th, May 7th-11th, and June 4th, 9th and 12th and nothing much can top those eleven days. Oh, and January 5th (when Baby Team Canada won their 5th consecutive gold), that was a pretty good day too. So, this year, Draft Day is sort of down there on the list, but it's still kind of exciting to watch all the junior players I coo over on the most exciting day of their lives.
This year is particularly exciting because there is a clear choice for number one, but NO ONE knows if he will go number one. How did this happen? It's happening because the Islanders actually seem to really like Victor Hedman. If John Tavares doesn't go number one, TSN's going to say they called it the past few months. If he does go number one, they're going to say they called it in 2006. I'm calling him to go number 2. Mostly because I think the Isles are idiots and they're going to take Hedman because they think he's more mature or some junk like that. Which will leave this as the biggest Draft-upset of the last decade or so. (Well, at least since 2003 when the Pens took Flower over Eric Staal, and that wasn't an upset so much as a decision to pick based on what the team needed more.)
When Tavares goes second overall, TSN's going to claim it knew it would happen. It's bullocks. They've been saying he'll go number one for like 3 years. So much so that I got sick of hearing all the hype and decided to go see for myself if JT was as special as everyone kept insisting he was.
Last October, I made a little trip out east to Toronto. I went to see family (ostensibly) and managed to fit in three hockey games while I was there. The last of which was the second game I watched on October 5th (the other being the second Sens-Pens game, wherein the Sens beat the Pens, scoring 75% of the games goals in the last 12 minutes of the game - the same 12 minutes I MISSED because I was booting it through Union Station to catch the GO Train to Oshawa so I could catch the Oshawa Generals game that night).
I went to see Tavares. I was shocked. When I go in with expectations, it's difficult for me to be impressed. If it meets my expectations, I'm neutral, so to make me go WOW! was a bit of a feat for JT. He did not disappoint. He scored a goal and two assists (the day after he'd played a 2-goal game). And it wasn't just that, it was watching him. He's bloody talented. He works hard. A few weeks ago he was on HNIC with the other 4 probable top-five picks. He said his favourite player was Sidney Crosby (as did two others) but JT said it was because Crosby works so hard and makes everyone around him better. JT may be awkward as hell, he may have NO natural charisma, but he's got talent and work ethic and if the Islanders don't see it, they're idiots. After all, there's a reason the Gens traded him to London for 7 draft picks...
I got this photo of JT with my Mario Penguin after the game. I think he was under the impression I was trying to PUNK him or something. In my sleep-deprived haze, totally didn't think to get him to sign my Team Canada jersey, which was in my bag, because I'd bought it THAT DAY. Didn't even think about it when he ASKED if there was something I wanted him to sign. Oops. I'm a spaz. *bows* But I got this photo. On someone else's camera because mine was dying. Which is why it kind of sucks.
In other news, today is hump-day. Not only because it is Happy Wednesday, but because today is the 43rd day since I left Pittsburgh (and my GS girls) which leaves 43 days until I see them again in Buffalo (provided I fly in on Friday, which is the plan). Before then I have about a million things to do including but not limited to finishing a remotely-publishable draft of my book, saving up enough to fly myself to the weddings I've promised to attend, smoking the GRE and paying off a few debts. Looks like I've got my work cut out for me! To the GSG: I will see you in Philippe Boucher days!!!
AAAANNNNND, because this had me roaring with laughter...
Trying to resist making any poke-check/5-hole/scoring jokes...