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Draft Frenzy- NBA and NHL Drafts are Here

Posted by Gene Morris on June 25, 2009

It’s obvious that the NBA draft gains much more mainstream media attention than the NHL draft.  With the exception of Ricky Rubio and Brandon Jennings, we’ve seen every other NBA prospect garnering lottery buzz playing college hoops.

No one watches Canadian Junior hockey, NCAA hockey outside of the Frozen four, or any of the professional leagues in Europe.

But in this 2009 draft season, one name sticks out above the rest.  The hype has been there for this kid for years.  And I’m not talking about Blake Griffin.

John Tavares has been on the map since 2007, when he broke Wayne Gretzkey’s record for a 16-year old in the Ontario Hockey League as a member of the Oshawa Generals.

Since then Tavares has been a household name in hockey circles, and has even hit the mainstream after being a part of ESPN the Magazine’s “Next” feature.

He’s been in the spotlight for so long that it’s impossible for scouts not to nitpick at this game.  “Oh, he’s not a great skater,” or “he doesn’t have that killer instinct.”

It’s possible Tavares will be passed over by the New York Islanders Friday night in favor of 6-6 Sweedish defenseman Victor Hedman, or Matt Duchene, an 18-year old center who’s recently been drawing comparisons to newly elected hockey hall of famer Steve Yzerman.

But the Islanders need goal scoring, and more than that they need hope.  The fans need to believe they have a player their team can be built around.  If the Islanders don’t do something quickly, there’s a good chance they may end up in Kansas City in a few years (hopefully still as the Islanders, rivaling the Los Angeles Lakers and Utah Jazz as the strangest city-nickname combo in sports.)

We know Blake Griffin is going to be a Clipper tomorrow night.

But John Tavares needs to be an Islander, and the fate of the franchise depends on it.

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