It's been a long hiatus but the Handy Guides are finally back and just in time for today's NHL Draft in Ottawa! Everything you need to know about the draft is wrapped up into one neat little package.
If you're going to a draft party tonight or simply watching from the comfort of your couch, feel free to bring this along in case you have any questions. It should come in handy if you're not at a draft party because chances are you'll be watching it alone. Let's face it, even many hardcore hockey fans don't give a crap about the draft. But that doesn't mean you can't! If you're not sue what's going on, this guide will help you get your bearings. Enjoy!
Boo Gary Bettman everytime you see him. Every. Time. Heck, even when his name is mentioned make sure everyone knows how you feel. He's the least popular commissioner in sports (although Bud Selig is giving him a good run) and no large-scale NHL event is complete without some good ol' Bettman bashing. This is especially important for those of you who are actually at the draft. You're not just booing for yourselves, you're booing for all of us out there watching on television.
Ignore the anti-European bias. Folks, let's face facts. There's been an anti-euro bias in the NHL for years. People said they couldn't lead a team (Nicklas Lidstrom, anyone?). People said they fold in the clutch (Pavel Datsyuk? Henrik Zetterberg?). Maybe it's North America's way of propping itself up by putting down others or maybe it's good ol' fashioned bigotry. Who knows. Either way, many experts will make up crap about European players to make it seem as if they're not ready for the NHL. Sometimes even the teams buy into this fallacy, case in point Alexei Cherepanov's stunning drop at last year's draft. But you, my friend, are smarter than this. You understand that a hockey player is a hockey player no matter race, color, creed or favorite Power Ranger. You will see through the lies and not be upset when your team drafts a European in the first round.
If your team isn't picking in the Top 10, take a nap. It's going to be a while. You'll have enough time to catch some Z's or what have you before your team picks. Maybe you could even, I don't know, spend some time with your kids! BAHAHAHAH!! Kidding... I'm only kidding. Let's not go crazy here.
If your team is picking in the Top 10, don't sweat it (not valid for teams with Kevin Lowe as GM). Let's face it, this is really a crapshoot. Sure, Stamkos will probably be really good. Sure, there's going to be some gems out there. But the draft is the NHL's version of procrastination. By the time these guys are any good you're never going to remember how pissed you were that your team didn't select Joe Blow. Save yourself the ulcer now and don't sweat it. You're probably not going to remember this draft unless your team does something really boneheaded. And even then, you might be too drunk to remember. That brings me to my next point.
Don't drink while watching the draft. These kids are younger than you. They get to play a game for a living. They're going to make more money in their first NHL contract than you will in a decade. They probably get a lot of girls. Thinking about all of these things can be depressing. Unless you're well off yourself, you probably don't want to be ingesting any depressants during the draft. It's just, well, depressing.
Don't buy your playoff tickets Saturday morning. Just because your team drafted a stud in the five spot doesn't mean you're going to make a Boston Celtics-esque turn around next year. Get your head of the clouds and snap out of it. There's still a lot of work to be done before your crap team turns itself around. This draft is such a small part to the overall picture and has very few short term fixes. Get over the 18-year old wonder kid you just drafted and start thinking about free agency. No one in this draft is going to take you to the promised land next year. No one.