I'm excited for the draft lottery, which will be held July 21, which is the same day they're expected to announce that the new Collective Bargaining Agreement has been ratified by the NHLPA. Of course the team who wins the lottery won't need any deliberation in the matter. They'll choose the young phenom Sidney Crosby. There's some talk that he and his father will do his impression of Eli and Archie Manning if Toronto should get that first pick. The Next One's old man is a life-long fan of Les Habitants, was drafted by (but never played for) them, and couldn't bear to see his son play for the dreaded Maple Leafs. This is merely a rumor circulating around the message boards, so I can't find any reliable source for this, but one of those posters had this quotation:
"When you like Montreal, the one team you don't like is the blue and white...He'd go to Toronto, but I can tell you, he wouldn't be happy about it." -- Troy Crosby, Sidney's father and a former Montreal Canadiens draft pick (240th overall in 1984) told Slam Sports in an interview."
I find it strange that these young men (Manning and Crosby) are going to make millions of dollars no matter where they go, and they're letting their daddies dictate whether they accept or reject offers from teams based on their own personal reasons. I think the major sports leagues should tell the parents to respectfully stay out of it. And Eli Manning was old enough to say "You know what, dad? I can handle this", but he didn't. I have to remember that although he's a damned supernova-in waiting, Crosby is still a kid. He may still require some parental guidance, but Troy is being kind of silly. I know team loyalties run deep. And in Canada they run deeper than I could ever imagine. But this just seems so damned silly.
People all over the place are saying it would be bad for the sport if he ends up going to a team in a non-traditional or small market. I say just the opposite. If he ends up going to any team in the south, or to Phoenix, it would be great. By and large, the teams in smaller and non-traditional hockey markets have poorer attendance and sell less attire than their counterparts. What better way to boost attendance and sweater sales in cities that really need it than to have this guy?
We can all talk about it till we're blue in the face. The next two days will be really exciting. The CBA ratification, followed by the lottery, followed a week later by the draft. Then there'll be some announcement about some rules modifications, and the schedule will be posted. I'm really anxious to get back to the games.